My Words, My World

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

Archive for the category “words”

In the streets

He went out in the streets to find love
and found instead crushed cigarette ends,
oil-filled puddles swirling with colour,
yesterday’s news blowing in the gutter,
a choking fit on exhaust fumes,
a cold foot from a hole in one shoe
and discarded chewing gum stuck to the other,
as a dented Coke can drummed along the road
and shouts came from an open window:

no love there.
He looked at cards in telephone boxes;
no love there.
He watched a police car speed through the lights;
no love there.
He heard the siren of an ambulance split the night;
no love there.

His shoulders slumped and he shook his head.
Every night it was the same.
Same street. Same sights. Same sounds. Same hate.

A teenage girl helped an elderly woman across the road
and left without stealing her bag.
He smiled.
There it was.
In the streets there was love.
He turned for home.

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Gabbiano

Svuotare la testa
liberarsi dei pensieri
qualsiasi;
positivi, negativi,
esistono i pensieri neutrali?
Non credo
Quindi se non credo in qualcosa è un pensiero negativo?
 
Respira l’aria del mare
guarda le onde
senti il rumore
e voli come un gabbiano.
 
Voli e voli in alto
voli in alto e voli lungo,
lontano, finché puoi.
Nessuno ti può frenare;
solo te.
 
Gabbiano.  Senza gabbia.
Voli.
 

Motion

Headstrong,
falling headlong,
falling over,
a stumble,
a tumble,
forward momentum.
Look ma, no brakes!
Just my hands in front of me.

That push over the edge
that fall from the ledge
that push down the slide.

Gravitational pull
always down; unstoppable.
No skin left on my palms,
red raw and racing to ruin,
or reward:
or just racing, really,
directionless
but movement is movement, after all.

Time (oh, how it passes)

The days pass
and time is passing,
another day has passed into night.

Time ticks on. Time ticks by.
The clock strikes. The bells chime.
The sun rises. The sun sets.

Always rushing, I’m buffeted by time
like the wash of air from a speeding truck,
carving lines on my face, like sea over sand
yet what is the significance of these lines
within the grand significance of time?

Time was. Time is. Time will always be.
Time. Oh, how it passes.

A muse

A muse, to amuse me
to use, abuse
to choose words for me.

A muse, to confuse me
to effuse ideas
and be abstruse for me.

Amuse, to ruse me
who eschews my views
but enthuses me.

A muse, to refuse me
to peruse my work
and then contuse me.

A muse.

Don’t talk to me

Don’t talk to me about the weather
when I can see and feel the sun,
the rain, the snow and the frost.
We have weathermen for that, anyway.
 
Don’t talk to me about your politics
when I have ears and hear the bullshit,
the lies, the promises; mostly broken.
We have newspapers for that, anyway.
 
Don’t talk to me about love
and how they say it is blind.  It isn’t.
We jump in with eyes wide open.
We have hearts for that, anyway.
 
Don’t talk to me about death
when it’s the guaranteed end of everyone.
I know I can only be at peace with myself.
We have priests and undertakers for that, anyway.

Back to that old chestnut

Sleep no longer came around so often;

it shied away like some embarassed first date,

or a cat that slinks away under a moonlit sky,

or the thief leaving the scene of the crime.

Ah, fuck it!

There are still a million words to write.

50-word story

“It wasn’t me.”
“What do you mean, it wasn’t you; you were seen.”
“By who?”
“Someone.”
“Who?”
“Did you do it?”
“No.”
“Do you have an alibi?”
“No.”
“I’m gonna have to take you down.”
The accused raised two stumps for wrists.
“But you said she was strangled.”

