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space: a cat, in a box July 17, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in things that are not quite things we know, verbiage clusterfuck.

The way we dress the spaces we choose to inhabit says all we need to say about ourselves, in less time than it takes to take off our shoes.

What’s in your box? I keep a rug, a chair, a few cushions. It starts to feel crowded. I like it like a hollow shell.

Space, it’s relative; 12 Brazilian students crammed themselves into a one bed flat before they got booted out and I came. I can’t fathom this tub being large enough for two. 535 square feet for 12 people; that’s 45 square feet per person. I stand 5ft 1 and take up 535 square feet of living space. It seems a reasonable amount to me. I say that I don’t feel a need to have more space than this, but perhaps one day I will. In the style of Schrodinger I vacillate; yes or no, yes or no, and who can tell until the moment comes?

On a plane, someone takes up 200 dollars’ worth of your 600 dollar seat, and suddenly inches are a matter of insufferable magnitude.

Back to personal space; you’re not paying me any rent, so here’s an eviction notice.

My landlord drops in from New Zealand to take a look at my apartment. He’s thinking about finding a job in Vancouver. Either I find a new flat or I bring down the entire Vancouver VFX industry. 

Webworked cells, blind windows. This is living, ant-style. A foot of wall, that’s all that spares me the indignity of shared rooming. I value my personal space enough to fight you for it, in a cage surrounded by half a million strangers.

You come into my parlour and you’re that much closer to me, threading through the cloistered chambers of my heart. You come into my closet and leave yellow leaking down the side of my lavatory bowl — what should we call that?

My landlord leaves. I slip on new shoes and teeter to the door. And I, five inches taller, pause.

At my height, I don’t see the dust on the top of my refrigerator, nor on the tops of doorways.

At 6ft 2 my landlord sees things I should have cleaned, had I realised space exists outside of my band of sight.

My cat, who inhabits my flat at 0ft 9, looks up and sees the dust that lies beneath.


It’s all relative, like with those Brazilians. They sat on a crate with wings for a few hours, then piled their mattresses into an even smaller box. You gotta envy that kind of gumption. You gotta wonder where they went. I gotta wonder where you’d go.

Writhing down wormholes, surfing past singularities, breaking time and space to get to where we want to be. Space, she’s a hard lover. I loved once but would not stay; continents always drift away.

Don’t, don’t think of that; today is here, today is now, skimming the sweet salt susurrus of sea, snow peaks slumbering by your sail, six knots in a lazy haze.

As you said first, as you said best. We were too different, though at our end I loved you, either way.

Wind rises, earth turns, sun sleeps. A speck on a speck in a deep blue sky, I stare hard at the night. The stars are smaller than I can see; summer fades to fall debris.


Kiss me before flying, baby. I’ll see you on the other side.


the gleaner July 17, 2008

Posted by eatnorthamerica in onanistic bullshit.
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Uglyskins was like patchwork, stitched together from a hundred different types of skin.

I craned my neck to get a better look at him through the letterboxed window. The orderly fumbled with the key to the grimy door.

“All yours, sir,” he said, eyeing the neat cut of my coat and shoes, sleek against the pitted concrete floor. He stood aside.

I went through the doorway, and the door shut behind me. I looked at the man within. The unforgiving fluorescent light winked on and off and on again.

He had come to the stained soft walls of the cell nameless and silent, and he lay on the unyielding cot, arms and legs stiff in the restraints at his sides. His hands were balled into tense fists; they quivered occasionally, in perfect harmony with the tic of his pale blue eyes. I could not tell his age through the ruin that was his face. He was stitched together from a hundred different beings; I could not tell how many of them were human.

“I’m Doctor Sands,” I said, swallowing, and walked towards him. “What’s your name?”

Closer, he looked like nothing that should have walked on two legs, or four, or eight. The stitches were tighter around his eyes and mouth, but it made them none the prettier. His eyelashes were gone. I could not tell how he might have looked in one skin.

The blue eyes kept blinking. His mouth was slack.

“I’m here to help,” I said, lowering my voice. “Tell me what happened to you.”

Last year, fresh out of my internship, I had seen a man who bathed himself in acid to rid himself of the invisible ants that crept endlessly over his skin. I had thought, for the first time, that a man should have the right to his death.

I had seen men who had performed arson upon themselves, men who had pared their flesh from bone, but I had never seen anything as hideous as him.

Perhaps it was the guilt that made me reach out and put my hand on his. Perhaps it was the warmth of my hand, and my pity, that snapped his livid gaze to mine.

“I ate them all,” he said. “I ate the girl in the red hood, her wolf, the swan boys, the girl with the goose, that giant man. The snow white girl, the rose red child. All of them playing their parts for centuries. Saying the same words over and again. I set them free.”

I turned the names over in my head. For a moment they seemed familiar, and then the feeling was gone.

“Why this?” I asked, and I touched the threads that ran through his hide.

“Someone must remember,” he said. He shook his head, and whimpered, and shook.

I caught sight of a dark mass on the underside of his shoulder, pushing his arm up from the cot.

Something clumped and ugly sprouted from his skin, breaking through a film of blood and pus. It was hard to see in the cell, but in the wavering light it shuddered and parted, like a clot of feathers.