Halfway from home (story reading)


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….

Read on


Threat

The folds of the future, on a serrated line.
Do not cross the marker. Don’t enter the forest.
A Sound emits from the belly of the earth.
This stirring rumble shakes the pots from the ledges.
Loud is the sound, as it travels under your skin.
Consuming you like tiny bears, fluffy and in your veins.
The forest was always out of bounds.
They knew what awaited.
Yet they built your houses right next to it.
Eye lines and heartbeats finding a mark.
They tell you to keep out, they warned you often.
But they lead you to the tips of the trees.
Tickle you with possibilities.
And so the inevitable.
The forest captures you.
The monster consumes you.
Plucking out the bones to play haunting tunes that drift on the wind.
A threat in the thicket.
The doom in the gloom that drenches like oil.
I found your bones of course.
I always knew.
Having much lingered on the other side of the trees.
Up high, having learned how to climb.
I see the monster, I saw the demise.
I know how it ends.

Ruin

Blaze the craze which rips through the world.
Such times to be alive.
Born from the birds which fly south for winter.
Pecking at the moon.
Which idea is now spun from younger lips?
For children withhold such commitment.
We welcome you to the future.
Putting your ear to the soil to hear the earth murmur.
A wailing in the wind and the wild.
A sorrow swimming in the sea.
Yesterday holds up such devastation.
Sugar coat that history, open up forever.
Cough out lies across your coffee cups.
But listen to no one.
Wipe the heathens across the walls.
A boy, a girl caught in such crossfire.
Scrub those bloody hands, that crimson mark.
Fading from red to orange.
Another one. Another one, another one.
Falls.
As the world turns and burns.
Points of no return.
And distant in the mirror now.

Everything (in time)

The earth subsides.
Transient thoughts of escape.
Dissipate.
Pick the petals from my mouth.
As the mourners avert their eyes.
Death, was no surprise.
Yet this extension, a spark inside.
Flutters like a butterfly trapped.
The decades wash over me now in waves.
Heady and fragrant.
Crashing coral like beauty through my soul.
Leaving stains like memories in my eyes.
How long was I there, what was left?
Do these bones show rings if sliced in two.
I feel born anew.
Trembling and naked like the first day.
Yet now, covered in the embryonic fluid of knowing.
That tomorrow is just the beginning.

Buds and bones

If this is the last and the final time.
Then button my eyes and draw the line.
And keep me hidden beneath the ground.
Where earthly secrets and worms are found.
For if you are not the beat of my heart.
Then into death my journey must start.
And silence my mind as it heaves to you.
Kill this love which you’ve broken in two.

Death deserves a witness

Quietly, lay me down.
Shutting out the light until the fears vibrate.
Onlookers shuffle, whispering like the clergy.
Greasy eyed and apathetic.
Coughing on incense and strings of my childhood.
God strokes me into calmness.
Tenderly, like a plant struggling to grow.
Needing the care.
I whisper grace, and slit the throat.
Letting the eyes glimmer in the dying light.
The ghosts shudder at the demise.
Fluttering ethereal remembering eyes.
The air turns foul, and I gasp into life.
Sucking in sweet alpine air.
Death spirits away such needless past.
Life offers such beautiful future.
Words tiptoe across my skin like those across a gravestone.
They fade in your light.
And you blink away the past.
Taking my hand.

A Heart murmur

A heartbeat static and stick.
Grease the wheels and grease them quick.
Touched and run, in the citrus sun.
Fingers all high fives, thumbs like guns.
The void is waiting, a sickly breath.
Cold on clinical, the smell of death.
A rumble, stumble, fumble please.
Shake and slither on your knees.
Electioneering, ECG.
Hold your breath.
Drink your coffee.

