House, you’re just as I left you: crouching on your haunches, lit by a scabrous moon, sheltering the child who squats in your basement amongst the skittering rats, seagulls swooping at your unflinching eyes, the rose gardens splaying before you, flanked by Queen Victoria, cast stolidly in iron, footprints leading from her plinth across to the bellowing sea. It heaves in indigo and molten silvers along the beach made of beer cans, syringes and shifting mounds of pebbles – all serenading you.

I’m walking through your front door. Its unhinged as ever, swinging from its rotted frame. I know where your traps and dead-ends are lurking, my feet find their way in the hissing darkness, up the narrow staircase – a twisted, throbbing space. Your walls squeeze my hips, keeping me upright, propelling me forwards: I’m a bolus stuck in your windpipe.  

You regurgitate me into your uppermost chambers, where I once existed at such a shrill pitch, clutching thin air astride a storm-tossing merman, on the surge and swell of these small rooms, beneath your groaning rafters.

Three steps to the mouldering cupboard that hoards my vital part. It’s still hanging in there where I stashed it, but you’ve been pumping it hard. It’s warped and blistered now, the cords I criss-crossed and knotted willy-nilly are blackened and deeply embedded. Gripping my sharpened scissors, I snip the ties that bind me, carefully, one by one. Livid scars are revealed and suppurating ruts – I’ll lick these wounds and wear them, they’ll form a carapace: battle honed armour. I sever the last remaining thread and my treasure thuds into my palms.

House, you’re crashing towards me, flooding from your doorways: a deluge of broken things. But I’ve got what I came for, now let me out.


Penny Jane Goring


~ by yearzerowriters on October 14, 2009.

13 Responses to “House”

  1. Penny, that’s beyond creepy. You know that, don’t you?

    Oh, and good. Very very good


  2. it like a rich savory chocolate moose made of words. i love it.

  3. A sensory feast, Penny–from your finely crafted images to the sheer sound of your words read out loud–and an intellectual and emotional provocation. Thanks for putting your work out there for us.

  4. Images abound, words offer and confound, emotions brought to the surface. Thank you, it requires re-reading, a verbal thrill ride.

  5. This is stunning. It pulled me out of my chair and into that house with you, every creak and step. I absolutely loved it.

  6. Evocative, provocative, invoking a sense of claustrophobic menace of memory – chilling, disturbing and fantastic. Pleasure to read.

  7. You had me at ‘scabrous moon’. Suppurating is a word I try and use at least once a piece. Lyrical prose as someone above mentioned, resonates inside the reader’s head and finds voice, even when read silently. Marc

  8. No flash words from me….Loved it though…

  9. Bravo, Penny! Well done.


  10. This is a whole new, fantastic experience for me – people actually reading my work & I’m not even related to you & I didn’t have to break it up into tweets. It’s in one chunk. A deliberately small chunk.

    I survived in this house for 18 months. It stands in Warrior Square on the South Coast (UK) in a seaside town with a curse on it.

    I mixed that time with one of my favourite Louise Bourgeois sculptures – whose work stems from her own psychic scars, & of course, Joseph Beuys: ‘Show Your Wound’ 1977, where he evokes the dualities of art as tool & wound.

    Penny Goring

  11. Yes, I’d like to echo yearzerowriters – the ‘scabrous moon’ caught me too! Lovely, thick and rich, Penny. As always, you provide a feast in an incredibly few words.

    Hugs, RG

  12. Wow! That’s an awesome story. Well done!

  13. Great visceral, disturbing, vivid prose. Love it!

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