Smoke Gets in Your Eyes

“He was one of the few people I was truly envious of. But he didn’t know how good he was and he was plagued with insecurities. He used to say he was jealous of me because music is more accessible and it reached more people. He loathed the idea that art was appreciated by an elite group. When I heard that Jean-Michel had died, I was not surprised. He was too fragile for this world.”



Photos: Steve Torton


“…When a lovely flame dies
Smoke gets in your eyes…”

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (1933)

Jerome Kern & Otto Harbach


What is Love? / What is Desire?

Photography and text by Duane Michals. 1999


“What is Love?
Love is a jubilant fountain of affection,
that floods the hollow heart with
happiness and overflows with joy. Like
wind, fire and air, it is a natural ele-
ment, an instinct to share, the caring
heart laid bare. Lovers fill with fas-
cination for each other, and see in the
other’s eyes what their lives have been
denied, and where their futures lie.
Infatuation is the adolescence of true
love. Romance is the fluttering of the
heart, when the other departs. I cannot
tame my orphaned heart’s remorse, or
claim myself to be my very own, since
you have roamed, and love has changed
its course. You are true north to my heart”


“What is Desire?
Desire is a coveting need, an urgent greedy
appetite to acquire and consume to satis-
faction. Unlike love which seeks to serve,
desire is self-serving and seeks its own
reward. Lust is sired by a panicked
yearning that erupts in passion and good
sense and logic are dispensed. It is a
spectre* in the skin that leads the hand
to sin. Desire dies when satisfied; Desire
denies multiplied. I can’t still remem-
ber even today the way your shirt was
torn and how I glimpsed a treasured
hint of your perfect form. And with
that quick glance desire was born”
*Misspelled in the original