Barfly

 

I am looking to forget myself this evening, thought the barfly to herself. Stating her intentions relaxed her a little, her piss flowed into the bowl in gush that was slow at first but picked up momentum. The toilet door in front of her had poetry written in lipstick, and spits of drunken jibber from lady writers feeling brave fingering their beers and chardonnays. ‘AARON IS A GOD WITH A DONKEY DICK,’ said some wiggly capital letters in a mahogany hue. He sounded nice, thought the barfly as she wiped, looked at the paper out of some strange subconscious gesture that had started in potty training and never left her. She flushed. I am a human, I have needs, I need not feel guilty.

She skulked over to the bar. She ordered another house shiraz. The male beside her was tall, of a manly build. He had blondey-reddy hair and it was tied up. It was hard to tell under the dusty bar lights whether it was actually red or blond and I suppose it didn’t really matter. His eyebrows and eyelashes were fair, they offered no distinction to his eyes which were fair too, kind of the colour of glass. Everything on his face seemed to blend into each other. She couldn’t imagine having sex with him and enjoying it. She tried to picture it as he stood beside her rolling a cigarette and talking to his friend. He seemed like a loud cumer. A real hard-thruster.  One who just came and didn’t wait  until the lady was anywhere near being close before grunting several times and allowing the whole weight of his big body to collapse on top of her.

Do you have a filter? He asked her suddenly.

No. She said abruptly. But I have everything else in this bag! See. She showed him inside her bag. There was a lot of stuff in her bag.

He peered inside her bag quickly and appeared unimpressed. He looked around to see who else he could ask for a filter and walked away. It was the closest thing to attention from a man she had received in months. She got a little bit of a buzz.

She pretended to watch the soccer on the screen above the little stage that was due to have a musician on it who sounded like everyone else any minute. She glanced over to her right quickly at the group of males she had pinched a stool from earlier. The one who had given her the stool looked at her quickly. She went back to pretending to watch the soccer.

They were townies the group of males, their haircuts gave them away. Haircuts fit for the office. They were young, probably 24, no doubt here for Bluesfest. One week of their four a year blown just like that. She pictured having sex with the one who gave her the stool. He seemed very sweet, polite. He was probably feeling fresh and brand new, she thought, fresh with energy and excitement before his impending big weekend. This was his first night in town, she expected, he was eager to mingle. He’d be more of a love maker. Probably fall in love with her in the heat of it all because she was of this place, lived in this place, was slightly strange and had made a life in this place that was worth one week of his four a year. He’d probably ask for her Facebook name the next morning, leave early because he had to make the festival. And when she’d tell him that she didn’t have one he would leave even more convinced she was crazy. He’d probably be convinced from the night spent with her that all Byron Bay chicks were crazy.

Do you want to come have a puff? Said the reddy blond guy. He had returned. He held up the neatly rolled cigarette pinched between his fingers.

Yes, I would like a puff, she said.

Cool, he said. He said something quickly to his friend. She followed them outside.

I usually have cigarettes, but I forgot them tonight. I have a knife in my bag though, she said.

He laughed. They stood next to a bin. He lit the cigarette. She pulled out the knife.

Wow, shit. That is a real knife! He said.

 Yep, she said. He gave her the cigarette and started talking to his friend. She wrapped the knife up and put it back in her bag. She drew on the cigarette and blew the smoke down the street. He allowed her two draws before he reached for it back, still talking to his friend. She felt annoyed. What kind of decent human being doesn’t feel the need to ask why you have a knife in your handbag if you pull one out? Not that this was a regular thing she did for the sake of starting conversation. She thanked Mr Hard Thrusts for the puff and went back inside.

Office Boy approached her. What’s your name? He asked. After spending five minutes in the company of Mr Hard Thrusts it felt like an interrogation. His shirt was ironed, maybe he was an accountant. Her Dad wanted her to end up with an accountant. He told her she should leave Byron Bay, find an accountant, and then they could move back together later. She had asked him what on earth she would do with an accountant. He said find stability. She didn’t bother arguing with him, what was the point?

