In her own words...

"On the Paintings of Bill Copley"


Astonished nudes waiting for murder,
Naked as a clinic and staring like glass.
Is tomorrow a home?
The light-bulbs could answer that one,
That is,
If they will stop choking with laughter
At the calculated palettes
And if the gods pronounce sentence;
Unmitigated cruelty, one says,
Delineation of screams and black lautrec wine.
(Yet all who know this man
Avow him the soul of kindness)
Box-springs, cries another, have replaced the
    wooden horse
In this irrevocable town (what a town!)

Kill him! 
Hold. If our deities will do us the honor—
Pick up the phone. Yes,
It's that child again, he's walking the rope,
Solemn, purposeful.
Want to see his agonized bouquet of paper flowers?
His face incised like a face on a tomb?
Listen. He is laughing gently at the whores and the

                         DOROTHEA TANNING, Dec. 22, 1950


About this work

“On the Paintings of Bill Copley” was published in CPLY: Paintings by William Copley, a brochure for an exhibition at Royers Book Shop, Los Angeles in 1951.