Wednesday, 19 August 2009


It was Souheil Sleiman, a friend and near neighbour, who made his studio available for Amanda's Hackney Downs event. I’m currently correcting the proofs of my Shearsman book 'Visiting Exile', due out in October. Souheil’s sculpture ‘All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go’, seen here on the right, will be on the cover and references to it recur throughout the book. ('All Dressed Up...' was the subject of my first post on this blog.) The work featured as Lebanon’s entry for the Alexandria Biennale last year, so the whole thing had to be dismantled and reassembled, which is referred to in the following section:

Alexandria: is it
Towards a city
But defunct – that can
Swim or sprout eyes

Library lighthouse drowned statues
On the balcony, stands there, a stranger
The name is lips kissing themselves

Where the sculpture arrives
In its packing case

Flatpack assembly:
Dismembered to two dimensions

And under the sea someone’s here
Making a shape out of something lonely

It has eyes instead of a name
In the harbour of drowning

Inimical still to the texture of flesh
It’s a carapace sloughed off

A thing of endless corners
Look backward the usual stranger

So perched it in my mind
Where everything leaves its faint print

But somewhere’s the shape of a human
‘Come over here and be loved’

And a voice, that might last in the calling
From ‘somewhere out of Africa’

Smashed to a dazzle – my animal mouth
Being walked here into a mirror’s silence

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