Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Her heart is a hungry horse

He says, The way to get what you want is stop wanting so much, because your heart is a hungry horse and you need to learn to walk it to the coral and tell it when to quit.
She says, I don't have the bones for standing still, I can't, even a bent knee feels folded for the starter block and how do you teach elastic bands they're better not to ping?
He says, Sit still, sit stiller, stop. Your breath is a snake swallowing a snake tail regurgitating a snake. Your breath is a circle. Forget the ins and exes and learn to just hale.

She sits and she waits while the oil of oranges turns to whispers in the cracks of the wind.
She sits and she smells springtime and her heart is not a quiet thing, her heart is not the supine bough of a contented oak waiting and watching as the seasons twist.
She sits and the oranges say take this, take time, take a chance, take cover.
She sits and listens.
She sits.

Everywhere the world is full of things and she is convinced her job is to let these things worry her the way a piece of grit worries the soft mouth flesh of an oyster in the pebbled ocean bed. Is this what you mean when you talk about sitting? She will open her mouth and let the things into her own soft flesh and when they embed in these bleeding gums, she will wait it out. Angry pink ulcers. The head of a dagger wedged deep like skin is another part of the ocean bed, like her mouth is another part of the world. Saliva will gather and waiting will turn these things. From the grits and gripes of the universe into cold white pearls.

He says, There is nothing else to this but the sensation of air travelling through space in the tiny galaxy between your mouth and your nose.
She is quiet and thinks of rockets, of meteors, of hurtling, she would like to be hurtling, will he notice if she hurtles? She is quiet and thinks, Explosions go bang.
He says, Listen, he breathes in, he says, That, he breathes out, he is his own circling snake, he has galaxies tucked Alice-style under his tongue.

She is scared of the silence because perhaps the silence is a morbid tenant who, once the door is open, will move into her house to stay.
She is scared that the attic, chests stuffed with fragments of poems, corners dusty with metaphor, will become his domain.
She is scared he will lock the door from the inside.
She is scared of losing the key.
She is scared.

What if it is not her turn to be quiet? Have you heard the stories of the Underworld, an angry dog with three heads, the River Styx? She believes these stories are wandering like ancient souls looking for the place to cross in a sturdy wooden boat. If she closes her mouth, how will they get at the coin, how will they pay the boatman? She does not want her stories to spend eternity wrestling in the muddy waters for want of a guide, for want of a gold coin, for want of her loudness and wide mouth, for want of her yells. Perhaps it is her turn to be Charon and take to the water. But what would silence sound like in that long dark wait?

He says, You think too much and he grins a grin that has all of the attic keys on a wrought iron ring, on a chain.
He says, Here and he hands her the galaxies and the snakes and a pomegranate and a coin.
He says, Hush, and she lets out a long breath, the one with all the hooves just beneath the surface.

They sit there, quietly, for a while.

Monday, 25 February 2013


Live young and be wild, my friend, the poet. Stop letting the world on your shoulders pinch you with jogging and ill at ease. Be easy.
Let me prescribe a flower cure from this garden of bougainvillaea, make a poultice of petunias, a sure tulip; place this petal underneath your tongue and count to three hundred and by the time it's dissolved you should be hurtling through space.
Even time.

I've seen you breathless and believing in waterfalls, yelling There's no stop to the city, taking a brass rubbing of the tarmac to remember the shape of footsteps in spring.
Maybe we are all already hurtling through time.

Live like a psychotic dolphin trying to outleap the rise and fall of the ocean and don't be afraid to bark like a seal.
Eat the rotten fruit. It's got no other sin than too much ripeness and I thing it's time we trusted in things that get wetter, stop placing our faith in things that dry out. This is the symptom of living, or at least one definition of biscuits versus cake.
Is there any sight so perfect as the sunlight on the tarmac, or hummingbirds?

Keep faith in the crazy kaboom, keep kittens in drawers for depressed afternoons. Go Catholic.
You've much to learn from this Mexican lust dust, not least cherry cola kisses and taunting in tongues. I'll teach you to string a rosary with electric love voltage; I'll hand you the wire cutters and sell you my fuse.
I want to eat art so let me bite your tattoo.

