How with several intermissions
I misspent my early twenties chasing
after a man more than twice my age,
sad and famous. It felt
inevitable, to be known
by association, in a long tradition
of geniuses’ wives. Françoise Gilot
on Picasso: a catastrophe
I didn’t want to avoid. Yes,
it was like that—a stepping out
into the traffic of great thinkers and doers,
late dinners with people who for years
I had read, read about.
It was a waking into the dream I’d tended
since the provincial valley of childhood.
near the beginning of this story,
he came back
from visiting Julian Assange
on house arrest in England,
a country manor with a farm.
had just been born
and they reminded him of me
he told me in bed his first night home:
pink and cute, inspiring
the desire to touch them,
to excite them.
It was the end of the summer
Julian was the most wanted man in the world
and I had the distinct feeling of finally
having done something right,
to have been selected
as though on the basis of some
essential, exceptional quality.
How good I looked naked.
I can admit now
it was a mistake, to fall
for the myth of satisfaction
in other people, in another,
and graver still, to try
to hold a man who values the untamed
above all else, above love.
But would I take it back—
when longing for him was longing
for an idea, an image of myself? No.
The truth: I wanted to be a muse then
more than I wanted to be an artist,
but the spell just didn’t take. To break new
I had to be broken.