Sunday, 24 March 2013

He woke before the sun

He woke before the sun.  He stretched.  He got out of bed and stubbed his toe.  He swore.  He stubbed his other toe.  He swore and cried a little bit.  He put his shoes and socks on, realised his error and put his socks and shoes on, this was still all before the sun.  He ran a shower; he stood beneath the jets and stared at cream tiles four inches from his face.  He sopped out of the shower.  He swore, wriggled out of his soaking soapy clothes, dried himself off, and before the sun he tumbled back into bed. 

The sun peeped pretty over the hill and into his street, casting pointy shadows for bins lined up by a dewy nature strip.  His slack jawed slow breathing stayed true.  The sun pressed its hands on the earth and pushed itself higher to get a better look.  Shadows shrunk and cars started with coughs and slammed doors.  He rolled over into damp dribble, startled, swore, turned the pillow over and slipped back to sleep.  The sun dazzled self-consciously, it beamed and grinned and waited for him to look up with a smiling yawn.  His housemate sung in the shower, he put his damp pillow over his head and squeezed his eyes shut tight.  The sun beamed and blushed and worried.  Bins went belly up as a garbage truck stopped and started and burped and farted up and down street.  The sun hid behind a low hanging cloud and puzzled over the last time they spoke.   

The phone rang and rang and rang and died.  He stumbled out of bed, stubbed his toe and swore like before.  He showered and dressed.  He stomped down stairs with a stone in his guts.  He ground his coffee and looked out the kitchen window to see a day withering with rainless clouds.  He sipped his coffee but didn’t taste it.  He slipped out the back door and saw a sky sick and wasted, weak blue grey, with thin clouds in shrouds dampening light.  He couldn't see the sun, but he spied its milky glow feeding into some surly stratus.  He felt sick.  He thought he should say something, but he didn't know how.     

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Really good puddles

I hope you ignored the insult and accepted the offering.
I hope you smiled, and squinted, and looked up into emptying clouds.
I hope you stomped some really good puddles.
I hope you noticed beads suspended in spider-webs while businessmen shuffled past.
I hope the rain smelled sweet, and in the grey street old oil spots woke to bleed bright orange and blue, all for you, on a wet walk to work.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Pinky hold

I went on a date last night.  She was pretty, with blue hair and Colgate commercial chompers playing hide and seek behind really smoochy lips.  Red ones.  (Her lips, not her chompers.)  She took my hand and we strolled through this park, one of those big botanical ones.  The trees were huge and lovely and had nametags nailed to their tummies.  There were half-hearted hills covered in good grass, little flowerbeds and lots of native plants.  Giving shape was a slinky slow river that meandered between lazy oaks and ghost gums to fill up a fat bellied lake.  Some oil painting ducks were chatting in the middle, and at the edges, near the boardwalk, there were reeds and things that smelt like long gone school camps, good ones.

It was a still night, big coloured light bulbs were strung along the path, and our footsteps crunched softly while crickets told jokes to each other.  We had nothing to say, but plenty to look at.  We held hands, not whole hands, it was just a pinky hold – like when you let go of someone’s hand and then you both change your mind at the last minute, and just hold pinkies.  It’s this tenuous link, like a loose tooth, nature or gravity or some other bully should break it, but it holds.  Your pinkies stay there, linked, not locked, that wouldn’t be sweet - linked.  After a while we let go, only it felt like we didn’t.  Because we had hummed and buzzed through that link so brightly, when the connection broke it felt like hanging up the phone only to discover the person you were talking to was in the same room. 
After ten fairy lit minutes our path crested a hill, and we stumbled into a hullabloo, a shindig, a sort of medieval hoo-ha.  The bbq area was overflowing with costumed locals - you know, Knights and lords and peasants in green stockings.  They were having a ball; there was sword fighting, dwarf tossing and a sausage sizzle.

I spent my last three bucks buying her a sausage in bread.  It was burnt and I couldn’t afford onion, but she got the last smoke in the pack gesture and offered to share. 

