you know, i pity the fool
who gets sucked in by you
there was an eight to one bargain plea
taken out by a jury of able seamen
and disabled heathens, replete with catgut
and the souls of little children
but life went on; repeat, repeat
while your many hands made work of me
you’d think you’d elicit sympathy
looking so tentacley and shit
but no, public opinion’s not cephalopod
friendly, it seems, so you’re left high
and dryin’ out on the harbor wall
where it all began, back in 2004
when i recall the first time i saw
your legs and the small
of your back and your shoulders
quite broad, and i thought “she’s a sort,”
you know, for a bird with a face like
Neptune’s sock drawer
then we got married, didn’t we?
on brighton beach, we stood in the sea
and you laughed because i fell over a wave
and i laughed because it was my perfect day
even soaking wet in a suit, I wanted to be there
i wanted you, and sure enough, post reception
we went back to the suite and we made love
in eight positions, it was a steamy affair
four arms and ten legs, slime on the chairs
and then we had bruce, our son and heir
a beautiful kid, he takes after you
except he doesn’t look like a squid,
which is really good news
ten years further on, it started going west
when you flirted with bruce’s judo teacher
laughing at his shitty jokes and suckering his chest
one night, i went to see him, to knock him out cold
but he put me in a choke hold and i passed out
and pissed myself in front of all the kids
and then they started calling bruce “pissy squid biscuits”
whatever that means, and we started to fight
every night and he cried and he cried
and he begged you to live with me
but you had the law on your side
cold and oblivious, they gave him to you
the situation was ridiculous,
because you’re three quarters terrible mum
and one quarter hideously amphibious
soon after I heard you’d hit the bottle
the stress of being a single mum
it hit you harder than most, I suppose, because
you can drink eight bacardis at once
but at least I got him back, little bruce
he’s safe and sound at home with me
and luckily he can’t see you now, head bowed
and naked, falling into the sea
you’re dried up and worthless
The telephone rings. Zelda Fitzgerald thrusts herself from her armchair to answer it, nudging the table next to her and spilling her fourth pink gin of the day. It is 9:22am.
She knows it’s Francis. She’s been waiting for his call.
“Hello? The voice on the other end declares tinnily, “ Zelda, can you hear me?”
“Yeeeeah, I can hear ya…” Zelda says, the gin liberating her Alabama drawl.
“How you doing over there?” she manages, one eye partially closed.
Zelda was vaguely aware that Fitzgerald was staying with one of his Princeton chums after a class reunion at the university.
“Yeah, yeah, it’s going great here. I’m thinking of staying over at Biffy’s a couple more days. Is that OK?”
Without waiting for a reply, F. Scott barrels on,
“Listen Zelda, my love, I’ve only got Biffy’s typewriter over here and the ribbon’s just busted. Could you write something down for me?”
“Sure, honey,” Zelda slurs into the receiver, tongue on her cheek as her chubby fingers wiggle grotesquely in the pen pot before eventually retrieving one.
“Okay, honey, goffforrit…” she dribbles, pen poised over the baise of the telephone table.
“Okay, here it is… “In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
“Whaaat?! Honey, the connection’s terrible, say it again, will ya?”
The line is crackling like an empty pack of Luckies.
At this point, the free hand she’s using to support herself slips from the edge of the table and she just manages to stop herself from falling over, skilfully using her forehead and the nearest available wall to save her embarrassment.
She looks round sternly at the empty drawing room, challenging the furniture to make comment.
“Hello, Zelda, did ya get that?”
“Not quite, honey, just s-say it one more time, the line’s really bad.”
“Chrissakes woman, will you just listen for once? This is really important and Biffy and I are gagging for a martini. You ready?”
“Yeesssh…” she replies, twirling the pen between her fingers to facilitate the more traditional nib-down approach.
“In a real dark night of the soul, it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day.”
The static on the line becomes so loud, Zelda holds the telephone away from her ear. By the time the static has passed, all that can be heard is the dialing tone.
Zelda, benefiting from her self-imposed best-of-three rule, finally returns the receiver to the cradle and looks down at the table.
She stares, baffled, at the sentence she has scribbled directly onto the green felt of the table top.
“Inner ear star light often sold, kisses honestly a cloth into mourning, stay outta jail?”
“Sheesh,” she turns and addresses the furniture again, “it sure ain’t one of his best.”
it was one of those nights
we went out, invincible
with nothing to lose
except, it would seem, our wallets and shoes
and our fingers
they smell halfway between bacon and innertube
God, what did we do?
we were embarrassed to ask
incase we’d put wheels on a pig
at the tour de france
or put johnnies on our hands
and sucker punched a sow
or did we all have sandwiches
at some mechanic’s house?
we’re a little stumped
until it all comes flooding back
tackling that gang of butcher gimps
armed with crackling and hams and
very lean mince
and coming off worse, a gimp’s not averse
it would seem to thirty five quid
and some second hand Converse
oh it was one of those nights, alright
it was one of those nights
a titular skin
just as thin and
as the one
in this neon home
gin soaked and
cursed with thumbs
and my wife’s
I lift a lid
the “whites”of my eyes
have a tinge of yellow to them now
that can’t be right.
they have a dry yet glossy
like a nicotine-stained cue ball from a 1980’s snooker hall
i’ve been travelling for too long
i want to come home
i want to do something