#24 Trixxie Carr

You can come off that horse now, riding it like pornography
And in the back of your head, that misery keeps your company a corporation
This is all I’m asking you: do you really live your truth?

A mystery invites investigation
And my favours deserve recompensation
Instead of pointless retaliation
Why this endless alien/nation?
Do you really wanna live in space?
Are you tired of the human race?
And are you sick of seeing my face?
Or is it really our time you waste?
Why does it leave me with this taste?
Have all my feelings been misplaced?
It’s a dry way to be erased –
Your trust was laced with disgrace
And this is all I’m asking you: do you really live your truth?
Will you pave your way to death in solitude?

This is all I’m asking you.

 

Trixxie Carr, San Francisco, USA

#23 Morag Rose

I love you like I love the shipping forecast; your embrace makes me feel safe, cosy and warm but simultaneously yearning to embark on adventures, voyaging together to map unknown territories bursting with treacherous beauty and orgasmic joy.

Morag Rose, Manchester, UK.

#21 Melanie Legge

This Last Moment

I’m in a world where reality is whatever my mind can think of.  A world where my mind is controlled by something other than my consciousness.

I’m aware of the blanket laying on my skin, I’m aware of the sun light trying to find it’s way through the slats in the blinds.  I feel the warmth envelope me, I feel safe.  I feel close to myself.  I’m conscious of being half way between sleep and something else.  I allow my mind to wander far into itself, taking tiny steps all over my body, exploring itself, its haven.

I feel something cold touch the sole of my foot. My body snaps, my mind leaps in a second back to where it belongs.  My foot pushes against the cold.  It’s yours.  I feel your toes under mine.

The sun light that was trying to squeeze its way through the blinds, creating shards of light across my bed remains for another moment, until I realise that I’m not there.  That bed doesn’t exist yet, except in my mind, in the world I have created far away from here, where the bed is not ours; just mine.  The sun light is sucked from this existence, to another place where I’m not.  This is our bed; where your light doesn’t have any open slats to try and squeeze through.

Without opening my eyes I can feel it’s dark still.  I wonder if it is night or day, and a feel a sharp pain sear through my brain.  I try to lick my lips, my tongue is dry and swollen.  Confusion reigns only for a second longer while I pull all of the evidence I have together to form a jigsaw of memories, a tale of last night.  Nothing. There is no tale, only an existence; the TV was on, we drank wine, and went to bed, to sleep. The silence between us last night louder than it’s ever been before, as I sat on the sofa beside you transfixed for hours by a smudge on the wall.  I slowly drank my way through two bottles of wine to pass the time.  By the time we went to bed I had made up my mind, I think you had too.  We just wanted to take a tiny bit more.

So many times before, you would stretch your arm out across the pillow and tell me to ‘come here for a cuddle’. And I would lay my head on your shoulder, my fingers resting lightly on your stomach, your fingers entwined in my hair, and we would drift off to sleep together.  Not last night though.  You rolled over, showing me your back, and knowing I would notice, said “I’m aching, I need to lay on my left side”.

No problem.

Paranoia has taken far too many of my waking hours recently, so I try not to wonder if the reason you don’t want me to “come here for a cuddle” this time, is because you know as well as I do that our time is up now.  Except by tying not to wonder, I’m wondering without allowing conclusion.  It’s easier that way.  But it means these thoughts can’t be filed away just yet, until a conclusion is allowed to complete them.  The conclusion hurts.  Knowing it will hurt is conclusion within itself.

Your feet are cold, I hear you “Mmmm…” because mine are warm.  I let my other foot slide over yours, and rest there, our feet lock into place, and I feel the cold start to evaporate, replaced with my warmth. I breathe in a faint trace of the scent of your hair.  I try to catch what that smell provokes inside me.  I wonder how and where it touches me.  Missing what should come naturally, trying too hard to be aware. Trying to reconnect, rebalance my consciousness and my senses.

