Wednesday, 23 December 2015

The True Meaning of Christmas


A special festive story for everyone who was so busy in 2015, they barely found time to jerk off.

Summer space fiction

Wee flash fiction in this new issue of the Olentangy Review!

Friday, 27 November 2015

Poetry Island

Ambika, Alissa and I will be sharing a bunch of delicious poems and fictions at POETRY ISLAND on Dec 3rd.


It'll be tropical! Like a rash.

<3 come join <3

Monday, 19 October 2015

INTERVIEWED

Ambika interviewed me and I interviewed Ambika for indieberlin about all the things that go on in the strange universe that is our minds.



READ IT HERE!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Leonard

My poem, Leonard, is in the latest issue of Synaesthesia magazine, Atlas, alongside some beauuutiful pictures.

Look here!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Boy Princess

FLAPPERHOUSE have featured my story online as the "grand finale" of their summer issue.

You can read it here!

A few people have asked me what indeed this is all about. This story was born of three things:

1. The Richard Brautigan quote, "The man who owned the bookstore was not magic. He was not a three-legged crow on the dandelion side of the mountain"

2. Watching a boy dress up for Gay Pride in tiny lace and stupid tattoos, and feeling my heart go kabooom

3. An abiding obsession with picking scabs



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Crab Fat

Weird little story about language and love for y'all at Crab Fat Magazine.

Last week, on the balcony while we drank strawberry daiquiris, gleeful and pink in the sun, my lover told me stories of the birds. The point where the acid kicked in and they watched the swallows plucking insects right out of the skyhow, as they itched and scratched their swollen bites, they seemed like talismen, saviours even.
Even now, they said, whenever they see swallows its like everythings going to be alright.

Download Issue 5 here!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

LEOPARDSKIN & LIMES

I'm the poetry editor for a new online litmag, Leopardskin & Limes.

Check it out!



And send us things please.


Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Stories!

New tales at the esteemable Camroc Press Review!


About hot poets, difficult questions, and bad colds.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Sometimes

Sometimes I’m the simplest creature of all time. Sometimes I’m standing drenched in sweat in the kitchen eating all the tomato sauce straight from the pan, long before the pasta is done, and yowling. Sometimes it’s the smell of seven cloves of garlic. Sometimes it’s the cheapest supermarket olives and the drool, just because. Sometimes, somehow, it tastes so good. Sometimes I am distracted by googling buttsex and googling my own name and using the internet as a portal to try and alchemise time. Sometimes I want to invite everyone round to wallow in my own stench, when my stench is rotting mangoes and barbecue and shocking even to my nose. Sometimes I decide against this. Sometimes I’m delirious by the prospect of solitude, masturbation, and my own record collection. Sometimes the bpm of all the songs I’m listening to are better than the bpm of all the songs you’re listening to. Sometimes a storm hits. Sometimes the streets reek of plantations and of swampland and of heady, cunty summer. Sometimes I stand on my balcony naked, alone, and cackling. Sometimes I stand on my balcony, my tongue in your ear. Sometimes you’re embarrassed about swooning in front of the boys, though you can never help that expressive face. Sometimes I’m a ravenous gulping beast who devours everything in her path. Sometimes I stop worrying about the emails left unanswered and the tasks left unticked—sometimes I smother myself in gin, lube and neon. Sometimes it doesn’t matter what I say, what’s important is that I let an evening seep into my bones and enjoy it. Sometimes I repeat myself. Sometimes things grind to a halt and there is just me, left there, grinning on the couch, as simple as a hammer without any nails.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Wagenplatz

Last night at the Wagenplatz, all elderflower schnapps & neon rainbows,
wide eyes like webs in the dark. Still waiting for the horse-crack of summer

and when I woke, I barely believed in the sunbeam's elbow
forcing the curtain aside. Still playing at kids & astronauts,

you whispered just good friends. You let these words sink into my thighs.
Then, romantic as a slow canal, you draped your limbs round me, weeping

willows tangled in slinked algae, the punchline to the joke
about all the times we didn't kiss. I let go of the bank and let myself float

into teeth & soil & bruises. When I left the river, there were red welts
on my skin. I hiccupped. I tied a blue bandana round my leg. I promised

nothing but I took everything my fists could find. Let's get ice cream today
and lick the drips from each other's pasts. Let's leave ourselves sticky.

