life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Pas de capital

On monmouth street, the devil lingers

smells the blood of things to come

fingers dipped in black magic

cigarettes and hashish on a double decker bus at midnight

feeling muscles pulled tight from dancing for hours

they left their bloody conscience by the door, it stuck, it did not close

well at all

wanting sex and drugs and and end of time

condom wrappers litter festival floor like signets

her father invited different women each weekend to sample

his sorrow and she

climbed down drain pipes to go where all

kids without structure hang

an empty playground with burnt spoons and plastic needles

the boys there, let her be, they liked their meat less

tenderized

one year she read eighteen plays of marlow and

three anais nin, the latter had her wet and thirsting

but the bathroom door possessed no lock

wax your legs, but not your crotch, the feminists at

night-school implored, she was one of them but not

able to summon the desire to behave well

where do night birds go when they want to devour?

Different to everyone here and the same

a pulse urging movement, willing escape

fucking strangers without pronounceable names

tight buttocks, red hose, patent shoes, broken heals

against radiators leaving stripes down her thighs

such is the transpose and yield of hormones

one day you’ll look back & regret will not be what you see

sleeping on fur coats in the dressing room at 23.00pm

platinum hair on your lapel, can you survive her

blistering disregard or is it what you want?

Sitting cross legged eating tinned asparagus as he

jacks off to henry & june, the part where uma thurman

and her incredible triangular breasts, reach

lighting up blunts on promenade des anglais

grinding hips in la croix des gardes after the gates are locked

no protection, you’re already ruined thrice over

with someone who leaves you before they’ve begun

your grandmother is jarring jam from fallen fruit and she accuses you

of stealing her cigarette money which you did not do

you were out in the garden playing in the faraway tree

eating scabs and letting the neighbor undo your shoes

they fall like birds wings without bird into pond

once you drove your bike into that water and leaches

left their love kisses on your arms

like that boy who fed you clafoutis, calisson and cough candy

when you ran a fever and he sucked on your flat bosom

like starving tight rope walker

running down le suquet in search of brown eyed kids

to buy alcohol and pastille du mineur, danging white legs

and tanned toes into dirty water

one said; You are too flat chested I like them bustier

you smiled in relief, punched their thin arms and ran off

secretly desiring the older sister who stood silhouetted against

setting sun, darkness of her skin reflecting thrashing waves

like she had been born from the urgent depths

her lips large and angry with her age, gauloises yellowing

hardly smoked just flung from painted finger to finger

you longed to reach underneath her blouse, to

black lace, brown skin, white lines

on her dressing table, saints, glaring disapproval

she liked boys with mopeds, tight jeans, long hair

no matter how hard you tried you could not

interest her apathique boredom into desire

instead punishing yourself, with last minute trains to other cities

necking at le grand rex, with sour tasting boys

who supplied black smokes and soft necks

in the darkness of raspoutine snorting on her thigh

leading to empty windows and

the feel of late summer on clammy nude skin

he tells you to close the curtains, watching as you

turn, slender and warm, toward him and away

mother at la main bleue, her own lithe figure

sharpening history, walking into rooms without

locks, a family legacy.

In tenerrife they say without a tan, stand outside

too young for adults, too mature for boys

an urgent pulse, the stage a bouquet of bodies

a turkish man gives me a rose, says I remind him of

sissy spacek, I lend

a blushing danish girl my last pesos, she

returns an hour later and shares a lemon ice

her long tongue licking it between smiles

it’s midnight and the buses run by the half

in earls court where whores and rich men

laugh, knives on board better to walk

he’s holding me up, he’s holding me down

we create a child, we lose ourselves in curling throng

when I see him again, it’s ten years later

his black eyes have bags underneath, he looks like he’s

been carrying grief for the children of pont des invalides

to battersea bridge with green birds no longer there when

it was cold and her art in the water lost

nobody but I believed it happened

je n’ai jamais voulu être blessé. Je voulais être aimé. Violemment.

now she has a child and I ache to hold

onto that time with

both hands.

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fiction, photography

THE LAST DRIVE

Chris R-1-177 Image by Christine Renney

Watching the petrol gauge I wait and miraculously the tank is almost full. The motor turns and the radio comes to life; the disc jockey’s voice is loud and instantly familiar. I reach to switch it off but I fumble, making it louder and in order to deaden the banter I kill the engine.
Still a little flustered, I tug at the key but it won’t shift. It is jammed in the lock. I pull my hands away from the wheel and push back in the seat, convinced it is broken and that it won’t start again. I squint through the windscreen at the car parked in front and turning I check behind and find that the car, like the key, is stuck and I am trapped. I can’t move and I haven’t any choice but to sit and wait.
I could abandon the car and walk and of course eventually I will be forced to do just that. I don’t have any money and I have left my wallet in the house with the cash and credit cards, that for a spell at least would still work, but I won’t go back inside, not again.
Anyhow, I have fuel, granted it will only last for so long and take me just so far but it feels like enough and I want to make this last long drive and so I stay put.

I ease my foot off the accelerator and begin to slow down. The driver behind sounds his horn and I watch in the mirror as, gesticulating wildly, he pulls back. But locking his headlights onto high beam he edges closer and closer still until I can’t see. Squinting I lean close to the screen and I focus on a spot of light, the size and shape of a rugby ball that somehow, despite the glare, is managing to find its way and I follow.
I suspect that the road ahead is clear and he could easily pass, let me be, leave me to draw to a stop and abandon the car which, I suddenly realise, is what I intend to do but I don’t want him watching.
Slowly, ever so, ever so slowly, I come to a halt and still blinded I turn and peer through the rear screen. I suppose he can see me, my silhouette at least. I must be clearly defined in the bright and harsh blaze, like a convict exposed whilst attempting to escape, caught in that half crouch, uncertain as to whether he should still try for the wall or make his way back toward the cell block.
I shuffle around again and now all he can see is the back of the seat and the top of my head. I sit still, determined not to move, at least not before he does.

