Archive for the 'Art Criticism' Category

25
Jul
20

Art Book: Mbasa Portraits – spread 4

MBASA PORTRAITS - PAINT KOKI BANGLES ON CARD5

Michael Matthews: Mbasa Portraits – spread 4, acrylic, felt tip pen, metal bangles on bolted card (2x40x50cm).

20
Jul
20

Poem: I SEE, I AM AT SEA

I SEE, I AM AT SEA

I see, the ship-like studio everyday

Climb the stairs to turn on the sound

The sea lapses against the buildings hull

A storm comes in fast and hard, slapping down

I see, land is so easy to stand firm

Sea washes fear in salt water

Bathing the storm in fine sprays

The squall wrecks its travesty efficiently

I see, whiteness and silence

Then dashed to deck in violence

Sucked under without breath

Finally released from that bullies grip

Nothing left but to float free to air

Christ make room for me

Hell no, I am going down again

15
Jul
20

Art Book: B-Secure – spread 4

B-SECURE - PAINT COLLAGE ON PAPER5

Michael Matthews: B-Secure – spread 4, collage and acrylic on paper (2xA4).

12
Jul
20

A SHORT STORY: Body Language  

Body Language  

by michael matthews

GUN

THE 20’S

The thing is, I am at my peak at twenty-five as I am going to gym five days a week making my guns impressive. Checkout my Facebook page from 2004, if you don’t believe me check my photograph posted on 24/9, I’m standing shirtless, high on coke with my guns blazing. You have this action group of health freaks who are too stupid to see the value of steroids. I had been taking steroids for two years when that picture was taken, see how real my guns are – really real. That photograph of me kissing my gun is still fresh, it looks like I got one-up in the chamber and ready for action.

When, at the Gym, I really pump it, doing curls with thirty kilograms in each hand while keeping my upper arm vertical. I pump my biceps one, two, one, two… It’s great, the thrill, when I get the rhythm right. I can maintain for about fifteen minutes then my muscles are pup, never mind, I switch over to my upper thighs. I go over to the leg machine hook up, soon I’m back into the rhythm of life. One, two, one, two… fifteen minutes later my upper thighs are finished, a little hop over to the bench, some sit-ups with fifty kilograms sort my stomach out – popping up my abs into a perfect six pack. Each machine in the gym has a name: the curls machine is Athena, the legs machine Artemis and the stomach machine Hestia. In an average session I hop onto Athena for fifteen minutes, rest for ten then hop onto Artemis. After satisfying myself, rest for another ten minutes. Finally, I slip into Hestia and pump her for a while finishing off exhausted. Each session is orgasmic. I feel so fulfilled I can’t believe there is anything better.

“Hi Joe, what are you doing today?” Natasha, my personal trainer asks.

“The usual, first Athena till I feel it here…” I point to my pumped-up gun “… then Artemis, finally Hestia. These women are really demanding, but I always try to give them my best.” Natasha has made it clear she is the goddess of my training. She gave the machines their names, giving me my pleasure by controlling what I can do with the machines.

“Well, Athena told me she’s unhappy with your performance of late. If you are not going to step up there are many who will gladly take your place.” Natasha goads me. “My advice is to start slow, then build up, finish off spectacularly with a fast rhythm out pacing your heartbeat, she’s not going to accept anything less. You doing all the extras aren’t you? Eating properly, running once a day, hundred push-ups and scrubbing down? Then you should be alright, go prove your stuff while I watch. She’s waiting for you all prepared for that extra effort.”

Natasha is the Madame of the gym, so I need to shape up or she’ll ship me out. I push Athena like never before. Luckily, I have just taken a new steroid in the change room that promises to give me more stamina. At the end, I am euphoric. A combination of open blood vessels, adrenaline and endorphins exploding in my brain. I run around like a maniac screaming, loving everyone. Natasha seems to be in a sexual fit herself. She comes up and kisses me, I feel a bit funny about that as Athena lies squat and spent, like she’s watching me. I go over and kiss her shiny metal in the crook of her prosthetic arm while Natasha looks on like a woman scorned.

THE 30’S

I have been with this gym for eight years; I am now in my thirties. I have started to notice Natasha lets the younger gymnasts use the newer machines. Over the last few years, Athena is replaced by Fat Hera and Artemis by Anorexic Athena. I am lucky Hestia is still around, but she has been rebuilt with second-hand parts; only her frame remains of the original machine.

The machines I work out on have been moved to a poky airless room in the back. Natasha tells me to take it easy on Hestia as some of the replacement components don’t work right anymore. Somewhere along the road of time I’ve lost my pleasure with these women, Fat Hera is a soft hulk making a squeaking squidgy sound. She is tired and restive as a couch cushion. Anorexic Athena is as thin as a rake. When I work out with her, feeling the iron of her ribs poking my flesh bruising me. She is frigid and inflexible. Set in her ways, I have to adapt to her. I secretly call Hestia, Mad Hestia now. She seems to have lost her marbles as she is all over the place. One moment paranoid, the next in a blinding fury. Then just too calm. I land up looking all around me to see who is watching me when I work out. My sessions are suffering. I have lost my confidence; my guns have begun to suffer. I speak to Natasha about changing machines. She laughs, saying I am too old for ‘the new blood’, referring to the beautiful slick machines out front and the wall of young muscular men who satisfy themselves on them.

