David Wojnarowicz’s lips

‘Untitled (Face in Dirt) 1990-1993’ | David Wojnarowicz


The Song of Solomon, the bible’s surprisingly erotic master poem, begins with a kiss.

‘Let him kiss me with the kisses of his lips …’

This astounding poem is filled with the sensory world of the lover: the smell of him, the caught sight of his nakedness, the taste of him; but it is here with the kiss that it begins. With the lips.

When our lips part, what is that space between?

What do our lips remember? What do they long for? What do they wet?


David Wojnarowicz had beautiful lips. Full, fleshy, seductive.

In a reverie that might be a dream, a memory, a fiction, Wojnarowicz writes of wandering through a labyrinthine structure following the hint of a boy: first it is the wind at his heels that blows past as a door opens and shuts, then the hum of his red jacket in the distance. Then the lure of his lips:

‘I could feel his lips against mine from across the room, tasting reefer or milk on them as he disappears through the square hole in the ceiling …’

Then he falls right into the taste of him.

‘Like water falls from the sky I leaned in close and slid down and unsnapped his jeans button by button using only my teeth. He was wearing no underwear and I peeled back the flag of his trousers, his dick falling neatly out to rest on my lips …’

What do our lips anticipate? What do they follow? What do they consume?

………… This is an excerpt from a longer meditation on David Wojnarowicz the American writer, visual artists and HIV/AIDS activist. Full piece available at BentStreet

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