Abstract Magazine International | Stripper by Vi Khi Nao
Abstract seeks fine art in all forms that engages with both the crises and joys of our shared human condition. We seek art that engages the edge of now; we seek to explore a future forward zeitgeist with a respect for the gifts of the past. We are looking for both established and emerging artists across a broad range of genres. Our criterion is quality.


Stripper by Vi Khi Nao

24 Oct 2017, Posted by admin in Poetry

Art: Photograph by William Zuback, @williamzubackphotographs


Three men in the midst of a biblical

Let us be clear about what is happening:

The one in the center, famous for his
tongue, is trying to pantomime the
message that anything holy does not
need to be clothed. The guard to his
right considers his argument.

Two legs locked in a pensive position,
creating an obsolete triangle. Is he God
or is he the son of the Messiah? What
does it say when the bones and the flesh
aspire to form the trinity?

The Holy Ghost is naked and cannot
fuss about its matted hair.

If God is on the right, rightly so,
standing on his throne, then Christ is the
guard on the left of the Holy Ghost,
trying to be a negotiator. What is he
trying to negotiate?

Christ cannot ignore the obvious: the
garment’s full-time job is to be a snake,
coiling around the leg of the most

Do creatures of immateriality
experience vulnerability? Or is their
flesh a movie theater for the Gods-in-
One to view the turmoil of mankind?

The biblical world takes on so many
meanings. Who can discern lies from
truths? Even the creators are clueless.

About the author:

Vi Khi Nao was born in Long Khánh, Vietnam. She is the author, most recently, Sheep Machine, and story collection, A Brief Alphabet of Torture, which won FC2’s Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize in 2016, the novel Fish in Exile (Coffee House Press, 2016), and the poetry collection The Old Philosopher, which won the Nightboat Books Prize for Poetry in 2014. She holds an MFA in fiction from Brown University, where she received the John Hawkes and Feldman Prizes in fiction and the Kim Ann Arstark Memorial Award in poetry

Art: William Zuback

In the artist’s words:

I have been a professional photographer for almost 30 years. I have a BA in photography from Brooks Institute of Photography. My artistic influences began in my teens with my appreciation for great album art of the late 60’s, 70’s, and early 80’s. Additionally, I was influenced by concept albums during that same time period. I liked these musical constructs that extended the narrative past a single song. Photographs and words. Photographs are what I create, words inspire me. What a beautiful union they often times make. I’m known for my nude portraits but I also create many still life tableaux. The majority of my work expresses the identity of individuals, groups, and family.

All of my photographs are taken in my home studio, affectionately called BacktotheZu Studios. I’m amazed that all of my images are created in this small out building of approximately 400 sq ft. Half of this space is dedicated to a sitting area where I’m lucky to sip whiskey with many friends and fellow artists. I go back and forth between digital and analog photography. All of these images are digital. I’m not fixated on equipment. Lighting is usually one light source, either natural light through a studio window, strobe, or incandescent. Ideas dictate the technical direction of my photography.
I can be reached through my email: wmzuback@williamzubackphotographs.com or my IG account @williamzubackphotographs My website is www.williamzubackphotographs.com

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