Monthly Archives: August 2014

Two Hundred and Twenty-One.

9/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

my face is out of control at the moment
it’s gone AWOL, it’s throwing shapes all over the place
it made new friends when I wasn’t looking
my face is up shit creek without a paddle
but it’s on the party boat, so paddles are useless here anyway
if your name is your fate, then your face is your mate

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Overheard from a phone conversation of a girl on the Megabus from London to Edinburgh:
So, are you like, boyfriend and girlfriend now then?
Did you stay at his, then? How was that, you know, with the dog?
Have you told your mum about him yet?
Well, he is ginger.
Ginger baaaaaaabies.
Yeah, I get it, when you don’t want to make it – having fun – yeah, I’m in something a bit like that actually.
Yeah, I went to her wedding, and she looked –
Like, she looked as though she’d just turned up and put lipstick on, you know?
She probably forgot it was her wedding. She was out, and then she woke up, and just had to –
Yeah, I could stay with Tim, but I don’t really fancy sharing a bed with Tim.
Or, actually, maybe Tim –

*

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Two Hundred and Twenty.

8/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

this is a stolen story called ‘the jellybean beach’, as dictated to me by Jordan. Adams. Prosser.

once there was a beach but unlike most normal beaches, instead of sand it was only jellybeans as far as the eye could see. Green ones, blue ones, pink ones, but mostly black ones because they’re the ones that nobody likes (which I personally never understood because everyone seems to like liquorice just fine).

A man stood on the beach and watched the waves rolling up towards his ankles and when he looked down, he could not tell where his feet ended and where the beach began. For this man had often been teased, goaded, derided, since a very early age that his toes looked quite a lot like jellybeans. It is also worth noting that the man had travelled very far to see the famous jellybean beach, and consequently he was hungry. Now although there were signs at every entrance strictly forbidding the consumption of the naturally occurring jellybeans on the beach, the man required sustenance for he had not eaten in days and he felt like a shell of his former self, such was the arduousness and intensity of his pilgrimage.

Looking down now, dazed, famished, with the echoes of teenage bullies ricocheting throughout his brain and the pangs of insidious hunger echoing within his abdomen, the man bent over as far as he could and within the space of 30 seconds had lovingly consumed all of his own toes.

THE END.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Black presses against the windows of the ferry, whose bowels grumble and tetch seven floors below. Four hundred people slump where they sit, faces pressed to the linoleum tabletops, parents touching heads with children, lovers limp and waxy together. I think of Jonestown, wonder how long it would take the staff to realise their cargo was all dead
And then the cliffs of Dover ooze out of the blue washed morning and the dead wake up, rub their eyes and sit quiet and solemn as the port rolls in.

*

Two Hundred and Nineteen.

7/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

first time I’ve ever seen ticket inspectors on the Paris métro
and they’re not even giving me a second glance
in this almost-empty carriage they check everyone
but me
I think I must look French, I must look like I couldn’t be a fare evader with my
cropped hair
striped shirt
red lipstick
baguette
and a bag rattling with red wine for the riverbanks
I must look French with my
striped shirt
cropped hair
red lipstick
white skin.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

they say that animals know more than we do
they can sense things we can’t
dogs can smell cancer, birds sing for the dead
rats will run when the going gets tough
well, this cat is hunched under the bed, spitting and moaning
making that horrid human groaning that sounds like ‘no’ and tensed like a cobra
and I wonder what the fuck it is that I don’t know about
and whether it’s me, or her, or us both

*

Two Hundred and Eighteen.

6/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

Je trouve moi-même à Paris avec la même problème, que je ne peux pas parler bien en Français. Alors, je veux pratiquer la conjugaison et attempter de rappeler les petits mots que j’ai oublié. Je ne sais pas si ceci là m’aider.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

A cloud ridged like a Portuguese man-o-war makes its stately way across the sky as the land bubbles away beneath it
the children shriek, scatter from their parents
screaming at them to run
mum and dad chuckle at their chubby-faced spawn
and press another slice of brie into their wet-wiped fingers
they never see the tentacles come drifting in
cruel and soft as rain

*

Two Hundred and Seventeen.

