self-portrait that is not a self-portrait

After Orlan’s The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan

there’s much to be said
for becoming something

else than what you are,
but as I read about

The Reincarnation of Saint-Orlan
who underwent a series of

‘performance surgeries’
inspired by Western ideals of art

I think of how we all live

within our own
circumferences, our bodies

drawn by a compass
point that pulls & pushes

us to our limits, but still
leaves us birthed within ourselves

Kim Waters


This poem is inspired by Controversial French artist Orlan on the Creative Mapping website.

Kim Waters lives in Melbourne. She has a Master of Arts degree in creative writing from Deakin University. Her poetry has appeared in The Australian, Shanghai Review, Verge and Antithesis. She won The National Association of Loss and Grief (NALAG) 2nd Award in for the Grieve Writing Competition in 2018.

© 2019