Would you like to come and join us? Said Office Boy.

Nah, she said.

She sculled the rest of her shiraz then her and the knife caught a cab home together.

Billy’s Arms

Billy wants a brother in arms so he turns up at my place. He is sweaty. I see that through the curtains, he’s really shimmering. He is at my front door but I’ve blocked it off so I don’t see the abandoned sail boat and cars. It’s been raining all day, and it’s that real refreshing sort. I stick my head out the window like Rapunzel. It’s one of those ones that swing upward.

Oh hello, Billy says. He has a habit of pushing his glasses up all the time with the tip of his thumb, they are thin-rimmed and silver, one of the lenses is completely fogged up. He’s just turned my water off. Yours isn’t off is it?

No, I go.

Bloody bastard!  I am a heart patient!  A small ball of saliva comes cascading through his lisp and out the place his four front teeth once were. Billy’s shirt is that real thin button-up material, patterned like an old hanky, brown and teal stripes. It’s buttoned down from below his nipples, the scar is there, piglet pink. A pack of ciggies dangle in the pocket beside it. All the irony in the world is there for the plucking but all I keep thinking is how incredible it is that through that gash Billy’s heart was opened up. I picture Billy laying there anesthetised  with his mouth agape and his chest agape, and tubes everywhere, a real public hospital shocker, nurses running around everywhere, and people dying, and no flowers for Billy after. A visit from the lady on the property who sells weed maybe, and probably a visit from Chad, the schizophrenic guy. I feel sad for him.

He is going down you know, Chloe. I am going to take him down.  I am going to go to the tenancy tribunal about this,  and all of this, he says motioning his arms to the corners of the property, will be history! He scowls as best as he can so he knows I know he means it and a bit of spit hovers in the corner of his mouth, his eyes are wild. He seems a bit stoned.

Billy’s hair was once strawberry blonde, I think. Now it’s silvery pink. They are big oily curls that hang below his shoulders, parted in the middle. Always in the way, though occasionally revealing ear lobes that look older than the rest of him. Real grandpa ears. A few silver rings hang in them and raw red sores are on and around his cheeks. Like he’s squeezed blackheads and made real mountains out of molehills.

But you know what he’s like. I say cheerily as I can. You’ve really got to keep it brief will Billy otherwise you’ll be there all day. It’s Fastie’s kingdom and we’ve just got to play by his rules or move out.

But he’s a psychopath!

Yeah I know, but what can you do? I mean he was trying to show me his penis for a year and a half every time I tried to pay rent…

What? Billy’s eyes light up. That is disgusting!

Yeh.

I can’t believe he did that to you! He pauses. That is disgusting.

Yeh. I say. I direct debit now, it’s all good.

He once sat in front of me and spread his legs when I was up at his place one time! And his dick fell out like he is proud of it or something! Trying to intimidate me! I mean he might have a bigger dick than me, I don’t really give a damn about how big it…

Yeh.

Billy leaves me eventually. I close up the window. It starts raining again. I have a shower. I lay in the bed naked reading for a while. I listen to Father John Misty.  I start feeling horny. Him swooning his wife always does. I get out my vibrator. The rain hits the roof harder. What bliss.

Chloe?

Jesus Christ.

Hello?? Chloe?

I find a flanney. And a skirt. I look a real treat. I shove the vibrator under the mattress. I move back the curtain and swing open the window. A man is standing out there who I’d never seen before. He is wearing a bandanna like he is a red hot chilli pepper or something.

You are Chloe right?

Yeah.

I am George. I’ve just moved into the cabin down there. Your electricity isn’t off is it?

No.

Sorry to bother you. Fastie is having a war with Billy. I think he’s turned my electricity off by accident. Sorry to bother you.

You’re all good. Nice meeting you George.

George takes up the driveway, up to Fastie’s house. I start the Father John Misty album again.

