Cut Here

February 24, 2012 at 12:06 am (Sea) (, , )

I woke up this morning with the thought already clear and distinct in my mind that all the love has gone out of what I do. When did you last call me Grey Eyed Athena? White Armed Athena? Titan-Born Athena? Why was I always Athena? Like anyone else I have been on the mouth-end of a phone, muttering and scrabbling for the innate truths of endurance to keep the recipient ear alive and well for another day. I am bad at it, and I sense the same desperation in your voice. I deliver every prompt perfectly – every ‘why should’ and ‘what’s the point’ and ‘how long’. You got nothing, Hun; I terminate the call. Go the beach again. Write about salt, grit and doubt.

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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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September 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm (Bodies, Female, Sea, Storm) (, , , )

With only the contours of your profile
as my guide to the horizon,
it was the dryness I could follow like a trail
once you had gone. And soon enough,
through the grit and stone,
I found myself in Istanbul
waiting to become a boy.

We never made the trade.
I felt misrepresented as the devil.
Never once did I seduce you into a pact,
or sell you a side of a two-faced coin.

With an unshakable feeling of mangy evil,
I pick at the cloth knotted around my wrist
worth what it was not because you wore it,
but because I thought to take it.
Which was how it started:

The trimmings of a heart, wooden dice,
honeyed sweets and pennies
all snuck sweetly into my pockets:
I’ll steal anything these days
– provided it doesn’t matter

Anything, now anything –
crouched over the stone basin, a seductive scent
of strength, sweat and latent power
lingers close beneath my scalp.
I take the scissors to my hair to assert myself
then remember that’s just what you did.

Orlando, one fragment of this burning world
will be at your hand.
You left it to blaze its trail, splinter bridges.
Cutting the rivers I remember how
Our desire resembled surgery,
grim incisions and rearrangements.
Here, Old as anything, a smoking ship
dived into the waves of your torso.

Maybe this is all just some kind of belated love letter, but I’m not sure any more. Somewhere not too far under my grey veins I still feel the heat I needed to tell this story.

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Mouth’s Cradle

May 4, 2010 at 7:08 pm (Bodies, House, Out, Rooms, Sea) (, , , )

I once bought a pair of statues at an antique market. Just under a foot high, rough clay, light and hollow. The man behind the counter was called Peter. He knew me, and he knew what had happen to my boy, so he sold me them cheap. The Lovers, he called them. They were meant to be placed standing close, as if they were about to link arms or embrace; and embrace they did in that narrow old box Peter packed them in, all cushioned with curls of polystyrene. When I got home I put them either side of the fireplace. The grate was tiny as it was, and those two dwarfed it. They were so shapeless and crude, I think they were meant to be naked but I couldn’t tell which one was the lady, if there even was a lady. I called them Pepper and Illinois just in case.


He wasn’t a homo or anything, he just really loved Owl. Cracking bloke, all belly laughs and corduroy, round tum resting on skinny frame. Owl was kind enough not to mention his children, so in return he would never bring up the small matter of the fleshy fly food pipe filler found one afternoon festering in the heat of the wall cavity.
He had sat there in the plaster and dust, his thumbs kneading the moist tissue with a vacant repulsion. They were lungs; they were very, very small. Almost pink in places, patches of yellow dirt and rot mottling the left side where they had lain slouched within the pipes. This man knows that his body is soft. If he could only get past those solid bones, perhaps he could rip past the sinew too with all his strength, and then grope gently at the malleable mess of organs in his cage. Soft, soft, liable to give under his own bones. He holds the lungs cold and firm.
There was the slighted squelch as the tissue gave way under his nervous thumbs, he looked at the dented lungs in disgust and sank further to the floor. He had no idea how they came to be pipe filler, but then there they were, all fleshy and fly food in the heat of the walls. Staring blankly into the iron-grey of the fireplace, he gets to thinking about Owl. Perhaps it is Owl who put them there, an Owl from more innocent, vigorous time. Both the lungs and the blue baby boy were fleshy little objects of a more innocent time.


