- Vol. 03
- Chapter 06
Come here, sweetheart, sit down next to mamma. You’re getting older, and there’re some things I’d like to tell you.
You’ll notice, soon, a small rip on the left side of your head, starting up above your hairline and going down, past your chin, to your neck. Don’t worry, it’s not dangerous. It’s something all women go through. It means you’re growing up, sweetheart!
I had my first rip, just a small tear actually, when I was thirteen, in the summer. It didn’t hurt, not even when the woman began to crawl out, limb by limb. She was a little bloody, of course, as she had been living for all those years in my frontal lobe, but the brain has no nerve endings, so I really didn’t feel a thing.
When the woman begins to make her way out of the rip, love, when you can hear her fingernails clawing on the inside of your head, please don’t be scared. Like I said, it’s all perfectly natural. Listen to the woman, be polite, remember your please and thankyous. She’s here to help, if you let her.
You are young, my darling, and though the rapid rate of growth of your bones thus far may convince you otherwise, you are not Progress incarnate. No. Just like me, you will bleed once, but that does not mean you are done bleeding. The woman will crawl out, and then she will crawl back in again for a little while, when she’s tired and needs to rest. You are not progress, no, you are circles, seasons, orbits, and waves. You will continue to rip open, to bleed and heal, heal and bleed, for the rest of your life, however long that is.
peel back, conceal
peel back, fold
how much of myself do i reveal
daughter you were torn from me
as i from you
a rip, a tear, a blemish on my identity
go back, conceal
peel back, fold
let go of me
let go of me
let go of me
I pulled it out of the frame
a hard swift yank
to remove this old photo of my mother
as a black and white era hippie
from its antique frame,
seeking a photo for
her funeral display.
Not all of it came out.
In my hand I held a photo, ruined
by my indiscrete act
ruined until I took a second
look. Through the knothole of
my too hurried act
I suddenly saw my mother as she was
real and live before me, dancing like
a fairy in the small of my hand.
I remembered the small wrinkled
form in the dark box. The face so
different from the one in the picture,
the face so different from the one that
smiled at me from my hand.
This photo would not go into the display
I put it in a drawer but treasured
the image that had appeared in my hand.
My mother, as she truly was.
This time there’s no recovery.
What’s been torn away
cannot be recalled. Besides,
we aren’t remembering the same
things. I’m too easily distracted.
You’re up with the sun dreaming
down to your fingertips, itching
for dirt under your nails. Then,
at the end of the day, how easily
pockets are emptied, contents
spilling across the yard. Everything
lost with the old nails, paper,
glass under ground.
She tore a strip off her lover
Scratch beneath the surface of a bohemian artist and you still find a chauvinist making immoderate demands of his muse
She is always on his mind
Zeus gives birth to Athena by from his noggin, but despite the splitting migraines, lacerations of grey matter and the stitches required, the old rapist still couldn’t fully usurp female reproductive creativity. A crippled artisan like Hephaestus as the midwife, says it all really.
Pear-shaped, she is the apple of his eye
He only secured a third eye of all-seeing wisdom, by making a captive of his daughter and appropriating her orbs
Immured, she heard unseen voices outside her impermeable walls. Her gaoler heard them only inside his brittle head
The one-eyed Jack was out-trumped and eclipsed by a humble ace of hearts
The pentimento beneath the self-portrait revealed him as Nature had intended and hatched, but which the hoyden had re-sculpted with chisel and hammer into a being more likely to progress through society. Though in truth she had merely swapped one set of prejudicial responses for another
She swirled vaporously in the lava lamp of his heartsick mind
Shorn from the letterpress, the totaled wreck of messed scandal cascades from the mount, falls from its altar of duty and tears a hole of bright space from the wall of items.
'What, ho!' says young scallion, raptured in visceral delight. 'A showering of newness, I see.'
'Let the past be the past,' says the Old Sea Dog, perfuming his beard in cherry pipe smoke. 'We don't want to be tearing pages out of the history book for breakfast. Best to put it all back up from where it came.'
'Hammer and chisel, for me,' says the scallion, buffaloing towards the pile of roughage and jetsam now mountained on the carpet. 'I want to tear through to the back of the back, I want to see what can be made from the old.'
'Nothing ever born is new,' the Sea Dog says. 'Let the dead stay dead, it's their only rest in years. I'll hire the cleaner to come round in the morning and put it back where it came.'
'Ah 'tis a terrible pity all the same.'
A pity-pile, for two pitiful pairs, staring at the heap of things, left for the burying, slowly peeling wallpaper up to hide the cracks made by yesterday.
There is a self the world sees. But carefully tear away the layers and see beneath the torn edges. There are other landscapes.
It is like a great Jocari window — each experience left its mark, yet there still is a blank canvas waiting for the artist’s medium.
Intensity depicted by choice of colour, or the starkness of monochrome. Every image with its own narrative but all are the story of another me.
i want you to fully possess what I cannot have of myself take me from me in every city on every soft, white bed once neatly made, unmake me take me until I am nothing but a stream of flooding love diving into the soft, quiet serene regions expanding us soul within soul
it is easy to obsess over small objects paperclips spoons and q-tips when self
grooming generates silence — virginal trumps untamable — the renunciations
of dullness does not lead to desire with upturned hands at rest awaiting
it is easiest to use sadness as a utensil to push people away spiders construct
traps from their abdomen we’re all oxidizing for controlled expiration
but only reveal this before asking someone to love us
a kind of undressing — it is easy to section and peel a tangelo
even false origin stories reveal shame, a cerebral echo chamber
to mark focal point as hinge gathered, at the center, coral
She hides in herself feminine hues of divine laughter, pain, neutrality.
Vile senile the black air structure moves with her, follows her like a hungry dog follows its master.
The plainness is ghostly The movement, oh so ghastly! She runs, it runs with her They are but divided, like an equation.
In the year of lost voices, she went to the coast where the light was giddy and the sky dizzy with terns. All kinds of sad creatures washed up there, little more than broken shells. She sat on the ledge by the water because a sense of the edge could sometimes be enough. She waited all day, watching the sea cast its nets of diamonds for nothing but hauls of driftwood and warning signs. One wave after another left angry and came back emptied-out and silent, sometimes the sea seemed as if it might be too far gone, feverish and shivering with visions, cycles of leaving and coming back. Occasionally, it left a shipwrecked heart for her on the shore, veined and glistening in its membrane, a gift that it would take back again, washing away the imprints and every sign that it had ever been there. She might not have stayed but for the anaesthetic in the air that numbed her, and the wise women who brought her potions made of fish and vinegar, salt for cleansing wounds, a lotion of sunlight and sea water that she rubbed in twice a day. They said she was in a place where even a storm could be lashed on and worn like a poultice.Read more >
The Holy man chooses me.
He: a knower of life — a knower of lives.
Me: a traveller, a wanderer, a seeker. An asker.
‘Sit,’ he says. ‘No speak,’ he says. He sees into my heart. His eyes are closed.
He tells me: not of now, not of then… but of when.
‘Not brown, not sick, not man… but woman,’ he says. ‘Sad not happy, happy not sad. Not free… not yet.’
‘Take my hand,’ he says. ‘Bathe with me.’
The fetid water: brown, and thick with death and waste.
His hand: brown and dry, and course with life.
His nails: long and yellow and gnarly.
His touch: of love.
Like a weather vane, Endlessly turning towards the men she loved, And always lost.
The wind of love could not be harnessed, And her soul span out of control, Unable to settle, Seeking always for a person she could captivate and ensnare, Someone who would break through the tough protective shell, She had built around her sadness and disappointment, A fairy tale knight who would release her true self, Provide her with sufficient comforting and protective love, So that she could turn again and face a bright future dawn.
The girl she used to be wore orange, went braless in summer (and topless on foreign beaches), curled her hair and drank white wine spritzers from tall, frosted glasses.
The girl she used be worked hard in college, partied as much as she studied, had three boyfriends at once and several lecturers wrapped around her little finger, its nail painted red.
The girl she used to be had no cares, no worries. At least none that we could see. None she’d let us see. None we wanted to see.
The girl she used to be waved us goodbye from the wedding car, tin cans grazing the tarmac, balloons bashing the doors, confetti covering the roof like pockmarks. The man who married the girl she used to be never looked back, sped up so we couldn’t give chase for more than a few seconds.
The girl she used to be disappeared.
The black and white girl in the newspaper picture startles us. A stranger’s unsmiling gaze, looking twenty years older than six months ago. The birth and death dates identical in day and month and far too close in years.
After the wake we go back to the comfort of our Polaroids. Back to an orange blouse, red nails, blue eyes and carefully smudged eyeliner. No, no we don’t like that — eye make-up too much like a bruise. Back to the girl on a foreign beach, spritzer in hand, smiling, laughing, head thrown back. No, not this one either — he must be just out of shot, about to walk into our lives and take her away.
We find her at a party, in black and white, alone in a corner. We didn’t know we’d seen the picture before.
Now we’ll never stop looking for the girl she used to be.
Quite taken By a face I met several years ago On a street corner streaked with City Sweat. The new season’s old drum beats coming back to haunt me And take my wallet with them. Blinked, and I would have thought I were back. Old Country Western tunes like meat, raw sticky undeniably fresh but sour anyway. Off the chain, on the hook.
I am on your mantelpiece, between your nails, under your cellar door.
You have paused me in time, held me down forever. God and his angels remember the dancing orange dress. When you look up and see me, you see my black hair like fading mist, tears spoiled and smudged.
In my hallucinations you are young and I am hungry. We meet in the room you took me and I lap onto you. I cover your eyes with my fingers like coins on corpses — you are dead and moving.Read more >
Memory takes Her to another place. The smell of lavender soap Where laughter is real Carefree, and floats lightly Not viciously loaded With resentment And bare teethed hatred.
He claims nostalgia is for losers Presenting her with a now of Snarling smiles in fighting pits, Rages and domestic spats. They tear strips Off each other like layers of Wallpaper, revealing raw Bloody wounds Of childhood floral patterns.
They look at you and see only black and white. Not even the warmth of sepia or the antique yellow must of true age. You are boring to them, leached of colour. Out of fashion, out of date, yet not vintage, not retro, never chic. They ignore you, turn the uninterested films of square eyes from you, and latch on to someone, anything else. But they do not know that your monochrome visage is simply camouflage, the chrysalis that looks like a leaf.
You are nearly ready, though.
Soon your grey-scale nest will birth a rainbow of new women. Your body will be discarded, host after parasite. The red-orange one has already started to rip her way out, tearing at the gelatin-silvered paper of your skull, destroying the left side of your face, stroke-like. Eyes down, she shies from exposure.
The violet one is next, you can feel her poking at the soft flesh between your ribs. You can’t wait, have to stay your hands, those eager claws, wanting to hurry the process, to pick and peel and drying, dying skin.
