(For Jennifer Josephy) On cold days it is easy to be reasonable, to button the mouth against kisses, dust the breasts with talcum powder
Ive thought about this for many years: what is beauty?
It is surely death
When death is near, you love life, it’s beauty and it’s splendour. You think: how can one world be this beautiful? And the beauty overwhelms you like a blanket in the fever. You are standing on Friedrich’s sunset hill and you just wanna cry baby, cry.
We smile at each other
and I lean back against the wicker couch.
How does it feel to be dead? I say.
You touch my knees with your blue fingers.
And when you open your mouth,
a ball of yellow light falls to the floor
and burns a hole through it.
Don’t tell me, I say. I don’t want to hear.
Did you ever, you start,
wear a certain kind of dress
and just by accident,
so inconsequential you barely notice it,
your fingers graze that dress
and you hear the sound of a knife cutting paper,
you see it too
and you realize how that image
is simply the extension of another image,
that your own life
is a chain of words
that one day will snap.
Words, you say, young girls in a circle, holding hands,
and beginning to rise heavenward
in their confirmation dresses,
like white helium balloons,
the wreathes of flowers on their heads spinning,
and above all that,
that’s where I’m floating,
and that’s what it’s like
only ten times clearer,
ten times more horrible.
Could anyone alive survive it?
I imagine what the bouquets look like that never came.xx
pen sketches, 2016
Blue dress bought in Brussels, some sacral energy, crystal angel for Gabrielle’s birthday approaching, and Armanda, true Pisces.
Me and Armanda.2014
View my photographic series “Hidden Apertures” here.
On Friday I attended a mothers day show my little one had at school, for us mommies.
Their teacher said “now turn to your mommies and sing this song while you look into her eyes” and she sang so, so sweet, my eyes welled up with tears.
There is no love, NO LOVE, like the love I feel for my girls.
No man, no cock, no drugs, no nothing can make my heart feel like motherhood can. No purpose exist, for me, greater than this purpose.
I am so grateful.
photo me with Cyan, november 2015.
This is most definitely not my usual cup of tea. The realist work of John Meyer doesn’t always intrigue me but these sequences are so damn beautiful. Can’t help but admire them for their romanticism (and of course the incredibly skillful painting).
“Let yourself fall.
Learn to observe snakes.
Plant impossible gardens.
Let someone dangerous in for tea.
Make small signs that say “yes”
and spread them all over your house.
Become a friend of freedom and uncertainty.
Look forward to dreaming. Cry at the movies.
Swing as high as you can on a swing at moonlight.
Maintain different moods.
Refuse to be “responsible”.
Do it out of love.
Take a lot of naps.
Pass on money. Do it now.
The money will follow.
Laugh a lot. Bathe in the moonlight.
Dream wild, imaginative dreams.
Draw on the walls. Read every day.
Imagine you are enchanted.
Giggle with children. Listen to old people.
Open yourself. Dive in. Be free.
Praise Yourself. Let go of fear.
Play with everything. Preserve the child in you.
You are innocent.
Build a castle of covers
Get wet. Hug trees.
The three of us (me and the girls) are taking a bath with candle light. The steam creates this eerie and wonderful setting. And now we are hearing the most beautiful account of who the middle sister is (my stillborn). My youngest say she saw her the other day. My oldest listens with wide eyes. “She had long hair, to the floor.” She now has our attention so she really goes all out. “And white skin. And glittery purple high heels. And we were having tea.” So we ask her a hundred questions, hungry to know every detail, hanging on her every word. “Is her hair curly or straight? Is she shy or not? Where did she go when you were done playing?” For that moment there exists no possibility whatsoever that she is not alive.
Amazing how certain people bring out certain things in me.
Out of all the people in the whole wide world, my daughters really bring out the best in me.
There is nothing more pure, more real, more lasting, more solid.
If I had to stand alone in this world (I often feel I do)
As I lose people who means something to me, time and time again,
It is my babies I cling to, return to.
