blood & suspended peppered sunlight

marlo marquise

The Fountain of Blood

Charles Baudelaire, 1821 – 1867

A fountain’s pulsing sobs—like this my blood
Measures its flowing, so it sometimes seems.
I hear a gentle murmur as it streams;
Where the wound lies I’ve never understood.

Like water meadows, boulevards are flooded.
Cobblestones, crisscrossed by scarlet rills,
Are islands; creatures come and drink their fill.
Nothing in nature now remains unblooded.

I used to hope that wine could bring me ease,
Could lull asleep my deeply gnawing mind.
I was a fool: the senses clear with wine.

I looked to Love to cure my old disease.
Love led me to a thicket of IVs
Where bristling needles thirsted for each vein.


I am in awe. This woman inspires, seduces and bemuses me. Marlo Marquise is a sinuous petite china doll with a forked tounge, cantilever strength & dedication that stops you dead in your tracks.

She taught me how to walk and press my flesh into broken glass in New Orleans this past winter at the Snake Oil Festival and shared time after the workshop to sit and talk with me about her life, history and passion. It is our conversation that made an impression on me more than the feeling of shattered glass against my skin. Although my pubise still recalls the sensation with the writing of these words, remembering as muscles do, how it felt to crush glass bottle necks during bow pose with my pubic bone. I remember too how Marlo’s smile glinted on the left corner of her mouth as I lifted my gaze to her affirming stance beside me. I was doing something that frightened & thrilled me, and she knew what that felt like. It felt really fucking good!

She knew she wanted to be “a freak”. Sought it out at an early age and made it her own. She owns it. She unapologetically surmounted its bigotry and continues to rise to unbelievable heights of expression in her career as a Showgirl of Extreme Variety. She shared with us her study of the faquirs, stories of the jeers of men & women who felt threatened by her pursuits and her tender friendship with Bob Flanagan, renowned performance artist and poet whose life & infamous autobiographical film Sick, fashioned art from his pain.

She’s not a paradox, but perfection. Her body a living, writhing art form.


Seen tonight through the eyes of my husband in San Francisco, Marlo was suspended from the grids of the Masonic Theatre thrashing on hooks through her back above Jane’s Addiction. Michael, in his pure pleasure, shared live video and stills and “holy shit!” exclamations via text with me while I tucked into bed on the east coast. An unreal and awe invoking sight, I was like a cat watching catnip on a string. With phenomenal athleticism and discipline in action, Marlo, was the heartbeat and breath of the show.

I feel high just watching the performance. Even on my phone’s 3×5″ screen 2800 miles away from Masonic’s stage. I am in awe of her devotion and knowing, her artistic expression and intensity. Her beauty and unapologetic, raw spotlight on the human form as flesh and blood and transformation – her fucking pain – as verb & adjective.

4:00am est, I lay to bed and will dream for the next 3 hours until my alarm goes off,
of flying …
next to a goddess …
who suspends herself above peppered sunlight.

soar & bleed- lara

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4 Replies to “blood & suspended peppered sunlight”

  1. Watched her through my fingers as she lay down on knives and pierced her body while the music blaring at us telling us we were all pussies at snake oil festival, was on the edge of my seat, skeamished and in awe at this magnificent freak! Would love to see her act again, truly amazing!

  2. Thank you so much for the incredible post Lara! I was not at the JA show in San Fran unfortunately, so it must have been another lovely lady 🙂 I also wasn’t friends with Bob but just a huge admirer and he inspired me in my teen years to follow this kind of art <3 It was lovely teaching you at the workshop and I hope to see you all in NOLA again! xxx

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