Sunday, 15 December 2013

It's not

I say, It isn't supposed to be this hard, you know, and he snorts, he scoffs, he says, I have seen a mushroom push through asphalt and I know the ways the world conspires. He says, Sometimes you need to work at things, child, don't you even understand? He says, It's all very well for you. His words pat me on the head and I am a foolish girl with feathers for knickers and a coterie of mina birds chirping in my hair. I am not a part of the real world or the here world or the this world. Yet.

In the real world it is supposed to be this hard, he says. In the real world, love is a large house with many rooms that are slowly decaying, eternally filling with dust and trinkets and calcified noodles, and if you want to live in the house of love you have to spend some days caretaking. You have to sweep and tidy, you have to say no to that invitation to the bang bang party, you have to do the attic this weekend. Love is about more than helter skelters, he says. Who wants to live in a pit of filth?

I keep my mouth shut because I am thinking and because the surfaces of my own house are smattered with motes. My finances are slowly decaying. Sometimes, my body in the real world feels like a hessian sack of rice that has been nibbled by rodents and is spilling an endless trail. I am forever darning and unravelling all at once. I know of this real world and its incessant demands, its arm-tugging neediness. I have watched it grasp and grasp like a toddler. I have resented it everything.

I keep my mouth shut because what do I know? I live alone. These days, my heart is full of rooms and raucous guests, but the visitors bring their own polish and belts and feather dusters. They bring champagne and bubble bath. They clean up after themselves. These days, love is not a thing to maintain. I ride my lust over cobblestones in the small hours of the day and the neon bulbs of the city wink and conspire and my chain does not grow loose even though, by all accounts, it should.

I do not know how to explain this thing to him, the thing that is alone and alive, bristling with fireflies. I want to ask him, what is wrong with helter skelters? Since when did you ever give up on the fair? I want to take his tired skull between my palms and whisper all of the ways it is possible to bunk off on work when the work is your heart and the alternative is a field of jubilant daisies, giggling and trading favours in the sun.

He tries so hard and sometimes when you are trying so hard it is impossible to take stock of the situation and lift your hands from the stone. Sometimes the uphill swells so large before you that the universe isn’t stars and wisps and galaxies; the universe is the thing before your eyes: grass. Rocks. Hill. Sometimes the push push is addictive, the gnaw in your muscles, the rodent teeth, the strain. Sometimes you are a good man for keeping going and that is enough.

I say, It isn’t supposed to be this hard but my voice is quiet because I am thinking of a time when it was this hard, when I was straining with every fibre of my hessian sack to hold everything together. I am remembering my own hill I chose to die on and I think myself lucky, even though such an idea is bizarre. I am lucky that the flash floods and monsoon cracked down and turned my upwards path to mudslide; I am lucky that the towns were ravaged; I am lucky the universe became too broke to fix. I think if it had been different I would still be weaving things together. I would be darning the future of my fate.

When I say, It isn’t supposed to be this hard, I am not really talking to him. Or, I am, but I am already resigned to the fact his ears are stopped with amber beads of resin. Mainly, I am talking to myself. I am making a note in the spiral bound book to remember if anything ever gathers around me this way again. Do not push, do not strive, believe in fireflies and helter skelters. Keep galloping through the city on your heart’s pony. It isn’t supposed to be hard at all. It’s supposed to feel as if, all at once, all of the catherine wheels are starting to spin.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


I decided to be kind to myself. Small treats. The night had been thick and dense and full of warped dreams. I was obsessed with cutting fabric. I took E's dress and picked up the pinking shears and revelled in the sound of the metal jaws dissecting the cloth. I could almost taste it.

Outside, last summer's dead plants were rotting. I had not taken the opportunity to cull these fallen soldiers and the result was a procession of festering mulch, making me feel guilty as I sat at my desk. I had promised to give up feeling guilty too, but some habits are tricky to shake. I was trying my best. Really, I was doing everything I could.

I had started using the health of my plants as a moratorium on my worth as a human being, and this was a bad idea. I had started using more guttaral sounds on my verbs, hitching the noises from the back of my throat. I had promised that I would tell the people I adored that they were fabulous and make sure it was written on the insides of their wrists: congratulations! You have arrived in the universe.

All the decisions I had made in other lights of day were stuck in my throat. A procession of used bottles made its way across the kitchen floor and the prospect of changing was more daunting than I had any right to expect. I believed it should be possible to write things softly and whisperly, a sensual tongue in your ear. I believed it should be possible to explain.

None of my exercises allowed my legs to keep up and I knew that if I could only write enough different words all in a row, we could all prance through the double door together and take a bow to the audience who were facing up.

I decided to be kind because my dreams had been like razorblades: full of opportunities for wounds. I took a thick swatch of fabric and wrapped it around the bulkhead. We were all placing our thumbs against a swatch of skin and experimenting with listening for a pulse. There was no pulse. I dreamt you had a giant hot tub pool that you filled each lunchtime with warm water and one bucket of molten butter. I dreamt I was desperate. In the dreams, I couldn't help cutting things up with knives.

Even though, upon waking, I knew you had no idea of the things inside my dream, a dull wallow of guilt remained lodged in my stomach. In my dream, my ex-boyfriend was on holiday and I was sleeping in his empty bed. It did not smell like him; I barely recognised the sheets. I decided I could move in. The party was going to be fabulous, if only I hadn't ruined the dress.

The crypticism was not intentional. It was the result of a forked brain mashed into a pile of beans. That is to say, it hadn't had enough sleep. Or it had had too much sleep. Sleep was a confusing thing that simultaneously cloaked and revealed its subject. Sleep was wonderful and deadly and full of the soft fur of bears. I wasn't ready to stop yet, but I knew that dwelling any longer in this kingdom would make me bound to attraction to all the wrong decisions. Oh, but those decisions. So soft! So scritchy! So sweet!

I decided to be kind to myself, as if being kind was a decision that had to be made again and again. As if whenever we forget to remind ourselves, sometimes we can tend towards the cruel. We are all worriers of soft flesh. In science, in magnets, teeth are attracted to gristle.

Here is how the day would spread out before me: I would write a few sentences that were scattershot and sweet and fell to the floor like broken saucers. I would drink a large quantity of water until my piss turned pale. I would eat something small and savoury, then I would soak my weary bones in a sauna until I couldn't tell the difference anymore. Perhaps I would read. Perhaps I would let myself be taken. Perhaps perhaps there is more to this than you could imagine. I could even do some exercises and see how I would react to the stretch. I could run somewhere. I could walk. I could make the decision again, and again: be kind.

Turn off the internet. Create a small castle out of all the right words. Stop apologising for your dreams. Put the scissors away.

Monday, 2 December 2013

"Just master the art of preserving your spark and it'll all turn out fine."