Little wounded wing


LITTLE WOUNDED WING

Little wounded wing.
You never knew how dangerous it could be.
Flying through life as you were.
Hoping others, like you, wanted to sing.

Little spark of light.
No one told you how maddening it would be.
Existing how you are, so special.
The rules never showed you how to fight.

Life it took a hold and stained.
Into your feathers and soul it pained,
you to see what this world really was behind the lies.
Through maligned and deceitful eyes.
After wandering your many trails, deserving of fairness and love.
The world is dark and mattered.
Cruel and harsh and tattered.
To a creature who sees the good in everyone from above

Little broken heart.
We all told you how not to cry.
No one cares for water spent.
The gulf between us now so far apart.

Hey little dying bird.
You told yourself in the end.
The only thing that was missing, was love.
And love was the only thing they no longer heard.

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The Blue of a bruise

Idling of the blood stream.
Brightening those nightmares that shudder.
Twisting in and out of focus.
The mind finding reference points.
All chalky talk and eye darting.
Searching the door to find new weather.
Trust seems lost again.
Blue skies clouded like the eyes of God closing.
Tearing in the rains of revelation.
Words struck the vein.
The devil tastes the pain.
What part is called to be diminished?
Swallowing in a rapture, that unpicks the scars.
A lie to curdle the blood.
A pain to feel alive once more.
Do you know the lungs want to sing?
Padded with angel feathers they heave in lament.
The soul siphoned away, bottled like wine.
Death’s most beautiful throw.
Snatching things, before they grow.

Halfway from home

Jasmine, and if he closed his eyes, the sound of the ocean. The smell though was always the strongest, it was what always clung to him. The ghost that gently haunted, touching his heart. It came and went, sometimes intense, taking him to that place where he always felt safe. Always felt them there.

He looked out of the window at the planet below, the strange orb spinning silently in its indifference to him. The purple hues lifted off the surface as if into a dream, blurring and smudging with the swallowing blackness of space.

Jasmine and warm sand.

He stole himself a moment to close his eyes, feeling the history shiver through him. An irritant beeping began in his ear, and his eyes opened to see the planet once more, slipping slowly from view as a stream of white slithered across the windows. He stepped back, releasing the metal banister from his grasp and turned to the yawning corridor behind him. There were a few people making their way along it, eyes glowing from the screens that ensnared them. Detached from the beauty that space could offer them.

Why should they be so dazzled by its brilliance? Space was taking something away from them. Distance and time.

He had come to terms with his own arrangement, but for the others, he guessed it was difficult still. He walked away from the huge windows, away from the calling of the beyond and made his way back to where he would spend most of his time. Alone, which is what he knew.

In his own little pod, his room of sorts on this floating chrysalis. Many of the travellers would enter one way and leave another. Changed by either their own trauma, or the perils of interstellar travel. He would not of course, he had already changed enough. If anything, he would retrograde, like Saturn returning, back into the pupa of his early days where things were so different.

Alone in his room, he turned off the lights, casting the space in the neon blue phosphorus glow. It was known to aid sleep in these conditions, but he would not be sleeping. How could he? His insomnia was welcomed back the moment he stepped aboard. Nights and days meant nothing up here anyway, so his patterns of rest blended and ebbed away. The blue now though comforted him, like an incubator heat lamp hung over an egg. The yoke of his mind turned, tumbling over the memories of a world he knew was forever lost.

“2.377.8”

The soft voice whispered into the room.

He turned over, the blue phosphorus blinking slightly like a heartbeat.

“Keter.” He replied to the nothing, and the room hung there in silence for a moment.

“Understood.” The soft voice replied, disappearing away like a ghost.

He had become used to these intrusions. They were passengers of course, guests even. Many had exchanged their savings just for their souls to be classed as passengers on this voyage through the stars. These numbers, all the time, numbers. Tracking, and recalibrating. Confirming and informing. Many that he spoke to set their times around these indications of location, celestial longitude. As if the mapping meant something to someone.

Only people meant something to someone else.

