A caged tropical jungle. On a Wednesday. My fingers run over chalky high sides, a white irregular staircase through palms and bulbous cacti, intermittent footing ‘tween stacked sphere stone, dehydrated ground. A matte sky sits wide. Trapped in an open window, the botanic haven plays escape for a man in blue. When the man in blue grows weary of his clinical lawn, his perfectionist rose beds, he sniffs a little disorganisation from the windowpane. I wonder how often he needs the chaos midst his attending galleries of self-portraits and ultraviolet-lit dinner parties. He smells of concentration. A surrealist eater, the pedantic man sits down at a table in his one walled estate and with forceps sucks honey from salted rice balls. A waft of fennel dances across the grass-floored room, colouring distilled water, a magic show for faceless guests of small interaction. The man’s house, with no roof or doors assigns sculpture to casual chairs, a modernist Greek ruin, a home to the postured and the insomniacs. Everything here is a bright sad. Sharp fluorescent saturation and spirits silenced in white noise. In places of highly furnished doom, kind things can slip through fractures unnoticed, because pain is far more interesting to gaze at. My mind is conditioned to what I allow myself to see, my left eye gazes on the diamond–infested swimming pool and the right follows in tribute. As I stretch out my arm and pray for rain or something ugly, I am on the shaven lawn. Tapestries hang motionless in breezeless air; ornately sewn lions, wearing the furs of their own, judge me. Plinths are scattered orderly, some twenty-??foot high where toads crouch and hum hypnosis and others display fish bowls to sea giants. In a striped dinner shirt, the man now sketches, sat in a fishing boat, anchored to an ocean mosaic. My thoughts are expansive and sporadic. I hate this place; it gleams and winks at me. I am an aggressive circle of nerves, disconnected to any minor profundity or breadth. I thought I was stoic I beg to be stoic. But I want to leave beauty behind. Here all are observers to impressive colour and form, masquerading nothing but that, there is nothing but. All spectators to the house of facile. A gardener, his nails need cutting, wearing a brimmed circular hat of waved bamboo, trims the limbs from mannequins, whose faces are pressed into sculpted hedge. I post my regrets into his mouth and he spits out a receipt. He purrs that falling asleep in a bath will lead to death. Love will do the same. The man in blue has returned to the window, one leg out in the mud.


Jasmine Isa Pugh enjoys the careful consideration of shape, tone, and line coupled with unobstructed imagination and spontaneity. Writing free-structured and visceral prose Pugh applies themes of surrealism and escapism. Her imaginative fiction is guided by a neurotic monologue and inspired by colour, emotion, and the subconscious.

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