Salome Starfire

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The Rude bits of Brisbane?

Could I tell some erotic tales set in Brisbane? I know that they have happened. I have had them. And I know the streets and the names of the suburbs and the people involved. It could be a bit like ‘He died with a Falafel in his hand’ except ‘He died with a —- in his hand’. I have mixed up the real stories with the fantasies and can no longer tell them apart. That is a lie. I don’t want to tell the little add-on parts from the real parts. Memories…are they worth re-living without a touch-up? They are always touched up, things omitted, things expanded upon. Narrative tends to distort and I think this is a good thing. Otherwise a tale might be;

I went to the club. Didn’t sit down at first. Wasn’t really thinking anything except ‘I hope I don’t look fat in these tights’ and “Listen up girl, stop beating yourself up with self-loathing’, and ‘this is beginning to sound like a horrible piece of femfiction about diary entries involving how many pounds I weigh ( like a pound of butter?) and how many cigarettes I bonked and how many men I smoked. So yes, narrative—important. Expanded narrative that is nothing like the real events—sometimes even better.

But then again, maybe I haven’t had anything remotely erotic happen in this city. As I sit in front of a fan in the afternoon heat of another stinker of a Brisbane day I wonder if any of it’s real. The memories. I feel pathetic and my writing will not save me from my wretchedness. The memories of streets in Red Hill, midnight, walking with a bunch of goths home from when the Normanby Hotel was once really great. It was the place where goths went. And I was a goth. A bit of a goth. My best-friend lived in a house on Cochrane street with her mum. Her mum was a hippy who had a Combie van that was liable to catch on fire. I put it out once on our way to Woodford Folk Festival. I know, I know, not many goths there. And back in 1995 there were no beer tents and it was actually affordable to go there. But I digress.

I had a thing for a boy called Nick. Not the one I married, who I incessently have a thing for, but this other Nick. He was a punk. In the amazing art pieces made out of spam and maggots under glass, and a fabulous sense of DIY fashion. He was sensitive and an incredible illustrator. His arms were very pale and his veins were lightning blue. Is lightning blue? Electric. We once went  to Toowong Cemetery around midnight and climbed to the top of the hill. I was there with him and another girl whose name was the feminine of his. So with Nick and Nicolette we sated ourselves on the solitude of the place. Something that seemed permanent when we knew like all 16 year olds know, nothing is. All the bodies underneath us. Some dust, some bones, but probably none of them rotting. We picked cherry tomatoes growing near a grave, ripe red ones that burst with sweetness in our mouths. I spat mine out because I’m superstitious. I think Nick ate a cockroach. It scampered across the grave and he grabbed it and ate it. I thought that was the most impressive thing I’d seen a boy do. Other than his spam architecture that was being slowly demolished under a glass box by maggots in the art department at school. I don’t know what I wanted to do with him exactly. Nicolette knew, however what she wanted to do with me but I learnt of her feelings for me long after this night. ( I am prone to missing the cues of romantic attraction by females towards me)

I don’t know that I wanted to rumble in the hay with him. I’m not even sure I wanted to kiss him. But I liked looking at his blue veins under his ridiculously pale skin. I liked seeing the paint and ink and marks of industry on his fingers. I thought he had the most incredible hands. Maybe the way I’d envisaged Blake’s hands to be, slender, pale, with the marks of infernal industry. I spent one night with him just examining his veins. Not the entire night. He held my hands and stroked my arms. It was so cold and the louvers in the front room didn’t shut. I had a patchwork blanket on the bed. This was my second move since leaving home at 15. I was completing year 12 with thoughts I was going to be an actress…but I fell to writing instead. Not an easy or short fall. Not a fall with a net, or with circus skills.

From this memory of the punk boy who ate the cockroach in the cemetery I might easily extract another tale. Not easily. I need to separate out the events. They tend to blur. Those days and nights and the sleep-ins. She lied with a …. in her mouth?

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