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.