HARLEY HOLLAND

The boat rocked gently over the green waters while I tried my best to relax. To just take a moment and breathe. Rick had handed me a beer from the cooler and the fishing lines we used countless times as an excuse to get away sat valiantly on the back. The amount of hours I had gotten away from the grind, the countless dietary meals Jane pushed onto all of us, the meaningless small-talk cluster headaches, was priceless. Just breeze, sunshine, and water. And maybe a few beers.
‘Daddy look. Daddy!’ Claudette screamed from her seat as she dangled over the water. Rick’s daughter Meg had hold of her ankles and was trying with all her might to stop Claudette from falling out.
‘Get back on-board sailors.’ I commanded from my seat. For a second, I imagined how I would react if she actually went overboard and my inner version…

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Provenance

How do you not shake, with such worlds inside of you.
Looking into the orbs of your soul, I see galaxies forming.
My heart swims across those burnt hazel pools.
Breathing hydrogen and life, watching comets disappearing.
Love mirrors and love remains.
It flows inside our veins.
Showing up the places that are broken.
Unconditionally we cloak each other.
Covering the scars and bruises of memory.
Cloaked in rose kissed armour.
Light as angel sighs.
Defiant and enduring, like a kiss upon waking.
For love cannot be undone.
Each part of this love is a moment.
Strung together like rosary beads.
Blessed and cherished, but never betrayed.
Clutched close when the darkness threatens.
The light of our love gleams through those cracks.
Cracks which show where we pulled our pieces together.
And I will kiss each wound with a prayer.
Devouring a genesis,  as our skin meets.
Collapsing in time.

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.

The World beneath

Hold your breath. Count to ten.
Join the depths of the world beneath.
An inversed galaxy that never ends.
With lotus flower eyes you can see if you listen.
The aquatic hum of a sight leagues beneath your bones.
You are the octopus that crawled back to the sea.
The Sinking ship which will haunt the ocean floor.
Poseidon blood tingles in your veins as you descend.
To the world beneath, the silent watery grave where the weeds dance.
Each wave washes away your grey.
And every day your Atlantis awaits.

Stolen Sky


STOLEN SKY

Watching high from miles above.
A silent watcher, like a mourning dove.
Sees the world bend and sway.
As he cranks the moon to life each day.
And so he watches as the world turns over.
In dusty pools, while supernovas.
Crash and burn his aching heart.
For a world he loves, he sees torn apart.
Which leads him down into despair.
While comets and stars alight the air.
And move on in time with disregard.
Of his moment here, or collapsing heart.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


Taken from Everyday Nightmares – out now

EVERYDAY NIGHTMARES MIRACLES


 

You’ll see

You will see, said the little whisper.
The sound within.
A distant whimper.
From the voice inside the cracking skull.
The quiet reasoning.
The heart’s strong hull.
That sails beyond a galaxy.
Down here on earth.
In complexity.
These defiant words did manifest.
Into action.
And I must confess.
That I was able to walk away.
From all that trauma.
And sad decay.
And close the book of you and me.
A tired old tale.
Which you will see.

Something to stay awake for – Stain

Listen to this episode.


It had begun to rain, a light drizzle that peppered the people as they walked along Bradley Way. Not the prettiest street in the world, and today it was overcast with a churning grey cloud that dampened the mood and made things ever more ordinary. People walked up and down the road, seeking out the local small supermarket that had opened just last year. It was housed in a former pub, the Bull and horn; the cigarette stained walls and beer marked floors long since ripped out. Outside, the faux Tudor design was kept, hoping the inn-like appearance would entice more customers. But people shopped here anyway out of convenience. The newsagents across the street had closed a year ago also, the owner packed up and moved away after a red Ford escort had rammed into his shop and robbed him late on a Sunday afternoon. Unless you were willing to cross the giant playing field at the back of Ashen road to go to the giant superstore, the pub-turned-metro shop was the easiest option.

Just near to the store was number 46, and though it was starting to rain, Mrs Taylor was found scrubbing the pavement. She had swept and tidied already, and now she was striking the wet brush across the path like she was toiling the earth. She worked with determination, scraping and scrubbing the ground over and over. She never dressed for cleaning. She was made up in her Sunday best, as if she had just gotten back from church. Though the fine rain had settled on her hair, giving it a web like crown, her hair was in place as if she had spent an hour on it. She was an odd sight to those making their way down Bradley road. After a while, she packed up her cleaning materials and went back into her house, number 46, the one with the red door.