Breathless

Treadmill mind
moving, always moving
but going nowhere
The clanking machinery of daily existence
steam hammer blows
and sharpened scythes
hacking, chopping and cutting.
The tink, tink, tink of machines cooling
and the whir of motors humming
and wind in the sails;
there she blows, boys!
and the slosh of the hull in the water
while some dancing, gyrating compass
leads us to the world’s end.
Pull back, you’ll fall off!
No captain, there’s an iceberg ahead
cliff tall and cliff white.
Don’t stop me, don’t stop me
and look, there’s land ahoy
I see smoke and fumes rising
as big business beats its big drum
and the machines a-clattering
and toxic clouds lay like quilts over everything,
and everything’s changed,
touched by the hooked finger,
a stab in the chest like a stab in the dark
and light’s reflection on steel
beaten by a hammer
as the sparks fly
and molten liquid steams in the mould
as another of man’s design pops from the die
and then lapped up by we who wait
with paper and plastic in our hands;
but clean hands at that
although our nails are chewed.
The nails, nails, nails
beaten down into submission
but don’t forget to remove your thumb.
Look out!
The whites of the hospital
the whites of our eyes
always peering around the corner
because you don’t know what’s going to hit you
unless you see it coming
Like a jack hammer to the face
beating, beating, beating; pulse like
Boom! Boom! Boom!
Can you hear it?
It’s life: talking

English teacher (with writer’s block)

My day is filled with verbs and tenses
clauses, phrases, words and sentences
grammatical structures
quantifiers and determiners

My past participle participated and departed
my present continuous continues to continue
while my future simple
will be far from simple

I’m conditioned by my conditionals
and positioned by my prepositions

I’m an English teacher who wants to write
my language is my day
but when I put that pen in my hand
I’ve nothing left to say

Nightly battles #3

The lines were drawn
the enemy position made clear
I was becoming surrounded
but was surrender an option?
Really?
Was I to give my all,
myself to myself
like a Pagan sacrifice to knowledge?
What did I learn?

But the enemy retreated
and I slept the sleep of a clear conscious
(it is)
and I slept the sleep of an innocent soul
(it is)
and I slept the sleep of a hard day’s toil
(it was)
and I slept the sleep of a body and mind broken
(they were)
and so, finally,
I slept the sleep.

Nightly battles #2

I thought black was black
as in: the night was pitch black
but when I close the windows
and pull down the shades
I see shades
of black:
pure black,
light black,
eerie black and
rich black
which is not pitch black;
the night tattooed on my mind
With my eyes closed
I see black
With my eyes open
I see black
As I wait to see
the grey of day

Nightly battles #1

Awake. Again.
Counting down the small hours.
Counting out the night.
“Come to bed, baby.”

No one sleeps anymore.  Have you noticed?
Curse of modern man.
Stress of modern life.
Stress?  Ah yes, that new old chestnut.

It’s not exactly the same as being kept awake by the crackle and spit of the fire you need to constantly tend as you peer into the darkness looking for the reflected firelight in the eyes of a predator; a sabre-tooth tiger, for example.

The caveman knew stress.
Did the caveman sleep?
Did his weary body recover after a day traipsing across the plains, spear in hand;
looking for soul food and a place to sleep?

“Oh, I haven’t slept in years”.
It’s the arse-end of 2017.
What’s my excuse?
What’s my sabre-tooth tiger, baby?

Sinner

To the hero’s end they ride,

once death by sword tip.

Now, just take your pick.

Blood, so much blood

and shed for what?

Belief, possession and gain.

Where’s your faith my son?

It’s my holy one against yours (if you have one)

I believe my belief is believable

and you’d better believe it.

(So I look him in the eye, and I say)

Show me a miracle of your faith

and I’ll show you someone out to profit

Show me the forgiveness you preach

and I’ll show you someone out to stop it

Show me your ten commandments

and I’ll show you ten twisted sinners

Ask me if I’ve sinned

and I’ll show you the world.

He turned

and walked away.

Symphony and scream

The air is filled with the symphony of a thousand broken hearts shattered into a thousand pieces while the remaining void is alive with the anonymous scream of a thousand voices, cried bloody and hoarse.

Symphony and scream

 

End of day

The sun rolled down the clear, autumn sky

in a blaze of fuchsia,

its light lingering

like a lovers’ first kiss.

Always moving

The kid was snorkelling and the sun was shining. The sun was shining on an azure sea, shining so that the tops of waves looked like the wings of a million seagulls so white it hurt the eyes.

The wind was blowing, keeping the temperature down to STILL TOO HOT, and still the orange tip of the snorkel tube drifted along, the face it connected to seeing nothing but sand.