Heroes don’t come easy

“Eurgh, you again.” He thought he was there, but wasn’t sure at first. He’d left the backdoor open, though the day was bitter, winter already licking at them with its frosty tongue. He’d popped out quickly to refill the bird feeders he had hanging in his garden. The seedy offering had attracted a number of birds recently, and he was keen for the blue jay to return. He had seen it there recently, resting on the roof of his shed before going for some seed at the feeder by the bottom of the garden. The one towards the house, dangling off an old hanging basket, was territorially protected by a small puffed-up robin who he’d taken to name Carol, the traits of an old neighbour which seemed fitting as she flittered and fussed from one garden to the other.

“Make yourself at home then.” He said, astounded at the brazenness on display. Sitting at the kitchen table, the man creaked back on the wooden chair, a hand-me-down from his mother; he could see the spindly farmhouse legs straining under the weight of the man.

“Don’t mind if I do, my place as much as yours.” The man said, reclining back further; seemingly to prove a point.

“You’d like to believe that wouldn’t you!” He replied, angrily, shaking the packet of tea at him that he’d been holding; a few green tea flakes spilling over the side and tumbling to the floor like emerald snowflakes.

The man said nothing, and looked away.

A cold burst of air flooded the kitchen and the door creaked back. Where as before the nice fresh air had been welcomed in the heavy stone lined kitchen, a chill now shivered up the man, but he was hesitant to shut the door. He knew the man would be here too long as it was. A second wave of cold left him no choice, and he stepped angrily towards the door, slamming it was a force that shook one of the display plates on the wall.

“Mine’s black, no sugar. And none of that healthy Asian crap. Normal tea.” The man said, kicking his shoes off.

“How did I know it would be black!” he replied, walking back towards the kettle which had whistled a while ago on the stove.

“You’re not staying, so have your tea then piss off.” He said, taking down some PG tips from a small cupboard. He had this for whenever his sister ever came over; a builder’s brew she preferred.

“Well, as we always know Jake, that is entirely up to you.” The man leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. He stroked his beard philosophically, as if he’d revealed some great wisdom. Jake stood there, the kettle in hand, and waited for anything else from him. But that it seems was all.

“You always do this, just when things are going well. Why don’t you go and bother someone else for a change?” He said, turning back to make the tea.

There was a small silence before the man spoke again.

“I’ve known you for a long time, we’ve been friends Jake. Closer before, but you have drifted. You’ve pushed me aside. I won’t say it didn’t hurt. After all we had been through, and all I’ve done for you.”

“Done for me?!” Jake seemed to roar into the kitchen.

“If you please. Yes, all I’ve done for you. When everyone left you, I was there. When the money was gone, I helped you. You seem to forget all this in your peace of mind and holier-than-thou state.” The man said, his brow furrowed.

Jake had stirred the tea cup, a dainty little thing that seemed small and precious in his huge hand. He put it on the table and it looked like a dolls cup next to the huge frame of the man who sat there. He’d been sitting there, only a few minutes, yet his stature seemed to have grown slightly. The weight of him and his words dominating that space of his kitchen. The man seemed to loom over the table, but he took the cup in his hand as if to warm them with it.

“Ta for the cuppa.” He said, smiling.

“I’m not holier-than-thou, I’ve just moved on. Outgrown all that other stuff, made things better. You just can’t seem to deal with that. If you feel left behind, I’m sorry; but it’s your choice to move forward or not.” Jake said.

The man at the table thought about this.

“You think you’ve moved on, you haven’t Jakey boy. You’re still the same. I can see it, I know it. How do you think I even got in here?” He said, taking a sip of the tea, the cup seeming to disappear into the great mass of beard that swallowed it.

Jake turned then, looking out of his kitchen window. He could hear the man at the table, sipping the tea and heaving on the chair. But he hoped that if he’d turn back, he would be gone. He tried to find the birds in his garden, the grey clouds above blanketing the world in a white canvas of light. But nothing, the garden seemingly devoid of life now. Not even the squirrels which were forever darting about, hiding bulbs and chestnuts.

The cup clinked on the table, and he turned back around to face the man. He’d risen from his seat and had stepped towards Jake, his arms outstretched.

