Perhaps I’m a cruel artist. I always depict
In great details, lovingly, all the defects
On the faces and bodies of my models.
I use my eyes and brushes to thread
The jagged gaps of their stiff smiles. I pamper
Each pimple, hump, massage each incrustation.

I cajole my models into poses that are awkward,
Dangerous, unhygienic, sometimes mortifying.
I don’t care to paint smooth, poreless skin but collect
All manners of rashes and eruptions. Inspired,
I’ve forced a hundred bodies—impossibly old,
Extremely young—onto appalling heaps,

Democratically naked, viscous with sweat, spit and etc.,
Just so I could render the human condition
Most accurately and movingly.

Linh Dinh, “Confession” from Borderless Bodies. Copyright © 2005 by Linh Dinh. Reprinted by permission of Factory School.
Source: Borderless Bodies (Factory School, 2005)
More Poems by Linh Dinh