A holiday from time

It makes me remember
all the times we’ve been together
absolutely alone in some suspended hour
a holiday from Time
prowling about in those quiet places
alienated from past and future
where there is no sound save listening
and vision is an anesthetic…

When I see how handsome you are
my stomach will fall
with many unpleasant emotions
like a cake with too many raisins
and I will want to shut you up in a closet
like a dress too beautiful to wear.

(Zelda Fitzgerald writes to her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1931. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)

The Lady is a Tramp

It happened incrementally
I needed the dough
I was in a lot of trouble
I went to the library
I needed to come up with 40 bucks
to get my kitty’s, Doris’s, tests back.

I took a couple of Fanny Brice letters
slipped them in my sneakers
sold them to a place called Argosy.
They would pay more for better content.
A big white space at the bottom of a letter
after, ‘yours truly, Fanny Brice’
I got an old typewriter
I wrote a couple of hot sentences
improved the letter and elevated the price.

“I have a hangover out of Gounod’s Faust”
“canny old Kraut remains one of my most cherished friends”
“a bright, talented actress,
quite attractive since she dealt
with her monstrous English overbite.’’

larky and fun and totally cool

Is it absolution she’s seeking, or admiration?

On and off welfare,
a horror beyond my talent to describe
My most enduring memory
is the odour in the elevators:
eau de desperation!

(From Lee Israel, literary forger – obituary. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)

Death in the afternoon

My body is falling apart, he said
He shaved meticulously
He forgot about his eyes and ears
He smelled good

Bloody certificates
another barrier to impetuous action
in case of lovelorn despair, for example
ten minutes before noon

A sparkling, sunny day in late spring
We ate more cherries
Even he tasted one or two
and the angels looked quite grateful

No one talked about the next act
No one talked very much at all
The angels went for a walk around the garden
We stayed where we were, savouring the lovely day

Do you know what this is?
Do you know what will happen if you drink it?
Do you want me to give it to you?
Yes, I do. I will die.

His eyes shut, quietly
It’s over now
Goodbye then
I returned to the garden.

(From ‘I held his hand as he drank the fatal dose’: the day my husband chose to die. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)

Hostage etiquette

You can ask them for basic questions like –
toilet, drinking, eating
In case of failure, do not mind
You can try again later.
In any case you do not have to threaten terrorists
phrases such as ‘You will still all be killed’
‘Soon comes your end’
This could cause psychological disruption
and the worst consequences.
Do not humiliate the terrorists.
Do not take weapons thrown by the terrorists.
Often the terrorists hide among the hostages.
Therefore all are suspected.
Always remember
if you are ready
calmly and confidently
to resist to the misfortune,
it will never HAPPEN to you.

Taken from a list of instructions found in a Ykaterinburg hotel, as described in the Financial Times article, A grim warning in the Russian regions, 3rd December 2013. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

The Heart Doctor

I enjoy my life
I enjoy my children now
particularly they’re grown up and
not squawking
I love being with them all
perhaps not at the same time

I’m fairly hopeless grandmother
I like them when they grow up
You don’t leave small children with me!
I’d always got, as my oldest son said, ‘staff’
someone who looked after their nonsenses

I don’t like this repetitive
‘Please do this’
‘Please don’t be rude’
I can’t be dealing with all that!
Actually I tell them
I like the dog best

Transcribed from an interview with Jane Somerville, cardiologist, on Desert Island Discs, Friday 12th July 2013. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

The year of living (dangerously)

It was the year I came out
and had a fling with a gay Maori
the year a friend nearly died of Guillain barre syndrome
the year I met a man who had
a decidedly unsavoury relationship with his dog
the year I saw waterfalls streaming down the sides of Uluru
the year I had a fight with a wild kangaroo
over a $1 box of out of date Pokemon cereal
the year two of my best friends had their lesbian wedding
the year I tried special K (nudge nudge wink wink)
provided by a Welsh drug dealer called Elfed
the year I travelled around with friends in a van
(named bubbles after a local drag queen at the Imperial Hotel
the starting point of Priscilla queen of the desert)
It was all madness but pure gold
Everyone should keep a journal
I’d like to turn it into a book
but no one would believe me

(From comments under Why you really should keep a journal. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)

German Undershirts

Just the way they feel against my skin
it must be some special kind of German cotton
I don’t know
I put one on
it slides over my skin
and immediately I see a whole world
that city where I lived
where I did so many things
like Oz, a strange place
but most of its was beautiful!
I see my flat where I used to live
staying up all night with music
and dancing and crazy things
I smell the coal again
and the snow
just from this undershirt
I bought the child’s size
Germans are much bigger than I am
they’re really big ladies
they’re like beautiful Walkyries
I missed my German undershirts
then I found them on the internet
made in Germany
the quality is unbelievable
they last forever

From a product review on German Amazon. Punctuation removed. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

The new wasteland

This is how Americans live today
drinking coffee made from snow
and living in tents and
buying guns to kill each other
especially children
some people complain about the guns

These trees are full of snow
You’ll see there are no birds
they’ve been eaten by the people
who live in these tents and corridors
this man awaits heroin
their houses blow down very easily
and they have to live in tents like these

Again, there are no birds in the trees
apart from these
which will be eaten on Tuesday
they are yummy
You can also eat the snow
of which there is plenty

These people lie huddled together
with their dead friends in blue body bags
drinking coffee-cups full of local snow
They are very good friends
They are together in adversity

In other parts of America
often disguised as foreign countries in Europe
people live the same terrible life
This man, a former Republican candidate for Oregon
is now having to get coffee made of snow
from these trucks
Many Americans have to live like this daily
and are entitled to one cup most days
The weather is freezing
but the hot snow tastes nice
They enjoy it immensely

Meanwhile in the major offices
factories and railway stations
people sit around
under expensive adverts for Dell computers
drinking snow from plastic cups
People pass by, not caring
for they are all in the same situation
These telephones no longer work
There is no one to call

This is how they live in modern day America
Huddled together – the poor, the cold, the lonely
and the homosexual
Mean time these people queued up for handouts
from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
and were each given a cake

Taken from a North Korean propaganda film. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi.

N wen u get ur kids took away

N wen u get ur kids took away from u
u have no mates no bloke family hate u n
keep u from urban kids so u take drugs I
rant allowed my toddlers till I’ve had two yrs of
therapy c.b.t. no point comin off drugs yet
is there n now social services problem
my mamy two and my dad have even stopped
contact I’ve seen them twice in six week
once was Xmas day the other
was for a photo shoot I got done with the
picture for my Xmas present so I had to
c them for the photo I’m not allowed normally
all I ever wanted was to be a mamy ex fucked it
n now I’m just in too Much pain everyday
I c the photo I cry I’m a mess everyone
hates me anyway the public would
Deffo be glad meby ten people would
go to my funeral the rest of the town
would be glad coz I have done
lots of bad stuff but I’m 29 now
Give me a chance for god’s sake

(Comment from an online suicide blog. Submitted by Grace Andreacchi)