Make mine sesame and bubblegum and a grin for all the times we didn't kiss
when I was dancing with cowgirls, picking the reeds from between my toes.

Monday, 22 June 2015

swoon

Got paid for a story. Bought this wig. Winning at life. <3


Sunday, 21 June 2015

DIRT!

The most exciting thing ever!

Not only did the ridiculously cool Make Out Magazine publish my short story, Dirt, but then it got translated into Japanese and made into this awesome book by Girls Rock Japan! It goes along with this album from gummybear, who have the best bandcamp tags of all time.

You can pick up a copy of Make Out Magazine here!





Friday, 19 June 2015

The Boy Princess


FLAPPERHOUSE #6 is out now! With a terrifically romantic fairy story about scabs, three-legged crows, and muscular boy-thighs in lacy garters. By me.

Buy it here!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Kitsune

The lovely folks at Bookanista published my story today, about Japanese folklore, queer love, and sexy foxes.



READ IT HERE.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

30. Kiss me

kiss me like a spilled pitcher
the way sailors tie knots

I want everything
bound and cascading

I want to feel the
gold stirrup of the horse

kiss me like a woman’s fist
the way cowboys say goodbye

wake me and yelp me
with a ball-pit of puppies

my romance is
a big slide greased with lard

push me by surprise
screw all these learned shins

kiss me when distraction
thunks like acid rain

lips burning and fingernails
dug in my palms

Saturday, 30 May 2015

29. Take care

take care, lest the world cast you in total dejection for small crimes
a broken bikespool / sinkcrud & tapgunk / snags in the skin

the internet’s waiting to gag upon your sordid horse skeleton
explain how you failed and fooled and folleyed, but

take comfort in small round pebbles and miniscule bleatings
for today the cost of small mercies is greater than dinosaurs

you woke hard and humble from wrestling with sailors in the night
rope burns in your sins and stubbed ash up the walls

now be a wizard of the afternoon, delight in rain’s psychedelic reflection
the drips on the floor belong to those who let themselves snooze

28. Hooplah

She steps through the portal
into a mutiny of neon hooplah

Across the street a man
eats an ice cream aggressively

Traffic lights look like penguins
Chocolate crackles and pops

On the other side houseplants
swallow everything they can get

The sky is tangfastic &
buttercups & strawberry laces

Your tongue is wet rum
and mint leaves in my throat

I’ll meet you there in a hour
with a bucket to catch the drips

Let’s lie on the pavement
staring up, mouths open wide

Thursday, 28 May 2015

27. Banking hours

convinced next week is rammed
I bank horizontal hours

thunked into film canisters
slid under sofas

convinced I can save time the way
we saved the whales

so when the time comes—when
we need the whales

the whales are here
the body is rested

we both have
time to breathe

I send a message
to next month’s whale saying

when we do get there
it’ll be peachy-fucking-creamy

so don’t fret
let your yawn traverse the ocean

hit a basking shark
& bounce back to where we wait

26. Pelt

let’s play the unravelling game
pick at loose tiger threads

until the big orange pelt
comes down around your ears

you didn’t want to be a ragdoll
you’re sorry about the holes

if a speech was called for
you’d explain but no speech

is called for / no one’s listening

you say sorry the sockets
that don’t match, but your

whole life is still blunt ends
that won’t smoosh together

that’s why you dreamt of tigers
soft neckfur & swatches

to risk more than just standing
here naked and holed

to rest your neck between teeth

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Attention Span!

Hey, oh my god, we went into SPAAACE!!!


All the best special effects ever courtesy of the lovely Ambika Thompson & Tom Moore <3

25. Köpenick

forgetting to secure myself
            I slip
from the city like streamers
        from a car window
relinquishing down payments
            & dog-eared regret

I forgot that opening my fist
            I’d snag
on moments of rivermouths
    the spot where
Berlin is a glass overturned
        the fairycake houses

easy to forget that place
            (I do)
lost in industrial hiccups &
            nitrous fingers
I realise I know nothing
    of this sack
        I call home

Monday, 25 May 2015

24. Atomic

Yesterday the words thunked
as radioactive rain
sure & turquoise & a danger
to the pitted surface of the earth

I sat in neon and said Attack
me with your scum drones
My forearms bespattered
My flesh off-duty

Today I set impossible goals
for these purring limbs
Give me the gush & the hum
The power of orbit

