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Real Bodies in Belém

Real Bodies in Belém

13th January 2016

strand of spider silk from eyelash to shoulder
contrasts with the gymnast’s pubic hair,
coral-colour muscle flays as feathers on a running man
who won’t fly with feet planted on the platform
slender, uniform, as if it were one person in all the positions
only brows and lashes form a distinction
blow dust from a bicep
 
– sit down –
 
shadows (one tall, one small) pass in the far end of the room
polish the glass, do not pause
to look at digestive systems mounted in cases, neutral bluepurplebeige
contemporary art pieces
boobs are stuck on
and we laugh
or not
 
she must’ve been gorgeous once


the niche, the cavern at the base of her spine is for life
four week old sea monkeys
we watch them blossom in their tubes, skinless
press against the cylinders
soak in formaldehyde
 
 – rest on each other next to the toilets, Mogwai plays –
 
blood vessels of face and neck a red thicket
bronchi sponges a human reef
where there are clown fish
(there aren’t, they’re at the other end of Lisbon, we saw)
I expect them to emerge brushing orange scales on tricolour branches
 
artery pancake
placenta, pan fried
candy floss just pink plastic casts of respiratory systems
and then there’s some cancer
 
heart and lungs a factory made by a child
with many tunnelly rooms

                                            sancti-
                                            -sanctum
 
transparent coronal sections of the brain
of a guy with a beard
his whole head in resin
 
the cleaner catches up
swabs the feet of a body builder
with her fluffy duster
her son trails behind
stops, stares, unblinking
Guillermo Del Toro child of four
ignores the plastinated people
eye contact traces me as I move
easily, he’s the creepiest thing in here
 
– pause in the gift shop –
 
and we wrote to say thank you
in the visitors’ book
we even drew a pole dancer
with her skin on

Illustration by author

Illustration by author

Alyssia MacAlister is a writer, editor, artist and mother who lives in Brighton. On both page and stage, Alyssia is concerned with exploring narratives within a poetic frame, finding the beautiful in the strange. Wide-ranging past interests include virtual reality and the female body, spiders and grief. Alyssia’s specialty is prose poetry, but she often works in found poetry and experiments with more traditional verse. When not poem-ing, Alyssia writes lucid fiction and essays, and creates artworks, mostly in pencil. She has a scalpel eye for word editing of any kind and can produce poetry workshops.

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