They will finally see.
When the phone rings it really rings they say, do they say that, I’m not sure; in fact, I believe they say that in relation to rain, but these phone calls seem to fall in incessant waves like the rain that lashes the windows at this time of year, this time of year being part and parcel of the reason that the phone calls were hammering down, hammering down in the musical tinkles of a bland descending clump of repeating notes that drew clenched teeth and a frustrating phroaahahafrom me upon hearing it, me that is who is being plagued by these incessant phone calls, the incessant nature of which are causing me to hop around my small flat on one foot as I reel from standing on a hidden upturned plug from the kettle or the iron or the hairdryer, whatever the item the plug belonged to, an act caused by my rushing to answer the phone, it hurt, it really hurt, it hurt enough for me to wrench the hurt foot up towards my face so that I could assess the damage, an assessment which would in no way lessen the pain but it was a gut reaction, one that I don’t think is unique to me as I have seen other people doing it in the instance of pain to the bottom of the foot, a pain that I currently am processing as I hop around, the phone clamped between my increasingly hot and clammy ear, and my raised shoulder, looking for something to write down a message on, the message that all these phone calls were trying to relay to me.Read more >
I knew there was something special about you before I had the chance to speak. I would see you on the way to work, me heading north, you venturing south. What struck me was your hair – two lank liquorice curtains seemingly plastered to your face. You possessed an androgynous look and wore men’s flannel shirts and trousers that were three sizes too big.
I admired you. Whoever had employed you were concerned about one thing and one thing only: they wanted real, true, honest workers who weren’t afraid to express themselves.
I had considered following you, walking the same paths that you did, in order to meet the one in charge and ask them if they had any available positions going spare. I needed a change and felt restricted in my too-tight skirt and cardboard-stiff blazer. It was like being back at school.
Except I wouldn’t have been able to pull off your flamboyant yet edgy look, not the way you did, so effortlessly, without a second thought.
A week passed where I didn’t see you; I assumed you’d gone on holiday. There was no-one else on my travels who was remotely interesting and I found myself yearning for your return.
‘Oh...sorry. I didn’t see you.’
I turned and met a pair of olive green eyes level with mine and nearly stopped breathing. Your hair was no longer stuck to your face and I was drawn to your left cheek — my astonished reflection staring back. You quickly realised what had happened and brushed your hair over your mirror cheek.Read more >
overnight, like imbibing particles from the omniscient air,
semi-white amygdaloid bodies sleep in a cup of water;
they carry the art of memory retention, like in a womb sack
resting at the pit, bloating and swelling —
for minds they will service without discrimination,
left or right, both sides will receive infusion of nutrients —
and when the size of the brain expands, your memory
will explode from one like a butterfly exiting its cocoon,
I will wear my orange summer dress – skirt like organza;
my legs lean and strong flirting with the beach sand while you think about differences,Read more >
my father slammed the door with a tumultuous slap.
as a drunkard, he often comes home late in the night dancing logo ligi to the tots of alomo bitters in his veins:
his eyes, red-shot his fist, a piercing knife his head, a house of arcane madness.
the walls of the bedroom sweated with fear as he charged onto the body of my mother.
the night grew into a devastating monster as mother's face bawled with dripping blood.
silence thwacked mother's lips, as the night wept —
she grabbed my arm, escaped through the door & headed to the grotto Fr Bobby built in 1990.
Within the Peak Leisure Club there is a wanton kind of chase, of serpents, in a serpentine fashion.
I rip a space in me to accommodate you. Reluctance is feigned, not felt —
until the floating curve of a heart is brought sharp by the exaggerated bite
of a part-time pair of pinking shears declaring it’s only here for the pictures.
Feel the frisson of Eastern silk on flesh (admittedly much smoother when you're shaved); then wear some new designer's stylish dress; thrill to the sense of having misbehaved.
And some days it can be enough to know (at work in serious conversation) you're wearing split-crotch panties down below which would shock a small-town congregation.
Specialist shops with an affinity; their "Yes, we do that in a larger size" and "No, that colour's really not so bright..."
Rip off your plodding masculinity ("Don't you see it? I have a woman's eyes!") Tear out your inner goddess every night!
Don't feed me Tensions in oil and livery, I only remember the part; Not whole, Nor fragranced Tears of torn wallpaper. I adjusted, so don't you dare Remedy Me, With your flock and magnolia dreams. I always wanted it bold, print And lines — definitions but You live underneath everything; Swatch and promise
The left hand side of this girl’s head is pregnant with her former self or another version of herself
or someone else altogether — a younger, creamier, more flower-like self, a peach in comparison
to her greyscale host — but because skin and bone have been removed
it’s like this other self lives in a state of suspended animation, mid-caesarian, like she can’t
make up her mind whether to stay in or get out. It’s no wonder that the outer girl’s
one remaining eye remains averted, unreadable, the eye of a shark fixed above the achromatic skin of her cheek
that she can’t bring herself into focus or bear to look down at the smoke-white flowersRead more >
I was warm and toasty, curled up, napping in amniotic fluid, without a worry when suddenly this metal thing came into my room
poked around and pulled me out. The doctor stabbed me, smashed my head, cut off my arms and legs, threw my pieces in a bucket with the others. It's been a busy day at the clinic.
At the closing hour, a nurse dumped the bucket in a freezer sack, took it out in the alley and threw it in a bin. In the morning a private truckRead more >
The girl inside me speaks and says, I was young once, I, who has aged beyond recognition. whose skin had dried and creased, whose blood runs slow and thick, who spies a likely end when none already existed.
And this girl talks of night’s breeze against the skin, of a bared lover's touch, days without end, so in my eyes’ glare I hold fast her reflection, not quite dancing but speaking my name.
There is, I fear, within me, deeply rooted, the now unwavering conviction that we must be destroyed.
How else will our Dear Earth be rid of the Contemporary Narcissus? His foppery infuriates me. My wrath is fuelled by his self-righteous manners, banners, avatars.
‘Will we succeed in creating new ways of being together?’ The question was asked long ago. And we failed, and failed again. And even failed to fail better.
Ours is a society that has not had an image of itself for decades, and all the while, it has been obsessed with self-representation.
I cannot stand this slow burn disaggregation, this flabby parasitic existence of our Western Globalised Cuntré.
‘Lost in the layers and torn from the inside.’ We’ve had enough of that, haven’t we?
Let’s cut the bullshit. No more half measures. Let us explode, of our own accord, and let what reservoirs of humanity are left on the planet fertilise the Earth again with the seeds of wonder we abandoned long ago.Read more >
An egg cracked open. Life inside life. Life blown apart for another life. A face disfigured by life; a face not yet touched by life. Tears or tears? The one causes the other. The laceration of the real; the perfection of the imagined. Who is she? Why doesn’t she mind that terrible tear? Where are her tears? Who is the other? Why is she so selfishly unaware of the ruin her arrival has caused? How is it possible for half a face to be torn away and still be? Be still? To be as serene as she is? It has happened. And still they are. Both. Still.
As is known Mind is mighty It breaths a scent Wears attires many-hued Runs its own world Imagines in layers At the same time With a symphony Weirdly sweet If not for this divine provision Dense would be forests of unknown Fantasy is its main power Fantasy that is real Reality is its dialectic It defines for itself Each ideal and each belief So the beautiful chaos Multiplies into billions Like mad artists Running on a huge canvas With dripping brushes
Monochrome child, once peach-perfect Skin, hides the flaws no parent sees Sin embedded, embryonic Waiting to hatch, scratch Crack the façade of dutiful obedience In a brief blaze of independence Which, all too short, is forced Back into traditional mould, Becoming a cardboard cut-out A Stepford Wife, dismissed As a woman of no substance
“Hey, Bunny, get over here and take a look.”
The red head with the scarf, spreading brush, and paste-clattered apron stared incredulously at him over the table and reversed length of wall-paper.
“Are you, by any chance, KIDDING?”
“Oh,” he said, in deference to the impressive octave shift.
“Don’t know how you talked me into this bit of the redecoration, yet here I am. Now you want me to admire your skill at wallpaper-stripping?”
“Well, you chose the apartment, and…” It suddenly occurred that this mightn’t be the best tack. He shut up and made to resume his work on what was a poster, rather than wallpaper.
Her gummy hands were on his forearm, stopping the movement before the noise of brush plopping into the paste-bucket registered.
“Hold on, I know her. We went to drama school together.”
She raised an eyebrow at his tone.
“Really?” The tone metamorphosed into enthusiastic interest.
“I didn’t recognize her at first — the dated clothing put me off, but that’s her as Judas in our class production of Godspell. No-one else wanted to do it — something about that part.”
“So how — ?”Read more >
The cold, the blankness of the passers-by, and the trauma of that night has bleached her of her colour. She sits, glaring at the heavens — not so much in wilful accusation as by subconscious default.
She is torn and broken, the abuse of street-life and escape into drugs gradually stealing her mind and soul away from her.
Still, she clings onto that vision, the pure moment: the first sight of her child before…
You’ll remember her, always, but you won’t remember when you lost her. She’ll be imprinted on your mind, sometimes as a fading whimsy, and other times an emptiness you cannot fill. She was you, young — a child in the world of men. The older you become the more you’ll yearn for the illusion of reality you didn’t think to hold dear, for the truths the blinding light dispelled. You won’t understand until you have a daughter of your own, until you look at her and realise you lost your innocence so she could have hers.
imagine you are nested in yourself like Russian dolls this latest one is ‘Kate’ or ‘Cathy’ wild, moorland thing who cracks the awkward denim-wearer 15 summers old ‘good little girl’, who just the year before had hardly blinked at dressing up in red, and white and blue
keep going uncovering these selves there will be more to be, a dozen layers — and more — of mad, bad, sad of lovers, mothers, grievers, artists too the one who sits here now and tells you this: ‘they’ll stay in you — they’ll surface when you least expect’
do not discard them you must love even the shame-filled infidel the one who slowly bruised the precocious bridesmaid: still blonde; hair set; face stained pink with strawberry juice
He swallowed her whole, one gulp. She slithered down his gullet, settled in his stomach. She was, he thought, where she belonged. Resting his hands, fingers laced, on his tummy, he leaned back in his spindled chair, closed his eyes and imagined her deep inside him, curled, perhaps, like a shrimp.
She didn't stay quiet. Before long he felt a rumple, followed by a burp. He leapt up, the chair, falling back, clattering onto the hardwood. Sweat slicked his face. He stumbled toward the bathroom, but she crawled into his throat. Pulled herself onto his tongue. He coughed and doubled over, gagged. She did not come out.
He felt her reach up into his sinus cavity like spelunker, a hand grabbing the inside his nose, her foot digging and she turned into mist and passed through into his, to be absorbed by his amygdala.
