SIMON’S INTERLUDE #1
David Bowie lives in my house. Sometimes I have to sew bits of him back together. It is more of a platonic relationship. I have to buy a lot of air freshener. David likes to watch TV. He doesn’t say anything but when he smiles the edges of his mouth turn downwards slightly. David Bowie has very shiny fingernails. I have heard him crying in the bathroom. I had to get rid of the cat, who was called Ziggy, which David thought was ironic. I am writing a novel. I have been trying to think of a situation where a character is in a mood that I can describe as ‘brackish’. I buy him underwear from Marks and Spencer’s but he makes his own clothes. He made me a dress from a pair of curtains and I had to buy new curtains. Mostly we just get high and listen to grime. David likes mint creams and radio six. He slipped over after I mopped the kitchen floor and now I have to carry him to the bathroom. I told him ‘if you should fall into my arms, tremble like a flower.’ I wash him with a sponge and turn my face away when I wash between his legs. He smokes all my cigarettes but I like his impressions of June Brown. I keep finding his hair everywhere, in chunks.
SIMON’S INTERLUDE #2
David Bowie lives in my house. I have written a poem about it. I use clever twists on his most famous lyrics to convey a sense of “The Man Himself.” I showed my poem to David but he can be quite mean for somebody with such an open philosophy. We recreate scenes from his films, where he plays David Bowie’s character and I play the character opposite David Bowie’s character. It helps him to retain a sense of purpose. I showed my poem to a friend who said I should submit it to a magazine. I call him Davy Jones in the poem to convey a sense of intimacy. I don’t mention how I have to clean his undead shit from the toilet bowl as no one would believe me. When I was cleaning I said ‘I hope you’re smiling now, smiling through this darkness’ but David said I got the lyrics wrong and went back to watching Eastenders. There are little bits still falling off. Skin, teeth, fingers. I might stop sewing them back on. Where would we be then? David has recently developed a suspect lactose intolerance. He takes nothing seriously. He laughed for hours when I told him I couldn’t have nuts in the house. I told him there was nothing funny about a deadly nut allergy. David has notebooks where he writes down his thoughts. I look at them while he is sleeping or in the toilet or watching television in the other room but it is not actually writing, just lines that look like writing.
SIMON’S INTERLUDE #3
David Bowie lives in my house. Last week I deconstructed him. I wanted to know how far I could take him apart before he stopped being David Bowie. How many vocal chords did he need to sing Space Oddity? When he refused to sing I pulled out all his teeth. Now they rattle in a bowl. I keep his head in the fridge. I told him ‘you always wanted to sound like a disembodied head’, which was a clever reference to one of his favourite paintings. His body parts still work. I can make his hands play Life On Mars, but there’s no feeling in it. There are blood stains on my carpet. I have moved his legs into the basement and his feet into the attic. At night I hear them shuffling about. I opened the salad drawer to ask him what would happen if I ate him. He said my shit would become David Bowie and live forever in the sewers until it disintegrated and became the water and the air and then the particles would still be David Bowie and would live for ever in the atmosphere and in the rivers and the sea. I thought this was a nice metaphor for death. But David Bowie isn’t dead. I have dissected all his bronchopulmonary segments, fingernails, kidneys, spleen and ventricles. How can he be dead if he can sing Dancing In The Streets at my command? If he can hold me in his disembodied arms? I wear his severed cornea on my eye. I kiss his lovely thumbs before I go to bed.
Anna Cathenka is the recipient of the 2017/18 Ink, Sweat & Tears scholarship for the MA Poetry at UEA. Her writing has been widely published in both the UK and the US. Anna’s first pamphlet Dead Man Walking will be out in letterpress form later this year with New Fire Tree and her series ‘Prayerbook for Tree’ was recently released by Smallminded Press. Anna also collaborates with Sarah Cave as part of Sunbeats. Their most recent project Polar Bear Drag Kings has been performed as part of The Enemies Project and Anathema. They are also the authors of The Wasteland Puzzlebook. See @annacathenka.