by David Herrle
Reverse Galatea, or the Katygorical Imperrytive
Feed Shakespeare's 130th sonnet to the paper shredder!
I stand against genetic egalitarians, insisting — and proving —
that there are perfect tens among us, that the streets, malls,
schools, slums and cubicle lands teem with females that shame
Playmates, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, Gibson Girls, Miss USAs.
Physical beauty and limbic dope can't make us righteous or
inspire peace (those darling pinups on bomber noses: all femmes
fatales) so we must abstract delectable flesh into concept, Muse,
trickle-up aesthetics: unveil the Sublime, inform the world of Forms.
This is the Reverse Galatea, an unreification, a Cocochanelism.
Let's piss off gender-feminists and Left and Right ascetics.
My radical subversion compels me to saturate the social sphere
with post-Pre-Raphaelite cream women, hot ebon lovelies and
supermodels, conflate proto-Soviet Plato with Marie Claire, shine
pop culture's flooziest swan-sired Helens into Nurse Ratcheds' eyes.
Offend puritan Hitlers, Marlene Dietrich! Toss your bra at social
realism, Dita Teese! Muffle Rembrandt noses, Courbet bushes!
The Aesthetes were right in praising scopophilic and olfactory
bondage: arresting style and images, powder, blush and perfume,
Prada over Pravda, because curative visual frottage stimulates a
sugary ooze to gum up utilitarian machines and appall soul-police.
Mary Poppins is Julie Andrews (not the marm of the books), Gypsy Rose
Lee frees, Trudy Stein jails, Joplin's a jalopy, and Katy Perry's a Ferrari.
We need gorgeous gargoyles to repel drab demons, a return to pulp
magazines' dichotomous depictions: an aesthetic equivalent to war-
propaganda art that defends the pure genius of being good-looking.
Who's afraid of Naomi Wolf? Not us! Beauty is an ever-expanding box!
Pin-up artists Vargas and MacPherson are high-treasonous.
The centerfold is a revolutionary act.
Crushing on Eva Braun
What happens to a fashionista deferred?
Does she shrivel under the Fatherland’s shadow?
Or snap photos and roll reels of the Nazi inner circle
while wishing that some proto-Paparazzo, armed
to the teeth with cameras, would storm the Berghof
like Robin Hood and tatter her cloister's privacy?
Does she feel like a joyless clown in her dirndl dress
when she could be sporting Hugo Boss or relishing
the bourgeois cosmetics of Aphroditism during
the Fuhrer's and Bormann's absence?
Eva, they tend to remember you as Hitler mistress
and eleventh-hour wife, as failed photographer
dressed and mugging in Jolsonian blackface, as
dutiful thrall dispatched by a cyanide breath mint.
But I gawk at your Grable-grade legs and guiltily
view your underrated grace in leftover home movies:
you and Blondi, you skiing, you on ice skates, you
so darling in a bathing suit (your wave-foamy feet),
your hair's bounce — such a smile, such a nose, a face.
Eva Braun, what you could have been.
Fallen from the blue heights of the Obersalzberg
to the Plutonian bowels of the Berlin bunker,
your ashes are burned again and again by
history's juries, but I'll whisper a truth in my heart:
I'm a little in love with you, Eva Anna, fashionista
deferred, and I both understand and resent that
you chose not to sag under the heavy load of age
and guilt, that you followed through with ignominy.
Burn softly, foolish devil-mate.
Unborn diva — explode!
In this collection of poetry and prose topics such as beauty, aesthetics, art, atrocity, mortality, history, envy, revolution, sexuality, entropy and the need for Grace are contextualized by the infamous fates of three famous women: Queen Marie Antoinette, Ripper-victim Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly and Sharon (Marie) Tate.
The following are some of the questions the author raises: What’s in a name — and what’s in a nose? Is there a war on beauty? Is war this world’s god? What inspires a mob to behead a queen? Who will save the Garbo With a Thousand Faces? What do Jack the Ripper and Iago have in common? Is art moral or autonomistic, and what net can catch it? Can a coffin become a lifebuoy? Why was Sharon Tate killed by the Mansons? Will the Scarlet Pimpernel rise again? Is it better to recite or re-sight?
Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy is like watching academia and history being blown to pieces with a pop-culture shotgun. Herrle combines known elements in new forms, turning his prose into the literary version of an M.C. Escher lithograph. This is a witty, wildly imaginative and very ballsy homage to all things estrogen.
— Gabino Iglesias, Verbicide magazine
Herrle plays his words like jazz, refusing to follow the most traveled way. His intellect, rather than intimidating readers, draws us in and invites... Then there are the swirls of intensity that force the reader into places that might reflect too much truth: the essence of worthwhile poetry.
— Ward Abel, author of Cousins Over Colder Fields and member of the band Abel, Rawls & Hayes
I felt like Scrooge being led by the specters: the changing of the guides, scenes of time and place, and mix of poetry and prose. Herrle paints using whatever he deems necessary — literature, history, science, art, nature — masterfully balancing the vile and debauched with the beautiful. [A] work of blinding brilliance.
— Jennifer Perry, creator of Madame Perry’s Salon, and owner of Lone Wolf Communications, LLC
Profound and exquisite...the musings of a vast intelligent brow that scales the dark cupboard shelves of time in pursuit of a rationale for the death of beauty...expounded through a thousand historical and pop cultural references...prefer[ring] "Zorro black" over the Pimpernel’s scarlet. It's been some time since [I've been] so inspired by poetry.
— David Gough, painter and creator of Man/Son and the Haunting of the American Madonna
A brave literary contribution.
— Jane Freese, librarian and author of In Madera Canyon
To say David Herrle’s new book, Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy, is about obsession is a real understatement, but it’s a good enough place to begin. . . . the verse is related in a manic, lyrical speed-freak intense voice and generously laced with Joycean wordplay. Moreover, the noir superhero ending gives the collection the quality of a dreamlike divine comedy. . . . Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy is a really thought-provoking, original read indeed, if the subject matter may be a little grisly. . . . there’s a good deal of the comic involved as well.
— Chamber Four
Click on the links below to read a few of the latest reviews of Sharon Tate and the Daughters of Joy:
Pittsburgh City Paper
Madame Perry's Salon