Scantily Clad Press, 2008
‘Bubble Wrap’ was first published by ditch. ‘Jelly Toy Saturation’ was first published by Cherry Bleeds. ‘With Her Slightly Crooked Mouth Mirage’ and ‘Frankenstein Crowned Miss South Dakota’ were first published by WOMB. ‘The Male Gaze’ was first published by DIAGRAM. Most of these poems were posted in one version or another upon the poet’s personal blog, CandyDishDoom.
That warped horror soundtrack I heard in the shower might have been ruckus from rusty pipes, might have been a man with a knife, gearing up to hack mounds of flesh. My flushed breasts, my gory rivulets, my frantic bubbles rising into steam. I had to let that music keen; cut its way out like a switchblade bar room brawl to make way for the steep incline of more precise strains. Not that indistinguishable growling in the pit. When my mouth was masticating, it was just another small machine doing its commonplace job. A nameless cog, I wanted to strip my gears. I wanted to bend my spoon backwards. Fling. (The only acceptable foodstuff was ice cream and only if snuck in the dark and then even ice cream was marred by the uneasy sense of furtiveness that surrounded it. It was stuck in the bubble wrap with me. In the bubble wrap was: sneaky ice cream, chicken bones with gory rivulets of flesh still clinging, small mounds of carnage building up almost automatically, dog shit, leaky toilet, clanging pipes, expanding hips, horror movie music, knives, flesh, fainting, long distance relationship, public transportation, boiling water bubbles. It was bubble wrapped beaks and wings. It was boiling water bubbles inside bubble wrap, steam clean or a random series of inconsequential explosions. A spattered cocoon of bubble wrap and blanched chicken. It was the antithesis of epicurean-ism, the antithesis of libidinousness, the antithesis of precision. The only acceptable solution was industrial-strength cleaning product. Scouring powder. Newly-cultivated lust for fleshdissolving solvent. But my swallowing mechanism was grossly swaddled, was muffled in the bubble wrap. I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to the brain. If the bubble wrap was in my brain, was it an invasion, a perversion, or a preservation? I couldn’t ascertain. I couldn’t escape the stuck gears, the dull hooks of undifferentiated, unsubstantiated pain. I couldn’t escape the cash drawers, the snack packs, the plastic utensils thrusting themselves into my face. ) I wanted to hone my own finessed utensils. Flay the muddled layers. Trace the gleaming details of tibia, femur, vertebrae displayed like perfect syllables. I wanted to revise. Crush marrow in mortar & pestle.
Devise a new underpinning that would glow beneath my skin with cut gem precision. Then my fainting spells would taper. Then my vision would stop blurring fuzzy sweater sleeves into stunted wings; into indefinable stings and squawks as I tried to gain accentuation on another slasher flick stage-set check-up table with another ambiguous layer removed. My sharpened elbows exposed in their transitional pose. My new beak-job too sore to peck out those awful eyes. Those indiscriminate spies, how dare they take my bait before I’d even hooked it. Those gluttonous sluts. I hadn’t even cast myself. This flesh for cash hack-job was not what I wanted. I hadn’t even sexily spiked myself. (There was no excuse for a fuel breakdown. I should have been able to fuel myself with anything. A pinch of powdered sugar, bug guts, rogue hair pins, tiny snips of my own cuticles. There was no excuse for coming to on someone else’s table, a huge vessel of sugary orange juice and a camera thrust into my face. I never thought abstaining was sexy. It was just that I should have fixed my own drinks. It was just that my mouth was turning into a small machine shaped like a grotesque prefab chicken beak, operated by tiny wheels and cogs. I thought that the operating table on the stage set was real. I thought that the orange juice was mixed with anesthesia and they wanted to sew fatty breasts and gristly thighs onto me in some sort of hideous surgical pornography. The camera might have been a heat lamp. There might have been a damaged piston at my core. Some broken rotisserie spit they intended to restore. In one scene, I was on my back on cold cement at the bottom of a flight of fire escape stairs and I didn’t even care if I ever made it up again. My mouth was stuffed with bubble wrap.) I finally escaped with screwdrivers. Figured out how to unbolt myself with three stiff drinks. Until I’m almost flying. Until I’m zooming in & out between my own double vision and the periphery of everyone else’s attention. I am disconnected flapping sleeves. I am shiny sheathes of feathers in numb, frilly disarray. I might pluck them off. I might get naked as everyone’s mouths move meaninglessly. One mouth forms the phrase, ‘painfully skinny’.
