*The work seen below is part of a manuscript of a conceptual work based on the writing of Thomas De Quincey (Confessions of and English Opium Eater, 1821), and seeks to draw out a new way of looking at this famous piece on addiction writing.
The late Duke of Norfolk used to say, “Next Friday, by the blessing of heaven, I purpose to be drunk;”
too much, as that
as to confess, is
by supposition of laughter committed to debauch
like manner I
used to be called
by the one
seldom heard spoken. For the music
around all around a little, as
for the one
them. In the Opera, I could
“Can’t remember when he was here last. Sure, he’s here sometimes. What’s his name? Ah don’t tell me,” the girl at the sports centre reception looks to the ceiling, shrugs.
He’s here already though. I can feel it. His shiny sports shorts and top radiating fabric conditioner and old sweat. Faded black-grey-navy, always a bit baggy; a saggy cloak of invisibility – the bla-grey-vies. He’d sighed as he walked into the crowded gym. No one heard.
“I know exactly who you mean. Uses the exercise bike nearest the window, always the same one, he’ll wait for it if it’s being used,” she continues.
The marathoner on the runner thumps out a rhythm apart from the rock station radio streaming through the speakers. Lads clank and clatter the weights. The pack of teenage-lycra-girls snigger – wafts of confectionary scent giggling around them. Business as usual, it would seem. (more…)
There is a baby crying. You are not the baby
crying and you aren’t sure it’s actually
a real baby but you are told it’s there,
you are told a family buried their baby in
the baseball field, because a bunch of boys
found a small, misshapen hand at the home base
and it’s too absurd to be real—you are a scientist
that’s what you tell yourself every night. (more…)
After the rush
of our bodies aligned
you told me the true story of the time you found a woman
buried beneath the tree outside your family’s home
you were seven and your tiny shovel
hit what you knew would be treasure
but unearthed the smooth white of skull
with teeth so perfect and even
that you imagined that smile for years (more…)
We all heard him tromping through the tubes. Into our home, the unwanted fool who can only bark out that he’s just doing his job. An unwanted job. A job no one notices but him, his bosses, and us. We are as out of the way as we can be, and we are still too in the way for someone. They would rather us not exist. That’s where we will have to agree to disagree.
Sometimes he looks different. Sometimes he is a woman. Or short. Or apologetic, for all the lack of good that does.
Our home is below the homes of even the homeless. The homeless that are allowed to be seen. Set dressing for the city dwellers. Our home smells putrid, is putrid. But it is our home, and we will not leave it. (more…)
They branded the black letter “C” across his face a couple years ago. He could be more specific and say 4 years, 3 months, and 28 days. He could pinpoint it to hours and minutes if he was so inclined. He could do this because it was his prison sentence. He had become a “C.”
C sat at his usual table at the little outdoor park on the island, overlooking the bay. He had the table to himself as he did almost every day. The tables surrounding him were packed. He ate lunch here every day, but C always sat alone, unbothered. Because he was a C.
The prisons had been full. There was no more funding for feeding or caring for the inmates and so everything had changed. Prisoners were released back to the public. Each was branded. The released prisoner was told of the due date of release and it was incumbent on him or her to appear on that date to have the C removed. Of course, there would be remaining scar tissue. C’d seen a guy who did his time. The guy’s face didn’t look the same. It was sunken and watery-looking like an old ball deflating in a puddle. Some former Cs were judged by it, but C would rather have the scar tissue and freedom than what he had now.
He looked around at the civilians ignoring him. It was still hard getting accustomed to it. (more…)
The sound reverberated all around as Philomena slammed her ghostly knee into the coffin’s red-tinged cover. She occupied the space between her old body & the satin lining of it. Her spectral form had been mostly separated upon her death, but for some reason, the translucent wisp that was her new big toe wouldn’t break free from the old one. She’d been forced to watch as the mortician scooped out her insides, all relatively pink and healthy looking save for her wretched heart. Had witnessed as he tugged the dress her husband, Gerald, picked out for the wake over her shoulders, tearing the back and pinning the seams. He was convinced no one would see that part again anyway. She’d laughed at that, and old Stewart had heard her and been momentarily terrified but convinced himself it was the incinerator and got back to work.