Melancholia

We brake once more on the waves of our love.
Trying not to drown.
But your current rises below and above.
Fixing watery crowns.
But a latent strength takes me beyond the seam.
Crashing me to the shore.
Littered by the ghosts of long dead dreams.
To haunt me, evermore.

Champagne after a funeral

How fast things change.
A moment, caught between the movement of an eyelid.
The disintegration of life.
Forcing me in that space to grow up too soon.
The safety, dispersing like clouds.
As the flocks descended.
Earth shifted.
Moments and memories placed now into glass jars.
I steal myself away from the perpetual motion of this life.
Retreat to the bottom of my garden.
Where the weeping willow silently sheds no tears.
But dapples me in shadows.
The soil is disturbed, much like my soul.
Yet buried beneath, little treasures are hidden.
Broken china and a pocket watch which never tells the right time.
I can hear the wind.
It calls and hurries like a ghost.
Your voice echoes, a tear from childhood.
Where I was safe in four walls and your presence.
A Christmas morning.
Perches now in my mind like a raven on a grave.
Tinned sweets and snow, Jesus born on straw and beneath a star.
As I tear at sparkling wrapped boxes.
Put down by loving hands.
I lay yellow tinsel on the grave of this shift of life.
And remember not what was printed in those itchy leaflets.
But what was written on my heart.
Words to fill up my soul, clouding out the sun.
As your ghost now hovers over me.
I drink you in, like champagne and pain.

An astonishing indifference

Weighted, not by gravity.
Or the tear that hangs like lead on a golden cheek.
But pulled and suffocated by a lack of understanding.
A love you swept underneath those neatly placed rugs.
Pushed me to the back pages of the book you barely read.
Maddening words and itchy eyes.
The scratch on your heart you cannot itch.
You replace my thoughts, pull them away like calendar days.
Leaving me wandering in a limbo with ghosts as friends.
Familiar now, to those empty souls.
Who roam and moan in a void you will not listen to.
But the love is there, I saw it fly like a sparrow into your ribs.
It flutters madly, though you clipped its wings.
Locking it away, with your tiny golden key; kept under your tongue.
Behind all the masks on your face.
A world now sees only callousness and indifference.
But you are so different.
Underneath.

There there

I taste the powder on your skin.
The remains of the moon and ash of my soul.
Obliterated by the look in your eyes.
The ability to cut me deep.
And tumble my tiny empire.
In spite of everything, there’s still the stars.
And they sparkle now.
Hung up to light my way.
Swallowing galaxies like fireflies.
Tumbling in the dark.
I watch these words as they spirit from your mouth.
Driving new ghosts, to new ends.
Staking claims to old wounds.
Rubbed now with salt from my tears.
Collapsed into years, and habits that can’t be shook.
So let me cover you once more in feathers.
Taken from the bed we shared.
Whilst you kiss the air, and us, goodbye.
I watch you fly, deep into the inky night.
Disappearing into the gloom, like my hope.
Untouchable, all too soon.

Inside a landslide

Confined and contracted.
Shivering inside a wall that closes in.
You hate it, but you want it.
This is what you asked for.
The quiet falling of silence and time.
Alone with only those voices.
Ringing like bells inside your skull.
Trying hard to forget.
Drowning in regret.
Stuffed inside with gum leaves and liquorice.
Padded and weak.
The future runs across like mercury.
Slipping off your skin that sheds.
Wanting it all to be real, to be over.
Hoping for a climate crises in your veins.
You wished them dead.
Instead, they fed on truth and sincerity.
Hungry are these ghosts.
Licking at such empty souls.
Trapped inside the fall of your ancient Rome.

Love is also hope

Breaths coming, like exhales from heaven.
Lapping at me like the tide of eternity.
I watch you dream.
Capturing the stillness, frozen in ice.
Long have we climbed.
Battling ourselves and the elements.
Shouting into the wind.
Now all around is still.
Silent like the first snow.
I taste you like that snowflake on my tongue.
Tasting of winter, and childhood memories of safety.
You whisper out, calling me into your dream.
Puffs of words escaping your precious lips.
Cracked open like an oyster.
The white hurries.
Ghosts vanish.
And you tell me, this was never a dream.

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.

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

 

Raw earth ink logo

Readying recovery

Trying to find lucidity.
Cupping thoughts in my hands.
Fallen from my eyes.
Lost treasure.
Stolen preciousness.
The soul acting like a window.
Allowing them inside to steal, to rearrange.
Feeling lost, yet knowing where I’m trapped.
Ghosts lay upon my skin.
Licking at the wounds.
Drinking them all in.
The moments and memories.
Webs of pain strung up by circumstance.
When was I ever allowed to breathe.
To feel the sun on my skin.
Without the chill from a passing cloud of consequence.
Must we break free from the circle.
Or does it allow us to begin again.
Lighter than before, once all demons are dropped.
Lifting to the sky where we once belonged.

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