Rosslyn Winifred Prosser, Gretta Jade Mitchell
X wonders why it’s demanded of us to be greedy for lxfe. Please answer my prayer. Please answer. Answer, fireman! But fruit trees don’t speak and xntellectuals don’t pray.
Hear me confess.
X’ve watched the last breath of animals —
The last breath, xnjected with the
green dream of expiration.
mercy, have mercy
The last breath. Watched in awe that final
exhalation when the dark galaxies as strict as
orbital sanders, freshly ground, descend on
the brain. Taking breath.
watched the last breath — at times by my hand.
X’m not afraid. But for her. Out in The Valley, MDMA. X never dropped her. She can dance but she can’t stand. Can’t stand that a man be fuckxng up her plans. Dead on my feet, never dropped her ‘cause X love her. It matters none if you don’t understand. We loved like The Damned. We battled, we danced. Until she fell on the bathroom floor. Now all we have is gravity fed, when once we defied the poison, getting hxgh.
Beside her, standing still; X’m her last man.
The danger hangs over her head. Drxp, drxp, drxp… even her sxckness is rhythmic. A cure, they say. Drxp, drxp, drxp. Curious how fighting words betray dumb fear. Oh my, how X despise him. Dr. Xp. D/rxp. At least we have MTV. X don’t want to fight but X’m Bad. Black, leather clad. Cease to X. X to exist. Cease to exXst. We danced, we battled.
Xt’s getting harder —
They linger in the corridors.
— to find her veins. We joke about junkies and long for that night a decade past when we knew the best course of action must be to —
procure a lowly habit, and dxe hxgh. Too bad all we learn comes too late. Too late.
Away with a fine line, last lessons like frost.
We are on the third floor of a new treatment centre. She asks me not to watch. X look at the book in my hand
Mxcroscopxc, the arrangement of cells.
X’d intended to read knowing it’d be impossible. I crawl out the window instead. Wrxtxng in the streets below, X hit the ground running. A flexing coward, a hard sissy criminal, like Jean Genet X flee this place to get hxgh in the sun while she dxes.
Beside her, standing still; she kisses me. Eases my forehead, because she knows X’m sorrowful. Her lips are cold. Cold like fever shivers, sweating it out. She sexes me; though a queen and me a jungle gypsy.
The bed is denser than permanent sorrow.
And we are known by no other.
Over me, X smell her. Smoking the end of her love, X xnhale and hold thirteen, fourteen, fifteen years… until my left lung wheezes masochism whxstlxng. Taking (dis)charge, X am a steer who knows where the fence is down. Follow me, the fence is down!
She says, ‘Do you know what happens to a lovebird when its mate dxes?’ X can’t speak. My tongue has other things on its mind.
Some labour over pleasing.
But we don’t work — fuck that. (Did you turn my radio down? Never touch another man’s radio. People dxe for less than that. People dxe for clichés.)
Denied as the feathers fall to ground.
‘Do you?’ she is shifting against me. Again. X can’t speak. My tongue has other things on its mind. X manage a pathetic sound —
— more gesture than word —
a sick moan like life.
Holding back becomes more than it is. And
not now, not now, X won’t do it.
‘Answer me!’ she’s angry.
A petal unfolds and reveals its purpose.
Opened for perusal.
But X can’t speak. The sun is abstract in my concrete sky; she bxtes my ear. Not a cute bxte but hard so it hurts, so it leaves a mark, so everyone can see that shame is not my strength.
That shame — a rock polished with daily
reverence, a distinctly alarming and
Her look says, ‘Speak!’
Punching yet another fxst of myth through the
sxlent path where X limp toward her.
X am certain X don’t want a lover to obey.
Despite the scuffed and worn sorrow.
X drop my eyes and say, ‘They fly alone.’ She’s sated, happy X’m wrong.
Hands close on her. Wxnnxng never, the never
soft of dungeons.
X’m happy she’s happy. My defeated air enrages her. So she changes tack like an xnquxsxtor. Dares me to deny. Simply deny. X view this as a victory but it doesn’t change the fact — X’ve already lost.
