Category Archives: Verses Nature

Genesis

I remember the exact moment my son, Thibault, was conceived. My wife wanted to have a child four years on into our marriage. I wasn’t so sure; I was already 40. Our whole time together had been one big party till then. Lots of drink, cigarettes and party.

Sleep on your right side, it will influence your dreams, she had picked up from God knows where. So she slept on her right side and dreamt of babies. Every time she thought she had fallen pregnant, she’d try out another one of her best friend’s recommendations. She peed in a goblet and added a large lump of salt. After two hours the salt still hadn’t melted so she wasn’t pregnant. She peed in a plastic box, put a brand new needle in it and put the lot in a cupboard away from sunlight. After eight hours the needle still hadn’t turned rusty or black, so she still wasn’t pregnant. After two years of larking around like this, we conducted some proper tests.

Everything was fine with her, it seemed. The doctor wanted to know if the same could be said for me. So, in I went to the hospital, they gave me a container, said,

‘Bring it back in 5 minutes.’

I went into a room where the tables were covered with porno mags and films. I must have wanked for about an hour, my hand even hurt, but not a drop came out. I went back the next day. Same story. The nurse was standing behind me, she kept coming over every few minutes:

‘Any better today? Come on, make an effort! Have you finished?’

For crying out loud! She should have come over and played with me a little, or let me have a sniff of her, that would’ve been much better.

‘Listen,’

I said,

‘there’s no way this is going to work.’

So they told me to wank off at home the following morning. On an empty stomach, mind, then bottle it and drive it straight over.

That’s what I did. The test results said that I had enough secretion and there was sperm, but that they were extremely tired. Is that any wonder, with the lifestyle we were leading?

*

We went for a week to the Costa del Sol and in that time I had nothing to drink cos the wine there was more like piss than anything else anyway. We ate well; I had lots of meat and just a bit of salad, not all that rice or potato stodge, and I did lots of sport everyday. Avocadoes and almonds were a regular. Loads of vitamin E in both. Good for your sperm. Zinc and selenium in almonds for that extra boost, tho I know that some swear by drinking the water you’d boiled your eggs in once it had cooled. Can you see me drinking continental tap water to foster the birth of my child? I’d be up at five whilst all the other holidaymakers were still snoring, I’d swim for an hour then go up for breakfast. And in the evening, I’d be sure to sprinkle a generous dose of fresh parsley on whatever I was eating; great for men’s reproductive health.

The second time we made love, there was something about the way her body reacted: I knew she had just fallen pregnant. On the flight back, she kept saying,

‘I feel sick, I’m gonna throw up!’

‘My dear,’

I said,

‘you’re pregnant.’

‘Oh, you and your bla-bla-bla!’

She didn’t believe me for a second.

‘When we get back, you’ll go to the chemist for a pregnancy test. I don’t want any more jars of piss in my cupboards, got it?’

The test came back positive. To be on the safe side, I sent her to do a blood test. Positive. I could tell the doctor exactly when the baby was conceived. Not simply the week, but the precise day and the precise hour. He believed me, because it is possible, but very few people are so tuned into their bodies let alone the body of another.

I know the exact moment when both my children were conceived; there was an energy, a reaction: I just knew it. And if I listen deep down in myself, I know that I was a father already at the age of 14. That 19-year-old I had, before my mother had explained to me coitus interruptus.

My wife went along with my biking mania. She did the license and I bought her a brand new Harley. We had money in those days. A brand new Harley with all the trimmings. And our son, Thibault, in his seat on the back.

 

(from the Book of Joseph, in Verses Nature. And because it’s Christmas, here’s a little something extra you won’t forget in a hurry…)

Jacqueline

african woman dreamstime_xl_5762376.jpg

 

I loved a black woman once. Her name was Jacqueline. She was a hooker in a bar, had slept with hundreds of guys, but she was so beautiful. Dark as ebony and so so beautiful.

I was the first guy to sleep with her without protection. The first guy to give her cunnilingus. She ejaculated buckets all over the place.

One day she said that she was pregnant and that the child was mine. When the child was born, I asked her,

Well, Jacqueline, what does the child look like?

It was a son.

Is he mixed, or is he blackblack?

She said he was blackblack.

He can’t be mine then, can he?

She insisted he was.

Ok then, here’s what we’ll do: let’s get a blood test done. If he’s mine, I’ll acknowledge him.

That’s when she bottled out.

Then one day Jacqueline just disappeared. Apparently she had committed suicide. Didn’t want to grow old and lose her looks.

 

I love black women. Love the taste of them. Because they do taste different.

 

(from Verses Nature, out summer 2016)

 

First taste

Berlin photo 8 edit
My little bunny. Pretty thing with little girl’s feet, lacy socks and champing at the bit.

