This is, my most comprehensive 'short story', which is written largerly as a stream-of- consciousness and from the narrative perspective of empty space personified, which I have used not only to emphasize the theme of isolation but to imply the disjointed sense of existence and drain of personality which is intrinsic to the structure of the plot.
Any comments and constructive criticism would be much appreciated. Thank you.
Giving fruit - [an observation]
They cannot help themselves feeding from the pictures of other people’s lives.
E lies in the shape of language in which she writes. I lie as a steel rim between her bare rib cage and the cold sheets, providing the body with its perversity of the foetal position. She is the words ‘I love… I love…’ with which I am pelted, and especially in the night I feel her falling thickly against me, the white cream of untouched skin. Sometimes she squeals at my touch, writes with the erratic spurt of the pen, eyes foaming in hysteria – how the night licks over my chest, its corrosive tongue at my mouth, in my ear. Night drives us with a profane hunger; it gnaws at the universal gut to which we all relate. She corresponds herself similarly, frantically, carrying bread smeared with butter on little napkins with the familiar crease of disgust on her face as if handling owl pellets. She places them as if to rot under her tongue like pills, eats whilst lying down on the mattress’s single skeleton, mimicking her with its puffy exhausted flesh over a steel cage. She eats on her side in the buzzing temptation to choke, the forcing of the throat almost a dizzying sensation of elasticity. Her tears dampen my empty fragrance as press I down into the small of her back, curl over her ribs. This is the love she harvests to fill herself with. Yet she sobs, sobs striking so hard against myself, they knock the bone to a patina against the lungs. I shrug myself away.
She stirs on a constant edge, to which I spared my limbs with complexity.
This position salts me, and in the concept of morning I am drawn almost heavy, knocked by some ambiguous hammer below her heart. As she sits up to the sun warming beneath its greying poultice, I lie silently in her lap and trace up from the cream hips to the chin and back again. I mirror the wind outside chasing the headland, reminding her almost bitterly of her body’s geography. There is an odd glow under her throat I cannot press against. She tells me she wishes it is some seam, some seam from which she will rip and let bubble a cloy of organs, and the manifestations of myself before a final heavy kiss, she steps away. I cannot help to turn and send through her again the shocks of pain as I cup her heel, the hollows deep between the toes, yet I retreat as she strips away the wallpaper of her clothes and applies fragrance. Fragrance fans herself in myriad mouths, they suck down on my very arms, they claw to clutch and stalk back to my limbs on her skin. I gasp, and she chokes a minute, as if wedged on the boundary of laughter and tears.
But the tenderest pain, the limitless, is the nights I spend smoothing beneath her cheeks, embalming myself to the steam beneath the eye socket where the damp has condensed. The fluted skull, I notice, plays its own instrument which I fill, with an aching, hollow single note, as if one could picture jealously. I picture it very morning, built right in front of me as she constructs her face in the mirror. There, where sways that choked tomb where I stand without her, I cannot feel myself clasping her hands.
‘A line of meaning’ she once admitted to me, almost tenderly, her voice as thick and dodgy as brown ale, as she pastelled the black clasp like a perpendicular finger between each eyelid. Jealous. I was jealous. Soured to the inch of the flesh I could not rub my lips against, and so, sometimes spiked with cold I would strike, so that her eyes would prick and stream in front of the fire. Her life already paradoxical, I could readily settle myself between her open arms and speak in between her empty sentences. She was my doll, my beautiful shiny little doll.
But he is not; he struck against me as the animate object, the piece of work. O, how even now as she curls cold on the mattress, she smoothes in the delicate hiss of hands a flank of paper into the same, smooth shape. Delight toys his lips, as does language as he recites to me what is quickly lost ‘Alpha, theta, gamma, zeta’, and his breaths, which never change. He folds into himself at night and immerses himself in the drapes of his mind until when he would lie between the settings of mystique and success, and say nothing to the dumb whore counting the veins with her tongue beneath his arms. He might love her in that painted-on hide matching the suitcase he vomits like empathy. It slams repeatedly against E’s face like a memory, until she realises it is only is breath and pulls her hair back and paints back that smile again in that same omissible ink. Pigeons clot on the street in a similar shade. I lie, brush my hand between E’s face and this excrement sometimes and she cries to me, and brings down her nails across her face as if shutting herself in. I shut myself between the blood and the paper-Mache of the cheek.
