Salt and Vinegar Chips

 

A young woman, a young woman one night walked into a bar. She wore white up top and grey on the bottom and a scarf he said later was red but she knew was dark orange. He fixed her a drink, something pretty, something girls like, she took it in her hand, held it up in front of her and said gently “what the fuck is this?” He tipped it down the sink, the pretty fruity chunks and ice clogging up the drain and he reached up for the second nicest scotch on the shelf grinning like a dog’s head out a car window. He wasn’t looking for Audrey, he was looking for Nancy. He was in love.

They sat outside the bar and smoked a cigarette together. This was in a time when the boxes of cigarettes weren’t yet covered in gangrened feet and bad teeth and Bryan’s jundiced face that eats itself more with every durrie you draw. He noticed her pack was a Peter Jackson one, this was another detail he kept close. She remembers his shoes. Black, shiny, Gucci. They were like one of those cars that are driven real noisy down the street to make everyone look. She hated them. She hated them that night, she hated them on the last night, she hated them as she slipped out quietly two years later. If he believed you could tell alot about a girl from what she smokes and drinks she learnt to believe you can tell alot about a man by the kind of shoes he wears.

Some people make a mess and you get tired of cleaning it up and then pretend they are dead and the mess is no longer your worry. Some people make a mess and you get tired of cleaning it up and then pretend they are dead and then you still keep finding more messes even ages after the mourning is finished. The messes keep coming. Keep being found. Messes stuck in her bones. Kookaburras cackle at the same time each night from a barky gum just at the point of the last sliver of clouded mottled light in the sky. They cackle the funny little things, they cackle from a gurgle at the back of their beaks and if you’ve been smoking enough Mary J’s of late you are sure they are cackling at you. Because the Kookies know and you are sure they know. The Kookies know, they don’t have to wonder, someone’s mess will always remain your mess until you dab it up with the mess of another.

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In the Trees

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Some afternoons the sky splinters out over itself through the open doors and windows the colour of labias and  bruises. The sky is silent though it moves so slowly, through every single colour on a five dollar note and more. There is a deeper orange somewhere in between it all, right at the explosion of the sunset, at the storm before the calm, at the brightest point before it all begins to melt away. I busy myself. It’s the silence of the grand gesture of sunset which seems to irk me. It’s so alive and yet it offers me no company.

I found myself in a room in town this one night. My company was a fair-haired young man and that hair was all matted in long thick strings which reached the middle of his back. He always kept it coiled it up in a hive which sat on the back of his head and I reckoned as I sat there in front of him – not that it was up to me though – that it didn’t seem to suit anything else about him.

You are sensible, I told him.

Sensible? He said. I don’t like that.

I asked him the word he thought about when he thought about me and he said lonely. Lonely.

Night silence in the forest is a strange thing because I suppose it is not ever really completely silent. There is this constant ring, the constant song of bugs whistling. I bet everyone would ingest its rhythm differently, no two souls would experience it the same. It’s like laying there on your back listening to the whole of Stairway to Heaven and the person beside you might just hear the lyrics, or the melody, and you are there following the changing guitar chords like torch light hearing nothing else.

The rhythm of the bugs whispers to me in this tone that goes around but in this upward motion, like licking someone’s neck over their jaw and up to their cheek. It’s a complicated monotone. So subtle it feels like silence, but it’s not. Sometimes I lay awake listening to it and wonder if the forest is so loud then is there really such a thing as silence.

Goddess of the Grapes

 

Molly had never been much into fairy tales but she had this fantasy in the night times when she closed her eyes and found with her fingers where it was the warmest. She’d be laying back on a bench with her skirt up revealing her bush and faceless men would line up to take turns entering her with their swords. They’d be all sorts shapes and sizes and she’d be just like Cinderella waiting for her prince, the one that fit the best, and only then when she found him would she cum.

Molly had already slept soundly between Mick and Steven two times. On the first night they sprawled themselves out on the timber floorboards of a furnitureless house in swags that had been to the desert and back again. She fell asleep that night with the street lights peering through the windows in Mick’s arms and woke up in Steven’s.

