My Words, My World

First drafts – A few pages in the large wilderness of the world of writing

Archive for the category “Blog”

Another notebook

I did it again, without thinking. I went to the shop to buy something for the lesson I was about to take when I saw a new line of notebooks at a pinch of a price. Well, I’m sure many of you will understand me…I just had to.

______________________________________________________

Another notebook;
another notebook from a noted store
of a noteworthy purveyor of notebooks.

Another notebook;
bought with the notable intention of
making notes and taking notes.

Another notebook;
Noting acts of notability
and of notable notoriety.

Another notebook;
I have to take notice if I take notes,
if not; how can I note what I’ve noticed?

2015 in review

Thank you to everyone who stopped by, read or commented.  Much appreciated.

Onwards and upwards for 2016.

Have a great New Year one and all.

Chris

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,500 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Like the passing of wind…or was it air?

The heavy, oak door slid on hinges oiled better than a Neapolitan donut-seller’s hair and Gaum heard it. Well, he sensed the liquorice black room slip into a shade of night slightly less gloomy, but still far darker than charcoal, jet or even coal. He stopped breathing. Well, he’d actually done so 14 years previously and just never got back into the habit. What a waste of energy, he thought, and carried on living his life in apnoea, oblivious to the need for ins and outs of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Ah yes, the door.

He had to hide and moved with so light a presence that the dust under his feet, which had last been swept around the time Gaum still breathed, failed to raise a speck. He heard giggles as light flooded into the room for the first time since the floor had last been cleaned. Bollocks! he thought, Kids! What are they doing in here? It had been some time since Guam last laid eyes on children, in fact probably around the last time a dim light rolled in from behind the heavy oak door which swung on an oiled hinge, but they’d never been in this room, ever.

The giggling got louder and the light lighter. Gaum kept still behind the ancient teak desk, as the giggles became murmurs. Dust kicked up, swirling and dancing in the shaft of light from the open door and a heavy scraping sound made Gaum’s heart leap. The chair, its cracked and faded burgundy leather billowed more dust.

“I thought of it first.”

“Get off; I got us in here didn’t I?”

“Yeah but I thought of it.”

“Only because I told you about it.”

The tussling continued, dust was thrown up everywhere. Gaum wanted to sneeze but then remembered he’d stopped breathing, so sneezing seemed irrelevant. A loud, metallic ringing followed by a series of taps told Gaum they had knocked a pen off the desk. Still they pushed and grunted and still the dust flew.
A heavy groaning sound was followed by a grinding crash. He looked out from behind the desk. Busted, bent keys lie about like dead soldiers, the ribbon strewn across the floor in a last bid for freedom and the carriage return lever lay twisted under the bulk of the old Remington like a broken leg.

“Look what you did.”

“It wasn’t me, you pushed it.”

“Let’s get out of here before someone comes.” Two shadows leapt through the open door.

As their footfalls faded, a light shone down on the remains of the typewriter. Gaum felt strange and light, so light in fact he could feel himself floating as he looked down on the senseless mess.

Then, with a shake of his head and something resembling a sigh, or maybe the passing of wind, or a breath of air, the ghost of the muse of the long-dead writer was finally free.

Love thy neighbour…give me space.

Enclosed space behavioural patterns, what’s it called, lift behaviour? The doors close on two people who only seconds before were having a friendly chat over an espresso in the hotel bar. Now they shut up shop and silence ensues when the doors close like a pair of folded arms. The will to wish the lift to rise is strong and the relief is almost tangiable when it arrives. It seems like the lift and its occupants are holding their breath and finally let it out when the doors open, when those arms unfold. It’s a unique situation; it doesn’t happen when four people are squashed into a car. Space.

Then we have train space conservation; we do, so bear with me.

Four seats and only one of them occupied, their occupant relaxed and probably reading, playing Candy Crush or possibly, Heaven forbid, writing, with a pen and paper don’t you know. A second person arrives and sits down diagonally opposite. A shuffling of feet and space, reluctantly, is conceded. This is still bearable. The first occupant continues as before; reading, Candy Crushing or maybe writing. The new arrival starts to rummage in his bag and out comes a book, a phone or maybe, just maybe, a pen and paper. Two people sitting diagonally can share the same space comfortably; they may even swap greetings – sometimes it still happens, it really does. This sense of conviviality continues, each to their own doing what they’re doing with possibly the occasional glance out the window, looking at the black and white cows in the fields. Why are all the cows black and white when seen from the window of a train? Where are the other cow colours? Is there a law that says only black and white cows can graze near railway lines?

