Monthly Archives: April 2014

One Hundred and Five.

15/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

I’m thinking about Plato’s ideas about love
this thin, pale body curling round itself
thinking about intertwining DNA twirls and swan necks
about the quest to find and melt into another half

I’m imagining what I’d look like if I was literally half a person
if we were all split right down the middle,
if when we coupled we looked like circus freaks
like hermaphrodite in full makeup

would you get together with your other half and look in the mirror
and be like ‘ah! there it is! my face is complete!’
or would you learn to love that groove
where your noses don’t quite properly click?

*

Sarah circle

sarah

My love in his dizzying lighthouse
Hung unsteady in the gloom
Pouring its beam into the crowding fog
Gazing into my face like a stormy coastline
Searching for lost sailors in my smile
His mind ever at sea
My lover’s speech is garbed in gumboots and sou’wester
His kisses roll and break across my cresting spine
My love stands steady in the maelstrom
One hand on the railing, the other on the lamp
Sleepless and unblinking
To guide me safely home

*

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One Hundred and Four.

14/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

Hup! Hup! Hup!
I’m in your backyard, lying in the grass,
trying to flip myself to standing
sun blaring in my eyes like K-pop
addictive and sweet and secretly knife-edged.

your geraniums look sexy from this angle
and I want to clamber under the foliage,
find some cool shade to drink into my parched skin
curl into the undergrowth and breathe in
the smell of wet dirt mingling with my hair.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Who could have guessed the wonder of a freshly washed shirt
Pressed sweet and cool against an upturned face
Who could have known the beauty of the powdery bloom
Laid across the cheek of the season’s new olives
Of the tentative peep-show of a thousand green weeds
Of the crunchy collapse of a walnut shell underfoot
Of the burbling radio three houses away
Of the lazy slow fan-dance of the nets on the trees

God isn’t dead, he’s just left the building.

*

One Hundred and Three.

13/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

Emma’s getting sick, so she’s not sure at first if she wants to come to the poetry gig. We catch a bus up to Peckham and get me some fried chicken. It’s delicious and disgusting, crunchy and dripping with fat and I eat it on the platform while we wait for the train and it’s not ever really said but when Emma passes through the barriers behind me I guess I know she’s coming to the gig. When we find our way in the suburbs, we look in the front window and I can see Susie’s face glowing under her fringe at the back of the room, behind a group of people all facing the front window. It’s already started so we creep up the path, but the front light turns on automatically and it’s clear there’s no way we can avoid making an entrance. Susie lets us in and we watch the poets one by one, lulled in a sea of words broken by cigarette breaks and I eat too many pretzels from the snack table. It’s amazing stuff and I feel lucky to be here, like this is exactly where we’re meant to be. After the poets, we dance to hip hop for a while and drink some of Susie’s gin mixed with energy drink. I feel a little bit awkward because even though everyone is really nice, they’re also very talented and close to each other so I don’t quite know what to say other than that I liked their set or Drake is the only thing I can imagine dancing to right now. We get a taxi back to Peckham and go to a bar that’s in a massive artist-run warehouse thing that Emma tells me is filled with studios. We have to choose between Mod Rock or Hawaiian at the door. We choose Hawaiian. We drink Red Stripes and strip off millions of layers and dance like idiots and talk about how great it is when you see two friends dancing like they don’t give a fuck about anyone else in the room and even though I don’t know Emma as well as I’d like to yet, I think that sometimes we are probably those two friends sliding and jiving. Emma slips on someone’s spilled drink at one point and it’s amazing and hilarious. We sit outside for a bit and talk about love and life and families and I think about how far away the person I love is but am reassured that it’s temporary and reinvigorated by it, sitting in this courtyard surrounded by drunk students like nothing can touch us. We go back up to dance and it’s almost the end. Eventually the DJ gives us a shout-out when it’s completely empty except for us, ‘thanks to the two ladies still dancing,’ so we dance even harder and spin and laugh and send Jordan a video of me dancing so it’s almost like he’s here too. We sneak in to the Mod Rock night for the last two songs and then it’s all over and done and we are back out on the street, spilling with excitement and invigorated by our accidentally excellent night. We buy prawn cocktail flavoured chips for Emma and a Lion bar (which I’ve never tasted – it’s delicious) and a Twix for me from the window at the convenience store and start to walk home. The bus isn’t for ages, so it seems like a good idea to walk. Even this walk feels like an adventure. I like Peckham. I like London. I like hanging out with Emma. After we turn off the main street, I notice a guy walking behind us. I slow us down so he can pass. Eventually he does, but then he slows so much in front of us we pass him again. As we turn down the road to the park I’m sure he’s following us, so I tell Emma we should cross the road, putting my hand in my pocket to feel around for my clunky film camera. We do, and he follows us across the road. I pull my camera out of my pocket and wrap the cord around my hand. It’s the only thing I can think of to use as a weapon. I tell Emma to call her fiancé Pat, and she’s confused but gets her phone out. I turn again to check this guy and I see that he has his dick out above his trackpants, masturbating. I grab Emma’s hand and walk us faster up the road. When we turn again, he’s disappeared, presumably into the park. I tell Emma to call the police. We wait a bit further up the road and Emma tells the operator what happened. When we hang up, we start to walk home again. Soon enough a police car pulls up to us walking and we get in to have a look around the outskirts of the park for this guy. We give them the story again, and the police officers are really nice. I don’t know why I’m so surprised they came down so quickly, or how seriously they’re treating this but it’s reassuring. They drive us home when we can’t find him. We drink tea and sit on the couch and talk. When I finally curl up on my little cushion bed on the living room floor I’m terrified the windows are breaking.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

