Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter Three)

1 If any of this ever gets written down then I hope they get their facts straight.

2 How long have I been hanging here for? 3 Damn, it’s hot. And my bladder’s on fire. I’m in agony and I can’t scratch myself. 4 When the legionnaires offered to put me up for the night, I didn’t think they quite meant like this. 5 It’s small wonder that I hate wedding banquets now!

6 Bottomless throats. Sateless stomachs. I had no chance. 7 Who could meet that kind of demand? No one, that’s who. 8 None of them could have cared less for the happiness of newly marrieds. All they wanted was a holiday in Cana to brown the brow, and round after round of my patented Holy Spirit to fill their swollen bellies. 9 Self righteous, narcissistic guzzlers of dwindling decorum. Every last one of them!

10 I guess it’s my own fault really. 11 Maybe I shouldn’t have pressed my apostles to water down the whizz, but by god was my tallywacker beat! It was ready to gasp its last, you could say. 12 How many baths did I manage to fill? Who knows? 13 All I do know is my bladder’s as pulverised as a palm frond after a locust convention.

14 And Judas… What the hell, Judas?! What were you thinking? 15 You know you can’t hold your liquor, so why did you drink the merchandise? 16 ‘But whosoever drinketh of the water that I willst giveth unto him shallst never thirst!’ you declared. And you declared it to the whole damn gathering! 17 ‘But the water that I willst giveth unto him willst becometh in him a well of water springing up to eternal life!’ 18 And then you pissed all over the High Priests. Marvellous. Just marvellous. 19 I can’t take you anywhere. I should have left you out the back to calculate our profit margin.

20 And that’s the problem, isn’t it, Mr Iscariot? You play well with numbers, but not with other human beings. 21 Yes, reading ledgers is an important skill, but so is being able to read facial expressions, you sot! Could you not see how livid they were? Utterly hopeless!

22 And why, oh why, did I let you spread those rumours about my so-called ‘miracles’? 23 ‘This will drum up more business,’ you said. ‘More clientele means more tongues at the tap,’ you said. 24 So you had me walking on water, feeding multitudes with a fish finger and two breadsticks, raising people from the dead, and erecting underwater bridges for molluscs fleeing Jewish persecution. 25 Lie upon lie upon lie upon… well, that last one was just plain weird.

26 Dying is not fun. 27 I think I’m dying. Am I dying? Is this what that feels like? 28 I know how to pass water but I’ve not experienced passing from life before, so I can’t definitively say. I don’t think I want to. 29 Still, I keep passing out, so I’m disconcertingly aware of my own mortality. That cannot augur well for my immediate future. 30 Death. Can’t say I’d recommend it.

31 The pain is shocking in its unrelenting intensity. My entire body’s a buzzing mess. 32 How can there possibly be this much blood? I can’t breathe. 33 The tirade I’ve composed in my head escapes as a truncated wheeze. ‘Thanks for nothing,’ is literally all I can muster. 34 Yes, God, thanks for nothing. Just sit there like you always do, and do nothing.

35 First, my carpentry business folds. 36 Then I discover that I can piss wine. 37 Then some opportunistic, money-grubbing ‘followers’ come along and exploit me for all they can get. 38 This involves a clever marketing campaign that promises the public magic shenanigans and quaff-worthy wazz while they’re being entertained. 39 I become said public’s darling. 39 Judas then goes and defiles some elite, paying customers with his own subpar wee while they’re drinking my diluted wee, 40 and then flees with the rest of the apostates at the first sign of trouble. 41 That’s when said public breaks up with me, and the High Priests begin baying for blood instead of my formerly one hundred percent honeyed liquid. 42 What next? Oh, that’s right. Death. Praise Elohim. 43 I’m of a mind to come back and haunt the bastards.

44 I rue the day my pecker piddled on Peter. Sorry. Simon.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter Two)

1 How is it that I can heal, but not make them shut up…

2 ‘Peter! Look! He’s waking!’

3 ‘My name isn’t Peter. Why do you keep calling me Peter? I’m Simon!’

4 ‘No, dude. I’m Simon. You’re Peter.’

5 ‘No, I’m jolly not!’

6 ‘Hey, man. Chill! 7 We can’t both be called Simon. Otherwise we’d be Simon and Simon. 8 How would that work?’

9 ‘Then why don’t you change your name? Pick something else you like.’

10 ‘I like Simon!’