There’s a horse with atomic plume
Hitch it & hike your skirt
Gallop from the testing desert
Take me with you for the ride

Sunday, 24 May 2015

23. Love Story

it’s when the knuckle
limbos beneath my bone, a
tickertape parade

22. Skillet

I found a new dumpster heart
clagged with rust

I thought scrub it
and scour it

salt rubs & steel pads
Make an old black thing new

They told me don’t expose it
to water too long

Avoid tomatoes, vinegar
all things with acid

Keep it from boys
whose intentions are red

I strip and reseason 
my new old heart

Cast it on fire so that
nothing will stick

I think next time
I’ll char his flesh

In a heart that spits and
sizzles and sears

I’ll swallow him into
wiggly gutmeat

Let my stomach acid
break him down

21. Crowds

We’re hiding from the crowds

streets of collapsing sand dunes
the burble and shift of people

We bike away
Away to the park where the

big high waterfall meets
the long straight road

We sit at the crest and pretend

it’s a carnival slide skiting to
the basin of the city

Waiting to let go
Over his shoulder I’m reading

dirty ads from boy hustlers
paedophile promises

romantic as a fist in the face

We shift on the rocks
adjusting hems and bruises

At night, they turn it off
the park the road the waterfall

They’ll leave this place to
solitude and lilac trees


Friday, 22 May 2015

20. That Morning Regret

snuck up on by the captain
in the pointy hat

    palms over the eyes
    pushed down the stairs

you try to lie, you are
swollen flesh
    oozing through hammocks

you try to read, the words
mate and shriek
    as sugar-addled baboons

you try to whisper quiet words, but
they drown
    under white static daggers

snuck up on by the senator
of morning regret

    try hot sweet tea
    try bubbles & oysters

there is someone out there waiting
to say something nice

they'll scrape the soil from the teeth
that sit in your jaw like graves

19. Horoscope

Dearest Scorpio,

Today is a sharp fist day
with knuckles rising—best
not to trust postmen
or recipe quantities, best
to stay indoors.

The world is sodden
with black cats
and tall men who’ll
cackle when you slide.

When you come to,
it will be with
needles in your butt
fishbones beneath
your cheeks.

Regrets will burrow
your flesh like sandflies,
asking: Why didn’t
I listen to the moon?

She told me to behave
and lock the door twice
and still my hand
with the last cup of flour.

18. Ms

I enter the belly of Pacman
mouth open & every yellow dot
is a popcorn kernel
waiting to explode on the tongue
when they go bang they say
well done Jane good job Jane
everything you do is cherries
& pretzels & pears

I am a sucker for rewards
for validation and blunt palms
for high-five festivities
tell me again that it will work out
so long as I keep
my mouth open and moving
to the 256th stage

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

16. Nice

let’s always be nice to each other,
she says, while closing
her jaws like automatic doors
around the reception of his flesh

let’s, he says, with a flat palm
like the blare of a horn
on a motorway in the
hottest part of summer

twenty minutes and their skin
is scuffed and spattered
as dustsheets in red

his bruises take the longest
slow yellow moons
rising over the hips’ horizons

hers are faster, she’s always
been a track star
in blue & purple velour

still, when she breaks the ribbon,
when she yells winner
with fists high in the air,

she means them both
this victory over dead blood
and patience with the skin

Monday, 18 May 2015

14. Slip

The morning is ladders and sandlewood
Soap without rungs
She tries to close her fist
The day starts slippy / gets slippiest
Spiderplants out of focus
She takes her life by a loose scruff
And stuffs it in the sack
Outside is bees and blood oranges
She works quickly
Kill all tomorrow’s flypaper
Shave all the things with barbs

Friday, 15 May 2015

13. Sorry

I say sorry, I meant
to answer every mail with
pink diamonds and rum floats

I meant to shackle sunflowers
to chopsticks and repot the hammock
(my dragonflies are battery-dead)

This week is sunk helicopters
and kites with weak thighs trying
to leap off the runway themselves

These ribbons are knotted, I apologise
to cunt and spunk unswallowed
the pansies gone to rot, but

I want to be distracted by creamy birdsong
and horizontal mistakes—don’t we all
go loopy and yes-full in the spring?

Next week I reject you all in favour
of cheese toastie triptychs
of a revolution built out of gin.