I don’t know whether it was sleep or madness or Owl putting pills in my drink again, but something made me look down at my chest with this kind of thud-wet urgency and I see it split.
I tap his shoulder, “There is a big gash in my chest and it is making my shirt soggy.”
“To be all sliced is not funny. Some things are funny, but this isn’t, even though it doesn’t hurt at all or anything. It just isn’t.” I pause, “Is it perverse to respect someone who is hardly respectable?” I keep my voice flat so that he will never know. He doesn’t answer, so I spit at him, “You’re perverse.”
“You’re naive.”
“Do you ever miss that stupid mermaid fuck by the sea, where is she? Waiting on a girl with neither a brain between her gills nor a cunt between her thighs. The brevity of your hope will murder you, little Pussycat.” He spits onto the sand. Owl crouches, taking a creepy crawly from under a smooth grey pebble and handing the squirmer to me. This one was a little like a worm. A small, wet theory that squirmed within the ear. I knew that really it could never wiggle inside my head, or tell me things I did not like, but I always felt like it might. It could. Stupid wee beastie. The worm never even entered my ear, not really.
Owl turns his back to me. He is facing a strange building, part pier part electricity pylon. It sprawls up and out into the ocean, all limbs of metal bars and green-grey planks of wood splashing out into the salt water, each bough conjured with astonishing momentum from the mollusced underbelly.
“What have you done, Owl? What?” I stare in horror, one hand pressed against my ears where I can feel the unbearable volume of something soft and supple wriggle behind my eardrum.
Iron limbs tangle and twist further and further out in to sea. It comes from his grey eyes, it comes from the land to eat the water, its boats, coasts, fish and oil rigs. Pepper and Illinois sit together upon the stones; man-sized but still statue shaped. They gaze this metal monster with their blank clay faces filled with sorrow, limbs thin, entwined. I look up into their crude shapes and I know that without the moisture of the sea, the rivers, their hope for clay children will turn to dust. With one last slow, sorry turn of the head, Pepper gazes at me, Pepper runs into the foam between the iron legs of Owl’s creation. Pepper turns to mud. The vague socket-shapes of Illinois skull twist painfully, a rough pallet hand clasped to the block of the chest as if somewhere within the solid earth, something has fractured.


He washed his hands until the skin cracked, scrubbed at his nails until the cuticles peeled back red raw. He drenched his fingers in soaps and oils and saline solutions long after the sicksweet smell of rot had left them. Pussycat knows that there is something soft between nail, bone, tooth and gristle. And he stares into the mirror. He sees the same old Pussycat he saw yesterday.
Taps flow soft chalk water into porcelain Pussycat leans in mirror-close forehead to glass eyes shut lashes grate against cool freckled cheeks lips part pale blue breath mist onto faintly steamed glass and mould the word – “Peter” arm raised over head inner forearm pale and cold against mirror rests upon fevered forehead Pussycat hides under arm and brows elbow level with ear with and with worm and he sighs he calls again “Peter” and fuck knows why.

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The Same Deep Water As You

February 7, 2010 at 1:37 am (Sea) (, )

We find the hagstones amongst the poison salt-muck of the docks. The grime of this boat’s bed comes up in submerged, swampy clouds that lap perilously high at our green-blue rubber boots. He turns; a profile of stern, angular humour, pale eyes empty, smile like unfolding paper shapes. We plunge our numb, pink hands in past the plastic cider bottles, jellied weeds and grazing concrete to collect these stones, ashen and cold, a perfect hole through the centre. We jam them into the pockets of my thin summer dress as we walk. Dusk – the shoreline turns to wild, geometric shadow-shapes. Perhaps the whole dock is reflected in his
the curves of a lit horizon, the pier’s jagged outline. He takes the penknife (it is so small in his rough, bark worn hand. It is so cold) and makes an opening in the shell of barbed wire that protects the hollow underbelly of the pier. Inside the floor is old stone, glass and needle, a metal crater becomes our table. We are to take a hagstones between the thumb and forefinger, caress, wish, look through its empty stone eye, we are to see the future, we are not to believe a single movement of the ritual – but perhaps you saw. I threw every one out to sea.
Today we are fervently beautiful, and need no enchantment in our brief lives.

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Staring at the Sea, Staring at the Sand.

October 20, 2009 at 12:46 pm (Rooms, Sea) (, , , )

The point when you realise where you are. Sand covered, shivering, soaked to the knees and blue lipped. Your feet are cut, and you dread the next step. How far have you walked? The sudden blank sickness that makes you walk purpousfully away. Fearlessly walk towards nothing. But before you always stopped. Awoke from the trance, realised you were stupid. Possetions held you back before. Why do they suddenly not matter? And why now is your journy to “away” leading you straight into the freezing midnight sea? Why did its first cold bite mean nothing?
You were not content when you started that bee-line wander, but nor were you unhappy.

Why did you suddenly have to walk?

The sea slows before your eyes, freezes into crinkled paper. There is no choice. Just a thousand unvoiced, unformed alternatives. Your lips flake salt and the grit burns your thighs as you sink to the ground. Your clothes feel unclean, but can you bear to part with this last cold, heavy embrace? Someone must see you before you become an idea. You realise, bit by bit, that you are the absence, defined only in relation to others lusts and fears. Their forgotton thoughts become death sentences.
A sudden stillness. The sea laps, the wind burns in whips. But you are still. You feel yourself hot, a furious blush burns your cheeks. The bones are dead still. Stagger up, the waves cling and tug . Step by sodden step, how could you run? Run back to a void with four walls, a cornered life sentence to gaze eye to black eye with a stranger. To vainly numb your hunger for fire with a candle. Grinning, lungs shake to sickness with laughter. Your skin and hair rain sand onto the sheets and you shake yourself onto this second sea bed.

Awake in the gathering sun, stiff from salted hair to blue nailed feet.

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