Stored in you like a bunch of left-over fives,
the answer slips out of blistered hands.
‘They RXP out their own feathers and dxe.’
The stain is left on my wall. The puncture
marks resemble the entry point of the dyxng quill.
A song from 1991 plays inside my head. Wxnxfred is coming to visit. Her grammar is Monique. She’s Welsh and eats sardines. At one dollar a tin, X couldn’t help but try. Even my dog was too weak to stomach it. X’m trying to say she’s tough; but wrxtes, researches, femxnxne.
X am visiting; it is my lover, my ex-lover,
my lover, my friend. In the intervening,
when 1991 is more than a song. Is the
song “Gxrl Trouble” or “Do You Really
Want to Hurt Me?”’
We are on the ground floor of the Private Hospital — in therapy. Back then the gxrls liked surfer boys, longhairs who listened to Vxolent Femmes. Even though there was no surf? Because there was no surf? X ask Wxnxfred my riddle. X pose. A poser with a poser.
X’m 35 when X lie down with the stimulus of a
year that is both four numbers and 12
months, and is pivotal. In 1991, X can show
you that X’ve left longhaired boys way behind
and now invest in my own longhaired nature.
Here is a photograph of me at 17, here is my
longhaired… to my understanding, in the 30s,
in one’s thirties, boy.
Now accountants are sexy. X guess that counts. No one loves a bum. But X hate doctors. . . . Let me qualify: doctors of medxcxne. Beware! they are somehow worse than ministers and preachers. Gate keepers to God, to Morphxa. Their power, extratextual. And they’re lazy note keepers. Her file is riddled with errors. Errors don’t reveal anything. No homo, no dxalectxc.
The toilet is filthy. Typical of privatisation. Loose latte bowels and office ladies and X’m not a cleaner —
— have been a cleaner, and cleaned the toilets
of others —
— FM radio and optimism and X’m just doing my job and it’s not my job to clean the toilet. These women really are unbelievable. X despise them like Eliot Rodgers.
X can’t say, x can’t say.
X always cry when X see Wxnxfred. She’s not like the other women, doting on their bitchy sons because they came into being from their cunty sties. X always cry. Not a wxse cry, not a sxlent tear, but phlegm and phlegm and phlegm and phlegm. She’ll have to wash her shirt again. X’m all over her shoulder.
X’m used to crying women. They make up my
days and… land sliding down my cheeks and
onto the ends of nights. Only it is ever
darkness. Or is darkness the original? X’m
used to crying women.
Frustration dilates me. How many times do X have to tell her? How many times do X have to negate that? Negate that. X am not a woman. No. But a sxck and ugly man; a scoundrel, the nastiest, most ridiculous, pettiest, stupidest, and most envious worm of all those lxvxng on earth.
X’ve forgotten how to read the cliché that falls
to my shaking last body, the lost body
fragment circles me and is resonant with
clarity. Why X ever wanted to be anythxng
other than what X am. The generational
problematic. X wanted to be a man, a man
without probing genitals too. What X am. X’m
reduced now to finding, but found the place
between is wracked with horrors of
unknowable intensity, the desxres distant and
distilled, X make them. What do you want
then? That X should remember everything
you say, as if gorging myself instead into my
easier tales of who X once was? Only your
wormlike nature will revive my memory. She
is always sxngxng, it blanks out everything.
Then the lyrics overtake all the corners of the
brain. You have no need for other ideas to
The patient used to sing me sonic, ‘[…] my friend Goo has a new tattoo.’ She was one of the cool kids. Too good looking and anxious, falling at night into surf rock dreams. Me? She says X was too cool. Dancing without moving my feet, hair falling
It is a great and known strategy.
over my eyes, she wanted to humxlxate me. X wasn’t accustomed to her style.
School, the humming coming down the hall.
The whistler taught me nothing.
X wonder where all this fluid comes from. Xs my cranium leaking? At the bus stop? (X’m not going to ask the doctor.)
X wipe away any of this.
Wxnxfred looks at me as if X am capable of anything now.
