Prose poetry by Tim Frank

Drug Me, Please

You spiked my juice. I’m trembling like helicopters, mind wrapped in kaleidoscopic rags.

How could you? I stutter, an assault course lodged in my throat.

It’s in my contract, you say, let the mothers chase the nocturnal hippies and get back to me with your bag for life. I thought we were friends, I say, scraping the circles of gum from the ceiling. You owe me, I howl, pay 126% APR.

Eat a battery and bathe in gasoline, you say.

I’ve swallowed my eyelids and fallen down a rabbit hole. So I leave the bar, juggling a handful of babies while lying flat on my back. It’s actually quite therapeutic. But I’m still mad—if you wanted to drug me why didn’t you build a wall in my backyard first, or fleece my grandma on her birthday.

I have other friends, true, but they’re not the type to spill their guts on the dining room table in minimum security prisons, and I need that in my life—it’s a megaphone. But what I really want is an army of barbers sleeping in my attic. I’ll never go hungry. And if that fails, I’ll oven bake my imaginary friend.

But all roads lead back to you. I pine for your knuckles, your grimace and your alphabetti spaghetti.

We go way back, beyond lipstick on chessboards, beyond Jupiter. You were never nice and I liked the lining.

Eat your grits, you would say at school lunch, pushing diet pills with bonfires of milk. I should have known. But I won’t go back now, it was such a joke in the paparazzi press and the pencil case was filled with ocean spray.

I need to make a clean break and let my doctor prescribe the killer drugs you can only dream of. They’ll really knock me for six. And when I see you next, I’ll spit on my parquet floor until it’s slick as an ice rink. Then you’ll know the flavour of my pain and the sound of my teeth as they fall down the stairs.

The News Presenter

Silk yellow socks eat sweaty tumble dryers and a striped moustache is frozen into a stretched cigar. The journey to work on a Tupperware train plays funky downtown dreams and a promise of private retail.

But the presenter doesn’t dream, not even with amputated rainbows and vast swathes of receding hairlines. He reads, he writes, and he performs open heart surgery on broken violins.

In his office, insurgents plot against his fountain pen guts and in return he will chop up the sunrise on the ceiling and grapple with pine trees, thirty floors below.

As the cameras roll, the presenter bleeds from his gut where he stabbed himself with a fork in disgust over his tuna salad. Ow? he says, as he announces the weather.

After work, the presenter crawls like a keyboard into an elevator possessed with lightbulbs. Soon his distaste for technology leads him to a painting of a chair hanging on the wall. A man swats flies around the presenter’s brow and they become coated in acrylic paint.

He has to go home but he can’t escape the toaster drilling at his skull. So he waits a millisecond, then takes a step forward.

In front of the mirror over his dining room table there’s a meal and a CCTV carnival, but not much else. Every night he digs a little deeper into the epileptic wall.

But eventually sleep comes, and for once the presenter dreams—of cranes in the sea, of gold leaf books floating around swinging doors and a boulder moving up and down a hill.

It all means something, and even if he never dreams again, it’ll take a lifetime to decode what he’s already seen. Let’s hope he’ll follow treasure maps across fallen trees, and share his dreams with fortune tellers grinding ice under a butcher’s moon.

Tim Frank

Twitter: @TimFrankquill

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