Posts tagged prose
Posts tagged prose
Thank you for all your amazing submissions! It’s been a really good time going through dozens of poems and stories, I have been extremely inspired by you all!
Going into this, I was sure I would have to beg my close friends to submit their writing to me - ANYTHING so I could get this issue started, and thought it would just be a fun way to get some of their poetry and prose more exposure. But wow, after just a week I began to receive submissions from extremely talented writers from all over the world, and some critically acclaimed, published poets, novelists and writers of all kinds - it’s all right here in Issue #1 - I hand selected them all and feel this first issue is a stronger start to The Gunfight Review than I ever could have imagined, and it’s because of you guys! Thank you - now go read!
It sometimes hurts to breathe when the door in my mind that leads to you is inadvertently cracked open and you flood in crushing my windpipe and engulfing my lungs with a regret that I keep locking away. I have tried containing your memory and what happened between us with the rationality of black and white, but I think in colour and smells and music all of which ignore locked doors. All I can do when this happens is wait to be forced under and tumbled until the roaring in my ears softens to the stillness of the pale spots dancing behind my eyelids, that are the ghostly outlines of you retreating seconds before the pain would cause me to pass out.
Then there is that pause, so brief, when it seems nothing matters and I know what it feels like to be exquisitely dead. The cold slap comes with the next inhalation, and you ebb out drawing momentum, ready for another crash of coldly served desolation. If I am quick enough to recover I can rush to close the door and lock it again, and I do time and time again, gasping for air in the wake of another near drowning. I have drowned a thousand times already, hoping for a day when I can look at the ocean the same way I used to.
Right now it looks like the grave you dug for me just before you left.
They were old dear friends, lovers even when it suited them, though you wouldn’t think it if you watched them playing cards together. Fate was a game that they both played to win.
The game was complex; rules were decided according to the hand, and the prize ultimately decided the winner. The prize was made up of energy levels that manifested the cards for each hand depending on the outcome of the previous one.
Their names were Hope and Lack and today (which was usually, about fourty to eighty nine years long in earthly terms) they were each intent on winning a particular ‘pot’ called Sarah Randal. They were master players, leaving shorter lives(and smaller prizes) to the less skilled of their particular race to hone their fledgling skills upon.
The game had started well in Hope’s favour. She had played hand after hand of self-esteem, talent, imagination and family support. Lack had sighed at his occasional big card such as death of a family member, a serious car accident and a near drowning, without much luck. Sarah it seemed had iron clad energy levels and would bounce back with the help of Hope’s excellent set of cards.
Lack was getting seriously bored with the game, and considered folding in Hope’s favour as he gazed out the window at the infinite cosmos, marveling at the ridiculousness of the stars’ ability to engender faith in all those silly humans. He was beginning to hate Sarah, just a little. “Pissy spoiled bitch, getting it all”, he thought. Anger was a good emotion when it came to Lack and his ability to play cards, it made him sharper and quicker, better able to read Hope’s deadpan face. He decided she was going down tonight, even if it meant he would get the cold shoulder in bed later.
Elizabeth Longbottom had an unfortunate name and a fascination for penises and botany in no particular order. Being rather shy, homely, bespectacled and vertically rabbit shaped, real penises were something she rarely encountered, so she chanelled her passion into her career instead. She had some fancy credentials in the bioengineering and as a direct result of developing some super speed bacterium, had increased GM corn productions in the first world substantially enough to make some economic impact. This impressed a well-known pharmaceutical company, posing as a seed giant (and backed by plethora of rather filthy politicians) enough to offer her a large pat on the head in the form of an obscenely huge cheque.
She took the cash gladly and retired to the coast to continue on her own pet project which had birthed itself from a hot sweaty fantasy in her youth, whilst observing a large wind blown palm tree and simultaneously having a fantasy about Christopher Reeve’s ‘Super Man’ sized bulge breaking free from his leotard. It was then that her mind had conceived ‘The Penis Tree’.
Five years into her retirement in the middle of a blazing summer her first plantation looked ready to fruit. She had spliced together some coconut palm and pineapple genes, made a withdrawal at the local sperm bank, siphoned off the Y-chromosomes, tossed in her super fast maturation bacterium, and voila- the first Penis tree seeds had been born.
She had waited for this moment since her breasts had first started to sprout, and ran down to the plantation every day, her heart doing hopscotch like a ghetto kid, until she saw the first one.
It was magnificent- nine inches long, salmon coloured, turgid and perfectly penis shaped; she gasped with joy. The next day, they were popping out everywhere like flashers wearing green tasseled trench coats. She picked one and sat down beneath the trees pushing back the thin skin on top and sucking gently, to check if it was ripe yet. It exploded as sweet heavenly milk against her palate, tasting almost exactly like a Pina Colada.
She sighed, as the sticky juice flowed down her arms and between her (aroused) sweaty thighs and had two immediate thoughts- “just needs a shot of rum”, followed by “I would be happy to suck cock like this for the rest of my life”.