The number usually meant the distance, or the time left to arrival. For him, they meant something different. Like the length of rope thrown for safety, slowly falling away. The further he got, the closer he was. The journey beginning at the end, like the thoughts in his head. Chasing his own tail. The room scanned his body, noticing some change in the space. He’d found his was extra sensitive, monitoring his pulse and liquid extraction to the smallest degree. He’d stopped crying long ago, setting off too many checks and queries, the systems unsure of what purpose the leaking ever did.

He wasn’t travelling alone, but everyone thought he was. He sometimes forgot he wasn’t here by himself, but then he was washed in guilt. They were here in both places. In his heart, and in the cargo bay that was probably above his head now, the rotating section of the ship which spun around like a carousel. Their body was secure, he’d been assured. Packed next to boxes of memories and other people’s goods. Machines and provisions for a new life for the others. Well taken care of. He’s welcome to come by any time to check, though he is yet to do so and not likely to ever.

What was in the body really? The soul had left long ago. Even on Damara, the soul had slipped out through the atmosphere, heading back to earth. Back to their real home, where their bones would want to lie. He’d have buried them there if he could, but their family wanted them back. It was the least he could give them, having taken so much from them in their departure.

They would want to say goodbye, not through a video call or hologram burial across the stars.

Earth is where they would come to rest, put into the family tomb and forgotten about in a few years. But he would not forget, for their ghost drowned them now. Breathing into him along with the blue. Always blue, blue, blue.

He closed his eyes, hating himself. Remembering what they had said before they had left, those years ago. That death would snatch them there, on that cold side of space. Yet they would go non the less, for he seemed to want it so badly. And in truth, he did. He’d wanted to get away, try something different. Get as far away from Earth as humanly possible. To build them a new home on a new planet, a place where they would live longer, be healthier and stay together.

Home, they’d said is wherever they were.

“2.5, R HH” The soft voice spoke again, harder this time.

Halfway.

Halfway on their journey, from where they’d left, to where they were going.

He closed his eyes, and though no sleep came, fantasies and dreams washed through his head like a pageant. Illuminating visions that meant nothing and everything to him, silencing him for some time.

He saw a shell, a purple scallop shell before him on its side. All around a mist floated, he could see the water inside, sloshing back and forth as if the little shell were a boat out on rough waves. It began to lift slowly, coming towards him. The water began to ooze and leak away from the middle. Draining out and away into nothing. The shell continued to rise until its profile faced his eyeline. And with a deafening thunderclap, the shell cracked down the middle and he opened his eyes.

Making his way along the corridor, he touched the sides to feel the glass. Just beyond lay space, hidden from him by the greyed colours of the walls. But he knew it was there of course. Many didn’t, they forgot where they were, either by their screen diving or the long bouts of hibernation. It was easy he supposed, to forget you were where you were. Flight, travel. It disrupts violently the ordinariness of life, but in a surreal detached way, it can also be forgotten. Like you were in a waking dream, and things were going on without you.

He turned at the end of the corridor and climbed upwards, through a stairwell which led to the cargo bay area. He didn’t bother to ask anyone or sign in as he was told to do. Instead, he snuck through the huge doors as quiet as he could and was successfully undetected by anyone. He’d been tracked of course, eyes always on them, but nothing had come of it he’d noticed.

Moving steadily, he made his way to section 5t, the ‘living containments’ section. Ironic he’d thought, seeing as everything here was frozen, sleeping, or dead. He could see a red light blinking on the box some distance away, and he hurried forward at the sight of it. Error messages flashed across the box, symbols and numbers which meant nothing to him. He saw the number 16 flash by, and his mind was reminded by their birthday, cakes and smiles, images of kissing and the scent memory of blown out candles attacked him at once. He saw it then, a little pool of water just beneath the box.

“Fuck.” He said aloud to no one.

He scanned his wrist across the glass by the numbers, and the red light stopped flashing, but remained red. He pressed a button at the side and with an artificial exhale, little jets of air hissed the lid open. Whatever the error, or malfunction, the body inside had thawed. The crystal struts that kept the body in position glistened as the liquid inside sloshed around them. The head faced him, but the eyes were closed. He was thankful of that. He didn’t want to see their brown eyes. He would always remember them speckled with golden light, and he knew now the light would be gone.

