last tuesday club

"She believed the world had begun last Tuesday. January the twelfth, to be precise. When I asked her how she came up with the idea, she just shrugged, before looking at me as though it were obvious." – Charlotte Amelia Poe.

Category: Misc prose

how to be autistic

you will be told you are a troublemaker, that the thing you can’t put into words yet that divorces you from everyone else, is responsible for the way the other kids pick on you and you really must try harder to fit in. you will realise quickly that you cannot trust anybody, not really, because they will ask you to do things that break you, that will haunt you for years. you will meet people who you will revisit in nightmares and go to places that will hide behind your closed eyelids as you toss and turn at night. you will learn to be afraid. you will learn how to be afraid and still breathe. you will learn fear as survival.

nobody will ever tell you what is wrong with you, just that you are wrong, and that what you do and say is wrong. you will look at the world and you will see everybody else and find yourself lacking, and not know why. you will cling to the edges of tables and shift in your seat as you try not to pass out as another wave of panic crashes through you. you will vomit on your shoes.

you will not be allowed to go home.

you will learn that retreat is safer than attack. that home is safer than outside. that people are cruel for the sake of being cruel and the scars of their words will etch into your brain. you will scratch at your skin and pick at the scabs and mark yourself in the most base animal way of blood and torn flesh. you will make deals with the devil.

you will cry hot tears and smudge your eyeliner. you will wash the streaks off with cold water and be sent back to class. your legs will fold and you will forget how to stand. you will believe them when they tell you that you are doing this on purpose. you will learn to hate yourself the same way they hate you.

you will take tablets designed to sedate and you will still not BE sedate. you will fondle the silver of the blister packs and thank every god you can think of for these small blue marvels that allow you a space to think and be without the constant gnaw of anxiety. you will leave the house and the world won’t end. you will learn that these tablets are the only thing that can save you.

you will learn that the people designed to help you don’t care whether you live or die. you will learn that being suicidal means a four week wait for an appointment. you will learn about forged care plans and missing medical records. you will listen as medical health professionals lie through their teeth about you. you will wonder why nobody ever took a step back and actually looked at you.

you will stop looking in the mirror. you will feed the hatred and disgust and loathing that grows black and malignant inside of you. you will line up for the firing line and stand back straight facing the muzzles of guns because you believe you deserve it. you will think you are a burden. you will be told over and over by charities that say they want to help that you are better off dead. you will hear about the murders of other people like you and hear the sympathy poured out to the murderers. you will learn that your life has less value than normal people.

but –

you will live in spite of it all. you will read and write and draw and paint and create and sing and dance and laugh and love. you will be magnificent. you will feel the catch in your breathing as you walk towards the best day of your life and you will keep walking. you will hold close to you the people who didn’t abandon you. you will never, ever be able to give enough thanks to the heroes who ran up the phone bill, who made appointments, who begged and pleaded on your behalf. you will look into your mother’s eyes and know that she loves you without conditions. you will live to see your sister’s children grow from helpless to incredible. you will sleep with your cat’s fur brushing the end of your nose and smile to yourself as she purrs. you will push yourself further than you thought you could survive and you will survive.

you will survive.

you will survive.

see, here’s the secret. to break concrete with your bare hands, you have to train for years, breaking your fingers and healing those fractures until your bones are stronger than your obstacle. every time you’ve cried, every time someone else’s words have broken you, every time you’ve wished you were dead but survived the night, you have broken and healed the microfractures of your soul. you are carbon, turning slowly to diamond. and every single time you were knocked down, you stood back up.

carl sagan once said that we are all made of star stuff. that when the universe first exploded out on itself it created the atoms that eventually became us. so when your breathing hitches, remember that you are swallowing ancient planets, that every single second since the birth of our reality has been leading up to this moment. so, you’re allowed to be afraid.

there’s no bravery without fear, no courage without that awful lump at the back of your throat and the turning of your stomach.

you will survive.

because it’s been thirteen point seven seven two billion years since you were created, and you are fucking cosmic. you have shone in night skies before day and night existed. you are a fluke, a chance, something so utterly unlikely that the odds are incalculable. and yet there you stand. a miracle.

they’ll never understand, the ordinary folk. because they take what they see for granted, and it’s not their fault, it’s just all they’ve ever known. you have had to fight for your existence every step of the way. so you know, you know the cost of survival.

