Transition

“Another Sangria?”

Elliot sighed into the cradle of her arms, stirring from her doze to shift lazily from her stomach to her side. Laura was just settling onto the lawn chair beside her, built like a teapot and with a temperament to match, holding the offered drink at arm’s length as though it might bite her. Elliot huffed an amused laugh, sitting up and reaching for the offering with quirk of her lips.

“Something must be wrong for you to be buttering me up with alcohol.”

It was a mocking remark, but Laura blushed and ducked away from Elliot’s gaze. The red tinged her pale skin from ear to shoulder, as much an admittance as her having stated it outright.

“Can’t your girlfriend buy you a drink every once in a while? And besides, it’s a virgin.”

Interest peaked, Elliot accepted the glass, the icy condensation sliding beneath her fingers. She rolled her eyes at the first sip because yes, it was a virgin sangria, but she returned her gaze to her flushed partner promptly. Laura was glaring restlessly at her hands, fingertips twisting and untwisting in her skirt absently. Though Elliot would have enjoyed to continue napping in the warm afternoon sun, her fiancée deserved her full attention.

“Well, come on then. Spill the beans already so we can sort this out like the adults we’re always claiming to be.”

Laura flinched, drawn from her contemplation to glare unhappily at Elliot’s tone. Her gaze shifted to the other pool-goers, enjoying the resort facilities as well as the beautiful weather. At the other end of the pool sat a middle-aged man overlooking a brood of children playing a rather heated game of Marco Polo; an older woman was engaging in a rather inappropriate match of tonsil tennis with the gentleman she had arrived with, ignored by most patrons and avoided by young families; a recently married couple had made their displeasure well-known to both Elliot and Laura, condemning them for their sinful ways, glaring at the women every few minutes from their perch on the settee three lawn chairs to their right; and there was, of course, the handful of tourists that were more interested in taking pictures of their meals rather than enjoying the spectacular views.

“Elli… can we get out of here for a while? Please?”

This concerned Elliot. Laura never begged. Not ever. Not even when Elliot was- well, anyway. The shift from strong, self-assured and confident to cautiously sensitive had Elliot tripping over herself to be free of the beach towel draped over her legs. This vacation, as well as their engagement, hadn’t exactly been a walk in the park of lesbianism, and she could feel her heart leaping into her throat at the implications.

“Of course, babe. Lead the way.”

They rose, their drinks growing warm and forgotten as Elliot followed her lover from the bustling pool to the glittering waves the resort was so popular for. Their feet sinking into the sand with each step, the women walked steadily further from the prying eyes and blatant disapproval of their fellow vacationers. The late afternoon light shone from the horizon as the sun made to meet the sea, and Laura proceeded to wade purposefully into the clear saltiness, sitting harshly as the shallow water shook around her.

“Sit with me?”

Elliot did so, bemusement clear on her solid features. Laura’s sundress floated around her like a thick cloud, or ink spilled on water, catching against Elliot’s limbs softly as she sat beside her fiancée.

“Laura?”

Laura sighed deeply, swaying her hands through the water in time with the incoming waves. The water was cooler than Elliot had expected, untouched by the brilliant warmth of the bright day star or simply chilled by its eager disappearance. Elliot waited, shifting anxiously at her partner’s side.

“Elli, he’s not coming.”

It was barely a whisper, hoarse and strained as though she hoped she could take it back. Laura’s eyes were red and her face a mess of blotchy pink and stained with black specks of mascara, though she wouldn’t have cared an ounce about it, staring apologetically through her clumped eyelashes.

“I know, Laura.”

Her words are just as soft, acknowledgement and resignation layering the words in a deep shadow of sadness neither woman quite dares to address. They had expected it, if nothing else, but it didn’t make the disappointment hurt any less.

“He said,” Laura hissed, jaw clenched and finger curling into fists as the clear waves broke against her body. “He would have come to the wedding of his son, were his son not pretending to be a woman.”

Heart lurching, Elliot turned to face Laura fully, the waves rippling away from the sharp movements of her body.

“Honestly, Laura, we knew this would happen. Since when did his opinions matter to us anyway?”

Her voice had risen in her agitation, her own emotions impossible to conceal; the hurt, the resigned pain of being held in so little regard by ones family. They had both known what the answer would be, and they had thought themselves prepared for the refusal. Laura hunched down in the water, the gentle waves lapping just under her breasts as she hugged her knees to her chest.

“He accepted the marriage then, I wish he’d just get over himself and accept it now.”

There was an air of petulance about the words, though they were said softly, errantly, as though they were a mere stray thought spoken without intent.

“I know, Laura. I’m sorry.”

The words don’t seem to break through the fog of ire clouding Laura’s sharp mind. Elliot could do nothing but wait for the storm to pass, though she wished it were a storm less intent on harm. They fight, sometimes, as all couples do, but never enough to smother the spark of friendship and desire. The business with Elliot’s father was always a sore spot for the both of them.

“He told me once that we were both naïve for thinking this would work out. He was convinced you’d either go crawling back to your family, or leave me without a thought for somebody else.”

It hurt, hearing those words pass her lover’s lips, as cold as the waters they were swayed by as the sun started to sink below the horizon. Elliot shifted, focusing on her knees sinking in the sand below them, avoiding the heavy gaze of her fiancée.

“You know that’s not true, though, right?”

She couldn’t help the tremor her voice held, making to pull away from the woman sitting before her. Laura was never one to sugar coat her truths, and on most occasions Elliot adored this trait; as far as entertainment value went, watching her lover raise a sceptical brow and calmly school all who opposed her was nearly unparalleled.

Of course I know that’s not true, Elliot. If I’d thought it was I wouldn’t have proposed to you, dumbass.”

The call of gulls as they cry for food echoed the joyous cries of admiration for whatever act the resort staff had paid for that night. Elliot’s eyes had closed, her forehead resting against Laura’s and a bright giggle breaking past her sun-chapped lips.

“I’m sorry he doesn’t understand.”

And she is. Her father was once her confidant; he knew her as his son, and as soon as Elliot started questioning that fact, her father started pushing her away. He didn’t appreciate his son demeaning himself in such a way, soiling the family name with his wicked intent to be a woman. Think of Laura, he would insist. She wouldn’t accept you like that. But Laura had, and Laura always would.

“No, I’m sorry you have to put up with their ignorance.”

The soft press of lips against her nose convinced Elliot to raise her eyelids, lift her own lips to press against her fiancée’s, still set to scowl at an injustice meant for one, but felt by both. Neither woman moves to escalate the kiss; just the slight brush of sea-salt lips would render them both equally unwound.

“I never do, since I’ve got you.”

She smiled, coy and light despite the pain she still felt deep in her chest, pulling her aching heart for a loss long felt. Laura huffed an indignant laugh but shared the smile of her lover, the gentle waves swaying their bodies closer, though their knees had sunk in the wet sand long ago.

“That’s so cheesy, Elli, I’m serious. It’s not your fault those arseholes can’t deal with your transition.”

The gleaming conviction in Laura’s eyes moved Elliot, as it always had, to a degree that her heartache was soothed into silence. Her cheeks warmed at the words, ruddy by the dim light of a sun almost completely set.

“I know. Laura. And thank you.”

She grasped the hand of her lover, pulling the cold limb to her lips to kiss Laura’s fingertips one by one, tasting the lingering salt of the ocean. Far off a cruise ship tugged away into the ever-darkening horizon, the backlash of the waves pushing the lovers askance as the sea made room for its passage.

“Why are you thanking me, I haven’t done anything?”

A cheer erupted from the distant resort, blending in with the soft crashing of waves upon the shore. Fire dancers, Elliot thought blandly. She ducked her head, glancing through her lashes at Laura and raising a manicured brow in bemused consideration.

“You stayed.”

A laugh pulled itself from Laura’s confused features, eyes crinkling in satisfaction. She pulled Elliot into a hard embrace, arms wrapping around the woman tight enough they ached with it, both laughing now. The heaviness of their conversation gets swept away with the darkened waters the women sit within.

“Yeah, well, you didn’t think you could get rid of me that easily, did you?”

They stayed there like that, as the waves tug around them, steadily growing deeper as the sun finally lets go of the horizon and the stars begin to dot the darkening sky. The chill of the air began to set into the chill of the ocean, though both women had ignored their matching gooseflesh and slight tremors for long enough to be startled by it.

“Do you want to go back to the hotel and order enough food to feed a small village?”

The women rose, water slipping over their bodies and rippling into the waves rushing to shore. Laura’s dress dripped steadily, leaving a trail of droplets through the sand as they made their way up the long abandoned beach. The cool air caressed their damp skin, teeth clicking as the shivers settle into their bones.

“You know me so well.”

Laura chuffs, rolling her eyes. Her arms were hugged against her in the hopes of warding off the chill, even a little, and Elliot ducked in close to press a soft kiss to Laura’s temple. Hip check, arm swing, and now Laura was huddled against the body of her love, swaying together along the torch lit path back to their hotel room.

“I love you, you know?”

Whispered into Laura’s ear, the words curled tight and sat low in her chest, a ball of warmth not even the prickling cold of night could touch. She sighed, content with her lot no matter the hurdles they’ve both had to jump. She knows that Elliot feels much the same, and so the refrain was familiar as it slipped past her salt-chapped lips.

“I know. I love you too.”

 

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Bitten

The children dance, as children do, unaware of the predators quietly lurking in their midst. Even as the doors swing closed and the first blood begins to be spilled, the dancing continues of a different sort; panicked cries and feet frozen in fear, arms flailing as bodies amass at what should have been an exit. It is all the same to those red smirking smiles, teeth gnashing in mirth as their pray attempt to flee. There is no escape, not truly, for the teeth are everywhere.

One girl had known of the presence of such bloody thieves, and attempted to warn her contemporaries, only to be taken aside and warned of demise should she not allow what would happen. The man was older and his hands firm on her shoulder as he guided her back to the party, where she proceeded to gather what few she could and escape through the bathroom windows.

A chase followed. She did not escape, held silenced against the very creature to warn her of her transgressions. She watched as her fellow party-goers were one by one caught and bled dry to sate the thirst of such creatures, until all but she remained, held firm in the arms of an adversary she could do nothing to protect herself against.

But oh, he had so much more planned for her, he would say. Such fire would not be wasted in death. Teeth pricked the girl’s neck but she could not scream, or even cry out in pain. Her probation period was over, and she has proven to be useful.

She will be kept.

 

 


This piece was inspired by a dream I once had (during, of course, my vampire phase, where I read everything I could about the creatures). It was definitely an interesting dream, to say the least.

Die Nacht

Darkness did nothing to save them from the night the demons came. They barrelled through the windows and the doors, shattering glass and wood and bones for a reason unknown to the dwellers of the small cottage. An ache had settled in the girls bones as she watched her father sister mother break and bend to the will of the monsters she knew not how to flee. A stench of blood and sweat and salt thickened the air like a smog around the family and their torturers.


Inspired by the expressionist work of Max Beckmam entitle Die Nacht. This was an exercise in one of my experimental poetics journal, and while it didn’t quite amount to anything substantial, it did indeed get the gears or inspiration working.

Encountered Innocence

You sit with your nose pointed towards the cool glass of the train window; waiting, as I wait, for our journey to begin. I’ve watched you like this every day, and every day a new expression will cross your features as though you were more complex than the mere child you are.

Across the way, where your eyes have settled, sits a young woman not yet old enough to be out in the world, and yet there she is, assaulting your own innocence with an appearance of feigned virtue.

Her eyes track the pages and your eyes track her, and if my own will were stronger I’d move you away from the sight. I know how unsettling the strange creatures of our world can be, especially those so similar to oneself, and it was never my intention to have you fear them, and yet I can see in your eyes that you are scared.

You turn to me and your features, small as they are, betray your repressed fear. This will not do, I tell myself, and as I move to take your hand and lead you away your face breaks into the widest of grins, you point to the girl and you say, light as ever, with the curiosity and wonder only a child can convey: “Daddy, look at the mermaid! Do you think I can be a mermaid too?”

It is in these moments that I fear myself, that I do not understand your own mind, the way I as a parent should do.

 


This work was inspired by Baudelaire’s piece entitled Eyes of the Poor, and I would definitely recommend reading it. It says a lot about assuming what we know about a person, even those we are closest to, or most intimate with.

Her Hair

Her hair was not red
For red was too angry
Not like this girl
Calm and cheerful
Her hair was the colour
Of crisp autumn leaves
Spiralling delicately
As they float on the breeze
Her hair was like lighting
A small open fire
A flickering flame of contentment
Coloured of fierce protection
Her hair was of spirals
Neat ringlets of warmth
So delicate, so wild
So free

 

Her hair was but one feature
Of her loveliness.
But always was it
The first to be acknowledged

Asphodel

“Before I was a woman I was a tree, with branches that reached into eternities of endless trials and riches beyond mortal conception…”

Immortality is not a constant thrill, as many would have you believe. It is only constant in its stagnation, no manner of human trifles could ever make it less so. The goddess is content, however, with a relic stolen from her not-father’s kingdom; an equally endless creature that will remain as inconsistent as the beings her own kingdom bids entry. A nightmare of her own desires to bleed away the ever-flowing stream of the damned; as each one finds rest she will find release sweet as the fruit that brought her to being.

“And what of before, dear Melinoe? Did you exist at all?”

The meadow she keeps does not grow cold or wet around them, though their skin glistens with perspiration as legs intertwine and pale flesh becomes bright with warmth. A breath escapes parted lips and flutters cool against her lover’s bare skin, the procession of death forgotten for the brush of calloused fingers through sleek hair or whispered words of covetous delineation. The goddess enjoys most times of quiet perspicacity. To be lost in the understanding unique to chaotic inspiration.

