Poems to be shaved into the hair of the author’s back

Cutting words:
so warm at first & then
such a chill


The fewer the words
the more sensibility
surrounds them


Every word is a clearing
that grows


The absence of language
is not silence
but wilderness


If you want a sacred text
use a branding iron


Only through poems
can I get all
the way naked


is my


Notes: These are not haiku. They are simply poem-like things short enough to fit on my back if shaved with a small razor. To enact these properly, I would need at least one assistant, possibly two — one to cut the words, the other to record the process on video. A time-lapse photo sequence of the words growing in and disappearing each time would probably also form part of the final video document. Maybe someday when I am a proper silverback.

(UPDATE 2/5/12) See the photographic response by Rachel Rawlins, “Buddleia.”

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  1. Only in poems
    Am I naked.

    Fewer characters which, given the medium, might be a necessary constraint.

    Word farm

    What might you do with the clippings? They would be the more enduring record of the poem.

    Six weeks

    Assuming that’s about how long it takes to grow out :-)

    Warm words
    Cold heart

    That would have to be a chest job.

    I’m almost (well, given the other difficulties it would bring, not really) sad I don’t have back hair myself.


  2. Silence vs wilderness. Much to think about indeed.


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