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THESE LUNGS

JESSICA WORDEN

breathless, no. 2
London, UK
2015

to my lovers
to my friends

printing info bla bla


pink drapes
paper type

we lie across from each other


in
musty pillows and sheets
damp
creeps into everything
bed linens and clothes shoes socks
hair skin
andblinking lashes
it permeates and swells the gap
between us expands
we loom so close

It is oblong, like an
almond or an eyelid. I
regard myself in this eye:
my ref lection upside
down in the concave sur
face. This slick gleaming
hull that must be licked.
Slipping in my mouth to
impart its light metallic
f lavour along my tongue
and moving across sur
faces, looking for their
texture moulding each
other.

so far
this wrinkled fabric plane
pressed skin
white cotton
my hand caresses its surface
these wrinkles
they ebb
and f lowing
escaping
and slipping

beneath my fingers

Out of my mouth, I see


myself diminishing and
the gleam of the metal
and my teeth and tongue
growing smaller as the
touch of this ref lective
surface grows faint. So
remain a thousand fin
gerprints and the saliva
from my mouth trans
fer red, mar r ing it s
smooth inner curve.

I cannot grasp

Transformed.

it eludes me you elude me cold and


hard slick the semblance of some
thing or some one maybe you
in this you I just watch miming
me and my desperate motions to
replicate what I would do to you
if I just could

how can I touch you if


youre not there

break through
crash glass

and locate
a needle on a compass wavering

suddenly

pushing into me

we lay in dark half-light


the sun gone down an hour ago

Insideout and upside


down, a reflection catches
stars of light to pinpoint
a locationa prick that
gleams intently.
A faint spray on the
glass mottled brown
and crusted; it f lakes
away under my finger
nail. This nail could
have burrowed beneath
the skin to make this
decoration. Mar r ing
this elegant surface, the
smears mark time. And
trace the vapors leaking
from our eyes as we gaze
upon it.
The mirror is a weapon
shattering Medusas vis
age. It is a hard shield,
tough and impenetrable.
And yet it is so porous
and sensitive to the touch
of the body. And to our
excretions. All of me
spills into it.

through the window a


street-lamp lights your face
eyes dark sockets in shadow
I watch your mouth move as
you talk
this mouth
I would have on me
this mouth
that I would cover with
my own and push my fingers
into

grab you with my teeth

I cant remember what you


said just the shadow of your
tongue and teeth the lull of
your voice this heavy thing
snaked across into me I would
put my hands through your
hair if I could your cheek
jutting out to invite like your
jaw bone hard the swallow of
your neck

soft speech
thick vowels

Ive read about the staining


gaze of a body and how the
particles of being emanate out
and onto things. About the
blood that fills our eyes and
disperses, atom-like, to fix to
the exterior. And to attempt
to permeate through and into
underneath. Etching into the
surface of things.
Surfaces. Hard, manmade
shells so incredibly permeable
and fragilebrass bowls and
silverware, hammered golden
trays, blown glass and other
forms in which we see the hand
attempt to fix some substance
and sustain it.
I wipe my hand over the mir
ror and the accumulating dirt
crowds my palm. Skin, blood,
oil, soap, saliva, pus and so
many other traces of what
I bear for you caught in the
moment that we gaze upon
each other. I stain you and you
stain me.

rounded sounds
coming
from the back of your throat
things you tell me they dont
matter

they
dissipate into air
and the air is thick
and impenetrable
it divides us

mouthing mine
two and never one
the interior of your mouth I
swallow within my own our
tongues catching on each
other turning ragged in the
friction of our mouths
and teeth

oh the
teeth
this pleasure

Seeing themselves in the water,


they wished to inhabit it. To
touch that elusive stranger so
familiar, so foreign, so impos
sibly close and so far away.
And upon closer inspection, the
stranger reveals its illusiona
suspension of disbelief buyoyed
by desire. The self observed,
the one that captivates, can
not be held nor touched. And
because it cannot be known in
any tactile sense, it overwhelms
with its otherness.
Touch interrupts as a shudder
through the body. An electric
connection sparking the sur
faces between me and me, my
ref lection. A jolt returns me
to my senses. Yes, it truly is
occuring. This thing that you
are watching. Yes, this thing
is real. You reside within this
object and my eyes can reach
you at any time.
This thing is you.

