BEE LB

THE VOYEUR LED THROUGH LIFE AND DEATH
a Pecha Kucha after Egon Schiele




The Procession Egon Schiele (1911)

[PROCESSION] 

The simple sorrow of a monk      bent over the heap
of rock. face half in peace; in worry.       gentle lines
etching aged skin.          the woman leading through
rubble. fixed, empty expression. the ghost of a face
behind her, held mostly out of sight.  her feet go on

[DEAD MOTHER] 

sorrow enveloping  the   child,   innocent shine
two tender hands,  the smallest curve of smile 
grasping,   wrapped in a hollow carry,   held in 
the dry hand of the dead mother’s untouching 
grief. her lips pulled,    pallid skin,  eyes drawn

[DEATH AND THE MAIDEN] 

the body pleading supplication, thrown at the feet 
of death. sorrow     wrapping her arms around him 
his arms gentle around her, their embrace   almost 
tender, save his expressionless         face; his eyes 
wide and empty. her hands      curled and needing

[PREGNANT WOMAN AND DEATH]

she could be thought sleeping if not for his gaze
empty eyes  staring straight ahead. her rounded
stomach,  her bent   head, her arms     encircling
protection most needed and futile.     there is no
clear touch.  her face peaceful, knowing nothing

[MOTHER AND CHILD]

a child growing, held loft  in the arms of a living
mother. staring on, out, eyebrows arched down
mother,  trailing the lines of age     creasing her 
lovely face.    one eye closed,   the other lidded
gazing down, lower half of two  faces the same

[HINDERING THE ARTIST IS A CRIME 

IT IS MURDERING LIFE IN THE BUD]

 

to murder life; to pull everything out where it can
must!   be seen.  to ignore  the disdain,   the raised
brows,  to dive into   the dark hollow,    explore the
center. bring it all back    with you,     regardless of
taste. lay it out below you,  let it be ignored,    now

[GIRL IN BLUE DRESS]

 

a face of fear    or simple  consternation,  who could
say for certain? a pair of bruises, or a   dramatic flair
love bites, or else   wandering eyes,    slipping down
stockings  hooked by a finger, dragged to reveal, let 
snap. leaning back, lips parted. empty, ever a mirror

[DOUBLE SELF PORTRAIT]

 

wrapping around yourself,  holding close. is it  made
in the mind   or two fingers curled ‘ round the throat
pull yourself to yourself,  out of yourself,    into each
other, inviting the voyeur   with both sets of eyes to
come, go, stay, play, bite.  or some such indulgence

[SELF PORTRAIT WITH HAND TO CHEEK]

 

oh, each sweet fold of skin  along the neck, the
lips pulled down  by the crest of the hand.   the
face holding   hand  itself   so heavy,     so light
pulling down the flesh   beneath eye. one  wide 
staring,   other squinted  small toward distance

[MOTHER AND CHILD TWO]

 

the child lost to the face of anger,  an animal. the
swell of life balanced  against nothing,    reaching
for comfort,   possession.  bracing against weight
oh,  the mother;   needing nothing, wanting every
thing; any desire, to hold, some pointed invitation

[THE POET]

 

the slanted body, holding wrist, asking with eyes
for any touch    but his own.  the lips,  the longing
the delicate  balance, such desire  turned hunger
played shadow; filled with    need. the light, such
light!  turned the body  halo, closed in on himself

[PROPHETS / DOUBLE SELF PORTRAIT]

 

eyes closed in pride, lidded with desire,   opened
in shock. the two bodies pressed to one, clothed 
in darkness, stretched   in light,   the curved    rib
showing above the   shine.   the hollow  lung, the
hint of sly smile in front of  ringed body of  horror

[LOVERS]

 

desperation curled ‘round satisfaction, the smallest
grin found possession, both finding in another their
need made   match.  not replicated, but     transited 
as close as touch    can get. one clutches, tight grip
one simply lays    their hand. this      ill-made match

[FORWARDS BENT FEMININE ACT]

 

the gift of strain felt by those     hips; tilting, curling
angling so precisely.  tracing each ridge of      bone
cherish each small allowance,    each peach-kiss of
skin, kiss of heat,  blush. trace the spine   til it ends
wrap a hand around small waist, find fingers, grasp

[SEATED WOMAN WITH HER LEFT HAND IN HER HAIR]

 

oh,  her glorious curved thighs begging for  nails
to dig into flesh. teeth  to sink, leave a mark. but 
that mouth  refused to pull thin, those eyes wide 
and stern. her arm    crossing over herself,  cloth 
covering her body, her hand pulls back   her hair

[WOMAN UNDRESSING]

 

the folds not sensuous,  but the bending body,  this
way and that,  half-revealed, half in  secret,     body
stretching away from fact.   each indent      begging
touch;  each bruise  begging      more;       the dress 
forgotten, the curve     of neck, bone begging   kiss

[SEATED WOMAN]