It’s in those eyes and hugs I always find myself again.
I remember those long love letters I wrote and received in high school. They were awesome. We had no cellphones or ipads, just pens and paper. I kept every single letter. It smells like fingerprints and cheap cologne and years and years of kept. How would my daughters store theirs? On a flash, an external drive, the recycling bin?
I don’t think people my age consider the effect the screen has on them. Sometimes it feels like I cannot possibly look at another image again. It’s so much, all the information tearing through my brain via social media etc.
I’m a real letter kinda girl.
Where did the scent go?
“I love people. Everybody. I love them, I think, as a stamp collector loves his collection. Every story, every incident, every bit of conversation is raw material for me. My love’s not impersonal yet not wholly subjective either. I would like to be everyone, a cripple, a dying man, a whore, and then come back to write about my thoughts, my emotions, as that person.* But I am not omniscient. I have to live my life, and it is the only one I’ll ever have. And you cannot regard your own life with objective curiosity all the time…”- Sylvia Plath
“I love you like certain dark things are to be loved, in secret, between the shadow and the soul” -Neruda
My oldest, Armanda, has been taking pictures for and of me for a long time, she often helps me with projects. She’s only nine, but has an incredible sensibility. The other day we were fooling around with my make up and these photos appeared.
Female sex dolls have been around for decades.
But until now, the rubber women have taken on an extremely fake quality, with even the untrained eye able to spot one from a mile off.
But in this new photo shoot by New York fashion photographer Stacy Leigh, many of the toys appear very human-like.
Photographer Stacy Leigh from New York has 12 dolls of her own. She positioned the toys in fashionable clothing and life-like poses. Stacy wanted to prove that the mannequins can be very attractive.
The collection of love dolls worth up to £4,000 each, have been carefully dressed and posed as if they are taking part in a glamour shoot.
Stacy, 43, decided to create her project, which she calls ‘Average Americans’ to prove how anyone could find themselves fancying mannequin-like dolls, taking the stigma away from those who use them.
She said: ‘Men and women both use the dolls as replacements for human companionship, whether by choice or necessity.’
‘I believe it’s perfectly fine if it makes one’s journey through life more bearable.’
She continued: ‘My photos are about life and relationships and sexuality.
‘Some people are repulsed by the dolls, while others are empathetic towards them.
‘As the world becomes more digital and less personal, dolls and robots will become more commonplace as surrogates for relationships.
‘I can only hope that my photos spark an emotion or connection in the viewer.’
A world away from blow-up sex dolls of the past, love dolls or real dolls as they are also known, have become increasingly popular as they have become more realistic looking.
Many collectors refer to their love dolls as their ‘girlfriends’ and have full sexual relationships with them.
When buying a love doll, customers can choose to customise everything from hair, eye and skin colour to boob size and even the shape and style of the vagina.
Stacy, who owns 12 real dolls, explained how she became involved in collecting and photographing her plastic subjects.
She said: ‘I watched a TV show called REAL SEX on HBO that featured Real dolls.’
‘I had always wanted a life size doll, as I have been collecting small fashion dolls since I was a child.
‘I perused the internet with the intention of using a love doll as my sitting model for photography.
‘When my first doll arrived, I began to photograph her and the rest is history.
‘Over the last decade, my job has become far easier as manufacturers add more realism to their products.’
She continued: ‘These days, for my personal projects- I add make up to completely confuse the viewer.
‘I’ve added wrinkles and depth to the face, much in the same way I would a painting.
‘I received accolades for my ability to pose, and ‘breathe life’ into them.
A lesson for my daughters when they grow up. “That is just it. Males don’t want too much. That is the secret to figuring out what men want.
Unattainable objects of desire
Forget for a moment that it’s called a “crush”, a word associated with bubbly handwriting, giggly pre-teens and folded pieces of coloured paper. And forget that the term may define those heartbreaking moments in your early romantic life when you roamed school hallways, edging closer, with that silent mantra echoing in your head: “Please look over at me, please look over at me, please look over at me.”
