Iluka

Lonely lonesome man’s got a marching band inside his scone. And I leave his van to escape my own. Travelling, I crush the dew on the grass like the holocaust under my cuban heels. He’s left there, sleeping I guess.  A concave mattress within his moving shell.

Pumpkin vines and weeds are to my left, they scamper over something which was once a garden bed. And I think of the present and how it dishevels the past, leaves it unrecognisable sometimes. But the weeds and them vines of pumpkins were once just a seed buried for ron. To be presence of past’s song. They are wild as I pass by, smirk at me in morning light. But I am good with the lord.

Chickens peck, in a bunch, like a flock of fluffy grapes. How long had they been up for? Because light has only just gathered us in its hands. The house sits flat on the land. Roof dotted in red red rust. Her corrugated iron hat keeps an arm’s length over the veranda’s edge. No railings, just boards that come to a stop a leap from the land. And clumps of pale grass feel young again. Stiff, each blade’s got a hard-on from the cool. I’m not sure where to go. Inside the house she’s cold as an old man’s vertebrae, and outside I will be seen and I’m not sure I want to be.  I chose a warm perch. The kangaroos watch as I settle, arse to the earth. They’ve stopped chewin, five or six of them up straight. I keep still as I can so they don’t leave me.

A bee hangs around, hovers above my pointed knee. There are flowers around me. For spring’s clover it is too early, they are tiny lilac blossoms. But the bee has no interest in them, instead he finds a plain stiff blade in between my knees, a hard-on perch of perfect symmetry. And he looks up, wings down, eyes like the goggles of a pilot. ‘What the fuck do you want?’ I go. My ciggie goes out and the lighter is back at the van.

The door is open and there is he flicking through his phone. Hop in he says and so I do. Wrongness and rightness dance like capulet and montague and inside is a blue hue. An Australian flag blocks out the back window, and I count the stars as I lay by his nook. He comments on how uncomfortable I look and I tell him I’m pretty  comfy. ‘Not like that, you know what I mean.’ And I’m not sure I do cos to be fair he doesn’t seem to care. ‘You would have taken off by now, if your ute was here,’ he says. And would I have? I think about that.

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Squid

It’s funny how you can have people around, sometimes alot of them, sometimes enough of them to make you feel you have no time to yourself, and you feel alone.

Some people just do life with you but together you’re not really experiencing it. People flock to people like gorgeous cockroach tape, not questioning, just nibbling. We don’t want to feel alone. We scuttle to fill the voids, scuttle under the ovens and into the back of the fridge, we scuttle to find the putty.

I don’t do that anymore. You know I went to a party a while ago and I hardly talked to a person. I just danced. I danced in red pants. To them I was a weirdo. To me they were sheep going to slaughter. I find it sexy when someone can be alone. I find it sexy even if it’s me. I felt sexy that night. By the end four men were sniffing around. They wanted a piece. To them I was alone, vulnerable perhaps, shaking for their pleasure, their very own bird of paradise. To me I just didn’t care, I wasn’t thinking about them, I wasn’t thinking about me, I wasn’t thinking about anything. One approaches me and he goes, “you hate men I can tell.”

“Do I?”

“Yes,  you do.”

The DJ changes the disk, and its a corker. I close my eyes and sway, arms rising like serpents. He stays and waits to think of something to say.

“Why don’t you give me a chance?” He calls into my ear.

Serpent arms are eating up the air, the MDMA has really got me, I’m in the bliss zone.

“Well?” He calls out again.

The beat starts picking up and i’m really shaking, head tilts back, hair like seaweed dancing, lights on my face, I’m grinning like a garden gnome.

“How bout I give you a ciggie instead,” I go.

It’s important to surround yourself with those who together you burn, you’re alight, you glimmer, crack and create heat as well as the comfort. Intimacy for me is that kind of thing. That togetherness. That twin. I live for the moments of togetherness. I float forever to an extent without them. A squid plummeting airlessly in the depths of dark blue. I need some sort of grasp on me, I think we all do. Sometimes it’s good though to chose nothing even when your choices are limited. Settling, settle after settle chizzles us down. Maybe I’m just too tired to fabricate now. Time alone is good. You don’t always have to love, to desire, to output, to  have somebody there for the sake of warmth. Sometimes it’s nice to just be that little squidy. Dancing with no clue where in the dark blue you’re going to.

Spinach in a Glass

I won’t drink so much when I’m not lonely anymore. Drinking makes me like Popeye in the night times and we all gotta spend a little part of the day feeling strong. Sometimes I go two kilometres extra over the speed limit to get home quicker. It’s not like I’m salivating for it or anything, like when the waitress is coming towards you with the sizzling plate of Mongolian quail sending smoke into the restaurant sky and your lips are wet and parted. It’s nothing like that. It’s not the taste of it that gets me going. Sometimes I can taste egg. Sometimes little fruit flies are in it and I have to dig them out with my fingernail before I keep going. What I love is two sips and I feel warm, two glasses and I feel strong. Like spinach in a glass.  And your boss could be there right then and tell you that you fucked up and you made the worst mistake the company has ever known and you won’t feel sorry cos your conscience has a bone to play with. You’ll just get up, with that delightful deep red stained on your lips, with that egg glass in your mitts, the fruit flies buzzing round, and you’ll tell him the bravado wasn’t fooling anybody, cheerio fingers always mean cheerio cock.

