Monday, 30 July 2012

Antilamentation by Dorianne Laux


Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the living room couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

Happiness

Happiness is a learned condition.

The elephant in the room is that it’s a Goddamn elephant; you lured it here with a trail of peanuts and hyperbole.

At the lake you floated in trance of gold and orange on a water so still the sky took it for glass. At the lake your skin was made a mosaic of hot, red, itching welts by the bastard mosquitos.

Neither reality is inconceivable nor incompatible.

Listen: you get to pick the paper bag that’s filled with marbles, green centres undulating like the arch of the pole vaulter’s back. You get to pick the candy.

Sometimes the universe is a coin flipping so fast it’s hard to see which side is polished and shiny. Maybe there’s a charm to the tarnish if you know how to squint.

The goods and the silt muddy the water. Have you worked out the difference between panning and trepanning yet?

Are you looking for gold or for a hole in the head?

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Eyes

Eyes like nests for a new sort of baby glue. Eyes stuck together with the sinewy white cartridge that oozes when the pigtailed girl breaks the grasshopper’s leg. Eyes wet and dry at once. Eyes with crusts of sleep moving over them like the feet of flies padding across butter. Eyes that want to want the day but cannot help pulling their heavy linen curtains resolutely closed. Eyes that sweat from eyeballs like swaddled saunas blinking, blink. Eyes that can’t see kites. Eyes burnt into blistered red parachutes by this dizzy-inducing sun. Eyes that look at short skirts behind sunglasses. Black eyes. Eyes losing fights with you.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Advice to self.

Turn out the lights that you think keep your soul alight. Turn off your browser. Write wittingly and unwillingly until something flows. Don't stop to edit that word. Don't stop to think that maybe the cicadas sounded more like drunk sailors walking down the main street of Jackson.

Whatever.

You know what they're trying to tell you, if only you write long enough and say the words like a dozen broken housewives throwing the flour against the wall. Do you see the way that it bursts like the picture of a galaxy spattered on a ceiling in the bedroom of an eighteen-year-old virgin?

Ah, the eighteen-year-old virgin. I feel your gasp in and out, because I have been that girl. I have been the girl who thought her legs would never part like the Red Sea, like the factory crowds (Oh, Edie!).

Well, hell, what do we know? It turns out the eighteen year olds know nothing and there will be a million more lovers who swoop and swamp and swear and switch your heart from calcified rock to carbon, to diamonds, to rhinestone.

Sometimes the world is a waiting game and sometimes you just need to calculate the angle at which to arch your back when you are standing on the diving block and cocking your ear to the starter's whistle.

Listen.

That is all the advice I have left.

Or don't, don't wait for the world to say it's time. Leap, you lithe and wondrous motherfucker. Feel the water explode around your body and for gods' sake don't stop paddling until you hit the dry beach.

Don’t stop until you’re face-first into the wall.

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I think I am doing something right.

Irreversible temptations

She felt something unravel within her like the unfurling of a dozen Persian carpets, threads glinting in the dust, wondering which it would take to be able to fly.

Responsibilities niggled her like small red ants. Pfft. What a way to sully this baked grass summer afternoon—a funeral spilling into the wake. She harrumphed the harrumph of eleven anteaters and it echoed and by the time the noise stopped bouncing, all the responsibilities were gone.

Irreversible temptation. Like slipping the last cable tie through itself just to hear the click.

Oh Jane. Oh Jane. You cannot trick the universe with scissors and a three-leafed clover.

Her lower lip quivers like the pouted red shell of a ladybird preparing for flight. I watch, fascinated, and wait for a scaly, sinewy wing to unfold.

Deadheading

This Sunday sky sloped petulantly towards dark, unwilling to give up entirely on the weekend’s kites and starlings. The cicadas hissed and chirruped until the air was thick with a noise like mechanical bedsprings bouncing for the 4th of July. Lime green and geranium pink seeped into the colour palette and, on the horizon, cowgirls snapped leather whips and cracked bubblegum bubbles.

