Derek Coulombe



1: Three Bronze Runners Running Heavy


(After Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913))

(For its great and strange bounding.)


Three bronze runners run heavy across green and rolling lawns, tremendously green lawns.

Three runners running all-out, bent tight and forward at the hips, running heavily, mouths agape with heaving and spittle and sounds, running at heavy speed, and with strong legs, with triple-thick legs (at the thighs, the calves), legs so full, and hammering.

Three bronze runners. Three runners made of bronze, made entirely of bronze in-and-out, and moving as flesh moves too (running as flesh would run, with the bends and shapes and the bounce of flesh while flesh runs). Moving as flesh but made of bronze-all-the-way-through, wholly of bronze, all-the-way-through.

Three bronze-all-the-way-through runners running at speed under heavy sun and all atop these extremely green lawns. Bronze-all-the-way-through means bronze outers and bronze inners, bronze skin, blood, mucus, bronzy organs, bronze lungs blowing in and out all heavy under all the running, bronze colon moves bronze stool, and bronze urine comes out wet in bronze jets.

The breathless pace of this running all-out, the huge exertions of running so heavy like that, of running at such speed and so strongly make for splutterings and agitation, make for flatulence pushed out, loud as it pings out of bronze sphincters, three bronze buttocks convulse in this bad wind, flappy, bouncing, and then tight with rocking footfalls, all motions are motions in threes, and so three great gusts, and all with a metally pong trailing strong rearwards.

Three bronze runners (mouths sagged, agape) shriek from their mouths as they run so heavily and so fast. Three voices shrieking, all three shrieks go up, up in a monotonous and vigorous rising, and never stopping, never stopping—the shrieks never stop rising in volume and note—so all three shrieking always loudly, always rising, and perpetually so.

The sun up above these fast three, is such a wide and such a full sun, (a hot sun of highest summer). The sun smiles all over and across their length and their breadth (the long and the thick of the bronze runners), making for glittery highlights overtop all of them, all the bronze of them. The bronze outsides, their big and fast volumes lighting up under the great heat and light in all these glistening twinkles that move fast as they move their shapes and folds so fast in their running.

All three runners running heavy beneath a smiling and hot sunshine smile widely too, all three smile with smiles of bronze too, big and wide, toothy, with bronze tongues, bronze teeth and gums, and all with shrieks ringing out and upwards always.

2: Torsoless


(After Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913); after Kasimir Malevich’s “Running Man” (1932); after “Fragmentary Male Torso” (1st century C.E.) (at The Metropolitan Museum of Art); after Anders Garderud’s gold medal performance in the 3000m steeplechase event at the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics.)

“The other half of the stage depicted a grassy bank. In the foreground, a man who seemed to be running at breakneck speed wore on his shoulders a papier-mache boar’s head, which, completely obscuring his own, made him look like a wild pig with a human body.”1

(These for all their legs alone.)


Now three other runners running very heavily past (and these three are bronze too, bronze all-the-way-through too).Three more running so fast and through the grassy rollers of these extra green and round-hilled lawns.

These three are the torsoless, they are three torsoless figures. Torsoless means three sets of fast-running legs with no torso on them at all, with no trunk attached to them, so no head attached, no arms attached, just legs and buttocks alone (viewed from the rear), just hips, lowest belly, and whatever genitals (from front). Legs go up from the feet, up to top-hips and high buttocks and then everything ends-off there and ends flush and flat. Planed-out smooth on top, (atop the legs, buttocks, the hips), and these flat ovalish, torsoless body-tops are wholly bloodless and unwounded, they are all clean and very smooth matter, because they are bronze, and so gleam bright and loud in the sunshine.

Three torsoless runners running hard (three pairs of legs alone, running), run in a shuffling and triplicate line. Run hard and forward in great forward-leaning bounds, theirs is a graceless and shared sprint, all landing so heavily on six heavy-running feet, pitter-pattering, pumping hard over the foaminess, the density, of the green grass, on and over the rounds of the green-grassy hills.

Running hard like that, the calves bounce jolly, bounce down roundly, thighs and glutes bounce round and in-time with all the footfalls too, kneecaps bob along very roundly, the lows of each buttock bounce sweetly and roundly with the running too. And all this roundness is all a half-roundness (the flesh of each part, of every round thing of the torsoless legs swells downwards, towards the feet as they land heavy and so makes a half-round of itself horizontal to the green of the ground), and so every low roundness of every soft bronze part is a sort of smiling line, a big torsoless grin from all the hard running parts and all three times over, under the big warmth of the sun and the kind color of the powdered blue sky.

3: Joint-Max


(After Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity in Space” (1913), (the exposed ball-joint at the right shoulder); after the Workshop of El Greco’s “Saint Andrew” (1610) (from the feet up to the rotated calves); after Umberto Boccioni’s “Dynamism of a Soccer Player” (1913); after Kazimir Malevich’s “Woman with Pails: Dynamic Arrangement” (1912); and after all of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres’s painted hands.)

