Thursday, 19 June 2014

The Osiris Myth

Everyday Genius just published my poem, The Osiris Myth.

They are Melissa Broder's publishers, which means they are totally badass and awesome, which means you should go and read that right about now.

Monday, 16 June 2014

The gulf

Somewhere in the gulf between excitability and accountability, I find a foothold. I climb up. The view from the top is multi-directional and spattered with gobs of grin. Big toothy white lumpfest. I feel good.

The week was one of old friends and new cricks in the neck. The week was wonderful. The week wriggled and wrought the destinies we deserved and, in the shelves high above the city, a mina bird copied the caw of my cry.

Everything is still falling off the walls. I paste photographs of myself to every available surface. I subsist on tinned fish and espresso and kissing the insides of my elbows, the way we’d practice when we were young, before we were quite sure how to get it right.

The insides of my elbows have no tongues and the tinned fish has no backbone but the espresso? The espresso has everything.

Somewhere in the gulf between excitability and accountability, I make the right choice and scramble. We reach a plateau, we reach the source, we get mud between our toes. I survey the lay of the land and press my teeth together. I think of filth. I whisper to my elbow: One day, all of this will be yours.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014


I paint a shelf red.

Later, when the shelf is dry, I’ll screw it to the balcony wall.

I’m a terrible carpenter—far too impatient and frantic. I eschew a vice in favour of my fist and saw off a knuckle. I haven’t worked out yet the times when a drill is necessary. I can’t be bothered with newspaper; I spatter red paint on the floor.

But I get things done.
But I look around my balcony and it is full of life and I think: this is mine, now.
But soon there will be a red shelf covered in peonies, cascading to the floor.

The other night I lay in bed with a body lying beside me and a story came to me with all the immediacy and nonsense of a dream. I tried very hard not to move or to fall asleep, convinced if I did either, I was lost.

In the story there is a person working in the factory where they check the chickens. Someone told me about this factory recently and I have been unable to get it out of my head. In the factory where they check the chickens, there is a conveyor belt with chickens that go by. The checker picks up each chicken in turn and looks at their crotch. If they are a female chicken, it’s fine. The checker sits them back down on the conveyor belt and the world continues to turn.

But if they’re a male chicken, it’s terrible.

If they’re a male chicken, the checker throws them straight into the grinder. The grinder grinds the chicken into bones and dust and meal.

I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

I keep thinking about the person whose job it is to check the chickens. In my imagination—in the story—the person wants to make a small, soft difference in the world. The person is horrified by everything. In my imagination, the person holds up the chicken and checks the chicken and—the moment before the decision is made—the person whispers Love in the chicken’s ear.

Just the word; it is enough.

Love means many things to the chickens, but what it really means (what it has always meant over all times to all of us) is Everything is going to be okay.

The person whispers this because they want so badly for it to be true.

Love, says the person, and the chicken is placed down softly, fluffily, yellowly, on the conveyor belt.

Love, says the person, and the chicken is flung through the air into the grinder. Its bones snap. Its skull is squeezed like a blister until it explodes.

The thing I can’t stop thinking about is the chicken who escapes. Love, whispers the person (everything is going to be okay), and then they are flung to the grinder, but something happens. An ungreased cog; a snag in the machinery; a last-minute reprieve.

The chicken escapes.

And though this is a small, good thing—this escape—it is also an ending for the chicken. The chicken will never again be able to sit snugly in cupped palms and hear the word Love. The chicken and trust are over. Nothing will ever be the same. Everything is not going to be okay forever.

It’s okay—the chicken will be fine, I reckon. This a moment we have all been through, when we discover that the world isn’t the perfectly benevolent deity we had hoped for. When we discover our startling capacities for pain.

We discover and we make our peace with this…but that moment, that poor chicken.

It is 34ยบ outside and the shelf is probably nearly dry. I’m going to get out some power tools and experiment with holes.

It’s okay. I won’t fuck things up too badly.

I have animal-print plasters for my knuckles.

I have turps for the floor stains.

I whisper Love to my own cupped hands. Everything is going to be okay.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

On Envy

She doesn’t understand anything. She thinks everything can be easy and glitter and drunk forever; she wants to be his holiday. She doesn’t understand that in the real world there are responsibilities. Prescriptions. Sodden pillows. Jam jars smashed against the wall, Branston Pickle spattering the floor.
    She has never been the one to scream, mascara-damp and blotchy, “Well if she’s so great then why don’t you just fuck her?” She keeps her screaming for fairground rides; she is forever tottering around in neon; and I hate her.
    I hate her because she’s cheating. We don’t all have the option to be the fireman’s pole—some of us are stairs, there are different ways to get places—and I hate her.
    She hands him a fistful of giggles to remind him that I’ve stopped laughing. She touches his fingers to remind him my own hands are fists.
    I know no one can be like this all the time, that around him she is a woman holding her stomach in for photographs, except instead of her stomach she is holding in all of the bad parts of herself: the scowls, the snipes, the hatred.
    I hope that as soon as she is on her own in a room they explode out of her, covering the carpet in thick brown chunks.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Through Your Eyes

I try to look at this room through your eyes, as if by doing so I can catch a glimpse of the person that I am.

—the person that I am to you.

I look at the things in this room as if they were not my things.

    As if the things in this room were ciphers through which my heart could be decoded.

Look at this scarf tossed across the bed, casually, like it was tossed there by an errant movie star, (like it had never been knotted around an ankle.)

    Look at this loofah: this immense sand whale taking dock in my bathroom, winking about exfoliation, bellowing about skin.

        Look, these floors, scattered with cableties and bottle openers, scattered with the petals of broken flowers.

    What kind of a me would use any of it?

I look at this room through your eyes and I see myself, this girl, here in the room before I have arrived.

    This girl smells of eucalyptus bath soap and lime pulp beneath her fingernails.

        This girl is shrouded in typewriter letters and seven-sided dice.

    This girl tries so hard to be a creature who is capable of love.

I am in this room, looked at through your eyes, reduced to a series of things placed out like the pulled husks of teeth.

I ask myself who I am and the answer bounces from one thing to another before returning to my ears.


I twitch my ears and travel, like a bat, to the other side of the room.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Things that are making me happy on a Berlin morning

Limes. Limes limes limes in everything.
An aesthetically pleasing ball of string.
Tying up tomato plants. Talking dirty to tomato plants. Pretending tomato plants are raucous puppies and saying HUGGUHAHAHA, WHO'S A GOOD BOY?
My new blue watering can.
Toilet poems.
Sharp scissors.
Bears versus Bares.
The existence of gingers.
Sun-melted candles.