Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Destroying shit

I want to get violent. I want to break things and burn them from the sinside and sin and fuck and live. What I want is to be a fucking cliché of everything that punk rock stands for. These kids get hard on’s for clichés. They want to destroy things, but burning furniture isn’t destroying anything. Fire looks like life to me, bright and red and bold, it’s everything I’m not.

Wanting to destroy shit is what got me into this trouble in the first place. That’s how I ended up sitting here, kicking my fucking heels against this goddamn concrete wall I’ve called home for the past two hours. There’s no way I can go backwards in this situation, but I cant bring myself to go forwards either. I should’ve left her on the street, ignored that light bulb switch in my head that tells me to ‘go!’ But I’ve done it now and I’ve slowly realised that maybe leaving her tied up in the trunk of my car like this is not a permanent solution.

It was the way she looked at me. She gave me a look that made me want to cut her legs off so that she could never leave me. One of those perfect little princess girls that is completely untouchable and plastic. I wanted her, I wanted to ruin her, to put it bluntly. I don’t know how she ended up on that street corner, but daddy must not have hugged her enough, or maybe maybe he just hugged her a little too much. These girls always have daddy issues these fucking princesses. Nothing so pure can stay untainted, they’re so perfect because on the inside they’re ruined. But I’m getting off topic. She slid into my car, and thanked me for the ride, like I wasn’t just some fucking stranger who’d picked her up on a street corner so that we could fake love for an hour or so.

I saw her every night for a week, even though I couldn’t afford it, but she was a necessity, my china doll girl. How she got into the boot of my car is another story, which I cant think about right now so I wont. It’s always been easy for me to push things into the back of my mind, hide problems and push them down into the ground so that I don’t have to look at them anymore. And then when the time is right I can pull them out and examine them from a distance.

My cigarette’s almost run out and I cant put this off forever, I know that. I finger my shiny new toy, the one I picked up no questions asked from a guy who knows someone who knows someone, and then with a sigh I push myself to the feet. Poor girl. If I’d bought a thirty pack she’d have ten cigarettes left until we came to the conclusion of our little date. But she isn’t so lucky, and if she wanted me to be kind to her she should’ve fucking kept her pussy in her pants. Whores are all the same, they’re all looking for someone to shatter them. So I’m going to shatter her.

I pull the boot open and smile down at my tattered little angel. Even covered in sweat, blood and come she still smiles up at me; through the gag it looks more like a grimace but I know better. I rub my finger along the length of the bullet, suddenly eager to put things into action. A small part of my mind is wondering if I should fuck her again now or if it’d be better to wait until I’ve shut her up. You could fuck the hole, a little voice in my mind whispered, but that was too vulgar even for me. I want to destroy things, but not to that extent. It’s important to have limits in life.

When it happens it’s not a bang or a shot ringing out, but a strangely satisfying pop and she flops like a little rag doll. I should drag her out, but I just stare down at her for a second. Soon she’ll join the others, but I have to stare at her for another few minutes. She looks like an angel again, a sweet little weeping angel, bloody tears tracking down her body and pooling in my trunk.

It feels good for now, like a sweet fucking bliss that washes through my entire body. It's a delicious release but I know it’ll build again. And then we’ll start this fucking charade over again, and I’ll find a girl. Because I want to destroy shit, and that never goes away.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Opening to the new book.

The day that I died, my life became infinitely more complicated. I remember vividly lying on a long metal table that was cold against my bare back thinking, 'really? Is this it?" I couldn't tell you how I died, one minute I was sitting with Jimmy and Kate in a coffee shop discussing the relative merits of getting a second muffin versus branching out into scones and then suddenly my eyes were opened by a man with a bright light that he shone into my eyes, blinding me.
"Don’t be alarmed." He told me as I tried to shrink away from his intimate, probing fingers at my neck. "You’re dead. But we’re going to take to you the orientation centre where they’ll explain it to you." I do remember that, I remember than vividly. I wanted to scream at him, make his fingers stop roving clinically over my body. I felt a sick nausea building in my stomach as I tried once more to move, but it was as if my body was thick, heavy and useless. Lifting my arms was like trying to move through a thick pool of treacle, impossible. And then suddenly I was being jostled, lifted and something was slipped over my body, my vision slowly blocked by twin curtains of black fabric that was zipped over my head. Which brings us back to the cold, metal table and the fact that I was inexplicably naked.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sleep Deprived

I've been writing these little vignettes lately, and I like them just as much (if not more) than a proper short story.

