Friday, 24 June 2011

A Hoof of Horses

    "I can't because I have no hands"

He folds fingers inside, flaps sleeves uselessly in front of his face.


No-one sees. It's almost Christmas. I'm making gift horses, little red horses, a whole -

    "What's the collective noun for horses?"

He says, fluttering his fake stumps at me. But I'm not making them now, anyway.

    "Shut the fuck up"

Shan walks this certain distance apart, looking professional, or disdainful.  I smile at him, because he hates that.


he mutters, turning away, then:

    "Fucking hoof - unbelievable"

Barely audible. I can see he spoke from the mist rising mostly.

The house is next to us, we keep walking like we haven't noticed it. Don't look at the house. I'm touching the things in my pocket. Folded knife, cigarette papers, inhaler, half-made horses.

"I'll do it"

They stop and look at me, both of them. I can't read faces that well.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Your shirt burned perpetual stripes on my retina
so now with forced closed eyes I track your movement 
not by the sticky braille of skin at my fingertips but
this dying radiation your luminosity there sears through
more porous green gets contained by the greater
density of black and through blind palms I see your marks

Friday, 27 May 2011

Successful Relationships are Built from a Shared Political Consciousness

03:47: I wake you up and feed you 70cl of Tesco Value Vodka through a plastic bag and nozzle originally intended for cake decorating. You say: "I thought we were boycotting Tesco's?" and throw up on my laptop.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


One of them makes the chalk outline of a deck there on the concrete floor.

Another sits on this deck scratching absently at two angry circles, red anklets, loops, just above the jut of bone. The deeper of the two seeps something clearish, sticky, where nails disrupt the crusted surface. Shrugs: scurvy or something."Did we forget to bring limes?"

    "Leave it alone" growls the one holding the chalk, the boatwright, unconvincingly.
    " It itches though" and he spits on a finger, seals the wound with glisten, a snail or salt track.

One more of them - forget this one now. It's not like he can do anything except breathe these almost imperceptable and too intermittant wet half-breaths. Put two fingers to the throat occasionally, if you remember. It's okay.

He drops the chalk: " Move him, he's dying on the fucking sail"

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Double Date #2

    When you tell him to stop touching you he doesn't. He twists an earring in it's hole, a tiny blue lightening bolt made of perspex. Thomas cut it for you the last day he worked in the school and had access to this kind of machinery. You slap his hand away as sober creeps here at the softened edges of things. Sober hurts and aches places you weren't sure existed. Like this bus itches; is somehow both too hot and too cold.

    He wants to fight, links fingers, stretches them above his head and checks the mirrored effect in the window, darkening now. This bus fills, moves only slightly.
    "Is he hot?" he watches his lips' double in the window. You look too until your eyes meet there, blurred and outside. You shrug trying to scratch between shoulder blades. It isn't the right place.
    "I - dunno - I hadn't thought about it"
    "Why not?"
You shrug again, without the scratch.
    "I mean - for fucks sake" half stands, leans over you.
    "Stop speaking" you say, very quiet and he laughs, lifts the edge of his shirt, looks at his stomach.

    You close your eyes and dream, the flimsy outlines of the bus concertina fold beneath the pressure of the truck that ploughs into it's side. We all die horribly, it's for the best really.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

I watch him watching me. My watching is this sly, furtive thing. His watching has complete faith in human invisibility.
I can see you so much
Everything here wears a filter of sick grey, especially the yellow walls of my room:
("Look, your very own room.")
But some things glow, and they stare at me like I can't see them.
"Idiot" I snort. I can't believe my luck.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Bad Hair

