Wednesday, 23 June 2010


Oh God, oh God, I take it. Cold and heavy and scary, so scary. He's fine, so I'll be fine too - except it doesn't work like that. He's fine so I'm more likely to make a Pollock on the wall. I can feel their eyes on me, hoping that I'll - oh God, no, don't think about that. I'm getting out of debt today, one way or another.

He's fine so I'll be fine... the slaughterhouse goat. Instinct, stupid, stupid instinct.

Shit, do it. My hand's shaking. The trigger reluctantly eases a few millimetres and Janey, we'll be ok. You'll go to college. Daddy said he'd provide for you, there when I held you for the first time, I promised.

I'm afraid, and then I'm angry. You'd do this?! You'd make me abandon my girl? Fuck you, fuck you all! I see myself walking away, abandoning my investment. My family. I wouldn't make it to the door.

So I squeeze, a little more.

A little more -

Oh God, a little more, eyes shut tight, and -


Oh, it's not so bad! Cold, losing so much blood, but really... Janey

An argument

She is shouting at him. He is shouting at her.

They halt on your arrival, and stare - they did not see you approach. It seems that it is true: you cannot observe the action without affecting it. I forget whether it is Heisenberg or Schrödinger I should thank for this trick.

Never mind; as the author, I can lead you behind a veil and allow the couple to continue. They will forget we were here.

"You always tell me what to do!" she says, irritation showing in her voice. Her shoulders tensed, face obscured by her hair, looking at the ground. "And whenever I do things my way, you act like I'm a huge disappointment! Why can't you just let me make my own decisions?"

He isn't looking at her either. "I don't know why you feel like that. Try to see things from my perspective: every time I get a little bit of hope, and stop pushing you, you give up again."

She reaches across the table and puts her hand on his. "But I am getting better. Trust me."

Why should you care about them, if you know nothing about them? Allow me. I am the woman - or, at least, she is me. Me as I see me. And how far that is from Anna the Writer, I am least qualified to say.

Here, a lot is unsaid. They know the history, and you don't. Allow me. The woman has struggled with depression. She is teaching herself how to be brave again. The night of this conversation, she bailed on a commitment - a failure that she saw as making a free choice, and he saw as a relapse. The cursor is blinking at me. I didn't plan beyond this part. So, because I can, I think I shall bring resolution.

“I’ll try to get better. I am trying. I love you.” This time he takes her hand. She looks up, and their eyes finally meet.

They drop the subject, shelve it for next time they need something to resent, and sleep. You can go now.

On the tracks

He has his answer: it doesn’t stop.

“Does it ever stop hurting?” The question he doesn’t ask – his mother weeping openly – he feels the need to be strong, outwardly. Inwardly, he is already heading to the crossing.

The crossing. It’s dark; a mild, starless night. He tries not to think about the doctor.

The doctor, hiding behind her clipboard, muttering “I’m so sorry”s with a solemn, tearless face. He stares at his knuckles, white and pink from his fierce grip on absolutely nothing.

Nothing to stop him now. As he waits, his thoughts turn to heaven or oblivion. Which is worse? Best to say his goodbyes now, in any case. The note already does that, for the most part, but he wants to say something to his daughter.

His daughter, three years old, refuses to get into the pool. She doesn’t want to get her new swimming costume wet. It’s red, with a smiling yellow duck over the heart.

“Come on in, honey, Daddy’s gonna catch you!”

– on absolutely nothing –

He boards up the window she fell from, hammer and nails splitting the wood.

The wooden post piercing the earth; the last mark he’d make on this house; the last he’d allow it to make on him.

His eyes blur with choked apologies as the screaming demon train took him to whatever comes next.

Cliff edge

He is afraid. Heart pounding, he inches along the rocky ledge, only kept from despair by thoughts of home.

Home, where the salty air blurs the border between sea and sky. Home, where Rosie waits for him. He knows that he may die today. If the ledge crumbles, he might die.

He clings tighter to the cliff face, arms and chest scratched and bruised from his journey. The wind tugs at his clothes, trying to pull him aside. You could fly, it whispers.

An eagle soars in front of the setting sun, and there is a moment of unforgettable beauty. Nothing could ever be so perfect, he thinks. And he lets go.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010


Hop, skip, stumble and a jump
Got to dance the dance to escape this fucking dump.
Email, email, mobile call
Got to play the game if you want to live at all.

Not for you the good life, you'll never be a hermit
Can't earn any money if you haven't got a permit
Can't have a home or food if you're not bringing in the cash

(It's tempting just to leave your junk and burn it all to ash
Drop your life within the lines, I'd love to hear it smash
But don't do that, oh no, not yet, 'cause that's a little rash.)

Hop and skip and slide and fall
Got to do the paperwork or hit the fucking wall.
Got to follow rules you never told them they could make,
Obedience is goodness, so be good for goodness' sake.

Hopscotch, hopscotch. One foot, two.
Don't break the rules or the rules break you.
No tripping on the skipping rope and landing with a bump
Hop and skip and stumble jump.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


I'm too hot, I can't sleep.
Tossing, turning, counting sheep.
I'm so tired that I can barely think -
Time to go and get a drink.

Get a drink of cool clear water,
Wonder what I'll name my daughter?
Will I have a daughter or will I have a son?
If I have a baby will I ever have fun?

Restless, writhing, getting quite annoyed.
I'll think of nearly anything to fill the fucking void.

Will I get married, and will I wear white?
Will I ever get to go to sleep tonight?
Will I have money, or will I have none?
If I marry him when will I ever have fun?

Hot and sticky, do you ever find
It's impossible to sleep when you've got so much on your mind?
Or there's so much on your mind 'cause it's impossible to sleep?
Can't tell if it's nonsense or I'm being really deep.

It is my deepest sorrow, I've already fucked tomorrow.
And I've used up every hope that I can beg or steal or borrow.
Will it be rainy, or will there be sun?
If I bother waking will I ever have fun?

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Fickle fidelity

Swear by all passing passions,
By the falling leaves
Swear by the wave-torn tempest
Swear, and I'll believe.

Swear by the sand-print handprint,
By the ice and snow.
Swear, and I'll believe you'll stay
Until the day you go.

Swear by all that's mutable,
Changeable, and free.
Swear by your unfaithfulness and
Swear by me.