Friday, 30 December 2011

...Joe - Chapter 7

Chapter 7

I wake up in my room. The street lights letting me know it's evening and I've missed most of my day. The last thing I remember is being in the park and being so fucking hot. Everything aches. My body feels like I just ran a marathon and I have a very strange feeling I didn't do very well. I heave myself onto my elbows and see Jonie curled up in my favourite chair, reading her favourite book. It takes her a while to realise that I'm up and more importantly staring at her.
Joe! Thank God, I thought you'd gone into a coma or something” .
I smile, she puts down her book and comes to sit next to me, curling her legs under her body. She looks so tired, this close up I can see that her usually bright grey eyes have dimmed a little. 
 
I first thought you were asleep, but you didn't look right and your breathing was all weird. I touched your arm and it was so cold and sticky Joe. So I asked a group of tourists next to me if they'd watch you and I didn't know if they understood but they nodded, so I left you and found a park keeper man and he came and took a look at you and he was like “that's sunstroke and you need to get him inside”. So to cut a long story short I grabbed a cab and park keeper man helped me get you into it and then the cabbie helped me get you into bed and you've been asleep for the past four hours. I was so fucking worried Joe, don't ever do something like that again.”
With that she throws her arms around me and I can feel it bubbling up inside me and I can't push it down, I need to let it out.
I can't have that party.”
Jonie pulls away from me and looks me right in the eyes.
What?”
I can have this party, I'm sorry”
What do you mean you're sorry Joe? What's happened? You were so up for it”
I just can't have a party! Simple.”
That's so fucking typical.”
Jonie stands up suddenly, clearly pissed off with me, but I don't understand why. It's just a party for fucks sake. I don't know why she's getting so emotional about it.
You are so fucking selfish. As soon as something happens that you don't like, you get like this and I'm so fucking tired of it. Do you honestly think everyone and everything revolves around you?”
For fuck sake it's only a party, I don't understand why you're getting so wound up”
No Joe of course you don't understand because you don't want to understand. But why would you want to? Urgh, I'm such an idiot! If it's not to do with Anna then you don't wanna know. You are so fucking blinded Joseph. Have you ever thought about me? I really wanted to have this party, I've been struggling lately if you haven't noticed and I really needed some fun for fuck sake. You don't think do you?”
I didn't realise how she'd been feeling and now she's crying and I feel like a right dickhead. I sit up properly and rub my head.
Jo, I'm sorry”
Oh fuck off Joseph! I've had enough of being your fucking crutch. I can't do this anymore

Everything stops being. I can't find the right words to say and she's turning and leaving. I can't let her leave. If she leaves then who's left?
Jonie!”
I throw off the covers and swing my legs out of the bed and run after her. My legs stumble a little along the way, not used to the effort I'm forcing through them. I catch up to her in the hallway and grab her by the arm.
Jonie please, I'm sorry, you can't leave me please, please Jo don't leave me, I love you.”
I love you too but we need space, this relationship isn't healthy for either of us.”
What? No, no, you can't go, I’ll change I promise, Jonie please, let's talk about this.”
I'm crying and she's crying and I don't know what else to do, I feel so pathetic and alone and I can't let her leave but she's trying to wriggle free from my grip so I tighten it and pull her closer in towards me.
Just remember Jo, please remember, all those times we had that were fantastic and this is just a bump in our road.”
Is it Joe? This bump has been going on for a while and I can't get a grip on my life if I'm always trying to fix yours.”

I don't know what to say, she's giving me a look I've never seen before and it hurts so much. She seems so sure that I'm the problem so, I must be. Everyone I love leaves me. She slips her arm out of my hand and tip toes to put a kiss on my cheek. Her tears are warm and salty and I know that this will probably be the last time I'll ever get to feel her lips against my skin. She goes and I stare at the empty space where she once stood. My inside are colliding with each other and I feel sick and stupid. I don't know what to do, I can't function without her. I can't leave it like this.
I run down the rest of the hallway and stumble down the two flights of stairs to the ground floor and grab Jonie before she makes it to the front door and I kiss her. I put every feeling I have for her into that kiss and and her lips are so soft and this feels so right. She has to feel how perfect this is.
But she pushes me away and she slaps me hard across the face and I'm stunned. She looks so angry, but didn't she get it? Didn't she feel what I feel for her? Didn't she feel how much I love her?
Joseph, no. It doesn't work like that”.
Jonie turns away from me. Picks up her bag and opens the front door. She turns to look at me before she leaves and I can't look her in the eye. I've never seen her like this before and it's all my fault. She leaves, the door closes and my life ends.

I've fucked it.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

...To Be Loved.


To be loved.

And I lay on his chest
And I sighed and I laughed,
And he cried.

A life without love I would die,
To not touch your lips
The soft of your kiss
Would be death.
My heart would just stop,
And I think it would rot
And not be part of this world where we live.

To be loved,
To be kissed.

To have the knowledge that we are just this.
That space wouldn’t matter
And time would just shift.
Love doesn’t have a set course,
Just a rift.

And I swooned.
I felt his heartbeat
And his touch bitter sweet,
And I knew
That love without him isn’t true,
That we both together are two
Shapes of a heart,
That beat and are part of a clue.

