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“Body-Process: Mark Morrisroe” by Dana Kopel

“Body-Process: Mark Morrisroe” by Dana Kopel

Author: Poetry Editor

September 30, 2014

This week, a poem by Dana Kopel.




Bodies are so beautiful
_____but remember, nothing is inside them____except body.
__________Remember that, even if you don’t believe it.
The mind is elsewhere
__________floating, it evaporates slowly, over
_____the course of a lifetime or sometimes less than that—
_____________________________________not the soul, but the thoughts
______________of the body, which nonetheless hover above it.


__________Beautiful,__________the negatives layered
______________so the light splits, makes a grain
__________softer than his ripped skin____(scar-rays bloom from the nipple)
___________________________the soft indefinite edge of the body
against the ground behind it: floral wallpaper
______________________or the mirror, so the self
_____becomes the ground behind the self
Remember the bodies when they are young perfect_______blurry, it takes him
_____________________________________just two negatives
__________to capture the body’s evaporation into space—
____and look, the hazy image of an ant
____tacked with a pin to the wall—


__________so beautiful:
_____________didn’t you think so, even at the end
______________________with the wasting disease? You thought so,
____your body was a smooth pale egg
__________with smooth pale leg bones tucked into itself
and your feet were so large
______________________because they were the last to disappear.
Did you keep your thoughts in your feet then, just before dying?
____Did you layer the negatives, the bodies, knowing everything, forgetting
__________but their beauty?


____Engrave them:
bathe them in chemical baths,
__________let them become something permanent
____and separate from touch, did you wonder
_____________how someone’s touch could bear the body’s whole__disintegration?
____Yours? You held death_______________in your body like a kernel or pearl,
_____________building layers upon itself, not a bullet
___________________________lodged in the spine but like it.
____Still you could not take a picture of it.
The one-colored light of those pictures—
______________________the ones inside your body went beyond it,
___________the kernel grew with the layers of your dying.


___________the sharp male hip, dense rose light
___________After the Laone (In the Home
of a London Rubber Fetishist, December 82)
___________________________your notes, your sharp bent elbow,
_____________the two sharp points at the base of your spine
_______________________________your sharpness—your body grew sharper
as it evaporated, it had angles instead of strength
____and instead of weakness;_____your body was a piece of paper
_____________held between two negatives
___________________________when the chemicals came to develop
________________________________when the chemicals came to wash clean


Dress up again like a woman for me
____You’re a kid again in the bathroom mirror, your bare new chest—


DANA KOPEL is a curator, writer and poet based in New York. She was an Assistant Curator for the Maldives Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, and has organized or assisted on exhibitions at TEMP Art Space (NY), Kunsthal KAdE (Amersfoort, NL), and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tucson. Her writing has been published in the Brooklyn Rail and Keep This Bag Away From Children, among other publications.


Photo credit: Benedict Brink
Poetry Editor photo

About: Poetry Editor

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