    I dream this again: a slight scratch of cough, something discreet-ish, behind a napkin. It's a restaurant, I don't know which one. I mean, I don't know if it's a restaurant that exists outside of this dream. It seems really expensive. I cough again and it's like - inhaling the fumes from dry frying chillies or burning tyres. My eyes water and it's becoming embarrassing,even though I know it's a dream. K's sister pats me on the shoulder reassuringly.
    I can feel something lodged in my throat, or just beyond my throat and this thing needs to go somewhere, up or down. I push two fingers as far inside my neck as I can and this makes me retch fruitlessly a couple of times. The third time the tips of my fingers brush against this thing, this foreign object or it's tail at least. I try to grasp it between the two fingers, make this confined scissor motion, but that feels freaky and kind of sexual. It's useless anyway, I can't get a hold so I try to force it further up with these rhythmic muscle spasms. Whoa, I'm thinking, this is some heavy psychoanalytically significant kind of dream, isn't it? Now it's in a place where I can fix this tail-like wisp between the fingers enough to start pulling and it feels huge. Because it's a dream I'm expecting some real Gothic monstrosity - a decaying rat, a very deformed foetus - but it's just like, hair matted together with some gooey grey substance. Like the stuff you have to pull out of a plug hole when it gets blocked. Yeah, kind of gross, but not that scary. I keep pulling and it's wrapped around a bunch of complicated flesh stuff that I guess are my internal organs, or some of them. It's a sizable, messed up pile on the restaurant floor and I feel much better, kind of light and empty, with a sense of mission accomplished.
    I wake up then and notice I've thrown up on the floor next to the mattress and a little over my right arm. I take my t-shirt off and use it like a wash cloth. Then I face the other way and go back to sleep pretty swiftly. I don't dream anything else, or if I do, I don't remember it.

    When I wake up again I'm thirsty and my throat hurts some. I drink three glasses of water from the tap. The place where my tooth was aches from the cold of it, it's like a phantom sensitive tooth. The cats sniff at the soiled shirt and the patch of whatever soaked into the carpet. I wet the shirt and rub at it half-heartedly, blot it with a magazine. They weave around kind of menacing with their tails straight up in the air, the tips twitch like signals. I tip something foul that's their regular breakfast into their bowls, before things get nasty. They're pleased enough, I guess. I pull on someones hoody I find on the back of a chair. It's white and a little too tight across the shoulders, short on my arms. I'm thinking: I probably should have washed or something, before wearing someone else's clothing. I'm thinking: this is an uncharacteristically impolite action. I sniff my arm, but it just smells bland and slightly unfamiliar. My housemate stumbles into the kitchen, bleary and morning-like, starts making coffee. She says "You look rough" I can't see myself but I explain it's because my things are white and ill-fitting, it makes me look like a patient, or a jumble-sale ghost. She frowns, holding the  coffee pot between us defensively. "Go back to bed" she says. But instead I watch these heat resonance cameras tracking the captive animals.Sip coffee while giraffes glow in patches, rhinoceros horns register blue and cold.
    Smoke two cigarettes laid flat back down on the table outside. The sky is this unreal thing, wide, colourless and empty. I fall asleep as two magpies try and rip the felt from the roof of a shed.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Road Safety

    We're standing on the kerb just here and we're waiting, a lot of waiting. Step backwards, it's a foolish long time. He takes my hand and I'm thinking of instruction: my school,my babka too.But mostly my school.
    A row of seven year olds wearing reflective tabards, too close or something.
    "Not so near the edge" she says:
    "Mischa! Aisha! Pay attention!"
We could be best friends because our names rhyme. We look at her with these wide and liquid eyes.We are the very good children. Cuckoos, changelings that dream in sugar highs and world domination.What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Gets written across a white board in green ink.Taller, she writes in her book, inscrutably.
    Marcus is this solid kid, all pink and yellow. Aisha and I squat over heating pipes lunchtimes, behind screens of coats, plotting elaborate schemes for his demise. We map them out with minute, closely detailed comic strip drawings. We say nothing. We stand tight close behind him, his hair smells of milk sugar. Aisha trembles with possibilities, squeezing my fingers until the veins buzz. Anticipation hits me very hard in the bladder. He could be mangled beneath wheels, spread out like melted marshmallow across the tarmac.He really could.
    Crossing this road here seems equally momentous. Our main obstacle the lack of actual traffic because cars are too stealthy. Stop. Listen. Look left, look right.Wait for the cars to pass. Cross at a steady pace. I keep forgetting how to breathe and in the centre of our palms that meet we cradle two bee stings like stigmata. His is real, mine is a mirage. I want to check that mine is still imaginary but I'm afraid to let go.
    Five minutes later we're still waiting. Ten minutes? I don't know, time curves in on itself. A white BMW shimmers in the sun.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