To be loved,
That is all that I need to get through.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

...Joe - Chapter 6

Chapter 6

I’m 15. It’s the first day of year 11, we’re all sitting in the “welcome back” assembly and I see Anna for the first time. She’s the new girl. She’s sitting with Jonies class; we’re all being lectured on the importance of our GCSEs and how they’ll shape our future blah blah blah. The head teacher Mrs Bixley is looking very stern, but Anna, hands in her lap, head turned slightly to the left, is staring out of the window, the rays of early September sunlight bouncing off her long mahogany hair. I’m breathless, I knew then, instantly. Mrs Bixley says “Good Morning everyone” and I forget to speak. I’m entranced.

Her row stands and begins to leave. I panic. Questions fly through my head – when am I going to see her again? Will we have the same classes together? Where does she live? What the hell is her name? I bet her hair smells like roses. Jonie waves to me as she leaves and I give a half hearted wave back, I feel like I can’t coordinate my limbs, my organs are shutting down; I need to see her again.

She’s not in any of my Monday classes. I briefly catch a glimpse of her at lunch. I miss something Jonie says, apparently it was funny coz the whole tables laughing.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. No classes together. I become obsessed. I need to know more about her. It takes me another week to gather the confidence together to ask Jonie about her. I do it on a Saturday. We’re at hers watching some film about some girl whose parent’s forget her birthday and there’s a foreign dude they keep taking the piss out of. Apparently his name is hilarious. I don’t find it amusing. I always find the 80’s troubling. I’m glad I was born at the end of it.
“Jonie?”
“What Joe?”
“That girl”, my voice squeaks, I sound like a squirrel on crack. I cough, try to clear my throat. Start again.
“What Joe? You know this is my favourite part, it’s where she finally realises what she really wants”
“Just you know that new girl, the one in your class, what’s her name again?”
I peel the label of my Pepsi bottle and nervously roll it into a ball. My hands will not stay still.
“You mean Anna” she gives me a side long glance “what about her?”
“I just, I’m just curious you know?”
My hands are sweating and I feel like there are a hundred tiny beady eyes staring at me.
Jonie sighs and pauses her film; she turns to look at me.
“Her name is Anna Finn, she’s 15, nice girl, fucking clever, she’s in like the higher sets for everything and I mean everything – she’s taking triple science – who the hell knows that much about science? That is also why you haven’t seen her around because even though you’re pretty Joe, you’re just not that bright.”
Jonie laughs. I force a smile.
“What else...umm she’s got good tits, perfect bum and yes Joe her hair does smell like roses.”
“What? I never asked you about her hair or you know her um bits, I just wanted to know a little bit about her coz she’s new and how do you know what her hair smells like?”
“You’re so transparent Joe! And we sit next to each other in Spanish, English and Maths – you know, alphabetically. Finn – her, Fisher – me, Michael Harris behind us, who by the way, constantly has his hands down his pants, it is foul”.
“Right, so she’s smart?”
 “Super smart, so what now?”
I take a deep breath, I’m nervous. I doubt we’d have anything to talk about. I don’t think she’d want anything to do with someone like me. 
“Joe? How about I talk to her for you? She’s alright, David Schwartz already made a pass for her and she turned him down so you never know.”
“David? Really? He’s not bad looking”
“Yep”
With that Jonie presses play and we’re transported back to a time when everything was just a little bit easier and a lot more camp.

Its three days later and all I can think about is Anna Finn, now I know her name I can’t stop saying it. I fantasise about her touching me, being next to me, fuck just being in my general area doing the things you do with a girl. Jonie plonks down next to me at lunch; she’s wearing baggy blue trousers and some very questionable eye makeup.
“Jonie?”
“I’m making a protest Joe.”
“About what?” I can just about hold back my laughter.
Jonie sighs.
“About the explotation of the female form, get with it Joe.”
“I can name about three female forms you wanna exploit.” I laugh.
“Well, I guess you don’t want this then”
Jonie slides a piece of paper out of her art book and floats it in front of my eyes. I see a name and a number – wait a name and a number!
“Jonie!” I grab the piece of paper and capture Jonie in a headlock, planting a kiss on her forehead.

At home I put the piece of paper on my desk. I turn on my red habitat desk lamp and angle it on said paper; somehow it makes it seem more dramatic. I stare at it, it taunts me. I know I’m not brave enough to call her yet. I put her number in my silver Nokia 3330, it feels like a good step to take. It takes six days to work up the courage to call her. Through those six days Jonie keeps giving me that look – her greedy information hunting look. But I have nothing to tell her yet; I can’t exactly say I’m too much of a pussy to call the girl I’ve been obsessing about for the past term. So instead I lift weights, I eat healthily and I buy a Clearasil face wash and moisturiser. I have to look my best for when Anna picks up the phone.

