I inhale

September 12, 2013 at 11:34 am (Bodies, Halves, misogyny, poem, The Real) (, , , , , , , , )

I found Cissy wrapped up in a grubby paisley throw upon the riverside where I knew it was her before unrolling from all that matted red hair out the top it was luminous and partdreaded but perhaps would coil if brushed it lay on the dusty sunroasted asphalt clean somehow protruding bodiless from the O opening of greenblue weave I knew it was her before I rolled her and the face was when it came pale and unfamiliar though fitting  and the sight of my own sore hands on and rolling out the bluegreen cloth awoke me in some sense of myself as the centre of a tableau I was my own audience to and so she was unwound at the riverside which suggested drowning but her lips pink and dry and asking for I’m sure everything she eventually got as I thought cruelly my becoming aware of her discovery at all before here in venom though lucid I am paralysed I am  always paralysed for a moment upon revelation just as on waking the exception being so distinct from the rule I leap out of bed sometimes my chest throbbing onto the river bed perhaps lay her to rest either in before or since the rescue which itself was staged by someone else her counterpart my carer though a creation as much as any old thing I can think before I see but her is and that unrolling body tumbles about the bleengrue teardrops the wrists leaping over each other and clatter on her thin bones her body unfolded itself to me as she unfolded herself at my push a mile or two from gruebleen sea where she could have gone to drown it was not me for though I have the face in mind and the face was hers I had never seen it once before for as they say the brain will not conjure faces of its own accord but can so make ex nihilo the sensation of  familiarity that old measure of being what well we miss when pointedly in our present when déjà vu strikes stronger than any fixed memory the brush creaking through her knotted hair musksmell of synthetic bristles head bobbing back as though on a spring the wrists again now the wrists clattering over a broken neck almost bruiseless and quite peaceful my own hands in my peripheral growing numbish as I take the formality of her pulse two hunks of meat pressing into each other as the breeze dies down to tepid stillness like any sealed room the mouth lolling open in the dead air as my own breath tugs at diaphragm spasmodic I reverse the riverflow and drift backwards into my own blackness to see first the beginning.

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Venus De Milo

January 31, 2013 at 5:36 pm (Bodies, For Larks, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

The feet had to go first. Or perhaps the anus, so she could exit this world by the way she entered it: embryonic, gut first. Didn’t matter which, she told him – she was a breech birth. He had forgotten their penknife, ‘ just a zippo and some keys’, he told her fumbling through coat pocket. Giggling now ‘Oh-don’t-you-fuss’ – he would make a fine job of it, she was sure that he would make a fine job of it. ‘Eyeballs can boil, you know’  suggestive. Her nodding, ‘lovely’. She laid out the plastic sheets while he dug around his satchel for the marigolds, blowing each into a bulbous little salute before donning. How he loved her.

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The Colour, That Colour

January 20, 2013 at 8:47 pm (Bodies, circus, Home, Out) (, , , )

That month, crisp
on evening of alarming skies,
some awesome shade (or other).
The iced grass crossroads of King Mab
barking orders
to stop.
He did now.

With home gone

he did now spit fire.
He did now juggle that knife;
learned there was no trick to it,
you just did it without dropping the blade,
swallowed the fire and winced
through the blisters. Bubbled
up throat.

Now he did feel that sharp
pick adrenaline fueling his shudder as he knew
by the way someone stood
that they meant for their next word to be brutal.

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Uses for Electrical Tape

October 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm (Bodies, poem, Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Bookspines rebound, latticed, black with it.
When sole of your boots came loose
you taped the mouth closed.

Repossessed jars labelled, white ink on vinyl:
buttons, grain, safety pins.

A violin, the new polished neck marked while
her fingers found their place. And those finger tips
wound up in tape as she played,
preventing the blisters.
she always made a terrible sound.

You marked the floorboards with the parameters of your dance,
perforated black lines.
She attended to the stereo wires
as the music started to crack. Affixed, twisted back in
on themselves; wringing out another year of sound.

It kept her in place
where it held that skin indented
like marzipan –
Your wrist bone pressed into hers, tape looped
in a figure of eight. An infinite.

