who used to be my roman

The monster rattles on down its path, smoke fuming, great rumblings erupting from its insides. It slithers on as the sun rises further into the morning sky, jerking to a stop every so often, thrusting its bowels against its metallic stomach. I have been swallowed up by this creature, along with a number of other victims. Somehow, despite its lack of natural vision, it always knows when humans are in its vicinity and quietly and stealthily rolls up, jaw folding open and snatches its prey like the great tiger of the Amazon. And oh, do we pay to enter the creature. $1.75 for students and $2.75 for anyone else, to be exact. I have entered the stomach of government consumerism in order to avoid other types of consumerism, such as the gas market. I am being eco-friendly, as we call it. Public transport is my monster that I have tamed. I know the single seats are most comfortable when not taken, which they usually are by elderly folk who falter onto the bus not without wincing and groaning, earning the winning seats. The inner window seats at the back are preferable since you can lean on the cold heavily violated glass and avoid falling asleep on stiff, crew cut sporting business men wearing too much cologne. Today I was lucky and scored a seat adjacent to a window and not any window, the one next to the four seaters, leaving me to face the chafing, bustling crowd of people. Here I perch like a hawk and observe, watch, scrutinize my fellow victims of the 21st century.

Roman Petrov, or whatever your name is, why do you keep your wool gloves on in the sweltering bus? Don’t you have trouble flipping the pages of your Russian medieval Excalibur novel? Your blue eyes blink frequently – at least eighteen times faster than you can turn the pages of your illegible book. Perhaps as a child you dreamt of finding that power-granting, shining weapon and smoothly, effortlessly gliding it out of the ancient druid boulder as your reflective armour captured and froze the sun in time for those few precious moments. It would have been glorious, life changing, crucial. These were the dreams you cherished and were left with after your father had confiscated your book collection claiming it poisoned your mind with useless stories and distracted you from the ultimate goal: real life. Of course you grew up being told that “just like your father, grandfather and great grandfather” you would need to get your hands dirty and work hard at life to support yourself and your eventual family. Working hard didn’t mean reading pictures books and day dreaming (you couldn’t have been writing since you were six years old when you were first told off and had only just memorised the alphabet). It meant manual labour and being a real man. You would watch your father chop wood outside from the kitchen window where your mother would be slaving over beetroot borsht and beef stroganoff. Sweat glistened on his temples and he barely grunted as the swinging axe came crashing down on the logs with such force you thought you felt the window ledge tremble. As he pursed his lips and narrowed his hard eyes to center in on the next target, your six year old blue doe eyes knew you would end up being forced to start growing. Now however, you are free to read your Excalibur novel, thousands of miles away from frail, sallow skinned, bed ridden, whining Papa Petrov.

The gnawed red patch on your neck gives everything away. Have you made sure the bruises are tidily tucked away in folded up patches of silk skin? Are you the handyman of more than woodworks and electrical wiring? Or should we call you the deconstructor, is Jacques Derrida your best friend? You must see a hierarchy of value in your opposite. What is it about her that makes you feel inferior, makes you ache to shove your chest in her face, silencing her forever? Let us hope the rule of indeterminacy applies.

You tap your steel toe boot against the base of the bus bench and I wonder, would you kick your dog in the ribs after he’s shat on your convex mattress? Your mattress is yellowing and clouded with stains anyway, why should you care? Or despite your steel toe boot are you tender and soft, even though your bramble bush beard may scratch and burn a woman’s cream canvas skin? Was it your woman who brought you shopping, that time that you bought that military flag and badge patched jacket that I’ve seen boys at electronica shows wear while tripping on pills and chemical snow? Were you embarrassed and uncomfortable among the hip, young and tattooed sales clerks? It suits you though even if you’ve tucked it in to your belted paint stained work pants, which accentuate your slightly bulging waist line. Sadly you inherited your father’s genes in the width department, something which you feel highly insecure about. So do you discard your life in a toilette bowl after every meal or are you more subtle than that in your insecurities? Anyone could tell by the way you shift from foot to foot and how your chest swells as you desperately try to suck in your stomach, drawing in your breath sharply every so often. Perhaps you believe your protruding chest translates into a sign of self-importance and assurance, fooling everyone.