On the seventh day I pick up my Nokia, I go over to my desk and switch on the red habitat light. I don’t know why, it just feels like good luck. I wheel over my desk chair and sit down, pushing my weight into the chair until it feels comfortable. I scroll down to Anna Finn. I take a deep breath but my hands are shaking, this is so fucking important, my whole life rests on this one phone call. I hit dial and I put the phone to my ear. It starts to ring and I panic.
“Hello?”
I pull the phone away from my ear and drop it onto the desk. Fuck. I stare at it like it doesn’t belong to me. Wait, did I hang up? Oh shit she’s still there isn’t she? Pick up the phone for fucks sake Joe! My hand snatches the phone from my desk and hovers near my ear before my brain has the sense to tell my mouth to speak.
“Err hey”
“Hi”
“It’s umm Joe. Joseph Blunt. Or Joe as you know everyone calls me Joe, but yeah, you can call me Joe”
I’m a complete and utter failure.
“Hi Joe, took you long enough to call me don’t you think?”
“Yeah sorry about that, I had umm shit to do. Not an actual shit, just you know stuff.”
She laughs. I slap a hand to my face. Epic fail Joe.
“Right I have to finish my English essay, so how about you call me in an hour. You know, after dark.”
I get what she means and I’m nodding my head. For a split second it feels like she can see me but in reality it’s just silence.
“Joe?”
“Yeah course, after dark.”
We say our goodbyes and hang up. My mind begins to imagine a world of dirty late night calls. I flex my right hand; I hope it can keep up tonight. 
I call Anna in exactly one hour and we just talk and it’s perfect. My right hand gets a rest for the night. We fly through different subjects from music to poetry to Byker Grove and back and I’m awed by her. I want her to be mine. I don’t want any other man to have this feeling about her, it has to be all mine.

Weeks fly past and we get closer and closer and soon it’s the end of year 11 and it’s summer and we’re together, we have been for months and it’s beautiful. Me and Anna. Anna and I. Phrases I use often and ones I plan on using forever. Anna tells me about all the things she loves and I learn so much about her it’s unreal. I feel like my hearts about to burst. I just want to be inside her. I want to peel off my skin and slip inside hers and feel it, you know. I want us to not be two separate entities but to be one being. I’m in love.
Anna’s favourite subject is English, so she’s going to take English Lit and English Language as A levels, as well as Art. I’m gonna do photography and, well I haven’t decided what else. We’re both staying onto Kingsdale’s sixth form as well as Jonie, whose gonna be doing Art and English Lit with Anna. It will be the best two years of my life.

Anna’s favourite poet is William Blake and on these hot summer days we go down to Dulwich Park, find a great big shady tree to lie underneath and Anna reads his poems to me. I can feel my mind expanding to all the possibilities this universe holds and I want to consume her passion and make it my own.

A month before sixth form starts Anna and I talk about sex. I want it and so does she, but we’ve only been going out for nine months, not even a year and she doesn’t want to be seen as easy, I tell her it shouldn’t matter what anybody else thinks. It should be just about the two of us and I just want her to feel comfortable, you know. I don’t want her to feel like I’m pushing her. A few weeks later I tell her I love her and she says she loves me. I’m floating. This is a fantastic day. I tell Jonie when I get home but she only rolls her eyes at me and tells me to grow my balls back. I tell her I can’t, I’m too up. So she makes me roll us a joint and tells me to drop back down. Jonie’s been acting a little off lately, she met this girl called Alex at work and since then she’s been a bit caught up but fuck it, we’re young, we should be caught up and Jonie can handle herself.

Anna and I have sex exactly one week before starting sixth form. We do it in my bed because my mum’s always at work and unlike Anna’s parents; she’s not always bursting in randomly to “check if we need anything” and also my mum doesn’t give a fuck what I do. As long as I use protection, she’s cool.

Anna’s body is perfect. I watch her slowly undress. First she slips off her pale blue sundress and lets it drop to the floor. I can feel myself getting hard. She pushes me onto my single bed and climbs onto my lap. Her hips are warm and smooth and their making my pulse race. She undoes my jeans; I undo her bra – after a few attempts. Her breasts are prefect. I cup them in my hands and I can’t believe I’m actually holding Anna Finns breasts. I feel like I’m about to explode. I need to calm down. I put my hands around her waist and pull her down to me. I try to think about something other than how great her body feels on top of mine, I want to make sure I don’t disappoint, if you know what I mean. I run my fingers around her underwear and gently tug at the waistband – they slip off easily. We’re both breathing heavily, the afternoon light shedding a beautiful glow over our young, eager bodies. I lay Anna on her back and reach over to my bedside cabinet. I pull a string of condoms out. Anna looks up and laughs.
“You wish!”
I grin sheepishly and tear one off. Her hands slip easily over the elastic of my boxers and I feel her warmth as she runs her hands slowly over my bum. With one action she pulls my boxers off. I rip open the packet and pull the condom out and roll it on – I watched a video on the internet about how to put one on before Anna got here. I wanted to make sure this went smoothly and so far, so good. I position my body above Anna, her beautiful blue eyes giving me permission, we kiss, I enter her and it feels fucking fantastic. Everything is perfect.

Or so I thought.

We start sixth form together and everything starts off great. We meet up before school, at break time and lunchtime, after school and we fuck – all the time. At Christmas Anna goes skiing in the Swiss Alps with her family – its tradition, apparently. Those two weeks she’s gone go by so slowly and I miss her so badly. I didn’t hear from her at all and when she got back something just didn’t feel quite right.
She stopped reading poetry and started reading Cosmo instead. She wouldn’t meet me for breakfast or lunch or dinner. We didn’t fuck as much and Jonie told me she stopped coming to their art classes. I was worried, like seriously worried.
A few days later I went round her house. It was our one year anniversary. I rang the doorbell and her mum answered with that face on. That fucking sour lemon face, I hate it. I always thought that woman needed a good shag. Anyway, I sat down on one of their uncomfortable formal chairs and Annas mum sat across from me. I waited for Anna for what felt like hours. Her mum just kept staring at me with that face and I swear to God her eyes didn’t blink – not once. 

