womanness is a/an:

visual exploration
poetic investigation
personal essay
intimate practice
erotic expression
performance of self-authorship
visual-verbal love song1
pursuit of a new archetype
living metaphor
nocturnal poem2
archive of female overflow
a map of intuition


1Mann, Sally. Hold Still, Little Brown and Company, 2015, pp. 208. 2Paz, Octavio. “The Kingdoms of Pan.” Translated by Helen Lane. The Double Flame: Love and Eroticism, Harcourt, Inc., 1995, pp. 18.
CHAPTER1 10: EVERY EVERYTHING








1(a chapter implies progression, implies chronology, but these chapters are also altars, descansos, conjurings, reclamations, hauntings, apologies, defenses, conceptions...)

2detritus

3Chekhov, from his notebooks: “either [love] is a treatment of something degenerating, something which once had been immense, or it is a particle of what will in the future develop into something immense, but at the present it is unsatisfying, it gives much less than one expects.”

4,5Joni Mitchell. Hejira. Asylum Records, 1976.

6(Perhaps I should interject here and reframe the problematic notion of anyone seeking everything from a single person. Isn’t this the great heteronormative fantasy of “partnership”? But nevertheless, there is a deeper and more specific interruption I’m reaching for)

7CHAPTER 9: BLOOD MOON

8Lana Del Rey. Chemtrails over the Country Club. Interscope Records and Polydor Records, 2021.


9Open Archives
He says to me, I can’t find everything in one woman. By implication meaning: everything he wants, everything he needs, everything he desires. And then some. Everything.

He says it as a confidence, as a portal into deeper intimacies of conversation. It’s 2016, early spring. Back then & it has been nearly six years since we last embraced. We’re pretending friendship, a polite performance yet sincere yet also blistering beneath the surface. Then here, at the soft violence of his words, my pretense falters. The veil slips briefly from my eyes.

Back then & it has been six years since he left my hotel room, sneaking out the rear entrance while I stood at the window staring down at the pool. A phone cord wrapped through my fingers the way it used to when I was a girl, all spirals. It has been seven years since the train up north, since the unexpected blizzard, since the tarot reader and a time when New York, yes/no, was the most consuming mystery of my life. Seven years since the movie star’s pool and Sunday joints and sex I can’t remember having, back when sex was still keep up! keep up! and not the sacred site of invention and renewal. Seven years since my near-miss flight back to New York and before that his near-miss flight back to Chicago. Another blizzard entirely. Shoes forgotten by the front door. Borrowed house, borrowed city, borrowed time. Nine years since unfathomable disasters, those too absorbed into the depths. Eleven since love letters2 sent across oceans. Ten since I attempted to turn my body inside out to become, perhaps, that every everything he sought. Twelve since. Two until. Until, enough. Until our story bent so far it become a perverse mimicry of itself.3 And how long since he was just a whistle at the edges of my imagination? Conjuring the beloved from dust. Well there's a wide wide world of noble causes and lovely landscapes to discover.4 The female body as holy ground, as conception point. But all I really want to do right now is find another lover.5

I remember exactly the bar on exactly which block of Sunset and exactly where I was standing and exactly the coat I was wearing and exactly the sickness that passed through my body as he said it: everything in one woman. Implying, of course, (and incorrectly, of course) an incompleteness inherent in women.6 Worse still, the inconvenience of that fragmentation. Suddenly caged, freshly slaughtered, that’s what my body registered but my words could not contain. Dizzy, still new and weak on my womanness legs. Soft violence, how much we all absorb. Later we would walk arm-in-arm down the street and back to our cars. And later, days later, he would wake me from my prayers, unlatch the window to the starlight. Rinse his hands in the seawaters of my body. I’d sleep through the night with everything still fresh between my legs, sweat & heat & saliva & semen & blood & wine & a universe of possibilities, until morning haze rolled in through his open windows like smoke from the heavens. I forgot my favorite hat as I left, left instead with that fresh violence blooming hotly beneath my skin. I could hardly speak it until now, couldn’t speak it until I found the understanding, couldn’t understand until I found the words, words7, you demon-saints of captivity and release.

I’ve instigated a chaos of thought. Bitten off more than my poety can chew. Incomplete, perhaps. Still churning, perhaps. But let us praise its mess and contradiction. Let us learn to dance openly with our own mysteries. There is not, nor shall there ever be, any possible way to describe the pressure of this everything, nor the riddle of its melody as it echoes still through my mind, nor the way the weight of that everything has changed over the years, from a source of rage to a site of magic. He said everything like a curse and I alchemized it into the ecstasy of infinite possibility. Even if it took me five years and counting. Even if I lost him in the process. And him. And him! Bhand Jammee-ai. The infinite container. Take you to infinity.8 Infinity mirrors9, remember? Before I knew what this was, this womanness, this wilderness we’re traversing, before I heard the roar of this unspeakable landscape, the ethers whispered in my ear: infinite. And to all this infinite I still pray.