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Paper Wings

I like to piece things together.  There’s something about being able to see the edges of things that I find so appealing; the little corners that you can peel back to reveal the fleshy mechanics, the ooze and the turn and the steam. They flutter at me suggestively, little triangular points of dried Papier Mache, old newspaper print and the eye of swim suit supermodel from 1982. Sometimes that’s what I feel like the world is made of, on a day when it’s not looking so solid and so infinite. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who’s made of paper. I take my scissors and cut the curve of a girl’s leg. It is smooth porcelain white but in the yellow light of my only light bulb the taut skin looks dusted gold. The curve makes a perfect arc, high and natural. I can see her eyes, two orbs flattened, glossy. They are listless, they are looking to the right. Her lips are painted the colour of ripe plum fruit. She’s beautiful. But there’s something not quite right about it all. What is it? What is it?!

It’s that head. It’s all wrong.
The camera’s lost the life. I curse under my breath, and sever the head from her gold dusted shoulders.

I go in search of another, a face that still has a sip of life left, a spark in those eyes. It takes me almost an hour to find her, hiding away in the depths of high fashion. She has the skin of a white tiger draped over her black silk body. There is fire about her, and it smoulders, smothered slightly by the gloss of the page.

There. Not even any scar tissue to worry about, no Frankenstein lines. Perfect.

Almost. It’s still not quite done yet. There’s still something missing, and it’s just a speck I can feel it. Something caught under my fingernail, in my eye, between my teeth. What is it? What is it?!

 Wings. A flare of red feathers against white lace, opening. That’s what she needs. That’s what every girl needs, something to carry her up and out and above.

Sometimes I think about doing this for real, sewing wings onto girls backs and turning them into angels. The girl that sits on the reception desk, she looks like she could handle it. And she’s got those perfect shoulder blades, so evenly spaced and tucked just under the surface of her skin.  Such vibrant bones, perhaps she got the buds beneath, little feather sprouts waiting to take form, to take flight. Maybe she’s got magic, too.
No. She’s not like the rest of us. But every time I see her she’s reading one of those colourful Japanese books, the ones filled with fae. She isn’t one of us, that’s for sure. But she wants to be. I bet you she would say yes, if I asked her. I bet you she would thank me, even if I didn’t ask her first.

I have to stick the wings onto the paper with pink sewing pins. I’ve used up all of my tape.  

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Shadow

I used to know a girl called Shadow. She was a child when we first met, with eyes the colour of deep sea ice, and black hair so long it would collect fallen leaves in the autumn, and tickle the back of her ankles when she walked.  Her skin was pale, but her heart was warm, a deep well of passion that when ignited could make her appear translucent. She needed to feel the earth, with all its seeds and stones and soft leafy things, between her toes; she wanted to know it was there, to know that there were still things growing, and that there always would be.  Her favourite was the rough touch of the bark as it peeled and fell away from her climbing feet; she loved to climb trees, and she was the best at it.

In the time that I knew her Shadow took on many different forms; she could travel through time, space, dimensions, she could reincarnate into a witch, a vampire, a shape shifter. I could meet her in a marketplace a full grown woman, and come the next day I would find in her in a forest as childlike as the day we met. I would follow her through worlds, worlds we made up together, and worlds that already existed.
Her favourite place, and my favourite Shadow, was the one that lived in Middle Earth. This Shadow would climb up through the high bows of the ancient woods to watch for wizards. She could stalk stray orcs and take them out with a slingshot that she had made herself.
Shadow was smaller than most, and because she was a girl, she would have to stow away if she wanted to go on any of the really big adventures. When found, she would have to prove herself, but that was fine because even though she was young, her orphaned, urchin life had bestowed on her the ability to not take any shit for her size, her appearance or her gender.
Sometimes she would get herself into trouble, and once she was kidnapped by a great host of evil, but she was never the damsel in distress. By the time her rescuers arrived, detoured slightly from a very important quest of their own, she would have dispatched all but one of her attackers. She would, however, be grateful nonetheless. And from then on, they all came to respect and to love her, and she became the only female member of their company.
I saw all of these things happen through Shadows eyes; I would find a quiet place where I could sit on my own and indulge in her adventures. I would sit there for hours, my mind completely out of my body, and gluttonous for detail. Sometimes they made me jealous, the stories, and sad. I wanted to journey, to have adventures, to fight and love and be useful and have magic. I wanted, more than anything, for it all to be real.

