Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Those Magic Words

it was in a
2am bath tub
with log fire
cheeks and
soap skin
farm yard cream
that you uttered
those magic words
in my
unasked ear;

the words that
every man
through the
desires to hear:
“it’s time you
with two
women at once,

Ben Myers

Dalston, 8PM

“I can’t believe you called me by your ex’s name, Joe. That really fucking hurt.”

“I’m sorry. It was the situation. I was freaked out. The hospital. Waiting. Sick people… blood… the smell. It just took me back there for a moment…”

Veronica glared at him.

“Yeah, well this wasn’t my fault. Your ex wound up in the ER all of those times because she was a fucking junkie whore. This isn’t my fault!”

She began to sob again. Joe looked at the wall; mute, wishing he could punch a hole straight through it, just to experience a more manageable kind of pain for a change.

“You should smoke some of this.” Joe said eventually, handing her the blackened, crumpled piece of aluminum foil, “It’ll do you more good than that fucking codeine the hospital gave you.”

Veronica reluctantly smoked a little. She chased the little melting ball of brown goo across the metallic surface. It didn’t make her sick this time. Joe was right. Within minutes, it helped her in ways that the codeine never could.

They sat and smoked in silence, Dalston, 8:00pm. The crib that Joe had stupidly bought from the old Egyptian who had helped them move in here a month ago sat off in the corner, sucking all of the conversation out of the room.

Tony O'Neill

No Footsteps in Aldgate

I remember the day
that the city boys walked
down Mile End Road in a stream from the centre

the sky was orange
with their suit jackets draped
swathes of Saville Row hung from their shoulders

even the birdsong fell on mute ears
serenity that I knew had never existed
in seven years of London living

nobody spoke
not one. From the thousands of people
who crossed on my street

eyes peeled forward,
in unison, bound
cinder soot covering fingers and frowns

to Stratford’s industrial
wasteland marsh
- no public transport that day in July.

and on that morning
that my boss made me stay
in a fish tank office on the edge of Brick Lane

as streets were cleared
and sirens raged hard
blue and white tape blew in the breeze

the thing that hit me
was the silence.

Adelle Stripe

Nagheenanajar is Not Hard to Say

regulations and laws
kept me in chains
as I smoked cheap cigarettes in sideshow cafes,
the kind that serve up burnt toast as a side helping
to a full english minus the tomato

a girl walked in with the grace of Ludmilla Tcherina.
She ordered a pot and coffee and sat opposite.
I made note of her imperfections

we never talked or made eye contact.
It was one of those relationships,
built purely on observation

April May March

Democratic Sex

in bed
in some clothes,
to be close to each other
and she
puts on her glasses to think,
she needs
her glasses on to think

she is doing that
I am
saying whatever
kissing her brown chest,
beyond white wool borders

she has
decided, with her glasses on
she is taking them off again,
I am
saying little,
she is
touching my arms and back
under my shirt

she is
lets play like 14 year olds,
lets play . . .

don’t get me wrong,
it was
like a dream
like a song,
it was democratic
must be written down;

my clean buzz lasted 2 whole days and
on the third day
should have come back,
should have come back round here
for a
long bubble bath

I would
have given her fine wine
I would
have given her chocolate cake
I would
have sat on the toilet
looked long and hard
at her
having a long bubble bath . . .

left the country
a plane
the country
lives in

Ford Dagenham


I'm lying with my cheek resting against the splintered wood (and the floor may as well be the wall) feeling like the air-lifted Christ in La DolceVita when he starts up again talking about his brother. I can hear him cooking up - I can hear him cooking up in infinitesimal detail (the lighter, the blackening spoon, the heat conducted up the spoon handle into his thumb and index finger, the desperate bubbles hissing like a kettle that needs filling, the cotton wool, the syringe) - and he gives no thought to me, prone on his floor, the airlifted Christ. He gives no thought to me and my high.

He starts in with his brother all over again.

His brother, you see, split up with his wife and was bitter. Only that was just the start of the story. I'd heard everything on the walk up from the caf'. He started in the caf' with it. The story of his brother. On the walk up, I paid attention because he had something that I wanted. He had something I wanted and he was prepared to share it with me because I was his friend.

I'm not his friend. I'll tell you that. I'm not his friend. The man is a junkie fuck.

