13 Chess Pieces, Hallucinated by the Ghost of Alice Liddell

1. Mr Punch. His cracked right eye bleeds a little crimson tear. Put your ear to his paunch: Judy sighs, lovesick, along his entrails.

2. God. Hard as pride, smooth as a skull. A thundercloud solidifying into a chalky pillar. Words fall like stones, break the lake’s mirror.

3. The Minotaur. Don’t do that, it’s a fucking red rag to him, mate. He was stitched up all wrong. Something lonely bellows in the night.

4. Damien Hirst. Please don’t touch the vitrine. His master’s voice was caught in a springe, then throttled and bottled. The price tag sags.

5. Josef Stalin. She marvels at the shirt-bursting magnitude of the iron-faced titan. Flocks of birds volunteer for suicide displays.

6. Medusa. Prim and starchy behind the desk (Rothko bleeding at her back), after hours she sheds her skin, loosens into lithe lunacy.

7. The Bird King. Feathers turn to words that devour first the page, then the hand holding the book.

8. William Shakespeare. The machine judders, steaming and hissing. Mysterious characters flash across the screen.

9. Grendel. He’s hypersensitive. And you should see his tantrums! He’s like a big baby. Alice looks up at a man made of blighted bone.

10. Angela Carter. Not a grin, but an unknowingly knowing smile, lingering long after her face faded.

11. Medea. A nightmare, coiled dormant inside her, awaiting the breath of a bitter Spring.

12. Satan. At the murder scene they found a baffling assortment of objects: musical instruments, goatskins, red candles, a bellows.

13. Judy. Punch drunk after the news of her promotion, she dances around the house, smashing picture frames and mirrors with red fists.


All texts on this site are the copyright of James Knight. All rights reserved.


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