Pictures at an Exhibition

16 August 2019

We gathered in your loft. It was a safe milieu. We took
our medicine and waited. On the wall the countenance
of Iggy Pop floresced – a haggard beauty full of lust
for demi-monde and vagrants. We could not keep our bodies still
so ventured out on Brunswick Street, our wherewithal to catch
the number 86 to town. The NGV allured

with William Blake’s Inferno. Temptation in disguise allured
in bestial fashion, his Dante fleeing in a dance he took
to Virgil for embrace, the latter hovering to catch
alarm evinced by pilgrim, solicitous of countenance
the floating angel. The creatures (neither statuesque nor still)
comprised the wolf of greed, the leopard of more rampant lust

and lion of ambition – a grisly triad that would lust
for souls of innocents. We backtracked to Fed Square, allured
by moving images – Romanian cartoons, each still
a nano-second long. The plot was of a girl who took
apart a book, from which emerged the ragged countenance
and torso of a fugitive, his destiny to catch

the train she boarded, she a mystery rather than a catch
made captive (and Bucharest their Mecca). Far more than merely lust
together brought them, unable their desire to countenance
reprieve of any ending but a loop. Then Saint Paul’s allured
from opposite the stage. The choir was practising, and took
the master’s chiding well. The stations of the cross were still

in evidence, for stained glass windows drew a light so still
we stood transfixed before Golgotha. There had to be a catch
and here it was – no salve without what deposition took
to sepulchre, the spirit yielded. As Christ endured the lust
for crucifixion of his captors, his falling thrice allured
Veronica, her cloth to wipe the abject countenance

of sacred servitude. Agnostic though each countenance
our troupe presented, such compassion was affecting . Still
entranced and moved, we exited as Dymocks then allured
with Violette Leduc, her ‘Ravages’ a must to catch
again inimitably a sensual tang, its naked lust
depicted on the cover, a woman crouched as what we took

to be a golden panther. Her hair, arms, back allured to catch
off guard our pheromones. To countenance a bed we’d still
require from lamp of lust a curtsy, your homing all it took.

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About Lucy Wilks

Lucy Wilks was born in Melbourne in 1960. Her poems have appeared in Verse, Meanjin, Southerly, Otoliths and Rabbit.

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