"One day ants will rule the world."

I yawned slightly, eyes fighting sleep."No they wont Joel. Ants are tiny and you can crush about thirty of them at one time." Joel was always saying things like this.

"But they can carry about three hundred times their own weight. Imagine if they got organised." He rolled over onto his side and stared down at me, waiting for my response. I just sighed, and shut my eyes, trying to drift back to sleep. He always did this when I was trying to sleep, it was like he was trying to squeeze in every last ounce of conversation from me before I went to sleep.
Sometimes I'd wake up and he'd be watching me, eyes frantic with worry and fear. It was as though he never expected me to wake up, and every morning when I did it was the same shock.

It wasn't any use, I could feel his eyes on me. "Joel, go back to sleep. Please." After a few seconds of silence I heard the squeak of the bed as his body flopped back down onto it. We lay in the quiet, neither of us asleep. My pride refused to admit that my head was now consumed with thoughts of ants ruling the world.

"You dont love me anymore." His voice was quiet, not accusatory. A statement.

"No," I replied. "I don't think I do." It was true. We hadn't loved each other for months. We were comfortable in each other, that was all there was too it. I sighed softly, the distance between us growing by kilometers in seconds. And then, a hand reached out and touched mine, gentle in the darkness. It brushed my fingers tentatively, as if scared of being pushed away.

But our fingers clamped together, and through the blue light of the night, I smiled.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The first few days were just weird and annoying. You’d come out in the morning and find one of the damn things had chewed most of the way through your car’s antenna. A week later, people were crashing because the bugs had eaten through brake lines or the cars wouldn’t start at all ’cause the bugs had gone for all the copper wire. And remember, they just bud off another bug when they’ve eaten enough so their numbers increased geometrically. By the end of the first month they’d done for the entire car, finishing off the engine block and every last steel wire in the radial tires. By the end of the first week people were driving out of the southwest. By the end of the first month they were walking.

We didn’t realize they’d go for your fillings and crowns until they’d done for most of the infrastructure in Arizona and New Mexico. What? Yeah, that’s what caused the scarring. There was extensive reconstructive surgery too, or it would be worse. Would I go back? Huh. I’d have to have some of my dental work replaced but it’s not like I have a pacemaker or an artificial joint. But no. I don’t think so. It may be more crowded outside the territory, but who wants to live without metal?

Excerpt: When the Metal Eaters Came: First-Person Accounts

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

truth and beauty bombs

Timmy liked to walk places at night. His walkman was always too loud, but he didn't like to hear his footsteps against the pavement, they never sounded like his own. He walked slowly, long legs taking their time with each step, taking care never to walk on a crack. he often thought about what he would say if someone asked him why he was walking so strangely, and whether it would be worth it to explain his complicated system of not walking on the cracks. He usually decided he'd just answer that he wasn't walking funny. In the night time no one asked him questions, he could just walk quietly, music blacking out the things in his head that were too complicated, thoughts about growing up, fantasies that he'd never followed through on. He never saw anyone on these walks, and that was the way he liked it. Giving an occasional nod to the passing buses was all the socialisation he needed. he'd always written better than he'd talked anyway. It was windy tonight, the rain slapped him across the face like an outrage. but he didn't mind. So he walked, one step after the other. One step after the other.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As I kicked him once more, feeling my steel-capped boot connect with wet bone; I watched as my valkyrie took to his ribs with a pipe. Spattered in blood, her face contorted in joy as she looked over at me, poking her tongue out and giving me a cheeky wink. When we were finished she turned to me, panting, hands on her knees as she caught her breath. She was tired, we both were. Finally standing, she walked over to me, stepping carefully around his spattered remains and gave me a exhausted hug. I wrapped one arm around her, taking the steep pipe out of her hands with the other, and dropped a loving kiss on her forehead.

"See this is why I love you." I said, speaking quietly as we stared down at black, wet conrete. "It's never a matter of why I'm beating up a clown, it's just 'grab a pipe and join in.'"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I draw solace from the blinking neon sign in the store-front window, across the street saying, 'I'm glad you survived the night' with its comforting human precence through the paranoid early hours of morning.

- does anyone know what this is from?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

This is my (extended) take on an alternate version of the 'choose life...' monologue from trainspotting.

The sad punk

Say fuck you.

