Finlay’s Hours: ‘The Best Art’



A chronological collection of writing during my son’s first fortnight of life, in Neonatal ICU.

(note: Before going into labour, my wife bought me a book of British short stories so as to have something to read during the process. The introduction to this collection was rather academic. Among other ideas, the editor, Malcolm Bradbury, posited the notion that the best short story writers of the 20th century challenge the notion of the short story as a format as well as seeking to make a statement through the content of their work. This thought rolled around in my head like an inky marble, before eventually being manifested in the poem below.)

The Best Art

The best art challenges the very notion of itself.
If this holds true,
Then you are a masterpiece
Because you revision life
And interrogate the form of life we had formed
In our creative minds
Before you were born.
You took our imperatives
And put a question mark on them.
You made us think, not again,
But for the first time
About what it essentially means to be.

You Quentin Tarantinoed our Hollywood production,
You James Joyced our perfect novel,
You Alexander McQueened our Spring Summer collection,
You Chris Ofilied our shitty lives,
You Emined up our bed
And Eminemed up our bars
And Nasir Jonesed our debut record.

You Grand Wizard Theodored our neatly stacked vinyl,
You Zinedine Zidaned our pregnancy final,
You Picassoed our classics
And Maleviched the four-cornered square of our lives.

You Damon Dashed our business plans
And John Coltraned our saxophone solos
Into something supreme. Sublime.
You Jaco Pistorioused our bassiest lows
And punk rock studded our high street clothes.

You Zaha Hadided our walls and our ceilings
Mike Tysoned our lights out
And Dysoned our feelings
Into a vacuum.

You William Morrised our florals,
You Michel Roux Juniored our meals
And Rodney Mullened all four wheels
That we ride upon.

You Michael Jacksoned our video,
Then Gondryed it,
Then Shynolad it,
Before you Da Vincied our smiles,
Becketted our short stories,
Woolfed our consciouses
And Shakespeared our sonnets.

You did all that
Without brush, pen, or palette,
Creative genius
Placed on this planet.
Your raw material:
Intensive care,
You Finlay Hostick-Boakyed
The air.

-Unseen Flirtations







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