Issue No. 3, Winter 2012

Four Sirens
Martin Willitts, Jr.
Based on the Picasso painting, The Harem (1906), from his Rose Period

Picasso painted four erotic sirens, which came to life.
They were tinctures of roses. He could not decide
which nymph was formerly a river of laughter,
which wore the ringlet of lush cardinals of hair,
who was the one unwrapping outbreaths
of feverous lust, and who was the deer-footed one
startled into dawn-shivers. Why decide at all, he proposed,
why not just pile them all on top like layers
of arms, torso, cheekbone, gossip, larkspur whispers,
breasts of envy and judgment. Why choose,
when all is here?
Free-thinking and amorous are traits,
not tactual decisions. Free love should not have a price,
he demanded, and the women blurred into every
and all women. His fingers were paintbrushes on lemon nipples.
The women were lake-songs and dances of grass.


Martin Willitts, Jr. retired as a Senior Librarian and is living in Syracuse, New York. He is currently a volunteer literacy tutor. He is a visual artist of Victorian and Chinese paper cutouts. He was nominated for 5 Pushcart and 3 Best Of The Net awards. He has 13 poetry chapbooks and his 3 full length poetry collections are “The Secret Language of the Universe” (March Street Press, 2006), and “The Hummingbird” (March Street Press, 2009), and “The Heart Knows, Simply, What It Needs: Poems based on Emily Dickinson, her life and poetry” (Aldrich Press, 2012).