An ache, thin and electric, shimmered through him and he sank on to the bathroom tile, eyes closed. He had wanted her, he had eaten her like an oyster, and now she was content.
The memory of her rubbed at the paper of his soul a graphic pencil eraser tearing a hole the fabric of his tragic monochrome life evoking the cinematic magic of moments they had shared in photographic images she took and locked in a box in the attic before she threw away the key and said Goodbye
Waiting. Watching. Wishing. Thinking but not speaking. "Your ideas don't matter," so do I not matter?
This woman trapped in my mind — so different from who I am forced to be.
Stand up straight. Say please and thank you. Don't eat that. Don't say that.
Beautiful woman trapped in my mind, I am sorry but you must stay there.
Reckless, rebellious, yet resigned.
Glasnost and Perestroika — that’s the old thinking. This is the time of the weakened ruble and diminished expectations: Fortunate, the market for Russian brides has not abated. Welcome, my dear. I have imagined a Russian doll something like you: your odd shape, your Eastern beauty, your mystique which we market in our Russian way as, “in the eye of the beholder” though your layers lie on the outside and contain, perhaps, layer upon layer of lies. You promise to love me and I am ready to bite — us men, the eyes always have it, especially the eye of the mind, so easy to fool. I imagined you into being, but at what cost to myself?
I crawl through urban catacombs. This city is analysed and interrogated beneath UFO beams, a little petri dish of the iridescently hidden. Our retinas are polluted by floodlights to coddle us from kamikaze, a shield from the nightly seppuku of a star-crossed sky collapsing in on itself. Meanwhile, our voyeuristic galaxy plays bystander to a forsaken species, cultivating its own intricate little humant farm of dying things.
I skulk between synthetic sights and baited wonders, down paths already fashioned neatly by human perspicacity, or perennial ego: avarice, nonetheless.
I am lost, listless and lusting.
I am leaving.
City-dwellers on the train rub their eyes until their vision becomes the grainy purgatory of a video tape, prickled with sharp needles of a cosmos absent from the alien spotlight of their skies.
Existences spill upon one another, skirting and siphoning strategically in a game of liquid Tetris. Afraid to splash audaciously, to settle within their peers’ discomfort, to kaleid. Layers of lonely. A cohesive and co-dependent coma.
At yet another nondescript social obligation, my patchwork elbows are sticky upon a sin-soaked bar-top. My absence has often been a point of contention among peers, and yet when I do show up, I seem to have an honorary throne reserved in no one’s company but my own.
I feel the hot, stale breath of a drunkard too close to my neck and I begin to cry.Read more >
she is with me like fire in my bones strike of lightning in the swelter of summer before torrential rain
she is beside me cardiac-conjoined systole, diastole empty, full love's murmur in perpetual motion
she is in me synaptic succubus steady seduction there is no question of leaving while i live
And then at times
the dips of our marriage are
no different than the falling
into love in Richmond Park
before we started home, and I
wrote every day until the motion
of the ship made me certain that
for every berth going out,
new souls put in, spit from
foam. If I could read Greek or
understand the errand of the
cardinal we watch for with coffee
in our hands, I could make poetry
on the tips of fence spears where
he stops and the fire of you would
go urgently from land to land.
That inner voice within his mind. Sweet, gentle, reminding him of softer feelings. Feelings kept hidden deep in his mind Never to be talked about out loud. Colourful thoughts, wants, needs. Filling those empty spaces within his heart which he has to keep wrapped up in the day to day living as he does. Wanting more, needing more. Needing to be true to himself. Needing to be true to his real identity Not fearing the words of disapproval which he knows will come As he gives life to his inner self. She will be. She will live. She will be free.
A two-headed doll we looked in different directions and swallowed whole a world of changes. My task was to keep you safe beneath the layers of paper. that taste bitter. But my saliva dissolves your image like pills and the jagged edges drag out your colour. Imitation, division, unity. Run along side me my love, before we cut out another life. Could you forgive me for leaving you behind?
Slumped, the slamming door Echoes in her head He shared her secrets Shared her bed She's angry with herself For being taken in She forgave him before He's broken her trust again Promises, promises Empty as her purse His love is the bottle A couple's curse She feels bereft She feels betrayed This is beyond Vows that they made Take him for better Take him for worse Another generation To suffer the curse She has a protection order She'll make that call She's resolute now It's best for them all
Common advice — walk in his shoes. rub where his socks wrinkle, soles worn holey, rough heel scuffs and how shoelaces crack under the heft of mud. Good enough as it goes.
Then look through her eyes, sink into gloom in her negatives. Glance to bare feet and to the sides where slippery things glide. Where a brain finds fear.
Feel her mind suspect how much is unfair, unstated, undreamed, out of reach. So far away from your start, your day, your peachiness.
I’m fragile, so they say. A young girl of 17, trying to find her place in this gentrified world. Though I smile, I secretly shield my true self from the world that hates me. You see... the girl you first notice is not me, I’m not the one in peach.
That’s just the image society sees and I’m permitted to show.
The real me? I'm hidden in a dark corner as my culture and my inner self is stripped away. A prisoner in my own body. But don’t pity me, my anger and resistance slowly builds. In time, I will crawl out of the hole I've been placed. And emerge strong and powerful, no longer the girl in waiting, but a woman who took control.
She suffered a terrible disease. Cancer. The poor young girl with long black hair, half closed eyes and a distant look went to sleep forever. Her mother wept uncontrollably as the nurses wheeled her covered body away. The mother kneeled on the floor, flailing her arms while the husband pulled her to her feet and held her tightly.
“There was nothing more the doctors could do. She’s with God now,” he whispered.
The hospital staff looked on with pitied eyes as the parents of this young lady walked away, distraught.
“My baby said she thought she saw Jesus before she died,” the mother choked up.
The father pushed his wife’s hair back and held her face. “If that’s true, then she surely is at peace.”
The wife nodded and continued weeping.
This monochrome image was part of my past. It doesn't tell you who I am, or what makes me tick. For your information, I am pure technicolour. Peach was the colour of the day. It should have been red.They say I'm like my mother: How would I know? All I ever had of her was this black and white photo — the one you have managed to tear. You made the hole — Now use it. Find the real me.
There is a maiden surrounding me and I embroider her name into my skin, like a lithograph like a memory skin on skin, queen of the moon how you live through the drying of my skin, the silvering of my lungs, transplant; sing me a song of infinite heartbeats swimming in precious feathers   swimming in marigolds sticking together, hooked close like a scorpion’s grasp a sigh between us, memento passed acetate, the breadth of a butterfly’s wings love, and the after
This woman, this plastered over paper woman. This woman with the soft sepia glow, more colorful than me but not too bright as to jar the eye. This peaceful looking light and lovely woman, she is the one they see.
She is the one they know and love. This woman who covers over half of me.
The black and white of who I am will only be revealed when one day I get very brave and peel this woman away. And then the truest question of my heart will be posed to all the world.
Will they look on me with favor or will they look Away?
The grace of a tiger, backwards A splash around stepping stones, A spear steadying the water, A samurai’s second sword, A crooked neck of shepherd’s tool, A long arrow skipped from its quiver A stanza beneath helmet’s visor, A budding white cotton, Grown from the steel of a black leg. Form of an outline, Unless blinked at through the sun’s inkblot. All of you is one!
He sings about hawks searching for water, in times where water was a type of soil. In times where water lay alone in the dark waiting to be discovered by an aching thirsty muscle.
He talks about how much lighter his body felt after the amputation and talks about how yesterday is as different as someone else’s childhood. He pulls the teeth of a comb through a thicket of steel and his features wrinkle into a smile whenever you speak.
His son loves the image of fruit trees with fruit hanging heavily from their branches. You love the idea of their elegant strength together. The alpha posturing of hard shells, the beauty of still wolves, when violence is static and nothing else needs to happen.
Within resides in every mind/heart The image of the Eternal Eve. A delicate female, downcast eyes Oval face, framed by a dark fringe Classic pose of coyness and submission Expected by the patriarchy. A dark visage An embroidered Kurta For that ethic marker by the Fashion industry. And --- An ample bust clad in a tempting orange Popping out of a dark face in partial profile --- The perfect Asian pairing Of desire and dream! An innocent visual! Embedded, Not free of its given context. Deep down Overloaded with implicit biases/prejudices And other cultural signifiers/signified.
Tearing out of my head like you knew I would
Ripping apart… shredding
cutting/slashing/burning color upon the canvass of cellular mitosis
We have one eye We have three eyes We have no eyes We are blind
We are born… again and again and again through eternal recurrence/ recommissioned for the next karmic episode/
brain explodes mind expands
I don't go in for reasons, unlike the Japanese girl inside my head, Kiko, or whatever the hell her name is, Hapkido, or whatever the hell — she goes in for reasons, she tends to them with her precise fingers, tapping upon them, stroking them, stoking them. I have begun to feel like she is more the person I am than I am myself. She occupies my left side mostly, my creative side, my weird side. She is sweet. But a bit brooding. Her monologues are endless. Seriously endless things.
The tear as accidental as the find, a black and white portrait of someone. Her eyes averted and distant, face of a liar or deep in thought, Scars both deep and old seem to hide behind her face.
A stranger she is, but the picture speaks of something, something I can't place. Her clothes, her face, her hair, the background speaks of a time long passed.
I found it in an album covered in dust, full of pictures of girls, most of hers, some of others.
As I look at it closer, I can see a small tear. Behind it I could just barely make out something. Curiosity gnawing at me, I slowly widen it with my finger. Underestimating my balance, I slip and the tear widen more than I wished. But it served my goal.
A newer picture behind the older one, also of a girl. She wore a white blouse of sorts, she look a little like the one before. But she look staged, like being posed.Read more >
Innermost love, times we passed holding.
Hours spent in each other's solace.
Now parted, I'm not in your head.
You moved on, me — left behind... crunched.
Like a candy bar. In my head... images.
Not to be forgotten, of times we spent together...
Free, gentle yearning to feel the passion of release.
It ended with a Bang! Things are changing but I don’t know how. All I feel is confusion and chaos. Why me, why now? I’m stumbling and seeking to hold on to something. Where am I going?
Sit down, eyes gazing towards the horizon. It’s cloudy, and hazy, nothing seems real. Suddenly, a hole opened through my left eye. Something is in there. Awareness slowly moved into that space. A being, female, came out of the darkened haze. Who is she? What is she? What does she want?
Is she my mother, my-self or my other self? She looks weak and pregnant. Why is she there, how does she get there? What am I supposed to do with her? Paint, draw or just observe her?
