Dear opinionists,

You do not know a thing and, if you did, you still wouldn’t string a sentence eloquent, worth listening to.

I might never. True. But if I do, don’t think me wrong for not following your advice incrementally, because you wouldn’t follow it fractionally. And you know it.

Everything is perfectly photocopied, the toner picking out every grey, giving sheen only new machines can, and each internet page is perfectly clear also. Everything’s perfect, exactly, and other options are an antiquated ideal you’ve knocked out of yourselves because those you admire did.

Speak to me like a kid one more time. I double dare you to do it. Tell me what I am is wrong. Pry until you’re satisfied. And when you’re licking my bones, magnifying glass study, see the cracks?

I’m learning to clay mould myself with hands which worked better four years ago. And I’ll Polyfiller myself up, and I’ll miss evenings we spent and moments we connected, like episodes of Saved by the Bell: non-specifically. And the overall impression you’ll have left will be exclusively defined by how you treated me when my worst was cake base scraping me. Whatever you said then, sticks. And I’m sorrynotsorry. I guess next time you’ll know not to judge people whose lives you so little know.

Months from now I’ll be 70% myself again, sort of statue strong, and everyone’s scared, everyone will be. Because my own mind. Yes, that, will be a thing once more. I can’t wait for it. And the people, indispensable to me? Ones that believed me, and in me, when I didn’t. Coercion-less. How rare and fucking brilliant that is.

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I Keep Waiting

Expiration dates are loose and, like, wartime was tough, Mum says, not that she was there, and people ate tins ten years after, and they were okay. No-one’s going to blog about how brilliant old food was but it was better than nothing and that’s the sort of country this is: rationing’s ingrained like defects and illness developing slow like adaptations of books to TV shows, and Jennifer Aniston’s hair colour or, I guess, several colours at any one time because I can’t achieve that gold, no.

I wonder if we’ve a sell by, if we didn’t play out the exact arc of what this is, think we’re due a re-run for a singularly unacceptable blip. But some broadcasts don’t get a DVD release because the music royalties are too high, and when they switch in songs it’s never the same. Think you won’t notice, but you do, and half-fake is worse than full: a broad daylight cheat we’re not brazen to try.

But it’s not a repeat. It’s not the same for me. It’s rooted in a bagful of unrepeatable things, but it’s new, like a reboot but better because what reboot’s even good, actually? It’s like all those TV couples, dead now, you wish had met at other times and started then instead of fucking everything so spectacular-royally the first time. You think you fucked things up for me, even slightly; you didn’t. My medicine’s monthly, but don’t make me wait long like that. I can’t even take it.

An inscription in the front of a book in the charity: “To do something about this. When’s the time limit? Cross fingers, I won’t miss it.”

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What You Know/What I’ll Never

I’ll never know what it’s like to marry Brad Pitt.

Which tennis player’s which.

What tattoo needles feel like under skin.

What Johnny Depp smells like,

if he’s pliable like Play-Doh

or rigid like his waxwork I photographed you next to.

If blasphemy’s the sin

I’ve been drummed with to think.

If I’ll outlive Chris.

If the world ends like a disaster movie.

If we even exist

aren’t fragments or figments,

computers or characters in

cancelled TV shows in permanent limbo,

on somebody’s wishlist.
wedding news
Written for Encounter Productions, July 2013.

-ity Fair (NaPoWriMo #28)

Jack says that you’re weird not because you’re weird but because his undecorated flat is a forgotten empire and his family were company-erased before he got here and his last mirror rusted then mould and he couldn’t bleach it or scrape so put it in the shed and when he over-hears you message leaving he recognises a trait, his or Jones’, which is what he calls the people he knew, that he forgets or was made to, that swim between Tom Hanks films, red velvet cake and Jupiter at 4.55am when no-one’s asleep, not even next door, when the Night Nurse lull lurches like vertical drop rollercoasters or falling from a tree accidentally or when Brad left Jen for Angelina Jolie and every year since the untrue article about them getting back, un-divorcing, is a promise, is your mantra, is a prayer, and you give up god, but not that.