We sat on this hay bail made out old TVs strapped together with shoelaces.  We finished our snack and sat there quietly, not really knowing what to say or do.  She looked at me and said my pants were a bit grubby.  I got really embarrassed, but then she grinned and dusted some faint traces of dirt off my knees.  I made a stupid chuckling sound in my throat; she’d just wanted to touch me.  She laughed at my laugh and the night suddenly seemed deeper, a lightning shift from foot spa to diving pool. 

My laugh died just after hers, I looked at her, she wasn’t going to speak.  I told her she had some burnt sausage crumbs on her cheek and I brushed them off with my thumb.  She blushed.  I did that stupid laugh again, but she just pushed my hand away.  She looked hurt.  I tried my best eye hug but she looked away.  I told her it was ok, she didn’t really have sausage on her cheek, that I just made it up.  She asked me why.  I told her I didn’t know, “because I’m an idiot?” 

She screwed the sauce-stained napkin into a ball and shoved it up my left nostril, then she whistled to a passing peasant who immediately ran over and started beating me with his homemade stick.

She stood up, jumped on the back of the horse this tinfoil knight was riding and trotted away.  It was painful and humiliating, and not just for me.  As I lay there getting wailed on by some DIY peasant in stockings, my heart went out to the Blue Kelpie, painted white, being ridden like a horse. 

Friday, 1 March 2013

A crab named Sebastian

I was having a bad night last night.  The kind of bad night that makes you walk.  It was late when I wandered along Queen Street toward the docks.  I passed four bible bashers, two had microphones, and one of those was a music theatrey headset.  Pretty flash.

The street was predictably pissy for a Friday night, but also kind of relaxed.  I made it to the docks and ambled along the waterfront, past snazzy couples on dates until I found a bench all to myself.  The sound of Friday night jarred against the water, gulls, creaking boats and groaning ropes.  I sat and sulked and wondered why I was so far from home.  I was in real danger of writing poetry, shit poetry, so I reached into my bag for my sodoku book instead.  I stared at the blocks and numbers and chewed my biro.  In the corner of the page I drew a picture of a worm, he was trying to light his fart with the sun.  It wasn’t very good.  

Putting the book back in my bag I noticed the card I had stashed in there, bright yellow and orange and completely hand made.  On the front was a detailed pen drawing of a crab, with the ‘gonopod’, ‘carpus’ and other bits of anatomy labelled in red texta.

Inside the card sat ten cut out shells and a pop-up crab, with moving claws and eyes.  The note, written by a lovely girl, told me the pop-up crab was named Sebastian.  She thanked me for my show, and wished me luck for the rest of the season.  The card was signed with a smiley face and the author’s name.

I didn’t cry.  I wasn’t even close.  But I felt warm and shaky, still lonely, but the isolation and shame you wear following failure was lifting like morning mist meeting the sun.

I walked back up Queen Street, past the amplified creeps towards the theatre.  There was a small crowd at the edge of Aotea square watching some Latin drummers.  I stopped for maybe five minutes and listened.  I stood in this little crowd, a random gaggle of strangers, laughing and clapping, and I felt myself filling up.

I stopped back in at the theatre, the crash site, and found myself with good company and cold beer.  I was having a good night.


Dear Patron of The Arts,

Thank you for coming to my silly little show.  I know you're busy, and I’m sorry you couldn’t catch the whole thing, but I do hope you enjoyed the twenty minutes of Fringe Theatre you were able to sneak into your evening.  What a hoot, hey?

I hope you got home safe.  I hope you didn’t scratch the paint parking, or forget to turn the headlights off.  I hope you weren't too put out when you mixed up your toothpaste and haemorrhoid cream.  I hope the bedbugs didn’t bite.  I hope no possum wriggled through the cat flap to piddle on your sofa.  I hope the expensive wine you drank wont keep charging in the morning.  I hope the call that drags you out of bed isn’t a telemarketer.  I hope there’s no screaming kids in your favourite cafĂ©.  I hope no one spits in your coffee.  I hope they don’t fart on your eggs.  Honest.