One mouth drools at my bony bar room sprawl. From this sticky floor, the ceiling fans are small machines whirring. Plastic spoons stirring at another congealed snack pack. Another fat man licks chicken wing hot sauce off his fingers, then tries to pull my skirt down. He drags me towards the door. He positions me on an incline and thrusts a tube of glucose into my face. I cluck at the line of people buying tickets.
Kitten-heeled pinball machines ding as gleaming eyeballs roll down chutes of glitter-rouged cleavage. Tails drip a trail to the ladies room. Alley cats blot oversaturated lips on dirty cheesecloth. Red wax bleeds and bleeds through pores. Call it whatever you want as long as it’s catchy, but not too easy. Or call it too easy. Call it a whorish gumball machine slot and a gnarled hand that won’t stop snaking until it gets caught on something sharp. Now you’re at the mercy of a contraption that does not know how to listen or let go. Now you’re being forced to hold hands with a jawbreaker that does not have soft innards at all. When they come to your aid with the lube, they could be a secretly perverse retail clerk or they could be a whole procession of those slutty nurses you love to hate, teetering high on expired mascara and oversized rectal thermometers. Call it an attack of the eyelash mites who mutate in the heat of toxic falsies. Call it whatever vile thing you like. You’re still screwed into the wrong vending machine. She could be a glow-in-the-dark pussy and you could be the dead mouse in the party punch, in the crush porn, in the rancid filling oozing out of their industrial-sized cheese horns. Her syringe could be breeding silicon juggernauts or a colony of parasites or radioactive microscopic piranha hybrids injected into your stuck pig. She could be a coat check girl who specializes in hooks. She could be an 8-legged girl who wants to Ziploc® them around you and patent a new sex move called the Futuristic Jello® Mold that ends when she squeezes out fake eggs stuffed with flesh tone nylons.
She could be spawn trapped inside a bouncy ball, a curvilinear prison of artificial candy-colored swirls, just waiting for the grab and fling. Call it a multi-hued hussy stuck inside the body of a fishwife. Call it vulcanized rubber smoking under plate glass, soon to explode like sweet ball gag out of coin-operated gadget. Call it a tongue depressor shaped wet dream that morphs into a nightmare that morphs into a reality TV show in which as the officer approached, he thought it was a mannequin that had been set on fire, but there was so much gory discharge they would be scooping burnt sugar into body bags all night long.
(The words in italics were recently heard on a Discovery Channel true crime show)
An amalgamation of Little Debbie all mixed up with warped speed Debbie Does Dallas. Sound bite shrapnel explodes in her skull; jams her brain into bloody filling. Choc-O-Gel, Star Crunch, starfucker stilettos flung behind oozing head. Red jelly smeared across fuzzy screen. Obscene Technicolor invasion. Overloaded socket sensation. Can’t handle any more vibration. Unplug it. Shove it into the reverse gumball machine position. Pried-open slot, drooly jawbreaker, fill-in-the-blank. Suck it, you ____.