Get pissed off.

Use all the swear words you know and make up some new ones. Roll them off your tongue and into the ears of the girlboymanwomanpersonsocietysocialmovement that’s pissing you off. Give them the peace sign to their back, but put your index finger down first. Say yes, no, give them the contrary answers to what they’re looking for. Don’t be someone’s salvation, be their destruction. Be someone’s pathos, ruin lives. Break things, cause a disturbance; wear Doc Martens and studs. Defy societal expectations; drink ethanol instead of vodka, meths instead of gin. Go nowhere in life, maintain a vegan lifestyle, be an active member of a society for the protection of something or the other.

Wear a leather jacket the entire time and pretend you’re not a hypocrite. Have a smart mouth, better yet have a foul one. Choose to be different, choose to stand out. Choose to live up to the clichés of society's perception of you. Be unique, be like all your unique friends; remember to talk about the differences between you and the mainstream (you’re not sheep like them; that gives you the rights to mock). Listen to metal, punk, and oi! Listen to nothing but Oi Polloi and The Exploited. Get high (take acid, mushrooms, weed or e) and think impressive thoughts that could solve the worlds problems if someone only put them into action (though that person sure as hell isn’t going to be you). Ignore the inevitable frustration of being seen as a second class joke, doomed to never be taken seriously. Get drunk every weekend and throw up on girls while you’re fucking them, let the sweat and vomit wash over both of your bodies. Be disgusting.

Go to university to learn better ways to say ‘screw you’ to the man. Laugh at the corporate shills who make passive aggressive threats when you get their coffee orders wrong at the machine your dad got you a job at. Realise that the best way to bring it down is to take stabs from the inside, internal bleeding has always killed our best and brightest. Let a few years go by. Start wearing chucks, act like you never claimed they made from the souls (soles?) of exploited Chinese children. they're only shoes, fuck off you're still cool (or anti-cool, pick which ever one validates your self esteem problems more). Get a degree, first in class. Doing well in school is punk, it's whatever you want it to be at this point. make a five year plan even though the only plans you used to make were to get drunk and dumpster dive.

Get a job at a big firm where no one cares what your agenda is, tell everyone that you're still going to bring corporate New Zealand (now there's an oxymoron for you) down to its knees. Hide the fact that you love the health benefits, Christmas bonuses and communal coffee. Not to mention Amy from Human Resources who always signs her name off with a little love heart and a smiley face. But she only likes Menchildren who wear ties, she hates tattoos, punk and boys who wear the scars in their hearts on their faces. So the plan for the back piece go on hold for now, but when things don't work out you can always still get it later.

Your first date you feel like an asshole as you try to think of polite conversation to make, but you feel like a Goddamn king when she lets you kiss her at the door. Let the decades speed by, stretching out your skin like the torn insides of a rabbit that couldn't make it across the road in time. You know, the one that's slowly leaving a trail of blood down highway 74 on the wheels of exhausted cars. Support the wife so she can stay at home and raise your family, watch the kids at Wednesday sport and place an disproportionate amount of importance on insignificant details; like when that punk kid at work got your coffee order wrong.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Most of the time, when I go to the library, I can't wait to read my new books. I usually find somewhere to park my car and then I read all of the books I got out before going home.

It kind of defeats the purpose of getting them out I guess

Sunday, February 1, 2009

"I'm scared, scarred and probably irrevocably fucked up. But you're the fucking scum of the earth."

I spit the words at the dirty bastard, a thick, white, wad of spittle flicking onto his cheek with the force of my words, and it looks like something completely different, like he's finally the cocksucker I've always thought him to be. Maybe now he'll take a shower. No one should stink like that, a smell that wafts off his body and drags itself down my throat so that I can taste it with my every breath. Cigarettes, sweat, and food, lost forever under the folds of bulbous, yellowed skin. He laughs, and I watch his jowls shake with a kind of abstract disgust; that whole 'there-but-not-there' illusion has always been my best friend. My eye catches on a black piece of something rotten stuck between one of his dirty nicotine stained teeth and I stare at it in something like horror. Horror that this gelatinous creature could be related to me in even the remotest sense of the word. I refuse to believe that we’re even of the same species, the contrast between my stunted body and his too extreme to even consider a resemblance.

