Resplendent consumption

Though the dark spreads doubt and fear.
It is in the light where she creeps near.
For shadows and gloom she leaves in her wake.
With mournful tunes and deathly ache.
The light is what she needs to feed.
A pulsing urge, like a sprouting weed.
She sucks the light like marrow from bone.
And crawls inside that place called home.
She splits the joy and hope in two.
Suckles each like morning due.
Savouring each fantastic pleasure.
That shrivels for you, but to her is treasure.
This dark and heavy visiting member.
Will drain the light to a dying ember.
And leave you feeling almost dead.
While she licks these words inside your head.
That if darkness fades and you feel lighter.
If hope does spread and things feel brighter.
She will return like a rolling cloud.
To kill the light with her consuming shroud.

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Twist towards memories

We are changed forever.
Never the same.
Crawling out of this chrysalis.
Rubbing tired eyes with filthy fingers of the future.
Everything given, is repeated.
Everything stolen, is forever lost.
The future begins to fade like a dying star.
Caught and taken on the threshold of a coming storm.
Love came and went.
Permeated, then evaporated like the morning fog.
How we longed to be held safe in those arms.
Rocked into safety as the wind above howled.
But everything they gave, was taken away.
Everything promised, now sold.
Leaving broken bones and the residue of knowing.
A maddening knowledge of what the other sees.
A heavy heart feeling their need to go.
Now each evening I wave goodbye to the sun.
And welcome the loneliness of the moon.
But all too soon, it too departs.
And the rays that hit me in the dawn feel different and colder.
Re-birthed, repackage for tomorrow.
Threatening another day without you.

Freedom won’t save me

The shackles bend and break.
Snapping like the devil’s back.
Sweet freedom, the taste of honey.
The air alive with thunder.
It’s so lonely out there you hear in a whisper.
Dark trees breathe out a darkness.
The black sky swallowing you whole.
What a volcanic shift there is in your soul.

Rain

Tears from god. He always thought of that in the heavy downpours. The type where you can feel the stinging weight of the raindrops on your body, the cold water pelting your face. His mother used to call it that, heavenly tears. What was god crying about all the time?

He’d set off into the night just as the first drops had begun to fall. He’d smelt the rain coming, rushing to put on his boots and set out into the village to catch it. He’d grabbed his jacket but didn’t bother with an umbrella. He wanted to feel the water tonight. He wanted to feel something.

The sun had set hours ago and the hazy glow of the streetlights above him blossomed down the road he was taking. Each a branch up out of the dead black road beneath his feet, offering beautiful orbs of light to the angels above him, and who were threatening to leave. He saw how the sheets of the rain splintered across the face of the lights, little streaks through the glow like tiny missiles before disappearing into the void of the nothing.

That nothing welcomed him tonight as he walked. It spoke to him of a new solitude which he was happy to lay his bones within. The night and the rain were pure and wild, base elements that ravaged the world. He’d stepped into them before, drowning once and becoming lost in the darkened forest of his mind.

Tonight he just needed to walk. To smell the fresh air and feel the waters smother his face. The coldness came with the rain tonight also, and he watched his breath escape out into the air like his soul leaking away. He licked his lips, tasting the rain water; feeling the flecks of the divine in those tears shed from above.

The village began to open up into fields at this end, sweeping pastures plunging down the valley where the water would rush and flow like a tide on land, going out in a grassy sea. He heard nothing but the falling rain, but he watched as lonely cars moved slowly off in the distance. Little specs of light, haunting eyes that hovered across the fields where the main road was. What lives did those little tin cars carry? What stories and sadness did the souls within survive. Somewhere tonight he thought, one of those cars will fall victim to strong salty tears. Skidding and colliding somewhere and snuffing out the contents within. Plunging an unfolding tragedy into the lives of those who knew, loved and would now miss those dying embers. Collecting rain water in the crumpled remains of the squashed tin can.

His mind had become saddened as late. His body had struggled to move in the mornings when the alarm would ring in a new day like a gospel chorus. He muscles and bones a defying demon to the angelic blessing of the new dawn. He would lurk in the shadows of life, disconnect from the buzzing beast of the people he knew.

