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I was never a surrealist

September 16, 2012

A letter by Frida Kahlo to herself, written in Detroit in August 1932. Any resemblance to real people is purely intentional. This first appeared at The New Inquiry.

Turquoise mosaic mask, Aztec/Mixtec (1400-1521 A.D.), Mexico.
Source: The British Museum via Art Tattler.

Carta: Mater Dolorosa.

I am eager to survive.

Let’s leave this place. Long dining room tables scare me. To rejoin the revolution is a hope I still carry.

I am not nothing. I am a small thing. Small thing with a dead small thing in an urn.

DEDICATED TO: My first cell. An egg laid in Coyoacán.

I am determined to stay resolutely bright

Despite the unpredictable phenomenon of my disintegration.

Feet. Cells. New nations. Grease. Inhalation. Phony smiles.

Terrible pain but I am grateful to be LIVING. ‘To live’ — the irony of writing those words on a day of death.

Colorado.’ They told me it is white. (To be white and colored!) There are no colors.

Supposedly we are in the North now but Ursa Major is not visible. Pigeon mistakes. Instead of going South, Diego brought us North.

August 27. August 28. August 29. Black mood. Imperialist vacation. Poison vista.

I burned a hole with my cigarette

Over the HENRY FORD HOSPITAL plastic bracelet that
Diego cut off my hand.

Window: defiant burps, factory smoke, skeletons. Non-dates, non-minutes, non-chairs.

Expulsion of nerves and feet from my belly. Everything left colorless. Later, sitting next to Mr. Ford with an ashen face and a magenta bride-doll dress.

No exhibition for me here, but the house is spotless. What the Americans lack in conviviality they make up for in cleaning products.

I am dying a little after every fight.

The mockery of my soundless dreams against the ink stains on Diego’s pants. I’m only kidding. There is no distance. I wear all the colors. Plasma & oxidopamine = plasmosis? Chromosaurus. CHROMOPHILIA. What do they care about the ancient origin of dyes here?

I despise Detroit because it reminds me of distance

Which does not exist.

Neither does colorlessness inklessness, the bottom of a well. I have never been more tired.

Ultimate disunion.

To be a beginning, to be a mother. And a death all at once.

My pain disgusts me.

Dogs disguise their pain with an absence of ‘theatrics.’

But being sick is a talisman. And I really am eager to survive.

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