from ‘Letter to Pessoa’
“Church bells gag. Beyond the rooftops the sky crushes me with its vivid blue. The old man at reception nods sympathetically. He guesses I have my suicidal hours.”
Another piece in my favourite online journal, Verity La. This one is part of their “Out of Limbo” series, which aims to capture coming out stories by queer writers. This story is about coming out as a never-ending pursuit: “coming out to people in various subtle ways, again and again, until it all just becomes too tiring”. It’s also a story about male friendship and how things can go unspoken until it’s too late.
‘Fudgepackers!’ said John, referring to our American corporate overseers. The spaceship-like Polycom phone had only just made a final crackle before falling silent, so my reaction to his remark was delayed by an anxious feeling that the Americans might have heard him. It was just the two of us in the tiny glass-walled fishbowl meeting room. I gathered my papers and made to leave.
Although I found the word funny, I shot him what I hoped was a hurt glance and said, ‘That’s such an offensive word. I’d prefer you didn’t use it.’
John gave a knowing look and nodded.
‘Sorry. No offence intended.’
Does that count as coming out? I walked out of the room and we never spoke of it again.
Head over to Verity La to read the rest of the story.
from “Civility Place”
“You settle into your death chair. You call it this because—although it’s handsome and designer—it will eventually kill you: first by weakening your spine and then by rolling its five vengeful chrome wheels in starfish formation over your vital organs.”
“One of his most popular flavours is sage, roast duck and single-origin cardboard.
‘For that one, we had to get the balance perfectly right,’ says G. ‘We had to keep in mind that the duck was the hero of the ice-cream, and things went smoothly from there.’”
Let’s rattle this ghost town! A flash fiction piece in which I compare the Brisbane River to “slug guts”. I’m thrilled to have it featured in Verity La.
“Billy passed back the joint, his mouth hot and dry, his brain expanding but feeling too many things at once, wanting more and more and more, but with a queasy sense that this might not go well at all, except—you never know—maybe it would.”
Go read it and subscribe to their email newsletter for a regular fix of new writing.
ANTITHESIS is a refereed arts and humanities journal edited by graduate students and published annually in association with the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. As a postgrad student of creative writing, I’m delighted to have my story “What He Left Behind” included in Volume 25.
The story is inspired by the Chinese dating show, If You Are The One and Brigita Ozolin’s artwork Kryptos, which is built into Tasmania’s MONA museum. (For more information about Kryptos, you can read my review here).
Here is the first paragraph of the story:
When he appeared on If You Are The One, some of the girls said he was too cute. Effeminate. Pew! Pew! Pew! went their buzzers as they decided not to chance a date with him. Their comments were surprising: he used to fuck you, hard—it was never the other way around—and dominance seemed to be his only mode, both in and out of bed. He was slim, yes, but not short, and he stood before the girls with a confident smile, wearing jeans and tight-fitting dress shirt. Maybe the shirt sent a certain signal, or maybe the girls—having only his physical characteristics and initial mannerisms to remark on so early in the show—sensed his subterfuge and called him out on it. Either way, he was cute, that much is true. You remember.
Grab a copy of ANTITHESIS to read more!