Jump to content

Dirntbag's Landfill

  • entries
  • comments
  • views

About this blog

Stories, Poems, Art, Science and much, much more.

Entries in this blog


Good Gifts

Pandora’s nimble fingers, which opened the box
perhaps never pressed, slow, secret and soft
into another’s skin; Zeus bade her keep her desire within
and she never knew that flattened flower feeling
of burying her face in a lover’s neck, of breathing in.

From her fingers fluttered golden hope
on a moth’s powdery wings
that should dissolve in dust and smoke
if it did not, by nature, flutter behind evil things.
Bestowed upon her; all manner of gifts,
a tender heart, eager lips, cunning, wit
but denied to use them – 
she can’t ever revel in the feeling of his cocooning hands
all entwined in silk, enfolding tanned waist,
won’t understand
the Pandora’s box of good emotions
that his interlaced fingers so easily open.

Forged out of the Earth, like her,
and with dints imprinted down his spine,
bodies intertwined, she unpeels, unlocks,
and in rush of effervescent, beautiful thoughts,
vulnerability, singular, bumbles out of the box,
gets caught in his prickly beard
that reddens her skin in glittering heat.
He nudges it out; a tesseract of feeble, scintillating doubt.

Him and his first-mortal-forged confidence
and his bare naked talk,
and how she nuzzles him when he can’t sleep.
Into artwork made
when his face laugh lines and his whole body shakes,
two halves of one whole,
both borne of Earth’s molten core,
and bestowing upon eachother all wonderful gifts,
the softest parts of themselves, vulnerability,
nakedness, “here,” 
offered up to bite or to kiss,
“ I want you to have this.”


Skin Rind (poem and chapbook)

Crescent moon thumbnail
picking into dimpled flesh
centre excavated, exposing 
delicious light pink wetness,
citrus zeal effervesces;
little, tough sinew
stays wedged inside
between thumb and thumbnail,
slivered skin rind.
Cantaloupe armor dressed
in leopard print
teeth bore through to taste the
fruit within
skin all sucked purple
by my lips
and the meat rounded in my
fingers like a prayer bead;
scoop out the pulp with a 
tongue, spit out the seeds.
Halve the fruit 
to saturate yourself with 
the golden liquid inside; get sticky
juice on your fingers and cheeks,
peel off and compost
the thick skin rind.


Here's the link to the full chapbook I made with my own poems and illustrations.

The idea behind the book was for it to be an exploration of the loneliness, and the desire for connection, which are both an intrinsic part of the human condition. It contains poems and accompanying illustrations. The poems are inspired by people I have met and who I have come to know during my first few months at university. All of the material in the book was created within that time (barring the poem Wallow, but I feel it is still very relevant) and is centered around the theme of human interaction and closeness.


A Chronology

1.      You and your shit haircut, and warm blue coat,
next to me on low railing in parking lot top floor alone.
It became our spot, with your camera
on slow shutter stop, that makes headlights look more like laser beams,
in one image, capturing many moments, and pressing your lips into me.

2.      The first time I fucked a boy it was period sex.
The first person I told was my best friend.
He was cool to the touch, and soft, like marble – all gloss,
and looking at him, I understood why renaissance masters revered the male nude.
I chisel him with my fingers and lips,
and watch him halve as shimmering, brilliant geode.

3.      Finally, I slosh out like an overfull glass, and I am thinking about cats –
there are so many wandering around my hall
that it would be plausible, people would believe me if I said,
I got these cuts from one of them.
Silver exacto craft knife blissfully opens my wrists,
I lost my happiness – maybe I left it in there.

4.      I have stopped sleeping again.
It is better to be kept awake in my too small bed
by his bony rib digging into my chest.
The clock shows 5am; I’m out cold,
nightmaring again. I don’t mind a body
pressed up against me, the crook of his arm
is more stable than the pandora’s box of my thoughts.

5.      I hate how I make your mannerisms mine,
the evidence you have been diffusing into my mind,
but I don’t think I’ve diffused into yours –
the particles of me have effervesced into the atmosphere,
lost, perhaps coming down later as rain – never to be seen again.

6.      The first belly laugh I’ve had in weeks: tired, naked, and strewn over your body.
“You’re trapped” I whisper into the shell of your ear,
and I feel you shuffle under me, skin to skin.
Hand trails over my shoulders, my back, my butt,
until you’ve found my giggly, tickly, spot.

