Errand to Martha's apartment


      "A strange plant sat on a bureau near the window.  A smooth brown stem the thickness of my thumb rose from a ceramic dish filled with pebbles and clear water.   About a foot from its base it bent sharply and extended horizontally for three inches, then bent upward again for another three to be topped by a squarish tan clump. I could not decide if it was growing, dried, or an object d'art. "

Martha's Photo (by Angus McBean)


A new portrait of Martha arrived in the school office. She was in profile wearing Noguchi's bone-like Night Journey jewelry. The photographer had caught her, head thrust aggressively forward upon her long neck. Leroy Leatherman disapproved, saying, "He's made her look like a vulture!"  I kind of agreed.
    Bertram Ross differed: "It's not Martha, it's Jocasta." 
    Bob Cohan had another view. "It's not Martha's picture. Her shakti escaped and he took its picture!"
    Martha had brought the word shakti back from India, a Hindu female principle, or the wife of a deity. Martha arrived and studied the photo.
    "I think he's made you look too predatory," said Lee. "Bertram says it's not you, it's Jocasta."
    Martha studied the picture  "It's not Jocasta," she said slowly.  "He saw that in me.  And he's right.  It's there!"  

Anita Zahn's Duncan Dancers


Anita Zahn and her "Duncan Dancers," at the 92nd Street Y were my first chance to see anything deemed "Duncan."  Martha and most of the troupe were there. The dancers, all women, were draped in soft fabric, like Greek statuary come alive. The next day we asked what she'd thought. 
    "I never actually saw Isadora, but if she had danced with so little passion, the world would not have noticed, no matter how many lovers she had taken."

"You can see what she thinks of men."

"Sphinx Amoureux" by Leonor Fini

    "Martha brought in a book of paintings by the Italian artist, Leonor Fini. We gathered round. Fini drew ominous women-beasts  she called Sphingi  (Sphinxes).  Martha paused at a nude female with an exploding mane of hair, cradling the head of a nude adolescent male asleep at her breast, his flaccid penis lying limply between his legs.  We studied the strange vision.
    'You can see what she thinks of men,' Martha said."

Link direct to Concord ePress, and Intro by Richard Move:

This is Chapter 4. Links to other chapters:

go to:   HOME                                              Chapter 7 - TKO'd In Paris and London
            Chapter 1 - Dance Lessons            Chapter 8 - The Grand Tour
            Chapter 2 - Making Dances            Chapter 9 - Asia 
            Chapter 3 - On Stage!                     Chapter 10 - Dance Master
            Chapter 5 - Her Little Crackers      Chapter 11 - A Dancing Fool
            Chapter 6 - Critics Say                   Chapter 12 - Post-Martha Syndrome