Send your lady friend a love letter in hieroglyphics and tell her your theories of Egyptians in space, space mummies, space cat tombs, draw her a picture or just pronounce Ptolemy.
Do you believe there are pyramids somewhere on the dark side of the moon, or on Mars, or a less gaudy solar system princess, Iapetus, perhaps, or Io? I cannot believe that the aliens would choose only us.
Surely there are razorblades everywhere waiting to get sharp?

Spacegirl cowgirl cosmic loser, let's go searching in the desert for petals we can peel back and get doolally on sap and sugar, let's set up a doughnut stand at the point where the tarmac meets the sand and get icing sugar dust in our highfaluting hair.

I read they found space fungi in Tutankhamen's tomb. Perhaps he died on an intergalactic love trip, or maybe he escaped along with the mice and mycelium, both.
If I offered you a fist of blue purple turquoise stems and said stick out you tongue pretty, would you? I've got no promises but I'd like to feed you raspberries, crush them on your lips; I'd like to see the cosmic dribble down your spacegirl supersonic chin.
I bet you taste sweet.

Do you keep dragonflies in matchboxes in a seventh story flat? Do you have seven stories you could tell me if I sat you on my knitted dayglo carpet and lashed the monkeys to the front and said Scaramouch and Whee and we went to the sky?
The sky here is heavy, jasmine cumin snuffed-candlelight plum, the sky here smells good, and quiet, I like you. I bet you taste sweet.

We're weighed down on this magic carpet with monkeys and too many doughnuts, icing sugar falling like spacesnow on the streets and into those fat hessian sacks that line these streets. I'd like to plunge my hand up to the elbow. I'd like to bite you.
It's so silent halfway to space and if we train my monkeys hard enough perhaps we'll make it to the pyramids of Iapetus, maybe we can reach a cosmic decision, or just find some razorblades that could cut through skin.

I'd like to nosebleed over civilisations and watch the scurrying, shrieks, and this is the final plague, perhaps, this is the end in the form of pelting rubies.
Or we'll just leave them be and take to our own sky and hitch you up with a blade and a diamond dagger, doughnuts, too much sugar in our bloodstream and I can't talk for sicking up my electric love voltage. For shame.
Let's forget shame, for now, let's be blood sisters, I've got the switchblade if you've got the smooth white neck?

Crush a raspberry between your lips and dribble that sweet pink juice and let's lie around like infinite space whores throwing heads of dead roses and licking our wounds. Can you believe I found this magical carpet? Can you believe we're halfway between the moons and the sky?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Holy shit, what is this feeling?

Holy shit, what is this feeling of waking up with a desperately happy head, with feet that are lollygagging to run, rent and rescue? All my dreams are glitter and sunbeam Sundays; all my bells are clanging. There's a transgressor on the rodeo pony, trying to buck a trend, or at least keep her feet. I would like to transgress, I would like to wear a rhinestone mined seeker suit, I would like some cowboy boots for kicking, do you want to take a stroll in the sand?

We could build a sand ship and stake a thousand paper flags in the crescents of the ocean, we could build a life. We could wait for the tide to come in and cackle as it destroys our silly suburban makeshift and we could take your video recorder and stop motion animation the collapse of civility, the rush of the sea.

Parrots! Goddamn mutli-coloured parrots! Wouldn't you like to join one for a holiday in the tropics; can't I dress you up as my mutli-kulti Christmas fantasy and make out in a rainforest while the vines rub our shoulder, while the fronds fan our toes?

All this hangup and hold out for the shades of grey, I say your sample size is showing and wouldn't we be better off tapping into the rainbow end of the spectrum? Let's tile our studio sauna with dayglo mosaic and dress up in garter belts, paint your toenails magenta, wouldn't we be better off backcombed and feral and feet off the floor?

Hand in hand with nonsense and airplanes, hand in hand with this cutout of a kiss. Let's stop thinking small, catch yourself, I know you've been there. Monday morning plans for a Monday afternoon life, it's not enough, I can't yell this too loud in your ear with a golden trumpet: Give up asking and go for the take!

Give up on small scale and worry, give up all the things that make your wishbone crackle. You don't need this. I've seen you topless and tasteless, flinging spent kisses in the ocean from the crux of the cliffs. I've seen you fearless and pharmaceutical, making a rollercoaster of the pavements promises. I've seen you pretend your route to work is every type of discarded mattress, you made a mockery of pacing, of heavy feet.

