100 WORD SKITTLE // Lurking the Dream (Follow-up to Leaving the Dream)

The day was cold.

I hugged the walls, trying to hide in dark corners, but a bitchy wind found me everywhere I went, and gnawed at my neck and cheeks with its merciless teeth. I had no respite.

I was huddled in the pokey gap between a tattoo parlour and pool hall when I heard what sounded like a squeaky toy. There was a frail, drawn-out release of air. Like it had been sat on. Like it had invented misery.

I checked. No. I hadn’t squashed anything, but there was a tiny ball of fur there.

…with two pointy triangles.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

100 WORD SKITTLE // Leaving the Dream (Follow-up to Living the Dream)

It came to life in an expensive arty-farty Moleskine—maybe I fancied myself as the next Hemingway. I even bought a posh Parker pen. Only the best tools, right? But as time went on and times got desperate, the Moleskine got swapped out for paper from bins and skips, and the Parker for biros I’d stolen from cheap snack-bars and post offices.

But I didn’t give up. I continued to scribble beneath dim streetlights, in dingy alleyways, and as close to the neon glow of storefronts as their owners would allow. Come hell or high water, I’d complete this book.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

100 WORD SKITTLE // Living the Dream

My dream. I ended up leaving my hometown for this.

Melbourne was too expensive. I’d lost my job and the rent was killing, so I upped stakes. I moved to deepest, darkest Peru where I burned through the remainder of my savings in under a year. Even though it was as cheap as chips to live there, I eventually found myself eking out a living on the streets.

I guess I didn’t think things through enough. Now I didn’t even have the money for a one-way ticket back to Australia.

Still, I had my dream. I would write a book.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

a quantum of holiness

a little vagrant sleeps under a church ladder
shares his bedding with a lame puppy and deaf adder
he has never tasted sweets or sugar scones
his usual dinner is leavings, skin and bones

one beautiful summer day right after the mass
someone spat a throat lozenge onto the grass
it shined beneath the sun like a real gem
blameless, faceted, wet from mucous phlegm

little vagrant retrieved the lozenge with trembling hand
unbelievably happy as though he’d won a big grant
but he wasn’t the only one who had reached the prize
the puppy was looking at him with pleading eyes

some people aren’t dogmatic, have never attended church
their lives can seem useless, their family’s honour besmirch
but on that day it was the lord’s supper under church ladder
little vagrant shared his first candy with lame puppy and deaf adder

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

penury (partygoer’s purgatory)

it is noisy with whoopee at the bar
it is hot with tamale and saucy with noodle
air thick with ciggy smoke mixed with cheap jokes
yeah, take another toke to forget you’re stone broke

the bar counter shrine is hungering for blood
the bar counter priestess is offering free ribs
heretic heads adorn the timber door stud
and chalices are hoisted over manly beard-bibs

no matter where you go, there you are
no matter when or how, your whole kit and caboodle
you would blindly revoke with a pig in a poke
yeah, fake another hoke to forget you’re stone broke

the bar counter butcher is washing hands in the mud
the bar counter baron is pushing for first dibs
a hangman’s noose dangles from the withered redbud
and malice does roister over the barrow and crib

a battered jukebox gives you a nasty jar
a wooden mug bites your thumb with a sharp toodle
you get sober and woke, and you cast off your yoke
tho’ nothing can ever cloak the fact you’re stone broke

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018