They may be childish, or they may be dangerous, time-wasting exercises in futility, but the way we deal with our secret love of unattainable people starts early in life and, in most cases, never completely ends. Though the teenage version is usually the first type we encounter, the crush plays just as big a part in our adult life as it does in our youth.
For years, the teenage crush was thought to be relatively harmless, but a few months ago, an American study released by the sociology departments of Cornell University and the University of North Carolina announced that the more time a teen spends on romantic thoughts, the more he or she is at risk of depression. It was once referred to simply as “moping about”, using valuable homework hours to choose what you will wear when Ben Affleck finally calls. But the new research hints that the crush may be the start of a slippery slope towards locked bedroom doors, black clothes, goth music and an all-out depression which could carry on into adulthood.
That is not the only downside. Where a normal crush gives off the warm glow of affection, with infatuation upping the temperature, at the far end of the spectrum there is a delusional disorder called erotomania, which makes people believe that another person is in love with them, even if there is no reason for that person to be so. The object of affection is likely to be someone socially prominent – a doctor, say, or a celebrity – and mostly the crush is limited to the erotomaniac’s own perfect world. But if they begin to take action to gain the attention of the crushee, an entirely different category opens up, called pathological infatuation.
The crush that gradually drifts into infatuation – the one that leaves you in a haze of absolutely desperate love – has its own inherent dangers. For people already in relationships, it can act as an entrée to the world of infidelity, secret rendezvous and calls from payphones.
But for most of us, happily, the crush is a far more innocent affair, a small spark that adds interest to one’s life. “A crush brings a little texture, a little colour to the world,” says Ingrid Collins, a consultant psychologist based at the London Medical Centre. “It feeds fantasy.”
Crushes are a “what if” game full of interesting but ultimately unattainable options, according to Karen DeMars, CEO and co-founder of the website e-crush.com, which has been charting the phenomenon for the past two years. “Say you’re in a grocery store,” DeMars explains. “You spot someone when you first come in, you keep passing each other, there’s something there. By the time you get to the frozen foods, you’ve had a crush for a while. These things just add a little decoration to life.”
The fast, minor crush usually evaporates by the time you’ve bagged your groceries. It has a built-in sense of honourable defeat – alas, fate has dictated that this was never meant to be. When crushes are lived out on this level, nothing can go wrong or disappoint; there is no time for faults to appear. These tiny, secret affairs don’t imply that you seek escape from an existing relationship; they’re just a way of acknowledging that attraction still exists out in the world, whether or not you’re involved with someone.
Some adults go on to become serial crushers, with one main object of affection following the next. Others begin a series of what DeMars calls “player-type crushes”, a wild polygamy of anonymous affection that could range from the grocery store shopper, to politicians, to the person in the cubicle next door. Both types of crush may at first appear to be time-wasters, but they can help you perform better in your everyday life. “If you’re visualising this perfect man,” DeMars says, “you can also visualise the sort of person you could become to get this guy.” On this path, crushes become catalysts, leading to bouts of self-improvement as a person with a crush tries their hardest to become noticeable. If handled the right way, the dream of being noticed by a crushee can force people to make changes in their lives that they would otherwise never have had a reason to make.
Then again, “There is always the possibility that the crush will just take over your life and you’ll become a big loser,” DeMars warns. For most, however, the risk of loserdom is small compared with the promise of that thin tremor of excitement, those extra palpitations, every time a certain someone rolls their cart down the frozen food aisle.
My Love is Too Much
My love is too much—
it embarrasses you—
blood, poems, babies,
red needs that telephone
from foreign countries,
black needs that spatter
of your white papery heart.
You would rather have a girl
with simpler needs:
lunch, sex, undemanding
dinner, wine, bed,
the occasional blow-job
& needs that are never
red as gaping wounds
but cool & blue
as television screens
in tract houses.
