graffiti’d poetics

We tag buildings with our names or a version of letters which resemble who we are. We boast how fearless we can be by climbing vacant subway trains and reaching questionable heights to hollow out poems onto rooftops and skyscrapers’ windows. We breathe the fumes of aerated paint onto bridges and brick walls. We call this art. Because it is.

When I think about the body, it is hard not to describe it as window’d or broken into. It is difficult not to search for the flaps of skin that may be used like deadbolts to lock out the ones who crawl their way in. Body as a building. Body as a construction site. Carved out poemflesh.

On an evening right before autumn arrived, I removed my clothes. Bound breasts beneath caution tape. Covered bottom half in prophylactics to protect and preserve.  I exited a stage and allowed an audience of others to write on me. Alongside another poet, we read out a collaboration of language, as humans wrote their names on us and messages of love and curiosity. One woman inked her mathematics into my back and I wondered all evening what this combination of numbers unlocked. There was a symbol on my thigh and a sliced poem below my collarbone. An affirmation on my lower back and a list of desires on my forearm.

At the end of this evening, the poet and I were covered. After writing on me, she asked me to write on her.

I wrote:

When poetry dissects, silence is lost.

There are so many ways in which to communicate. Many choose the press of fingers against handheld devices. Others ask for the presence of bones and skin to climb their way into present-tense room. Eye contact is becoming extinct. So, I offer up this body as a gesture of paper to write your poems on. Please use invisible welcome mat and wipe your feet and eyes first. Give the trees a break and remember that this skin can be washed and written on and erased and read. There is so much magnificence in the ability to let go of silence and unravel the body like a scroll.

What would you write on another if given the opportunity?

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