2017; paperclay, 4 plungers
It’s in his eyes.
The smell of his sweaty hands in those fat gloves, the oily look of his hair - the backs of your knees sweat too. The first one to attack sets the rules.
Skin feels too tight, the cage gets smaller and smaller until you are close enough to hope you can read each other’s minds. Quite late to quit, clench your fists and bite the pain caused by your nails.
He’s mumbling something; the sweat follows down the wrinkles on his nose, as a river, all the way to his crooked mouth. Little you knew, there is no physical knock out. It’s just a feeling that stays in your bones, touches your feet with cold hands under the blanket, and murmurs behind your back when the water in the shower drips.
Do you suddenly hear everything you haven’t heard before, or you don’t hear anything at all anymore?
He’s running to get you now, an endless run, changing grimaces, unsteady steps, and you’re having an outer body experience; too afraid to move, like a deer moments before being hit by a truck. Try to estimate what you’ll feel, but it’s blank. All blank.
He’s the length of an arm away and he’s screaming, but no sound comes out. The canvas vibrates; the same do his leg muscles, shaking as your jaw. He’s slow and heavy to move through this air; sometimes he’s levitating
(His face keeps changing;
he’s that classmate on whose work you stepped in the first year, he’s your studio mate, he’s your favorite high school teacher, he’s that friend you were never close to, he’s the curator you’ve been dying to talk to, he’s your boss, he’s your mom and then your dad.
He’s in a continuous change and frantic movement, while all of him sees one of you.
Your elbows hurt from keeping your arms in defense for too long)
“He’s as scared as you are of him”
Time liquefies more and more the closer he gets to you, but you’re feather and he’s super heavyweight.
Where do you imagine yourself to be, when you’re in a place you’d do anything to escape from? You’re faster inside than outside, are you not?
a. You run towards him, it’s a clash, and an equal game. There’s only one unidentified bruise left, on the canvas.
b. You lay low and push his legs backwards, looks like gravitational choreography. Too much noise, the bets stop, the jaws drop.
c. You stay there and by the time he gets to you everything will be dissolved. You are alone in the ring.
shown in The Grey Space in the Middle