Subject/Object #4: Gift | by James Knight

Gift is German for poison. Never send a gift to a German and call it that. Never send a gift to anyone if you have endowed the word with the magic of poison. Never poison anyone who gives you a gift. Never look a gift horse in the mouth. Never look a poison horse in the mouth. I think your cat has left me a little gift. How sweet. A little shit is a sweet small present. How charming. It’s the thought that counts. Count your thoughts, convert them to hard cash and gift them to Gift Aid. Gift is a verb you bastard. Anything can be a verb you bastard. Any noun, any thing. Your obsession with words, their meanings and the rules governing their usage will be the downfall of western civilisation, which we await with baited breasts. I looked back and there they all were, all the Big Bollocks: Hitler, Himmler, Churchill, Stalin, Groucho Marx, Len Goodman, Alan Sugar, Margaret Thatcher, Maigret, Lewis Hamilton. All the bad boys, the rat pack, the fuck crew, the candy team, the cruel fingers. There is nothing better than the GIF of laughter. A gift contains an it and an if and a git and a GIF. A gift can be almost anything: money, a handbag, a handjob, a bank job, a bank holiday, a summer holiday, a summer special, a special handshake, a specious milkshake, a speckled hen, a freckled nun. All or nun of the above. Where was I? Gift. A gift may contain nuts. A gift may cause drowsiness. A gift may harm your unborn baby. A gift may do what it pleases. A gift may vary from model to model. A gift may thirst for your blood. A gift may slap its toes across your horse face and denounce you as a heretic. You have to be extremely careful these days. You have to take all the right precautions and not spill your gift on barren ground. You have to lick the envelope, you pathetic fucker. It’s raining all over my gift and now I’m horny. Lightning struck my gift and now I’m in labour. A zephyr caught my gift in its wispy teeth and now I’m at a graduation ceremony. The gift of life, they call it, smirking up their sleeves. Would you like a gift receipt? Is this a gift? No, it is a GIF, glitching gloomily on an iPhone that someone threw off Waterloo Bridge. It was 10:35 and the invasion has begun. We watched from the parapets of McDonalds. Virgin car-bombers wore snazzy pyjamas. It was all over the news, all over my dress. There was less violence than you might have hoped for. The exchange of insulting gifts went well, considering the awful stench and the Spice Girls reunion threatened by the storm clouds. Is it time yet? Soon, git, soon. I am tired. It is late. Your slam-dunk Armageddon moment spoiled Twitter for me, for several minutes. If I let the air out of a tyre or balloon or person, it makes this sound: giffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffft.



James Knight is an experimental writer and digital artist, whose work is preoccupied with dreams, mirrors, fire and mannequins. His long poem Void Voices is being published by Hesterglock Press in 2019.

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