The Cull-me Cuddle-me of the Call-me-to-you and the Terrifying Smell of Downstairs By Penny Goring

Up on the roof it’s all grey tiles shiny from the rain that is falling in curtains of ice from the overblown black clouds above us. The rain meets the roof, meets the sky, meets the pavement – you and the rain and the skyscape quickly become one in wetness.

The first hysteric eats a banana. Where does the banana go inside her? Down a thin tube to her stomach where it gets churned until it is slushy. Then it gets squeezed along the very, very long tube that is curled in her tummy. Lingers: the soothing taste of collusion. Will soul kissing boys give her herpes?

Inching gingerly down the steep side, you are goose-stepping your froggy fingers, extending a hesitant leg, glancing dangerously downwards – when your toes are touching the gravel on the ledge you hunch into a ball of damp longing, and dropping to relative safety, you are nose-pressing up against brick, squinting through a small window.

She burps. Are her guts entertaining foul weather? As the food goes down the long tube, all the good things go into her blood with a Rothko red on red effication. Her heart drives the blood all round her body, avoiding emotional war zones, so the good things can be used to build her new skin. Lingers: the burn of the heart pumped. Can masturbation wreck her magic vagina?

You rap your red knuckles against the thin rattling glass. Nobody is in there to hear you. As you force the window frame upwards it jerks open unexpectedly easy and you tumble head-first into the hollow within.

The first hysteric unpeels ten ripe bananas, wraps each one tightly in cling-film, watches them time-lapse from firm creamy flesh to dark fibrous mush – until they are bog man fingers, fermenting in their see-through skin. Is she breeding hysterical bananas? The banana residue inside her is squeezed along to the end of the tube in her bottom. It comes out as:




loving idol

love idol

cull me

cuddle me







fathers and mothers

bird’s eye



Lingers: the terrifying smell of downstairs. Is she having his baby?

Sprawled in a lagoon of rank soup from a toppled bong, you watch the room. Smeared across the far wall in some organic grot: I LUV MY DAD 4 EVER XXX. Who has been trying to entertain themselves in this house without you? The three X shapes are meant to be kisses but you see them as WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Her body needs fresh water to keep it alive so she opens her mouth to the rain and some of it gets turned into urine. Where does the urine go inside her? It drips into a stretchy bag called the bladder. The urine takes the bad things out of her body. She unwraps one bog man finger, dips it in her steaming widdle, and wielding it like a crayon, she squidges the right words all over the very wrong wall: I HATE MY MUM 4 EVER XXX. Lingers: the swoon of tomorrow. When will her breasts fill her bra?

This is the wrong room. The books droop on the shelves. The sofa is dead. There are more shadows in here than daylight. Nobody ever visits. Last time you laughed was the first time and you can’t remember the details. Because you. You believed by welcoming it you could be at one with it: the nothing. But you’re only at one with the rain. And it is raining dead cats and kittens.

The first hysteric knows, even though her skin feels dry her body is wet inside. Is she straight, gay, bi or omnisexual? Some of it escapes through her skin to pound from her forehead in rainstorms. Cheek pressed to the cold windowpane, she casts almost no shadows, in fact, the light that surrounds her is unnatural – it happens all the time, even when she is sleeping. Lingers: the pull of the planets. Can she make her best dreams come true?

The laughter of giants, booming from another room. You crawl down the hallway and cautiously peep round the door. Beneath a voluminous turban of purple, a parrot gripping her shoulder, the older than death Edith Sitwell heads a dining table freighted with ice buckets holding magnums of sparkling curse juice. To her left sits the endless Yves Klein – he is brooding and ravelled in rags, all tousled and blotched at the edges. A girl who looks just like you did – porno-potential cradled in her thighs, I’m not really here eyes – leaves his side, climbs a yellow chrome ladder, disappears through a star-shaped hole in the ceiling.

The first hysteric lives in the mirror, squeezes yellow waxy bullets from her pores, tweezers fine black hairs from her nostrils. Does this red lipstick look pretty, caked down her cheeks to her chin? When she looks at her face too closely, her stomach empties out the wrong way – it sends digested banana up instead of down, with a Pollock drip on slop splatteration. Although she can’t see it, her body wears out a little bit more every time. And she accumulates blood angels in her knickers. Lingers: the caress of the useless. Is breaking your hymen ouchy?

