I was


and he said I want to touch, just once, that’s all, my skin on yours, and I said I don’t want you to touch and he said I want to touch and I said you’re not listening. He said I want to touch there and I want to touch there where the skin feels different, and carry the memory on my fingers and put it where my skin feels different and I said I don’t want you to touch.


times the eyelids opened in my head and bile and lust and fear pushed the eyelids open on my face and sent me to my desk to open my SKIN BOOK and make the choice: I will not die today. I will not die before this page is full. I’m 37 and there are


Full pages in my SKIN BOOK. I carry their memory in my fingers, and I put my fingers on my skin and touch and it feels different from my SKIN BOOK. I think how he felt, and how he feels, and close my eyes and stop my ears and know the difference between them is the breath and the heartbeat and the stench of pheromone that makes one of them alive. It’s


O’clock and I open my eyes and think, I will not die today.

I was


when he said fuck me and I said yes fuck you, and wrote on the first page of my SKIN BOOK, tomorrow I’ll be


~ by yearzerowriters on November 5, 2009.

14 Responses to “SKIN BOOK #3”

  1. I absolutely fear that whatever words I come up with are going to be completely inadequate as a response to this piece of writing. I just do want you to know that I read it, and felt it absolutely.

  2. shivers.

  3. SKIN – medium of touch
    SKIN – (vellum) paper/parchment for inscription (tattoo)
    SKIN – Body bag enclosing us and making us non-porous (container for bile & other secretions until squirted out of 1 orifice or t’other like an icing gun)
    SKIN – One person’s dissolvable membrane when it rubs up against another
    SKIN – A constantly recycling resource of self, yet representing the mortality of time – shed cells we return to as dust
    SKIN – Artist’s canvas – both in terms of displaying emotion (pigmentation such as blushing) and in your case Dan, for displaying lean, evocative brushstrokes that demand us the reader to enter the canvas.


  4. I love skin book. ‘when he said fuck me & I said yes fuck you’ – & the 12 – 12 – 12 – cinderella chimes the hour for the shedding of our veils of SKIN. x


  5. Wow. Just wow!

    Frankly, was worried that it would not be my cup of tea. But it was that and a second cup!

  6. @RG – like I said on twitter, this part is just the ordinary story of the day a 12 year-old girl flays her bro & makes a journal form his skin 🙂

    @Heikki – it’s stories like this that remind you why you wear protective body armour around us 🙂

    @Marc funnily enough, skin to me will always be the best part of custard and gravy (separately, I add. I’m not quite Heston Blumenthal enough to do them together)

    @Penny – that line you quote is one I really worried about writing down because of the emphasis (& I didn’t want to use capitals/italics, to preserve the effect of capitalising SB) – reading it aloud last Thursday was very different because I was in control of the emphasis “FUCK me…yes fuck YOU” but I worried it would get lost/confusing on paper. I wonder if it works for you because you eard it first.

    @Marisa I’m delighted you enjoyed it. I’m well aware there are many people whose cup of tea it is not, and constantly surprised when there are people whose cup it is (and chuffed!)

  7. Wow! And it’s like all these pieces are talking to each other – that we’re being influenced by, or are heightening our work in response to, each other?

  8. amazing. i loved it, Dan

  9. i’m going to be totally cliche here and write what everyone is thinking, but i can’t think of another way to put it:

    it makes my skin crawl. (but of course in that good, provocative way.) i can’t wait for more, but the thought of dissonance makes me uncomfortable…which it’s supposed to do. and you have encapsulated that discomfort in a form that is totally unique.


    • Why thank you.

      Interesting that it makes people feel uncomfortable. I guess it IS meant to – but then (by the end of part 10) it’s meant to make the reader see beyond the unlovable exterior to the two human beings underneath, and the possibilities of love between them. In future years, perhaps, reading SKIN BOOK will be a test of sociability – if you feel for the characters by part 10 you’re balanced; if you never feel for them you have issues to do wuth self-awareness; if you think they’re cute in part one you’re a sociopath.

      • Society deems that you are a sociopath according to its various strictures – a bit self-referential that. If you don’t agree that you are a sociopath, that must prove that you are…

        But no, cute’s probably not a word I’d resort to …


  10. Horribly beautiful! My favourite kind of pretty.
    Also, I agree with Larry — I do think these pieces seem to be talking to each other. I wonder what consensus they’ll come to.

  11. I got a total Laura Palmer vibe from this (so obviously that means I like it).

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