“I’m writing this manifesto to show that you can perform contrary actions at the same time, in one single, fresh breath; I am against action; as for continual contradiction, and affirmation too, I am neither for nor against them, and I won’t explain myself because I hate common sense.”—
“Women in a red waiting room can sense a dark frostiness within the tiled floor beneath their feet. They carefully examine their own footsteps which disappear as fast as the traces of breath on a pane of glass. They are calm. They cannot yet discern any pale scars that result from difficult births. They concentrate sleepily on newspapers soaking with damp. They count copper coins.
Suddenly their skin wakes up. It recoils as if in contact with fire when they hear the voices of old men slapping each other on wet thighs beyond the partition walls and they reveal their eyes underneath reptilian eyelids. At that moment their skin is crammed with memories of childhood. It remembers a scalding much as it does painless glances and gashes.
The skin trembles.”—
Krystyna Lars, “II. Voice,” fragment from “Public Baths”
“When she sheds she sheds it all. Her skin comes away with her clothes. On those days I have been able to see the blood-depot of her heart. On those days it was possible to record the patience of her digestive juices and the relentlessness of her lungs. Her breath is blue in the cold air. She breathes into the blue winter like a Madonna of the Frost. I think it right to kneel and the view is good.”—Jeanette Winterson, The Poetics of Sex, 1993