7.      I feel light as air, crushed beneath your tiny frame,
the closest we’ve ever been, my hands in your hair,
nails on your neck, we are nature children on this park bench,
as leaves shade us and fall around us,
and insects alight on our clothes,
our oasis in the city,
and you,
beautiful – with cold, red ears and nose.

8.      The softest self destruction: to be in love alone.
To tram to Lace Market and be set aglow,
and to have to put myself out when we both go home.
I wonder if you know
that I would brew in kerosene for a lifetime,
for the chance to be set on fire with a spark from your eyes.

9.      Social interaction is an unpleasant event
that my friends don’t get compensation for.  
I trail sticky silk with me wherever I go,
and ensnare boys and flies and girls.
I become myself when I repay a night spent next to me
by relieving your morning glory.

10.      You skipping class to meet a girl
at Gregg’s – me, so happy that you just buy two gingerbread cookies without asking.
Me, once again tricked into thinking I’m special.
I think I could talk to you until the end of time
and be excited each time the thought of you
came across my mind.

11.      A five in the morning calm,
sat on wooden railing outside Broadgate Park,
while my skin cools and dew turns to frost –
through the thin cotton of my clubbing dress
my essence sloughs off. I am no face, no person,
only flesh. A passenger as my body hurtles towards death.
Maybe I sat for minutes or hours, and counted lovely things,
but never got to double digits,
out there beside the bins.


Thomas' Sonnet

If the muses do indeed live they must 
have survived in him; raw art shines from his
laugh lined eyes. With thin fingers he presides,
naiad-like, over market square fountain; 
(with lips scabbed over I still want to drown in)
a siren, holding the world hostage there.

Next to him I glow, like the moon; and push
warm tides in simply to caress his skin, 
I like to visit parking lots with him,
allow my soul to unpin, and trade thoughts,
and walk ‘til our route’s forgot. He carries
apertures in his pocket, and cankers in his mind.

I love to watch him glisteningly rise, 
as if Calliope burns his very insides, 
and let him charm me, golden and wise,
if I perchance happen to meet his eyes.



I very rarely write love poetry. I'm in deep, man. Ahahha anyway - you may have noticed that this isn't technically a sonnet. It's sixteen instead of fourteen lines. The reason for this is that I wanted to make it seem more intense; as if the vigor of the speaker's emotions demanded not simply a rhyming couplet at the end, but a rhyming quatrain. Don't know if this is a bit naff or not... 

Also, in some places the iambic pentameter is broken, and that doesn't have any real justification behind it, it's just cause I'm not a master of metre :lol: and tbh sometimes I think things sound better outside of iambic pentameter. I also didn't even attempt to stick to a rhyme scheme cause this ain't Italian (#justenglishstudentthings). Anyway, this is my first time writing a sonnet and I hope you enjoyed! Maybe next time I can move on to subverting the form, like in Yeats' Leda and the Swan (which uses a sonnet, a form usually associated with love poetry, to describe a Greek myth in which Zeus, in the form of a swan, rapes Leda).

Some background on allusions in the piece: it references Greek mythology, in particular the muses, who I'm sure you're familiar with - deities that are children of Zeus and the personification of memory who facilitate inspiration in the arts and sciences. They're assumed to be water nymphs, or naiads, hence my inclusion of that word in the poem. One of the muses is called Calliope, and she's usually considered to be the "head" muse. Sirens are also from Greek mythology - singing mermaid-like creatures who lure men to their deaths in the sea by calling to them. In addition, Market Square fountain is a real place in Nottingham.


Freshers' week is

A night out with people you barely know,
dancing dizzy, skinny spinning,
all midriff show; cheapskate too
stingy to check a coat -
we are queens these nights, 
first time connoisseurs of sensation and aesthetic;
delight in that tiny feeling:
the sticking the unsticking of
crop top cotton to the skin of my back
with sweat – my purse an almanac of this time,
and I, coy coquette; my receipts
chronicling adventures unfinished as of yet.

This is Georgia’s face in the strobe light’s flash,
fragments of her doing her dance,
and Nick watching his feet, and his
head snapping up again, beaming, to the beat.
It’s permanent marker on my arm
proclaiming me an honorary member of Hugh Stewart hall -
and Broadgate late eats; nutella toast at 2am,
then propping up my tired feet.
It’s collapsing into hysterics and swapping 
slang – full hot and plastered and sloshed,
pulling boys and causing disasters,
and when it’s time for a nosh,
putting all the food you have left
between bread, calling it dinner,
and going ahead.

