samedi 25 octobre 2014

The history of the Pouf

At the end of this October we are privy to communicate with the those who have passed to the other side, as promised I wish to bring to your attention a very close friend of Marie Antoinette and whose presence we can feel is here. It is the inventor of the Pouf. 

We are all familiar with Marie Antoinette’s coiff, years later also immortalised by Dinah Washington or Amy Winehouse. Yet few are aware that it was Leonard Autié, not to be confused with his younger brother Jean Francois, who was Marie Antoinette’s favourite hairdresser. 

So how did the Pouf come to bee? Leonard, or Monsieur Leonard as he was called, in fact was upstaged by Antoinette’s dressmaker, Rose Bertin, who in 1774 invented the “ques-a-co” (translated what is it?).

The “ques-a-co” consisted of 3 feathers stuck in the back of the lady’s head forming a question mark. (Un point d’interrogation.) The ques-a-co became incredibly popular in Paris, it is alleged that one of King Louis’ mistress disarmed him with the power of her feathers.

Monsieur Leonard had trouble digesting the ques-a-co and it was reported that his jealousy unnerved him greatly. One day in Versoix/Versailles, he couldn’t take it any more (il ne pouvait plus supporter) and in a fit went storming up and down the Galerie de Glaces (the hall of mirrors)
screaming “que-ce que c’est ce “ques-a-co? que-ce que c’est ce “ques-a-co? Bordel de merde!!!”

Monsier Leonard had been huffing and puffing, he was jumping up and down and was red in the face when he looked into a large mirror with a golden, floral frame. His golden hair was reaching up to the crystal chandeliers and he marvelled at his Pouf.

Despite the late hour he rushed into the King and Queen’s boudoir, ignoring the notice on the doorknob saying “interdit d’entrer, seance public à 8:20”, pulled Marie out from her royal bedding and performed the first coiffure à la Pouf before a half-snoring king.

Marie was enchanté and her Pouf quickly became the talk of the town. So much so that Monsieur Leonard (not to be confused with his brother who now opened a salon under the same name) decided to retire his snippets and consecrate his energy to the théatre.

Indeed in 1780 he opened, with the help of Marie-Antoinette, the first French opera house with an italian repertoire. Afraid that his brother would again steal his name he called it the “Theatre de Monsieur”. Not surprisingly many female divas performed sporting Poufs before packed and admiring audiences.

History took a dark turn for Monsieur Leonard, the French Revolution abridged an already very successful career. Marie Antoinette amongst many others went “Pouf!” as did one of the Leonard brothers -we are not sure which. What is known is that the real Leonard didn’t have any will and all he left his wife and 5 children were a couple of a hundred francs and a bird of paradise brooch given by Marie Antoinette with an estimated value of 3 francs.

Ladies should should thus be assured that if they wish to do  the Pouf or other more or less decorous hair styles they should remember to wear it as if  the Revolution were tomorrow. Et Pouf!

jeudi 23 octobre 2014

A modern Van Gogh

They were coming from all directions
Waves of hamburgers swallowing everything in their path
Hambergers bumper to bumper in the narrow Dutch streets
Cheese and ketchup oozing over sesame casings
I thought I discerned babies being swallowed up
With no salt

And then nothing.
I could see in this Amsterdam
Old brick buildings tilted in their quirky foundations
Along my canal a row of girls quickly cycled
While singing "My Sharona"

A giraffe walked over a bridge cutting them off
But they cycled under its tall, spotty legs.

From the outdoor cafe where I was sitting
I found a mirror and glimpsed at my missing ear.
"How would it heal?" I asked

Brush strokes.
Thousands of little brush strokes.
Tapping with the speed of a keyboard artist

Brush on brushstrokes in
Colours, widths
Movements, directions dancing in the wind of my brushes
Brushing the canvas, the linen, the very pants I wear

If I stop the world goes dark
Women look at me and say, "Vincent, Vincent?"

I can't eat this bowl of spaghetti
The sauce should be on my palette
The pasta on my canvas

I hear a voice, it's the waiter now saying,
And I see him in my next painting besides
The girls speeding on their bicycles
The boats rising and falling
The tilted, pointed buildings tilting
The sun filtering a murky yellow at the end of
an autumnal day.

My painting finger is tapping on the café table
I hear the girls riding, singing "My Sharona"
I want to give them my ear but
They are riding too fast.

mercredi 22 octobre 2014

Potato Eaters in the Potato House

I have had to return to the potato fields
After absorbing the irregular energy of 
Criss-crossed Polke bulbs
Experienced within the confines of 
Only now
Seen through the eyes of Van Gogh
This cannot be overlooked:
The potato eaters in the potato house!

Their hardened views burn through the opaque light
Their boney knuckles reflecting the spuddy nobs
That Earth so nonchalantly delivers

Yet in this confined air
Where hope and despair are a marrying pair
Like a hard alloy moulded to an icebreaker's bow
The human spirit defied being crushed

Today it unworms those who have never tilled
How could they?

However, we do work within different confines
With Potato Planes jetting potatoes
Across the continents
'Em tubers barely know the land where they'll be eaten
And our borders, our confines are now defined 

By the carry-on template
An ingenious device that
Lets every passenger carry only so many potatoes
Above his perfumed head

The Earth and the pitchfork have not a worry
Their laborious love has
Long been forgotten in the enclosure of the plains.

mercredi 1 octobre 2014

The Secret Service's Bear

Sitting in my cave
waiting by the fire
staring at the great stars
I kept wondering
In this honey-den of mine
A world of total safety
I kept wondering
How un-manlike  am I?

In my bearskin black
My claws still kept sharp against the bark
Going back to my cave
Thought I: I don't care about being rich
From my claws to my teeth
So I walked upright following my old tracks
Weaving between highways 
Depositories of bountiful trash
I wondered

The way it is and the way it was
The Secret Service had called me
To bear witness
Was it a dark moment? Should I swim away?
"The White House needed me" 
(An agent boasted)
I was needed urgently

Living in the woods and now
The White House.

Teddy Roosevelt told my Grandpa
We bears were all right
And Clinton said something about not asking or telling
To avoid any type of same sex fight

Today and every day
It's like being in love for the first time
My heart is proud to shadow that of the President

From organised terror to
Fanatically driven incursions
Here I am to
Bear the brunt of our nation's security
And drive my claws like a Christian sword
For the greater good of mankind

And if you cross my path
No grudge shall cometh upon me for
I am the King of Animals
Over centuries Man has wished to liken to me
And even King Arthur waited for my waking to
Pull out Excalibur
The deed was done

True you say the days are getting shorter
And Isis is nearing our quarters
So I shall hibernate a good while
To let the stardust compile
Just remember when I wake
To give me a hug
And not care if I smell vile.