She hardly says anything. Sometimes the odd expletive cracks on her tongue. But not in front of him, he hates it, yet I am bruised through.
She stills meets him though, determined. She walks, with her arms hanging open and attempts to trample any memory of me down, down as the ruddy pulp which smokes in semi-circles under her eyelids. She walks so my touch replaces her with corrupt lips of ache, her face debris at its rubber snare. The snare, in which she wobbles as he entreats her occasionally to his bones, gives her time in a cage watches her wriggle and suffer.
The usual meeting.
‘What a beautiful thoughts you have.’
He sighs, with the slight twang on speech as of expelling something slightly unpleasant. I am pierced. Her digits push soft pads into his back as if symbolising the time to her own termination, as she lies now, like the bitterly frozen baby. He spits idioms but she is too numb to notice how sour they are, I creep under the creases in her clothes, close to the body which is the translucent pale of a leaf from which the veins have been scratched.
‘I love you.’ – ah, so much ‘love’ she says. Enough warmth of human thumb for me to nestle my lids on that page of the dictionary. She is struck, I feel her slight stiffening in tension, in how warm he is, and her shame and not being able to touch completely what he symbolises. Instead she is left with a grease on her fingers, the stale mimicry of him and Herm over those dappled morning pastries and lukewarm coffee.
She hears now, stirring back from sleep, their sonorous ambles in the college garden.
‘I think I fell in love today’, his voice as ever, resonant as it spills into my own limbs. I cannot carry it to her for I fear her suffering, and instead crowd the words hot against his slightly furred chin, his face. She does not notice, though perhaps does Herm who stoops slightly to catch the syllables like those lost from his own title in arriving at the college as a blatant Hebert.
‘Did it hurt?’ he scoffs, chewing over his tongue slightly in obvious sarcasm ‘Well did it, Cass, did it?’
I slink slowly from the scene in the mimicry of her stale breath, as Herm hooks him playfully under the ribs.
‘I did, I tell you did’ Cass reveals himself, answering thick through mock-dramatics, immersing himself in this pantomime ‘Such sweet pain, such sweet dear pain!’
‘Ah. Be it Ibsen, be it Blake?’
Cass’s face falls back between the seriousness to which my palms were accustomed.
‘It is not specifics, my dear Herm. No it is the very press of the leaves of the book, their somehow silky appeal, their flooding opening at mans movement…’
Somehow she had peeled herself away from me and out into the garden, the dew crystallizing cold, her feet away from me, her body startlingly naked beneath the stirring creatures of dress and pullover. I was absent, holding the frost an inch or so from their faces, yet I can feel her now, a sick torrent of distress.
‘I brought you some biscuits’, she said, idiotically. She held them out limply, first to my own elusive touch, then Herm, then him, glistening in her dull palms like apple flesh glittering its odd eyes in the emaciated faces of peeled apple skin. She always picked apples to match the month, the seasonal hopes she would hold globular in her palm as she wished inside herself to hold onto his hand, and squeeze, almost bitterly, as the juice spits out on an apple. She had spat blood in the sink, spat in my own palm that evening in anger, rubbed the damp across her face like a hasty cat.
Silence. She shrunk to let me knot and coil in her stomach, for comfort. She swirled slightly, still standing.
‘Huh, he might love one as much as a book’ Herm snorted, picking a biscuit from the upturned table of her palm, his hand she noticed, still hot from the skin papering Cass’s ribs ‘Don’t mind if I do.’
But Cass’s voice uncurled, almost acridly. ‘You do’ he insisted ‘course you do Herm.’
Herm turned flushed a dull bronze into his well tanned cheeks, not quite understanding what he tried to understand as a joke, he floundered helplessly, his eyeballs as pale and downy under eyelashes, brittle as wings.
‘We were talking about books,’ Cass announced in her direction, adopting the tone of a dismissal as I felt my own lungs leeched and mashed through his. ‘You wouldn’t understand, would you?’
He smirked. Her mouth unhooked itself from its sullen, dry hinges.
‘I read. That’s it. But I understand, E my dear, I love, I am at one.’
