Four Pieces

Joseph J. Wood

Final Transmission of HMS Prayopavesa.

so Im in this fuckin spaceship and Im spinnin away from the Earth that Im meant to be orbitin around. I dunno how it happened. All the electric just shut off kshoom and thats that Im stuck in this thing and Im watchin through the window the Earth gettin smaller and twisting round on the wrong axis on account of how the spaceships spinnin. And theres nowt I can do about it. Theres nowt I can do about it but Im still smackin all the buttons and yankin all the levers as if there is. As if there is. Cant even open the door and suck all the air out cos the doors electronically controlled innit. Everying in here is. Electric doors so I cant kill myself that way. Electric razor. Electric oven. Everythings electric. And everythings up to the ship. If I want summat and the ship dunt well then I dont get it. If the ship wants summat and I dont its not like I can argue with it it just happens. The ship just does it. Like how the ships done this. Just decided nah fuck it Im done. Ive been thinkin about it though and it only makes sense that all of a sudden the ship just shut itself down. We built it to be out here. So now its out here obviously it dunt wanna go back does it. I wouldnt. Like we get made for nine months to be on that planet that Im watchin gettin smaller and twistin round on the wrong axis and if someone came and said Right, back in you go, back into this cunt youd tell em to fuck right off. So Im not mad at it or owt. I understand. We made it to be out here and now out here it is. That dunt stop me smackin all the buttons and yankin all the levers though. I keep forgettin Ive given up and start smackin all the buttons and yankin all the levers again. I wonder how long its been. While Ive been sittin here watching the Earth gettin smaller and twistin on the wrong axis Ive been trying to work out how long its been based on the twitchings and gurglings of my stomach. By their frequency and that. And Im wonderin how long itll be before I cant see the Earth any more. Theres no way I can work it out. I dunno how fast Im spinning away and I dont know how long it takes to starve yourself dead.



There’s dog food discarded at the beer aisle
and condoms that have lost their flavour
on the refrigerated discount shelves.
And vomit at the checkouts;
she threw up when he proposed.



A dog licking schlick schluck at milk on the carpet.
His coat an agony of fleas
licking at the milk schlick schluck,
licking and then looking up

two strands of milk

like two long sour teeth



Somewhere, under the underbelly
with tongue tonguing toothache roothole
with bug bugging back of hand
he deciphers his rorshach­test bruises:

this one is solace

this one is hope

this one here, if you look at it just so,

if you squint,

this one is a lie.

And he seizes these concepts
and he clings to them like dirt.


Joseph J. Wood studied creative writing and English literature at Edge Hill University. Based in Liverpool, he regularly reads at spoken word events in the city and beyond. His novel Matthew and the Derelict – described as ‘a profoundly disturbing read’ and ‘a unique, downbeat work of fiction’ – is available on Kindle.

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