:: Article

Naked in Front of Strangers #3

By Kimberly Nichols

As I slash open the gates of my fortieth year, the pace quickens with the brunt of mortality.

An exhilarating urgency, cool at my neck and blowing me onward,

To paths less associated with saloon girls but more aptly carved of wood, dark and smelling of musk, awaiting my stamp.

Things are no longer so random unless randomly intentioned

And I spend nights enveloped in a sheer sense of magic that is non-manipulated, prestigious and pure,

Lacking chatter

And noise,

Like a piece of Pae White’s popcorn lined with gold.

More prone to graphite stick, orange paint, thyme tea, and cloudy sky kind of Mondays

Where now just the simple act of flinging up the blinds sets the attitudinal stage for the day,

Between hermit and open for interaction,

Which I flit between squeezed down deep into a Piscean soul, tightrope wire grooves up the middle of my big toe.

Inching forward to a white box of a room; life laden with minimal things from wherein I create and come out of sparingly for food … wine … love.

Port, eggs and broken wishbones splay across my table as self-portraits start to take on an ounce of surreality –

I have never looked this way before

And it’s better than I’ve ever looked but not because I am beautiful,

Merely more secure in this all-encompassing fleshy shell.

As I oil up my thighs for a bike ride along the coast, an old mentor of mine calls strapped to a hospital chair,

Medicine flowing into her veins to request collaboration after fifteen years,

Yet I decline because there is so little time left to do

All those things that I alone, simply want to do

And the richness is now.

Kimberly Cooper Nichols is an artist, writer and social anthropologist living in Venice Beach, California. She has been exhibiting for over a decade as a conceptual artist in the United States and is the author of the book of literary short fiction Mad Anatomy. She also serves as editor for the socially progressive journal Newtopia. She is a contributing editor to 3:AM where her serial poetry column Naked in Front of Strangers appears monthly. She is currently at work on her second book Neptune’s Journey as well as a 22-piece conceptual art project titled FOOL.





First published in 3:AM Magazine: Thursday, February 21st, 2013.