She glanced into his eyes a moment as if suddenly compelled to do so in some hot, steep bolt of gut force before her pupils fell to the floor and married the pieces of pavement over which I attempted to non-evasively deposit myself. I was becoming hot, hot swirled under the tip of her tongue as she slipped her mouth to a mumble.
‘I love you.’ She smiled thickly.
My palms throbbed openly on the globes of their cheeks, her body sagging slightly as if expelling its dust through an open wound. He didn’t, doesn’t look up, I cannot fathom his chin to tilt of even an angle towards her. He exhibits, almost beautifully, a mind of cold, interrupted occasionally with the slight domestic gesture – the rub of the nose and the hands through his hair. I can feel her, her thoughts lying acridly beneath her tongue, how she wishes she was those hands, how she could feel the compress of the pillow blacking her night and wake up wearing his face. She stood exposed, to detect in her footsoles the World shifting behind her, time moving another inch on his face and a burn with which I am charred under the dust-bags of lungs which at nights still resound with the splutter of foam. She has a whole ocean onside her, the molluscs embedded wet in the organs and the salt, the whole clots of debris preserved in her gut like a jewelled casement. At night she opens up and my body bathes her through the crawl of flesh.
She stood there, smoothing the silt I dispersed from her hips. Bit down on her lips as if hungry. Her head tilted, sleek and masked blackly as an otter in oil, where pitted eyes flecked in a grimace up to him. The same way she now stares at the sky, eyes as gentle and writhing invisibly with life as if eggs inserted into the sockets. He stalked her like he ate along this superfluous metaphor, this extravagance hot to my touch as he held his hand up in inch from her face.
‘It is thoughts that are lovely, written thoughts, lovely thoughts behind that empty empty face...’
He pushed the syllables painfully from his lips as if vociferating to small child, peeling the last ‘empty’ of all positivity in his harsh hack of language. Her age cracked almost immediately – tears streaked the fingers with which I supported her face. She swayed still, loosely now, like some ominous construction and he somehow facilitated this, his cupped palm still that perfect line away from her forehead which seemed to mimic the expanse he desired. His dark features creased like old text, reminded her somehow, of the first time we had shared the novel over which her tears went spat, spat like blood scattering from the lungs of a slain predator.
‘Bodies,’ Cass almost hissed now, Herm flickering his thumbs and uneasily gazing over the portico, unsure to which chunk in the tumult his eye could reasonably rest ‘All this trouble, simply to be a vehicle – paper much more pleasant don’t you think?’
A biscuit was dead in her palm. A bird shattered like shell in the treetops.
‘Tell me the mind.’ He closed her palm back over the biscuit, I shuffled slightly, the warmth went thick and dead between them.
He rubbed this thumbs across the volume he was holding with a luxurious gesture, I approximated brashly to be the similar weight of a female skull, memoirs of E’s at night, gentle and sullen before smacking the pillow. She thought of the paper which wept as it absorbed blood, the careful membrane about the gift to never be opened, the red on his tongue as her eyes misted over. We screamed at each other, hot and hungrily as she inhaled sharply her breath, his breath.
‘I love you.’
Cass coughed and turned on his heel. Those words – completely ambiguous, held no particular belonging.
Herm staggered over his own tongue in the inability to craft amusement. He mumbled about ‘the party’, clothes for that party, months – the slow tumbling mumble of confused boyhood which cripples the in from which it is spoken. I furred close to his eardrums, smelling the slight slip of fear and the fine hairs which stand as attendant to old skin.
Her face was wiped completely clean, I held her, held her as I held him. Cass directed the magnificent entity of his attention to Herm who creaked off sullenly, slightly in front of him, shoes extinguished slightly in the dew. Cass turned. He turned for a moment and noticed, as if squinting obtusely at a mirror i through which one is unsure and slightly stupefied whether such is reliable portrayal of reality, how very thin she looked. How very thin.
I cannot say memory are as fresh as where I stand now, but still reflect near her, faithfully, as few appeared to be.
Her face grew greasy, thicker and the mask hollower to hold up the descending cheekbones over which it lay. At the nights I descended the bones like stairs and pressed myself, fine, to her open eye and the nape of her neck. Yet I was somewhat corrupted to, hot and sticky in the stir of fear and my veins clotted and dribbled to a kind of blood. Almost as the blood she carried round in her womb like some strange symbol, let down by her ugly body. I bit into her palms as she cried.
