Living Room, 1948
This too is Andy Warhol.* Among the Brillo boxes
and Campbell cans, dance-step diptych, Marilyn
and Jackie, overcrowded and overlooked,
a weighing of some sort of ragged truth,
a Pittsburgh living room. Overstuffed sofa,
tilted shades, rocker, brick fireplace with cross,
maroon armchair and threadbare carpet- Oriental,
by assimilation Czech, a picture of a certain
immigrant America. In this room his father was
laid out, dead from drinking coal-mine water.
Here he played with paper dolls on the floor while
his mother cradled her colostomy bag like a child.
There’s no outdoors pictured through the windows.
This was a boy whose skin flamed with chorea,
whose limbs shook with St. Vitus’s dance,
who prayed for beauty by osmosis. This was
a man who dyed his shoes and painted each nail
a different colour, who found in fame what
he lacked for in love. Death lurked on the margins
of this cluttered dusk. A shot glass shatters a mirror.
Pared down and stripped, emptied of himself, this is
how he prepared to enter the world, ready for his debut.
*Italicized quotations taken from "Andy Warhol in Eight Works" by Jerry Saltz.
Eliza Browning is a student at Wheaton College in Massachusetts, where she studies English and art history. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in L'Ephemere Review, Doghouse Press and Vagabond City Lit, among others. She is a poetry editor for EX/POST Magazine and reads poetry for the COUNTERCLOCK Journal.
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