Monthly Archives: April 2014

Ninety-Five.

5/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

@flyingdrowning
B: Hey.
A: Mm?
B: We should get a dog.
A: Really? Awesome!
*Silence*
A: We should get a dying dog.
B: What?
A: A dying one. 6 months tops.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Notes I found in my phone the morning after eleven whiskeys:

Girls silhouetted in lead light, faces pressed together, hands roaming
I got this paint onto my face and I don’t know how to get it off
I’ll fight you with my fists and it won’t be in slow motion
Sarah Walker is the centre of the known universe
Are you dying or is it just reflux?

*

Ninety-Four.

4/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I will only shimmy if you ask me to
by wrapping me gently in brown paper

and here is the thing, the thing is
that I will enjoy it – I really will
I like to shimmy, I do it well,
I look like I am made of glitter and my eyes glow
I light up like a distress flare or a haystack burning

it is awkward and beautiful
but I will only do it if you ask me real nice

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I’m standing at the starting line
With my warrior stripes torn in zinc across my nose
And a switchblade gaffer taped to my thigh
The crowd is roaring
My fists are clenching
And I can’t wipe this shit-eating grin off my face
Because I’ll be on that podium in half an hour
Screaming ‘fuck you’ to every participation ribbon
Every encouragement award
Every patronising pat on my motherfucking back
I’m gonna hold that shiny gold trophy up high
And they’ll remember me this time
Oh boy, they’ll remember me
It’s not gonna be pretty,
But you know what they say:
No guts, no glory.

*

Ninety-Three.

3/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

My feet are in the water and I can’t decide if its warm or not, but it’s not cold enough that I have to take my feet out. The pool is on the beach so it feels like you’re swimming in the sea but you’re in private and there are tiles rather than the scratch of sand and the water is calm and clear. My Pina Colada arrives and the coconut perches next to me like a fat and ungrateful bird. Ukraine’s dolphin army has shifted its allegiance to the Russians. There aren’t very many military-trained dolphins left in the centre though, like maybe only four or so. The plan is that the trainers will prepare dolphins for dophinariums around the world and sell them so that Russia can make a profit. I guess that means the dolphins won’t be used as soldiers any more, if they ever were. There are a lot of crazy theories about how military dolphins have been used in the past to combat frogmen and other underwater military threats. One of these theories incorporates the dolphins wearing equipment that allows them to butt into enemy divers injecting them with compressed carbon dioxide to make them explode. This seems unlikely but is definitely an interesting theory. I think being killed by a dolphin is probably not a bad way to go. I push my legs further into the water, up to the calves, and tug at my sarong and knock over my Pina Colada and look outside of me and think about swimming out to sea.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

90 seconds scrape past
Between the pull
And the peel
And dark alchemy
Pulls your face from the depths
And into the light

*

Ninety-Two.

2/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

This morning, I exploded. I didn’t quite know what to do about it, so I just stood there and waited for it to pass. I watched the faces of my flatmates contort in horror and confusion as I expanded in a rush of gold flecks. From my exploded state, I could taste the weak sunlight in the air and feel the weight of dust particles resting on the flecks that were me. I could see a 360 degree view of the room, and I could feel every corner and every millimetre of other matter that was around us. I watched as my flatmates’ faces realigned back to their normal state, no longer rubbery with awe, as I contracted back into a person before them. They shook their heads and pushed the plunger down into the coffee or flipped the egg or poured the milk like nothing even happened anyway.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

That night when I walked you home along the endless tarmac through the hot dark hours
A walk that became cheap wine and a taxi ride and tumbling out at the edge of the ocean
Holding a holy communion for the sand and the stars in barefoot reverence
Grazing the hairs of our arms together whose atoms never quite connected
And feeling the drunken sizzle of impossible electricity between two sprawling bodies
Your long toes kicking out an ampitheatre for a foot-acted staging of Shakespeare’s best
Our laughing mouths conjuring old words as we sat together on an old, old world
The hours spinning by, unhinged, til the roar of an engine sent us skittering up the beach
Returning to find the dunes recarpeted with soft white silk, finer than stardust, and cold
Dancing madly in the new-mown sandy snow, pressing our footprints in as proof
I span and span until I toppled over and you folded up and laughed until you cried
The sun rose, and with it the 5 am surf lifesavers, and we all blinked in the dawn.
As I put you to bed in the wan morning light, you pressed your head to my chest
And murmured at my hammering pulse. I breathed in your sweet smell,
Felt my heart swelling fit to burst, my chest awash with bugle calls
I stole a kiss from your furrowed brow and handed you over to the soft arms of sleep

*

Ninety-One.

1/4/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I do airport art. It’s a very specific kind of public art. You have to get the balance of placelessness and comfort just right. Standing in the kitchen with half my right hand under the tap, I curl my left hand into a fist and jam it into my mouth. Looking out the window at the patchy turf and rosemary bushes I scream into my knuckles and try to drag the sky down around me like a blanket. When the dishes are all neatly stacked, I give my girlfriend a neck rub and tell her all my ideas about the violence between clashing reds and purples.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Letter I would have written to the 11 year old American girl on the train if I’d had some paper:

Hey there.