He only stepped out when it rained.

It would wash something away, something out of him. He felt it down on his clothes, the gravity of the water that was pulling down into the DNA as he walked. And he walked through the village, out towards the fields. Watching the clouds and the little lights that blinked in and out like struggling stars.

Then there was his own tired tears, that he could no longer censor. He would cry his own monsoon when he was truly alone. Weeping out to add to the rain until his forehead ached and his throat was sore. He let the ghosts in, and they would pillage his mind. Playing films in his head that he felt were on repeat. Never able to rewind or go back. Never flooded out by the rising waters that surged over everything, all but the things he most wanted most to drown.

He came to the end of the track he’d be walking. The huge brambles and blackberry bushes converged to block the way. Forcing a path would tear at the skin, ripping open the sore and cold meat that had begun to sting in the frigid air and water. So he turned on the spot, pirouetting like a shadowy ballerina in this hidden dark ballet. Watched only by the audience of nature which cowered in the bushes and the trees, watching for him to retreat.

He walked back the way he came, the roads now washing the rain water down the streets and into the gullies and drains. Leaves and litter sped on those miniature streams, washing away the dirt and despair. He wanted to open a vein and let the vermillion river meet these streams. Wash out the leaves and the junk of his heart and wring his organs dry.

Crossing the street he saw into the windows of the Fountain, the village pub which cast cosy a warmth in the sea of blackness. The huge fire was roaring and people stood and chatted around it with drinks in their hands. The windowpanes ran with the raindrops, tiny tears streaking down giving the people within a false sadness. He could not enter there, he could not be like that. The fire and warmth called to him, but he’d been burnt before. Touched by a heat and love that all too soon had smothered and gone out. He could still smell the dying of that hearth, still remembered the splutter and the death until there was nothing but ash.

He hurried on by, the rain not relenting. It still felt good, it still felt like something. Returning to his house, he stood in the driveway, looking up to the bedroom light which had been left on in his haste to depart. The little light behind the glass cast a shaft out into the night, like a lighthouse warning of danger. He took a step forward, and hesitated. Had he turned the light on at all?

He stayed on the spot and let the rain fall around him, off in the distance he heard the slow rumblings thunder. A struggling beast waiting to get up from underneath a mountain. The light in his bedroom switched off as he blinked the water out of his eyes. He dropped the keys he’d been clutching and turned around, heading off back into the night.

Heading off again into the tears from god.

Clemency

Is it really redemption if it comes so easy?
What cost is paid in tears that no one sees?
You handle me like sad broken happiness.
Planting the dead bits of me like seeds.
A flawed parlour trick turning on sympathy.
Coated in words that stick like regret.
You try to scrub this soul clean, sucking out the darkness.
Breaking yourself, to let in the light.

Severing

Esoteric sounds lie heavy in the air.
A calling, during the severing.
Deep dark pits that burrow into the earth.
Lay grinning, awaiting to swallow the cast aside past.
Life, like a kitchen table; un-pretty yet stable.
Holds the weight of what the angels let fall.
Sweet apples off their vine’s.
The well is dry, the phone is dead.
All connections are lost.
In that moment of sutterment.
Keep quiet, hear the utterment.
Close your eyes to what is being read.
The future hangs in those gum trees.
It murmurs in that warm southern ocean tide.
Deliverance from the space that darkness possessed.
Awash with light in which to drown.
Soft misty words of hope, that piece the world together again.

Church

How saintly is this soil?
That I see reaching off to the horizon.
That blue sky above must be nothing but god.
A shared beauty. That cobalt collection of atmosphere and faith.
The yoke of this galaxy rises in the distance.
What precious gold this is.
Which direction is Mecca?
The wind rushes through these bones, the breath of god.
Each twitch of a nerve ending crumbles in a crucifixion.
Causing me to speak.
For my eyes to blink and this vermilion wine inside to flow.
The church was built for us. Hewn from the mountains in the sky.
Yet I rarely pray here, as much as I should.
Thankfulness is a hymn I should sing more often.
Yet this house of god stands firm each day.
Waking to the walls and the salty tears of rain that fall inside sometimes.
When the world grows dark, when the candles go out.
Yet its foundations are stronger than Jerusalem.
I fall and touch this ground and feel at home.
Spun around and whispered to by many devils.
But they cannot ever touch me here.
In my church.
On this earth.