She said stop and I stopped she said hand it over and I gave her my heart she said what the hell is this and I said isn't it enough? It wasn't enough, it's never enough, what the world is looking for is more than meat and valves so I opened my arms and lifted her over the next big wave and said pretend you are a wild pony in a mountain of your own making, don't worry about the forests, there's never going to be a better time to find your feet and fly.

Did you wake up embarrassed? Are you embarrassed now? Did you take a side-eye glare at the colour film you picked out for the day and realised it's all too sepia, did you suddenly feel the wallop of life sitting in front of you, big as a fish? Did you once promise yourself that things would be different for you because you're different, princess, and this world is going to keep rotating whatever crazy hot-to-trot you yoke your wooden cart upon?

Holy shit, what is this mystery box labelled with the single word "grin" and pasted with postcards to another country, stuck with shades of sunshine, covered from head to toe with Elvis stamps and Marilyn Monroe in her up-skirt gutter-shot? Go on, open it up, put your arms around it and delve straight in, who knows what the second layer in pass the parcel promises, who cares?

Who cares? That's the ticket and the crux, that's the fantasy, that's the promise I've got for you if you agree to take your secret handshake and teach me the way to the ladder to your house in the trees. Go on, go on, you've been hiding up there for a week and I've got a thermos full of gin fizz, I'd like to be your ladycake, I'll pin you to the wooden boards and teach you the lyrics to rollover. Doesn't that sound like the way to spend a Sunday? Doesn't that just beat your plans with a carpet whacker, don't you like it?

Call me ladycake and let's hand it over together, arm in arm, tricksy spiders both. Take me on a date to your finest woodpile. I'll be dressed in dungarees and a pretty lace garter, I'll make a promise, I'll help you hammer and when the sun sets I'll take you home to meet my other half, the half that stayed at home today, the half that waits for Monday. You'll have nothing to say to each other and she'll just tut and pick the broken twigs from our barnets. We'll pay no mind. The Sabbath is built for ponies, you say, and I agree. Let's get yoking. Let's take our chance at the fair.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

4 life lessons

The first lesson we learned on the dank-and-dirty was never be afraid to make a fool of yourself. The furthest out you can go is the best place you can be. We wondered whether it would serve us well to be sensible ladies, keep to the lamppost side of the street, but even the lampposts have a pact with the pavements and sense is only sensible when you've run out of wittier places to go. Call me Cookie and I'll call you Jeanne Moreau and we can string these pearls through our hair and call for imaginary butlers, monkey butlers, men. I don't have a sales pitch for the tart gin fizz that we'll peddle to our people, but maybe that's okay, because I'm happy to slump with you on this sliding scale and take one for the team if the team is you and me.

The second lesson we learned was cute girls open doors, tell it, a pretty face makes the gate disintegrate. If you wear enough mascara and puff powder, princess, then you don't have to worry about the stoop as a stop sign or the stairs as a stile. We dressed ourselves fine so the walls were ours to step through, we made the most like wayward reject Hollywood ghosts, LA bubblegum gals, and you blew a pink globe and we stepped up inside and all through the city these stiletto toes tramped. They call you a tramp and you call him a trailer for the main event because this can't be it, you're not a tease, it's a test, right? Better things for us, they’d better be promised, because we're hungry bitches and our hair is higher than our hearts.

The third lesson we learned was between your thighs is a velvet purse of rubies and gold coin and motherfucking diamonds. It's so easy to step them apart and step up for the shot and take it on the chin, on the shin like bruises, on the nose, on every place you can take things on, just hold your breath while you're doing it, porpoise princess. This was the lesson of getting shit done, getting a break, finding a way to drag out of this hole. Do you have a long vine like Rapunzel or are you just hanging on to your own hair, pulling it out of your scalp? I don't think you're crazy but it's so quiet in that padded place so maybe you could take a day trip and spend it painting your green eyes brown.

The fourth lesson we learned was never trust a man in a leopard skin coat, no matter how many guns he keeps in his pants. This toolbelt isn't for hammering in your nails and these screws are staying forever unstrung. I had a feeling that we'd be better off alone, but alone is a terrifying horse with broken stirrups, and stirrups and stilettos besides, do you know what I mean? The heart is a lonely hunter, she said, and sometimes it is tiring on the lonely side of the hunt and sometimes sending our own fail-safe prey for his dinner seems like some kind of a gingerbread house plan.