On the walk up, I was prepared to listen but now I just wanted him to shut his shit up. It was really taking the edge off of my sting. The whine he had. He whines like a bomb. I'm a wartime family huddled in my semi-detached waiting to see if it hits me, wondering if we can make it tothe air-raid shelter if we leave now. The whining. I want the whining to stop.

He shuts up to pull the rubber tight around his arm and I can see everything without opening my eyes, as clear as a thumb-struck match. I can see him, the stick insect thin prick that he is, with his stick insect thin arm bare and the rubber pulling his mouth out of shape, making him look like he's having a stroke. At least the rubber clenched between his teeth shuts him up.

I cling to this silence the way a drowning man clings to a straw. I cling to this time and attempt to shut out the whistling in my ears (thewhistling that indicates this high is ending, the whistling that informs meof the most basic of facts: I need more to stay high for shorter and shorter periods of time). It is like deja vu and nostalgia already. I am still high but I can anticipate not being high and wanting to be high again.

I feel like an uncooked chicken breast left out first in the sun andthen later in the rain.

'Mi brother, right,' he says many years later.

He starts up again, but this time his voice is reverberating throughthe wood. My eyes are closed but I know he's on his back, eyes closed,needle hanging limp in his arm. Now would be the perfect time to try and hit again.

'Mi brother was told by his solicitor: the house 'ad to be sold, all possessions had to be split right down the middle, any monies 'ad to be divided evenly between the pair of them. Mi brother wa'nt having any of it.Mi brother 'ad a plan.'

His voice is like fucking termites buzzing through the wood to myhead. I am the set-down Christ and he is telling me about his brother's fucking marital difficulties. Worse, his voice, the termite drone of his voice, is compelling me, everything from the way he emphasises any word ofmore than two syllables to the clipped way in which he dispenses with any word wrong-headed enough to get in the way of his tale. I feel sick. My fingers want to shake.

'Vr plan. His plan. Went like this. There's this old girl who lived down the road, right? She was friendly with our mam. Any road: she agreed to take any and all money he could put her way and store it temporarily inher bank account. His plan was to spirit as much of his money as he could her way. He sold his car. Odds and ends. Bits and pieces. Furniture.'Lectrical Goods. Fucking everything. When the solicitors started rooten around, he wanted to make sure that half of everything want half of anything very much.'

I'm interested because I have to be. I want the needle from his arm.I want another shot at the title. I'm sitting up and - you should know, I'm as fuckin' hetero as the next man, but - the fuckin' thing looks like a cum-shot dick and I want it. It's the culmination of all my earthly desire.

I say yeah with an inflection, all Australian, like. It is the first time I have spoken in this room.

'This was monvths ago,' he says. 'You'd fink - the solicitors say we're gonna be evaluating your circumstances - you'd fink fings would happen relatively quick-like. Only monvths have gone by. Monvths. Mi brother has passed a fair bit of cash ola the old girl's way. She'd behaved herself, done what she said she would. Mi brother had a copy of her statements, right? Could see the money clockin' up. He fort it was better van a bank. He was feeling pretty damn pleased wiv himself. He told me -'

He pushes himself up on his elbow and looks my way.

'- He told me, right, that he fort the solicitors 'ad done 'im a right favour. He'd never have put away anywhere near as much if he'd stayed wiv vrr missus. As it was, he could see a tidy pile accumulatin'.'

Yeah, I say again with the same inflection, pushing myself up on to my elbow so I'm level with the big man and doing my best to look as interested as all fuck. I can hear a radio downstairs somewhere. Shawn Ryder saying It's there. It's fucking there alright. Hanging from the cunt's arm.

'Yeah,' he says. The reedy fuck starts to chuckle.

'Yeah. Then. Lastweek. The old girl pops her fucking clogs.'

His eyes are flashing, as much as eyes fogged up with shit could everflash. Think headlights in pea-soup.

Wharrapenned? I say, quietly. My fucking teeth are itching.

'Couple of kids broke into her house. You will'av read about it. They smashed the place up, raped the old girl, left her battered and bleedin' onvr kitchen floor. She dragged 'erself 'alfway up the stairs - turns out she was on medication for 'er 'art, vey fink she was tryin' to get 'er redpills and 'er green pills. Any road. She got 'alfway and no further. Vey found 'er at the foot of the stairs wiv 'er hip all smashed up and blood everywhere. Not a pretty sight apparently.' 'Worse fing, no -'

I cough, clear my throat and point - Can I...? - at his arm. CanI...? in a mouse-squeak. He doesn't hear me. He doesn't even fucking see me. The prick's caught up in his little story. 'Worse fing, no - mi brother 'as all of his money in the old girl's bank account. She's got all of his money and he's got no way of proving anything beyond a copy of her statements and what would that say. Where were you on vrr night in question, sir? You can see vrr police now, can't you?'

