it figures

At a figure drawing class, I sit amongst artists with sketch pads or pieces of handed out computer paper, staring at a man dressed in spandex and stillness. I try not to look down as I draw; this is my technique. But also, I am keeping track of the minimal times he blinks. I fear his eyes will go dry and freeze open. I worry as he begins to shake, holding an awkward pose picked out for him by the skinny artist/facilitator.

About an hour into these poses—some 5 minutes long, some 20—-I begin to take his clothes off. I do not realize I am doing this until I look down and notice that the nipples protruding out from beneath his polyurethane skin is surrounded by nude flesh on my paper. I write lines to offer contour to his chest and belly and then continue down.

Before I realize, his muscular thighs spread apart and a penis grows from the tip of my #2 pencil.

When the pose is over, I glance at the man beside me with a sketch far different from mine.

“I guess we see what is also inside us,” I say to him.

Later on, this male model turns into a female on my page. Or maybe he is still a male, but this time I draw his muscular shape surrounding a vagina. Perhaps I am out of my element. I work with words not images. But his body was speaking in many ways and all I did was exchange letters for stretched out lines and curves.

I didn’t need to draw what was in front me. The others were doing it well enough. What I needed to do was look beyond his poses. I’m not an artist; I’m an interpreter.

an ode to the green-dressed woman…

…in red baseball hat which read: OBEY, who curves her body in a hip-hop way, curled lips into teeth, bent knees in the direction of the moon (which I had to imagine since we were underground).

I feel the need to admit that when you lifted your right leg in a dance move that can only be described as the concrete scrape, I saw your underwear. And I only committed to my stare for as long as I did because the color was nude or blanched peach like your skin and I suddenly felt closer to you than to myself.

Your fingernails match your dress and I wondered which area of your body gained the green first.

If I wasn’t so shy insecure withdrawn self-conscious, I’d whisper into your ear: jungle green, the shade of crayon you represent.

When the local 4 train arrived, I sat across from you. Tried to ignore the fullness of my bladder by studying the various shapes of moles and freckles on your calves.

Can I call your eyes slate? How about I compare their color to the time of night when black, grey and green compete with the stars.

Are you a dancer or do you just dance well?

Beneath your red cap, your brown hair is lopsided. Do you know how you turn beautiful into a language, rather than just a word?

What happened was I bent my neck down, wrote notes into my notebook for a length of time I lost track of, but when I looked up you were gone. Your red baseball cap was on your friend’s head. The other dancer. Lithe male with deeply padded lips. You got off at Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway. You live somewhere near to me. More importantly, you live on this earth. I wanted to watch your exit. Would you twist and hop your way off this train like you did on the subway platform? Would you twirl, leap, pop your limbs through the double doors?

I missed your finale.