THE 40’S

I’m in my forties and I have decided that I have had enough. I’ve been eyeing a new machine in the front room for a long time. Natasha is absent from the gym, no one is working out on a new machine Natasha calls Aphrodite. This machine is built beautifully. She is a running machine with all the latest gadgets from an intelligent interface, firm agronomic arm braces and best of all, a smooth long running track. I have coveted her for months, so I grab this opportunity. Mount her, thinking I will not be able to turn her on. I locate a key under her sophisticated dashboard, insert it and then I am back to the experiences I used to have when I was twenty. I ride her, climbing with her through a Zen garden of delight. That is the beginning of my affair with Aphrodite. I start to see my guns reload; I am me and I am she. I soon learn to come to the gym daily as Natasha doesn’t arrive till ten. Working out early is mind blowing. I don’t know how I couldn’t see it that Natasha would eventually find out, as they say love is blind.

In time, Aphrodite becomes my queen, love and life. Little did I suspect Natasha was monitoring Aphrodite’s mileage.

“You disgusting old man, who do you think you are a twenty-year-old? You have no right to use Aphrodite.” Natasha screams at me, I am standing with my towel in my hand caught red handed like a schoolboy. “You make me sick!”

“Look how she has brought me back to life.” I defensively respond.

“If I catch you mounting her or any machines in this room again, you are going to be banned from the gym.”

Natasha goes so far as to have Aphrodite removed from the gym and relocated somewhere in a private area. Accessible to VIP members only. I am naturally devastated but return to working out in the airless back room with Hera, Athena and Hestia listlessly.

THE 50’S

Now in my fifties gyming is not so important to me anymore. My doctor tells me there is nothing like a good book. When I go to the gym, once a month now, Natasha treats me with disdain. She offers me what she calls “the worn-out old whores” to work out on. Equipment left over from a time gone by. There is now Wicked Leto and Corrupt Demeter, both are dangerous and nasty as they are rusted and partially broken with squeaky joints. Mad Hestia is shoved up in a corner chained to a wall only our emotional past keeps us together. My guns of my youthful past are now the dragging sandbags of the present, if I want to kiss my sandbags, I would have to be double jointed.

“Look at precious, Joe, isn’t she beautiful?” Natasha taunts me as we stand in front of Aphrodite who has been brought back to the gym. “If I let you work out with her you wouldn’t even know what to do with her anymore.”

10
Jul
20

Poem: PAINT SEA

PAINT SEA

I want to paint waves in the sea

    I want to draw waves breaking

    I want to explain waves splashing

    I want to write novels foaming

    I want to print waves unpredictability

    I want to show waves continuity

    I want to sketch waves surging.

 

    I can draw up an ocean

    I can paint out movement

    I can print down reefs

    I can understand tides

    I can hear the breakers

    I can feel the surge

    I can beat out patterns.

 

    I swim out into the sea

    I splash about in buoyancy

    I float about waiting

    I see green and deep blue

    I hear a wind pick up

    I am dragged out too far.

 

    Full moon winks salaciously

    Earth’s cunning whore

    Giving pleasure

    In life and in my death

25
Jun
20

Art Book: Mbasa Portraits – spread 3

MBASA PORTRAITS - PAINT KOKI BANGLES ON CARD4

Michael Matthews: Mbasa Portraits – spread 3, acrylic, felt tip pen on bolted card (2x40x50cm).

20
Jun
20

Poem: GAMES

GAMES

    If I had a few minutes left of life

    Would you call

    If I was at death’s door

    Would you stall

    If I was at the gates of heaven

    Would you fall

    If I was at the river of life

    Would you answer the door

 

    When you deal me a hand

    I know you cheat

    When you make a stand

    I see you pull out the sheet

    When you give up land

    I feel the heat

    When you give out what’s planned

    I have to hit the street

 

    You throw down the queen of hearts

    For a fabulous start

    You follow with an ace of spades

    As you look to the shades

    Closing them gently

    Digging sand into the pit

    Burying it deep

    Without any strife from me.

15
Jun
20

Art Book: B-Secure – spread 3

B-SECURE - PAINT COLLAGE ON PAPER4

Michael Matthews: B-Secure – spread 3, collage and acrylic on paper (2xA4).

12
Jun
20

A SHORT STORY: It’s Not  

It’s Not  

by michael matthews

NOT
PART 1: IT ISN’T WHAT I SEE. IT’S WHAT I SAY.

“I’m sorry for taking up all your time, but I’ll make it up to you one of these days.” I haven’t known Mike long, but already he is irritating me. He is standing close to my car smoking a camel cigarette. “No! I’ll give it back one of these days…” He promises. I am only speaking to Mike because his white Labrador Retriever ran out in front of my car. I almost tried to swerve but my reflexes were too slow. I slammed my left fender into the dogs square head. It smashed up the front of my car I felt a jarring squelching as the front wheel bumped over its lifeless body. The dog died instantly. Mike, the dog owner, is reasoning with me, has been for what feels like an hour now a crowd has gathered. Of cause, the crowd is behind Mike.

