Patrick Goddard: Shortcut

a backlit male face fills the screen.

he talks directly to me from it.

his voice is slowed down slurred out.

a kind of underwater other world effect.

that lags behind as he moves on.

it puts my timing out of whack.

the shortcut story starts out innocent enough.

cutting through a london park one evening.

riding a bike along a cycle path.

he didnt see the taut blue rope.

strung at waist height across his route.

i could almost hear the absent sounds.

the thwack swish whoosh crash bone crunch.


and the man changes or he doesnt.

the position of the light behind him shifts.

the colour which i saw was blue.

now the lights in front of him.

and its casting a yellow halo glow.

it catches other bones makes new shadows.

what was his face is now another.


hes injured but he gets back up.

his hand throbs and you know its bad.

regaining himself he lurches his eyes about.

catches sight of two figures watching him.

and iym with him in his pursuit.

one boy runs the other stands.

and iym in the action wanting blood.


and hes still talking out at me.

his face changes again with the light.

a red glow picks out different details.

at an angle the cavities are deeper.

theres a leer and menace in there.

like theres some shortcut in my brain.

it makes me think he looks eviler.


as hes standing over the teenage boy.

whos tried to lash out and missed.

theres some thing shifting under my feet.

iyve got this power through this man.

but now that hes somehow in control.

i dont know where my sympathies lie.

my skin it starts to shrink away.


when he takes the dlock to the boy.

my blood lust chokes and then recedes.

when he smashes it into his leg.

then brings it down again and again.

describes the cries screams and gutteral yelps.

its a sick twist stomach churn clarity thump.

this guy is my sickness … my avatar.


his face changes back to his first.

and iym in the hospital with him.

hes looking down at his bloated hand.

fractured to bits and blue black green.

like a dead sea creature he observes.

theres this icy coolness after that heat.

a drug hazed numb that detachedly drifts.


the boy comes in on a stretcher.

and my body rushes with the relief.

hes lying moaning groaning from his bed.

his mother soothes him stroking his face.

hes in the waiting room not in surgery.

so iym implicated somewhat in his pain.

but hes still a nasty little prick.


written within constraints:

use full stops. no other form of punctuation.

no line longer than 7 words. no capitalisation.

write in the dark.

More information about artist Patrick Goddard.


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