At some point in the awkward haze of my adolescence
I am standing in the living room of the family home
And my mother is giving me The Sex Talk
Mostly befuddling medical jargon and technical names
And then, as I stare carefully at the ceiling
She pauses, softens and says
‘That is the closest that two people can get to each other.’
And while most of my attention is given to trying to sink into the floor
A tiny sliver of my heart jags, and I think:
Surely there must be closer. Surely there must be more.
Surely that can’t be enough.

*

One Hundred and One.

11/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

water spills from these eyes
like it ain’t no thang
and I am thinking about displacement
as the tub overflows, the floor flooding

*

Sarah circle

sarah

This is everything that Tom said across fifteen drunken minutes in my kitchen.

I can’t –
I love that line that NASA won’t allow him to go to NASA because his wife’s a stripper. They’re like ‘You can’t go to NASA because your wife’s a stripper. You’re like the smartest person on earth but you can’t go to NASA because your wife’s a stripper.’
The worst film director of all time!
It’s true. Independence Day was his piece de resistance, and he –
Because he gave Batman nipples?
You studied Batman and Robin at uni? Welcome to higher education!
We had cool ones too. Apocalypse Now, my favourite film.
It’s the first film that had actual sex in cinema. Romance.
It wasn’t like, porno, it was –
Yes, but it was actual sex. Instead of a ‘sex scene’ it was actual sex.
Your dad’s like ‘Yeah!’
Yeah, Lars von Trier’s the shit. I really like his movies. I like the way he puts movies together. He’s a good director.
It’s true, actually. He basically invented a whole genre.
He made one movie and everyone was like ‘You can’t do that’, and he went and wrote this manifesto and –
Actually, when you put you two together, it’s infuriating.
Steph and Celeste sit through any kind of film or television show and talk about the cultural relevance of the actor on the show, and the people those actors are dating, and then they think they should get back to the plot, and then I have to explain the plot, and then they get back to the film, and then they’re like ‘Look at that dress.’
Oh, Marie. There was this amazing moment where this guy got shot in the face, and his brain sprays all over the back wall, and she turns to me and says ‘He’s dead.’
I KNOW HE’S DEAD, MARIE. HIS BRAINS ARE ALL OVER THE BACK WALL.
And then she asks hundreds of questions, which are totally pointless, like ‘Why do you think he’s wearing those pants?’ I don’t know, Marie, someone from the costume department picked them out.
Or Grug.
With Richard Gere?
No you weren’t.
Richard Gere’s, because you could probably slip her out, cos another one’s been in there. It’s probably set itself up in there, with a fireplace or something.
That is not a concern I have day to day. ‘Man, there’s all these girls hitting on me. I wish I was camp.’ What the fuck?
I don’t know. I don’t know. You shouldn’t have brought this up! We’d almost moved on!
I said something weird and I didn’t know what I’d said.
Oh, this is how the laughing starts. Oh, fake laugh. Bullshit, that’s a fake laugh.
That’s her fake laugh! No, I know!