“Jakey boy, come here.” He said, and embraced him in what should’ve been a warm hug, owing to the size of him and big woollen jumper he had on. Instead, the icy coldness ran through Jake as the man’s arms secured themselves around his back and pulled him in, the beard scratching the side of his face. The coldness travelled all throughout his body, as If little icy daggers were swarming his blood stream. He was stuck with the man holding him tight, squeezing now and talking. Mumbling words into his ear.

“You and me, forever. You can’t deny it, we work well as a team Jake. I’ll move in, take the smaller room. Plenty of space. I’ll help you with the job thing, you can quit that new one, it won’t work out for you, so fucking hoity toity them people there. And as for you know who, well you’re better off without them. You don’t need them around here, you can’t be they man they want you to be, so best to give in before they hurt you. That pain Jake, you know that pain. You don’t want that again.” The man hissed, his words seeming to smoke around his head like a hazy cloud of distaste. Jake tried to pull away, but the man pulled tighter.

“Don’t struggle, you did that before and remember what happened. They all thought you’d lost your fucking mind. Those bastards. Off your rocker, breakdown. What do they know? Jakey, you don’t want any of that. Let me come and stay, let me in; you know what it will take for it to happen. You know what I need for you to say.” The man went on, his mouth ever closer to Jake’s ear.

THUD

They both turned to look at the kitchen window. A Small sparrow had smacked into the glass and tumbled to the windowsill beneath where the spring plants were usually planted. He’d had tulips there this year, and Jake had a flash of the red and purple flowers in his head momentarily before the bird, seeming to have righted itself and with little damage, took off again out into the world.

This was enough for Jake to pull away from the man, and he shoved back, the black jumper turning to a black treacle in his palms as he pushed back and stepped away from him. He turned quickly, time being essential he knew. His strength wouldn’t last, he knew this was the test, and his resolve was shaken. Even now those words the man had spoken were coursing within him, finding pathways to his mind and heart. He sped quickly to the kitchen drawer, pulling it out so fast it tumbled to the floor, spilling out the cutlery like a vomiting mouth.

“Jake?” the man said, but he was as shocked as Jake was as the carving fork was rammed deep into his throat. Jake’s hands, black with the treacle, pulled back and plunged again, deeper this time as if hoping to break through to the other side. Darkness there, suddenly in the eyes of the man. The pupils just pits of despair, a pulling planet hauling him with its own gravity. Shaking, Jake turned away, stumbling on the knives, spoons and forks which had spilt across his kitchen floor. He slipped on a small cheese knife, another hand-me-down from his mother’s house, and his head found the side of the rustic sink, the white porcelain smudged now with a bloody smear, like a crimson fingerprint as Jake found his own way to the floor.

LATER

The birds had returned, Carol was flitting back and forth from the fence to the feeder, flicking seed on the ground as she went. A blackbird watched Jake from the bushes, her tail seeming to bob in time to the motion of his digging. A small hole, no bigger than a shoebox, freshly dug in the cold ground; taking longer than usual in the frozen soil.

Jake was on his knees down at the bottom of his garden. He put the trowel to one side and laid the heart carefully into the ground. It was blacker than he’d imagined it ever could be, and he shivered slightly, the motion hurting his head which now sported a huge wrap around bandage. He pulled the cold soil over the hole, the blackbird watching as he did, keen to seen what would happen if anything.

Nothing of course, with little ceremony Jake stood, brushed down his knees and returned to his house. He’d picked up the spilt cutlery from the floor and popped it on the side, they’d need sorting in to the divider properly before going back into the drawer which he’d already slid into place. The carving fork had tumbled under the table, and he reached now to retrieve it. It was clean, only a tip of blackness stained the tip, looking more like old age than anything else.

He’d been surprised to wake and find nothing but the heart on the floor, the life of the thing clinging on as it beat a few more times there on the kitchen tiles. Jake determinedly killed the thoughts once more in his head, the swarming doubts and darkness, and with a final flurry the heart had heaved to a stop.

