Wednesday, 20 October 2010


This is a very small part of the novel I'm writing. It's 1872, I think.

 "What are you doing?"

"I'm writing"

He laughs:

"You can write?"

I curl my arm protectively around the notebook. It's a very beautiful thing. I took it from the chest made of dark wood in the hallway. The chest was locked, but I'm pretty good at unlocking things.

He leaves the room, he doesn't want any kind of answer.

When I first met Duke he said:

"Show me your hands"

I hold them out in front of me like dead things.  He sucks air through his teeth. A slight tremor passes through my right hand.

"Nice" he says, still looking, and I look at them too for quite some time.

When he wants to open something, a lock without a key, he bends down with his mouth very close to it. He whispers there, very soft and low, like it's a girl he's trying to fuck. When he's said enough he slides the blade out slowly from behind his ear.

We take a breath, we hold it.

He slips it then in the keyhole, eyes closed whispering still. It is a very small movement, fleet and modest, searching for -


and something gives.

My belly jumps, a quick, silver fish in a stream and we smile, exhale


only silent.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Green #2


 Cold in here beneath the canopy, like underwater. A cavern in the depths - this viridian ocean overhead. Only the smell; vegetable bitter sweet and metal of fear or anticipation, something else, gives it away.

Two figures: one looks over his shoulder, like Lot, only it's his car, not his wife. It's his car for a while, then the place where the car was before it got eaten by the vegetation. Salt beneath moss. The other one tugs at his arm like a bell rope. Tendrils lick at his wrists, a vine beginning roots seductive and shallow already nibbling at the elbow. Or just here - the emerald ropes of vein , the delicate underside. Shivers.

"I don't think ..."

The first one is afraid. It's like an inverted Daphne and Apollo - an unlikely god , lust blind with these leaves in his eyes. The other one thinks he's some nymph, not lost in the forest.

(It isn't a forest)

"It's just here - look"

The first one squints at his watch, the dial now obscured by lichen.

This was once a building, now reclaimed. The walls breathe, secret names of trees carved there by fingernails, now bark. The other one flicks the seed of the stupid god against this wall, stands back gleeful as shoots sprout and engulf.

Or  hears him curse as brambles clutch at his shins as he clambers back to the car park  - late for something, chlorophyll stains on his knees.

Monday, 11 October 2010


It's a sharp thing, sweet and sharp though - like the brittle lemon sunlight as it pierces your chest and and acid rinses your eyes. You try and walk across the room as if someone hadn't seen your cavities as a reasonable place to store their cache of broken glass and snapped off blades.

Somewhere private to catalogue your trophies.

When your stomach decides to show you what it was hiding it's an unexpected revelation. Slumped on the toilet like this, you make some feeble attempt to snap open your thighs and direct this sulphur stream between them. Mostly it just splatters across your knees, hot and bright. or drips thickly from your hair - luminous, golden, the yolk of some immense egg. Scorches and scrapes the back of your throat - like swallowing lit matches.

Shake your hand and there's a vibrant arc across the wall.

Then you're coughing - scratch and ugh - try to stifle it because something threatens to give. Whatever maintains the difference between inside and out seems feeble and compromised. A delicate blind of parchment or preserved human skin drawn tight over a bright window and the light fizzes out - like a cigarette on the slick, wet skin of your belly.

You retch again. Something insignificant splashes on the floor. Resting your cheek there you notice a few strands of radiant yellow hair caught beneath your fingernails.