It is a million faces, the ones you draw
in art soc, the ones you smile at
for nervousness, the ones you will never
see again – it’s being completely free.

Fresher’s week is going for the double shot of vodka,
sharing black seal rum, wine glasses smashing
or cheersing, then crashing before we see the sun.
My flat mates’ faces popping out their doors
one by one, making conference room of the hall
and collapsing into giddy, giggling free-for-all.
It’s when I can’t hear the bar tender, I’ll just say yes;
it’s getting a pint when you needed much less,
it’s a 3 pound 50 bumper car ride under neon flashing lights
and Georgia by my side, faces grinning wide… 
it’s the feeling curled inside like a sleeping dog,
the warm contentedness of knowing you belong.


You have to pick him off the 
undersides of leaves, shy as 
a chameleon, he 
always has a giggle bubbling in his throat,
shimmering geode for a soul;
and his hands grip fast, two-toed.

Rucksack-backed, I am an explorer
and have always preferred reptiles;
I want to tickle his chromatophores
and watch him light up 
as a moonbeam, all smiles.

Existing only in dreams, him; sweet
as vanilla ice cream. You can
find him in caves, or out at night,
against banana leaves, stark and bright -
his colours give him away.

Smuggle him into your lap,
convince him to show you a tattoo so you
can trail a hand over his chest… 
feign sleepiness
so bodies can press 

Ask him, 
“want to kiss me?”
and hope to god he says yes.


ew, feelings


Wallow (a poem)

Knee deep in mud - then a splash
and from waist down I’m encased
in a begriming, cleansing bath.
Savannah sun encrusts my back,
hackles sheathed in grey cottage cheese
that calcifies and begins to crack -
bedroom this warthog’s wallow;
bedclothes, pleasantly cool, swallow 
my body whole.

I wish I could lie forever in this
watering hole, until it doesn’t feel 
like I’m underwater anymore,
until days blur and feeling numbs
from never rubbing off any of this mud,
just rolling and clogging my pores until
I’m stuck in up to tusks and horns.


A real nice warthog:



Protagonist (a poem)

Life does not stall –
in medias res we fall
like gladiators thrust into the ring
with armor of cardboard
but confidence of a king.

Our story begins with vigor and fury;
a wailing, urgent protest against 
being ousted from where all souls rest.
Ripped from nirvana 
and reincarnated with terrible force;
all tabula rasa once more 
but with a sense of divorce,
of suddenly being in a setting
less pleasant than before.

Adventure begins instantly;
our quest to be the best selves we can be,
to wield swords and challenge beasts,
to come through heartbreak and defeat
with friends by our side and 
daggers between our teeth.

If we were able to live each day
concerned with growth and beauty
a life would be spent well – as
a soul fulfilling duty.
And as gladiators in victory or defeat
we’d spend our lives in happiness complete -
through cycles of light and dark
we’d only care about fueling our character arc.


Seeing is Believing (an installation)



Hey, I haven't posted in a really long while... so hello! ? ? ? ? ? I kind of got bored with the forum for a little, especially cause there was a lot of negativity that got kind of exhausting. However, subsequent want of a place to post my art and writing and stuff and get my ego stroked some more brought me back.tumblr_inline_o5ufs0JHsp1r9wd71_500.gif 

(But seriously you guys who look at/comment on my work rock so much and I really value your opinion! and I love looking at the work of others on here too).


As part of my IB art course, we got to put on an exhibition using the work we did over the two year program. It was tons of fun, and a great introduction into more... professional areas of the art world, I suppose? It was very important to have a "coherent body of works" - in my case, my eight pieces were centered around the theme of perspective. The coolest piece was this big installation I got to do, which was a little ambitious, but in the end turned out even better than I had first imagined.







Some more photos:







Some specific details:

The Field Journal pages

The Map

It's so hard to get these details in the photos, which is really annoying because the entire exhibition is graded by an outside examiner using the photos (and I could only submit 3.... anyway).  


The idea behind the work is that it's a naturalist's desk, but it's not just your run-of-the-mill naturalist; this one studies mythological creatures. As well as found objects and photographs, it includes various scientific illustrations, and a map, which were drawn by me. In addition, it includes real specimens in alcohol collected by me, a live terrarium containing tree frogs, and taxidermied chicken wings I stuffed.

