I

 

In the morning fury,
a train becomes a kiss,
a paper cut
a maroon fingertip
that shadows;
free market economic liberalism replaces freedom
I
replaces
We
and before you can decide how you feel,
you realise you’re late.
for what you’re not sure,
but you’re late so you hurry
because god,
you’ve never had it so good.
And your cheeks
go pink
your hands
go white,
your knees
grunt
your nose,
wriggles in purples and reds
and you try to grasp,
like a handshake,
how you feel about it all.
So you sit
in your chair,
you sink,
your eyes bob
on their surfaces
and blur into a screen
and your phone rings and your ears ring, and Kirsty with the legs walks by like a heron
gliding in shallow water,
inanely remarking ‘terrorists are taking over London’…
All you think is;
I didn’t expect to get blown away at work,
but those legs.
Then,
the familiar
the clearing of a throat
then,
A cheap wood table,
more plastic than tree.
A feathering of brown paper bags,
a statue of Christ starving,
a mouse-mat alter,
a font of coffee.
Not how you like it
but it’s hot,
it’s coffee.
And it spills,
onto a calculator
made in Calcutta.
While the subtraction happens elsewhere,
you get life
in numbers,
and someone gets yours.

You get a view from your window,
of windows,
you get a lunch or you don’t.

(How much do you want that view?)

You see a horizon,
of eagles,
sickles,
headlines and pronouns,
forgetting,
the fields of blood flowers,
the stems of flesh and roots of bone.
Forgetting the bouquet of wrists and ankles
planted into concrete
replace
slices of skin, with soft, layered bread
pushed tightly into plastic wrapping,
look at the cupboards,
the shelves,
try not to think of
the hollow burgundy drain pipes,
coiled like tangled headphones found in a jean pocket
look to the stationary
and don’t muse if they swallowed the metal,
jawless,
cocked
with half a word hanging out,
like mother
or the dot of a question mark.

 

II

 

The grapes!
They are sweet and smooth as felt,
they break up the pallid milk of the kitchen walls.
Naked as sand stone
she stands a stagnant hollow white,
you look at her grains,
chew holes in blu-tack,
before a horrible play,
where a horrible husband,
with a horrible job,
horrifies the audience
with an affectionate interest in an ember.
Who holds an affectionate interest in the cool feel of the plastic wood,
enjoys stretching her wine-bottle neck
across the apostolic palm,
watching the wet rimmed lips
open at the corner of the bar.
It’s easy
it’s fine.
She meets men who pay,
with maxed out credit cards,
talk quickly
about their children
mumble through mouthfuls of
receipts, that disintegrate under canines,
their tongues lisping on the coin zip,
the curtain collapses.
The men leave the theatre,
they call Honey,
Sweetie,
their Bears
their Rabbits.
But Sally picks up, or Michael,
and no one is sure where the stage ends and the pavement begins.

 

III

 

The weekends are nice.
Your children slay monsters with a pixel blade,
you kiss your wife on a porcelain cheek,
you think about dinner and you read a paper
that’ll help you write a paper.
Until your wife’s hands,
your hands
threaded with lines,
two thin wings beating against the current,
rip the other apart.
And while the other tries to reattach what falls,
you both enjoy the sickness, the toxicity
the burn of it
The absolute moment
rude to the upmost peak.
Until it dampens under its own weight,
stiffening
you turn and see Sally
while Michael stares into the cushion lining
remembering,
those parts of us we put together,
they feel it all the more,
the stretching of clouds into spider webs,
hearing words they’ve never learned,
tones they’ve never heard and seeing the corners of people,
where before they had been flat.
By Monday its fine.
Its all been thrown under the bridge,
left to fill,
left to clog,
and when the bodies have left,
the water
ripples
till still
till,
not even the bravest toe will break its
surface.

Just…
type out a press release,
type out an obituary,
type out a suicide note,
type it out
and type it again.
Think about Kirsty,
think about all the plays,
think about thinking,
that hobby you used to have.
think about numbers,
think about deadlines,
think about hating
something
someone
unsure,
think
without thought,
because;

God, you’re so lucky, you’ve never had it so good. People are starving you know? Did you know that? And you’ve got it good. A desk, a wife, a bit on the side, a couple of bright young sparks. You got a good job. You make a bit of money. You got a mortgage. You got a house. People would kill for that. You know that right? This chair, this suit, this office, your neck bent like a vulture. We’re living. The wars man, the troops man, the bombs man, the recession man, the starving, the depressed, the overweight those that regress, god aren’t we lucky, everyone wants this man. Everyone’s trying to take it. You’d be mad to forget it. Yeah this is living, crouched, snivelling snow not tears. Yeah this is good. You like it? Course you do, it tastes nothing like salt, its warm like petrol and its stings like an ulcer, it trudges like wet boots down your throat with soles as bitter as lemon rind.

IV

 

You look in a mirror,
where the crows live,
no time for words,
just symbols.
red symbols,
a place of red
nothing pallid,
nothing white
you want red
the chair yawns,
and you rush,
to the golden clusters,
the sting of cold mid-winter words,
ash kisses,
mouths made of tobacco
and fantastical star formations, that remind you of—
but dreams only last a moment and
you’re
bandaged
in navy lining and pink plaster,
the air breathing over the wounds
realising not all nooses were made from
rope.

 

V

 

It’s so empty,
this train
the hot cup burns into palms.
you pull out the tea bag,
watch it bow,
hold it as it spins,
the tepid air radiating between the walls
you see hanging, under all the scribbles,
a couple smiling sweetly
You recall her, not the cards she holds,
but HER
and softy it comes,
you begin to remember when you had begun to smell like one another.
that pagan summer you sucked the roots,
with mud,
with finger nails,
The sweet cloy of the soil,
demanding the body,
needing a mussel around her,
you had wanted her germs,
you would have licked her glass after she had drunk from it,
turned it between your fingertips,
until the wet film left by each lip,
was the exact point you drank from
when you would yell:

Give me all your hateful indiscretions, your ashamed idiosyncrasies. Give me your butt ends, your hollow nicotine shells, yellow and ripped white. I want nothing but your rankest mannerisms. Give me your heaven but more importantly your hell. I can’t stand for paleness, give me your red months, your blue Mondays, Your unsure mid-weeks. A life of brail, all the points, the joins, the joints, the bones, the shy wrists peeking out of cotton blouses, enough to arouse the entire works of Shakespeare.

The whole train’s asleep.
You just want
to feel a pulse.
Leave a fingerprint,
gingerly find the surface of the duvet,
remind the world,
once,
you had come together
mouth to mouth
like two great rainforests.

 

 

CHARLIE HEYWOOD was born in Cambridge and grew up in Essex. He holds a degree in English and American Literature from the University of Kent, and currently lives andwrites in South-east London with his girlfriend Emily. He has recently completed his first collection of stories (comprising of both poetry and prose), called Blood Orange.