Placing the fork on the side with the others, he breathed out, a long deep breath that let the weight of everything escape. He scratched his beard and glanced out again into the garden, his eyes finding where he’d buried the heart. And he smiled, knowing now it would remain buried.

“Now, finally for my tea.” He said to the thankfully empty kitchen.

Fading


FADE

Hold me and heal me.
Chase the darkness away.
Rock me to sleep.
Cut your wrists and then stay.
Forever in this palace of darkness and time.
Locked in a dream.
All beautiful and mine.
Forget all the world, with its promise of pain.
Hold me and fade.
Like a tear in the rain.

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Muddy deep sleep

Not over, not complete.
Just fading away.
A blissful depression hung up like ruby red apples.
Strung like silly smiles on those too drunk to know.
This moment washes over, the gravity pulls you down.
Chipping out teeth like tombstones yanked from the ground.
Oh the silence that it unearths.
The faded names who hoped the future would be different.
But the future just teaches loneliness.
As a departure descends.
That long goodbye, hard on the ears but softly spoken.
Trembling in time.
Nothing really dies.
We all just fade away.
Siphoned into space.
Breathed out on earth’s asthmatic exhale.
Heaving under strain.
Replaced by things we all despise.
How we spin and sigh and scream.
Reduced to floating dust and regret.
Asleep and dormant, waiting for the nothing.
Fearing the repeat.

Tea?

“Take milk in your tea Janine?” the old lady called, her purple hands gripping the milk jug tightly. She stood by the fridge, the yellow light illuminating her aged face. The small creature in the chair shook her head.

“Odd. Couldn’t have a tea without a nice bit of milk, me!” She said, and as if to prove the point; she slopped the milk in her own cup on the table, bringing the contents up to the brim. She returned the milk jug back to the fridge and sat down opposite the girl.

“Digestive?” She asked, nudging the plate full of biscuits towards the young creature.

She shook her head again, her coloured red hair falling down in front of her face.

“You kids these days, never eat anything. All skin and bone. When I was a child, my mother used to feed us dripping on bread. That would put meat on you!”

She pulled the plate of biscuits back towards her and stole one up off the china. She took a bite. The girl watched as the crumbs fell onto her flowery blouse carelessly, some falling on the dark wooden table beneath.

“Me’ husband used to love digestive biscuits, his favourite they were. Always dunking them in his tea. He used to get so mad if they fell in.” She laughed at the memory and took another bite from her own biscuit which had escaped the perilous dunk intact. The clock on the wall behind them ticked away merrily, filling the silence with its pendulous rhythm.

Her kitchen was small but clean. It was dated, like most kitchens of the elderly; but was cosy in an old cottage way. The two of them sat at the table while the afternoon sun shone through the windows. The girl shifted in her seat. The old lady looked up.

“Are you uncomfortable?” She asked sweetly.

The girl didn’t say anything but continued to stare at her across the table.

“Would you like me to call your parents to come and pick you up? It’s getting late.” She said. She drank some of her tea casually.

At this the girl raised her head slightly.

The old lady nodded. She put down her cup and slid her chair back. She walked around the table slowly, holding her side where her hip usually acted up this time of the day. She stood behind the girl and pulled the tape off her mouth. It was wet slightly as the girls’ tears had trickled down upon it.

“Please, let me go. I’m so sorry. Please, I just want to get out of here. I won’t tell anyone….” The girl sobbed. Her eyes were as red as her coloured hair. Her hands were tied to the back of the chair with a belt, which had belonged to the husband who had so enjoyed digestive biscuits.

“I’d be happy to. But what’s to stop you coming back, eh? Or breaking into Ethel’s house next door?” the old woman said. And with this she reached to the counter and picked up the large bread knife she had on her chopping board. She placed it down next to the girl, whose eyes flared at the sight of it.

“We won’t. We won’t I swear, please just let me and the others go.” The girl, no older than fifteen, wailed. The old lady chuckled.