It was important to me that viewers were able to intimately investigate aspects of the work, and I realized that a 3D medium was the best way to encourage people to examine all features of the work of their own accord. The piece is designed to puzzle to the viewer as it is unclear whether the naturalist really is studying mythical creatures in some kind of alternate universe, or whether he is in our world and a conspiracy theorist. No concrete evidence of mythological creatures is apparent in the work; the viewer only has the naturalist’s own surmisings and illustrations to prove that what he studies is real. Scientifically accurate texts, such as Darwin’s Origin of Species are included, but so too are books like Alice in Wonderland, to demonstrate to the audience that the naturalist’s work may just be a fantasy. Similarly, the naturalist has evidence of methodical work, such as in his field journal, but also demonstrates falliability as he displays as truth a photo of the Cottingley fairies which is known to be a hoax. 

This work challenges the perspective of the viewer in a number of ways; encouraging the reader to imagine a world where mythological creatures are real and studied scientifically, and also to critically analyze what the evidence presented means. The work was inspired by Robert Rauschenberg and a local artist, Will Collieson, who both seek to change perspective and make people challenge what they know and their perceptions by using found objects in their sculptures. 




Though at present they are tremendously decayed
my memories are brighter now than when first conveyed.
Experience is dull, but remembering is vibrant -
at first just thrumming vibrations in my mind, then
coherent orchestral noise that engulfs rooms;
upon reflection the past turns completely new.

A continually superior high, a shade cooler,
a path less travelled by,
and though I could spend years in a dream,
I know that eventually the wick of my fantasy
will wane and I’ll be left only with
the shadows of shadows on the walls of my cave.

Though my body feels blue-dress clad,
I must know I’m not in wonderland, must realize
my life elixir is not of indefinite supply.
I know this and yet, make a scuttling retreat
into the dark like so many scared fish from sharks
in the face of all that new, unexamined…


Leaves curl and whither in a life without light,
my body is exhumed. I have lived my life



This poem was inspired by (and sort of a response to) the fictional Allen Ginsberg poem written for the movie Kill Your Darlings.


The Periphery

Average man on the street's
answer immortalized forever
in film documentary -
proclaiming his one ambition:
to be happy.

How do you measure that?
Graduated cylinders filled
with dopamine? GDP?
Life expectancy?

To be happy, you've got
to stay on the periphery -
seek it out and it will hide,
like stalked prey animal; be 
a naturalist, and, filled with caution,
reside quietly, hoping it will hit
you, or that you'll catch just a glimpse -
eyes closed, nourished on hope alone
stand with arms spread beneath
stalactites and smile when a 
single raindrop wets you by chance.

You could stretch just an inch;
make it last, stagger highs
and convince yourself of healthiness.
To be happy - the intellectual's dream,
to forget philosophies so bleak
and be euphoric.

But how can you, wouldn't that
by definition be an oversimplification
for all the truths you hold?
Stay on the periphery -
do not think too hard of this feeling
and what it means.

Return to your childhood brain
that distinguished just scintillating joy
and paltry pains - no more no less,
and let yourself fill with happiness.



Do you suppose there was mayhem
in the minds of 2D shapes
when a sphere, for the very first time,
passed through their domain?

Cross sections of a circle popping in
and out of existence, something round
on a flat plane giving rectangles
and rhombi migraines.

I hope when I float on fuzziness 
and my world spins round,
it's just my feeble mind adapting
to a fourth dimension breaking ground.

When I am dizzy,
when parts of my body ripple
from large to small
and distort so much that
they don't belong to me at all, 
when my face exists behind a screen,
making the outside world look like
a movie to me,
the multiverse is there, proud hand
round my shoulders that I cant' feel.

A new perspective
rejected by a mind that wants to see,
but with eyes too devolved to allow it.
I'll just ride my waves of nausea
and dream of diving down, of finding
new galaxies - vibrant and unimaginable,
colours invisible on our spectrum;
that painful, unexplored
fourth measurement.


Two Mothers

White light shines over old skin -
crumpled and creased with wear and tear,
pockmarked, freckled - examines
the surface, like an explorer on the moon.
Stripped bare here, in A.S. Cooper's changing room;
grimace faced, festooned in cotton, polyester, lace,
dresses whose tresses balloon at hips,
whose bodice, when an attempt is made
to pull over her bust, barely fits.
Criticisms drip from her lips, like the bead of
drool oozing down hand and wrist of sleepy student.