Like a frankensteined representation of a woman cobbled from the disconnected parts of other kinds of women—stitched together with coarse black thread (like too bad for smooth embroidery floss)—embalmed with a cocktail of blood, black mold, black cherry vodka, black cherry Faygo, and rat poison. Like my effluence is deadly. Like sickly sweet green pellets sizzling through another bent spoon. Like no matter what I say, my echo says, ‘askance’ and then I say, ‘let’s dance’ and then we trip all over each other in a confusion of hobbled foxtrot, ribald rumba, and randomly bedazzled chicken nuggets. Like do you wanna growl, do you wanna grind, or do you wanna cluck? Like squeeze my ‘rubber duckie’ like it’s a ‘stress ball’ and then fling it into the ‘abyss’, aiming for the motherlode of fake feathers and the biggest carnival prize. A ring around a duck equals an armful of plush bear. A very extraneous bear that I would only pretend to be smitten with if we were still in something like the ‘courting’ stage. The ‘heavy petting’ phase. As it is, we’re in something like the sewer water zone and so I say my name is Rubber Product, Burning Rubber Product and then I screech away, but it’s a sloshy kind of screeching. Like heavy petting a beheaded bird. Like spooning a black cherry to a sewer rat. I’m most likely exaggerating, but who could blame me with all these toxins in my bloodstream. Like lip plumping lip gloss applied to the wrong body part. Like lip plumping lip gloss applied to the nth degree. Like assisted listening devices at high volume tuned to the shrieking frequency of my donut hole issues. Like a yappy little alien terrier with boneless wings.
Maybe she’s just a slice just a splice just a sheath just a construct; mutilized decoupage impacted between fake teeth. With her alphabetized file folders of kinky sex. With her malfunctioning mechanisms to spur obstructed ducts. Maybe she’s just a slice just a splice just a sheath just a construct; fancified platter presenting a pink layer cake from an E Z Bake oven that fucked some kind of medical oddity. With her vagina dentata bluffed beneath a cocktease aperitif. Maybe she’s just a slice just a splice just a sheath just a construct. Mutilized decoupage impacted between fake teeth.
The chandelier won’t stop glittering, drawing my eyes to the way hooks dangle from the archway. Your sugar hurts my teeth, gets inside my eyes, scratches the lenses. Your sugar hurts my ears. Sometimes sounds like: -soft thump, rabbit ears in a wet cave -bristling hypnosis, the sway of sea cucumbers suddenly turns hot pink, throbs on & off like sputtering neon a tubular passageway infested with worms rotten teeth. Your sugar is molded into a won’t stop glittering piñata I can’t stop biting into in my (or is it your?) dreams. What pours out isn’t candy isn’t candy at all. Looks like you hooked another one. Thought she was so deep, but her eyes are all fucked up or is she eyeless? Or was she hurt in the sugary sea? What pours out is wormy and rotten (or is it your sweet) teeth? Penises dangle from the archway. Rabbits drown in caves.
Bruises galore, my crown is implanted into place. My smile fakes itself amidst the grotesque putty of crusty contusions and misshapen lumps. This fiendish prank (that was my face) has mutated into a gory game; a multi-tiered charade of ruined cakery, rancid frosting, mottled pigmentation. Wobbly high heels jammed on skewed digits (jellied pigs’ feet seeping from hacked decapitation). Busting out of my evening gown, I’m the barnyard star of this maggoty parade. I’m the tainted creamsicle unfrozen; oozing all over your plate. Poisoning your meat & potatoes with my scintillating slimy pate. FREAKY BITCH stamped on my sash, on my slit, on my slash-worthy flesh. I am sent down the stage with a clusterfuck-dead dahlias, belladonnas, spider mums. I am dragged down the dirty alley with a chain attached to the back of a pick-up truck. I’m wearing my bathing suit and gelatinous feet. I’m bleeding through the crotch as zirconium flies off my tiara and then you want me to compete in the talent display. You want to gawk and squirm your hoggish trouser worm as I blend my piecemeal heart into a gruesome shimmy shimmy shake.
(title appropriated from a Headlines comedy segment on ‘The Tonight Show’)
1. You can also get a tub of that size filled with tiny debutantes. Not even talking Cool Whip tub. Talking bigger, more durable plastic with bright label affixed, haphazardly stuffed with little wannabe queens, fresh from the assembly line. That new car smell, that pink approximation of bendable legs under flammable dance dress. Molten plastic core. Interchangeable whores with poseable tiaras.
2. The screw is rotated by a motor, feeding pellets up the screw’s grooves. The depth of the screw decreases towards the end of the screw nearest the mold, compressing the heated plastic. As the screw rotates, the pellets are moved forward in the screw and they undergo extreme pressure and friction which generates most of the heat needed to melt the pellets. Heaters on either side of the screw assist in the heating and temperature control.
