Adrian Henri

(10 April 1932 - 20 December 2000 / Birkenhead, Cheshire)

I Want To Paint


I

I want to paint
2000 dead birds crucified on a background of night
Thoughts that lie too deep for tears
Thoughts that lie too deep for queers
Thoughts that move at 186,000 miles/second
The Entry of Christ into Liverpool in 1966
The installation of Roger McGough in the Chair of Poetry at Oxford
Francis Bacon making the President's Speech at the Royal Academy dinner

I want to paint
50 life-sized nudes of Marianne Faithfull
(all of them painted from life)
Welsh Maids by Welsh Waterfalls
Heather Holden as Our Lady of Haslingden
A painting as big as Piccadilly full of neon signs and buses
Christmas decorations and beautiful girls with dark blonde hair shading their faces

I want to paint
The assassination of the entire Royal Family
Enormous pictures of every pavingstone in Canning Street
The Beatles composing a new national anthem
Brian Patten writing poems with a flamethrower on disused ferry boats
A new cathedral 50 miles high made entirely of pram wheels
An empty Woodbine packet covered in kisses
I want to paint
A picture made from the tears of dirty-faced children in Chatham Street

I want to paint
I LOVE YOU across the steps of St. George's hall
I want to paint

Pictures
II

I want to paint
The Simultaneous and Historical Faces of Death
10,000 shocking pink hearts with your name on
The phantom negro postmen who bring me money in my dreams
The first plastic daffodil of spring pushing its way
Through the OMO packets in the supermarket
The portrait of every sixth-form schoolgirl in the country
A full-scale map of the world with YOU at the centre
An enormous lily-of-the-valley with every flower on a separate canvas

Life-sized jelly babies shaped like Hayley Mills
A black-and-red flag flying over Parliament
I want to paint
Every car crash on all the motorways of England
Pere Ubu at 11 o'clock at night in Lime Street
A SYSTEMATIC DERANGEMENT OF ALL THE SENSES
in black running letters 50 miles high over Liverpool

I want to paint
Pictures that children play hopscotch on
Pictures that can be used as evidence at murder trials
Pictures that can be used to advertise cornflakes
Pictures that can be used to frighten naughty children
Pictures worth their weight in money
Pictures that tramps can live in
Pictures that children would find in their stockings on Christmas morning
Pictures that teenage lovers can send each other
I want to paint

pictures

Submitted: Monday, May 16, 2011
Edited: Monday, May 16, 2011

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