I feel my breath against my own face.  It’s because I’m so close to you.  My breath reverberating off your shoulder, with nowhere to escape but back to me. I listen to my breathing, I can hear yours too; mine is quicker than yours. I wonder if you are listening to my breathing too, I wonder if it’s making you think anything.  I wonder if my breathing is too fast, I wonder if you’re assuming that I’m feeling something because my breathing has quickened. I don’t want you to think I’m feeling anything.  It’s easier that you don’t.  I try to slow.  I try to breathe in time with you, I feel your rib cage expand and contract beneath my fingers, and for the first time, I realise my hand is resting lightly on your side. I become aware of my hand, and allow my fingers to move only a tiny fraction, barely enough for you to notice, but enough to be able to feel the texture of your skin beneath them, where your t-shirt has ridden up a few inches.

I concentrate again on your breathing, I breathe in unison with you.  We breathe in waves.  In and out, our chests up and down, together.  I allow my mind to follow the rhythm.  I allow the colours behind my eyelids to begin to wash back and forth, like a gentle tide, in time with us.  We could be floating now, on waters so still that the only movement on its surface is created by our chests rising and falling in time.  I hear a quiet beat in my mind, our bodies sway to it; the beat of our breath.  I’m interrupted by a thought of what is to come, and I fall out of time with you.  The beat stops and our floating bodies sink beneath waves.

It’s only here, in the darkness, where our world stretches no further than to the tips of the duvet that’s draped over our bodies; that we are allowed to be soft still.  To allow our breaths to share the same space, to allow our fingers to touch without purpose, to allow ourselves to be warmed by the others body heat, to allow ourselves to feel the comfort of the touch of a finger tip, a breath, the movement of a foot.  To feel each others heart beat.  We can do all of this while we pretend to be asleep, when we don’t have to face the consequences of stealing these moments from someone we know we should be learning to be comforted without.

I wonder if you actually are asleep, or if you are stealing the same moment I am.  And I don’t care.  I’m happy right here, I’m happy allowing our unspoken boundaries to bleed slightly.  I’m happy pretending not to be aware of what’s about to happen.  Just for this last moment.  Reminding myself how you feel when you’re not sad; when I’m not sad.  What it feels like to have your soul lay next to mine, quietly, uninterrupted.

Except we are interrupted.  The join between us used to be seamless.  Now it’s clear to see where I end and you begin.  Neither of us know how or why or where the divide began to form between us.  But we have silently acknowledged it.

I feel your heart beating. I try to count the beats and read some message in them.  I’m sure it’s harder and faster than it usually is.  Are you scared?

I am.  It’s ok.  You’ll be ok.  So will I.

I lay my arm over you, pressing my body into your back.  Squeezing you close to me.  Your heart beats against my chest.  I close my eyes, squeeze them closed as tightly as I can.  I feel your heart beat through mine, I concentrate on its rhythm, trying to slow it with my mind, willing it to calm.  Convinced that if I clear my mind enough, concentrate on you enough, I can enter your head, and make it easier for you.  Make it so your heart doesn’t beat like this, your breaths don’t come so fast, and your body can relax.

You turn your body.  I don’t make any effort to move my arm which is draped over you.  You are facing me.  I don’t open my eyes.  I can still make you think I was asleep.  Use sleep as an excuse to hold on to you so tightly.

Your face meets mine, your forehead pressed against mine, your nose resting against my cheek.  Your face is wet. Tears.  I feel panic rise within me as tears threaten my own closed eye lids.

I slide my legs away from yours, rolling my body away. My feet reach the floor, and I head for the doorway.

“No.” you say.

I turn to look at you. You have lifted your head from the pillow.  You’re not crying but your cheeks are wet.  Our eyes lock, and in that very moment, I look so far into you, I see every memory of us flash through your eyes.  And then it stops.  Blank.  Dead.  Finished.  The End.

You begin to nod slowly. I know what you are telling me, and with a frozen heart, I nod my head slightly back at you.  I go to where my clothes are piled in the corner of the room on the floor and pull them on. Without lifting my eyes from the floor, I go to the bedroom door, walk through it, down the stairs, out of the front door, down the path and up the street… heading towards a room far away that has blinds, with slats, where the light can shine through when the sun comes up.

Melanie Legge, Manchester UK.

#20 Nemonee Stone

What if our lives were pre written, controlled by a higher entity, The Chairman, Shakespeare’s 3 Witches of Macbeth, God, the Supreme being? Most people live on the path that’s set for them, too afraid to explore any other; but once in a while someone comes along and knocks down all the obstacles that’s put in their way. People will realise that free will is a gift that they’ll never know how to use unless they fight for it. One day “They” won’t write the plan….You will.