My right eye is straining; it’s getting tired. Close my eyes and sleep…
In her official portrait at the University, Joan has her arms crossed like she’s getting things done. She means business. There are ways of getting through to her. Even as I look at a picture of her when she was my age, I see how one side of her mouth lifts slightly, her slightly hooded eyes search. I was in her 18 years ago. I’m still inside there.
My phone pulses in my pocket. At long last. The ID says private number.
"Listen. Shelly is it?" she’s saying and smoking.
"Is this Joan?"
"No. I work for Ms. Earle. I’m one of Joan's lawyers."
"Then you know I’m her —"
"Listen. You need to stop contacting her. You’re being disloyal to the people who raised you. Ms. Earle does not want her life disrupted."
"But — "
"It’s the same story the world over. I can’t help you. You can like it or not. If you try to contact her again, I will contact the police."
lies the fear:
life is not supposedly lived,
under pleated cotton.
A safe grooming
make up the morning
with a toned smile,
to the emotional world.
talks in blues,
the rat’s ass given to the tone.
Bake your façades
and pretty conceits
in the oven of respectability,
pouting out from
I'm an artist. I feel self-conscious saying that these days, because people immediately ask what I do and when I say I can't explain they huff and think I'm some precious high-strung type. It annoys me how fickle language is. I have three and I still can't communicate what I want - need - to say.
Ralph from next door comes round. "Does it annoy you," he inquires, "when white Americans moan about immigration?"
I shrug. I don't talk about this kind of thing.
"You're in a unique position, Indian and from, you know, below the border."
I shrug again. "Many people are. There were two whole continents of Indians before... Well, we weren't Indians then, of course. We had many other words for ourselves."
"What do you think of Don-"
"Do you want something to drink?"
I pour it. The sky's getting darker. Talking about politics drains me so much. At least I can make art from it. But Ralph just sits and sips, then gets up and leaves. It's raining as I stand at the door and watch him go, but it's still light. I used to like this kind of weather.Read more >
How sweet you were when you plucked me,
binding me like a scion to your wood-stock,
all purple haze and apple blossom high.
You offered me a bite of your apple,
a Bright Future, its roseate blush
mirror-buffed on your denimed thigh.
I gave you Broad-eyed Pippins,
weighed the bough with the fruit
of your Mona Lisa eye - that far out look
that I mistook for your poetic core -
nothing more than a cool withdrawal.
'Apples are not the only fruit,' you said.
Realisation is the ugly sister of truth.
I was a windfall picked up on a whim,
a bitter reminder of a tangerine dream.
Different time, different era,
different colour, different race,
different gender, different face
How are we connected?
Synchronized to be together
Somehow by an artist's eye I was found inside you.
You found me inside you
Am I your mother?
Or perhaps your lover from another life.
Different time, different era
Different colour, different face
Yet created by the same eyes
By an artist, who sees beyond the layers to somewhere deep inside
I'm Never Queen, never object enough.
I'm Never Queen despite objections.
I'm Never the One. I want to be okay.
I want my body to be the body, not a body.
I don't want to be objectified. See?
I want to be the one thing seen but
I want control over remaining unseen.
Do not whistle or leer. Just deify me.
I am Never Queen. Never Queen.
In my most profane of hours I see in color
Don’t tell my mother, but I see street fair flavors floating like drops of cherry air and I pop them on my tongue like bubblegum and then I swallow
No longer hollow where I once was.
I see cocaine coated cakes for a dollar and lipstick on ice cream cones
I see a popsicles stick with caramel curls holler at a man not to lick
and I see skin like I don’t have it
I’ve torn and pasted these pieces into my mind like wishes from a magazine
I, too, want to share a good old sliver of sweet American thigh
I, too, want to wear my leather chest in the summer time.
What I wouldn’t do for an 1/8th.
Back in the room now from one to one.
This is more like a cell than the one I had in Styal.
Dr Johal gave me this stupid picture.
She said, ‘You may feel grey on the outside, but
peel back the surface and look,
look properly, you’ll see vibrant colours on the inside.’
Look beneath my surface and all you see is shit.
I just feel worse every day.
Rehab is rubbish.
What I wouldn’t do for an 1/8th.
of that black and white mask
she wore for us
cracks like an eggshell,
brittle chips peeled away
for an opening big enough
to let her shine out,
warm in that soft
Like sun breaking
under a storm cloud,
its color glad as a shout
strong enough to burn
a window through
that dull monotone,
the paper shield
she thought she needed
to keep safe behind—
Its flimsy surface breached
We can see her face
through the open tear
down and away
letting that bright
speak her heart’s
Knees tucked to my chest
I look off left, pensive.
What are you thinking?
My hair falls loose
against the well washed cotton of my shirt.
click, click, click
Give me something more!
I feel tight: stitched up in knots;
tighter even than the embroidery at my breast.
The shadows gather underneath the darkness of my eyes.
You reach into the black
with the your elegant hands.
The pink of your palms
tints the last of the light,
as you tear off strips of skin
seeking something more within.
Today, the riverbank
is gray, and the moss
pale. The indifferent
water rushes its dark
swirls past limestone
rocks. Black & white
breeze, flushed of its
soft green; the birds,
robbed of their song.
When I think of you
I am torn. Between
heart and intellect:
geography of grief,
landscape of ecstasy,
I see you ogling me
then turning away
inside my mind’s eye.
I am beaten, without
mercy, into the past
when you once were
my sanity. But now
I’ve faded into the gray
hiss of dark water
snaking beneath my feet.
People emerge from pictures to talk to me
Like badly photoshopped torsos and heads
across portraits, magazine adverts or dust jackets.
Telling me their secrets, regrets and lies
Or chewing the fat on the paintings of Salvador Dali,
the music of Philip Glass or Aristotle’s discourse on Poetics.
It must be lonely where they are.
Animals appear occasionally, like golden retrievers
who always want to debate the principles of geometry.
Contactees often ask me to do something for them
Give messages to people, find things or commit crimes.
Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I don’t,
even when I’ve said I would; this makes me feel bad.
But it’s hard to say sorry where they are.
Once they’ve gorged themselves on conversation
They’ll dissolve and shed their temporary skin
Leaving me fighting to remember our dialogue
Like fragments of a dream in an early morning
I’m standing in silence in an empty room
Wondering whether what happened was real
It’s lonely where I am.
You pop up in day dreams,
night dreams and meditations.
As a child, my guardian angel,
a teenager. Lately you are a twenty something with glasses. Long almost-black hair, looking like us, all three of us, jaw a little longer, squarer.
Sometimes I think you Godlike, we will never see the face of you - sister. Some day we will all be gods.
On the left
side of my thinking I
recall the lean
of your corporeal
you hear my calling
within the good
side of what remembers
my silence… our speaking,
a combination of
mouths, their systems
of bees assembling
within the thirst of
a tunneled throat—
of nuance holds still,
we’re pausing philosophy
to interact beneath
intellect of the body’s
bridge, we step
into the water’s flame
to compose what
-s interior to death
of what became our
Read more >
The stairs were dark and slippery under her bare feet. Going down into the cellar was clearly dangerous, but then nowhere seemed to be quite safe at the moment. It had been past midnight when the storm started, and most of her neighbors had been dreaming cozily by the time the wave came. Notwithstanding a few nightmares, they had had no reason to be afraid. There had been no warning.
Down in the cellar a few wooden boxes played at being boats. Unable to distinguish one from another in the darkness, she chose at random and waded back toward the stairs. It was not the cold that made her shiver, even though it was freezing. So far nobody had come. The few people she had seen were looking for help and not in a position to give it. On any other day she could have counted on the good nature of people. Recently she never wanted for a seat on the crowded buses, or waited in line at the post office. Now even her condition wasn't enough to get anyone to stop, and she was afraid.
At the top of the stairs she found some shelter among the ruins. Part of the kitchen was still there, although she could barely recognize it. What remained of the roof was just enough to shield her from the storm. Her teeth clattered, keeping pace with the steady rain that pelted the world around her. She needed to make a fire, and she would burn anything to make it.Read more >
She is here.
I cannot deny her presence. Gradually she reveals herself. Beauty and feminine charm emerging.
Peeling back the years.
Try as I may, and
Oh I have tried,
to shut her out.
It is her time.
Now she is powerful.
I feel the transformation taking place.
I am helpless.
But at last I feel at peace.
Welcome to the world Charlotte.
Charles is no more.
She blows in like sand.
Her words drift alongside mine,
nudging them into parenthesis
until, dizzied by the dialogue,
the gabble and babble,
the rabble of words,
I do what she asks.
She sends me out gesticulating
at strangers. Her eyes staring
through mine unnerve them
and I try to explain that it is
she who is cantankerous.
I am her mouthpiece.
She uses me.
I think she must have jagged bones
for she settles like broken glass,
a persistent grist in the soft flesh.
She cups my heart, stuffed full of secrets,
and squeezes until they spill
through her fingers and out into the light.
She comes and goes,
taking my time with her
and what I remember of her
is a bird's-eye view, looking down
upon her slipstream as she veers away.
You were my heady rush
my delusional crush.
Our daydreams had powers
as we gathered the flowers
from the green market stall.
I knew I would fall
for my Hiawatha,
yet what could I offer?
My songs that resounded
and kept me grounded?
How I wanted to fly
sending notes to the sky.
You kissed me so sweetly,
I loved you completely.
Too soon it had finished—
your longing diminished.
Peach top swirled, as you left,
this ex-guy is bereft.
There's a tear in my soul,
feeling out of control.
I was you and you were me,
briefly, not eternally...
They want to view,
we will need time,
time to hide what they
to hide what we
To transplant, inplant, suture.
Pull closed the skin curtain
stop Scarlet escaping,
she that pumped and pulsated
safe in her grey habit.
Lived in her, with her
before the leech of
I don’t know the woman she is or the woman she was whether angel or demon but that she feeds like a scavenger of my mind for the flesh of who I am and who I was. from the marrow of my bones — she, the eater of my soul, and I her carrion, she becoming angel or demon whatever she eats.
You seem to yearn for Me in a way I cannot describe. There, you hover, in my brain, Anxious to take over. Why must you reign On my parade?
I have tried to dethrone you And have failed miserably — You are a constant voice Of senselessness, burying my soul.
I try loosing, try shaking your hold, But, King of my castle, you are And disobeying is futile. Your booming voice resounds And fills the room.
My thoughts are no more. I have sheltered them, Bagged them up for safekeeping — Yet, here you are, Begging for entry, Adamant to steal them Away from me.