What to do, what to do.

He stood there, not knowing for some time. The pool of water had spread a little towards his feet, but since the box had been opened, it seemed to have stopped leaking. The display on the side slowly climbing little bars up to a 100% destination. Aiming for perfection.

They looked peaceful at least, they looked like they were unaware of anything around them, even him. And of course, they were. Dead, gone, already back on earth. This body, these bones cared not for the journey they were on now. He reached out then, touching their hair which was wet and trailed slightly in the pooled water around them, floating like leaves in a pond.

The water was warm, and as his feet plunged into the box it rose above his socks and kissed his skin. He plunged down on top, his arms reaching around, through the crystal struts and finding the fleshy body and bones behind at the bottom. He hugged, and squeezed them, his eyes filling both with the water and the tears. He knew they were gone, but he had to hold them. He had to be here now with them, encased in a water filled box shooting through space.

“2.51.” The voice overhead announced, this time echoing in the vast space of the cargo bay.

He closed his eyes, jasmine filling his mind. He was no longer halfway. He wasn’t even before. He was only lost and alone. This he knew was how it would remain. So, he stayed and cried until sleep finally snatched him away, his body drained of energy from all the weeping. The voice overhead continued to call out many more marker points, little dots that now tracked his fall into nothingness.


Little wounded wing

Little wounded wing.
You never knew how dangerous it could be.
Flying through life as you were.
Hoping others, like you, wanted to sing.

Little spark of light.
No one told you how maddening it would be.
Existing how you are, so special.
The rules never showed you how to fight.

Life it took a hold and stained.
Into your feathers and soul it pained,
you to see what this world really was behind the lies.
Through maligned and deceitful eyes.
After wandering your many trails, deserving of fairness and love.
The world is dark and mattered.
Cruel and harsh and tattered.
To a creature who sees the good in everyone from above.

Little broken heart.
We all told you how not to cry.
No one cares for water spent.
The gulf between us now so far apart.

Hey little dying bird.
You told yourself in the end.
The only thing that was missing, was love.
And love was the only thing they no longer heard.

The Death of the heart

Through hollowed tears that paint the walls.
Cries a thought, uttered more in lament than desperation.
The lights fading.
A love abating.
The prayer for a heart on the edge of nothing.
What demons and ghosts stole it away.
Which angels plucked it from the earth.
Has god really written the last passage in its tale.
Or has the other heart deserved a second chance?
These questions lick at the mind of fate.
While others close their eyes to possibilities.
They lost the beat, the rhythm of love.
Those roots that went deep, tangled and clogged with mud.
Twisted with happenstance and rode the whispered jokes of time.
All beneath the silent wings, and bells ringing out a new era.
While eucalyptus air fills the lungs.
And we cough up the oil of yesterday.
For heaven can wait, while paradise before us blooms.

Adieu

Shuffling off this mortal coil.
After years of strife and toil.
Turns my sight towards the sky.
And spit in Satan’s salty eye.
For though I’m old and known to break.
With bones of chalk that tend to ache.
I know the spin of my moral compass.
And what is true within each one of us.
For Satan wanted my soul one day.
When down on my knees I was to pray.
And promised heaven and all the earth.
If I would part with what I’d had since birth.
But I knew that slippery cunning devil.
Was not true, or on the level.
And would leave me lost, sad and doomed.
When the horsemen rode to their apocalyptic tune.
So though he lured and tried to test.
Reach within and corrupt the best.
I resisted hard and asked god to linger.
While I flipped old red the finger.
And now I fall into the unknown whole.
With my heart intact, and still with my soul.

Lay me down

To sleep, in a dream that never wakes.
Flying on stars and tears tonight.
Lay me down.
Into the air or the earth.
For that is where my soul seeks silence.
Covered for a hundred years, a thousand tears.
Rusted and weak.
Lay me down, to sleep.
And tell me stories of the future.
A harkening of new truths.
When this time has died into a yesterday.
I will wake and drink the world in again.