Something gets pulled across the floor. It's not that heavy, but makes these little mews of complaint.
an arm, rolled over and trapped beneath at this wrong angle rolled over and snapped like a twig on the forest floor.
not a sharp, crisp, clean snap
like the floor of the forest is damp and spongy moss saturated
lush and vegetable
a green stick soft wet gurgle of a break

Only it isn't a forest, or a branch

the fingers so close to my eyelids I can decipher the spider sprawl signals creep across the knuckles

The sounds have stopped.

I stretch, shift leaves and debris, emerge and touch the very end of fingers this kiss of tips soft, fleeting, stop.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Double Date

"What are you?" stupidly, slowly.I mean this: "What are you doing?" What were you doing? Looking at my hand, like it might be written there. Making something; Coffee? Tea?  Sigh again, or for the first time. Sighs splits crashes sits

I have a message,it says: "What should I wear?" So I close my eyes and I make this very elaborate and sarcastic reply but - Ah ( it's a yawn, not a sigh) I drop my phone and it skitters beneath the counter. One of the cats looks at it, looks at me, looks at it. my hands make these trails, delightful and I conduct the cat and mouse scenario. I mean phone, cat and phone, spider phone cat mouse, whatever.What else? Dust, baskets of vegetables and spices. I burrow some more. Paper shed garlic skin cat-trapped now, beneath her paw.The kitchen floor sticks to my cheek.

"What are you doing Mischa?"(That's not me)Someone else. I'm armpit deep in this miniature world."Cleaning?" Shrugs all round. They look like giants to me. "You look OK from here" "OK?" 'OK' is this insulting thing, like 'fine' as in "You look fine" "It all depends where you put the stress" He regards something about his person and I trap his foot beneath my paw.Snigger: "Luce, your name is ridiculously symbolic" I speak maybe a third of the words that form in my head. This is how I write too.

Smoking desperately at the bus-stop here. I can't make the cigarettes hold together, couldn't make them. My fingers are ash, soft, useless curds of it. He does it for me, planted between my legs. Hectic red cheeks and glowing, definitely, in the gloom. These narrow, deft fingers rifle through papers, tobacco, wipe something from my nose all beauty and productivity. He lights it in his own mouth, places it in mine."Thank you" I say, or try to.

The whiskey is all peat and ancient leathery bodies, the smoke like a funeral pyre. My mouth full of death-tinged water; a prelude to vomitting and I spit and laugh this "I'm like - goth-mashed  - Edgar Allan - fucking - Poe" He's about seven, en route to a birthday tea. Let's sleep on the bus, when it comes.

In the hallway he says: "My dad knows this guy" and screws up his nose. A small voice in my head says "Run away, Run away" like I'm Jean Rhys now, or something.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Project 8

 He isn't that human.The design flaws are all absent, it's unnerving but pretty hot. Like, fucking with something designed to your precise specifications; some kind of high spec Love Doll, the kind that got animated by a very bored and evil god.

I'm trying to impress this maverick film-maker by grinding some telegraph wire. It's really high up, thirty feet or so. I fall off a lot and splutter a mess of bright blood, an arc across the concrete. It leaves me pristine and unmarked, every time. Pretty soon the school-yard looks like the floor of an abattoir, but I've got nothing to show for it.

He is naked on his hands and knees on some kind of occasional table. He's trying to look at the screen through his legs. The table protests, like it would prefer to hold an inkstand or a small bowl of cherries.

