See you in the spring.
love J x
See you in the spring.
love J x
She keeps me safe in the terrible places. Partly because of her spirit and partly because of the knife jammed into the belt of her jeans; the same cold blade that keeps her grouchy for the first half hour of every meeting until it has met her skin temperature.
We walk down sloganed spray-painted alleyways where rapists fear to prowl, and we stand at the apex between modernity and decay, bordered by a mist that permanently laps across this town like dying tides. On her haunches, wild hair flecked by raindrops and dust, she kisses the nettles flinging themselves desperately out of the concrete until her tongue is blistered white like mould on bread. Planting a triumphant foot on the burned out remains of an old car, we stare down this brick tunnel towards a fetid beige light that hides the brown blood seeping from the disused and dead structures beyond. The only life around here are the black specks that dance around the sickly yellow of streetlights, and the shine in her eyes when there is mischief to be had.
She kisses me, and as her ruined tongue laps around mine I feel the stings still planted in her own. Even as I think about releasing, the warmth around my hips, my chest and my legs draws me in, and just in case I have second thoughts she clamps a hand in the small of my back and presses me closer. As we kiss the tapping grows louder, and soon heavy drops of iron rain, moving on the shoulders of the perpetual miasma, are pounding down on our eyelids.
I want her and I am having her, but I know that I can’t. This is not a chapter reading but a glance at the cover. Releasing herself from me she takes steps backwards, her arms raised out. I feel something warm on my skin and then a sharp itch – she’s slid the knife inside my jeans and left a thin laceration down one buttock. I look left and then right down the alley – empty except for the loud nothingness – as she presses her back against the wall.
The rain gets heavier and behind me, through a chain link fence and a tangle of confused dead trees, the town steams and broils in protest. There are no colours except yellows and browns – even the blackest night skies are coloured in a film of grime. I can smell sulphur and feel the heat through my shoes, as I lick the corners of my mouth and taste the poisons.
She’s against the wall, spread like a crucifix, her fingers splayed out and head thrown back. I go in for another kiss but she plants a firm boot into my groin and pushes me backwards. The graffiti covering the wall is bleeding into her fingers, the faded reds blues and greens now growing bold in the tiny veins under her skin, past her wrist and into her sinewy forearms. Her hair crawls up the bricks, infesting itself like ivy and taking on all the colours around it. She is bleeding the wall dry of its art, of messages and memories. I look her in the eye and I see that they change colour as though flickering through a prism.
I sit down on the floor and cup my hands around the back of my head, because my neck is burning from the deluge above. Her feet are no longer touching the ground but pointed and poised like a ballerina, hovering a few inches above the gnarled path. Colours sap from the wall and bleed through her, processing themselves, and I realise that parts of her are growing fainter. The razor cheekbones are dulling, those shapely thighs less distinct, the hips that shook Paris are now translucent and warp when I move my head. Worst of all, I see that face fading away, the light in those eyes dying out like a pair of lightbulbs coughing and spluttering towards their eventual end. And far from fear or regret, I see contentment in her. I see a person becoming a ghost, becoming a memory, that disintergrates like ancient papyrus exposed to oxygen.
I walk unsteadily through a tunnel of trees, the ground squelching under my feet. On either side, like the pillars of a cold cathedral, I see those white shapes waiting patiently. They are eyeless and alone; I stare one of them down and the pair of black voids in their heads pulses and throbs like bags of agitated worms. I look away. My arms have disappeared and I’m scared to walk faster lest I fall and cannot catch myself.
Fetid streetlamps scrape through like dull razors on skin. As the shapes lean in closer, I pass through some of them and I am hit by smells from my past – grandmother’s perfume, the dead grass that I lay in after losing my first fight, the musky iron odour of my high school sweetheart. My fingers shrivel and slime, squirming into tentacles that claw at my shirt and force themselves up my chest and towards my neck. Feeling the first grooved tips poking at the corners of my mouth I put my head down and run for the grey in a tube of utter black.
