L I t T e R

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Kelvin Corcoran


I slip down the road under sea light falling
slam into the giant red women,
ripping green split on both sides
through electric spring wet with flame
to St Ives, the secret island, to find the Hilton.

I sailed a painted boat fit for a boy
against the whole white and crashing world
- darling Bo, thank God you were born,
when I was boy there were horses in the field
and I rode in a cart to cart me off in.

My parents alive, Iím holding on, no hands
as I drift off into the anaesthetised sky.
Whatís the river doing around the boundary?
I can see you both outside our house,
your faces looking up like white words.

On the secret island, in the middle sea,
two figures dance on the Cape of No Hope,
Hilton sets out, feet first, on the bed of last days,
- the fun is over, what else have I got?
Miraculous pictures leap from his hands.


My discontinuous line is sexual, intimate, savage,
your fantastic anatomy my vehicle;
this is what they say - beast, charming Iím sure,
show the whole world, why donít you?

As is your life, so is your line,
a fragment made abstract and broadcast;
the human sensation we die for;
my nudes and other animals dancing.

My horses, carts, boats and flowers
such earthly bodies in motion overlap,
run into one another the quick sensation
behind the big secret behind all thought.

Bow down you Greeks, you ghosts;
I am on the last run, with no feeling in my feet.


Nothing can replace the long, steady gaze,
face to face with the picture.

Swindon Art Gallery and Museum.
Well weíll be closed until 6 March,
for reorganisation, and then yes, I think,
our picture by Roger Hilton will be on show.

The Tate.
I went to the wrong branch,
freezing wind off the river.
No picture, just a postcard of Oi Yoi Yoi.

Bath Victoria Gallery.
Answer machine.
One picture. One question.
No answer.

Nothing can replace the long, steady gaze.

Through warm rain and dense traffic
down the southern slope, petrol war stalemate
thickens the Friday night call to air,
to arrive at the moment of seeing - mappa mundi.

1953, oil, neo-plastic work
flat colour from Mondrian daddy,
piling up the words my mind in stripes
of blue of white red white.

Tilting off the edge of England
I'm standing here in the gallery,
all proportion thrown overboard
I see you wave the flag of a new country.

It's 1953, one light floods the dark room
and outside the Atlantic dynamo firing.


I am lying under a bus in St. Just
- who wants this fucking medal?
Itís a curse on me for staleness,
I could use this gravel, textured to my face,
fairer far than palace walls.

I am drinking 300 bottles of life p.a.
and to hell with my perambulation to the pub,
where my nerve endings end I donít go,
in the dim light creeping under the beastís gate
these painted glyphs are mocking me.

I am writing a list of things for you to get,
so get them- the good paint (will gouache fade?)
that Italian bread from Soho, the garlic and good broccoli,
and a decent pen, one that fucking writes.
Forgive me, I am a shit. It is all my fault.

I am making these quick pictures
to keep my family when I am not,
a water soluble inheritance,
to clap their little hands in the breeze
when I am launched into nothing.

I am freezing in this sodding plane,
seven hours to Antibes, freezing for some sunshine,
for the little circus and the afternoon sea;
at last at last, theyíll wheel me up and down
and Iíll see the god come raging from the water.

© Kelvin Corcoran, 2005