We learned these lessons the hard way, so I'm sharing them with you in the hopes that you can roll the dice and step out into this choose your own adventure and take the right page turns and avoid the streetlights and the padded rooms and the pregnancy and the gun. I'm sharing in the hope you go bang on your own accord because there's nothing quieter than the sound of a firecracker waiting for another young man to come along with a match, waiting for another spark to light her. Get out there with your own sticks and magnifying glass and foolishness, get out there with your crown. Hit someone up for something and put it in your knapsack and let's start again, princess, let's get ready to run.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

beginning of a good day...

Meat Heart in the mailbox & synthpunk on the stereo.

Pfft, Blow This Heavy Weight Away

The crows have cleared the fat from the balls on the balcony and we are strapping boots to our feet and heading for the hills. Or if not the hills, the flat, the long roads that stretch out like icing sugar on a plate glass window. Things that are transparent and the see-through logic is this: it's nearly time for the spring.

I looked at the weather today and it said sun snow clouds snow cold cold cold, and I asked why we can't just give it all up already and move to Palenque and take the mushrooms and swim in a cool clear waterfall where the Mexican panpipe can synthaesthese the droplets and the vines?

I would like to glue rose petals to the frames of pictures and send them to my beloveds as telegrams and tape.

I would like to mix sherbet fountains and planetary dust, and snort it on the sweet steel overhang of a river bridge, and feel the spray of the night come upon me, and promise my sweethearts I'll be back soon and I'll have all manner of twixes and stories to tell.

Do you think we could work out how to hypnotise our daughters and send them out into the world with mimeographed tattoos on the dimples of their thighs and a memory that you don't need to spend all this time in front of the mirror fretting about the fringes of your hair, because the world is a hungry and lustful place, and it isn't difficult really, once you teach your mouth how to move?

I learned this lesson and it is a ripe and overhanging fruit ready to be picked again, day after day, and shoved in the maw of my gob. I learned this lesson and at first it was a shock and then it was a delight, it was my heart swelling like whipped egg whites, like meringue in a cool oven, drying out but becoming huge and light and feathery. Which would you prefer? A moist and heavy heart or this thing like a sigh or a cloud or a pffft blown between teeth?

Your heart is a dusty meringue on the baker's window ledge, peering through the smudged glass, looking for the sun.

Your heart is a clear glass bell with a diamond clapper bouncing from side to side, on the waltzers, feeling your heart's heart whizz, whoopee, hurrah.

Your heart is all these things and more and also just blood and feral guts, but I have no time to talk of that today, because I am feeling the ooze of spring heading back into these dark dismal days, and I am seizing it in my ladylike teeth, or maybe I am just exhaling, pfft, blow this heavy weight away.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Still thinking about that apocalypse

It's not just me, is it? We're all sitting around, in our houses and tents and vans and garrets, thinking about the end of the world. I like the thought; I wear the thought over and over again like a jaunty hat to mark me out from the crowd as Trouble. It just seems, when it gets down to all this, like such a relief.

I have seen the Tibetan bhavacakra and thought about that—my life, existence, all—being yet another thing that needs to keep on going. A wheel that is ripe with consequences as the apple of Eve, a succulent thing, but don't you know that sometimes we make mistakes and the thought of karma feeding the chops back endlessly is surely such a bitch?

So, in the apocalypse, do you think it will rain fish from the sky? Do you think there will be fire? On the whole, do you think of the apocalypse as a hot time or a cold time, and if it was up to you, which would you make it? In fact, yes, let's think about that for a second: if it was up to you, my love, how would the apocalypse sound?

Let's lie under these fluffy white clouds and think about it, and maybe the guy up there will be listening, taking notes, jotting things down in his endless scroll.

Would you like the apocalypse to go bang? Would you like to hear cracking of the earth, crunching, molars grinding the plates of the planet to dust? How far would you go to save the world, if saving the world somehow became a thing that fell to your responsibility? Would you play the hero? How do you feel about the word swashbuckle?

I am going to be honest: I like it. Even though I am afraid of the world and all of karma and the prospect of so many rebirths, I am still excited about the thought of playing the hero, and you know what? I think that I would.