on the edges of my
mouth grating tongue
encountering my body
in the wet noise we
make together my teeth
bite into your lips my
blood translates in your
senses my body is itself
coursing within your
veins pumping through
tough muscles of our
heart I inhale you exhale
you inhale I exhale there
we stay in the moment of
two mouths together
as one
a breath extended
in f in itely unt i l the
contact breaks
we gasp
separated
alone
and lonesome gazing
upon the other my hand
reaches out to caress your
face the one so similar to
mine the familiar curve

There should be no barriers in the


encounter with the self. Yet we
find the self in barriersthrough
f lat surfaces transforming bodies
to images, textures to lines. We
become contained within the mir
ror, gazing one upon the other.
And become objects, we slide
along the surface of each other.
Eyes touch, caress skin and glide
over in a kind of embrace of the
self. A selftouching. The contact
that interrupts as it becomes itself.
A snag.
This interruption. Your appear
ance wavers. A point of contact.
A gasp and witheld breath.
To remain within interiority.
Within oneself. Touching ones
self in some form of divinity:
all bodies perpetuating life from
within and for themselves. This
divine inhalation, collapsing
upon itself and growing within
the lungs. And puffing out each
exhalation in worship.

of cheek and chin and upper


lip the one I would like to
kiss with my lips to fold
them around this bit of
you
to
envelop swallow consume
you stay whole the entire
time
although

your appearance
wavers

I approach
your
hesitance
perhaps
my desire is
overwhelming
stretching out hose
nude membrane
expanding out over our
head and our mouth and our
hands covering everything
and filling

I feel full of you and your


smoky taint. These crumbled
leaves and weeds and toad
stools incinerated, littering
the bowl in ashes. Hot coals
lighting and alighting the
mind. I am not within myself.
I gaze inwards from the out
side. I linger at the edges of the
mouth. And enter inwards for
the briefest of spans. A gasp. A
witheld breath.
Your surface is a point of con
tact. I warm it with my mouth.
My breath beads, locating a
boundary between two and
oneyou and I, I and Iand
out of reach. Reaching and not
touching but marking. Like a
gasp lingering on the tongue.

Tracing somehow, with min


ute particles collecting on your
surface, the shared encounter
of our ref lection. With a fin
gertip, an eye, our lips. All of
me secretes for you. All of me
ref lecting upon your surface.

those holes breaking into


cobwebs and ladders so
quickly too quickly to finish
before you can I rush and
you go your skin could be
soft giving like raspberries
plucked and lingering sour
bright haunting your mouth
even the most beautiful can
thrive on your stony affection
my statue
the most beautiful is fecund
my impenetrable friend
I rush


and you go
we gaze at each other across
the divide this sur face
between us I watch you
touch yourself you rub as
I do vigorously like there
cannot be enough this we
share watching panting yes
together I moan you moan
and as we come closer yes
our sounds mingle I hear

It is a thin black belt. The


leather is fine and supple. The
buckle is silver. Stainless steel.
I hold it in my hand as I sit
before you. And I watch you
do the same. We share urgent
desire.
We unroll the belt. We unroll
it and stretch it out and feel
the texture of the leather and
curl it around our necks. I
watch you do this. And you
watch meour hands pull it
tight. The leather constricts
and creaks and our skin wrin
kles underneath. Our throat
compresses inwards, warping,
and pressure builds.
Knicks and scratches in the
glass surface dissappear under
the hot f lush of blood forced
through increasingly smaller
and smaller passageways. The
belt restricts the delicate space
between in and exhalation.
They rasp through the throat
with difficulty.

your pleasure my own


you echo me and I echo
you I see my breath
hot upon the surface
condensing on your face
bits of saliva obscure a
cloud my panting desire
blurs your mouth and I
make out the contours of
your tongue wetting your
bottom lip as I wet my
own I want to wet it for
you wet it from inside me
through my mouth yes all
of me secretes for you
I am reaching


to caress
two scorpions stinging
each other over and over
reaching deep into our
carapace a simultaneous
unmaking this puncture
you dissappear into a
ripple our ref lection
marred our voice distorted
by space and distance
f loating and dissipating

