After Hogarth

by | August 18, 2022

Chalked up in white, his plans ran all in

Cool blueprints: our house was just too staid.

Then lines curved under my tools, sweetly

Etched into edges that became snake-like.

Right-angles baulked. We hooked fingers in

Mingling Cs and recut hard doorframes

Into shapes more sinuous. But then,


Behind smudges of my springtime paint,

I spied his jutting shoulder all at odds

With the architecture. Chiselled straight

Save the cleft impression of new arches,

Heavy with the ironing of boy into man,

His damage would have made you surge.

From double curves bleeds pure decoration,


The bones bleed rather than the flesh. Thin-lipped,

He smiled an apology and I learned

To take that curve as gospel, to spoon

His toast with jammy concentric circles for weeks.

Plaster set. The house rose in bricked borders.

My silent service hung around his dingy,

Hard plateaus, until he laughed just


Wrong and I slipped a thin knife under his

Shoulder blade. His animal yelp was sweet.

It sank to the dip of the radio, while

His body slumped through the same motions.

Skin rose hot purple. Blood spooled out lurid,

Tracing his dimples like a shroud. And then,

Flattened into a graph of a man, he became


Of use. I carved from him marble and copper,

The final touches to a house now complete.

I like it. Walk through and notice

His foot plumped as a doorstop,

His ribcage lining the cutlery drawer.

Now admire how his teeth dot the balustrade

As pearls, their lines of beauty turning endlessly. ∎


Words by Gabriel Blackwell. Art by Oliver Roberts.