This is just poetry. It won't save you, but it may locate you so that a rescue party can be sent out. — Dean Blehert

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hold Your Breath -- 15 Seconds of Fame is an Aeon

Lime: That's what you put corpses in.
It eats them up. What, then,
is the effect on artists
of limelight?

Photo of Andy Warhol:
Impressive enough that savages
can shrink heads, amazing
to see one recovered to lifesize.

Note: I put these poems together because both deal with the liabilities of celebrity, especially celebrity for its own sake. Also, the celebrities in poem one are apparently already dead, which particularly seems to me to fit Warhol (I mean when his body was still slouching about).

The first is simply a pun, since the "limelight" associated with fame is not literally "lime" (lye). The second is a bit more complex: Warhol is a fame-aholic of note, made a personal industry out of it. Looking at a photo of him, I realized his face had characteristics of shrunken heads I'd seen -- the sunken cheeks, flat slab lips, dead eyes -- squinty enough to suggest the sewn-up eyes of the heads. If that's not too alien a thought, then it leads to the idea of his turning himself into an item of merchandise (like a Campbell's soup can), which, somehow, fits with the promotional wording of the last two lines ("Amazing...lifesize"). If you can't visualize Warhol as an enlarged shrunken head, this poem is pretty stupid. I don't want it to be stupid, so please go to and scroll down to near the bottom of the page, where you'll see a small photo of Warhol that should persuade you.

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