Garlic & Sapphires » . Collaborations of Image + Text Fri, 04 Jun 2010 13:48:50 +0000 en hourly 1 Window Wed, 24 Mar 2010 11:46:42 +0000 harveyd

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BMW Wed, 24 Mar 2010 02:50:13 +0000 garlic BMW

The BMW crunched on the gravel drive like ski boots on fresh powder. The gauge showed the diesel tank was nearly empty. The driver flipped down the mirror, checking his balding pate. He tried to push his hair over his scalp strategically, and then gave it up as a lost cause. Making a mental note to visit a garage, he jumped out. Remembering the bottle of Merlot in the back seat, he grabbed it and double-locked the car with a pip-pip.


A voice and a smile from the doorway. He suddenly felt far younger than fifty. Like an awkward schoolboy, he gave her a gawky smile.

“Don’t stand out there in the cold. And me in my nightie and all”.

The voice wore a white cotton gown. Its name was Louise. She had greying hair and a knowledgeable aura. John walked towards her and kissed her on the cheek. She closed the door.

“Good day?” The question was banal and commonplace but the intention fond and honest.

“Not at all. We lost the bid and our stock dropped half a point. But it’s over and that doesn’t matter now.”

“You’re not upset?”

“I am. It took a bloody month to write that proposal. I was furious. But I counted my blessings – tallied them up on a post-it note – my health – being OK for money – the existence of certain branded products – you.”

“I was on your list? It’s nice to know I can trade blows with Reggae Reggae Sauce.” She gave him a smile.

“Would you like some wine?”

“Yes, yes I would.” Louise stood on tiptoe a little and kissed him on the cheek. “It’s thoughtful of you.” She went into the kitchen, and rummaged in a drawer for the corkscrew. He took his shoes off, left them neatly on the mat, and hung his jacket on the coat rack. She had found glasses and was pouring.

They took a few sips. Louise put her glass down. She took hold of John’s hand. He leaned in and kissed her. She put her glass down in one movement and ran her hand up the back of his shirt. The smooth cotton crumpled around her fingers. She touched the notches of his spine, and a sharp shiver of sensation held him in the moment. He felt the blood flow to his penis.

She pulled away, and disappointed him momentarily. Then she was pulling him up, leading him by the hand, and they climbed the stairs. They paused for another kiss on the middle step. Louise lay on the bed, and then pulled him down next to her. She stroked the back of his thigh. He went taut.


Louise let go and looked intently in his eyes. She let her hands wilt over his shoulders like petals. They lay for a few moments, and then she kissed him again and unzipped his trousers.

“Hello Mr. Thomas.”

She undressed herself and unbuttoned his shirt. He removed the rest of his clothes, quickly, and, turning back, found her holding a condom. She slid it over his penis, rubbed the shaft gently, and then guided him in.


“Are you…” John lay back in the darkness. “Are you busy later?”

“I can cancel” Louise said, quickly.

“No, no, there’s no need.”

“It’s no trouble.”

“No, there’s no need. I need to get going. I …I was meant to meet David for a drink.”

He dressed quickly, found his jacket, shoes and keys, and left a handful of neatly folded notes in the bowl by the door.

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New Green Leaf Wed, 24 Mar 2010 02:45:44 +0000 garlic

New Green Leaf

It was a summer where the classroom was a prison and every lunch-break was an hour of the infinite. We were the New Green Leaf, an organisation, a club, a movement, a nation state unto ourselves. We convened in the wood bordering the school, a forest only we had ever explored, a region of danger and rebellion pupils were forbidden to visit unsupervised. We escaped through a hole in the chain-link fence.

Our den was hidden from the path. It was so perfectly like the forest that ignorant eyes might fail to see a human construction at all. Without hammers, planks, or any of the other useful items children in fiction find themselves in possession of, we balanced groups of sticks on tree branches. To turn them into walls, we tried to weave long willow leaves between them in imitation of a documentary we had once seen in class. The leaves fell out, but we did not care. With our dirty fingers, we pulled the twigs and mulch away to form a soily floor.

