9.16.14 Terra Incognita

I have only kissed men who could only kiss me in the dark.
Not out of preference, of course, but these things happen.
They are names inside a box I label “never look back” because the norms
tell me that I am a slut for playing with lips that other women
have labeled “reserved.” 

When I was in college, a man told me that he liked that I spoke French.
It didn’t matter that he didn’t understand. He looked at me the way voyagers
looked at the unexplored edges of maps. And when he thought no one
was looking, he led me by the hand and marked my lips “charted.”
A man’s life is a continuous quest for terra incognita. It said so in all the books.
His wife waits for him to come home.

The first time a man branded me woman, he took off his pants but not his shirt.
His torso held a warning “only for my lover” while I lied on his bed, naked space.
He looked at me the way Neil Armstrong looked at the moon, and whispered
that I mattered. Except in space, sound never learned to travel without air.
And if a word was not heard, would it have happened?
Armstrong’s ashes are scattered over the Atlantic. Each time the moon
waxes, it drags the waters closer and closer, but Armstrong would never
come back.

At night, my dreams are as vivid as Photoshopped pictures—
A policeman stops the traffic to make love to my lips in the open streets.
A priest calls my name at church and proceeds to fuck me on all fours
in front of the whole flock. On the radio, Frank Sinatra is alive and is singing my name
over and over and over. On the television, Salvador Dali is young and says he
is nothing without me.

Yes, sometimes I would take out the box of names and rip out the label. 
Look back. Most women have photos and love letters in their shoeboxes, I
have nothing but the memory of men on my skin, their smell long faded.
When they gave themselves to their lovers, they had nothing left for me to keep.
So I would put the label back, “never look back.” I would turn off
the lights and assure myself that some people can only glow in the dark.


Marina Abramović and Ulay

Breathing In / Breathing Out, 1977

This performance consisted of the two artists seated in front of each other, connected at the mouth. They took in each other’s breaths until all of their available oxygen had been used up. The performance lasted only 17 minutes, resulting in both artists collapsing unconscious to the floor, having filled their lungs with carbon dioxide. This personal piece explored the idea of an individual’s ability to absorb the life of another person, exchanging and destroying it. (Wikipedia)


These are based on the beautiful botanical tattoos of Kirsten Holliday (kirstenmakestattoos).



“Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again. at her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing it and this is what happened.”


Details from the Roman Arch of Constantine, dedicated in AD 312. This triumphal arch is situated between the Palatine Hill and Colosseum in Rome, and was built by the Senate to commemorate the victory of Constantine the Great in the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

Photos taken by Steve James.


Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring 2010 Details


Elie Saab Haute Couture Spring 2010 Details


Poeticism is the elusive cure for death
When the rest of us walk without beating hearts
But all the poets sing in their graves

Poeticism is the elusive cure for death
When the rest of us walk without beating hearts
But all the poets sing in their graves