Under these broadway lights, her
body becomes a word said too many times
until it sounds only like gibberish fragments.
She sees the tire ring round her torso,
her double chin. How is she to know
that in another room, feeble, growing thin,
a woman has lost 14 pounds in
a week following her first chemo treatment?

How can I tell her that fat is better
in old age, how my grandfather's limbs -
barely more than bones - make his whole body
look like a wafer, as thin and brittle,
and fragile and white as paper, and how
the woman in that room would give, indeed is giving,
her head of hair to use her stomach in the morning
and to keep the food in there. 

How thinness has never been,
has only turned in the last few centuries, to beauty.
How before, seeing bones meant you hadn't
enough money to eat?
She has known whippets - has said she can't stroke them
for fear of breaking their tiny backbones and
how can she not know that she is
fit and healthy? When back in that hospital room,
she, stick-insect like, knows that to
swallow her anti-nausea pill will cause nausea,
must have a hole cut just below her collar bone
for a liquid diet.

Fluorescent hospital lights bore down,
remind her of her pixie cut in preparation
to lose it all, brightness illuminates her
liver spots, as bright as the changing room,
both examining skin like
the craters of the moon.


Latest Art and Photography

Parasaurolophus and baby because Jurassic World was so good

14x17 in


A few sketches of fairies and cyborgs

RAYjpZJl.jpg m9N3hPQl.jpg KEDmmFCl.jpg

England university tour





















Jersey, Channel Islands

























Jersey, Channel Islands

Out my window
dusk is slipping quietly
under a horizon, through warped panes
where white paint is chipping,
savannah sun gold-leafs the sand,
makes molten lava of canals,
raises hum of the sound
by rotting sea weeds and
festering dead sea creatures' bodies.

Gulls rule this domain;
pecking at the tide to retreat,
and leading it, rushing,
back in again.
In the morning I walk from
the steps, canvas-shoed, 
to collect yesterday's shed skins,
and in the evening, from the very same steps,
I can swim, though the water's more gray than blue.

Kitchen window frames
France's misty coast,
and, cackling at our view compared to theirs,
the seagulls can't help but boast.
Flapping as my sunshade flaps
when the attic window is open,
laughing their briny laugh
like the lapping of the ocean.


feral english (an ars poetica poem)

before there was matter,

there was poetry, or perhaps

they were birthed in unison -

tendrils of existence,

hot as black smoker vapor

escaping into the sea, or space’s void.

words can only come in to play

in one, specific, crystallized way,

exploding out of nothing and shouting

to everyone in Earth’s foetal form;

no-one, as of yet.

in the naked time, before anything

with eyes was around to think of beauty,

there was poetry; in the way atoms collided,

the way particles swirled in elegant

gyre, spiraling colour onto blankness.

in the lumbered locomotion of

amoebas before they had their Greek name,

billowing membranes, oozing

towards a meal.

in the strangling caress of vines

climbing the limbs of

rainforest trees in order for gymnast arms

to reach a drop of sunlight in the canopy.

poetry pushes up from feckless soil

with carnivorous jaws, spiting

the climate, and location, and god;

raw writing with no reader.


The Major Arcana Tarot Cards (6/22)

I decided to make some tarot cards for art class. Tarot cards have been around forever and there's no set pictures that go on them. They can be used to play games, but are associated with clairvoyance and can hypothetically be used to "tell your fortune." There's some more information on tarot cards here. The "Major Arcana" is a deck of 22 trump cards, differing from the "minor arcana" which has four suits. They include perscribed names including the fool, the magician, the high priestess, the empress, the emperor, the hierophant, the lovers, the chariot, justice, the hermit, fortune, strength, the hanged man, death, temperance, the devil, the tower, the star, the moon, the sun, judgement and world.

It's been a really fun project because I got to develop my illustration style and learn a lot about technique. These are done with watercolour and coloured pencil, but I may redo some of them.

They go with my running theme of mythological/fantasy things, which fits in to the larger theme of viewing the world and yourself from new perspectives in order to learn new things and resist becoming insular.

Some of the colours were a bit off from scanning, so I had to do some editing on the computer.

The Hanged Man


The Emperor




The Hierophant


The Magician


The Lovers



Bermuda Islands: 32.30N, 64.78W

Inspired by this image:


CGI product of a cartographer’s hand,

ceci n’est pas les Bermudes;

ocean and land reduced to pixel-widths,

swallowing waves and erupting verdure

portrayed as singular swatches, labeled,

to assist your comprehension. Your

home has become a single stroke

of pigment, layered on dullness;

dead ocean, devoid of life, and barren

land proclaiming its monuments

like some poor ruin of civilization

inflating its fame after collapse.

