Poem for Performance
A dialogue between a canal and a monstrous creature swimming in it that does not know its own shape…
…Creature: ‘You’re stuck in my gills and I slowly
recall our marriage: our mutual respect.
My senses hate and battle each other for
liquid, keratin, salt and sex’.
Canal: I am digging me. I am swollen spore
swum in the slow tide south
towards the shore, dredged from
the wildflower of the Thames.
Creature: ‘Tell me my shape Ms Turning Water!
Tickle my muscles; my fat fins; my spine.
Remind me of your baptism again:
make my senses one with my design.’
Canal: I form on the skin of bent-double men
unearthing the hollow of me
pick-axing mud in a spring storm
which does not stick but slides
into their lungs, they breathe me
home to their wives, into mud
children born of the canal-side…
Excerpt from 100-line poem
Photograph shows Amy Thellusson and Justin Coombes reading the poem,© Robert Rapoport