The next time she slept in between them they’d both climbed through her window in the middle of the night. They’d washed the walls of the house with chlorine and couldn’t stand the fumes so they’d gone over to hers. They’d thrown little stones at her louvers before climbing up the fence and into her quaint little lounge room. Molly had been fast asleep in her bed under a vine of grapes. They climbed into the bed with her, her fruity hair sending them to sleep with smiles on their faces.

Mick and Steven had both fallen in love with Molly a year apart. They both found in her the things that other men could not see. It didn’t stop them from stopping what they were doing though when she climbed up the ladder in her little yellow shorts to paint the skirting boards around the ceiling. They both found the woman in Molly, the way she was delicate and kind and tough at the same time and could drink them under imaginary tables in their furnitureless home with a mug. She’d pirouette through both their minds, round and round when she wasn’t there and when she was they’d gleam in the colour she made. That whole echoey house would become golden and warm, and they both waited patiently for her to make her choice between them.

The third time Molly slept between Mick and Steven was the time she told them she wanted them both to make her cum. With grapes hanging low over them in her bed, the vine Molly had trained into her louvers, they took turns with their fingers. She stroked their cocks while they busied themselves on her and they both spurted hot love for her quickly. They each had a very different way of touching her and she liked that. Her mouth was wet and parted for the little moans and warm breathing that was slowly, softly loudening, and between it all she thought about how much a man reveals of himself in the way he touches a woman, and how nice that is. Steven stroked up her thighs and went straight in with one straight finger, rigid and gentle all at once. Mick’s hands were like an octopus. They went everywhere, enveloping and stroking and rubbing, ducking in and out to keep her guessing and teased good and when she shattered and shook she held onto both of them by their forearms.

To love Molly you have to be a man who is ready to see himself. She has a habit of holding you and holding you up a mirror. Most men will run away and leave her to find the sleepy kitten girls and it got her down. She would never fall in love with Mick or Steven in the end, but love and marriage and prams and babies is inevitable eventually when you are a woman with nurture in your bones. In Mick and Steven Molly would know something better.

Lullabyes in the Bath

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Bush rats scuttle in the walls as I bathe. Through the tapestry of a bodged reno extension. A piece of glass above me covers the innards of a wall bearing the kind of endearment that can’t be thought out or calculated, a perfect fuckup. The rats zigzag grey in the maze of beams, their faces shapeless behind the frosted glass, black eyes censored. The roof sags moist like it could fall through any minute. The damp of the rain always makes it heavy with rat piss. As I bathe, rat piss, but I don’t mind.

A notebook sits in my room fat under a portrait of The King. Stretched, overweight with the stink of your words. Poems if you read them quick, maybe if you read them slow too. But the vague memory of music accompanies them, of acoustic guitar strings being touched and fingers up and down the neck in candlelight as easy as breathing. I read over them when I find them there. You sure paper mâché yourself up so tight.

I snuck another half glass of wine as you visited the bathroom once. The bottle didn’t belong to either of us. I never ever wanted to go to sleep. The wine bottle looked different after I’d emptied more of it and I wondered if you’d notice as the toilet flush faded to a gentle hiss. I put it down beside my leg quickly so you wouldn’t see. I wanted to hang on to the moment, every piece of it until it was just dust on my fingers; intoxication and you. Down the stairs you came towards me, always in a woolen jumper.

Currawongs, the crows with yellow rims in their eyes. They sing outside to the colour bleeding from the sky. Water’s too hot, always so hard to perfect. Skin stings as I uncurl back. Mikey next door is on the blower, the slow of his voice, the deep drawl from years of consumption. It scares the rats and they disappear through a hole somewhere.

Hibiscus and pomegranate scent. Bubbles surround body and my forehead beads. I’m looking out at the black sky not noticing it’d become black. So slowly the transition of colour was that I didn’t notice the afternoon was over. The bathroom has plants and the bathtub is pink and my interpretations as you sung to me  sat so snug within my own narcissism. Over time always the rose lifts. And a new pair of eyes see the world. Nothing is as it was. Reality sets in. The cocaine is out of the system.

Tortured lullabies. In my lounge room you were the answer to prayers. You were there woolen jumper, on a chair, guitar in lap. Candles and red wine, your voice, eyes closed not longing because they were found in those moments and they wished for nothing more.

And I’m not the woman to love, I wasn’t then and I’m not still. You are too beautiful in your need for ache.

Image: @lesserpoints