Naomi Beeman

POSTCARD 1: Johann Freidric Overbeck, Madonna with Child 

(1819, oil on panel)


If the holy child is any indication, then God must be a portly ginger, surprisingly not well endowed: to camouflage his negligibles, his issue needs a high-slung nappy—nothing more. Most prominent is the babe’s right nipple, which snaps into his belly button to secure submission through unbroken bows to pop. But did the Almighty really plant this carrot? Or do metaphysics appropriate the mundane rape baby of some anonymous mortal, as underfunded terrorists are supposed to answer for catastrophes they didn’t cause?

POSTCARD 2: László L Moholy-Nagy, Composition K IV 

(1922, oil on canvas)


Before the painting of the sex sculpture had been exhibited in a national gallery, before you unloaded your junky cannon, before I ate the post-industrial corn dog with donut holes for breakfast, before we knew to-go boxes were verboten at the organ smörgåsbord, before your cylinder bisected the sphere of the geometric proof, before a mean, heavy child sat on the far end of the see-saw and wouldn’t budge, I wrote “your eggs are a boneyard, “I wrote “walk softly,” I wrote “it might interest you to know that I’m a rocket scientist,” I wrote “and triangles leave me cold.”

POSTCARD 3: Walt Kuhn, Acrobats in Dressing Room

(1937, oil on canvas)


Acrobats share the juggler’s mania for alignment while eschewing his notion that the head houses the highest organ in the body and must forever ‘come out on top,’ juggling their own bodies till the gallbladder deposes the throbbing heart and the appendix the ticking brain—to the horror of poets and philosophers alike—but to revolutionize the art of juggling truly, you must impose on your center of gravity a reversal of perspective: rather than finishing each stunt with your feet on the ground, suspend yourself from the ceiling by means of a hook and cord. Become an outsider to your own balancing act so that, rather than conforming zealously to the perpendicular (the knees above the feet, the waist above the knees, the chest and forehead rising square above their vertical supports), your every movement strays further from the vertical plumb—the ideal line in whose thrall alone lies the vanishing possibility of juggling, which you greet and take leave of simultaneously at the midpoint of each momentous swing...