and i know, and you can trust me on this, that you are going to claw your way through this life and one day, a long time from now, greet death with a smirk and a firm handshake, utterly unafraid, because fear is something you know, but, like a wolf showing its fangs, your fear makes you powerful.

and i think, maybe, that’s why they were afraid of you. because they knew your potential. they knew that you were more. that in the light of the moon you were beautiful. so they tried to hide it from you. tried to beat it out of you.

they failed.

you will survive.

the bridge

last chance to save a life

take a deep breath

what do you say?

cinéma-vérité

the older we get,

the more movies we loved as children,

will become graveyards,

and the actors mere ghosts,

haunting screens,

as we outlive our heroes.

smaller, still.


It’s weird, I think, seeing things you’ll never have, whether it be in the media or books or real life, experiencing second hand emotions and touches and those small innocent moments of love which are undefinable yet so, so important. It feels like intruding, as though you’ll ugly them up by your mere presence. It feels like a heavy weight on your chest, a knowledge, a certainty, and it makes you curl up at night under the duvet, like a dormouse, a small ball of limbs, pretending there’s somebody besides you but knowing, with a clarity you can’t deny, that there’ll never be anybody beside you, that the arm thrown over your waist is your own, and that you can’t pretend that the heaviness that it lends to your hip belongs to another. It’s weird, I think, reading love story after love story and knowing that your story doesn’t include that word: the four letter word that matters most, that you may feel it, but nobody is going to feel it for you. That it will always remain abstract, something other people experience, something you don’t get to have, because you don’t deserve it, and because you’d fuck if up if someone did look twice. But thankfully, thankfully, nobody looks twice, at the mess of hair on your head, or the way your smile turns down, or the way your body is a mess of a life ill-spent. So you sleep and you dream, and for maybe moments you know what it’s like to feel the touch of a hand against yours, or lips on lips, or just the trust and faith in another human being. It isn’t real, but it’s the closest thing to, and when you wake and touch a finger to your lips, chapped and dry, you try to recall the sensation, but it’s already fading. It feels like a small life, a life full of yearning, of looking through dirty windows and trying to catch a glimpse at what could have been. There’s no five stages of grief, no acceptance. Just this: that you are alone, and that you deserve it, because you are you and that isn’t enough, and shouldn’t be enough. The sense that you are unworthy is palpable, you can almost hold it in your hands. You are unworthy of this beautiful gift, which is why the music didn’t stop on you when the gods played pass the parcel with your life. You never got to unwrap it, never got to see the prize. Maybe one day, you’ll be okay with that. But today and tomorrow and all the days for months and years to come? It’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt more than anything you’ve ever experienced. And nobody will ever understand, as they lace their fingers through the fingers of their loved one, how lucky they are. How intrinsically better they are than you. How their lives shine and sparkle and have this gleam to them which yours never will. It’s a loss, in a way, you are mourning the loss of a potential outcome because you believed it could happen to you. But of course, really, you’re you, and what did you fucking expect? All you are is skin and bones and no words, no loveliness. You’ll die as you live, alone, unremembered, un-thought of. Because of some quirk of fate twenty seven years ago that broke you. And keeps breaking you. Every single day. And you would scream, but you don’t have the energy anymore. Not for that, not for anything. So you watch from a distance as people gravitate towards each other. And you grow smaller. And colder. Until the fire no longer warms you and the bed seems so much bigger. You curl up a little tighter and imagine the heat of a body beside you. But the cold air sneaks under the blankets and reminds you. Not for you. This is not for you.

Baby Doll

I’d been trying to tell you for a while at that point, that I wanted something concrete, set in stone, you know? That a few hazy days texts felt shallow at best and cursory at worst. Careless, almost. I tried to be understanding, I did, that your phone crashed a lot and your dyslexia made it hard for you to read and write, and so I didn’t push, because pushing only leads to pushing away, which was the last thing I wanted.

‘Course, when it comes to what I want, I never know ’til it’s too late. And sometimes my brain can’t make its damn mind up at all.

Part of me wanted it all, the grand gestures, the sensation of skin on skin, lips on lips, the words spoken between lovers, you know. And another part of me was too damn tired, too damn worn down by promises and maybes and tomorrows and never ever the promise of something exclusive, something unique.

Selfish, I know, but I never, ever, claimed I wasn’t.