“Why, I was a dying star in a reality to be filled with life and light after my own extinction. A single speck of cosmic grace unyielding and yet unsalvageable.”

These nights where two merged to become the total sum of connected expressions of interest, wicked and reckless and yet without replication, became more than brief appearances of shared desire. Sentiment seemed to tighten in each woman’s breast, a feeling so painfully warm as to sting when it sings to its partner for strength. A song of longing as bright as the eyes that search for recognition where none can be found.

“And what of me, lover?”

As they lay together in the meadow of Asphodel, the world weary at rest and the lilies of its name standing gracefully beside them, the goddess and her lover enjoy the quiet thrum of passion as it courses through their immortal hearts. A soft touch of care-worn hands against smooth skin as it prickles with gooseflesh, a tickle of hair as the tresses fall while lips part and press and prove unconditional adoration.

“You, love, have existed beside me through each passing.”

The stars are bright in the underworld, as they shine down on the dead and their deities. The grass of the meadow is soft under distracted ministrations, caresses from hand to hip to thigh and back again soothingly. A melody of mourning for those who enter her kingdom shifts eagerly into one of peace, the rhythmic hum distracting not a soul but the one that must know the song is for her.

“Will we love again?”

A warmth that clouds the mind does not afflict a goddess often, a feeling coveted by mortals and yet squandered time and again as they flash by the eyes of the gods. The goddess understands its importance, its implications, that the mad creature she loves is so much more. A complication, she had thought at first, but nothing they could not get past. She was so wrong, and she had never been so thankful for it.

“My dear Makaria, our love remains as eternal as all existence. Our meeting spans across millennia, across the very distance of time and space. We meet, and we love, and we return to do so again.”

There are words between the goddess and her nightmare shared confidently, their true meaning carefully carved into the space they come to occupy. The dead do not sleep, as the living do, and their keepers do not find rest often, but when the lover visits the goddess is convinced to dream of what may be next. Her lover knows dreams so intricately, knows her so intimately, that her chaos brings no madness to her goddess’ unconsciousness.

Do you promise, Melinoe?”

She knows she will forget her love. It is what the fates intended when they created such painful pleasures. She mourns already the love she will lose, for she will not know to mourn it at all if she cannot remember it has been lost to her. The lover laughs in the face of such fears, a brand of knowing that the goddess cannot fathom and yet believes whole-heartedly for if she does not, she fears it will not be true.

“Always, for you.”

 

 


Author’s Note: This is a work of prose poetry, and was actually published in the Deakin University Magazine Wordly‘s sub-edition ‘Haunted’. As you might assume, I’m quite proud, despite my own issues with this piece.

On another note, Happy birthday to my beautiful best friend Rae, who is turning 21 today!! Thank you for always supporting me and my writing. I love you, have an amazing day!!

A Life of Conflict (Draft)

Let the cool metal shift restlessly at your side

With sweating palms and shaky strides

The enemy takes no care for fear though

As it would disadvantage them

So let yourself be the only one to know

 

You’re alone now, out on the battlefield

Left to wonder if it was all real

As the men that once were your comrades now

No longer breathe or raise attack

But give their life, an unspoken vow

 

As you wait with the few that made it back to the trench

The cries of the stragglers make your fists clench

Taking life is not something that should come so easily

But it always leaves the question

“Am I next? Will it be me?”

 


 

Author’s Note: This was something I wrote a long time ago for an assignment, and I’m currently trying to rework it, but I wanted to share the original, for the sake of posterity, I suppose. As a write, I feel like perhaps I am growing, and though the re-draft may come to nothing, I’ll always have this first draft to remind me of where I started (This, I’m almost certain, was the first real poem I wrote).

The Pillow Fort

A little girl dreams of being a star.

A little boy dreams of her brightness.

They share their secrets under the blankets and amongst the pillows.

 

A young girl dreams of being okay.

A young boy dreams of the same.

The blankets are their sanctuary, the pillows keep their secrets.

 

Adolescence is kind to her, but only so much.

To him, she was always perfect.

She shares her sheets with someone new, but he still remembers their secrets.

 

Her eyes are sad and her skin is sallow.

He misses the way she used to smile.

She sits alone with rumpled sheets and stained pillows, he moves on.

 

She’s wasting away in the world of her dreams.

He hardly remembers her name.

Their secrets are long forgotten within the comforts of the couch cushions.

 

Her memory no longer causes him pain.

He shares with his own little girl

The secrets he swore he would keep under the cover of large blankets.

 

She lives again in the image of a child.

He adores her more than ever.

The pillow forts offer this vision

a safety he could never give his old heart.


AN: The image is not my own, though I did edit it after finding it on google. The original source, from what I can guess, can be found here.