3. You can also get a plastic whip, that new car friction, pink grooves haphazardly stuffed with Cool Whip. Of course some of them aren’t even good enough for the back seat. The list of defects includes: blister, burn marks, color streaks, silver streaks, delamination, embedded contaminants, stringiness, voids, warping, weld lines, and splay marks. Her legs won’t bend back any farther and the nozzle hasn’t even shot its load. Little wannabe whores should bleach their assholes, the inverse of the product’s shape. Compress the heated plastic, scream like a size queen, burst into flame.
With a rubbery fuse-fingered hand, she strokes him. He hears the music box song of loose pins in a thimble-sized gullet. A tiny tight sheath twirling, twirling. He wants a doll who swallows her own loose teeth; her voided mouth a self-lubricating pink, perfect for spooning red hot applesauce. He wants a doll with bent headgear, ruined headdress. With shiny hair extensions that cut themselves. With missing fingers, hook arm, deflated falsies, orthopedic shoes. He wants to smooth pancake makeup onto already poreless “flesh”. He wants her preprogrammed “voicebox” to “acquiesce”, “deliquesce”, “luminesce”, and release a steaming shitload of dirty words. He wants made-to-order, interchangeable crotch panels, blinking lights, a bottomless spit valve. He wants a barely legal doll who can fit a small octopus inside like some kind of mutant nesting doll rape. He wants it just a little bit smaller than life-size. What is “life-size” anyway? One man’s “life-size” is unresponsive to another man’s finely-tuned anatomy of fixation, fetishization, forced breathing cessation. He wants her with royal jelly oozing out her panties, a buzz of queen bees instead of nipples, pulsing stingers beneath the pasties, pump of breast-venom until his tongue goes numb,
until he spits in her face, until he bites it off. He wants her throat to be a pastry bag, with a decorative tip with an almost invisible slit. Like red jam, he wants her pleasure to spread from crevice to crevasse to sticky morass to one man’s “life-like” annihilated “tits & ass”.
pink primulas wither when terrorized, when strangled by sausage casing like greasy snake skin discarded but still oozing like piss rubber doll tubing on seething kneelers, protective pads and oven mitts burned through to the skin; flesh is sizzling; the word deflesh flares and sputters on a faulty neon sign when the hot pink boils itself down into a dark ally a dark alley, a back room of discontinued flavors of Jell-O molds quivering rancid animal stomach churns into laffy taffy strings and nodules and anal beads and hair balls and hack that hair pie, that squirming hagfish, that busted jug of spoiled milk dousing messy tuna melt mayo splattered bathing suit for dog paddling through the vat of hot cooking grease: a bubbling and blistering donut hole, a crackling pig, exposed chitterlings, glutinous spaghetti straps slipping off bloody shoulders
I’ve strived to be a silkworm, but no matter how I maneuvered, all that came out was stained rags, queasy hues, too impractical for even the haute couture runway. Another gutter ball. Another gutter ball. Another slime ball of epic proportions. Insectile abortions. I’ve tried to quell this pink pulsating “beehive”, but there’s no stopping its gelatinous mass production placental overdrive. These placentas with relentless stingers. These placentas with writhing undersides. These placentas that were catalyzed by high fashion eugenics. In elite back rooms, with exotic fruit mold supreme anesthesia pump action, they liposuctioned the secret folds of my “fat suit” until I was exposed. My veins housed spumes of glitter prone to misfire. My bones were not quite good enough to boil into consommé. Despite their ministrations, I would never be gourmet. They inserted the speculum, extracted the larvae. Another gutter ball. Another awful non-human “child”.
Juliet Cook’s poetry has appeared in Diode, Diagram, Octopus, Robot Melon, WOMB and many other fine online and print sources. She is the editor of Blood Pudding Press. She is the author of numerous quirky little chapbooks, most recently including Planchette (Blood Pudding Press), Gingerbread Girl (Trainwreck Press) and MONDO CRAMPO (coming soon from the dusie kollektiv 3). Her first full-length poetry collection, Horrific Confection was recently published by BlazeVOX. For more Juliet information, please feel free to visit her website at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.