I had my first taste of it when just a wee boy. Been searching for that something ever since; that of innocence, inattentive of hygiene. A bit fish, a bit salmon… crevettes…

She was the daughter of the shopkeeper who owned the Sadna. Whenever mother went there to buy something, I’d be sure to come along cos I just had to get a glimpse of this little girl tho I saw her at school everyday, but when there was no school, I still had to find a way to see her. We were in love, see. No, really. I now happen to think that her father was rather partial to mother too, he kept slipping her freebies and their hands would brush. She told him of a garlic treatment she knew for warts and another one for hair loss: add five chopped cloves of garlic to three soup spoons of olive oil, soak the paste for two days then apply half an hour before washing your hair, she said. And for that extra shine, don’t throw away the water after you’ve cooked rice, massage it into your hair, leave it on for a while, then rinse.

You’re so knowledgeable, Madame! You know all the tricks of your trade. And I know all the tricks of mine…

Dirty little slimer.

Whilst he was working out ways of getting under mother’s skirt, I’d be half hidden behind mother and his daughter would be half hidden behind him. She’d come to my place after school when mother had gone to work for she knew I’d be alone. We’d get undressed, play mothers & fathers then eat whatever she’d pinched from the store, mostly pastilles Vichy. I tried to penetrate her and others later but it didn’t work. In the beginning I thought their hole was at the front.

(from Verses Nature)

Simply Simon: Dreams & Evolutions

W gob 8
photo: copyright © 2015 L.W.Eden

Memories sit loose; loose like rotting teeth… Artificial boundaries of words not found in your memory fragile memory always on the move and the air in it is conditional…

I’ve been talking for a while about bringing out a CD. Well then, I’d better start making some recordings! Here’s something I’ve only rehearsed twice. The daughter dreams, the mother reflects. Reality changes colour.

More than death, sex or me: Carmina

In my forthcoming novel, Verses Nature, I’m still grappling with the imbalance between my protagonists, Carmina and Tatar. Tatar’s lines are still the juiciest – and often a touch too hot for this blog (can’t risk having my site closed down!) – but Carmina’s catching up, have no fear. I’ll share the best/hotter bits as bonus material to those who sign up (will get all that installed and running on my website soon, I promise).

Someone once accused me of only writing about sex. I (like to think I) do far more than that. The body features as both a playground and a battlefield in my fiction. It is one means among many via which the characters explore their identities. In Verses Nature, vicious, passionate, funny, and yes, degrading acts of intimacy are punctuated by the protagonists’ tales of the everyday; Tatar’s tales taking on epic, hagiographic dimensions, Carmina’s shreds of thought, anguish and fancy, as documented in her diary, letting us in on her family life, on its imminent disintegration, although she implores:

‘Don’t relegate me to a mother. Don’t.’

Lovers and philosophers the two of them, whether in the bedroom or beyond, each is on a quest for the higher purposes of life. As in the following passage, inspired by something I found whilst on a walk the other day:

 

dead mouse
copyright © Joan Barbara Simon, 2015

 

I remember that forest walk where they encountered death in the form of a field mouse. Look, I said, and they looked at the crescent of a field mouse that refused to budge or return their gaze. It’s dead, I said. Dead was a new word that needed more words to make it come alive. It’s dead, I said. Its heart’s not beating any more. Yours is. I pressed the hand of each child to her heart so their fingers could listen. They were not impressed. Can you hear the b-boom-b-boom. Somehow I wasn’t doing it right,  wasn’t getting the reaction I wanted. Never mind, they’d work it out sooner or later. The youngest one was still in nappies so what did she care. The older one’s eyes sank out of reach, finding their own pathways to the new phenomenon, then they resurfaced, seeking mine. Dead, she said, in a pitch suspended between statement and question. We walked on. She looked back every now and then. Dead, she said in a new pitch every time. And I said to myself, Why on earth did you even think it fitting to teach a toddler such a word in the first place, there’s more to life than your heartbeat, you of all people. Best take a different route back home.

People never stop asking if my fiction is autobiographical. Am I Virginia Mendes in Mut@us? Am I Carmina in Verses Nature? The answer is no, although of course I’m in there somewhere, using, sometimes, seemingly unimportant incidents from my own life to add colour to my plots. Thank you, mouse. Oh, sorry, I guess you can’t hear me.

 

(from Verses Nature, forthcoming)

Offstage (II)

IMG_2601
I’ve moved, with utter conviction, too far from the centre to (want to) return. The margin. The margin and the Underground. That’s where it is happening. Where I feel excited.

 

Two nervous breakdowns, one attempted suicide, hair loss, one tooth…

                                                                 The strongest pain I feel is just me

                                        something like this but still not near enough…

 

They told me, Get your ideas down on paper. Called it, what was it again: a therapeutic measure. I just made it up and made it sound nice, plus She’d copied some of what She writes in Her diary, Use that, She’d written and when I read it it could’ve been me, in other words maybe.