If forced, I think I could classify him as Homo erectus. Never did quite make it to modern man, did you dad? Not that there’s anything erect about him, I think as a sardonic grin slides across my face, the face that refuses to see any similarities to him when I stare at myself in a cracked mirror. No, nothing erect, he hasn't stood in about two years. Housebound (couch-bound if we’re being honest here) for as long as I can remember, he makes his nest in our soiled living room. And I get the filthy job of looking after him. Running out for cigarettes three times a week, for greasy buckets of fried chicken from the corner store everyday. The gnarled old woman at the take-out always marvels at my ability to eat so much chicken and stay as skinny, or runty like she really thinks, as I do. Whenever she shares this pearl of wisdom, I laugh. The idea of me even getting one piece is hilarious. I don’t touch the things, except to bring them to this monstrosity before me and watch with some sick fascination as the grease slides down his tremendous face onto his stained wife-beater as he feeds. They’re about the only thing that fits him these days, especially since my mother gave up sewing for him and just started buying them in bulk from the Warehouse. A wife-beater for a wife-beater, my mother used to joke, her blackened eyes swollen as much from tears as anything else. Not so much of a wife-beater now, he can make no more than weak swipes at me, leaning forward on those fat stumps that he used to called his legs. My mother’s long gone anyway, now that he can’t chase after her. She didn't take me with her, and the smashed furniture in my bedroom and holes where my fist connected with my unpainted walls are the only witness to my forever unanswered questions of why.

His words are muffled by yards of fat, as he asks me exactly what makes me think I'm anything better than the same scum he is. No job, no friends, no fucking life. Scum, just like him. And he takes a bitter delight in it, thinking that he's rubbed off, slithered between the layers of my skin so I'll one day become him too. He doesn't know anything about nights I've snuck off to the abandoned buildings where we would bootleg cheap alcohol that tasted sweet like freedom in its cheap bitterness. Where we danced and fucked and fought. We made our own little crucible of what we thought a teenage world should be. We fought with more ferocity, seeing walls that held us back instead of the bloody faces beneath our fists. We loved harder, frantically shoving down our pants in dark corners, silent but for the slapping of flesh against flesh and then the always-cold sound of metal against metal when we did up studded belts. And we lived faster; injecting, snorting and smoking what we could get our hands on, fuck consequences. We welcomed consequences, loved every minute there was pain and upset. Pain reminds you that you're alive, that you're still up and running against the metal machine that grinds your teenage heart and soul into a cold block of ice that sit behind desks day after day talking about when you were young. He doesn't know about that, couldn’t understand even if he tried. Nights when I would steal his ever-precious bottles of bourbon; not even to drink (vodka got you drunk faster, cheaper and nastier), but to smash against brick walls with all the rage that I’d never managed to express until now.

I think fuck you, and then, remembering the packed duffel bag that lies across my unmade bed, say it out loud. I say it once quietly to myself. Once more, louder this time and then I scream it, scream the years of hate-filled rhetoric that I've whispered to myself at night for years on the promise that I'd say it to his face one day. Fuck you for the years when you came home drunk. Fuck you for the years of teachers looking at me with pity in their eyes. Fuck you for not having enough money for shoes, but always having enough to make me go buy you cartons of Marlborough’s. Chest heaving, and completely spent, I run, fearing I'll lose the nerve if I walk, pick up my duffel bag and grab my bus ticket off the scarred wood of what passes for a dining room table these days. He see's the load I bear and his squinting eyes recognize the determination in my face. He stutters, trying to push himself off the couch that has moulded itself to his body long ago, whining in a voice that suddenly sounds pathetic to me that I cant leave, who'll take care of him.

I'm not listening; I'm walking out the door. Then, just before I hit the dirt, I turn. Can I leave? My nerve is failing, faltering to a stop as I realise the finality of what I want to do. I step back in through the door, the fight mostly gone from me, and he laughs. The bastard laughs in my face and tells me he knew I was too pussy, and to get my ass back in here, shut the hell up and get him some chicken. That seals it. I turn back to my purpose, out the door and into the blistering sunset. His voice is growing louder, following me as I walk, and then run, and finally sprint away from him. When I'm far enough that he'll barely be able to hear me I come to a dead stop, dirt clouding over a pair of sneakers that were ruined long ago. I turn calmly around, and scream as loud as I can.