Yes. I have been sitting here in my silk gown and evening shoes, waiting for the party, for the debutantes to arrive, thinking about the apocalypse, wondering what I'd do. I would find a large scythe and stand tall with it and slay down the dragons that had started this troublemaking. I would push, with two feeble hands, the earth towards itself, if it started to split open, if that was a thing that somebody had to do.

I would do what I could, and not for all the rewards (although, of course, we do all love a sweet reward) but rather because I have grown, over the years, rather fond of this place and the options it has to offer. And besides, starting again for sure would be a tricky, terrible idea.

Imagine how hard you would have to try to breathe. Imagine the sights you would see that could remind you of this time and make your sad eyes sob. I wouldn't mind so much the rebirth; the problem would be more the small shadows that catch your eyes and look like something, anything, from the past. You would see them and catch your breath and flicker a figment of a memory. And then you would roll your eyes and walk on and continue about the day.

Friday, 8 February 2013

The Gods and the Pool

I've just discovered 750 words. It's awesome, another thing in a long list of trick your-brain-into-writing, Jane.  I am now writing 750 words + a minimum of 500 writeordie words a day, which is a lot, even if many of them are terrible. I am also editing. Finishing a 6700 word story about one thing and a 3600 word story about another, and I was always so short with stories, isn't that kind of impressive?

Here is the other thing: I am writing through the hangovers. I am ignoring the part of my brain that says: there is nothing for you to tell the world today, be quiet, you are kind of a dick.

I recommend everyone read this post by Michael Fitzgerald, creator of the awesome Submishmash.
I relish the times when it’s super miserable, when I haven’t slept or am hungover. If you can sit down and write when you’re completely uninspired, completely miserable, hating everything you’ve ever written or thought, and just stay in the chair until something happens, then you know you’re going to be OK.
So wise.

I do not know how much you have to write to call yourself a writer. Nevertheless, I have an idea I'm getting closer.


The think to think about today is a cold, clear swimming pool and a brain that squints and squirms with the excesses of yesterday. Remember that martini, slaloming down your throat at 4am in the kitchen? Recall your hands, spread out on the bar like they were waiting for a knife trick, but really just propping up this sad sack body of yours? It is warm outside and the whole sky is blue, corner to corner, a silly kind of colour upon which to hang your hat. And, I know, it is tricky to face it. Tricky to spin your legs into action and step out onto the patio and turn your face upwards to the sun, tricky, ablutions, that's what we're talking about now.

Whenever I hear you yawn, I think of African prairie beasts howling as the lion's teeth snap down. I am sure you are not endangered, but that is how it seems to me.

Give me your hand and I will pull you outside as if this were tug of war, or as if you were a tug boat being harried out to the ocean. You would rather pull that feather duvet down over your eyes, but I'm having none of it, so I destroy this fort you have created to curl in, Shabaam! Sometimes I like to think I am Thor. It's a fun game to play, Greek-Godding around, thunderbolts hitched to my tool belt, boots made of cloud dust and velcro and lightning, BAM.

You shiver. Haven't I already told you it is hot outside, haven't I made the path of the sun clear enough? Bucket blue, that's the thing, bright as a starling, wallops of azure across the sky, as if a gobby slathered paintbrush as big as a hillock has been tracked across the heavens and blanked out the airplanes.

So, stop shivering. Don't make me come in. I have reached out my hand, and this should be enough, so take it. We are going to take a long walk to a cold place under this hot noontime sun. We will ignore the tarmac and the squidge between the bareness of our toes, we will ignore the bakers and the butchers, especially the butchers, this is not a day that has time for red crimson blood. Don't look. Don't turn your face over there, it's the wrong sight for the right day and we are here to have fun.

Yes, fun. Why do you look so askance? You think that I am doing this to torture you, to bring sadness on your shoulders like a peculiar kind of melancholy cape? What a ridiculous accusation. Don't you know I am doing this, not just for your own good, but for your own pleasure? I am an expert in pleasure; in the past, I have made a child smile with a mountainous ice cream cone that was barely melting. It was covered in red orange yellow green blue purple pink sprinkles, and it was delicious, as I stood in front of him and devoured it with my tongue.

Here we are on Main Street. Here we are crossing the road. There is a fire truck ringing its big golden bell. Aren't you enjoying yourself yet? Aren't you just having a blast?