This condensed universe, like a femme fatale

on the cover of a magazine, reduced to

a piece of meat in eyes seeing her as a page

instead of width and breadth and shape;

unable to access the white-hot core beneath,

and unaware that this exists atop a

volcano only. To the person who has

never seen her before, Bermuda is

pulp fiction, a painted figure

smoothed over by a salon painter;

a textbook, run-of-the-mill, example

of an island.

As if this collection of rocks jutting

just atop the raging sea is not deserving

of status as an animated, emotional green;

instead relegated to an HTML colour code,

the dregs leftover from a worldwide

Berlin conference. But how shall we show

her true sound and fury? Shall we photograph

her every inch; map her body and become intimate

with each grain of sand?

Or shall we paint a single scene, with human

touch of hand, pouring colour in to her outline?

Even the most lovely of paintings, where gangly,

drawn trees looked more real than the canker

of our live casuarinas would not portray

her as she really is; just as Picasso’s chickens

made the common rooster cower at his lack of chicken-ness,

Bermuda would shrivel at the portrayal of her

crashing waves as lit with more rage than she could ever muster.

Underneath the beauty it remains an image still,

and ceci n’est pas les Bermudes.


The Turned Painter (a short story)

William Bouguereau’s “Birth of Venus” depicts the goddess in an almost defiant position. Contrasting with her previous representations as coy and demur, Bouguereau’s Venus confronts the viewer with the simple fact that she is not concerned by her own nakedness. Her smooth body twines up from the seashell upon which she is standing as if there was no one watching her. Perhaps quietly aware of her onlookers, she allows crowds of sea nymphs and tritons to bask in her radiance for the moment the painting captures. This scene for once does not belong to Venus’ body, but to Venus in completeness. Born from the sea, Venus retains a little of the ocean’s power – the knowledge that she is still a goddess, and her universe dominated the wall before Dorian Hardy.

The verbal purpose of the charity ball was to fundraise for the museum. It’s secret purpose was to let people see and be seen rubbing shoulders with the creative elite, but Hardy, disregarding both of these, attended only for the art. Of course, there was a healthy amount of people-watching to be done as well, but this was a secondary interest. People milled about in garbs of varying shades of darkness, mostly speaking English albeit with a French accent.

“What do you think?” Hardy wrote surprise over his face at being disturbed by the tall woman, but in actuality he had heard her every step, smelled her nervousness from across the room, and sensed her decision to finally trot over to him like a lost sheep.

“In a word,” Hardy looked away from the painting and then at the woman, “exquisite. What is your opinion of it?”

“I find Bouguereau’s work…” she began, “ancient. It is a monument to outdated techniques and views on painting.”

“You beg the question then, why speak to someone who seems to be enjoying his work so much?” He spoke playfully. Hardy knew the answer of course; that humans were driven by conflict and to impart her views on to someone of differing spirit would be satisfying to her.

“I believe it is healthy to have one’s views challenged by others from time to time,” she smiled up at him – though she was tall, he was taller, “and on the off-chance someone could change my mind about something I have such a steadfast opinion of, that person would be interesting company indeed.” The determination with which she flirted amused him.

“I shall try, then.”

Though Dorian Hardy despised what the painter and his doting supporters stood for; the non-evolution of modern art, he could not help but appreciate their skill, technical mastery, and vision, and he weaved this explanation in to his conversation with the woman. She was probably one of those typical Frenchwomen completely enamored by the Impressionist movement. Looking at this painting was not simply visual entertainment – it was an entire sensory experience, as much concerned with history as it was with art.

He was reminded that viewing art was not something that could be done comfortably with other people, but that it is not an experience wherein you are alone; there is a profound connection between the artist and the viewer with the painting as a portal. There were amazing painters, amazing poets and amazing composers, but to be a truly brilliant artist one must be besotted with all three – a living, breathing silhouette of creativity; a vessel for imagination’s gardens to germinate. A true artist is tortured because their lives belong to art itself, and this concept is unable to be understood by people who are not artists; whose lives are ruled by their loved ones, or their work, or nothing at all.