It was often the case she would forget to cry physically, her body devoid of its liquid, lost in the long cool peace of his own selfish touch. I sat by him warily as he, absent minded, observed his face in the polished mirrors of liquids, and opened his own concept of geological age in mulling cold stone between his palms. Her face had engrained all the surfaces once before, desperately adding sense to the emptiness. The emptiness to which he puckered his lips, spat and polished.
Herm threw around filthy jokes like hot gravel. It was the usual afternoon staple, perched in Cass’s memory, crawling with crude caresses – Cass and Herm mulched in laughter, an apple core sweated under Herm’s clenching fist.
‘If you’re going to throw that away, will you tell her she’s all right to come in,’ he threw a wink at Herm and implied the imperative, which cluttered his eyebrow into an even odder assembly than usual ‘except in the case of you-know who.’
I crouched in the corner, displaced roughly by the regular great slugs of hot breath, cigarettes and expletives which cracked on their tongues, thick as the tobacco dust. I lingered momentarily round the somehow familiar globular crispness of the apple core Herm pinched between his fingers, his fingers circling the flesh in a slow rhythmic movement well way from its browning centre. It gasped to me horribly, sucking again and again at my old skin.
‘No, No,’ Cass and I heard Herm’s full tones resonating from outside the room ‘He’s got an appointment now, sorry pet.’
I cradled them thick through E’s skull as he said it, winced deep and white hot into her cartilage. Stay where you are, stay where you are, hurt...
‘Doctor’s appointment...’ Herm wavered, singing his heels on the edge of excuse, on the tip of the pain at E’s breast.
‘You’d be surprised at what goes on around the words, books...’ He finished, as if in explanation. His face writhed in front of her like a paradox, the young, slightly rubbery skin under a hair as close and coarse as sand. A smile ended it.
‘Yes, yes – I guess so…’ She wavered. I rang around her bones as she skipped off, that smile plastered to her inch thick face, a slush somehow like cold flesh between her steps.
‘It looks good when I cry,’ she repeatedly told me, on such evenings, every evening, in a vague voice laced with my own sedative ‘I exhibit just the same tumult as those words.’
Elizabeth grimaced from behind the choking velvet drapes of the hallway – it was as cruel as mimicry, the thick atmosphere intensifying E’s thickening footfalls like a kind of grief. Herm gestured to Elizabeth, and they slunk back into the library after seeing E’s frame fade under the archway. She yelled, without turning, something designed to be abstract and witty in terms of some form of recovery. Three minds and I stood blank, blank as the predatory movement, blank as over-turned books, page-down, hands-down... I was pushed from the hot event of Elizabeth’s dress, pushed and crunched as the material. Teeth and tongue came from no-where. Cass’s stomach melted.
‘Eighteen years old today, Eh?’
Elizabeth’s voice cut of suddenly on the end syllable like a strangled affirmative. She looked briefly at some singular object near E’s face, the flecks of colour stalking her nails, and lovingly back down at her feet. The feet where I held E’s hands guiding Elizabeth into the abstract scream of red boots with the odd design to let the flesh sink through. The soles were as thick and devoid as the plain of icing scraped onto the wedding cake, and yet the laces slopped over lazily, like entrails. She knew E knew nothing.
‘Yes.’ E mumbled, her features hard with concentration, clutching the fluted feet which were originally of a delicate cream, now evidently topped with the odd inks in which young girls immerse themselves.
‘Well I was coming past on my way to the...’ Elizabeth clattered loudly as if emitting the sensation of a wooden tongue on steel teeth. She paused for a minute as if startled. ‘To the toilet. And I thought you might just possibly be able to retie these shoes for me, so bad I know, but... .’
‘It’s fine.’ E bit her tongue down like a little animal in a state of focus as she finished. So many things she wanted to finish, such long stretches she wanted to issue conclusion, like I caressed and issued the scud from her lungs. Eighteen manuscripts in their cold slabs like a fatty peel presided on the cluttered desk in the corner. The red pen bathing on the very top was close to empty. She yearned through me with the damp of her eyes that night to seduce her, to reduce that head on the pillow to buoyancy and illusion and embrace...