The moment has come. You gather your wreath of electrical wires, fold the upper left corner of page 236, tug at your belt while taking a sharp breath inwards and finally your eyes meet mine. And all I can do is look away hastily, afraid you may discover the life I have created for you. I’m not entirely sure I wish this world for you, you see. You pull the yellow surrender bell. You must have a tender and persuading touch for the monster responds to you and you march right up to its mouth, shoulders square, your big boots weighing heavily against the monster’s stomach and without a word you take your leave, valiantly and resolutely; curiously in a way that reminds me of Arthur.

A couple minutes later it is my turn to break out. I wonder who has been observing, constructing, forcing, re-creating my life for me. I wonder what this alternate universe would be, what they wish for me. Do they know what I wish for? Did I know what Petrov wished for? I pull my hood over my mop of hair as it has started to rain and pull the yellow bell. Tugging at my sleeves, I remember I have to rush home, do reading for my creative writing class and go to the gym. The weather is certainly a deterrent but that dress has to fit for the party next week. As for my reading let’s hope it has some effect on my ability to let loose and write something somewhat appealing, something my critical, artsy parents might appreciate. All these thoughts floating around almost prevent my escape from consumerism’s bowels and I dive out of the mouth into freedom, only to be attacked by hundreds, thousands of plummeting raindrops. I put on a stern face as I walk down a cement slick path, braving the other civilians trekking home. They don’t know where my home is, or what I’ll be doing when I get there. They don’t know that my father hasn’t spoken to me in weeks for reasons too complicated to explain or that I crawl and shrink uncomfortably in my own skin and that fitting into that dress has been pressuring me for weeks. To them I am Petrov, slightly struggling just like anyone else to end the day without calamity. Do they wonder about me or do I pass right by undetected? I walk on, not afraid to be watched, to watch others go by, looking for another Petrov to re-create and mould.



The room was still other than the occasional flutter of the floor length beige curtains, the occasional rustling of sheets, the occasional ghostly creaking coming from beneath the floorboards, the constant whisper of her breath tickling the invisibly blonde arm hairs.

Suddenly, life, like tiny fireflies, streamed from her roots to the tips of each solitary hair and burst into orchids crowning her deathly still visage. The flowers flourished, nuzzling into the stark white sheets, wrapping around her stark white ankles, matching her stark white face. The softest tickle of a petal on her inner wrist couldn’t wake her to see this beautiful clustered bed of proliferation. The growth began to engulf the room, spreading like veins on the scratched, groaning, wooden floor and up the whisper pink walls. The orchids, like fingers, wriggled their way into the drawers imploded with clothes, into the corners that were never dusted, around the padlocked tin box containing all the secrets of her world, around and into the vase of wilting red daises – no match for an orchid.

And yet she did not stir, frozen like a statue holding her breath.
If she had awaken she may not have even moved, just lay there in veneration. But she did not wake.

The white petals stroked her and lulled her: a beguiling ploy in the quiet story of her demise. Soon the army grew and its soldiers were so numerous they began to grapple for air, entangling themselves, sweeping her lipstick, perfume, paddle brush and mirror off her oak wood desk, stems wrapping around the picture frames so tightly, shattering them. The white children grew so hungry for a breath or two that they seemed to have forgotten about their poor slumbering mother who had bestowed life upon them but could not manage to keep a portion of the gift for herself.

And so she wilted among her stark white sheets. Only the tinted shade of suffocating, delicate blue in her skin peeked through the silhouettes of her children.

sentimental symposium

Rendition of Paul Verlaine's "Colloque Sentimental"

In the old, now barren and frosted park
Two figures passed some time ago.

Their eyes are dull and their lips numbed white,
Their utterances are barely caught.

In the old, now barren and frosted park
Two ghosts extort the past.

“Do you remember our delirium in rapture?”
“Why should I remember?”

“Does your heart still murmur at the mention of my name?”
Do you still dream of the closeness of my soul when I am not near by?” “No.”

“Oh! The days of ineffable elation and constant laughter
When our lips were tinged with a lasting blush!” “Right. Wait, when?”