“Look here Mike, the dog ran out unexpectedly I couldn’t stop, I’m sorry but you are going to have to get another dog.” I explain for the twentieth time.

“But… we were crossing at the zebra as we do every day at this time. You were speeding I heard your brakes squealing. You must have been going ninety or so. You do know this is a sixty zone.” He sucks on his cancer stick blowing the smoke out nervously like a chimney.

“Yes, I do know.” The crowd lets out a loud hiss at this confession. I look up the road the little I can see of it indicates the zebra crossing is approximately ten metres away. “The zebra is ten metres away you are crossing at the wrong part of the road.” I angrily contradict him. Mike is wearing dark John Lennon style glasses, I conclude to look hip. He is standing stock still staring glassily in my direction. He didn’t even bother to look up the road to where I am pointing.

“You killed my dog: my friend; guide; life. You must pay!”

“You can’t let your dog run free in the road.” I reason, I notice he is holding a white harness with a handle. The ends are sheared free where the dog’s blood glows in the late afternoon light. The same red also shimmers down the side of my car. Steam pours out of the bonnet. The dog looks like a paper pulp under the car.

“I heard it.” Someone shouts out of the crowd. “I’ll be your witness Mike.”

“Well did you see it?” I ask Mike, addressing him directly.

“No! I didn’t” He answers.

“Well then you were the negligent one!” I reason, he should have known what he was doing, what the dog was doing. The crowd seems to resent this, a loud rude murmur follows. I start to feel nervous. I know all about ‘crowd mentality’, I have seen enough of it on television. When I was younger I even joined a political march getting swept up in a frenzied wave of anger. “Well the facts are you let your dog run uncontrolled into the traffic, I was the unlucky one to kill it.” I logically explain. “It’s clearly your fault.” I emotionlessly clarify my stance. “I need your address so I can claim the damage to my car from my insurance. I’m really upset, due to your negligence you have wasted my time.” I elucidate the situation clearly. “My car is written off in need of towing, you clearly just don’t know how much of my time you have wasted. I have an important meeting this evening. What am I to do now? Here I am standing arguing with you when you are clearly guilty. Then this crowd, they must be your friends. I can’t see why they think you are so innocent. This is a nightmare. Mike, you need to pay for this mess by taking the responsibility for the death of your dog.” Mike seems agitated by this speech, the crowd suddenly surging forward. “I mean, it’s only a dog, you can always buy another one.”

“You are a cruel man!” Someone in the crowd shouts out from the back. The crowd murmurs in agreement, I am taken aback. I too have a dog as a pet. I love animals I even donated R100 to save the rhinos. It’s really cruel what those poaches do to our rhino’s. They tranquillise them, sometimes not even fully, then with machetes they hack off the poor animal’s horn. I mean who would do that. Who would be as cruel as that; it’s just not human? Those people’s actions are killing a species off, if they are allowed to continue on this destructive course rhinos will be extinct in ten years. I blurt out: “You just can’t let animals run wild in the city. If I swerved for this dog I could have killed a child.” I emotionally appeal to the crowd. “I could have hit an oncoming car. Killed a whole family; even myself.” I passionately explain with tears in my eyes. “Rather, kill the dog. If I swerved and crashed I would be responsible. Legally you are not allowed to swerve for an animal in the road.” I’m trying not to show off but the crowd seem to take it that way. I get the feeling they prefer to see me dead rather than the dog. “So, I am right. I did right not to try to avoid the dog when it stepped in front of my car.”

Mike seems crushed by my logic: “Sorry for taking up all of your time. I’ll give it back to you.” He promises again. Damn right I think I’ll make this bastard pay. I’ll make him suffer by paying through his nose. I’ll sue the bastard for every cent I can get out of him. No one should be allowed to let their animals run loose in the road; I don’t care who they are. The crowd surges like a Luna tide. I begin to feel trapped, so I try to struggle free. Suddenly, I notice many of the people in the crowd, if not all, have dogs with them, the dogs start to whine and bark relentlessly. I am squeezed up against the bloody side of my Mercedes. My new suit is covered in the dog’s oxide coloured blood, then, I am roughly manhandled. Someone in the crowd grabs my elbow. Then someone else grabs the other. Fumbling hands are now all about my person; then two sets of hands grab me on the inside of my knees. I’m lifted into the air; helpless. I scream out but the crowd roars like a lion. They have me fast. I am floating in a sea of hands as they serge down the street. I hear a tap, tap, tapping; a beating stick sound on the road in time to the chanting, the crowd mock me as they beat out a snare sound with their white canes on the tar. I squirm about realising that everyone in the crowd has a dog leading them or a white cane that they tap in front of them blindly in pursuit of a cruel rhythm.

