DARWINIAN // Fish ‘n’ Chips

“So, she’s telling her friend that her vagina’s beginning to smell like potato chips.”

Calix looked at him with a straight face. “Which brand?”

“What do you mean, which brand?” Darwin gave a rueful shake of his head. “Does that even make a difference to genital fragrance?”

“Of course! Every detail matters.”

“Well, they didn’t cover that, strangely enough.” He rolled his eyes. “If anything, I was more concerned with the fact that two women were openly discussing chips and vaginas on public transport!”

“I’m more concerned that you care about the bullshit people discuss on public transport.”

Darwin bristled at this. Calix had a special knack for turning his statements back on him, and he hated it. He made a point of sniffing haughtily but she took no notice. She was being all nonchalant instead, sitting there writing the next article for ‘Hooves, Horns & Rhododendrons Monthly Digest’ like she didn’t have a care in the world.

“Well, it was hard not to listen!” he muttered defensively. “They were talking loud enough.”

“Darwin, you’re lucky enough to be deaf! You get to choose if you listen or not.”

Calix’s nose was wedged firmly in her laptop. He watched her absentmindedly nibbling on a ballpoint pen, intermittently jabbing at the keyboard. How on earth had they even become friends? They disagreed on everything! And yet Darwin couldn’t imagine life without her. God, he hated that.

“I’m too dependent. That’s my problem.”

Calix looked up from the laptop and fixed her eyes on his.

“Shit. I said that out loud, didn’t I?” His cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

“On what?” Now Calix seemed almost interested. “What are you dependent on?”

“Erm, nothing. I’m just rambling again.”

Darwin backed away and turned to leave the room. It was time to make himself scarce before the conversation got too awkward. But Calix wasn’t having a bar of it.

“No, hang on! Where are you going? Don’t you want to talk about vaginas and chips any more?”

Darwin slumped his shoulders. Yup, that had stopped him in his tracks. She always had to have the upper hand, the final say in everything. He hated that so much. In fact, this friendship had too much hate going on. Was that normal? Perhaps ‘hate’ was too strong a word to be using in this context…

“Let’s start with chips. Could you go to the kitchen and bring me the paprika chips? I think I left an open pack on the table.”

Nope. It was the right word.

“And feed the goldfish. I think it needs to eat more than twice a week.”

“Yes, mum,” he grumbled under his breath. “Three bags full, mum.”

And suddenly Darwin recalled the night before… How had that damn goldfish ended up in his toilet bowl anyway? He wanted to ask Calix about this, but her unbearable acerbity would beat reason out of anyone. Perhaps he’d ask later when he was feeling up to the challenge.

With these thoughts swimming in his head, Darwin shuffled to the kitchen. He took up the open pack of chips, sniffed it, and shrugged his shoulders. No vagina he’d ever encountered had smelled like this. He sniffed again. Yeah, this was completely ordinary.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

TATI’s & TONY’s DEAD POET TOUR // Daedalon by J.R. Ackerley

Aye, I am foolish for I know
That I shall sadden when you go,
And I am blind because I see
That you were more than God to me:
A brighter sun than Heaven’s shone
When I was with you, Daedalon.

Can I find strength enough to stand
The last slight pressure of your hand;
Can I find fortitude to bear
The knowledge that you are not there,
Then turn my Book of Life upon
The memory of Daedalon

Remember you! No, no, I’ll shut
The Book, or from its pages cut
The image of you graven there,
The dingy tangle of your hair,
Your ill-kept hands and lifeless face,
And seek friends in some other place.

Forget you? … When my heart repeats
Your wisdom to me as it beats? …
That always you may be the same
My rhymes shall vivify your name …
Aye, cunningly I’ll play upon
The happy name of Daedalon.

But you were cold to me, I know,
Who never dreamed my thoughts to show,
But sat content to hear you speak,
And see the bronzeness of your cheek,
Your sunburnt nose and wounded eye …
But never told you, no, not I.

Yes, I am blind; but still I saw
The beauty of you all the more,
How slowly came your drawled reply,
How gleamed your artificial eye;
And on the morrow you’ll be gone …
Ah, but I loved you, Daedalon.

 

by J.R. ACKERLEY (1896-1967)
Public Domain Poetry

the genesis flask

you slip through my fingers into the sand
and make a trail in speckle and spick
the prints of your limbs a lost dna strand

sprigs pop in your wake, magic and mayhem
ocean waves give your feet a slavish lick
comets swirl to give form your diadem

in this moment i am the creator
sower of dreams, bringer of time’s tick
standing at the edge of heaven’s crater

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2019

GUEST POST // all the trappings of winter by Robert Greig

I’ve tried
to write a poem
for the solstice
this winter come,
for the shortest day;

the beginning of the end…

I failed
to find a start
carve a middle
coup de grâce
weave a wordy way;

the beginning
of the end…

I set my traps
the night before
made all the best laid plans
I chose the bait
and lay in wait
and all seemed well in hand;

the beginning of
the end…

patience
that’s the key
so it seemed
but easy said
is rarely easy done;

the beginning
of
the end…

as light became
less light
my eyes
shuttered wide
to closed
and into sleep
I dribbled deep
from yawn to drowse
to doze;

the beginning of the end
came when I awoke
and found
nothing much to find
but pins and needles
muscle cramp
a spider hanging
from my hat
but not a rhythm
not a rhyme
nor any useful line,
nothing fine
that could be used
to light a fuse
or bold enthuse
to glean a verse
to break this curse,
not epic,
blank,
not villanelle,
not idyll,
even terse.

[sigh]

I’ve tried
to write a poem
but despite
my best attempts
I wrote
a shopping list instead:
coffee
tea
turnips
tomatoes
crackers
crisps
and cheese.

 

by ROBERT GREIG
© All rights reserved 2018