12. Who asks

It is only witches and stepmothers who ask:

who is the fairest? who wins? am I
the one who gets the most? As if
love were sacks of grain and dull rubies,

as if the act of asking
didn’t already make you lose.

And yet, the girl
cannot help but place the words upon
her tongue.

Tell me. How much?
Tell me again.

Until she is smothered
in a bathtub of pink declarations
and rubber ducks

where every bubble says
“the most” as it implodes.

The girl knows
she is spoiling herself for the gutter girls,
the look-both-way boys, but

lately she has been
dreaming of yellow steamrollers.

She thinks—she may be sodden
and spoiled, and yet

it is worth it for every soft pop
of her heart
as the foam subsides.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

10. Echo

Pretty as a drunken bat, she
wakes on another Tuesday,
another spoiled milk morning.

Yesterday the cherry blossom
was pink popcorn husks
scattering the streets; today

she is as hollow and as curdled
as a dozen chocolate Santas
under a sour August sun.

The girl chews and swallows
quickly, scared of the things
that rise in all throats, afraid

if she doesn’t keep up with
the rising she will choke and
spill salt and bump against the walls.

Friday, 8 May 2015

7. Toast

I heard your song tonight, I felt
the barbed wire in my spine

For you’re the one who understands
the things that make us fine

Or better, louder, more than that:
the things that make us collapse

When cliché was a shattered heart
you pounded down the axe

I kissed you when your mane was lank
you smacked me in the gob

I pulled your hair, you promised me
hot daggers for the mob

"We’ll stab them in their softest parts,"
you said, "we’ll do them in

Let’s host a party in their guts
and toast our slay with gin"

If death was sharp, your grin was more
alluring than their flesh

The tides can come to take them now
we’ll both be born afresh

So we’ve done good, much better than
we thought we would back then

Let’s listen to your song and wait
the new armies of men

Thursday, 7 May 2015

5. Getting More Done

To get more done, I start dreaming in parallel sequences.
This Jane is slathered in raspberry jam and licking the neck napes
of a dozen popcorn princesses. They’re rolling around in a bed
scattered with husks. There is dust in this Jane’s knickers;
there is polystyrene between her toes. This Jane has taken a day
to squirm and giggle. To get more done. Then there is that Jane.
That Jane is scaling a big hill under a light snow. She thought
it was cherry blossom falling; she thought she was promised
the golden fish. But the fish is wise and whispers that the hill
has no summit and the petals are ash and everything she touches
is wont to burn her skin. That Jane starts to cry and the tears
freeze and make a helter skelter ice cascade sled run—that Jane
falls all the way down. At the bottom of the hill there is a bed
filled with husks and the snoozy ends of laughter. The two Janes
climb in, laughing. They say let's fall asleep without any dreams.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

4. Love is a pink car

Love is a pink car we set on fire in the desert
the top down, the black vinyl seats
licking and spitting, the boot
a theatre for dancing orange ghosts.

Before the matches, we stuffed the car
with hothouse flowers that drooped beneath
a sullen October sun.

We set the car on fire because we were curious.
So many histories we’d both shown up with,
all the cracks in our hands
stained with grease.

When the sulphur flared, I caught your eye.
You were biting a fat lip and trying
not to laugh at tomorrow.

We took each other’s hands and started
the long walk back to the city.
I could hear the sand cracking
like glass beneath our feet.

Monday, 4 May 2015

3. Brim

the jam jars are all full
of water & soil & glitter & ink
she keeps knocking them over
she’s a sucker for stains

the ink smells like cardamon
burnt swatches of leather
kimono silk turned yellow
armpits stained by the sun

the girl is full to the brim
and trying to walk without
stottering or stumbling
trying not to spill a drop

still she says yes to every
invitation be they gilt-edged
or soot-stained or blank
she climbs on every boxcar

ending a thousand miles
from the station and lunchless
ending and beginning without
tickets or shoe-soles

she’s a terrible waitress
the girl spilled red wine
on every ivory lapel that
cuffed her cheek and winked

I’m sorry she says I didn’t
mean to ruin your best suit
my mother warned me I’m clumsy
but the warning didn’t work

now the jam jars are all empty
the floor is sodden and she
lolls in a puddle with shut eyes
dreaming of white tents and
soaking the hem of her gown

Sunday, 3 May 2015

explanation

April was the month of novel writing in the countryside. So this time around, poem-a-day comes in the delicious May spring...