They make their way down the street to a hospice building just visible on the right hand side of the road, at the far corner. The crowd gesticulates wildly as I bob along. I scream out in desperation as I visualise my fate: “I’m innocent, I’m innocent, I saw what happened.”

“It’s not what you saw.” The crowd responds as they throw me up into the air like a rag doll. “It’s what you say that makes you guilty. You have no empathy.”

 

PART 2: IT ISN’T WHAT I TASTE. IT’S WHAT I SAY.

Mike sits in front of me drinking my wine nervously. It’s a red, a Merlot. The taste leaves a woodiness on my tongue; as if I just licked the inside of a wooden coffin. I can taste the sharp purulent flavour that leaves splinters in my throat. Possibly, it came from the same oak tree I gathered acorns from as a child to play ‘knock-knock’ with. As a child I tied acorns to a string then banged them together; the winner smashing the competition to pieces. I would visualise these acorns as weapons, as two tiny shrunken heads smashing together; the one exploding the other into a thousand pieces.

“How do you like the wine?” I ask Mike as if that is the only thing we have to say to each other. I swirl my wine in its glassy goblet like a professional connoisseur.

“It tastes a bit sharp, but it’s fine, really. I’m not a wine drinker.” Mike hesitantly responds to my provocation while he plays with his white cane. I push my nose deep into the goblets shaft. Sniff profoundly, the flavours pop in my nasal passages as tastes. “You don’t taste only with your mouth. The secret is to leave your mouth half open as you sniff. It allows the taste to encircle as much mucus surface area as possible; a solution that is useful, or else just wipe the wine over your anus.” I try to be clever.

“I’ve come to discuss something serious.” Mike affirms shyly.

I hold up my hand in an assertive stop signal. Now is the important part to tasting red wine. I take a short sharp sip, allow the red wine to linger in my mouth then to run slowly to the back of my throat by tilting my head back to the precise angle of seventy-five degrees. The wine sits in perfect balance for three seconds at the back of my throat. Then, I swallow in a swift clean action. It is like tasting history, the history of love, bitter love, past love and present love; the love of life. It is like having the taste of all my best memories in my mouth. I hold up the glass to the light at exactly forty-five degrees and precisely sixty centimetres from my left eye. Mike is sipping his wine like a schoolboy. The colour of the wine is a deep mysterious red; the colour of fresh blood but not the blood of a mortal. It is the colour of immortality. The wine is transporting me to another plane; then Mike rudely interrupts my ecstasy.

“Sandy and I are planning to get married.” Mike isn’t telling me anything new. Sandy and I have been living together for four years. We even have a child together. Lately, we are having a difference of opinions about our future. I want to explore my creativity while she wants stability and a wealthy commercial life. Mike is her old blind school boyfriend, her golden boy, a shadow from her past. I recently found out she is seeing him again. I don’t want to marry Sandy, Mike does. So, here we are in a neutral public restaurant having a civilised lunch; politely. Well this is new to me. I absently need to recheck the colour of the wine. Mike pours himself another glass like a drunkard. The colour is beautiful as the wine rushes into the glass. The waiter serves an excellent bottle. He returns to the table. Clears it, then prepares it for the next course.

“Sandy and I are having difficult times, but, it’s nothing we can’t work out.” I boisterously claim.

“I’m going to be upfront with you. We plan to marry soon.” Mike cathartically explains as he waves his muscular arms about like a crayfish as it hits the boiling surface of the water cooking it; I am naturally bored. Why is it that the jilted lover is always the last to know? I am not surprised, so we sit in silence while I digest this news. The clumsy waiter arrives with my lunch. Mike isn’t eating. I believe the waiter is drinking on the side, as he is extremely active in a sharp disjointed manner. He slams down my plate of prawns, just too hard, just too off target of my placemat, to be sober. He sloops the jar of garlic sauce over the tablecloth. He bumps into my chair just enough to make me feel uncomfortable. He apologises just too apologetically. He wipes his garlic oily hands on his jacket, then, makes his hat more screw in a pathetic attempt to straighten it, turns, bumps into Mike’s chair, dislodges Mike’s cane making a sorry retreat to the kitchen. On entering the kitchen, he disappears from my critical view. I hear the Chef shouting at him wildly in the kitchen.

I look longingly at my plate of steaming prawns. They look delicious; a harmony of orange and black, contrasted by a bed of fluffy rice; a small side salad of red cherry tomatoes and green lettuce. I distract myself by squeezing two quarter slices of fresh lemon over the six king prawns. I then add a dollop of garlic sauce to the meal as garnish. I let the meal broth as I sip the right amount of wine smothering the taste with a loud smacking sound of my lips. The wine is delicious. The waiter arrives with a hand-towel draped over his crooked arm with a bowl of steaming lemon water. He dumps the bowl in front of me then looks around for a place to hang the towel. Spotting an empty chair he drapes the towel over the lintel, pats it, then weaves his unsteady way back to the secrets hidden in the kitchen.

