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Tag: writing

Two hundred and seven words. 15

He made the girl a one-off tarocky pack, each female pasteboard subtled with her face, shown riding, old heraldic or and gules made with gold leaf and blood, and, while she (abstractedly) ate from a bag of chips, he laid them out, magesplaining thus: that the minor pack, the suit of cudgels scaling the low-born and guttersniped, but also stubborn, tenacious, resistant, determined, the family of swords, they eugenic and noble, quick to defend by attack, but also vain, the company of coins prudent or spendthrift, cautious or venal and easily bought, cups passion, showed her humours each in its proportion, and thereby her character; that the medians of castle, prince, mounted queen, and king gave the place of each minor in the whole of her; that the majors showed her arcane, her specific, led to a tale of her and the road she would have to walk down – in all this, the word he used most was “you,” and the girl noted this, squirmed in her seat, remembered she was a bus ride from home, and licked salt from her fingers, down to the cold taste of skin like cucumber (the soap she used) and the scratch of her fingernail on the roof of her mouth,

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

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Two hundred and seven words. 14

She says, “The noose hangs from my eyes, I kill whoever I see,” but in fact all she does see is the fall of an ash-pit, black, profound, and herself sitting on its lip, and she feels the slip of the motes and flakes under her seat, keeps herself ever on the knee between safe and lost, with a laugh on her face as bitter as a weal, her hands hot, and hard, and aching with sweat, her neck and shoulders cold with the nagging wind – all for the sight of a piece of chequered cloth and a moon face, and she false, fraud, imposter – telling herself there can be no haven in life, only hunger, and she a machine, a grub for turning sustenance to waste; and when she does push back with her heels, the effort eating away at the black ash, get up, and walk away from that silly abyss, it’s with defeat in her heart, her throat choked, knowing an urge that she couldn’t right, a button she couldn’t push, no spine, fail, pulling her thin clothes around her, the wind a fishwife cursing and mocking in her ear, she in a desert, mapless, only a straight line to walk, repeating the curses

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 13

at that time the girl’s pictures take her back to the moment she first became tidal, and she realises that since then she has inhabited herself, the way Eve inhabited Eden after knowing she was naked, the destruction of something truly native but the bed for a tough plant – say dandelion or thistle – that is presented as her real face; “I am beautiful, but I’m alien,” she declares, using one of two voices, as she stands in the walk-up to school, alone, jostled by others, greeted, ignored, feet slightly tilted within black, square-aproned shoes, a breeze stirring her skirt, an item in her rucksack hard against her shoulder blade refusing to identify itself, and – the ground is grey, the verge is green, the school presents itself as a set of squares against the milk-and-dust sky, the moving girls race to a single seashore or to a place where parallels meet – someone speaks her name, a simple act that recalls the legs and arms and bodies around her; the speaker has black hair, a face that could be rounder if use led to it, breath telling Polo mints, so they link arms and break the girl’s lack of motion, propel themselves into the general wave, head for shore

__________

jupiter©Marie Marshall

Interlude: 5-7-5 [2]

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The sealine’s random

strata written in the cliffs,

cursive, messaging.

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

Just about the only reason I’m putting in another haiku is to trumpet the fact that the Autumn 2018 Showcase at the zen space is now published. I would like my regular readers to visit. Here is the portal. Thank you.

 

two hundred and seven words. 12

Let’s murder a few years, she thinks, slipping between backstage and a fire exit to make the sin of fish and fish (this in itself nothing new) with a rocker, a cocktail of adrenalin, vodka, and perspiration (!) and – having worked out a storyline where the narrator cuts and eats piece of herself every day, keeping a journal, seeing how long she can stay alive or maintain her resolve, will there be a point where she stops, saves her own life, or at the very least refrains from writing the words “love” and “kiss” on any page, but instead becomes fascinated with the squidlike melt of ink and blood, heading a new page to the effect that pain is only relevant to a moment, all of which could be parlayed into song lyrics – only to be prized apart by the rocker’s boyfriend and left there like a forgotten story, the ache after an electric shock or a wasp’s sting, carrying the mess of (yes) a kiss as a hipness signifier, in the space between backstage and the fire exit, the music baffled into the tread of an army or a gross-score of heartbeats, the girl muttering that it’ll soon be morning anyway, and we’ll all spill out

