Saturday, 31 August 2013

lovely nonsense

addicted to the internet
addict for validation and cat tongues
all the pictures keep on falling off my walls
I am so done with the smell of cigarettes
I would like to be dropped like a glass
I would like to be crashed into like a sheet of glass
carried across the road
carried across a motorway bridge
all the streets are ripe with broken fridges
it is 2013 and there are no horses left
we have forgotten the smell of spurs
it is 2013 and I bought a new set of envelopes
I promised everyone in my pocketbook a letter
but all the news is five days old
—five months old—
these post offices are foreign
how are any of us supposed to be sugarcoated?
clutching beakers and tripping on bumblebee fuzz
how are any of us getting through?
proud as all the captain’s prows / I have
more faith in your ukulele string
than seventeen scripted missives
from countries who have yet to stake their flags
all these evenings are drenched in lou reed and
all these days are parched
addicted to this age / as if
medieval chanting was another door
in the labyrinth / as if
we were offered jodhpurs or saints
I will take everything I am given
I will click
it is 2013 and we are doing better than the Iceni
I would sack London for any of you
you people who smell of salt and vinegar
you people who bring me crisps

Tuesday, 27 August 2013


Sometimes I like to hang out in my flat in my underwear and lie on my back in the middle of the floor with claws and feet in the air, pretending to be a cat while listening to Yoko Ono at full volume.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Things in magazines

I have a piece of flash fiction in the wonderful Lascaux Review which should make you feel giddy and hyper and full of summer dreaming.

Ladies, gents, let's do this. I want all the fleeing and convertibles and sticky summer thighs.

I'm also in the new Thrice Fiction Magazine! Yum, they have done such delicious things with fonts and artwork.

Read about all the kinds of life lessons we can learn from the beasts of the sea...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

one more dream

I dreamed that you and I were escaping the apocalypse. It was lovely. I mean, the terror was there, the water was rising, but we were having so much fun.

You were draping rainbow-dyed wool around your shoulders, around the fuzz of your soft shaved head. You kept hugging me from behind. We were watching ships made of matchsticks crack and crumple on the waves of the heaving sea. We knew that these waves were getting closer—we could see it in the breath of the ocean—but I was transfixed by our loveliness and couldn’t find the will to flee.

Things had gone beyond seediness. We had slept together, or been kissing behind a rock, or shared some delicious secret—I could tell—but whatever that was was less important than this moment: your grin. My grin. Getting away with the universe. The colours of the rainbow-dyed wool were so bright, brighter against the matchbook ocean, against the shore. We were happy to be here.

Eventually, the screams of the people dashed on the rocks drowned out our whispers and we reluctantly gathered ourselves to leave.

I was slow at escaping the apocalypse. I kept getting hit by waves.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013


Recently, Ryan Van Winkle asked me to collaborate on a poem with him for his monthly Commiserate series.

Ryan has a book out with Salt, Tomorrow, We Will Live Here, and has been published in the American Poetry Review and actually makes a living out of being a poet. He is kind of a big deal. He also sometimes feeds me port and makes me play fuck / marry / kill about all of our friends. I like him a lot.

This was some of the most poetry fun I've had in ages and now I want to collaborate with everyone.

Read it here.



The fist in her hair is all the small knives, just below the surface. She is sinking. She is dropping into water while a thousand bubbles explode across her skin. Her scalp. The small knives dig deeper. She is pulled across the room.

The way blood rushes: in heaves. In tidal forces. All of it and then none of it at once. She can feel the blood rushing across her skin, her scalp. She would put her hands out to stop her falling but her hands are behind her, her wrists are bound.

The girl is a marionette held up by hair and scalps and knives. The girl is kneeling on the floor. There is a thumb pressed into the print of her throat, pressed tight to the curve beneath the bone of jaw. There are fingers wrapped like rope around her breath.

Opposing forces. The girl is pulled in one direction by knives. The girl is pulled in the other by rope. She is trapped in a moment, teetering on the cusp of the cliff. She is trying to draw breath from the air in another room.

Stop. Look at this moment. Try to find something perfect in the balance. Try to picture yourself in the taut silver string.

Saturday, 10 August 2013


I wake to the sound of wasps. I wake to the sound of a dog's nails on a tiled bathroom floor. I wake to the sound of thunder.

