Saturday, 30 November 2013

the final 630 words

The only thing I could possibly ask for now from the universe is for you to put your hand in mine and not worry about any of my bruises, not bitch about any of my broken, just give me you and take me you and let's both run together. My skin is patterned with purple and my brain is blotched with welts of every which colour. I do not mind. My legs are so fucking tired from all this running and my fear of stopping outweighs my desire. I do not mind.

The only thing I want is to feel the wallop of these feet on the soft green grass and never mind if they slip on dew. I lost a lot of things, my dear, I lost my heart and my mind and my way but I kept on looking in foxholes and I found them again. I found my tiara. I found my tiger. All the things I had given up on are once again in my pockets.

At one point, it seemed like everything was some kind of an ending so I decided to turn to magic. I believed in fortunes that could be read like fairy tale books from the reflection in a curved glass mirror. I believed in my own reflection in the water. I was narcissus, but I think in some ways we are all narcissus. I leaned all the way over and took a deep breath and was prepared for whatever was there. I was prepared for everything that I saw.

The fortunes all said the same thing and still I could not quite come to terms with the fact it was true. The fortunes told me that I thought the drawbridge up ahead was some kind of ending but, in truth, the drawbridge was just another bridge. And that all bridges connect two pieces of land, and that when I arrived at the other side I would meet people who had come as far and as long as I had, except they had started over there. I would talk to these people and ask them about their journey and things would start to curdle.

Listen, they would tell me, it's been a long an arduous task. I have come so very far. But it's okay, they would tell me, because finally after all this effort I have reached the end. Some sort of end, anyway. They would mop their brows and swell with pride and I would have to say that I, too, had come a very long way. And that I, too, thought I had reached the end. But I would know that behind me was a very long path with lots of trials and goblins. I would tell them that. Perhaps. I would feel like they had a right to know.

And if this was the case, I would have to acknowledge that behind them, too, was a very long path of trials and goblins. And even if I found the feet to traverse it, I would just get to some other kind of beginning.

All these thoughts in my brain terrified my soul. I did not want to believe in fortunes but I had already decided that witchery was not a false god; I had already made the concession to my fate. All that remained was for me to turn my body like an arrow towards the place I had said that I was going.

But my body is forever a wind vane and a strong breeze came up. I spun. In every different direction. Still, this was some kind of enough and I let myself enjoy it. Every which way and any which way. I had not reached an ending, but I had got exactly the thing I deserved.

SQUEE!


I wrote 50,000 words in a month because I am pretty fucking amazing.

(why hello there, December of Editing)

x

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Mornings

The wolf lurking in a long tunnel with drips falling from the ceiling. The wolf howling and pulling thorns from his paws. The animals of the forests and plains refusing to help because the wolf has bad PR, the wolf has a reputation for teeth. I feel bad for the wolf but what do I know? My PR is not the greatest either. We all have reputations we carry in the sacks yoked to our carts, and none of us are ever quite ready to spill the apples.

Or, then again, perhaps some are. How did those voles get so damn cute? How did that girl get to glow like a reclining moon, a moon that has never shone upon criminal proceedings? In the wilderness you can hear the insects, thick as bean soup in your ears. In the desert you can hear your own heartbeat, you can listen to the blood pushed round your body, listen to the creep of life-liquid. You can catch the accent of your veins (oh blood, oh thick guttural Rs, hello).

In the morning, I am so much phlegm and teeth mould. I am kittens deep inside the sack. I try to make time for the small, perfect rituals: screw the silver coffee pot, open the gas, hear the hiss, strike a match. Trust in a blue flame and the alchemy of ground brown beans. Trust in the fingers in the crick of my neck. In the morning, I am less than Jane. Skittish and clickery. The internet, the internet, the internet. The taste of curdled spilt things. The smell of my seeping self.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Complete immersion

You will put up with so much if you think it is the choice between that and an empty plastic bag to carry from land to land. I taste how it pains your heart to show up at the door empty handed. I know you would like to be the guest who arrives first with a plethora of rose stems. I would like you to be the one in the Jacuzzi whose nose is full of bubbles.

You have two options, my sweet, and neither of these is being the right person in the right place facing the right direction. You are slumped and slalomed in a bed of your own choice. You are drunk and dashing in a city of your own choice. You are a wild pony in a corral of someone else’s desire and you cannot stop bucking even though it makes your backbone ache.