This Sunday girl sat alone on the balcony breathing an air as sweet as Werthers Originals and trying to form candied smokerings with lips in a little round “O”. No one to tell her she was a fool or a heathen, so even her brain stopped bothering. Blowing the last moments of light before the peacock feathers of freedom started to waft her bedward, threatening about tomorrow’s workload.

Maybe she wouldn’t get up and bother. Maybe she’d lie in bed all day touching herself and giggling and goofing about bucktoothed outlaws. Maybe she’d start walking with unwebbed feet and tramp tramp tramp tramp tramp her way to a new destination. Maybe she’d never open her laptop again. Maybe the sky didn’t know it was Sunday. Maybe out there, there was no hot white seam running between pleasure and penance.

Maybe it is time to give yourself up to decadence and drifting, Jane. Maybe it’s time to deadhead your responsibilities like summer roses.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

WoD #1 : Big Wheel

There is something fluttering in her stomach, and she doesn't want to tell. Round bellied, skin stretched taut like a blister. The thing she feels is just beneath the skin. The thing she feels quivers like the finger of an aye-aye tapping upon the tree bark, like a eyelash trying to hold back a river, like a misplucked cello string in the silence at the end of the orchestra. She puts her hands on the bulge and tells it to be quiet, be still. Hush, she says. Hush.

On the date they hold hands and walk side by side on a ground spongy with sawdust and moss. The air smells of sage and engine grease, and it slathers their skin like vaseline as they walk towards the big wheel. The big wheel is a moon from another planet that sneezed and lost the gravity to orbit. The seats are painted fire-engine red and beachball yellow. He leads her hand to one and helps her inside.

A crunch and a clank and the wheel starts to move. Like an ancient mountain god flexing her plates, the big wheel yawns into life. Their carriage spins slowly as they lift up from the ground. She looks at her lap, at her belly, at the twitching.

The wheel is very, very large and by the time their carriage cranks up into the sky they realise that the nuts and bolts are loosening. An ancient momentum nudges them slowly skyward like a dolphin pushing a drowning child to the beach. Still, the stars are hypnotic. The stars are spilt icing sugar and angels' dandruff and carbon. The stars are grains of white sand that split to the universe, exhausted with Hawaii honeymoons, tired of their overblown rep. The stars, the stars. The ground.

She looks down and sees the shorn bolts of metal and the moss recede like jealous relatives gathered on the dock to wave off the long boat to America. Their mouths try to fling kisses and their hankies try to flutter, but they are are swaddled in envy, they are green. Spattered in sea mist, the hankies droop.

The fluttering, the fluttering. She places her hands on her belly. She bends her long neck down and listens, and it is quiet up there in the thick crochet blanket of starlight. He watches her without a word, his face pale and dotted with sweat. His cheeks are green and seasick. He does not interrupt.

She puts her ear to her belly and the fluttering pauses and says "Cuckoo". And again, "Cuckoo." She knows what she has read about the cuckoo and she knows there is no nest inside her for the eggs of another. She lifts her fluttering, quivering belly to the prow of the carriage and looks at his green, seasick face, and she flings the whole lot overboard to the spattered star sky.

Falling between shards of rock and light, she hears the universe giggle.

write or die

Write or die is a genius program that makes babies cry and the screen turn red if you stop moving your fingers on the keys for more than a second or two. It is the best thing I have ever found for making my brain stop trying to edit the sentence I just wrote and start writing the next one instead. I am in thirsty need of more words and stories so I'm going to try and do half an hour of writing on it a day (500 words) and post them here unedited.

Drivel! Garbage! Unexpected metaphors!

Bartleby Snopes

My story, The Wind Turbines, has been picked for the biannual Bartleby Snopes print edition along with all the Story of the Months.

You can download a free PDF copy from here or buy a print copy from here.

Enjoy!

Friday, 20 July 2012

new hair



Let's find out if gingers really have more fun.