Darla Dearborne hadn’t meant to die, at least not quite when she did. The glass of poisoned wine had been meant for her husband Dave.
The problem with Dave was that he had become fat, boring and unambitious. The solution to all this she thought, lay in his very well insured life. Having already had triple bypass surgery, he was a myocardial infarction away from making her dreams a reality. Darla wanted haute couture, travel and young firm lovers. They had always said that she looked like Marilyn Monroe, far too glamorous for her isolated farm life. She had however been waiting for ten years following his last heart attack to escape the drudgery of Dave’s pig farm, and wasn’t getting any younger.
She was in the lounge putting on some Chris Isaac tunes, having left the glasses in the kitchen, when he had come home unexpectedly early and grabbing both glasses, brought them through to where she was fumbling with the stereo dials. He handed her the glass with the small chip on the base, which was (she thought) the one that had been left untouched. “Cheers”, she said smiling. “Clever, stupid, idiot, fool”, she mused.
“Hey Hon, what’s the occasion, are you trying to woo me?” he simpered, smelling rather strongly of pig manure.
She viewed the juggling belly that spilled over his belt and smiling jowls with distaste, “such a lack of pride in letting one’s self go”, she thought.
“Err, yes Dear, just a lovely romantic evening for the two of us, the casserole is in the oven.”
“Lovely”, he said, taking a large swig and winking slyly, “I’ll just go get myself spruced up for some loving”.
She shuddered slightly, as though she had touched a frog, knocking back at least half her wine while watching him lumber fatly toward the door. Just then she became aware of her inability to breathe. Clawing at her throat, she fell to the floor. Dave rushed over crying, “Honey, baby, what’s wrong?” His wineglass flew from his hand, landing on the floor next to her expiring head.
Her last conscious thought as she noted that his wineglass also had a small chip on the base was, “man, did I fuck up.”
Then she was in the tunnel of light, (she had read about this part) and she felt all light, floaty and for the first time in her highly strung life, very, very peaceful. She whooshed about until it became slightly boring, before landing rather suddenly on a strange beach.
It was beautiful-just as she had imagined heaven would look like, all purple palms and pink sea, and was that, no it could not be, Liberace on the piano to her left grinning like a Cheshire cat?
She approached him gingerly and inquired “ Mr Liberace, could you perhaps show me where God is, I fear I need to explain a few things to him”.
“I am God”, smiled the piano playing Queen, “but then so is he, and he and for that matter, so are you”, he gesticulated in the general direction of two men.
Darla stared toward the men playing chess. “But that is Sadam Hussein playing chess with Ghandi. What is this place, where is heaven, or hell for that matter?”
“Do you think you belong in either?” smiled Liberace.
“Well I certainly never thought I belonged in hell, but I have done some terrible things, so surely I should be punished?” she said rather mournfully.
“Was living not hell enough for you already?”
“But that is Hitler over there, and he is playing Canasta with… oh my God, Mother Theresa!”
“Heaven and hell exist only in our mortal minds, we all go to the same place” he said, “there is no reward, nor punishment for our deeds, we have judged ourselves, and been judged enough already do you not think?”
With that he pulled out a purple whistle and blew hard. “I think there is someone you will enjoy meeting”, he smiled.
“Marilyn Monroe!” she gasped.
“Sure thing Sugar, “Now let me tell you what really happened between me and JFK”, said Marilyn grabbing her hand.
So arm in arm, Darla Dearborne, walked the beach of the afterlife with her heroine, thinking to herself, “so this is all there is”.
Being petted subversively is far more intrusive than a downright grope. I became an unwitting object, based on my apparently ‘loose’ job description this week. My wrist still tingles at the feeling of having been probed.
“I hope you get a boyfriend soon, you are too beautiful to be alone”, somehow feels worse when it comes from a seventy year old who has discussed his erectile problems re his thirty-year-old waitress girlfriend with his doctor, while I was present.
The thirty-year-old woman that did not visit him once in hospital, despite his hourly phone calls.
“I hope you find my happiness”, he said, grabbing my wrist and stroking my hand meaningfully.
“I hope I don’t”, I thought, gazing at the tentacle marks.
I wish there was an easier way to make you leave. Perhaps you stay because the words I write are not elegantly poetic and lack the poignant craftsmanship I have observed in others who hold you in such esteem. I apologise for that. I am sure you deserve better, having lived alongside people far greater than myself.
You see the quandary here is that you are mine, or my version of you, so you are in your current embodiment- perfection. I wish I could reassure you of this so that you would stop clinging to me. When you hold me so tightly I can barely breathe, and the tears you crave to slake your thirst are unable to fall.
Why you chose me, or when you arrived I have no idea, perhaps you just grew in me, feeding on the detritus of my life’s worst moments. I do know that you are all grown up now though, and it’s time to go, time to free yourself and me from our unholy companionship.