It was grey again. It had rained in the morning, and the streets glistened like slumbering snakes. It was Sunday again also, and the local football club had finished their practice over on the giant field. A few kids had wandered off on their way home, stopping in at the local store to grab a drink and some much-needed sugar.

Mrs Taylor watched them as they walked down her road. She was scrubbing again, hot water and bleach burned away at the pavement. The added soapy suds flowed down the kerb and washed up to the drain, down into the darkness. She watched them, and they stared back at her as they walked by. She did not frown; she did not glare. There was no smile on her face either. Just a determination to scrub and wash, and get the job done. By the time the kids exited the store, Mrs Taylor had finished and returned inside her house. She had gone to make herself a cup of tea, her hands stinking of bleach and had become pale. The kids thought no more of her, and carried on their way home, their hands a healthy peach and holding the chocolate bars like tiny swords.

​-

The whole street knew of course. They watched her every week. She used the same bucket, the same brush. She would start by sweeping up the dirt and leaves that had fallen from the huge oak tree that loomed over the garden from number 38. Joyce, who lived with the tree, had never cared form Mrs Taylor. Joyce was a generation away from the woman, and tutted and shook her head to her antics in private. But if she saw her on the street, she would always nod her head in quiet recognition. To which Mrs Taylor would always nod her head slightly back.

It was Sunday again. No rain today. Just thick dark clouds above threatening the worst. A nasty cold breeze blew in from the south, ripping through Bradley Way like an arctic arm reaching from the poles. She resigned herself to a coat today. She had lost more weight than she would care to acknowledge, and her frail body would shiver in the conditions now. Underneath her plum coat, she wore her Sunday best again. The pearls her mother had given her hung over her dress, little eyes gleaming out into the cold. She had also decided to use some gloves, not because of the cold, but because her hands were now so raw from the bleach. She sat at night picking at the loose bits of skin around her fingers, peeling away the hangnails that had appeared, paled underneath from all the toxins. They stung and hurt.

But she did not care. She wanted to carry on, so she used the gloves to keep the feeling in her fingers to get the job completed. To feel the work.

And she scrubbed and rubbed and washed the pavement.

Bundled up against the elements, Mrs Stokes, and her daughter Ivy were walking along the other side of the road. Mrs Stokes lived down on Humber Way, but she knew Mrs Taylor from the primary school morning mums run. She had seen her at the gates with the others, a gaggle of women with their precious little birds waiting for the gates to part.

Ivy watched her as she scrubbed on her hands and knees, the warm water cascading over the lip of the pavement. Ivy broke free of her mother’s hand and crossed the street without looking, going over to Mrs Taylor. Her mum called after her, following her onto the street.

It was quiet that day, few cars littered the road and there was a peaceful calm.

​“Hi.’ Ivy said to Mrs Taylor, who looked up from the floor. Her eyes were glassy and tired.

“Hello.” Mrs Taylor replied, friendly. Ivy’s mum came up to them, grabbing her hand.

“Ivy, don’t bother her. Come along, we have to get to the store. And don’t run off like that. I’m sorry.” Mrs Stokes said, looking down at the woman. With that, Mrs Taylor looked off slightly, as if searching the road for something.

“Why are you cleaning the path?” Ivy asked suddenly. They all shivered there in the cold. Ivy’s mum began to pull her away.

“Don’t bother her. I’m so sorry, she’s always curious. Come along Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, eager to get away.

Mrs Taylor stood then, much more agile than her demeanour would suggest. She popped up like a dog ready for a walk.

“Its fine, kids are curious. I’m just doing a spot of cleaning. The council seem to neglect this part of town, and the road is filthy.” She smiled then, a warm smile as she looked at the little girl. She turned her head slightly, as if she heard something, then turned back towards them.

Mrs stokes, eager to get going smiled back, hoping it would be the end to the conversation.

“But, no one else cleans the pavement. I’ve not seen anyone do it like you, scrubbing away.” Ivy said, determined to understand. Mrs Taylor was silent for a minute and then replied.

“Well, you see there where you are standing; I just can’t get this bit clean. It’ll take some time, but it will lift.” She said, reaching back for her scrubbing brush, having looked more at the spot where the two stood.