Friday, 17 April 2015

TWO GIRLS // TWO DREAMS

DREAM ONE

Last night I dreamed of you, vividly. It was a Matroyshka dream: first, in the dream, I was walking down the street, thinking of the pleasant dream I had just had of you, of how nice it was that you were in my thoughts, and then you were there, by my side: Surprise!
    I couldn’t believe it. It was as if I had summoned you just by thinking about you. In the dream, I didn’t try to play it cool at all. I told you, again and again, that I had just been dreaming of you, and then, there you were. You laughed as if that were obvious. You told me you were back for the summer—maybe longer. I held the happiness inside me and then I let it go like a flock of pigeons, careening and caw-cawing all over us both.
    Since we had last seen each other, you had been making crocheted bears. And, also, you had become a DJ. Had you always been a DJ? I couldn’t remember. It didn’t seem unlikely. We’d listened to music together before, after all.
    I had become a riot grrl. Or rather, I’d always been a riot grrl, but I’d started playing a lot more gigs. In my bedroom were glittered hotpants of every colour. You were trying to give me fashion advice, but we kept getting distracted. I was already late for the concert, sure, but the most important thing was getting the look right. Did I look good? I did, I’m sure.
    In the dream, I didn’t try to play it cool at all. I couldn’t. I had just thought about you, and bam—you were right there! Was that all it took, all along? A dream about you, and you would be back, looking so lovely I couldn’t stop grinning?
    It was not. I woke up, and I was very far away from anyone that I knew. In someone else’s bed, in Sweden. For the first half hour after I opened my eyes, before I had coffee, I was convinced you must be in Berlin. It didn’t seem possible that the dream hadn’t worked. I had already seen, inside the dream, that it was magic. I already knew I had the spell.
    I thought about texting A. to check if you were there, but then I thought better of it. I would let it be a pleasant confirmation when I returned. Such a nice thing to come back to: You.
    It took until lunchtime for the dream to wear off fully. Gradually, I woke up. Slowly, I realised that, of course, it didn’t work like that. My intent was not magic; I couldn’t conjure you out of the air with desire.
    Still, it was so nice to wake up with you in my thoughts today. It has been too long, and that is why I am writing this to you now. To say: Hey. I miss you.
    Now I am sitting at the kitchen table in Sweden and I am not yet convinced, entirely, that I was wrong. I think: maybe you are in Berlin, right at this moment. Maybe I will get home, and walk off the train, and you will materialise by my side: Surprise!


DREAM TWO

The night was full of dreams again. Last night, in my dreams I cried. My tears were small and petty, so I kept them from falling from my lids. My tears were unjustified, but that just made them hotter. I wanted to have a book, and she had a book, and that was all.
    I couldn’t believe how much time I had wasted. She showed me a big picture book of photographs—her inspiration—and, amongst the willow trees and streams, I was standing in every one in a full length ivory gown. My hair was a violent red. She told me I was beautiful; she was being so nice I could barely stand it.
    I wanted to hate her, but I couldn’t, so I turned the cold light upon myself instead. I smiled at her, and when she wasn’t looking, I smacked myself in the face.
    So many drunk nights not writing, so many pale silver mornings not writing, so many times writing could not compete with the lure of skin. So many trains hopped and cities abandoned, so many hearts broken. So much distraction, scattered all over in the world.
    In the dream, everything seemed imperative. But then again, it was so late, it hardly mattered at all. My book hadn’t happened yet; it might as well never happen. She would always be ahead, like my brother would always be older, no matter how many years I showed up for and lived through. I swallowed; I smiled. My teeth were a harbour wall.
    When I awoke to the alarm with hot, crabbed eyes I thought at first I was still trying not to cry. And then I remembered everything. I lay in the dark for a minute, grinning. Thinking about the week just past, and what I was going back to. It turned out I was right: it hardly mattered at all.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Violent Violet!

Razor Cunts made a video, starring Ambika Thompson, Tom Moore and me. Lo, behold, we present Violent Violet.


Content warnings for menstruation, makeouts, abortion comedy, animal carcasses, reckless chilli-eating and the prettiest boy pout I've ever seen. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Viv


"I can tell immediately by their expressions that the studio engineer and producer are not happy to be doing this session. They keep telling us that we can’t do this and we can’t do that. The same obstructive attitude and closed-mindedness we encounter everywhere we go. If we didn’t have each other, we would have been crushed by guys like this ages ago.