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Some Poems – Eris and Dionysus

June 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm (Bodies, Female, Halves) (, , )


You touch the edges of my jaw
and I wonder if you could pull me out,
out of the disorder;

out of the haze and lifting
my face to yours –

clarity –

[Go hunting,
Take the heart of some small
something between your teeth]

and there is this delicate
tranquillity in seeing
the jagged edges and crazy fog clear, but
I hope you let go.


My spirit soars,
as the skin flays to nothing
in bliss
it blackens.

I am pulling myself apart
with this Dionysus
while my body disintegrates –
a flaming husk with a single living core

Death is imminent,
but for now,
I have nothing to fear-

everything to love.
As flesh and bone fall away,
my spirit soars.

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Moments in the life of Arthur Sinclair

February 25, 2012 at 4:47 pm (Bodies, Halves) (, , , )

I first met Arthur Sinclair when I was fifteen years old. It was summer, but he wore shirtsleeves despite the casual sensibilities of the Spooky kids he surrounded himself with. His cuffs were tight, his shirt collar buttoned his Adam’s apple. He still wore prosthetic lips and a thick layer of pinkish beige cover up over his hands and face, but I didn’t know it at the time. I thought he looked ill and waxy in the heat, the beige paint congealing into little beads of sweat-like moisture on his brow. I knelt on the grass next to him, three cones of ice-cream in each hand, melting in crisscrossing streaks of stickiness past my wrist. I turn my face towards my elbow to lick my arm clean, a scoop of ice-cream drops on the grass with a squelch. The boys in the circle cheer, the girls titter, I blush good-humouredly, and Arthur Sinclair forces a smile; a speck has landed on his starched shirt.

His accent is odd. English speakers think he sounds Dutch; our friends from the Netherlands think he sounds Portuguese. He learns languages like most people whistle tunes. He copies, perfectly, and later comes to understand. On the planet Juvisia they have no language barriers; anyone can come to understand anyone else. They are all talented in that regard, but Arthur Sinclair is gifted. They consume liquid infrequently. They do not sleep, but they rest three times a day for two hours at a time. They cannot ingest protein. They are almost completely unable to sense temperature. They have four sexes. Our binary mating system shocks Arthur Sinclair. Orphans are unheard of on Juvisia.

Six years later Arthur Sinclair is holding my left wrist, palm upwards, and telling me lots of interesting things about blood vessels. He doesn’t wear makeup or prosthetics anymore; the presence of Juvisians on Earth has become widely acknowledged and they are now welcome in most of Europe. His skin is teal, his lips are wire thin. Human blood vessels are intriguing, he tells me. They are linier and blossoming in design. It’s a wonder that humans can function with a system so disorganised. The capillaries of the Juvisians are arranged in perfectly structured lines of little dots, each about the size of a full stop, showing on the surface of the skin with a slight purple hue. It makes them look speckled, especially in the heat. Arthur Sinclair tries to explain how they carry nutrients to the skin, but he’s worse at biology than I am. He ends up striking my wrists together in mock frustration and we laugh.

I am sick of people asking us how we make love. We make the best of what we have to work with. How did a green man get a job with the Translation Services Agency? How do we sleep and eat together? Sometimes I sulk when we have parties and lock myself in our room. Arthur brings me food and tells me how everyone is having a great time – they will be talking about our party for weeks. It’d be a shame for you to miss it, but I’ll leave you alone if you want. I hear him downstairs shouting and chuckling. He’s better at being a person than I am. I pout.

The doctors tell me that Arthur Sinclair isn’t really dead. He isn’t really alive, he isn’t really in a coma, or brain-damaged or catatonic. He isn’t really anything. But I should not expect him to regain true consciousness. He isn’t pale, if anything the teal of his skin is a little saturated. His flesh is neither cold nor warm.

