Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at the Tate

I was aperture, I was skylight. The knife-thrower’s blades ramified in the space around me. I was a white root swimming in the dark, Icarus falling into his own chest, a clown pried open by the red-handed crowd. I saw with a wolf’s blood-drop eye how horse and rider are imprisoned by the bars of a flag. The green world warped around an hourglass shaped like the symbol for infinity. Bodies flowered forth like bladder-wrack or sentient hands as life began returning to the sea. I saw a dancer dismembering all the space in a room and a blue nude curl into a backwards ampersand. When she stood up, her arms rose on either side like quotation marks. I saw Venus, freed of her scallop shell, expand into an isthmus between two oceans. My gaze became ambitious even as the butterfly collector’s net came down and I found myself pressed into glass, attempting still to dance on the head of a pin. My death led straight into the gift shop.


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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


    1. Thank you. Yes, it was quite an exhibition — and relatively uncrowded yesterday, as well.


    1. Glad you liked that, Jean. As you can probably tell, I was especially struck by Jazz.


  1. Dave, great response to the exhibition – a poem in itself. As you may have seen on my blog, I was there too, unfortunately not on the same day as you. And of course Jazz has always been mi idea of a perfect artist’s book.
    See you soon.


    1. Yes, reading your blog post was one of the things that made me decide I had to see the exhibition. Thanks.


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