Our guitars keep going out of tune and these two guys act like they’re so superior because they know how to tune them. They think the whole music industry turns on whether you can tune your guitar or not. Well, maybe it has, until now; we’ve only been playing a couple of months and yet here we are in a studio. Nobody’s recording their songs, no matter how well tuned their guitars are."

Viv Albertine, Clothes Clothes Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Playing

It’s good, because the cello is big between your thighs. Big as a torso. You can grasp it by the neck, punch your arm forward like a salute, and spin it around. You can sit, in thigh high boots or gold trainers, tensing all the muscles in your legs. Sticking out your elbows. Clenching your fists. Rocking back and forth on the freakouts, cunt against the drum stool.

None of the boys know how to play. So it doesn’t really matter when you fuck it up. They tell you, in the studio, it would be better if you played in time—in tune—but you don’t and you can’t, so. That’s not really the point in this anyway, and you bet they can’t do better. You show up in long socks and hotpants, too many stripes. You think: the men don't know, but the little girls understand.

A’s been in bands all her life, so she’s cooler, but you played in the classical orchestra, so you know some fancy tricks. Or you did, before you forgot them, but that doesn’t really matter either. You’ve both got kids’ stickers to show you where the fingers go: doughnuts and boats and choo-choo trains. If you shudder the bow fast enough, you can trick yourself it’s in tune.

See also: distortion pedals. Cymbal solo. Shrieking.

You get fingerprint bruises on the inside of your thighs. But it’s been a while since he was here, hickeying the skin. You ponder them in your underwear, and it takes you until the next practice—the twinge—to understand.

When you get too excited, you clamp it tight. 

For the show, you bring the hairspray and the feathers and the lipstick; she brings the cables and the pedals and the snare drum. You book the shows with the queer kids and the anarchists; she, the ones with free drinks and neon lights and a cut of the door. When they hand you the envelope, you feel indestructible. You cycle round the city under a full moon, singing your own songs, loud.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Oh Lux.

 "People think that we're funny, I kinda feel sorry for them because it means that they think it's a joke. We've spent our lives searching out incredibly wonderful things that most folks just don't know about yet."

Lux Interior

a small private decadence

There are things that feel decadent to do when she lives alone.

Such things include: breakfast pancakes, a bunch of tulips on the desk, candlelight, the hob and the oven: both on, using the heated towel rack, using the heating in more than one room at a time, miniature bottles of bitters, owning Tabasco sauce.

Sometimes, she does these things anyway. There are always going to be difficult times and when she treats herself like a rare precious creature—a thing that needs wooed—it is worth it, for the pale orange light it casts upon the rest of the day.

Of course, she also feels decadent for living alone. She feels decadent for working two days a week. Sometimes, she hears her voice complain from another table across the smoky bar and she wants to leap upon and wrestle this idiot to the ground, laughing, her hands entwined in her hair.

It’s not really like that. It’s hyperbole. But still: she might as well enjoy it. She might as well be small, gentle, and kind.

 The days of late have been grey and swaddled, but this Thursday morning is an anomaly: a gaudy clownfish amongst minnows, a startling blue. It feels decadent to eat pancakes in a fleece dressing gown, to sip coffee slowly and think, to curl by the radiator with a stack of books, to slip outside and wander along the frozen canals.

Still. The day is going to turn with or without her penance. The internet will howl and scratch up the table legs, shit on the carpet, no matter what she decides to do. Besides, who knows what inspiration will seep into her brain from this rabid white snow globe?

Her decadent fingers sink into the skin at the top of her arm, and she yanks herself down the stairs.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Hysterical

An excerpt from the story I wrote in January about a laughter epidemic, rape, and the media. And the darkness! Oh Berlin, your winters are stuck in my bones.