Then the train pulls into the next station. Both occupants look up from what they’re doing, look at the seats next to them, move their bags half an inch nearer their feet and wait. They hold their breath. Time doesn’t stand still but they wish it would; they want to remain with an empty seat next to them forever. They don’t want their space encroached upon but they know it’s going to happen, it has to.

The doors of the train open with a swoosh and people file in, looking for a seat, any seat. It doesn’t matter next to who, they just want to sit down, to have their own place where they can sit and read a book, play the telephone or possibly write. The two original occupants frown, engage in more feet shuffling and move their bags another half an inch to see if that is enough. If not they will sigh, sometimes audibly, and rearrange their space; four seats, four people. With space dramatically reduced the original occupants will have to get used to it. The two new arrivals on the other hand are as happy as Larry. They have their seat and now they can relax, coat off and a big, happy sigh of relief and then out come the books, phones or pen and paper (all four of them?  Oh come on…). They’re on holiday these newcomers, look at them! Any more relaxed and they’d put their feet up (well, if the seat opposite wasn’t occupied) and ask the ticket inspector for a pina colada. The two original occupants are most definitely NOT on Holiday.  Their winter has returned; it’s darker now the light from the windows has diminished in the crowded carriage. The book has become harder to read, Candy harder to crush and the thoughts transmitted from pen to paper are harder to come by.  Frowns indent foreheads and half-hidden glares stared.  Goodwill to all men, except those sitting next to you.

Love thy neighbour, but only if you have the space to do so.

We

We sit,
we look,
we stare.
I know you’re there
You know I care, and
I’ll always be here

We.

Fear the night

Sleep eludes me, deserts me
It skirts my nighttime like a seige
Sleep seized from the grasp of the sleeper
Who should now be in deep slumber
As I fumble for words
(I write)

“Sleep sir, sleep!” I hear
As once again I fear
To go to bed
Lest nightmares awaken me
Awaken me?
And dreams haunt me
Dreams? Ha!
You have to sleep to dream

Sleeps eludes me, deserts me
My night perched on a precipice
A night-borne orifice
Black and deep
Like the narcotic sleep
(I crave)

Keep her well hid

They were sitting in the corner, I guess looking for a little privacy but they came to the wrong place if they wanted that. The tables were too close together for one thing, and besides, everyone had to pass by that table to go to the toilet.

She was angry, upset, pissed off. Choose any adjective you want; she looked ready to stick her cocktail stick and untouched olive where the sun don’t shine, his sun at least.

I arrived after being dragged around the shops for two hours and I’d run out of patience and my credit card out of, well…credit. I put Lucy in a cab, with bags, they were all hers anyway, and made my way down to the King’s Head. Football was on the TV and I wanted, no, I needed a pint or two and anyway, I was busting for a lash. I nodded to the barman, asked for a pint of ale and made my way to the Gents. That’s when I noticed them.

He had his hands out in front of him when I passed, and, relieved at being relieved, I made my way back with less haste and he still had his hands in front of him, like he was praying or testing for rain or something. Whatever he was doing was having no positive effect whatsoever; maybe he’d run out of credit too. I got my pint and made my way to a little table, a little way off to the right of them, with one of those retro Heineken mirrors on the wall next to me and I could see them in action, as well as hear them.

“You were a twat Paul.”

“I know love, I don’t know what happened, it just happened.”

He’d chatted up, touched up or ballsed up by the sounds of things. Typical bloke, I know how you feel mate, I thought. I went back to the football, trying to concentrate on the game which was slower settling than a pint of Guinness. The ball was pinging about all over the place, no fun to watch but I watched it anyway, it certainly beat the hell out of shopping. A free kick got my attention but not for long.

“Where is she? Where did you put her?” Her? This made my ears pick up a bit. I pretended to watch the football.

“Behind the allotments near the railway embankment. There’s some old garages there and I left her there.”

“You f…”.

“Do you want some more drinks?” It was the barmaid, taking their empties from their table. He said yes, she said nothing so I guess she either nodded or shook her head, there are only so many things you can communicate without words. The barmaid plonked the glasses on the bar and poured a lager.

“It won’t be for long, it was like a temporary measure, you know. I didn’t have the time.”

“You could have done better than that. She’ll be found in no time Paul. What the bloody hell were you thinking?”