“I hope you understand.” Mike says apologetically. “What I really want to say is that I plan to start a family hoping that you are not going to cause any trouble.” Mike tensely explains this almost rationally. Then, he goes on: “I contacted my lawyer he advised me this is the first step. The next step is for you to sign this paper.” He takes out a legal looking document from his pocket smoothing it on the table in front of him. I am surprised, but decide it is time to eat. I pick up a prawn with two hands delicately shell it from the bleached fresh alien meat. The blanched flesh separates from the shell perfectly. I pop the boiled flesh into my vociferous mouth. I grab the fork dexterously scooping a suitable portion of rice into my mouth as well. The taste explodes as the mix skims over my taste buds. I chew the soft but firm mix while smelling deeply. It is absolutely delicious having a curry, garlic and butter taste. The oils drip from my lips so I pat my mouth with the hand towel. Then, I sip my wine again.

“So, why do you need a lawyer? It’s not as if Sandy and I are married.”

“It’s just so you two can make a clean break. I don’t want you trying to interfere. We do live in a civilised country. It’s the right thing to do. Just sign here.” Mike points generally to the page. The pawns are calling me. I pick up the largest one, crack it open, separate the shell indulging again, then, the next and so on. Rice, more garlic sauce and pawns while the dish still pipes soon one more pawn left. I want to saviour it. The garlic is finished so I wave over the waiter. He staggers over.

“YessssssSssssssir!” He slurs.

“More garlic sauce, please.” I politely request. The drunken waiter wonders off aimlessly. While we wait for his return I decide to pursue what Mike is after.

“So you want me to sign this document saying I won’t see Sandy again.” The wine is getting to me.

“No! Not exactly.” Mike clarifies.

“So what’s all this legal stuff for then?” I am getting irritated with Mike’s vagueness. “What exactly do you want? You’ve stolen my girlfriend and child. What more could you possibly want from me?” I burp, some of the ingested food regurgitates into my mouth again; still delicious.

“I want you to sign because of your child. I want to adop….” At this point the waiter returns with an urn of garlic sauce for a table of twelve. As he approaches he trips on a bag two tables away from us, running, falling, lurching he approaches our table. Determined to make his goal the off target hot garlic urn of sauce falls over Mike; drenching him from head to foot. Mike jumps up in a blinding rage with his half said sentence boiling in his half open mouth.

 

PART 3: IT ISN’T WHAT I FEEL. IT’S WHAT I SAY.

Sandy runs her groomed hand down the inside of my thigh. She had a manicure today, and is careful not to damage the freshly painted plastic nails. Armed with these feline weapons she teases me by scraping the inside of my thigh; titillating my very senses. A sweet-sour image of painful-pleasure flashes into my mind; an abstract image of red and pink strobes behind my eyes, then, she slaps me in the face; splitting my bottom lip. She leaps onto me grabbing my face in both hands biting into the cut with her front teeth. The pain makes me scream.

“Stooop. Oooh, soooop, soooooop!”

“At least you have feelings.” She says as she sits up. I know I have feeling; my lip is throbbing. I get up going to the bathroom. This woman is insane I think to myself. We met at a party were instantly attracted to each other, we started a relationship this steadily grew over the weeks. This is the first time though she draws blood. I dab my split lip with Dettol. It stings sharply, I grimace at my face in the artificially lit mirror. The image I see is the one I have of myself, but, it is the one no one else has of me. They see only my reversed image; my social self. I pamper my lip as if it is a baby, it begins to sting me pleasantly. When I enter the bedroom Sandy is totally naked her lithe body looking small and fragile as she stands in front of me so innocently. She tilts her head away from me looking concerned; so I approach nonchalantly. Suddenly, she raises her right knee in a professional kickboxers movement making direct contact with my testicles. I naturally crumble forward. She smashes her fist into my nose. I hear a sharp cracking sound as I blackout falling to the floor. When I wake, I am naked Sandy sitting astride of me. She strokes my broken face. My eyes are swollen but I can hear her saying how much she loves me.

“I feel you; and you feel me. I love you so much, please don’t leave me. I now know, you have feelings for me.” My first instinct is to run but it is too late; I love this crazy woman and the danger passes. “I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” She rambles on. “I love you so much; I just need to know you have feelings for me.” She hugs and rubs me with her body; sliding her hard erect nipples from side to side gliding them all over my chest and stomach. I begin to feel a warm desire for her and soon forgive her as my lust grows. She makes love to me in a delicate and controlled way.

“I forgive you!” I scream out at my climax: “I love you so!” I am so in love with her I can forgive her anything.

From that day the nightly beatings increase within a month she breaks my index finger. At the hospital she flirts with the young doctor and when he shows surprise at my physical condition: the bruises all over my torso; the scratches on my back; and my entropic muscles. She just laughs and tell the doctor I am a cage fighter. Later that night, and from then on, she begins to tie me up, then to whip or beat me while she records it on a GoPro video camera. She is always enthralled with the pain she inflicts on me and the way I respond. At times I beg for mercy or scream out in pain, but when I black out she seems most satisfied. That is when she says she loves me the most. I am in absolute fear of her. I am too scared to tell anyone feeling fearful for my life. She is always close by, if she thinks I will betray her in any way she aims at breaking some part of my body.

