working with the best

Because Ben Peek wanted to see my ankles bad enough that he wrote a naughty story about it:

When she was thirteen, she decided to hide her ankles beneath thick stockings.

The decision was reached two days after her birthday, a quiet day that was marked only by the twenty dollars her mother, in a new relationship of divorce and unemployment, gave her. Being quite indescribable (and by this, I mean the author refuses to divulge, and shall keep a secret just for himself) she caught the bus into a cold, grey sprawling shopping complex to buy a Joy Division album that she would not like much, later. It was on the return cold bus ride where, sitting at the back, that she met a man who offered her forty dollars to show him her ankles. He, unlike her, was describable, but only by his one defining characteristic which was that he had legs made from hollow, but polished wood, and which stuck awkwardly into the isle as he turned to face her. He was young, also, though older than her by her life at least; the rest a reader will have to decide, based on tone, sympathy, and their own imagination, just how much older, and how attractive or not that he was. Still, back in our bus, and our girl, the heroine, reasoned in a pragmatic way that if she didn’t like the black covered album in her bag, that she would come out no worse for wear—and in fact would come out better—if she agreed to his proposition.

So she took off her shoes, which were sneakers, and then her socks, and then pulled up her jeans, and let him look.

"Beautiful," he murmured, once. Then he stared without touching, and with a hint of sexual desire, but mostly with a longing that left her with the impression that he saw her in a way that she had never been seen before, until his stop emerged from the grey skyline fifteen minutes later.

Then, having paid her, he walked awkwardly, stiffly, and with apologies to the driver for being so slow to do so, to the front door, and into the cold, uncomfortable air.

She did not like the Joy Division album, as I have previously stated (though again, there are no details as to which one she bought; perhaps you bought one you did not like, once) but on the following day, she did not buy new music. Instead, she bought three pairs of stockings. Red and black, purple, and rainbow: a mix of clashing colours that her mother viewed with the distaste of a very proper adult who saw her child’s dress sense leaving her own and could only view it as another loss through the losses she had already occurred. But even she, later, would admit that she never suspected this change in her daughter would result in the purchase of so many stockings over the years (which was more than five hundred, but less than seven hundred and twenty eight) and that she would leave them covered for what, now, was a strangely lingering period of time.

Of course, there was never another man who offered her forty dollars to see her ankles, and certainly no man with wooden legs, and that perhaps that is the most important of the absent details in the end.

I was going to stay up taking pictures, but decided I was too behind in my flickr account already


Don’t Die Ding by Curiosity Group. Hit play or go to Link

I wavered over the Emily Dickenson, but I took Alan Moore: Portrait of an Extraordinary Gentleman off the shelf instead and gently flipped through it as I sat on the bed, brushing my hair with my fingers, before deciding I lacked the proper background and putting it back. Paul caught me in the hallway and offered me Gravity’s Rainbow, Kathy Acker’s Great Expectations, and a collection of short stories by Robert Coover, so now my bag is pleasantly heavy with books I’ve never read.

James Brown died today, December 25th, 2006.

Today’s Sunday Tea devolved eventually into a Jean-Pierre Jeunet double-feature, Delicatessen and City of the Lost Children. Tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’m told I have the option of being picked up in the morning by a “new fangled horseless carriage” to Darwinismas, the celebration in honour of this humble scientist and his epic martial arts hand to hand combat battles with the magical Jesus. I’m not sure how long I would stay, as I’ve also been adopted by the Elliot’s and I’m trying to find time exploring Persepolis.

OddPeak’s Top Ten Most Bizarre People.

A wax paper packet of home made toffee, soon to be marked with the name of her lover, sits on the bed. She is clothed in black rags, shreds of leather, dreams of crackling silk.Tired to the point where her own voice feels distant, her thoughts are a dense forest, decorated with curious wild flowers that are beginning to wilt. In the hall outside her apartment, there are footsteps marked in water. Small, precise as velvet, they can be followed back to the mouth of an oven. Her belly softens at the memory of children, creatures who don’t know how to be quiet. Dusk coils between the harsh trees in her mind, waiting for her to sleep. Instead she smiles as she lies on her bed, as a memory soars bird-like between the huddled branches to drop upon her, swift like hunger and as downy soft as a bleached story.

She sings old songs, stretches her arms greedily above her head so that pale skin can be seen, alabaster fighting against coming night. The bird, its beak opens, drops a pebble into her hand. Her fingers move to catch it, and pulse, the smile. The stone marks the path of a child, unconsciously walking and barefoot, led by a woodsman, too wise for his own good. His head catches on clouds and brambles both. To her flicking eyes, her fingers are handling the shape of a hand, tracing the edge of a family written in curls, and she is not alone.

