we go camping in the woods with the most derivative witches
I’ve been thinking of getting into folk horror, which is to say there’s not a lot going on in my life. Time made me a body when I could have been a forest or a lake. A collection of stones patterned ominously in the dirt. The blades of grass digesting down a goat. Instead, to be this momentary crawl. Time agrees to be a tunnel & builds itself transparent, on the promise that we won’t look past the glass. Horror politely shuts its eyes. Just outside the gate, a parking meter’s been ticking for 96 uninterrupted hours, though I only hear it when I’m waiting for the past. Nothing truly unsettles me anymore, except perhaps the word repeat. Still – let this be a symbol. Let me bare my throat to background noise. Pointless metronome, be my Pazuzu. Be my Scandinavia in summer. Time, become a body of horror. Sometimes, in the spaces between blood tests, I fall pregnant with the devil. A touch of genre helps the silences stay Camp. Oh – invisible gestation. Nervous systems rehearse themselves into landscape; before too long, this landscape shall imagine me. Never fall asleep together; anything but that soft cliff-face. Edge a little closer to repeat. In the spaces between blood tests, I birth only sequels. & I’ve been thinking of getting out of folk horror, but I can’t shake the suspicion that the future only intends to be the past, delayed. I once hooked up with a guy who made me wear a crown of leaves while I gave him head, & Netflix didn’t even buy the rights. To understand your body by its end scenes is inevitable when romancing a man of sticks. Be deciduous in undressing. Be set ablaze, again. Sit timeless on the sidewalk, & suddenly the ticking stops. Look – I am earthed with desire. Both hands grasp the shaky cam. Veins as petal, petal, petal: the gory climax, ecstatic underneath the skin. The witches’ wailing reunion with immunology. Hit record, & time goes dark again. To be the protagonist is to also be the offering. Oh, yes – the long silence still waits.
Andrew Sutherland is a Queer PLHIV / poz writer and performance-maker creating work between Boorloo, WA and Singapore. He holds a BA (First Class) Hons. in Acting from LASALLE College of the Arts (Goldsmiths University), and his work draws upon embodied and collaborative practices, intercultural and Queer critical theories, and the instability of identity, pop culture and the autobiographical self. As a performance-maker, he has twice been awarded WA’s Blaz Award for New Writing and makes up one half of independent theatre outfit Squid Vicious (@squidvicioustheatre). His recent performance works include 30 Day Free Trial, Poorly Drawn Shark, Jiangshi, Unveiling: Gay Sex for Endtimes and a line could be crossed and you would slowly cease to be, which was commissioned by Singapore’s Intercultural Theatre Institute in 2019. As a poet, he was awarded Overland’s Fair Australia Poetry Prize 2017 and his poetry, fiction and non-fiction can be found in a raft of national and international literary journals and anthologies, including Cordite, Westerly, From Whispers to Roars, Crab Fat, Scum Mag, Bosie and Margaret River Press’ We’ll Stand in That Place, having been shortlisted for their 2019 Short Story Prize. He is grateful to reside on Whadjuk Noongar boodja.