Oh my love,
those simple girls
with simple needs
read my books too.
They tell me they feel
the same as I do.
They tell me I transcribe
the language of their hearts.
They tell me I translate
their mute, unspoken pain
into the white light
is ever wholly undemanding.
It can pretend coolness
until the pain comes,
until the first baby comes,
howling her own infant need
into a universe
that never summoned her.
The love you seek
cannot be found
except in the white pages
of recipe books.
It is cooking you seek,
cooking with sex coming after,
that speaks to the penis alone,
& not the howling chaos
of the heart.
© Erica Mann Jong
Middle Aged Lovers, I
Unable to bear
of the future,
we consulted seers,
mediums, stock market gurus,
psychics who promised
happiness on this
or another planet,
astrologists of love,
seekers of the Holy Grail.
Looking for certainty
we asked for promises,
lover‘s knots, pledges, rings,
certificates, deeds of ownership,
when it was always enough
to let your hand
pass over my body,
your eyes find the depths of my own,
and the wind pass over our faces
as it will pass
through our bones,
sooner than we think.
The current is love,
the blood beat
in the thighs,
the electrical charge
in the brain.
Our long leap
into the unknown
a half century ago
and is almost
I think of the
amphorae of stored honey
their Grecian eaters,
or of the furniture
in a pharoah‘s tomb
no one sits.
Trust the wind,
and the water.
They have the
to all your questions
Middle Aged Lovers, II
You open to me
then grow afraid
and close again,
a small boy
fearing to be hurt,
a toe stubbed
in the dark,
a finger cut
I think I am free
to the call
of the Bacchae,
my own siren,
tied to my own
and her swine.
But I too
I know where
to confess all,
by the impulse
to be reborn.
to each other
veterans of other
in our hands
which we would beat
will not withstand
to each other
in our hands–
the very thing
in her casket
when all the ills
and woes of the world
© Erica Mann Jong
I am calling
your naked neck
I am with you
to thy great
I am yours
Copyright © Patti Smith 1996
[from Ivan Kral’s Nostalgia album, 1996 (poem performed with music by John Cale). Note that the text is of the poem “december”, p. 90, Early Work / 1970 – 1979, Copyright © Patti Smith 1994.]
“In love, it is the liberty of the other that I want to assimilate or to possess as liberty; for it is the liberty of the other that separates the other from me and constitutes me an object revealing my outside to the other. For the other can never love me as an object, and he can love me as a subject only by making himself an object which will be all the world to me and seduce me. The loved one only becomes lover by becoming consumed with the desire to be loved. Thus each is trying to be an object of fascination to the other and to demand that the other exist solely to found, will and sustain him as object. To love is in its essence the project to make oneself loved. It is in principle that this enterprise is doomed, for I cannot be loved as an object, and I cannot be other than an object to another, and the love of the other is essentially the same project to be loved as subject by me. I cannot get to the goal, I can only turn aside to masochism, making myself wholly an object, using my liberty to deprive myself of liberty, or to sadism, compelling the other to become wholly a thing, a body. These aberrations are themselves self-defeating. And they are only isolated and developed moments of normal sexual intercourse, which is the original project for possessing the liberty of the other through his objectivity. For sexual differentiation and sexual acts spring from deeper ontological structures. The desire which attempts to satisfy itself in sexual acts is a desire for a person taken in his life and place and to become with that person nothing other than one’s flesh and blood, pure facticity, contingency. I MAKE MYSELF FLESH IN THE PRESENCE OF THE OTHER IN ORDER TO APPROPRIATE THE FLESH OF THE OTHER. The ideal end of desire is the complete incarnation of both consciousnesses in the embrace, with the elimination of movement, the world, even of consciousness. It is the choice of a mode of consciousness: why does the consciousness choose to annul itself under the form of desire? In desire I live my body in a special manner and the world about me suffers a modification: my body is no longer felt as the instrument which cannot be used by another instrument, corresponding to my acts and to a world of serviceable-things; it is lived as flesh, and it is in reference to my flesh that I apprehend the world about me: I make myself passive, I am more sensible of the material substance of things than of their form and use: consciousness sinks into a body which sinks into the world. I come very near to being a thing in the middle of the world, and very like the dead. The meaning of all this is in the attempt to seize the liberty of the other in itself by reducing it to its identity with the palpable. This ideal aim is inevitably frustrated by turning into mere power over the body of the other. I wish to be drunk by my body as the ink by a drunkard in order that the other shall do likewise. The consummation of the sexual act disturbs the profounder intention, which anyhow is doomed to frustration since it is self-contradictory. The liberty, subjectivity, of the other cannot be seized physically.
