I couldn’t see the water. The waves crashed on the shore in a slow intention melody. I could hear them crashing as they tried to seduce the coastline. The waves always seemed to me to be a good metaphor for hard work, for grinding it out. A slow, almost unnoticeable effort to wear down the land they lapped at. Years of agonising Sisyphean toil that appears for all intents to amount to nothing through the lens of daily life. Yet when you step back and really look, when you see how the land was before and how the land is now, you see that the waves have managed to move the land entirely, to shape it and change its appearance. The waves have always reminded me that with enough work and persistence, you could move anything or anyone.
It’s a quarter to twelve and I’m staring at this yellow light
Not sure if I’m looking for food or something to think about
I’m not hungry, but I’m certainly not full
A midnight snack fool with yellow light hue
The greens that occupy my bottom two shelves
Beach Boys asking about my favourite vegetable
Its aubergine if you must know, brain at quarter to twelve
But greens aren’t what I’m after, I’m in need of something else
Old dusts settle in your shadow, left behind
they set and stretch into the darkness of your past.
The wind against your face coaxes the dust off your hair
and all the grime floats away, settling on your trailing footsteps.
It’s not the hottest summer of their red-nosed lives, but it is a close call. The Verona apartment complex becomes a desert oasis, wavering at the edges. The pavement burns and bubbles as cats mew irritably from their windowsill perches. Clotheslines criss-cross taut between balconies; the garments hanging from them–once colorful, patched flags–are now bleached bone.
“This isn’t a normal drought,” neighbors whisper to one another between balconies, licking the desiccated insides of their mouths.
Biological reproduction was passé.
Elma, a wide-eyed brunette, and June, a knockout blonde, waited for their little package. Their surroundings were white and clinical, conveying a sense of purity. Beyond the glass was a sea of cots, each with a blue or pink pupa tucked inside. It was the age of human synthesis, but the imitation of cultural conventions — the gendered colours of the blankets and the hospital aesthetic — were designed to provide comfort for visitors.
“I miss my mother,” I admit aloud, nearly in tears.
I am in jail again.
In NA, they say you have three possible futures on heroin: Jails, institutions, or death. But I quit going to NA after ninety days, once my court-ordered ninety meetings were up. I quit after I was free to go, but before I learned how to avoid those three possibilities.
Reviewed by Theresa Sowerby, Shura Price & Zoe Collins from Todmorden Wednesday Writers
Writer: Jessie van Eerden
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Release date: 23rd March 2021
The first doctor was disappointed. He found only furniture – a broken mirror in the cecum, a rotten egg on the rectum’s wall, and a chair, one leg missing. A bit slovenly, the doctor said, but not cancerous. I put my left shoe on my right ear and danced east, not west out of the recovery room.
Love is like a Ferris Wheel.
You go around and around
And at the same time up
And then down.
It can get monotonous
So better to have interesting company.