11 Oh, great. I think I may have come to in a storm water drain. It’s not the most dignified way to greet a new day. 12 I stir, the muck and piss swirling around me, it adding shame to the pounding behind my eyes. 13 Ugh! I feel like carpenters have set up shop in my forehead, 14 and my mouth feels like a donkey’s arse.

15 I murmur, ‘Shut up, will you? You both are bleating like old nanny goats!’ 16 They look at me, shocked, but I don’t care. 17 ‘You do realise it’s possible for people to share the same name, don’t you?’

18 The second Simon looks at the first Simon with the expression of a goat that’s been goosed mid chew.

19 ‘Hm. I suppose so,’ says the second Simon grudgingly.

20 ‘Yeah…’ allows the first Simon. ‘Check out Judas and Judas. I guess they cohabit just fine.’

21 ‘I’m Jude, you dingbats. JUDE. It’s not the same thing at all!’

22 ‘I thought you were called Thaddaeus.’

23 ‘Shut up, Iscariot.’

24 Oh my god! Why do they go on like this all the time? It’s like they can’t help themselves. Maddening! 25 Did I really hire this bunch of simpletons? I must have been drunk! 26 Oh, that’s right. I was drunk…

27 ‘Don’t tell me to freaking shut up, you great protruding camel toe!’

28 ‘I think you need some knuckle bread! Shall I give it to you?’

29 ‘I freaking dare you to give it to me!’

30 Oh, isn’t this just fabulous. 31 They look like they’re almost ready to fight. Always with the fighting! 32 At least I know what can be done to soothe them. I sigh. I get to my feet. I unzip my pants.

33 ‘Elohim be praised!’ gasps Bartholomew. He’s always gasping over stuff. He’s a gasp whore. He’ll gasp over clipped toenails if you give him half a chance. 34 ‘Jesus is about to make more wine! Thank you, O Master!’

35 ‘Yes! Share with us your Holy Spirit!’ chimes Philip.

36 These self-titled ‘apostles’ crowd around me, hands cupped and reaching. All twenty-four of them! 37 God, did they double overnight? It’s getting weird around here.

38 ‘Hey, you know what?’ says Matthew, a considered look on his face. ‘We should market this. People would lap it up!’

39 How like a tax collector. Always trying to monetise everything.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

Christ Pisses His Life Away (Chapter One)

1 I hate everything.

2 I’m standing here with a banging headache, pissing into an open storm water drain. Yes, we have those, even though it never rains here. 3 Actually, that’s not strictly true. It’s raining right now. Does not my amber stream arc so brilliantly in the sunlight? 4 And am I not doubled over with a sudden fit of the giggles at this? Oh, how pretty! 5 Oh, goddam. Shit. My head!

6 So, I’m trying to draw with some extra twirls. 7 And then I gaze with admiration at the acheiropoietic image I’ve made on the wall. 8 I’m so engrossed in this urine street art that I don’t notice an old tatterdemalion who happened to be sitting right in the line of fire. 9 Well, I notice now. He’s soaked, and he stinks. 10 I’m debating whether or not to apologise to the old dero. 11 And why am I still able to use big words like acheiropoietic and tatterdemalion when I’m clearly pissed?

12 God. Questions without answers. Life’s full of them. 13 Like, why is my carpentry business failing? No one wants to buy stools around here. 14 Am I expecting too much? 15 To have people want stools instead of parking their cheap arses on the ground with the donkeys’ own stools?

16 ‘Tasty! Splash some more down here, dude!’

17 Okay. 18 It seems my moral dilemma has resolved itself and that miracles do happen after all. 19 Praise… Elohim? Is that what I’m supposed to say at this juncture? 20 Here in the mud and the piss and animal shit, I’m wondering why someone would deliberately want to gargle down my number ones. Maybe it’s a fetish. 21 The man puts out his hand, then changes his mind and holds out an alms box instead. 22 But my bladder is empty now, so I give him an apologetic shrug instead. 23 His look of expectation sours.

24 ‘What good are you then?’

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2017

GUEST POST // A Game of Look and Find for Poetry and the Blog that Hosts it [Q&A]

Dear Readers, we are lucky enough to have become acquainted with Franki Hanke, a student administrative assistant with the Hamline University English Department. She also writes for its in-house blog Hamline Lit Link, and we’re thrilled that she decided to conduct an interview with us recently. My, oh my! Isn’t that exciting? We’re going to be on the front page of the University wall newspaper! So lean in, Dear Students, and squint your eyes to catch all the fine print. Oh, and please, do be polite and don’t spoil our beautiful faces with scribbled moustaches and shiners, okay?

