WORKING NOTES by Laura Moriarty
Nude Memoir was written as the result of finally seeing Duchamp's Étant Donnés in Philadelphia. I was startled to find the installation more like a crime scene than the idyllic garden I had been led to expect from many years of thinking and reading about the piece. My interest in beginning the work was partly to investigate why women in danger are interesting in art both to men and to women. It continued as a somewhat obsessive repeating narrative which revolves (literally) around sudden death, Hitchcock and other movies, Duchamp's work and also the work of the crime writer James Ellroy. It is written in nines. There are nine parts to each section. The broken-line parts are nine lines. These broken-line sections are sometimes arranged into targets. The sections are numbered from one to nine and then repeat. The completed manuscript is about 90 pages.

From: Nude Memoir



"Supposing truth is a woman" (Nietzsche) But suppose she is not? Truth. An empty room. She calls but turns off the phone. A mute reception. A banquet in fact. Not a myth. An act. A near myth. What kind of congress does he imagine? What assembly? With a name like Salomé. A proposition. A sense of dread. A series of names. Morgan. I was Mary then. A shock of hair at his mouth and on his head.

Pistis Sophia


Penis shaped woman

Engraved by Beardsley

How. Morgan. Le.

Fay. Gave. A. Shield.

To. Sir. Tristram.

The white folds                                                                   The wide

Space of the shield divides them. He seems to rear back. She is poised somewhat over. She is tall. Positioned in relation to and as a source of protection of. Him. In another moment she burns with fever. And now she is cold. And then hot again. She removes her inky gown. Tits high hips wide. She lifts one breast thoughtfully. It is heavier than when she was young. A thousand years ago.

Road movies like dreams. Son and younger brother traveling. Summer of movement and desperation. Satellite calls. She knew him to be content now in action. Her Janus. Child and man. Familiar but without presence. His verisimilitude. The map unfolds. Windshield. Steering wheel. Rearview and side windows. Things shooting backwards.

The phone rings silently like an alarm. A mystery. No time to say hello. The emergence. The opening was bloody. The event of a moment. When he calls it is always for help. It goes without saying that he never calls. He came over and watched as I worked on the machine. I wouldn't stop. He wouldn't stop watching. I was in love with technology. Thighs like iron etc. Always hungry.

Confidence woman
Strip mine



Lover and assassin
Mother's heart
In vain                                                                              Pump

For the pain. Edward was urgent. Sometimes it was pain. More often nerves as he might have said. But didn't. He didn't complain. He fought. He fought it off. The need to vanquish was palpable. In a room on the floor. He demonstrated his faith. A no action hero. We changed media. He used the word rape. He meant documentation. A strange beginning which came to nothing. And that only with difficulty.

Nothing is definable unless it has no history. The opening. Divide Meadow from a distance. Relief is temporary. The only thing to do is to keep going. It is an organized epiphany which denies its own existence. (This is what he despises.) With long strides. Knowing something from a distance. And finally forgetting to know. The sheer geography and clouds from the plane. Aerodynamic. Blasting away. Don't worry about me.

Baby                                                                            Two-fisted
Two-face                                                                     Tender


Buy into                                                                       Cry
Indentify                                                                       Swallow


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BIO: Laura Moriarty's recent books are The Case from O Books, Spicer's City from Poetry New York and the short novel Cunning from Spuyten Duyvil. These and her other books: like roads, Rondeaux, L'Archiviste and Symmetry are all available from Small Press Distribution ( where Moriarty is Assistant Director. Work from Spicer's City is currently on-line in the Spicer issue of Jacket. Moriarty received a Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation Award in Poetry in 1992. She is the editor of non, (see up dates) a poetry and poetics Web site at:   

non's promised next issues on song and on Leslie Scalapino should be up this fall.

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