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Two Sailors Urinating


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On Viewing Two Sailors Urinating by Charles Demuth, 1930

Bi Janus

We are cast as the Elders

ogling Susanna

at her toilet.

But you put us

on our knees

confronting the cocks

instead of leaving us

in the greenery

peering down.

Are you bringing us

to concupiscent silence

at one man holding

both members?

Susanna and all

her sisters

seem to sigh

in acquiescence.

As men we should

perhaps understand

the transgression,

strictly a crime,

but understandable.

You gave not

the sailors to women

as Rembrandt gave

Susanna to lechers –

they are for our eyes.

Only in this way

could you make


the transgressions,

as the sailors sigh

but not in acquiescence.

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Ah! Ah, ha ha!

Sometimes your poetry is a puzzle - a puzzle that often expands my horizons, not to mention my knowledge. Having never heard of Charles Demuth it took me a while as I hadn't seen any of his paintings, or if I had it was in passing.

Maybe a better idea of the subject helps, maybe it doesn't. I hope you don't mind its addition.


Two Sailors Urinating by Charles Demuth (1930)

All in all I enjoyed the poem. It brought to mind the following.


Turkish Bath with Self Portrait by Charles Demuth (1918)

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by Camy

Splish splash splosh and

the brushes are down.

Like it or not

Turkish Bath with Self Portrait

doesn't warrant that contemptuous frown.

No one asked you to look.

It wasn't painted for you.

Though your expression of horror -

you blush as red as a tomato - a fruit, eh?

makes us laugh as we lie:

meat on slab; meat in hand, sweating.

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