Everything Must Go

by Anton Rose

Elvis Impersonator: Blackpool Pier

Was this when it started? Old fucker up on stage, sequinned suit covering his belly. The idea of wanting to be someone else. To turn away from the mirror. What does it mean to be real, anyway? Watching the stage with your back to the sea, blue spray going back all the way to the sky. Was this when it started?

A Design for Life

Open your eyes scream drink eat shit go to school be a good boy do your best make some friends grow up get a girl get your certificates get a job be there at nine back by six out at the weekend get pissed fuck your girl have a kid have another bring them up get a promotion get paid employee of the month go to the match get pissed buy a motorbike retire do the crossword meet your grandkids die burn.

Kevin Carter

You are Kevin Carter, following his passion, finding a truth and sending it home.

You are the starving child, a product of history, lying on the ground all alone.

You are the vulture, waiting.


We went on that road trip, up the coast in the middle of summer. You wanted to go to the war museum but we left after half an hour. You said it made you sad but you didn’t know why. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing. On the way home, you turned the radio off.

Everything Must Go

Maybe all these things are just distractions. Magazines, electronic screens, cash cards, yes. Test scores, social profiles, planned-out futures, yes. But other things, too. The diary you keep by your bed, the rows of paperbacks on your shelf, your personalised mix-tapes and the guitar you still haven’t learned how to play. Burn them all. Burn them all to dust and drive the dust back into the ground.

Small Black Flowers that Grow in the Sky

You are in cages, layers of enclosure. Ribcage barracking your heart. Skin surrounding muscle. Clothes covering nakedness. Walls and ceilings. Coastal waters forming deep borders. The Earth’s gravity holding you down. The weight of sadness.

The Girl Who Wanted to be God

Omniscience: See if other people feel the same way as you do. See if any of this has a happy ending.

Omnipotence: Find strength. Pull the world apart to reveal its core. Reshape it, remake it, change it to how it should be.

Immortality: Go on?


Take your clothes off and study your reflection. Cut the covering from your head, shave your chest, pluck your pubic hairs. Take scissors to your tonsils, carve out your appendix. Slide your nails from your fingers and toes, pull your teeth from their gums. Find new ways to make yourself lighter.


Somewhere out there the air is warm and clean. No thick clouds of smog or the grumble of engines and machinery. No bullshit. The bright air goes back, all the way to the horizon in every direction. You can take all the loud noises and bright lights with you, let them breathe, let them dissipate.

Drill a hole through the world and come out the other side. Will you send us a postcard?


Real Real Real Real Real Real Real Real Real Real.


Carve it in your arm if necessary.

Further Away

Light always comes with shadow, you said. Climbs always come with a fall. You said there was only so much of yourself to go around. You wouldn’t look at photos anymore, in case you didn’t recognise yourself.

No Surface, All Feeling

Where did you go, anyway? Did you grow a beard? Change your name? Find somewhere to call your own? Were you abducted by aliens and taken to another world? Are you hiding in plain sight? Did you fall in a river and get swept out to the ocean? Did you choose your own conclusion? Do you know how much we miss you?

Anton Rose lives in Durham, U.K. He writes fiction and poetry while trying to finish a PhD in Theology, all fueled by numerous cups of tea. Find him at antonrose.com, or @antonjrose.