Blue Bloodshot Flowers: Text for Performance

How to Cite

Stanier, P., 2001. Blue Bloodshot Flowers: Text for Performance. Body, Space & Technology, 1(2). DOI:


Download HTML






I remember everything all too well. I am speaking of departure, severance. As we were wedged together at the knees so frequently so hard. There was little dividing us, so, severance. This is departure again. Another split. Doubled over. We were broken down and drained, he more than I. We parted once he left me laid out in the flowers and I loved him for it. This is his corpse what I now make with my tongue, these are his remains raked through, ploughed up, and cried over. His breath rattled, mine he called quiet algebra. He could only make out my face this close enough to see my lack of lines, to see the difference between the two of us between the mushroom soft escarpments underneath his eyes and the drum tight lids of my eyes, but too close to make out the whole. He could never see me at a distance. It was always too close. He would never know I was on the horizon to call and retrieve me, too close or nowhere at all. This is my dismissal of him, my move to the horizon. His redemption. I say this in the cold. Anger has no place here. Any emotion would be synthetic. This is nostalgia gone rotten like my insides all leather and dust. I am speaking of a glint in his eye that was unsuitably framed. A context that made what happened unpleasant to other eyes, the speaking of it uncomfortable, it made peoples skin crawl. I am speaking of an attempt to gain distance, from a fatal event. I won’t be able to repeat this enough. I had him inside me, I had him deep inside me, So deep in my heart, he is still really a part of me, I had him inside me. I won’t be able to repeat this enough. It was natural for us both, so much for childhood reasoning. He thought more childishly than I. No style or rhetoric of thought. Just patterns in actions. The dispersal of flower seeds in the air, the spiral of geometry in nature. /Hold hands he said we did. A walk he said we did. Your smile he said I did. I’m lost he said I was. I’ve fallen he said we had. No more he whispered I left. That’s it all, how it began how it ended. It could have seemed so much like chance, coincidence. But this is no eternal story, there is neither chance nor anger at work here. Just the pedestrian fear of an airtight alien logic. I have to confess there were more complicated requests later the arrangements of bodies and movement with numbers and names but it was the same uncomplicated thought. /Kiss me he said I did, lick me he said I did, suck me he said I did, fuck me he said I did. Simple for the mucous mind. Thick and slow but liquid and impossible to damage. Inevitable. We had already begun before he spoke as much as he spoke before we began. Like the snake that eats itself tail to head the vanishing circle chicken before egg before chicken before cart before horse head over heels. He sent me spinning, reeling occasionally with the back of his hand. I have too tell you that, it is my duty to tell you that. I did not live too many days after that. But I can’t repeat this enough. I tried so not to fall in, I told myself this could never end well, how could I resist, when I knew so well that I had you inside me. But I can’t repeat this enough.


He marked me out, and mapped my surface. His hands moving over my skin, fingertips rough like tiny moving cancers stretching out, trying to leap his broken down frame into mine. There was a calm arithmetic in his palm. Strange how the body in repeating itself cell by cell, breeding, doubling, strange how these little clones can reject the persistence of the pattern towards age. Set up their own little colony. I’m sorry I’ve lost you, my metaphor was cancer as a symptom of a fear of death, that simply hastens it, hastens death that is, the result of a paranoid body. Was he my cancer. I was his, he was more afraid of death. while he was with me, I reminded him of his age and we wore each other out, but while I fed and grew there was less of him each time. The skin on his hand hung bare like a glove, each day the bones were thinner. I was against his skin but there was no touch, the surface was cold. His breath rattled more. We walked. Our daily average 5 miles I was only a child, I would get tired. But those walks led to calm, great calm in the time of sleeping or half sleep with him, when it was twinned with my exhaustion after he wore himself out on me in the shelter of the forest. The weather was not often kind, we walked in bent double downpours, the result of overzealous butterflies pollinating orchids in Brazil. The pelting downpour covered several darkening equators. Windless day and night. Through fields of a million blue bloodshot flowers. Battered shattered by the rain, broken glass fault-lines etched in the petals. Sap and mud like blood underfoot, always cold. Wet hair in thick coils, fingers running through. As I went down on him. Those that went like worms through blades of grass. And the wet ground cradled us and we were wedged together at the knees snapping buttercup stems. Eating the flowers, despite the blankets there were too few for sustenance. I starved with a full belly. Now I walk my daily average 1000 miles internally. I have returned to zero so many times, I lost track the distance covered, I deal in speed and daily averages. I don’t know when he was ever silent or still. Always fumbling for intimacy. Always fumbling the anatomy of my disgrace. The other things future quiet crying and empty returning searches could not have been known in view of time and shade. Everything was too close to see the horizon. I won’t repeat this enough. Cause I’ve got you deep inside me. I won’t repeat this enough


When it happens the echo was noticeable in my skull. Ringing. When he took me with delayed communication. When he panicked. When he shook my head with that rock. He sometimes seems weak and distant, though he was strong that time. The sweat off his body stank of his age and ran down the crevasses in his skin. Mine still made its own random path across marble, and smelt only of salt. But I didn’t live so many days after that. The violence of the idea had germinated the first time, but now it blossomed. Blue green blooms on my skin, red roots from my nose, mouth and between my legs. Pretty flowers from my skin. My body aged no more. My skin did not let go of the muscle, the muscle did not let go of the bones, the bones did not let go of each other. At least not through any living process. I did not invite decay, it made itself a guest. The glint in my eye suitably framed by thin dry skin tight on the near hollow socket. I did at the very least welcome that on the inside where time and his old body were laid bare and raw. On the inside where neither time nor his old body hung bare. Please note that when I said he hit me I lied at least not before he brushed my hair with earth and granite. Please note when I said we ate flowers I lied though I chewed them with my face in the ground. Please note when I said that there were a million blue bloodshot flowers I guessed there could have been more there could have been less. I’ve got you inside me. I’ve lost you inside me. I’ve left you inside me. I’ve kept you inside me. I remember everything all too well and so I am speaking of severance, departure. I can’t repeat this enough. My fumbling progression through counting weeds those unwanted flowers keeps me occupied. I am in the earth. I am roots and creepers. I am inside you.


Bowden, Richard. ‘The Human Tracking Project’ (Unpublished Paper), 2001

Bowden, Richard and Broadhurst, Susan. Interaction, Reaction and Performance URL:, 2001.

Broadhurst, Susan. Liminal Acts: A Critical Overview of Contemporary Performance and Theory, London: Cassell/New York: Continuum, 1999a.

---- 'The (Im)mediate Body: A Transvaluation of Corporeality', Body & Society 5(1), March 1999b: 19-27.

---- (Dir). Blue Bloodshot Flowers. Brunel University, June 2001.

Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Biped. Barbican, London, November 2000.

Stanier, Philip. ‘Blue Bloodshot Flowers: Text for Performance’. Body, Space, & Technology (Vol.1 No.2), 2002

Turner, Victor 'Are there universals of performance in myth, ritual, and drama?’, pp. 1-18 in Richard Schechner and Willa Appel (eds) By Means of Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.



Philip Stanier





Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


Peer Review

This article has been peer reviewed.

File Checksums (MD5)

  • HTML: bdb47bf7cceed5974a6f7aa8a6b52bbe