I was trying to say to you that I was worried about forgetting you. You looked puzzled with your fingers on your bottom lip. I should have asked you if it happens to you. Does it? (Your father sitting at his favourite place by the window in the pub.) I live with the fear of faces being papered over diligently, quickly. Cigarette thin paper Layers upon layers of it once I turn my gaze away Even when I try to concentrate with all my might Then again there are times that there is a tear, a tiny drop An image peers through the opaqueness My grandmother is holding her big tailor's scissors cutting her finger nails Big hands wrinkled on the outside, soft, very soft on the inside that held my own little ones for years Other times I fall asleep on all these layers of paper There is a dribble from the corner of my mouth The wetness reveals his calloused thumb, index and middle finger Rather than his face when he kissed me secretly under the thick leaves where we sheltered from the rain Read more >
If I gave birth to myself today would I finally be free of me and all restrictions placed in 1968?
Cut the umbilical cord to the Pope, heredity, emotions, co-dependency, and I will run and laugh and dance with a life currently beyond my reach.
If I lived outside of my head tomorrow what would become of my memories made since 1968?
They would obediently be the same carcass that has already abandoned me.
Whilst waiting for the next car to approach she gently stroked the face on the poster fixating on the girl's freckles. It was a cold morning and she was annoyed. She never left the house without drinking a big mug of strong tea but had overslept and was running late. Now half an hour had passed and she was still waiting for the first customer of the day.
She picked at the poster killing time and taking her mind off the chill that was slowly rising up her spine. Little pieces fell to the floor, some she worked into little balls aiming at the holes in the nearby drain.
She cried on unexpectedly uncovering the girl in colour hiding behind the poster. Working the streets did strange things to the girls; had done strange things to her. The punters saw them only in black and white; never glimpsing their true colours. It was the only way to survive.
She cannot look me in the eye, as I bury a thumbnail beneath her chin.
Her mouth stays silent, doesn’t wince, whilst her dimpled cheek is ripped and lifted.
I feel her features ruck and pull, their monochrome drawn back to the hairline,
the Polaroid’s waxy veneer teased free, as I tear at her youth and scrape away the years where she had no knowledge of me.
I want to see myself in her.
As if, in some way, peeling her image will bring us closer:
my moon-face framed in the space I made in her.
But only the fault and wreckage remain, and she does not see I’m here.
I hear her voice again. She says I should know her and it’s her turn since she’s learned her lesson. Momma said I’d get my turn when I learned my lesson. I’ve learned it Momma and now I want my turn. Go find Momma and tell her — please tell her I’m ready and I’ve learned my lesson and it’s time for my turn. What do you mean Momma’s passed away years ago — five to be exact and there’s nothing you can do about her promise so I should leave you alone and go back to wherever I was put by Momma.
Momma had no power to give me. She never told me about you whoever you are. My sister — no way. I never had a sister — not one that lived anyway. Momma told me once I had a bad sister who was taken for being uncontrollable and when that happened Momma would get a new daughter and that’s me so go away since you don’t exist.
You have none of Momma’s power so I guess I do and I’m coming out and you’re going in where I’ve been all these years. I’ll get to enjoy the life I’ve missed and you’ll get to be in a special place where you have time to think. No, there’s no way I’ll change my mind. Money? What the hell will I do with money in there? Nothing you can give me will entice me to leave things as they were. Do you feel your face numbing? You’d get use to it until it’s no longer your face.
I have to call someone to help me. I’ll call the police. I’ll call my husband.
Don’t you mean my husband now? I’ve had a breakthrough. You have to calm down. They way you are here is the way you’ll be inside. I know. You know who else knows?Read more >
I run myself through the cloning machine Every time I meet you [Meet everyone] The back story that has animated my frame The constellations of feelings That tug at my face, The way I hold myself, An embrace against gravity For that moment — That gasp against the flash Running through me like a photocopier Spinning its electronic wheels Where past and present versions of me Collide.
They tell you how I've changed Or stayed the same [Oblivious to the conversations Your copies are having with me] And I am Struggling to articulate the Feeling of connecting with Past glimpses of our personalities Consistencies like Paper dolls holding hands In the mist Of unreliable memories Read more >
in the dingy lanes of my mental maze you roam, thriving voice in my head - infinitely indecisive; spiralling in my personal gyre of delusions, you are the ominous surprise every time, you within me within you within me within you — an endless loop of mocking matryoshka dolls, until i rip you out, blood and flesh too.
still, the hollow bones ring with your parting shrieks, defaced for the rest of a hollow shell of a life or weathered with renewed strength as jagged rocks turn into non-committing pebbles.
The pulsing in my left eye didn’t match the beat in my wrist, at my throat, on the backs of my knees. A disobedient echo that wouldn’t thrum in time.
In the bathroom mirror, I saw you through the pupil of my eye. It was your heartbeat— snare drum of the next generation— throbbing on my lens, announcing your life.
Your eyes were low— grief filmed my chest. Would I birth you sad, or would life bend you sad before your eighteenth year?
Then I realised.
Your eyes were not downcast. They were merely turned to my own heart while you tuned to its rhythm, trying to understand the disparity with your own.
It helps that she’s asking and not telling. It helps that I know her and she knows me and we have known each other intimately. The fact that we are sitting, almost alone, at five o clock in the morning, also helps. Movements of a homeless person orbit us, Hair like matted dung and the hide of a dead elephant, He asks us for a light and we give him more cigarettes to smoke. Four whiskeys and some beer ferment within me like passion fruit, And I rock with the weight of a vessel.
We sit in a square lit by shades of darkness. Cats, like choruses, yelp alone and together, -EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE- Parallel to the economy and tightness of our breaths, I see a shark’s fin circling in my eye’s corner, Fear of choking begins to loosen my tongue, It helps that she knows me well enough not to lecture. Her silences are a song.
My manhood is being pulled from its scaffold now, Rolled tightly into a ball of upset child, She asks after I answer, And warmth begins to grow back, Like hair after an illness, Like a serpent’s second tail, Her face has a roundness that feels celestial. She is my friend. And I answer to her silence.Read more >
since there was still some of the sight left, She spent it on parrot-clad trees and cloth-covered cameras, sheltered kaleidoscopes inside the eyes, mastered light by bending it at edges, where Her life stood like worn out shades of the day
It was a gaze that combed the wind for lies, a vision the stole the earth of sunlight, and fetched the new responsibility who nestled inside Her like a Russian doll — crawling into the stare, walking into the memories, she spilled into Her story like a lightning slipped the sky.
before the soil would reclaim Her, She tried to tumble her off a condescending eye-roll, or weep her off in a salty slanting brook, or sleep her away, but she climbed into Her dreams.
it was half past history, meanings departed. She peeled Herself off to fracture the bond, torn open to see her sleeping like a secret, only to know it was too late — she was sewn into Her soul
Along the path encroached on both sides by dense, ugly shrubbery, she thinks of the strange juxtaposition (perhaps it is not so strange) of the town's cemetery and its farms, only a few seconds apart. The unyielding endless work of the men and women seem to her constrained to life's essences: preparing death and cultivating life. The same earth which shrouded human bodies loved and held and watched by others, also, in its spare time, shot up cabbages. It was a thrilling thought. She enjoyed the airy drift of evenings, how everything pales and deadens, released from the day's incessant, buzzing avidness. She walks on, feeling the crunch of pebbles under her shoes. She always wore shoes, found them proper and discreet. She thinks of feet as parts to hide; private, known only to her, away from other eyes, other smells, other sounds. Where her own hands can trace the old skin, the pink ridges, the clever, judicious symmetry. Or maybe it is some other more trivial reason. She is never sure what she thinks. She passes the store owned by the old Muslim couple and wonders what they do when they are not selling bread or bananas or chatting with the morning's first customers. She stops abruptly, turns, and stares at the long building; fresh paint on the old walls, an obnoxious blue, but she doesn't mind the orange. Alone in the street now; witnessing, as shadow claims the world with one giant wave. Her body is in the background, without detail or specificity. Bland. What freedom, to be out here, and be nothing special, nothing at all. Not a wife, not a mother, not a person, just another formless, silent thing. Free from meaning. Incidental. She embraces the full rush of this feeling, this weightlessness, and the new fine strength in her legs, across the chest. Perhaps, she will return home, before they start looking.
The voice in his head wasn't actually a voice. It was a complete, fully-formed, living human being. A woman, to be precise. Her name was Osaka, she was 34, and she was originally from Tokyo, although now she lived with him in San Francisco.Well, "with" him was not quite right. You could say that he lived with her, but she didn't live with him so much as inside of him, at all hours of the day, except when he was asleep. But then sometimes — quite often, in fact — she appeared as a character in his dreams, so she was probably living inside his head at nighttime, too.
What was it like to live with another person inside your head? Not just a voice, or even a conscience, but an architectural design major from Berkeley whose parents moved to the Bay Area from Tokyo when she was five, sent to her all the best schools, insisted she do her homework, and scrupulously taught her right from wrong, so that she grew into a confident, ambitious, sensitive woman, an accomplished artist, and a professional success?
On the worst days, it was perplexing. Why him? Why was he so special that such a wonderful woman would crawl into his ear — or however she had done it — and keep going until she found a space to stretch out her legs and arms and make herself at home?
On most days, however, it was fine. Osaka was easy going, they shared the same tastes, and she only rarely made demands. And even when she did, her demands were reasonable. Sure, they fought sometimes, but when the voice inside your head belongs to an actual woman, and one who can sometimes be quite headstrong, who doesn't expect the occasional argument?
The only problem was that he dared not tell his friends or family, for fear of what they might think. It would be one thing to confess that he heard voices. But to report that they belonged to a 34-year-old former architect from Berkeley, who could entertain him for hours with her companionship, and had remarkably well-informed opinions on art and history? Out of the question.
So he could never explain why, when friends asked him to dinner, or if he had plans for the weekend, or his family asked how he had been, he closed his eyes, dropped his arms, and and his whole body relaxed, as if he had entered a trance. And why, minutes later — sometimes as long as twenty minutes later — he emerged with his answer, which sometimes — not often, but sometimes— amounted to a hasty and implausible excuse, the kind of painfully obvious lie that embarrasses everyone.
Luckily, his friends and family never pried. They just accepted his odd behavior as eccentric, and forgave him.
Which only reassured him that he and Osaka were meant for one another, that she was his one true love.
Being a girl u’ll always b hurt... she said... Being a girl u’ll never b free
Being a girl u’ll always lie... she said... But a girl is something worth to be
Being a girl u’ll always fall... she said... in the arms of right kind of wrong
Being a girl u’ll never learn... she said... even when the death might sing a song
Now I look at her with admiration... guilt of all those years wasted...
When each time I woke up... believing to be more than just a girl
My mother always knew where would I land up even when I wanted otherwise…
Now I might add that I was no different... than a typical girl with high pride
I was you before you were. I have lived before you. Now I am here right inside just waiting for the next so I can walk again.
Please think before you say yes. Please wait a second so I can help. I have been here before you, I hope to help and make your steps lighter.Do not give up when it looks like rain. Just keep on passing things by like a river. Believe me when I say life is only as good as its flow.
