Allison Power (after Marcel Duchamp). Étant donnés, electronic correspondence via iPhone, June 4, 2011.
by Jennifer Nelson

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Description

              smell chalk under the umbrellas
              or tell me ivy’s grown thicker from looking
              at the lightbulb hanging Gustonly
              over my desk
                                       I don’t care

              flowers wince in the window box each time
              roofrain gathers
              and drops

Provenance
              then they stop shaking



I’ve never seen Étant donnés, which curators translate as “Given,” except they do the whole title: Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas, or, in French, Étant donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage. [1] Why the singular?  I don’t know.
              Like a good editor, [2] I go to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  Anne Harnoncourt’s having a heart attack again.  I revive her using only chest compressions, having read that blowing is useless.  It works!
              With gratitude, she produces a naked homuncula from her side.  I put it to sleep and hide it between my breasts.  Striding into the gallery, I fulfill my promise to make the figure nude again.  I open the door, ignoring the peepholes.  Behind me, a security guard sniffles.  Gently, I remove the pigskin composite of Duchamp’s lovers.  It disintegrates in my hands.  Gently, I restore Anne Harnoncourt’s flesh to its thicket of velvet and twigs.
              No one closes the door.







______________________________
[1] As I unabbreviate the title beads
of water stick
in small balls on the leaves
[2] How about we call them spheres