The next day I’m driving down the street and pull into my property’s driveway. Billy is parked at the top, blocking the driveway, talking to the lady who deals the weed. They are both in their cars talking through their wound down windows. Billy sticks his hand out the window to acknowledge me and his engine starts. He waves goodbye to the weed lady and crunches the gravel as he rolls down. I’m right behind him. He stops his car suddenly and gets out and walks up to me.  I am his brother in arms. He is barefoot. His toenails are ripped blunt. He stinks. He smells like ciggies and like sweat stuck under folds of skin and the stink of him makes breathing normal breaths difficult, even from in my car. His jeans are the same as always, maybe the same pair always; black straight legs with grey and white powdery marks stark over his crutch and knees of ash and ice cream and cum. But his smile is always intended to disarm, bless him.

Can you believe last night at midnight he took all the knobs off my gas bottle!  Came over with a torch. He seems excited.

Gee, I say. That’s messed up.

And he turned off my electricity but I got a generator.  I called a local real estate and let’s just say they were very interested to hear what I had to tell them. They lent it to me and he’ll be paying for it don’t you worry. He is going down. Oh and I’ve called Mental Health about what he did to you. Showing himself to you…

You don’t need to do that. It’s all good, honestly.

They are going to ask you for a statement.

What? No. I really don’t want to get involved.

Yeah? He says at me with his eyes crazy and the pinky silvery oily curls swinging on his shoulders. And this is exactly what everyone said in World War 2! Noone wanted to get involved and look, look what happened! He pushes his glasses up with his thumb. The lenses are covered in raindrops.

I live here knowing what he is like. I smile. I chose to live here y’know, I like my house, I just don’t want to get involved.  

Billy skulks back down to his car and throws his hands up in the air when he reaches the door. He hops in  and shouts out something out to the forest about needing luck because no one gives a damn and then leaves a skid mark on the gravel and charges down the driveway, careful to dodge the witches hats Fastie has set up to stop driveway erosion.

I go home, my paradise. I open up the back door to the balcony and the forest and put some Moby on. Most of his stuff is shit, but there are a few real nice instrumental numbers on the Play album. I select one and sit down to meditate. My sister told me recently my over-analysing was starting to get out of hand and I needed to do something about it. I sit with my legs crossed, taking on the breeze, I summon all the real zen thoughts. But all I can hear is the fucking generator.

Jazz Bananas

 

Dean went to the desert and lost his mind. When he got back he was always hovering round my place trying to bum hooch off me. He brought back this guy with him who wore jazz shoes, I learnt later apparently he was a good dancer. His shoes looked like he was wearing a couple of grey bananas and I kinda couldn’t keep my eyes off them. The shoes made him look like his toes were always pointed, and his heels also. They were like a worm, you didn’t know which was the front and which was the back.

His name was Jeff. I renamed Jeff Yeff because Yeff seemed to know everything, he was a knowledgeable guy. Yeff knew my vagina better than me. He told me that if I touched my clitoris and the ridge of my mouth at the same time when I had period pain it would go away. He told me this while he sat with his bum on the concrete downstairs by my garden, his legs outstretched like the stick of a sling shot, the jazz shoes two grey banana worms far too close to me. I got up at this point, I just wanted to move and do something. I started watering the flowers with a watering can. Yeff’s eyes were real glassy in the sun as he looks at me and says something about me feeding the plants and being their sacred mother or something. The jazz shoes were watching me.

Dean learnt in the desert that the aliens were coming and I just kept thinkin they  were probably already here.

Heart Sage

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I am sat in front of where the coffee table used to be. The carpet is blue, quite blue, Bic lighter blue, electric. The carpet is the colour of the place in the middle of the flame and I never realised how just how blue it was until the coffee table was no longer there.

I  used to sit right here a lot. In the nighttimes the lamps would glow up the timber walls showing up the marks in the wood, the blue tac, the staples, dints from the old tenants. Sometimes the windows would be open, the door out to the balcony where the forest stood still and silhouetted, the hushed birds and bats and possums and koalas keeping quiet while they knew they were being watched. In winter it’d be a different story. Everything would be closed up and cosy, sometimes a fire would glimmer red and the logs would crack in between songs. And he would be there. His eyes warm and little and mellow. Little slits that I’d seep right into like gaps under the door and I was the morning light.

