If you’re like me, you don’t know Djuna Barnes as a poet. But as you can see on the left, she was also an artist. And a prose writer and many things more. However, unlike in Paris at Midnight, where I discovered her, there is no evidence that she was a serious jitterbugger.
I read through quite a lot of Barnes’ poetry, trying to find something that would be easily digested by my hungry readers. The good news is that unlike serious modern poetry, her work is pretty easy to scan. I understand it on a first reading, which says a lot. Just the same, it isn’t that easy; it isn’t like song lyrics.
This poem is “Seen From the ‘L’.” I don’t know exactly what it is about. There are a few themes that seem to be floating around. There is nakedness as a symbol for communication. There is rumination on the process of becoming and being. But mostly, it is a lovely word picture with a wonderful rhythm:
Now that you’ve been all cultured up, you can continue with your day.