Around the stuffy lavender scented room pictures of their creepy, happy family faces stared back at me – judging me along with her mother. I was so relieved when Anna came into the room. But her hair – she cut it all off. Her beautiful mahogany hair that used to grace the base of her back so wonderfully was gone and in its place, so crudely brushing her cheek was a bleached blonde bob cut. I smiled but my heart was breaking. I knew then that the Anna I fell in love with, the Anna I held so dearly to me was gone. But I refused to let go. She was mine and she will always be mine.

Two months later she ended it and at that exact moment my life ended. No one will ever compare to Anna Finn.

I used to wait by her locker and I would put little secret messages in there. Things only her and I knew about. Snippets of Blake, Keats, Cummings – fuck I even wrote a few myself. She never looked at me. Never acknowledge their existence and all the while my heart ached. Every day without her a new bit of me fizzled away and I stopped feeling like myself and started to feel like someone else.

Eventually Jonie found out – I couldn’t keep it from her and she told me to stop but I refused. Then one day all over the common room and the corridors were my poems, the ones I wrote for her and underneath every single one of them Anna had written 
“By Joe Blunt. If you ever want a pussy he’s your man. Get the picture now Joe?” 
I got the picture. I was so humiliated; everyone took the piss out of me for months. I backed away from Anna and kept my head down. I started smoking more and I forgot about where she lived and the smell of her hair, her favourite poem, song, perfume, movie, place to be kissed.

That is until the end of sixth form and the night of Katie Lansfields party. It was a celebratory party, with lots of alcohol and lots of drugs. I didn’t drink much but I hit the pills pretty hard, it gave me a nice buzz but Anna, she was fucked from the beginning. The guy she was with was clearly happy about how loose she had gotten. She was practically humping him at one point. Jonie told me to forget her but it hurt so much. Anna was mine and he had his fucking hands all over her. I was so angry, I could have kicked the shit out of him but instead I left and walked home, with my tail between my fucking legs. An hour later she called me crying and I came running.

It’s been that way ever since.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

...Sanctuary

This is my 2nd attempt at a Lipogram! I think I left out E again, but I'm not too sure. Give it a gander.

Sanctuary.

It was a plan,
Straight away I saw.
But I couldn't stop
My body moving forward.

Pacing.

Try to find my way.
Trip through my dark.
Can't talk.

I'm drowning,
I can't find
(pull cord)
Sanctuary.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

...Joe - Chapter 5

This is a short chapter - not sure if Chapter 4 and 5 should be merged together to make one chapter? Thoughts please and remember it's only a second draft!

Chapter 5


I wake up thirsty and grope for my beer. I sit up and try to adjust my eyes to the light. It’s still so hot. I need to take this t-shirt off, I can’t breathe. I pull it off and flop back down on the grass. The sun feels so good on my skin; I just wanna roll in it. I look over at Jonie and she’s completely engrossed in a magazine. I don’t know which one but they’re all the same essentially.
“Hey Jonie”
“Afternoon sleepyhead, enjoy your sleep did you?”
“Yeah”
I stretch out, letting the backs of my arms graze along the grass.
“You got my sunglasses?”
“Yeah hold on Joe, they’re in the bag somewhere”

With that she throws me the bag and I dig around, unearthing colonies of forgotten biscuits along the way. Finally my hand gropes the cold plastic of my sunglasses and I pull them out, shaking off the crumbs at the same time. I put them on and I feel invisible, I love how sunglasses can do that. I feel as if I could go sulking through the trees, a hunter looking for fit young women to take home and conquer and no one would think it weird because no one could see me. My name is Joe, hunter of the young and sexy. I’ve definitely been in the sun too long. I need some water.
“So what are we doing tonight?”
“I dunno Joe what do you feel like doing?”
“Mass orgy?”
“Pass”
“Shame. I was saving my best moves”
“Guess it’ll have to wait till the next full moon Joe”

Through this exchange Jonie hasn’t looked up from her magazine, not once. I find that irritating. She should look at me when we’re talking. Otherwise how am I supposed to know she’s listening to me? Not necessarily all the time, but a bit of eye contact every now and then. Throw a dog a bone for fucks sake. 

Jonie turns towards me suddenly. Shit, has she learnt how to read my thoughts. I knew it.
“Do we know her Joe?” she says, thrusting a finger at the picture of tall, dark skinned women in a yellow bikini, with amazingly short hair and even better breasts.
“Err” I pull myself onto my elbows and stare at the picture.
“Yeah we do Joe, she went to Kingsdale remember”