There are cures and curses for people who refuse to see the beauty in a summer's day, you know. I do not like to hurt people's feelings, but I have feelings too, and I have taken you here in the hope that you will open your eyes and your heart to the world and partake in the pleasure of this afternoon. Partake and take part, two sides of the same coin, which I have thrown in the air before now, so don't think that I won't.

Here we are at the outdoor pool. Look at it, just look, the quivering water, the sunlight, stop shivering, isn't it sublime? There are people who would kill for an opportunity like this, you know. We are going to walk over there now, come on, you first, you ahead; it is waiting for you and there is no need to be afraid, have I said that already? Stop shivering.

Here we are on a diving board seven stories high looking down at the curvature of the earth. Run, you crazy beautiful wildcard, run like the wind. And leap. Don't stop falling until you hit the water.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Dream logic

My dream last night: fleeing, from the police, I'm not entirely sure what it was I did wrong. But we had a lorry, a truck, some sort of big bus and we were fabulous and stars, perhaps drag queens, maybe the only way to escape being found is to dress up and stand in the centre of the performance, flick your hair, and look like something entirely unexpected.

We were fleeing to the city of New York, of course, and all that I remember is sitting at the front, or perhaps hovering over, roads that twisted like spun wool, sprawling in every which direction. For a moment, I was myself and we took the wrong turning, or missed the turning, because we were too hypnotised by the beauty of this landscape and the length of its horizons. And then the police stopped us and I had to clamber into the back and then they opened the back and took me out, but oh, it was wonderful to be caught in the centre of attention, people raised their teacups: cheers.

And then I was driving and the same thing, the same spot, I explained why I was the one to miss the turn off (I'm sorry; I was distracted, look at the beauty of this horizon) and again, the police began to follow, but fuck this, so I pushed that accelerator to the floor and soon we were escaping on a bridge that was opening, we were flying and crossing it, we would get to New York: us, this ragtag bunch, this gaggle of maniacs, these gorgeous ladies, performers, waiting for our stage.

Somehow, where we ended up after the performances was a place filled with snow. We were lying in front of a huge window while the storms raged outside—beautiful blue-sky blizzards where the only snow that gathered was the snow that was landing: if you looked to the sky, the snow poured out while the sun shone. We were curled on the floor, snoozing, camping out from our destiny, which seemed to be that we were safe and would stay here because we were trapped in the blizzards, and if we were trapped, who could ever come and find us?

But when we opened the doors and left the shack, it turned out that the snow only circled us, only gathered in a small copse around, and the horizons here were actually so very green. We lay around in the flowers waiting for the next thing to happen, and I thought that maybe this is how the world ends: quietly, softly, snuggled in blankets. Waiting for the dazzling white stuff to stop falling and then stepping, tentatively, outside. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Sometimes I think I’m not people the way they used to build people, with arms, with sharp bent knees, with arms around other people. I haven't opened the mail in a month and the mail keeps threatening me like a pocketknife, like a heavy-set man in a over-lit bar who walks up to you and spits on the floor. I haven't opened the mail for a month and it just builds and builds, a white pile on the desktop like an iceberg, except the thing that's hidden under the water is the stuff that's stuck inside, the words, the sentences he is trying to tell.

But he's got no idea how powerless he is because I am not trying to chip away that iceberg, bit by bit; I haven't started with my pick.

I know him and the him I know is sitting for hours each day with a large wooden box full to the brim of worn-cornered memories, pulling out handfulls and sifting through them, shuffling the pack like Vegas, trying for the kicker, the card that goes bang, the roman candle memory that will turn this all around (or maybe the soft shammy memory that just says oh, or the memory that is more like a hiccup than anything else, just a bump in this smooth liquid of your throat).

Where was I? Oh yes.

It doesn't matter what he finds, how long he spends rubbing two fingers together like a miser trying to spark gold. The iceberg is a fat stack I've trained my eyes to turn from and I live alone in the house and it doesn't really matter, I wear a silk dressing gown and it doesn't really matter, I walk around with a faint bitten smile on my face, dragging one fingertip across the dust of the shelves, and it doesn't really matter. He is a child in a well who doesn't know that the family packed up and moved south for the winter, and he thinks if he can just shout a little louder they'll come running with a bucket tied to a thick woven rope, the kind of rope that feels so fine in the palm of your hand, a sure and steady thing to grip.

