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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Two Cunts in Paris

Although stone nudes are commonplace-some crammed
two to a column, supple caryatids,
and others mooning in the Tuileries-
the part that makes them women is the last
revelation allowed to art; the male
equipment, less concealable, is seen
since ancient times: a triune thingumbob.

Courbet's oil, L'Origine du monde, was owned
by Madame Jacques Lacan and through some tax
shenanigans became the Musée d'Orsay's.
Go see it there. Beneath the pubic bush—
A matted Rorschach blot—beneath blanched thighs
of a fat and bridal docility,
a curved and rosy closure says, "Ici!"

We sense a voyeur's boast. The Ding an sich,
the thing as such, a centimeter long
as sculpted, en terre cuite, in fine detail
of labia and perineum, exists
in La Musée des Arts Décoratifs,
by Clodion, dit Claude Michel. A girl
quite young and naked, with perfected limbs

and bundled, banded hair, uplifts her legs
to hold upon her ankles a tousled dog
yapping in an excitement never calmed:
the sculptor caught in sauvely molded clay
this canine agitation and the girl's,
the dark slits of her smile and half-shut eyes
one with the eyelike slit she lets us view.

Called La Gimblette,
this piece of the eternal feminine,
a doll of femaleness whose vulval facts
are set in place with a watchmaker's care,
provides a measure of how art falls
of a Creator's providence, which gives
His Creatures, all, the homely means to spawn.

--- Two Cunts in Paris / John Updike
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