Friday, 23 September 2011

A skirmish, a sunbeam, and a surrender

A first nonsensical draft of something, just something, just words to get the day started like coffee. Without either I'm sluggish and my brain isn't the brain I want to be dealing with. My thoughts are old glue and stagnant puddles and melted butter left to congeal and tease fruit flies. Three thoughts this came from: the word "skirmish" as repeated on my tongue while brewing coffee, skirmish like scaramouch, like fandango. The sunbeam that has taken over my desk, mmmn, morning warmth. And a soft surrender, the good kind, like held wrists or falling eyelids.


A skirmish, a sunbeam, and a surrender. Grappling on the crest of the hill: eager paws, arse over tit, hands in the hair. She thinks that maybe she loves him and this could be it. Happiness. A giddy heart like sprawl of daisies, like a plastic tugboat in a summer puddle, like a promise folded between scented papers in the secret pocket at the side of her bag.

A skirmish, a sunbeam, and a surrender. Her shriek is a riot in the town of seagulls and when they kiss their gravities switch. They coo and capsize, down the hill, they tumble. Grass stains on her wrists like rope burns; grass in her hair. The bumblebees are sweating. When they bounce on the rocks, he kisses harder.

A skirmish, a sunbeam, and a surrender. You’re falling, girl, you’re head over heels, and at the bottom of the hill lie bruises. So, you pick yourself up by the scruff of your neck, shake your kittenish frame, and you carry the remains to where it’s shady, where you lay yourself down, where you sleep.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Conveyor Arts, part 2

In the second part of the Words With Pictures project, I wrote a poem about skiving and Leif took this lush photo to go with it.

on writer's block

"I'm not convinced that there's any such thing as "writer's block." I suspect that what we like to call "writer's block" is actually a failure of nerve or a failure of imagination, or both.

If you're willing to take chances, risk ridicule, and push the envelope, and if you've managed to hold on to your imagination (the single most important quality a writer can possess, even slightly more important than an itchy curiosity and a sense of humor), then you can dissolve any so-called block simply by imagining extraordinary, heretofore unthinkable solutions, and/or by playing around uninhibitedly with language. You can imagine a wordplay your way out of any impasse. That's assuming, of course, that you're talented in the first place."

Tom Robbins, asked by New Times: "What Do You Think Writer's Block Is and Have You Ever Had It?"

Monday, 12 September 2011

Shonen KNIFE!

I got to see them last night at Scala and I nearly burst my stiches trying to dance on the spot and not mosh, then being overcome with tremulous sixteen-year-old-thrash excitement, chastised by Helen, bah-bah-bah KAPOW.

They do not bear serious review because they don't make me feel serious; I'm not going to analyse "I'm going to eat jelly jelly jelly jelly jelly jelly jelly jelly beans, you're going to eat cherry cherry cherry cherry cherry cherry cherry cherry drops!" because it is clear to me that is awesome and if you don't agree you've probably never been a teenage girl experiencing music as a series of electric shocks wired between your yelps and your skin.

I am also happy that my two favourite hyperactive girl groups (see also: Helen Love) have alternative universe lives as Ramones cover tribute bands (and that the encore last night was Sheena Is A Punk Rocker and Blitzkrieg Bop).

Things move quickly at that bpm, feet are happy, space foods are marshmallow, asparagus, ice cream!

Also, the singer is 51. What? They look seventeen.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

the storm

It is pouring outside, thick thunderstorm weather, growling skies. Weather like curds of cheese left in a muslin bag to rot. I can taste the rain. I can taste the meat of the earth on the water, the soil that has soaked into the clouds. Stinking, fetid weather like all the best things; ripe. Weather that howls in guttural tones. Air that bites back.

I am eating a hunk of meat while I watch the storm. The meat is barely cooked and there is blood dribbling down my chin like I have buried my lips in a menstrual Medusa. The crust was seared on a flame so hot the guardians of hell shivered at its sight: charred and black and crumbling. It is coal. It is the crusts of lava from a weeping volcano. I let it burn my tongue. My flesh sears with the meat and the blood oozes out to coat it like redemption. I baptise the soft pink skin of my mouth with the dead meat of the beast. We are wild and feral like that afternoon on Arthur's Seat, fucking in the undergrowth, mocking the skies to take us.

Remember shouting at lightning to get the better of it; remember immortality with a wire coathanger; remember, it won't get you unless you ask it to, and to ask you have to scream.

I am screaming out the window because I am tired of the cotton warmth of downy duvet home. I think of lashes and lashing rain. Demeter is pissed off. I have lightning bolts in a drawer that were crafted from the bones of dead goats and voodoo incantations. If the neighbours complain I will smite them. Their hair will sizzle and their eyes will roll back in their heads until they can see the thoughts which swim behind the blanket. Like Lot's wife, they are not fit to handle such sights. I will lick their salt when they freeze and it will pickle the flesh around my teeth. My burnt gums will crumble like soil left to the worms. My teeth will slump in their sockets. I will end up staring at the pavement in horror and delight, wondering at the mess I have got myself into.

Barking like a fucking dog, growling like the bear that got the man's head in his teeth. I hear they were picking shards of the bear's incisors out for weeks. His skull was studded, no thoughts left in his brain that do not jangle.

I am looking at the sky and it seems bigger than me and I'm scared: too much lairy behaviour, such a loose tongue with the Gods. I know if it chose to it could lift me up with a creased tongue and scoop my remains to the cumulonimbus, toss this shaken body around its electric trampolines.

I'll bounce back.

‘I've got elastic bands for bones,’ I yell, ‘my skin is mercury, my balls scatter and reform.’

While the sky listens to me shrieking, and sighs.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Conveyor Arts

I was asked to do some writing for Conveyor Arts magazine's Words With Pictures project:
Words with Pictures is a weekly two-part post that pairs photographers and writers. The first week, a writer is given a photograph to inspire the creation of a new piece of writing. The following week the photographer is given a piece of writing and responds with a new photographic piece. This series is curated by Conveyor Editor Dominica Paige.
Read my writing and look at Leif Huron's photograph here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

sick, sick, sick

I've been sick, which is not something I'm used to. I mean, not really.

I am familiar (hand-in-hand, skipping-through-the-field familiar) with hangover sick. I know first-thing-in-the-morning sick, I know dehydrated eyes and slack tongues and a fear of facing the world. I know you-don't-brush-your-teeth-enough, your-gums-are-bleeding sick and ate-all-the-bad-Vietnamese sick and third world travel dyspepsia. Thick head colds to tease out with steaming lentil soup rife with garlic. Cat-claws in the back of the throat. Shivery sweats making Rosarsch patterns on the bedsheets. But...

I've not been hospital sick before and this week I was because my appendix exploded. I ignored it because I have an innate and foolish belief that most all illness can be cured by solitude, quiet, herbal tea, and soup. I figure if I stop taunting my immune system with sleeplessness and espresso and whisky when it whines, then it will take heed and sort me out. Unfortunately not.

Anyway, I will be at home for a while convalescing and writing, propped up in bed with too many pillows, affecting a wan 19th-century-heroine expression (instead of going to Bestival and dancing around like a loon). I plan to write an essay about pain and edit together some delirious night-sweat notes into something poemlike, and see how my body reacts to a week off the booze. I may also eat large quantities of ice cream, particularly this one.