Offering, with Cartoon Rabbits Ears

Caught in the long grass, a few sticks wrapped in ribbon at your feet. The channel, as always, unfathomable…an orchestra accompanying the weight of the late afternoon…and looms, without the chirping, without the sounds of the festival, as a nameless monster, home to countless other, anonymous beasts. Drunk lines of smoke point away from here, high and away. Your toes dig in to the waterlogged hill; mud, the green, green grass is made of stoic stuff. Mash toenails into the cold, gritty sludge. One toe twitches, dumbly and for no obvious purpose. Useless.
They are propping up scaffold around nature. The tourists aren’t allowed to see the trees hug or the animals frolic. Partitions everywhere. And signs. Worthless signs.
‘Yes you.’ Reads one.
‘Again, just because.’ Reads another.
A bird of prey hovers above. It’s quite when you focus upon it, though the sea crashes below the cliff edge.
Cars shuffle themselves around upon the pier. The noise is like an overweight, prehistoric, animal; a cross between a wild dog, a bear and a hog slumbering amid the battle.
You untie the ribbon and throw it in the air with the sticks. For a second, you believe that it will be the ribbon that falls fastest. The air is quiet and boggy with distant activity. Ghosts of movement, conversation, promise and anticipation.
A rabbit’s ears poke above the grass, twenty or so meters away. You draw them in your expensive sketchbook. In the middle of drawing, you realise that the rabbit has disappeared. You rub out the drawing with a clod of  grass. Smears of mud and grit create a painting or sorts. And not a bad one either.
Later, you impose some cartoon rabbit ears using paint then marker pen.
The soup of the past few hours condenses into a druggy, thick pip in the centre of your skull. A small animal appears upon your window sill. It taps furiously with its furry paw on the double glazing. You point at it and laugh as it continues to pat the window, noiselessly.
The mobile beeps.
‘Ok. Fine.’ It reads.

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Driftwood and Worm Food

A piece of driftwood glided past, hugged cheekily by the bastard, rushing river. The driftwood looked like a body with a chunk out of the trunk. Misplaced thoughts occurred: What had bit it? What had made the body a body?

Part the muck, Dr. Devon. Your patients patience is running thin.

A small piece of floating, black matter hung in the air. Swatting at it made it shape shift, like a tiny, black, break-dancing worm. And it made a noise like an electric current cackling in the silent afternoon air. I held a cigarette in between my teeth. I knew it couldn’t resist. The worm shifted into the shape of a star wars figure gun and shot an electric current at the tip. I puffed and the cig slowly began to smoke. I winked at the tiny bulging, flinching, black worm hanging there in mid-space…I laughed and winked before it assumed the shape of a pin and dived into my chest.

Surprisingly, it didn’t hurt.

Years later, I was married to a woman. She said I reminded her of her father. I should have seen it coming. In truth, I did. In truth, I was lonely. The thing in my chest threatened to kill me. It demanded I pack my bags. It demanded we run run, run.

This, I did.

But then…I ended up reminding myself of the self I was before the crash. And it was not my aura that gave away my identity, no, it was a purely surface recognition. In the end, my face gave me away.

And I saw them coming, rumbling across the horizon; 34 hungry, muscular clouds assumed the appearance of the only people to have half liked me. A sorry bunch. As one crashed through my window, my chest was split in two with pain. A fist made of storm air landed an uppercut. Shards of glass stuck in my eyes and between my toes.

The phone rang.

Answer machine: “Hello Sylvia. It’s Dad. Just ringing to see what the plan is for this weekend. Does Alfie need his bed? If so, I’ll book myself into a local hotel. Let me know. Okay, bye.”

Click.

My neck snapped. Another poltergeist. It ran rings around me. There were three of them, and they were all invisible.

I dialed for help: 9999999999999…

A voice, tinny, bore instructions in an alien language.

It seemed.

An owl hooted outside.

Someone used their toilet.

I lay upon the blood soggy carpet.

Yawned. Fell asleep.

 

Deadbeat Haircut, Sofa, TV, Death, The End of Hope…Hip-Hip!

Same old.

But.

New. But mouldering and off. Sad skin. And flesh of powder. Run for the hills. Don’t look back. They will forget about you quicker than the changing of the seasons. It was not you they wanted anyway. And if they are reading this then they shouldn’t be. They should be getting on with their fucking life.
Just.