"You're so shit at this" He lifts his head and smiles, like my lack of skill is very pleasing.

My refusal to sustain visible injury is becoming annoying, plus the smoking with no hands is making my eyes water. I shrug, like my lack of skill is only in his mind and I'm playing like this intentionally. He buys it, kind of. Looks through his legs again then grimaces at me.

"Oh man - you're fucking yourself up on purpose"

I should have some kind of graze, at least. A bandage? I spit out the cigarette and tell him this. On the screen, I look pretty much like him.

Friday, 4 February 2011


Speak platitudes like: enough is enough, or
If you put one chair on top of another chair then it's inevitably not stable.
It isn't necessary, you don't need to reach that.
But you hold me on the kitchen floor in the light from the refrigerator when I cry because I can't stem the streams of salt pouring from my fingertips. Not: there is no salt, how could there be? More, it doesn't matter, we have plenty. Don't cry, we can sweep it up later.
When you speak on the phone to the mother of your children I am there beside you taping paper bags over my hands.
Good idea, you mouth.

Monday, 31 January 2011


We take turns trying to slide for a while. A flattened cardboard box and the steepish sides of a disused railway embankment, it's pretty shit. There are brambles and clumps of razor sharp grass that impede any smooth descent, too firm rooted to give up when we kick at them with this useless footwear - canvas or sandals or something. So we scramble up there and start tearing at them with our hands.

It's stupid difficult; bare, slick hands slip and get ripped up. The earth appearing is orange dust and sticks strongest in the thorn welts. Our hands and arms mirror the emerging channel cutting through the undergrowth, or multiply it, in miniature. Maybe we spit on these little wounds, like our saliva holds magical healing properties, but we're silent and stoical and the air is thick and weighted.

When this kid, Jonathan, let's out some high, unearthly noise - like a rabbit in the jaws of a stoat - it's a minor annoyance. He rolls on the ground, clutching his wrist and we make some mental note not to play with him again. Until we see the snakes body desperately trying to vanish beneath the depleted covering - then -  wow -  that's pretty glamorous.There's this one venomous creature here, it's kind of shy and retiring and getting one to put it's teeth in you would be a very illusive quest, but there's Jonathan with these perfect baby vampire punctures and a fast moving red stain. We coo over it for a while - noises of concern and admiration with a firm underlay of envy.

"Should we - suck out the poison?"

Someone asks, hesitant but with enthusiasm. Nobody knows. Jonathan looks spaced out now, greying and clammy, so we hold these quick elections and the sturdiest of us, plus the one with the most to lose if Jonathan's adventure proves fatal start to drag him over the field towards his house.

We beat around the brambles with sticks for a while, trying to flush out the assailant. Give up pretty quickly then half-heartedly reap the rewards of our former labour. The potential excitement of the slide is muted by the alluring prospect of assault by a kind of deadly creature.

"He won't die"  one of us mutters, half regretfully and we slope off home to get berated for the state of our clothes and skin and to mention nothing about snakes or bites to whatever adults are doing this berating.

Saturday, 22 January 2011


Here he is: something found, small, insignificant. Something smudged to the point of illegibility.

Here folded between the barrels of salt fish, sleeping sort of, almost.

The deck smells of blood, piss, come. Maybe it's the fish, or the remains of a shower curtain - or whatever.

("Smile for the camera")

"It's too – fucking - small"

This is him: again.
Not for long, hopefully.

He could sleep forever here, with some help.

Slapping his cheek, insistently, repeatedly.

Hey, hey

Slapping his cheek, then here, the crook of his arm, tapping for a vein.

Now he smiles, full of bliss.

Smudge him out.

Beneath this shower curtain the sea, beneath that the universe;

hums  whispers
sweet  nothing

"                   "

Whatever gets put through his veins,(FUCK) engenders some stupidly dramatic revival - a resurrection - pulling him by the hair from the sofa, to the floor.

There's a storm maybe, he doesn't remember - just the cold shock of the water - being pushed, by the sea, onto this shore.