Nemonee Stone, UK

#19 Brian Tawn

Anne was the first and only girl I ever asked for a date. Before then, if a girl asked me to go out with her, I usually did, but it wasn’t until I saw Anne that I found someone I really wanted.

I was 19 years and working in the offices of a factory, while Anne worked on the production lines. I saw her one day when I was collecting timesheets from the supervisors and fell for her at once. I used to see her regularly, but didn’t ask for a date because I thought she was far too lovely to want to go out with me.

Sometime later, I was in a bar with a couple of friends and Anne was there too, at a family party being held there. Anne came to the bar near us and one of my friends tried to chat her up. There was some jolly banter between us and Anne said something cheeky to me, so I said that if she didn’t behave I’d take her outside and give her a good hiding.

Anne said ‘Come on then.’ and out we went. I didn’t give her a good hiding, but it was a while before we went back into the bar.

I was leaving the factory on the following Friday and I couldn’t stand the thought of not seeing Anne again, so I asked her if she would like to join me and some friends of mine at my home on that Friday night and she agreed. My parents were away on holiday and when my friends left, Anne stayed. In fact, she stayed until the Sunday and only went home then because her mother found out where she was and sent the police after her.

That was in September. In November I told her we would get married on October 5th the following year (1968)….and we did. After a year of courting and 44 years of marriage we love each other even more than we did when we were young.

The only reason that I set the wedding date a year away was that I wanted us to have our own house to move into straight away…which we did.

 

Brian Tawn, UK

#18 Christopher Bowles

A secret laid bare at a terrible cost,
A pound of flesh paid, is not ever enough.
By mistake or design, testimony is lost
Words once left unspoken, now written in blood.

HeusedtosayIloveyou
OnedayHesaidIhateyou
NowHesaysnothingatall
Anditkillsme

Whoever said ‘we all want love’ was a fucking fool.
Sometimes all I want is your tongue in my ass, a decent cumshot and a cigarette.

Christopher Bowles, Manchester

#17 Ravi Thornton

In the shallows I am quick and bright, a flash, a dart of silver in the warm blue of the sun’s diffusion.
In the dark depths and alone, I am echoes in a storm, a careful wave, dangerous, mysterious in the shadows of beginnings and ends.
The ocean calls its song, deadly to the foolish, tender for the brave, who drown in the green allure of my kiss.
Ravi Thornton, Manchester, UK.

#15 Jackie Hagan

You can’t see through another man’s eyelids (Advice)

 

Sometimes we speak of the things that we see

using puppetry, tea leaves and lies:

 

1. Don’t cut off your face to spite someone else’s face.

2. Don’t cut off your face.

3. A boiled sweet pause in someone else’s mouth doesn’t necessarily mean its time for you to speak.

4. You are probably not as ugly as you think you are,

you are a generous buffet of crisps.

5. The minimum fill line on a kettle … is real.

Kettles break,

so do hearts so don’t eat too much butter or fall in love with a koala  (they’re not what you think they are.)

When a koala breaks your heart try to know someone from Yorkshire

who’ll feed you tea and elasticate your socks.

6.Don’t be mean to fumbling frogs,

the wet effort they put into punch lines.

Frogs can fly when you don’t make them feel self conscious about it.

7. Romanticise the repetitive clunk.

8. Give your pets a heroic aura.

9. Some kids got done for saying the word azure,

some kids get done for swearing,

I come from a town where the barmaids have tits

and the fella’s are homophobic, but in nice way:

”you’re weird and you’re short and yer Mam tells me your gay but I knew your Da, and he was witty and so are you, you’re alright you love, you are. weird hair”.

10. If you’re working class you inherit anger.

If you’re middle class you inherit embarrassment.

And a house.

11. The fight for sexual equality is not between men and women, it’s between people and dickheads.

12. Everyone’s school burns down.

13. Check yourself, you might have no business sleeping with virgins.

14.  For a while I had an apple tree,

tall and crisp and meant for people with healthy gums and legs for climbing, good for you.

For a while I had a an apple tree

but it didn’t suit me.

15. If I could I’d stay in that moment where the tennis ball reaches it’s height and takes a breath

before remembering to fall …

inside that beat  sunset feels like acceptance.

 

Jackie Hagan, Manchester UK.