Like I.

Am.

WE ARE YOUR FRENDS!

(Shocking day. Only three, drab colours outside: flesh tint – bauble – cadaver. Snuggle down on the knife edge…make yourself look presentable…think of her, he says to himself. Inhale the smoke, let it waft over the hole where the tooth used to be. Feel the deep sting. If it says 24 hours on the pamphlet, then 24 hours it is. This pain is normal. After all, they say so and they have qualifications.)

Gorgeous George lick his lips before diving into the pool of dreams. He frolics there until delirious. His dripping body brings down buildings. From the outer ionosphere, the planet is heard to crack. The kind of sound that seems to slice between the two halves of the brain. ‘Chocolate milk, chocolate milk, drink it all away with the chocolate milk.’ Then spend mystery currency on a neon whore. Rain the notes over her body. When she blinks, so does the light in the room. Small vehicles beep each other. The smell of the market is picking up. Men and women try on costumes. He stares down at himself: mostly charity shop clothes, mostly charity shop thoughts; platitudes that gouge out his soul. The light fabrics draped across the many, unknown surfaces begin to undulate in the breeze. Her tummy draws in as she takes a deep breath. The ribs emerge starkly beneath the neon. ‘Want me to close a window babe?’ She asks. ‘You’re the one whose cold…’ he says, putting out the cigarette on his hand. ‘Oh, god! Doesn’t that hurt?’ He folds more of the notes into paper aeroplanes and aims them between her legs. She lays there, bored, while he does this. Voices rise up from the street. ‘No, just leave it there.’ ‘Okay, yeah. But no more of the other ones, we can’t take them. It’s not up to me.’ ‘Ham and fries and pineapple smoothies, come one ladies, come on gents.’ ‘Just look it up in doodle…’ He wonders doesn’t it annoy her, all the empty babble. No, it doesn’t, she says. ‘Do you want to do it or not?’ she says. ‘We are doing it.’ he says. He says he doesn’t want to be alone. Funny, she says, funny how our desires can be so different. The is a mirror opposite him. The reds and oranges inside the room manage to make him look healthy. Though he sees that he has shaved badly. He reached into his pocket and gave her a few more of the bills. She looked up at him not knowing exactly what that meant. Then he walked out.

On his way down the grimy, black stairs he slipped a couple of times on something. Then he walked around the market. Young men and women were dressed as each other and were shrieking with delight. A young girl grabbed him, shouted a name. Then almost threw him away upon realising her mistake. Then she saw the money bulging from his pocket. ‘Only joking,’  she says.

The whore flew her jet pack in a beautiful evening dress. She watched below as they devoured the man and took his money. she laughed. Poor soul, she thought. And, still tingling from a night’s toil, sought the empty plains outside the city. The heliotrope hued sky clawed into the black rock beneath. A few dots moved at speed towards a vehicle. From the east, a mountainous simoom devoured the desert.

She was found weeks later. Her body leathern and twisted around devastated metal and splintered rock. Next to her was a large sign made of fibreboard.

‘WE ARE YOUR FRENDS!’ It said.

Side Effect II

The night dissolved and the daylight clotted the blackness. A sickly sky. The air, however, was good. My body was not. The drugs had left a chemical taste at the back of the throat. And all I thought about was whether the message would find her.
My head filled with questions, doubts and fears like electric spermatozoa.
A pool of water with bubble of petrol. Around the pool are hundreds of candles balanced on tall pedestals. And the wind began to pick up.
When the questions begin they usually don’t stop until a small pile of flesh is torn away. Between the teeth, over the mountain and into the deep, gray sea. This beauty won’t know how much I love her. It’s too painful to say. The message exists only in my head. The basso throats, the gin soaked carpet. The sky lit up with bombs. Small thoughts made into enormous, defective buildings.
Tongue in knots filled with devotion. There to stay. To burrow inside and fester until transformed into regret.
Everything you can ever say shot out of the sky like a bird with twigs stuffed in its beak. As it flaps in its own waste, the grass swallows it up, as though breathing, into the deep, gray earth. All is fire, all is light; the pride of the heart, still swollen, persuading the mouth to express its heat; the ice of the mind jabbing sharp icicles through the arteries, slowing the blood. You wonder when it will happen. And you know it never will. And yet there is always a chance.
*     *     *
The door creaked. The tables were dirty. The food was good. The waitress was better. My glass was empty. She held the bottle over my glass. She looked at me. I put my hand over the glass. She poured the drink over my hand. Then she got down on her knees, the wheels of her roller skates still whirring, and licked off the booze with a cold, silky tongue.

