Ana Mendieta: Traces

By Izzy Mathie

A response in poetry to the provocative exhibition Traces by Ana Mendieta currently showing at the Hayward Gallery in London. Mendieta’s work uses her own body together with natural and elemental materials – from grass and earth to blood, fire, and water – to explore life, death, rebirth and spiritual transformation.  

ANA MENDIETA: TRACES

A Ticket from a Trip with Jake
 
A slip of paper Jake buys me
Grants me entry to your world
 
You press a pane of glass
Against parts of your art-struck skin
Your dark squashed nipple is the epicenter
Of the image of a spectre
If I reached out to touch you
I think my hand would go straight through you
 
Unapologetic experimentation
you inhabit a world of instigation
of blotchy pigmentation and the
subversion of expectation
breasts are pressed
in ways that seem unnatural
but the fact of your pressing –
one up, one down, squished on glass, what could be
a painful twist
the perfectly natural attempt
to persist
your lifelong tryst
with existence
 
Everyone stops moving, slapped
by the ways we’d eschew you
if you weren’t cushioned in the Southbank Centre,
Marked as an inventor
clutching our tickets
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