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Kitchen (I Like)

June 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm (Bodies, Costume, House, Observations) (, , , )

They keep a ball gag in her mouth. Her lips stretch, they’re cracked, as dry and corrugated as the zip of the tight rubber mask. And what’s more, she isn’t what she used to be (someone, somewhere, has the tapes and letters to prove it). For over eight months Bonzo has pushed her sprawling legs out of the way of the fridge, which she is tied to by a thick steel chain, wrapped three times around the cold white box. Perhaps it’s attached to her rubber body suit, perhaps she’s just draped in the chain, weighed down. The landlord explained; a bowl of water on Mondays and Thursdays, dry cereals or porridge on Sundays. Liz took the bins and Bonzo took the gimp. That was to his liking, the gimp didn’t smell quite so bad.

Neil dropped by one sharp April afternoon. Quiet shirt, jeans, radiant amiability, notoriously pleasant. Universally considered sound, recipient of a diverse range of sincere demi-greeting nods. He takes a two beers from the fridge and turns to Bonzo, and with a jaunty smile asks, “Why have you just, you know, got-a-gimp?”

He’s the sort of man who calls a spade a spade. Or a shovel, at a push. Bonzo stares first at him, and then the gimp. The well-meaning words wither in the silence. Neil continues to smile, a veteran of awkward silences, “Like, how some people just have a pool table, you and Liz have a gimp. Why a gimp?”

“She isn’t a gimp, we’re not perverts” sighs Bonzo, “she just came with the house. Come to think of it, she might not even be a she. Those tits could be part of the costume, I never thought to check. It’s in the contract, all I have to do is leave water out for her. It. Her. It.”

“Why dont you check? The rubber’s skin tight, you could have a quick peak between the legs and get some idea of it”

“It always has to be sexual with you,” spits Bonzo defensively,”everything has to be a little bit sordid. So there’s a person in black rubber chained to my fridge and suddenly I ought to be prising it’s legs open and peeping at its genitals like some kind of rapist!”

Neil sniggers apologetically and opens first Bonzo’s beer, then his own.  “Do you ever take the gag out?”

“No” Bonzo exclaims, deeply embarrassed, “I told you, I don’t touch her. Just put out the food and water in a bowl”

“But its arms are chained. Even if it could crouch down low enough to drink in that suit it couldn’t get the gag out.”

Bonzo is silent, taking a great interest in cleaning his nails. With his nails. Transferring the dirt from one to the other.”Look, you’re making me all cross now. Stop asking questions about it. I don’t know, nor would I care to.  I just put the bowls out, it’s in the contract. That’s fine.”

“You always make such a thing out of anything that isn’t the norm. When we were small you were the same. You always had to put my scardox aliens in the deskdraw because they’d ‘wobble at you’, and you made me take that Ziggy Stardust poster down because Bowie’s eyes freaked you out. I loved that poster, but you made me take it down, because you fixate on tiny insignificant things until they become things, things which I love, but you can’t stand”

“So you ‘love’ having a gimp?”

“Yes! No! it isn’t a gimp but no, what I love having a roof over my head, which I wouldn’t if the landlord found out that his” he pauses “fridge-person was gone. Or dead or something.”

The hum of the fridge seems raw and intrusive now. Bonzo sulks into his bottle waiting for Neil to reproach him, admit that he was being silly, ask them to forget it and chill. But Neil just looks calmly out the window, somehow enjoying the green-grey view of mossy concrete. Fuck Neil, right? The silence (or hum) could go on forever for all Bonzo cares.

Eleven O’ clock, Monday. Bonzo and Liz share an early breakfast. At the head of the table Bonzo can see the knee of the gimp peeking around the fridge, shiny and black. ‘Are circumstances perpetually against me?’ He wonders, ‘Or am I just a naturally uncomfortable person.’

Something in him cracks after a minute or two eyeing the jet black shine of the gimp

“I want to swap. I’ll do bins if you feed the gimp” She shrugs staring into her tea wearily. “What do you think of it all, Liz? What did our landlord mean by chaining a gimp to our fridge?” Bonzo looks all wide eyed at Liz, who sits silently for a moment with her index finger pressed to her brow. She speaks.

