The Skin Code


International, 2013-14

Dieses Projekt ist eine Zusammenarbeit zwischen der Poetin und Gender Expertin Cova Alvarez und der Fotografin Mona Simon. Sie behandelt die Fragen nach dem Weg, den eine Frau einschlägt, nach dem Bild, das sie von sich kreiert, unterhalb der Codes, die wir alle als Norm internalisiert haben.

Experience – Cambodia


She will be a prostitute, it is written. She will, already is, something without a solution, without a future, without any value: the verdict spreads throughout her body, echoes deep down. However, something inside her, something unex- pected was capable of sustaining that look. Of recognising an evil that didn’t belong to her and of instinctively turning the mirror: Thank you, she said, I wish all the best to your family. You have spoken without a heart.


Then she climbed a tree. She promised to that tree not to accept a destiny somebody spat out. There is love for me there, my love is what will come, it is what I am going towards. The love that will sew dresses and will be her own suit. She promised it to a tree, to her best and only friend at that moment.
















I am in transition – Sweden 

like a dirty uprooted sheet. The violet edge of the sky has turned grey and shivers like a leaf. The sun surrounds my waist with its herd of closed octopuses and measures the tremor of my circumference. It is so simple: black liquid. The transition towards another thinga red thing earlier now pursuing white, finishing it moves comes back moves me.

In Sweden things work and the pieces fit together, just like in her. Determination settles in the body as if in a glove, and also the vision of other places to travel to, where a mission is to be accomplished.


Power – UK 


There is a grandmother.


She is a music box grandmother that emigrated to the African soil, that always loves us, that lets us stay within the music of the world. There is a grandmother that teaches us love and how to be part of something bigger. A jungle grandmother that grows inside our heart putting down deep roots, singing to us softly. The thin girl knows very early that she will always go towards the wild parts of her heart, that she will not settle for less and that it will mark her. Men and love: that is another story, a story within a story. In the outskirts, in the peripheries of the heart there is skin, skin that dresses in black, that wears boots to firmly step on the brake and on the accelerator. Cat moves of the joints when you walk and a roar when you sing what cannot be silenced. All that, she says, can also scare wounded gazelles. And that’s fine, it’s something that can happen with lions.


Amante – Spain

There is no other nationality than language itself. Speech is the place of belonging, of recognition,of reinvention. It is, by definition, the place of contact. Our language is our story, our architecture with incidents, demolitions, ruins, accents and silences. Our language embraces us, it thinks of us, it goes through us, it feeds us, it makes us laugh and leaves us crying.

My mother tongue is the word ‘amante’. And all the rest is foreign.

Young at heart – Mexico/USA


And now, at the centre of her wooden home, at

Southeast edge of world, remembering, feeling,
thinking about all unimaginable, all inevitable,

all inevitable poems.
all the inevitable loves.
all loves uninhabitable.
all unpredictable loves.

Thinking about her and all women like her who
bring a kiss on the forehead. Her grandmother ́s
kiss, that blessing.

Now that, fortunately, we do not know anything.


Learn to live is collecting ingredients from experience

– Romania 


Know that people that watch can see us
in black and white. In white or black,
they can simply reject what they are
not get used to look or listen within
repetitive and squared protocols.
With me, for them, there are not mid-
dle terms, she says.


Learning that pain too: pain that comes
from peripheral, stereotypical looks, looks
that whisper to others nothing more
than what they want to confirm about

I don’t care, I don ́t care…

Question life, fight beautifully and talk from your heart

 – CAmbodia

The true fighters aren’t those who give more violence to the violent one. They are those who dance under a storm and who take their skin colour as a gift, as a tattoo of the place where they belong. They are those who speak from it and remember their wounds in movements in order to give them a new direction. They are those who are not ashamed of the darkness they have been collecting through abandonments, losses, failed encounters and contempt. 

Freer than ever – Canada/Albana

It goes like this, one day something breaks our heart. No, to be more exact: something uproots our heart. It throws us to the ground and leaves us there, in our loss. In the most absolute darkness we remember why we have to open a window again. It is them and for them, all the women in our life, all the good man – the ones that can use their arms to hug- all that strength we have and that wouldn’t forgive us our resignation. He is also there, the father who has to fight against his own coldness to come closer and touch our forehead, to tell us: get up, go where you have to go. And there is still, always, curiosity. Even if we have lost trust in what gave sense to our life, we still feel curiosity. 


Not to be hopeless – Cambodia

She wants to fall in love and perhaps get married, although she doesn’t think about it. In order to consider it as an option, she would have to meet someone strong enough to be kind.

What would you say to your children, if you had any, I ask her. That what seems obvious doesn’t matter, she says.

That they should never put up with a destiny that makes them unhappy. I had another destiny, and I am dedicating my whole life to break it. 

Knowledge is light


She thinks of switching on all the lights and putting all the pieces together: Is that possible? Mother says no. What about what has disappeared from our view? Those things, those ones that failed to cross the border? What happens to what was supposed to be our native language when we are exiled?


It is the natural hope, without misery, that innate freedom, that resistance: the search of light outside, indoors.


To move in the darkness knowing intuitively the existence of that light, confirming it.



And sharing it, that responsibility, just next.

Plentitude Venezuela


Belly moves. A fish swims within this perfect bowl. It is not known if this fish will be a girl or a boy. She does not want to know. It was decided not to have any expectations, not to watch, listen and feel that little fish with the closed eyes of the difference.

The body is. She enjoys letting it grow, ask for more, stretch the skin, relearn the magic of bones and muscles moving, claim for being wise in actions and callings. Enjoying this new beauty inch by inch, this new sensuality. Enjoying not having any control of what happens, this immense freedom.