excerpt from LUCKY STRIKE
by Quintan Ana Wikswo

First performed at Cornelia Street Cafe  




Between everyone in the room there are holes and we reach our hands into them and we draw them out as stumps, chopped off from the wrists, or maybe up past the elbows. We do it again and again, the idiot pursuit of what might be inside. What got left in there, and what we will continually attempt to retrieve.


This is what happens after killing and being killed. Almost. There are bodies full of holes upon holes, and if the air itself could bleed, it would. After the meetings, we go drinking and we are the ones with our faces to the doors and our backs to the walls. With our packs of cigarettes we feel proud. With our packs of cigarettes, we recognize ourselves as conspicuous: quarter-centuries, sometimes, after we should have quit. Anyone who’s still smoking now must have something terrible to hide.


We keep cartons in the freezer. Some kind of safe. Lucky Strikes. It’s the 21st century but our brands are still harsh, because that’s how we learned to do it: Decades into the mess and we’re embarrassed by a sentimentality that is bound down and impacted with pain. Or is it the other way around. All we know is that we’re supposed to be protecting something. We’ve been trained.


After we’ve been out drinking too much together, we put our fingers inside these holes. Sometimes we take off our clothes. Other times, we lean together in the street and touch. Holes in our shoulders, our mouths, our heads, between our legs. The holes are neither empty nor are they full.


He lifts up his t-shirt to show me his dark bullet wound on dark skin and he puts my finger on it, as though to stop the bleeding. It’s in your body now, I say and take my hands down lower, and he rests his hands on my belly and he says to me: your body is a boat that’s sinking.



Quintan Ana Wikswo (c) 2012
Reading her performance text “LUCKY STRIKE”
in NYC at Cornelia Street
with Arthur Kell on upright bass
(all content is the property of the artist)

Performed with FLASHPOINT performance ensemble
Cornelia Street Cafe, NYC
August 30, 2012