Stick insect starts to piss his knickers and I am overwhelmed with the necessity of laughing along with him. I want to kill him, though. Iwant to take whatever is close at hand and drive it through his face. I'd use the daylight filtering in through the window if I could. I'd spike golden rays of sunlight through his fucking eyes and teeth if I could.

As it is I grin like a cunt and make sure to pose my question in a more arresting tone.

Pete Wild

The Diary of Kevin Doherty pt.2

Been teaming tonight, bit of manic energy. Got in a panic and thought I couldn't find Kevin's ID. But it had slipped some shelves, was lodged in behind a pile of CDs. Thank fuck.This is Kevin's diary....
This is the best present anyone's ever given me (actually, think it was only supposed to be a loan. Have had it a few years now - sorry Mark). Story goes...6 or 7 years ago my mate's helping refurbish a North London pub. Down in the basement there's a door - it's padlocked shut. They pry it open to find a room littered with betting slips, with a small folding cot bed and a blue Langham Diary 1989. Inside the book is Kevin's provisional driver's licence. My friend tries to work out who this Kevin is, but never gets anywhere with it. Records have been searched, apparently he's from Jersey, but there's no record of him ever existing. All we have is the diary. And a picture of him taken in a booth.

Welcome the world of Kevin Doherty. March 28th-April 1st 1989...

March Tuesday 28th. Fucking work 8.30am. I hate the idea of having to work for a living... it's a waste of time; you get paid at the end of the week to be able to pay next week's food, drink & of course bills & debts, so every Monday you're back to square one no fucking money and worse in debt! I made £80, came home and made dinner again. Fish and sweetcorn. I'm sick and fucking tired of sweetcorn and I am never ever going to have smoked fucking mackeral again. Watched TV. Den phones wanting to go for a drink... I said no, so this means I dream about big spider attacking me!! A heavy goods train has just past and has given me an extra crack on my arse. I need money that's what I want. I don't need any sort of girl relationship yet and I don't want one. I need to have a secure financial feeling and only then will I deserve to have my brains fucked out by a lucious blond. Moterbike car debts cleared and a grand in the bank (to pay for the women!)

March Wednesday 29th. (called on)Work @ 8.30am didn't actually get into work until 9.25 Sean was fixing his clutch. He nearly fucked his hand up yesterday because of it. I made £86 account & £8 cash. Sean made £111. Busy day but its the lack of riders which is the reason. Came home Sean was in Peterborough, I had a currie had a bath and went to the Moon had a few pints. Den was there pissed out of his head, he is such an arsehole when he is so pissed came home bed 12.30am

March Thursday 30th. Work 8.30am Very warm today 68 went to Dorking came back in and Mephin the prick then sent me to Hornchurch. I really would like to leave but I would need a new bike and then I might consider long-distance work. I made £74 Sean made £111. Came home, Sean bought an Indian but it was the wrong one, we ate some but it has ruined the week, it was awful. Watched the Oscar awards, Dustin Hoffman & Jodie Foster. Bed 12

March Friday 31st. Work 8.30am. Had a good day. Sean was at court today but it was ajourned for 6 wks. This could be a problem with holidays in Aug. Sean didn't work but I met him on the Viaduct at 3.15 and I had just got a Reigate and a Brighton so he gave me his bike for the jobs. I did 120mph for the first time. Met Sean in Simpsons after work he had been drinking since I saw him last so he was fairly pissed when I met him at 7pm. People do not like James McConnay is what everybody is saying. Got very pissed and went to "Lacage" (Gay night club) with Vic, Julie & Jane who wanted to fuck me (honest) sniffed some amyll and came home with Jane. Fucked her after a couple of hrs trying to cum. I was pissed so I knew I would enjoy myself. She has got the biggest CUNT ever made. She knew what to do and in this situation, that's what counts. Fucked her a couple of times went to sleep at 6am. The flat stank of shit.