Get your own damn chicken.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Dear Diary or whatever,

Half way through my night there was a pounding on the locked door, a jiggling of the handle and a deep, authoritarian voice demanding that I “turn that shit down son.” Apparently, I didn’t want my little sister to hear that kind of thing. But she’s not so little anymore and it’s nothing she doesn’t know about already, right dad? I gave the door a dirty gesture and muttered a few of my favourite filthy words, sickly pleased when he walked away defeated. Once he was gone, I thumbed the remote, turning up the feigned moans of girls with bra sizes bigger than their IQ’s and generic soft jazz until it was all I could hear. Lying there on my bed, each moan and guttural cry started to sound like an abandoned dream wrenched from the throat of these plastic girls. I wished that their discarded hopes would lull me to sleep, take my mind off of everything that’s outside this room. But they didn’t of course, and I don’t even need to hear it to be all too aware of my parents arguing with muted voices, the sister sneaking a third (or fourth) piece of cake, the hushed sounds of my suburban nightmare of a life.

Even worse, the dull sounds of cars speeding by and drunken shouts of children dressed in the skin of adults, reminding me of my own pathetic social life. These hordes of people with nowhere in their hearts, nothing in their minds. Am I the only one feeling this way? I don’t want to know about the outside world. Give me my own private womb over expectations and heart-felt hopes any day. Expectations are for people who don’t mind being disappointed. Hear that mum and dad? It’s all going to end in tears and not mine either. This isn’t the time for your expectations and rules, this is summer and summer is meant to be about freedom, so why am I feeling so trapped? The walls are closing in on me, pulling and pushing me in a thousand different directions, none of them ones that I’d choose. The sharp jabs of their wants for me, their hopes for my future sting against my skin like wasps, poison leaking through my skin and into my blood. The future’s happening too fast and I’m feeling like a civil war. Two sides of my heart are fighting for the same territory, and my body has become a battleground. One part of me wants to rebel against this small town, Rotorua life, to see the smog blanket the skyscrapers. They have those in Auckland right? The other side is telling me to do what they want, that their future can’t possibly be that bad.

Either way tonight was yet another night wasted, my pants around my ankles and a porno playing out in the background. But at least I managed to jerk off into a sweet oblivion, or as close to one as I could get. Even still, there’s an angry voice in the back of my head, something screaming words that I cant pull apart or understand.


- James

To God, Satan, anyone;

When you’re dying, people really listen to you. I’m not dying, I’m not even sick, so when I talk they just wait for their turn to speak. Ten people all sitting round a dinner table staring at me, waiting for their turn to speak. Why even ask me questions if you don’t want to know the answer? I’m not going to say the right words; I can’t say the right words. If the world’s a stage and we’re all players, then I’m standing in front of the crowd and I’ve never known the lines. So I mumbled something about my life, invent a girlfriend, call her Rachel, and tell them all how much I love her. It was news to me, but the lie flowed out vinegar smooth, and they believed me, complacent in their assurance that they’ve paid enough attention to the kid and can now get down to the serious business of drinking. The dinner party from hell; like a caricature of everything that I don’t want, but am slowly being moulded to become. Pearl necklaces and sweater vests decorated with women past their prime, not the other way around. Ties tied to tight around thick necks, lounging like brightly patterned snakes on the growing bellies of men don’t get to the gym anymore like they used to.

Claire (that’s a fat girls name and she’s living up to all expectations, bulging at the sides and pushing maximum density) spent the night taking shots at my shins with her chubby, grubby feet until mum sent her off to bed saying it was grown-up time. It seemed like a personal insult when she included me in the sweeping expanse of her arm as she slurred out ‘grown-up.’ It probably was. I sat there and wondered when they stopped playing dress up, pretending to be adults, and realised that they’d actually become them. Defeated children, they grasp at stories of the mythical time known as ‘when-they-were-young’ and relive the days of their lost glories. The eternal Peter Pan, I say no to adulthood, even if it’s only in my mind. I’m no grown-up am I? But looking around the table, I know that I fit in too well with this group of conquered teens, dad’s tie hanging like a noose around my neck, the ill-fitting jacket too similar to a straight jacket for me to feel comfortable in it. It seemed easier to give in to mum’s pleas for respectability just for tonight, but it was a mistake and the civil war inside me is taking it as a victory for the side that wants what they want me to, wants the four, grey, moveable walls of a cubicle life. It’s written on their faces in the greying folds of flesh, the bags under their eyes not quite hidden with layers of artfully applied make-up, they see me as one of them, or someone who soon will be. They disgust me in their decrepitude. The civil war is won, and its clear to me that I don’t want this. Tweed, ties and twin-sets sitting around the table like a uniform, breathing into their wine glasses like it’s their salvation. Even at their age, the liquor’s still the main event. Sitting there, a grown-up, I looked around and saw the truth. Good guys don’t wear uniforms, and my life is wearing out its welcome. The screaming in the back of my mind is finally making sense, and it’s telling me it’s time to get out of here.

