poetry

All Roads Lead To Seven Sisters

(1)

I am standing on an upturned bin
looking through the little barred window
into the room that I was born in
and everyone is happy
and everyone is asleep
and I pray to a god who keeps on disappearing
and I ask the silent shattered stars above
to make sure that the baby in that room
turns out to be nothing

like me.

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life

Death of a Star

At around half past 3 in the morning I decided that I would go for a crafty cigarette. I was at my grandfather’s house – he didn’t (and hopefully still doesn’t) know that I smoke and I didn’t want to wake him by going downstairs and outside, so I thought it best to hang out of the bedroom window and smother the smell with perfume afterwards.

I opened the window, jumped up on the sill, dangled my pyjama-ed legs out over the edge and, before I could spark up, my attention was diverted to the meteor shower that was performing its drama in the space above me. I’d seen such sights before but never this clearly. These fizzling stars seemed so close, as if I could reach out and catch them. I half expected a piece of hot rock to land in my lap and burn through my shorts.

A voice shocked me back to Earth.

“Are you gonna light that or what?” my father whispered, a little too loudly.

“JESUS CHRIST, DAD, YOU SCARED THE SHIT OUT OF ME!”

He chuckled until his chuckle turned into a cough, which he tried to stifle. He was also hiding his habit from granddad (his father) – he had promised him a year before that he had quit. But here he was, also hanging out of his bedroom window, a few metres across from mine, smoking a joint and watching the shower.

He put his finger to his lips and said, “Shhh,” and then pointed at the sky.

“I know,” I whispered back.

We stayed that way for a few minutes, together but apart, smoking in the silence of the night, watching the meteorites falling so effortlessly from the heavens, knowing that they look pretty from here but up there the scene is one of violence and destruction. We were quite content to revel in the magic of the display, ignoring the science and calculations and unfathomable numbers behind it and the reality of our insignificance (although these things did cross our minds).

“You know how stars die, don’t you?” he whispered to me, again a little too loudly.

“Erm… supernova, is it?”

“Nah. Overdose, usually.”

I giggled into my hand, before whispering, “For fuck’s sake, Dad,” in his general direction. We didn’t know that Amy Winehouse would die from a suspected overdose the next day.

We spent another minute or so watching the sky. I looked over at my Dad, his face illuminated only by the stars. His smile had gone. He looked wistful, possibly even sad. Then I felt sad, knowing we’d be back in London soon and unable to see magic like this through the pollution. Back to London, to depression and money problems and bad decisions and drug dealing and dangerous dalliances and trouble trouble trouble.

“Dad,” I said, quietly. “Am I going to be okay?”

He looked over at me from his window and smiled, and said with such certainty,

“Yes. Yes you are, babes.”

In that moment, I believed him. I locked that exchange in my heart, archived, for future reference. Then I stubbed out my roll-up underneath the window ledge and buried it among the leaves in the guttering. Then I replied to my Dad,

“Are you?”

But his window was shut and he was gone.

 

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life, prosetry

Ivy

I bought 10ft of artificial ivy once, off t’internet, for pennies, as part of the Poison Ivy costume I was making myself to wear at a Hallowe’en party. I didn’t go to the party in the end – I hung out with you that night instead.

The ivy remained coiled up in its plastic bag. I hung onto it though, certain I’d find another use for it, planning to make art of it, but it collected dust alongside all my other great ideas.

A year passed and I relocated. Having to declutter and still unable to find a use for the ivy at my new house, I binned it, scolding myself for wasting £2.89. Then I walked to your place and we watched University Challenge. You failed to answer a single question. You were catatonic. You barely said a word. You were not my dad, you were a skeleton bobbing in a sea of morphine. I hoped that you’d be better after some sleep. You always got better.

Three weeks later I was standing in front of your coffin. It was decorated with ivy vines, it was wrapped around the wicker handles, around the edges. I touched the leaves: it was real ivy.

