A Story About a Story


This is a story about a man telling a story
about a man telling a story. He looks into
a mirror and tells his tale to the man
he sees in the his mirror. And the man in the
mirror thinks that he is telling his story
to the man he sees in his mirror.
He finds a box and when he opens it,
He finds another box inside. And inside that
box is an even smaller one and yet an even
smaller one inside of it. When at last
he finds the tiniest box of all, he takes
a magnifying glass to see what he can see.
But all he sees is a giant eye looking
back at him.
He falls asleep and dreams of a man who
is dreaming about a man who is dreaming
and as you are reading this story I am
writing a story about you reading this story
Did you tell me this story, or did I tell it to you?

Text and image: Duane Michals

Death, Where is Thy Sting?

Portrait of Sting by Duane Michals


“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”

The  Bible


“Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, . . . and they will learn that death is sting less indeed, and as beautiful as life.”

John Muir

Sting in The Desert

هدي مدة طويلة
Hadaee mada tawila (It’s been a long time)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti (that I wanted to be with my beauty)
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti
وانا نحوس انا وعلا غزالتي
Wa ana nahos ana wahala ghzalti

عمري فيك انتيا
Omry feek antia (you are my life)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia (no one else)
ما غيرانتيا
Ma ghair antia



Riding a wave of pre-9-11 interest in Latin and Arabic cultures, Sting released Desert Rose, a single from Brand New Day (1999), his sixth solo album. The song peaked at #3 in Switzerland, #4 Italy, #15 in the UK Singles Chart and #17 in the US Billboard Hot 100.

The lyrics of the song are inspired by the Frank Herbert‘s novel, Dune, of which Sting is a fan. Sting also played the villainous Feyd Rautha in the 1984 film adaptation directed by David Lynch. Both the book and the song feature the Arabic language, as well as imagery involving moisture and desert plant life.

The song is noted for Sting’s duet performance with Algerian raï singer Cheb Mami, creating a distinct world music feel to the song. It also has a popular music video featuring Sting taking a trip through the Mojave Desert in a Jaguar S-Type and then going to a nightclub in Las Vegas to perform the song with Cheb Mami. After shooting the video, Sting’s manager Miles Copeland III approached a music licensing maven, Lloyd Simon, to work with Jaguar on a collaboration, and the auto company featured the video in their prominent television advertisements during the year 2000.



Tea in the Sahara“, included in Synchronicity (1983) The fifth and final album by The Police, is a quiet, eerie song about three women who meet their death in the desert; the song is based on a story from Paul Bowles‘ novel The Sheltering Sky (1949). That novel of post-colonial alienation and existential despair was adapted by Bernardo Bertolucci into a 1990 film with the same title starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich.