the life of Man Ray.


this morning I realised,
I was dead. Lying there
in bed, eyes wide, staring
at a stain in the distemper.
At the age of 15
Emmanuel Radnitsky is dead.
These things happen:
for the best I guess, a mercy.
I rise slowly, sit in front of the mirror,
take a piece of paper, a pencil,
start to re-draw myself.
Man Ray. Man Ray. Man Ray.




I have seen it,
    I have seen it, here.
          The future.
    Here in this hall,
        brazen as anything
   it walks down the stairs
toward me, naked.


KIKI  1921

Those eyes.
She is with a friend,
they are noisy,
playing to the gallery.
Those eyes.
Neither wears a hat,
I think they are whores.
'It's just Kiki,
everyone knows Kiki'.
Those eyes.
'She's a model'
- I stare at her,
Unusual, unusually beautiful.
Those eyes
stare back.
I look away,
she laughs,
my cheeks reflect vin rouge.
Those eyes.
I take a deep breath,
stand up,
those eyes.


Man and Marcel play chess,
the art world watches , breath bated.

Each piece placed
surprises the spectators.

The protagonists always
four or five moves ahead of game.



The measure of love is what one is willing to give up for it

Great ropes bind the ship
sadistically to the quayside.
I feel strangely disconnected
life, love, work, lost to me,
exiled to my native land.
The past is not another country
it's the same country it has always been.


Dali & Gala hold court with the press.
Nobody notices a short Jew returning.

Andrew, Yves & Marcel
have settled in New York:
home once, it doesn't fit anymore
like trying to get into
one of my childhood suits
my arms can't bend,
the collar is choking me.

Paris, still occupies my dreams:
the arrogant grey uniforms,
the black spiders that crawl
the walls of the rue de Rivoli.

The long flat road sizzles,
flashes quicksilver in the distance.
Telegraph poles tick past,
the speedo taps eighty.

L.A. sun, palms, low houses,
a scent of Spain blows from the south.
If I close my eyes
I could be in Antibes.

she holds me in her palm
she opens my eyes
like the lid of an old box
she is blood warming an ancient spirit
she is a candle flame
viewed through red wine.

On this strip of land trapped
between desert and beach,
art is a rare bloom, stunning
as the bright flowers on the cactus,
no one cares
it's left to whither and die.

A commission to paint a portrait,
a Technicolor movie prop,
Ava Gardner as Pandora
holding a box.
Driving through MGM's gates
passing cowboys, gangsters,
sketching  Ava between scenes.
At home Juliet stands in
holding a box.

The moon is full, high over the sea,
erotic and disturbing.
I hear the gypsy singer in the tavern below.

The Santa Anna sings like a siren.
The Ocean calls, Paris tugs once more,
will you give up this life for me.

A sea of hands wave from the quayside
the klaxon wails,
smoke weeps from the funnels,
Juliet lights a cigarette.
We stand at the handrail watching
the Lady Liberty, the sky scrapers
sink into the horizon,
the gulls drift away.



assemblage, wood, plastic, glass.

This is not a pipe.

          © Derek Adams 2006