I am packing your suitcase full of saved up tears; they should tide you over until you find a new place to live, there must be so much perdition just aching for your charmless company.
As close as we are, I would prefer no further contact.
Your Mortal Beloved
It was so cold last night as the last freeze of winter, still had her jealous crone hands around the spring maiden’s throat. I took a hot shower, as hot as I could bear, to scald away the weariness of the thirty-six hour shift, before collapsing naked between my sheets.
There was no thought of you at this point; it came far later on night wings delivering dreams. It dropped you right into my sleeping, barely breathing state for the first time ever. The first time since I had soaked your Davidoff scented shoulder with my tears for the last time, as you looked at me with the gift of regret, which was so unshapely and awkward, that I found it very difficult to unwrap. I could never find a place to store such a bulky package, so I left it in a corner where it would catch my eye and consume me on occasion.
But last night, I heard your voice again, and it made me smile; you had not changed. We spoke of things that had happened and you started to leave me just a little. When we made love it was the first time on repeat, incredible and wonderful, as you looked into my eyes and said, “I love to be inside you”. I remembered it all then in a tapestry of tears, so quickly spent.
Regret was there, in its corner watching and I walked over to pick it up and finally look at it for the first time in years. It had grown smaller, and squirmed away in my hand as it felt the change in me, knowing that there had been no change in you.
I smiled and threw it out into the night mist of your leaving, and watched it wink and fall as I shut the door.
She went, because she said she would. Promised to get out, try to live a little. Living a little was something she did extremely well. She was trying to stop, but the stretch of pain in her chest would cry for its relief. Living on so much little does that.
She arrived at nine, spotting them tits out trawling next to the jukebox. She ordered her cognac, and said some kissy hellos.
Another pointless bar, and a slow start to the observations that would always happen before she lost the snake of self-loathing that strangled her into safe corners, pinning her hands to her side, leaving her just enough air to gasp at. Small breaths at a time, slipped in between sips of neat amber as the stench of cigarettes and normality began bleeding away and a young boy with a deep voice started the swooning to Leonard Cohen.
“ A drink?” he said ( a some, someone).
The serpent relaxed a coil or two; “sure, do I get ‘crack and anal sex’ I finish it, if I drink enough to go home with you?”
“ Lady, it’s not like that!” he said backing off as quickly as he could.
He wasn’t the one, it was far too early. Give the Leonard cherub an hour or two, and the crowd a few more shooters and he would emerge. He always did, every time with a different face.
Mostly she liked the mirror of her own regret, the next morning as she left them dead. She loved to straight talk them six feet under, as she polished her blade ruby on their throats.
I was reading Murakami on Clifton beach the other day, late spring sunshine slithering between the beautiful people, swimming out to their yachts moored fifty meters off where the champagne parties were in full swing. As the light faded, we all pulled out our candles to make rings around ourselves in the sand. Some of us alone and some of us were very much in the company of friends, families and dogs.
The purple light and the magic of the candle lit beach, kissed by the icy Atlantic made it a favourite place for me to come and brood on windless warm evenings. The low tones of happy people, cold breath of the sea, and oracular display of the mansion lights climbing up the cliffs that are strung over millionaire’s mile, always make me feel safe and warm.
I stretched my legs into the cooling sand, snapping Norwegian Wood closed, as the words lost their fight to the fading light, when a ticket stub fell out.
You had decided to trespass in my safe place. ‘Cold Play’. A memory rushed in on the rising tide, and I turned toward the last sliver of the sinking orb, that had sunk in a similar way the last time I had seen you, the day you returned the book.
That ticket had been meant for me, but you had found a better prospect.
Suddenly my beach was cold, my lungs felt stuck together, unable to expand. I kicked the candles over without bothering to pick them up. My safe place was gone, accidentally desecrated; it had become the best friend that had never said what she knew, for fear of hurting me.
“Won’t cry, won’t cry, won’t cry,” I repeated as I grabbed my camera, abandoning the book and the candles and running up the three stories of staircase to get to the car park. I could hardly see through the tears.
Grappling with the latch I flung my stuff into the boot, when a tap on my shoulder made me gasp.
“Hey pretty lady, you left these,” he said, handing me the candles and the book. “It really is a good book, and you might have your reasons for abandoning it, but give it another chance, sometimes we need to give second chances”.
That he had a wonderful smile, was about all I noticed in my desperate bid to escape home. “Thanks”, I mumbled, “You are very kind.”
Later that week, I picked up the book, brushing sand off it and opened it to where I had been reading. There was no ticket stub, but there was a sheet of paper. It slipped open and I read.
"You are Love,
You are Loved
As you sit amidst It
And revere Its
It surrounds you
Even as darkness closes in
It holds you forever in
It’s newborn eyes
The beauty of You
I smiled, heart leaping as I turned over the piece of paper to jot down the number on the back.