To Jacques Derrida by Matthew Sheppard

When you paint my portrait
Attend to my eyes
Though sunken and tired
and clouded, blue skies
My cheekbones, they rise
Cliffs jutting to meet them
My nose, the long drop
My mouth is the ocean


The frame you envision
My face, minus flesh
How eerie it is
Watch my jawbone flap
Close, open
Push, pull
Tea-stain grin
Sun-bleach skull
What difference is there?

Waves pound rocks
Whitewashed by gulls
The live sea teams
It moves and breathes
Then life and breath flow out to sea
These with the tide flow out sea
They leave cliffwalls to bake and bleach

Head to toe
I’m nothing but bones
Model in a science lab
Cadaver on a table
Flesh and blood sit on a chair
Canvas, on an easel

Scalpel, drill
Paint, or lead
What difference is there?
I’m nothing but bones
My breath is just air

Head to toe
I’m nothing but bones
Initial incision, a naked outline
Words flow free as blood, as wine
And breath and life flow out to sea
So sketch
Disconnect
Disassemble
Deconstruct me
I’m nothing but bones
My breath is just air

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