The Way We Were Made



The Way We Were Made


Marcus Wicker, American born 1984

  The Way we Were Made is included in Maybe The Saddest Thing, published in 2012


But you made every

delicate, elegant wrist







A member of one of two families expert in weaving textile in the tradition called ‘potola’  (double silk ikat) in which threads are dyed to produce a pattern which emerges only when the weaving is complete. 

 Patan, Gujerat, India, 2010




&  glistening ankle








La Toilette, 1869-1870, oil on canvas, and detail. 

 Frédéric Bazille, 1841-1870. 

On loan from the Musee Fabre, Montpellier to Wallach Gallery, Columbia University, NY in 2018/2019

 This painting, in the Orientalist manner favoured by Bazille’s teacher, Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904, French), was rejected by the Salon.  After which rejection, the artist focussed on modern subjects.






Sacrifice of the Watermelon Virgin or Shirt Off Her Back,  offset lithograph on paper, 1987. 

Barkley L. Hendricks, 1945-2017.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia





But you made them


in braided rope







Braided and beaded rope hanging for sale in an arcade leading to the temple of  Krishna on Bet Dworka, an island off the coast of Gujerat, India, 2010.





& dime store gold.

But you made every

necklace clasp.

But you made them

caress the nape







African Venus, 1851, bronze. 

Charles-Henri-Joseph Cordier, 1827-1905, French.  Baltimore Museum of Art





like an errant wind

after a shower.







Purple Wind, oil on linen, 1995. 

Alex Katz, born 1927, American.  Metropolitan Museum, New York






But you made every 

eyelash erotic.







Detail of Portrait of Dora Maar, 1936, gelatin screen print. 

Man Ray, 1890-1976, American.  On display at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 2016.






Superimposed Heads, 1938, oil on wood. 

Francis Picabia, 1879-1953, French. Private collection exhibited in an exhibition about Picabia at MOMA, New York in the winter of 2016/2017





single strand of hair soft.







Woman Brushing Her Hair, oil on canvas. 

Wladyslaw Slewinksi, 1855-1918, Polish.  I do not recall where I saw this painting or who owns it.







Fragments, 2016, pigmented inkjet print. 

Aïda Muluneh, Ethiopian born 1974. MOMA, NY




But you made them

from dust & bone.

Made every glorious

singing thigh.





Patchwork Quilt, 1970, cut and pasted cloth and paper with synthetic polymer paint on composition board.

  Romare Bearden, 1911-1988, American. 

Loaned by MOMA, NY to the Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University, NY in 2018/19. 


Reclining Nude and detail, 1928, oil on canvas. 

Suzanne Valadon, 1865-1938, French. Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY



 Jerome, 2014, oil on canvas. 

Jordan Casteel, American born 1984.  Private loan to the New Museum, NY in 2020






button nose.







A young boy the first time he saw an African. 

We met in a temple dedicated to Bhadra Kali near the bank of the Sabarmati River, west Ahmedabad, Gujerat, 2010.





But you made them

with holes—

wide open

to the faintest hints

of salt

in a sea breeze,










Sailing in the Mist, oil on canvas, c. 1895. 

John H Twachtman, 1853-1902, American.

Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia


Wave and detail, 1885, oil on canvas. 

Alexander Harrison, 1853-1930, American.

 Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Philadelphia





in the sweaty mouth

of a navel,







Turtle Umbilical Amulet, c.1880, hide, glass, bead, turtle bone, brass bead and copper bell.  Thought to be Lakota (Sioux), north or south Dakota. 

This holds the umbilical cord of a female child and was worn as symbol of protection, health and strength.

Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.






in the blood, sweet








Easter Sunday in Harlem, 1947, gelatin silver print. 

Henri Cartier Bresson, 1908-2004.  On exhibit at the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia in 2016.







The Powdered Woman and detail, 1922, oil on cardboard. 

  Adolfo Best Maugard, 1891-1964, Mexican. 

  Private loan to the Philadelphia Art Museum 2016/2017 




in every wrong way.






Fallen Angel and detail, 1992, oil on panel. 

Lisa Bartolozzi, born 1961, oil on panel.  Delaware Museum of Art, Wilmington