Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Penny Goring

Ancient Victorians

I overslept last night, all the way into tomorrow. I was lost in a recurring dream. We were in Happy Hastings, a resort built solely for pleasure by the Ancient Victorians, filled with Rococo delights for free.
Joyous crowds of people I know from the box sets I watch on TV were linking arms and crazy-glad at the prospect of limitless fun, deciding to start with ice-cream, cakes and jelly.
Wait for me! I need a wee!
In a terrible tizzy, trying to find an unoccupied toilet, I kept dashing back to the Legend of You, explaining that I was still searching, still nursing a desperately full bladder. Unsuccessful, unrelieved – I could find no relief in Happy Hastings, but I wasn’t ready to give in.
You were exasperated and incredulous.
Endless occupied toilets later, I found a door swinging open in the corner of a grotto. It led me to a palatial marble bathroom. The lavatory was crazed purple porcelain with a plush velvet seat and a musical loo-roll was spinning in dizzying circles, playing antiquated Sex Pistols’ tunes. Statues of Fabulous Fish Ladies, serpentine and ornate, were gathered beside the cold tiled walls, their scaled limbs arranged in playful positions. They had eyes like stoned goldfish, spread lips like Koi carp and perfectly gilded girly gills
In the mirror behind me, I saw many Breasts of Huge Sizes, quivering like blancmange, set on gold platters displayed on a feasting table, with Legions of Dark Leeches slithering all over them, sucking away on every soft curving inch, and the nipples on these Huge Breasts were wide open mouths with their enraptured tongues lapping the salty air.
The Fish Lady nearest to me said: ‘That’s how the Ancient Victorians got their kicks’.
I felt a tremor of warmth in my uterus and I knew those yucky bleeders could turn me on, too.
And I said to her ‘How long have you been stuck here, beautifying the place?’
And she said: ‘Hundreds of years – can’t you tell?’
And I said: ‘You must be bored stiff’.
And she said: ‘Course not, luv – I’m daft’.
As I released a hot stream of urgent urine into her toilet bowl, up popped the Amazingly Persistent Legend of You, poised precariously on the very edge of that cliff at Beachy Head – in sharp focus, photoshopped young, lips glossed, hair clean – waiting for me, impatiently.
You broke the sleep of tomorrow.
Sometimes when I’m dreaming I forget I’m alive. Sometimes when I dream, I am happy.


Oogy Wawa

High-keyed evasive balloons floating shape of death swan songs, that’s what I am made of, things that are difficult to grasp, coated in PVA and rolled in glitter, wrung out from the flesh.
Sugar perfection poppers hitched to obscure destinations, that’s what I am made of, things that are damp and corrupt, gentled and tempted with heirlooms, wrung out from the flesh.
International lodgers begrudging cockney peculiar guests, that’s what I am made of, things that are hidden under impasto, tamed and embellished with novelties, wrung out from the flesh.
I am a name nude known to collectors, an overdosed under-achiever, greatest pilot to the inhospitable middle-class rationale. I am a fuming breed constantly scheming, a coldly reluctant trophy, entertaining vacuous lightweights, papering do not disturb silhouettes.
There are things we cannot know until they are wrung from the flesh.
Don’t ask what song I am singing – you hear me loud and clear. Don’t ask what clothes I am wearing – you see me as if I were here. I’m prancing across your flooring, dutifully parading the new, mouth making wow shapes and kissers – wrung out and clowning for you.
You know how you wring a wet towel? That’s how you wring me. Gripping me at either end you twist me length-wise, then you wring me out until I’m gushing – that’s how you wring me.
I live slow as green trickle methadone and I die fast as mainlining smack. I shake my two fists at the face of you and I curl on the pavement and cry. I revel in dealings with strangers and I need you to witness my trysts. I kill boredom for a paltry fee and I don’t feel obliged to deliver. I chase my delusions to illogical conclusions and I have given up trying to fly. I start each day with an ad-lib full-facial and then I go out nicking cars. You crave my bermuda hairy triangle and you are sick of my pathetic palaver.


I am celestial and irrational and I’m losing my inhibitions, watch me, I’m wearing the sky. (It’s outside.) I am transparent and promiscuous and I’m losing my reflection, watch me, I’m wearing the sky. (It’s obvious.) I’m thin and I’m high, I’m fragile and loose, I’m bat-shaped, star-shaped, I’m making bigger shapes and sunlight is filling my skirts.
When you nuzzle my gusset the world retreats and I am happening happily. I am happening in your rooms, I am happening in your head – and in the sky, I happened. When your hand moves from side to side you’re dandling my dark abstraction, and then, when you send me to womb strewn I am entirely marooned on the swoon. You gouge your goodbyes in my sugar-scrubbed thighs and I die, every time, that’s what I’m good for. Voom! Voom! The drastic tomb! I zoom to my spastic doom.
We are performing in front of a painting with a gang of critics applauding. We are doing it in the street, boiling and frying our meat. Things that are soft and ridiculous, that’s what we are made of, wrung out from the flesh.

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