Archive for March, 2011


This is what my brain smells like.

 

Child-like, it hangs there like

the monkey bars.

It is made up of words and

sentences and pages and pages

from a dictionary that doesn’t

exist.

 

Someone touches my shoulder and

I look around and it is no one,

it was my brain telling me

that someone was there and that they were touching my

shoulder.

 

I touch my shoulder and my brain tells me that it

is me touching my shoulder, but I am

not behind me, I am inside me.

I look at my phone and no one has

sent me a text in forty minutes but really

it has been more like two weeks.

 

Everyone is on facebook so I

go on facebook and no one is there.

and I look at my phone and I have a text.

It is my friend that I haven’t seen in a long long

time and she asks if I want to go see a movie.

 

I don’t really want to go see a movie but I text back yes

and she sends me a text back saying that what she meant

to say was “would you like to go see a movie with me”

instead of “would you like to go see a movie” but she says it doesn’t

matter because I said yes anyway

 

but I only said yes because I wanted to see her

because sometimes we talk and we say that we should

catch up but we never do and it’s all we ever talk about

and I text her back saying that her last text was long.

 

We see a movie and she says she hasn’t seen me in a long long

time and I say that’s because it’s been a long long

time and the person behind me says

‘shh I’m trying to watch the movie’

and I stop talking and watch the movie.

Ghost

This is what I imagine flying feels like

I woke up one morning with wings on.

Flap, flap, flap, flap went my wings, and feathers went all over my bed.

I went to the bathroom to look at them in the mirror, but in the mirror they were only white bones in the shape of  wings, held up and out by pink strands of things I think you call “ligaments”, and larger, darker pink things I think are muscles.

They twitched and moved, and I turned around. Looking right at my wings, they were full of feathers, in the mirror, they were all bony and fleshy and gross. I could see at my shoulder blades where the base of my wings sort of melted into my back, fused with skin that started creeping spidery up my wings.

My next thought is this: “I have to try them out”.

Outside the bathroom was the hallway that goes to my bedroom and my dad and step-mother’s room and the laundry and also out to the lounge room and dining room and kitchen area and if I went that way my dad would see me with wings and I didn’t want him to see me with wings.

I went out of the bathroom back to my bedroom. And from my bedroom I went to the laundry, which goes out to my back yard. I didn’t want to go out to the front yard because people would see my wings and point and stare and say things.

Maybe they would think I was an angel or a ghost or something and I needed to get back to my home in the clouds, except I don’t believe in heaven so I think I’d just go to some other cloud city where there are no belief systems other than you have to be happy. And also I was afraid people would see me how I looked in the mirror with the bone-wings and not the feather-wings.

In the back yard I stretched my wings out and wriggled them a little. I stretched them out and flapped them a little. I jumped and flapped and stayed in the air for about a second. Then I really spread them and jumped and flapped hard and felt myself rise. I ran across the yard and jumped and flapped and rose a little higher.

Then I climbed up onto the roof.

I spread my wings out and I could feel the wind running through them and then the laundry door slammed closed and dad was looking up at me.

He said, “William, get down from there, right now!”

I said, “hi dad.” Then I remembered my wings and said, “don’t look at me, I don’t want you to see me like this.”

He said, “what are you doing up there? Get down!”

I said, “go away! Don’t look at me!” And my wings felt weak and thin, and they folded behind my back like I was ashamed of them. I was ashamed of them.

He said, “look, buddy, you need to come down from there. You could hurt yourself.” Then he said, “Jesus Christ, I don’t have time for this,” and I think he didn’t want me to hear that bit but I did.

I could tell by the tone of his voice that he wasn’t going to go inside until I came down.

So I spread my wings out and started flapping, to get a feel for the wind.

My dad said, “what are you doing now?”

I said, “look at my wings, aren’t they beautiful?”

He said, “what are you talking about?”

I walked to the edge of the roof. I said, “look at my wings, aren’t they beautiful?”

He said, “don’t you dare, don’t you even think about jumping off that roof!”

It was too late. I jumped and flapped my wings, and dad ran in and tried to catch me. My wings didn’t work properly and I fell like how I think a stone would fall if it had wings.

I crashed into dad and rolled off him onto the grass and felt all the air leave my lungs in one giant whoosh like a ghost escaping.

It hurt and for a moment all I could do was lay on the grass and arch my back over and grind my wings into the ground. My dad groaned and held his head and his chest and through the bright lights popping up in front of my eyes I could just make out that my dad was bleeding out of his head.

My step-mother came out some time after that but I couldn’t remember what she did because the popping pain lights in my eyes became too much.

