Hot State

Jack wants to be Ethan Hawke, has since we saw Reality Bites when we were 12, after Nicki asked us for recommendations for a Saturday sleepover we thought we’d be invited to, or I was sure. Naively sure, the way I entered each of my first eight relationships. Instead, Monday morning in Geography, Vicky and Cherry and Jo relayed how shit the film was. They’d never been more bored. My gut tore, and I wondered if my legs would work later. But they worked when the bell went, because betrayal’s not a cancer or fatal sickness, although both those betray you, betray me right now.

So Jack and I hired it, the one copy from Flicks, the store we got before Blockbuster, or iTunes, or illegal downloads, and we put it on our Dad’s card before we had our own cards, when they never even asked for digits, or proof, or telephone numbers. Or ID. And I get asked for ID now, 15 years on, and sense isn’t a self-filled bucket that’s topped up.

And we saw Before Sunrise, Sunset, him seduce Angelina before Brad did, pretend to be Jude Law in Gattaca and we read him wondering if he’d read us and we watched every thing that he crafted, when he played his own dad in the film of the book and Jack never got over and I never could get.

And once he evolves, knows every crease, repetition, ex-wife, I’ll learn every Winona Ryder line, imply that I made him the man that he is the space of an 80 minute film that Jo hates, a Smash Hits’ recommend that Kim didn’t like. But we.

We’re All In This Together

You were suspicious of me once, when Jack was here, when Jackie was, and you asked outright, or after 8 texts to friends and your mother. You always text your mum.

And the conversation lasted past both our bedtimes – my 11pm, your 12.30. And you cancelled Saturday morning coffee, there weren’t movies, and Sunday wasn’t an out-of-town aquarium, an over-the-border shopping centre. Instead you silenced every phone call I made, even when we were in the same room.

I’m getting your attention, securing your eyes, buying gifts to extinguish ex-girlfriends I fucked and others I slept with and I wonder if there’s a quota, of women you cope knowing that I’ve been with. And if there is, am I over it? Am I over the amount, or will another 8 days, 14 or 4 erase your fish memory that forgets what I made you for breakfast. Should I be worried about that?

Disallowed from slipping your shoes off, checking your scalp through your hair.

This is not a story with a beginning, a middle, or end, because the start wasn’t the start of something, and there’s no such thing as a clean middle, because middles are intestines, and the end we don’t touch however we try, and when we’re close, we want to live, just let us the fuck live for a second, to see every second you swore we’d see you lying ____.



One day we’ll die but
we’ve never tried peanut butter M&Ms,
seen Catherine Zeta Jones,
tongue kissed Brad Pitt,
when everyone else has,
everyone seems to.

We’ve only felt each other’s hands
long enough to guess the temperature,
antagonised parents,
predicted riots,
read the minds of people around us,
and they’re dying;
dead soon.


Date Night

I pressed the lift’s close button, making it look like I’d seen him, and tried to shut him out. His leather jacket was tight and his jeans were tight and the skin on his face was tight and he didn’t creep, disappear, swing, didn’t circle me in the locked box, like captive prey, dead mice. But he was close, once, smelling my neck like a perfume ad.

I couldn’t believe it was him but it was him; there was a severed head hung by its eye socket skin on the handle of the door for the stairs.

And I’m not going to lie, there was electricity in the queue as he asked which film I was buying a ticket for, and we wondered if, with a code, we could double up on an Orange Wednesday. The only way I could get one was texting my boyfriend and I didn’t want Freddy to know that I had one.

We ended up in different films, and I imagined his torso: did he have abs like American TV men, did the tan run the length of his spine? And I wondered if he’d find me, find out my star sign, ask me to other movies on different days, if I should wear stockings, or nothing, and I imagined the questions. Where I grew up. Where I live. What my favourite scary movie is.


Abstinence Teacher

I never abstained from anything willingly, diets were like Lent and rations were wars I wouldn’t fight because my Daddy did. My Granddaddy.

I always thought more was better, even when adages say quality counts, it’s an adage saying it, an extra, an add-on, quantifiable thing.

Conjecture’s an aphrodisiac and an adjective’s hot when you use it and super-size might make you fat but more is not enough, so give me skin folds that fries ache and blubber from milkshakes and puckering up on my bones and make sure it’s Duo not one (Mars).


The Grudge

Like in that movie The Grudge, this woman’s got a grudge and it’s against Daniel Radcliffe, though could be Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, or Casey or John.

Instead of writing letters, filing lawsuits against them, she threatens with a fast moving sweep, making ancient toys speak, turning lights, locking doors, pushing chairs like the air might’ve done it, but it definitely wasn’t. I saw: it was her.

And no-one quite says why she holds it, the grudge, until the title rolls, and the lead’s dead and some extras are. And the kids in the graveyard, the slow moving pond weed zombies and marsh-buried corpses, blood mouths, eyes like rabid dogs got; them Harry Potter fans be crazy.


Same Course, Different Test

I will tutor you when there’s nothing left: dead girlfriends, science failures, pocket money banned since Tuesday. I’ll buy you coffee, your regular order, some days hot, others iced, and I’ll rewrite tests and you’ll create answers, and like songwriting teams we’ll spend late nights in cafes, libraries, each other’s bedrooms, and the dropping home is the only improper time section I can guess or protect, predict. We won’t do anything because you’ve got commitments to god, to girls in general, and I’ve got a girlfriend and my girlfriend has a mother and I’d lie but I won’t: I’ve thought about it.

I say, “Pass the test, I’m praying for you,” but I’m an Atheist, passively hoping you’ll fail, knowing that there’s no win, and either way, two people go home together and, you know. I wonder if we’ll ever you know.