“For Women Who Are Difficult To Love” by Warsan Shire
You are a horse running alone and he tries to tame you compares you to an impossible highway to a burning house says you are blinding him that he could never leave you forget you want anything but you you dizzy him, you are unbearable every woman before or after you is doused in your name you fill his mouth his teeth ache with memory of taste his body just a long shadow seeking yours but you are always too intense frightening in the way you want him unashamed and sacrificial he tells you that no man can live up to the one who lives in your head and you tried to change didn’t you?
closed your mouth more tried to be softer prettier less volatile, less awake but even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams so what did you want to do love split his head open? you can’t make homes out of human beings someone should have already told you that and if he wants to leave then let him leave you are terrifying and strange and beautiful something not everyone knows how to love.
Maurice Merleau-Ponty writes about painting as a practice that negotiates the material and the visual. For him, the body of the painter at work demonstrates the embodied nature of all viewership; the act transcends the simple transcription of reality by acknowledging that such a thing is in fact impossible—all seeing is contingent and situated, further mediated by its material representation. Painting lays bare these processes of negotiation, manifesting irresolution, compromise, and investigation on the canvas. Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s gorgeous paintings push this line of thinking to its logical extreme, in that her portraits do not even pretend to depict objective reality in a subjective manner, which has arguably been one of the projects of figurative painting since the birth of the modern. Instead, she paints figures who are purely imagined. This centers painting as an act not of depiction but of creation; it acknowledges the inseparability of representation—and art as one of its primary vehicles—from reality. Rather than a description of material conditions of the world, then, I like to think that Yiadom-Boakye’s paintings literally create new worlds or new ways of being in this one, by giving them material form.