Poetry : Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky

Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky
Cut Neck by Zarina Zabrisky


HE (standing with a razor in one hand, a photograph in the other)
This neck connects
Her head to her body.
Her true self
To the garden of her delight
I should have married
A real woman
A woman
Who acts like a wife
Whose head belongs to me
Just like her body
A woman
Made of my rib
A woman
Out of whose rib
I was made
A mother
My mother
Not a phantom of a woman
With curves as lovely
As love itself
But with the eyes
Of a statue
Looking inside
Not outside
Not at me.
Fragmented reality.
Snatches of dreams.
Swimming in light
Silvery outlines shimmer
Close yet elusive
To catch them
I slash on her neck
With my razor
Dividing her head from her body
Photographic blood
Burns my fingers.
I kill her
To make her mine

SHE (enters, he doesn’t see her)
You slashed at my neck
With your razor
You wanted my body dead, obedient,
Only yours,
Still desired by everyone,
Yet your toy
Your property.
My dear,
My neck is a living bean-stalk
It shoots for the sky
A rail-track for the train of my song
A beam of light
A telescopic snake
One thousand burning giraffes
Up and up only,
Away from you,
Away from any man.
So high
That all you can see
Are parts of me only:
Lips. Eyes. Tears.
Neck. Breasts. Hips.
Fragmented reality
Floating in violet sky
Oblivious to your lust.
No knife will help you.
I am not to be butchered.
I am not to be owned.
HE (looks out the window)
It is not the sun in the skies
It is lust.
Spread over the horizon
Like a snake,
Like a trap
Waiting to open,
These lips will devour you.
You think it is love
But it is death.
You think it is lovely
But it is evil.
I observe it
My photographic lens
Opens and shuts
The only way to survive
Is art.
In your fantasy
These lips are for kisses
For flaming touches
Flesh to flesh
Feeling flushed
Dear, my lips will devour you
Drink you
Drain you
Dry you
To the last drop
To your death
But not with love.
My lips are not for loving
Not for feasts
Nor for flesh
Nor for you
Nor for any other man
To own
My lips are for singing
For sounds so sinful
So strong so scary
They singe you
With music
Seal you
Steal you
Slice you
Scar you
Kill you

Some women
Are songs
Not bodies
Not lovers
SHE (laughing)
Tie yourself
To the mast
Blind yourself
Flee for your life,
Brave hero
My body is me
But I am not my body
Do not deconstruct me
Do not serve me on your plate
Do not attempt to consume me
Do not enter me as a mirror
Look into me first
Do not look at me
Listen to me, hear me, know me
For when you know me
You know you
HE (looks into the mirror)
When I try to go though your mirror
All I do
Is cut my hands
Your beauty was created to ruin the world
but the world will ruin your beauty
One thousand ships launched by you
Into the space of eternity
Never return
You send them to death
yet without me
you are never alive


Like empty hangers
These lovers’ story never unfolds
It doesn’t exist anymore
yet it is here
Suspended in the air
Swinging in the draft
In the indeterminate place
The fur on the imaginary fur coats
ripples like waves
Heaves like breasts of sleeping beasts
This transparent narrative
Is magic carpet rich.
Invisible threads of him and her
Create the pattern
of eternity


this window is so dim
the garden outside looks wet
as if it is raining
it is not
i can see streams of water
pouring down the empty yard
and down the alley,
yet the asphalt is dry
light grey
pigeon grey
the asphalt is cracking
like a desert
yet what are those torrents in the yard
I’m calm
nothing hurts inside or outside
the yard is empty
the gate is swinging
and the water is flowing
yet it’s dry, so dry
but the trees are crying
I see roses and some flowers i don’t know
swaying and crying
the invisible rain keeps pounding on my head now
how loud is this rain
I look at the dry coffee table outside
at two empty cups
filling with the invisible rain
here comes the fire engine
the siren is deafening
I can’t hear it
but I see it
it is red
it is fire
the fire engine is here
to put out the rain
this red rain
here comes the police car
to arrest the red rain
here is the ambulance
they say it’s for me
I’m not in pain
yes this is a razor
but there is no blood
you must be blind
there is no rain
there is no fire
there is no blood
there is no love
and I’m not dying
I’m dead
I feel nothing

red rain and razors, cut neck and the voice of space are © Zarina Zabrisky

Author’s note :

I am attaching my poems from the series “Cut Neck” inspired by Man Ray and Lee Miller and first performed at the SF Legion of Honour Museum at the exhibition Man Ray/Lee Miller-Partners in Surrealism.  

I was lucky enough to read next to Man Ray’s “Lips” but that performance was not taped, unfortunately. It was my favorite reading setting. I attach the images that have inspired the “Cut Neck” and “The Voice of Space” by Man Ray and the photographs of performing next to them.  It was a very special moment in my artistic life.

There is a video of these poems performed in the Upper Gallery of the Museum. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gC4kjPh5Mc

If this video is too long, there is also a performance of “Cut Neck” only, by Simon Rogghe and myself to the music from a surrealist film “L’Etoile De Mer.” (also performed at the exhibit):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2PEAKmE_Vc 
Zabrina Zabrisky

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