Self-portrait in Blood, Teeth and Mist

1: Blood

Already made of blood largely of blood more blood than imagination desire ambition conscience memory

I am a readymade in red

In a sequestered corner of the gallery (Do not touch)

Formless

Wet, salty, warm

Don’t hold up a mirror to my shameful shapeless face

I’ll probably faint

When I was nine years old I passed out at school

Because of words:

and dashed their brains out on the rocks

Words have held horrors for me ever since

I worry that people will say brains, stab and most of all blood

These words can flip my switch, trip me, slip me over into nothing

Most of all blood

Bl spews from the tongue, ood lands heavily

A corpse sound

My favourite Shakespeare play is Macbeth

I don’t like seeing what I’m made of

Or thinking about it

2: Teeth

I remade myself in teeth / out of teeth / from teeth / my teeth / who else’s / they were mine / my dental record was unique / my dental record was my blueprint / you could make me / fake me / bake me / delicious / from just that / just that dental record / worse than DNA / a worse betrayal than DNA / so I remade myself using my teeth as the sole medium / I was a self-sculptor / a red-handed god / a slave to myself / it took ages / the teeth didn’t always want to stick together / the teeth didn’t ever want to do anything / sometimes resisting / sometimes falling for gravity / falling to the floor / enamoured of the ground / grinding themselves into the ground / grinding teeth / grounded teeth / still I persisted / I fought on / clacking teeth together like sharp white Lego / never letting go of the picture lodged behind my eyes / my selfie / my self image / my imagined self / left foot bigger than right / handsome-ugly asymmetrical face / lower right jaw down and out / in surrealist Paris and hot hell London / hands gesturing grandiloquently / signifying nothing / man-chest / boy-arms / I didn’t dare give myself a cock / let alone a dick / a willy / a penis / a manhood / anything short of hyperbole would have been risible

My off-white near-totality

Needed a good brush

I hadn’t flossed in years

(The lies with which I have plied my smiling dentist!)

But it was good enough for now

Nearly good enough

Enough

3: Mist

a cloud of tiny water droplets suspended in the atmosphere

a cloud of tiny teeth suspended in the atmosphere

a cloud of white blood cells suspended in the atmosphere

a cloud of neurones suspended in the atmosphere

a cloud of thoughts suspended in the atmosphere

clouded thoughts suspended in the left hemisphere

crowded thoughts upended in the right hemisphere

rowdy thoughts ended in the noosphere

randy thoughts in bed

rancid doubts embedded

random debts

condom deaths

nom nom meth

om pests

wrong pets

schlong vets

shocking tests

stocking arrests

stock characters at best

sick characters in vests

slick characters undressed

Cyrillic characters going to press

lyric characters flowing East to West

lyric poems feverish with beasts and nests

lyric poems feverish with ceasefires and peaceful tears

ridiculous poems farting yeast and treacle years

ridiculous thoughts imparting blighted bleak creaking fears

cribbed thoughts impounded in the tight biosphere

crow thoughts upended in the right hemisphere

clouded thoughts dead-ended in the left hemisphere

a cloud of thoughts depending on the atmosphere

a crown of thorns descending on the lost seer

a cloud of neurones ending in beer

a cloud of white blood cells suspected of murder

a cloud of white teeth suspended in the mouth

a crowd of witches suspended in the moon

a can of worms suspended in your room

a can-can kicking rage

a clown kicking against age

a cloud of words on the page

a blank page

a blank face

a bank phase

a banned phrase

a bad phrase

bad days

sad daze

slight haze

white haze

missed gaze

mist

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