Alan Catlin

George Grosz’s Self-Portrait as Jack the Ripper (1918) 

“Painting demands as much cunning, 
Malice, and vice as does crime.’ 
A belief attributed to Degas 
The man behind the full 
standing mirror aping stalker 
is the artist ogling the groin 
of his model, his soon-to-be- 
wife, dagger clenched in his 
hand as if to cut, as if to maim, 
while the vain woman, unaware, 
admires herself in a handheld 
glass as the free standing one 
was not enough reflective surface 
to define her beauty so tightly 
contained by form fitting black tights 
and top, no underwear beneath, 
almost as if she were a Narcissus 
Admiring Herself in Water, a detail 
from a larger canvas, a passion play 
for willing victims and their killers 
as if a violent death were the purest 
form of art, the noblest act.  

© Alan Catlin

Alan Catlin has recently published several full-length collections of poems including Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh (Dos Madres), Lessons of Darkness (Luchador Press) and Memories (Alien Buddha Press.) 

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