poetry

My Illnesses Apologised To Me

Step out of hot bath
seared skin
outline of phantom bikini
bird nest twist on top of head
soft breasts, right slightly bigger than left

Wipe steam off mirror
cool green wrist
tattoo evidence of his existence
white lines whiter still
middle finger ring won’t come off so don’t try

Face less puffy
wish it were gaunt
constellation of freckles
spots and dots
lips vanishing
nose twitching
sniff deep
taste the dripdripdripping
of chemical rocks
that make your teeth bite each other
see what you see

Eyes with nothing in them
no water, emotional or otherwise
no stories no soul
just a nondescript colour
surrounded by non-colour
with a black hole in the middle of it
which is printed on your face twice
a brief moment where you realise
dead men’s eyes contain more life
and you cannot blink
just blank
-ly stare

Ghost lips move on their own
somewhere else not on your face
maybe in your brain
saying words they’ve never said before
“I’m sorry, [your real name]. I’m so sorry”
still eyes watch mouth return from far away
Illnesses speak again
in voice that is and isn’t yours
“You were supposed to be brilliant. Sorry.”

Try to reply
try to say “I know” or “it’s okay” or “it’s not fucking okay” or “I’ll never forgive you”
but no no no no no no nothing comes out nothing
you can’t blink or wink or think
the pink folds on your face don’t move
there’s nothing you can say or do
just a downward nod
stare at floor
notice fresh wound on foot
watch blood pool
swallo
O
o
O
o
ow the remains of the cocaine at the back of your throat
find your black book, make a note
of the first and only apology
and never look in the mirror again.

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art, fiction

Outside my Window 7:26 – 7:59 P.M.

hijben

A man is standing by the cars outside my window, smoking. He is not a man, really, younger. A boy. But he is wearing a suit like a man. I don’t think it is his car, it is nice. Something with an animal for an emblem. But then again, it is a nice suit.

Turns out it is his car. It seems he didn’t want to smoke in his nice car. He must be a man.

A boy in an orange shirt; bright orange. Oranger than orange, the orange of a blind, elderly fashionista. He is standing in front of the market across. There is no telling what he will look like when he is older. He is wearing glasses, his hair is a mess. One day, he will see, I won’t. Oh well, he went inside.

A woman pushes her daughter on a silly looking carriage. It is shaped like a bike, with a fat seat. She is eating ice cream, the little girl. The mom has a small boy in the other hand; jealous of his sister, probably. I would be.

A whole group. A messily clothed slog of meat walk by. A disturbing amount of floral shirts are among them, despite age. They’ve passed.

A woman in heels heads into the market. I can hear them click from here. I am on the second floor, across.

Two twenty-somethings and a girl in a gray dress stand outside the middle eastern restaurant beside the market. She is smoking, they aren’t. One of the men has his hair up in a bun. I don’t like that, I don’t know why.

The young man in the nice suit and nice car has been sitting a while outside. In the air-conditioning, most likely. It is a decent day. A woman just got in. I only just noticed his scarf, it is floral, too. They are driving away now. It his nice car with an animal emblem, like a leopard, but without spots. They are gone, off somewhere nice, I suppose.

A man walks with his girlfriend in one hand. Not his whole girlfriend, of course, just her hand. In the other he holds a skateboard. It is bright orange, but, at least he is wearing sunglasses.

A girl in an orange scarf passes with her friend. It is a sensible orange, more sluggish. She is talking with her hands outstretched, holding an invisible ball. I can only imagine.

An Asian looking an with blue streaks through his hair passes, drinking Gatorade. It is blue, too.

A man in lime green shoes, violent green, sour–a sour, sour green–he walks by. I can’t see the rest of hm.

A truck just went by. It was dirty, so dirty. The men in the front look dirty; in a good way, an almost-dangerous sort of way.

A woman, carrying her blanket walks by. The blanket is checkered. Black and orange; soft. Two boys, one bigger, one smaller, chase her on bikes. I don’t think she realizes the chase is on. She finds the right song.

A woman walks out of the market. I didn’t see her go in. She isn’t a woman–really, few are. She has a fat face. I wonder why that is all I can see, I hope she sees more.

A girl, maybe three, or four, just ran by, calling for something, or someone.

A man–I think it’s a man–walks by holding a painting. I can’t see the painting. His hair is frizz. He turns. It isn’t a man.

The man I buy coffee from in the morning walks on by. He has very long hair, messy. Off he goes, in the wrong direction of where I’d expect him to be.

The girl, the one who might be four, has found her mother. She is quiet now.

A younger man, a less well dressed one, stands across, he is on the phone. He looks like the boy in the orange shirt. It turns out he won’t be all that handsome after all.

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