picture you freak

by Daniella Cugini


it is not actually possible to watch this much masterchef in one week. gordon
ramsay is etched onto my retinas, his jaw contorts. there is no escape. wifi is
inevitable. I could flee this earth but will the seabass still be raw in the fourth


the girl in front of me slips a restricted-section book onto the counter,
scantily clad woman under sleek black typeface. the blurb can be condensed
to I dare you. she meets the bookstore owner’s eyes, but years have deadened
his propensities to disapproval.

she pays him in school tokens. the laser goes flick-flick like the protagonist’s


storms are most enthralling when you are not in them. lightning bloodvessels
the sky. thunder cymbals dangerously. I mutter something about
deities having food poisoning but the rain cuts me off.
this is when I remember I have dawkins’s the god delusion in my rucksack.
subtlety is a lost art, damnation isn’t.


I should write an essay on the wasp factory. never then, never now – I want
its heart shunted through my brain is that too much to ask for twice? and to
pulse itself out through my pen. nowadays four-fifths my blood is good
paper, it flows hardly.

the bookcase is mostly unread, baleful, an array of spines
crumpled to the brink of paraplegia. the wasp factory’s is the
smoothest, which is somehow ironic


I use poet as a verb. I start all my sentences in the middle like and
so or as if, it is all a continuation. I consider diets, then I consider
sonnets to clarified butter in the same breath. butter really does
need clarification.

inevitably I think of him. but what is left to think? he is a game of
nerve endings; he wins. he appears without introduction; he leaves
without annunciation. I burn in a more pedestrian way – at the
typewriter, in stages.

time unpicks her stitches, slowly. his keyboard now has
fingerprints three months deeper than when he met me.

philosophy darkens as I grow older
and the commas, they wane.