April Saturday 1st. Woke up at 7am. Sean came in and got a drink cause he was sooo pissed. Jane woke up as well so I fucked it, "sorry, but I've got to go back to sleep". I woke up 1/2 hour later and did the same thing. She left at 9.30am (Den was getting a cab from his house to Liverpool Street Station to go to Norwich vs Liverpool (0-1) and heard a cap over the radio been called for 149 Grosvener Ave) I had a bath and went back to bed and watched a little TV. 10.30am on BBC1 there was childrens TV: Five Star (a group) were been interviewed by people in the studio & people who phoned up. Eliot Fletcher phoned up and said "I think Five Star are a load of fucking crap" Very funny if you had heard it. Went to the Moon at 9pm with Barry Walsh bycle met him there at 11pm had a laugh but he is such a wanker after a few pints so I left at 2am walked home.

Chloe Raunet

Doors Closing

I think I am in love with the woman who voices the lift at work.
Going up, she says.
Going down.
Doors closing.
She sounds bored when she says it. She sounds pissed off. She sounds like she is disgusted with her life but somehow in a very beautiful kind of way. I wonder where she was when she recorded these messages for the lift company. I wonder what she looked like.
I imagine the recording takes place in nineteen eighty nine and she has wavy, blow-dried hair and she wears large brown owl-like sunglasses into the recording room but the sound engineer makes her take them off. Then they show her a video of some lift doors closing as she records the doors closing monologue, for realism. I wonder if she blushes now whenever she uses a lift and hears her voice come out of the speakers. I wonder if she thinks, ah fuck! If only I could do it again! I have so much more life experience now.
I wonder if she is married and she looks at her husband whenever they ride the lift together and her voice comes on, and it is a secret joke between them. I wonder if she says going down, before she goes down on him. I wonder if she says doors closing, too (whatever that might mean sexually).
Maybe they have a sex game called ‘doors closing’.
I want to kill her husband.
I want to play ‘doors closing’ with her.
Her husband talks about her all the time. People are sick of hearing him talk about her. People at parties are saying: Shh! You see that guy over there? Well, don’t ask him what his wife does for a living. You’ll never be able to shut him up again. His name is Ian and he enjoys cricket and he is infertile.
There are only two floors at the place where I work.
Two floors.
This is nowhere near enough time to ride a lift and masturbate successfully without getting caught.

Chris Killen

Crap, the Neighbour Kids are Over

crap, the neighbor kids are over
and for some reason
they have decided to play
outside my window.
one of the neighbor girls,
curious little brat,
puts her nose right up to the screen
and looks in.
"excuse me!" I say
as I sit in front of my computer
with no shirt on.
she backs off quickly
like I caught her peeping.
she runs off playing,
in a few seconds screaming,
"I got him! I got him!"
she is only about ten.
she has a few years
before she really knows
the agony of men
and the solitude they cherish
and the fight they will put up to keep it
only to lose it
for the sake of her love.

Mike Meraz

Feeding Time

Emily gripped her left beast in her right hand, worked the nipple between her long fingers and squeezed. As the first few drops of milk appeared she leaned her body forward and edged the nipple between the baby's cold lips. Tears were tracing a circuitous route through the imperfections and lines of her cheek and dripping down to mix with the thick milk coming from her breast. The baby's mouth filled with the warm liquid, but he did not move. He had not, in fact, moved in three days.

The baby had stopped moving during the night. Emily didn't know why. When she had put the baby in the crib he had been fine, smiling (at least, making one of those baby faces that parents pretend are smiles) . She had rocked him, stroked him, and laid him down. She had watched as he drifted off, then gone to be herself. Around midnight she had slipped back into the room to check on him. He didn't move. Not when she touched him, not when she said his name, not when she lifted him in her arms. He didn't move when she started to scream. All that night, and the next day, he was still. Emily screamed until she had no voice. Then she screamed without making a sound.

She sat like that: holding the corpse of her child and trying to remember how to breathe. Finally, she unbuttoned her shirt and began to feed him.

Nathan Tyree

Jealousy on the Cusp of Committment

as she drags her thumb
across my lips
I know she is silencing
the questions I have.

I look at the sky
and am jealous of the distance
it has achieved.

Brian McGettrick

It's Brown

Roxy was in a hurry. (S)he was trying to score. The John was taking his time, fucking his ass with great abandon. Finally he finished, coming deep in his ass. But when he pulled out his cock a little stream of liquid shit dripped across Roxie’s tummy. The John was frozen in time. He did not know what to make at this at first. Then a puzzled look crossed his face, and with a bit of irony he mouthed the words "Its Brown". Roxy commented back, "Things happen" and got up and cleaned himself up, got on his way, and jumped on the downtown bus to go see the dope man.