The Playground is invisible in the night, so I walk towards a black mass. Everything is silent, as though the entire world is judging my current performance. Vaulting the gate, I pause to take a bow. As if lit by spotlights, I can suddenly see everything within the fence and nothing else beyond. I lose my coat and shirt and make my way towards the zipline.
Climbing to the top of the launch point I clamp my thighs around the old car tyre and grip the cable. Leaning back, I throw myself off the platform. The tyre bucks and spins like distressed horses, and my feet are suddenly skywards as my cheeks skim the surface of the chipped bark floor. Feeling the splinters grazing my skin but not entering, the wire slowly peters out and fades until I am left dangling, upside down and twirling faintly in the dead air. I let go and unceremoniously clatter to the soft floor and begin to eat the dirt.
I have three more goes at this, and every time it ends the same way. Feet up, head down, I skate across the thin veneer and see the churned up ground rushing past my mouth. On the final go the brakes fail and I hit the end point at maximum force, trebucheting me weightless for a brief few seconds until I crash down on the damp grass. I lay there for minutes, maybe hours, letting the midnight dew soak into my clothes and hair.
When I finally get up off the floor, The Playground is surrounded on all four sides of the fence by the white shapes; loose bedsheets of various widths and heights all formless except for two black, pulsing holes in their heads. They watch me silently, with judgement but without words or actions, until I have spun around six times and tried to find an exit from all this. I look up towards the sky but God is empty, and the stars all shun or hide from my terrible behaviour.
I feel my heart trying to escape through skin and my fingers seizing up; writhing maggots turning into broken fences. I wrench the belt off my waist and claw out the pin in the buckle. Raising it up to my face for a symbolic moment I hook it inside my eyesocket and begin to hook out the jelly within.
Eyeless and alone.
I am on my hands and knees, feeling the wet grass under my fingers and soaking into my jeans. Salty fluids run hot down my cheeks and into the corners of my mouth. I cannot stop shivering.
Kneeling against the black, I look around for white shapes but I cannot see anything. I cannot feel anything. The wet grass dulls into sand, and the wind dies into a vacuum. But I know they are still there. As I grasp handfuls of the earth it fades from my fingertips, and I cannot tell if I am being lifted away or disappearing entirely.
Basilike Pappa is a magician
It said sleep / the voice said / slide into / me / like a fish / in water the voice said / dreamless / I’ll catch you / just sleep it said / you’re tired and / it’s time to / sleep.
Like this / it said / the voice said / close your eyes / slide / let go / see? it said / like this / come to me / easy / you’re tired / just sleep.
That time / it said / remember? / that time in the sea / the water closed over / so close to the shore / but that current / that sneaky tricky current / it said let go / the voice said / like fish / you’re tired / sleep / easy like this / don’t blink.
And you thought / why not / easy / the…
View original post 597 more words
My latest piece at FVR, with thanks to Kristiana
It only takes the sound of glass breaking to remind me of the taste; wet concrete and burned rust. Last week I sat in a bar facing a drizzly street and stared at my own reflection for hours as humanity shuffled by. The gangly barman, who’d been hopelessly flirting with his co-worker, dropped 125mls of cheap Merlot onto the floor and his cheap shoes, and I snapped out of the polished glass and tasted her again. Felt the crunch under my teeth, the cherry blossom breath and chipped nails.
Walking side by side amid the slush and dirty snow our words are just a duel – fencing stabs and slashes as we prod and poke and look for the weak spots. In boxing terms I am the slugger, throwing out haymakers and uppercuts with all the subtlety of the Las Vegas strip. She was always the cruiserweight, picking her…
View original post 773 more words
I cannot fly but your words whip the wind under my arms. Just a smile and wink, just a poke in the ribs and a kick in the shins, and I am no ones. We stare at the dead brown leaves stuck to my shoes as we kick through the dead drifts, and I wait […]
When I stand on her footprints my shoe engulfs them, but the memory swarms across me like low autumn shadows. Her goosebumps are Braille to me, without them I am blind. Without my fingertips dancing across her arms, and down her back, I am lost. I live for touch and scent. I cannot feel her […]