Retreat

I cannot go outside.
They will not see.
I lock the doors and turn the world down.
Set the moon to wake me, so I can dance in the dark.
They cannot know, they should not look.
I came to disappear discretely.
The void is my own.
Yet a consequence is not from a lack.
The love and respect weighs me down more than you will ever know.
But I have to go, I have to depart.
Sailing out on silent ships that leave you all in fog.
Not a death, not a dim.
A recapturing, of self.
Until I’m stronger to hold back the waves of the world.
Stronger, to survive the sun.

Wandering star

These wandering stars shape the night.
Pushing out the darkness.
You weigh like dark matter.
Heavy and invisible.
Watching as the other stars dance.
Can I taste those nitrogen lips?
Just for a moment, in the vacuum of nothingness.
How you have travelled, lonely across our eyes.
Blinking in and out of life.
Pulling me like the tide.

Trying not to breathe

Trapped under a bell jar, while the sun is silenced.
You put this in us. You creep into our bones.
Plucking the feathers from the birds of freedom.
You show us where the darkness grows.
This infection is massing.
Rampant, like you tongue.
A hatred and loathing that was born from a seed.
Deep without our own lungs.
The small parts of me.
Something other, that I cannot understand.
A difference in us as the night to day.
I’m trying not to breathe while the red mist rises.
A fractured state of things, little pockets of disconnect.
What horrors have you exposed?
Which queen of hearts have you disposed?
I pick the wild flowers of hope.
And tuck them into my sleeve.
Sniffing at a fragrance I wish to be within.
Smelling the chance of change.
With each barricade we rise.
A flood of ebb and flow which pulls at the mud below.
Pushing up to the crystal sky.
Smashing this glass that covers us.
This is our Vietnam. This is our Notre Dame.
Running wild out of the despair, into the arms of others.
Who breathe such cleaner air.

Love

Nobody knows what love means to you.
The bud of a rose in your life.
Or the darkness that creeps under the door.
You cannot convey, explain or say how it makes you feel.
As it fills your soul.
Or leaves you suddenly, like a bird taking flight.
Love sinks down into your DNA.
It washes over your desert like a great flood.
Trapping those grains of sand of you beneath its waves.
You will never put into words, how your love makes you feel.
Or when there are only ghostly embers of it, dying in your eyes.
Love, so relative.
And relatively unclear.

Exuberant voices

The crystal bell in this head rings out.
Shattering the dark, sending the bats into flight.
Cavernous places these thoughts do dwell.
But the night light beckons and calls.
Whispers catch on the summer breeze.
Emerging back into a world unfamiliar.
They trickle down the spine, in thoughts so sublime that they leave me restless.
Waiting for the tide to turn.
How they put up streamers and plait the hair of my age into golden weaves.
Singing me to sleep with their lullabies.
These exuberant voices compete to lift this heavy spirit.
Bringing the heavens and the sky down to me.
But back in that cave, behind the rocks and darkness.
Lies a thought, a niggling worm at the core of me.
Now asking, these voices I hear; why are there more than one?

Falling inside nothing

He let the ghost in, and paid for the pleasure.
Allowed it to walk around his soul.
Dispensed with the hauntings of old.
And reclaimed such fresh bones to tingle.
An empty shell, nothing more.
The vast lake of indifference that stretches into tomorrow.
Freezing such sorrow.
And leaving sad footprints in the snow.
What deeds did the phantom choose?
With a body now willing, and an absent soul.
It waited.
It waited, and not in vain.
To find the will to love again.
For the empty souls are not always alone.
In the face of another, featureless and insane, haunted even the spirit.
Chained it down to cognitive reframe.
And banished the shadows from the eyes.
Tearing the absent heart, while the spectre burnt.
And melted into eternity.
Together. Alone. Deceased.