They said it was the darkest winter since records began. When I heard that, it made sense. I mean, it had to be something. We can’t always be so brittle, so close to cracking. But on those shifty January days, when the light barely nuzzled out of the holes in the sky, it was hard to stay on track. I felt it. And when everything began to unravel, it was hard to feel surprised.
    I don’t mean to downplay the causes. It was more than the weather: it was the violence too, of course it was, the horror that this could happen here, of all places. It was him. Still, I can’t help but think that it wasn’t for that thick grey that swaddled everything that winter, things might never have got so out of hand.
    When you read reports of it now, they use the word “hysteria”. As in “mass hysteria”; as in “those bitches were crazy”. Women, amirite? But if everyone else’s reactions were crazy, then I guess that means mine was sane. And I want you to know: it wasn’t. I’m not the smart one here. If things were different for me, it was for a whole other reason. And I want to explain, because for all I have to say about the darkness, the weather, I am also afraid. Just because I did not laugh. I want you to know: I was also afraid.

fine fine fine

The most important thing to remember is that you’re doing fine. There are about a million other things to remember, all shooting off in different directions like spider silk from your wrists, but as long as you got the important one, you got this. You? You’re doing fine.

Having said that, we do all wonder if perhaps you aren’t spending just a little bit too much time online. Having said that, that’s a lie: that “wonder”. We’ve decided. We talk about it. You are definitely spending too much time online.

While we’re at it, we’ve also been thinking about the time you’ve taken to compare yourself to other people. You spend a lot of time panning the dust of the internet for shiny golden nuggets, from which you craft their present intentions. Their past indiscretions. They ways in which you are: better/worse/kind-of-sort-of the same.

If it wasn’t for the time you spent on the internet, and specifically the time you spend on the internet comparing yourself to other people, and specifically to those other young women writers of a certain age, style and indiscretion, we can help but wonder if you might not have written a little bit more by now.

You might have a book, is what we’re saying. We might be sat by the radiator with a big blue mug of fennel tea, unfolding the pages, letting the spine crack—there! right along your name.

But we are not. There are so many stories we haven’t read yet, is what we’re saying. There are so many bookshops we haven’t snuck inside and signed all the copies with secret messages, because there are no secret copies, and all the messages read:

“Hurry up” at the bottom of every left-hand page, and

“Take all the time you need” on every right.

Perhaps the reason we are telling you this now is because of that message you sent your agent this week, the one with the 60,000 word manuscript attached. We are stirring up your soup because the only thing more terrifying than never finishing anything is the thought of finishing something and putting it outside.

Sooner or later you are going to have to hack out your heart and send it out into the world inside a box. You would like to be there when they open the box, to whisper in their ears “be kind”, but you will not.

But that’s okay. The most important thing to remember is that you are still going, still making things better. The most important thing is not all the things you did wrong to get here. The most important thing is you. You. You, doing fine.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

scum

Winter is dark and beds are warm, and the girl needs some kind of power to help her transition from her nest to the world. It is not a big transition—she thinks often of much larger ones, of her friends, their bodies playing catch-up with the Me that is stuck inside—but it is a tricky enough one for this day, when it is cold outside.

She puts on clothes. She puts on the necklace that gives her power, the long trashy pendant with the dense red heart, a heart which nestles somewhere around the crux of her ribcage, reading SCUM. Despite the self-deprecation, the insult, the necklace makes her feel as if she is doing fine. Whenever she wears the necklace, she cannot keep from fingering it, from placing the tip of the heart between her teeth.

She tries not to do this when she is teaching or during official appointments, but it is a thing, like fingerless gloves or the feeling of her own collarbones, that fills her ribcage with packed orange embers, transforming her chest into a glowing catacomb. In all probability, the world cannot see the glow, which is swaddled beneath layers of weekend clothes. It’s okay. It’s enough that she knows it’s there.

Perhaps despite is not the correct word. When she thinks about it, the word SCUM is precisely the thing that makes her strong. What are you to this world? Little, or nothing, so what does it matter how you act? Such a relief. And then, at the same time, this is so blatantly false that the lie, in itself, is a kind of pleasure.

Sometimes the girl gives voice to her deepest anxieties by allowing her hand to speak them aloud. She bends her elbow and her hand turns to face her, and it becomes a tiny dinosaur, or the head of a swan, or Stage 2 of the art of fisting. It opens its mouth and lists all the ways in which she has disappointed the world: chronic and acute.

Earnestly, spitefully, the hand-duck-dinosaur-fist says, “They all detest you because you didn’t answer that email in time.” “Because your voice was booming at 5 a.m.” “Because you’re shamefully over-excited by the world—don’t you know they roll their eyes when you’re not around?” The hand’s voice echoes in her empty apartment and the girl raises an eyebrow (the right one). “Really?” she says. It is hard to take the hand seriously.

