Die Selbst

by Candy Blue

After Bayer’s ‘Selbstportrat’ (1932)


I am the speckles under your arm

the cartoon steak you flop from your fingers

Fingers, fat, fat, fingers

of the men who will cut through you,

slice you open and leave you bare


A marble slab is just as well as

A stainless steel stretcher

Stretching mouths open to force out a gasp

Gasping for air in the monoxide tunnels

Tunnelling through eyes that never see light


and yet


There is a light and it never goes out[1]

There is a darkness and it never turns ‘round

There is a face in the mirror

it looks back at me, yet it is not mine

There is the shaking of hands

The tremors in wrists

The tapping fingers

and the drip, drip, drip


There is the flow through the dryness of rock

anticipating the migrating flock

fluttering through streets

in the scorch of the sun

overseeing transfixed patterns

that have already begun

to spin us around in a loop of square dances

and there’s you on my carpet

making me beg for mere chances

just a touch, one step further

from that harrowing gaze

stolen from you as your boy turns away


Here we are now

Past fights and drunk alleys

The frown in your brow

Lets him know you’re not happy

But it’s just us and a mirror

a clean slate of glass

no room

for mess

for spillage

for a third person’s mass


Re-drafted January 2017