(For every bend they all make of themselves.)


A bronze and living arm, bending in twenty places instead of bending in three places (shoulder, elbow, wrist). Two bronze nipples on a bronze chest, two nipples from the same chest (two nipple-parts of one torso), touching one to the other because the torso folds all down the middle. A skull that articulates a lot creasing all over, tilework. A low back, folding four ways at once, away from itself, toward itself, in leafy moves and bends. Legs that hinge in sixty places instead of bending in three places (hip, knee, ankle). Limbs touching themselves and not breaking for it, parts coming to parts, cheekbones folding in many places, (folding to make way for the biggest smile yet).

(Suppose a body with three times the joints a body has. A body has 250-350 joints, so it means supposing a body with 1080 joints, 1080 free-moving joints, applied to the same set of limbs and parts). It’s a body of junctions, of articular capsules, membranes, fibrocartilage, tendon, and cavities, articular cartilage, ligaments and surrounding fatty pads galore.

A body making bends like that would be a body making novel shapes in the world: A body riding in the front seat of a car while that body rides in the back seat of that car too (the front and back seats of the same 1999 Toyota Avalon—a largish sedan—pine green paint-job, taupey leather seats) sitting in both front and back and all while facing forward, face forward, eyes forward—everything bending overtop the top of the front seat and pouring into the back seat with more bends—hips forward, buttocks flat down and heavy, forward too. With this many joints a body like that could do somersaults down the very green grass of the rolling hills, making enough bends as it goes to look like some huge faceted and precious stone moving at speed, glimmery, with the bronze bending all over under the strong light, bending everywhere and all at once to meet every surface of itself with the bright light pouring on downward from the high sun always overtop.

4: Long-Pack Laid Out


(After Stanley Spencer’s “Sunbathers at Odney” (1935); after Umberto Boccioni’s “Unique Forms of Continuity In Space” (1913); after Lucas Cranach the Younger’s “Nymph of the Spring” (1545-1550).)


A full sixteen feet of just abs overtop abs over abs again, so a long body, the whole bronze body a long mount for one kind of body-part. One body-part repeated—twelve-inch sections of banded muscle—flexing abs, sixteen times over—sixteen sets of abs stacked all the way down and up all of it, all of them, wholly bronze all-the-way-through, and living still too, and laying out beneath the high sun on the big rolling green of the lawns.

(Sixteen feet of sun-tanner tanning out in the bright and the heat, on the very green grass, all bronze and all abs up and down, and the whole thing laid out flat on the lawn).

Sixteen feet of all-abed sun-tanner plus meatuses too. All the meatuses are here (along with the abs) and all the meatuses are set into the center of the piled-up (and down) muscle bands. All the meatuses: the nostrils, the anal meatus, earholes, hole of the mouth, urethral meatus, all of them set into the twelve-inch space of the eighth set of abs in the stack (seven abs from the top, eight more down below).

Abs flex, abs convulse wormy and strong, and many times over. Whenever all the abs (all the abs of the body that is only abs with meatuses, the abs of the all-bronze sixteen footer—the top seven, the middlish with all the meatuses, and the bottom eight) flex in synchrony, in one grander, bigger body-movement, the pressure exerted throughout is enormous, the pressure on the innards is so enormous, and so when every ab flexes at the same time every hole (every meatus) pushes out whatever it has to push out of itself and all at once too. So, on the green lawn, under the heavy sun, all sixteen feet of just abs set against other abs sunbathe, and all the feces, mucus, spittle, wax, sick, and piss that came out of every meatus sunbathes.

The meatuses do more than bring up material, various excreta, when squeezed. The mouth grins very wide and laughs very hard, with big belly-laughs. The nostrils flare out and in with the laughter, the laughter very breathy and gregarious, violent frivolity, (the hilarity). The sixteen-footer laughs so hard it pees and lets out pinched blooms of flatulence (which only makes the laughter heartier and louder still), laughing so hard that the mouth vomits, and laughing still through the wet of it all, and under the huge joy of the sun.

1 Raymond Roussel, Impressions of Africa, trans. Mark Polizotti (London: Dalkey Archive Press, 2011).

Derek Coulombe is a writer based in New York City, and currently a Chester Dale Interdisciplinary Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He writes poetry and prose about embodiment, disability, and materiality that is informed by both the study of art objects and an ongoing self-examination of his own experience of Tourette’s Syndrome and disordered physical movement. His writing has previously appeared in Blackflash Magazine, ReIssue, Des Pair Quarterly, and Peripheral Review. During summer 2022, he was a short-term Fellow with the Warburg Institute (London) where he wrote a prose work about the god-body of Herakles. This work is an excerpt from a forthcoming book project called BODYBUILDER.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis ( is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit ( and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.