I’m coming skyscrapers.

- James

To anyone who cares,

I held up a dairy to get the money for a bus out of town. Actually, I stole it from mum’s wallet. Actually, she lent me the cash for ‘school books.’ I booked my seat on the bus, and then snuck away this morning while they were still sleeping off a hangover. I’m finally getting somewhere (or is that nowhere?). They’re always ‘sleeping it off’, probably hoping that if they sleep long enough Claire and I will disappear like their morning-after headache. We’re both mistakes and we all know it. ‘Surprises’ is what they tell us when we ask, but the words mean the same thing. I am a broken condom, and Claire a drunken birthday celebration. But what I am doesn’t matter anymore, does it? That’s my old life and nothing from it matters anymore. As I write, my pen quivers from the shaking of my hand and the bus creaks along in time to the beatings of my heart, coming thick and fast against my chest. This is better than any drug trip could be, watching the town turn to country, the fields speed by. This is freedom. No more James, failed son of Mary and Steven, no more expectations, pressures building against my shoulders, no more grown-up future. In a little while they’ll read the note I plastered to the fridge, somewhere I knew one of them would find it. It’s the first place they go after they roll their gelatinous bodies out of bed. I savour the anticipation as the scratchy fabric of the seat itches against my thighs even through my jeans, wait for them to call my phone, am gagging to hear their voices growing more and more hysterical as they realise I’m really gone. Or perhaps they wont, maybe they’ll simply shrug on their uniforms and go through the motions of their lives, telling no one that they’re secretly desperately pleased to be rid of me. The bus driver swears and I can hear the bump as we trundle over a rabbit. It brings me back to this dirty bus reality, away from my thoughts. No one looks back at the corpse, too wrapped up in their own problems to worry about one dead animal. Neither do I, I’m busy, my smile‘s splitting open my face, and for once I don’t want to pretend to be anything but what I am. Free. The voice in the back of my mind has finally stopped screaming at me. But it whispers still, murmurs that it’s proud of my freedom and me. It tells me its name is St. Jimmy. I’m on the verge of something here, something big.

- J.


You’d always said I was a survivor. I’m surviving in the city, no, better than that I’m thriving. This is nothing and everything like I thought it would be. The sun comes up grey every morning, dwarfed by buildings grasping at the sky. At least it’s not wearing tweed, right? I’ve got places to stay for now, not a street kid yet. Yeah, I’m on a couch tour of the living rooms of kids I met on the Internet but it’s a place to sleep. It might be hell but at least it’s warm. Funny thing is, the city’s just like home. Bypass the traffic and the suits in sneakers hurrying to work, and it’s still exactly the same. Twin-sets and ties everywhere you look. Not around my neck though. Still got a few bucks left so I should be okay for a while yet, though some extra cash wouldn’t go astray. No job yet, but I’m working on it. Not really but I probably should be. Made a friend, I guess you could say, he calls himself Saint Jimmy. The patron Saint of liars and denial, that’s him (me). I shot drugs for the first time today, thanks to him, and my ass took a beating when he wouldn’t pay. Three guys versus two (one if you don’t count Saint Jimmy, he just sat in my head and laughed anyway). Maybe you’d say he’s a bad influence. He’s in my head though (he’s getting to me), changing the way things are. One thing’s for sure, the smog and the skyscrapers is everything I was dreaming of. Send my love (Saint Jimmy says to send my hate) to Dad. Don’t worry about me; Saint Jimmy said he’d take care of me.

