He leaned over her shoulder, and she could smell the only gendered essence he allowed: perfume. Guttural. A tickling dark strand of hair, a rough cheek, muscles pulling against bones that seemed to strain against the skin that kept them. He said, ‘the people you love become ghosts in your mind, that is how they are kept alive’.
‘But ghosts are dead,’ I replied, ‘and you can’t affect the dead.’ She paused. ‘You especially can’t kill what is already dead.’
‘I hadn’t thought of that.’ He sat back, picked up a cigarette and turned his back to her. Click, click, alight. ‘Julia… Why can’t you just decide?’
‘I don’t like to be concrete. It’s oppressive.’
‘What is oppressive is your refusal to be assertive.’
‘I will not assert in ignorance like a manager, Jack.’ A heavy sigh. He brushes the sleeves of his suit and clenches his fists, ‘Well damn it, woman, the committee is in full swing and your only means of escape is through reflection! Had you not thought of that? Can you not suspend your disbelief for a moment and act for your own sake? Try harder, perhaps?’
‘I would hate myself.’
‘I hate you already.’
‘I don’t care about you. That’s not completely true. You see how you are making me lie and perform already? Why is that not enough?’
‘It’s not enough until your face is the mask, suddenly you don’t need a costume because the stitches become your stretch marks, skin fabric holding in your dignity, deceit and internal organs. Your eyes will be fluid and ugly. And what’s worse is they’ll hound you for it, they’ll see through it. They’ll follow you and hurt you until eventually you can’t find the you in the layers of costume, but it will be you. You can’t escape yourself; the you that is searching, that will be you. And when you’ve finally stuck the flag in their ass, stamped it in ‘til you draw blood and shit, claimed them for your own in the corrupt tyranny of peace, then you can acknowledge the little indecisive girl. Then you can break down, dissolve and take yourself apart, meet yourself at the crossway just before you expire. At least you could say now, hey Julia, this is Julia, I’ll see you in twenty years. And the search will be quicker, the death sooner, breath not wasted in longing. I’m just saying.’
Having said I'm too busy for this... This is Tickle
He said, there’s a tight loop in the hole over there. It’s leaking. Edging towards it with catatonic surprise and discovering it was in fact offering itself to him, he had immediately left it and found her to seek counsel. Only seven years old, really, what else was a small boy to do? She told him it was blood and nothing to worry about, and not to go down there any more if he didn’t want to meet with things that needed explanation. He understood. A febrile child, he picks up a loose leaf on the ground and drops it. Breaks its brittle point with the tip of his shoe. His eyes and senses hone in on the tiny sensations, the shivers he gets when he imagines things that are too small, things that are too big. Uncanny dimensions map out in his mind the moment he tries to prevent them, and once again he fixes on the pale brown leaf and its immediacy to escape the crushing polygons. A leaf. What is it doing inside? Dutifully, he picks it up again and walks to the front door. He decides to slide it through the letterbox, a garbled jargon message to nature, dead present returned. Nature as usual feigns a brief smile before turning back to the game. Mummy? Yes, sweetheart? Do insects have blood? No but there’s something scratching under here and I reached without warning into the bath before I was spent it rattled climbed up my finger made me aware of the cartilage and the sucking dry pain of blood pulled out, scraping the edges of veins with a fish slice she said it’s silly she said to have such silly thoughts if you cry all the time you’ll blur your sight forever, you know, but the world inside was too large and formidable, the colourless garish boxes revealing shapes unknown within, women and men. I didn’t wait for him to
I haven’t been posting my own work on here for a while because I’m busy writing a porno for uni, and I’m anxious about posting sections up here just in case I get accused of plagiarising myself. I’ll post it in the summer.
This has only just been translated and it’s amazing.
In the past, I believed that every man carried in him the innate prototype of a woman, and that he would love the woman who most resembled this prototype. Although I am a woman, I also share this prototype of a woman.
My prototype of a woman was the type who would appear in hallucinations at the last moments of your freezing to death at the top of an icy mountain, a mythical beauty who blurred the line between dreams and reality. For four years, that’s what I believed. And I wasted all of my university days–during which I had the most courage and honesty I would ever have towards life–because of it.
I don’t believe it anymore. It’s like the impromptu sketch of a street artist, a little drawing taped to my wall. When I finally learned to leave it behind, I gradually stopped believing it, and in doing so, sold an entire collection of priceless treasures for next to nothing. It was then that I realized I should leave behind some sort of record before the entire vial of my memories ran dry. I knew that these feelings would vanish one day, as if they had been only a dream, and that the list of what had been bought and sold–and at what price–would never be recovered.
It’s like a two-sided warning sign. The back says: Don’t believe it. The front says: Wield the axe of cruelty. It dawned on me one day, as if I were writing my own name for the very first time: cruelty and mercy are in fact one and the same. Existence in this world relegates good and evil to the exact same status. Cruelty and evil are but natural, and together they are endowed with half the power and half the utility in this world. As for the cruelty of fate, it seems, I have to learn to be crueler if I’m to become the master of the situation.
Wielding the axe of cruelty against life, against myself, against others. It’s a rule that conforms to animal instinct, ethics, aesthetics, metaphysics–and is the axis of all four. And the comma that punctuated being 22.
That fucking hissing in my head, expanding and growing
Like a stagnant beast, labouring for breath, it widens
Widens and flattens just slightly, a tactical unmanned strike in my ears
Surrounded by glibness and the desperate rictus
of the utterly resigned
He is all matter to me, stock still…
It makes me so happy when, instead of that awful creeping skin-crawling feeling I often get when I read something by someone I know well, I feel inspired and admiring and proud and fall in love for the billionth time. Maybe that last one’s just reserved for this specific author. But I think the point stands that it is sometimes difficult to analyse anything created by those close to you.