‘How many of them have you done?’ Elizabeth asked in mocking interest, having no other direction in which to looks across the small room close with mildew as she staggered to her feet. She was empty of concept beneath her sculpted body, her encased feet hit the wooden floor like an instrument as she pointed at the papers with a crude finger.
Somehow she laughed through E telling her the number as aforementioned. The dull white of the shattered skull of her wrist communicated something to her at which E gazed with dead eyes.
‘Thank-you so much.’ Her voice foamed, thick and false ‘Library tea party, you know. Not sure where, or when – you’re always so precise, I know you wouldn’t like that kind of thing? No. Surprisingly many drinks can be abbreviated to ‘t’ you know, yeah...’
She gabbled and gabbled. Her words were as if designed for every syllable to splinter.
Words still poured from her mouth, striking me almost drunk and ripping up any concept of soul with those sharp shoes as she stumbled out of contact, out of the door. I laid back under E’s ribs again and clotted in the hay-like mesh about Elizabeth’s head, her eyelashes scrapping the skin below this unfortunate garden.
It Further down the corridor she was clutched at the hips, hands locking over her back, suddenly, quickly. I was stifled, up against the walls which felt a bloody velvet, rammed into an odd state of Frenzy. Faster.
Dust fell about their heads.
‘My baby, my sweet little baby, Elizabeth,’ Cass spoke into her neck, sucked up the syrups of her scent. She shrunk to a bag of dust and folded in his arms, he made hushing noises at her heatedly in the clammy darkness, as if beguiling some young child or cat.
I felt myself gasp, shrinking.
He circled her upper-half with his hands, cutting me with this odd type of swim-stroke. He struck he wall, and smoothed this hot hand down the front of her dress which opened up her flesh in the ‘v’ in which I suspend swans in the summer with their tired heads. She loved bits of him, yes Elizabeth, she told herself, all those funny stories, the way he looked at her, his hands, how soft his hands were. She pouted heavily up to his chest, E’s tired head weighed beneath the mould of her pillow, both passing in their own concept of motion... she was alone.
A catch of breath.
‘No, no, not yet...’ Elizabeth giggled, her face attempted to adopt and then shook off an expression close to arrogance. ‘We haven’t had pudding yet.’
The words clacked like tin on silk.
He smiled. ‘What has that – to do – with anything.’ His mouth was gorged on her neck. ‘That’s why I love you. These meaningful ditties behind this line of beauty.’ He let a thick finger fall down her breastbone as if identifying the seam which would later split open, the hot fig and its pink organs. I caught the bake of salt in air, the flick of fire at some proximity, the flay of damp hair and flesh. Flesh.
Herm flew round the corner, hair puffed and pointed like an odd arrow. His eyes glazed straight through the mixture of them in a combination of embarrassment and mild interest.
‘I told E you are out tonight.’ He ventured, his voice waning on some odd wavelength, he remembered her eyes as I had transfixed them, their mercy spilling and souring the brain in its disappointment. Her pupils were empty.
‘Already don,.’ Elizabeth’s voice was far away. ‘Down the corridor – sleeping – like – a – baby…’
Her words ricocheted from my skin, in laughter, in drunken, intoxicating laughter.
Herm fidgeted nervously in she shoes which stuck somehow to the carpet. ‘Come on,’ He added an expansive gesture ‘you’re missing the party.’
She saw everything; I cloyed at the hot rush in her eyes as she saw everything, how her lips parted and the memoirs of childhood fell down her face. She didn’t know if it was blood or tears, or both.
She coughed emptiness upon emptiness. It was as if, when she arrived, they had already scarred him. Never before had she thought that they would use his library, his private space. She pictured it infinitesimally in her mind as if they were soiling his body. At first she felt pity, the favourite friend. But I stayed there, I had been there, and smoked in hysteria, just as I had touched her and him together.
The manuscripts occupied her arms silently like dead baby. They were already spilling beneath her. She couldn’t arrange the synonyms in her head, and the mind filled with panic and sharp stabs of trepidation crushing the windpipe in my own action. Deep in the universal gut, shame writhed and split, split at the scores on her fingers through which she had engraved the text. She had come to give it, present herself. Her body was a charcoal outline beneath her clothes, she wanted his touch, his breath, to scrape out her existence. The rub of eye deposits tears, I know too well, as her body knew of the slip of motion and assembled itself forever.
