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Poems | Poems | From: The Female Nudes/The Male Nudes

From: The Female Nudes/The Male Nudes

From: The Female Nudes/The Male Nudes
From: The Female Nudes/The Male Nudes
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The Female Nude as Single Mother

A modern day Atlas, she carries
the world on her shoulders.

She changes diapers, plays softball and baseball,
knows the ins and outs of adolescent desire

as well as the rise and fall of empires.
At work she is lean and efficient.

At home she is tolerant, helpful, concerned,
conscientious and always alert.

She rises at 6 a.m. She goes to bed at midnight.
She comes from many levels of society

but she is always poor.
Her hand is always open, palm up,

to ask for more money from the government,
from the man who used to be her husband,

from anyone who will listen.
Her wardrobe is last year’s model.

She is probably not old
and she is probably attractive.

Her children grow under the shadow
of her protection,

hoping the world which is so precariously
balanced will not fall on them.

The Female Nude as Diplomatic Wife

Thus the four humours: sanguine,
choleric, phlegmatic, melancholic.

The female nude as diplomatic wife
inhabits a large, gilt frame.

She prepares to bathe.
She takes the temperature

of her husband’s temperament.
The water is hot or tepid,

depending on his mood.
The lovely lady stands naked

in front of a full-length mirror.
Her body has good muscle tone.

Her arms are firm. Her breasts are pert.
She has clean white teeth and a solemn mouth.

The woman steps into her bath,
submerges herself in cleansing water:

ready to serve, serve, serve
able to soothe, soothe, soothe
always to please, please, please

The Female Nude as Sex Symbol

She is reclining on a beach towel
on a beach in the south of France.

She is wearing the bottom half
of a two-piece bikini bathing suit.

She is, in fact, not quit naked.

But the nuance—breasts bare, brief bikini
bottom—invites us to picture her as naked.

She is thin. The bones of her hips are
visible planes. Her breasts are small.

She has hair that is not her natural colour.
She has nail polish on her toenails, fingernails.

She has make-up on her eyelashes, eye-lids, lips,
facial skin. Her body is exposed.

Her body is covered with suntan preparation.
Were she totally naked, a true portrait

of a female nude, there would be lighter
skin in the area her bathing suit covers.

She wears a diamond ring on the fourth finger
of her left hand. She is not awake but not sleeping.

She is not conscious but not unconscious.
She is immobile. Her heart is beating.

She is breathing. At other times, she is fully
naked, fully clothed, awake or asleep.

This is a true portrait of the female nude.
In this portrait, she will not leave this pose.

Drinking Wine With David Jones

A nude, painted in oils,
hangs on the wall near
your easel. The nude’s breasts
are full, her face painted
in wide brush strokes,
a curve of belly.
Another nude, this time male,
reclines across a canvas.
There is the flower of his sex,
stamen and soft bulbs
at the base of its stem. He is
fair-skinned, the pubic area fair-
haired, the face not filled in.

He is the man we rarely see:
unclothed, naked, vulnerable.
Usually he is the one observing
the woman splayed, on display;
the man’s eyes following
contours of the female form,
brush poised to trace her outline
in his mind, upon the canvas.

In the aftermath of activity,
alone in the studio after
guests have departed
and children are asleep—
let us sit together, David Jones,
and drink red wine from an open bottle
and gaze upon the nakedness
of the nude you once painted:
asking him to reveal
all the hidden meanings
which have so far eluded
the reckonings of our gendered selves.

Like a River God

Like a river god, swimming
under the surface, your pale
body gleams underwater,
visible but blurred
arms, legs, torso
tinged with a greenish
underwater illumination.

In moonlight, the moon’s pale light
makes the water a blackness
your naked, pale body
disappears into, all flesh
dissolving in a liquid pool
until nothing is left.

Like a strong, phallic god
you swim naked in the river,
in moonlight drawing your lover
down below the surface,
below and below and below
the waters of consciousness.

In the ocean, at night,
bodies illuminate with phosphorescence,
tiny particles of light
outlining the stretch of arm,
sparks trailing behind the midnight swimmer.

But in the river you become
a pale river god,
almost translucent,
moonlight shining through transparent
river water, shallow mud riverbed
alive with ground fish,
two feet long suckers gliding
silently beside your naked form,
merging into watery dreams.


Copyright by Carolyn Zonailo:, 2004 | Poems | From: The Female Nudes/The Male Nudes
Wave Goddess
The Wave Goddess
Born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Zonailo attended ...
CZ is a visionary poet who writes with compassion and careful detail about the world she lives in.
GoddessThe Goddess in the Garden combines mystical insight and sensual language to evoke a timeless meadow where humans and deities play out eternal passions.
She draws on her study of mythology, astrology, and Jungian psychology, for a seemingly inexhaustible source of imagery.
There is a quality in her work which makes all her poems hers, but Zonailo’s style does differ. Compendium is a collection of short, lyrical poetry; Zone 5 of prose. Each book is an extension of her poetic exploration and a separate expression.
Over the years of sitting in Grant's Cafe or the Europa and talking poetry with Lewis Gretsinger, the questions have been asked: why write? what are you saying? what are your poetics?
Last Will and Testament
I give my soul to God.
I give my body to the earth.
I give my poems to posterity.
I give my spirit to tolerance.
I give my mind to the future.
Forthcoming Titles
The Land of Motionless ChildhoodThe Land of Motionless Childhood is a memoir of short stories by Carolyn Zonailo about growing up in Vancouver, and her Doukhobor heritage.
Photo Gallery
CZPictures of CZ from her 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.
Literary Papers
Spanning the years 1955 to 2005, the Carolyn Zonailo Papers holds, as nearly as possible, a currently complete collection of Zonailo's extant literary papers.
CZ Go to the Top of the Page.
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