Shadow was my first real best friend. I liked her better than myself, I felt like I knew every inch of her. She was the all the parts of a character I longed to possess, that I thought I could possess, if only I were a little quicker, or stronger, or lived in a parallel universe.
But as I grew older I came to accept that it was all just fantasy; she was the meat of my imagination. The development of a muscle that is now just as full, and wild and vital as my heart.

I don’t see Shadow anymore; I haven’t seen her for years. She moved like her namesake across a part of my childhood, enveloping it not in a sinister darkness, but a comforting one. I don’t think about her often, but when I do, I miss her.  And I wonder if she lives still, a reincarnated vision in another young girls head, feeding her ravenous imagination, keeping it alive until she knows how to control it. Until she knows how to put it down on paper.

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Looking Back

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by | February 18, 2013 · 1:40 am

Spheres

I seem to have become one of those people who is always looking back. I like to sift through memories as if they were a collection of things that I had had the time to card catalogue. Some of them are water stained, with most of the important details blurred into ink hieroglyphs that I can no longer read, but those colours! The colours of the memory still fill me up until I can almost taste the potency of longing; sometimes it tastes like beer and liquid honey, other times it tastes like milk and sugar. Some of them have crass words scrawled across them in black ball point pen, in a moment of quick, teenage anger. Some of them are shrouded in smoke, or blackened at the edges. Some of them never really happened at all, but I let them feel their way in around the edges of duller moments.

If it were up to me, time would not move so linear beneath my feet; I just wouldn’t allow it. It would surround me as a collection of spheres, dripping with all the richness my indulgence in nostalgia could afford, and I could move in and out of them as freely and easily as I wished.  Each one would have its own distinct colour palette and wavelength of light, and as all the components of that sliver of time begin to leap into waking life, the cerulean blue would change to dusk violet, and the violet into a soft green the colour of mermaid hair. I would be overcome by a feeling of being poured into something, a wide round space the size of a small planet, Pluto perhaps. I would be left to enjoy that feeling, the feeling of being a weightless, boneless mass, for a moment or two.
And then it would all just tumble out, from the sphere as it breaks apart above my head like split fruit, and I would let it wash over me, and I would live it again. And again. And again.

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Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!

because let’s face it, this movie is amazing

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by | February 18, 2013 · 1:02 am

Week Seven: Time

“So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us

Time; it follows me down dark corridors and it keeps me awake as it moves on and on. I can hear it’s footsteps following close, echoing my own. The ghostly breath on the back of my neck as it whispers things I would rather forget. “I cannot be turned back,” it sneers, “You are getting older.”

Sometimes I wish that time was a tangible thing, that I could collect it with my hands, hold it and store it up in mason jars. Then I would hide them in the cellar and the attic and the cupboard under the stairs; nothing can steal too much of my precious time when I have so much of it saved up for a rainy day. Now I can do everything I’ve ever wanted.

What is your relationship with time? Are you taking it too quickly, or too slowly? Do you feel like it is getting away from you, that it has been let loose from the memories of endless summer afternoons? Or do you wish that you could fast forward, to the part in your life story where things start happening the way you’d hope they would?

Or! Would you just simply rather travel through it, skipping back and forth between eras that you have only ever dreamed of, and long so desperately to see?

Oh, I would want to see all of it, if I only had the time. 


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Triple Goddess

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I am the salt of the volcanic
ash earth
the first burst of light
from a virgin star
the breath between ocean
and atmosphere
born in three different places, all
at once
I am the mother of happenings
past
the caretaker of your
soul-thoughts
the queen of things
to come

I was split, like fruit
with baked flesh
like the plates of the
earth
I was spit from the mouth
of the Motherland
sent to the convict
colony
where the land used to rage
untamed, used to
sup from the molten
centre of an ancient
core

Now, I am looking for the
two thirds
a blonde and a brunette
I think
they’re hiding out in California
sipping fairy sugar from crystal
goblets
taking hearts and eating them
like apples
sucking secrets from the
seeds

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