Monthly Archives: March 2014

Seventy-Four.

15/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

on walking down Sauchiehall st:

Nights, I go out hunting. Fresh meat, blunt heat and the tick of fluorescent bulbs. Awash in the dark, swallowing sound these hands are clean, I tell you. Clean. You can’t see them anyway, so what’s the difference?

Maybe we have to break everything to make something new.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Papa, tell us the story of the moon and the sun.

You been gettin that story every night of your lives. Ain’t it time for a new one?

Please! Please! Pleeeaaaaassseeeee!

Oh, alright, alright.

The moon and the sun, they was big time lovers, they was. Big time. And they curled up together all the time all the time all kissin and rollin and bein each other’s one thing, one big thing, one big. And the sun she keep the moon all warm and the moon he keep the sun all cool and they so, so fancy together. And then one day, the sun she get up and she stretch and she stare at the stars. And she say old moon, she say, look at them shiny bright stars, they shiny like us, just like us two. And the moon he noddin and thinkin and broodin and the moon, he thinkin, now just who’s like who? Them pretty sharp stars, they twinkle like her, like my sun, like my lover girl, they bright on their own. But me, but old moon, he just bouncin that light, he ain’t got no sparkle to give. And he think, now my sunny, my lovey, my sweet, is she lookin at them ones, and not lookin at me? And he turns and can’t see her, can’t see that shine sun. And he’s thinkin – she’s off! She’s left for some star! And he’s cryin, ‘How long, love! How long’s it been it and not me, not your love, not your moony old dear!’ And he gets a bit anger in his pocky white head, and he thinks ‘Right, I’ll find her, I’ll catch em! All up in the act! And I’ll take her and tell her I don’t need her shine, I can go find some other to be diamond o’ mine!’ And he marches all huffy off all round the world. And the sun, she come singin to where ever they sat, cos she been out for a stroll for a little quiet air. And the moon, he ain’t there none, ain’t rumblin for her, and where he is, where he always, is dark and is black. And she shines and ain’t nothin come bouncin right back, and her light, it goes off into nuffin, into out deep far off. And she’s wailin and frettin, and she gets a big thought, and she’s thinkin ‘That mooner! He’s off with some star! Some star wot is prettier and brighter than I!’ And her tears burn up fiery and she thinks to herself, ‘Right, I’ll find him! I’ll catch him! All up in the act! And I’ll take him and I’ll tell him I don’t need his shine, I can go find some other to be diamond o’ mine!’ And off she stalks, right round the earth to find her old moon. But ain’t neither of them faster, and neither of them slow. And so moon comes a moonin all white in the night. And then sun comes a racin and burnin up day. And so they’ve been for ages, each chasin their loves. They’ve been racin and racin for ever ago, and they’ll keep on forever, if they don’t change their minds. But moon and the sun-girl, they’re stubborn as stones. And if only they’d stop and have a gnarly old chat, they could be all forever each other’s one thing. But they can’t hear the callin of each other’s old rock. Cos the world, it’s a biggun, and it’s a long long way round.

*

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Seventy-Three.

14/3/15

Izzy circle

izzy

Whalesong is the only thing that gets me to sleep these days. I built a tank in the backyard and ordered a miniature humpback whale online. I dragged my bed out next to the tank, and for a time it worked a treat. I slept like a baby. I rubbed my whale’s sides in the morning and I fed her extra krill. But it’s beginning to get to me. Now I sit here nights with the sheets wrapped around my head looking wide-eyed through the window on the side of the tank and she won’t stop swimming in circles and she won’t stop banging against the sides and she won’t stop singing. In the days as well as the nights. She just won’t stop singing.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I will tell you a secret and it is this:
You have been made holy
By the eternal sacrament
Of the voice and the flesh.
You have been baptized
By the flaming liturgy
Of this winking-eyed shaman
Robed in wood and in steel.
It is old as the skies:
The night and the firelight
The communion of song.
Sit ye down gently
In the darkening day
And behold, as the holy man
Unfolds in the air
See the tear in his throat
And hear the roaring rush in
O! ye sinners, this is the river
As it throws itself off a waterfall
Into the broken toothed rocks below
This is the wind in Icarus’ ears
As he falls, streaming wax
From the heavens
This is the scream of a fire gone mad
Come, stand at the brink
And gaze in awe at the crack in it all
As the chaos floods in.
And then – sudden as morning
The bellow subsides
And the sweetest of whispers
Bathes your reddening cheek
Lo, you mighty, you towering,
You fallen, you meek
You have witnessed the confession
That has scoured you all
That has lifted you up
To the secretive stars
And then placed you again
On an earth you half-knew
When once, as a child,
You crept ‘cross its face.
O child, you are sacred
Through this, you are whole.

*

Seventy-Two.

13/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

if snapdragons could talk, they’d say
hehehe
and wiggle their eyes and lick their lips

I snap their heads off in your front garden
put them in my pockets and carry them around
so I can pull them out in the back back seat of the car
and make them talk to each other all the way home

your roses are big and juicy, their jowls wobbling
as they turn their faces to the street and grin
I think they look like bulldogs,
all red-faced and fleshy and sharp underneath

I pick a fat bunch of them
rip the skin on my fingers
crush their petals in my fist
I pick a whole bunch just for you

because they are loyal and tough
because they will sit and stay where I say
they will lie by your headstone in the sun
these wilting dog-faced roses

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Self-portrait by way of rubbish bin contents:

One coffee cup, empty. Sharpie drawing of a cat on lid, with text ‘Tom Cat.’
One Frosty Fruit wrapper.
Three letters from the Electoral Commission.
One Ventolin inhaler, empty.
One Magnum (peppermint) wrapper.
One toilet roll.
One D string from an acoustic guitar.
One teabag, used.
One black ribbon.
One unscented roll-on deodorant, empty.
One Panadol box, empty.
One ball of crumpled aluminium foil.
One nectarine pip.
One Australia Post parcel bag.
One pink tealight candle.
One tampon wrapper.
Two beer bottle tops.
One fine dusting of burnt Nag Champa incense.

*

Seventy-One.

12/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

There’s a little window on the corner of the website with a live feed to a psychic and this ruddy-faced chubby man is looking at his hands, confused, like he’s not sure how he ended up inside such a tiny pixellated fragment of my computer screen. I’m looking at our relationship compatibility based on an astrological reading because I can’t sleep. I think the real skill in astrology isn’t in being right, it’s in shaping words vaguely enough that they can be true of anyone – you apply it yourself and of course it makes sense. I don’t know if I believe in it, but it always seems true. I guess they just have a way with words. Either way, it forces me to clarify what I really think about stuff – if I look at it and I’m like ‘nah, no WAY!’ then I at least know how I feel about it. I feel right now like this guy can see out of his little window on my screen and he is looking at me because he’s pushing his square thin-rimmed silver specs up his red nose and his sweaty palms are patting down his silver ponytail and he’s peering right on in, I can see the screen’s light reflected in his glasses. It’s terrifying to think he can see me here, wide-eyed from lack of sleep. I scramble out of the page and look up a buzzfeed of reasons that babies are just tiny drunk people so I can laugh and feel like I’m the one watching, not the one being watched. Later, with my laptop’s glow illuminating the crazy shapes and textures of the wallpaper on the ceiling I think about your face on my screen and how you said when I was lying in a particular way it reminded you of lying next to me in the dark in the bush, with my face just centimetres from yours. I think about how it’s an optical illusion, and actually my face is thousands of kilometres away, even though it seems so close. I tell you about how when you were sad a week or so ago I almost reached out and touched your face to try and make you feel better but then I stopped myself just in time when I realised you were only light on this screen and I couldn’t reach into the screen to touch you. I click over to an opinion piece about Beliebers. Part of me wants to go back and ask the psychic if he thinks babies are just tiny drunk humans because I think he would probably come up with a really interesting response to that.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

When I am dead and sprayed across the sky like a cloud of gnats
(Don’t you dare even think of putting me in the ground
I wanna be as burnt as the soup that I made
The time when you said ‘You should check that it hasn’t boiled dry’,
And I said ‘Conversely, we could fuck instead’)
I’m gonna circle around the world a few times
Check in on the pyramids at Giza
Give a wave to the Parthenon
Suss out the Pope
Do all the tourism I never got round to
(And let’s face it, could never afford)
And then, once I’ve seen the Northern Lights in a crystal clear sky
(I’ll be the dust spot in everyone’s photos)
I’m gonna come right on back and fall at your feet
Just when you step out of the shower
And you won’t notice until you’re getting into bed
Sitting half-naked, with your shoulders all pink
And you’ll look at the dirt on your steamy warm toes
And you’ll think about going and washing it off
But you’ll sigh (let’s not pretend that you’re something you’re not)
And you’ll crawl into bed and smear me across your sheets
And you’ll make a mental note to wash them tomorrow
But you won’t (and, my god, I will love you for that)
And I’ll spend heady nights pressed against your skin
Drowning in your smell and your big bellow breath
And when finally you shake your sheets out in the sun
I’ll swarm like a beehive, stretch out in the air
And then settle once more on your bathroom floor tiles
And for the rest of your life (and love, may it be long)
You will never stop wondering why there’s dust on your feet

*

Seventy.

11/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

The dogs are laughing at me and I’m sitting on my butt and my eyes sting but there is no way I’m gonna cry. I sit for a bit and look at their doggy-dog faces and I think about how it’s funny when me and my sister sing ‘who let the dogs out’ at them and hold their faces and they bark with us in the barking bits and we run around the backyard until everyone’s panting and tired. My sister’s not here to see me fall on my butt, she’s at netball training. I don’t like netball. It’s confusing. Like why can’t you run? I play soccer and next year we’ll have to be a girls-only team because under 12s isn’t mixed any more but I don’t really care. I look at the dogs and they look at me and even though their faces look almost the same as normal I can tell they’re laughing because their lips are pulled further back and their tongues are sticking out and their eyes are twinkling because they know I’m gonna try and do and do a 360 flip again and probably it’s not gonna work. I skate around in circles for a bit, do a few ollies and kickflips to show the dogs I mean business and then when I’m pretty sure they’re not looking I do it again, and I nail it and I wish they were looking.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

in the second before the beat crashes
you kick back your head to the grimy ceiling
& claw at the air with your eyes
half a second of reprieve and you’re soaring
then – slam and you’re plunging
& the cymbals are shrieking
& the lights scream red murder
& you blaze your way through it
spraying sweat & tongue & teeth
roaring madness into the microphone
beating the keys to a pulp with your fists
& jerking magnificent like a marionette dervish
you are fitting and sprawling in the quivering air
& you stagger back micwards
& you pant to the crowd
with your neck thickly corded with slick ropey tendons
you are lost, possessed, so full of the song
that the band appears conjured by the force of your will
& you howl & you rave & you throttle your words
& the music comes rushing like a lift full of blood
til at last, the fell beast is both conjured and conquered
the maelstrom is over
the battle is won
& you wipe down your face
& the feedback fades out

*

Sixty-Nine.

10/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

Technically, it’s not a difficult task but I am undeniably the best at this. It takes a well-trained eye to sort a premium banana from the bunch by sight alone, and I have it down to a fine art. The premium bananas are shipped to the boutique greengrocers with green eaves and rustic boxes with hessian lining. The premium bananas come from the very same soil, the same trees, the same bunch as all the other bananas, but a premium banana is a different class altogether. A premium banana glows brilliant yellow as it ripens. A premium banana has just the right amount of black shading, no bruising. A premium banana tastes like a real banana, there is flavour, there is texture – not too hard, not too soft. I sit on my swivel stool and I stare the bunches down as they roll by, hunched like a hawk. My hand flashes out, deft and sure. Only the best bananas. I get paid £6.50 an hour to sift for gold. Pure gold.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Standing soft and shattered on the kerbside
A battered old suitcase at my feet
And a jacket that never really fit
Folded in half around my chest
I tilt my head and feel my ribs crumble away
Like creamy old sandstone to the waves
Grey skies, grey streets, grey old men
Cooing into their scarves like a flock of sad-eyed birds

This is the day I found the holes in my pockets
And realised that all those squirrelled pennies were long long lost
This is the day I pulled on my boots
And realised that no amount of patching would mend those cracks
This is the day I peered into the grumbling fridge
And realised that no matter how many times I checked, it would still be empty

This is the day I woke in the milky light of morning
Left you sprawled in dog-eared sheets
Rolling and snuffling through your double-bed dreams
Pressed the door so quietly closed, like a kiss
And stepped out into the lonely light of day

*

Sixty-Eight.