I was you before you were. I have lived before you. Here I wait, deep inside. Just check the mirror and listen to the wind. I will help, a little.
Take away my identity, take my face away, I’m a man; I know you’ll take away my light, The rosy, the pink go, then, the yellow peels away.
The world isn’t black or white, ‘tis fraught with gray, You must take away everything, take away my sight, Take away my identity, take my face away.
Good men now tell me, how they are cast away, We must hurt, damage the best, howsoever slight, The rosy, the pink go, then, the yellow peels away.
The best do not speak; the worst have all their say, Then, it is too late; the birds are already in their flight, Take away my identity, take my face away.
The arrogance will not remain, it would slowly fray, The bravado of the day turns to trembling at night, The rosy, the pink go, then, the yellow peels away.
The pomp, show, you can no longer hold your sway, What seems grand will never be so, it would be trite, Take away my identity, take my face away, The rosy, the pink go, then, the yellow peels away.
I used to be someone else once; a different sort of girl. The kind with a face like a spring morning.
I would wake and wipe the dew from my cheek, allow the blossom to drift from my hair. You would watch the petals fall; sometimes, you would catch one in your hand before it hit the pillow. I would let the rest scatter behind me as I walked to the bathroom.
I used to be someone else once; a different sort of girl. The kind who pulsed with the heat of summer.
I would stretch against the sun and hold fast the shadows, my skin turning sweet. Dusk would bring fireflies to dance with and thunder to roll across my back. Afterwards, your hand would rest in mine.
I used to be someone else once; a different sort of girl. The kind whose hair reflected autumn.
I would wait for the light of a late afternoon sunset to look for you; some days, you were there. My bed, filling with leaves so dry their skeletons would break at my touch, was no longer a place for rest.
I am someone else now; a different sort of girl. The kind in winter’s thrall.
I am cast in colour no more. Instead, I wake to darkness and turn back towards sleep. I have faith the solstice is coming. Until then, I wait.
Like papier-mâché, age has layered itself upon her; stilling the fingers in which knitting needles used to fly; adding depth to wrinkles, and confusion.
Like papier-mâché, some of the layers have mushed together, so time shifts seventy years over the course of two sentences.
Like papier-mâché there are odd cracks and the occasional bubble that something will suddenly break through, revealing the truth of her beneath.
When I show her the charm bracelet, she reaches out, touching the panniered donkey. ‘He came from Dubrovnik…’
There is an image I carry in mind like luggage, from place to place, a constant mirror of who I would like to be. Sometimes it flickers on a screen, other times it is a memory I carry of how my thoughts have changed someone. In the morning, my bones stretch and ossify to try and fit the new form but the image is always removed.
I remember the first time I really saw her — she was the girl with the piano in a slip-sliding tale of the boy next door and a galloping horse but I think I always knew she was waiting to guide me. I was fourteen, no longer mummy’s boy and here comes daddy’s girl singing me her songs of brain trauma and transgression I was trying, trying, failing to fit in and she was there for me dark hair falling like January rain lips bruised as windfall fruit and I knew that she was the girl inside my head the girl who wants to take scissors to her sex the girl who could bury her mother under the paving slabs the girl who has watched the world end. One day I will peel back my skin and set her free.
You know that voice inside, whispering to free yourself from pointless norms? For Greta, that voice was her sister, the rock star of disbanding.
Her sister was dead. Greta lived on the other side of the Pacific and despite taking the earliest possible flight, she had arrived too late to say goodbye.
The guests slowly trickled out and she settled into the night, gathering memorabilia from the attic. There was a pile of doll clothes, Alfred Hitchcock cassettes and a Howdy Doody’s board game.
Greta never quite acquired a taste for tea, but she brewed a pot of her sister’s Oolong, which she slurped against the windowsill, streams of recollections escaping her eyes.The stairs creaked, full of night.
In the morning, she dipped her feet in the bitter cold sea. The stillness ached. Life had a habit of poking holes into her world, she thought. Greta spread herself thin on the sand, mesmerized by the clouds straying in front of her. There was no voice inside of her anymore. No guiding force to support navigating life. For a fleeting moment though, as she observed dark waters whipping the familiar shore, Greta was sure of two things: she would eventually learn to draft the next chapters of her life despite the void and her sister had been right: one or no goodbye was as good as any, in the end.
some minds take pleasure in counterpoints absently answering some deep call they move in a hushed, ice-clear trance
and lucid, inescapable rhythms, low beneath so to beseech them as full as for it the inexorable growth the signal to a sacred plea…
a little later when the sky is black tattered pieces of a masquerade, together with a voice, clear and loud resound in a hymn to the Healer
obliquity is all the rage and all the things that are red and all the things that are vain and all the ones that continue to contend with one’s ideas
I cup your cocoa hands. Dripping Eyelid-kisses melt like ice. We rub The late-night embers in our cheeks, Open our eyes to twinned morning-smiles Rising, stretching like sloths In the warm, honeyed morning. I watch the sun-glad pools Glisten in your eyes and feel how easy Summer comes about The sweltering thighs, the beaded neck and collar. Still, we linger
for a humid mind. The air chokes on the question - how will I warm your ice-cracked hands when the leaves melt, And the roots stretch south, and we are caught In winter?
I am falling, flying without wings, One moment calm in the wind’s howling cradle, The next shattered by the angel’s radiance Bursting beneath me. As alabaster skin and pearl eyes gleam Cold with Heaven’s memory, the world fades.“Kill me,” she pleads; her words unheard burn deep, Raising blood in this desiccated womb: my mind; My scream, my “Save me!” ripped away by the wind That whispers from my past. Her perfect hand Touches my cheek. I push it away. She comes closer. I strike, I bite, I hold, I kiss This immaculate surface.
We are falling, tumbling through the sky, A golden comet shedding clothes, skin, and tears; An angel-monkey vibrating with fear, moaning, God, we are falling—we are coming for you. Even as the wind whispers and gathers into voices, Even as the orgasm breaches and dispels the I, Butterflies dance on purple and golden wings Above a sea grass green rushing forward To embrace me.
But how do you do it?
By folding parts of the East inwards when prejudice gleams in eyes opposite —
by contracting inwards humanism taught in schools (and life) from the jingoist gaze we love —
by listening ahead of speaking: always measure the audience before treading the waters of
potential revelation (what you are) — always inwards, never outwards, this is the requirement of balancing
two lives, two dreams; one for the roots, that lies in the past, one for the future, once you’re
to dream that there might be some say in how it shapes, the form it takes,
with a little help from kismet.
I could only recognise you out of the corner of my eye. In focus you were someone else.I read somewhere that one’s direct vision is more easily fooled than one’s peripheral vision. When focussing one’s vision on a point, the brain simplifies the image, creating symmetries and parallels and perpendiculars where none exist; but when viewed off-centre, the brain sees the thing more as it really is.
When I sat next to you on the bus, at the front so you could stretch your legs out, my eyes took little snapshots of your profile, warts and all. Every stray hair, every bag under your eye, every uncooperative eyelash.
When we lay next to one another, close enough for our noses to touch, my eyes corrected for error, rounded all points to the nearest integer: erasing stray blemishes, softening your jawline, smoothing out the bridge of your nose.
My brain squeezed out, from whole cloth, a version of you it thought I’d find more attractive. But the real you, the one on your passport or your DNA: that was the one I saw when I wasn’t really looking.
The less you look, the better you see. The closer, the worse. Look close enough at something until all you can see are the electrons, and you’ll find that the electrons in a camel and those in a combine harvester look much the same. It’s only when you look a little less closely at something that you can see the thing as it is.
I tried to keep up with you.
An electron, whether in a camel or a combine harvester, is always an uncertain thing.Read more >
At the font of pure intention Temptation is not easy to resist Wicked thoughts, collect me Almost every day Blinded by the vision The mirror haunting ghost Binding all emotion taut Enters freely without fear Balanced on the tightrope Whispers breeze block composition Accepting wind-blown leaves Confirm faith cannot be doubtful Deep in rumour treading carefully I rip the image from my mind
Come on you are just being arty two in one, one in two very soon your faces will disappear, but why have you combined? Who loves who? Who is in who? Strikingly pensive both of you must make ends meet and see inner perspectives what has one and what has one not? Your shades of grey your sobriety only spells sadness, misfortune. Come smile it out and the world will be with you.
Born out of love A girl young Vibrant, joyful, with the face Of a doll A shy doll, a well adorned doll People looked on With amazement Well-masked jealousy
Older she got, Deeper the scars Of her childhood, of her teens Hid it behind a façade Of a smile Of a hug, a friendly voice Scars well-hidden underneath
Older still now, Beauty faded, skin thinner. Of her old age, of her fears Hid it behind a façade of the make-up, Still had that smile, the hug, that voice, All behind a façade, who was she really?Read more >
Tired eyes gathered in droplets as I rip open the window to let the swan song in. Stiff mountains bemoan, Ourea spins in unfamiliar cobwebs stretched from the mirror to the church yard, they reflect each other like the flickering and bickering of lovers.I wipe away the morning dew clearing the vision of what I left behind. Clarity comes in half-light, But the early morning judges time, the sun, low enough to scorn, low enough to have found me. This duvet, this bed, should be home. The day lies in the streets ahead; mapped out before I get there, ordered into noisy lights that flicker and bicker like lovers. A ticket clings to the warm palm of my hand binding me to everything I’ve done before I have done it. And only I can pretend I enjoy it only I, because the past is as long as my shadow, that walks behind me flickering and bickering like lovers.
She’s in pain she says Life’s not a game she says And time is no healer
She’s in love again Another infatuation Longing to see him
More than a summer romance I don’t doubt he glances – At her and finds something appealing
She has a history And a tendency To chase that feeling
She’s in pain she says Love’s not a game she says And time’s no healer.
Paths through lives. Driven by instincts. Faltering some shatter our precious heart now hidden.
Tears like shards now grains upon the shore. A flicker left in remembrance. The heart refuses them to dwell.
Held in ice this I understand.
A lead coffin I placed my heart. Puzzle pieces to find. To heal and to hold from this day forth.
is she in the heart that beats in me is she wondering through my mind will i find her when i breathe in only to lose her when i exhale
where is the exit sign /when did she leave
she's in my head and when I fall asleep I find her dreaming of me and I say 'open your eyes, I'm here') ...
Sometimes I just feel like I can't make sense of things. Why, I don't know. These clothes don't make sense to me. I must have put these on a long time ago. What was I thinking? I remember feeling myself comfortable in front of people -- I'm fine with being pronounced. And the grass, the trees, the humidity behind me -- all where it belongs.
