I am quicksilver, the fox in the night, emotional about the poetry, love & desire in scent, read me.
Thursday, 6 June 2013
Poetry & Perfume I – 'For My Lover, Returning to His Wife' by Anne Sexton & 'Onda' by Vero Profumo
For My Lover, Returning To His Wife
By Anne Sexton
She is all there.
She was melted carefully down for you
and cast up from your childhood,
cast up from your one hundred favorite
She has always been there, my darling.
She is, in fact, exquisite.
Fireworks in the dull middle of
and as real as a cast-iron pot.
Let's face it, I have been momentary.
A luxury. A bright red sloop in the
My hair rising like smoke from the car
Littleneck clams out of season.
She is more than that. She is your have
has grown you your practical your
This is not an experiment. She is all
She sees to oars and oarlocks for the
has placed wild flowers at the window
sat by the potter's wheel at midday,
set forth three children under the
three cherubs drawn by Michelangelo,
done this with her legs spread out
in the terrible months in the chapel.
If you glance up, the children are
like delicate balloons resting on the
She has also carried each one down the
after supper, their heads privately
two legs protesting, person to person
her face flushed with a song and their
I give you back your heart.
I give you permission—
for the fuse inside her, throbbing
angrily in the dirt, for the bitch in
and the burying of her wound—
for the burying of her small red wound
for the pale flickering flare under her
for the drunken sailor who waits in her
for the mother's knee, for the
for the garter belt, for the call—
the curious call
when you will burrow in arms and
and tug at the orange ribbon in her
and answer the call, the curious call.
She is so naked and singular.
She is the sum of yourself and your
Climb her like a monument, step after
She is solid.
As for me, I am a watercolor.
I wash off.
I wanted to write about a scent of return. The
scent of a lover returning to his wife, indelibly marked by perfume. As if to
say….you may be going back to her….but
you will always smell of me.
This is what I wanted to convey and
Anne Sexton’s poetry is tough and
confessional, often messy and overtly manipulative. But her best work is
horribly compelling, lit with rage, humour and lacerating awareness of her
crumbling, depressive and fragile world. After numerous attempts at
self-murder, on the 4th October 1974, wrapped in her mother’s fur
coat she finally died in her garage in a carbon-monoxide filled car.
In my younger years I played the homme fatal; enjoying the dangers of
sexual subterfuge and to be honest not really caring about the damage I left in
my eager wake. I loved the sound of a shattering marriage, blooding my feet on
the pieces of broken relationships. I had a worrisome ability to tug at sexual
threads until they unraveled. There were times I felt secure, real, the solid
incarnation of desire, other times I knew I was temporary.
face it. I have been momentary.
luxury. A bright red sloop in the harbor.
hair rising like smoke from the car window.
We enthrall and bind in so many ways. But I
hated being left as they backtracked on promises and slid on back to wives,
boyfriends and lovers. I only had so much power. And I suppose in reality I
wanted the excitement to remain electric, dramatic and exquisite. This
performance, this craving for attention was always scented, doused with perfume
and cologne. I was quite deliberate in my anointing of skin. Fragrances like Grey Flannel, Antaeus, Sagamore, Minatore,
Azzaro, Sun, Moon & Stars, Jicky,
Tabac Blond and Givenchy Gentleman dripped
and poured across rendezvous flesh. I wanted them reeking of me. I wanted them
to return to others and arouse sniffed suspicions and lashing ire.
So for this beautiful, raging and
melancholy Sexton poem, I wanted something exceptional and of course erotic. On
a visit to London I found it. I am now obsessed.
Onda is a work of unparalleled dirty beauty. Shocking and intensely
desirable. Demanding to be inhaled profoundly off the skin, licked off. It also
causes the senses to rebel, reel from the mosaic build of notes and effects. And
then return again and again for more.
I had been reading about Vero Kern and her
quixotic and highly regarded work for some time. A remarkable lady, Vero
launched three perfume extracts, Onda,
Kiki and Rubj in 2007 aged 67. An obsession with olfaction and art had
created in Vero a desire to compose fragrances that echoed the great perfume
traditions of the past but also somehow had a core of modernity that might
unsettle and intrigue a modern wearer. Based in Zurich, Vero continued to
release eau de parfum versions of the original three and a fourth scent Mito was launched last year to huge
acclaim. She once said she wanted opulence,
originality and eroticism in scents….
I think wearing and experiencing Vero’s
work is the closest we will get to experiencing how fragrances might have smelt
in the heyday of classic perfumery, scents laced with civet and castoreum,
nitromusks and thick swathes of iso-butyl quinolone. I imagine loaded rooms
awash with decadent skins, secrets, masks and promises of endless night.
Rubj is intensely pornographic, cumin & tuberose mixing like illicit
lovers on the skin. It smells whorishly smooth and close, just fabulous. It
reminds me of the film L’Appollonide
(Souvenirs de la Maison Close) by Bertrand Bonello about the saturated,
sensual and wearisome life in a Parisian brothel in the early twentieth
century. The film is shocking in places and vividly realised, with disturbing
surrealist moments counterpointed with moments of joy and bawdy humour. My
friend Mr E wears Rubj with great
style and louche knowingness.
L’Appollonide (Souvenirs de la Maison Close)House of Tolerance trailer
Kiki ( a homage to Man Ray’s muse Kiki de Monparnasse) is an explosive burst
of lavender tempered with unctuous caramel and pepper. One of the best lavender
fragrances I have ever smelt along with the simple but evocative Caron Pour Homme. The lavender burns
across the skin like a sugared fire, the flames mauve and emerald green.
Apparently it is Vero’s favourite among her fragrances. The eau de parfum is
layered and swirls like weather. The extrait is pure and hits the senses like a
bell being struck in a heatwave, high, clear and compelling.
oh Onda is something else
entirely…. sex in toilets, piss and urinal cakes, smeared fruit, sweat and
sweet sweet skin. This may sound off-putting and weird but I assure you that on
the body, Onda is one of the most
beautiful and confrontational perfumes you will try. I find myself horrified by
its allure yet Vero’s incredible balancing of passion fruit, citrus notes,
basil, honey, vetiver, musks and patchouli has produced something of raw power
and sensuality. I have shown this scent to some people who have instantly paled
and recoiled, so startled by the visceral thrust of the construction. Others
cling to your wrist like drowning sailors to driftwood.
This scent is for all my lovers who ever
returned to their wives, men whatever. They may have had you back, but I made
damn sure you reeked of me forever. I may faded like the watercolour of
Sexton’s poem, but you will be indelibly marked by the power and unruly nature
of fragrance. Onda is the
encapsulation of that power. They will wear something safe, Chanel or Prada say,
all safe harmony and dignity, unobtrusive and real. Onda is the hammer to conformity.
Onda is perfumed violence, sex and the unexpected. I have a feeling Anne
Sexton would have approved.
For more information on Vero Kern please follow the link: