Issue 29: Holly Isemonger
That's why. The train. You think this is awesome. What was the result? Who was the beneficiary? Remember the air behind the window hurting. It was a game. I sat in this room and took out that game after having three meals. (Learn more about Bread, Coffee and Whole Wheat Bread.) Letters were not available at the school. George Street Park is full of corpses. My life was very comfortable, with beautiful clothes, but my sins have hit the world, sprung from one place. Waste. A girls' world is still beautiful. Was changed to lithium yesterday and now I drink milk. It can't be three weeks. The house was clean, but I didn't say anything. Now I am heading back to school, back to childhood. The concept of truth will henceforth be divided into several parts.
Unchanged, I feel my right leg hurting. The ball is in the middle of the table, but the glove is made of stone. This is really bad. I don’t know where it came from, and I don’t know how to get to the hospital. An emergency terror? Is there a problem? The end of this sorry business — who is the legatee? I remember looking out the window at the endless sky. My game has arrived. While I waited in my room, she ate three meals and then gave me a plastic box. You will recognize these: white bread, brown bread, and coffee. There is usually no dairy school. The stench of the dead filled the bare lawns of George Street. I was vomiting. Good clothes are expensive, and yet I have found some mistakes, errors in these clothes. But enough about here; the world begins everywhere, even if I can't use it. She became a prostitute. The world, at all points, is beautiful. I was boiling milk when I took the lithium yesterday. Three more weeks of basketball grass. The house was fine, but she said nothing. I went to a hospital. I'm going back to my childhood now. The idea of living here, a filing cabinet: it is divided into sections.
I have a new cut on my left thigh, a noir bandage. The centre is like a table tennis ball with its arms outstretched. That’s exactly what any bad image needs. (I do not know where I got it from.) And I do not know how I got to the hospital. The police? I’m in an ambulance? Is this a taxi? Am I in trouble? What’s the expiry date? Who’s the recipient? I remember looking out the window at the grey sky above the white sea. The passing trees are a big, silly green game. While I waited for the test, the nurses gave me a triangular sandwich and a plastic cheesecake. I noticed someone confusing the difference between white and dark bread. His skin was red like walls. Everything, mostly, is great, comes in primary school shapes. The all-around smelled of human remains, the rooms were empty, like the people on George Street, scratches on the surface. I threw a needle into the stone in the corner of the room and fell asleep. Heavy blankets helped. They showed me the boundaries of my body. (When the world began I forgot those boundaries, lost control, and then I lost that forgotten memory.) He first asked about my injury and then where I live. I got a manicure and stayed in the brothel. This world – beautiful! Fried milk for breakfast after lithium. For three weeks, I threw an unhappy basketball against a wall in a concrete box. I swam and walked around the rooms, but then I was allocated a centre of gravity, and – for that moment – facts coincided: I slept in an institution, I was sick, I could not walk. I thought about it as a child might: “The only thing she had to endure was the thought of how to get here.” Grief gripped me, cried, cried because grief, cried because felt small.
I have a bruise on my right, as white as a new tire. She was here a moment ago. Her belly was the size of a ping pong ball and her nipples useless as an infection. She had a tattoo— distilled cartoon evil. We don't know where we got it from. We don't know how we got to the hospital. Police? An ambulance? Taxi? Shall I go? Attach myself here? When? Who are my friends? I remember looking out the window at the peach-pink sky, surrounded by grey, hard water. Those big green beasts are fast-moving trees, no? The nurse gave us a sandwich and plastic cheese while we waited for tragedy. I noticed that something broke the contrast, the black dot on the white bread, so it's now a blood-red fragment of the skin tone walls. And there’s every other story. Primary school does too little geometry these days. The air then had a taste of remains, contained by bruised rooms, a draft of passers-by on George Street, the tops of things etched in dead languages. Needles were stabbed in me and I fell asleep. I’m bound in linen, guided to distinguish me from the not me, a fabric map to show where lines start and stop. I forget, fumble, lose control of them, then me again, then the forgotten is found. Inquired, they did, about my whereabouts, about the genesis of these welts. I refashion my hands and sell sex in a dark house. The everything of it all— stunning. I start with milk sodden bread and tablet. For three weeks, he threw a scared basketball against the wall in a hollowed cube. I swim, swim around the room, but here I swallowed a counterweight and the world got composed. I’ve been sexually abused in a madhouse, I’m not well, I’m incomprehensible, I’m going after it, then me. I think he's still a kid; I think he has to endure everything, I think he'll come out here then. I was sad, I sobbed, I sobbed because I was sad, I sobbed because I felt so lower.
On my left hip I had a bruise as black as new tyre. Its epicentre was the size of a ping pong ball, with arms spidering out like an infection. A tattoo of a cartoon villain. I don’t know where I got it from. And I don’t know how I got to the hospital. The police? An ambulance? A taxi? Did I walk? Hitch? When? With whom? I remember looking out the window at a peach sky over grey, seasick water. The trees that sped past were like big green toys. The nurses gave me triangle sandwiches with plastic cheese while I awaited triage. I noticed that someone had messed with the contrast and black point of the white bread so that it was now the same pallid skin hue as the walls. Everything was something else; in itself, it was little over primary-school geometry. The air tasted like the remnants of people, of rooms hollowed out, like the smell of those passers-by on George Street, with the top notes scraped off. They put a needle in my butt and I slept. The weighted blankets helped. They showed me where my body ended and the world began… I had forgotten about that boundary, I’d lost control of it, and then lost control of recalling that I’d forgotten. First they asked about my bruises and then they asked where I had been. I had been getting manicures and living in a brothel. The world — it was fascinating. Wet toast for breakfast followed by lithium. For three weeks I threw a dispirited basketball at a wall in the concrete box that was the outdoor area. I’d been floating, hovering in rooms, but in there I loaned a centre of gravity and reality began to accrete: I was sectioned in a psychiatric hospital, I was not well, I had bipolar, but I was still me. I thought of me as a child, I thought of all she would have to endure, I thought about how she would end up here. And grief became me and I cried, I cried because I felt grief, I cried because I could feel little else.
[Holly Isemonger is a poet from Gerringong, Australia. She was the joint winner of the Judith Wright Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in journals such as Cordite, Overland and Westerly. She is the author of Greatest Hit (forthcoming from Vagabond Press) and the chapbooks Hip Shifts(If A Leaf Falls Press) and Deluxe Paperweight(Stale Objects dePress). She can be found at @hisemonger on Twitter.]
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