Blue left arm of Michelangelo's God
Extends grace from Casagemas' torso.
Divine curled finger with dispensation
Points toward jealous-eyed Madonna.
Jacqueline holds little sleepy Paloma-Christ.

Germaine's solemn figure clings to Casagemas,
Like Saint John the beloved
Her breast pressed against his body
Jigsawed into his abdomen.
She his right appendage, favored.
His eyes corpse-like, penniless mirrors
Dark streaked tearstained recesses,
Only granite statuesque semblances of Vie:
Painted memento mori.

Whores embrace naked on white bed.
Older caresses younger protecting her
As if to apologize for impotency.
Jacqueline, stern, glares at Casagemas,
Germaine's repulsive morph-figured history,
Immutable sour taste of morning.




Pablo Picasso. La Vie (Life). 1903. Oil on canvas. The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, USA.



Marty D. Ison is a native of Dayton, Ohio, now firmly transplanted in the Florida sands of the Gulf of Mexico. Mr. Ison was a fine arts major at St. Petersburg College and has worked as a business writer for more than ten years.

He is the published author of poetry; a short-story collection dealing with situations of acute psychological distress and phobias; the postmodern thriller With a Glass Hammer; and his writing has appeared in the St. Petersburg Times. Currently he is completing his second novel, Zero's Lizard (coauthored with Ron Barnhart). He is working on a third novel tentatively titled We Both Call Abraham Father about a Jewish woman and Muslim man dealing with family conflicts that erupt when they announce their plans to marry.

He is also a surrealist painter. A long-time member of the Zoetrope Virtual Studio, he hosts the workshop, "My Dada Was a Surrealist," where everyone interested in experimental prose, poetry, and art is welcome.

Contact him at

In "La Vie," I write what is impossible. Jacqueline Roque and Pablo Picasso had not met in 1904. Paloma, Picasso's daughter, was not yet born and was the daughter of Francoise Gilot, not Jacqueline. Casagemas and Germaine were the only persons in my poem who Picasso could have realistically depicted in the painting.

The poem expresses a mélange of events from Picasso's life, filtered through my own experiences. It is not an attempt at critical analysis of the painting's symbolism. Picasso himself stated that he did not compose his paintings. He contended that his compositions used him as a medium for expression.

In all my poems inspired by Picasso, I have envisioned him as prophet. Imagine life as pool of connected events, not liner, not circular, but a fluid collection of experiences tangible only in the now. Memories connect the conscious mind to the past
―but I imagine the artist as a  connecting to several or all events simultaneously and depicting them as a single image that means everything, an image of now.



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