“How the sky was halcyon and how the hope was high!"
“In the end, hope escaped, defeated, as the sky turned hollow and shadowed.”

On they walked across the deadened, ice sculptured weeds
With only the night to overhear their words.


rouge diabolique #6

You know when a man wants you when he gives you that look. The look that says “yes please, I’ll take all of it and more.” It seeps into your pores and sets fire to your veins, a simple narrowing of the eye, a slow upward curl of the lips, perhaps a cocking of the chin. My streets surrounding Boulevard De Clichy are held in hypertension because of these glances, they are what I live on, literally. I am the virtuoso of the two-seconds-longer-than-a-normal-glance, of the slight hip shimmy at the corner street, of the perfectly draped pearl necklace that draws attention to all the right places.

I know that all the high class bank men with the stiff suits want to do to wind down at night when they slip away from their wives is tear the tassels of my dress, pull my hair out of my pins, bruise me. I know that young men who are taken to my district by their friends to experience things for the first time might not want me physically since I am not manly enough and would prefer to sit and disclose secrets. I know it all, I’ve seen it all.

Tonight, things feel different. Men infiltrate the street and I wait, knowing my rouge has been carefully spread and I’ve perfumed the undulating crease of my breasts. And yet my one pair of silk stockings that I haven’t the money to replace keep slipping from my garter’s hold and the same shingled lock keeps falling out of my bobbed pinning. I insist to meet men’s eyes and I encounter nothing. Every look stops at the first extra second, and never reaches the second and final before the deal is closed. What is wrong with the world today? Has everyone gone mad? Do they know who I am? Have I not been the topic of conversation enough for people to want to see for themselves? No matter. I always get my wait’s worth of money. Most of the time. My knees quake and my mouth dries out. More rouge always helps. I pull out the tube, flick off the cap – shit. Was that really necessary? ¾ of the red cream cylinder (4 fucks to afford) now rolls away from me, across the sidewalk, only to be stepped on by an invading patent leather brogue shoe. Lovely. Red smears and splurges out. The owner of the shoe is the only one to give me more than a 1 second glance- he gives me a five minute explosion, red faced, eyes glaring, mouth spitting. Thanks.

I look around at the mill of passing people and the girls posing, pouting, fluttering eyelids, and I feel bile erupting. The pretences, the extra effort to sexualize every one of my actions. I need my dimly lit closet-like room and my patchwork sheets. I need it all and I need it void of anything related to this underground empire of sweat, heaving and moaning. For the first time in 2 long months I’ll go back to my lair empty handed, without a hand on my ass, without my lipstick, without sweaty cash and sleep it all away.

like[d] - telling time

A slight-eye scar on the left hand,
Tanned and dried up dirt-encrusted grooves,
A "c" and an "m" and an "a" knifed into ancient time's boulder,
Empty unfinished window frames of a 4x8 foot club house,
Left over turkey sandwiches on paper plates, on glossy red placemats,
Shrivelled up flies on the window ledges,
Like belly-up dogs aching for a belly rub.


Plaid black and white skirt being hugged from behind,
"Hey, I didn't see you there."
Scalding hot soup, making bubbles on taste buds,
Two dry winter stricken hands in one yellow pocket,
Beat up local newspaper, local acts, local laughs,
Ice cubes glinting and clashing in a plastic gin and tonic cup,
Sunlight on a pillow, hair like veins spreading across sheets,
Just you wait.

vampires don't sparkle

A purple and white polka dotted single bed rested in the corner of a miniature room, frills and lace lining its perimeter. White turned beige bunnies, one eyed bears and rainbow horses shielded her from the looming white wall corner. Bookcases made for giants cradled the vast collection of The Saddle Club books and Young Rider magazine issues. A pink Lion King hat, blue, yellow, pink headbands, fake pearl necklaces hung from purple knobs on the wall, matching the purple knobs screwed into the white dresser. The rectangular tank on the desk projected eerie, undulating blue shadows that pushed the walls in and out, in and out, in and out. The thought that these same walls were peacefully still during the day was so far away from her, as was the memory that at around 3 o’clock every afternoon, right when she would be getting home from school, the sun would line the window and spill onto these same walls, catching the gleam of her tin money box, the crystal of her prized kitten figurine collection and the mirrored home made jewellery box as it went. The only thing that flashed and glimmered now was the eye in the crack of her closet that she was sure kept blinking at her.