TAKEN Everyday nightmares – OUT NOW

book cover burning house

21:09

Staring down the dark street, he watched as the lampposts flickered in and out of light. Luminous reflection seeming to be running off an invisible heartbeat. Stuttering. Struggling.

He felt the same. He was tired. He’d run the last two miles and his calf muscles now ached. He’d stopped momentarily to ease the stitch that was spreading in his side. Stabbing needles from Satan’s fingertips.

Nearly there.

He saw the traffic had built up on Bower Street, he’d actually heard the car horns and the angry shouts before he saw the rows of taillights snaking away. A great stationary monster of red eyes going nowhere.

Turning left he hurried away from the angry voices and quickly checked the time. 20.45. It had taken longer than he’d expected. The transport had imploded on itself and the city was heaving in unpreparedness that night. He felt the sweat on his forehead, the stingy sizzle of desperation and determination. A light rain now flecked onto his skin as he passed by houses. The glow of life inside reminded him what he was doing this for. The eyes of the buildings glowed with little tears from the rain, happy that people were inside. All together for the first time in years.

He sprinted, tripped and surged on. Finally getting to the door five minutes later. Too little, too late?

Better late than never he supposed, rapping frantically on the door.

The door swung open hastily. The smell of candles and coffee greeted him along with the flood of a welcoming light and a relieved smile.

“Thank god.” They said to him, as he collapsed into their arms.

Tears, sweat and rain ran unabashed down his cheeks. His heart, which had threated to give up on him, pulsed to a different beat. The feeling he got whenever he saw them. The tingly skin sensation that tickled around his ears and neck. He smelled them, hugged them. Taking these new feelings deep within himself.

“I can’t believe it.” They said as they broke apart and he stepped inside.

The small house threw its arms around him, beckoning a safety.

“It’s pandemonium out there”. He replied, stepping further in and following them up the stairs. He glanced quickly at the front room; the warming sweet-smelling candles flickered within while the television screamed out silently with the volume down. The news informing no-one to things that everyone already knew.

“I’m glad you made it; I was getting worried it would be too late.” They said, settling down onto the bed. He took in the vision, the moment and tried to keep himself together.

He followed, not bothering to take off his shoes but throwing off the jacket which the light rain had clung to.

The clock on the side clicked over to 9pm.

They drew into one another, kissing tenderly. Touching each other’s hands and diving deep into one another’s eyes. Tears swelled, wiped away by fingers that trembled with tenderness in the glowing room.

“I had to be here. I had to come.” He said. Knowing that they already knew.

“I didn’t expect it to be like this. I’m just glad you’re by my side.” Their voice stuttered. “I love you.” they said, as they closed their eyes. Not out of shame, but to a sad realisation it would be the last time.

“I love you.” He replied. “And I will find you again.”

They held each other closer as the lights died.

21:09, the time the world ended.


Taken from Dislocated: A Short story collection – Out now

Gravitate to grief

Listen to this episode.


Watching the clouds roll over the sky outside my window, I can’t but think the world is changing to fit my mood. My consciousness seeping out of this skin and manifesting my universe. If only I were that powerful. An alchemic touch to turn the things that are as cold as stone and black as coal, to a wondrous gold.

I touch the place, where my heart used to be. Wondering where this chasm came from. Wondering why it was taken. This wondering keeps me from other things; making copious cups of tea, looking at pictures of you; dancing that kitchen knife across my wrists. (Bury me where you find me)

Nothing has begun to matter. The phone has rung insistently on and off all day. Souls looking for connection. Checking in on me, to see if I’m okay; to check if I haven’t done anything silly. To save me from myself. Silly was always my nature.

I watch the clouds more as they roll on and war with one another. I used to look for things in the cloud patterns. Their bursting explosions that would turn into animals or faces. I don’t see anything there now that I wish to see. Now I only want to tear my eyes out. To stop viewing a world I wish to have no part of. A world without you, is not something I want to be within. It tore my heart out that day. The departure day I have come to know it. Wednesday…. why not?

