“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





19 February 2015


Francis Bacon (1909-1992) by Philip White 1.6.2007

I choose to take this risk of writing 
(for Francis Bacon, after too many drinks in the Coach and Horses)

Those arms I felt:
softened they were by Death;
but sorrow warms them too,
and I could feel your strength coming through.

In those arms.

When it happens, nobody understands.
The anchor in the heart
slowly pulls tight as
the ship draws away,
and great steaks of flesh and rib
drag pumping down the pier.

Now the cables are drawing tight.

The garbage men are banging in the street.

It’s not so much the muscle that goes,
but the bone.
Eaten and eaten and eaten.
From the arms, I mean: the loving arms.

The other bastard sits there smoking,
nonchalant, on the bed,
while the bone goes out of your arms
and your chest is dragged pumping
down the pier.

He puts his hat on, jerks down his cuffs,
and stalks out,
shoulders swelling thinly against his shoulderpads.

When you curl your throat like that
and I’ve got my fingers soft in the back of your knee,
that’s when we pull the wadding of the sky
back into the wound and shoot those
stainless cables down the marrow to the future. 

Philip White

Francis Bacon in  his Soho studio in 1977 ... photo by Carlos Freire ... in the three years to 2001, a team led by Barbara Dawson catalogued every item in the studio and moved it to The Hugh Lane Dublin City Gallery, where it was painstaking re-assembled. There's a fleeting but powerful advertisement for Krug in the first video.

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