We were fiercely moral. We possessed non-specific ecological principles. We loved all the creatures in the world; we were pagan-atheists. When we found a dead bird or a shrivelled mouse carcass, we would lift it carefully using twigs – we had all been told about germs – and take the body to the patch of ground inside our headquarters. Here we would take drawing pins stolen from school or sharp sticks of wood, whittled to a point on stones and tree trunks, and pin the creature down.

We wanted to return it to the earth. In our presence, we, the guardians of the forest, the process of decay would be enhanced and concentrated, and the soil renewed with the offering. This is the most accurate description I can give of what we believed.

The tramp was a shock to us at first, but over the course of that lunch hour we came to realise he was simply a larger creature from the forest. He was tattooed, scrawny and coated with clothes. He was covered with human relics; metal teeth, an old ear stud, worn loafers. But, like us he was a subject of the earth, and when we discovered the corpse, we soon realised what was required of us.

The next day, we searched the school grounds for objects large enough. We found; a large shard of broken glass from a smashed window in the shrubbery outside 2C; a fence post, knocked out of the ground by someone’s clumsiness in the “gardens”, the neat grey allotments that each class was encouraged to cultivate together; a thin, rusted iron tent peg at the back of the boiler room; and a bamboo cane that was rejected on grounds of insufficient strength. A corner of a broken concrete slab out on the football field was pulled loose and deemed appropriate.

We did not want to rush, so we spent the next day moving the body, and the day following trying to sharpen our tools. Only on the third day was the tramp posed like vitruvian man and each object driven into his limbs. It was hard work. The glass went in easily up to a point, but it was difficult to drive it further. Eventually it exited the other side of the ankle and bit into the ground. The tent peg was the easiest; it could be safely pounded in with a large rock. The fence post was too large, but a sharpened branch pierced the foot easily. The concrete only smashed and bloodied the left hand. A stick was used where a red hole had formed.

We spent a panicked half-hour hiding in the toilets at the end of that lunch, barring the door, and washing away the blood. Then we returned to class.

When the body was found, parents and teachers shielded the children. Still, we heard the furtive whispers in the corridors, snatched glances at newspaper headlines and observed the awkward silences when the woods were mentioned to an adult. Two teachers were posted at the entrance each lunchtime until the police left, case unsolved.

Guilt and nausea matured, like the slow smell of decomposition, and we returned to our den only a few times. Even when we did, that final offering was never mentioned, although it seemed to linger in the periphery of our vision, and I developed a horrible, fuzzy notion that something irreparable had occurred.

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Jackalope Wed, 10 Mar 2010 11:27:16 +0000 garlic

The Degradation of Childhood Pedagogy as it Pertains to Darwinian Principles of the Natural World and Educated Systems of Rational Thought Structures as Purported by S.M.E.L.L.E. (The Social Movement for the Exemplification of Lagomorpha Leporidae, Esquires)

It is common knowledge that the members of Lagomorpha Leporidae are irrefutably the most glorious and majestic creatures to grace the skin of this earth.  I am speaking, of course, of the Great Hare or “Bunny Rabbit.”  While, for most, this may seem a grossly obvious acclamation, I was troubled to discover in my recent soirees with local peers and inferiors, that some do not revere these regal beasts as would be supposed.  In fact, at the mere mention of their blatant superiority to all other animalia, and certainly mammals, I have been called “silly” and even “funny.”  I do not find my respect for unadulterated fact to be humorous at all.  On the contrary, I am downright shocked that one could so much as chuckle at a “bunny” without feeling complete and utter self revile.  To this end, I have decided to construct a kind of children’s moral yarn to nip bunny blasphemy at the source.  Education is the only cure for the sin of ignorance, and as an avid Lagomorphist it is my destiny to enlighten the masses and eliminate this injustice of gargantuan proportions.  Ehem.