5/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

A: I’m a shell of a man today
B: I love that every time we see you guys, you’re wearing the same thing
C: we like wearing the same thing, we love it, we always coordinate in the morning
B: here, we can add to it
A: I left myself at home
B: with the gift of matching gifts
A: I don’t know who I am, or if I was ever even my own person

*

Sarah circle

sarah

We get on the train. I am pissed off, so we don’t buy a ticket. ‘Fuck it’, I say, ‘they won’t even check.’ We slip across the border into France and the train slows and dark-dyed white men with police eyes scatter onto the train like ants. We get off, of course. Heft our backpacks up and put on our ‘Oh yes, this is our spot, beautiful Menton’ faces. We stand at the ticket machine at the station pretending we didn’t just get off the train. The police lug two black men off, sit them on a bench, say ‘Beautiful day!’ in jaunty Gallic accents. We walk outside the station and walk back in, speak to the woman behind the glass, say ‘Grazie’ and ‘Si’ instead of ‘Merci’ and ‘Oui.’ We don’t need tickets. We never did. We sit at the opposite end of the platform, carefully away from the milling police and the quiet-faced black men. We stare at the sun and the mountains and marvel that people actually wake up here every morning and put on police uniforms and police belts, one of which now presents itself in front of our eyes. We look up and the man is kind-faced and I can’t stop looking at his gun. He asks us who we are, he tells us about his son in New Zealand, he teaches us to count to ten in French. His eyes sparkle and I think he will be a great Santa when he gets older. Our laughter tinkles like windchimes in the morning heat. The next train arcs into view and his face crisps up, he bids us adieu, and as we step up onto the carriage, we see more black men being pulled off to sit on benches in the puddles of gorgeous European sun.

*

Two Hundred and Sixteen.

4/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

Caroline has been sitting in the same chair in the same café table for nigh on six years now. Tucked into the corner in a little alcove, just at the point with the highest concentration of the smell of coffee grinds and baking bread, it is warm here, and dark. A lamp made from an old gramophone spills honey light over her hands as she works, kneading bread or fashioning wire and silk ribbon roses for the table centrepieces. Highlights of the day include the opening bass chords of walk on the wild side (although the inevitably turn into that song that sampled Lou – it’s too long since it has been fashionable to play Revolver in café culture), a bloody mary at midday and the smell of scones and butter. Caroline has been sitting at the same chair in the same café and thank god they’ve made her useful because she hasn’t moved an inch in six years, and doesn’t plan on it any time soon.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

In the dawning days, when the air was thick with pyroclastic rain, the pigeons were kings.
Strutting. Preening. Nesting the eggs of the world into musky hatching, to birth the streams and the chattering stones. Then, they dined on diamonds and fought the eagles and won (the chaos of beginnings are no times for the clear-sighted). They dyed their legs with the blood of the fallen and rolled their fine feathers in garments of ash and their cries pierced all of the rumbling thunder of night.

*

Two Hundred and Fifteen.

3/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

(car rolls up)
M: hey slut, suck my dick!
(beat)
F: that’s really intimidating and insensitive dude.
the car grinds to a halt
M: you’re asking for it
F: pretty sure I’m just listening to radiohead and walking down the street
M: but you’re wearing clothes
F: just like every other person on the street
M: provocative clothes
F: that fit into some fucked-up notion you have that I dress to signal my sexual availability specifically to you
M: I’m just trying to communicate my internal sexual desires to you
(a car pulls up behind, starts to beep its horn)
F: you’re not
M: I am, I’m trying to show you I like you, and this is the only way I know how
F: actually, this has nothing to do with your personal sexual desires – you’re just reinforcing a power structure based on the idea that public spaces are men’s spaces, and you feel entitled to comment on my body based on my appearance and mannerisms.
M: but I –
F: you’re trying to control me because I’m walking by myself, in control of myself. The way your dick feels has nothing to do with it.
beat
M: woah.
(silence)
M: I’m really sorry for reinforcing the patriarchal power system that tries to control and regulate women’s bodies. Thanks for the education.
F: you’re welcome.
(car drives away, bathed in the glow of understanding)