My skin aches and my head is heavy. I feel gravity’s pull now more than ever. The sad disposition is not my usual sensibility. Hope could always be found by the turning of a page, the rolling of a new day, and beyond the heartache. But someone has drained the colour from my life and washed it with a headache grey. Placed it on repeat.

I pretend to be asleep when they come over. The ones whose phone calls failed to find an audience. Their good intentions on the other side of yesterday grow faint. Like a voice in the distance calling me back. They mean well, and I love them. They have gone through the same, the similar. The maddening familiar. I smile and nod as they place the flowers and rearrange the plates. Not noticing that all the flowers will be scorched now. They do not see that I am breaking away. This recalibration to a life I was apathetic to before, is really me crumbling into something else. Something so selfishly encompassing even God will not forgive.

Sleep. I need this.

You. I want that.

I smash my inner skull open and dive into memories of you. The smell of your collar bone and the way you used to wear me out. A side glance as you cheat at scrabble. Everything there is central. So certain like the rain. This skull begins to crust over, covering those memories with the sickening smell of death. Like being trapped in a tiny kitchen and burning the toast. These memories catch fire and smoulder, choking me and making my eyes water.

They come around again, touching me while I dream and sweeping away the reflections of myself.

Piece by piece they pick me up. I put myself back together. Banging once more on the doors of heaven but turned away. Shivering out the cold of my core. Watching as the bruises heal and the days fade into years. I will not be the ghost that haunts this space. I will not be the body on your hands that weighs you down. I will be the scar on the surface of life, with empty eyes; replaced with tiny pebbles. Taken from the river of remorse.

MORE FABLES HERE

Bord / Edge

Debout sur cette rive une fois de plus.
Sur le bord de l’existence.
Je voussens dans le vent.
Je me sense arrosé dans le marée.
Est-ce que je me vois marcher sur cette plage?
Ou je me sens perdu dans un million de grains de sable.

Stand on this shore once again.
On the edge of existence.
I’m standing in the wind.
I feel watered in the tide.
Do I see myself walking on this beach?
Or feel lost in a million grains of sand.

Death in neutral

Death comes, not in the sudden felling of your tree of life.
That monumental crash in the wooded realm of existence.
Or in an avalanche of silent demise,
Crashing into white off a precipice that follows a climb.
Death never leaves a new life.
It breathes silently on your skin.
Like a misty voice, cold and condensed.
Dew dropping its pain along the way.
Watching as your petals of life fall.
A new one each day.

dead rose skull


Taken from
Seasons of a wandering heart

book cover snow and tree


 

Try

The vessel inside overflows.
Screaming to expand.
The trying, the tearing.
The overcometh of each battle, each day.
As those warriors say.
We leave nothing but our trail.
Blood and candles to light the way for others.
A legacy gilds the petal of our history.
The bloom of overcome.
The fragrance of succeeding.
In the skin that sheared from the bone.
And tears the weep from eyes that have seen tomorrow.
We sleep an eternal rest, knowing that we tried.
So now sweet moment, which I gather in it’s lustre.
I be present with you, and smile at the strength it took to make it.
Where I fall, may there be lilies and lotus flowers.
Marking the space as sacred and inviting.
An organic tombstone to one, who did nothing but try.

While i slept

To collapse but not to shatter.
Yet veins of the break spread deep.
Frozen in the reckoning of our time.
Managing a mosaic of madness.
Fleeted days, encapsulated by hurried tensions.
Pickled in the wine of the year.
Sadness stalked my fields.
You set fire to my home.
It burns still, the flames will not recede.
Your words breathing oxygen to its devastation.

Something to stay awake for – Grace & Josh

Listen to this episode.


It had rained all morning and a small stream of water now ran down the slope of the playground outside. Miss Carbine stole a look out of the darkened window from the warm classroom she inhabited, seeing the water hammering down the pane. She sighed to herself knowing they would have to have the lunch break inside today. Her class were currently in pairs, going through the textbooks that she had put out that morning, hoping the eager minds would devour them greedily.