With this song and leaking into the cavernous
She’s either scared or excited.
You’re dyxng, but you are.
The floors shift under me. I feign survival. Can she tell? X’m not smart enough to see what she sees in me. X’m not smart enough to care.
We just didn’t get the sentence. Empty chests.
To know is how you are. X tell them to ask
you. X don’t see anythxng that can illuminate
your knowing. X am invested in the idea of the
autobiography of tears. But, the
bildungsroman, to get it from the horse’s
mouth is ever an experiment. But they resist,
knowing the horse has teeth and a swift kick.
No possibility of truth escaping your lips; they
are dry and caked with the fluorescent stain
of radxatxon. You contract. You change
colours, change your look. They cover their
groins and shins like a warning sxgn.
Twenty minutes a day for thirty days. My wxfe? The target. But doesn’t radxatxon cause cancer? (X’m not goxng to ask the doctor.) He thinks he’s a specimen. He’s not.
Trying not to show his clerical delight at the
experxment on her dyxng.
He bangs on his keys like a secretary in size 13 heels. X scoff at the fool. Fuck you, Tony Woo. And then X remember,
There jammed between future and present.
she wants this man to save her lxfe. It doesn’t surprise me when he lies to us.
Rescue me. Put your hands to my throat.
Xt makes me glad X’m suxcxdal.
Her treatment room is closed behind a sxgn to protect us. X’ve seen the machine. Sample that — the Western Sky of war. Of one, two, three, four nuclear (X am her only family — and X don’t count) weapons. Drop that — industrial pulse. Rhythms that built her, rhythms that kxll.
Like kxllxng cells.
Cells kxll that won’t dxe.
Kxll cells that won’t dxe.
In time, in time.
She’ll lxve long enough to learn she’ll miss Wxnxfred when she dxes. I’ve already lxved long enough to learn I don’t mind dyxng.
We can take out the xntellect if we choose.
And my hands hurt from the wrxtxng X have
Do not resuscxtate.
Wxnxfred spies a dyke doctor. X’m excluded from their sxlent recognition. Why? Mostly X’m presumed heterosexual. Even lesbians can’t read me. So X’ve always lxved outsxde. X don’t want to pass. Not at all. Xt’s beyond my control. X dress like a man. And still X’m figured straight. X wonder what kind of straight gxrl they think X am. A masochist who likes reading Sade?
Anything that appeals and makes me wake to
touch. That is how power works. Am X afraid
of memory and all of its dxstortxons?
Colluding about, over or with your body as
the object of my oppression? Am X? X can’t
escape the willing things X’ve done. Colluding
with an emotional rendition that can only
work outside of you two — in the name of
closeness or mistakes of desxre — the couple,
the rigidity of your surroundings producing a
perception of collusion, locked in a shield of
external gazes that construct as patient and
carer. Watcher watched; a slipstream of
orders and organisation, diagnoses and
varieties of inclination to obey the words of
others, their textual presence. Interpretations
and unfolding uncertainties, giving myself
over to a moment of more powerful, more
seductive, more delirious internal collusion
with a recognisable other, potential dyke
subject in that universe of rage, anxiety and
derxsxon that X bow to them: hospital
corridor, bedside, curtained cubicle. X
betrayed you without a second of repentance,
and reduced my own word-making to the
place of my world colliding with yours. No
sunlight where X lxve then. In a world of
contradiction and denial, a contradiction and
an assertion of observer. X have held ten
times the numbers and types of bodies that
don’t obey sxlent recognition. X don’t even
know what this thing called communxty is.
Unless it is to enliven, to enter into the space
around my body from the outside. It is an
illusory structure that exists in the mxnds of
Does it exXst?
X wonder if at another time — in thirst, in
hunger, in quiet seduction — X would
abandon regulations and boundaries.
Rejection and abandonment, rules and
rosters… X’ve never been one for the glance or
the once-over, except in collusion.
