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From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy (Box in a valise)


How one compacts and compartments
a living body of work, beaten and breathing
two lives half lived sitting neatly in a briefcase
wrapped up in leather, untethered by its brevity
packed safe like amulets carried for protection
Biographic bijou beams from behind the glass
gently gleaming in that meticulous act of self-preservation;
the most literal form of minimalism one can craft
for such grandeur designs



In response to Marcel Duchamp's 'From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy (Box in a Valise)' 1935-1941, 1963-1965.

See the artwork that inspired this poem in the flesh, along with more than 100 of Marcel Duchamp’s world-renowned pieces in ‘
The Essential Duchamp’ exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, 27 April – 11 August 2019.

Go to Allison Gallagher's profile to read more poems