David Hickman

Max Ernst

I was Loplop, superior of the birds.

Eros made me into a machine,

but it was death that made me restless.

Frottage was my love

with all her textures.

And I was terrible inside her,

and my beauty was as one

who has not feared his affairs.

. . .That was how it was

before the Nazi’s took France,

and I was interned twice

as an enemy alien.

When I sailed to America

and married Peggy Guggenheim,

I painted the Antipope

between equestrian afternoons

with Leonora .

From there, poor Europe

seemed a dense wood,

and I was far above it

on a hill of granite

counting the crevices of its

marvelous textures.

When I went to Arizona

with Dorothea

it was like living inside

the landscape of an immense hunger,

as if I had returned home finally

to my childhood

in Bruhl

where my little bird died

at the birth of my sister.

It was a dark imperative

that drove Germany mad.

The grains in the paint,

the industrial block prints

that I had hand colored,

and raised from the obscurity

of mass production.

were symbols of nothing

and I was nothing with them.

You cannot

save a man

who has already been dead.

and I had been dead

since the first “World War.”

A signatory

of emptiness

and it’s caresses

Who rose over Europe

half bird, half man,

Degenerate artist

in the Haus der Kunst.