Henry Koskoff

after Heartfields Self-portrait

                            The Rebel undoes Zörgiebels head
with some garden shears. He is handsome, is stern
with the forehead-central vein my father has.
Whats more violent, shears or fingers? The Rebel answers:
fingers, because they toggle the policemans scalp
with the collective of a nations muscle memory.
But I would say the photo, the photo is a weapon of
exquisite destruction, undermining in a world of nuclear
possibility. Its pasting yields blood & an onslaught of bullets.
My tongue rings with metallic aftertaste. Sitting here
on the toilet, looking at it, today, I too cut myself
not out of vengeance but out of glory. Out of pageant.
Into becoming: Im quite something. My eyes are clean.
I stare Heartfield-like into the lens of my astral projection
saying no, youre not you, Im you. 

When asked about the inspiration for this piece, Henry Koskoff said, “I wrote this poem because of an art history class I took about 20th century collage. John Heartfield was a socialist artist most acclaimed for his anti-facist photomontages of the Weimar period in Germany. The piece I make reference to here struck me with its bravery and irreverent horror, as well as its gesture towards self portrait. There was a strange familiarity to it that made me think of my own, most extreme self-projections– how I create them and how this coping mechanism may be inherited. I love both art history and writing for this reason; they help me compartmentalize my own life without freaking out.”