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poetry

Feels

Feeling nothing is still a feeling
so is feeling numb (i.e. feeling unable to feel anything)
I have a hard enough time trying to survive with feeling tangible feelings,
let alone non-feeling feelings that make me feel as if I can’t feel anything at all
and ‘feel’ does not look like a real word anymore
but it must be real as I feel its definition swimming in my brain
(an organ which, actually, cannot physically feel)
and I feel sick of feeling all the feelings
I am sick of feeling sick
Fuck feeling feelings
I don’t want any
I don’t want a single one

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Uncategorized

Did you?

Do you see her?

She is buried by her own regard beneath Stolichnaya soaked tree out back

fingers bound with whispering, her mouth artless in its appetite for deception

she’s yours if you’ll have her, the gaudy paint washed off, she’s quite the peach

stretching her capacities like yawning olive tree, aching to unburden heavy fruit

Do you see her?

Or just her famine, dripping from exposure?

To sore things and empty eyes, voting their dislike in shards

She hasn’t the mercy of your mother nor the muscles of your brother

Hers is a hungry abstaining of will and transfer

If she could she’d eat the pink

But illusion renders her welcome and like the rest

She settles in for the long haul, a bag of peanuts and a fat lip

You promised her sanctuary, a place that has never existed

Except in gilded books and crevices of time

Where he left her be and she grew into something golden

Even as the light didn’t get in.

Do you see her?

She is shining until it’s all used up

Then someone else will take over

And the lint of her swept up

Will be recycled for another audience, another era

Thinking they’re the first

To witness such a thing.

(Photo by Ruth Marie Westwood, 2020.)

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prosetry

Life As We Know It (Now)

Fortnightly overdoses and falling asleep in the bath

Ridiculous wine descriptions and tattooed knuckles

Antiseptic and anticipation

Disappearing acts and swapping house keys

Superglue and frozen teeth

A stolen bottle of mustard and an Irish funeral

Forgetting and failing and faking and Fuck Forever-ing

Rusty kisses and missing the last bus

Betting slips and 56 missed calls

Vanilla vodka and the First Casualty of The War

Coffin shopping and cryptic crosswords

LSD and the ghost of Keats on Hampstead Heath

Tampon strings and sewing machines

Vaping and scaffolding

Tinned peaches and bascule bridges

Hugo Boss shirts and serial killers

A shelf-less bookshelf and ignoring aeroplane safety demos

Swimming to Mexico and believing in angels

3-day stubble, you’re bang in trouble, double up for £1

Pinching each other because we aren’t entirely convinced that we’re alive

Marriage proposals and morphine dreams

Rhetorical questions and infinite eggshells

Spying on the neighbours and eating jam doughnuts with a knife and fork

Lordship Lane and waking up with two black eyes

The United States of Shock and Dismay

Blonde on Blonde and accidental asphyxiation

A pint of daffodils and the view from the bell tower

Blood tests and a ouija board

Perjury and the 4-hour Happy Hour

Grey hairs and burnt toast and wondering what the hell it’s all about


Originally published 24th February 2017

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fiction, photography

SHRUNKEN

Chris R-1-172 Image by Christine Renney

I am stopping more often, and for longer, and I have places where I take cover and can hide. I have fallen into a routine of sorts and I know when it is most likely these places will be deserted and when it is least likely I will be noticed.
I shelter in the doorway of an abandoned shop and watch the rain. The storm is raging overhead and, looking up, I step out into it. In just a few seconds I am soaked through and my clothes are sodden and heavy.
The street is busy. I have misjudged this particular place at this time and shoppers caught in the downpour are rushing to and fro.
I turn back to the empty shop but someone brushes past me and a woman is now standing where moments before I had been. She is smiling, apologising, ‘sorry’, and moving to one side she motions for me to join her. ‘no’ I shake my head, ‘no’ but reaching she takes my arm and pulls me back and together we stand in the doorway watching the busy street.
Suddenly I am tired, exhausted and I feel overwhelmed. But it is more than the fatigue; I am also elated. I hadn’t realised I could still need this, that I could feel it again.
I move back and leaning against the glass I sit. The woman is looking down at me and delving into her bag she pulls out a ten pound note ‘here, go on, take it’.

I open my eyes. It is still raining. The street is busy and shoppers still rush this way and that. Have I been sleeping? If so, for how long? Has it been just minutes or hours? Is it possible I have slept right through, around the clock or thereabouts?
I glance at my wrist, pointlessly because I no longer have my watch but it is an old, old habit and remembering it now I feel odd.
The woman has gone but I still have the ten pound note she gave me balled in my fist. Standing, I thrust my hands deep into my pockets.
The jeans are too big and my t-shirt is too loose and ragged. I feel shrunken inside them and I sense that it has been more than minutes, that I have been in this dank doorway for too long and I should move on.
I step onto the street and walk calmly amongst the shoppers. Everything is wet out here and my clothes, the t-shirt and my heavy sodden jeans cling to my skin. At least until I can get dry they have taken on my shape again and carefully I make my way. Although I don’t know to where I keep walking.

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