• 05-10-21 •

The Black Objects: For Leonora Carrington

Portrait of Leonora Carrington by Lee Miller, 1939.

I am being held in a room for the refused. I am holding a decanter and a dahlia, the twin weights of justice. I’m dreaming vainly of a white horse. I talk to it by touching. My right eye peers over the hill, while my left spies a tiny she-hyena.

I have been swallowing lemons whole. The mauve moon is jammed between two blocks of wood and leaking gold dust. The moon is a koan. I believe I am being conducted to the invisible world.

I try to empty myself of images which have made me blind. I no longer value my night creams, my nail buff. I find myself sitting in a garden, in a plastic chair, under the apple trees. The Frau brings me Alka Seltzer. I would sit there gazing out over the valley, with its river flowing in a hidden crevice.

In the evening, I would call on the Prince of Monaco at the pavilion; we would listen together to Radio Andorra. Then he would talk to me about aerial migration and variable yields. I believe he was teaching me about my own journey. I have no delusions.

The electric current runs through me, one to the other. The doctor allows me to move. I can smell an unctuous broth, a vacuum cleaner. The fields are on fire. Nanny tried to dissuade me from installing myself down below.

I arrive at last in the room of indifference. The black objects are there, awaiting me, almost with a sense of disappointment. The Prince is also there. He lies on the floor, vanquished by the blue light of sleep. ‘Ay, ay, ay, no to mires en el rio!’ Don’t look. I will lie down, too. If you don’t sleep, someone else will steal all your dreams.


Richard Skinner has published four books of poems with Smokestack, the most recent of which is ‘Invisible Sun’ (2021). “The Black Objects” is taken from his forthcoming pamphlet, ‘Dream Into Play’. He is Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. He also runs a small press, Vanguard Editions, and is the current editor of 14 magazine.