Her body lay squeezed by her teddies, begging for protection, and two little hands gripped pink striped sheets, knuckles get paler by the second. There was just so much space between her size 2 feet and the white bed posts, so much space to hide the fanged, colorless, bloodless body of a killer. Short, weak gasps came from her mouth every so often as she remembered to breathe. The goldfish eyed her, forgetting their promised duties of guarding and watching the room for movement or threats of attack. Her heart unclenched for a moment when she remembered the bowl of garlic her mother had finally placed in her room after days of begging. Would it work? Suddenly, a blob-bloop-BLAP- darts up, eyes so wide, swooping in their sockets, double foot landing out of the four posters, hand snatches up a clove, a bear, a blanket, leap to the moss-like purple carpet, hoping to avoid all cracks and noise, arms wrapped tights around body, no extremities risk being grabbed, surrounded, silence. Don’t move, don’t move, don’t move.

A goldfish tank air pump was never so much of a terrifying trigger.


curved lashes hold the warm air in this instant
as grass trickles through hair and strokes dough skin.
the horse charges into the blood of obscurity,
the banana moon stretches
into the tie-dye sky,
artificial numbness tingles my curiosity.

[ sugar giggles scratch through the rich peace of this painted novel. while eternity spits and sucks, like lapping slime waves. ]

babies snack on milk and breath
while I choke and gag on them
and vomit bitter resentment.
you swiftly murmur, lavish and sigh
and drift into lush vanilla bone grooves.
brisk adoration smoulders thickly
into minor frozen fear.


prod my skull into a blunder,
dulling it with a pillow
until it shrieks under the bury
of wreckless attempts;
your attempts to silence a pan-dimensional beam,
a subliminal fury born within you,
a subliminal winking, twinging control.

* * *

through the forked paths to the enclave of your genius
is where I want to be.
am I lukewarm?
am I cold?
am I hot?
I am elbowing you to let me feel
the twang of your catharsis,
to cup the ballast of your thoughts
and drink
drink it up.

burrowed bundles

hidden away for months
from the brash stormy sky calamity,
preferring to stay curled up in warmth
dissolving into one another,
transferring heat back and forth
until somewhere in the dreamy time line
there's a short circuit in energy
and the claws protract
and the moment contracts
until they fuse into a compact
sphere of quivering life
once more.

it would seem as though
the intensity of this season's freeze
close to implosion,
pressured Sun to come out
and show himself,
prove himself
to nature's affiliates
for a showdown of the senses,
once more.

so as sun ascended,
taking its place in Sky's living room,
stroking the crackling twigs of trees,
sighing on the rigid sheets of ice,
murmuring down into the mud enclaves,
the two named Entity
yawned and nuzzled and stretched,
but always into each other,
once more.

though the glaze peeled away from their eyes,
though their fur ruffled up,
though smells infiltrated their nostrils, simultaneously tickling taste buds,
though the shelter crumbled and caved in,
the warmth only grew.
and grew.
and the cycle began
once more.

sonnet -4

His intentions are only pure within
The dark abyss centering his pupils' holes.
And yet the white backdrops are still glaring,
Evoking the last purity of his soul.
She's nothing until her mind starts to stray,
Yet he doesn't even need instructions now.
He'll still check his cards; it's artful child's play,
Hidden there's guilt he wishes he could avow.
"Never again" once more at the tip of her tongue,
Two pink gutters run, taps of sentiment.
It isn't the first time the "never" is shunned,
Ground pulled from beneath her, a routine descent.
As he blows on the fleshy groove behind her ear,
She knows she'll never be able to steer clear.


How can one write passionately
About a dead feeling inside?
Go against Wilde,
Kill the feeling&pencil it in-
We dare you.
But how and what
When nothingness enrobes the zigzag route from the heart to the hand?
For emptiness does not yield to the lush rose-fruited passages.