I said to mother, “How much did that ivy cost us?” and she said £90. I laughed incredulously. “You do know the ivy’s going in the oven with him, right? You are quite literally burning our money!” She told me to stop being difficult. You would’ve been absolutely horrified to know she’d wasted £90 on ivy. (That’s £90 of booze we’d never get to drink at your wake!)

Then, as I kissed your casket goodbye for the last time, you said to me telepathically through the wicker lid, “Hey, where’s that artificial ivy you couldn’t find a use for?” and I realised that was your last bit of advice to me:

what we lack in finances we more than make up for in ideas, and what we lack in assets and material possessions we more than make up for in mind and soul, so stay creative, stay humble and keep on keeping on. And don’t let your mother make any more decisions.

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art, poetry

Gift for a Hot-Girl

hot

In the last year of Elementary School
I had a crush on a Hot-Girl
Called H
She would smile at me
I thought she liked me
My brother had a girlfriend
(A thing that eats food off your plate
and smiles when it sees you)
He was buying her a bracelet
So I bought H a bracelet
Mother thought it was “adorable”
I brought it to school
I told my friend D
He told everyone
In line on the way back from lunch
Some other Hot-Girls turned around and asked me
If I got H a bracelet
“She doesn’t want it”
“She doesn’t like you”
Everyone in line was staring at me
H was at the front of the line
She wasn’t looking at me
The bracelet felt like a hunk of lead in my pocket
I just wanted to get rid of it
I wished my hair would grow so fast
That I turned into a sofa
Or a large bed
And movers would come wheel me away
But I became transparent instead
And everyone could see my body filling with tears
From my toes to my throat
I don’t know why I did it
I walked up to H
and put the bracelet in her hand
She didn’t say a word
I went back to my place in line
Everyone turned away and giggled

This set a paradigm
For my relationship
With Hot-Girls

**For more of our work, check us out at Flash-365.com

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art, fiction

The Red Headed Mutant

K and I
Liked to go to a playground
Near our house
It was a big wooden castle

It was built when I was a baby
I know because there are pictures
But none of the other pink hairless things at school believed me
Because S (A thing called a Hot-Girl)
called me a liar
and
What are pictures
Against the word of a Hot-Girl?

In the sandy part
By the swings
There were two things
The Homeopathic Doctor later called
Bullies
(Which are deformed things
that used to be children
but became mutated
after a series
of failed experiments
performed on them
by adults)

They cornered K and I
K stood back as they focused on me
“Take off your socks!”
they yelled
So I took them off
And they put them on my hands
And rubbed sand in my hair
They kept us there for over an hour

While they were distracted with me
K ran off
One of them went after him
I was left with the other
A Big Red-Headed Mutant
He kept pushing me in the sand
Told me he was going to bury me alive
He told me to start digging my own grave
All of a sudden the
Whole business
Began to seem quite silly
So I decided to leave
“YOU CAN’T LEAVE”
I just kept walking
He followed close behind and kept yelling
“STOP”
“No”
“Come back and dig”
“I don’t want to be buried”
“YOU DON’T HAVE A CHOICE”
I shrugged and kept walking
Till I reached the exit
Leading to the hill
Which led home
As I approached the gate
I saw The Homeopathic Doctor
run up over the hill
She looked at me
Then at
The Big Red-Headed Mutant
And she began to grow
Taller and taller
Taller than I’d ever seen her
She blocked out the sun
She grew so big
And her eyes so angry
She transformed into
MOTHER

The Big Red-Headed Mutant
POOFED from existence

I turned around and found only
The footprints
In the sand
Where he had stood
A moment ago
When I turned back
The Homeopathic Doctor was back
She waved me over and hugged me
She carried me back down the hill
A few weeks later I saw
The Mutant who’d chased K
But I never again saw
The Big Red-Headed Mutant
I wonder what MOTHER did with him

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