Justy Phillips


Golf club – Polar bear

The bear must not leave the island.

I have fractured my skull.
I know this because I have spinal fluid dripping from my nose.

I play out the scenario:

I create a bear.
I become the bear.
The bear becomes me.
The bear takes a stroll around town.
The bear meets two small dogs, both of which defend their ground.
And bark incessantly at his over-sized head.
The bear meets a horse.
The meeting does not go well.
The bear is damaged.
The horse flees.
My head is broken.
I have become the bear.
The bear has become me.
The bear must not leave the island.
The bear is destroyed with a golf club. Violently as it turns out.
I regret this immediately.
My head is a bear.
And now it’s broken.

© Justy Phillips 2012

Polar bear – Horse

I decided not to cut any eyes in the head. And that makes it very difficult to navigate. I didn’t want to break the fiction of it, allow things to escape. Also if I can’t see your eyes, you can’t see mine. And then you don’t really see me right? All you see is the paper and the chicken wire. All you see is the bear.

I am lying on my side on the spare bed of my Swiss friend Julia. I cannot open my eyes. Too much pressure in my head after the fall. Out of the darkness, Julia speaks, tentatively at first, ‘You. Looked. AMAZING…You. On that wild horse, wearing a polar bear for a head. Snow on the mountain, the yellow evening light. A silhouette and the dark, dark ocean behind.’ Pause. ‘YOU. Looked. AMAZING’. And I smiled into my first tears.

Andrea, the New Yorker, went to Saeborg, the home for the elderly in Skagastrond, to paint some old people’s hands. There she heard a story. On hearing she was an artist resident at Nes, the young woman assisting her patients in the lounge, asked Andrea if she knew the woman who was thrown from the horse. The young woman said that she had witnessed the whole event. She said she saw the woman in the polar bear head. It was mesmerizing. The woman in the polar bear was on a horse which she had rented from her parents riding school. She said. She had a bad feeling about the scene when she saw the bear looking so strong. When the horse reared up the woman in the polar bear was thrown off the saddle and onto the road. She thought the woman was dead. She said. She held her breath. She doesn’t know what happened to the head. She saw it all with her own eyes. She was very scared.

Andrea reported this account to the woman who fell from the horse who was very surprised to hear that the other woman thought she had been at the scene. Because she had not. Only present were Swiss Julia, Svana, the horse’s owner (this was not one of her parents as she had imagined), the horse itself, the woman and the bear. A wind swept paddock, frost underfoot, snow on the mountain. Sun setting in the ocean to our West. This is how the story of the polar bear and the horse became one and the same. This is how it began.

© Justy Phillips 2012


1.The bear must not leave the island, 2013. Production still.

2.The bear must not leave the island, 2013. Production still.

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