Sebastian: poems by Ed Madden. Number 12 in in our ReBound Series. Originally printed in conjunction with Saint Sebastian: From Martyr to Gay Starlet, An Evening of Art and Performance in Columbia, SC in September, 2011, which also featured art by Leslie Pierce and Alejandro García-Lemos. This chapbook is Ed Madden’s fourth (!) title with Seven Kitchens Press.
Publication: February 12, 2021 [100 copies]
$ 9.00 — click here to purchase your copy
Ed Madden is the author of four books and five chapbooks of poetry. His poems have appeared in Assaracus, Bloom, Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Ireland, and other journals, as well as in Queer South and the Forward Book of Poetry 2021. He is a recipient of a 2019 Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets and a 2020 artist’s residency at the Instituto Sacatar in Itaparica, Brazil.
Sebastian: Art History
Flowers thread the blue tapestry of the past, and fruit,
each one distinct and stitched in vivid thread.
Cypress trees are green tapers, thin teardrops of green.
The renaissance is a city in the distance. Angels fill the sky.
The angels don’t wear white. They’re Catholic, European;
their robes are red and green, or blue, their halos thick gold.
They bow their heads before the present, before the photo
of a naked man, black and white, flat–Mapplethorpe, maybe,
more like Warhol and Morrissey, 1968. His hair suggests
porn star, surfer boy, or both, his thin torso something
from the dawn of Dallesandro, the moment the artroom closet
opened up and there he was, all those physique pictorial mags
revealed for what they were, despite the costumes and posing
pouches, the physical culture fictions. Angels bow their heads,
confer and confess, and he ignores their prim attentions, not
looking back–there is no looking back. The angel lifts a halo
to his head, as if to make the naked just another nude, saint
not surfer dude–it’s Milan not Malibu or Manhattan, and here,
for your edification, is a sacred symbol, not a bit of rough trade,
the way Sebastian writhes and twists, roped up, naked, maybe
a knot of cloth across his groin, in page after page of art history,
a body bound for display and desire–oh, for the arrows too.