Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Double Six

A sunbeam pervades our days. The sunbeam whispers, look, forty cents for a bag of vine tomatoes from the Turkish market. The sunbeam points, there, see? The sun is collapsing onto the canal in a basket of golden wicker. The sunbeam is an ever-eager parrot guffawing on our shoulders. Its enthusiasm is hard to ignore. All I can think of is swimming pools and open air; really, I am a simple girl. My mouth tends towards the upwards. My calves stain with pollen and grass and bruises. I fall over. I run down runways. I talk too much. I walk with friends in a sundancey afternoon and I hear my words ever-repeating, I like that balcony, I love that building, I think it’s beautiful, I like, I want, I do, I adore it all. I would like to be silent and snap my heels with the tweet of the birds, but I just can’t help myself.

I am waiting for a boy to get here who matches my mouth for the stupids; we’ll make a cardboard circus and whip the pony with a green felt tip. I am waiting for black balloons and the hell of it. I am crossing my fingers for all the best ones and starting a second city where we twat and yelp and inhale. Here we get to be easy, craft a career of rolling the gnocchi and acting the fool. We’ll lure people to our dining rooms and when they get there we’ll ply them with the feast and the rub and the serenade. Don’t you know those office hours have sharp teeth, serrated edges; don’t you know I’m eager not to tear my shiny new patterned dress? If I have to, let it be on the bear traps and the tinfoil tinsel. Let it be climbing over a barbed wire woven of comets and starfish. I’m ripe for bruises and breaking, but in my own triplicate terms.

What I’m trying to say is that we’ve rolled the double-six in springtime and I’m sorry my mouth won’t quiet its whooping. What I’m trying to say is that it’s still March, goddammit--we have a hundred summer days still to come. What I’m trying to say is hurry up and get here. It’s really good. It’s better than anything you’ve ever anticipated.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Editor's Pick!

My flash fiction piece, "Please, tell me of the smell of the moon", features in this week's Fictionaut Editor's Eye, chosed by Tara L. Masih!

It is, apparently, "wildly poetic, inventive images, and an undercurrent of deep emotions" so I suggest you go over there now and read it along with all the other delicious poems/fictions. (I am particularly taken by Like Dancing Alone by Michael Dickes.)

Tuesday, 20 March 2012


I wonder about easy as an insult; so often easy curls around me like the plume of a cigarette. It doesn’t have to be difficult. The streets are wide here. The traffic stops for the crest of a bicycle. There are separate traffic lights that let you cruise across a waterfall of traffic like a pike angled to the direction of the current.

Yes, my metaphors today are fish. Perhaps because I have been to the Badeschiff, a barge which floats in the Spree and is filled with pure, clean water to swim upon. In the winter, they cover the Badeschiff in a giant bio-tunnel and build saunas. Everyone is naked and surrounded by Swedish wood. When you tire of the dizzying heat, you leap into a covered, fresh-water pool. But here is the thing: at each end there is are plastic flaps forming a barrier between you and the city. The kind of flaps that luggage passes through on a conveyor belt at an airport waiting to be returned to your own possession. When you duck under these flaps, there is a small pool area open to the stars where you can duck--naked--and stare at the Berlin needle tower in Alexanderplatz. Where you can giggle at Jupiter and Venus making eyes at one another. Where you shiver and head back inside to the brightest turquoise that ever existed. And then splash your way the other side. The silver statues that guard Friedrichshain’s borders, the river swelling and chuckling at your goosepimples.

It is a good thing here, a city that whispers “don’t strive”. You think that everything needs to be tricky to be meaningful; I tell you it is possible to float, tits to the stars, and grin. I do not need the tug of congestion and the Tube and bustling city bars, and though I know the “eee!” of those streets, I am easy. I have always been easy. I buy a 2.50 euro bottle of cava and I recline on a runway where the airport gave its pavements back to our kind. We drink, and toast to a sky devoid of traces. We drink, and propose a future that pads like a kitten’s footsteps. We drink, to ourselves: a thing that doesn’t need to try.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

My book? MY BOOK!

Well, here I am in Berlin and the sun is shining.

Also, my book is now for sale. Perhaps you would like to buy it? Published by the fabulous dancing girl press, it contains poems about cowgirls, kissing, dandelions, Eyjafjallajoekull, Lee Hazelwood and rope burns on a Sunday morning, and the Glasgow subway system. You don't need to take my word that it is good—one of the poems will be featured in Salt's Best British Poetry 2012. Truly, what more could you ask for?

Perhaps Flohmarkts and Dutch bikes and all-you-eat-buffalo-mozzarella brunch? Ok Jane, you can have that, poise your feet for the pavements, get ready, wow.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Here is what I think of.

Our room is boxes bags boxes, our kitchen is sacks, the floor is not a floor to walk upon. It is a tangled forest where the parrots mock us, caw and cackle at the tip we have crafted.