She straps me to a spiked bed, in her madness circumcises me. She uses a scalpel for this purpose. Grabbing my foreskin between her index finger and thumb she stretches the loose skin as high as she can; using all her strength, she holds the surgical blade firmly against the delicate skin; just above where the penis head ends. “This is going to hurt, but, we must do it. I want you to feel me.” She encouragingly says. Then with one expert cut she removes my foreskin.

I wake with my mother fussing over me. “You have a fever.” She says. “Sandy, told me all about it. You really have to be more careful. You don’t just rip your zip up when you’re not wearing underwear I thought I taught you that.” She mockingly waves her index finger at me. “You are so lucky to have someone like your friend Sandy here.” She glances to her left and there is Sandy so beautiful in her innocence. “Yes, you had a bad accident.” My clueless mother goes on: “The doctor assures me everything is OK. It seems as if the zip just circumcised you. They even say it looks like a surgeon’s job; almost professional.” She smiles reassuringly at me then at Sandy, I see pure pride in Sandy’s eyes.

“When it happened I insisted he goes to hospital, but, you know how he is. He wouldn’t listen to me. So when it got infected I rushed him in; apparently just in time. There was no gangrene…” turning to me she continues without missing a beat: “…and it seems as if you will still be able to give your mother grandchildren.”

“Yes, I need to congratulate you.” My mother says to Sandy; then looking at me: “Sandy tells me you are getting married. I am worried it’s too soon, but, Sandy tells me you have feelings for her.” My mother is so excited she is beside herself. “I’ve always wanted to be a grandparent.” She warmly says to Sandy. Fear grabs my heart in an icy grip. I feel trapped, too afraid to say what I feel. Too afraid of her.

Soon after, I am released from the hospital and I am once again tied to the nail bed. I am naked and the naked Sandy I meet nightly sits astride me. I am scared, actually terrified. Sandy places a rubber tourniquet around my testicles. She tightens it making my testicles swell. She places a mirror so I can observe the proceedings. At first my testicles are red but now they are purplish. She uses her scalpel to shave my pubic hair. My sorry newly circumcised penis slumps creatively to the left like a slug.

“Are you going to marry me?” She asks reasonably, given the circumstances.

“Sandy, I don’t know. I feel you, I really do; you hurt me. You really hurt me!”

“Well if you don’t I’m going to castrate you like the Egyptians do to their slaves. You will become my eunuch.” She carelessly flicks the last of the unwanted pubic hairs to the floor. My testicles look as large and shiny as a baby’s head; just pitch black.

“If you do that I will die.” I respond desperately.

“No, not really. I’ve read all about the process. They do it to bulls all the time. Once I’ve cut off your balls I’ll just cauterize the gash with this poker heating for the purpose in the fire. It’s a simple procedure. So, will you marry me?” She pushes the blade under my swollen ash black testicles. I can feel the surgical blade against my thin scrotum skin.

***

We stand at the altar. My mother and friends are happy for me. I am to be married to Sandy. She looks so sweet, so delicate, just like when I first met her. He wedding dress is white fluffing out from her thin waist emphasising her hourglass shape. It reminds me my time is running out.

“Do you take this woman for your lawful wife; to love and cherish for the rest of your life?” The priest asks me.

Many of her family friends are blind tapping their white canes rhythmically in coercion on the floor.

I feel the pain that Sandy inflicts on me.

The tapping reaches a crescendo.

I also feel her madness.

A bluesy rhythm emerges based on the song, ‘She will be coming around the corner…’

Sandy is smiling benevolently at me.

Someone sings out blindly the sentimental words in a deep bass.

I realise I feel nothing.

 

PART 4: IT ISN’T WHAT I HEAR. IT’S WHAT I SAY.

Tap! Tap! Tap! “Are you in there?” Sandy is searching for my soul.

I want to reassure her. “I’m here and I’m fine.”  But, I can’t speak. I had a stroke subsequently losing my speech facilities. The one half of my face has melted it’s as if someone put a flame to it.

Tap! Tap! Tap! “Are you in there?” Sandy is being really annoying. She sneaks up on me tapping me on the top of my head. Since the stroke I am paralysed from head to toe. I cannot move or speak, but, I can see and hear. My wheelchair is my chair and bed, Sandy does not often lift me out of it these days. A few months ago she opted not to have a professional nurse look after me. She told the nurse she needs to save the money, but, I knew she had an ulterior motive.

At first she was kind to me but that too passed. Now, she leaves me sitting in my shit. Makes much about it belittling me. She is reluctant to change me but when it gets too bad she wheels me out into the garden. Tips me out of the wheelchair onto the lawn, hoses me down with the hosepipe. This is a burden to her so she cuts a hole in the seat of the chair and my pants so she doesn’t even need to get me out the chair. She claims I am too fat curtailing my meals to one meal a day.