All my dreams were of women. In my dreams, I was pulling sunflower seeds from flower heads and testing them between my teeth like pearls. All the women in my dreams were on trains.

I wake and across the road there is a man with all his windows open singing gloriously out-of-tune pop songs, loud and unashamed. It is 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning and the hour for karaoke is past. I raise a mug of coffee to you, Captain Pop Song; I am delighted you are unencumbered by modesty. It is the responsibility of the tuneless to tell the rest of the world it is all--all of this--fine.

Sometimes we are all just colourblind children, turning the rubix cube in our hand and trying to figure which side is the same. Decide you know nothing or decide that from your eyes it is all perfectly right.

I wake to the smell of coffee and I pour myself a cup and wander out onto the balcony, ragged dog nails clicking on the cold tiled floor. Place a cliché beneath my tongue and let it dissolve into my bloodstream.

Every time is the first of the rest of my life. Every last one of them. There are no wolves to judge us. No sentries to stop us from starting again.

Thursday, 8 August 2013


I am giddy as kittens
snorting at screens

giddy as kittens
on roundabouts
barfing into
tiny paper airplanes

all of this is foolish
all of this is as expected  
as sunspots

all my syntax is
gone to Swedish

all my backbreakers
are snapping

hej, write me back
a screed of interrobang
and quesclamations

wire me confetti
wrapped in pantylace

I am drunk on a hand
on the throat / I am

giddy and ready
to be shot
with my very
own gun

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Filthy Hot

It's filthy hot.

We're too limp and liquid to move; we try to start sentences but the end of the sentence is so far a hike that
already we drop to our knees in the desert,
already we,
you know what I mean...

I love it.

I have been lying on the balcony listening to the wasps chewing untreated patches of wood from the walls.

I lie around and rub my fingers in my armpits and enjoy the sweet fetid stench.

I am pretty gross.

But there is something restorative about all of this. Letting the rankness ooze out and into the mattress cushion I've dragged out here, a cushion that now smells of meat gone sour and tacky, of honeysuckle fallen in the canal and left to rot.

I am probably not fit for company.

Imagining myself as some kind of seabird who got drenched in oil. I have been cleaned up gently and soapily with soft, sure hands and all that is left is for me to sit here in this sunbeam and allow myself to be restored. This is not an arduous task: the worst is behind us. But I am allowed to be slow, to drag these sentences, to laze, to be cured, to heal.

I am practicing grinning at strangers again.

Not for any particular gains; just for the joy of it. I am sailing past on my bicycle, grossly, with my meat sweat and a skirt flying up over amber-studded, mosquito-ridden thighs, and I am noticing the beautiful people (oh, Berlin) and I am grinning. Most often, they grin back and we look at each other and toast Hah-hah, we are getting away with the universe! and I cycle on and come home to this laptop, to this balcony, to the cushion and its stench.

I am proving that opportunities are everywhere.

It isn't difficult: you just have to start saying yes. I have been saying yes to all the things and each one, when you step into it, is dazzling, the way Wikipedia is dazzling on a hungover Sunday--so many blue links and each one a portal to so many others!--but I am not talking about the internet anymore, I am not talking of blue links, I am talking of people and perhaps of the world.

It's filthy hot.

But I'm getting into the habit of saying things again (it's now three fucking mornings, I'm glorious).

New routines. New practices. New people. All the same old filth.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Dream baby dream

Last night I dreamt my agent saw me on German television and came here to lie with me in a swimming pool and talk about stories. Her presence attracted the flamingoes, but when I told her I was terrified of large birds she shooed them all away. She kept moving behind me in the pool. Televisions flickering with pictures of me in a green and navy polyester dress and the birds necks hanging in the water like bunting ribbons.


I need to finish some more stories. I am aware of this. Fuck the working week. Hello notebooks. Hej där! following these paths down as deep as they go. Aloha! a patch of grass by a lake under these 34º summer clouds. Dobrodošli! some time in my brain for these words. 

I know I am crafting my own life out of the felt of the universe.
I know I have no more excuses for not getting things done.

But but but. Friends visiting to feast with. Soft weekend skin to feast upon. All of our crises raining down at once.

