EYEGLASS SKY

I am no stranger than the next person yet, I am far more flawed that the last. I experience no more, no less than any one of you; it is but a quarrel of proportions.

My sky is a lens that magnifies every moment into a monster; distortion thuds through my tongue and chokes the light into shards that bloody my sack-stitched mouth.

You only see the surface. Your view is the millpond that mirrors my eyeglass sky whilst I hide in plain sight, drowning beneath the unbroken surface.

This is about me.
It is not about you.
It is all about the dead-weight of me.
Me, myself and my eyeglass sky.

© Mel Lampro
Advertisements

ONE SECOND

Once apart from time there exists a second where nothing happens. Between every breath of life that begins, struggles and ends there endures one second of stillness that is darker than the farthest shadow of any conceivable star. It is younger than the universe but older than the ocean floor; quieter than a vacuum and more potent than blood. In that second where nothing happens there is no clock to be paused and no action to suspend. There is no wait, no before or after, no anticipation nor regret. Just one second, where nothing happens. A tic in time, the most valuable void, the vessel of my salvation and I am damned to an eternity of its protection because, I will never see the end.

© Mel Lampro

OLD FORK

When I say that my heart hurts, I do not mean the stabbing, searing pain of injury; it aches in the way that hunger ravages the pit of the stomach. I can taste the emptiness in my mouth; sour and tainted, like the prongs of an old fork. My heart feels hollow, vacant; my heart is starving and I am fearful that if I open my mouth it will leap out and consume the world.

© Mel Lampro

THE SEVENTH MIRROR

Each sliver was meticulously placed. The bright gash of light reflected every surface, curve and flaw, as tender dawn pierced shrieking night; bloodied fingers pressed shards into virgin plaster, haemorrhaging ruby cherry threads – drying damp, burial brown. Scratching though chimes of light, fingers sighed and sobbed a thick aria; unnatural selection in precise chaos – creation oozing from frozen, shattered ectoplasm that prayed to be whole.

The window saw it all. Each homunculus lifted to its watery light – dumb, distorted duet. Such silence as follows detonation; destination creation, destination destruction – same orchestra, different score. Detonate … deh-tone-ate … the sound consumed. The tongue rolled the words noiselessly in the mind, the tongue licked the fingers, the fingers sang and scratched through the chimes of light. Dawn after dawn, the gash grew wider, a brittle fungus choking its porous host. A confusion of arcs and trails that angled and curved into the facade – its facets legion and its brilliance fractured. Now the fingers were silent, the mind was quiet and the window sparkled as it traced its design and it saw that it was good.

“Seven times seven is forty-nine. Forty-nine. Forty-nine. Seven times seven is forty-nine – ”

The fingers chased the air, the feet turned on a razor, the mind span and the tongue sang:

“Seven times seven is forty-nine. Forty-nine. Forty-nine. Seven times seven is forty-nine – ”

Wet, red glitter spattered the ice, pattered and dazzled into gem pools that melted across the crystal floor. Thick, slick lips that kissed the feet as the heavy, bronze bell of laughter cannoned across a frozen lake, the sound drowned the sinner and the sin skimmed the surface as the skin peeled in prayer.

Rose had heaved and dragged each awkward mirror up the three flights of stairs to the attic she rented in a dark, red fist of terraced houses. The once affluent area was now colonized by shabby, gold bullion take-aways, aromatic late night grocery stores and a tumble of dusty charity shops bristling with static nylon and faded plastic. It was in these latter arsenals of the discarded that Rose found her mirrors, black-spotted relics of the nineteen forties with rusted hanging chains and bevelled edges crimped with imperfections.

She was drawn to the windows of these hoards – their frail panes, shrouded with faded blueprints of worthy causes, framed staring, naked dolls with blistered smiles and matted hair; barnacles of brass bric-a-brac and the petrified faces of pressed voices, peering out from their flat, seven inch worlds. It was in one of these stores that she had bought the hammer. The drag of the rubber handle as she weighed it in her hand felt secure and she knew she could trust it. Cowled in a waxy, crackle of paper, the head was pock-marked, its black patina veined with silvery flecks. Rose held her metal disciple close to her chest as she slid sideways between the ramshackle shelves – like a scared, stray dog picking its way through the stooping, crushing streets of a high-rise city.

She watched her face twist into a grotesque storm, infinity misted the window and the low, growls of cornered thunder coagulated into a wrenched, dripping howl. Directing every inclination of its clawed skull, Rose let the hammer tear her message through the souls of the saved. Redemption exploded into a bright, white kaleidoscope as Rose’s wraiths were exorcised. Once, she had been lovely – once she had been loved. But that was before. Now, her cerulean skies were heavy, grey rain clouds and they poured.

“Seven times seven is forty-nine. Forty-nine. Forty-nine. Seven times seven is forty-nine … Amen.”

© Mel Lampro / Previously published: Artful, University of Sheffield Arts Council Magazine [2006].

EFFIGIES

I can feel my hands wind into tight yarn balls as they try to wring recollection out of my consciousness. But bright images of dark memories flood my shattered mind and the apprehensive stain of another restless night begins its stealthy spread.

There is a place that hovers between the deepest pleasure and the most excruciating irritation. Breath – funnelled over wet skin. Reaction to dilation from sensation then frustration – as glacial waves roll their pebbles across each of my vertebrae and I curl from foetal to funerial.