Mike appears in my face one day. He is blind, an incident happened when he was on duty; a pistol exploded in his face. He has black short hair, a strong jaw with John Lennon glasses covering his eyes. He’s an ex-cop and a bully. He builds a contraption consisting of a tube with a baby’s teat. When it’s feeding time Sandy or Mike pop the teat into my slack mouth, a hydraulic pressure system, that I cannot see but can hear, is turned on, liquid food is forced quickly down my throat. I conclude Mike is Sandy’s maintenance man. He works around the house. Changes light bulbs, doing minor repairs. He pushes me outside in the mornings, hoses me down

returning me to the house at night. Then, he starts to burn me with his cigarettes. At first I think it is an accident as he is blind, then, he whispers in my ear: “You fucking retard, can you feel that.” I smell flesh burning and hear a crackling sound. He starts to burn me under my arms getting a big kick out of it. He also loves to blow smoke in my face. I am afraid of him and my fear seems to inspire in him more cruelty towards me. He calls his masochistic ways ‘creative thoughts’ and his torture ‘subject verification’. He tells me the sad story of his life. How he trained a guide dog after his accident but some cruel person murdered the dog with a car. How this changed him, he used the words ‘turned him’. I felt a great empathy for him after he told me his history, but, little was I to know what a monster he became.

In time, Sandy stays away from me, I am left more and more at Mike’s mercy. When she bumps into me she treats me like a baby. “Coochy, coochy coo. How’s my little man today.” She asks in baby talk scratching me under the chin with the long red nails. I don’t know if Mike or Sandy is the cruller to me. One day Mike wheels me into a closet in the master bedroom, my old bedroom. He locks me in. I hear Sandy come in and a Champagne bottle cork pop. Over a period of time there is giggling and happy banter. Then, I hear the bed springs singing, Sandy making sounds she once made with me when she came to orgasm, while Mike grunts like a mole. I knew then, Mike is more than the maintenance man. Later Mike unlocks the closet wheeling me out I see a satisfied Sandy breathing and snoring deeply on the bed.

“You have been a naughty boy, you know what I do to naughty boy’s.” He throatily whispers in a dark voice in my ear. “I take them swimming.” He wheels me to the edge of the pool then pushes me in. I sink to the bottom the air pushed out of my lungs. I am fighting motionlessly for my life as I drown in the pool. I black out; when I wake I am back in the chair. Sandy is staring at me: “Mike tells me you been a naughty boy. You know you are not allowed to swim. If you die your pension is going to dry up. Then, what am I to do?” She cruelly reasons.

After that I spend weeks in the bedroom closet listening to their sex antics. I am obsessed with this beginning to imagine I am Mike. I even begin to enjoy Mike’s beatings or drownings. Unfortunately, Mike realises this so he stops placing me in the closet. He would wheel me into the corner of the room so I could watch them fucking. Mike says I am his eyes. I notice even in his love making, if I can call it that, he is cruel to Sandy. As time passes I begin to fantasise about these sessions but Sandy begins to despise my presence blaming me for Mike’s sadistic behaviour. So I am wheeled out to the pool. Mike ensures my front wheels are positioned close to the edge of the pool with that my back is to the house so that I can only faintly hear the screams of Sandy’s pleasure.

I am left out there for days. I am neglected. Neither Mike nor Sandy pay any attention to me. The days ware on miserably as I become bored and depressed. Then it strikes me; I develop a diabolical plan. Every day I work at bending forward slightly. At first I could do nothing. I start to visualise every muscle in my stomach. I visualise the movement. I work hard at my plan every day.

Tap! Tap! Tap! A Hadeda lands on my shoulder, pecks at my head, turns shiting on my chest, huge globs of white excretion. Then, it lurches off my shoulder thrusting my upper body forward. The chair lurches counter to the bird’s motion spilling into the pool throwing me into the icy water. The splash bursts in my eardrums as I sink silently to the bottom. I achieve my aim; Sandy will no longer receive my pension. I lie at the bottom face up feeling joy like I have never felt before. I watch a large bubble escape from my mouth, float to the surface popping in the evening air, my last silent word.

 

PART 5: IT ISN’T WHAT I SMELL. IT’S WHAT I SAY.

I’m in my studio throwing my sound shit out the window. It bursts on the pavement waves breaking forth engulfing my neighbours. The shit I’m throwing out comes from my sound system speakers – Jazz, contemporary and fat. It has a fat bass, a fat trumpet and real fat saxophone digitally remastered for maximum bass.

“Turn that shit off!” Sandy screams at me. I go over to my Sony amplifier turn down the volume. The music stops bursting on the pavement and is once again confined to my studio like a trapped animal. Sandy is sniffing the air in my studio like a dog.

“You’ve had someone in here. Haven’t you!” She accuses me barefaced. I ignore her and sit on the bed. “It smells like perfume. Whose perfume is it? You cheating bastard!” Her lines fall flat in contrast to the jazz.

“I was just burning some incense. You know ‘Spiritual’; it’s our favourite, a semi-sweet smell leading you to Nirvana.”

“You know I hate incense it gives me a migraine. Why do you do it?”