“Shh…, she’s coming back.”

The mirror told me she’d folded her arms, a frown that looked furrowed with a hand-plough creasing her forehead. She looked at her phone, he looked at her. The barmaid put two glasses down, it was a nod then.

“I’ll go now, after this drink, alright?”

“Yeah? Well, I suppose it will be dark in half an hour, won’t it?”

“Yeah, it’ll be alright, you’ll see.”

Who was she? What had she done? What had he done to her? I had a hundred questions and didn’t know what to do with the information I’d heard.

“I hope you’re right Paul, she’s been in the family for years.”

“She’ll be alright Trish, really. Who’d want an old car like that anyway?”

************

I entered a competition recently where I had half an hour to write on one of three subjects given.  I chose “a conversation” and out came the above.  While I was writing I didn’t know who “she” was but as the minutes ticked away I decided I wanted to write something that didn’t involve death or murder, and as we English-speakers have a penchant for talking about our cars as feminine, the little ending came to me.  I submitted with one minute left and received a ‘commended’ so it was ok. 

Hemingway once said “write drunk, edit sober” – when you only have half an hour to do both, which do you chose? 

The last long day

Today I left my place of employment after more than 11 years.  The big hole that has been left by such an absence will be filled however, as  I am now studying the Cambridge CELTA course to teach English as a foreign Language.  As one door closes…

*********

The last long day

I’m left static and still

and I must keep moving

just keep going

never slowing.

 

But now, but now

a halt has been called.

Time to take the time that’s mine,

to use, shape and mould

As a new life chapter unfolds.

 

I won’t be lead blindly

as I carve and scythe

and make my way

with my destiny

in my hands.

Over yonder

Do not step into yonder pasture,

however the grass may be greener.

Do not follow the grass-flattened footsteps

of another,

who will lead you tither.

For the fickle will change

and though you may rage

and cry against your injustice

and spill tears that are useless.

 

To whom will you turn

when the wild winter wind burns

your face and tears your eyes,

as you stumble and chastise

your decision taken,

your intention mistaken.

 

For however that distant green field

may taunt you,

do not stray across those borders,

entrapped by those hoarders,

who will suck your soul

and bleed you dry and left to lie;

choked and broken

Hours

The hours slip through time,

as time seeps through the hours;

and flowers

mark the beginning

and the end of time.

Celebration of life and death;

eyes open for the first time

or close for the last,

and tears tear the heart.

A new life now grows

for time never slows

but seeps through the hours.

2014: a brief writing year in review

Well, here we are at the end (well, here in Switzerland anyway) of the penultimate day of the year and a chance to look back over the last twelve months, from a writer’s perspective, or a writing perspective: delete as applicable.

Firstly this blog.  My 2014 review informs me that this little piece of internet interaction was viewed in 65 countries. I find that pretty damn amazing that I’ve had views from Saudi Arabia and South Africa, China and Chile. Thank you to all of you who have checked in and had a look around; I really appreciate it.

The ever-busy and always approachable Morgen Bailey gets my first mention, simply because it was she who gave me encouragement from the start and has continued to entertain my pieces (flash fiction and note plural…naughty, naughty!) whenever I send them.  Thank you Morgen!  She built my blog by the way, ultra-professional and exceedingly patient (Panic?  Me?) from start to finish.

2014 started with nudgings and words in my ear from my dear friend, Alex Dorici, who persuaded me to grow some balls and put myself forward for the annual 3-day poetry festival here in Lugano, Poestate.  There I stood in front of a hundred people, biting my lip as I was introduced and mumbling my opening lines until my confidence grew and my 10 minute reading was met with applause and a return request for 2015.  Thanks Alex!  Sorry, both websites are in Italian but hey; I do live in Italian-speaking Switzerland.

A short, 20 hour teaching course followed Poestate and then I put everything aside for a month or so and just chilled baby, chilled.  This cooling off didn’t last long as in August I was contacted by Accenti magazine, a Canadian publication on all things Italian, and they duly published an article I’d written on two wine-growing regions of Piemonte; Gavi and Casale Monferrato.

Upon the author’s copy landing in my postbox, I then received news that I’d won 1st placing in the monthly Writer’s Forum short story competition, which was published in the October issue.  Having my story critiqued by Sue Moorcroft was almost satisfying as seeing my name in print.