Nothing under there but sand but still the snorkelling went on and the sun kept shining, the wind kept blowing and a million seagulls’ wings so white it hurt the eyes kept moving; always moving.

The Seeker

In all my years as a detective on the Kent police force where, admittedly, I wasn’t inundated with out-of-the-ordinary cases, this was probably the strangest.  if I hadn’t had been there, I’d have laughed it off. I was, however, so I didn’t.

Being close to London, we had our share of dead bodies turning up, the majority of them unwillingly dead.  Then we had the willingly dead, the suicides, which normally entailed jumping off something high, into something deep or into the path of something heavy and fast-moving.  The story of The Seeker is none of the above.

Why The Seeker?  Well, his circumstances brought to mind that old song by The Who, we named him that in the station and it stuck.  When we have our pub get-togethers the case still gets referred to as The Seeker and yes, we smile about it now; certainly more than we did when we found him.

We were called to a semi-detached house on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells one morning.  It was June and the glorious English two-week summer had been and gone and had been replaced by scattered showers and lower than average temperatures.  The bin men had become concerned at the lack of refuse at number 31, The Rise.  Strange, they said.  Not like him, they said.  Never goes on holiday, they said.  Would you mind checking?  So Davis and I pulled up outside number 31, between downpours, and knocked on the door.  Receiving no response, we circled the house, round to the back garden.  The only window open was the small hopper window, impossible to get through without removing it.  10 minutes later, Leatherman multi-purpose tool in hand, the window was off its hinges and Davis was head first and arse last through the hole.  I could only hear his muffled voice.

“Christ, it smells like your armpits in here.”

“Just open the door and let me in so we can confirm the man’s gone off on holiday and get back to the station for a coffee.”

The key turned in the kitchen door and it swung open.  Davis was right, the place stank.  I would, however, contest that my armpits smell like that.  The mewing of cats came from the landing above our heads as we walked through the hallway.  We looked at each other, no words needed.  Something wasn’t right. The stairs creaked as we made our way up. The cats scattered as we reached the landing, at least five or six of them.  The stench was almost unbearable.  A reluctant room-to-room followed.  We found him in the small studio room, still sat at his computer.

With the help of Martins on forensics the story was pieced together and it went like this.

The man had had an addiction.  No crack, meth or needle chill for The Seeker, no.  just good old Google.  He’d played chicken on the information super-highway and lost.  Too much information can kill you – ignorance is bliss.  He should’ve listened.

Only afterwards, going through his browser history, did the full extent of his addiction come to light.  He’d researched everything from an aardvark’s anal glands to a zebra’s zoonosis.  During this month-long bout of browser fever, he’d starting neglecting himself then he’d started neglecting his cats.  The official cause of death was dehydration; he’d sat and sat until his body was so drained of fluids he’d just collapsed.  He’d even rigged up some form of hose system to an old washtub so he didn’t have to get out of his seat.  No eating for The Seeker, he was nourishing himself in a Wikipedia frenzy, feeding off a You Tube drip and, slowly but surely, Googling himself to death.  Somewhere during the course of this derangement his dehydrated body gave up and his heart gave out.  At least we hope it did.

After all, the cats had to eat.

Song of the sea

I want to write a poem of the sea
and watch the gulls,
wind-blown and free
and feel the breeze caress my face

I want to hear the story of the sea,
to feel the sun
burn and scorch me,
in the salt spray of the breaking waves

I want to sing the song of the sea,
the siren’s call,
the fisherman’s plea,
as the storm clouds gather on the horizon.

I want to feel the anger of the sea
The pebble rattle
on the shore lee
as the waves beat upon the strand

I want to give myself to the sea
at the end of my time,
and let my body
be taken in the longship’s flames

 

Song of the morning

In the dark,
a candlelight in my head
as I’m pulled from infinite dreams
(of what?)

Eyes closed but the mind
opened to a thousand possibilities
in the coming dawn
(at least I hope it is)

I want to hear the morning’s chatter
among the birds
and their song of the morning

The silent scream of pain

Tortuous night
in pain, in the dark.
Piano wire nerves scream
in a white-heat silence,
searing through me,
blazing as I lie
longing for the morning
to bathe me in light
and chase away
this tortuous night.

