Philip Guston Considered As An Ekphrastic Text by Chris Stewart

He takes his feet with him

And his hands.


He piles the corpses of his favourable reviews

In a cart.


They carry their feet

So they can work

Preserve their hands

In crude oil like ammonites,


Stack their lungs

Like smoking chimneys

Flaring effluent,


Discharge themselves from hospital mortuaries

And retard against walls where

The dead queue patiently.


He piles his hands as a bonfire

They light


The chiascuro hides

What they refused to see:







Late at night

In the kitchen


Window volcanic

Magma night metamorphic







A charred cinder cross

On unkempt weed-lawn

Ayrian mower in shed.


Crude oil on tap,

Seabed in the kitchen sink,

Plates unwashed

No visitors come to visit

The plughole

He struck.


His feet feed mushrooms

Sitting in the basket

That forgets the dog’s bark.


Hands point

But they don’t laugh any more.

His back remembers the applause of slaps.


New shores

Flat palm on cheek


Red face

Dishevelled hood.


His new work?

No good.

Labyrinnitus by Chris Stewart

The radium clock dial in the sky was dialling a

10 o’clock ringtone.  The morning chorus was a static caravan

Of expanded polysterene.  Street streamers warbled

In the autonomic carpal tunnels of the workers shuffling off

Conveyances of pubic transport.  The dead end clapper boards

Determined the sutures of this persistent derealisation

And you could almost sync yourself back up.

Sadly, like a bad billboard poster job

Your smile will just have to look wonky for the remainder of the month

The national anthem is remembered somewhere by a fox

Doing over a wheelie bin.  It takes no heroes.

The level tone is tinnitus in your semi-circular canals

Their locks/quays full of drowned cilia.

There’s no policemen to dredge those bottoms

The Dr informed you.  The coroner’s won’t ever

Return an open verdict.  All those sonic frequencies

You murdered.  You kid yourself they submerged themselves willingly.

Like busts of the unnamed dead you can only imagine them



Your head sets like a cement overcoat

Every now and then.  It lands like an anvil at your feet.

There is no cure.  Only bedrest.  And the possibility of praying.


You are told to avoid waltzes and rollercoaters

You feared them as a boy and a teenager

Now you have an excuse you want to go.

The bucket list just got smaller

It was rewritten.  It was out of your hands.


You were never one for music anyway.


Post Going Postal by Chris Stewart

“You queue behind yourself” – Dan Ariely


He watches shoppers

In a queue of mirrors

Refracted like friezes

In a church pawnshop


He paste lists to do things over

His landlord’s refridgerator

So many Dilemmas spent

Whilst lovemaking

He wouldn’t intervene in other people’s posters


It’s all just a Primark catwalk, he thinks,

this jury of indigenous mannequins

wallpapers itself in streams of chat roulette

seeking much –

She asks – needed intimacy


Secure crimes in the anallemas

he daren’t disclose on application forms

disappear like polarised glasses

restraining the sun

to a badly scaled sci-fi romp

at his local showcase


His primary school education

Is his to be acquitted.


she says,

“Are you neatly folded, or

Irish?  Like coffee?”


someone to be laughed at when approached

If it comes to this

She destroyed his Scalextric

If he is in control

It must come to

Blows.  He’ll be Ben Sherman

She clearly has no point of reference

No rememberance

skoda could clean up here

his name was an unmeaning shirtlessness

footprints where he had already


his luck

less cogent.

antiquated is the pavement

his daily stamps

collect complimentary coffees

every six days



He is fixed

In their long term plan

He has queued up behind

His own rash decision

Hastily made

Deeply deadpanned

And stuffed.

He may even watch Crufts

If it placates her.


What the hell?


Ten years.

An entire decade

It’s not an exaggeration

He owns that

He owns that at least

He owns a lack of hyperbole

Ten years

Decimal time

Copper weighs so much heavier

Than his shortcomings.

The wishes add up

Like an old fashioned ten pence mix up.

Haribo can go fuck himself

It’s all E numbers

He can’t stand the taste

the chemicals.

Avatars only give him an idea to hate

But the mass dispersions of his gun casings

Wouldn’t discrimate against employees just doing their jobs

And the CEO’s.


He considers going postal

But he doesn’t work at Royal Mail.


Post coital he reflects on the wells he dispatched

The landfills he wasn’t responsible for

The years he stacked

The pastebooks of smoke filled rooms

He regrets he wished they outlawed.