Vanity Fair's Lucian Freud

A poem


marathoning into the night — only so many brushstrokes

left — terre verts mixed with umber — swift swipes

of flake white


brushwork — deft and layered — smooth around the man’s

shoulders — crusty and impassioned

along the arms


every twitch of facial muscle — caught — every bulge

of subcutaneous thigh-fat — whorled

rippled, smeared


soft sable — swapped — for bristly hog’s hair brushes

snipped to nubs — the middle son of the youngest

son of Sigmund Freud


not nudes — his insistence — but naked portraits — “best

realist painter alive” — fathered — with six women

fourteen acknowledged children


there is only — long scarf knotted — so much hypocrisy

rakishly at the neck — I allow myself — work ethic

on overdrive


selfishness — gobs of palette knife wipe-off — is what —

like seagull guano — it takes to make — his studio walls

coated with — great art


my work — big canvases — purely an attempt — unsparing — at a

record — autobiographical — of myself —

and my surroundings