“Oh, I’m afraid Jack has been having some fun with your friends down in the cellar. I doubt there’s much left of them now. He’s such a good dog. Very loyal.” The old woman said. She picked up the knife and slipped it through the belt buckle, freeing the girl’s hands.

The girl sat there, the weight of the situation falling upon her in that heavy moment. She glanced at the back door, not far really. If she pushed the old lady and made a run for it, she could probably make it. But what if it was locked? The old lady walked back around the table, the knife in her hand, the other holding her dodgy hip. She heaved heavily; years of smoking had finally caught up with her.

“Well. I’m not going to hurt you; not like you’d do to me I’d say. I think a fright is bad enough for a girl your age.”

“Then what do you want?” The girl asked, fresh confusion in her skull.

The old lady looked at her with her milky eyes, as if surprised by the question.

“Why, to have some tea of course.” She said, lifting her cup; indicating she should do the same. The girl stared for a moment longer before conceding and picked up the tea that sat on the table in front of her. Her hands shook and were sore from being bound to the chair. She was unsure of playing along, but now her hands were free, she sensed a bit more of a chance of escape.

Lifting it to her lips she sipped from the cup, the scorching water burning her mouth in her haste to drink it. She flashed her eyes to the old lady, as if to say ‘okay, now let me go’.

“There. That wasn’t too bad, was it?” She said, sipping her own mug which had a picture of Charles and Diana on the china. She closed her eyes, savouring the brewy goodness of a warm cup of tea, deeply satisfied.

It had been about a month ago that she’d had rats in her garden, and a nice chap from the council had brought some traps and some rat poison to do away with the horrid beasts.


Taken from Impermanence of things – out now

Impermanence of things of things book cover

Fright night

All year round he kept to himself.
Quiet and content, like a book on a shelf.
It was Halloween though when the tables turned.
And in his head, those thoughts had churned.
To live it up, go mad and wild.
To put on costumes, like any other child.
He loved that night when he fitted in.
And wasn’t shamed or drenched in sin.
He could go out and talk to others.
His friends, his mum and all his brothers.
Accepted him and played for ages.
Some souls to flick through his dusty pages.
It was Halloween he loved and longed for.
The skulls and sweets; and dismembered gore.
He felt alive and loved the freedom.
That came with the scares of the creepy season.
For that was the time he loved the most.
For poor old Charlie was such a lonely ghost.

The Hawthorne Project (out now)

The neighborhood of west Hawthorne Drive in quiet Greenfield Wisconsin is filled with dark stories and darker rumors. There’s the haunting by a faceless creature. They’ve all seen it. They’ve all experienced its presence. On the one hand, it seems to desire the life of mortals, on the other, it befriends a small boy. It both mocks and assists. Runs away and stands face-to-faceless face.

And not to mention the mysterious death of the street’s namesake, Jim Hawthorne. His strange and reclusive widow peers from behind her drawn curtains, rarely leaving her home, but to walk her little dog or tend her manicured gardens… yet she’s not one for giving up any of the cul-de-sac’s secrets.

But in the days leading up to Halloween, events take a more sinister turn, including strange visitations, an eerie violet haze in the sky, attempting murder, breaking-and-entering, and multiple police check-ins… until not one of the residents can deny: something or someone is here to stay.

Featured authors:

  • River Dixon
  • Chisto Healy
  • Tristan Drue Rogers & Sarah Anne Rogers
  • Lou Rasmus
  • Mark Ryan
  • Mark Towse
  • Joshua Marsella
  • Darren Diarmuid
  • Robert Birkhofer
  • Jeremiah Fox

OUT NOW


Goodreads
Amazon
LULU

 

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Blue of a bruise (again and again)


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.