9/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

Somewhere there is an empty chair and a coffee getting cold and footprints in snow because this life couldn’t wait any longer to happen. Somewhere there is a man holding a crying child’s hand saying ‘breathe sweetie, just breathe’. Somewhere there is a woman climbing a mountain and howling to the glorious valley below. Somewhere there is an ocean licking the feet of the couple that are always holding each other, even though they stand two feet apart. Somewhere there is a boy sewing clothes for his toys. Somewhere there is a girl drawing a crayon forest on her walls. Somewhere there is a man singing in the shower and a woman painting the windowsills yellow. Somewhere there are children giggling in a cupboard because they know hide and seek isn’t about winning it’s about being found. Somewhere two people have just discovered each others’ skin. Somewhere the world has just ended. Somewhere there is a supernova. Somewhere the world has just begun again.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

tonight, a prayer
for every parent
every lover
every child
every friend
frantically clutching their phones
and their coats
and their hopes
with their hearts lurching
and their lips whitening
wishing with every atom of their being
that the droning banks of televisions
in the airport arrivals terminal
will shudder and flicker
all as one
to a single image
shot from above
of a slew of bobbing lifeboats
full of smiling, grateful people
whose shy waves say
‘sorry about all that
didn’t mean to cause a fuss
we’re all safe
and we’re coming home’

*

Sixty-Seven.

8/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

sometimes I think the people in generations before
are standing in heaven or wherever, looking down
grabbing their crotches, saying ‘INHERIT THIS, MOTHERFUCKERS’
but there must be others, there must be others there too
with their fists raised and their skirts hitched still

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I watched with breathless awe as a child
Young enough to be genderless
Hair like a breath of silk, eyes like the stars
Came clambering up to my cross-legged lap
Placed two fat flat hands on my knee
Leaned up into my face
And stared
With the placid good natured acceptance
Of the newly minted
Tendrils of drool fell from shining wet lips
Snaked down onto my skirt
And I didn’t care. Not one bit.
I was grinning like the first Spring morning
Saying ‘Hello’ over and over
Puffing my cheeks and wiggling my eyebrows
Tearing my eyes away now and then
To exchange ‘Well how about that’ glances
With a laughing-eyed mother

And I thought: you, you are the most perfect thing
And it wrecks me
Because this sonofabitch world will tear you down
Will tread you into the ground at every turn
And just when you think you have it all
Your phone will ring and your beautifully plastered life
Will rain down around your ears
You will be so sad, little cloud
You will be wretched and lost and you’ll choke on your tears
And you will be so fucking disappointed so fucking often

It’s a beautiful world, little love, but it’s a cruel one too
And I don’t know how anyone could bring a new thing into it

You, you are the most perfect thing
And one day you won’t be
And I can’t bear it

*

Sixty-Six.

7/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

crush the light between your thumb and forefinger
savour the grains as it crumbles between you and the floor

bomb sites look more beautiful in the dark

*

Sarah circle

sarah

See, the problem with being poor
Without a typewriter
Is that no matter how many meals you miss
You never get any more romantic

*

Sixty-Five.

6/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

teleported home for the weekend
so spaced from lack of sleep
I literally feel like an astronaut

the weather wasn’t much better
but I only had to wear one pair of socks
and I only shivered because of you

*

Sarah circle

sarah

This ache accrues in my big old belly
Whole world belly
Rolling ball belly
There’s a wicked sailboat riding
Cresting those saucy waves
Crew in the rigging
Cutlasses drawn
Cannonballs sluicing those watery depths
Carving me up like a gutty fat fish
Them, holy like thunder
Me, holey like lace
O sound the alarm, messmates
For I am scuppered

*