Six Existentialist Thinkers (Sartre)
I am better at dry sadness than at cold anger, for I remained dry eyed until now, as dry as smoked fish, but my heart is a kind of dirty soft custard inside.
I am not sad. Rather stunned, very far away fro myself, not really believing you are now so far, so far, you so near. I want to tell you only two things before leaving, and then I’ll not speak about it any more, I promise. First, I hope so much, I want and need so much to see you again, some day. But,remember, please, I shall never more ask to see you — not from any pride since I have none with you, as you know, but our meeting will mean something only when you wish it. So, I’ll wait. When you’ll wish it, just tell. I shall not assume that you love me anew, not even that you have to sleep with me, and we have not to stay together such a long time — just as you feel, and when you feel. But know that i’ll always long for your asking me. No, I cannot think that I shall not see you again. I have lost your love and it was (it is) painful, but shall not lose you. Anyhow, you gave me so much, Nelson, what you gave me meant so much, that you could never take it back. And then your tenderness and friendship were so precious to me that I can still feel warm and happy and harshly grateful when I look at you inside me. I do hope this tenderness and friendship will never, never desert me. As for me, it is baffling to say so and I feel ashamed, but it is the only true truth: I just love as much as I did when I landed into your disappointed arms, that means with my whole self and all my dirty heart; I cannot do less. But that will not bother you, honey, and don’t make writing letters of any kind a duty, just write when you feel like it, knowing every time it will make me very happy.
Well, all words seem silly. You seem so near, so near, let me come near to you, too. And let me, as in the past times, let me be in my own heart forever.
Your own Simone
“Simone de Beauvoir said that no man is truly free to love a fat woman. If that is true, how free are men? Women can imagine the emotional aridity of men’s experience of the myth if they look back on their lovers and try to imagine their women friends and colleagues criticizing them for any mate—no matter how witty, powerful, famous, sexy, rich, or kind—who did not resemble Praxiteles’ Charioteer. Women understand that there are two distinct economies: There is physical attraction, and then there is the “ideal.” When a woman looks at a man, she can physically dislike the idea of his height, his coloring, his shape. But after she has liked him and loved him, she would not want him to look any other way: For many women, the body appears to grow beautiful and erotic as they grow to like the person in it. The actual body, the smell, the feel, the voice and movement, becomes charged with heat through the desirable person who animates it. Even Gertrude Stein said of Picasso, “There was nothing especially attractive about him at first sight…but his radiance, an inner fire one sensed in him, gave him a sort of magnetism I was unable to resist.” By the same token, a woman can admire a man as a work of art but lose sexual in- terest if he turns out to be an idiot. The way in which women regard men’s bodies sexually is proof that one can look at a person sexually without reducing him or her to pieces.”
from The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf
Of course I make you restless.
I talk back and I fall in love.
Oh if only I had no blood or beating heart!
If only my body had no soul dragging along.
If only I could speak spell-check and sense.
Perhaps then you could finally make me part of your program.
And this void wouldn’t screw up my whole system.
Wanderlust by Sarah Anne Johnson, a photographer born in Winnipeg, Canada, interprets intimate and erotic moments in a surreal manner. Considering that the act itself can often be considered surreal, it is as though she is somehow attempting to capture the feeling involved when two people come together to copulate.
