art, poetry, prosetry

On Art

[Free-written at the Tate Modern, London, 2015]


Art is about shaking things up,
subverting everything that is safe and familiar.
Art sends you a link to a video
of your cosy little norms cheating on you,
in your own bed, with a handsome amalgamation
of everything you loathe
and then when you cry about it, Art just shrugs.

Art is about,
“Shaking up the still”
“Art as an extension of the body”
“Describing without describing it”
“Disrupting the settled”
I write these things down as I wander through the collections.
I am not settled, I will never be settled.
I am disrupted, severely, unfortunately.
Settled. I do not know the meaning of the word:
this truth makes me feel unsettled.


I’ve been told before that I’m a work of art –
each person who has said this meant it in a different way –
it doesn’t matter how, not really –
subjective, objective, neither.
But if art is about disrupting everything that is settled,
what am I? How am I? How do you disrupt the already disrupted?
Can you break the broken?
Maybe it would be real, true, genuine artistry to settle the unsettled.
Perhaps to rectify the disturbed would mean to
uncover the masterpiece underneath.

But no. This canvas may look pretty
but still been stretched and abused and exploited,
stared at, gawped at, criticised.
The framework in the centre of this sculpture
has crumbled; I fold in on myself
because I can’t hold this brain up anymore
with of all of its heavy thoughts and mind-fuckery.
But as long as my outermost layer stays easy on the eye
it’s fine for me to be ugly inside.


Art may well be about disrupting the disrupted
a test, an experiment,
to see how much disruption the disrupted can take
before they break
another layer of paint
let the cracks show
gloss over it all
keep piling on the paint
like the pressure that we’re so used to…
am I talking about art or psychiatry?
You can’t hang me on a wall
if I’m hanging from a tree.

We are disrupted daily hourly
subconsciously subliminally
above all, wholly.
We are entirely disturbed.
If art is about shaking things up,
I am the pre-packaged subject.
Life has rattled me, and
I am still shaking
recoiling from the things I’ve seen
with eyes, in dreams
running from my archive of deleted scenes
shuddering in my pathetic tent where I live
between the edges of some temperamental tectonic plates;
the tremors, the tremors, the never-ending tremors,
they are like noisy neighbours, disrupting me at all hours.
It is possible to disrupt those who are unsettled,
it’s just a little less easy.


Nobody pays to see me anymore.
I am no longer part of the collection
although I am still on display
in a lesser, unassuming way:
I have morphed into a nameless metal figure on a toilet door
I am bald, I have a triangle dress
and all of my scars have been polished off –
plus, I have no eyes or ears,
so no more lies and no more tears.
No longer the exhibitionist I was before
when I was a whore
when I was adored
when I was unconscious on the ballroom floor.
Things are quieter now.
But I’ll never be settled.
No, never settled.
Forever rattled, never settled.


If someone hears that I’m settled
they might decide to disrupt me
to shake me up
to make me into art.
My coffin in the ground
will be the grand finale
The cemetery will be the gallery
and people will come to see me again
not as a life form, but as an art form, immortalised.
A masterpiece that’ll take the art world by storm
see here, one who was ultimately unsettled who now lies settled!
My body in the ground
six feet under
a cheapo headstone bearing the official details
of one of my various personalities
some yellow roses, a pack of JPS and a vodka miniature
perhaps some rain
My most disrupted self, finally settled
The opposite of art
This final installation is named
“Girl, died
in pain,
in vain,
in sane.”

Maybe then
Art will seek to settle the disrupted
before it’s too late.


It is probably the case
that art saves more lives than psychiatry.
But when you’re standing graveside saying
what a waste, what a waste,
you won’t think of my soul at all
you’ll just think of my pretty face.


6 thoughts on “On Art

  1. I read this ages ago and I thought I commented but I don’t see anything here. Which is a travesty as this is the best thing of yours I have ever read and THAT IS SAYING SOMETHING as you know how mad I am about all your work but THIS well this is the kind of thing that makes me never want to write again because nobody I know could write something as good as this. You basically SAY IT here in a way that nobody I know has done so, this should be in a fucking gallery, it should be in the White House it should be on every street corner and it should be read by everyone. I love this. Plain and simple. You took the WOW out of me and I have nothing except total love and amazement for this. On a serious note, it takes a LOT to be a beautiful woman and admit what you admit, what you say, what you think and how you think it. Most take the easy road which is yeah sure right and you take the hard road which is to admit saying you’re gorgeous leaves you empty, what about the pain and grief inside? That’s why you are amazing. Not because you are physically beautiful but because you’re so fucking real it strikes me dead with admiration and even hope in this world because most of the time I just despair with people and you well you aren’t like that and I think that is a wonderful thing. This is fucking insanely brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh and PS proof that the world is fucked and insane is that this wasn’t even noticed as much as it should be and crappy shitty bollocking shite poetry is. I HATE that I really do. Because THIS is what poetry is about. This is what life is about. I want to re-blog this but I have to sort of fire everything I ever said or wrote to do that, because this will burn it all – there is nothing more than this. God you’re good. I always wanted to write something like this. I really have. And you did. And I’m so freakin proud of you. Don’t you know what this means? It means you can’t ever stop writing. Not ever. Because most writers are actually pretty shite and there needs to be a good writer out there and well, you’re that person. You need to do this until more people know this. I know it. I know it without a doubt in my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Cand, you’ve got me all teary-eyed! To hear this from such a truly remarkable, talented, fierce, beautiful, strong female poet is just wow. You encourage me to be honest in my work and your influence is so significant in terms of what and how I write. You are an inspiration. So thank you! I adore you. You are a rock star. SO MUCH LOVE xx ❤


      • PLUS without knowing you called me Cand ages ago and I’m sure you’re a reincarnation of every best friend I have ever had. If I inspire someone like you then I am doing something fucking RIGHT! Love right back a’tcha my sister xo


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