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About Seize Your Life

This is the sixth instalment of LOVE AND WAGE LABOUR IN THE AGE OF CAPITALIST PANDEMIC. These instalments are journal entries entitled with only their date. I wanted to try to document this time, the time of COVID-19. It struck me that I was having conversations with people who were all having unique experiences of this pandemic, and that most of these conversations, like all memories, would fall away. I wanted to document it. These are my experiences only. I hope you find something in them. – Madeleine

we are completing a 1000 piece jigsaw

of Gustav Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’

we poured out the pieces onto the table

a mess of gold and black and red.

carefully selected the outer rim parts, the

puzzle pieces with a flat edge

make a border of gold and red

then start on the faces:

pink and peach and cream colours with

fragments of lip and eye

i salvage bits of skin out of the pile

to put together and make the faces kiss

then labour over hair and leaves

because each piece looks practically the same

i look at the mountain of cardboard bits

body parts we are yet to fit together

and think about each person who died yesterday

without a kiss and not safe at all

not completing a puzzle with a sleeping dog under the table

not drinking coffee and discussing how blessed we are

to have some sunshine at this time of year

it makes me boil to think of us this way

each bit of flesh tossed around to find the right one

Gustav Klimt knew about loss

some of his work was burned up by nazis

and he repainted them later to make up what was lost

I wonder how we’ll try to make it up

A memorial statue, perhaps, or a week-long clap

really we will never atone it.

really we might never have the language to

talk about what’s happening to us

really it might only be reflected in artworks

perhaps that’s why he painted it

perhaps that’s why I’m so enraged when I look at it

tomorrow we will start on the gowns

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