epistolary, fiction, life

The Purity of Remembering Now

wp-3

I should have written a novel about her at the time, or a short story at least, kept a diary maybe. A scant-few weeks have elapsed, but already I can sense my mind reaching out for the detail of the past with manipulative hands, twisting the truth with between my fingers to fit a narrative. If I take my pen to paper, I am not convinced that what happened then would be as I document now. It is an immaterial thought; for my hand is not steady enough to write.

I look down into my shot-glass, positioning myself direct above the rim so it forms a perfect circle against the dark-stained wood of the bar. This circle is today, not the past. It is absolute in form, with no distortion of perspective, no aberration in colour, no lies told that I cannot correct with an informed shift in point of view – this is no selective memory, yet. I drain my drink and order several more – I lose count long before I run out of cash -but with each refreshed glass I make sure I look down upon that circle: to remember.

Alex can see I am a mess and like any good bartender she asks after me, the concern on her face genuine, for I am a regular now and we have become familiar of late. I don’t tell Alex about the shit going on my life, because then she would be no different to the others that show interest, be it society-required faux-concern, or genuine. Every conversation with Alex would be stilted and short, progressing in the same way – “how are you holding up?”, “it must be so tough”, “I can’t imagine what you are going through.”

I want Alex to remain my personal escape, and of late I need her to be my imagined infidelity. She lifts her short skirt and lowers her panties, bending forward, supporting herself with her hands against the rough brickwork of the alley at the back of the bar. Her mouth spews encouraging filth as I give her, at her own demand, a severe pounding from behind. But then, even in my own fucking fantasy-dream, I can’t keep up and I slump to the cold floor – breathless, pants around my ankles. Alex straightens her clothing and laughs at me, then picks at the grit in her palms in an absent fashion, as if she has done so many times before; and in my mind she has.

I still wouldn’t swap my imagined failure for Alex’s pity; I already have too much of that in my life. I wake in a puddle of light, soaked in the midday sun and, I think, my own piss. The bedroom reeks like something has died in here, and, as I open the windows wide, once again I wish it had been me and not her. I hold my wedding ring to the window, and in the blinding sun I look upon the perfect silhouette. This particular circle is of the past, and I cannot recall as much about her face today, as I did yesterday.

Standard
epistolary, fiction, life, poetry

Do we jump?

jump1

People don’t come to us randomly

We call them

Breathing the voice of wisteria

When cigarettes were outlawed, we sucked on our toes

Chanting chanting chanting

Addiction came early

Shaped like a restraint

Forged in wax

Sharp is the knife selecting prime cut

Heroes who grew old

receding hairlines pop-out teeth and gnarled feet

Men licking boiled wool

Strung coins jangle be found on the wind

Horizon of purpose

Surpassing the age she ended

Burned by spotlight smaller and smaller

Precocious

Lay stones over the unspoken

Duel in applique

Signals searching wave length

Wings spread for framework

Wrapt by effort

How you reached this far then

Set apart

By slipping feet

First the tragedy

Then the farce

It ends and it never ends

Theatre rich in masked gesticulation

Closing loops with string theory

Retina, red-faced in song of detatch

Blinks down the road in hopscotch

One foot landing in suckered punch

Posed for jumping

Do we jump?

 

(Image by http://www.fearfuladventurer.com)

 

Standard
epistolary, life

Biting the Bullet

WP_Bridge

Once on the bridge, she climbed the barriers that society-erected for her own safety. To pitch forward now would mean she be devoured by the shit-brown Thames, yet at this moment she is content to remain chewed, but not digested. She stands upon her own precipice, and observes all that orbits around and within.

SHE had emailed HIM to meet. To ’bite the bullet’, she said. Spontaneity was a precondition as, “nothing she did was ever planned more than minutes in advance”. He fired back a message, traversing that tightrope betwixt appetence and indifference. Then he waited.

The answering email entered his Inbox a week shy of two years later.

He sent his own, prompt counter. He asked, with genuine concern and hoping to not sound creepy, where had she been? Drinking, came the reply. He suggested a Social Media connection to be more efficient, given the “minutes” they would have to arrange something physical. In a surprise move she expedited a phone number where he could make contact in her Shadow World. A request to remain old-skool, and use text messaging. He did so.

Two more years passed.

He called her phone, but the number she had provided was now disconnected. No matter, for he somehow knew where she was to be discovered. And there he was, also upon the bridge that spanned their Worlds. He edged towards her, and she grinned at him in recognition. He asked, with genuine concern and hoping not to sound besotted, where had she been – drinking? Worse, came the reply. He stepped forward. Panic drenched her as he got too close, so he froze in time.

They drank each other in for two, additional years.

Now he plans to terminate this standoff, but he is confused. He knows not if he holds out his hand to pull her into his Artificial World – or whether he desires help to pull him onto her precipice.

Standard
epistolary, life

Red Lights.

She knows he can not pay. Her door remains locked. A student with no cash, he is depositing the memory of her perfect curves within his wank-bank, so can splash out later. Yet she puts on a show.

She pulls at her nipples, teasing them hard. Running her hands over her firm breasts and down over her flat stomach. She gives a wiggle, then turns. He can see thin black material circling her waist then disappearing between the cheeks of her petite ass.

Why? Maybe she hopes that in a few years this boy will return to her, a man with disposable income and energy to burn. He will come back to this very window, remembering her as she is now – perfection. Not the Amsterdam relic she will soon become, ignored for not being young enough, or beautiful enough. With her wider hips, and softer breasts. Too old for this job at the age of twenty-eight.

Or perhaps she is performing this routine for the benefit of the man with the camera. He stands across the street, staring, as he has done for the last hour. He is too old to be acknowledged by someone as young and beautiful as she, not without payment. But how much will she cost? Two hundred Euros, and a lifetime of regret and shame.

She unlocks her door. He steps inside, pocketing his camera as she takes his hand.

Standard
epistolary, fiction, life

230V 40W (Part 2)

img_2271

Part 1 can be found HERE and should be read first.


I didn’t believe her at first when she told me, but that was guilt suppressing her words. I knew, I think. I mean, it is fucking obvious when you play the record backwards; you can hear the sound of the devil emanating from the vinyl.

I looked up the old newspaper records at the library. Vast numbers of microfiche, slipped under a light, seeking out the confirming article. It took time, but I found it. A tiny box, hidden away at the bottom of page eight.

“In [withheld] Court, yesterday, Charles Hamilton Grant, was sentenced to prison for eight years on the charge of Paedophilia. His child abuse history had gone back five years, starting when his wife died. His known victims numbered six during this period. Families of the abused shouted as the Judge read the sentencing.”

Six. Six that came forward, anyway. My Sister was a seventh. She pleaded with me not to tell my parents, or anyone. I could see the shame etched on her face. I only felt anger. Once again, I didn’t understand her emotion.

It was easy to track him down. A run down flat on an estate, built on the edge of the spreading town. The door gave easy enough, cheap wood splintering as the sturdy lock remained intact. I stepped inside and the smell of cheap aftershave took me back through the years.

He had grown old, and frail. The eight years inside had not been kind to the man. He didn’t recognise me at first. When I told him my name, his eyes widened, then a strange calm fell across him. He was compliant when I asked him to sit down. I took the bulb from my bag and held it out to him. He frowned as he did my bidding, reading aloud the etching upon the bulb. All throughout, he was calm, accepting. Right up to the point when I forced the bulb into the socket of his eye.

 

Standard
epistolary, fiction, photography

230V 20W (Part 1)

I still remember Uncle Charlie. He is dead now, just over ten years. He was not our real uncle, which always confused me. I guess sometimes people use family labels to simplify relationships for the sake of the children. Charlie did that.

He lived across the road from our house. He would make an effort to come over and play with my sister Lizzy and I whenever our parents went out. He would bring cans of fizzy drinks, crisps and chocolate. He would not stay long, maybe half an hour, but he said that was time enough for fun, and that as an adult he had responsibilities.

He always made us play “musical chairs”, but with just the one seat occupied by uncle Charlie. The music would play and me and my sister circle him like predators. He would stop the music and we would fight over who got to mount his lap. First to five was the winner. My sister always won.

Her prize was to go upstairs with him and play a special game, a game only winners were allowed to enter. As the loser, I would be shut in the garage where I would stare at the solitary bare bulb in the ceiling, until I went blind to my surroundings.

CLASSIC ECO 230V 20W Made in France . h328

Their game did not last long. He would soon return downstairs and let me out. He would ruffle my hair and say goodbye, promising I would win next time. I never did. After he had gone my sister would stay in her room until Mum and Dad got back, while I watched cartoons on the television.

I remember the police cars outside his house. My dad broke the news to us that he had died. I was sad. Also angry at my sister for not being as upset.

Last week something strange happened, but I am certain, I saw Uncle Charlie in the supermarket.I must remember to tell Lizzy.

Standard