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Jay DeFeo, “Traveling Portrait (Chance Landscape)” (1973), photo collage with acrylic and glue on paperboard, 14 1/2 by 19 in. (image © the Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, image courtesy the Jay DeFeo Foundation and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York)

PERFORMANCE STUDIES

(to be free, improvise)

I did not know the difference / between Intuition and Instinct. When people say “trust // your intuition” – the dog inside me > doesn’t (o)bay / the animal inside / feels the urge to go off//-leash to be free, improvise > I vs. I / if you are a trained animal / you suture yourself to the thing they left to die. I need to otherwise I / reread Dubois / I double myself / I-I reread him twice > RECOGNIZE: your fists are a fight response { I feel I should have died, but instead I ended up here, and . . . } I don’t know if what I am doing can be qualified as “living.” Not implied. Oh. I / (without the words) took what was broken and put the hole back in // after my death | I tried my best, I made a revision and I came back / changed, so I would not say that after that encounter “I” survived. Turned my body into a shield. Opposite the whiteness / I became > a concave depression. But you don’t always perceive this. The way I resist / the bon bon of my oppression > A force. When everything I do feels like a mistake > I turn to my butchness. Not because I have been violated (though I have been / the instrument of my own degradation). If this is not the moment where I unknowingly write } my present / duress when I build the arsenal (then what is?)

PERFORMANCE STUDIES

(what it’s like to pretend)

Do you teach / Magical Realism? #NOT2NITE // Too bad (you could have been something). She wondered what. A performance artist / an astronaut / a banana leaf / a tarot card / the moment between what you wanted / and what you got >> For example, J.Lo in the Versace green dress with the plunging neck vs. my IBS – a triple threat >> ¡Carajo … Since when / did Fiction become the barometer / for “excellence”? Part rhetorical question, part polemic: Do you feel burdened (by the expectations of others) / Honestly, all the time >> ACTION: You, set the traps / then, take a laxative / my friend / who succeeded / where I had failed > convinced me that she was passing for something she was / not. I know / what it’s like to pretend > to shave your goat / to cross your legs / on demand / to want / an impersonal visage / to take the place of the past.

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Lara Mimosa Montes is the author of The Somnambulist (Horse Less Press, 2016). Her poems and essays have previously appeared in BOMB, Fence, The Third Rail, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor of Triple Canopy and CantoMundo fellow. She was born in the Bronx.

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