Retreat

Bullets peel away my flesh, as the city sleeps.
It crumbles into the night.
Slinking into tomorrow like a panther into the jungle.
You don’t run my town.
You won’t own my crown.
The drums of war sound and the concrete cracks.
Awakening once more to a new day of havoc.
Racing rats and such noise in my skull.
Retreat. Re-tweet.
The fingers tap itching by the triggers.
Awash with opinions, thrown like rocks.
Flowers grow where old giants fell.
Mighty names and egos that towered into the sky.
You throw such money around.
Yet you walk sideways.
Poised with perfection, like a clown who has mastered tears.
Retreat. I retreat into the place where I was born.
To a land where the trees breathe my name.
I hear the bullets fly in the distance, yet they cannot reach me here.
They do not know this place.
Or that it’s my finger on the button.

Claim

I did not choose this future, she said to the dark.
She said to no-one in particular.
They had departed, melted away like last year’s snow.
She waded through the slush of emotions and found her heart warmed.
Not by the sun rising off in the distance.
Or the hand-me-down blanket she wrapped her soul in.
The one she stole from a lover, course and mismatched.
But by the sense of knowing that the day was hers.
Ready to right the ruin.
As she climbed out of her tawdry despair.
Marking her name in red across the calendar date.
Setting fire to the watchtowers in her mind.

Little Black Horn

 

Little black horn, weathered and worn; wondering about what to do.
He split the world and climbed inside, and out of hell he peaked on through.  

Little Black Horn: A Collection of Short Horror Stories:-

‘A woman struggles to hide the truth from a creature she believes to be her lover; a man journeys to Southern Italy in search of a witch; a child makes a pact with a voice he hears at the bottom of his garden.

From adult fairy-tales to suburban horror; dark intentions seep through this collection of tales from the imagination of Harley Holland.’

Buy the work in paperback or on kindle here: Little Black Horn

Check out Harley Holland also

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There’s nothing wrong here

I wore the role you wanted.
Dressed in those emotions.
Let it drip like turpentine.
You showed me your Jesus scar.
As I cut through the confusion.
You leave me buzzing like a motel sign.
Only you could scratch me that deep.
Rush through me like amphetamines.
What did they say when you returned?
Did you make it feel so numb?
Feasting on cartilage and present tense.
Yet the dark offered such shelter and shadows.
To call you back to another brilliant night.
Where you looked ahead, seeing us there.
Stepping over the bodies of others.
Look me in the eye, celebrate me deep.
They all wanted to be wrong.
Singing their symphony of sorrow for a loss that had not yet begun.
Bone and cheek.
Questioning our mortality as you trim the fat.
All conquering weirdos.
Destroying the things they never understood.

An interior rhythm

How to rise, when you’re broken.
Like lofty branches that scratch the sky.
Down here on the forest floor, tangled with the roots.
I feel collapsed. I feel free.
I want to tear it apart.
I had to burn it down.
Pick the thorns out of my bark, the chattel from my teeth.
Swaying with the world now. Rising on its axis.
I swing to a new realm, on the pendulous heartbeat of tomorrow.
I allowed myself to fall apart.
Welcoming the termites of time. Destroying all I had.
Whilst watching the watchers in the wings.
Birds who fly with nightshade plumage.
Cluck their tongues and talk of responsibilities.
Laying eggs for a farmer who will devour their friends.
You don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know what I grew through.
Such hard terrain and unholy winters. Sprouting to my own spring chorus.
You don’t know me, how could you?
I don’t even know myself.

Hold on to me

You’re the one who comes between us.
Coughing out your IQ, slipping your hand behind the couch of the night.
Leaving me always chocking on your haemoglobin.
Shooting to the sky, and yet careful not to fall.
My eyes are wide, yet they scarcely see you.
The black of loneliness that you leave me with. Weightless and bare.
In the dark, it all looks the same; until you set me on fire.
Warming your hands until I burn to a spark.
Killing me before I get too old.
These words from you are too vulgar, yet I say thank you.
Breathing them in and setting up homes for them inside of me.
Precious fragile fragments of attention.
Your racing heart surprises me, and brings me back; brings me down.
Simmering into something else.
I come back to you in pieces.
Littering your soul.
I know you want to stop.