I miss my ocean

Sand. Dirty sand and soil.
Dust in my mouth and coating this skin.
A film of sweat covers me.
Sticky heat and restless.
I miss my sea, the ocean that bore me.
Tranquil and deep like the pools in my mind.
To drift and meander across its aqua stretches.
Calms the blood that torrents through me.
I miss my sea, my ocean.
At times stormy, but full of life.
Threatening to pull me down to the ocean floor.
Where I can be alone, and able to heal.
The arid heat and air of this desert itches my eyes.
Scratches at the very thought of going on another day.
The salty air calls me back.
A maelstrom of reasons directing my compass.
To ride over waves and rise with Atlantis.
Reaching a trident back up to god.
So I shall make my way, and crawl back into the sea.
One which always welcomes and cherishes me.
Washing everything clean, and cooling my soul.
I miss my ocean.
I miss my sea.

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Black snow

The heat will blaze and feel like hell.
A product of some evil spell.
That clings to you like sticky oil.
And all life seems such gruel and toil.
But then the rains will quickly come.
A gentle tapping. A blissful hum.
And wash away that oily mess.
Of anguish and the painful stress.
You soak your soul in calming pools.
Which cleanse the mind like shiny jewels.
But before long, the flood waters rise.
And you’ll see only death in drowning eyes.
For floods wash away the most unfaithful.
And rid the world, quite harsh and wasteful.
And as you sit in quiet despair.
You feel an ember, alight on air.
The end at hand, no ice age coming.
Little demons with their evil drumming.
For though above, it falls as if from below.
The hurried end, in sad black snow.
Which chokes the world and covers discretely.
Your soul and bones for time completely.

Weeds got there first

The walls ached with their knowledge.
While the eyes of the portraits licked across the skin.
Of all those souls who dwelled within.
And even this was barely acknowledged.
For life climbed up to the ceiling.
Wrapped around each feeling.
And slithered and slunk under skin.
But the sun had its day, and blistered the wallpaper.
Bringing tears to the eyes of the young.
Who wished to bury the sun.
In the deep soil of their souls.
The petal parts and the pith.
Of the flowers and the myth.
Of which we cannot control.
And the house still stands, and the grounds still shudder.
Promising a life, unlike no other.
That blooms and ebbs like the stretching seasons.
And climbs to heaven, for most godly reasons.
To meet the maker, and the cultivator.
Basking like the wheat in the field.
Forgetting the devil, and his own dry thirst.
Ignoring that the weeds got there first.

W/B – Sunshine and sadness

The sunshine beat down, making the dead still air hum like static. Nothing moved. Nothing stirred. The whole forest and world rested in the maddening heat of the day. She looked up into the sky where this giant tangerine sphere blazed away, and she mopped her brow. She was hot, and sweaty. Moving slowly back towards the sad little row of town houses where she called home. She heaved the panel of wood carefully and painfully slow to her house; the middle one. The brightest of all the little homes. It’s white paint glistening in the hot sun. She thought of her house as the last good tooth in a set of rotting teeth. Rubbish and filth marked the other buildings, faulted by the need for their owners to work long hours just to survive rather than to maintain a nice home.

But she did, and she worked harder than any.

She heaved the panel finally in through her door, propping it up for now in the hallway. She had gotten up early that day, putting her hours in early at the little shop in town where she worked so she could leave before five to get to the wood shop before it shut. She knew the owner well enough, and knew he never did business out of hours. And she wanted the wood today. She wanted to fix the door tonight, while she knew he would be out.

As she caught her breath in her little hallway, she sighed at the cliché of her life so far. Married when she just seventeen, to someone she never loved. Stuck, out of circumstance, to the man and the place for fear of having to start over with nothing. The money her parents had given her was swallowed up before she had even been married a year. Drinking and gambling away her inheritance it seemed was his favourite past time. And she let him; she knew she was indeed part of the problem. She allowed him to drink and stay out because it meant he wasn’t there, at home with her. Punching the walls and putting her down. Complaining and demanding things, and putting his foot through the back door.

She went now for a glass of water, fanning her arms to cool them down as best she could as she made her way to the tiny kitchen. Her house was cool, she made it that way the best she could, but in doing so it was dark and cave like, blocking out the scorching sunlight wherever she could. Their town; plagued by tropical heat and an unrelenting sunshine that cooked and boiled everything beneath it, was something she had come to despise.  She drank from a glass, looking now at the gaping hole in the door panel. An easy fix, and done before. This time she had made sure to get the gotten stronger wood, something that would not so easily be destroyed. But something had been different this time. A part of her heart had splintered and snared like the bits of wood that stuck out now like vicious thin teeth. Her heart, hardened over the years and placed under a cloud of criticisms and chaos, surprised her at making her feel something. Something where everything she thought was numb.

But what was it. Anger? Remorse?

She wasn’t too sure. Suffering so long in the dark, it’s painful to see the light after so long. She mistook the determination for her usual war-time mentality of getting things done, carrying on and making things right. Getting the wood panel for the door, fixing it so there was no longer the yawning reminder of the open wound that was her life. Letting the dank air in. Letting the light in.