Side Effect I

It was like sleep but infested with pastel-coloured corpses and the smell of freshly cut metal. And soon the ‘sleep’ will lay in on my brain again and the hours will be lost. The number of minutes that are squandered is more than alarming. And the sound of the mammoth bell sends a shiver down the spine. Sow low as to be almost sub-aquatic; bigger than the moon and embracing all molecules bound in its course and beyond. You can dream a city. One with enough space and friends and even a place to stay. We used to live in a wonderful, late 19th century apartment building. High ceilings, tall windows providing an abundance of light. We’d wake naturally, with the sun. Our feet would grip the beautifully polished wood floors. A pot of tea. Pancakes. After lunch, a few friends would visit. They would bring a bottle of wine. We’d break out the cheese and crackers. All this time the bombs would be falling. Without fear, with much laughter and love, we held hands and counted the bomber planes as they darkened the sky.
When I woke, she was gone. She had never been. The world was gray. I was alone. I grieved for the loss of a woman I had never met. And I decided I was lucky even only to have dreamed such a life. When I shut my eyes I will hope to return. But I know that I will end up in an invented computer game, jumping from pixellated lily pads and not questioning it; at the mercy of my whimsical brain. And when I awake tomorrow, she will have gone. And in a few years time she will return, as deja vu, to break my heart again.

Receiver

Real stars froze in lungs and his tooth went diddley doo. Change for the year, caught bumbling into the next. Exhausted and pathetic, notebook in had, your worst time of day, or year, in an era all set out like a rotten banquet. It’s knees muddied and newsprint stuck to its back it peers into the fiery pit and bites off part of half a twix. She watches it from her window and then has to vomit. She is in love. The sky splits open and thirteen hands, bourne upon carmine light, find her body and heal the black rock in her gut. She collapses into her chair and sighs. We don’t know, says the tee vee – once they leave us, we can’t keep track of them – we just hope for the best. And down the phone a crackly voice repeats the word love.

Like the Clappers

He lived by the sea in the middle of a thunder cloud. On a shelf there sat a skull, some old fish and chips and a copy of an old, mysterious novel. On the front of the novel a gold sketch of a butterfly was embossed. The book was hard for him to read. Every day he picked it up, with open mind and heart, and tried to see if it would reveal something to him. And every day he closed it with a heavy feeling inside. When he went to bed he was visited by ghosts who appeared at the sound of a clapping hand. A dog was heard whimpering, though he never saw the dog. Perhaps it was something else. He would lie in his hard bed at an awkward angle. He appeared to be frowning. In the dim light, occasionally brightened by passing cars, there were what appeared to be tears rolling down his cheeks. In the man’s mind, phantoms walked the streets; they appeared through blinding bright keyholes from houses in his childhood street. A vicars face would approach him, bodiless, and sneer evil incantations into his head. The whimpering would turn to a bark. The bark would become louder and louder until, finally, the man woke up, sweating and shaking through to his bones. And for a split second, he thought he saw an animal at the foot of his bed, teeth bared, grinning back at him. The thunder never stopped. And the book became harder and harder to decipher. So he left. He ran away from the sea. To the man, it was as if the waves were fanning the badness into his life. And, who knew, if he’d never found the book, things might have been simpler.
He moved to the city in the middle of winter. On the bar there sat a pint of beer and a whiskey chaser. He sipped the beer, dumped the whiskey in and waited for it to mix. A packet of pork scratchings sat, half empty like a destroyed animal next to the drinks on top of a book called ‘how to write’. On the front of the book there was a picture of an old mans face. The book was hard to read. Every day he opened it at a random page and yet the same information presented itself to him. “In the old days, those of storms and no heating; when my wife was pregnant with the kid, I’d sit down and think of those first, immortal lines. Of course, they never came. All I could hear was that fevered applause that was so dear to me. The congratulations from peers, the proposals from beautiful women who’d read my work and want me for my words. The waterfall of success. I was damned from the beginning…” And he would go to bed except there was no bed. And he would phone his loved ones but there were no loved ones. They’d all died in his own, personal tragedy. A nail comes loose on his finger. He peels it off and hopes no one can see. Then he dabs another finger in the whiskey dregs and smears it on the weeping finger. It stings and aches at the same time. The lights of a police car flash through the window of the bar. The siren comes and goes, trailing off as though losing its intonation.
A butterfly lands on his pork scratchings. He hammers it hard with a closed fist, mingling soft, radiant colours with dead, grey fat. The wings of the butterfly move slowly and then stop forever.