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 11

It was the occasion when the girl laid her mouth to the bare shoulder of a young Caribbean woman, an experiment into whether it tasted of oranges as well as it scented, that she realised something had broken – as though a moment ago she had been taking alphabet blocks and arranging them, rearranging, twisting results to make the most uniform colour and the most repeatable letter appear on the same face of a wall, her cheek against the solid floor and its rasp of carpet, and the endeavour failing or, at best, being tantalisingly close, until she realised a trick of space and time and breathed a sigh of delight – the way an exultant gale sweeps away leaves and limbs, the latter a reminder of stark change, and it wasn’t the sin of the tidal pull, the wax and wane (and indeed she would still have innocence, but innocence of a different cloud, innocence of a different weather), but it was enough to lead her to the swings at Blake’s Rec, or again to the little source of a little river, as though the sight from a different angle or a listless sway would recapture something, even the blood-metal taste on her fingers, a first indication of

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 10

207 Probably the girl’s greatest sin of her youth was her abandonment of imagination in favour of reason; before that betrayal (of herself) she could observe a person the way you would step back from a statue you had just made, fall in crush with it, and kiss it in her daydreams; after that she could see the pure stone, the straight, brown track, the division between rain and sunshine that could refract and make a double bow that a Bible would call God’s promise and she would call a natural terror – the same as leaves of frost on a window pane or the lower of a nimbus; her night-dreams, however, continued to be about flying and about a maze of rooms in a lit house she should know, and she came down from them into a world where you could – and this amazed her, almost took back the reason – find love, a thing that darted from moment to moment, took the eye and made the mind build a score of other views; in this state she would keep count by shifting pennies from her purse to her hand and back again, always in fives and, refusing ease, wrote her first poetry, the rise and fall of hymns

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 9

When asked what their favourite colour is, no child will pick one that is a combination of two others; tell the girl that black represents no colour and white all colours, and she may half-raise her hand, she may look askance out of the window, she may lower her hand and then her eyes, remaining silent, but unconvinced, sinful in her mind that if that were true then neither block could be made for her paint tin, as each would be an impossibility; at break-time, while others run for milk, she circulates – as though a hostess at a party – asking each friend to choose, daring any to say orange or purple, stopped – as though a stone in a field – by the older girl who raises a cynical eyebrow and murmurs “Magenta,” which she does not believe; looking over the school wall at the fields and marveling that with such an abundance of chlorophyll no one defies the rule, and deciding that the leaves and grass are the product of mixing the shines of yellow sun and blue sky, and not of some feeble, boring science – better even to blame God for it, and for the wind that causes the trees, trapped giants’ fists, to threaten out of

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 8

Before you ask when the girl became detached from her shadow, here’s the moment – when she realised that it was growing taller than herself and fuzzier in the head, and watched it bob and bow in conversation with a tree, bend as it crossed a wall, melt into the black beneath a parked car where cat’s eyes regarded her without blinking and ignored her dark second-self; when she jumped and saw its wholeness, and spent the afternoon remainder jumping until someone shouted her to stop, maybe for the seventh or eighth time; after which, and for the rest of her life (so far) she held close to the sin of separation, adding that to her trophy line, to her catalogue of severed heads, to her squadron of dirty words, and to her at least five different ways of tying her shoelaces (and counting); until then she had been aware that, when someone called, “Hey you!” and she waved back, the shadow had saluted, the far, grey hand had attenuated; and she had run to the wordbook to enquire of ‘penumbra’; once or twice giving her shadow’s hands the look of kangaroo paws, but no more – the whole thing has bequeathed her an upward tilt of her

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jupiter©Marie Marshall

Go here to read my macabre tale from Shetland.

two hundred and seven words. 7

It always occurred to the woman that she and the girl, though separate beings each with her own moment and one deep in the uncertainty of re-coloured memory, had shared a wisdom, and one that had never increased or diminished, and that she had always known what she had known, and that that had been unveiled rather than achieved; this was the sin of believing herself to be a statue, chipped from a marble seam, and that, more often that otherwise, by her own hand, or by each passing person and thing at random rather as the winds tear a cloud, or by the block falling from the vein and rolling down the hillside – the taste of vanilla ice cream was good because it had been familiar at its introduction, there never having been an original experience but merely a reacquaintance, a reacquisition, even as the cold tore at her tongue, even as the melt dried on her fingers, yes, yes, I know this – but not stone at all, more a witch in time, born adept and everywhere reminded by experience, calling up herself by words and spells, that kind of wisdom; possible she knew this from watching flowers, which she would do endlessly, and then running

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jupiter©Marie Marshall