The pain and pleasure cycle

An intermittent intermission
while life melts in fission.
Fused and confused.
A pause for breath,
like death
but not so long
or so final
or so primal.
As each beginning is an end
in a cycle which contends with us
and renders us with reality bites.
Slights and fights,
while in the sand we bury our heads
and look for the treasure
of pleasure.
Delectable and delightful…
Any place to leave the pain.

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?

It’s easy to write about writer’s block

No words can express my…

non-expression.

The blank page remains blank.

Lines to be read between

have yet to be written between.

In my hand, my Waterman,

that might as well be made of, well,

water, man.

It would drip faster than any words I could write.

Dry

The old man stood with a length of coiled rope around his shoulder and spat into the dust.  The sky was cold and clear.  He looked at the sky every day but the clouds still avoided him.

“Giovanni, what’s the latest?”

“January, papà.”

In November they said early December, then it was going to be mid-December, then Christmas.”

“No one really knows, papa.”

“No one knows?”  The old man spat into the dust once again.  He took a leather pouch from his jacket pocket and started to roll himself a cigarette.  “My father could tell what the weather was going to do, a week before it did it.”

“You know as well, papa.”

The old man flicked a match.  He scuffed his boots in the dust, kicking up a little cloud.

“I did once.”  His rummy eyes looked up again at the clear blue sky.  “This year is different.”

From their lofty position on the lower slopes of the mountain, where the pastures lay brown and dry, they could see the distant Monte Rosa.  Even from that distance they could see its barren slopes; only its vague glaciers flickered white in the sun.

“There’s no tourism yet.  Tourism’s suffering and we’re suffering with it, Giovanni.”

“The snow will come papa, it has to.”

“Do you think?  When was the last time it rained, son?”

“October.”

“It drizzled for a couple of hours, Giovanni.  It hasn’t rained in anger since July.”  He flicked his head in a backwards movement.  “Those woods are a tinderbox.”

Giovanni nodded his head.  “The weather channel put the area on high alert for forest fire risk.”

The old man crushed his cigarette carefully under his heel.  “It’s about the only thing the weather channel has got right this year.”  He lifted the rope from his shoulder and placed it on the old trunk of a walnut tree that served as a chopping block.  He nodded down the slope.  “I want to get that fence in the bottom field repaired.  If the snow does come at least the animals will be contained.”

This last comment fell like an axe blow between the men.  They’d already lost a few animals, sickened by the drought conditions; they couldn’t afford to lose any more, there dwindling finances couldn’t take it.  They’d lost the annual orders from the surrounding ski resorts, whose slopes were bare and car parks were empty.  In his 72 years the old man had never known anything like it.  He was almost glad his wife had passed away the previous spring and didn’t have to see what the farm had become.  His son brought him back to the present.

“Five months ago we were enjoying a beautiful summer and everyone said we’d pay for it, that the winter would come early and the snow would be heavy.”

“Yeah, and I was one of them, telling the same thing to anyone who’d listen.  Now I’m just the foolish sheep farmer who can’t tell the direction of the wind even if I wet my finger and hold it in the air.”

“Come on papa.  This year’s caught everyone out.  It’s not just down to us anymore.  Think of all those satellites out there and they still can’t give us an accurate forecast.”

“Any farmer worth his salt should be able to mind his own, without the need for satellites or weather channels, son; just like my father and grandfather used to do.  Maybe the people are right; maybe I am just a foolish sheep farmer that prophesises ‘red sky at night’.”

“Enough papà.  Come on, let’s get the fence fixed so I can go to Cristina’s with that firewood.”

Giovanni looked into his father’s face.  This autumn had taken everything out of him.  His face was drawn and his eyes sunken and dark-ringed.  The quick smile was no longer there, replaced by a stare which admitted defeat.

“We can do the fence later, son.  Take the wood over to Cristina; if her father’s down in town, you’ll have to unload yourself, it’ll take time.”

Giovanni considered this.  It was true.  All the while the weather held, and it looked like holding for a fair while still, the bottom field fence wasn’t a priority.  The nights were cold and Cristina needed the wood.  He took the pick-up keys from his jacket pocket.

