Bare

My bones lay like dust in your eyes.
Is that why you cry?
Seeing such emotion stripped bare.
Chalking up your mind.
Yet our heart beats in your mouth.
An oral fixation for the truth.
Tasting every rhythm. Every pulse.
I burned all this down around me.
To smoke out the ghosts of a past.
The ones you wanted dead.
So, now lay me down.
And kiss me back to life.

The Death of the heart

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

Stars come out (to light our way)

Don’t take this from us.
As the heart hovers and throbs.
An unending passion that is born in the slightest smile.
And the most agonising cry.
Your words caved in as the world collapsed.
Ushering happiness and banishing the ghosts.
What worlds do we hope to die?
Which ruins threaten to drag us down?
You meet me on the dock, that inches out into space.
Into time, dappled in joy and the yet to become.
Like a swirling candied apple planet in our hands.
And we dip our feet into stars.
Watching it all from above.
This sudden shudder and retract.
Of a past that wishes to bury itself.
In a book so eager to close.
The whisper in my ear as, the night fades, is you.
Promising me tomorrow.
As dawn washes into my eyes.


TAKEN FROM Everyday Miracles – OUT NOW

 

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

Skyward pines


Saturday,

Today I went hiking on my own. I went up to the cathedral pines, there was no-one around. The weather played a part as it was raining most of the day. But the trail goes through the huge forests there so it was covered mostly. I waited until late afternoon as I wanted to catch the sun slipping away to sleep, to feel the trees awaken with the night. Creepy and weird I know, but I felt so much at peace. Probably not the safest of things to do, but I can handle myself…at least I think I can. There was much stillness coupled with feverish noises dotted about the place. I was amazed at how high some of the trees climbed, what energy is involved to create this thing that scratches the sky; all from a tiny seed. Nature never fails to amaze me. Such beauty and wonder nestles in those trees.

girl woods night

SKYWARD PINES

Under the trampled feet of the ghosts of the forest.
We lay in the soil, safe for a century.
Soaking the world in.
We turn away from forever, looking into the eyes of life.
Shooting, skyward.
Oceans away from the city of conformity.
An exquisiteness that waivers every day.
At the whim of the winds.
We are the pines.
Skeletons in season, breaking beauty as we trail the atmosphere.
Still as the tomb of tomorrow.
We watch the forest shiver and shake to a human beat.
Still with a taste of god in our mouths, breathing in his breath.
Dancing in the darkness as the world sleeps.
These pines.
Waiting once more to be cut down by those seeking our answers.
To get at the truth, down in our roots.


Taken from ‘Nothing But I Am’ 
OUT NOW


 

Keep it together (Revised edition)

OUT NOW

The summer of 1977, in the middle of a heat wave; the estranged children of the eccentric Van-Blacks all gather at the infamous Nova-Manor to discuss recent family developments over Fourth of July weekend. Their father is dying, & now wishes to build some bridges with his children before he shuffles off the mortal coil. Things begin to take an unusual twist with the arrival of Miss T., a Jamaican fortune teller who sweeps in under an air of mystery to perform a séance.

Secrets and truths slowly unravel, helped along by the butler Mr Perkins, who knows more about the past then perhaps he should. Ghosts, storms & mysteries in the attic all explode over the holiday weekend along with the fireworks. With a body on their hands & new truths revealed, they are all forced to question whether they can live with the knowledge that someone they love is a capable of murder. Independence comes at a price, & not everything is what it seems as they try to keep it together.

Book cover - keep it together

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