- J

Dear nowhere;

My heart is like a bomb, ready to explode. Went to a show this weekend (the band sucked). She was dancing in the crowd like no one was watching her, only everyone was. Hands above her head, she was like a drum pounding out of time, no one was paying attention to anything else. Gyrating against the heavy guitars, giving herself to the music like a sacrificial virgin. Only there’s nothing virginal about her. But she’s got china doll skin and my mother’s eyes. Blue like the dreams I had about her last night. I call her Glory (Gloria) and she calls me Jimmy. It’s better than “what’s his name” so I’m not complaining. It’s close enough anyway. St Jimmy doesn’t like it; he’s seeing clouds on the horizon. But what does he know? The patron of lies and denial doesn’t know about love. She’s got abandon that I wish I had. Nothing matters to Glory, nothing but the music. She took me home to spend the night, and we talked till the sun rose. She thinks I’m full of shit, but she think’s I’m cute. Or was it the other way around?

- Jimmy.

To the city;

Where have all my riots gone? All the rage seems to have disappeared into the early-morning smog. In a big pond like this, what’s one more angry fish? When you don’t get any reaction, there’s really no point to it anymore. The neon city lights are starting to dim, and couches aren’t looking so good anymore. I’m sick of my duffel bag life and ramen every night. I’m in denial. No, wait, I am the denial, that’s better, that’s what Saint Jimmy would say. Lives in silhouette, there’s black everywhere I look. The kids here all wear black like it’s a uniform. I thought I had run away from uniforms? Even worse, I’m starting to look like one of them. The outfit’s change, but the uniforms mean the same thing. They’ve all got expectations about who I am and how I should be acting. It’s the antithesis of everything my parents wanted for me, but it’s still not about what I want. I’ve just got a new set of standards to live up to. Didn’t I come here to escape expectations? The bars might have changed but they still make a cage. They all call me Jimmy now, but even he’s disappearing under the weight of everyone telling me what I should be. I just don’t know what to do anymore, so Saint Jimmy’s taking care of me (taking over). He’s not just in the back of my mind anymore, most of the time he’s wearing my body like a suit. He says it’s better that way, but I’m not sure I agree.We don’t agree on anything anymore, Saint Jimmy and I. People keep telling me he’s a figment of my imagination, but he must be real, because without him I’ve got nothing. He keeps telling me that at least someone’s looking out for me, because I definitely can’t do it for myself. His voice is persuasive, soft and calm, rational above everything else. It’s easier most of the time to listen to him. I’ve still got Glory though. We spend most nights together now (her parents hate me). We slept last night on the roof of her house, backs pressed against the hard ridges of the corrugated iron. We stared up at a nearly empty sky (that close to town there are no stars) and the moon looked back. Glory thinks that it’s watching over us, keeping us safe from what’s out there in the dark. But Saint Jimmy told me the truth. It only shines so ‘what’s out there’ can find us easier. We have a kinship though, the moon and I. It’s as trapped as I am, bound to look to the sun for its light. Just like me, bound to Saint Jimmy to take care of me. I’m not sure I can take it much longer. I tried to explain it to Glory, but she laughed it off and rolled on top of me, blocking its stolen rays of light from my view. Even she thinks I’m losing it, and I’m losing her because of it.

- (Saint) Jimmy

Dear Mum;

Life’s imitating tragedy. Freedom isn’t everything I thought it was. I’m trapped by my choices now more than ever. Dad always thought I wouldn’t amount to anything. Well I’ve gone him one better. I amount to nothing. I bet he’s proud of me now isn’t he? I finally managed to do something right (wrong). Can’t make it on my own, cant make it back home. So where do I belong? My dreams all turned grey and faded away. I met a girl, Glory. Did I tell you about her? It’s hard for me to untangle my thoughts these days. It doesn’t matter either way, she’s dead now. To me anyway. I hope they’re happy together (no I don’t). She could’ve told me before she moved on. But I should’ve known. China doll skin cant hide that she’s got less spine than jellyfish. This city doesn’t want me anymore; I’ve worn out my welcome (just like before). I knew this was going to end in tears. Never thought they’d be mine though. Saint Jimmy died as well; it’s been a big week for death. I murdered him, carved him out of my brain one thought at a time. You were right he was a bad influence. It turns out the good guys do wear uniforms, everyone does. Doesn’t matter what they look like, we’re all someone else’s idea of a cliché. Hippy, punk, trash (that’s me), we’re all living up to someone else’s expectations, what we want doesn’t matter. It’s time I stopped fighting against it. I booked a bus back with the money I stole from Glory before she died. You win, and I’ll live the life you want. Home is where the heart is, but my heart’s been stomped on with careless feet and thrown in the trash. No heart, no home, and no girl. So I’m not coming home, but I’m coming back. At least I wont be sleeping on couches anymore.