He is furled in this neat ball, he is all survival instinct.

Retching, choking, sea water and bright.


(shakes head repeatedly)

Here he is.


Trying to uncurl him. His toes, inside his shoes, more or less delicately.
Coughing still, blinking,
holds up one hand. It's a really beautiful hand.                                                            STOP

"Please? Just give me a minute, OK?"

 He's talking to a man in a tone reassuring, but firm, close by the man's ear.
It's just a hum, but he can hear everything.

This man listens to him, but looks at him                                                                   Nice

He looks not at the man, but at the ruins of starfish, blue, once yellow maybe orange? Obliterated by - ? Ugh - something. But still recognisable as starfish. Sort of.

He is walking unsteady across the beach, away from the water.

 Looks at the man's cock, first, like it's some victim of a terrible accident, then with the realisation it's wearing a condom the colour of necrosis.
And then laughing because it's funny and because there is nothing: a sweet void where there is supposed to be definition. A gap where the delineation of his beauty and desirability was supposed to be written.

The man shoves two, maybe three - fingers inside him, kind of unceremoniously, now that he's there.

He rests his cheek on the sorry starfish, says:

"I want a cigarette" to no-one in particular.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


"It's a gift"

I feel like Fagin, it's cool. This one is so much brighter. He drops something on the bed and I don't look at it until much later.

"Are you OK?"

I'm always OK. There is a really profound hole in my gum, where that tooth was. My tongue is fascinated by it. It's like the part of the hole my tongue can access is only the tip of some mythical iceberg. Beyond this shallow entrance is some unknowable cavern of infinite proportion. When I open my mouth very wide in front of the mirror I feel faint with possibility.

He's still there, it doesn't seem right.

"You probably shouldn't use it. It's just a gesture"

"So what should I do with it?"

He shrugs, looks out of the window. I still feel like Fagin. Dream briefly about being hung. I mean hanged. I don't know what I mean.

He says: "Should I make you some tea?" and it's terrifying.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


You are talking of these cities, lost underwater,
Your eyes are marsh lights, my north stars, corpse candles
I know a definitive cure for hiccups: you, laughing as I miss the bed
Wrecker, aleya - I'm looking for buried - fucking - treasure.
Throwing up viscous mud into a plastic bag.
Some broken off hand, glorious
Each finger, burning, spits tallow splutters furious
and is finally extinguished, swallowed.
You are prising my lips apart, iridescent fish-scales beneath your nails
Packing magnesium beneath my tongue.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011


We climb the tallest stone.
It's very cold (my gloves have no fingers)
It's very cold and very quiet. Light too, the snow an effective reflector. There's the sheep, sleeping I think, shoved up close against the stones, the roots of a tree.

In the roof of the tall stone is a shallow pit. CC crouches there - silver and gold,wet shoes. He fills the hole with a handful of stuff from his pocket. Makes a pile of feathers, black thread and shreds of paper. Tight letters, kind of visible.

"Blood or cum?"

and I laugh because the temperature makes it a no-brainer. He smiles, shrugs. My fingers are too numb to open my knife so I tear at my bottom lip with my teeth, already scabbed and split some, ever resourceful. Drool some pinkish saliva onto his soon to be pyre. Pretty meagre -

"Uh - sorry"

He squints at it, shrugs again.

"It's - symbolic I guess? Not like - a chemical reaction"

- but looks unimpressed all the same. He wobbles precariously as he shifts to fish out the lighter. A blurry picture of a demure Vietnamese girl dressed in a smart blouse. Once, when you twisted it one way or the other, the shirt kind of dissolved to reveal some kind of utilitarian underwear. Now she remains resolutely buttoned up but with a ghostly bra permanently superimposed on the outside - like a prim superhero.

He touches the flame to the tiny hearth and it flames instant and bright. A kind of brittle greenish fire. We warm our numb fingers at it.

"Happy birthday" I whisper, and he smiles.