Funeral Bee [Prelude to Sibel]

It is cold and behind the hills the golden rays have turned to rust. The party is over. The men are groaning corpses on the couch, men you herded into our house using the sway of your hips, wordless promises they followed like a trail. We trip over them on our way to the fridge. You see me sitting in a corner, my small body compressed so as to appear invisible, not making a sound, and for a moment your eyes aren’t those of a mother.

Darling, you say, be a good girl and show them out.

You disappear to your bedroom with a carton of milk and leave me in the midst of your men. I unwrap myself from my arms and get up. I look down at the discarded, watch the slow breathing of carcasses.

My body is still shorter than yours, but I have been growing, my frame is light, my limbs are skinny. Your hips are rounded, your thighs heavy with sap. They are not my hips or thighs, but if genes are anything to go by I will one day grow up to look just like you.

The men hang around the corner store by the handful, one faceless buzzing cloud, and you sail through them, the sway of your hips a sticky imprint on their heat-worn minds. You feel their humid breath graze your skin, their abdomens pulling towards you, ready to sting. You laugh them off every time. You make a game of it, but never a commitment, until one day one of them is not like the others, and you let him in. Into your mind, into our home.

His dart shot straight into you, sealed you up like heavy wine. Nailed you shut like a coffin.

After him there were many others, but it wasn’t the same. Because he had been different and they were not. They sailed through our house, our lives, in and back out, rubbed against you, against our food and furniture, they stayed for dinner, some of them stayed the night.

Then autumn came and the cold washed them out, they faded with the light, sometimes leaving half-smoked cigarettes next to the couch, sticky fingerprints on a glass, taking cash with them, or the contents of the fridge. Corpses with pockets as deep as their ability for love was shallow.

Take them out, you tell me. You don’t even bother to whisper, pointing at them like residue. The sit and blankly stare, the patterns on their skin are spinning, the colour fading from their eyes. They are bodies but already they barely exist.

We’re not a hotel, you say, because what we are is a hive, your hips the hive from which we came, my sister and me and our home in its entirety, you hold us all between the bones of your hips, in the exact midst of being held and being crushed. Your hips could hold a universe, and to us, they do, they hold a home.

In springtime, when the men are strong you need them close to you, and in summer you indulge their presence, and when the light starts growing dim and their strength starts to fade so does your patience. Their wings now fail them, their faces incapable of kissing, of even a smile. I drag them to the door with diligence, their heaviness strapped to my tender back, I carry them over the threshold of our hive and I let go.

In the cold rushes of early winter air I watch their bodies tumbling down along the street, further and further away from the hive, removed from our home like a stain, tumbling down through the dark air into what cannot be other than a void.

Advertisements

Flick

the fire

starts outside the wood and eats

its way in – too much red

has splattered

on the rug from that time I knocked

my elbow against a corner and couldn’t stop

my hand from shaking, the brush

flicked paint across the floor like ejaculate

or a neck

sliced through off screen

Hamster

The plastic carrot swims in the water bottle from which the hamster drinks. It bobs as a small bubble rises to disturb the surface, which then shivers for a while. The hamster drinks quickly, as if it has a limited amount of time in its lunch break and wants to return to a state of getting stuff done. At the same time, there is an emptiness in its eyes. I am so tired, the hamster seems to think, but I have to rush on, and maybe things will get easier after a while. And after a while – this is what we call afternoons – things do get easier. The hamster has finished drinking and the clouds outside darken not with rain but with monotony as the sun disappears behind their vulgar bulk. The time of day changes, people crumple paper, people switch their desk lights on. The world is tired and wearing thin white gloves because the time of day is icy to the touch. The hamster treads a virgin path through the straw. It sits in its nest and thinks deep thoughts while chewing on a dried up apple core.