This is the inevitable price you pay for having a heart. It is expensive. Did we ever tell you it would be cheap? Did we ever pretend that it wouldn’t cost a whole sackful? This is the inevitable concession to complete immersion. You will put up with it when you believe it is more important to be a thing in the world than a thing who is right about the world. 

You put up with it so that you may have a heart to take outside and show to the ones in the houses all down your street. You soak yourself in the bucket of ammonia. I know you are ashamed of your valves, you steal bleach to strip the stains you are so sick of hefting. Darling, please. There is nothing more adorable to me than the fingerprints on your skin.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Guidelines for getting by

This is the time of the year for caramelising onions. Reek out your kitchen with a sticky pirouette of crisp white elbows turned to swooning golden sludge.

You must make chutney. Sterilise all your jars and stack the cupboards with winter sustenance, for the cold will come soon.

Next, line your insides with hot wine steeped in cinnamon and mistletoe. Line your bed jacket with fox fur and mink.


Take a new lover to your boudoir and feed her cherry brandy until the flush rises in her cheeks, until her lips are bitten and red.

Fill your desk drawers with printed letterheads for correspondence and post a pressed dandelion to whoever deserves it the most.

Get warm. Light fires in the bedrooms and cast incantations while flinging runes at one another, whilst believing in sage.

Set up all of the dates to drag you outside because outside is so many crisp things and you are not ready to hibernate yet.

Trust that this winter is going to be fabulous and filthy and bottles of red wine all wrapped up in gold.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

City

The city is on the turn. The city begins to shed its summer skin. Leaves fall from the trees and carpet the pavements and then secret dwarves come in the night and whisk them away, leaving everything naked. Leaving the world bare. The bones of trees are silent skeletons encouraging the night to tuck close to the day. They pull the blanket of darkness closer to their chins until all that is left is a small blink of daylight in the centre of the day. When I walk the streets I feel the city's sharp winter elbows. Juttings of frost in the hollows of my ribs.

Even though the city is outside and I am inside, we are able to communicate. I send the city folded missives printed on bright yellow flyers that I crumple and fling from my windows under the guise of falling leaves. Mine are weepy love letters declaring my body a checkered blanket, my heart a picnic basket packed with gentleman's relish and hot cross buns. Here, I tell the city, feast upon me. I am yours to devour. I want to be chewed up and swallowed by your streetlights.

I watch the streetlights halo in the first fingers of frost. This night is built of mist and the exhales of clouds rising from the water. We walk to the boat across the swaying decking and for a moment I know that I am holy. Everything above the water is swirling, the contradiction of the softness of haar with the hardness of teeth. By this I mean: the biting of the sharp, cold night. I walk through it, my body a prow that can cut the night like cake. Here in the city, everything is pure white frosting and I lick my fingers and laugh at the sweetness on my tongue.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cure

Cure for sickness: Bring all of the cushions in the house into bed. Bring extra blankets. Bring fleecy things that feel like the skritchy patch behind cats' ears to stroke against your cheek. Brew all the coffee. Brew strong coffee, the kind that makes you shudder. Find your hipflask, the hipflask you filled with cheap scotch and took to the party and forgot about somewhere in the giggles between vertical and horizontal behaviours. Choose a mug that pleases you. Make it a large mug with a thick handle and a broad lip to rest your mouth upon. Fill it with 4 parts coffee to 2 parts whisky to 1 part honey. Return to bed. Pretend your bed is a slow ship sailing through all kinds of make-believe oceans. Pretend you are beset by pirates and crows. Drink the coffee. Cough lumps of brown phlegm into all your tissues and scatter the bed ship with crumpled white clouds, some kind of sky beneath you--imagine your bed can fly. Choose books that you have read at least four times or those that have at least seven sex scenes. Feel sorry for yourself. Keep spitting. Read old emails from lovers who are distant enough to make you grin. Compose imaginary missives saying "I love you stop I always loved you stop Let's make a blanket fort makeout post behind the bang bang mountain". Make a blanket fort. Hide inside the blanket fort from the detritus of your life. Realize that, in fact, your life is not in detritus--realize that your life is, in fact, full of sweet candy opportunities like scattered shards of mother of pearl. Play pretend anyway. Recall the bed jacket she gave you and dress yourself in padded glamour and long for a gold bell with a bright tinkle to summon all the things your heart desires. Turn off the internet. Turn on the trash. Write daydrunk words with a woozy honeyed head. More coffee whisky. Cheese toasties. Believe in mustard as a cure for all the things that may ail you. Surely anything that makes your tongue tingle will salvage 90% of your wayward health. When you still don't feel better, pretend you are Balzac swooning with consumption. Bring a hand-held mirror to your face and blink your eyes wide; look aghast and ashen in your pallid cheeks; sigh. Declare today an island in the midst of all the waters of living, or a pond in the midst of all the sandshores of life. Wallow as long and as loud as you feel fit. Keep ringing the imaginary golden bell and wait for something to show up and wipe the afternoon's dirt from your boots. Keep drawing the barricades and stay safe, stay warm, inside. Give yourself to the soft sweetness of illness or fight it like bears. Do you really want to fight bears? They will maul you, my sweet; they will rip your skin from your bones. Play dead, my sweet. Lie still, and wait for the bears to leave. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Witchery