I need to remind myself that there's never going to come that day where everything is sorted, so I might as well get started.

This is the practice school of writing. Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don't want to run and you resist every step of the three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don't wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run. It'll never happen, especially if you are out of shape and have been avoiding it. But if you run regularly, you train your mind to cut through or ignore your resistance. You just do it. And in the middle of the run, you love it. When you come to the end, you never want to stop. And you stop, hungry for the next time.
- Natalie Goldberg

I know. I get it. Why are we so bad at remembering?

I am reading metaphors into everything: an aubergine recipe, my bathroom cleaning technique, last night's weather, those sunflowers.

I am listening to pre-1980 Queen music and nursing a HOT-DAMN crush on Freddie Mercury circa-Crazy Little Thing Called Love. (Seriously. I just. Wha.)

I am doing a yoga routine every fucking morning. There have been two mornings so far. I cannot help but feel foolish about my tendency to believe wholeheartedly in the transformative power of new routines and my ability to stick to them.

You know?

I am also forever starting new notebooks with the promise that this will be the right one, the one I will carry everywhere, the one I will write in every day, the one that will come with me, the one that will only be for creative words, never for shopping lists. I am convinced that one day I will buy the right notebook and become this person.

I am a fool. Whatever. I have very few problems with this label.

Some recent story obsessions: an old library after the apocalypse. A funfair haunted house lit up entirely in blue. Lightning storms. The idea that stories literally create the physicality of the universe. The sound of wasps chewing untreated wood. Hurdy-gurdies. The symbolism we place in crocodiles.

It's time to stop writing around the words and get up close, face to face. To look these stories in the eye. To walk up to them in the field and not worry if they've invited my presence, if it's awkward, if they're not quite ready to be my friend. Cześć. I need to tell them to come inside.

Sunday, 4 August 2013


There has been some healing needed of late for me and my best friend and tonight the thunder and lightning finally came, having been waiting for a long time, since the day I came to the airport and the whole sky exploded around us in purple and jagged rictures of light, as if it was saying, This is the beginning of something else for you and you need to be afraid. But also: oh my God, it is so fucking beautiful, this new and terrifying thing. You have no idea to what extent the world is about to split apart but it is going to and if you are prepared this is the backdrop to your new reality: a sky lit up with pure electricity, a force so powerful it could set the entire world on fire.

Today it came back. It has been a while and things have not been easy but this is the way when the sky splits apart: it is not easy. We stripped down to swimsuits and underwear and stood on the balcony as everything ripped apart around us and we watched the lightning and ducked the thunder and raised our glasses over our heads. At moments I was struck somewhere deep inside me with the feeling that if I just lifted my glass higher, it would catch a bolt and I would be electrified from the cheers to the toes. This was not an idle fancy: my balcony is on the top floor of the tallest house and we were under the storm and the rain thrashed down on us and the lightning wasn’t a distant and idle tickle of the heavens—it was all around us, to the left and right and burning up the TV tower with its throaty metal show.

When we were too wet and too cold to stand yelling any longer, we pulled ourselves inside and sat on the kitchen counter, watching the sparks fly out another window, because the storm was above us and this flat is an attic flat and the beauty of the storm is that it can be all above you and everywhere all at once. We watched the storm be everywhere and all about us all at once. When I tried to focus on the kitchen wallpaper—the red and orange poppies—my eyes were tricked by the lightning and it seemed to weft and warp in three dimensions. My skin was red and tingling, vibrating with the coldness of the thick fat drums of rain, but I wrapped a towel around me and sat curled atop the counter, hugging my knees. I wanted to sit until the storm passed, staring out this kitchen window, but I also wanted to write this moment before it slipped out and was lost, so here I am.

The rain has just slowed and I know the storm is heading somewhere else now; I know that people are sitting inside another flat looking out their windows and thinking about Zeus. I hope they are feeling majestic. I hope in another balcony, south of where we are sitting, there are people about to leap outside and stand in a monsoon created from electricity and sandpaper. I hope they raise their own glasses and whoop from a place deep in their throats, feeling that the universe is about to open up for them. I hope they understand that there is something better in life and the only way that you can ever get it is by stopping being afraid of getting wet or getting struck by lightning. The only way you can get it is by going out to yell.