It wasn’t too big a class, and she found she was able to manage the five- and six-year olds reasonably well with her wispy ways and mild manners. They hadn’t yet lost the awe of having a teacher, that special entity that was there to bestow wonders upon them. Indeed, many still seemed to want to impress, which she cherished as all too soon this seemed to fade.

Grace had been reading her book with Josh, going through the story of Finders the dog and his adventure in the supermarket. She was a good reader and was able to point out to Josh where she felt he was going wrong. Josh was slow and he didn’t much care for the stupid dog or why it was even in a supermarket. He’d only ever seen one dog in a shop before himself, guiding a man around who his mum told him couldn’t see.

The dog buying cereal seemed stupid to him and he lost interest quickly and began to pinch Grace as she tried to read. If they had spoken more about the story, Grace would have agreed with Josh. The anthropomorphic antics of Finders seemed stupid to her also, and she did question its applicability to their development, further wondering if Miss Carbine; who was busy checking her phone, had given them the correct course book that morning. But she persevered and tried to ignore Josh as he pinched her, pushing him away and trying to finish the story for them both.

The rest of the class didn’t seem to have any problems with the book or Finders, indeed some seemed to be enjoying it. Before long though they had all finished and it was time for lunch. As it would be indoors today, they were allowed to sit on the carpet and have their food. An indoor picnic Miss Carbine suggested, helping them retrieve their lunchboxes from the tidy trays and bags. Grace went to the hallway where her bag was and retrieved a cup from the side also for some water. Josh had pushed passed her, knocking her into the wall as he attempted to put something down Amanda Hartly’s back. She scowled at him as she steadied herself, a small red mark appearing on her elbow where she’d banged into the wall.

With her lunch and water Grace sat on the carpet, eager to begin her food as her stomach growled. She heard the rain outside their classroom and watched it drip down the glass like a hose had been aimed at it. Her best friend Michael was not in today, and Miss Carbine had told them he was unwell. She looked at her teacher now, who was helping Robert with his lunchbox that wouldn’t open, missing Michael.

She had just started to tuck into her sandwich when she felt water pouring all over her. She momentarily thought the windows had smashed open, the storm breaching the small stronghold their tiny school offered. Then the laughter rose about her, coming strong from behind. Josh stood there, with an empty jug in his hand having poured the contents all over her. His fat face sporting a smile that reached from one chubby cheek to the other.

​“Oh, Josh Devonport what do you think you’re doing!” Miss Carbine yelled, stepping the short way across the carpet to where he stood.

“That’s horrible Josh. You’re so mean.” Amy Standhall said, who was sat next to Grace but had escaped the projectile of the water. Grace sat there, the water pooling in her dress as she sat crossed leg. Her sandwich now a sodden mess and a cold chill slithering over her body.

“Get over there right now!” Miss Carbine said, ordering the boy away from where the others sat. Miss Carbine, lovely as she was, was not really prepared for the antics of children. She had the priorities of the situation confused, and though she acted with Josh; she somewhat neglected Grace as she sat there with the water in her knickers and the fat boy laughing on at the other side of the room. Amy got Grace to stand up and shake off the water and she even went with her to the bathroom to help her dry off. Grace watched Josh as she left the room being reprimanded by Miss Carbine. She doubted he really cared.

A while later Miss Carbine appeared in the bathroom and helped Grace dry off completely, asking her if she was okay and not to worry about her dress; or her lunch for that matter. She would see to it that some food would arrive. But Grace was no longer hungry. She was wet, cold and angry at being humiliated.

She returned to the classroom where everyone had carried on with their lunches. Some of the kids had finished and were playing with the building blocks near the blackboard. Josh had been ordered to get some paper towels and was mopping up the water that he spilt on the floor where Grace had quietly sat waiting to eat her lunch. He smiled at her as she came back into the room. The taunting face of someone who would do the same thing again.