FRANKI: Describe your site unbolt in its entirety? What is it? What does it hope to accomplish or what do you hope to accomplish through it?

TONY: Hi, Franki. Thanks for interviewing us. This should be fun!

TATI: Yes, let’s play!

TONY: Unbolt Me is a literary blog. It’s an online repository of poems, prose, and anything else we decide to try.

TATI: We have made art and audio recordings too. And a video! But Unbolt Me will always be about the writings.

TONY: As for what we hope to achieve with it, we just want fame and fortune, man. Like Scrooge McDuck, we wanna dive into huge piles of money and see how far we’ll sink!

FRANKI: Your web design leaves links all over the place to new creative work. What is the reasoning behind this feature?

TATI: Unbolt Me is a live organism. Beating. Throbbing. Breathing. Links are its circulatory system. They bring the oxygen of readers to every nook and cranny so there’s no necrosis.

FRANKI: What feedback have you gotten from readers about this feature?

TONY: They seem to like it. It can be fun to follow the links around… like a trail of breadcrumbs really. Just don’t gobble ‘em up as you go. Don’t want all our other readers getting lost!

TATI: Well… I remember one person said it’s rather annoying. But hey, don’t like, don’t click!

FRANKI: Throughout the site, do the links lead only to poems by the two of you or also reader submitted work?

TONY: It’s mostly only to our own poems, isn’t it Tati?

TATI: Yep, but not always. We’re not greedy.

TONY: Folks will just have to click around and find out for themselves. Ha ha!

FRANKI: Tell me about your writing challenges. When did they start? What’s the reasoning? How do you design them?

TATI: Actually, my writings were started like challenges, but maybe that’s off topic…

When I joined WordPress, I started to receive many awards and writing challenges. At first, I diligently tried to fulfill every challenge I received, but I later realized that I no longer had the time to get them done. They were growing in my to do list like a snowball. When I started to pay more attention to my writings and books, and when I started to work with Tony, these writing challenges became secondary.

One beautiful day, I decided to release them, and gave our dear readers the opportunity to raise this fallen banner of challenges themselves. We created a special page. It was my idea, but Tony’s brilliant execution. I’m very grateful to Tony. His mastery helps me to fulfil many bold ideas, and to create a modern design for the blog.

FRANKI: You currently have eight challenges, correct? Do you typically add more or is this typical to expect to see these same ones?

TATI: It’s actually a good idea! We should create some new challenges, Tony. Shouldn’t we?

TONY: Oh my god! A resounding yes!

TATI: By the way, I have an idea. What about a special bonus for readers of this interview? The ‘Create Your Challenge’ challenge and the ‘I would never write about…’ Challenge? How does that sound?

TONY: Yeah, totally! And our readers can make up their own rules for those challenges too!

FRANKI: For the Ears Wide Open challenge, are readers invited to offer their own readings too? Where should those be submitted and in what format?

TONY: We encourage it. If there are any poems we’ve written that tickle the fancy of our readers then we’d certainly love to receive their audio renditions of them. We accept mp3s and mp4s. Failing that, delivery via carrier pigeon in ten foot high braille is also acceptable.

TATI: Usually we use SoundCloud, and combine the reading with a fitting picture.

FRANKI: Which challenge is your favorite?

TATI: If I needed to pick a challenge for myself now, I would grab the ‘In Ten Sentences’ one. I think it’s because of my tendency to be laconic. Tony can confirm this. I’m not a chatterbox. Not in life. Nor in my writings.

TONY: Which is a boon since I’m deaf and half blind. As for me, the ‘Read Our Poems Aloud’ challenge would be my pick. Why? Because I’m an insufferable narcissist.

TATI: Deaf and half blind? Are you sure you’re human, Tony? You sound like a mole. A mole-narcissist. Really cool! Yep!

TONY: Careful! You don’t want me digging a hole beneath you…

FRANKI: How do you hope readers will interact with the challenges posted? What do you hope they gain from it?

TONY: Sexual prowess? Untold levels of virility? I’ve no idea. I guess all I want is for them to have fun with it. Writing is a chance to be creative, and we should all be given that opportunity at least once in our lives.

TATI: Finally, Tony said something valid. Amen to that!

FRANKI: What have you thought yourself doing these challenges (as they come from other nominations)? Has good work come out of the inspiration they stir up?

