KAYLA GUTHRIE


Tiger Tattoo, 2014
Letterpress print in frame
15.75 x 22.75 inches


       Tiger turns dirty circles in my veins,

                   shredded into a radiant angel,

                              red haired demon fluttering inside.

I sit while calm ecstasy grows in me, watching light curl upward through some distant sparkling spires. Facets of a diamond point in all directions from within. I move away from myself, shed a tired husk. A final spark flickers and dies.

Channels of a dry river.

White lamps cast icy grid patterns through the metal cage of a pedestrian overpass. I'm alone and full of determination with no purpose. Entranced by the sound of my own footsteps, I suck in the crystal angles of city night like the coals of a sentient forest, strewn with arcana, fluorescent bulbs flickering in a bright field of dreams.

Vivid and pungent. Aurora of craving, a halo in the skyscrapers.

Under moonlight, I am counting, thinking of food, pouring drinks in my mind. I imagine consuming silver-white clouds as I cross the street, gray stained with dark smudges, shadowy and black. I walk past a couple - relaxed and warm, human and soft - jean jackets, sandals, backpacks and backwards baseball caps. They turn, pulsing, into demons, and I evaporate, a ghost.

I arrive late, move through the thin crowd and vague hatred in the air, climb carpeted stairs lined with mirrors into colored lights and thumping sound. Hungry or full, I speak to nobody, burn holes through the back of strangers' heads. Transfixed, bivouacked, my fear and separation are jewels, precious stones melted into an elixir that I drink. Alcohol wouldn't sate me, drugs are for humans, but my inner toxins feed me and brighten my sight.

My eyes are lined with bronze and emerald, shining like rubies unexcavated, fixed in their bed of rock and sandstone, sleeping fossils beneath the earth. A cold reptilian flavor, forged in the fires of burning graves, ashes and wood turned to stone and concrete - alive with history dissolved to powder, frozen liquid trapped in snow. My feet dwell in lower realms where the ground's like psych, luminescent iridescent endlessness, seamless walls.

I feel something in my throat like a voice but what I hear comes from across the room, the words of a man with tattoos and a black shirt, his skin inscribed with curls and flourishes and tiny black cursive:

I am tired ~
I am weary ~
I could sleep for a thousand years ~


I sink in like poison, a fragrant blue blossom with purple eyes, red and psychoactive, mood changes...slowly winking into a dream, a subtle high of intricate feelings, veiled messages, sleeping pictures awaken in the mind...smell of flowers enliven the air and melt into green...walking in the warm light of millions of candles, sweet intoxication washing and melting into waves of brightening beauty, ripped up in light.

Forgiving palms touch, fingertips move through the flame of a candle. A tiger tattoo. Eyes, claws and teeth leaping into forever at me.