SKIN BOOK is a love story in 10 parts. This is part one.


Tonight I felt your eyes

on my skin

like they’re wet lips sucking the sweat off me. I sat at the bar with a mojito, thinking it’s winter and there’s still the hot nylon scratch of cheap clothing

on my skin.

I felt the drink go sour in my throat; I pissed it down the shitpan, and scrubbed away the stench but the soap smelled worse 

on my skin

so I stuffed garlic butter chicken down my throat that fucked with the mojito in my belly and squeezed out rancid pustules that sat like oily islands

on my skin

and walked out, pushing my shoe against the crease of your trouser leg as I passed you at the table by the door. I sat in the car and replayed the sound of the cloth and thought the mucus in my mother’s gut was the last time I felt another person

on my skin

and I saw Jon leaning still against the sideboard, and the lilt of his words, the gentle patter, the casual way he told me what he wanted, and how cold the metal, and how hot the liquid, and how the mucus in my mother’s gut was the last time I felt another living person

on my skin.

Driving home I wondered, is it wrong to want your snot-piss-shit-come-vomit

on my skin?

The cotton sheets stroke, suck, soothe and I lie down and count, 32 years, 32 marks in the front of my SKIN BOOK, and maybe when I’m 80, a life and a half from now, maybe when I’m 80 I’ll lose my mind and take off the sweat-fuck plastic scratch pants and see what it’s like to have the sun

on my skin

but now I’d like to take your snot-piss-shit-come-vomit, filtered through the nylon mesh, and spread it

on my skin

and tell my SKIN BOOK how you feel.

~ by yearzerowriters on October 15, 2009.

8 Responses to “SKIN BOOK #1”

  1. I am totally blown away by this piece! Wow! The rhythm, pace, pitch perfect. The ‘naughty words’ are the peppered punctuation of the drumbeat: ‘on my skin’. More!

    Penny Goring

  2. Dan, Book Club Boutique have to read this!!!
    That feeling of nervous, persecutory sweat and a bit of refluxed acid attacking the membranes of the throat like agent orange assaults plant canopies – these are good effects to wreak in your reader. Can taste the singed fklesh on the inside of my mouth even now. Marc

  3. Thanks, guys. Hugely appreciated – really nervous about this because I’m not very good at poetry – even if it’s a prose poem. Well, a bit of prose with elements of poetry. Still, never really done it before, so I’ve no ieda if it’s any good. Thanks

    9 more parts to follow between now and Christmas. Can’t decide whether it’ll get darker or lighter. Hmm…

  4. A shocking, angry assault – really wakes up the senses, visceral, almost damaging. Daring stuff – eager to read the rest.

  5. The ‘on my skin’ breaks made me laugh at first. Not sure why. I guess, maybe it seemed like it was too deliberate. Now I know I’ve done some funky indentations and breaks in the past, and maybe it’s the same there. I’m not sure.

    But you said this was poetic prose, so straight away I’m kinda expecting some strange form changes. Like I said, it seemed forced, but whatever effect poetry is supposed to have on people, it doesn’t have it on me.

    What I did really like was the new grubby side to your writing. Is it new? I don’t know, but I like it. ‘Pissed it down the shitpan’. Pure grub.


  6. ha ha, oli – you always laugh at my serious stuff (like the guy at the bottom of the stairs in the opening of Life Drawn Freehand) so it’s nice to kow I’m consistent!

    I wouldn’t say grubby is a new angle to my writing 🙂 I’ll show you some of the passages of Company of Fellows (my first novel) one day!

    DJ, thank you. It’s fascinating to see how people handle the line between dark and funny (I’m always aware when I write at the edges of what I would normally write that if I push just a bit too far I’ll tip over into schoolboy daftness.)

    I’m pretty sure as well that one sure sign of getting something right is that you overstep the mark a few times – so I guess if I do do anything right with this series, there will be some duds along the way, in whcih case it’s good to have Oli pointing out the unintended hilarities!

  7. Dan, and I am ashamed to say I have not read yours until you linked it. This is haunting. I love the repetition. It got, as it was meant to, under *my* skin. And the paradox of the alienation and the desire for the proximity of the utterly concrete at the same time. I loved this.

  8. I’m SO glad you “got” it. I got my confidence hammered trying to write more obviously dark, desirous stuff a while back. It was the wonderful guys here (well, actually, it was probably Alice first of all [double-underscore Gray]) who gave me the confidence to give it another go.

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