an authentic dialogue

Welcome to the first of many posts which will arrive twice a month by Aimee Herman. It will be a kaleidoscope of musings inspired by various texts, conversations, and observations. 


In “Roland Barthes” by Roland Barthes (translated by Richard Howard), he asks, “Where is your authentic body? You are the only one who can never see yourself except as an image…” It can be difficult to see one’s self as a whole. Mirrors are bullies without the childhood backstory. How not to notice that scar and recognize it as that time the boy called you ugly so you felt the need to prove him right. How not to just see it as a development of fibrous connective tissue. Not everything is a metaphor.

I lift wrist attached to palm finalized by fingers when I meet someone. Others call this a shake. Or an affair of hands meeting, vibrating against one another.

Here is a transcript:

Hand 1: Hello.

Hand 2: Hi.

Hand 1: What I mean to say is, where do you come from?

Hand 2: And what I meant was how do you exist? 

Hand 1: It really is winter outside, don’t you think?

(When one introduces words on weather, it reveals discomfort)

Hand 2: I am reminiscent of shivering.

Hand 1: How do you spend your days?

Hand 2: How heavy is your wallet?

Hand 1: There are some parts of me that cannot be touched.

Hand 2: Everything has been triggered by warnings.

Hand 1: Are you love?

Hand 2: I am intimacy issues.

Hand 1: Your word makes me uncomfortable.

Hand 2: Should we exchange info then?

I crash my limbs onto a corner of the city that is without people. I search for the emptiness of doors and buildings and sky and scrapes of initials into sidewalks. Each human I touch spits their genetics into the cracks of my skin and it takes me months of scrubbing to understand what remains.

I am just an image of projected repetitions. We are a barrage of repetitions.

Here is a(nother) transcript:




New baby.



Reference to break-up.


Reference to hook-up.






Barthes goes on to write, “When I resist analogy, it is actually the imaginary I am resisting: which is to say: the coalescence of the sign, the similitude of signifier and signified, the homeomorphism of images, the Mirror, the captivating bait.

Perhaps there is that need to break through the representation of an idea and just be blatant. However, within that blatancy, there is still so much underlying imagery.

Revised transcript from above:

I want you to tell me I look good.

I am eating food far more expensive than it should be.

This pet is replacing the void in my bones.

See above but replace pet with human.

I want you to tell me I look good.

This is a reminder that I am doing things.

I want you to think I am not hurting.

I want you to tell me I look good.

I want to pretend I am not hurting.

I want you to tell me I look good.

I have friends.

I want you to tell me I look good.

Please tell me I look good.

I lift words and place on tongue, dripping with the sauce of morning. It is early enough that my voice is cracking like the floorboards of pre-war apartment. Beside me, a human dressed only in hair, dry skin, wounds from war-torn childhood and an erection. (I am alone.) There is desperation to speak out the answer to the question I heard last: Don’t you want to be happy?

Instead, I layer questions onto the one first spoken to see if it will get me closer toward understanding:

I say: What is that?

I say: Peaceful?

I say: What is its going rate?

I say: Are there side effects?

I say: No?

I say: What is my other option?

Barthes continues, “Which body? We have several. I have a digestive body, I have a nauseated body, a third body which is migrainous, and so on…”

Maybe there is no one way to be or represent or speak or exist. All these images are truths inside us. They are SOS’s and snapshots and begged breaths of validation and metaphor and metaphor and metaphor.

We place palms together and sway.


OUT NOW: Aimee Herman - meant to wake up feeling (great weather for MEDIA, 2014)