Tate Cartoon: I Don’t Care! I’d Rather Sink Than Call [X] For Help!

By | 1 September 2023

after Roy Lichtenstein

We stood in the airless gallery with dozens
of others in front of Drowning Girl.
I could feel sweat against the linen of my shirt,
wanted to shift his hand off my hip.
Don’t you think this work is kind of crass? he said.
I didn’t want to talk about the subject matter—
men causing women misery—
just enjoy the thick lines and bold colours
with detachment. The Ben-Day dots made her skin
look flawless, framed by her whirlpool of hair.
Earlier in the gift shop, I read that Brad
wasn’t always absent:
before Lichtenstein cropped the image,
he was in the background holding the catamaran
while she dealt with a cramp in her leg.
I didn’t allude to the fact that the artist’s
first marriage was dissolving as he painted it.
As we walked silently towards Blackfriars afterwards,
we were the clichéd ones,
thought bubbles stacked above our heads.

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