I do not know how long this will go on for. I could live here a long time and perhaps soon the desk will be gone, and maybe then the floor will start filling up with letters like icy ships. The caps will melt and spread, and I will become a lonely polar bear navigating the silence, not reading, not ever responding.

The thought of this feels good and it is what I stuff in my pipe when I leave the house and have to look the shopkeep in the eye, this thought, you do not know, shopkeep, the words I have at home waiting for me. I do not know either; perhaps neither of us will ever find out. Or perhaps I should open just one, just to see.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Things hungover girls say to themselves, Part 1

You wake up with black spots in your eyes like inky fingerprints on a police blotter, except your eyes are the blotter, except you can't read the patterns and find out who did the crime. Your mouth is small with fag ash and crushed glass; you can taste metal, or blood, or old locks and keys. You wake up and lie still for a while, while the room readjusts and finds its mettle. You know this moment, but you are not used to spending it alone. There is nothing to distract you, no body to roll over and bite with sharp teeth, yank away with a fist to the hair.

There is just you, lying, the pieces of the night fighting to place themselves together, garish words you yelled at a tarmac troublemaker, stupid things you said to the shopkeeper barkeeper boy who was kissing you, do you remember kissing him, he kissed you? All these dumb fucks coalescing, or you're the dumb fuck coming together, and no matter how tight you close your eyes there are these thoughts inside your head so that closing is only making a small darkroom for the prints to develop. Ow.

You lie still and you close them and in the air is the smell of chemicals and developer. Click and flash, a moment of light; let them arrive, sit quiet and perhaps they won't notice, perhaps they will go away. Why do you do this and get yourself in these situations, sweetheart? You and your torn tight slipshod shoes, you and your broken nails, do you remember scraping them across his face, that boy, the one you were kissing?

Shut up shut up shut up. But you did and you were outside and the booze made you strong, strong like liquor, strong like a man or maybe just like a fool, but fearless, the way tigers never think about their consequences and that is why we are never friends with tigers, because tigers will rip your face off and swallow it given half the chance, because tigers, kind of, are dicks.

Lie there, lie quiet and think about the bad things you did to make you the bad person you are. Oh look, there you are hollering. Oh god, your voice is shrill. When did you get to be such a fool and a charlatan and a broken doll, when did you start? Would you still be so hideous and so embarrassed if you had drunk that drink alone, sitting in a small room, a cuff between your ankle and the bedpost, tying you home, keeping you down, because really…

You could holler at the walls and scream murder but the only thing dying is the brain cells and don't you think your hands are looking older, don't you plan on coming back here, don't you have any friends for drinking with who you can look in the eye in the morning and laugh? Are there only these cracked bad people who scream back and walk with you down the centre of the freeway, stumble on that curb of stubby grass and petrol soaked soil? No flowers left here, you're not a flower, you think you're a fucking flower and a precious diamond snowflake, but you're just some crazy bitch walking down the centre hollering, and these people are not your friends.

But then you were done on the highway, the freeway, whatever way it was, it went, then you were done and you were in the bar, do you remember? Crick your neck, crack your knuckles, slip to the toilet and take off your tights because your legs are prettier when you've got them in the bag—

Shut up shut up shut up. It's this, it's that moment, you were in the bar and there was the boy, the boy you were kissing, doesn't his face feel nice? Aren't you enamoured with his cheeks? Such stubble and what happened to make you crack, you did crack didn't you, why isn't he here, why are you at home, what is the point in this life that rotates from light to dark to light to dark every day like a goddamn sundial. Oh god, your head. Bleak with aged violations and footsteps in its soil from myths, from legends, from the dead babies of another time. They died. You are not about to die. You will stay alive and half awake forever, like Tantalus, while eagles peck at your liver.

Is that really so bad?

Ok, roll over, take a gentle elbow and prop your body up a notch in bed, creak your way to a half held position, hold yourself, examine these hands. Ow. Still.

Fuck those eagles and their morning pecking and bitching. I bet last night, when you were walking with your shoes in your hand, down the centre of the overpass, or the freeway, or the highway, wherever you were, surrounded by fast cars and lights bleeding into the soft night, tights shorn and shredded, black eyes running down your face, screaming at the sky and the gods and the boys who had wronged you—I bet you were beautiful. I bet if I had seen you I would have fallen in love.