Something within was screaming. Something determined to be heard and acted upon.

She filled her glass again from the tap, drinking down the cool water. Replenishing her fluids that had escaped in her long hike from the wood-shop, and the internal steam engine that was slowly gathering force to implore her to act.

And then she heard the door go.

The front door slammed shut, not caught in any breeze that the deadened air around them could muster. He was home early. Must have been a bad day. She heard the yelling in the hall, incoherent cries like the nightjars she passed on her way to work, gathering and chorusing in the trees above. Soon he was there, in front of her, gesturing to the hall way, no doubt the wood panel caught in his way. He looked hot and red, his skin crumpled and dirty; burnt by the sun after the long day in the fields and the alcohol that dehydrated him. His hollowed cheeks, gaunt by a wicked life and bad teeth, threw shadows on his face making him look like an angry red skeleton fresh from the grave. He banged and blamed, flailing his arms around. Knocking things off the kitchen shelves. She would have to fix things, she always did. Clearing up his mess while she slept off his mood.

She ducked more than once, mindful not to be the target of his rage and waited for the storm to die. But she did something then she had never done before. The steam engine in her had reached its peak and burst, empting out years of frustrating and hatred in a single event. She launched the glass she held in her hand out into the air, and watched it sail over the kitchen and smash on the stone wall. She screamed loudly, like one would into a pillow, so loud it sounded like an air raid siren. Momentarily it confused him. He stopped dead, unsure of what was happening. She was usually so passive. So subservient. Afraid to rock the boat which would lead to her to drown in a deep sea of chaos.

But the mouse had roared.

He acted fast, waiting for her screaming to subside. The chemicals inside kicking into gear to save his self-preservation of a life he had constructed. A life where he was the boss. Her grabbed her roughly by the hair, spinning her around and pulling her backwards. He wasn’t a big man, or even strong. But fuelled by fury and drink, he handled her like that of a ragdoll, pulling her free of the safety of her little home. Their little home.

Kicking free the remains of the broken door, and out into the scorching heat. Though the day was heavy, the sun drew up on them, an oppressive spectator in the unfolding drama. She didn’t cry out, too shocked and stunned into what was occurring. She was dragged out to the center of the garden they had, and roughly shoved into the middle, finally free of his hands from her hair. He grabbed a chair that was propped up by the fence, unfolding the deckchair style and placing it on the grass that had shrivelled into a horrible rug of dirt and dry leaves.

He pushed her into the seat. The silence signalling she had gone too far with the glass. Too far, and too brave to have even begun a journey on him. She sat, motionless; waiting and watching to what was to happen. She watched him find some garden trellis string, some she had bought last year to help keep the cucumber plants steady and vertical.

He was quick tying her to the chair, binding her hands and then her legs to it. She began to protest, pleading half-heartedly that she wouldn’t do it again. A lie, she knew she would. She knew then that if there were ever a next time, she would smash the glass on his skull and be rid of him forever. But he was fast, and tied a rag in and around her mouth, keeping it in place with the string. The string, which she felt now digging into her wrists.

When he was done, without a word, he stood back and quickly went back inside. She was left there, in the garden with the sun burning done on her, tied to the lawn chair. But his return was swift, and carrying a bag of rubbish which he emptied all around her and over her. Foul bits of food and muck covered her, lapped at her feet like a garbage tide. He returned two more times, fresh trash spirited from their neighbours houses, to be emptied on and around her. Crowning her as the queen this new tragic kingdom. He threw the last empty bag away and came close, his eyes piercing hers as he bent low. Grabbing her cheeks between her fingers, pressing his dirty nails into her skin, he hissed at her.

“If you ever do that again, I will kill you.”

And he realised his grip, and stalked back inside the house. A diminishing monster, back to the depths.

The humiliation was as bad as the smell, but it was the flies and the sun which were the real torture. She was out there hours, cooking in a putrid heap as the flies nibbled and pecked at her like tiny vicious birds. The sun radiated an intensity that nearly caused her to faint, pushing down like a fiery hand from god.

But she survived.

Woken out of the delirious dreamscape her survival mind had slipped her into by a bucket of cold water thrown over her once the sun had set. He loosened her from the chair, not saying a word. Not able to look her in the eye. Before disappearing out, off to drink and spend more money.

In the aftermath, she collected herself best she could. She cleaned herself off, and tidied the garden to keep the rats from overrunning the place. Despite her nausea she had some bread, to fend off the intense hunger and disgust that brewed and bubbled in her stomach. And then she went to her bedroom, and began to pack. She did not want revenge, no good could come of that. But something had snapped within her, the spun sugar strand of patience had fractured.

