I was aiming for 5min portraits but I ended up going a bit longer… Definitely a really good exercise and great practice on the new tablet. Now my wrist hurts. You can view the recording of the drawings in real-time here
The relationship between this desk,
these keys, that glass bottle there,
touchable things, reassuring
in the way they push against you,
push back, like a man snapping his fingers
in front of your eyes
after being knocked down, cold
the place we actually occupy,
operate our clunky, fleshy puppets.
Some of us are better at it than others,
almost graceful in the handling of their bodies,
I find it hard enough to drag my feet like iron chains
over splits in the roadside without stumbling,
or to lift my chin. I’ve been told
that I look like a man at sea
afloat, at peace
with his watery fate
the way my head hangs and swings
like a donkey’s tail.
The material world
pushes against me
with the biting persistence
of a whining child
but I’m too far away,
deep and safe
in that other place.
Something about you
broke my heart.
in the way you moved
around that pond
in the brick red morning
like an emperor of ancient Rome,
and I had to laugh
to hide the break, defensive,
always one to crack
a smile whenever somebody dies.
I wonder how we get so old
as I watch your smile
like tea leaves are watched
in the bottom of cracked china bowls,
and imagine I can read your loss
right there in your laughter lines.
It’s so cruel
to see you go this way,
and I’m not comforted
by how natural it is;
when all what made you
you is escaping
and there’s nothing
I can do but wait
into the still
You were always petite,
with your thirteen inch screen
sometimes I had to squint
to catch the fine print,
though more often than not
I didn’t read it – I trusted you.
Someone else’s hands had been all over you
before we even met,
I dread to think
about the fingers thick as sausage links
dipped into salsa bowls with chips
slip and sliding on your keys;
oh you were cleaned
but pressing my ear to your alphabet
I swear sometimes I could hear his heavy breathing.
We’ve spent three years together,
travelled three countries together,
and the crack in your face
screams ‘relationships need structure!’,
however, I never thought the day would come
when you wouldn’t boot up first time.
When you went completely blind
at first I was frustrated,
but part of me knew our time was near;
I hooked you up to a life-support machine,
your stretched insides on someone else’s screen
said to me ‘what kind of life is this?’.
My eyes were moist as I packed away our things;
poems, sketches, pictures and Cvs;
I’m sure you took longer than usual,
but who could blame you
for toeing the dirt
while waiting for the final ride
for which I’ll catch alone this time,
you turned off
for good this time,
Goodbye my friend,
I hurry to keep myself in sight.
Profile glances into restaurant windows
often whisper me warnings.
Ripples and slashes
I recognise only in passing
as slithers of a stranger’s sadness.
Half bald, quarter mad,
jaw taut as a mandolin string
I plod in heavy step
up and down streets
in a new town.
Rubbish sloshes out of bags,
gulls flick their heads
in a practised way
and work on the innards.
but simply enjoying the stasis,
I close my eyes
as I wait for the red light.
You bastard you bastard,
you predator gnawing at my sock –
there’s flesh under there, blood skin
nerves and pain,
I see the way you look at me,
you know I’m lily livered
I ought to rap your tiny skull
with my knuckles
I ought to Chinese burn
your tiny neck,
I’ll just take it masochistically
flying over my sleeping face
I bet I looked peaceful
I bet I knew peace
before we met,
screaming ball of wanton fur
at five am
fishing in my water
through blear eyes helpless
I watched it fall
like all good and vicious empires,
you diving away
like geurilla, like martyr,
with paws over your ears
bastard kitten smile
Your skin tweaks as if to the scuttle of a beetle’s touch,
and the window is stuttering
in the manner of a man about to ask an enormous favour,
almost embarrassed to reveal the street,
which is inevitably lank with the sun’s light.
We pull the curtains
but they hang uncomfortably
out-of-place, and solemn
as military uniforms collecting dust,
exiled to the wardrobes of widows.