My Words, My World

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

Whore of the morning

That old adage about “write what you know” – I should laugh in its face and stick my fingers in its eyes.

I started this blog , as it says on the tin (well, the heading), as a pin-board for airing poems and flash-fiction first drafts and ideas. Of late, after a barren summer, I’ve hit a creative vein, with no idea why except it runs in tandem with another bout of worse-than-usual sleeplessness. I don’t want this blog to become a shrine to insomnia so things will change in 2018 (that’s two days and, possibly, two nights…). 

This is this blog’s last insomniac poetic hurrah!  If I couldn’t write anything else then I would stick my pen where the sun doesn’t shine.  Luckily, I can and I have been (just not here, o bored and tired reader).

Have a great New Year everyone and thanks for looking in.

Chris
_______________________________

And still the treacherous night lingers on
and pulls me along with it
incapable of leaving me behind
in a dreaming world of slumber;
the fucker.

And still my words spill across the page
and takes me away for a while,
pulling me into its world
where pen and hand work in unison;
the saviour.

And still my eyes remain open
and my awakened mind rages
full of ideas that fall on paper
as my head wants to fall;
on my pillow.

and yet, and yet…
and yet I love these early hours;
the quiet, the still, the night sounds
– or early morning sounds – take your pick.

A slave to the whore of the morning
fresh on her rounds and as yet untouched,
the sheets still unblemished
and the rose cheeks of her sunrise.

Ode to one’s birthday

Another year, another…well, year, I suppose.
Time doesn’t drift, it flies.
It flies in the face of life,
it flies in the face of all that we know
yet can do nothing about.
I’m older today than I ever was before
and I’m younger today than I ever will be again.
Time.
Catches up.
Slows down.
Speeds up.
If we’re lucky we can hitch a ride,
but we can just as well walk.
The horizon is ever before us.
Take note:
the road behind is barred
the road ahead is open
our worn-down heels will be our proof of our existence.
Time.

Dawn queen

Mind muddled, befuddled
hours awake,
hours reading,
hours doing everything but sleeping
crawling on my knees
to the dawn queen.

Lying there in the dark
looking at every darkened shape
of every angle of every wall
and feel every stubbed toe
on every piece of furniture
lying there in the dark;
like me.

Alarm clock; you are redundant,
again. As ever.
Your services are limited
except when you tell me
how long I’ve been lying there awake.
As I crawl on my knees
to the dawn queen.

Force of nature

The twisting cobbled streets
slick with the damp night air
holding their sodden breath,
waiting for morning
each stone a rain-washed monument
to man’s short-lived triumph over nature:
apparently.
 
But watch the sprouting weed
or the green shaven-headed moss
hiding in the cracks
of frost-split stones
polished by centuries of feet.
 
History has taken us from the humble cobbled stone
to the cloud-reaching tower
of glass and concrete
of plastic and steel
Babel now lies in every direction
praise be the money-god. Ha!
 
Yet even these so-called wonders of man will fail
when nature decides to reclaim her own.
We can hope.

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.

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.

Midsummer crow

Aaaarrrkkk!!!
Crow the black
cawing in the morning
from his lofty perch;
this Summer Solstice
is his alone.
 
Harbinger of doom
Picker of corpses
Guide to lost souls
Friend to Pagans
 
Raven’s little brother
descended from Thought and Memory;
who sit upon the shoulders
of the one-eyed god.
They see all
and tell him everything.
 

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

Valkyrie

She walks
in a rainbow shimmer
under a blue-black sky
 
Thunder
announces her entrance
drum roll accompanies her
 
Lightning
illuminates her path
ecstatic in static
 
The dead
strewn on the battlefield
She takes her time, and chooses

Ma pen don’t flow no mo’

The pen remained locked between fingers which remained locked together in the shape of prayer or penance or maybe just because it was the ideal thing to do with hands that had no instruction to do anything else as the writer (Ha!) stared at the empty page and wondered in which dark back-alley his creativity had stumbled into.  Gone, withered like the blackened trees of winter.

He looked outside at the pre-dawn sky, sat and wondered why.

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.

On your own

He couldn’t remember how long he’d been walking. he remembered coming out of the sanitary-white hospital ward, the stench almost too much to bear. The place was littered with bodies, beyond stiffening, and the buzz of flies seemed like a road-drill in the silence. As he left the building he caught a glance of himself in a shattered window. MacQuade was 28 years old. He’d had black hair when he entered the place, now an old man looked back at him, or what looked like an old man. White, fluffy hair stood up from his head and beneath it a face, as white as the hair, drawn and gaunt.

The scene in the ward was replayed outside, but on a much grander scale. Vehicles crashed in the road, bodies on sidewalks, on grass verges, on the road itself. Whatever had happened had happened with a suddenness that took everyone by surprise. Most car doors were still closed, meaning the occupants hadn’t even had time to stop and get out.

“Hello? Hello?”

MacQuade’s voice croaked in his ears but it was the only sound he could here on the four-lane boulevard which lead past the hospital. He stopped and walked over to a grass verge, ignoring the bodies which had been walking instead of driving. He stooped to look at what else lay on the grass. Sparrows, pigeons and even a crow, its eyes open and as cruel in death as in life. Wholesale human and animal fatalities and yet, here he was, alive, here on this green verge, the grass still healthy. The Rhododendrons in the flower beds still full of colour, roaring pink and fuchsia.

That evening he’d found tins of food in a supermarket but everything else had gone over. Christ! How long had he been out? They’d operated on his wisdom tooth on a Wednesday, the 28th July. He’d gone in search of a calendar. Someone had marked off the 28th on the one in the supermarket office. He just had no idea what day it was now. The bodies were skin on bone and that didn’t happen overnight.

He’d found a bottle of whisky in the store and got right into it immediately after the can of tuna flakes. Halfway down it he remembered his wisdom tooth no longer caused him pain. He smiled until he looked out of the window.

The end of his tether

He’d often wondered about his tether and the end of it.  Until he picked up a dictionary only a week before he hadn’t known what a tether even was.  Now he knew and now he thought he’d reached the end of it.

He was glad it was winter.   He didn’t mind the cold and the snow and, in happier times, he’d always been an enthusiastic skier.  In happier times.  Yes, he thought, he didn’t mind the winter with its snowy peaks, white crystal frosted fields and the smell of mulled wine in the market square and steaming paper cups warming hands in the cold.

He looked out of a window to the outhouse.  The cold.  The cold was good.  It killed off many of the pests that hung around in warmer climates or even down in the valley, although now other pests had found him and disturbed his peace.  Footprints and a strange indent in the snow crossed the yard, as if a sack of firewood had been dragged.  Yes, he’d reached the end of his tether, and the bodies mounted up in the outhouse.

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