Another mission accomplished. Another cycle closed. Time to pick up. He got off the downtown bus and started looking for his man. He saw a little clutch of Mexicans standing idle at the corner of 6th and Pine. Something about 6th streets. You go find the 6th street in any major city in America and someone will be slinging sacks.

Roxy approached the little clutch of men milling about the corner. He inquired in his gutter spanish, "Blanca? Negro?" The men instantly knew what he was there for, they remember the regular customers. Roxy handed over a $20 to one of the Mexicans. The street vendor reached up to his mouth and spit out a little balloon. This was Roxie’s prize. His payment for all his hard work. He took the little balloon without making eye contact with the vendor. Never make eye contact with people on the street if you can help it. It is best to not be that familiar.

Now, the only decision was should he take his prize back to the den, where he may have to share with a fellow junky, or just shoot up somewhere downtown? Walking back to the bus stop the choice became obvious. There was a construction site with some old underground stairwells all closed up. One of the boards acting as a barrier was pried open. Roxy wedged himself through the gap and took refuge inside the closed space. It stunk of vomit and urine. But it was a safe place for a quick fix. He got his works out of his kit. Broke open the balloon, and found the two little expected packets of powders inside. One brown and looking like chocolate milk powder, that was the heroin, the other white, that was the cocaine. Negro and Blanca. It was time to shoot for the kingdom. Any decent junky wants to do a shot that gets them so off that they are just short of the brink of death. Why have hamburger when you can have steak?

Roxy dumped the brown powder into her cooker. Stroked her bic and cooked the brown goo into a syrupy liquid, "Its Brown" Roxy thought to herself. The sickly vinegary stench of cooking smack filled the space. Once the smack is ready it was time to add the coke. You do not cook coke, it breaks it down, instead you just stir it in your already cooked smack.

He then bit the tip off a cigarette filter, rolled it up into a little ball, and tossed it into the stew. This was his cotton, the filter that will keep any chunks from clogging his syringe. He put the tip of the syringe up to the top of the cotton and drew up the brown syrupy liquid. He was almost there. All his hard work was about to pay off. He stuck the needle into the back of his hand; this was the only place left where any decent veins could be found. Pulling back the plunger to register he was relieved to see a little squirt of blood enter the syringe. This was lucky, it had been getting hard to register lately; too much damage to the veins. Too many injection sites used to many times. Once registered he drove the plunger home. It would just be moments now. Almost immediately Roxy sensed that something was wrong. The usual coke ring in the ears was there, but this time combined with a darkening of his vision. Suddenly his vision tunneled into two dark points. Then he let out his last word... "Momma..." and hit the floor of the space, his face in the vomit and urine. Two days later they filled the little space with concrete, never seeing Roxie’s body inside. He finally reached the Kingdom.

Phillip Molman

The Gatecrasher

There was a party on Saturday night
I saw the party lights and headed towards them
gate crashing via an open door
girls and boys dancing, shaking, swaying
lights flashing
nobody noticed my uninvited presence
and I mingled freely
while couples made love in darkened corners
and drunks passed out on the lawn
puke and piss in the flowerbeds
syringes in the toilet
a congested kitchen
a girl in a blonde wig ran past me
trailing a large pink satin flag
with the words, ‘Eternity Revellers,’ in silver lettering emblazoned across it
it was a wild party
but eventually the energy faded to nothing
and the magic was gone
Then just an empty house
with a few bodies flung here and there
one boy asleep in the bath
another curled on a settee
a girl under a kitchen table
in the sad hung over morn
I recalled the brightness of the stars
and silhouettes at windows
warm stale smoky rooms
the sound of breaking glass
a girl’s plaintive cry
and rebel yells echoing into the streets of the night
I gazed upon a devastated living room
scattered beer cans, empty wine bottles, and a traumatised cat
somebody’s forgotten coat hanging precariously on a banister
cigarette ashes floating in half filled glasses
vanished dreams
I grabbed another drink
and sat their contemplating the next party
and all the parties to come after that
and all the parties that there had ever been
and all the parties that there would ever be
while the immortal sun shone
through the curtains
and illuminated everything

Joseph Ridgwell