Oh shit Kingsdale, an expensive private school in the heart of Dulwich. Dad wanted a boarding school, to build a "strong educational background" but mum wanted a public school, to build a "strong personal background". They compromised and picked one in the middle. The only thing they ever compromised on and it had to be my education.
“Are you sure she went to Kingsdale? I think I would remember a pair of legs like that, if you know what I mean”
Oh God, I sound like a pervy old man.
“Seriously Joe, you take a horny pill this morning or something?”
“What? No, I’m just saying she’s fit. You remember the fit people from school don’t you?”
“Yeah, Lilly Jane Blightly. Fuck me she was gorgeous. But this girl wasn’t one of the fitties Joe”
“What?”
“Think about it Joe. Think hard.”
My minds still foggy from my mid afternoon nap and I’m not quite catching on quick enough.
“Umm”
“Think about it – she used to have her hair in extensions – messy extensions and people would hide shit in it, well you know not actual shit and they would take bets on how long it would take her to find it, do you remember?”
“Yes?”
“Come on Joe! She would always tell you what the alternative word to the word you were using was”
“Brain Pain!”
“Yes!”
“Shit that’s Brain Pain? She looks fucking fantastic. What’s her real name again?”
“Err, Kimberly – Kimberly Miller”
“Wow”

I flop back down and my minds racing. If Brain Pain could go from an absolute (misunderstood) nightmare to rock hard in your pants gorgeous, then where’s everybody else? If someone saw me right now what would they think? I haven’t done anything in particular with my life. After uni I just coasted, you know, did some travelling to “put things in perspective” and I live off the little money my photography earns me, oh and the monthly “maintenance” my father so kindly provides me with. But I haven’t achieved anything. I’m a waster.
“Apparently she’s a model”
“Really”
“Mmm”

Oh no, Jonie has that face on. She’s gearing up for something juicy, something outrageously mischievous and I’m in. Whatever it is I’m up for it. Let’s do this shit.
“How about we throw a party? We could invite everyone we knew from Kingsdale and some more and then hopefully sexy here will turn up. What do you think?”
“You’d really think she’d turn up?”
“Come on Joe – Facebook! There must be an old Kingsdale group floating about on there. Started probably by some sad, lonely person who thought Kingsdale was the best days of their sorry little lives.”
“That’s a bit deep Jo, but yeah facebook, that’s a good idea, we’ll get on it when we get back yeah?”
“Ah! I’m so excited! This is going to be the best party ever. We should get Nick to DJ.”
“Is he back from Japan?”
“Should be, I’m gonna make a list”
Jonie pulls a notepad and a pen out of the Mary Poppins back pack and starts scribbling. I grab the bag and pull out another beer and a packet of biscuits, I’m so hungry. 

I think about Nick. The last time I saw him he was fucked up on coke, spinning an insane set at the Lazy Bear in Islington. After that he burnt out and moved to Japan. If he is back I wouldn’t know about it, Anna made me cut everyone out – well apart from Jonie and it wasn’t done subconsciously. It was slow and deliberate, she picked everyone off one by one, starting with the weak and ending with me.

Before I know it I’ve eaten half the packet of biscuits, which are sub par bourbons. How can you screw up a bourbon? Its chocolate fondant sandwiched in between chocolate biscuits – it’s not fucking rocket science and now my mouth tastes like I’ve made out with a dog. I grab my beer and wash the nasty taste out and throw the bourbons back in the bag – I’ll deal with them later. I look over at Jonie whose hunched over her notebook like a possessive mother cradling her newborn and I make out a ridiculously long list of names, most of which I don’t recognize.
“They all went to Kingsdale?”
“Some. The rest are just people we know.”
“Wow, didn’t know we knew so many people.”
“People like you Joe, even if you don’t like yourself.”
“Cheers.”
“Oh don’t bum yourself out. Eat your biscuits and stop being such a pansy.”

I obey. Jonie is in a fantastical mood and I can never reason with her when she’s like this, I just have to play along. Like when we were 12 and she convinced me to dye my hair bright green – along with my eyebrows. It went horrifyingly wrong and my eyebrows fell out. My mum went suicidal on me and I was teased for a month at school. To this day I don’t think they look the same. I self consciously stroke the right one and then the left and I can feel the little patches where the hair refused to grow back.
“How many people do you think you can fit in your house? And leave your eyebrows alone, they look fine.”

I quickly put my hands back in my lap and do some mental maths. If I move everything of value into one of the top bedrooms and obviously lock said bedroom and push all the furniture to the walls, I guess a hundred.
“Err I dunno, a hundred? Not including the garden.”
“Right.”

Jonie’s manically scribbling away in that damn notebook and I have an urge to grab it, throw it in the lake, set it on fire, feed it page by page to a magpie so it can make it’s nest, anything just to stop her from writing, planning, whittling away my life, moment by moment. 

I have a vision of this party going horribly wrong; everyone turns up and expects exciting and witty conversation from me. They think I’m fantastic, that my house is amazing, girls wanna fuck me and boys wanna be me. Then I open my mouth and all I have to say is shit. I spew shit, philosophical, egotistical, melodramatic bullshit and they walk away. They know I’m a fraud and the parties over. I’m nothing, I’m no one, I’m fucked and their laughter leaves a sting in my ears which I will hear for the rest of my life. I can’t breathe. My chest is getting tight and I’m so fucking hot that the air can’t reach my lungs on time, it’s burning on impact and I can smell toast. Shit, that means you’re having a heart attack right? Fuck I’m having a heart attack, I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe, I CAN’T FUCKING BREATHE. Jonie! My tongues heavy with the weight of my fear and I can’t get it to work and I need her to know that I’m not ok. I try to grab for her but my bodies not cooperating. My arms are a separate being to my body and I...I...I... everything goes dark and the only thing I hear is their laughter.