Joy and a Two Rows of Teeth Smile

 

The face started living under my lids. Joy and a two rows of teeth smile. And I was the little girl with the house mouse in the shoebox under the bed, poking carrots and bread crusts into the holes to keep it alive.  I would use the face in the night times to help me feel complete. I lived alone then.  I liked living alone and I didn’t like it.  Sometimes living alone made me think about how long it might take for my body to be found if I died from choking. Sometimes living alone made me feel like I had gotten too unrestrained because I’d find myself doing things like things I don’t really want to talk about and playing the same songs over and over. Picturing the face put an anchor on me. It became my nightly ritual, a clockwork miracle, I’d get nicely stoned and crawl under the doona and take off my pants. The face would meet me at my little front door.  Black beard darker, longer. Hair different, all the beads and shells gone, hippy boy a man with eyes brighter, joy and a two rows of teeth smile. And I wouldn’t say a thing I’d just jump, my wrists brushing his backpack as they met around his neck. Reach for that slug tongue with mine, his beautiful lips like fat happy leeches, my ankles like pythons at the back of his knees. We’d do it right there on the staircase. Our throbbing bodies quivering with instinct and sweat like we were creatures of Charles Darwin and there was nothing else. And then he would not let my eyes go. Stubborn man eyes. Eyes of a man who has found his woman and he’s not scared about that. He’d cup my face in the curve of his hand and say I love you. This is where he’d tell me he always had. I’d be sitting there on top of him, with him still in me as he’d tell me what the outer suburbs of Melbourne were like.

This nightly ritual went on for months. This or something similar. Sometimes we’d fuck in my garden instead of on the stairs for instance. And it would be just like the last time we fucked in real life where my eyes couldn’t keep straight and I was on top and we had to keep quiet. We’d been watching Carl Barron on the tele and he put his hand over my mouth because I was being too loud and was only supposed to make a noise when Carl cracked a good one and the audience laughed. It’s May now and I still feel like a rigor mortised kangaroo corpse at the thought of my skin under someone else’s weird little hands. I don’t even usually like going on top but I felt so free.

I’ve got a problem. I like turning into a goblin. I like turning into a goblin just to see what happens. I don’t know why I do it but I kind of do. I think it’s to find the real man. I think it’s to find Mel Gibson on horseback tearing through the village with a spear.

He had been so beautiful that night. Attentive, getting me scotches. He was sitting there wearing my little house like a glove. He looked so good. I loved the way he dressed. He’d wear footy shorts and have beads and shells in his hair and big feet like he was everything and none of it. Was I really in love with him? It felt there right then it was far to soon like it must have been a sickness in me. Can you say you love when you have only backstroked through the yum?  I was disgusting. I couldn’t help but keep looking at him. I liked him there. I liked him sat just like that with his knees bent and bare feet tucked neat beside him, wearing my house like a glove and I never ever wanted him to leave, so I said it. I said do you think I’m stupid. He looked at me like I was holding a cat by its tail above the furnace. I said you are a tiger, do you think I think I can bring you in from the wild and not have you resent me. He wanted me to stop but I kept going. I kept going until he left.

And a lady came to my house. She had wedgetail eagle feathers and sage. He had been back in the outer suburbs of Melbourne for a while. I had written a poem for him and he’d been mean back, I’d fantasised about him twenty one times. She asked me if it was ok if her dog was in the room. He was a little jack russell. I said it was ok. She went to my heart and she cursed.  She swept the wedgetail feather over my heart, I felt the wind it made, I smelt the smokey homey tang of sage and asked her if everything was ok. Your heart, your heart, your heart, your heart! She said. And I just go, I know.

Sea Monkeys of the Paper Oceans

 

It was early, 9.00am or so. The Book Barn had just opened it’s iron jaws. The old man, the white-haired store keep was bending over, he was tending to the towers at the door, books up to his knees and he apologised for the mess as I wandered through.

Classical music was playing inside, such a smell of musky powdery damp goodness and there’s this olive velvet arm chair behind the till, pre war, with a paperback butterflied upon it’s arm, and a half drank black coffee on the bench beside it. I smiled seeing it all, the discovery that he’d been sat there well  before scheduled opening time.

He came inside nursing what he could, the books sat like slats in his arms and he apologised to me again, about the mess . Vinnies is closed he goes.

Oh, is it? I say not knowing what else it was he wanted. But then I realised he was just catching his breath and he wasn’t done talking yet.

Everyone is dumping their books here, leaving me to get rid of all the silverfish!

And I hadn’t heard about silverfish since I was a kid, the sea monkeys of the paper oceans! Noone talked about silverfish anymore. It made me all gooey and I forgot what I went in there for.

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.

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.