Once upon a time there was a little boy named Brutus who was very stupid.  Brutus was so stupid that he would insist to all the other little boys and girls at school that bunny rabbits were not the most stupendous creatures in all creation.  In fact, he spouted beliefs that rabbits were uniformly simple, idiotic pests, asserting that they were in the Rodentia order of mammals which was, obviously, completely false.  Now, Wendy, who was not stupid, soon grew tired of Brutus and his idiotic allegations.

“I believe you are mistaken,” she said to him one day.  “For there are many different bunnies with many different souls.  For example, floppy-eared rabbits are more aggressive.  Dwarf rabbits are more judgmental.  And Violet Jackalopes are more inclined to alcoholism.”

“Jackalopes?” snorted Brutus.  “Why, they aren’t even real!”  Other pupils were beginning to gather around them in the school yard.

“How dare you!” snapped Wendy.  “Just because you’ve never seen a Jackalope doesn’t mean it isn’t real.  Jackalopes live in the roots of Grape Trees.  Everyone knows that.”

“There’s no such thing as a Grape Tree.”

“Do you hear him, everyone?  First he doesn’t believe in Jackalopes, and now he doesn’t believe in grapes either!”  The schoolyard combusted with laughter.

“Stop it!” Brutus belted in vain.  “Stop it I say!”  But the guffaws only grew.  Brutus, now mad with rage, inflated to his greatest stature and boomed above the crowd.  “Rabbits are worthless, disease ridden little fools!  They are inferior, disproportioned, sex-crazed rats, and I believe no more in their goodness, than I do in the Violet Jackalope!”  A silence fell over the courtyard like vomit, as the children stared at Brutus with wide eyes and foaming mouths.

“Let’s kill him!” yelled Wendy, breaking the shock.  And with that each little boy and girl picked up what could be fashioned into a weapon (sharpened lolly pop sticks, baseball bats, tree boughs, jump ropes, morning stars, etc), and went for Brutus.  Wendy, who was clearly the cleverest of all the children, ripped down a swing set chain.  Together, unified as they never were before, the pupils of Wolpertinger Elementary brutally bludgeoned, stabbed, flogged, and choked Brutus to death.  Charges were never pressed.  Everyone knew little Brutus deserved what he got.  And they all lived Happily Ever After…except for Brutus…

The End.

Words: Molly Sullivan

Picture: Kasia Matyjaszek

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Sticker-foot Mon, 08 Mar 2010 18:44:27 +0000 garlic

Ricky, look, there’s a hedgehog at the center of the scarecrow. See it? Ee’s controllin’ it.”


Yeah, see? Ee’s got pulleys and everythin’.”

Man alive, Kenny. Hah! Look at that.”

‘Ey, hand me a fourty, huh? I wanna see where this guy goes.”
“Yeah, here. Holy mackerel.”

Ain’t gonna have one?”

No, later. Why… huh. What do you think he needs a scarecrow so badly for?
“What else? Mobility, security, warfare, probably”
“Yeah, warfare. What are
you chucklin’ about? I mean, maybe. Ee’s an animal, you expect ‘im to be diplomatic or somethin’? Prettied up ‘n a suit?”
“No, what? See…”
“You gotta let me in on what you think’s so goddamn funny, Rick”

I just don’t understand who he would have to go to war with, Kenny.”
“Other hedgehogs, obviously. And I guess other small things, too. Lizards, mice, birds.”
“But why though?”
“Why does anyone go to war? Resources and territory…”
“What the hell is a hedgehog going to do with territory?”

Own it.”


What do you mean and?”
“You tell me what you think that scarecrow-driving pin-cushion over there would do if he owned any sort of property.”
“What the hell, Rick. What do you expect me to say? Invite ‘is lady-friends over? Build a railroad? Themepark? It’s a goddamn hedgehog, Ricky. A goddamn hedgehog.”

I know, that’s why-”
“Rick, man, use your imagination. The hell does a hedgehog want? Why would a mother-fuckin’ hedgehog steal our scarecrow? Ricky? Hey. Rick.”
“Dammit, I don’t fucking know, Kenny. I’ve just never seen anything like it.”