Those therapists are all so bloody full of themselves they haven’t got a clue. They think A + B, you’ll end up with C. In this case maybe, or something approaching, but what about, say, her in Isabelle Morton? What if you end up with a letter of the alphabet you’ve never even heard of, then what? Are you gonna lie to me?

Analyse (what they think are) my thoughts, proclaim or suggest (depending); you are, turn the mirror to face me. Their You Are becomes my Am I? I take a good look, touch my cheeks, unbelieving. What is it they say: you say pig but it comes out sausage?

Deli

God is a 24-4 delifrom Verses Nature, forthcoming

You’re reading a novel, you flip the page, then: this. What happens next? How do you read this? Do you read or do you view (as you would a poster, perhaps)? Do you zoom in on the larger fonts, go straight for the centre, maybe, or zig-zag your way through the text? Do you ignore a slight feeling of disorientation and read from top-left to bottom-right, the way you were taught to? Does a ‘text’ like this even belong in a novel?

When we enter a text, it is impossible to do so unstained, uncomplicated by (our) history. We come to it with a set of expectations on the basis of which we will form judgements relating to form, content –  to the text’s success. The title of my new novel, Verses Nature, has been chosen with care. Be ready for a new experience. Be ready to throw some of your assumptions overboard. As my protagonist says: ‘if you want to grow, you have to give up something(s). Always.’

BERNADETTE

Roberta Morton Leg up
illustration by L.W. Eden copyright © 2015

Bernadette. My first sexual encounter. I was thirteen, she was forty and pregnant; in the fourth month, with her fourth child. A redheaded woman whose body was already exhausted.

She had called over to my mum to ask her, Hello, can you send the boy over to help me out, thank you so much. Of course I didn’t want to go. Word would get round that I was a good lad. I knew what that would mean; I’d be running errands for every old woman of the village and sitting out cups of tea and mounds of stale biscuits instead of getting real money for my pains. No thanks! Mother sent me off with a shove in the back and a clip on the ear. When I’m grown up, I thought, I’m gonna bash you lot back. You’ll see how nice it is!

Hardly had I got through the door, she grabbed me and ripped my clothes off. Bloody Nora! That day, I ran over to her house at least 9 times. Mother didn’t mind. One less mouth to feed this evening, she laughed, at least my children are proper Christians, she said, a clothes’ peg in her mouth.

The next time I saw him I told the curate that I could never become a clergyman.

‘Why not, my son?’

‘Because.’

Live without sex? I’d rather go to hell in a hand cart.

 

 

‘Lick my clit. No, not like that, not so hasty.’

For a minute it bothered me that there was a baby up there jiggling around and watching us. But only for a minute. The strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue. I didn’t know that. Bernadette did. She knew a lot. Bernadette says he would have taken my faith if he had said I could fuck around on the sly and still remain pious.

‘You can’t have it all, my dear, no one can. Mmmm, that’s nice. Now stick your tongue in. Can you whistle? Oh my lord, he can!’

He took my faith by not saying this, don’t you see? Those hypocrites fuck anything that moves, every widow, widower and child.

‘Indeed they do. Can you pop over tomorrow?’ She kissed me on the forehead before pushing me towards her front door. I stuck my finger in her one more time on the way out. I got a clip on the ear, but she was all smiles.

I reckon Bernadette knows what she’s talking about.

(from Verses Nature, forthcoming)

Hunger Games

Everything came from the earth; potatoes, carrots, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, gherkins, redberries, strawberries, white cabbage, red cabbage, rhubarb, celery, mother would peel and boil into the night father would help in the garden. The old dirt cellar swallowed the fruit, adding the odours of their different skins to her mood, the jars shelved, glass eyes glistening iris of red green yellow marbles too big for the pocket.

Whilst we children broke our backs helping mother with our humble harvest our mates were off enjoying themselves. We caught them from the corner of the eye; the flash of their bikes, of fishing tackle, a hint you are unsure of so you turn your head a second; already gone. You buckle back down to pulling up potatoes to uprooting carrots only to plant them again in the cellar bury them alive and upright in sand so that they will survive the winter.

I never had a new bike let alone an old one; Onyx, Terrot, Peugot, where on the old posters the P looked like a bigger version of teh g to us children who’d just learned hoe to read so were the new authority on the matter. Mine were always put together from spares scrounged from the rag and bone man the children called le monstre. Others dashed by on their new gear. Some had new gear without making a show of it but if you know like I do what a bunch of snobs the French are, you’ll know this last lot was few in number. Me? My bike was put together from leftovers. A working-class family nourished from what the patch of earth behind the house yielded and you could pray till you were blue in the face;  it didn’t cough up bikes.

(from Verses Nature, forthcoming)

After one month with all stoppers out and some six hundred revisions later, Verses Nature begins to look like the novel I have in my head. Ready to share some of it with you. Tatar is harmless here but be warned, he is raw and rigorous and likely to offend, but I’m going to let him have his say, along with the other characters. Like the how if not the what, but preferably the lot!