Red wine rings would mark up the coffee table like the olympics logo, lids and candle holders would be piled high with my dainty little white butts. How I would wish to squeeze all the pleasure out of these nights.  Indulge like a polar bear not knowing when its next feed was coming because seeing him was kinda like that. I’d wring these nights out like a chamois and slurp it up. All the red wine, all the champion ruby I could have until I found that place, the place where I didn’t fear anymore. That place sounded just like Radiohead’s Reckoner you better believe,  just pure purr, warm golden bliss. He would be reclined over  the cushions and he’d be watching me.  I’d fall back into the cushions too and he’d watch me do that. Those eyes of his, deep dark right in the middle, they were always watching me, observing, like I was wonderful no matter what I did.  I’d elongate profound sentences about nothing, my thoughts and promises to life. I knew we were both  really stoned but there was still a part of me that expected he’d zone away while I spoke just because everyone else did that. But he did not. He’d drink from the styrofoam cup that he held at his end, the one that was attached to string between us, his and mine, the telephones you’d make as kids, he’d drink from it the whole time. And I’d ask him if he thought I talked too much. He’d just reply no. He’d say he loved the way I spoke and the way I spoke it.

I had loved him in the way you almost can’t breathe, it felt like some of my breath I was breathing was given away to him. And he’d just be sitting there stealing away my breath like it was nothing, feeding me with his watching, his steady watching, sitting there on those cushions stealing my breath. He’d bleed his soul through his eyes when he looked at me, like all his thoughts and outgoing vibrations were taken, snagged upon me. Like time was encompassed and entangled in time. Like I was his keeper and he was too powerless to even wriggle, to even fight, like he was the creature and I was the anemone. And it was the strangest thing what would happen, because before him the clouds would always come. Roll over, roll over me, clouding me, blurring me into a ghost, blurring, destroying, frightening him. Deep and dark these clouds would be and I’d watch them come over. They were heavy with charcoal colour but empty within. Just frustrated particles of water and air that didn’t know how to make sense of each other and he sure didn’t know how to make sense of them. He let the clouds win eventually and left me for a big ugly city.

There was a time I couldn’t get enough of him. When he’d leave in the mornings smelling of tea tree, down that tiny staircase of mine and the door would bang behind him and make the whole house rattle like my longing heart in it’s ribcage. I’d be left in that bed and sometimes I’d just lay there like that for a good while not wanting to disturb the scent where he’d lay.  I  think of him now only sometimes, in that big city, I just see an ant among the ants and I can’t really believe I really ever once  believed him to be anything else. What is deep attraction other than a temporary madness? A drunkenness to sober up from.

Image:@lesserpoints

Frog Feathers

 

Ah, that airy feeling.

Loneliness blows like leaves on trees moving.

And birds make the noises necessary

as they find their perches for the night.

Everything is doing it’s thing.

Everything is doing it’s thing exactly as it does

every single damn dusk

and goes unnoticed

on all the other days ya don’t feel blue.

Like the camphor laurels standing like brick shithouses,

reflecting light from their new growth,

fluro green like feathers of frogs.

And tawny’s in twos,

only to be seen as feathers not bark

when you give them your lonely time.

I can’t help but feel overwhelmed.

The way the clouds drift and sink.

And black takes over and everything transcends.

Silent and so noisy,

Vacant and so alive.

The crickets blind the air with this monotone,

this one you can tune in and out of.

As easy as lifting a drinkto your lips

to wash the day’s silly away.

Heaps Busy

 

Finches in the morning, little finches. Little flickers darting. Fluffy red flashes. The grass is long and covered in dew. The little fluffy red finches dart through the long dewy grass. I stand with no clothes on on the balcony first thing in the morning watching them play wishing I could stand there watching them for ages more. But I’m busy now, I’ve got lots on my mind, got lots to do, I gotta be somewhere.

