watering the plants
By Vincent Silk
With Artwork by Alan Weedon
after all these years i’m still ravenous for it
and i would rip it out of your hands if i saw you with it
my elbow slipped off the table and i spilled coffee all over my leg and the chair
my sunburnt face; the nose is peeling
cystic acne on back and chest you look nice, clever
me i look a bit wrong but it fluctuates. i’m wearing a pair of sunglasses from the chemist. scratches on the lenses. i’m making a sour face. me me me
four of us sitting in a concrete backyard doing colouring-in. it’s the first printed edition of our colouring-in book of ******* wallpaper.
i’m so proud of us. the money is here, in an yellow envelope. let’s just spend it all. whatever choice you make will be the right one
i’m with two friends standing in the carpark under the bridge
at the wharf where nobody goes
there is a small drinking bar at the end of the street with soft red lights glowing out the windows
i am thinking about how merciful that light is how
under that dim light all is forgiven
i think about the money. there have been thousands of them
and three women or four i can’t remember.
it’s not the sort of thing i can close my eyes and see again
i have a fantasy he said can you help me?
consider where we live now poetry, rubbish, the drain.
everyone around us operating at a high moral frequency. everybody wants to live here but few people can. cognitive dissonance. lie to each other. here is the hologram.
the same ideas keep rising to the surface over and over
i reject utopia but i feel something still, something uncomfortable
the future of coastal cities is in their hills the future of cities we build in our chests
i have been loved by somebody
who wanted me only asleep.
open your eyes little boy
you may change me but first you must love me
i lie on my back in my bedroom a towel on the floor. the towel is damp. i have lived before in a tropical city but i don’t anymore. i tell everyone in my new cold home that i miss the heat but this is not true, i don’t miss that heat because some people – and i am one of them –
rely on tight pieces of plastic worn very close to the body against the skin to feel comfortable or whatever i’m going to do a guided meditation but this time i am the guide. i recorded it earlier on my phone. i put the phone on the bed and lie on the towel on the floor, but i can’t hear the recording. i planned it this way
everyone was relieved it wasn’t them. in some ways i was relieved too,
we all want to stay quiet in hard conversations turn the page be the good boy.
he walks to the end of the train platform empty like a jar, square shoulders. looks to the figure of the starlet for inspiration. he speaks and his voice is
hollow, impossible. small and hard
i don’t get to be the good boy but i do get to be real. i let it wash over me just to see where it pools. i’m wearing nothing, nobody bothers me.
i imagine that i have not cried for years. if nobody is watching i can’t be
sure i didn’t imagine it the crying. almost happened as a
sudden and terrible cramp came into my bicep while i was getting my hair cut.
but no, a quiet whine was all we got.
my friend showed me something she drew. it looks like you
the boy in the picture was me alright. he was strapped into a high chair like a child crying with his fullest lungs kicking his legs punching the tray where his food had been spat out his scream came off the paper. i stared at the picture for a long time his face was my face i keep going like this because how can i stop kicking and screaming how do you express anger? appropriately? she asked
hee hee i giggled
i like remembering stuff about him like when the straps on his espadrilles snapped mid-walk and he dropped that birthday cake on the ground. the night i threw up everything i was wearing a blue and white sequinned dress that belonged to olga
i ruined her shoes he held back my hair it was so nice. he took the situation away from my vomit and wiped my mouth with a wet cloth. the cloth was my shirt. my own very particular body was lying on its side even as the warm water washed over me splashed from me onto the floor. when i pissed myself he didn’t laugh or get mad.
hey big boy how old are you turning today? i lick his hand. some people like to fuck but me i like to sweep the floor, water the plants, circle the drain
Vincent Silk is a writer and artist living in Melbourne. His work has been featured in in .dpi magazine, Seizure, the UTS Writers Anthology, Slit magazine, Archer and MIX NYC.
Alan Weedon is a Melbourne-based photographer and writer. He’s keen on urbanism, architecture and other things explored across VICE, Aevoe, and The Quietus, among others. Alan does a few other things, which you can find at alnwdn.com