What do other people know. Do they see who I am? For instance, that I'm a great cook? Are they aware of the scar on my forehead that I got when I was nine? Can they understand the joy and grief I've been through, head to toe? I wonder if I'm even in the right place. If this passing moment is worth anything.
As she passed a shop window she was surprised by a stranger staring straight back. This isn't her! She is upright and young and she slinks her top to reveal a smooth shoulder. Men 'clock her' with a glance — women too. Don't they? Was it yesterday she tucked in her top to reveal a shapely body tossed her head at the mirror smiled at the view!
Who is that little thing in the window? A dummy with the stance of an old woman shrunken and round shouldered. A tortoise head stretches as slowly the soft skin fades out of view.
ripping itself from monochrome the eye does not offend me it finds its own way into memory
feels another’s warmth and loss describes the same as apricot touchingly stirringly blood hot
ungentle edge and image soft I picture you unlost
She is breaking out from this war. Each layer of blood is peeled away and she is closer to the air today. She wonders: "If America is so fond of freedom then why are Americans chained to so many desks? Don't we have something better to do?" And she tries to imagine what that something might be, so she gazes downward and dreams of ants crawling out of their holes to join the Sunday picnic. Everyone eats together.
Oh butterfly girl, tight in your cocoon, the face you wear to meet the faces in the street. Inside, the colors are waiting to bloom. There is only transformation, the skin of the present bursts open to reveal the new transparent membrane and tracery of veins, fragile wings drying in the sun... Fly away, butterfly for a day...
I didn’t expect to like myself in her head. The one who makes up the lies and taunts the girl who sits in the front row. Who stares vacantly at her screen.
Then lights up with a blush which flows sunset-river down her neck. While her face radiates warmth and pain.
She is one easy target with her grunge clothes, that Pocahontas staring look. Mystery wrapped round her — a virtuous cloak.
I have insinuated and indoctrinated her head. She looks round fearfully and sees friends, who smile back reproachfully — they like her.
I didn’t expect to hate myself in her head. As I follow her home and slip into her psyche while she reads and deciphers the vitriol in my innocent blog with hidden depths.
I didn’t expect to love myself in her head. She looks at Facebook through wept eyes. The girl who bullies at random and picks on me with the speed and accuracy of a drone.
Revenge thy name is Social Media. And I am looking at 140 characters with my name written all over it.
Who Am I?
Did you ask yourself so today? I did. I do everyday.
Of the million voices, twisted and contorted in my head, Today, one emerged with a blast of energy, "I am the One in Control."
Strength. And with the lingering resonance of the proclamation, I rose up from my ashes, dusting my wings, a li'l broken...
Another voice softly crept through the back of my head, "I am the One who is Beautiful."
My lips smiled. They were bleeding a li'l bit, bitten too hard, the blood trickling inside the mouth, that washed down the throat, as it reminded my taut body, that I was still warm, I was still alive, I had resurrected. The dawn was breaking.
I heard another whisper from the back of my parched throat, "I am the One who Never Gives Up."
I looked around. Desolation. All was lost. Glimmering ashes as the sunshine of the dawn break rustled through, in slanted rays, invigorating all the memories of pain with the renewed passions of hope. Melancholy and Bliss seemed to coexist in an uncanny perfection, making my limbs feel like those that had been given back life. A toddler who just learned to walk, who just realised the power of it's body. Movement. Moving ahead.
My toes tingled, they wanted to walk towards freedom.
My soul wasn't giving up after all; despite all the harshness it endured, every trauma I had inflicted upon it, it still, still loved my body. It thought I was beautiful. It was ready to give back control, to trust my broken wings to learn again the flights of uninhibited passion. I was in awe.
My heart strummed for me, another voice, said, "I am the One who Loves. I am the One who never stops to Feel."
What if none of us looks like that? And it really is all done with computers? What if none of us ever looked remotely like that, ever? What if even the idea that you only look like that if you spend all your life in the gym and eat only blueberries and legumes, what if even that is a nothing but a lie? What if it's just plain unattainable? My Sister stopped looking for a job altogether and devoted herself to the gym and six whole months and no change. I didn't see any difference. Mother said she actually put on the weight. I told Sis, Don't listen, just don't listen, she's half-gaga, just don't listen. My Sister said there was a chocolate machine in the gym at the bottom of the stairs. A chocolate machine! No wonder.
There was another one on TV this morning in a tight belly top. I'm no different to you, I wanted it, course I did. It's coming Tuesday. I'm all geared up for the disappointment. I want it on her not on me. I buy these things and they live in the wardrobe until I can morph like magic into the right shape. I won't know myself when I'm the right shape. I'll have more clothes than Time itself can afford when I'm the right shape. Mother said it's all about genetics. She's ninety-six, what does she know about genetics?
Then I met Cathy and she wasn't the right shape. She didn't have high cheekbones or a healthy glow or all the things you've got to have to look right, like money. And she poured scorn on my errant remarks and made me think about things more, the way a good person does. And she said it's alright to eat crisps, it's alright to slug calorific bottles of red wine, it's alright to live a normal life. My Sister hated her. My Mother hated her too though they had a lot in common I think. I liked Cathy and we had our secret calorie parties. Four thousand calories in two hours, that was the only rule. Oh, that and don't count the calories in the first place. I told her she reminded me of Morgan and she got offended, but I didn't mean it like that.Read more >
"I have a seven-hump wump!" I scream two seconds after successfully BUMPing into the phonegirl on the sidewalk, crashing really, but she probably doesn't hear because she's simultaneously shrieking, "Gah! Fucking cheebye!" I don't slow down and I'm quickly reabsorbed into the pedestrian flow on Orchard Road, already searching for my text target. So many to choose from.
They don't often see me coming. I'm diminutive, even for a Singaporean, and female, so I'm dismissed as harmless. But I'm a powder-keg of potential energy: I do capoeira twice a week, 42-form taijiquan every Saturday, so when I impact with you, it hurts like a motherfucker. I never target tourists, but today I've talked myself into BUMP patrol at Singapore's shopping mecca, its showcase of hip and cool.
All these phoneboys and phonegirls, every goddamn day on the MRT, in the shopping malls, at al fresco dining tables, and especially on the sidewalks, taking up too much space, forcing everyone to slow down to their pace, unable to disconnect from the e-version of their digital selves. Just like in any big city — New York, Shanghai, London, Berlin, Rio — Singapore is yet another victim of this epidemic.
I sight my next phoneboy, the hipster factor turned up so high that he might as well be doing jumping jacks and yelling, "Look at me!" so I do, and after BUMPing him, I crow, "I love to hop hop hop!" the impact so hard that he tumbles into a fashionista in a miniskirt.Read more >
Here comes that red mist again. Lingering in the crevices of my failing being. I need to remember to control my breathing, if just for a fraction longer than the last time.
It's thickening now. Swirling around my head like a bubbling lava cauldron, spitting fiery embers each time I attempt to escape through it — I cannot fail again. If I am ever going to get her out of my head, I will just have to get though this and stop doubting myself
''Shut up, stop trying to read my empty thoughts. I will not let you in!''
Damn her, just as I was beginning to gather the strength and willpower to bury her deeper than ever before, I allowed her serpent voice to make me question myself yet again. This is not good at all. No, something will have to change drastically if I am to leave this ivory fortress. The sudden crack in my head must be the voice again.
''Attention, all lights will be switched off sooner than you think. If anyone even as much as breathe discontent or vile revolutionary thoughts; you will spend the night in the oval.''
Not again. Not now. Not when I've worked so hard to convince my minder guarding my exit, that he and his loved ones will not be safe unless I leave this hell-fest tonight. I can manage to fight off the two of them from last night but I have felt another brave tormentor wanting to break through the red dust scattered in my head. My defenses are weakening. I fear that lack of sleep will be the death of me this time but it is vital for me to keep her at bay tonight.Read more >
She’s like a hole in my head. Her face is blurring in my memory, fading under so much scrutiny like an overexposed Polaroid. I don’t know if it would please her more to know I can’t quite picture her anymore or that she’s never quite left my mind.
It’s been years, years and she still wanders across my thoughts, meandering like a graceless dancer, her unfocused eyes never looking at me, her gaping shirt never exposing as much as it should. I wonder sometimes if she peers through my eyes, if she and I share the dreams in which we meet. I wonder if she’s as afraid to find me as I am to seek her out. I wonder if she remembers me at all.
There’s a photograph, but I can’t look at it. Not until her face fades into a featureless oval, framed by the darkness of her hair. Then I rush to find it, clumsy fingers struggling with the edges of tight-sealed cardboard lids and scrabbling through the deliberate mess of other, random memories. I can only relax when she’s clasped delicately in my fingers, the one, imperfect image I’ve allowed myself. A candid shot, washed out by bad light, blurred by her swaying, the towel coming to wrap around her shoulders, the gaping of her top not yet corrected and all the more perfect by the fact she never knew I took it. Never knew I stole a moment she kept to herself, the moment before she noticed, before her mask slid into place and she looked at me like a stranger.
It was near the end. I know I shouldn’t have taken it. Shouldn’t have kept it, but it was near the end and we both knew it. I could see it in the shadows of her face, in unfocused shaking of my hands. It was near the end and when she would have left me with nothing, I stole a little piece of her so she would never feel whole.
I know who I am and I know who I once was. Remember when you see me today. I am still that person. I need you to look beyond my estranged memory.
I am frightened. My timorous heart searches for a kindly word, a reassuring touch, a familiar smile.
My body and my spirit are unchanged just… I find it hard to express, to communicate, to make the contacts and to find the links.
I can’t catch my feelings, my emotions... anger, love, sadness. But they remain within me. They connect within me. They are me. They flutter, they tease, they flaunt and they dice with nonsense like a distasteful jester in the dimness.
Please don’t lose your memories of who I am.
Accept me now because if you don’t — what chance have I? In dismay, I hardly recognise myself. I struggle to be true and I fight the blockades in my mind. Above, below, all around. Chasms and canyons I cannot cross. Laces I cannot tie, ribbons I cannot bow, keys that don’t unlock, pennies that do not buy, names I cannot recall, words that do not mean, a voice that does not speak.
