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Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even / La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même. Oil, varnish, foil, wire, and dust on glass (1915–23). Philadelphia Museum of Art.

"Oh vie vécue depuis quel temps!"—Rilke*

Concupiscence is dust on glass.

Let it be, all this must pass.

There's not much concupiscence

In sense, and little sense

In concupiscence. Good art

Wants time spent on the fence.

Don't put the horse behind the cart,

Heed the spirit's nod to start.

S/he loves to serve but life is blind:

S/he serves for love but seeks to find

A better way to prime the mind

So as to make the present past,

Past present. Happy happens very fast.

You might miss it if you blink,

It's less contingent than you think.

Curtail not then the competition.

A fine romance is not a mission.

Content might be the best edition.

*"Oh life lived since who knows when!" In The Complete French Poems of Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. A Poulin, Jr. (Saint Paul, MN: Gray Wolf Press, 2002), 366.


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