By Harry Bauld
Neue Gallery, Self Portraits, June 2019
Most of these Germans
scare the paint out of you, Felix Nussbaum
in the camp, a few bones
in the background and
another figure struggling up
from voiding in a trash can,
the sky dark with its human smoke.
Everyone's looking at you
except Max Beckmann. Otto Dix's
gaze is all Aryan accusation
but you do not confess. And he is
no Nazi. That is just you
soiling yourself. Your daughters
are Jewish. Keep repeating. Lovis Corinth
gives himself in the mirror another
mirror. Does he even have a good side?
Do we any longer?
complementaries look forward—
to what, in that Germany? Always now
it seems we look at art and it looks back
at us on trial. Your daughters
are Jewish. Your gorge rises
against history. You are not getting anywhere
that way, seen and seeing and stuck. Enough.
Can't you take it? The gallery empties you
onto the same hot and sunny avenue
where the president says he can
shoot someone and not lose a vote.
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