The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Michael Lythgoe

Muse in Red with Yellow Hair


(after Picasso’s The Red Armchair, 1931)



Picasso drew her lips

& eyes with what appears to be

an ink pen. Thin lines. Mistress

& model, the painter shows her

voluptuous curves & red

stripes in the red arm chair.

Round breast beckons, curvilinear.


She hangs at the Art Institute, Chicago.

She is now my muse, too. Nancy.

Older, equally blond, curvaceous,

in a red room. I watch her paint

her own lips, small, ideally

shaped, echo of Picasso.

Red lips lure me to her face,

beneath yellow hair. Her

brown eyes & hoop earrings

bemuse me. Two Chicago women.

Picasso’s muse does not smile.


My muse—Nancy—does, she

moves in a red dress, knit, lace.

She faces me, but also looks

away, double vision. Her profile-

portrait in oils seems ready

to leave; his mistress sees Picasso

off stage. Her lips part. Room dresses

in red hues, Nancy’s red lace

on an armchair. Artists obsess.

Copyright 2006-2012 by Cook Communication