We seem to have a hunger and an overwhelming need for images of heroes who endure pain and suffering, be they warriors, saints, or artists . . . and we are compelled to turn them into icons. Think of Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, and Saint Francis of Assisi. Living as I do in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, I am reminded of the suffering of Frida Kahlo almost daily. It's impossible to avoid her iconography here. A new book about a trove of her drawings and personal items which recently came to light has sparked a controversy because many experts in Mexico claim they are forgeries, and this has only intensified the Frida fever. Here's a poem I've writen about Frida Kahlo.
She suffered greatly,
there is no doubt,
and out of this suffering
came her art.
Much of it gruesome,
some of it grotesque,
but in the best,
a beauty of a brutal kind.
Perhaps we’ll find no word for it
except to say she endured.
Somehow, making portraits of herself
helped her soul grow wings.
Painting with blood knit her spirit,
nurtured it like a tree,
and gave her a handhold
as she crawled through days of pain.
In her pictures we can hear a voice that sings,
not like an angel but a wounded child,
a voice that often cracks, gasps, croaks
with agony but never wails or whines,
endures each hammer stroke
with head held high.
Her soul is tremulous like a violin,
and each brush stroke plays a note
with dignity and with terrible force
as if suffering were the natural course
for every woman
who still has the keeping of her heart.
Nothing strangled in her jangled pain,
nothing tangled, nothing mangled,
it is simple pain, pure and plain,
splattered with grace upon a canvas
for all who have the courage
to look upon her nakedness
Causes Anthony Maulucci Supports
Greenpeace, Amnesty Inernational, American Cancer Society, Red Cross, Save the Children