Monday, 24 October 2011

...Lost - A Lipogram

This is a lipogram, which according to wikipedia is a type of constrained writing, where a certain vowel is left out. I have left out the letter "E". This is brought to you courtesy of the wonderful Leanne Moden (again), who prompted me to give this type of writing a go. So glad I did. Thanks Leanne!


Lost.

Jack knocks on my door
Strain of our trial taints his air.
Jack says
“I found Sarah”

Lungs stop working
Air won’t go down
Body turns cold.
“How?”
I cry
“I thought Sarah...”
Cannot finish thought
Imagination ran away with fancy
With Sarah.

It was a Monday
Toast for Sarah, for Jack
I want oats.

I wait in my car in front of Sarah’s school
3.30 pm
Kids flow out
But not Sarah.
3.45 pm
No Sarah
4.00 pm
No Sarah.
Panic.
Call Jack,
Jack calls cops,
Panic.
No word.
Foot patrol around town
No word.
Panic.
6 months waiting
No word.
Dull pain.

Hush.

I look at Jack
Nod.
Jack ploughs on
Facts must unfold
“Glasgow”
Push air down
“Sarah’s living with a man”
Cannot think
Nothing is right
Words don’t link with thought
“16. Sarah’s 16!”
Jack nods
I sob
Months of sorrow.

Jack’s hands in my hands
Thumbs our rings
“I’ll bring Sarah back”

Jack turns.
Door shuts.

Push air down.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

...A Univocalism

I got the idea to write a univocalism from the very talented Leanne Moden. Like Leanne I've gone with the letter "E" as my only vowel. With the help of my dear friend Scharlie Robinson, we came up with this. It's not very long and it's a first attempt! Bare in mind there were a few cocktails consumed prior to said construction. Enjoy!


He sees her empty eyes.
Why?
He feels he's seen the sky.
When she entered,
He knew.
He met her steps,
Gently sketched her eyes
Fell.
She knew then,
When he held her
They were centered.

Friday, 14 October 2011

...Arson

I wrote this poem a while ago for my sisters friend who was having a shitty day. It made her smile, I hope it does the same for you.


Curse You Damn Bees.

I go to the park and hug all the trees
Along with the bees,
Who start to sting me
I fall to my knees,
Oh God my allergies!

Oh bees
How dare you make me sneeze,
And choke on my throat that is closing, so please,
Bring me a doctor who can help me recover from these
Horrific injuries.

I curse all you bees
And all you damn trees,
Never again will I hug your sweet bark
I will burn down the park.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

...I Can't Think

I can’t think.

My mind is a swamp
a haven for creatures of the night to burrow in
and make their homes.

I can’t think.

My heart beats so loud
that the neighbours next door
are dancing to it.

I can’t think.

This repetition gets me down
every cloud has a frown
I can wallow in.

I can’t think.

This freckle on my hand
Is a government plan
I’m not in on.

I can’t think.

I can read different thoughts
But I can’t find my own
to begin with.

I can’t think

I shout and I sway
I try to find my way
but at the end of the day
rhyming couplets is all I come up with.

I can’t think.


Sunday, 25 September 2011

...Joe - Chapter 4


Give me silence and I will make it my music
***

Chapter 4

These last 48 hours have really taken it out of me. Why does life have to be so brutal? It doesn’t feel like I slept last night. My eyes are sore and my neck is stiff, a sign of a bad night for me. After getting Jonie to bed I just lay there staring at the ceiling, thinking. 

The kettle whistles and I instinctively pour hot water into two mugs and let the tea bags steep. I arch my back and rub the back of my neck in an attempt to relieve some of this stiffness; it must have been the weed. I rolled a “final” joint before bed, it must have been that. I rub my aching head and try to dislodge some of the sleep from my eyes and grab the milk out of the fridge. 

“Hey”
I spin round and Jonie’s standing in the doorway.
“Bloody hell Jonie, you scared the life out of me”
“Sorry Joe”
“It’s alright, how you feeling?”
“Yeah, good I guess”
I doubt it. She looks like someone sprayed pepper spray in her eyes.
“Tea?”
“Yeah cheers”
I finish making the tea and hand her a mug.
“So, what do you want to do today?” 

We need some adventure, some excitement after all this darkness. I try to come up with a few ideas. Zoo, trampoline, paintballing, cinema, theatre, arcade, gallery – museum? But they all sound lame and take way too much energy, which I, of course, have none of. Jonie’s staring at me and I realise I haven’t spoken for at least 15 minutes. I’ve been so caught up in my own thoughts.

“How about we just go to St James’s Park?”
“Yeah, that’s a great idea”
Jonie always has the best ideas.
“Ok so how about we leave in an hour? We can pick up some more beer and you know food and pack a blanket and music or books or magazines, you know or whatever you want to read...”
She’s rambling which means she’s nervous and she doesn’t need to be, it’s just us, Jonie and Joe, no matter what happens.
Jonie turns swiftly, tea in hand,
“I’m going to have a shower ok?”
“Ok” I call back.
I put some bread in the toaster, Jonie’s going to take awhile in the shower, I might as well get something to eat. 