“In sixth form my English teacher told us that we could do our end of term project on whatever book we wanted. I chose Watership Down, I loved the film. But a week or so in I ran into a problem, Watership Down isn’t about anything. Well, it’s about a group of rabbits trying to get from one place to another, but that’s it. I was shocked. I scrutinised it for days, perhaps it was about the dangers of police state, or our views on patriotism, or our relationship with the laws of nature. Nothing came. Watership Down is about how crap it can be to be a rabbit. No more, no less.”

“So our gimp,” Bonzo’s brow furrows in concentration, “is a rabbit?”

“Not quite,” says Liz, smiling slightly, “our gimp is just a gimp chained to a fridge. Which means that we have a gimp. Chained to our fridge.”

“Fuck you, Neil” Bonzo mumbles into his cereal. “I feel like a pervert.”


“Watership Down is about how crap it can be to be a rabbit. No more, no less.”

“So our gimp,” Bonzo’s brow furrows in concentration, “is a rabbit?”

“Yes.” Liz smiles.

And they all lived happily ever after.

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Denying the Correlative

March 11, 2011 at 11:12 pm (Art, Bodies, Costume, Halves, Rooms) (, , )

He is standing poised perfect on the brink of the stage. I want to scream, feel the dust at the back of my throat. It billows towards the stalls, balconies and boxes like a smoke. We know that it will take him into the footlights, the glare. Lead powder cakes his face in poisons, the narrow dress stretched across his shoulders. I realise it is the emerald velvet he always begged me to wear. Of course, that man is just a mass of flesh and splintered bone, but he asked for that and relished it. How degrading, abandoning us for the whole world. How could he leave us for a great hunk of wood and stone? I can’t compete with that, with all the water. And in the world this tiny room, reeking of sweat and plush. The golden bangles at his wrists clink and clamour as he raises his arms and lets his chest bask in a ghost applause. “All the world is a stage”, you once reminded me. And you are so close to the edge.

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90° of Square

January 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm (Art, Bodies, The Real) (, , )

Like anyone, I feel miserable. But even at my most melancholy I dread death. The rational tells me that there is quite literally nothing to fear, but my imagination wont leave the idea of some kind of post-existence alone. Maybe hell, or more likely my last moment of pain ringing out the the eternity of my perceived ‘forever’. Idiotic. Post-existence, by its very definition, can’t exist. The feeling I have when occasionally taken over by inexplicable misery reminds me of Lacan’s version of the Death Drive – a desire to return to an inorganic state. I take this literally.

For some reason I always wish I were a little square of wood. Six inches each side (this is important), and three inches in depth. Probably oak, although it really does not matter much, I could be beech, pine or mahogany. Not that I would notice. I’d have a mother, a tree of some kind, and a father, a craftsman, builder or artisan, whom I would never know. Of course, I wouldn’t know much at all, though at this moment I feel compelled to tart the square up with personification. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the whole point is that this little square of wood would be concious of nothing. Though for my own comfort presently, as a thinking thing, I picture the wood as being something perfect and beautiful in its simplicity, rather like the stone crafted hunting weapons of pre-historic homosapiens. Many of these tools are said to be either too big, small or heavy for practical use. It follows that, perhaps, they were the first art; thoroughly pointless objects worshipped for their skill, precision and aesthetic curiosities.

But why, even now, do I crave the notion that my inorganic state would be in some way adored, and yet I feel the realities of that love? A matter if responsibility, perhaps? How cowardly. Or worse, perhaps I am simply idle. Maybe that too is noble in some way. After all, isn’t all true art useless?

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October 3, 2010 at 9:29 pm (Bodies, Sea, The Real) (, , )

His skin clung to his skull
like wax, clutching the earth,
as the ink curled into whispers
and grand paper ideas.
The electric light lay dormant,
for drama’s sake, and his eyelids
guttered with the candle.

Dancers flicker behind his eyes.
the women wear snakeskin slippers,
and the men nothing.
They drink with hot, red mouths
from an unnameable, monstrous tankard,
but his lips forget how to sip.

He awoke, as always,
with his back to the cold,
Rough rock,
With sea salt in his eyes.

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