Now the rest of the winter lies ahead and I intend to put some of those long, cold, dark days to use.  I do have plans for 2015 but I’m reluctant to lay them down here in case they go pear-shaped.  Life is like that.  My NaNoWriMo was a NaNoNoGo – it happens.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has visited and contributed over the last year, I appreciate each and every one.

Happy New Year to you all.

 

 

Goodbye, my sun

As the leaves burn brown
and rage in a riot of red
The low, winter light losing colour
looking tired and stretched
The sun’s early rising all but forgotten
another life, another time

The soltice shroud of darkness covers all
and the frost fingers;
hard and cold
grip the earth
And its frigid breath
bites the air

As the year ends in a flurry of colour

As the year ends in a flurry of colour

We are

The mirror’s image wavers before me
It implores me
“Look at me”
“Look at you”
I do
And wish I did not

The mirror’s image dances in my eyes
As you chastise
“Look away”
“Look at me”
I do
Relieved that I did

The mirror’s image shows you beside me
Love unties me
Mountains slide
Oceans rage
We are
And we will remain

God speed this bullet

96 years ago the First World War, the Great War, was finally over.  A generation of young men, those that returned home, were left to pick up the pieces of what they had experienced, seen and endured.  They said it could never happen again. but it did; 21 years later.  As terrible as the Second World War, the same as any war, was, there is something truly horrific about the trenches.

***

The ground heaves and shakes and small rivers of dirt fall, splattering my helmet and the pounding of the earth is like a fist in my back. I look at Jenkins; he’s now bleeding from the ears and nose from the concussion of this incessant artillery barrage. I look at the lieutenant; his face flares white in the explosion flashes; dark rings his eyes and he’s gaunt, like the rest of us. He’s one of us now. After two years in this hell-hole the only part of Cambridge that remains is his manners. He looks at me.

‘Don’t,” he says.

He knows I want to look, I can’t help it; George was my friend from the pre-war days. George who had the nerve to stick his head above the trench, only for a piece of shrapnel to tear it off and fling the rest of him across the trench. The trench, this devil-made wormhole. What will I tell his wife when I get back…if I get back?

A let up in the barrage and the shadow of the black Somme night passes across the trenches, leaving destruction, torn and twisted bodies, fatherless children and husbandless wives but now all was silent. We’ve been stuck here for months, barely advancing, barely retreating. The smell of the ripped earth and dank mud in which we wallow is everywhere, except when the wind blows towards us and the stench of death and decay replaces it.

‘Help…’

The voice is faint but it’s there. In the sudden and welcome silence it’s as clear as birdsong on a June morning, agony and suffering coming through in just one word.

‘Who the bloody hell is that?’  Symes; newly arrived from the train, all shiny boots, clean puttees and enthusiasm. They always arrive with enthusiasm. What the hell are they telling them back home? Five days a week killing the Hun then Saturdays and Sundays off, French whores and bistros thrown in?  ‘Can we not do something for that poor bugger sir?’ he says, turning to the lieutenant, who sighs.

‘Corporal, take a look and be bloody careful.’

I take off my helmet and place it on the butt of my rifle and slowly raise it above the trench, joggling the rifle to simulate movement: nothing. No sniper fire to split the night. The lieutenant hands me his field-glasses as I replace my helmet and climb the ladder. They say there’s nothing blacker than no-man’s land at night but that’s not strictly true, especially following a barrage. The artillery will always find something to burn, even if it’s just human remains, and little fires dotted around cast an unholy light in the field-glasses. I first scan the enemy lines, looking for movement, but I see none.

‘Help…’

My vision jumps from crater to crater, searching for life and hoping for it also, in this God-forsaken pit of human misery. At first I see nothing, then I take a slower, longer sweep with the glasses. I see movement; slow, shambling movement some twenty yards away where the barbed-wire is stretched across and upon which hang torn and crow-picked corpses, like some infernal spider’s web. A slow, crawling movement catches my eye and even in the dead-light I can see enough. It’s a soldier, a German soldier, gone from the waist down, pulling and dragging himself inch by agonised inch towards our trench.

‘Well I’ll be damned. It’s a Jerry sir and in an awful state by the looks of it.’

‘What the Dickens…’ as he climbs up, taking the field-glasses from me and looks upon the awful site before us. He wipes his mouth with the heel of his hand, sighed and turns, stepping down into the trench. Not a moment too soon, as a high whistling noise is followed by chaos. The concussion from the blast is enormous, filling my head with a death-roar and I could feel my ears and nose bleeding freely. Symes is on the floor of the trench, his legs pinned down by dislodged sandbags but he’s ok. Upon hearing that whistle, the lieutenant, Jenkins and I all threw ourselves against the wall of the trench. Symes will learn, if he has time.

‘Corporal, who’s our best shot?’ but he looks at Jenkins, the Welshman is a crack shot and needs no introduction.

‘Help…’

‘Take him out Private. I won’t risk stretch-bearers to bring him in but the sorry blighter has suffered more than enough.’ He moves aside from the ladder to let the Private through.  The figure is nearer now but still a good fifteen yards away. No trouble for Jenkins, who could shoot a canary in a Welsh coalmine from fifty. The first signs of dawn are beginning to pink the early clouds, which a rising breeze is scattering. Jenkins brings the rifle up to his right shoulder, intent only on what he sees at the end of the barrel.

“God speed this bullet and put that poor devil out of his misery”, the lieutenant says, to no one in particular.

“Amen,” says Jenkins, and his finger tightens on the trigger.

As if in response the morning sun throws its first rays of light through the breaking clouds and onto the battlefield. The bombardment has done a lot but not enough; the barbed wire is still in place. If we have to go over the top we’ll be torn to pieces by the German machine-gunners.

The report of Jenkins’ Lee Enfield barks out. The lieutenant raises the field-glasses but they aren’t needed. As more lights floods across the battlefield the sliding, shuffling figure shimmers and fades to nothing.

We look at each other in silence. We’ve all heard stories of ghosts on the battlefield and I guess with so many men butchered on a daily basis it was only a matter of time. I wonder, should God grant any lasting peace on this Earth, in 100 years how many of our souls will still wander here, lost in a foreign land far from home.remembrance_day___poppy_day_by_daliscar

***

I’d like to acknowledge http://femaleimagination.wordpress.com/2014/11/11/11-november-world-war-i-ends/ for the use of the photograph.

Flash Fiction Friday 146: Colours frozen in time by Chris Farley

My ever present and never diminishing thanks once again to Morgen.
I’m still unsure as to whether I should be disturbed about the fact that I sat in a pub looking at a tattoo and invented this story around it…

MorgEn Bailey - Creative Writing Guru

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the one hundred and forty-sixth piece in this series. This week’s is a 436-worder by Christopher Farley.

Colours frozen in time

The tattoo was the first thing I noticed; it was beautiful. She sat opposite her friend drinking Belgian beer from a huge glass and I saw it as I walked past, making my way to the men’s room.

Her thin, white arms poked out from her even whiter t-shirt, then a waterfall of colour burst from the sleeves of the t-shirt. Three lotus flowers, red, green and pink, one on top of the other. But oh, the arm. How could something so pale and delicate suffer so much pain? I returned to the bar and pretended to look at the game on the big screen. Her friend rose from the table and headed for the toilet.

“Hi.”

“Hi.”

“Sorry, I couldn’t help…

View original post 661 more words

Semicolon

You, semicolon
A dot. A comma,
a pause slightly longer
than a breath

And instead of punctuating words
they’ve punctured your heart
You, semicolon
Half remembered, barely read

Semicolon; you ran your race,
and lost your place
And in this fast-paced world
of the modern human race
You paused once too often
and became a Winky, smiley face

;o)

The shrink and syllable

Message / psycho / disyllable

Sounds like an English pub name, in fact, should I ever own a pub (dangerous Farley, dangerous) it wouldn’t be a bad one.  I digress.  This piece came from an early morning idea of opening the dictionary, closing my eyes and jabbing my finger three times and seeing what words were found…the first two were ok. At 7am I really had to think about ‘disyllable’ though. Anyway, I gave myself 20 minutes for the exercise and it rolled out like this:

***

He sat there staring at me, just wouldn’t drop his eyes. I could feel myself squirming inside, uncomfortable was not word enough for how I felt. In some far off corner of my brain though I rationalised; he had a point, some twisted logic that made his argument plausible. He waited.

“You must understand Mr Brunton that I am not an expert in that field.”

Yes, but what do you actually think doctor?”

Well, I suppose if I had an opinion I could proffer it, I guess I can’t see the harm.”

He waited. I cleared my throat. I wasn’t so much worried about his reaction, I found myself wanting his approval. I held his gaze.

“The first thing is you need to stop thinking everything is some kind of subliminal message, with some hidden agenda. It really isn’t like that. You…”

“Doctor, you work for the system, you would say that.”

