I am simply the latest to come to you
with my frantic efforts at restarting your heart,
adrenaline-breath in through the lips
that Baudelaire compared to La Joconde’s.
Everything burns internally when
I Google you, for images only, everything
since they fished you from the Seine
by the Quai de Louvre, causing a hole
in humanity; we couldn’t cope with
this loss. Countless corporations
and attempts we have made on your likeness,
inconnue. Smiling and concentrated,
black and white and in high def,
in water, on land,
scenarios and death masks,
the rucksack of Baby Annies
you gave birth to; decapitated-you
French kissed; a trunk, you goad us
implying you could still be reanimated
if we keep thumping on your improved chest
more lifelike in its trademark death.
Perhaps it is this handing on
that is the saving, Anne. A toy maker
and a doctor made you. Breathe. 1, 2, 3…
What the Rijksmuseum Did to Me
I’d had a hard time in the gallery
trying to work out my place in it all
so, outside, the body that smashed onto the pavement
was a welcome distraction.
It was not a man anymore, but some
rags and lumpy jam.
One of his eyes looked up at me.
The other was popped.
His teeth and lips now belonged to the floor
I know how you feel. This is my relief.
But please reassure me Vermeer’s milk pourer
is as good as I like to remember.
I said it was and gave a good description
of how the bread was painted to prove I had concentrated
but really, my heart wasn’t in it.
Graham Clifford‘s debut The Hitting Game was published by Seren and highly commended in the Forward Prize 2015. His pamphlet Computer Generated Crash Test Dummies will be published in January 2015 by Black Light Engine Room. For more, visit www.grahamclifford.co.uk.
Image credit: Pati