Poetry for the Curious across the Religious Spectrum
Schiele Two


{Man and Woman}






viii          Man and Woman          1914



The geometric male cradles arms outward

The buried lady’s-head


Anguish turns to shame,


Perhaps at their last coupling.

Each figure

Seems caught in figure, cold delineation.

The male stares


With sharp glance that we intrude

On this chill


Intimacy of something even flesh could not complete,


So haunted that the female’s head

Disrupts at neck,

The broad splay of buttocks helpless

As she kneels


Beside her predatory lover.

What can such union


Where will the seed reach ovum?


Spermatozoon devours the target egg with time’s cold


This couple’s trapped.

We, looking on,


Mirror their isolation,


Sharing a spread, a quilt, and yet it hardly seems

They touched,

Locked in insectile embrace,


A press of forearm into her taut biceps, side,

As hands grasp, claw

For closeness

Union has denied.






vii          Standing Male Nude—Back View          1910



This Priapus faces into wind,

The scarlet bag

Between his legs, the two bright buttocks,

Lilac thighs, faces off,


Toward the knife-sharp elbow

That he fends

Against it, even his long thin blood-red hand

That dangles from his wrist


Poised in itself at fear?

We are fearful


Caught by the ruddy fierceness of his pose,


The rump that thrusts outward from our sight,

Its attitude,

Green border reaching to the crimson,

Roseate back,


As if lifting on toes against some onslaught,

Willing to penetrate

A judgment,

Willing to rut the swirl of necrotic



To trace in ungainly gesture

No small triumph

Of mortality,


But rather expression, the windswept blood-lined


Willing there

A dancer’s grace, a welt, a yearning.


This Schiele’s burning,

Loop of the spine,

A thrust of unseen penis, poised at naked climax,

Chasm, orgasm.









iii          Female Nude—Bending Over          1914



This macho form with high-topped shoes

Presents a muscled

Wrench of back.

An elbow


Presses floor, as, vertical, the other

Passes out of view

And chest

Is haired brown


From strands that edge it from the head,

A body-builder’s poise,

A canted



The spread of buttocks lives a femininity

That belies the rest,

Betrayed in total

By a blood-red cleft,


Lined in black,

An open welt beneath the darkest entrance imaginable,

Cleft and anus vulnerable

At least to gaze,


Assault of vision.

Even the thighs are butch, the calves,

Lean fiber

Poised in the awkward thrust


She bares to us, in vulva totally woman,

Yet a scream,

As if penis and testicle

Had been wrenched


To complete some androgynous beauty, fearful

In itself, in each

Isolated bend of that brave

Body, willing simply cunt.