Breath falters. What we see blurs


away into stars and synaptic pulses
against black. A tiny death, they
call it. A different kind of kiss,
beyond the threshold of skin.
This small breath grows beyond
the threshold of life, captured
within the expanse of the lungs.
Caught within a ref lection. Hung
on a moment.
A smooth exterior snagging on
every passing touchin f laws and
scratches, smears and delusions.
Ref lections and illusions. These
pools to gaze intoyour double
peering back. Each glance is a
pleasing image.
A crinklecrackle of cellophane
gauze caresses the outline of your
mouth. The sheen of your new
found skin ref lects soft light back
onto me. Marking within and
withoutmoving tersely to the
push and pull of the lungsit
collapses with a sigh. Dying once.
And then again. And again.

removing one from another this


rapid expansion and surge we
gaze at our growth
I and I and I and I
so much of you
of this nothingness
to touch you
through this
between us
eyes touching
each other
the f lick of an eyelash beating
out
desire
in f lutters

and shudders
breathing hot damp gasps
smearing onto this in vague
blurry panting puff ing this
huffing off damp and crusted
cloth filling up with the scent
of you
this
delicate production
trapped in woven f ibres and
white jersey pulling taut against

Drool collating on the foil


and frothing up, against
the suck, filling with small
gasping bubbles. A delicate
production.
Lips placed, on the edges
ofnot the rim butthe
boundary. The exit and
entrance and passageway
to life. These lips touch
to reassure each other.
They are the semblance
of control. Through care
ful pursing, they give the
impression of a tender
impass. Then they relax
and release the image of
delicate surrender: every
thing codif ied within an
economy of grace.
But these lips are slick
with sweat. With saliva.
With desire. They touch
cea sele s s ly a nd their
erratic embrace is plosive
and spurting in small puffs
and gusts.

lips bared teeth resting tongue


waiting for that taste
coming

coming
reaching towards each other
my fingers outstretched to the
skin of you wavering away I
get too close darting away like
f ish underneath the surface
of water interior of a pool
dripping out of me

A coolness refracts off the


glass surface of our encoun
ter. Your nipples peak into
tight mounds. You stand too
closeas do Itwo close
to this division. Two reach
ing out against this glacial
divide, touch held in the
look pulsating against this
wavering density. We make
each other over and over
in our shared ref lections,
tracing in distortion and
mutilation.
Fragments. Scraps.

onto you
sipping our mouths open
tongue out stretching to
something unknown these
eyes I know so well this skin
just like my own

peeling away

Small dissonant parts of


us caught in ref lection as
strange con f ig urat ions.
Parted lips. Neglected feet.
An ear. The back of our
head. Hands moving over
skin, slipping between and
within. We move backwards
and forwards and side to side
to catch it all. It is always
too smallwe cannot be
contained.

shed skin
piling on the sides
the f loor around me
fragile thin tearing
crumbling

in palms
between fingers

too eager too hesitant too much


this needing to reach in

and grasp

and gasp

crash
the pull of you
these hands
my own
running fumbling trembling

Containment. Limiting
touch to a single straw pass
ing smoke between walls,
lip to lip. This passage
between mouths permeates
a barrier between bodies
through the tiniest of holes.
Nothing to stop this profu
sion seeping through.
Tong ue speech. Prat
tle. Murmur. Blur. Many
voices speaking through
one, layering and babbling
a love mumble. Issuing out
in one long exhalation you
could call it a hymn. A
gasping exhaltation. And
exaltation of breath.
In this iteration rhythm
overtakes semantics, breaks
structure, and becomes
incoherent. There is no
limit to the form or shape
these utterances take. Spill
ing out, they sing inchoate
excess and smother with
their profusion.

twitching
f lickering
softly
rapid muscles tensing
sleepy and exhausted
rolling back in pleasure
curve of fingers scooping
in grabbing f lexing tips
leaving an imprint a red
smear of broken skin
within
rubbing
f linching
elbow bends shoulder
raises tight every pulsing
curve twitching outline
stroking moving
relentless
up and down
in and out
sighing

again
again
again

My expression always comes out


in a sigh. Passing through the
limitits invisible lineand into
life. Language devolves. We pant
together.
The eye moves inside. Rotates
upward and inward, seeing past
the limit of its gaze and further
towards the centre of being.
Comingin this instantand
becoming at the limit. Passing
the precipice of language, ecstasy
expresses itself in the realm of
the physical. These expressions
mark the limitan upturned eye,
an open mouth, spasmed limbs,
splayed hips bucking.
These movements as registers of
trangression gesturing backwards
to where it has passed. To trans
gress is to move beyond, gurgling
up, pressing and reaching to touch.
And in that moment of contact, in
its electricity, the faltering limit
collapses.
This is our transgression.