Tuesday, December 24, 2013


He shifts and pulses within a diminishing series 
of nested cells: the block, the building, the room,
the wall, the frame, the painted void.
The expanse of dead yellow air
into which is carved a knife-slit box 
within which his torso sits, hunched and fidgeting,
knotting and unknotting its bony knees,
a fly suspended in amber, clad in trousers,
all its faces flickering, smeared and melting,
its putty skull folding in on itself and flipping
inside out, swelling, collapsing,
a kneaded wad of festering bruises
and lumps of quivering carrion
never resting.

Unable to take anymore,
he hurls his bulk against the door,
knocks and rattles the knob,
then squeezes his head through the keyhole
to pop out on the other side.
He looks around, twisting and twitching,
veins jumping, eyes sliding. He tries to withdraw
but is stuck, thrusting and throbbing,
wriggling at the end of the skewer.
Screams bubble beneath the surface.
Tongues pummel each other, battling for dominance 
of the crowded mouth.
He tries to leap from his skin
but remains straitjacketed, anchored
to the chair. Pinned to the mat.
Lashed to the mast. The fist inside the glove.
The worm itching to burst from the pod.
The oyster writhing in its shell.
The panther pacing behind the glass.
The cancer already beginning to throb 
within your chest

You can check out Francis Bacon's portrait of Lucian Freud in person at the Portland Art Museum through March.

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