In certain lights, she would be pretty. Now she is merely strange, clucking her tongue like a pigeon might, cooing protectively over a plate of breadcrumbs and the head of an axe.

based on a brick of a pillow and a plank of what it used to be like to be me

She looked all curves and shiny eyes. Posed as woman as a simple cure-all, her body a pill, the waiting chemistry of the word Yes. One word untying every victim of life from the railway tracks. New blood, brooding on the futility of sexual capacity. Those bastards draped in honey-suckle, in ample feeling. Hands with too much strength trapped inside. Drunk on missing lovers, driving to the homes of people they all used to know together, they never had each other biblically, except in her city-block verses and tired dreaming. So she hotly looked at him and thought, I could leave right now. I could walk out that door saying, hey, just don’t call me for awhile, okay?

Shuddering into a more sober awareness, the touch of grass beneath her reminds her of fiction. Stains of umbilical fantasy grabbing at her memories, images of kissing, of improbable situations where she gets to be impressive. Doctors saying, we don’t know how long until she’s leaving, but out of everyone, she’s asking for you. The scream of anniversary panic, not in this life, she thought of carrying him through passageways, his body light as music, until she comes to a door with a red exit light and puts him down as if that was the plan all along. Running from wolves, pulling him from fires. Solid threats she could rescue him from. Gratitude dripping from his smiles, another day blocking the doorway with her body.

She can put an edge on any word, turning it on the lathe of her tongue to remind him of all the things that he hasn’t given her, treating him like a sarcastic stranger. The verdict, hell to pay. Incredibly, they kept going. Independence a death in the family. It was like the stop-gap job she took in college, steady, with no real reason to leave. It had never been meant to last so long, but it paid the bills, and she kept hoarding his voice in her fantasies. She began to smile as if goodbye was one last joke between them, and she saw instantly how easily he could defeat her. All he would have to do is laugh. Laugh and turn to her and all her certainty would vanish, replaced by his universe. How can you leave someone who implies that black velvet threats are the smallest plant in an undistinguished windowsill garden?

This was all part of his plan, a map of telling secrets in her dancing. He knew how to pull her hair, how to find her fingertip sounds. Her limited view gave her this, like dust that persists, in spite of the fact that he’d never touched her. It was a game as sharp as the rays of daylight that sent her to sleep on winter mornings. Tall, she thinks, staring fixedly at the ceiling as if there were nothing blocking her gaze from the mirror of the sky. Did I used to like them tall? She thinks she’s stupid and immature, only able to think in boy with girl relationships, unable to conceive of a place where she understands only friends. Fifty ways to leave your lover – by keeping her adoration a secret, by winking uncertainly at a taxi-driver and paying him all the money she could find, by suddenly playing aloof like she was on t.v. Running out of fingers, counting issues instead, so much baggage it’s a matched set.

kind of like guest blogging

“You know, most people don’t do that,” the farmer remarked off handedly as he tilled his vegetables.

“What?” the girl asked, genuinely curious, as always.

The farmer stood up straight, wiped his brow with his red kerchief and locked eyes with the girl. “Walk around with a flower in their mouth,” he replied, nodding to the phenomena.

This gave the girl pause, she tried to look down at the flower but her eyes got all crossed and made her dizzy. She looked up at the farmer and asked tentatively, “Why?”

He gave a long sigh and continued with his tilling, “‘Cause it’s strange, that’s why.”

“Oh…” She thought for a while, her bare toes stabbing idly at the dirt as she balanced on the other foot. “But it’s not strange that people don’t have flowers in their mouths?”

The old farmer snorted, “That’s right.”

The girl considered this further and said, “What do you call it when a girl has a flower in her mouth and yet is able to speak without it falling out?”

The farmer grinned and looked up at her, “Bad story-telling.”

photo by alois
text by kindelingboy

ficlet: not the man you think he’s for

The door opens and a man walks in. (The beginning of a thousand stories.) Tall in a brown suit and tan shirt, his tawny eyes scan the room, glancing off strangers, trying to pick out a face. Dark shoes, no cufflinks, a tie close enough to straight to count. His fingers snag a drink off a passing tray and an intelligent smile slowly finds his face. A girl is animatedly talking at a small table crowded with people, a bundle of personality traits he’d always wanted to meet. He can tell from her coloured hair.

she’s staring up at the building, not certain how she came to be there, because she should have called, but it would have been awkward to say hello in front of people because she is shy of their so called intimate relationship and so she decided she would call as soon as she was alone, but then the bus was there and it would be another twenty minute wait if she didn’t get on as it pulled up to her feet, and then it was her stop out front of his building, and her heart feeling heavy and

At his apartment, she is quieter, tired. Taking her shoes off, she pulls without any of her previous grace. “How many times are we going to do this?” He takes off his jacket, sits down in front of his computer. “As many as it takes.”