Ivy looked down at her feet, seeing nothing but the black road.

“But there is nothing there.” Ivy replied.

“Come along now Ivy. Leave her to her cleaning.” Mrs stokes said, vigorously pulling the girl. Mrs Taylor laughed a little. A small laugh, brittle from its long hibernation.

“You kids think everything is already clean. I bet your room at home is a mess and yet you think its fine. No no, the stain there, it spreads up and across the pavement. I think it is oil, but it’s taking ages to go.” She sighed suddenly, as if reminded of the huge task in front of her.

“There you see. Sorry to bother you. Come now Ivy.” Mrs Stokes said, and this time successfully moved the girl who walked on still puzzled.

They made their way to the store and Mrs Taylor watched them for a few seconds before scrubbing a bit further and then packing up her things and heading back into her house, closing her red door behind her. She took off her coat and went upstairs. She always did this. She went into the front room of the house, the second big bedroom. Hers was at the rear and was slightly smaller, but she liked the view of the back garden. She liked the green. She went across to the window and looked down at the pavement.

“It’s still there.” The little girl said.

Mrs Taylor pulled at the sleeves of her dress.

“I know. I’ll buy the super strength bleach next week. That’ll do it.” She said to the empty room.

She looked up the street as a few people came out of the store. The old newsagents across the road had been turned into kitchenettes. She looked in through the ground floor window, a huge TV screen the size of the wall flashed away in blues and reds.

“Maybe in time, it’ll fade on its own.” The girl said.

She looked down at the spot again. A huge stain on the floor seemed to pulse before her. She closed her eyes and watched the red ford escort zoom away noisily like thunder down the road. She hoped she would never see it again, but she knew she would.


MORE FABLES HERE

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.

Raining underneath

Underneath. Down here where it’s calm.
Where the black beauty of the abyss touches my feet.
All is quiet.
All is still.
I’m entombed as if in a coffin.
Locked forever in my own space
Controlling the promise of my ever after.
And then you came.
Pelting my world.
Hurtling across like a comet in my stretching blue sky.
You bring the change, flowing through like a weather system.
Flourishing my eyes open like a new season.
Calling sub-oceanic flowers to bloom within me.
Aquatic forest pines that reach up to touch the surface.
To reach and touch your face.
My hands branch to catch the light you dazzle.
A sudden rush you instill within me like heroin bubbles in my blood.
Coming up too soon, bending my compression that has kept my heart safe.
Heading for the bends.
I’m a fish not born to fly with you.
High where the birds and angels soar.
Hidden in these depths for reasons.
For sins that keep me drowned.
Now it rains under water, puddling the pool of the sea that parts us.
And I drift in the stream of sorrow.
Knowing that the rain on the surface, is really your tears.

Wish the end

Simple words say more in silence.
Like the break between heartbeats.
Like waves hitting the sand.
To swim or drown in your fiery light.
You cover your eyes with intent.
Stealing the beauty away.
Keep us trapped.
Keep us safe.
Locked into your skin like DNA.
Longing after life’s mystery.
Build the pyre from your bones and burn me inside out.
Collapsing into your cells.
A martyr for your majesty.
Burning the past away, leaving only the gold.
Tasting sweat and love with each gulp of air.
The salt from your waves.
Here is where you’ll find me.
Here is where I wish to end.

Sirens

Like a ship lost at sea.
Suffering in circumstance.
Battling the waves.
The tempest explodes and soaks each bone.
Weighted already by lack and distrust.
Yet in the surf the song swells.
A calling, rippling over the wounds.
Run away, if you were to listen closely.
But the beauty forgoes all sense of reason.
What was really meant for you and I?
Seems fallen from the perfect sky.
And dances now in the sea, for we; crying into ecstasy.
They touch us deep, and lick the skin.
An immodest turn that welcomes the watchers.
Hungry eyes devour each weakness.
Humility is placed in dirty pockets.
Like an apple, in the mouth of the fallen.
These sirens call, with whispers and smoke.
Consuming the threads of morals, which catch in their throats.
They will have their way, and destroy all before them.
Collapsing in a sweet undoing.
As we fall to the bottom of the sea.
And they retreat, to shadows and forest of opportunity.
Silence there, and nothing more.

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.