Confetti

perverse and unwritten, the hired car

bullets down the thirty year old road

I hired had to hire – a teacher to continue existing

and if the world approved, I thought, I just might

licence myself to sing my affectations

in a different key

 

some ancestor, stiff with rheumatism, never once

was home when I came home

from lessons in the afternoon where in the gutter

of daylight hours I found his fingers chopped

or, who knows, perhaps gnawed asunder

 

when you left me my mouth said I permit it

as if it cared less about me than it should

and I remember that the building shook

with all the rotten foods it carried

 

something in that thought

only punishes more

with time

 

like a great man

reciting by a dying torch

the words of

someone immediately killed

 

once I called myself sixteen and said

no, I wouldn’t call it aquiline

it’s much more of a slope

with a teardrop or a cherry at the end

 

my ability to feel ugly is so textbook

a ragged pad of token use

 

I often group the thin along with the dying

as if it’s only a matter of waiting for the thing

to roll down the predetermined slope

and on the rusty sullen beach I wait

 

once, when a bullet

found no recourse, not even in sleep

even in the silent erosion of the brain

it condescended to the state of seed

and waited, like I do, around

 

I am now too angry to sleep beside you

I am too dark with beaten blood

to cradle your large body,

even its outline, inside me

 

catch in myself a shudder when the thought

plasticises and hits the ground

 

your shoulders have toppled and the shaking

has begun, but all I think about each time

is the dryness in my mouth

 

I turn in my glove as if so much dirt

had just fallen on the ground in winning shapes

to be read like fire tracks

 

and each time

my tongue is cracked like golden fruit

in the sun

 

I organise the words of songs because I cannot

respond simply, identify

what about a person is a person

and what about them is

a silent winter tree, totally indifferent

 

I am dragged into a thumping office room

where I dictate the words from the inside

to the outside

to an exploding typewriter with stars for keys

stars untouched for twenty years, and before then

only by hands of molten rock

 

here goes, I say

and the stars punch themselves deeper and deeper away

until the world dissolves

into innocent, fragile grey confetti

After that hiatus

After a long period of not really writing, not immersing myself in writing, I become shy around it.

I’ve spent two months with other people’s writing, other people’s ideas, while making very little space for my own. And now my own writing feels like an alien gesture, something that would make me laugh if I walked in on myself doing it. So I tiptoe.

I’ve become afraid of doing the wrong thing. The act of writing, right now, is no longer carefree play, and my momentum or sense of purpose is so easily broken. Writing is external, a turning-inside-out of the mind’s parts, and because I am conditioned to assign greater authority to external assessments of me than into the way I feel about myself, I worry that the more I put out onto the page the more this material will collate into unflattering image of me, increasing the chance that I’m messing up in a way I cannot ignore.

It is then that it becomes more important than ever to remind myself of the permission I have to mess up, to be sub-par, to throw out the idea of a standard in the first place. Returning from the pressure to achieve, dialling back to a state of play and permission to be playful, is hard work. What makes it hard is that it often doesn’t even feel like legitimate work. Alongside my return to the act of writing strolls an unwelcome sidekick: a deep and condescending voice telling me that the part of me that wants to play is the part that’s lazy, seeking an excuse not to have to make an effort. ‘I’m your critical spirit,’ says the voice, ‘and I am here to protect you from the part of you that’s naive.’

But that voice is not a writer, nor is it aware of the amount of good play does me, how kind and rewarding it feels to act without needing to be perfect, to do things without needing to achieve something, and how sad life would be without that feeling of ‘I don’t know what comes next, but I can’t wait to crawl in this direction and find out on the way.’

