Ryan or Brian or Sean or Cheyne

Spring rain and JB on beige chinos. Leggy millennials squawk in the disco lit windows. I am young in face and old in dissatisfaction. My amaretto sour served without egg whites, too much orange rind is always a problem. I suck the cherry and try and tie the stem with my tongue – I was never that kind of woman. Waiting for my lover in the corner under the heater and birdcaged bare bulbs, the bar is honey-thick with noise and that lawyer from Market St with a name like Ryan or Brian or Sean or Cheyne, is drunk (constantly), and he’s punching above his weight again with the blonde in the middle, always the blondes. He thinks blonde equals gullible but she crosses her legs at him. I’ve bitten my tongue more than once on the topic of his 90’s spiked hair – frosted tips. He quotes Bruce Lee incorrectly and adds his spin on the severity of climate change and I want to mock his hair and correct him but he’d recognise me and then where would we be? Spring rain and beige chinos. Or the last thing we spoke of before the rape joke and the spilled drink and all that mistaken identity business, so I hide in this swamp of crocodiles and parrots, until your arms come and lift me in a hug. He looks with something like recognition, turns, and tells the one about the Jew and the German.

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Leslie’s Books and Antiques

Leslie’s Books and Antiques

The Pleasures of the Damned, 1993 was a good year – putting me on like Chapstick. The bookstore doubles as a sex shop –

Leslie’s Books and Antiques – the only ‘antique’ is a stuffed cobra fighting a mongoose sitting in dust on the counter while a floral curtain

the kind you’d find in a 1950’s farmhouse, too orange, too pink, is the only thing that separates the Best of Woman’s Weekly’s winter recipes

from the gang bangs of Bonnie Rotten and her spider web tit tattoos. Leslie looks bored behind the cock rings at the counter. It’s 3pm on a Friday

she reads Black Beauty and if her horse was willing, she’d ride at night – the thrill of fog over the creek, but he’s in Camberwarra at her ex-girlfriend’s house

she’s afraid he’ll be sold, he’s getting past his time. But one can dream – do you read Stephen King? Cujo’s on the top shelf, there’s one left – worth a look

I was in a coma five years ago, two days, as soon as I came to, I read Cujo and realised nothing scared me anymore. I used to be religious – pledged my vagina to God

no men or women for a year – then the coma happened and I realised no one sits on a throne of clouds, no one cares about my vagina

I might as well sex who I want and open a book store with all the essentials, she winks. Sex takes as much imagination as reading. Why not have them together?

An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?
Pinned by my frontal lobe to the wall
a man beyond the limit of his endurance
empty of coherent replies

my heart is a weasel in its burrow home
escaping some larger carnivore, I feel her
in my sinews, her words ride my spinal cord
like a chill, in my semi-delirium.

My soul is a clockwork animation
I feel no more than psychology.
At another time, I was a prophet
I have ideas enough to draw a crowd.

Meek and mournful, now I sit
by the poker machines, preaching restraint
they kicked me out like an old drunk
If she were here they’d never dream it.

I have her photograph in my breast pocket
I wear it to warm myself to the world
I’m used to carrying on.
Beware gods! I’ve a warrior for ya!

Why should I stay any longer?
Why should I deprive the ground
of my majestic tranquillity?
Why should I spare the worms my charm?

Show me the tip of your finger
I will tell you the fate of your family
fate is an arduous business
I know only what is possible.

Life is full of absurd suppositions
I am one man. I can never be more.
An arrow from the gods! Did I greet it?
In some past life, did I curse a man?

What damage did I cause to have the
gods take my wife early?
leaving me at my knees.
I have no time for inexorable judgement.

I have only cold despair.
I stand at the cliff as it crumbles
I sit on the rocks as the tide tantrums
I am a man of choice. I am no god’s toy.

Writer, in the afternoon.

Writer, in the afternoon.

(Crime and Punishment mash-up)

I know nothing of means and remedies. I know nothing of higher art. I mistake zeal for action for actual progress and I have uprooted any hope of changing myself. I rent my heart to words. I have never been more of a cliché than I am now. At 27, the dangerous year for artists and lovers.

I grow out of my prejudices and into new ones like a pair of leather boots. My mind clings to a superiority to overcome crippling inferiority to a universe too big for one woman to discover alone. I throw lovers off the scent. Love, it all looks rather improbable. My heart stuffs its pockets with you and I go on humming the tune that saves my life every damn time.