Edith gestures for you to be seated beside her, opposite the larger than death Anne Sexton and the deader than death Sylvia Plath. But you can’t get up off the floor. You spend the next hour under their table, weeping and masturbating painfully, trying not to eavesdrop on Annie and Sylvie swapping quick ‘n’ easy suicide recipes. You promise yourself if you ever manage to get out of this house you will come into your own, in a room of your own – be the oddest, maddest goddess.

She breathes solid air to keep her body alive. Where does the air go inside her? It rushes down a tube inside her throat, inflates the branches of her lung trees, then feeds her galloping blood. She exhales whirling twisters, dizzy and wild, they spin the wrong room until it hurts. Her heart pounds faster, she brews bog man bad vibes, stirs her buckets of boiling bad karma. Lingers: the mewl of the vanishing doubt. What does she want to be when she grows up?

You are reaching a half-arsed climax when you hear Yves suggesting the poets strip-off to roll their bodies in his paint. It is pouring from his eyeballs and the ends of his fingers – rivers of International Klein Blue. You are alone in your nakedness. You alone are primed in his blue. He climbs down under the table and canoodles your dripping blue breasts. Flooding from the end of his painterly penis: Suburban Klein Blue, flooding you. He says:

‘At this very moment, I am truly in love with you’.

Looking deep in his saucered eyes, you snarl:

‘Nothing is love – and it is blue’.

The first hysteric climbs out the skylight and straddles the slippery roof. Is she a huge disappointment? Bad vibes surge from her guts to her brain, get flash-fried in a glare of neurosis. Bolts of curse juice belt through her body to electrify the hormonal sky. She jolts with the thrill of the hot poison spill as the curses roll like thunder from her lips:

‘Oi! Mum!’

‘Your cats will get hit by the fast cars that come out of my night with no warning!’

‘Oi! Mum!’

‘Your cats will drag themselves to your back door, busted and bloodied, eyes big with wonder, to die in your useless arms!’

And it is raining dead cats and kittens. Lingers: the hiss of the heartfelt. Will gargling his sperm make her happy?

Looking out the wrong window, you see the cow jumping over the moon. Grabbing armfuls of plates and bottles, you start hurling every object out the window. You see the dish running away with the spoon. You see the dead cats and kittens in the moon. Anne and Sylvia are oblivious, snoring in each other’s arms. Edith is necking the sparkling juice and squawking crude rhymes at her parrot. And you are heaving each clonking chair out the window. And you are pulling all the books from the vertigo walls, ripping pages, breaking spines, sending every wrong poem these women ever wrote flying fast out the wrong window, recklessly screaming blue murder:

‘These are the wrong rooms!

These are the wrong people!

These are all the wrong words!

Risking safety issues and brain damage:

This is the house that ain’t right!’

Someone. Is this true love at last? With the eyes. With the heat. With the message. He hangs before her and wraps his legs around his neck. He has romantic bones and they creak. He has no genitals just peachy blue skin and a dimple. 1000 red lipsticks couldn’t make him more pretty. 1000 willies couldn’t make him more potent. 1000 bunk-ups couldn’t make him more poxed. His heart is an arthritic claw. Lingers: the choking of throats. Is he her Mummy and Daddy?

Yves is leaping out the window, and he is soaring like an astronaut, no, like an astral nought, into his beloved empty. You go flying out after him, it is easy, and you are falling slowly, like feathers, no, more like snow flakes – every atom that makes you is distinct and of itself, intricately wrought from hot things turned icy – meandering down delicately in the dark, landing gently, softly, all of a piece, serene with the books in the gutter. Your intuition rolls like thunder and no rain falls.

Look at him, look at him hanging. Where does the night go inside him? It gets sucked in his eyes and all the good things rush into his vacuum with a Bacon doom on gloom desecration. He unfurls his dog-eared Kama Sutra. She is his blood angel, staining the sky. He unleashes his karma Krakatoa. She is his red-beaded glassy-eyed blood curtain drawn in dripping folds across the sky. Look at her, look at her hanging.


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