No kiddin’. No big fuckin’ kiddin’, Rick. You’ve never seen critters up and drive away with no tow-truck neither? That’s fuckin’ unusual, isn’t it?”
“Fuck you, Kenny.”
“What’s got you so upset? You gonna start cryin’?”

What? No I’m- you and your retarded stories.”
“Grow up, man. I’m just jokin’ around, you the one callin’ names.”
“Mother of…”

My mother was a saint, Ricky-Ray. You say nothin’. Nothin’.”
“I wasn’t-”
“Nothin’, Rick.”
“Fine, nothing.”
“A saint.”


“Yeah, fine, your mother was a saint.”
“Hah, the fuck she was. The kinds of nut-jobs she’d bring home…”
“Yeah, Kenny, I know.”
“I said
nothin’, Ricky.”

Look a’ that little guy go, man. He. Is. Bookin’ it.”
“You think this is the first one ee’s stole? Looks like ee knows what ee’s doing.”
“Driver training, maybe.”
“Driver-pfft. Tryin’a make a joke?”
“Gonna have to try harder’n that. I’m kiddin’, man. Don’t look so angry.”

He’s walking in circles isn’t he?”

Izzy? Guess so. Hey Rick.”
“Guess the driver training didn’t do him too well. Eh? Lighten up, man. That was funny.”

I would have never thought a hedgehog had that kind of dexterity.”
“Mm, yeah.”

Would you?”


His hand-eye coordination is amazing, don’t you think so? The subcortical structures in his brain must be abnormally large for such a small mammal.”

“Know what I mean, Kenny?”

I can explain if you want me to.”
“Said I got it.”
“Huh, yeah. Not to mention the obvious problem that our scarecrow wasn’t mobile before. That means this hedgehog had the foresight to build or steal
exactly the right machine for the job.”
“Isn’t that amazing?”
“It’s pretty smart huh, Rick?”
“It’s a fucking genius.”
“Smarter’n you?

Smarter than you for damn sure.”

“What, what’s the matter?”
“Nothin’, jus’ we gotta get off our ass and do some work.”
“Work? Kenny, there’s nothing. Nothing’s ready yet. Just rained so we can’t spray.”
“There’s a thief, Ricky. Can’t afford another scarecrow.”
“Kenny, what-”
“Little fucker’s gotta learn.”
“Put your boots back on. Kenny. Kenny, oh what the fuck.”
Ain’t gonna take more’n a stomp or two, be right back.”

Jesus, Kenny. You- ugh. It’s got spines. I’d better get the phone.”

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Mouse King Sun, 07 Mar 2010 21:32:34 +0000 garlic

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Red sky / Meteor Sun, 07 Mar 2010 20:44:36 +0000 garlic Red Sky


First Day: The news came.
They named it Wormwood.

Long after the sun cracked
and spilled red holocaust on the world,
every neighbor, clad in mantles
of blankets, strode in silent procession
to where the night was darkest, so they could see.
But no one could guess which of the fireflies
pinned against the sky
was still alive.

Earlier, a boy in the outfield
couldn’t quite grasp the gravity of fireballs.
He stared at the white, secret sky
until the crack and howl of a well-swung bat awoke him.
The brown, scuffed baseball hung against the clouds
then dove, right onto him,
burying its nose into the plain of his leather hand,
nailing him in the palm.
the boy took a second look up
(the ball slid and dropped)
and raced himself home.


Seventh day: the last corner-store open
is out of flour and wine.

Martha began taking the brightest, gleaming
rings, pendants and brooches,
picking them out of the curtain-red, velvet grooves
of John St. Jewelers’ window display and lifted
them down into a garbage bag,
swiftly growing fat.
It wasn’t a long trek to her sister’s
and her nieces were already waiting
by the window, shocked alive by the sheer size
of her sagged and stretching cargo.
Girls, sit down,
Before you get to peek inside,
we need to think of princess names.

Little mouths jammed up
with gummy-sweet pseudonyms
(the longest they could conceive)
as Martha saved a single ring
out of the mass and sighed.