***

The next day I didn’t have my wings. I was in a hospital bed and when I sat up, my insides burned. My mother was sitting beside the bed and she told me to lie back, to be careful.

I said, “my wings are gone.”

Mum said, “it’s good to see you.”

I said, “they took away my wings.”

She said, “I heard you tried to fly yesterday.” She said, “you need to be more careful.”

I said, “they weren’t working properly, my wings.”

She said, “you gave your father quite a scare.” She said, “when he told me, it gave me quite a scare, too.”

She reached her hand out and stroked my cheek.

I said, “is dad ok?”

She said, “yeah, he just got a bit of a knock to the head. He’s got a couple of stitches, but it’s nothing, really.”

I said, “I’m happy you’re here.”

She said, “I came as soon as your father told me what happened.”

She leaned over and kissed me on the cheek.

I said, “did they catch my ghost?”

She said, “what ghost? I only heard about my little angel.” She said, “tell me about the ghost.”

I said, “it left me when I fell onto dad. I couldn’t breathe when it went. I think dad’s ghost left him too.”

She said, “there’s a ghost inside of you?”

I nodded. “I think there’s probably a ghost inside of you too.”

She said, “how do you know?”

I said, “I could feel it when it left me. I think there are ghosts inside of all of us.”

She said, “can you feel it now?”

I prodded gently at my chest and nodded. “It’s there.”

My mother grabbed my hand and held it to her chest. “Can you feel my ghost too?”

Her chest thumped lightly, like her ghost was trying to let me know it was still there.

I said, “you have a very warm ghost. A nice ghost.”

She laughed and hugged me, careful not to hurt my ghost. She was close and smelled nice, and dad was standing at the door, watching us. There was a bandage over his head but he was smiling, and I was smiling, and mum was smiling, and I could feel her ghost like it was trying to make friends with my ghost, so it could help my ghost get better so my ghost could get better soon and protect me. At that moment I thought everything was good and at that moment I thought, there is probably a ghost in all of us.

Hatred

This is what I feel when my step-mother hits me

There is a man sitting on my bench. There is never a man sitting on my bench. I don’t know what to do because I want to sit down because it’s my bench but I don’t want to share it. I’m standing at the bench and I think he sees me so I sit down.

He says, “hi.”

I rest my hands in my lap and stare at the ground.

He says, “aren’t you going to say hi back to me?”

I look up at him, briefly, and shake my head. “No.”

Does he have horns? I shake my head again. People don’t have horns.

He says, “you should be more polite, you know.”

He leans his arm  around behind the bench so it’s hanging somewhere behind my back. I don’t like this.

I go to stand up and he says, “sit down.”

I sit down.

He says, “I know who you are.” He shuffles closer to me and says, “you’re William Horn.”

I say, “fuck you,” and I spit in his face. I stand up and start walking away.

He says, “I know about the dog under your bed.”

I pause and look over my shoulder at him, the spit sliding down his cheek.

He says, “Zeus.” He says, “come sit down, boy.”

I say, “he ran away. Tracey and me went around the neighbourhood handing out fliers.”

He says, “sit back down. I know he didn’t run away.”

I sit down and look at him again. Those are definitely horns. Zeus was my step-mother’s dog until he ran away.

He says, “William, I’ve got a nickname for you. Would you like to hear it?”

I don’t like the way his arm is hanging around the back of the bench behind me.

He says, “I said, would you like to hear it?”

I shrug. “I guess.”

“Billy Demonseed.”

I say, “why do you call me that?”

He says, “because I know the things you do. I know about the dog under your bed.” He moves closer to me and says, “would you like to know a secret?”

I say, “I don’t know. What is it?”

He says, “your step-mother likes to tie your father up and gag him and cut him and beat him.”

I say, “what?”

He says, “I’ve seen it. She ties him to the bed and puts little cuts over his body and punches him while she straddles him.”

He reaches his arm around me and touches my arm. And it burns white hot, and for a flash I can see it too. My father crying as my step mother jabs and slices her knife all over him and telling him to take it like a fucking man. And then I see her where my father is and I’m standing over her with the knife and I’m stabbing stabbing deep into her chest and she’s crying out and I’m telling her to take it like a fucking man. And then I open my eyes and see a large puddle of black vomit at my feet.

He says, “yeah, I would have killed her dog too. But maybe you should bury it in the back yard before it starts stinking your house up.”

I go home and tell my father that I love him.

Stealing

When it rains and I put my hand out the window, it feels something like this.

I went with my little brother to the store.

