EARS WIDE OPEN // tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

In May this year, a dream came true. Tati and I met face to face! Yes, the girl from Ukraine and the boy from Australia got to greet each other with nervous smiles in a Georgetown airport! After a year or so of fruitful collaboration, we were finally hanging out in an unfamiliar place together.

Malaysia is truly amazing. We spent our days gamboling about, exploring every nook and cranny, and getting to know one another a little bit. The smell from the storm water drains was the first thing to hit us upon arrival, but as our inquisitive minds began to take in the frenetic hodgepodge of sights and sounds that is everyday life there, our noses quickly forgot about unpleasant aromas. In fact, the tantalising whiff of street food would soon fill our olfactory senses instead.

We visited temples, botanical gardens, cemeteries, and even strolled through some obscure lane ways in search of street art, yoga joints and cat cafes. Oh, and the traffic! There were cars and motorcycles everywhere! We had to scoot up onto footpaths so narrow that they seemed like a drunken town planner’s afterthought. In fact, the whole city was a crazy scramble of mismatched buildings and bizarrely angled roads. It was a frenzied hive of activity that never seemed to stop.

And through it all, I was in the company of someone whose imagination easily outpaces my own. We’d use our down time to collaborate on new writings and new ventures. What fun! And even on that last day back at the airport, I remember us furiously typing up something awesome and wonderful on Tati’s laptop before the free WiFi expired. That something was a poem called tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown). Tati and I hope you enjoy this reading of it (by yours truly).

Every time I look at this piece, I smile fondly. I do miss Tati’s company, but hopefully not for long. We plan to make this happen again. I wonder where to next…

 

tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

in the muted glow of my mind
i saw peace just hanging there
i wanted but couldn’t have it
a fruit forbidden
inert and out of reach

there was darkness sweating from the cracks
along my skin and beneath my feet
so i walked the earth in search of naught
a loop unbidden
the streets in parenthesis

i stepped into right steering whirligigs
to chance my life into submission
i moored on jetties, shook off rickshaws
a stomach chidden
i panhandled for bread and circus

trash was art and art was salving
for gashes in walls and souls without traction
and i was art and i was trash
a twine lidden
on soaked paper at a cyclonic bus stop

for all their many eyes and limbs
the gods continued uninvolved
kittens and i slept side-by-side
a shrine hidden
lullabied by stinky holy water drains

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by TONY SINGLE
Image by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2016

Teti-à-Tête (With Tony) #5

crumble-cult-210

Tati as TATI

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Tony as TONY

 

YOU’RE HOT, BUT PLEASE
DON’T PISS ON ME

 

Morning was never going to just light up the room and leave it at that. Of course not. It was always going to lance between the curtains like a sexual predator and violate her right where she lay. Like it had every other morning of her life. God.

Tati tilted her head off the pillow. She squinted at the fuzzy-edged glare floating at the foot of her bed. She hated that window. It was in the wrong place. It looked like a white supremacist. Her head plopped back.

I’d better get up.

The birds seemed to agree. Chirp! Bloody chirp!

Maybe later.

“Tati.”

Okay, now they’re calling me. A bit odd that.

“Tati?”

Hell! How do they even know my name?

“Tati!”

Oh, please fuck off, birds.

“TATI!”

She imagined them with zippers on their beaks. If only.

“TETIANA!”

“WHAT?!”

An orifice formed in the wall to her right, and disgorged a human-sized blob. With something approaching vague alarm, Tati swiveled her head. Oh. It was a door. Oh. A human.

“I’m sorry, your Highness. Have I inconvenienced you by entering here? This room made holy by the mere presence of your sacrosanct self? And does my existence diminish – nay, blight – your exalted self in some inexpiable and unfortunate way?”

She grimaced. “Shut up.”

“Forgive me. Is it that time of the month again?”

Bolt upright now, a fiery Tati jabbed an accusing finger in the human’s general direction. “Oh my god, Tony! How many times should I repeat that ‘that time of the month’ doesn’t affect mood?!”

Tati’s blanket had fallen away. Oblivious to the fact that she was now topless, she swung her legs right and planted both feet on the floor. It was too early to be dealing with his shit.

Tony plucked his eyes from the dust where they’d fallen and polished them on his shirt sleeve.

“Like the time I hit you with a chair by accident. And I apologised by the way.”

Tony popped his eyes back in their sockets. “Yes,” he said with a sour face, “and then you proceeded not to call an ambulance for me. I had to drag my sorry, damaged arse to the public phone booth.” Noticing that Tati hadn’t bothered to cover herself up, he looked away. “Come to think of it, why the hell don’t we have a landline?

“Do you cheat off?”

He blinked and looked back at her. “Oh. Now you’re changing the subject. Is that what this is?”

Tati yawned, stretching her arms wide, her chest all lovely and pointy. Red-faced, Tony looked away again.

“Do you cheat off?”

Tony hissed through his teeth, “What the hell do you mean… ‘cheat off’?” The wall was suddenly quite fascinating.

Tati stood up. “Cheat off. Like in school.” She grabbed a top from the side cabinet. “What? Have you never peeked into someone else’s notebook?”