Take them, John sighed, I’m leaving. Yes,
this is why I asked to meet.
He placed the keys
into Martha’s cupped hands.
His Venus packed every shining proof
of his hidden fire into a black,
plastic bag and he made an excuse, went into the back
and paced the storage room beside a lump
of luggage. Collecting his things,
he breached the universe and found
the lip-stick note:
It’s the end of the world,
So why couldn’t I say it? I want you
to visit me, if you want to.
I’ll be at my sister’s-

With the address firmly gripped,
leaving the shop an empty ring box,
John walked out of the door, home
to dump his one-man tent
and pack silk ties instead.


Twelfth day, Wormwood has already begun
to cast its own shadows.

1:08 am, wandering in a ditch-
effort to find a single cigarette
or bottled water, a seminarian kicks around
the wreckage outside a hollow grocery store
unconvinced of his actions.
A thousand animals there before
ground the broken glass into coarse sand,
but now only a grasshopper twitches
across the rubble. The ground ripples
gently through his eyes and he kicks at it,
scattering the liquid garnet-drops and
ruby globs so they splash and peal
against the ocean now under his feet.
A silver fish twisting underwater shoots at the surface,
bursting into feathers as it ruptures the atmosphere
to encircle Wormwood’s fire.  Too dark against
the comet, the bird unfolds its arms.
A gull screams and the seminarian stops,
unsure in his vertigo that a man stares at him,
hanging in the red sky.

Her face streaked in sharp relief,
she strains her neck to see
the second sun from a small, barred
basement window. A foot
scuffs a wooden stair. Too heavy to leap,
the young girl carries herself
into her rusted, wheezing bed to
draw a horse blanket over her back and head.
The single light, a bulb in a yellow, paper star
flickers on with a faint tick
behind the padlocked door.
With nothing left to give the unborn,
she closes her eyes to beg the falling star itself
for succinct delivery; for the cleanliness
that can only come from fire

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My 1:1 Sun, 07 Mar 2010 14:26:08 +0000 garlic The little boy sat on his bedroom floor, surrounded by toys. Part of the room was covered in darkness but there was light over his shoulder as he sat, looking at his new plaything, a small globe made out of plasteline; blue and green and a tiny smudge of white.
“Mm… stars. Pretty,” he said and smiled. And then, they were there; spinning around him, sparkling and gleaming, filling his hazel eyes with light.
He stood on his little legs and walked around the ball. He looked at the stillness of the sea, earth and sky, and frowned as it all seemed wrong somehow. Then he snapped two chubby fingers and there it was; the ball started whirling around itself. So, he sat and watched as the winds were born and the seasons came to be and the first wave stretched itself upon the whiteness of the sands.
“He’ll like that.” said the boy, putting his thumb between his lips. Then he sneezed, and that blast of wind made the ball turn white and cold. Looking puzzled, he touched it with his thumb and the frost burned the tip of the finger. The boy quickly drew the finger away but the change was impressive on the small globe. The whiteness seemed to slowly melt away, starting from the point of his touch. The sphere was back to its previous blue-green form in no time. And where he had touched –a few moments of immeasurable time ago– something steered and raised its newborn eyes to the sky, looking in wonder at the little boy amidst the stars.
So he picked up the ball and walked out of the room towards the big silent staircase of the house. An older boy stood there, a book before him. He placed it by his side, as he watched his younger brother climb the big steps, curly black hair bouncing on his little head and something shining bright between his plump hands. The toddler came and sat on the last step next to him, smiling. He leaned his head upon the big boy’s arm and opened his palms, revealing the gift. Chants could be heard emanating from the globe. They sounded funny.
“Happy birthday,” the little boy said and handing it over, he gave him a sloppy kiss on the cheek.