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Jennifer Aniston’s OT

You date him because one day he will date Jennifer Aniston. You sense this like month’s coming, movie reviews, the heat of food at friend’s houses. And you can’t help yourself. Or you help yourself to bigger than you should’ve portions at picnics, beach barbeques, youth group. You overdo every time, and I don’t think I just mean food but I don’t know and I wouldn’t want to insinuate something that wasn’t at least a little grounded in reality, didn’t have some truth to it, because we all know what gossip at school was like. Some of us started it.

Once you’ve dated him you wonder what the fuss is. You concoct plans to keep him, that might’ve kept him, and you go about altering every mistake you consciously made thinking it was the best choice at the time. But there are no best choices just best guesses and anyone who thought they had the hold on a situation may as well sign up to a religion sold to them for money.

You buy the shampoos, perfumes, clothes’ ranges, endorsements, water. You watch the nineties back like it’s re-creatable and chances are it will be, at least by 2023, and your kids will ask you for tie-dye, heat changing shirts, faded cut-offs, Adidas canvas trainers, and you consider the point of the past, fashions selected yearly, when the cheap and the sensible thing would’ve been to stick it out in your fluorescent pinks and luminous yellows and leg warmers. Back then, even Angelina Jolie wasn’t noxious.

You’re Not Sorry To Go

You didn’t think losing your loft and job in the same week could result in you smoking pot with strangers, milking cows, thinking you could fly out of trees having never tried it before but, when it happens, you embrace it entirely. You try to fit in, borrow the clothes of the people whose rooms you share and you ask for advice on your skin – does soy solve acne? You play down the sarcasm, references to movies, stop asking if there’s real coffee. You sleep with someone. Although there are 30 people in the house and some in teepees in the yard, this is not a sleepover, and when I say sleep I don’t mean sleep. Also, you ____ some of them. You imagine you were born liberal, that it wasn’t a pro-life, safe sex, save yourself until marriage stance implanted into your brain at birth, that you try to get over but never really can because, like the god thing, you say god doesn’t exist whilst imagining a floating man on the roof, or higher up, feeling shame for what you’ve said and for what it is you do next.

You don’t know what you do next. Marcia announces she’s pregnant and a line forms and you sleep with Judy because she’s there. You try horse riding when not working starts to feel like a chore. You’re bored the first day but you persevere until half-way through day two when you’ve really had it. You look for wood to fashion doors to keep the watchers out and the animals but you signed up for this fair game, free love society so why shouldn’t they see you lie down, take shits, read Cosmopolitan. You check your ring finger and it’s still there and the ring is too. Your wife is in the next room and you hear him caress her better and you like pretending you did that because then it’s like you achieved something. You consider the fourteen miles to the next town and the number of times someone takes this road and you try to decipher the point of any of this. We start at a random point and end at another and experience precious seconds then it stops. When you see her Marcia says, “Isn’t the body great? Truly amazing,” and behind her the fridge pauses, clunks as it takes a breath, and through the wall the socket’s plugged into your wife’s outline presses itself on to dried paint hoping to leave an impression. And then she takes her dress off.

It Was Always Going To Die When She Left

Jack says, “Now where am I going to go for my ‘Columbo based medical CSI type hourly drama’?” and it sounds like a question but it’s not one because he knows there will be a replacement, that’ll takes years to ingrain, sure but, eventually, the reruns will feel retro, of a better time, like listening to Bryan Adams duet with a Spice Girl or hearing the song Save Tonight and wondering what that guy’s name was.

But I felt the death coming, saw it, the second they announced she was leaving for another show, a somewhat less popular show, that she’d rather be in than this (perhaps she was a big Sex and the City fan?)

Recovering from Cameron was hard, because you can’t create chemistry, it just is, exists, like the asteroid belt or rings around planets or how forks fall to the floor then bounce when you drop them. Cuddy was impossible, and if you think about it, her going was like Joey leaving Dawson’s, Rachel leaving Friends, Marisa leaving The O.C. (okay, bad example), Summer leaving The O.C., Luke leaving Gilmore Girls before the shows were up, before those shows got canceled or whatever you call it when they stop something while it’s still popular? I guess, dying with dignity, euthanasia.

But Cuddy and House burned out like me paired with many people, because some of us equate catastrophe with love. And ending the show one season after a principle leaves and saying you’re stopping while the show’s still got something is what we call “denial”.