It is often we question the concepts in which time suspends itself, and yet makes us forever.
She hadn’t been able to sleep.
Knowing the familiar footsteps within the library magnified on my escaping ooze of breath, she had slipped to a stop behind the door, the barrier as thin as a membrane against the growing frenzy of sound within. She wanted to see, hear, taste over the textures of existence – she culd slip in and join this occasion, silently, clasping him…
E ached for the greater skill rather than action melted into words, the words to melt into his arms with the craft of the artist and enfold her, draw the tissues for the mind which pressed down as thickly as I, down, down in the night. His presence chalked her limbs to another image, she still held the symbol of a child, and this annoyed her, as I did, as they all did. This flared under the planed-off brow as she slipped an eye to my side through the crack in the door which was as chewed and spit-holed as one slips a split in the cherry to squeeze out the stone. Decorative safeties, she thought to herself, the sugar-coated voice she had so often fed, which now fell away.
I became the skeleton, starving to escape. The room was thick with alcohol and the rough steam of humanity, in the centre of which Cass and Elizabeth perched like a polished madness. She reclined against his chest on the divan, her skin radiating the pressure of flesh and forced luxury. I occupied E’s mouth, as a precaution, as his hands slipped to knot under Elizabeth’s breasts. The black slip of her dress seemed to have melted to rubber, which wobbled, an almost profound flabbiness in the applause and facades of the mulch of others crawling, feeling out my flesh first through each other.
But she was the ideal aesthetic. Her hair was set to the head with pins like a product of the pottery wheel, it resolved and shaped itself to individual comment, flapped back noisily in its own form of affection. The books stood shuttered around them, blankly as walls, the walls through which crows realise they have witnessed the demolition of their home. This universal knowledge tightened in the leaves, and the book’s silence. But the noise flowed through E, through this, skin-thick, unbelievable. He kissed the big red outline of Elizabeth’s mouth. He paddled her neck. He made a lock of her hand with his, and all the time sputtering, slurping, gasping.
‘My beauty, my beauty, yes, yes. Isn’t she beautiful? I can look into her eyes and...’
This confession seemed almost aimed at E, whose hands clenched, frozen to the paper, smashing the flecks of skin into her own. His head appeared weighted with the image of the cold glut beneath her heart, in which I clotted, I clutched my palm to occupy. Bang, Bang, bang.
With a shudder like a long limb emerging from a cold bath, he dropped his glass onto the floor. A mirrored smash. He saw his face suspended in several entities and froze momentarily, close to fear, he saw the spines of books spangling in their resolute beauty. He gorged himself closer to me, the clip of his teeth cleaning between the rungs of spine, cutting the cord like a new birth. The woman split in his arms mirrored his imagination and he screamed. He screamed in his eyes, blurring his features like a quavering shawl of water as he sunk under.
‘Actions speak louder than words,’ bubbled Elizabeth, snaking a hand across his thigh which fuzzed in his peripheral vision. I felt the dust on the rafters pulling me to standstill, the particles of human age collectivized and in order, and how decrepit it was over the knots of complexity and silence? Teeth clicked. ‘Time we went back to bed I think...’
The last few syllables were spluttered into her drink and she clutched him hysterically as they both wailed their internal fear in this sinking ship. A whole ocean fuzzed.
E’s face became stone; the poisoned gall of her uterus stationed her on the floor. She was anchor, dragging this whole thing, myself, the spatter of voice, outside momentum. The whole room swung to a yawn like the untrained infant, and she noticed, as I feel patterning my very existence, the crawling damp of the walls, as if encased inside a faulty organ. They all emerged as he hid, contrasting coldly against them, smelling of flesh and the metallic imprint of war. The wave filtered away, red-faced and laced Elizabeth and Cass emerging finally, their hands clasped like a shark’s purse. She imagined the dangerous predator knitting in there, clotting to harm.
She laughed, and laughed again. Somehow I had accompanied her to bed in the small hour after everyone had long left – the corridors throbbing raw like open arteries where my access was evident, easy. I stayed in people’s mouths and slipped myself like a dose to the soles peoples feet. I lay between the shell of her body and the occasional pockets of breath, there was nothing else, ache arrived with its individual instruments and stormed me away. Herm came alongside, as if in a dream, he brought her tears which he hung from the lobes of her ears like the spring-flowers fashion their dewdrops.
