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A Body of Work

“Large brown velvet moths settled upon each of her breasts. An orchid opened on one shoulder, a striped gecko displayed the inside of its mouth on the other. South Sea islands showed up on her belly and disappeared into the shaved split between her legs. A sea serpent slid down her thigh. Constellations unfurled on her right arm. On her left arm, winds chased clouds to the wrist. And so on. In the last picture, she was completely covered in tattoos, including her neck and her face …”

From “The Wolfman and the Mule,” between the DEAD LOVE covers. (more in from this selection at a later date in “Chapters”)

Sometimes life imitates art. That is what happened when I met Chris Rainier. He was giving a presentation of Ancient Marks. It was as if Alain had come back or stepped right out of DEAD LOVE. How do you tell someone you thought you’d invented them, that you pined over them for what felt like forever, that you’re glad they’re alive. Of course Chris isn’t Alain. But here is another weird thing: His good friend is the man who suggested the recipe for a zombie. They are a pair, those two. Brilliant artists. I’d follow them anywhere … but isn’t that just what zombies do? Oh, I can be so predictable.

If you love tattoos as I do, check out Chris Ranier’s haunting video, Ancient Marks, with music to die for by Anoushka Shankar.

post photo courtesy of Anthony Long Wu; his tattoo—the laughing buddha, a symbol of his belief and culture.