“Get some rest papa.  I’ll be back in a couple of hours, three at the most.”

“Give my regards to Cristina and her father, if he’s there.  I guess you’re right, I could use a little rest.”

“There’s nothing more any of us can do papa, at least until this weather shows signs of breaking.”  He got into the pick-up truck and the electric motor hummed as the window rolled down.  “Get some rest papa.  How about we go into town for a couple of beers this evening; it’s been ages since we’ve done that.”

“About the last time we saw any money coming through the door, son.”

The truck engine revved into life and Giovanni waved through the open window.  His father watched as the brake lights flashed once before the car drove out onto the road.

With a final spit into the dust, the old man looked once more at the sky.  With his head bowed, he heaved the coil of rope onto his shoulder and walked slowly to the still-empty barn.

50 word fiction – Beebee

“Have you seen Beebee?”

“No, where’d he go?”

“He was out of whisky, out of smokes; he went to the liquor store.”

“Where the fuck is he now?”

“He must still be there man.”

“Did he take…?”

“Don’t know.”

“Did you give…?”

“No.”

A siren screams in the night.

“Beebee.”

Reaper

Give me a scythe
but make it sharp;
so I can reap what’s been sown,
so I can gather what’s been grown.
The good.
The bad.
All lying in the sun,
drying in the sun,
dying in the sun.
My hands will blister
in this;
the hardest of harvests.

Bukowski: the morning after the night before

I got up. I couldn’t sleep, I just lay there sweating, tossing and flapping like a freshly-caught fish. Booze does that to you. You think it’ll knock you out; that you’ll sleep like a kitten for the night but then you awake on a sweat-wet pillow, and then it’s finished.

I lay in bed an hour or so, unable to shut my head up. The room was dark but in my head someone had flipped a switch. Transitory thoughts, each following the other down the fuddled highway of my mind, flickered on and off, on and off. What I had to do today. What I had to to this week. What? Whatever.

I got up, grabbed my book, made a coffee and made myself comfortable on the cold leather sofa, and lost myself in story.

I had a heavy chest and a cough that wouldn’t come, my airways blocked by too many cigarettes accompanying too many drinks throughout a drunken evening with drunker friends and a happy barman. My mouth was layered from beer, from wine, from gin, from the back shelf where no one sober goes.

The coffee steamed on the coffee-table (what if I drunk tea?) but I drank it, hoping to change the thick, stale, toothpaste-on-alcohol taste in my mouth. My throat burned but something moved. My chest moved. I coughed: it sounded like Tom Waits singing. That was an improvement.

Early morning coffee with Bukowski. I finished the first short story and stared at the page a while before closing the book and closing my eyes.

The Most Beautiful Woman in Town had just died.

Laughing in the face of that which laughs at me

A blank page will sit and wait all day: because it can; it has patience, much more patience than I have. The blank page is king and will remain so, never abdicating, until my peasant’s revolt, armed with a sharpened pencil, a dipped pen and the spreading stain of ink removes it from its throne.

This sounds easy but it isn’t. It should be easy but it isn’t. The virgin purity of the blank page reflects in my face, making me squint and cover my eyes.

One letter at a time. One word at a time. That’s both the minimum and maximum I can do. No less. No more.

A blank page will sit and taunt me, its fresh white light, as joyous as a spring morning, laughs in my face and beckons me to do my worst. A blank page shows no fear, even with a sharpened 2H pencil held above it, threatening to stab down at any moment. While its doom hangs over it like the shadow of the executioner’s noose, it laughs in the face of fear. It laughs in the face of my fear.

Now I must go and laugh in the face of that which laughs at me.

Now I must go and write.

Night rain

I am the night rain,
float with me
 
I am the night rain
washing away
the day’s sins
from the shoes
of every sinner
 
I am the wet road
that will cause you
to slip, lose grip
as you grope the wheel
and slide
 
I am the oil that runs,
in colours
and streams.
Swirling, mixing
mesmerising
 
I am the lights’ reflection
broken and shattered
by each raindrop
 
I am the night rain:
drown with me.

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