Tag Archives: taxidermy

Imaginary Taxidermy

Once it was done, it didn’t feel like such an unnatural thing to do to an imaginary friend. I mean people do it to their cats all the time. And cats only are only in your life for a short time, 15 years if you’re lucky. They do it to moose too, and deer, cutting them down like trees, without even so much as a “Hey how’s it going”. They mount their heads on walls of damask and velvet and thick wood panelling. People stand beneath them drinking spirits on rocks and smoking, saying things that don’t really mean anything to anyone, and they just have to be there, absorbing all the smells into their petrified hides, the sounds into their ears stopped up with stuffing, the sights into the orbs of glass eyes.

This makes me feel a little bad about Claude. She’s been a part of my life from my own “Day of Remembrance”; the oldest memory I still have  is of her blowing out the candles on my fifth birthday cake. I’m almost 25 now.
I didn’t choose her. If I’d had the chance to choose, she wouldn’t have been taller than me, she would have had blonde hair, not black as tar black, and she would have been a bit more into books. She would have been named after some sort of flower; Bluebell, or Daphne, or Rose, or maybe even something a little weirder, like Foxglove, or Witch Hazel. But Claude was not the kind of friend you invite into a safe, warm, childhood place. Claude was a force of nature, a spark thrown into my life from a fire burning in some distant (perhaps even parallel) universe, setting fire to the edges of what’s been mapped out for you from the moment you were born.
Her eyes flicker in firelight; glass buttons stolen from the sleeve of an old cardigan. Built up like Frankenstein’s Blythe Doll, she sits with those eyes facing south, and all of her limbs point straight down to the ground. The moon has carved out a hole in the black velvet of the universe, and it casts light upon her, witchy white light rendering her features paler, her black hair bordering on blue. She’s wearing one of my old doll dresses, the sleeveless sheath of dark green velvet with the lace collar, that she had admired so when she thought I wasn’t looking.

I hadn’t wanted to do it. But last week she came to my window, like she does every other witching hour, and said that she was going to leave me. She said that I was getting older, too old for her, and that she needed to go. To find the small sparks of another child’s imagination, and unearth them, like seeds.

“But what if I just don’t let it,” I said. “What if I just shut my mind off to everything, so that nothing gets out, and nothing gets in. We can just stay in the apartment, I can get my food delivered from the organic co-op. We can have slumber parties that last for days, or weeks, and I’ll sell all of my things that aren’t books on eBay so that we can pay the rent. I’ll write books about all the places that don’t exist. And I’ll write books about you!”
Claude had smiled, had swung her legs over the window sill, and had shaken her head so that her black tresses pooled around her like tendrils of smoke.
“It doesn’t work like that, sugar” she said, “It wouldn’t be fair. I arrived to nurture your own spark; it was the brightest, and the strongest that I had ever seen. And we sure did have some wild fun, didn’t we sugar? But now all of it is failing. The colours of your magic are fading, the outside grey is seeping into your mind. Maybe I wasn’t around enough. I’m sorry. I really am. But you’re growing up. And when you grow up, things start to become impossible. That’s no way for someone like me to live, and I’ll be damned before I get myself trapped like a relic in a realm of impossibilities.”

Her voice was thick with pity, and with sadness, and when she said those words, the G-word and the U-word that I have always hated, and have heard often, I felt the heat behind my eyes, the one that made everything seem all red and blurry. Early onset rage, Claude used to call it. “You already are damned,” I said to her.

And I suppose I could try to tell myself that I hadn’t meant to do it, that it had all been accidental, like the time I had accidentally petrified the neighbour’s cat because it scratched my hand. But in my heart I know it’s not true. Honestly, I am happy that Claude didn’t leave. The thought that she will never be able leave me again fills me with a comfort that I have never known. I don’t even mind that she can’t talk; it means I’ll get more work done. All she has to do is occupy that empty space beside me, the one at my writing desk. And if she really wants to speak, can speak through me.