Thoughts I cannot reach... But once I could.Read more >
I pass by the river every day. A river of the dead and the alive
I pass by the river every day; Through the bridge over there; A bridge for the dead and the alive
I pass by the river every day. Both sunny and rainy days; Picking up speed of the vehicle I drive and will drive for my life
Each end of the river has sounds of agony and pain; annoyance and neglect; dust and memories; failures; and unfaithfulness and unhappiness
At the middle of the bridge; you hear murmuring of the dead and alive; you smell blood and flesh; you look at masks and unmasked pale eyes;
I pass by the river every day. through the bridge over there; as I don’t have a boat; and the river is full of the bloods of dead and alive; of men and women
I pass by the river every day. A river of the dead and the alive Through the bridge over there; A bridge for the dead and the alive
At times I flip old photos searching for my legacy The fear of failing is legit, not the girl playing with Legos see, I’m always torn between two battling portraits of a mirror The hunger to dream big again could not be more herer
The one flaunts dreams of luminal azalea < she’s a hero Her steps resound Odyssean promenades < I can hear her The other’s eyes hold drug paraphernalia > she’s a whore Teetotums me amongst the ace of spades > nothing here rare
Both portraits are my past, my lovers and my enemies The one is purity, the other’s horror nemesis Both girls in fear and zeal to escape troubled childhood start I can’t allow the weeping whore to rip the child apart
"Tear me a face." What she said didn't register in my brain, so I stare blankly at her. "Tear me a face, that's what the local ghost does." "Wha—? That doesn't make any sense. Stop making shit up." This little trip of ours is proving to be outside our normal hike in the woods. Daisy insisted on visiting this abandoned house at the edge of forest, just by the river. "I've done my research. It says here that many visitors have heard whisperings of the phrase 'Tear me a face' when they walk through." "That's just fucked up... and a tourist lure. I'm not a sucker like you." "Judy the pragmatic one!" Daisy shouts and skips off to the side of the house, abandoning me in the front garden. I find a quiet spot and sit on a rock. I can't help but think of the phrase 'Tear me a face'.
I don't know how long I had sat there before Daisy returned and threw a string of wildflowers at me. "Look. Daisy's made a daisy-chain!" she giggles at her stupid joke. "Are we done?" "Sure." "Tear me a face." "What? What did you just say, Daisy?" "I said 'Sure'. Now, let's get going." I heard it again a few more times, but I didn't dare tell Daisy. I can't be sure why, but I think I just didn't want her to have the satisfaction of knowing that her research was right. "Wait, Dais. Let me just pop round the side. I need a bush to wee in." She rolls her eyes at me and shrugs, sitting herself down on the rock I was at.Read more >
reach for pocketknives
carved wood memory
tell you what:
dive in-love anew
:woman, you are the different shapes of moon together,
making custard of my plain skin
:letters are hikers, okay? you me holiday — words
:honey, you turned my sorrows into sleepy doodles, into unthinking scribbles, onto
letterbox thorns — send
me love some too
xoxoRead more >
I'm a sage by profession I'm a sage I mean, by profession I'm the essence And I'm the element I'm order I'm faith I'm the world of supernatural Unsatisfied with the one I live Looking forward to the next I'm Columbus I'm Odysseus What to chose and what not to! A voyage or a sunburn? A Pathankot or a Lahore? A beta house or a Guantanamo bay? I won't say It is a naughty American daydream I love it so much! I'm insane Insane or transcendental? You ask me "Where are you going To the churchyard or to the graveyard? Is there a backdoor?" I reply, "The world is parabolic Go on, play with hyperboles You need a point of reference No need to worry I'm just standing here."
five, four, three green warming to amber the road shrinks you into an epileptic slumber
two, one, ze— sirens and scrubs chewed tongue and punctured veins foreign doctors calling on nurses to prepare sedatives
negative one, two, three a free spirit emerges beyond the white horizon everything is white yoko emerges with a ukulele but plays the double bass instead you wrap yourself with a floral scarf but you find yourself naked in a fetal position underneath a film of sweat
yoko smiles as she serve you coffee you stare deeply into the sun
Behind my left eye the woman who should be me sighs and stretches. I feel her cold hands yank the reins my veins. Open and constricting again again again she is pulling me aside. Sharp away from these footsteps of mine that she disapproves of so. I resist for as long as I can sick blinded I. Until the inevitable crash brings me falling down through. Where I dwell in the darkness spinning and still utterly stalled. Until she lets go her grasp and sashays back to her lair behind my left eye.
close to the window under the neon lights I put on negligee easily slowly taken off black colour orange rhythm in one boot slow motion in the other Lady paints jazz red garters nuance green grey in hiding it's only 24 play fullness half way possible marginality of the game purple hair starlight triggers 25 inside the head colouring doesn't stop flickering of the neon sets rhythm in motion slow motion follows paleness of hair jazz in the coffee pot makes morning light black coffee grounds blacken
In amongst the thoughts of you in a loose orange top, in a moment of stupidity did I tear away the view, that view of you, the right eye, a full face, a ripped poster boy look in charcoal grey. A distant look over there not here: a torn face.
Paulizno hunched, his bony spine protruding under a starched white shirt, taut like a teepee tarpaulin. His chest cavity rose and fell. His breath, an ocean of life, left a fine mist momentarily floating above the stone floor. Anchored at bay he was still waiting. Squeezing his eyes into fists the lights came, dancing squares of red and orange then blue, violet circles spanned with stars. Tapping into the third-eye-chakra his bodily tensions dissipated as negative shut-eye images faded with each stinging exhalation. In his minds’ eye he paced through each body part. But boxed too tightly the flesh of his left big toe was strangled by the very hole which it had created as an escape route. Old scarlet socks were familiar accomplices in this shoe-string adventure. Even the crisp scholarly collar threatened his Adam's apple with its throttling tightness. He could barely swallow. The heirloom wrist watch ticked loudly, the second hand announcing this borrowed time. Interim moments bridged between ignorance and knowledge. The door at the end of the corridor showed no signs of opening yet. Ten minutes to go. He’d hoped they'd be ready together.
Fumbling fingers darted inside his inner jacket pocket. The leather bound document still seemed safe. But this gave no consolation, only tidal clashes of relief and anxiety. Clasping his hands to his lap he shook off questions. L-e-t G-o, visualising each letter, helped create space with measured breath. But the fidgeting was not within his control and with a mission the wallet was once again in his hands. Fragile, he had to take another peek. A strangely authentic version of himself stared back. Ernest brows, cleft chin, same full lips, "Well if it ain’t two peas in a pod," he recalled the sergeant’s low whistle of disbelief.Read more >
I’m hidden like salt in the sea, you taste my urge, but you cannot see my body curve like a rain-soaked cane. I am round as a yellow bowl. Quiet on quiet. Lost in your shape. Pour me out like water; your secrets are safe with me. Lock and key — as tight as a mother’s fondest memory.
That’s who I always wished I could have been A glowing girl, all beautiful and bright. If anyone had looked, they might have seen The colour underneath the black and white
It’s too late now, I’ve lived a life in grey The more you live the more the darkness grows But death will tear the last of it away Until my colour ultimately shows
Once “I” am gone, I’ll finally be “me” Plant poppies, cyclamen, and rosemary.
She kept the photograph to remind her of those blistering summers, of the feeling of his heat between her legs and the foreign weave of his T-shirts brushing against her skin. Hid it from her husband; didn't want to remind him that another man's tongue had parted her lips like a writhing serpent, that she had once been so young and carefree to be charmed by a man who kept his hair long, a man who wove her fingers into stars and pulled her, twirling, giddy, to fields sewn with song and people so in love with the sound of music that their souls floated in a dusky haze above the ground. Black and white, the photo spoke nothing of the blaze of colour that pulsed around him, the ever-shifting hues that amazed and ensnared her in the days before responsibility came tapping at her shoulder.
The banners and the musicians and the long summer nights still came round. One year, her firstborn asked if she could go. She stood in the hallway with flowers in her hair and her boots trimmed with tassels.
That evening she hunted for a picture of her daughter. She tore the edges so perfectly to frame her willowy body and put the two together. Wondered if they looked the same.
Formed from "The singing and the piano playing of Miss Nina Simone", out of "The times, they are a changing" out of "Baker Street"
out of James Brown "Sex Machine" James Brown "Sex Machine" James Brown "Sex Machine" 3 a.m. James Brown
out of “Can you keep the noise down?” out of Lou Reed out of Carole King and Joni Mitchell "Blue"
out of "You Sexy Thing" out of Joan Armatrading and Aretha Franklin, out of Roberta Flack, "The First Time" (our song), out of "Lola" and "Sexual Healing"Read more >
Silence is symphony of bare homes
That flourishes in rhythm of longing
Where dust of space piles on clocks,
On books and pens and drawing curtains
On mirror which myths the faces of smiles,
Of pain, of rapture, of calm, of delight
All await to hear a sound,
A whisper, a talk or laugh resounds.
An empty chaos
Where, absence floats...
The same one that longs to embrace,
The silhouettes of its lost frames.
Such silence perturbs through lively tenors
A whirring of wings,
Or crackling leaves
Or humming bees...
Gracious visitors of such homes...
Who promise them to wait for a life
A dweller who plays the music of soulful vibe.
Cement and stone.
Seeds breaking through;
Strangers passing by:
What is left of me?
Piles of dust,
Castles of sand, Treasure hunting, Deep sea, Sorrow.
Through the looking glass, I find Otherness.
What is left of me?
In that summer, I discovered leaves, felt their rough and smooth, drew in their citrus, amber, indescribable breath, like a lover sleeping close.
I clothed myself in leaves, weaving too many shades to learn the names of parent plants, to dress myself in rippling green, finer than light.
And I slept deep in leaves, nested like a mouse, a bird, a lizard, a snake, the phoenix, rising from burning leaves, my fire blazing behind summer eyes.
The station was coming into sight. Just around the corner. She could see the glass and steel building coming closer. No turning back now. Well she could turn back but that meant going back to him. To say sorry, he was right. She should respect her family and stay where she felt safe. Where she just had to choose what dress to wear, where to accompany her parents, work in the family business and where the only dispute with them was what books she could read. Everyone in her family were mice. Mice and nice. That’s what she called them. They followed along their safe path, repeating the same course, following the same patterns for generations.
It had the choice of schoolbooks that had changed her. Suddenly her every day thoughts had been pushed out by words and phrases from the great; Shakespeare, Wilde, Tolstoy, Hawkins, Browning, Dickinson, the list went on. They challenged everything in her prescribed life. The phrases turned into a voice that tempted her, teased her to continue reading anything and everything. The voice that told her that although she may not be safe out in the big wide world, at least she would feel something different. The timbre in voice in her head began to crack the path of her prearranged life. Tentatively she began to question the direction he had for her but his voice had been louder. The voice had been quiet for a day or so but every time it heard his voice and his word it had began to whisper, to talk and eventually to shout until it was all she could hear. In the end, her mind made up, she had stood up to him and declared her decision.Read more >
Both you and Ma are looking sad what transpired between you two only you know. But wait, have you two been separated by shores, deserts and the seas? Has Pa come between you two, so that you are missing ( each other), lonely? Take a book read. Say Hi to Mama and each other even if barriers, homes and countries have unleashed trauma of separation. Come, once smile in each other's arms. The world is not always a rascal. See light. Hope. You are entwined like branches of a tree spreading forth. Love upholds.