Can I have an almond? I wanted you to throw it, but I’ll take it out of your hand. Whoa, not aggressively!
That’s tobacco on my crotch.
Where is the almond, then? The almond is the same colour as the floor. Thank you.
Oh, when you and Kate laugh at each other, it’s the most annoying fucking –
The joy’s gone.
Holy shit, yeah.
She folds up with laughter, so we’re like ‘No, she’s good. We think.’
‘The day the music –‘
Do you like –
You should have a comedy show!
What’s the comedian that’s like – he died from a drug overdose – yeah. It’s like you’re trying to be Mitch Hedberg and failing.
That’s a genius feat of simple engineering.
Go on. Extrapolate this thought. Danny’s soul is like Forrest Gump. No, please explain.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Just go back.
What?! ‘He was super hero, super head, super powers’?!
What is ‘super head, super powers?’ And how is Danny’s soul like this?
I think the point of the film is that history evolves, no matter who has a spin on history.
‘Quantum physics? Fuck that shit! I’ll write a happy Christmas story that stars Tom Hanks.’
That’s what Carl Sagan did just before he died.
Go on, ‘So the other day’?
Tell us a joke, Nick. Tell us the Contact joke.
‘It’s the shit you put on exercise books!’ For fuck’s sake, Nick! I heard you say it!
My ball sac is vagina lips. That’s what happens. Your clitoris is my penis – oh, no! No, not mine!
I’m retiring to drunkenness.
Oh, shit.
But James Bond wouldn’t screencap it!
Taken? You’d kill everyone.
But it’s not even that! ‘I’ll tell you!’ and boom – he’s dead. ‘Because I’m Liam Neeson and my daughter was kidnapped. ‘
It’s like Liam Neeson kills Europe. If you replace that with the title of the film, you get a good idea of it.
Seriously, everyone who breathes near Liam Neeson gets their neck snapped.

*

One Hundred.

10/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

there’s this guy on the metro, rolling his eyes
like back in his head, like he could be dead
any minute now
and he’s swaying, he’s swaying like
he wants to fuck this train from the inside
or at least romance it
the same words scrawling out of his mouth
sliding over the lino floor in waves
saying something that my tired brain translates as
girls the sluts the shit the death
over and over and over again

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Come, child, push through the breakers
Past the roaring waves and the keening gulls
Deep on down, through the dragging tides
Past the teeming shoals of unblinking fish
Through the hasty chattering of barnacled shells
Fall into the deep down dark.
A thousand fathoms below the surf
A thousand above the crawling black trenches
The light hangs suspended in shimmering casts
Of the deepest, sweetest blue.
Here, time settles softly like dust in the air
And the silence is fat and thick and perfect
Chorded with the echoed moan of whalesong
Music as old as the world.
As the continents shift their rocky great roots
And vast heady shadows nose far, far away
Wisdom nudges past like a circling catfish
And the universe murmurs in a sliver of sun.
Come you storm-tossed and wind-wracked sailor
Come and seek shelter from the whims of the world
Lay your head for a while in the arms of the ocean
And find succour in the stillness of the whispering waves.

*

Ninety-Nine.

9/4/14.