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Sportsmans Club

When I was in single digits
Wandering new places
I shied away from glossy eyes and antlers

No hunting
No animal flesh
No cruelty
No

I never understood
The appeal of flesh frozen
Bones and fur
Mounted like prizes declaring
I shot this

Now road kill gives me shivers
Bone and blood and dust
Are words
Concepts
There are bloggers
Who buy taxidermy animals
For a collection
Of misfit loves

Everything is more complicated
Than black and white colors
On a lit up screen
Hunting for food
Better than factory farmed

But I still don’t want
Those glossy black eyes
Following me around
Balloons hung on antlers for parties
And a bear rug hung on the wall

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Roadkill

Image

i)

Get stuffed

Stuff it down

This stuff

Dress it up

Hang it on a wall

Forget that

It’s not real

It’s not alive

Can’t feel a thing

Touch it

It’s not real

But look how life-like

Struck so sudden

Like a truck

He came out of nowhere

Like a door

Flying

Shoes lost

Glasses gone

Blurry

All the way home

ii)

Raccoon splattered a few hours after we said hello

Earlier in the night

I was okay

I was all right

Smash like a truck

Snap Splat

I saw your pelt

Hands still

Little paws

Still intact

But your innards were left so far behind

Shining black

Street light

Missed bus

Mad girl taking snaps of a dead raccoon

Howl and heave

Along a dead road

I cried for you raccoon

You and me

Guts smushed

Inside innards out

Forgot to look the other way

Street sweepers will come back for you another day

Who will come for me?

iii)

And just when you think there’s no way you’re coming back from this one

They puff you right up

Stuff you

Fill you

Prop you in a fancy pose

Stitch your smiling face back on

Glass eyes stuck

Look how life-like

Look how real she looks

But not really

Claws

Skin

Pelt

What she was

Is gone

Faded

Forgotten

Black stain on the pavement

Hymen spilled on his childhood mattress

Thumbnail torn in the hinge of her trailer door

Bobby pin rusting at the bottom of their backyard pool

Fill

Stitch

Glue

Twisted in the memory

Hardened by the stuffing

Fur still soft

But not alive

Making me want to cry

Empty painted eyes

So many dead things hanging on these walls

I will never be the way I was

Taxidermy can’t fix this

My insides out

Still on the road

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Human by Daughter

“Underneath the skin there’s a human/buried deep within there’s a human.”

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by | June 8, 2013 · 2:38 pm

American Mary

I am super excited about our taxidermy theme! I have been fascinated by women in horror, about how our experiences and relationships with our bodies inform our perspectives on horror and gore. I am currently working on a taxidermy poem/flash fiction for this space, but I think this trailer really embodies how I view the theme: body as object. Body modification. The complexity and intelligence of women merged with sexuality and objectification. Thinking, thinking, thinking. The Soska sisters are bringing a startling, complex vision to horror films, and Katherine Isabelle (AKA Ginger from Ginger Snaps!) stars.

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by | June 8, 2013 · 12:25 pm

Once I Was An Eagle

So I’ve been holed up in my loungeroom for the past week, studying for exams, drinking herbal tea and eating coffee ice cream and listening to this album on repeat. I can’t quite pinpoint why, but I think this is perfect for this week’s theme; something about the way she sings unnerves me but I can’t stop listening to it. And the album as a whole just has such a beautiful narritive quality, as each song unfolds so perfectly into the next. My favourite line is probably from the song ‘You Know’, which I’ve posted below. Seriously you guys, her lyrics are like poetry.

“And I was so sure,
but you free wheelin’ troubadour,
you took my mind off the scene”

Once I Was An Eagle

ImageEnjoy! I promise I will have some fiction for you very soon! I’m almost there but not quite.

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the snark

Image

 
I always felt like a freak
and not just because of the horns

But Victorie brought me home
and we drank all night
She said I was a goddess
and then she eviscerated me

(why are girls always doing that to each other?)

She added me to the collection
right between the anthromorphic, banjo-playing cat
and the two-headed fawn

Her boyfriends always ask why she didn’t make me “stacked”
except for the ones who look at me
and say nothing at all.

(i suspect they are leg men)

My mouth is sewn shut
from the inside
and I don’t have much to say
but I really would like to tell her how much
I hate
this dress.

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