Moon light through the skylight in the middle of the night. Straight down the moon comes in, over the wall, straight down like a beam. Moon in my room, the moon is in my room. A big blue beam, the moon is in my room. I climb down the stairs and go to the loo. I think to myself I should go back upstairs and watch it for a while. But I’m busy now, I got to get a good sleep, got lots to do, gotta be somewhere tomorrow.

Jonny

 

When Jonny’s feelin shaky he seeps into all the cracks of me. I feel him ooze like custard under my door and he is golden just like cornflakes. When Jonny’s feeling like a big man I am an orchard with no leaves, I am Stanthorpe apple trees in the winter time.

Jonny’s gonna leave me soon. Jonny’s gonna head for the bright lights. I say “Jonny those lights are gonna zap you like a fly soon as you get too close.” And Jonny just laughs at me, tells me I am a funny one.

I want to us dig in the garden with the sun beatin our shoulders like a coward man on his wife. I want no sounds in the night but us makin love and the bandicoots getting into the compost bin. I want you to wake up everyday with me Jonny, with all this being enough for you.

Jonny’s gonna leave me soon. Jonny’s gonna head for the bright lights.

Dishpiglet

 

Between the bucket’s mouth I squeezed water from a mop’s hair. I wrung it to the point of no tarry, soupy liquid being left to drip from it’s once white mane and I bent over deep, I scrubbed that floor.

I rinsed the dishes, I stacked them in the dishwasher. It would beep when it was ready and then I would have to take them out while they were burning hot and pretend like it didn’t hurt my fingers. The sunflowers on my dress wilted with the monotony of it, the skill-less monkey job. The guy training me had been doing it for a whole year. He was so energetic, he was a gun. I wondered if I would ever be a gun at it like him, whether I wanted to be.

At the end of the trial the owner told me I had a good attitude, I was perfect for the job. What kind of attitude does it take to be a dishpig I wondered? I drove home sad. I called no one to tell them. I put the music on loud. When I was home I went out to the balcony and lit a cigarette. I stared into the forest for a really long while.

My first shift started at 8am a few days later. I got stuck behind a Winnebago. I turned up with 5 minutes to spare. I said hello to the guy who had employed me, I was cheery, I had that good attitude. The guy ignored me. I put my bag down and hovered behind him, waiting for him. My hands went in my pockets and then came out again and then went back in. I wondered if I was standing too close to him so I stood back a bit and took my hands out of my pockets. He was all smiles to a lady he was serving at the counter, his laugh sounded like an old tap. She left and he turned to me.

‘What time is it?’ He asked.

I looked at his grey eyebrows and then at his top lip, it had a small brown smear above it, probably coffee but maybe poo. He pointed at the clock on the wall. I read the time out aloud to him, it was 7.57.

‘Yes,’ he said, ‘and what time should you have been here for your first shift?’

Another customer approached the counter, he didn’t notice her, quite unprofessional of him I thought. He answered his own question and then told me I should have been there at a quarter to. It wasn’t a good sign, he told me.

‘I’m really sorry,’ I said. I thought of telling him about the Winnebago but what was the point.

‘We are looking for the crème de la crème here,  you understand? I think you should just go home.’

‘Ok,’ I said very politely.

By this point he’d noticed the customer waiting. She had been waiting at that counter without being acknowledged for a while, not a good sign I thought.

‘Be with you in a moment,’ he said over his shoulder with his cat smile and then he looked back at me. ‘I’m sorry, I’m not an arsehole.’

He walked over to the customer. ‘Good morning and how are you today?’

I went and picked up my bag. I put it over my shoulder nice and slow. I stepped forward over to him. He was in conversation with the lady. I stood right behind him, real close. I put my hand on his lower back and held it there for a moment. Then I rubbed it in a slow, circular motion.

‘Don’t worry, I don’t think you are an arsehole,’ I said. My voice was deep, sexy, provocative.

There was complete silence while I did it. Three whole seconds maybe.The customer looked confused. He looked like a creep. I glided out the doors like a dove.

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.

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.