The painting says Modigliani, the nude says “take me.”
I look, I see, I penetrate beyond design— the painting mounts
the birth of the modern, again and again at the start
of the twentieth century, past brazen oranges, peaches, apples
and kohl lidded glances become burning flesh, woman posed
into willing odalisque muse, she who is become the plastic moment
of delayed desire and I am now the artist’s rock hard delight,
his overpowering need to paint, to overtake this heavy lidded mask
of want and surrender. To be first to make her his own. Then commit
her to instantaneous gratification, over and over again, until the
sated watcher, deep within her, cannot ignore her invitation to love
and self-annihilation.

You know it is wrong.
It’s not good for you.
You have to stop—but
nothing else makes you feel this way.
Nothing else makes your heart beat
this way, makes you sweat, makes you
pant, makes you want nothing more
than this —but it’s wrong.
You shouldn’t continue.
You could get hurt.
You should stay at home,
defend yourself,
lock the door behind you.
Instead, you step into the night
heart pounding, hair standing
on end, alive and awake
to endless possibilities,
though you may not survive the night.