“Well that’s the first time I’ve heard that.” I respond truthfully for the first time in this conversation. Sandy and I have been fighting a lot about small things lately. It started when I smelt smoke in our bedroom. Both of us don’t smoke, so I quickly came to the conclusion it was someone else. The only friend I know who smokes is Mike. I accuse Sandy of having an affair. She denies it, but my suspicions are set in motion. I would watch them together. She becomes more animated when he is around; secretly lurking off together into an isolated area of the house. If I walk into the area they startlingly open up a too obvious distance between them. The smell of cigarette smoke becoming a frequent visitor in my life. I decide to put an end to it.

I decide fasting for five days will clear my mind. For five days I decide I won’t eat anything; but allow myself the luxury of alcohol. I start on Monday all going well. It’s not so hard to eat nothing all day. That night I drink a bottle of wine becoming pleasantly and thoroughly intoxicated. I am too arse-about-face to feel any hunger. The evening of the second day turns out much better as I drunk my wine more measuredly. I begin to get inspired, crazy ideas leap into my mind. On the third day, I find myself in the kitchen boiling beetroot in a large pot. I can smell my breath it’s stinks like a dog’s backside. I hadn’t been to the toilet for three days. No one told me that you need to masticate in order to excrete. The food in my stomach and the wine I drink starts to rot making me sick as it poisons my system. The alcohol isn’t helping as it causes me to hydrate as well. By the fourth day, I can’t remember too much, but, as I walk down the street I see people holding their noses moving away from me. I guess I am rotting from the inside; even my sweat is repugnant.

On the morning of the fifth day, I wake with cracking a headache; I feeling nauseous and disoriented. I make my way unsteadily to a Kentucky and order a ‘double tower’ burger. When I get home I gulp it down and within minutes I vomit all over the studio. My stomach begins to run and I shit in my pants. In the midst of this pain and humiliation there is a knock at the door.

“Sandy sent me. She says you have started to smell. Judging by your smell I just don’t know how she puts up with you. You smell like shit; no something far worse.” Mike taunts me. I am totally humiliated by him but I have a diabolical plan.

“Mike, just wait here.” I command. “I must give you something for Sandy.” I will get my revenge on those cheating bastards. I worked on this all week. I stagger into the kitchen half bent over. Find the bowl and painfully, as my stomach cramps holding me firmly, make my way back to confront Mike. With all my strength I lift the bowl over Mike’s head pouring the red liquid over him. His head and face turn a bright red as he jerks away from me.

“What is this? What is this?” He wildly responds in blind fear.

“It could have been acid and next time it will be!” I justly replies. “Today it’s beetroot juice.” I begin a mad tribal dance that comes naturally to me at this insane moment.

“You are absolutely mad!” Mike screams at me as he runs away with his white cane flailing helplessly in front of him; tapping out a Bach staccato rhythm.

I manage to get over my food poisoning; with a little help from the antibiotics the doctor prescribes for me. Sandy gets back together with me. She still half-heartedly tries to deny anything happened between her and Mike. I suppose, I never got over her betrayal and now I find myself in love with Lovone.

Lovone is totally opposite to Sandy. Lovone is tall with long legs and exceptionally wide horse-like hips. Whereas Sandy is small and tomboyish. The relationship started on the first day of my fasting. She came to model for me. I was enthralled with her body it is so unusual, so clumsy and majestic. I lit some incense and we made love. Since then, it has grown into a full blown passion. We come together almost every day now. The problem is Lovone loves to soak herself in perfumed oils. Sandy can smell these oils so I have to shower frequently to hide the perfume. I beg Lovone to stop using her oils; and she does. She must love me a lot because those smells are her identity. After making love with Lovone I would shower; all is going well. One evening when I sneak into bed thinking Sandy is sleeping she suddenly rolls over.

“Where have you been? I phoned your office and no one was there.” She says as she gains consciousness. “Your cell is off, what happened?”

“I went out with Gary. We had a dinner and a few drinks.” I plausibly lie. She starts to explore my body with her small delicate hands. I try to brush her away as I am exhausted and not interested having had more of my fill earlier in evening with Lovone. Lovone had been particularly creative. We experimented with new extreme positions. Lingering over our sensuality. When spent, we rubbed our bodies together bound tightly under a sheet. Our sweat and love juices mixing into a boiling pot of oneness. Afterwards, I showered as usual.

Now at home with Sandy who is becoming increasingly more sensual. The more I subtly resist, the more frantic Sandy becomes. She begins kissing my face, sniffing me all over as women do.

She freezes like ice, a chill goes through me.

“I can smell her sex in your hair, you cheating bastard!” Her fat bass voice brakes over my happiness.


 

10
Jun
20

Poem: STANDING ON THE SPOT

STANDING ON THE SPOT

Standing on one spot

Creating animation of time

Shooting murderous potential

Pale yellow alibis

Rounding and rout, about

Mirage, protecting mind

Matters little what’s true

Rifle through loaded memories

Scope, magazines and conscription

Automatic fire trigger bursts

Red and white, with blue

Pale in light of you

Pink and grey, a hue

Living with no clue

Turning on one foot.