Teddy Evans came up to her and asked if she was okay, she nodded in reply; thankful that all boys weren’t as horrid as Josh. Miss Carbine suddenly whisked herself away to go get Grace some food, despite her protest. While the others played, Grace went to the back of the class where the storage cupboard was. She opened the door quietly and went inside. The small cupboard was stacked high with boxes and games equipment. They weren’t really allowed to go in there on their own, but everything was stored safely and there was no real danger. Silly rules to keep them in place she guessed. Unless you were locked in with the light off perhaps. Grace found what she was looking for quickly, and a few minutes later slipped out of the cupboard and approached Josh.

“That wasn’t very nice what you did you know.” She said to him, hoping to find remorse there in those fat brown eyes. Josh scoffed and pushed her away.

“Buzz off. You smell like a wet dog.” He said.

​“Aren’t you even sorry for doing what you did?” she asked him, giving him one more opportunity to apologise.

“I said buzz off!” He said again, pushing her hard. Grace stepped back; her eyes burning a hole through him. Then she smiled and said.

“You know with Miss Carbine away, there’s nothing stopping us getting the footballs and tennis balls out of the cupboard and playing quickly. Shame we didn’t get to go outside today, huh?” She said, innocently. She knew Josh wasn’t too stupid, but even at her young age she knew how to manipulate certain people. She had said the magic word too, football.

“Why me?” Josh asked, somewhat suspicious.

“Well, they’re on the high shelves aren’t they, I can’t reach them.” Grace replied, hoping the seed would manifest in Josh’s stodgy brain.

​“Right, outta the way then.” He said, reaching his own conclusion that the break time indoors was dull and kicking a ball around would be better. Grace knew Miss Carbine would be returning soon, but she watched as Josh went over to the cupboard where the sports equipment was and saw him go in.

It seemed that fate was eager to help Grace that rainy Wednesday while the other kids played in the classroom, and Miss Carbine chatted absently with one of the other teachers by the school kitchen.

​Once Josh had entered the small cupboard the sports boxes had tumbled onto him and the lights had gone out, plunging the whole school into darkness. No doubt the storm had downed a power line mile away, knocking the electricity off and unleashing chaos upon the small primary school. But the skipping ropes had found their way around Josh’s neck in the tumble of the boxes, their disordered storing knotting quickly and completely in the frantic blackness of the closet.

Her earlier placement up into the vent made it an inevitable trap Josh would not be able to escape from. When the power sprang back to life, Grace quietly flicked the switched outside the small cupboard which kicked the extractor fan on that resided within; left over from recent renovations when their classroom used to be part of the old bathrooms.

The ropes worked quickly around him, tightening hard around his fat little neck. He lifted slightly off his feet as the light bulb above him blinked in and out, mirroring his consciousness; the ropes choking him into regret.

Grace returned to the others, pretending to be scared by the lights and the storm. Secretly smiling to herself as his howls of help were drowned out by the chaos enveloping their class.


More fables here.

When you think about your life, I surround you in gentle sympathy

Oily hands which pin warnings to the walls of your paper cathedrals.
Closing their eyes to the view of sorrow.
It stretched before them, and under your skin.
Cool, when not engulfed in such flames of disgust.
Little cracks in stone, slowly crumble pillars of discontent.
The columns that held our gods too high.
Out of reach, on the horizon.
How can we touch the finger of god.
When we choose to crawl on swollen bellies.
Pick the needle which will penetrate the precious heart.
Kept in glass, and passed down and around but never treasured.
Wake up those angels which sleep inside.
Do not run and hide, from a future which began yesterday.
Tip the grey to another shade and shake out a song.
One which can be played at any funeral.
Signalling a death of something, and the beginning of such wonder.

Leave us where we lay

His heart, now the colour of his wife.
Ashen grey and broken.
The urn smashed, scattering them both across the clouds.
Little flecks of life stuck on the window of the world.
As the volcanoes rumbled and the gods groaned.
Down they both came in the rains.
Licked up by the wood spirits and the humans below.
Pooling in the heart of the world.
Cells and shells, finding the seabed of the soul.
Undulating to the sound of time.
Those tears of the gods which fell in this passing.
Are drunk only by the sinners, like sweet wine.