*

Sarah circle

sarah

THE WOMAN: Have you ever tasted blood?
THE MAN: Only my own. Cuts, you know, licking them clean. Flossing too hard.
THE WOMAN: If I ask you, will you taste mine?
THE MAN: I can’t.
THE WOMAN: For love? If I ask you, for love?
THE MAN: I’m afraid.
THE WOMAN: That it’ll repulse you?
THE MAN: That it’ll delight me.

*

Two Hundred and Fourteen.

2/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

the same two casiotone notes playing one after the other
a constant syncopated serenade to a slowly closing curtain
boo, hiss, click or clap – it’s over either way
a single spotlight on a wrinkled face bowing, bowing
blackout

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Beloved ______

I promise to love you in sickness and in health, but not as long as we both shall live. Life is long and love changes, and if ours happens to one day pour out of the window in a summer storm, then I will have the grace to let it go.

I will not promise to love your faults, because I am a romantic, but I am not a fool.

I cannot promise to always be patient and calm and kind – my temper is quick and my fuse is short, and I do not ask you to love these things. I will promise, though, that I will try always to be brave and to gather up my cinders with humility, and with honest, sweet words. Flowers blossom after the fire, and I will bloom fiercely in my love.

Dear love, I am frightened, for I do not know what the future will bring. But I will kiss you in the mornings and in the evenings and through the night-times, and as long as I can make it good, I will.

*

Two Hundred and Thirteen.

1/8/14

Izzy circle

izzy

I’ve never understood why other people spend so much time in public toilets. Like when you hear the flush, and then they don’t emerge for another 5 minutes. What are they doing? Is there some secret ritual or benefit I’ve never been made aware of, never discovered in a bolted cubicle? Are people who spend longer in public toilets 10% more attractive? Is there a direct causal link to self-confidence and not giving a shit about the line of people queueing outside your little box? I just want to know what the deal is.

*

Sarah circle

sarah

Tennessee inhaled as far as he could, til his lungs were full to bursting, and sat quietly at his wife’s dresser, looking into the mirror and holding his breath. The silence of the morning sat as a cloak over his shoulders and echoed the fat beats of blood in his ears. He watched thoughtfully as the skin beneath his collar sent out fans of deep red, like spilled wine on a tabletop. The air in his lungs pressed uncomfortably, rapped at the door of his throat but he was resolute, and would not let it pass. A proscenium of colour lowered itself down his face, a dirty, bruised sort of purple. His chest bellowed. Small white stars began dancing in the corners of his gaze. He shifted slightly, refolded his hands delicately in his lap. A blood vessel in his left eye threw itself boldly across the white like a flash of red lightning. More joined it, spattering the ball with venomous streaks. Black snow fell in his periphery. Bells rang in his ears. He sat staunch, certain. If death was the state of losing all of one’s breath, then this was surely its opposite. His wife stirred in the bed behind him, sighed and slept on. He pitied her that sigh, that oxygen set free again. No, he had caged his own life force once and for all. There would be no exhaling now. His fingers ached. His eyes flashed blood red. He sat still as a god.

*

Two Hundred and Twelve.

31/7/14

Izzy circle

izzy

self-esteem poem

you are a ray of sunshine in an otherwise darkened room
you are better than the taste of salt and vinegar chips near the ocean
better than a hot thermos of tea in wind-whip and rain
better than the cool change after a week-long 40-plus heatwave
you are the best decision someone, somewhere, has ever made
you are enough

*

Sarah circle

sarah

I think that anyone who thinks that they could never pull a trigger at another person’s face
Should spend twelve hours alone in a room with seven mosquitoes
And see how long it takes them to become a mass murderer

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