Thursday, 5 May 2011

soft things, soft me

I have started pawing around contentment like a skittish tomcat, unsure if I’m ready for domestication. The bed is soft and warm and burrowed; it is easy to curl there. The days are spacious, carved by yogic craftsmen who understand the need for particular curves and sanded corner. I’m not used to such simplicity, or at least such softness.

It’s not just the bed, either. I’ve become softer too. Blame a boy who appreciates the feast like I do; blame that long winter tucked undercover with cava and horror movies and angles of skin.

We are more squidgy than when we met. The past while has been: sticky, rust-coloured onions caramelising into boozy soup &

fresh-baked rosemary and walnut loafs, torn from the oven, pillows of dough, steam-train puffs of heat &

fragrant laksas, sour with nam pla, padded with rice, coriander ballerinas composing pirouettes on the surface &

buffalo mozzarella, strangely sweet, slightly sweated, ripped into shreds and desiccated with black peppercorn &

homemade pesto: sweet with basil, soft with oil, sharp with wild garlic leaves, bound together with parmesan, umnn…

… plump, slithering gnocchi wet with sage butter, rotund with simmered fungi guts &

all manner of baked pies and pastries, pirate chests stuffed with treasure &

crinkled walnuts swathed in rank feral stiltons &

midnight feasts & crumbs in the bed &

oysters like the spray from the prow of the ship.

I am a pig in all things, in booze and books and sex and words and flowers and, especially, in food, and I am looking forward to Lebanon next week and all the feasts that are yet to come.

Monday, 2 May 2011

30: Trains

the trains were like telescopes
pointed to another horizon

we could look through and see
the past in sharp focus

a slim file tucked in
the lining of a citrine suitcase

pages fit for scattering
like tickertape in a gale

spilt scotch on a pressed
trouser leg, a torn pocket

a ring that no longer slips
over her fat knuckle

a tryst, a snatch in her stocking
a high-arched lost shoe

and the howl of the whistle at dusk

asking the marshes, listen
to the stories contained in the carriage.

Things you might like to read

On that vein, some stories I have been enjoying this year:


Before My Change Jar Went Missing
by Drew Jackson.

"Wendy explains that clip joint girls aren't whores. Clip joint girls take it off for jack offs who can't touch them.

I listen, but what I don't say is this: I know."

I, excited, always say too much; this strike me as a perfect level of saying just enough.


The Man From The Circus
by Kirsty Logan.

"I stepped out for a cigarette halfway through the girl-on-the-pony show. I liked the idea of the girl-on-the-pony show, but the reality of it depressed me. I could see the gobs of glue holding on the horse's plume, and the girl had lipstick on her teeth."

I am insanely jealous of this story. I read it a lot and wish I had written it.

Dreaming In Mink by Jane Hammons

"They aren't gossiping. They are figuring it out."

Again: restraint. This is delicious.

On literary citizenship

"Don't be a turd person"

I'm going to try and say more about other words because sometimes I feel like I have nothing to say and sometimes all there is is "oh wow", but this is ok, I love to hear "oh wow".

Blake Butler via Matt Bell at the Collagist:

1) When you read something you like, in any form, write the author and tell them. You don’t have to gush or take forever. Just tell them you saw it, you read it, you liked it. It’s a supportive feeling. It’s better than not saying anything.

2) Write reviews of books you like. Short review/long review, whatever. It’s not that hard. It takes a little work to think about it clearly, but what goes around comes around. You can’t expect to be recognized for your work if you aren’t recognizing others for their work. Open the doors.

3) Interview writers. New writers or well known writers. You like somebody’s work a lot? Ask to do an interview with them. It doesn’t take a ton of effort. Write up some questions. Let them talk. Spread the word. Talk. Say. Get. Eat.

4) If you have free time, start an online journal. Start a blog, a review, an anything. If you don’t know how I’ll help you. Say stuff. Mean what you say.

5) If you have a journal already, respond faster. Pay attention to your inbox. When someone asks a question that feels dumb or unnecessary maybe, answer it anyway. Don’t be a fuck. Yeah, we’re all busy. Yeah, things take time. Work to take less time. It’s okay to move forward at a wicked pace. (And yes, as an editor, I too struggle to adhere to this advice, but I struggle at least, everyone struggles, but you can always struggle more. I am so tired of seeing journals with 200+ days response time, why do you even exist? Does it really take that long to like something? People should stop sending to these places. Seriously. Just stop sending.

Yeah I know the flood comes strong. Stand in the flood. (Me too.)

To everyone: Push the fucking envelope even harder than you do. Be an open node.