Izzy circle

izzy

there’s a caravan in the middle of a field next to the train tracks
and it looks lonely but who am I to decide
this bus ride is a cliche of British countrysides
Scotland’s hills were harsher and more beautiful
England’s green rolls are like a pat on the head

there’s a guy at the bus station where I change over
with a jumper that says in big bold white letters,
‘gentleman by choice, rebel by fate’
I stink of travel and the heady swoon
of the Port Royals and Guinness I wrapped myself in.

traveling to Paris by bus, you told me,
delirious with sleep on the other side of the earth,
that you wouldn’t stand for it
that arriving by bus made no sense –
my cheap ticket an affront to romanticism
it’s true, the train’s much faster.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Half a step to the left and I am thrown
Off from the earth and into the sky
Held at some strange jolted angle
Tossed like a ragdoll of bones
Time tinkers with itself, slows to a crawl
My placid brain burps out a thought:
‘That’ll be the mine, Reg’
And I chuckle at myself
Upended in blue.
So stretched are the seconds
That the fall, once it comes, barely winds me
I take stock of my limbs:
Two arms, one head, one leg –
I knew I forgot something!
Travel, eh? First the phone charger, now this!
And I’m laughing my arse off
Though it’s not sounding right
Note my neck’s not quite curled in the regular way
There’s mud in my eyes, the horizon’s all wonky
If only my gym teacher could see me now!
And there’s no-one about
Just the flies and mosquitoes and hissing of wind
And this dog. It’s come over
Loping like royalty, big black, shaggy face
Not like most of the mangy old shitbags you see
I try a ‘Hello, dog’ but only get bubbles
But it doesn’t seem to mind
Just sits near my head and fixes me with a stare
Doesn’t snuffle, doesn’t fidget, just sits and it stares
And I think ‘He’s here for me, then. He’ll take me on home.’
And I piss myself laughing
Or piss myself, at any rate
I’m choking with giggles
At the daftness of it all
With my leg all forgotten
And my neck all gone crooked
And this big regal dog with his eyes fixed on me
It’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen
There’s tears running down my face with the laughing
I think it’s the laughing
And the dog, he just waits
Like he’s seen it before
And I try for a ‘Good dog’
But it comes out as wet metal
And spittle and froth running down my chin
So I settle and I watch him
And he watches me
And I think
I really do
That we’re both in it for the long haul
Which, I’m starting to reckon
Is longer than I had initially anticipated
Quite a lot longer, in fact
And I look at the dog, like ‘So when do we leave?’
But he doesn’t say nothing
Just stares
Just waits
No nonsense
No fuss
He’s a good dog that one
A real good dog
And I take a big gulp of the dirt and the sky
If it’s waiting we’re doing
We’ll do it together
I’ve always wanted to see what comes next
And it’s good to have a friend on the road

*

Ninety-Seven.

7/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I’m thinking about what it means to be ‘dazed and confused’
and that is still a very common way to describe the headbutt of youth
sometimes I think that actually just comes from trying to look at everything at the same time
like our brains can’t handle how big the world is once they start to see it all
and if you grow out of the confusion, it’s only because you’ve learnt
or been told what to focus on, to streamline the view

I want to watch all of the coming of age movies ever
I want to be the star of at least ten coming of age movies
I want to be the Molly Ringwald of now
is that just Miley Cyrus?
I think I’m too old for that already.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy happy

I thought that I should get my mother a gift today
To say ‘Thank you for undergoing fourteen hours labour
For pushing my gasping little coneheaded blue body into the world
This is your birth-day, too, and you deserve it much more than me.’

I forgot, of course.

*

Ninety-Six.

6/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

we started off my screaming something that sounded like ‘we’re not dead yet’ from rooftops but it was like an internet cat video – we were making the sounds, hitting the syllables to make it seem human, to make it seem like we understood what we were saying because the context was right, but in the end it was nothing more than a string of loud noises that sounded like they should mean something.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

As the minutes tick away on my twenty-fifth year
And the coach calls quarter time
I stand quietly on the sidelines
Munching on a quartered orange
And survey the match thus far:
More focus is needed, inevitably
Keep your eyes on the prize
Determine, also, what the prize is or might be
Keep your limbs to yourself
Also your heart
Your heart does not belong in the scrum do you hear me
Or at least stop trying to give it to that kid on the sidelines
That kid does not want your heart
That kid wants an icecream
They are not the same thing
Look let’s drop this metaphor
You were always shit at sports
Just, honestly
Stop that
Stop it
Stop
Stop
Stop

*