Is it a Mexican stand-off if one party doesn’t know they’re involved? ‘Cos it sure feels like one nonetheless. You said you had nothing to say, so I’m letting you say it. What can I possibly respond with, if you don’t have words after a freaking holiday? I think you forget how damn isolated I am, how a holiday is as sparkly, shiny, rare as a trip to the moon for me. I’d listen to every word you had to say about it, look at every photo you took. But I guess, if you ain’t in the mood for sharing, I won’t be in the mood for listenin’.

I think I like love stories a lot more than I like love as a concept. Love stories have definitive endings, or they fade to black and you know, with that fuzzy feeling inside, that everything’s going to be okay. Real life ain’t like that. Real life is uncertainty and knowing that one day you’re going to wake up next to someone and wonder if you even know them any more. Real life is crueller by half and then some.

I understand completely why you wouldn’t want to tether yourself to one person – what if it went wrong, you know? And I understand completely why you wouldn’t wouldn’t want to tether yourself to me – the most boring human alive. There are trainspotters with more compelling stories to tell, let me assure you. Vibrant and excited, they’ll tell you about the time they saw such-and-such and how it changed their life. What can I tell you? Nothin’ like that.

I am, ultimately, a failed experiment. Psychology gone wrong. I think every child is an attempt to create something beautiful, but I got warped along the way and now I’m ugly and uncertain and so, so freaking selfish.

So – tell me if I got this right. I love you, but you don’t love me. And you never will. And finally, finally, I’m okay with that.

Love ain’t for the likes of me, the outskirts of humanity. It’s a nice pipe dream, and reading about it sure is fun, but it’s not a reality. And that’s okay, really.

Just – just don’t text for a while, okay? Or ever, preferably. Because I fall again so easy every time. And your words are like moves on a dance floor, smooth and silky and supple, and I try to keep up and follow the beat but I just can’t. Yet they’re utterly compelling . You do what I can’t do. You keep me reading, wanting more. And I think you know you’re doing it, because otherwise you would have stopped. Because there’s nothing more fun than seeing a cat bat at a feather on a string, or chase a laser dot. Cat ain’t never going to get a filling meal out of it, but it sure is cute how they try.

I’m the cat in this analogy, I should mention.

You know, being lonely sucks. Seeing the same damn faces ’til you start to hate them just for their familiarity sucks. And it’s all I can do to keep from screaming sometimes. But the answer? It’s not you, is it?

It’s not you.

Sorry, baby doll.

sharp teeth

girls have sharp teeth
you may not think so, but they do
for biting, bruising kisses
to drain the blood and leave the husk

girls have sharp teeth
with settled words behind them
waiting for a perfect moment –
to let them free to sting and burn

girls have sharp teeth
they keep them sheathed but –
the right moment will show itself
and when it does – oh when it does,
they’ll rip you to shreds

’bout a girl

Concept: two girls in a fifties diner, with the kinda accents you only get if you’ve lived in Brooklyn all your life and take no nonsense from anybody.

One of them blows bubblegum obnoxiously in the other one’s face, the pink bubble bursting just short of her nose.

“Now you stop that, this here’s a respectable establishment.” The other girl protests, drawing a grin from bubblegum girl.

“Then heaven only knows what they’re doin’ lettin’ trouble like you in.” She smiles, swallowing the gum.

“Could say the same for you, baby doll.” Not bubblegum girl parries back, but there’s a smirk on her face. She takes a sip of the giant chocolate milkshake set between them. “You ever wonder what they think of us?” She asks, glancing around the room.

“Not for one second, I got you, and I ain’t bothered about the rest of ’em.”

“You gotta be a little bothered.”

“If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’.” Bubblegum girl says, and tangles her fingers inbetween the other girl’s. “Ain’t that what I say? If I’m lyin’, I’m dyin’. And I ain’t never lyin’ to you.”

“I worry, is all.”

Bubblegum girl squeezes her fingers tighter.

“Never got to worry. These losers, we’ll take ’em all, we’ll run this town one of these days. Or we’ll take off an’ never look back. Baby, we’re made from the stars and made for the stars. Why, I’d snub the moon if it meant lookin’ at your face one more night.”

“You’re a really sweetheart sometimes.”

“Don’t let my momma hear you say that, she’ll think I’ve gone soft.”

“But I know the truth.”

“Someone’s gotta.”