But The Avant-Garde

by Christina Pugh

did find ways to wear TV as clothing–the monitors,
I mean. Artists would steer a television’s carapace,
or stack one on two to build a flickering tower.
What have I learned from this? Machines can be diaphanous.
Or fleet as the Egyptian Queen that sailed down
the Charles River ferrying TV screens broadcasting
the waters they were floating on. An odalisque reclined
in electronic fire! But the best was the TV Bra
for Living Sculpture fronting Charlotte Moorman’s breasts
when she played her cello solo, the bra’s “cups”
actually two TVs against her skin. Mellifluous
jellyfish agitated one screen, seeming to cast
their aspersions horizon-ward. Later, her husband
left a note on their car: I have to park here, my wife
has bone cancer, Thank you. She’d photographed her
scar when she returned from her mastectomy.
And closely crabbed a pain journal throbbing out
the instants of her terminal, young time. This was
a woman who swam through everything.
Who wanted to document every wilting thing.
And few of us feared radiation then.

Last updated April 06, 2023