Words are as Wounds by Helen Dibble

The following two prose pieces are exerpts from a much larger piece Words are as Wounds, which retells the story of Lilith, Adam's mythological first wife. Continual references to the Bible, the power of the written word and the mystification of the unwritten – or bodily word – frame the piece. In a neo-expressionist style, the piece as a whole has entirely reducable characters, is very intense and focusses strongly on the body. Paradise is the opening extract, Cocaine Compliments is the subsequent episode.


Paradise. And it was you and I with clammy hands refusing to let sweat slide us apart.

You've got your grip on my forearm and about my collar bone; I've got mine on the arms that hold me.

Knees somehow awkwardly clash, breast and chest mash together and we can't stop tightening the bolts on this press, shifting our limbs against, through, together, a part of the other.

Lips. Teeth chink. Tongue licks, lap, bite.

Two cylinders. Two chaotic balls of skin, limb, fit and fight. Turning over, around, beneath, above.

Beneath, above.


Suddenly  beneath.

Sweat slides, skimming your skin, sprinkling, tinkling, subordinate shower.

You've got your grip on my forearm and about my neck: my hair snags if I tip the balance; my throat seizes if I lift my head; my body cracks if I back away.

Trap, snare, entangle, strangle.

And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Cocaine Compliments

God,  I  was high that night. With you, hitting me like that. Powerful hits. They were new and raw and red and white and beautiful to me in my diseased state. I craved them. Those little, perfectly formed, exquisitely timed hits. They flew up my nose and through my mouth and down my throat and into my lungs and pumped with my heart and then went straight to my head. Your wonderful, darling, amazing cocaine compliments. Give me them everyday, won't you?

Now I hang on, remembering that rush. The euphoria of having you love me. Like some half-starved drug addict I'm at your feet. I'll deprave myself to it. I'm on the floor, I'm in the corner, I'm quiet and good and still and waiting and wanting. How I hate you and need you, with your big, fat ego, taking up all of the leather chair.

A good girl, that's what I am. And won't you tell me I'm beautiful? Skinny? Anything not ordinary. Anything to give me a rush. Have some friend over, they might hit me. Please. Hit me. I'm begging you. I'm wanting you. Dying inside that you don't want me.

How quick they lasted. That pure cocaine. I stayed high for a half hour, then sunk down, drowning once again with the realisation you weren't all-knowing of my self. Or my body. My arms aren't really slender, my breasts aren't pert, my smile isn't perfect. My eyes don't sparkle. Only when you tell me they do. Can't you see it? Of course you can't, I was not naked in this light, in front of those mirrors. I was armoured when you saw me.

And my desire is to you, husband, and you rule over me.

• Helen Dibble is 23, Cornish, works in London in marketing and says  “I'm trying to decide if I should write to live or live to write!”

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