The Silver Man Fell Down The Stairs

the silver man fell down the stairs slowly and the lights affixed at regular one-meter intervals all the way along the wall reflected off his rotating body as he fell, and his flailing, twisting limbs sent rays of it further down into the room and up against the ceiling in flickering patterns. his falling made no sound, as if the stairs were thickly carpeted, muffling every impact. it was, however, impossible to tell what material the stairs were made from.

the falling was slow, and the light flying around was quick, which in its combination created an odd sensation in the witnesses. the witnesses were in their mid to late thirties, most of them on a slow emerge from the jadedness of their youth and beginning to sense the futility of their posturing in the face of the rapidly decreasing flexibility in their limbs, and the quickly fading glow in their skins, and the sudden proximity of death. mortality was now a reality, and no amount of coolness, or appreciation from their peers, would save them from this.

the witnesses felt like rats, a feeling from which the falling silver man gave them momentary relief. his smooth silver skin reflected the light in a way that was very different to the light-reflecting abilities of glitter, something the witnesses had favoured back in their twenties, when their features were clearer, their skins more clearly delineated and taut, when glitter could be worn on a face more forgiving of what was stuck onto it. compared to light hitting glitter, the silver skin sent out rays in a calm, flat way, even though it was quick. there was a soft precision, rather than the frantic messy interspersed ness of glitter.

the silver skin was different, too, than light bouncing off a swimming pool. there were no soft waves projected onto the ceiling in regular shivers. it was, furthermore, utterly unlike the spotty streaks painted on the wallpaper by disco balls. there was nothing like it, the witnesses decided, and it made them pay attention: they were witness to something unique, which meant they themselves were unique, and this caused their ears to perk up and their eyes to require less blinking.

this was a moment, a real one, the kind they so often read about in books worshipping the magic of youth, and saw in films whose soundtracks were meant to make one nostalgic for a time that never was. this real moment of a silver man falling slowly down the stairs in stunned silence while his skin reflected the light of the room back into itself in totally original patterns was, the witnesses knew, an act of true life, and they were intent on capturing it.

they weren’t yet sure what they would do with it once they had captured it, but what mattered was being totally present for it, being there, whatever that meant. the witnesses weren’t sure, actually, if they were being present now, if they were present enough, if they were doing it correctly.

but it was important to try, try harder. this was the moment that, in the future, they would refer back to and tell themselves they had truly lived, truly been awake for. it was the sort of memory that would soothe their minds when they were frantic with suspicions that they had wasted their time on this earth by thinking about living more than actually living, that subtle performance that eluded them all so much.

it would be a moment to tell others about, though they knew already they would fail to put it into the right words. it saddened them that it might not be within their abilities to accurately relate this moment to others after it had passed, but what other way was there to make sure this moment lived past the one after it? the falling was fleeting and they knew it, so they increased the width between their lids to the maximum level and for as many seconds as they could bear they ceased to breathe.

Fever.

I just finished a diary entry which basically amounts to how badly I wish I were a Coen Brother. I don’t really, of course, because I’d miss being in this girl body, with the mind I grew into, and I’d miss being an only child, being thirty, being , and and and.

Also, if I were to choose someone else to be, I couldn’t really choose. The whole point of being yourself is that you don’t have to make that decision: you’re already there, looking into the lives of others without needing to participate or take over the bad with the good. You have your own bad, your own good, your own messy in-between.

What I’m trying to say is that although you may think I’m pressuring you, I hope you can find a way to do things today that challenge the state you’re in; perhaps things that you’ve been putting off because you don’t feel capable.

I know that, right now, the real world seems more hostile and confusing than the conveniently straightforward and self-contained artificial world of watching people go blabla online, but the only way to make the hostility less unbearable is to remind yourself (viscerally) that you can navigate the real world too.

I’m telling you things I already know, I being you of course.

Something has broken, sure, but endlessly playing in artificial world isn’t going to fix it.

Your sense of self & your belief in your abilities can only be fixed in the real world, by doing things – with your body, your hands, your ears, your tongue, your kickedy bouncedy feet.

I didn’t sleep well, had a super confusing dream about endless water slides and the pressure to laugh and splash around when confronted with the materiality of a water park.

There was also the dream about being a teenager who had been adopted by a neglectful vampire in Hollywood in the midst of what seemed like a makeup convention. In other words, the bout of flu I’m battling has well and truly taken over.