Seahorse

The Saturn rings look like halos above you.
Don’t move, you look divine.
Around your feet the seahorses play, kicking up moon dust memories.
You find me, deep down in the Mariana trench, decaying like an old wreck.
Do not ask me to play hide and seek now, I do not know the universe as well as you.
1, 2, 3, 4…..Comets shoot across my sky, turning the blackness to fire.
I’m blinded and momentarily lost.
You paralyse me with your tongue, licking sweet sensations.
Then flicking me with words that sink in, deep into the bloodstream.
My nakedness parades in full as I stroll across the moon.
Swim to the ocean floor, swim forever more in the sea that seems beyond tranquil.
8, 9, 10….ready or not.
You found me, just north of Neptune wearing my own crown.
You say it suits you better, everything always does.
I diminish in ill-fitting clothes of the emperor. Falling into threadbare solitude.
Will the trident ever be tested? How much blood needs to flow into these craters to satisfy?
Throw me back to the tide and cast your net further afar.
Let the oceans pull you away, so I never let you plunge my Atlantis into dismay.
My pyramids will be forever mine alone, a place I can go to weep and smile.
Watching the earth follow the moon.

Salvation forest

This is what keeps me alive.
You drying on my skin.
Lobsters of the deep, snap memories for us to share.
For me to fish for.
Your tongue, a mind of its own.
I hope you don’t mind, that I describe you in such words.
But this is what I need.
A photosynthesis of love from sadness.
Breathing deep in me, swelling my soul.
Your Picasso honey, sweet blues of strung moments to fix.
A thorn in my side and iron lung around my heart.
Feeling you on my fingertips, presenting such possibilities.
A kiss will only do, to stain this skin.
Crawl into the space of your mind.
Where heart and head battle like warring gods.
Climbing mount Olympus.
Wax sticking, fear splitting into sweet tangible delight.
Strong roots that burst up toward the sky.
Like ghosts escaping a tomb.
Strange fruit that I hunger for, my teeth to bite upon.
Finding your heart at the centre,
I will kiss into recovery.
Restoring your pulse and transfusing our strength.
Into something eternal.
Breathe in this forest of salvation.
Return home.

Solitude sometimes completes

Quiet is the night that falls into me.
Spreading the inky blackness all over my soul.
God smears it on my eyes.
The devil breathes it into my lungs.
Dark replaces lonely.
And as the moon crescents and pierces the void.
I stumble quickly into a knowing.
Dropping fear like shrouds of revelations.
Collapsing into a nothingness bliss.
Swimming in solitude.

Dislocate

This life, that fear of loving.
Of believing what is all around here.
A junction in your bones, fragile and misdirected.
Second hand bodies that fall like sad embarrassed eyes.
Only when the lights are out.
These fears call out your name.
Swim into your dreams and pollutes this bloodstream.
Who touched that velvet treasure?
You take rib, and scream a pleasure.
I feel the truth like each vertebrae.
You dislocate.
You propagate a new feeling within me.
A love so tender and tasty, it reeks of construction.
Of chaos and completion.
Slid off the bone of life.
All the noise seems to fade away.
To a coffin quiet existence that allows me to hear the future.
While you cover this love in salt for protection.
And I hold your bones in mine.
Counting the path of your spine.
Silently whispering to the angels a thanks.
For returning what once was ours.

Lost illusions

Fold the world into silence.
Mute the lava that runs through our core.
Bubbling into frantic action.
When anger shows.
So many lives, repeated like a failing student.
Brought back time and again, yet never the same.
Lessons drip from these eyelids.
Lies smother the eyes of such hopeful.
Innocence trapped in ice.
Drop these illusions like a weight of the moon.
Flung out into the cosmos, only to orbit your world.
God eclipses such distant.
Love replaces the fear of the known.
Nobody knows what is yet to come.

The Wind

The wind that howls, is the one that kills.
Blowing through these bones, coming down the hills.
Picking up like the devil’s breath.
It runs amok and hurries my death.
For though I’m not fragile as a slanted tree.
Or small, or weak and feathery.
The wind that howls is beyond my control.
It fans your flames that are burning my soul.

Seems forever lost?

We do not fade when you close your eyes.
Etched in stone, carved in lies.
Beneath those words please sympathise.
Something starts, when something dies.

And though it seems we’re miles apart
I commit to god for the pain to depart.
When megaliths fall, freedom starts.
And so will heal, your blackened heart.