X can’t stop laughing. So X don’t get to tell Wxnxfred that in Emergency this dyke
X can’t stop laughing either, now that you tell
me this —
doctor asked my wxfe if she inserts animals into her rectum. She said — she had to know. Then asked me, slipping on her glove, if I wanted to leave. Leave her alone? With you? Alone, with you and the questions you just have to know? She didn’t read me. So I look at her with an imperceptible grin that says — it looks bad, doesn’t it? Living in poverty, a young wxfe close to death in the basement of a Public Hospital. But, make no mistake, X am smarter than you. X read you.
What if X told you that X know people, the
people X know, ask?
What if X told you all my stories are true? True story. Like 120 Days. X still hate doctors, dyke or no. But Wxnxfred is kind.
Are doctors even — knowing who inserts
objects, xnanxmate and anxmate — the
But they don’t know; the dyke doctor was wrong!
They are not made but something makes
them (insert xnstxtutxons into their rectums).
Where the pleasure prxncxple and the very
ordinary, very mundane expectations of their
‘calling’ are confused by the eradication
prxncxple. My kindness, their qualification,
their ineptness a big part of their xntellectual
solxtude. Treating people has never been
about how one treats people. They are only
ever capable of a routine set of ideas — to see
the other side (perhaps X should stop doing
that). But, hey X’m not excusing them, they
have to watch people dxe. And it possibly
makes me a fence-sitter. But of course, watch
other people watch people dxe. Xs that what
makes them? What would X say if they asked
my beloved, did she xnsert animals into her
Of course they are the problem! Certified with intelligence, degreed… they don’t understand why cancer patients take up smoking.
Outside dragging on the coffxn nails…
The only way to say goodbye to your oncologist.
Equal abandonment, it’s not the smoking that
And no, not made. Xnstxtutxons are made by people and their anal
Bound up in that horror, everyday beating of
an obscene heart.
matrix of fear of pennilessness.
And hatred is not fear. Homophobia doesn’t exXst. Homohate lxves in our homes. We dxe in the hateful hospxce.
Heroes, that’s what they wanted to be. Supermen saving lxves.
Still kicking, she lxves, like him, superman.
Superman ain’t saving shit. He’s affected with quadrxplegxa.
Solxtude? These guys jetset together in a circle jerk of funding.
Whore-House. And finally, they enjoy watching people watch people dxe — paid well — to do it. Just ask the workxng gxrls.
Wxnxfred wishes she’d met me before X was jaded. We’d have to go all the way back
(X’m breathing with you now, your ankles
possessed of winged speed.)
to 1987. Back then all the gxrls liked stockbrokers, American Psychos who listened to
(water and fire, run to that river, leaking
Kraftwerk. The market is a fascist. No matter what they say. Now skater boys are
(into a sordid and appealing place, louche)
X can roll with that.
(X’m breathing with you now, humidity
The key to survxvxng QLD is to learn not to be gullible. Don’t mistake me. This is not
(a sweat space next to you trapped in a
a guarantee. It just helps you to avoid simple traps. Skaters know. Tic, tac, toe.
(With you, time passes more forcefully, in the
X’m not feeling mxsanthropxc this morning. So, X don’t have much to say.
(Expectation, decay, expectation, dismay.)
Somewhere parents are pissed off with their children. Let down! Fuck you, Ma.
(Fuck X’m breathing with you now, X’ve left
my own you.)
Da? Aren’t you dead yet? This is my loving side.
(Capacity to know what is going on.)
This is my hxghsxde.
She dynamo. She was.
(You have to tell me, X see you are part of…)
The patient’s cigars taste of anise, something pleasant burning morning.
(Incense for the barest and flying, punctured
by the dispossessed kxng.)
Dreamtime creatures in my world. Earthworm rich, bxtch. Rib me, Skeletor. There are no flowers in my garden.
(But they are in your mind.)
“X won the gxrl.” She says.
(And what a gxrl, and what a wxn.)
It’s a terrible joke. She means me.
(She could not have made a better smack at
the side-show, knock’em downs, she chose
you. What a wxn.)
Wxnxfred, X’m sorry. But the paitent, she says X have to know what X’m sorry for.
(if there is no dancing at the revolution)
for not dancing more.
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