poetry fix: everyone i have ever slept with

on 06-30-2012

To celebrate National Poetry Month in April, I wrote a daily poem inspired by a random Pinterest image.  My only boundary was one of time — 10 minutes to pick a pin and finish the poem.


One day, Tracey Emin’s exhibit at the Saatchi Gallery in London caught my eye — a powerful, whimsical portrayal of her sexual history titled “Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963 – 1995 1995”  {Appliquéd tent, mattress and light 122 x 245 x 214}. I imagined her words on the tent floor resonating below unfurled sleeping bags with dreamers tucked inside — “WITH MYSELF/ ALWAYS MYSELF/ NEVER FORGETTING.”


For the first few minutes, I wrote from the perspective of the artist as she stood next to her very conservative but supportive mother who was experiencing the exhibit for the first time. And then I thought – no, I want to bring in the artist’s childhood friend, someone who comes to every show and is often baffled by what she sees, wondering how things like square dancing crash test dummies qualify as art. I wanted to capture the relief friendship delivers — the liberation of being known and accepted by someone and the special magic of humor between old friends.


 “everyone i have ever slept with”

your glowing tent reminds me of evolving backyard adventures –

ghost stories to boy talk to inviting those boys inside our zipped-up vinyl palace.

i marvel at your bold story-telling, so much more revealing

than your square dancing crash test dummies or

jelly jars filled with sequin studded teeth.

when i whisper, “i could never create something like this,”

you say, “oh sure, sure you could. you’d just need a bigger tent.”

by yvonne melania lieblein

Pin-spired by Tracy Emin’s

“Everyone I Have Ever Slept With 1963 – 1995 1995”

{Appliquéd tent, mattress and light 122 x 245 x 214}

One Comment

  1. Inspiring as always. Just what I needed today as I marched upstairs to work on a sunny Sunday, thinking my daughter has her whole life to live and craft as she likes–how did I craft this life? full of both abundance and beauty and must do drudgery?

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