Bob Beagrie




Self Portrait With Body Works
(after Gunther von Hagens )

Photography is not permitted so I make mental snapshots of everything
as I mooch around the exhibits and scribble a coded reference
in small pencilled letters in the lower left hand corner of each print
before filing it away in its proper place which I will no doubt forget
because it is not the Dewy Decimal Classification system that I use
far from it – you only have to take a glance at my book shelves to see
how that would never suffice but rather a rubric of many random
associations which only makes sense in the moment before filing
and which makes retrieving books and mental prints time consuming
frustrating but ultimately more interesting in the rediscovery of subtle
alignments and as I walk quietly through the half-light from consenting
monster to saint from fisherman runner tight rope walker and lover past
the human sliced thin as honey roasted ham bought over the deli counter
I am studying my own hands the skin old scars sub-dermal boulevards
then looking through my own face reflected in the glass of the display case
superimposed upon the catalogued cadaver with its spinal column
drawn back and out sprayed like the tail of a peacock – when I swallow
I notice how my laryngeal prominence rises and dips like a wary seal
in scummy waters by the jetty at Bran Sands although I always vanish
whenever I blink so I learned from early childhood to do this quickly
to avoid disappearing completely as gas moves somewhere inside me
I recall the leaf skeleton I picked up at the end of a winter while cutting
through the cemetery when the last snow had retreated holding out in
low gullied pockmarks in the hills and which I later placed delicately
but deliberately between the pages of a chosen book before sliding
the book back into its proper new place on one of my sagging over-
stuffed shelves which has so far managed to avoid being rediscovered



Bob Beagrie. Recent publications: Yoik (Cinnamon Press 2008) The Seer Sung Husband (Smokestack Press 2010), Glass Characters (Red Squirrel Press 2011), KIDS (Mudfog 2012), SAMPO: Heading Further North (Red Squirrel 2015) .  His work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines and  has been translated into Finnish, Dutch, Portuguese, Spanish, Karelian, Estonian and Swedish. He is a senior lecturer at Teesside University.

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