Excerpt from my short story collection Clemency Browne Dreams of Gin (Arlen House)
How I Murdered Lucrezia
She had this pristine thing going on, like she was porcelain, you know, and I wanted to be her friend but she just didn’t like anything about me, so me and the boy who once got together with her – and I mean really together-, well we talked and I said it wasn’t fair that some people thought they were better than us, and he said he thought the same. Then I said, my Dad’s got a gun somewhere and we could shoot her if you like, and he laughed, you know the way you laugh when you’re not supposed to really want something but deep down that’s all you want? So I waited until my parents were out somewhere and I went to the shoe box in the back of my mom’s wardrobe and I took the gun and I put the bullets in and then I took it to the boy, and I said to him,
“You’ve got to do it because she broke your heart and that means more than her breaking mine.” I thought it was romantic. So we waited until the girl was in the playground just after recess and everybody was on the way back to class and he called her name. ‘Lucrezia,’ just like that and she whipped back her black hair like you see in the cartoons and he shot her right through her chest. She could have survived if the bullet hadn’t splintered into her lungs, into everywhere really, and I was close by so I heard her die.
From my poetry collection Red Riding Hood’s Dilemma (Arlen House)
I Saw Beckett The Other Day
I saw Beckett the other day
in the doorway of that café
where you took his photograph.
You know the one…
when he looked up at the lens
and realised how he could
haunt us all.
‘Hey Beckett,’ I said
Rejoicing in my discovery of him;
his hand on the door, his eyes
skimming over the interior image
of cigarette smoke and coffee.
I stood beside him. He rubbed his face so
he might recognise me. I smiled and
said even I didn’t know what was
happening these days.
Even I could not stop the end.
He nodded, coughed and looked sly; his teeth were
yellow over the pink rim of his lips.
He mentioned the photograph. He said his face
had collected worms under the skin as if ready for
death and he smiled to show them dance
spasmatic with age-spots and veins.
Someone entered the café. Someone left.
Beckett touched the hair above my ear.
I stood on tip-toe so he could whisper down.
He said nothing. It was just a kiss
with the cold wind at our feet and the
smoke and egg friendly air
released in draughts between
the opening and closing of the café door;
Which he stepped through to find his table
and entered some other world,
under greasy lights
coupled with table shine and coffee cups,
and thoughts of death, where she stood
groomed for an entrance, were held back by
the odd moments of life
that still strung the useful breaths
Beckett used to blow his coffee cool.