SCENE I: A CHIAROSCURO OF IDYLLS AND TAINTED ZONES. Curse the newsagents and bless the chain-store coffee shops; forgo zero-cal drinks for chai lattes. Time might heal the hospital's harm, but the sand in the hourglass promises nothing. Back from Uncanny Valley, she's here for one day only: please welcome...
[warming up for the performance of her second-rate lifetime; faults and failings all dolled up in costume jewellery, consoled by every artifice except the Self:]
They brought me back button-eyed.
I'm by the bus shelter in last Body's clothes,
recalling our trips here one Body ago:
[an ILOVEYOU loiters on the corner of this street —
it tips its chin and stares a greeting.]
I lower my gaze
SCENE II: A GUIDED TOUR.
ILOVEYOU stalks a metre behind.
Charity-shop libraries (plural) wherein mundane spectacles
were made of ourselves; hushed confrontations cause
scenes behind stage curtains. Shopfronts that site
your effigy in my mother's eyes. Kisses, tears, the
tying of scarves, Starbucks, ducks, parks, book-cover
inscriptions, living a love story while not lucid
enough to document it—
[syncopated; mumbled into crescendo:]
—five-lap treks, pyjama-clad, year-round shivers through phantom autumn gales. Empty quests amid off-licence shelves; chip-shop smells, taunting; slo-mo supermarket crawls, clearance sections, the listless skimming of labels; sleepy insomniac; brick walls upon which I sat hunched and feasting like some rabid feral dog, 'consumed' in passive voice and 'wasting away' in active, walk it off WALK IT OFF—
One meeting without warrant for apology. No words to shepherd back into the ribcage they'd tunnelled out of.
I swore no-one would touch me and then melted in your palms—dread being seen at all, but devour your "you look good". No personal growth, but raised by stilts; no less virulent, but restrained behind masks. The sickness takes a different shape. I fear you'll discern the difference. I also fear that you won't.
A half-finished narrative or a blackout poem? You've gone from 'knowing too much' to having only the chapters we co-write: "Better this way," I say, and stand by it. I can starve and starve and still never master how not to Want; how to tell my heart these Wants aren't Needs; how to stop them escaping through the craters between bones.
I feel larger than life but I'd cast off my limbs to fit inside your pocket. My friendship must taste like eagerness to please; still, you'll eat from my spoon and I'll open wider than required for yours...
...yes, we'll name it 'nourishment'.
guess who's back with their old gimmicks!!! so, uh... '21/early '22 sure did occur. i dare myself to let streetcar die and not reach for a reference at the first opportunity. if this *****, it's a warmup exercise; if not, it's a poem :)