Jenny Holzer’s Words of Life and Love

Photography: John McCutcheon
Photography: John McCutcheon

A poem by Jenny Holzer is engraved on a long bench in Peggy Guggenheim’s Museum Garden in Venice.  Holzer, a world renowned conceptual artist, donated the bench.  Placed in a quiet corner of the gardens, the bench belies its raw, sensuous, and revealing imagery.

 

I smell you on my skin

I say the word

I say your name

I cover you

I shelter you

I run from you

I sleep beside you

I smell you

on my clothes

I keep your clothes

 

I walk in

I see you

I watch you

I scan you

I wait for you

I tickle you

I tease you

I search you

I breathe you

I talk

 

I smile

I touch your hair

You are the one

You are the one

who did this to me

You are my own

I show you

I feel you

I ask you

I don’t ask

 

I don’t want

I won’t ask you

I can’t tell you

I lie

I am crying hard

There was blood

No one told me

No one knew

My mother knows

I forget your name

 

I don’t think

I bury my head

I bury your head

I bury you

My fever

My skin

I cannot breathe

I cannot eat

I cannot walk

I am losing time

 

I am losing ground

I cannot stand it

I cry

I cry out

I bite your lip

I breathe your breath

I pulse

I pray

I pray aloud

IMG 100-4155_0618

 

I smell you on my skin

I say the word

I say your name

I cover you

I run from you

I sleep beside you

I smell you

on my clothes

I keep your clothes

 

Simple words.

Self-incriminating,

Striking words.

Words and images that circle the unknown, pain, fear, lust, exposure and acceptance of love.

 

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