TATI: Every challenge forced me to think outside the box. To extricate myself from it. And challenges with a strict time frame also helped me to realize one interesting thing… Once, I wrote a piece in Russian in 10 minutes because rummaging in a dictionary would have devoured time if I had started to write in English. But the translation back into English took much longer than I had anticipated. Actually, I then wrote this piece again from scratch. It was a valuable lesson for me. Now, I never use Russian or Ukrainian drafts. I always write in English. Every language has its own logic and structure, and if you want to get a nice result then you need to think on this language, not just translate your own thoughts.

TONY: I believe challenges come from everywhere. Life itself goads one into writing something, anything, just to make sense of it all, don’t you think? I’ve never needed to look very far for my inspiration. By the way, Tat, good essay there!

TATI: Exciting.

TONY: Hey you, stop yawning already!

FRANKI: If someone was only willing to check out one challenge, which would you recommend as best for spurring some writing?

TONY: They should pick the challenge they’d hate the most. Methinks that’d really stretch out the old writing muscles!

TATI: Tony, what happened? The second reasonable thought during one evening!

FRANKI: Running a blog is a lot of work, what makes it worthwhile for you?

TONY: Writing and spending time with Tati is reward enough, but I do also have ambitions for our words to reach a wider audience. I feel we both have a lot to offer the literary world, so I’m definitely interested to see how far we can push this.

TATI: Yes, blogging is a great springboard. The more you shake it, the higher you jump.

FRANKI: What do you think are the benefits of writing for your own blog space versus other “goals” for writing: like writing in attempt to publish to other spaces or writing only privately, etc?

TONY: If I only ever wrote privately, then nothing would get done. I wouldn’t achieve a damn thing. That’s why I like to blog it all. This forces me to keep to a schedule, and it keeps me accountable to our readers. I feel this is the key to successful and productive writing for me.

TATI: I think it depends on goals, actually. There is nothing bad in private writings. But, yes, blogging disciplines you. It helps you to assess your efforts adequately. And the fact that I’m sitting here, struggling with my answers, means that I have made some steps toward my dream to be a famous writer. God bless you, blogging.

 

Interview by FRANKI HANKE
Image by TONY SINGLE

© All rights reserved 2017

What’s the Buzz

The day had turned out to be really nice. It was late March, or early April, I don’t remember. Who cares about calendars when the sun warms your belly so pleasantly?

I stretched and yawned. I happily glided between wakefulness and slumber. Maja’s winglets shone and lured me. And I could swear they were buzzing with a rendition of ‘Sweet Painted Lady’. I was lulled and aroused… It was getting hot, so I took cover under the leaves.

I don’t know how long I was drowsing, but I woke up because of human yells. I sighed. There’s nothing they enjoy better than making noise and mess. And they call us a plague, don’t they?

The yelling got closer and louder. The ground quaked, the bush shook. Drunk guffaws and ribaldry ripped this calm day in two like a butcher’s knife, beat the bejesus out of it. Someone brayed, ‘Jujube! Regale the King with sweet savories!’ The crowd ululated and rushed to the bush. Holy Royal Hexapods! What were they going to do?!

It smelled of trouble, and I decided it was high time to bug out of this unfortunate plant. I made to leap off and… nothing happened. Reprobate Polyphagas! What the hell? I had a shot at jumping a few times in a row but it was in vain. The sun which had caressed me so pleasantly had also played a low-down trick on me. My back leg had tightly glued to a drop of melted resin. I made the only decision I could. I huddled under a leaf, sat tight and didn’t move. All I could do was to wait out this mayhem.

I have indistinct memories of what happened next. There was a snapping of the bush then someone bending a bagel shape out of twigs. I was like a poppy seed on its surface. There were cries of ‘Must die!’ and ‘Hosanna!’ A cacophony of voices, laughing and crying… the thick smell of blood. The smell drove me crazy. I was twitching like an epileptic and trying to escape this crowned trap. We’re not freaking grigs. We don’t enjoy the stench of flesh. I can’t bear this smell. I just can’t. Desperately, I sank my jaws into my stifled joint…

It grew dark. I hobbled slowly. At least I’d escaped with my life and other limbs intact. After all, it was only a leg. I had another five. And wings! That poor guy now dangling from a cross was definitely having a much worse day than I. Damn. I have wings! Why not just go? I took to the air and laid a course for Horeb. Everybody knows that the best nymphet stews are there, and I really need some rest now.

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2017