AT THE GAUGIN EXHIBIT, SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
In Women of Tahiti, one woman sports a peony-pink shift,
Why are Gaughin's women so sullen, so markedly pissed, I asked
Endless blathering about sin and guilt, penitence and pain. Catholicism.
King Pomare V is dying (symbol of ancient tradition),
Yellow lilies in a flaxen sky. She holds a blue blossom. Weary.
Girl-women. Broad blocks of timeless daily life.
Amber sarong. Blue sarong. Purple hill.
About eight years ago I was invited by Seattle Writers in the Schools to participate in a series of K-12 writing sessions in conjunction with a SAM Gauguin/Tahitian art exhibit. All workshop leaders attended a training/informational session and were permitted to visit the exhibit as much as they wanted. The workshop I facilitated with local high school students was a blast, but I recall being horrified when I learned that paintings like When Will You Marry? and Where Are You Going? were not only created by a sadist/ rapist/ pedophile, but that the Edenic portrait of Tahiti Gauguin depicted in his work was a sham. My poem is a result of these and other revelations, along with the detailed notes I took during several visits to the show.