A nightclub, dim lights and a red fish-tank behind the bar. The crowd is helplessly young. Older than they are, the man walks in wearing the same long suit, the same discovering smile. He carelessly pays for a drink with stolen quarters from a laundromat. A girl is dancing to the thunder, clever porcelain hands trying to grasp the sound around her, everything he wants to change about himself. He can tell from her painted nails.

she’s arrived, so it’s pointless to think of calling, and it’s always like this, indecision making her decisions, but she could go across the street to the public telephone, but then she would have to walk past the building to the corner and then she would have to backtrack and that would feel so stupidly inexperienced because of course it’s okay that she’s arrived and why is she calling from the corner, come up, come up

Damp from a shower, she drops to the couch, a towel wrapped around her head. “How did this even start?” He offers her another towel, “You’re dripping on the carpet.” She looks to her pale feet, looks back up and slowly accepts the second towel. “I remember when I loved you.”

Surrounded by pigeons, a girl is sitting on a bench by the water. From a paper bag, she is scattering birdseed. Her friends are laughing at her attempts to have them eat from her hand. Every time they laugh, the birds startle and flit farther away. She does not care, the sun is warm. The girl laughs too. Under a tree, the man in the suit waits with a box camera, the carapace of an enthusiastic black insect. He raises the instrument like a hammer. It chitters when the shutter snaps. With her, he would not have to sleep to dream. He can tell from the shape of her name.

Conquer Greenland. Sprout some extra limbs. Walk on water. Marry an insect.

get code for this box here.

I wanted to sleep before I went to work, but I couldn’t get my eyes to stay closed

I was alone since the day the power went out. Mark left me, went to the city to find out what was happening. The radio had said something about war and we were worried. He was supposed to be back in five days. Terry visited on the third day, dropped by with a treat of fresh coffee. Kind of him in such hideous weather. That was the day the storm began in earnest. That was a two hour hike from his place in four foot snow with barely any visibility, something I wouldn’t dare alone. It was too cold. Too dangerous. The forest was ice and the sky above an inviolate gray. I kept the house warm with wood that Mark left. There was no shortage. It was an antique thing, our stove. I loved it. I could burn kindling for a month and not run out. The fire lit the house with an orange gold that made the walls glow like pictures I’ve seen of churches.

I never have any idea what I’m going to write down when I sit down at my keyboard. I don’t make notes in my head, except in jest, “Dear LiveJournal, today Sophie tore my clothes off while we were pretending to be porn lesbians on the trampoline. I’m not sure how to mend the skirt, it may actually be ruined.”

The man of her dreams was slightly taller than the fellow standing in front of her in the grocery store line-up, but she thought, “Yeah, I could take that one home.” Her glossy beauty magazines gave her a litany of interesting things that never happened to her and she was beginning to notice. Hauling her white plastic bags out to her car, she realized that there had to be a change. She sat behind the steering wheel, staring off into space, unable to move, unable to decide what to do next.

I wonder occasionally why I do this. What impulse it is that tells me that words are piling up inside my head, pestering me, when there’s hardly anything with form, anything with any foreseeable purpose. When I’m asked, I say I use this place for networking, for spreading the word, for collecting interesting everything, but half of what I put here has nothing to do with any of that, I’m sure.

Weighing his options, that’s what he was doing, narrating silently a litany of why he should go any direction. He was twelve and running away for the sixth time that year. It was June. This time it was because he caught himself being condescending the same way his teacher used to be. His glance fell on a cloud floating above him and for a moment he tried to imagine what he would look like from the cloud’s point of view. A tiny speck, he decided, a blue one, because of his torn jeans and baseball shirt. A plane went by, drawing a pale white line behind it on its way to Indiana. “I’ll follow that”.

with the photography of Darren Holmes (a tisane is a medicinal tea)

At first I understood balance, measurement of days. I could cook on a boat like I could at home. Mesne thaumaturgy. It wasn’t like going up a mountain, where the pressure of the air changes and suddenly every recipe begins looking like a chemistry exam. Instead, I changed. By the second week, I could no longer find the chicken for the eggs, the forest for the metaphors. My cupboards were too cluttered with leftover accents given to me by kindly local actors. The first disaster came when I tried to whip myself into shape, forgetting how literal my paper-clips essay instructions into similie. A day passed before I could drag myself from bed to prepare a tisane. Another day before I could believe simple movement didn’t require the same dedication as circus contortion. The next week was better. I was jumping at shadows, stepping on edges and peeling back their skins to get to the soft pulp within. They squirm on the tongue, so sure of isolation that they don’t understand you’re eating them with that dash of pink salt, that pinch of ginger and pepper and honey and folk songs.

Polyphemos visited yesterday. His solitary eye licked my face. I flinched and fell in love, my vision obscured by his lawless spit. Dinner was ruined as the stars fell into it, torn from their hollow orbits by the sudden gravity of my invincible passion. Embarrassing, this walk through my fusion seared kitchen to our cracked china bowls. I stood between the stove and the comfortable bleach blonde table, apologizing. This happens every time. Soon, my more ornate cutlery will delicately wince when he comes, troubled by his painfully predictable effect on my mustered years, his shaggy fistfuls of tired wilting flowers.


January 27th is the Second Annual

LiveJournal Rabbit Hole Day!

Fall down the Rabbit Hole for 24 hours and see what’s there. It will be beautiful.

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