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Tome On The Range

'Getting Ready': A Cuntata By May-Lan Tan & Elizabeth Mikesch
Karl Smith , September 29th, 2014 08:17

New writing this week is part of an on-going collaboration between authors Elizabeth Mikesch and May-Lan Tan, Planetette, the product of an aggressive approach, vandalising each other's sentences until it's no longer clear who has written what


Getting Ready

I call you on the tin can phone and make animal sounds. I use lighter fluid and shadow puppets to show you the time my toenail fell off and I almost died. Your roommate with the wife gone goes to get you. I time your tongue. I say walk to me but you won't. My eyes are yellow like low lights, I say. My teeth look circus-shat from pleasure rolled around. I'm pissing earrings. I was born with a month in my mouth.

I made you from two pieces of highway-coloured paper. I lost a finger in the corner of each one. I sucked at shirting. The stick stuck when I went up and over. I slipped the grip and you clutched at the pith of my neck. It led to your sister's couch. The vinyl pinched and your brother-in-law took a guess. Stereo up all the way in my rotten Honda.

Here is a picture of all night. The sheets are peeling shoulders, young melanoma. My eyes look cried closed. I sang a six-pack song and stuck my bad foot in the current. I stood on a nerve where you asked me where would I go.

You took me to a house where you were younger with all the lights on. Your mother snapped spaghetti in half so it wouldn't tangle the spokes of our wheels. We sprayed her perfume and ran through. The gummies were gone, and the rain came in through the windows. There was a mattress on the lawn, but we held it in. We whispered to the radio station and laughed so hard snot hit the window. It was the birthday of my fake ID.

You fed me girl groups and waffles at Denny's. We joked about diarrhoea to-go cups. I made my hands and your hair the blue of a school night, shucked slivers in your backyard. A visitor beamed over to be the teacher you loved with the nose mole and consonant accent. I took a gram from my future and when the hibachi caught fire, I saw fiancés. In your bedroom I thumbed you like a clam. You were breaking out. I didn’t let you finish. I said, I see catalpas. You said, Anyone can spot trees.

When I moved in, I got fixed. I tore the pages from your calendar, and a man like a father fell asleep. I rolled up my hair and took a downer I'd nannied from the family where I stole. My dress stayed hemmed. I climbed on the radiator to read the room. Your new best friend slurred bisque on my bare toes. I thought, I am a museum. And, No history is nice.

The woman putting needles in my arches said, Has someone been cruel? The rain came middle-aged. I wanted to wash out Miami, but I kept the flyer from that night I broke your friend in the snow. Her crying face was prettier than anything. You called me something and I've waited a long time to answer. I got too high, and the deer that year looked at us from the graveyard.

I like the warehouses in your eyes where boys dress like horses and hang from hooks. I like the sour pennies smell of your sucked hair. I like to hold you standing in radioactive rivers. I like your teeth click, your phone dead. I like how blood curls in water. I like fucking in bunks.

You wrote me letters till your fountain pen blew. Your dad bought us ice-cream headaches. I liked having all of your things. There was no weather, and I don’t remember anything you said. I was thinking about the ocean.


May-Lan is a Hong Kong-born writer living in London, where she studied fine art and creative writing at Goldsmiths. Her work has appeared in Zoetrope: All-Story, Areté, The Reader, and The Atlas Review. She’s the author of Things to Make and Break (CB Editions, 2014) and Girly (Future Tense Books, 2014) and a collaborator with Marina Abramovic Institute’s Immaterial.

Elizabeth Mikesch lives in Detroit, Michigan. Her writing and sound poetry has or will soon appear in BOMB, Tagvverk, Unsaid, Similar Peaks, The Collagist, Columbia, and Spork Magazine. She is the author of Niceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me (Calamari, 2014) and the co-founder of ( . y . ) press, a soon-to-be all-girl publishing project. In addition to writing short stories, she performs contemporary folk arias as Fat Friend.

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