THE SKIN I’M IN

BY RENOIR GAITHER

The moon moves in the lining of your skin
~Pablo Neruda

The skin I’m in warmed Ticonderoga #2 pencils, cragged the geysers
Of measles, and saddled platters with a blue Monk and a Trane’s Olé.

The skin I’m in ferried cocklebur itch between Jim Crow beaches and
Gumbo cauldrons, left blood welling on ecstatic church sills, vamped.

Blake, Bigger, and Jake Brown all laid claim to it, waspish metronomes
Of love affairs, grasshoppers’ dull spittle turned it kind of blue.

Cold, breath-caked moon orbited, blackjack improvised, pickets
And peonies cooled in false starts and finishes along its rumble strips.

Few curs and curfews read this skin I’m in, sitting pretty ‘round midnight,
Floating on its own accord like some electric ice cream or mox nix whisper.

Once farsighted, bored, heedless of torn maps and thick books
This skin I’m in writes itself with gelastic specs and diabetic nails.

Muted rain, mimed wind, misplaced Foucault, the skin I’m in played chicken
As need be and squeezed dry long so handshakes from every girlfriend’s father.

St. Paul, MN
July 25, 2017

Renoir Gaither bides his time contemplating the indifference of later Romanov tsars, exploring circularity with watercolors, and crate digging for jazz on vinyl. He usually writes between a yellow-bellied slider (turtle) and AA batteries from St. Paul, MN. His work has appeared in Red Paint Hill, Gambling the Aisle, Yellow Chair Review.

Art by featured artist Osmyn Oree

Osmyn Oree: Ever since I started photographing nudes I noticed a troubling pattern within the community of photographers in my hometown. Nudes and especially the nude female is often portrayed in a sexual or objective way. Fetishistic beauty and making women look ‘good-enough’ was something I believe detracted from photographing nude bodies. My photography aims to reclaim the nude body from such fetishizations and show that bodies, especially female bodies are far more important than just objects of beauty or intrigue. Each shoot I set out to make my photographs less about the nude and more about the meaningful portrayal of a person. I want to tell a story about the person through the photographs or give the viewer an insight into who the person is and make the nudity less about the eroticism or shock value and more about the universal sense of rawness and honesty.