Everything that leaves this house makes my feet feel lighter, makes me worry less. The truth? I love moving. To slough the layers of stuff from my surroundings. Feeling the vice untether, an unravelling of the courtesan's shoes. And I dream of new stuff. A new room for decorating. A secret place to hide me.

And a high ceilinged living room with parquet flooring and a free-standing, cream tiled bar, a curved liquor cabinet lined with tall, thin, strips of mirror, reflecting our booze to infinity. At the close of the day I will kick off my tall shoes and arch the crook of my foot. James will twirl his moustache and dance his fingers over the piano keys while I contemplate the perfect ratio of gin to vermouth. Our glasses will bead and frost with the chill of the drink and my stocking soles will be perfect for spinning. We'll permit our bodies to tick and unwind in preparation for the evening ahead, where we will dance and debauch and sit outside Spatkaufs below a balmy black sky, hollering at the pavement.

And also a Russian sauna with an aromatherapy cauldron, a tiled plunge pool, and LED lights. A lake. Lots of lakes. Naked swimming outside the corners of the city and diving headfirst from rocks. Abandoned listening towers in distant mountains for exploring and funfairs that have seen the fun capsize and are left with broken rollercoaster tracks clawing their way from the maw of the earth.

A plan to start interning at an English language Berlin literary journal and then put on events in Berlin and then start the next thing, the new Edinburgh, a further Forest, a better Bowery. For all the complaints and work they turned out to be, I am lonely without their mission. It is what we do well; we are seven-colour lazers and bouncy castle salsas. It is what we do best; we are electro-hot-tub-rock-outs and feathered snowglobe spinning. I am happy sitting at this desk flinging words around like a petulant princess, but I miss standing at the cusp of the pulpit while a bassbeat swells and the pleasure we have wrangled ripples through a crowd of people who cannot stop their feet from dancing. It is what we do. It is what we do best. I think I am ready to do it again.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

To-Do Before Berlin

Fix the majestic beast that is my lomo camera.


Trying to start the day with a trick, a good thought, a cartwheel, something that is generous, the tendrils of a dream. Trying to coast on the curl of the duvet, trying to keep warm at the desk. Trying to slough the limescale carbuncled on my brain with coffee, coffee, coffee. His inhale, his exhale, no toast left, just butter; it’s no good for spreading. I’m still sleepy. The morning is a fat Hawaiian voodoo god clutching his belly and chortling at our feeble attempts at day, and I’m still sleepy.

You told me last night that when we woke there would be trout leaping up the rainbows that makeshift as curtains; you told me the butlers would bring us silver mosques tiled with pancakes, maple, mozzarella. There is not. My skin is a tulip bulb, hollow and shrouded in a springtime the room has forgotten. My mouth is sour. I whisper scarleteen words to my tongue to salvage the day. I learn that “taghairm” is a form of Scottish divination—inspiration sought by lying in a bullock’s hide behind a waterfall—and the specificity gives me shivers.

Here is Richard Brautigan: “It’s a high building in Singapore that holds the only beauty for this San Francisco day where I am walking down the street, feeling terrible and watching my mind function with the efficiency of a liquid pencil.”

Liquid pencils. My brain. His inhale, his exhale. No more coffee in the kitchen. A peculiar start to the day. Never mind. Good, round things are about to pummel through the earth. Shiny pennies.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Hurry up hurry up hurry up

March? March!

Month of hares and haring, fleeing on fleeted foot, hills to roll down, arse over daisy chain, hurrah!

Wasabi gin/belle and sebastian.

Bare feet, scuffed knees, grass stains spilling like birth marks, scabs. Beaded schoolyard scabs ripe for picking. Grit beneath your fingernails. The smell in your scalp of the marshes: soil, reeds and wireless static. I want to run my fingers through your hair. I want to take to the railway lines and start sprinting after trains.

Let’s cast off the couch and lose our knickers in the hedgerows. Let’s cast off rosemary and thyme and tip our caps to coriander. JalapeƱo. Tildes.

Let’s call up Judy and stirrup a steer. We can be cowgirls, lassoing the sunset with our Marlboro smoke rings. We can gallop.

I want to be the one walking the street from morning to night. Running past bus stops. Hearing my bare soles wallop on the tarmac. Paying no heed to buggies, roaring past, feeling the city spin its head and pare its eyelids back.

Maybe when you get older every winter gets longer. Maybe it’s this city or maybe it’s me or maybe I was just lost to another happiness and forgot to scale the soft hands from my skin. Maybe it’s all the crud that builds up on the crust of the universe if you forget to keep darting like espresso and mayflies. Maybe there just weren’t enough mushrooms.

Whatever. First sign of sun, first swallow of summer. Let’s step onto the doorstep and gulp.