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Anthony Lawrence

Horror Is Not Erotic

I saw the sign & walked in on my hands.
Sometimes an entrance must be seen
to be subversive, despite the dovetailing
of balance & athleticism, which are
acceptable if not common attributes
when it comes to arrival. Inside, the light
was like a bucket of stars being thrown
repeatedly into the faces of everyone
gathered behind a velvet rope in a room
like a shed where bridles & the scent
of leather conditioner are a vital olfactory
addition to muster dust & horse hair.
Springing off my hands, I waited for
vision to put its rods & cones in order
before embracing whatever was about
to appear or occur. In one corner
a vampire was fellating a hologram
of James Dean. Another was tapping
the slender neck of Elizabeth Taylor
in a scene from National Velvet.
Someone yelled ‘Horse blood is rust
on the tongue.’ Someone else agreed.
I said something that was lost or cast
aside with the sound of arterial
blood escaping under pressure like a silk
scarf withdrawn from a tight sleeve.
A woman lifted the rope & ran to where
the vampire was kneeling before
James Dean’s light-filled outline.
A security guard shoulder-charged her
back into the cheap seats, & the vampire
knelt again like wings being folded
into a position where flight is a pulse
of white heat. On a large screen inside
the adjoining room, you could see
a documentary on the sex lives
of kittiwakes & puffin birds on some
spray booming outpost in the Atlantic.
On a mound of seaweed, a gannet
was imitating dolphin onanism
in light that silvered her feathers.
I love exhibitions whose titles work
to undermine what goes on, as the late
Lou Reed sang. I waited for Dean
to cum & a kittiwake to embrace
a puffin with the avian equivalent
of necking in a westerly. There was
claret all over the walls & in

the hair of a ticket seller with no teeth
who knew my name & said it with
the kind of ferocity you’re likely to
encounter in a bar fight with those
who oppose the right of artificial
intelligence to carry firearms.
‘Sucking cock is just another way
to articulate hunger in a wild, raw
combination of gestures,’ a hooded
figure said into a hollowed-out fibula.
I had no reason to beg to differ
& so went out through an exit door
fingerprinted & painted with luminol.
James Dean moaned. A storm began
& wind could have been the sound
of a shadow swallowing.


Anthony Lawrence writes poetry and fiction and lives on Moreton Bay, Queensland.

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