Another Day in Space

So I’m driving along and talking to myself as usual. And I’m trying to speak to the air about the dream. I’m back at university. And there’s this girl there and I know who she is but I can’t place her. She’s slight framed with these penetrating eyes. And it seems as though she exists in another dimension. In the dream I find myself having to concentrate hard to get even a tiny glimpse of her. All I know, in the dream, is that I want to see her all the time but I can’t. She slips away from me when I fix my gaze upon her, leaving what look like brightly coloured, smoky ribbons indicating where she was a split second ago; such a small fraction of time, indeed, that it’s as though she might not have been there at all. And I’m really getting vocal in my car, talking it out as I say. And I’m expecting some answers. Thundering down the motorway in the dark, nothing but spots of red and white lights to indicate my surroundings, it’s as though I’m in space. I suppose it went to my head; being alone in the car and alone in the dream. But, there is this girl. And she is everywhere that I am. And I realise, after a while, in the dream, that all my movements are dictated by my desire to see this girl.

Then, without warning, the scene changes, as is so often the case in dreams. And I’m aboard a boat. And it seems to me that the reason everything changed was because I became aware of the motivation for my movements around this approximation of my university created by my subconscious mind. On the boat, which is also a restaurant, it’s as though my memory has been erased. I know that, moments ago, I was looking for something. And that that something had eluded me; lost aboard this mind boat (comprised of many levels and as long as my imagination can fathom) where people busy themselves taking orders and giving them. And I am there, sat at a seat by a porthole with a view out into an immense river. Call it the physical manifestation of my train of thought or lost memory. Through the porthole, on the other side, I see an unknown face looking right through me. I turn away and close my eyes. And, like retina burn, there are these weird ribbons. I press the accelerator to try to get to the point of this visualisation. To arrive at the truth of what is bubbling in my heart. And I’m just wishing that the car had a tongue so that it could tell me that there was some sense to the dream. Because to me it feels more than the usual psychological somersaults of a resting brain. It’s almost as though my heart, whatever that is, had cupped its hands over its mouth until it was too much then screamed a perfect truth in the shape of a girl. Perhaps it was that. Perhaps it wasn’t anything at all. Perhaps I’m just tired. It’s been a long journey and sometimes, when the scenery leaves little to be desired, the mind, or heart, can fabricate that which it needs. Then we arrive at where we’re going, lock the car, get a drink of water and wind down for another day. Another day of red and white lights.

Another day in space.

In, Out and Back In

In the light of the early afternoon we watched the birds. They fluttered in the trees, eating nuts and appearing to exist in another dimension. My friend took a perfect kind of delight in their tiny creation. There was mist everywhere. The trees appeared to be tombs under which elaborate, eccentric prophets might have been buried. And where his disciples, these feathered freaks, paid their daily respects. I ran the tap and a jet of water bashed the sink, bouncing back out of my cup and spraying all over the front of my trousers. A few drops hit my face. One rolled down my nose, tickling it then dropping from the tip. I held out my tongue to catch it. The drop missed and landed on my shoe with a ‘tap’. One of the birds let go of a bird turd; white, like a dart and looked around itself as though embarrassed. Of course, it was not.

The television was on. My blood boiled in my veins. At that moment, I wanted to fight. Anyone. Everyone. The flickering contraption was actually dismantling my optimism, piece by piece. Displaying every vapid, facile swatch of humanity possible; cramming it into its narrow frame without pause for air. Imagining the number of people watching this at the same moment was terrifying. It’s a wonder that the world doesn’t split wide open with misery…

So instead, I dipped into my head and found a beautiful Spanish door, slightly ajar. Slender feet appeared beneath a neon mist. A scarlet petal fell to the floor, splashing like blood upon what appeared to be marble. Trapped in a cell, the mind of a man writhes and conjours. Wild images and fantasies are played out like war game scenarios. There is no such thing as reality. Love is waiting in the realm of the mind. Expect change.