Six-thirty assaults me and fries my brain with luxurious caffeine, dries my lungs with a hand-rolled nicotine and tar cocktail that leaves me as shaky and light-headed as a teenager; giddy and disoriented after their first joint. This grisly breakfast over, I head for my office – unwashed, crumpled and feeling somewhat nauseous. Thus, another normal day begins.

Lurching from one excruciating experience to another, I have blundered through this life of mine, more harmed than charmed – striving to be seen as someone and then slipping back into the shadows as soon as any light began to shine. Instead, I let it shine on others. Like the perennial Carnival Queen; oven-ready red velvet, greased with a slash of pink clash. The rustle of her taffeta dust choked the enraged sobs of half a dozen would-be royals who really didn’t stand a chance – again.

She contorted everything.

Despising her chubby ringlets and damning her cats-eye diamante, I went home and burned a Barbie effigy of her in the back garden. DIY Voodoo kept me insane as I was growing up; I burned them all.

© Mel Lampro

This is my first blog post since I was diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) on 28th January 2015.  I am determined it will not be terminal. Fuck you, cancer.

FALLING AWAKE

I have no soul.

There is nothing in my future, past or present that predisposes me to believe that I am anything but now. The pale fist of a defiant rosebud outside my window beats against the winter wind, as my fortieth year approaches like the blackest swarm, swallowing up the sun, blinding the sky and bringing darkness – so that I can rightly name my nightmares.

I cannot comprehend death, yet its promise terrifies me in an incomparable conundrum. Imagine endless sleep. Nothing between me and my destiny but a handful of dust and a shovel of worms. No. Better to burn me. Tamp the vestige of my now into a skyrocket and on the warmest night and under the clearest sky – let me fly.

An embarrassed puff of white slinks across an ether stage, miscued against a backdrop of bluish purple, as the light turns cold, corpse yellow. Wrong place, wrong time and forgotten, in an instant.

You won’t miss me. I’ll be a wisp on the horizon of your now before the year fizzles to damp nothing. Your eyes may melt when I come to mind and the sugared scent of me may pervade your thoughts for an instant, once in a while – but you will not be able to picture my face or hear my voice and I will seem as vague as the morning shadow of a dream.

As I look up at the ceiling of my tiny room, sherbet crackles of fatigue thrill my eyes with a private planetarium. Fragments of glittering, bursting light expand into the blackness above me and shimmer there in panoramic delirium, as I gaze further into the deepness of the oblivion that envelops me. I try to catch the void in my hand, contemplating the invisible distance that perfumes my perception, trying to make substance – something of the nothing that clogs the air … like rich, temple incense, suffocating me between each sweet, heavy inhalation.

Every one of my dreams has had the life sucked from it, its husk stuffed with sawdust and its numb, humdrum skin sewn cadaver-taut over its frame. Each ghastly autopsy, retired to a showcase on an unreachable shelf, high in my mind – and I cannot touch them; I only distort in their glassy eyes as they observe me. Taxidermy dreams in domed universes, the microcosms of my macrocosm; magnificent, poison candy, aligned to remind me that I stifled them before they could be.

The weight of my own breath presses me deeper into my soft sarcophagus. I imagine myself encased in gold and turquoise, my resting eyes sealed black and the weave of my fingers keeping my floating hands crossed safely across my chest. My body aches for a sleep that never comes, accusing me with a shrill whine that echoes from ear to ear like bad stereo, slicing through my dull head until its toxic flower folds a million nematocysts around my skin.

I jerk down from the fortieth floor, spread startled like a starfish, my spine inverted and my stomach lurching to meet it. My tongue thumps like an angry drummer against the vault of my mouth as my head snaps backwards and I reach for an invisible support.

© Mel Lampro / Previously published: Route 57, University of Sheffield Online Arts Magazine [2006].

BREATHLESS

He was perfect. Lounging across the front seat of a dilapidated car, looking every inch the boy that borrowed his father’s saloon for the prom and hoping that his best girl didn’t mind the smell of wet dog or the bubbled paint that flaked from the bodywork like a bad sunburn.

One hand on the steering wheel, the other dangling from the driver’s side window, fingers drumming gently on the door as he laughed and chattered with my neighbour. I could have watched him for a lifetime, with his troubled hair and faded T-shirt, he was everything I wanted and nothing but unreachable.

Too young, too cute and too absorbed in my pretty, animated neighbour – with her caramel eyes and streaming curls – water spilling over pebbles that bobbed and rippled in the early autumn sunlight.

I felt awkward in my work clothes and tried to pass them by, hoping that their conversation would engage them long enough for me to escape into my house unnoticed but, as soon as my hated high heels trip-trapped across the loose gravel on the street they both looked up. She with her dazzling smile and he with such a look of total vulnerability that inside I faltered and fell.

The polite introductions felt thick in my mouth, my lips dried and dragged on my teeth and I felt my smile harden like stale icing. My cheeks flushed as I fell over simple words and I dug my fingernails into my palms – I fired an excuse about having an evening meeting and ricocheted off the street.

Slam. Safe. Breathless.


No Love Lost Cover

Previously Published:

No Love Lost: 1 (Slim Volume) Paperback – 7 Dec 2014

Edited by: Kate Garrett

Available from Amazon


 

© Mel Lampro