Category Archives: Roberta Lawson

Becoming by Roberta Lawson

She always did want some kind of God figure; a something-so-overwhelming that she might dissipate into mere molecules in its presence. She always did want to be simultaneously smaller and larger. Deep down she’d always wanted to worship. Not God himself but some eternal spirit that changes shape each minute, hour, day, that zooms beyond time itself.

He’ll be that person, that metaphor, he’s promised her. She can respond only to this, to what he offers. She wants to hand something over, to surrender. Control. This is larger than control. You might think this is about her body, but this stretches far beyond flesh, wraps round and round her. Them. He wants her kneeling. She wants to climb inside his pocket. She’s bigger than this whole room. He’s enormous. She is that dispersing, glimmering sum of molecules. They’re melding now; into some snakey, shifting glob of energy, a sort of fluid dance. She sinks down. He’s taller still. He’ll tell her what next. He’ll tell her who – what – she’ll be, next.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

4 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Crackle by Roberta Lawson

He is born in suburban isolation, raised religious; steeped in rugged individualism and the superiority of the self. Aged seventeen he flees for London and New York, for Bangkok, Delhi, Jaipur, Tokyo. In thronging hordes of people at first he cannot tell if he hears his own heartbeat or that of those around him. When music plays he — finally — hears only music, scents everything all at once. Fleeing, running, milling, dancing, he falls into giddy women, men; is intoxicated on muddled humanity. As he brushes his shoulders against other people’s shoulders until he almost has no shoulders — until he is just energy, merged inside a bristling ball of human energy — who he was begins to blur. Lost in a sea of one other, he begins to exist.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

7 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Awakening by Roberta Lawson

The first time – when things were ropey-precarious, and tentatively she hovered at the still place, it emerged between her eyes. A presence larger than everything that had gone before, greater than all yet to come. And the horn pushed out – gentle, probing, like a searchlight, something so pure and illuminating that everything that weighed her down could recede, dwindle. This that is stronger than the bruises on the inside. This that heals her from the inside-out.

Later she’ll meet it in dreams, in whisper-touches, in red roses ripe in bloom, in that certain feeling in her belly that says ‘Stop now,’ ‘Rest now,’ ‘Go now;’ in the place without words that maps a smile on her mouth, offers softness when the whole world is tired, seedy, when she is worn thin. The landscapes change. She changes. The difference between before and after is that now it’s here – whatever happens: it’s here.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

4 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Animal by Roberta Lawson

Not the skin or the hair; not nails, teeth; no gentle touch. It must be the gut. The only way that any of them will find what they’re looking for is to go for the gut, and reach inside. To begin: a list of secrets. Let’s say the secrets are a shadow. The lights are out, and now they’re ready. To reach this place they’ll take a journey. Down through the mind, through the channel of the neck, down, down, until the body opens like the belly of the earth. Down until they’re sunk through rock and soil, blood and sinew, until they’re bathed in magma. A mouth opens. Speech begins to come.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

8 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Steel By Roberta Lawson

She is writing up the business proposal: Excel and Word documents, razor-edged laminate folders, two hundred thousand cups of black coffee. The telephone shrills. Her parents – in flat tones – would like to buy her a house, a car, her parents would like to buy her. She bites so hard into her lip blood-drops form. Clutches the proposal tight as a baby.

* * *

He loves her.

But it isn’t working.

He loves her. The words are heavier and heavier on her.

He loves her. Is there somebody else?

He loves her. The only other person is herself. She’s beginning to think she overlooked that.

She’s so broke. Is there anything he can do to help her? He wants to help her. He has only ever wanted to help her.

She loves herself. She thinks perhaps she loves herself. If she gives love back to him, he’ll suck it into himself until she has nothing left, and he’ll be swollen.

When she speaks, he hears distortions. When he speaks, her head begins to hurt. He wants to help her. She doesn’t want to be helped. I want to love you, he says. She knows the shape of this love, and she is drowning.

She clutches the business proposal as if her life depends on it. You’re broke, he says. You need helping. Not from you, she says, not from you.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

7 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Lotus by Roberta Lawson

In our palms, small talismans. In our palms, small found objects: a photo, a gemstone, a discarded note. Hand to hand we pass back and forth these tokens as substitutes for love. Here we do not mention the cold – our words are only for our own ears and we ration them carefully.

Once a mute man placed a lotus flower in my hair, walked away. Once somebody’s mother took the earrings she was wearing, threaded them through my lobes. We share no common language of words. We make do. We better than make do.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

8 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson

Bastet on the Down-Low by Roberta Lawson

1.

They rub her belly, tickle her ears. When she growls, they chuckle. In her head she’s roaring. “What a cute meow” they say. They smile when she rubs against their legs. “Get the fuck out of my territory” she thinks, pawing at a houseplant. Laps at a face, recollecting the tang of mouse blood, and begins to purr.

2.

Her fleecy basket is the leafy belly of a tree. In her dreams she springs from the tree and roars. She is her panther self again, the self she always has been. Emerald eyes narrow, ears arch, and she breathes in: forest – prey – danger – existence – the hunt is all these is. Drunk on jungle-scent, she runs and smaller beings disperse in panic. Jungle is her terrain, her playground. Shaking her head back and forth she bites into captured birds with relish; paw-swipes, cruelty, hunger mingling. Shimmies trees, lunges at insects, kicks, fights, roars –-

“So cute” they say as she tosses in her basket.

She’s not cute. She’s free.

.

Return to This Week’s Flash

10 Comments

Filed under Roberta Lawson