Teraton

Feeling eternity’s pull.
Like a fishhook in the eye.
Sweaty palms and idle thumbs.
Such monsters we welcome into our lives.
What Gods we despise.
This island calls to me, in the middle of the cityscape.
Alone and volcanous, my temperament now becomes.
Changes of thought like the harrowing weather.
Laying blame like the setting sun.
You do not wait for the dark to appear.
The titan out of the depths of fear.
Into my life you shatter.
Breaking all I’ve ever known.
Asking me to reside in your temple, lighting torches;
keeping the bats and the beasts at bay.
My tabernacle heart cries out.
Waking its own monster from the core.
I bow and shudder, marking the scales that begin to appear.
And we fall and fight forever.
Grappling in the leviathan love we invoked.
Red in tooth and claw.
Knowing it will be the death of us.

Surviving is the best revenge

Into the bath he jumped fully clothed.
The water boiled and curled his toes.
It shed his skin, his hair, his eyes.
But acid, not water burnt away both his thighs.
A ghastly end, but one incomplete.
For his bones remained from head to feet.
So out he jumped, forgetting his pride.
Down the plug the water went, with his thoughts of suicide.
And in the mirror glaring back.
Was his bleached white skeleton, from front to back.
He saw his skull, the sockets so deep.
Out of his mouth a little whimper did creep.
But not one to dither, or dwell in his state.
He ran down the stairs and out the front gate.
And he came to the house that had made him so morose.
And he slipped through the door as quiet as a ghost.
He crept up the stair, to where he knew he would find them.
And he brought out some rope and some tape so to bind them.
Both lovers were sleeping, intertwined while they dreamt.
Their hair and their clothes, all wild and unkempt.
So he tied them together, then he set fire to the bed.
He watched as the flames roared up to their heads.
But before they departed, before their own bones were charred.
He slipped off his fibular to play a tuneful bon voyage.

The Empress

Though she sank into that crystal gloom.
Where memories dwell and history hangs.
She smiled, not to the departure.
Or the trauma she would never know.
But to herself.
For though her life was diminishing.
Fogging up her eyes and silently singing lullabies.
She had chosen the means, the time and the space.
She was the ruler of this small endeavour.
All on her own terms.
Absent of the eyes, or the tongues that criticised.
Or the tiny push.
She controlled the moment that quivered in her soft small hands.
Only she knew how it was to end.
An Empress of her own demise.

Conflict(ed)

The ticking clock moves my bones.
Vibrating to a new chorus.
Such fear and bravery dogfight within.
Triggering the gunfire in my heart.
Bringing other humans to their knees.
It stains this soul.
Are we cast out of Eden?
Ordered here under the guilt of honour.
Directed there by badges that shimmer in the sorrow.
A broken moral compass, scratched by time.
Left stranded out to sea.
Struck by the passing grief of that tide.
The one that washed over me.
Seeing death in the eyes of those all around.
Feeling hope strangled, feeling fear take hold.
Who really wins the fight, when we lose ourselves in the struggle?
Stretched and stricken, sunk by the force of your hate.
Every tear here brings the ocean higher.
With every cry, a family welcomes in a stranger.
A void, the blackness. The stories to tell a generation.
Of the great fight, that felt so wrong.

Odd-fellow

Silently he sits, as his eyes cross the room.
The breeze flutters in, rustling the magazines and small talk.
Chatter and buzz, tea and coffee cups.
A man joins at his side, greeting no one.
Shaking hands with only his past.
The smile on both, reaches around.
Unsettles the young, but comforts the knowing.
Clothes dishevelled. Hair uncombed.
The smudges on their glasses irritate no one.
They are alone in their memories.
Caring not for the call to eat.
Or the call of nature.
Held captive by a guest never welcomed in.
But tantalises them with sugar coated histories.
And kisses of those already dead.
They are friendly, but lost.
Vacant in their static.
Soon they will be put to bed.
Tucked in with their nightmares and stained sheets.
Yet these men are like astronauts, time travellers and heroes.
They survive what we will never see.
Only odd, to a world which purifies.
And wishes to erase what it doesn’t understand.