So, here’s the thing.

When we’re toddlers, we get things that we want by making this protracted grizzling, whiny noise, which is so annoying that our parents fall over themselves to give us things until we stop making the noise. It’s a lamentable part of our development, and luckily, most people grow out of it quite quickly.

There’s also a phase that children go through, which lasts even longer if they have siblings (as you do, in the form of an equally irritating, equally American seven year old sister), where every minor issue is solved by invoking a parent to come and settle the matter. This is known as the ‘dobbing’ phase, and it is extremely grating for the adult concerned.

Now.

You are displaying both of these behaviours, today, on this train.

Here are the reasons that this is unacceptable:

1. You are, by the looks of you, eleven. Eleven is nine whole years away from two, so that consonant-free sooking drone that you are making is not a suitable method of communication.

2. You are in public. This means that the number of adults who are being irritated by your whining and constant pleas that your ‘mu-uuuum’ come and fix your petty squabbles about who did what to the smartphone go from the usual one or two to over fifty.

3. You are American, which automatically makes you more annoying. The timbre of your voice is already unusually persistent. Keeping it oscillating constantly makes it sound like someone has dropped something heavy on a midi keyboard.

To be honest, I was against you from the start. I was irritated, for example, when upon my stepping into the carriage and attempting to sit down in a free seat, you bounded up to me, and rather than saying ‘I’m sorry, I was sitting there, and I just stood up for a minute to attend to my bike – would you mind terribly if I kept that seat?’ or similar, you made a mewling noise of dismay which was as childish as it was startling. There were, I hasten to point out, many nearby seats in which you could have parked your loudly tie-dyed posterior, one of which was directly opposite the woman I took to be your mother.

But as annoying and entitled as you are being, the point isn’t about the minutiae of your infantile pettiness, your high-pitched arguments with your little sister or the fact that you were forcing your parents to become Bad Guys in front of a crowded carriage, which obviously made them extremely embarrassed.

The point is that in life, throwing tantrums and being irrational does get results. But when you gain something through that behaviour, it is always given out of a spirit of frustration and disgust.

So the much better thing to do is this: become the sort of person who people want to help.

Become someone kind, and good-humoured, and respectful, and silly, and honest, and thoughtful, and interested, and understanding and generous, and you’ll find that people will give you things freely, and what’s more, they will actually want to keep giving you things, and what’s more, giving you things will actually make them feel good. Because you make them feel good.

Being a lovely person will make people love your company, and strive to be more like you, and when people love being around you, you feel better about being around you, and the result is that everyone ends up being nicer people who are generous with their time and their stuff.

So my advice to you is to start, right now, working on being one of those people.
It’s an ongoing project, and if you slip every now and then, it’s okay, as long as you try hard to get back on the task.
For most people, it’s something they have to work at their whole lives. Sometimes, we all have days where we want to write angry letters to entitled children on the train.
But in the end, if we all work a little at it, we’ll all get somewhere good.

So that’s what I’d like to say to you.
Good luck, little lady.

And for god’s sake, do try, for one second, to shut your goddamn mouth.

*

Ninety.

31/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

when it doesn’t work out, you say, ‘well, why don’t we just go and jump in a volcano?’
and I say, ‘ok’
and you look at me like my face is filled with sparklers and you’ve never seen a sparkler before
so we lock eyes and clamp hands and run really fast together
all over this gosh darn country, all over this continent
we even run through the channel and my hair gets wet and starts slapping on my neck
but I don’t even mind because we are running to find this volcano, wherever it is
and then we find one, we do and you look at me and I look at you
and we jump in grinning
and flare up like fireworks

*

Sarah circle

sarah

HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS HAVE YOU EVEN SEEN THIS DAY?!
Look at that motherfucking sun, being all out and about and sassy and shit!
Look at those clouds OH WAIT YOU CAN’T THERE AREN’T ANY
Yeah, bitch, feel that? That is what we call a TEMPERATE APPARENT TEMPERATURE
Feel that motherfucking wind all stroking your face all soft and what not!
What’s that? Yeah, that’s warm bitumen for you to sit your fine ass down on!
Hear those kids? THAT IS THE SOUND OF CELEBRATION, MY FRIEND
Fuck yeah, grass, you grow like a trill bitch!
Did you hear that sunflowers don’t actually follow the path of the sun?
WELL FUCK YOU, SUNFLOWERS, COS I DO
Yeah, you just watch me get on my bike and put my HAPPY DOG FACE ON
YEAH GET ME SOME OF THAT WIND IN MY FACE
Sunflowers, you should really get into this shit, it is DAMN FINE
FUCK YEAH YOU GUYS
SUNNY DAY IN MARCH
GLOBAL WARMING WINS AGAIN

*

Eighty-Nine.