The mortice-eyed witch wanted to save that boy, the boy with the ink stains on the backs of his thumbs. She had turned so many locks just to hear the thud of the snib, just to step through a door into another castle, and she watched him sit in his garret playing with unravelling strings, and there was nothing she could understand.

The witch had potions and unctions and runes; she believed in catoptromancy. There were hung curtains between dimensions that, catlike, it was possible to slip beneath. There were sash windows on the seventh floor that could slide upwards for the leap.

But the boy thought the future was a tossed ball of string that must be followed and found, and he walked behind it.

She scattered the trails from his path with juniper berries and satin pin cushions and handfulls of gems. She whispered filthy witch words in his ears: incantations. When music played, she tapped a Morse code of fleeing beneath it: darling, won't you .-.././.-/.--. ?

The boy continued down his own tunnel, feet sticking in the heady gloop of should.

This witch was not yet ripe with confession and had not yet learned the language of her need. There were feral cats mewling inside of her and a deep, dark well with a tiny voice at the bottom. The voice in the well said "stop dropping those worn metal coins" said "where is your own rope?" said "I'm going to start sinking if you don't let me climb".  The witch drank elastic green potions and stained her teeth and hiccuped and giggled more than witches ever should.

It was easy to silence the voice with projects and she had oh so many projects, so many castle doors, so many boys, so many strange scarlet pains, so many promises. Gathered them all up in a fat red sack and carried them to all of her wells at once and upended the sack and everything--yes!--comes tumbling down.

If she could say just one thing to the boy it should have been: come with me, motherfucker. You don't need me to save you, you have never needed me to help you escape. Need is a word built of hollow sticks and hit donkeys. Need is a tongue stuck behind its own teeth.

If she could say just one thing it should have been: I want you. I want you to come with me; I want you to take my hand and drag me hapless and helpless behind you. I want to tie both of us up in your own ends of thread. I want to bite you. I want to be with you. I want you to want me the most.

The problem with spells is that after you have cast them, it is impossible to know whether the swoon is from the sweetness or the sorcery. The trouble with incantation is that it is one thing to bewitch but another to step outside with all your skin on the outside and ask someone to like you, please. The problem with this is that everything gets so tangled and you start to rely on winking and it is easy to decide that you don't have to put yourself out there. A witch can trick you into thinking you've never seen her cry.

Monday, 11 November 2013

It's fine

She stands in the kitchen and says it is fine, it’s all fine. And no matter who in the world thinks her a fool (because, make no mistake, the girl is a fool, with cherries beneath her tongue and all the trouble in the universe tucked behind her ears), she is right. Everything is. All the things that happened are on a plane so distant that her ears are no longer strong enough to catch their sound. The things that happened can communicate only by smoke signal now, and their small purple flames haven’t the heat to scar her skin.

She stands in the kitchen and she is drunk and speeding with this revelation. She wants to careen off the walls telling them it’s fine (whap/bam) it’s fine (crash/doosh) it’s fine (bang/wallop). Instead, she picks the one who needs to hear it. She would like to talk quickly and tell him everything: about the city hall, about girls, about the thumbprint bruises on the inside of her wrists, but she doesn’t know how they got there, any of them.

