“I sometimes felt as if these marks on my body were a kind of code, which blossomed, then faded, like invisible ink held to a candle. But if they were a code, who held the key to it? I was sand, I was snow—written on, rewritten, smoothed over.” —
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
Parts of Human Body by Gjon Mili
Does the body lie
moving like this, are these
touches, hairs, wet
soft marble my tongue runs over
lies you are telling me?
Your body is not a word,
it does not lie or
speak truth either.
It is only
here or not here.
“There is a viscous porosity of flesh – my flesh and the flesh of the world. This porosity is a hinge through which we are and of the world.” —
“My body is the intention, my body is the event, my body is the result.” —
Valie Export, Untitled Statements (1965-1979)
“How many faces, how many bodies can you recognize, with your eyes closed, only by touching them ? Have you ever closed your eyes and acted unconsciously ? Or loved someone so blindly, you could almost feel their energy in a dark room and be moved by the powerful touch of their ideas ?” —
Jean Baudrillard, Journal, 1981
“When I am lonely for boys it’s their bodies I miss. I study their hands lifting the cigarettes in the darkness of the movie theaters, the slope of a shoulder, the angle of a hip. Looking at them sideways, I examine them in different lights. My love for them is visual: that is the part of them I would like to possess. Don’t move, I think. Stay like that, let me have that.” —
Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye
“They both wanted to exchange bodies, exchange faces. There was in both of them the dark strain of wanting to become the other, to deny what they were, to transcend their actual selves.” —
Anaïs Nin, Ladders to Fire
“I close my eyes in order to bound off the orgy. There is too much of everything. I keep silent. I hold my breath. I curl up in a ball, I give up my boundaries, I retreat towards an imaginary center… I have my head shaved, my teeth pulled and my breasts cut off — everything that bothers my gaze or slows it down — the stomach, the ovaries, the conscious and cysted brain. When I have nothing more than a heartbeat to note, to perfection, I will have won.” — Claude Cahun, Aveux non avenus (Disavowals)
“In a moment you’ll see my present body shatter to pieces and gather itself in a thousand notorious aspects; a fresh body in which you’ll never be able to forget me.” —
Antonin Artaud, Who Am I? (Qui suis-je?), translation by A.S. Kline
“Hélène Lagonelle’s body is heavy, innocent still, her skin’s as soft as that of certain fruits, you almost can’t grasp her, she’s almost illusory, it’s too much. She makes you want to kill her, she conjures up a marvelous dream of putting her to death with your own hands. Those flour-white shapes, she bears them unknowingly, and offers them for hands to knead, for lips to eat, without holding them back, without any knowledge of them and without any knowledge of their fabulous power. I’d like to eat Hélène Lagonelle’s breasts as he eats mine in the room in the Chinese town where I go every night to increase my knowledge of God. I’d like to devour and be devoured by those flour-white breasts of hers.
I am worn out with desire for Hélène Lagonelle.
I am worn out with desire.
I want to take Hélène Lagonelle with me to where every evening, my eyes shut, I have imparted to me the pleasure that makes you cry out. I’d like to give Hélène Lagonelle to the man who does that to me, so he may do it in turn to her. I want it to happen in my presence, I want her to do it as I wish, I want her to give herself where I give myself. It’s via Hélène Lagonelle’s body, through it, that the ultimate pleasure would pass from him to me.
A pleasure unto death.” — Marguerite Duras, The Lover
“I am dead. I have no desire for you. My body no longer wants the one who doesn’t love.” — Marguerite Duras, The Lover
“The words emerge from her body without her realizing it, as if she were being visited by the memory of a language long forsaken.” —
Marguerite Duras, Summer Rain
“I am too pure for you or anyone.
Hurts me as the world hurts God.” — Sylvia Plath, Fever 103°
“She has hands that surround books with their cartilage of honey. She has breasts of uncooked meat, so small, whose pressure drives one mad; her breasts are network of fibers. She has a thought that belongs to me, a thought that is insidious and twisted, that unwinds as from a cocoon. She has a soul.” —
Antonin Artaud, from Heloise and Abelard in Art and Death, translation by Helen Weaver