“System? What system? I am a psychologist Mr Brunton, you came to me remember?” I heard my tone change. No matter what the situation I’ve always kept a lid on my feelings. Impartiality is my middle name. However, with this psycho sitting in front of me thinking God knows what about me, whilst the colour drained and returned to his face with every fleeting emotion that raced through his mind, his eyes constantly wandering round the room. I could feel tiny bubbles of anger rising up, like champagne in a flute glass.

“There is nothing untoward about it,” I continued, “and I really don’t see the problem Mr Br…”

“Ah! But you wouldn’t would you doctor. For you it isn’t a problem you’ve ever considered. How many people go through life blatantly ignoring fundamental questions such as these? Too many I shouldn’t wonder.”

“Mr Brunton.”

“You ignore these things at your peril doctor. These issues must be confronted, they have to be…”

MR BRUNTON!” I was now shaking visibly and any trace of impartiality had flown out of the window or crawled under the door. “Mr Brunton, I am not an expert in either linguistics or grammar, therefore I will now find you the contact details of the Oxford English Dictionary, whereupon you can contact them yourself and ask them just why the word “disyllable”, which means a word containing two syllables, itself actually contains four.”

I see you in the darkness

The sunlight for a second
Blinked
A shadow
Its shadow
By my window whispered
Or did it laugh
As I felt its draught
And shivered
My skin crawled,
then froze
The shadow passed
for now
But it’ll come back
When night falls chill
For I will give it life
In black and white

Just words?

One recent lunchtime I was sitting, waiting for my quesadilla, with every intention of jotting down some potential copywriting ideas – I completed a course not too long ago and I really want to pursue that direction on a professional level.  Anyway, it just wouldn’t happen; nothing came when I put pencil to paper except the opening two lines of this.  Between waiting for and eating the aforementioned quesadilla, the rest of the piece followed.  I suppose you could call it a reluctant poem, as it certainly wasn’t my intention to write it, but as nothing else came I gave in to the flow.

The book is open, the pencil in hand
The eyes stare at black lines on white,
waiting for the muse to turn on the light
What to write? What to write?
Perched over a fissure, under pressure
An abyss awaits, mind contemplates

I did not intend to write this,
this poem, this rhyme
This scribbled tribute to the sublime
Gift of words; the words we use
To communicate
Our love, our hate
Pleasure, displeasure
How are you my treasure?

Spoken words may be forgotten
From the written word may be begotten
A declaration; of love, of war
Of the suffering who can take no more.

Letters by sages
Indented onto pages
A permanent reminder
Of words that can bind you
That seek and find you
And you lay open the page
As you lay open your heart
With thoughts transmitted and thoughts transcribed
As into your book you care to confide
All that you feel, and can’t keep inside

You are reality

The heart doesn’t flutter;
it hammers, in my chest.
On the train,
the rolling motion,
my rolling emotions,
as the station nears.
The final stop; full stop.

Months in the waiting,
weeks in the planning
and my heart beats the seconds
that pass, too fast.

Am I the only one
alive in this carriage?
This miscarriage of humanity.
Where is the humanity?
Talk to me!
You! The Ipod girl,
in front of Ipad man,
beside Facebook boy
and Candy Crush sister.

Ah! Enough of them.
I’ve been drawn to meet you,
talk to you and kiss you.
As I hold your letter.
A LETTER!
Words on a once-tree,
the Parker Pen veins
stand out, draw me in.
As you stand in the rain,
black brolly Polly,
dark as mystery,
deep as a desert night
but not so old,
nor so cold.

Sand stinging, hand wringing
a nervous encounter,
here at the counter
of the coffee bar.
Spoons clink and rattle
And our nerves finally settle.

The rain; incessant

The counter-argument for global warming as central Europe shows absolutely no sign of becoming a desert just yet.  We’ve had rain since May; I’m sure I never experienced a summer like this in England…

***

The rain; incessant
Incandescent, the lightning
Incisions in the dark
Scalpel thin and scalpel clean

The rain; incessant
Torrential, never ending
Chinese water torture
For the soul: where is the sun?

The rain; incessant
Artillery-like thunder
Huge calibre backdrop
As I sit, willing the sun

Smoke, ash and death to all

His eyes reflected the glowing, boiling mass of cloud, which masked the fear that lay behind them, as the first cracks appeared in the ground beneath his feet. The raining, burning acid ash now found its way to his skin. Confusion, as he looked around.

