True Love is as Pure as a Cuckold’s Kiss

true love is only real in fiction

and even then it’s usually fake

sometimes I have the energy to love you forever

until that emotion mounts in height like a terrible Pompeii

and I wanna explode

but nothing ever happens

a silent eruption

an invisible collapse

I bury the thought beside all the other empty graves I’ve dug

then I spend antic weeks hating you

trying to hide from your smile

as full of disgust as I was of love

until I have to dig a grave for that too

so tourists from the future

can’t come ogle my tragedies

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The Only Dance There is That Shows No Grace

I call her ‘Shiva’ and request a dance. Whenever I see her it’s pyrotechnics and wonder and tragic third degree burns. Butterflies locked in my stomach, still bright behind the ribcage, agitate for liberation. Bugs inevitably killed in the flurries of human motion, the striving for progress, die unmourned. I see her curves undulate, the house lights attack. The atmosphere is treacle, perfumed with victories which inevitably means losses which inevitably reminds us we too shall die. I lick lime and salt from her flanks. A man in a bald cap cuts his eyes at me, straight lines like his British steel shoulders. I have always been impatient. I can’t wait for her. I am impetuousness personified, generalised, homogenised. My soul is a teenager, my hands are a broken concreter’s. Her hands are jewelled and fold into mudras. Suddenly the humidity increases. I rub a filthy palm transgressively up beyond her knee’s mandala. I can’t wait for her—I am lustful. I can’t wait for death, I am impatient like a boy. Then there is a necklace around my throat made of thumbs and callouses. It hoists me from my seat. A necklace with tattoos over the knuckles. I grunt out air that contains remnants of innumerable whispered secrets and promises, cajolements and bargains, hot air. On it rides youthful bacteria dying without testament. I squeal because men never get the opportunity to squeal and this seems the right moment. I am being pulled away from She whom I believe I love and She is still dancing. Other eyes burn with her, other hands eat E coli off a plate of bar nuts. Light hits me like a fist to the back of the skull and the whole world dances deliriously, on and on.

 

(Trying to limit myself to writing stories under 1000 words as an exercise, a discipline.)

Every Boy’s and Girl’s Boogeyman

I’m going to stay up later than I ever have before! Mummy told me the boogeyman comes out after midnight but I’m not scared. I know all the hiding places in the house. He doesn’t. Even with fingers dark as night he can’t find me. The other kids say the boogeyman isn’t real. But I know. I’ve seen the scars he left on Mummy. The bruises. I’m waiting up for him with my bat I play baseball with. Mummy’s in bed, snoring. She took her medicine tonight and fell asleep on her bed. She must be warm coz she hasn’t pulled the covers over her. Daddy finishes work in the middle of the night, too. Sometimes I hear him screaming when he comes home and sees what that awful boogeyman has done to his wife. They cry together, holding each other in front of a picture of my brother and me. I. I’m a good girl in my special pajamas. They have Spiderman on them. He’s swinging through a little city. He protects people who’ve done no wrong. I’ll swing my bat at the boogeyman and he’ll go away. My hands smell like used cars from the bat’s rubber grip. I put the TV on in the other room to distract him—it’s turning my face aquarium colours, lime and aqua. When the clock next strikes it’ll be midnight. I can almost hear the TV, even though it’s on mute. Hear the colours changing. Staticky, like the tide. GONG. The clock chimes. The doorhandles turns. I close my hand deep into rubber, hold the bat over my shoulder. The door opens and the boogeyman walks in. He looks like Daddy but smells like the homeless men we see on the street when mummy drags me in close to her leg. He sees the TV left on and his face turns red and veiny. He swears, with spit. I know it only looks like Daddy but I hesitate. Then it drinks from a brown bottle, breathes in a cigarette. I know daddy doesn’t drink. I know he doesn’t smoke. I come out of the shadows, unseen, unheard, the bat over my head, a hummingbird in my chest and I attack.