Cam Girl: Carolee – Emily Anne Hopkins

after Carolee Schneemann’s Interior Scroll

Live model, action poses—DANCING: the leg raised and outstretched,
the arm curved above the head—protecting, or making

a thick crown. JUMPING: hands held flat to balance,
toes pointed, not curled. RUNNING: trying to lift

off of and stay strung to the platform, one hand tucked between legs. Carolee,
who played Olympia for a day, who prostrated herself

for snakes and meat and mirrors and paint, who pulled the words
at length from her vulva:

AND NO, HE SAID. WE THINK OF YOU
AS A DANGER.

How do we do it? When everything feels so much about

sex and pain? When I cannot walk down the street
without a man licking the air at me?

TAKE ONE CLEAR PROCESS.
FOLLOW THE STRICTEST IMPLICATIONS.

I look to her to tell me how to endure the weight of skin.

My lover asks me what I mean when I wish
my body was a blank space—ready for anything

to be laid on top. I understand their confusion.

I SAID, MY WORK IS CONCERNED WITH DIET
AND DIGESTION. HE SAID, FOLLOW
THE STRICTIST IMPLICATIONS.

But it feels like a fantasy – the going back,
always to try and rid myself of it.

MY FAILINGS WERE WORTHY
OF DISMISSAL. I’D BE BURIED ALIVE,
MY WORK LOST.

I take Carolee and put her in a frame. I take her
and put her over top of Manet’s Olympia,

I take a nameless cam girl, and put her over top of Carolee,
who is also Olympia. I take myself and think

I am not convincing enough to be a part of this game.

I AM BACK TO METAPHORS. WORRIED
THE WORK HAS NO MEANING BEYOND THE LOGIC
OF ITS SYSTEMS.

The edges are little jagged
and the process is transparent—the process is transparent

BUT IT IS PLEASANT, TO BE
MANIPULATED.

and yet difficult to control.
My finger trembles when I try to guide the cursor.

I am orchestrating things even I do not want to see.

 
Emily Anne Hopkins is a poet and activist living in Rhode Island. She studied poetry at University of Pittsburgh (MFA) and Albion College (BA). She served as poetry co-editor for Hot Metal Bridge and taught creative writing while at the University of Pittsburgh. Her work has appeared in Cleaver Magazine, Twelfth House Journal, Poets.org and more.

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