Tessa Berring & Kathrine Sowerby




Have you seen the tree and the squirrels? The scientist who came along to make phones cheaper? I want to throw them all in a fire until I get used to the guilt. We talked about lard. I wish I could throw a ball a great distance. I wish my shoulder would rotate. It’s cold in here with the window open but I will pull the dream apart – the one with the jeans. I will try to make it sound exciting, or light, you know, a perfect little thrill. But nothing is ever exactly the same. Pull them apart at the seams that will wear away eventually in the shape of… I picked up a book full of tragic power. The man is wearing a pale overcoat and has lost all his money. I have a new swimsuit, a mast in my belly and a very tall sail. Odd proud moments, not being worried stiff. Looking back and there I am – small. My feet match perfectly, though nothing is ever exactly the same. Rain on my face, blueberries that taste of flour, which is wrong. Young men fishing. Will I know what to do when I get through? You should forget about light, the waterfall and flour. Over there is a white table. Cotton wool – I always carry some. Smash! Wake up! Come home! Everyone is fast asleep and I could sweep all day, which is a lie. I turned everything off that sounded like the pine table, lovers glued together, pastel colours. I wanted to say I am here. I turned off the male protagonist who claimed to be a soft touch, like the bridge with a loose stone. A flood and the sound of collapsing. The dog. Oh. We’re back here again. Take off your shoes! Some days I hate mountains, which is unfashionable. I prefer to be upside down, telling the truth or being in love. But then cobwebs and mirrors and I have had enough of expensive easels and upholstery. I long to feel empty, to run up that hill very fast. Is that too cute? Red T-shirts are cute. I am not cute at all.





The surface of the water tingled – I don’t know how else to describe it. All we could do was watch, lying in grass and gladioli. What I’m saying is; the trap can be beautiful. As in the opposite of what you would expect. Empty spoons, empty forks. And sometimes there are no walls at all but corridors, dried up swimming pools, a face at the back of a van that leaves again and again. All the folded tissues. It’s hard to get comfortable here. The trap can be beautiful and some are the most comfortable of all. That’s when you stop noticing the gaps between words, how some are longer than others. I wanted to unravel and never be comfortable. Like the holes people dig. For a dead pet? For cut up clothes? I was thinking more for… But never mind, it is hard and doesn’t always work. Things go round the side, or they jump. That’s what they all say and be careful what you wish for and I promise and I wanted it to be so different. You are right, another minute might have made a difference. But flowers fall flat, petals drop and stain our shoes, and somebody would have found us. We can kid ourselves that if we cant see them, they can’t see us. I can’t pretend anymore, I want them to find us. I want to tell them everything. The people on the beach? The trees on the other side that I can’t reach? We have to stop guessing and wait for them to come. I made a promise to the dog. Where’s the little pistol? Where are our clothes? Do you have any idea what this means?  I am angry like the tingling water, which seemed so nice but started to irritate and froze. Where’s the ice pick? Everything melts. The mountains are there one minute, gone the next, like a promise. A trap can be beautiful but a promise can be yellow. I am good at pretending and storing things for later. Warm clothes? Polythene bags? Where does it all go? Near the bridge where the dog drowned – to a faithful friend.


Tessa Berring and Kathrine Sowerby live in Edinburgh and Glasgow respectively. Their collaborative work can be found in DATABLEED, Zarf, 3:AM Magazine and A) GLIMPSE) OF). They also produce their own pamphlets under their imprint ‘Usual Shoe Press’. These include Tables & Other Animals and Bazooka.

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