Asking friends and acquaintances to perfect such sexual acts as intercourse, foreplay, kissing and masturbation for her series, each activity was subsequently distorted in a variety of ways. Whether splattered with paint, covered with glitter or digitally manipulated in more eccentric ways, Wanderlust by Sarah Anne Johnson is somehow powerfully honest. Beautiful Decay notes, “[M]any of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.”
“People like you need to fuck people like me,” bluntly reads one of Emin’s neon works, done in a script reminiscent of her drawing style. Many of her other neon works are less confrontational, but all are still extremely personal. Each includes a deeply heartfelt message about love nearly always tinged with sadness or anger—they might be seen as a more honest version of the sort of aphorisms found in Valentine’s Day cards. The medium alludes to the neon signs of Margate, adding a layer autobiography to the works.
1. Never make an object of your body, as it is tightly tied to your soul. Even if you make an object of your body for you own pleasure and satisfaction, it will backfire, as true as flesh is flesh and bone is bone.
2. Never give your body (even on a virtual or visual level) to any person who is obsessed with physical beauty. Your beauty is not a gift to give away. It belongs to you and you only. The right person to give your body to is one who is in touch with spirit, soul and magic. These ones will treasure you and make a queen out of you even when and if your beauty fades. The plastic ones, they are the devil. Your beauty is their cruelty.
3. Love yourself above all. It is impossible to love others if you do not love and take care of yourself. If it doesn’t work for you, if it makes you uncomfortable, or if it hurts, toss it.
4. Be true to yourself. Never try and be someone you are not. Never try and portray yourself as someone you are not, not on social media, not in conversation, not in professional spaces, not anywhere. If you lie to yourself, you will have to keep lying to the world for the rest of your life.
5. Don’t play with someones heart, it’s not a toy. People are not things. Never use another human being for your own fleeting needs. It will probably come back to you threefold if you deliberately crush another person’s heart.
6. Your body is a temple, never, ever hate it. You body will create and house human beings, your stomach will stretch and sag and your hips will expand. The life might be sucked right out of your lively tits. Your cunt will stretch, or your once beautiful abdomen will be cut open and perhaps be badly closed again. Whatever your life might be, or whatever toll your life takes on you body, you can never, ever hate your body. It is sacred. Do strive to be healthy, try to stay fit. Do what you have to do, but never, ever hate your body. If anybody makes you hate it, toss ’em. They’re the devil.
7. Always be aware of the unreal, the untrue and the unbelievable. Analyze it carefully. Illusions are generally great for art and imagination, but for bodies, hearts and emotions they are dangerous, dangerous concepts.
I make so many mistakes in life, that sometimes it feels as if I cannot teach my daughters much. But I would teach them to never love cruelty. To never love pain. Whether it is mental (emotional) pain, or physical pain; whether it is inflicting it, or taking it. I have tolerated pain because I’ve loved it, and I have inflicted more cruelty than I care to admit. I learned my lesson. That is perhaps why I can teach this well.It is perhaps the most important lesson I can teach them.
part of a letter to a poet-friend of mine:
“poets, it’s a tender subject in my life.
some of them scar you, some of them create a distance, some are pure
I don’t like poets as a norm, they are too volatile, too fragile
but they are also semi-gods to me, for writing what they write,
if one has to distinguish between a poet and a human being, i would love poets.
but I guess because one cannot, therefor don’t.
but look at us. we are still talking. miraculously.
I think that’s a fucking milestone.
the death caused me to see
how little life there was in there all along
only the resurrections
breathe deep enough
to stick around
once, only once, I called you
on your land line, in the middle
of the morning, like ten, or so
i knew it was psycho and all, just
to call, no hello, no breathing at all
because you know, you’ve always left me
“Mom, I am worried about you.”
There is one extremely important thing that magic has taught me: how to love somebody without that person loving you back; how to love a person without wanting or needing ownership.