An hour before, the blue morning sky had been rendered and torn as a distant flash ripped through the atmosphere. The forest he had been looking at from the brow of the hill had danced before his eyes as the very Earth shook and moved on its axis, unable to sustain the blow which punched through its hide of rock and water and deep into the mantle.

He made his way down the gentle, stony slope and came to the first trees of the forest. He had no intention of getting tangled up inside but at the moment the trees offered protection from something as yet unknown but he felt sure of its arrival. His senses were in overdrive. Nothing moved and no animal called, and the only sound was his own reluctant footfalls as he wandered in rough circles, unable to decide any immediate action. Even the ground was silent in its shudder.

A vague, low movement on the horizon caught his attention. In the distance the blue of the morning was replaced by darkness and lightening flashed within the grey, growing veil, spreading over the sky, snuffing out sunlight with every passing second. He knew this was different to the frequent, sudden thunderstorms that marched through the low, wide valley, which were pedestrian compared to the jostling knot of clouds that raced towards him. His reluctance to enter the forest proved wise as huge clouds of smoke started to billow from the green foliage, obstructing his view and making it hard to breathe. He had to move.

Suddenly, from the trees there was movement as animal after animal crashed through the undergrowth and out into the open. Without waiting he followed, starting to run, his burning skin pushed to the back of his mind as instinct took over. The animals bunched together and ran before him as he gave chase, gaining ground with every stride. He was now on the level plain of the valley floor, and the tremors were less obvious now he was moving. The distance between him and his prey continued to lessen until, for no reason he could understand, he started slowing to a walk, the hunt for food no longer a priority.

He looked up at the sky, the seething cauldron of smoke, ash and fire replacing the daylight. He started to run but this time Tyrannosaurus realised that for the first time in his life if wasn’t hunger that filled his belly and drove him on, it was fear. His head filled with sounds of terror and ruin. There was nowhere to hide now.

Yesterday evening I flicked through the channels to find something which would make a good background as I ate my sea-bass.  I tripped over the last 10 minutes or so of a documentary on National Geographic about the last extinction of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.  I like the asteroid theory.  An increase in volcanic activity is far too slow, almost glacial.  I like the idea also of T-Rex chasing something, but for the first time in its life not with the idea of eating it.

My T-Rex here is portrayed as ‘he’.  I can do that, he won’t mind, as either by slow volcanic ash or mad meteorite mayhem he met his end a long time ago so I can call him what I want, although Lassie or Fluffy probably wouldn’t suit him very well.  If Thomas Hund hadn’t thought of it first I may have called him Toby. 

The Butterfly Prisoner

Life hanging by a thread

Cold and dark, am I dead?

This tiny, cramped space

Could it be my tomb?

Or have I been born again,

a return to the womb?

There feels like a weak spot

In the wall by my head

But I can’t move my arms

So I’ll use my teeth instead

To dig through the grey wall

And out into the light

Where I can unfold my coloured wings

Stretch, and take flight

Cold and Dark

January;

gloved and hatted

walk.

Frosted breath,

then, finally

the warmth.

Then cold

that condences

on glass,

rivulets running.

The dark:

getting darker, and

crowned

by white.

The cold;

to the touch,

to the senses.

How I enjoy

a pint of Guinness

Amsterdam; funny old town

Amsterdam; funny old town

Rain splats in the Dam Platz

Friendships deeper than the North Sea

Red light window girl for all to see

All smiles and business

Display and pay

Canal boats and bicycles

Blond girls and blue eyes

Coffee shops and red eyes

Amsterdam; funny old town

 

The Snowball Effect

I’m sat next to my brief.  My shirt’s the same one I had on yesterday but I’m sure no-one notices.  I have the same, now well-rumpled suit I’ve been wearing throughout my trial; well, they’re not exactly going to let me out shopping at Armani for the day are they?  My shoes are pretty clean though, which is more than I can say for my defence.

The jury has retired for verdict.  My heart is pumping blood at a normal rate around my body.  I’m calm.  What else can I be?  I just look ahead.  I don’t want to see anyone.

They think I killed them all.  Sometimes I think I killed them all.  Sometimes however I believe I only actually killed just one person that day.  For his death they just need to decide whether it was premeditated.  How do you define premeditated?  How long does an action have to be considered and thought-out before becoming premeditated?  5 minutes? An hour?  A day?  I know I didn’t leave the house that morning to walk the dog through the woods, which are separated by a noisy motorway, with the intention to kill someone.  By the time I came home however I was a guilty man.