45 mins later she’s out of the shower and giving me that “why-aren’t-you-dressed-yet-look”. I grab a clean towel from the cupboard and jump into the shower, there’s so much steam I can barely breathe. I turn on the water and it’s cold. For fucks sake. How the hell do you use all the fucking water? I’m so angry but I need a shower so I brave it. Fuck me it’s really fucking cold. I’m gulping down air, I feel like my body's going into shock and I swear my balls are freezing. I’m in and out in five minutes a record I think. I wrap a towel around my middle and ruffle my hair in the mirror, it looks good. I look like a young Jimmy Hendrix – minus the talent. I grab a pair of boxers and jeans of the floor and drag them on whilst frantically looking for a t-shirt that doesn’t smell as if I live on the streets. I find a green Fred Perry polo shirt under a pile of papers in my wardrobe and pull it on. It smells ok; if I spray it a bit under the arms no one but me will know.
By the time I finish getting dressed Jonie is standing in the hall, waiting for me. She looks agitated; she’s clenching and unclenching her fists. By her feet is my battered blue rucksack, practically bursting at the seams – what the hell could she possibly have in it? 

“Hey Jo what’s in the bag?”

I sound like a game show host. 

“Oh you know a couple packets of biscuits, a few cans, those portable speakers you have – by the way do they work? And my iPod, your iPod, a blanket and that book you told me to read – you know the one about a tiger or something? And an umbrella, just in case it rains you know?”
My heads swimming, how can one person fit so much into a sentence? And how the fuck did she get all that into a rucksack? I stare at her in disbelief and all I can think it’s that one day she’ll make a terrific mum.
“Cheers Jo. Err you’ve thought of everything”
I smile, she smiles, all is right again.

We walk to Balham tube station with Jonie struggling half the way with the rucksack before she finally lets me take it off her. We wait forever for the tube – I fucking hate the northern line it’s a load of bollocks, the trains are always packed and there is always some fucker on there vying for your seat. Every time you move, even if it’s just to scratch your arse, they twitch, ready at any moment to pounce.

We get on and the trains relatively quiet but then we hit Clapham common and its sheer madness – I guess everyone’s heading in to town for some shopping. I’d wish they’d piss off and stop stepping on my fucking feet. The crowd is making me agitated and I can feel my chest getting tight, I look over at Jonie and she takes my hand, running her thumb over my thumb, she looks me in the eyes and mouths “take a deep breath”. I do as I’m told and I feel a bit better but then a crowd of tourists force their way on at Kennington and I wanna get up and scream “there’s no space for God’s sake get off” but I don’t. I grit my teeth and try to focus, the sound of their language making my head spin. The doors close and I’m fucked. The train stops in the tunnel and I remember that it’s a long way to go before we reach Waterloo and I’m sweating, I can smell myself, the odour of my high priced clothing is seeping off me. Jonie keeps stroking my thumb and I close my eyes, concentrating on the rhythm her thumb is making on mine and before I know it we’re at Waterloo and its only two stops till Charing Cross and I can hold on till then, I know I can. No one gets on – there’s still no fucking room, those tourists and their stupid backpacks and their overpriced SLR’s with stupid attachments. It’s Embankment and Jonie grabs my arm and drags me off. It takes my body a while to realise what’s happening but I’m so relieved to be on the platform, I feel like dancing.
“Come on Joe”
Jonie hands me the blue rucksack and weaves her hand into mine, guiding me through the crowds, up the stairs and into the blazing sunlight, fuck that feels fantastic. I blink for a moment, trying to adjust my eyes to the light and I squint at Jonie, relishing the feel of the sun on her skin. She’s so beautiful.

We walk through Charing Cross, past the British portrait museum and the tourists frolicking on the lions. We walk up the mall and I can see the park, Jonie’s mouth is moving but for the life of me I can’t understand a word she’s saying, I’m too engrossed in my own moment.

We picked a good day to hit the park, it’s nice and hot and thankfully it’s not too full. We pick a spot next to the lake and set up camp. Jonie’s still rambling on about “fun St James’s park facts” and all I’ve gathered from her so far are random snippets like “did you know it was named after St James’ the lesser AND a leper hospital?” blah blah blah. I can’t take this Jonie. I need the old one back pronto.
“Jonie please, just shut the fuck up, I’m really not interested in St James the lesser. Can we just crack a beer and play some music and I dunno act fucking normal please?”
Jonie’s silent. Fuck. I’m such a cunt. After everything she’s just done for me. I... shit.
“Jonie, I’m sorry. I just don’t want, you know, talking for the sake of it. We used to be good with just silence.”
“Well things change Joe”
“Jonie...”
“Fine Joe, let’s have it your way, you want a beer, here. You want music? Something ridiculously depressing right? Well here, have The Smiths. You want silence? You’ve fucking got it.”
I’m stunned. I pick up the beer next to me and drink a bit. I look over at Jonie and she’s fuming. How can I get something so wrong? Whenever I voice my opinions I get shot down. I’m just trying to be honest for fuck sake. What would she rather have? Me pretending like all her nonsense is ok and all the shit I’ve been taking from her for the past couple of weeks, no years is forgotten? Fuck me, I’m only a man.  
“Jonie”
I’m pathetic.
“Just leave it Joe. Drink your fucking beer”

