Friday, April 26, 2013

Monday, April 22, 2013


so it comes to this then ,
the three-week long russian roulette - real bullets and everything :
you win, sleepless nights for all of us worrying about
all the things your disabled mind can't see. 

in a week we'll know if raped and maimed you'll be found
on La Cienega with no ID (because it wouldn't have occured to you
to take any with you) ,
___having sold two of your wheelchairs for $20 to buy a pack of cigarettes. 

either that or you'll prove us all wrong. live comfortably
for the rest of your life as you trample our memory
underfoot and wheel , spit on our phone numbers
and pray cancers into our bones.

all this is happening all i can think is how relived i am to be this tired.
nowadays either i drop from fatigue the minute i arrive home
or i'm awake until i drink myself to stumbled sleep.
__i'd feel guilty if i could- i tried but couldn't muster it.
a lifetime of guilt grows stale eventually.
finally, scabbed and painlessly falls off (
a dark petal of someone softer i once was.
___(and now i am all bone and no skin:

you have done this to me, to us.
you've made us all lesser monsters in your shadow ;
uncaring, cruel, unaffected.

i'm planning a big poem for you. our whole history, one long poem;
but this isn't the time for it.
___i have to wait and see if i'm writing it as your eulogy first.
(but it's alright, i know just the picture to use as the backdrop :
the one of you i keep

i don't even feel like writing.
screw this.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

diary note / etude

nothing i want to say has words in it
but we're back here again anyway. the habit of things.
gravity. addiction.

i've promised myself i'll write , even if just to loosen up my jaw so i can form syllables again.
i'm familiar enough here to come in the backdoor and walk through the kitchen.
don't need a menu, i know what's eating who in here . Even if i've been away a while,
we pick up the tune where we left off:

tit for tat.
dreaming of skinny dipping, learning to smoke and dying proud. (that sums me up he says. 'funny'
i think, 'how easy he did that'.

all these distractions are such foreign smiles - the best kinds - women you don't know. all slender
ankle and mischievous glance. i haven't had a proper meal in weeks, i snack on distractions.
why wait for love when you can eat cake? he says, 'maybe you're right' i respond.

how are things with you she wants to know; 'oh mama, i'm low, if someone said unicorns weren't
real i'd almost believe it'.

tomorrow when i see you at work i'll glance at your fingers and imagine them in my mouth. the grapes of you delight me. maybe it's true you don't know anyone till you've tasted them naked.

all of which is to say: i've learnt more today by forgetting everything that came before. (& more zombie than man i come stumbling home at nearly 9 and when he asks me how work was i say 'morte me' ; the distinguished man's fml he responds and losing myself i laugh.

these pills aren't bad. how sweet i'll sleep.
how deep.
forgotten and lost in time's other kingdom ,
the hope only of hollow men and stuffed toys:

or, so thought the man.

Monday, April 15, 2013

ode and jeremiad

ode to sunday.

sunday lounges like a cat.
comfortable in the rain, luxurious in the sun.
i'm home long enough to open my windows,
to move from bed to couch, from couch to piano stool,
from piano stool to forgetfulness,
___(and from there to everything).


monday jeremiad.

there's a shadow across my bowl of cereal.
___must be monday. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


valentines by Skinny Ships

she coughs a few times, casually covering her mouth with a loose fist. places what's left of the cigarette into a jar and closes the lid.
'are you sick?' She shakes her head no.  (that happens sometimes she explains)
'So your plan is working?' She knows what I mean. maybe. _it's slow.
'How fast would you prefer?' She smiles sadly: i'm ready whenever.

i wish her plan had worked. i used to feel guilty having that thought. i don't anymore.


how does your weekend look? he asks me. i don't want to explain. quiet i say. that might be a lie. i can't tell. it's noisy on the inside. but he probably wouldn't understand that. he likes telling me about his 'dates'. that's a euphemism. i usually like hearing about them, but i'm not in the mood to indulge it now. he loiters a few minutes and leaves me alone again.

i stay at work as late as i can and sneak past the friday-drinks crew unnoticed. get outside. inhale. ___walk. ___walk. __walk.

it's an unfortunate placement. if i turn right, i'm basically home. if i go left across the street i know a sure-way to get some sleep tonight.

minutes pass.


* want me to come over?

* no. yes. maybe. i don't know. i can't tell.

* what are you doing?

* at this point amusing myself by stumbling around the house

* what?


i had been stumbling around the house. but first i tried to find a decent poem i'd written. i looked through four years of writing and couldn't find anything right. disappointed by how noisy it still was in my head i played one page of a mozart sonata, clumsily, over and over. it was jagged and my fingers felt massive. it took all the concentration i had to hit the right note. i liked that. still noisy in my head. i sporadically walked to the kitchen and poured another. (after the second or third i'd decided it tasted unpleasant so would drink each shot down in one gulp. be done with it).

after a while the unbalance set it. i took a shower with one hand against the wall. walked from room to room trying to decide whether the lights should be on or off.

when she gets there i'm lying on the floor looking at the ceiling.


- she threw me out.
- she didn't throw you out.
- she did. ___and stop taking sides.
- ...
- you're not going to say anything?
- [shrug] i'm out of words. i've been out of words for years.
- how are you going to help me- ___never mind actually. you can't.
- ...
- you can't.


out of habit i kiss my way into a hug. it's too hard to just hug. too intimate. too vulnerable. ___she's surprised too. she hadn't expected that transition. ___what's going on? ___(i'm hidden in her neck) what? oh nothing. i'm glad you're here. ___why? ___i was lonely. ___is that it?


* what are you doing?

* at this point amusing myself by stumbling around the house

* what? / i thought you were going home for the weekend?

* couldn't bear it. not just yet. go in morning.

* what's going on?  want me to come?

* i'm not really myself.

* oh dear. i'm on my way.


when she comes in i offer her tea. (anyone who enters my doorway i offer tea). i put the kettle on and stumble back to the couch breathing loudly. face flushed. i'm relieved when she doesn't ask any questions about my state. just accepts this is what tonight is.


these aren't nice places q. you think everything is going to be fine, you think it's all okay, these aren't nice places. you don't know - you don't anything about it. you have your nice house, you enjoy that, go live in your nice house and i'll go live with the crazy people and the beds are so uncomfortable i was crying because my back hurt. you know what they said? you know what they said: sleep in your wheelchair. sleep in your wheelchair that's what they said. so i did. for like.. 10 days or something. you think that's fine? is that your idea of fine? no, of course. so don't think you're helping. you're not helping, you can't help. it's not your fault. you can't. go live your life. i'm happy for you.


we're naked on the floor. then on the dining room table. ___wait... is that rain? ___it is. ___take me outside.
___i take her hand and grab a towel as i pass the laundry. open the back door and stumble through the paved path. there's moss grown on most of it now so it's slippery. i slip and fall naked into a patch of wet leaves. she laughs, takes my hand and lifts me back up. in the middle of my backyard, trees on all sides. there's no fence but unless the neighbours come to their back verandah we should be fine. even then i think we'd probably just waive and laugh. she's on top. i'm distracted. the sky is ash-coloured. the tree branches make a strange silhouette. my head is still noisy. what's wrong? 'it's still noisy, i thought it would stop that' shhh. close your eyes, feel the rain.
___the rain picks up, full storm. we come running in - me having slipped on the path again - i'm shaking and convulsing. she's laughing at me. straight to the shower! i say! straight straight in.


- q the cab's here. you coming?
- yes. but i have a sneaky suspicion there's a condom in the middle of my backyard that i should probably deal with now.
- now?
- i'll forget about it. and will forget about it till - my luck - there's a bbq and my grandmother finds it or it ends up in the dog's mouth.
- go. ___just... find it.


did i leave any of my pills here? she exhales some smoke (no coughing this time). she doesn't know.
- i thought you stopped.
- i did.
- so why are you looking for them?
- circumstances changed.
- my circumstances changed. don't know why that means you need pills.


i rush home. my shirt's half unbuttoned before i open the front door. i'm two drinks deep before i put the key down. three drinks deep before i shower. finish what's left after - no time to mix anymore, just drink straight in one gulp. take deep breaths. crawl on my hands and knees to the couch. get in my blanket. won't be long now, just close your eyes won't be long now. you'll sleep now. this is the best idea you've had in days. you'll just sleep now. you'll just close you'll


- why do i feel like you have something you want to tell me?
- i don't.
- what's wrong with you then, tell me what you're thinking.
- honestly: nothing. i'm just sad. i don't know how to fix it, i don't even know what a good result looks like. i'm tired of... thinking about it. i just don't care.
- well thanks for stopping by and spending some time with her.
- i didn't really. i couldn't bear it. the house - the vibe is all wrong - it's...
- it's sad.
- yah. and the dog is sad. she knows something's up. she kept putting her head on my chest and looking at me questioningly...


when you read a lot about genocide and extraordinary atrocities you are numbed a little. and then, you'll read some little detail that has nothing to do with anything and for some reason, that detail will be a kernel, an atom of the whole mess. and you'll breakdown. i'm not telling you mine, because, frankly, i'm sorry i ever read it. i'm sorry it's in my head and i don't want it to be yours. but a friend of mine, he was at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda. he'd been there a few months and was coping okay. then he saw some footage. videotape. dead bodies everywhere (fine). machetes strewn across the dirt paths (fine). then two dogs walking side by side with blood on their mouths and noses. he said the horror was overwhelming. he collapsed in a fit of awe and pain and stumbled to a bathroom stall to throw up.


the dog's sadness is the most unbearable for me. i try and be extra sweet to her. play with her. speak lovingly to her. but she can tell. all i remember is how everyone spoke to me when my parents were getting divorced. her confused sadness is unbearable.


- what's wrong?
- moving makes me sad. packed boxes make me sad.
- anything else?
- everything.
- when you come back tomorrow bring your pills. we have work to do.


i hid the empty bottle at the bottom of the trash. i'm throwing everything out of the cabinets. - what are you doing?
- looking for something that will help me sleep.
- warm milk?
i stare at him as i think about it.
- lexopro. what's that?
- an antidepressant.
- will it make me sleep?
- i don't think so.
i take one and keep looking.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thy 11 Apr 8:22 PM

- but i had a happy childhood.
- you were a child, but you didn't have much of a childhood.
- i think i did.
- even so.
- ...
- why do you think you always want people to look after yo-
- Okay, what-ever.


i rush to do this. __before anyone gets home. __before something noisy happens , before the phone rings , before i get too hungry , before i lose my flow , before i remember something , before i forget everything ( , in hopes i forget everything) , before i having another sneezing fit , before i lose motivation because i convince myself it's a waste of time and i'm horrible , before i decide i'm horrible because i should be reading - so i can be smarter - or watching something hip so i can be hipper , before i'm distracted by an email , by a junk email that i have to empty out of my jumk-email-folder immediately , before i have to turn the volume down , up , skip the song , before i decide i have to masturbate immediately because i won't be calm until i do , before my hands start to shake for no reason , before i text girls i shouldn't text , before i call my sister and listen to the sound of my family falling apart , before i change rooms and it's too cold to write in there , before my eyes well up and i worry that i might hit something too deep and crush myself under the weight of what a 'myself' is/was/could be(mean) , before that rare instance of feeling goes away (why don't i feel anything anymore?) (5 weeks ago i started crying while painting a window and even then i couldn't feel anything, it was just a thing my body was doing ; without me. my body was crying for me) , before my skin sags and my hair moves off my face into my ears and nose , before i suspiciously crash my car because i've fallen asleep at the wheel again , before i fall asleep on the couch - on the floor - on the bed (why never in your lap? why did that only happen once?) , before i'm disowned by everyone i know and abandoned by my friends , before you're all just names , before i notice the trash needs to be taken out , before i lose my faith , before i find it again and regretfully decide to say prayers , before i lose it again before saying my prayers and regret not having drank myself into a stupor and got lost on a road somewhere and hit my head and woke up someone else and named myself Geronimo and lived sadly amongst tins of tuna and bus shelters , before i stop being me , before i break another heart , before i



+ i'd have a beard. on my face.

+ i'd enjoy riding a bike.

+ i'd start crying for no reason while painting a window.

+ i'd have little plastic toy dinosaurs and astronauts and zombies and farm animals all over my house they're crawling across the frames of artwork and on my book shelf and in glass bowls on my dining table

+ that i'd meet you / not know you / go days at a time without thinking about you

+ that i would write so little

+ that i would wear leather shoes everyday

+ that it would come to this, this week.

+ that i'd resent not having feelings and take pills whenever i did have feelings because i didn't like what the feelings were whispering about

+ that i'd feel so small while walking so upright

+ that we wouldn't have it all together yet

+ that i'd be single and too scared to be anything else

+ that i'd live in brisbane again after what happened

+ that the most senior judge in the state would come over to have tea with me and so i could play clare de lune for her (her Honour - to be precise)

+ that i wouldn't enjoy being in a club all night

+ that i'd still think you were the coolest person ever and miss spending time with you

+ that i'd look forward to friday

+ that i'd be 30 and walk on the rug i used to play on when i was 7


dear MM,
(1) you must use that picture. you just must.
(2) you're probably right about all the rest.
(3) more to come. i just wanted to get that out.



+ one day i'll jump off something and never land

+ what would mar say about all this?

+ you should write more q. write something proper. it won't hurt. it will actually. but it might be worth it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


he makes an odd face. what? 'nothing.' a few moments pass. what?
'your poor mother'. a few more moments. 'it's hard to think of you as the easy child'.
(a few more moments).
when i was six (i remember this, or its fantasy, but i know it's real, mom and i have discussed it so many times 'remember that time...') i remember this , my sister must have been a week old , my mother coming down the stairs to where i was playing - on the rug - this one here (i point to the rug under the coffee table that my mother gave me as a house-warming present. the one i used to play on as a child. and that was in the formal dining room when my mother was a child) and said q-jaan: grow up now. i don't have time for you anymore. you have to be a man now.____And then walked away.


it's 11:30pm i decide to pair my grilled cheese sandwich with coke. glass bottle. small glass bottle - barely a few sips in it. i can smell it already when i open the lid. the first sip tastes like dark medicine. feels like warm, softened blood. so this is what it is to be a man. to make this decision. to drink coke with my snack. to feel it sting the back of my sore throat. to wish for nonexistence but settle for coke at 11:30pm.


well done for yesterday she says as i walk past, it takes me a moment to understand what she's speaking about, i've never seen that happen that's... it means something. congratulations. she's the secretary for another group, a few cubicles down from mine. i say 'hello kat' every morning when she walks in. i sit opposite the door. i don't know what to say. it seems whenever everybody looks away i don't know what to say. she's caught me off guard. i smile the best i can and nod and say th-thankyou. and scurry away whichever way i came from went.

two days earlier, in the kitchen, a different secretary fills her water bottle as i make my tea. so are you happy? she asks.
- do i look happy?
- yes, you're always smiling, that's why i ask.
- but how big is my smile?
- it's big.
- and you think i'm crying softly on the inside?
- who said softly?
i smile at her, which we both ignore as we stare into each other. looking around the caves inside the holes of our eyes. (i wonder what she can see. if she can see).
this is my happy face i say.
- face huh? (and with that she walks away).


she wants to come over. maybe later. i'm happy just being alone right now. it's slower that way. i need slower. when i wake in the morning i'm out of breath.
___she insists.
maybe it'll do me good. i try to think of her body, but it doesn't help. i'm beyond that now. it's gone away. this flavour of loneliness needs something else.
___i'm happy just being alone right now. (even as i type it a second time i know it's a lie).


- it's a book - about the whole corporate thing - lawyers, bankers, CEOs and how miserable they all are.
- oh i can't read that.
- why not? sounds like that whole... like your thing.
- probably is. but i've had my mid-20s crises. ain' nobody got mo time fo dat.
- you think it'll mind-f&ck you?
- no. i think i'll pack my bags and disappear.
- as ifffff
- sweetheart, you don't know me.
(someone jumps in:
- he can't leave he's the star now
- what!?
- you don't know?
___- alright that's enou-
- did you go to the monday meeting?
- no, wha  -
[at which point he got up and left]


my hand shakes from all the caffeine. i have no choice. i'd be asleep by 3 without it. slumped in my chair. grey, with my corpse wheezing and muttering from a last minute nightmare. so i drink another. a sharp pain starts in my stomach. i clench my teeth.


i like your beard she says. thankyou. i was hoping you would approve. i'll add your name to the list of people who approve.
- i've never kissed someone with a beard, what's it like?
- i don't know. i haven't either.
- how will i ever find out?

she returns my gaze and doesn't look away.

what i want to tell her is that my family is falling apart and i hate my job and my life and my body and i want to slam her against the wall and kiss her and i love her wit and kiss her ankles and squeeze her neck and kiss her chest and her constitutional theories and redeem everything i hate about everything in her body which i want to wear like a flower.

i wonder if she sees that as i stare at her.

she's leaving in a few months.