The prosecution have made a meal out of the fact that I’ve shown no remorse.  I’m not an actor; I can’t show what I don’t have.  Anyway, what came after was an accident, with no intention whatsoever.  However, they don’t see it like that.  They don’t seem to understand the metaphorical snowball effect and all that.  If I hadn’t have rolled that little snowball from the top of the mountain, there wouldn’t have been an avalanche in the valley below, so to speak.  I can sort of see their point, the trouble is they can’t see mine.

Memory can be a bastard.  Why can’t I remember someone’s name from one day to the next yet the filing cabinet of the mind throws out memories from years ago without warning and just at the wrong moment, like when I saw the kid on the bridge.  Some of you might remember this.  I do.  I was a teenager during the miner’s strike back in ‘84 but I still clearly remember how shocked I was when some miners dropped a kerbstone from a bridge at a passing taxi taking a scab to work.  It left me cold then and leaves me cold now.  What a horrible way to die.

So when I saw that kid hoist up to his waist a broken lump of wall, I flipped.  He was so intent on choosing his target that he didn’t see me come down the footpath, pick up a fist-sized flint and step on the bridge.  The block was resting on the handrail of the bridge, against his stomach while he chose his victim. Then I saw what he was waiting for; an Esso petrol tanker was making its way down the slow lane.   I had to stop him.  I threw the stone.

I guess the truck driver saw the kid’s intention as I heard the air horn blare below me.  Too late.  The stone hit the lad in the head.  The lad’s legs gave way as blood poured from his temple.  The brickwork tipped forward with the momentum, his grip didn’t loosen.  Both concrete and kid were gone in a second.  I heard the truck’s brakes howl.  Have you ever noticed how a car’s brakes will squeal in an emergency stop?  A 38 tonne truck’s howl and what a God-awful noise it is, I can still hear it in the long nights in my cell, when sleep evades me.

I felt, rather than saw, the movement of the jack-knifed trailer as it separated from the cab and passed at speed under the bridge, swatting cars like summer flies.  It then hit the central reservation, flip on its end and over, and explode into the oncoming traffic.  The force of the blast rocked the bridge and knocked me to the ground.  The dog came off worse.  She scarpered into the trees from where we’d come from but when I finally found her she was dead.  Internal injuries I suppose.  I cried then.  I showed emotion then.  The families of the 14 that never made it back home that night wouldn’t give a toss about that but then again, why would they?

The jury’s back.  You 9 men and 3 women: penny for your thoughts?  Why am I asking?  It’s the judge that wants to know if they’ve reached a verdict.  They have.  He nods his head slowly.  Putting on his small, wireframe glasses he tells me to stand.

My lifetime freedom for an accident.  I guess the 3 seconds it took me to pick up that stone counts as premeditated.

Become

Here am I
Who am I
In the mirror
My eyes
The eyes of someone
I no longer know
The eyes of someone
Who no longer shows
A light
A smile
I revile, myself
And who I’ve become
No longer one
Who was someone
To care
To share
To bare his soul
Insomnia has left a hole
But hope will not desert me.

Lugano Summer

The heat
The sultry heat
Humidity
Show humility
When my temper frays
And my patience craves
The rain
The wind
And the cooling
Of my soul
The summer lust
The heat-filled dusk
The night
The tortured night

Flash Fiction Friday 094: The Freedom Train by Christopher Farley

Thanks once again Morgen.

MorgEn Bailey - Creative Writing Guru

Welcome to Flash Fiction Friday and the ninety-fourth piece in this series. This week’s is a 580-worder (with an American theme – happy Independence Day yesterday everyone) by Christopher Farley.

This story will be podcasted in episode 31 (with three other stories) on Sunday 8th September.

The Freedom Train

He closed his eyes for a second.  He finally began to believe it really was over.  The mountain of lies and the rivers, even oceans, of deceit no longer mattered.  The affair was finally finished and could now be considered a thing of his past, where it should stay.  It had become like a tedious end-of-season football match; neither side wanting to lose but both would be content if the referee blew time.  Each had said their piece and each had gone their separate way.  The thought of returning to his old life before his spree as a shoplifter in the…

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2012 in review

Thank you to all of you who stopped by in 2012.  I hope to continue seeing you this year.

Have a great 2013. each and every one of you.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,200 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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