She punches me in the arm and I know we’re going to be ok. At least I hope we are, there’s only so much shit this relationship can take, but we have to be ok, we only have each other now and that includes family. Well at least for me it does. Shit. The only idea I have of family is from Jonie. I remember going around her house every day after school and her mum making everybody dinner, from scratch and it was always something delicious. We’d all sit around the dining table and her dad would ask us all about school. He’d even ask me, he wanted to know how I was doing and he cared, he wasn’t just asking because I was there. They were the perfect family. Even there house felt perfect, smelt perfect, like freshly baked bread and whenever I went around they made me feel so welcome, I even had a change of clothes that her mum washed and ironed for me and kept in the second drawer in Jonies room next to Jonies clothes. I don’t think I’ve ever felt lonelier then when I was surrounded by them and their kindness. Not even when I sat at home by myself waiting for my mum to finish work, with only the TV and my dad’s old records to keep me company. Heating up the food she left on the cooker for me. It never tasted the way Jonie’s mums food did. Even when Jonie “came out” her parents were fantastic, there was none of the clich├ęd phrases you know, they were just so happy that she’d figured out who she was.

When my dad finally figured out who he was, who my mum was, he didn’t want us, he didn’t want me. So he left and made his perfect family in America. I’ve been there once or twice but it made me feel sick. He just looked so fucking happy with his kids, his green eyed, blonde haired, perfect fucking kids. And there was me, standing on the outside, my slightly afro hair not swaying in the wind, the colour of my skin not blending in with his idea of perfect. I saw it, I felt it from him, so I turned my back on him like he did to me and I haven’t looked back since. 

“Joe, why are you crying?”
“What?”
It’s Jonie again and I’m not 16, I’m 25 and my face is wet. When did I start crying?
“Joe?”
Jonie’s staring at me now, her concerned face making me feel worse, more than I do already.
“I’m fine” I lie.
“I don’t believe you. Don’t tell me I actually hurt your feelings? Come on Joe.”
I force a smile. My dad is the one thing we don’t talk about, it’s a rule.
“Seriously Joe, you ok?”
“Yeah, I was just thinking about how big a douche bag you are”
And I laugh and Jonie’s laughing and she’s put me in a headlock, my beer spilling all over the grass and I take those memories, those feelings and I shove them back down, further then before and I lock the door. They will not be allowed out again.
“Jonie off!”
“Make me Joe”
She’s managed to pin me, I really did think I was stronger than her, I guess I should start lifting weights. Her long auburn hair’s tickling my face and that smile, she’s so beautiful. I am very aware of her thighs against mine, her breasts brushing against my chest and her breath, warm on my face. Shit.
“Make me Joe”
Shit.
“Joe?” 

I push her off me easily. I’m so ashamed of myself. I try to position my body so she won’t notice, but it’s pretty hard. I’ve gone fucking red. I can feel her staring at me and I’m just praying I go down, please go down. Fuck, I feel like I’m 13 again and just discovered breasts.
Then I hear it. It’s Jonie and she’s laughing, in fact she’s hysterical. I think I’m going to cry again.

“Oh Joe, I’m glad I can still turn someone on. I haven’t lost my touch.”
And she kisses me on the cheek and wipes the tears from my eyes. I want this day to be over.
“Come on” she says and hands me a fresh beer “let’s just have a drink and chill in the sunshine and on the way home we can pick up some porn so you can wank it out”
And she’s laughing again. I take a swig of my beer and thank Jesus I’ve gone down.
“Lighten up Joe. Before I realised I was gay I thought we’d get married”
“What?”
“Yeah Joe, you’re an ideal catch; you just need to get your head out of the Anna clouds and into reality. Oh and cut you’re fucking hair, you look like the crack version of Lenny Cravitz”
I laugh.
“You’re right Jo, I was gonna ask you to cut it for me”
“I will don’t you worry”
She runs her hands through my hair and I try my best to not think about how good her hands feel running through it.
“I’m thinking we take a bit off here and here and oh definitely here”
Jonie’s tugging at random bits of my hair and I know it’s gonna look like shit once she’s finished playing with it, but I don’t care, I’m just happy she’s happy again.
“Ha ha, you look like a clown that’s been on a clown bender”
“What?” I say laughing “that doesn’t even make sense”
“Yes it does”
“Fine, if you say so”
“Lie with me Joe?”
What.
“What?”
My hearts pounding, what the fuck does she mean? Have we gone back to biblical times and I’m Jacob and she’s Rachel and we need to lie together to make a baby but we can’t because something’s gone wrong. Something doesn’t work. And shit. I think I’m hyperventilating.
“Joe?”
Jonies staring at me again, I wish she would stop looking at me.
“You’re a weirdo today Joe”
I laugh nervously, I sound like a choking bunny. 

“I want you to lie with me Joe and look up, look at the clouds with me. Let’s make pictures like we used to when we were kids and we used to go to Brockwell Park because it’s where everyone said all the cool kids hung out but they were full of shit remember? It was just a park, granted it had its fair share of pissheads but Joe it felt like our little patch, where we could just look at the clouds and make our own memories.”

I do remember; it was a quiet time in a moment of my life that was filled with chaos. Dad was leaving, mum was absent, not physically, just you know, mentally.
I fall on the grass and stare at the clouds.
“I remember”
“Good. You can’t hide everything in that little black box of yours Joe. You need to let your memories roam”
She flops down beside me and hands me my half empty can of Stella and we stare, picking out objects, animals, places and memories, for what feels like hours.