MORE VIDEO ART HERE


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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Every decreasing circumstance


EVERY DECREASING CIRCUMSTANCE

It’s like a cold and stormy morning.
That day she tried to warn them.
Snapping her twig bones with the weight of circumstance.
Trying to walk away, curled up and tortured.
Dusting the regret from her hair.
She wants to be elsewhere.
Trying to disappear into someone else’s dream.
She tuned in to reasonable fear, Taipei to Tel Aviv.
Skirting the frequency of moral decomposition.
Trailing the warm currents of the sky above.
The damage appeared as they beat the drum.
Pounding in her skull while the water rose.
Feeling trapped like a goldfish in a bowl.
Swimming in her own coincidence.
Roll her over, watch her breathe.
Drinking in the rain as she dreamed once more of far off oceans.
Set her sights on another orbit, while they set her on fire.
Breaking her from the rooted home, and that look in her eye.
A slow dance into dismay.

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Haemoglobin

Through your bloodstream I do course.
Eating your oxygen and exploring you from within.
Until the time you breathe your last.
Picking me out with razor blades and intent.
Smearing me across the wall.
To be transfused to heaven.
Expelled to the hell without you.
A crimson coat of apathy.
Because my love suffocated.
From the inside out.

Lap of the gods

His brow, wet from the rain, cast skyward.
A heart yearning for explanation and soothing.
His climb monumental, each step a weight of a world.
The spirits plucked his heartstrings like a lyre.
Coursing a music in his soul.
The mountains surrounded him, closed in like monster teeth.
A wife held close still.
Tiny grey fragments on his skin.
Parted only by an urn and disbelief.
Soldiering on, he watched Apollo bury the light for another day.
Darkening his journey and settling into his bones.
Light air and fables coiled around him as he reached the summit.
The fates had been wrong, he was to die on the ascent.
Strangled in the thin air and half-hearted inclination.
Here’s mud in their eyes he thought as he looked beyond the clouds.
A flickering light, and eye to mystery.
Shimmering into view like many untold stories spat from a fire.
The great mount, the seat of all and divine rose into view.
His heart melted into honey as the sight expanded in his eyes.
Before it turned to stone, unable to stand the wonders before him.
Knowing the climb had just been steps towards the sacred.
Tiptoes on the precipice at the edge of the world.

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.

Need to come back (Story reading)


The water rippled towards him, a small wave plunging forth in its final effort onto the beach. It coated his feet in a warm embrace. He watched as the water receded hastily, as if it had disturbed him yet eager to do it once more. The ocean inhaled, drawing back again as the great expanse seemed caught between the beach and the horizon.

Somewhere in his mind a clock ticked, indifferent to the relaxing flow and rhythm of the tide…..

Read on


 

Furious love


FURIOUS LOVE

I caught you sleeping, while the city burned.
Napping, through the rappings of my beating heart.
How could slumber take you, when I have you here?
Locked safely in my soul for eternity.

Untold are the stories of my past.
Furious, like the waves you smash me across.
I pull you in close to me, to kiss the face I detest.
Those spinning sapphire eyes that cut me like diamonds

There is fury in heaven, each time I touch you.
Words of regret encase me like a twisting vine.
Drink. Drink and love me how you should.
For the world will know; you only hate the ones you love.

All your talk of righteousness. Of Angels and men.
Keeps the light above burning, and my eyes to the door searching.
Leave and let me love you from where I can.
Stay and watch me hate you in every other way.

Then to snuff out that breath, is my gift to you.
To slit the sweet throat I’ve kissed a thousand times.
To swim in that crimson stream where your sirens dwell.
Is where my thoughts of redemption now reside.

Be quick, for the time is upon you.
And my sleight of hand has made its move.
I can love you for the next thousand years.
Sitting on that stone that marks where you lay.

I will find you in heaven, where the angels dwell.
Don’t look for me there, we’ll be burning in hell.

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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.


Loveless Collison

A little, then more.
Nothing is ever enough.
In this world, where hate is king.
He’s an angel of sadness.
Watching it all from space.
Seeing molecules and indifference collide.
What remains, what took him away.
Stained with pain and cruelty.
Reigning like unlucky stars in our eyes.
Walking it back in photonic blackness.
We only leave the ground for a minute.
To spin on the atoms.
And feast, on the junk of these hearts.
With mercury in our eyes.