The Dead by Marcus Speh

Do dead men sleep better under a tree or in the deep, deep sea? A tree gave shelter, and the variety of animal life under its roots provided welcome distraction. The dead men in the sea seemed scattered somehow, lost in the chemical mess of dihydrogen oxide. The ocean was like one body swallowing another, a mountain of of bodies, sailors lost at sea, children taken by waves, drowned women. There was no particular place for reunion with your loved ones. A dead body in the sea turned into a new creature, not wormfood. It went grey, then green in the face, hair got entangled with anemones, fish built their nests in the hollows of its wounds, sharks took a bite out here and there, creating gory works of underwater art. Flesh in water looked like tailored tissue, blood became ink for the writs of aqueous gods.


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16 responses to “The Dead by Marcus Speh

  1. Alexandra Pereira

    Powerful piece! Strong images! Liked your beginning with a question…Original. Well done! :-)

    • thank you, alexandra, for reading & commenting. i realise i often like to begin with a question. most true stories begin with a question…and the story is the answer. not that this is a true story, of course.

  2. I don’t know but I think I’m now afraid to go swimming. Love your grotesquery here, Marcus!

  3. A gorgeous orgy of wordplay. And I don’t say that often. :)

  4. Roberta Lawson

    Excellent, creepy, and (oddly) meditative. Love ‘aqueous gods.’

  5. this undulates, like a jellyfish, or the waves. interesting so much attention paid to sleeping under the sea. beautiful writing, per usual. peace…

  6. Well, the way this is written, asnwers the question for me: in the sea… Beautiful and original. Thank you!

  7. thank you, linda and stella, much appreciated!

  8. stephen


    it reminded me of a couple sentences from ulysses, which i then dutifully tracked down. because…well….anyway:

    The man that was drowned. A sail veering about the blank bay waiting for a swollen bundle to bob up, roll over to the sun a puffy face, saltwhite. Here I am.

    for some reason the “Here I am” has stuck with me for a long time.

    well played, good sir.

  9. Strange beauty. Yes, grotesquerie, and yet so matter of fact. It makes one look again, closer. I love the image of hair entangled with anemones. (That is my personal freeze-frame for this piece.) Exactly put: this is itself a gory work of underwater art.

    • thank you, catherine. genesis talk: the initial sentence/question came to me first, as it often does, the rest developed as syncopation (if that’s the word) with this picture at my old flash site. update: yesterday we had fish and chips at a new place, there was a HUGE tv screen on the wall and on it ran the bbc documentary “our blue planet” (or something – and more specifically we were watching the very sexy way of the sea anemones which lead to a lot of questions from our daughter. who’d have thunk it…

  10. Very dada, very cool, I love this whole take on the disintegration of the body under water as becoming almost more potent somehow..

  11. Pingback: Week #42 – Under wraps | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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