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Birthday Girl Sun, 07 Mar 2010 13:57:18 +0000 garlic A lonely elm tree stood by the creek, on the far side of the meadow. Olia was sitting between its ancient roots, her naked toes playing with the soft mud under them. She was holding a bottle of milk in one hand, a saucer and a wooden music box in the other. Her worried eyes were on the box, fixed on the image of a dancing cat, engraved upon it. The figure reminded Olia of an old nursery rhyme, her granny had taught her.
Give her milk and play the tune;
Kitty will be with you soon

Her friend was growing weaker and more distant, every day that passed. Their meetings were becoming rarer and rarer. She filled the saucer with warm milk, careful not to spill a single drop. She then took the box in her hands.
Olia looked on her side, towards the cottage on the meadow’s other side; the real world. A big birthday cake and smiling faces were waiting for her back there. Pink clouds cascaded gently above, paying their respects to the birthday girl.
She sniffed and opened the box’s lid.
As a soft tune arose from within, she closed her blue eyes and waited.
Then a low growl was heard before her, followed by soft lapping. Olia nodded and stood up while the sweet melody hung in the air above the music box.
An old grey cat, milk dripping from its whiskers, looked up at her.
“Kitty,” said the girl and the words turned the child’s lips into a sad smile.
The cat licked the milk off its nose and slightly tilted its head in attention.
“Nana said you could stay until I was a big girl,” Olia said and sobbed.
“I’m a big girl now, kitty.”
The cat’s blue eyes narrowed. It shook its head, letting a long-drawn meowl. It looked so tired, so old…
“I have to let you go. If you stay…”
The music box’s song carried on. Far behind, a mother’s hand was lighting seven birthday candles, voices called her name. For just a moment, the cat’s figure flickered like a flame.
“You must find other children to take care of now.”
The cat huffed in annoyance. Gathering its dwindling strength, it began to grow big, as big as the elm tree. Its gray fur became a glistening coat of white and brown, tinted with peacocks’ eyes that flickered in the rising wind. It growled towards the girl with an open mouth, full of big teeth. The creek picked up that growl and tossed its echo around the meadow.
Olia stood motionless. The cat roared again and again but they both knew those roars held no fury within them, only sadness for their inevitable parting. The huge snout lowered to the level of her eyes, sniffing its friend. Blue bore into blue.
The girl kissed the furry forehead then put her hands around the big cat’s neck.
“I’ll miss you,” she tried to say, but her voice was broken into a whimper.
Dejected, the creature growled softly, steadily reverting to its previous size, until Olia found herself holding a grey kitten in her lap. She turned her head towards the music box, now at its dying notes. Closing her teary eyes again, she cradled her friend lovingly.
“Bye bye, kitty.”
Olia opened her eyes, the moment the music came to an end and the feeling of soft fur disappeared from her arms. The box’s lid fell, leaving her alone under the tree and the clouds. She swept her tears and turned towards the cottage. She was a big girl now.

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Muse Fri, 05 Mar 2010 23:41:23 +0000 garlic

Last December,
Beyond the walls of time and space
I went wild with you, threading my bit through
Your nostrils – breathing up and down; dragging on and off.

Our spark was temporal but extreme,
So I left memos as far as my memory permitted:
From A-Z tattooed on your navel, to the Morse code setup in your
Genes which your sparse hair will keep even a thousand years later.

I was full of existence; you were full of persistence.
I loved you; you withheld me.
I took off a heavy shell; you put on an armored suit.

How queer – you’ve cast a spell on me, I suffer from now.
I carved you, and tasted that carved you; replayed you
In my memory was very juicy. I stretched my tongue to
Lick you up, and  you - became a new baby, by my saliva.

How queer – the baby
Is watching me now, like the last leaf on the naked tree 
Is looking at the last sign of the wind. So I keep me hidden from
Those eyes. I need detoxification–

Into the cave I crawled, to carve your body and soul again
Till it’s broken into shreds. More realistically than ominously
Your valleys will be displayed inside out like shiny intestines
On a chopping board.

Locked in contracted muscles – your love, I tried to pierce
It through to reach you and bring you; breaking the taboo
Of ‘something more beautiful upon not settling’, I rushed
Into your heart, riding the fatal breath of Muse.

Thus –
I fell into an abyss out of fantasy;
A faint, mysterious headache has begun since.

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