He picked up a Mars bar and said, “what’s this?”

I said, “a Mars bar.”

He put it down and picked up another Mars bar. “What’s this?”

I said, “a Mars bar. They’re the same.”

He said, “are they all the same?”

I said, “yes.”

He picked up the first one and took it to the counter and paid for it. He handed it to me.

I said, “thanks. Did you get your change?”

He shrugged. “What’s change?”

I said, “you had fifty dollars. Mars bars only cost a dollar fifty.”

He shrugged. “I gave the man money.”

I walked up to the man. “Excuse me. You didn’t give my brother his change. You were supposed to give him some change for the Mars bar.”

He coughed and blew his nose. “I did.”

I said, “my brother just told me you didn’t.”

He said, “are you calling me a liar?”

I said, “my brother doesn’t lie. He doesn’t know what a lie is.”

He turned to my brother. “Look, kid. What did you do with that money I gave you?”

He turned away from the man and picked another Mars bar off the shelf.

I said, “he doesn’t lie, I told you. Now, can we please have our change back?”

He said, “I gave your little shit of a brother his change. Now leave, or I’ll make you leave.”

I grabbed my brother’s hand and we left the store. He still had the Mars bar in his hand. He looked at it, and then he looked at the Mars bar in my hand.

He said, “they’re the same.”

I said, “yes.”

He put the Mars bar in his pocket and pulled out some notes and some coins. “What’s this?”

He didn’t know what stealing is.

Guilt

 

This is how I feel when more than one person is trying to talk to me at the same time.

 

I went for a walk outside last night. It was drizzling and cool and thin clouds streaked the night sky and streaked across the moon like they were in the process of disintegrating. Which they were.

I could cough and see my cough fog up in front of my lips before slipping away like a ghost.

In the garden of each house on my street, there were small, limbless children, their eyes glowing at me like cat’s eyes. Where their limbs should have been were springs, on the ends of which were round black rubber balls a little larger than tennis balls.

At the end of the street I turned and looked back at my house but it looked exactly like the other houses on my street, and I wasn’t sure if I was looking at the right house.

A small sound came through the gentle rain-hiss, and in the middle of the road was a limbless child on its own, shining its eyes up at me, its springs rusted and squeaking in the rain and the wind.

It opened its mouth and sobbed a little and took two hazardous spring steps towards me, and under the street lamp it raised its spring arms to me and I saw its left spring arm was just a stump, a short wire jutting from its shoulder.

I didn’t know what to do. I fished around in my pocket and pulled out the remaining crumbs from a liver-flavoured chip packet I ate some time last week. I reached my palm out to it and it took another step towards me, wobbling and whimpering, and then it buried its face in my palm, tickling me with its slobbery tongue.

Then it nuzzled against my leg and wrapped its ball arm around my waist. I had never felt so uncomfortable in my life as I had right there. I didn’t know what to do. I picked it up. I cradled it in my arms. It smiled and glowed its eyes up at me and it blew bubbles from its spittle-dribble lips.

I walked to the end of the street and I wondered who this child could have belonged to, who could have left it in the street or failed to notice it wandering out of the garden. As tiny rain droplets clung to its poor little lashes, I felt angry at how reckless some people are, I felt mad at how abusive they can be. They probably threw it away because of its broken arm.

I was running. Without realising it, I found I had to get away from this neighbourhood as fast as possible. The child under one arm, I bolted down the streets, through a park (where three older limbless children were sitting on the swings and smoking) and I somehow ended back at the same street where I started. There was my house.

No, that can’t be right. I had been going in roughly the same direction the whole time. But this street had a dead-end just like mine. And there was my house. At least, I thought it was my house. It looked the same. Although the houses all looked the same.

The child bubbled under my arm. I lifted him up and pressed his head against my neck in what felt like a genuine hug. Then I felt something stab into my shoulder.

The sharp pain coursed through my body and I dropped the limbless child. It hit the road with a dull thump. Blood soaked my shirt and sprayed out onto the street. It hurt so fucking bad, and then I saw the piece of flesh hanging from its left-stump wire.

I yelled.

I stomped on its little body and yelled and bled. I kicked it until its teeth caved in and its chest caved in and its limbs were a twisted and tangled mess.

And then I ran. I tried to go back home, but I didn’t know where I was.

I walked back to the child and rolled it over to the gutter and retraced my steps back to the park where the children stopped smoking and watched me drag a bloody river behind me and retraced my steps back to my street where the cat-eyed limbless children watched me retreat to my house where I sat in the shower and turned the water on.