Hardy appreciated, however, that the woman was not one of those unfortunate individuals plagued by filling empty conversational space with laughter. She was not a giddy person, but an entertaining one, and she interested Hardy in the same way a cat is temporarily interested by a feather on a string. Her dark hair bounced around her in tight curls, flowing over modest breasts encased in a dark green evening gown. The dress ran a slit down her thigh, exposing the delicate sculpture of her leg muscles, formed so by her stiletto shoes.

Dorian Hardy wasn’t exactly sure what interested him so much about the human body. After all, he found humanity itself quite insufferable. The moods and actions of people resembled insects in his mind; their strange, ungraceful movement, their capacity to be driven by exclusively basal needs like hunger, thirst and the desire to reproduce, and Hardy regarded them thus; as pests. There was altogether nothing enamoring about human behaviour, but their anatomy had been a subject of interest since Da Vinci. The equilibrium of their slim frames, their capacity to stand on two flat feet, their languid or frenzied poses – all ranked next to the finest art, music and writing for Hardy. Emotion could not be written so understandably on a medium other than a human face.

Hardy admired their capacity to truly feel such violent things – as if God or Maybe the Devil himself gripped their hearts inside their chests. The screams of humans were enrapturing; the communicated evidence that the very fire for life burned through them so intensely that perhaps their ribcage, the beams of their flesh-house were beginning to splinter and fall.

“Help me… help me!” they screamed in words, but they could have growled and achieved the same effect – their entire message was written in tone. The woman continued screaming throughout the entire affair – even when Hardy’s hands were inside her, feeling the blood rush around her body as her feeble heart pumped with the enthusiasm of a chased hare. Exposed like this, each cog could be observed working in perfect unison to power her entirety. But she was not a machine; she could not be likened to one because she carried something no machine has – the simple, unpredictable, pleasure of doing things with no other purpose then to be beautiful. She had stopped screaming now, still breathing, but the fight gone out of her.

Her hair radiated about her head like a halo, and her blood barely soiled her clean skin, exactly as Hardy had planned it. One arm rested beside her, as she had no energy to move it. The other clawed pitifully at herself, where the skin of her chest used to be. Hardy looked in to her helpless eyes and began to sever her heart from its vessels, carefully clamping them shut so the still – excited blood inside them wouldn’t burst to ruin the scene. Her animated hand fell softly on her clavicle, as if in surprise.

He placed the heart in her outstretched, open palm and a contentedness washed over him. The canvas already rested on its easel, yearning to be marked. Hardy retrieved the softest pencil he had and began to sketch, glancing between his subject and his surface. It was so terribly inconvenient to paint something that moved. Still, Hardy knew the importance of painting in one sitting – to capture the scene as it lay in that moment, and not a garbled mosaic of it over the course of weeks. His feelings at the time of painting influenced the work as much, or more so than the figure he painted, after all.

“This is… exquisite,” the utterance escaped the young man’s fill lips, like cows lips in the way they rested when closed, as if they were a piece of pottery and its lid that did not quite fit together. “The darkness of the subject combines in such juxtaposition with its painting style, it’s almost a satire.” He spoke facing the painting, depicting a woman clutching her own heart in her hand, almost to himself but obviously fully aware of Hardy’s presence next to him.

“Indeed, and this is what the painter aimed for,” Hardy replied.

“How can you be sure?” the young man asked, imploring, bashful. He was a picture of innocence.

“Because I am he,” Hardy stated, also speaking to the painting as he did so.

The young man turned around to face him, glancing up and down his figure in disbelief and stuttering. “I…”

“It is a pleasure to meet someone who understands my work so well,” Hardy smiled down at him. He was a blond man of average height, but with a strong jawline and an explicitly symmetrical face. And those lips…

They shook hands.

“What is your name, if I may ask?”

“Arthur. And I suppose you are Dorian Hardy…”

“Arthur, forgive me if I am too forward, but would you ever consider sitting for me?”


Bonus artwork!!

The "should have been revising on study leave but instead I did art for like 5 hours" special:

Sorceresses and their Dragons





Discovery of the Shadow (a poem)

does not dare venture this far,

and yet there is colour – the abyssal

palette; midnight blues, brilliant reds and

silvery grays bejewel the barren marine face

of mother Earth herself. Pores of

sulphur burst from the floor and crustaceans

cluster about, clutching at minerals

ground from the Earth’s raw core; fiery,

poisonous, only fit for these creatures,

the last reaches of life, who are almost sludge,

but not quite, who live for eons but never know

how quickly time at the surface can go.