‘I’m sorry he said, I’m so so sorry.’
He gave her his damp hand, and she crushed it. Her touch was a rubbery as if her whole body had become enveloped in a gauze. He had broken into her room and she didn’t know anything. Everything revolving . Her hand reminded him of old food. She noticed, just before she chased the imprint of his footsteps down the hall that he had left his shoes outside her door. I slipped my own breath under the insoles and imagined idealism, just for a moment, in the lifting of her feather body evidently beyond it boundaries.
But now it was E that had folded herself into me and the corridor wall. ‘Shut up, shut up, shut up…’ she cursed, repeating under and under her breath, merging deeper and deeper with her breath until she was suffocating almost speechless. Her face was wet and she quivered, as if laid in the wind, bitterly naked. Her body wept for him, but it was her mind who held him.
Her mind loved him.
She loved as she fleeted into the library the feel of his hand in hers rather than mind in the body of the tide returning. She grated the gentle blue pulse between her fingers and rolled over the mechanism – the instruments sprayed out on the table like a tongue. Mockery, everything. She felt the friction, the fleeting of movement under her thumb as she parted with metal like the belt round her waist and felt the quick flame of tongue in her ear, in her mouth. She was suspended and yet shot through, as fire whipped itself into a frantic myriad under her skin, surged up and expelled all over the floor.
‘I love you.’
It ate away at the bookcases and she sunk her screaming to a low moan. At oscillating intervals, she would aim at books, the silent answers stowed in their faces. Flames crackled and laughed. ‘Shut up’ – she pleaded to me, on her face slithered a paradox, the reflection of fire in the damp lithe of the cheeks flexing through which some spit rotated such anger. She shrunk to the role of cooked flesh, gibbered over some remaining pages which clung to the desk, the ball of Venus filling her pupil.
Filling under my alcove of the heart where she set in concentration. I stumbled, choked as for the first time I read.
This body has been abandoned; it is fine – simply recycling. My mind is independent from my entrails that should always be kept somewhere. Yet I ache an infamy ‘where’ in a concept close to loss, I sit and feed from this heat as if perceiving the electric crackle under the chest. I live a whole life in ten minutes, I watch love destroyed for the sake of the old love which clotted thick to mature and was passed to the next. There is no forwards. I can fill myself on Venus and her wicked light; feel body fade beneath my clothes in comparison. I am angled forwards, I strive to be held now as I drown and realise the triviality of everything. The question of matter, a matter which cannot seep through myself like these do, I line them up like children – individual mirrors I know to have seen yourself in. You haunt me…
I had seen him.
But since when did I stand for anything? I was isolated, I attempted to enshroud the body as she stalked away. I almost scraped above the mind where my familiar alcove tends to reside, like a separate creature. But there was no such accommodation here. I was pushed outside a rotten fracture and as she begged to herself, I fired myself into her face, into her chest like a desperate child. We grappled in the grass, she played, was almost acting herself, that self who had bathed under his tongue in the long room which now wept into flames. She pulled her clothes away, the books lost their covers, he lost his mind through his head in his hands. I set the last contours of his face, as she shielded all such memory within the map of her body. Her naked pale lewd like the sun wept, but I could not say from those perspectives. We had beaten each other, throbbing dreadfully everywhere, she was outside now – breaking into a run along the grass, blood pulsing like the waves creaming in the sea…
I should have been happy, but knew nothing. She allowed me to take each heel in my own, the child wanting to walk in the shoes of the mother, to step away from the spine of existence. Slipping away like a wet wall, under her feet the manuscripts quivered.
Her naked body became fruit and pooled in the water before impact. For one moment we completely surrounding each other, and her, some unfixed expression dividing her features – split any remaining air in her final cry. Spun clean as a shell, the shell to which he had once clutched his lips and peeled off a cry in a single ‘o’, a lament-like tone. Skin slapped on stone and snapped the head back. Water fed and crunched as the head rolled clean from the body as if a pebble between the palm. Tossed between the weights of the waves. And there, in a single red streak, the line of beauty billowed out for all its incandescent charms.
Written as clearly as the empty eyes, illuminated cold in the sun, lay the final image.