Sometimes, she even lets the hand talk to certain friends. A knows how to put the hand in its place. “Wow,” he says, letting the word hang in the air like pre-storm thunderclouds. “What’s wrong with you, Handy? When did you get to be so mean?” “But…” “You can’t hang out with us if you’re going to be such a jerk. No one likes it.”

And the hand leaves, taking some of her stupidities with it.

“That guy,” says A. And she knows what he means.

The necklace is like this, in some respects. A talisman that makes her worth more than scum. Or perhaps it is just that she hangs it around her neck and dresses in a black catsuit and she looks like a girl gang leader from a dystopian future. So tough, so cute. The girl sharpens a fluoro-pink scythe, and steps into the world.


Saturday, 17 January 2015

missed

When they talk, he is in a box. He is made of geometry and pixels. He can’t stop checking himself out in the bottom right corner of the screen. She knows this, because every so often his eyes dart that way and a grin twitches at the edges of his face. An affirmation of cute. She knows this, because she’s doing the same thing.

In the city, all the drinks are very cheap, and it seems churlish to go home before all of them are done. An after-work pint rolls and twists its shoulders into 5 a.m., and they are all still giggling, and the cigarette pouch is empty, and she still hasn’t mastered the pinball machine. Her heart rattles against the taut red rubber bands, and three silver balls plummet through her chest.

She misses him, but it would be wrong to suggest that there isn’t a part of her that enjoys this. The distance between them throbs like a muscle left too long and then exercised violently. Or like a bruise, the big kind that takes three days to show up beneath the colours of the skin. The ache is like that feeling, and she pokes at repeatedly, luxuriating in the twinge.

The girl has always been a masochist. But it is not, you understand, that she wants to feel bad. It is, instead, that the ache feels good. It feels good like a bruise feels good, like a hand print can be endlessly enjoyed. And, like the smack, the missing feels good because she knows at any time she could call the whole game off.

They are pretending not to be with each other, but in truth they have been stuck in each other’s pockets for years. They are pretending to be far apart, but she can still smell him in her towel. There are teeth marks on her ribcage. Surely, there are flecks of her skin beneath his gums.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

new year // same old Jane

Take 4. Take 2014.

See previous: 2011. 2012. 2013.

Oh my god, another January. I feel like writing about last year but the truth is I have been in bed for a week and away from the notebooks, and all of my words are giggled or guttural. Still, what just happened?

This year, I became a proper creative writing tutor in Berlin, and a travelling tutor round Europe. This year, I discovered work that makes me grin even through the foulest of hangovers. I made so many friends from my students. They dance at my parties and they bring me cheese.

I started co-running a monthly queer event and a dozen cuties rushed up to tell me that *this* is what this city has been waiting for, and it’s kind of super-fucking-magic, and I get to read dirty stories to everyone.

I formed a riot grrl cello band and the Berlin music promoters told me we sound like a Lydia Lunch performance in New York in the 80s. Undoubtedly, 2015 will be the year of Razor Cunts. You can listen to what that will sound like right here.

Did I mention I made so many new friends? This was the year I made so many new friends. I am so ridiculously lucky.

I was the star of a trashy technicolour short film: Cleopatra. I ate ice cream and wrestled with a pretty lady. We had so much class.

I put on a festival in a ruined fort by the Polish border. It was every bit as good as that sounds.

I started drawing again, for the first time in years.

Oh and I WROTE THINGS. Of course. Things that were published in TANK and Everyday Genius and Word Riot and Litro and wigleaf and Black & BLUE, plus a story from last year was in the wigleaf top 50 (very) short fictions of 2014, along with all sorts of things that were crazy-great. Plus upcoming stuff in Camroc Press Review and Make Out Magazine and Spolia.

And I finished a short story pretty much every month.

And I read at the opening of the best book shop in all of Denmark.

And I finished a couple of poetry chapbook manuscripts.

And right when I wasn’t expecting it, I fell in total dumbfuck love.

This year, I’m going to stop making the resolution to publish a book this year. Instead I will:

Record our EP and finish our music video and go on tour round Europe.
Launch my Berlin DJ career.
Makeout all the time with all the people.
Be someone’s muse.
Read more contemporary short story and poetry collections from small presses.
Keep writing a story a month.
Start occasionally wearing jewellery. Maybe even an earring.

THINKING BIG. <3 to 2015.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Postcard

Also, I wrote Wigleaf a postcard when I was on an airplane. Dearest, you stay on my mind.