The girl wants to scrabble her paws up and down his arms like ferrets. She wants to be lying back in a bubblebath with her legs in the air, kicking furiously and turning the air to a soapy snowstorm. She wants wrestling and tickling and biting: the silliest of human contact. She wants to go back years, to a point before seriousness, when everything was turquoise potential and the holy goof. She doesn’t want to go anywhere because every moment made her this.

In another city, her life reclines like a fat tabby, purring and licking its feet. There is the real world, the serious real world, the world of storytelling and cellos and champagne. The world of afternoon escapism and so much skin behind doors. Here is not her real life; here is a holiday on a boat where she can swoop and play, then flee before the hour of other pumpkins, before the sun is high in the sky.

In this city, she is standing in the kitchen and she tells him it’s fine and suddenly everything is. All the half-filled sacks of grain she has been hefting around for years thud and spill on the floor. Everything is so light and lovely that for a moment she almost wants to fall in love with him all over again, just to get to this point. Almost. Just to stir the universe’s soup.

But this time round she is smarter and sillier all at once, so she presses her thumbs on his wrists and promises him all the things she has no right to promise. It’s going to get easier, you have no idea, it’s going to get so good you will barely be able to breathe. She is laughing. It’s all fine, she says. She isn’t laughing at him. Mainly, she is laughing at herself.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Myth

In the depths of the clouds, there is a castle full of goats and wishbones. The goats wear mayoral ribbons pinned to their chests and proclaim every second Saturday the day of oranges. The goats sit at long wooden tables that sail through the clouds like viking ships, adorned with crests and proud ribboning flags. They feast upon tangerines and mandarins and satsumas, on clementines and blutorange; the goats sink their sharp pointed teeth through the dimpled skin and close their square eyes in bliss.

What are the goats thinking? What thoughts buff and cloud in their minds as they sit across from one another, chewing? I will tell you: the goats are thinking about wishes. They are dreaming of the ways they will get all of the things that they want. Their thick, curdled goat brains are full of cowgirls and painted red fences. Sacks woven from shimmering turquoise thread and filled to the brim with fruit. Also, they are thinking about food. The goats may spend their hours indulging in all kind of sweet feral frolics--the goats may be busy--but when it comes down to it, the goats are preoccupied with feasts.

It is a different kind of life, high in the clouds, looking down on mortals. The goats never intended to live forever, but we're not always in control of the way things turn out, you know? Somewhere in the vast chasm between intention and action, a proud man tripped on his shoelaces and ended up on his face. That is a goat proverb. Here is another: Beware the direction of the peel.

Since they began to live forever as keepers of immortality and kings of the clouds, the goats have been pretty quiet about what goes on. I cannot blame them. We have all heard what happened when Prometheus nicked the fire for mankind, we know the wrath handed to Loki for all his murk and mischief. At the point of dabbling between realms where the creeping vines of fruit trees form a soft, sweet tunnel, things are precarious. Buckets of water are balanced on wobbling stones. The air smells like citrus. The goats keep mum.

Here is what I can tell you: Once upon a time, all the animals lived together equally on the green grass of the earth. They did not question the fact that below them was fire rumbling like bellies, that above them there were pillows in the clouds. The animals were content with the soil, but there was one goat who was bored. This is how things happen, when it all comes down to it: there was a creature, the creature was bored. The creature tried something new, just because they day is so long and so vast and so full of minutes. Because it is almost unbearable--this--the sand ticking down.

A man leaps up and over heaven, pinching a single flame. A god asks a man to kill his son, just because he can. An eagle pecks a liver. The sun continues to spin.

And the goats--this goat, the bored goat, our hero of this tale--decide that something must be asked of the universe. The goat kills a chicken just because he is bored. Sinks his sharp pointed teeth into feathers, shakes his head from side to side, lets the blood spurt from its neck. The blood spatters onto the sand. The white feathers tickle crimson. Look at the goat's face: his moustache is soaked with clots and sinews. Look into the goat's eyes: fall deep into those slits, shirk from the squareness. You will never win a staring contest with a goat. You may try, but you will always end up disgusted. You will be forced to look away. They say that any woman who could hold the gaze of a goat for an hour had to be a witch. They would try to kill her, but by then it would be too late.

So the goat kills the chicken, just because; the goat rips the carcass in pieces and casts it on the floor. Amongst the detritus of life, there is a forked bone. The goat stares at the bone without blinking for what seems like a very long time. The goat makes a wish...