“No, I was a good boy. I was always very well behaved in school!” He kept looking at the wall. “In fact, I’m being a good boy now.”

“Really? A good boy? Then why are some of your poems so similar to mine?” Tati slipped her top on. “You can look.”

Tony swung his gaze back. “Why do I seem to be as perverted as you?” His eyes darted quickly to her top, ensuring that it was in place and covering all the right bits. “That’s what you’re really saying, isn’t it?”

“Perverted?!” Tati was so cute whenever she cocked her head. She was doing it now, her antennae tilting too.

Tony studied the wall.

“Are you blushing?” She gave a sly little grin.

“Oh, come on now! What about that Moses story? That was pretty sick!” He was flushing redder than a stop sign. It felt strange to be making such a passionate case to a wall.

Tati shrugged. Or tried to. “I wish not talk about dildos now.”

Tony stole another look. “Erm.”

“Yes, and about Pokémons too.” She began to look around the room for something. She wasn’t sure what. And it was kind of difficult to do with her cephalothorax fusing her head and shoulders together. Perhaps a neck massage was in order.

“Erm.”

“DO NOT EVEN THINK!” Claws on her hips, Tati leveled beady, critical eyes at him.

“But… that’s not possible!” spluttered Tony.

“Okay. Think.” She waved him off dismissively. “But something more useful than winkles and augmented reality.”

“Well, there’s that discussion group you were telling me about the other day. What if I pretend I don’t know about it so you can tell me like it’s a piece of news I haven’t heard before?” He gestured at the webcam high up in the corner of the room. “You know, for the benefit of our readers.”

Tati looked at the tiny electronic eye with a curious detachment. Tony never could tell what she was thinking or feeling at any given time.

“Yes.”

He pushed his case. “And it can be like a proper conversation so it doesn’t seem like the scripted advertorial it so obviously is. A spontaneous chin wag between friends. Like in real life.”

Tati looked at him and smiled. A warm smile this time. “Well… in short, Mooreeffoc was picked up as a Book of September in Book Club (Young Adult Edition) on Goodreads.” Her smile deepened. “It is good. Yes?”

“Oh my, oh me! Really? I did not know! Thank you for imparting this most crucial piece of data, Tetiana! Pray tell, what more regarding this noteworthy event should we be informed of, darling dearest?”

Tati’s smile vanished. What the hell? He thinks this is pantomime?

Realising how foolish he looked, Tony’s puffed-out chest deflated quicker than a balloon at an asthmatics convention. His arms drooped to his sides and he stepped from the bed that he’d unconsciously mounted just moments before. He could be quite “method” that way.

Mooreeffoc. September. Club. Young Adult. Goodreads,” Tati tutted. Through her mandibles. Her earlier smile had looked more inviting to be totally honest.

“Oh. Fine. It’s blatant sarcasm then. I see. Thank you so much.” Tony scratched his head, annoyed. “You’re not going to mention that our readers can follow various links within this text to join the Goodreads Book Club too? That they can join in on a discussion group about Mooreeffoc? That they can – for a limited time only – nab themselves a free copy right here? None of that?”

Tati shook her thick testaceous tail, ignoring this pointed yet somehow long winded remark. “Tony, get yourself busy!”

“Huh?”

“Book! Have you finished the cover for our other book? The new poetry book?”

“Oh, what, now we’re changing the subject again?”

Her tail was looking rather sexy though. He reached out to stroke it…

Morning lanced between the curtains like a sexual predator and violated him right where he lay. Like it had every other morning of his life. God.

Tony tilted his head off the pillow.

What the hell? Why did I dream that of all things?

He grimaced. “Good lord. I was about to have sex with a lobster.”

“What did you say?”

Startled, Tony whipped his eyes to the door. Tati was standing there. She’d heard everything.

THE END

 


N.B. For those who are still unsure of what we’re talking about, we’re trying to say: Don’t be shy! Let’s go! There are only five days left! Get your free copy of our first book ‘Mooreeffoc’! (Lobster not included.)

 

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016

tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

in the muted glow of my mind
i saw peace just hanging there
i wanted but couldn’t have it
a fruit forbidden
inert and out of reach

there was darkness sweating from the cracks
along my skin and beneath my feet
so i walked the earth in search of naught
a loop unbidden
the streets in parenthesis

i stepped into right steering whirligigs
to chance my life into submission
i moored on jetties, shook off rickshaws
a stomach chidden
i panhandled for bread and circus

trash was art and art was salving
for gashes in walls and souls without traction
and i was art and i was trash
a twine lidden
on soaked paper at a cyclonic bus stop

for all their many eyes and limbs
the gods continued uninvolved
kittens and i slept side-by-side
a shrine hidden
lullabied by stinky holy water drains

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2016

Levigated & Levitated

The mill had a dream.
One beautiful windy night
it was brave enough
for taking off from a foot
awkwardly waving its sails.

The mill had a dream.
Flying across the black sky,
milling ripe gold stars
and leaving behind itself
The Subsieve Mealy Way.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2015