Inches away from the sun, it seems,

reef-dwellers revel in flamboyant tomfoolery;

with shapes and patterns of impracticality,

they are aesthetically pleasing, indeed, but

each species lives individually, removed

from the realities more courageous fish face;

swimming solo for days and starving for weeks,

until an appropriate deep water feast

drifts down from shallower seas.

For them, seeing brightness is revelatory.

Struck by a bolt of Zeus’ own lightning

and caught with eyes open – blinding.

Things never before concerns

suddenly rear their head and
to receive answers;

most curious among them, the flat, long

silhouette of the crab on spindly legs,

mirroring its movements, attached all the

time to where exoskeleton meets ground,

only found with the help of a flashlight.

Having no name for the sensation, there is

not fear, but wonderment, that this beam

would cut through gloom, only to be stopped

by the animal’s slim frame, to be blocked

from total illumination. And this… ‘shadow’

follows wherever it goes, a permanent

friend among endless marine snow.

Does the anglerfish ever turn on her light

simply to marvel at the bead of brightness?

To cast it before her and project

shadows on the walls? Does her guard ever fall;

missing a fish swim in to her maw because

she is watching not it, but its ghoul,

the negative space in her light pool?

Jagged, oily backs of fishes and the tentacles

of octopi, are only distinguished from

endless black by a neon blue or greenish hue;

smouldering liquid fire, effervescent pearls

of colour, whirling about in swell.

Light, up to this point,

has been a camouflage or lure,

a burning of curiosity where waters

rest so coolly, but now it is an art display.

waves macabre arms

in delicate ballet, and gelatinous bodies

illuminate in a natural x-ray.

If sunlight was not meant to penetrate

these depths, to reveal the angles on the

face of fishes sifting through the waste,

why construct them so ornately?

Why inject colour in to their hides and scales?

Perhaps it is a comfort to these fish to believe

that what impales them in final moments

is not a predatory being, is simply the clutches of darkness,

or perhaps flecks of light, beckoning them

into a further endless night.

The deep ocean really fascinates me and I wrote this poem because of watching documentaries like
. It occurred to me that the organisms at two miles down, in an ocean without any light at all, would never have encountered their own shadow. But then a research crew comes along, shining lights everywhere, and it probably cause a lot of fish to have existential crises.

Any feedback on this poem would be much appreciated. I'd especially like feedback on its readability. The deep ocean is smooth, but extremely intricate, and I tried to express that feeling in the poem, but I fear some lines are too long and don't sit well on the tongue... I think it still needs some reworking... Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it!

*This poem has been published in Teen Art Out Magazine, issue no. 31


School Snapshots - 1

Nineteen past twelve observes

a flock of avid learners, perched precariously

behind desks; like so many rows of long-beaked crows,

the students take their rest.

Twenty past, however, upon silent meadows brings

a hesitant gust of wind. Shards of crêpe paper

grass jostle and razor-blade against their neighboring stalks,

the room begins to talk; and scuffle ensues as birds take to the wing.

A delicate flick of feathers to close binders,

to return pens. On the down stroke, papers are

upended. Scaly claws scrape away

from enamel ground, straight up out of seats,

a whirl of wing-beats, singing from their beaks

about what half twelve will bring.

The flurry ascends over rippling grass,

a cacophony conducted by the clock’s minute hand,

and soars out of the class.


Flatts' Bridge (a poem)

What fantastic fishes can

passersby spy, leaning

over wooden railings, craning

their necks to detect a spot of colour?

Careening waves flank whirlpools as the

tide plays ring around the rosie,

crystal-clearing the surface to

reveal depths underneath; fish

flashing their scales and colourful

coral-heads congregating as reefs.

Cyclists pause in wonderment and pedestrians

can't help but stop for the chance

to lean against the rail and

observe the springtime chop;

the rushing ocean over fire corals,

and mangrove fingers reaching past land

to caress the top.

Translucent line unwinds from

spinning fishing rod, the catch

of the day stored face down -

tail fluke jutting out of bucket.

Another sort of fisherman

stands, one-legged, neck s-shaped,

staring down jutting beak to

spy the main course of the feast.

And there, the most curious of them all,

gliding through the water column

on languid wings. Spread out, a

pointed nose, flat, speckled back passes

in a lazy fashion, is followed by a whip-like tail.

People leaning over the rail, spellbound,

hold their exhale...