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Runcible Spoon

heart logo Privacy Notice Jane Salmons

Kiki of Montparnasse

After Man Ray’s Le Violon d’Ingres

 

Man, he thought he was smart.

Painted a pair of fancy Fs

on my back, exposed my arse.

Hold still cherie. Don’t speak.

 

Camera clac and voila: cello,

plaything, objet d’art. Tssk.

I ask you. The turban though

was my idea. A touch of class.

 

Eight years I posed in front

of his lens, stripped for the pleasure

of his Dada friends. Magnificent.

The sun has dressed you in lace.

 

Man, he slayed me. In the dark

room I was rayo-graphed, poured

over, gazed at by the bourgeoisie.

My own mother in Burgundy

 

disowned me. But it wasn’t all bad.

Half-cut on jag juice, we jitter-bugged

at The Dingo, downed jiggers

of Pernod, sang bawdy songs

 

with the avant-garde. We blazed

like comets, my American

man and me. Until the fights

began. True, blotto one night

 

I swung at a gendarme and

after I got bail saw my man

in the Café de Flore, a young

Sheba on his arm. So what?

 

Life goes on. I sang, wrote,

did the lot. Big timer. The duck’s

quack. Banned but not silenced

Queen Kiki of Montparnasse.