30/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I’m trying to read but all I can think is
‘plums, plums, plums’
delicious ripe and rounded, skins puckered
slice of teeth, gnash of gums

*

Sarah circle

sarah

The next time you’re sad, remember this:
90% of the cells in your body are bacteria
So everywhere you go
You’re carrying 100 trillion friends with you
And you don’t even have to add them on Facebook
For them to want to hang out with you

*

Eighty-Eight.

29/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

pockets full of rocks
hands clutching sweets in pairs
sky nursing fog, lapping the loch
lungs bursting with crystal cold
the carriage pulls up empty.

crumple-toothed and wide-eyed,
she’s asking for answers
but we don’t even have loose change
she drops 5p and gives it to me
says it’ll bring me good luck

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Sit alone on a hillside in the country, way down low, surrounded by the twisting legs of hundreds of laughing, kissing strangers. Take a deep breath and smell the smoke blossoming on the air as the dusk drags itself desperately across the horizon.

This is the most exquisite way to be lonely.

*

Eighty-Seven.

28/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

swans have been making out on rooftops since 1989
it’s just a coincidence that’s the year between when you and I were born
still nobody knows how they get up there
I mean, they can fly, we know they can fly,
but it’s the landing without a thud –
they do it so gently

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I am sitting on the midnight train
Thinking about people who fall in love with people on public transport
And how I am not one of them
When my eyes drift over to the girl a few seats over
Whose dark hair is so greasy it looks wet
She’s got a complexion like a battlefield
And her eyeliner is sweated and smudged across her eyes onto her nose
She looks like the sort of person your mother would take three steps to avoid
She looks like a right royal mess – and yet
She’s got these lips
Pressed in right over the arch of her chin
And these lips are just masterly
These are the sort of lips that painters would swoon over
These are lips for carving in plaster
Lips for daubing in oils
And right now, they’re curved into this little half smile
At whatever she’s reading in the free train paper
I am staring now, open-mouthed
But she doesn’t even notice
And I see that she’s got both sides of her nose pierced
On the left, a ring, on the right a stud
A buck both ways
And she’s crinkling up her forehead in disbelief at an article
Which is adorable
And every now and then she mouths a word
With those sucker-punch lips
And I’m praising this train for stopping all stations
This city loop is closing tight around my chest
And I’m snagged

*

Eighty-Six.

27/3/14

Izzy circle

izzy

there’s a man in the park screaming
‘cut my hair! cut my HAIR! CUT MY HAIR!’

I think he must be ready to die now
this is his way out, this is the end

we’re all born and get a haircut
and then we’re dead and buried

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I am in the swimming pool, burning red lines around my eyes where my goggles sit too tight, watching the light shatter across my skin as I push through the blue tile water. In my lane there is a girl who I hate on principle, because she is in my space, my lane, intruding on my medium pace flailing and gasping and water-swallowing. She is swimming without goggles, in a bikini, with her hair out, and every time she gets to the end of the pool, she dives down deeper than is necessary and languidly arcs towards the surface with this beatific grin on her face. She looks like an advertisement for a surf brand targeted at teenage girls, and I am mistrustful of her. Every now and then, I swim a super fast freestyle lap just so I can hit the wall at the same time as her and overtake her, saying with my wobbly body wrapped in a $10 Big W one-piece swimsuit that I am a serious swimmer who is here to fight the water for forty laps and then waddle home, not some fancy Ocean Girl wannabe who is having altogether too good a time. (Exercise makes me disagreeable. It has always been this way).

I have been ploughing up and back for twenty-seven laps now, and have done a few of my customary 25 metre sprints to see whether I can make my heart explode. I have also done several of my even more customary attempts at tumble-turns, which the portly man in the fast lane makes look beautiful and sensible and graceful, but which I make look like a baby giraffe that has just fallen into a lake. Ocean Girl is up the other end of the pool, so I am breaststroking down the black line, thinking ‘make the pizza, cut the pizza’, which my brother taught me as a way to remedy my hopeless arm technique, and wondering whether I am breathing more air out of my nose or my mouth and repeating the lap number in my head over and over: twenty-seven twenty-seven twenty-seven twenty-seven, and as I cut the pizza and count the laps and push out bubbles, the round old lady in the slow lane with the turquoise swimming cap sails by in the opposite direction, and we both make the pizza at the same time, and as we reach out under the lane ropes, our fingers meet and just for a second, we hold hands.

And I keep on swimming like it’s nothing, because I’m a professional, not some crystal-gazing idiot like Ocean Girl behind me, not like the sort of person who suddenly feels like they want to swim over to the round old lady and stop her halfway across the pool and have her gather me up on her round old chest and hold me tight in the Aqua Play lane (so as not to disrupt anyone else’s lap trajectory).

I push my legs out like a frog, like I’m meant to, and I feel my muscles tense and release. I fuck up the tumble turn and I switch over to freestyle, and I turn to breathe and I look up and see the blue and white flags stretched over the pool. And I can’t remember what lap I’m up to. Can’t remember at all.

*