 

the smallest curve of stomach, the swell of   thigh
holding pale stocking, one leg    wrapped over the
other. arms bent    at beautiful angles, one    hand 
draped over the thigh, other wrapped around arm
the nipple  shown dark as   bruise,     begging bite

[RECLINING WOMAN WITH GREEN 

STOCKINGS / ADELE HARMS]

 

legs    parted,   arm looped      through    the break 
pulling thigh   up, offering      an opening, an angle
a small,    shy grin;       dress bunched at the   hips
laces  piling untied,  hands splayed at each   angle
only smallest touch of strain, both eyes open wide

[BLACK HAIRED GIRL WITH HIGH SKIRT]

 

oh,  the satisfied grin, the eyes   closed in pleasure,
knowing the voyeur   present, the body     watched
taken in as it was meant, presented            as a gift
arms   splayed,  legs spread,  hair       curling freely
the dark pressed up against the  pale,  pink   lining

[THE EMBRACE / THE LOVING]

 

here,   we’ve found reciprocation,   both bodies
hungry      for each other,    each  touch  pulling
fingers splayed against  muscle, gentle against 
cheek,     the shell of the ear,        arms winding 
across the spanse   of body,    pulling,    pulling 



BEE LB is an array of letters, bound to impulse; a writer creating delicate connections. they have called any number of places home; currently, a single yellow wall in Michigan. they have been published in Revolute Lit, Roanoke Review, and After the Pause, among others. they are the 2022 winner of the Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. their portfolio can be found at twinbrights.carrd.co

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Interview with BEE LB

Why poetry?

I love how open this question is… Poetry because: why not? Poetry because: freedom to play. Poetry because: rules are few and far between. Poetry because: sense and understanding both become optional. Poetry because: narrative often fails me. Poetry because: it turns every reflection into a funhouse mirror. Poetry because: it turns most mirrors into windows. Poetry because: I never want to take myself too seriously. Poetry because: the space between craft (as in: effort, as in: practice, as in: learning, as in: expression) and work (as in: effort, as in: profession, as in: labor, as in: exchange) become limitless.

Why did you choose this form to work with for this piece?

This piece came only through and from the form; I don’t think I could’ve created these poems without it. I’m a subscriber of Jada Renée’s patreon, and last year for poetry month, she shared a number of prompts— one of which introduced me to the form of pecha kucha: 15-20 quintets following a certain theme, often written after another form of art.

The original prompt was to produce a Cincovocalic pecha kucha, but I struggle with syllabic work and it honestly just doesn’t interest me much as a writer; staying within the form of repeated ekphrastic poetry segments was more than enough of a challenge for me. I took one of my favorite artists, Egon Schiele, and dug through an archive of his paintings until I found enough material to form a pecha kucha poem out of.

From there, I wrote a series of poem fragments trying to find a throughline between the paintings and the narrative I wanted to convey— the emotional landscape of the characters I imagined to be living within the world of these paintings, when brought together. The title of each segment is the same as the painting it’s written after.

Who are you currently reading?

I’m picking through a number of collections right now; Susan Birkeland’s The Bruised Angel’s Almanac, Saeed Jones’ Prelude to Bruise, rereading both Michael Chang’s Boyfriend Perspective and Lyd Haven’s Chokecherry. As always, I’m rooting through literary magazines, journals, and presses in search of new writers, words, and homes for my own words. Currently I’m deep into Third Coast, The Racket, Phoebe, and Thirty West. My perpetual interest remains with sung yim, Robin Gow, Jaime Hood, and Molly Brodak.

Do you work in other disciplines, arts?

I do, though none so frequent or fluent as poetry. I was once strictly a prose writer, and though switching to poetry has shortened my stamina in regards to narrative and storytelling, I sometimes move back to the other side of it, working in and with both fiction and creative nonfiction. I also paint on occasion, though less as a discipline and more a simple exercise in expression. Which is to say I’m not necessarily good or talented, but that isn’t the point, so I enjoy it quite a lot.

How long have you been writing?

I feel like I’ve been writing all my life. There’s a box somewhere in the world that has my kindergarten scrawl saying I want to be a writer when I grow up and about a dozen notebooks with handwritten “novels” I wrote from 4th-8th grade. Writing has always been my way of seeing myself in the world; it’s the only way I know how to communicate, express myself.

What significant way has your work evolved?

I could give a dozen answers to this and still not be sure if it’s the right one— my work is constantly evolving, shifting and changing, growing alongside me. Maybe the most significant way is in finding my poetic voice, which is of course an ever-evolving thing. When I first started working with poetry, my voice took on the shape of whoever I was reading at the time; often Mary Oliver or Richard Siken. And that still happens when I try out new ways of writing, or find new poets who captivate me, but more and more often I’m settling into the groove of my own voice; I can read through a dozen drafts and pick out what makes the poems uniquely mine, which is something I’ve often found difficult to do. It allows me to stretch the limits of my voice and find new and deeper avenues of truth.