She collected only what she needed, throwing it all into a bag and bringing the walls down to this part of her life. She cleared out the little box under the floorboards where he kept money, the one he thought she didn’t know about. She put it back, empty, sealing the box to a grave of solitariness. She stripped the house of her, of the things she needed to go on with. Cutting the cord to an unhappy life here. She stood in the front room, wondering if all her life could really lie crumpled and stuffed in the small bag she held in her hand. And then she saw it, the snow globe up on the shelf. Twinkling away through the dust at the higher realms of display. She had bought it herself, years ago. A winter market in one of the neighbouring towns had brought it into her life. She had been transfixed with the winter scene at the time, like bubbles of snow dancing in a small sea like dust in the wind. It was small, no bigger than her fist. And she had remembered placing it up on the higher shelf to give it a better chance in her life there, out of the danger zone of fists and fits.

She took it down now, unsettling the snow that had gathered in the bottom like pebbles in an aquarium. Should couldn’t help herself, she shook it; making it and herself one with the disjointed feeling of a world in flux. How long she stood there, she didn’t know. No happy memories were there to be collected. Only dark shadows of the past that she wanted to put into the grave.

And then, she left.

The rest was a blur. She left the house, the street and the town. Traveling far on the little she allowed herself to spend. Finally settling in the little cottage she lives now. Currently entertaining the girl from Europa. Unknowing, in part, of the little eyes who watched it all unfold, and the man of the boxes who skulked around her house.

You may be asking yourself why she never used magic to save herself from a life so fraught at the beginning. Or why she never turned her husband fittingly to a bug to squash underfoot. That too is an interesting story. For you see, once she was married, she was taken away from her family, and where she had grown up. The choking rights of marriage had labelled her practically property, and her husband had concluded that she needn’t have many things in their new home. His own were suffice. What her family didn’t know, and neither did she until later once she had left, was that he had used a bit of magic himself in the first place; to marry the lady of the jars who at the time was the girl with the glass like beauty.

This may sound all too convenient and easily explained away, but yes; sometimes life is that clichéd. He hoodwinked them all, sloppily in the end, but had struck lucky one night gambling and had acquired what he needed to enchant her. It wore off of course, but by then she was cut off from her family, and of the aged magic her own mother knew and possessed. Her mind had silenced all she had learned from her book growing up; and that’s the thing about the book itself, it needs to be with the owner. It needs to have a connection in order to tap that power and manifest. More importantly, it needs to come from a place of positivity. A submissive mind is not the soil in which miracles to grow.

But magic, and good magic, finds a way. Which is why the book came to her; posted by her mother when she knew she was safe and free. Knowing the how, or the why or the ways this magic helped find its way back to her, is inconsequential. What we do know is that once she was in possession again to such wonders, she did all she could to block out the sickening heat that reminded her of that horrible day. Which is why it snows constantly there, and why she always feels happier cold and by herself, than hot and suffering, surrounded by those flies.

….to be continued.

To read the full story, click here

IDLE HANDS

Spider vines that creep.
Under my skin, beneath the bone.
Touching you there, where I know you’d feel something.
Underneath where the devil plays.
And the intent, whispers like a tongue on the breeze.
My witch’s familiar licks the blood from these fingers.
And hunts you down.
Seeking revenge and reason for you turning my head.
And throbbing my blood.
With your idle care.
Now at the whim, of my idle hands.

Novel indulgence

Burn those books, to fan this flame.
Reaching and groping for a reason.
Oh what lies, between these thighs?
And what lies within.
Voids of sin and saccharine.
Humbly taken from the shelf of life.
Dusted and rusted beyond all sense.
Yet still I thumb the page and pluck each word.
Giving myself over, to a conversation with just me.

Prophet

Stepping into the church after so many years made him hesitant at first. He lingered in the doorway like an uninvited guest, hovering on the threshold. Some tourists excused themselves in broken English as they brushed passed him, entering the cool relief of the stone sanctuary away from the blistering hot sunshine outside. Holding his breath, he stepped inside; glancing quickly high up to the ceiling as if looking for God.

The church was quiet, despite the added tourists who had passed him and who were now inspecting one of the older tomb covers towards the rear of the nave. He turned in the other direction and made his own way towards the collection of remembrance candles which twinkled out from a small alcove. Despite the sunshine which streamed in through the stained glass windows, the small candles held their own air of magic and brilliance. Tiny twinkling eyes danced together in their own little rhythms. They were why he was here today, the only reason he would ever step inside a church.

He noticed the small donations box propped up next to the candles, the unlit ones lumped together in a small metal box like a collection of teeth.

‘20p per candle’

The sign suggested, though whether this was indeed a suggestive price or intended one he wasn’t sure, either way it didn’t matter. He dropped the £2 coin into the metal coffin and was saddened to hear its solitary ring out from below. Clearly not many people needed remembering today. He picked up a candle from the box and then turned suddenly to the sound of footsteps behind him.

“Good afternoon.”

The old man said, smiling at him as he came towards the stand where the candles were. He wore a trench coat that did not suit the day’s weather, and he carried a hat in his hand as which he held down at his side. He was dressed for November, not the glorious spring Elysium that covered the world outside the door.

“Afternoon.” He replied in return, smiling at him, though annoyed he would have to share his moment with someone else now.

“Lovely day isn’t it?”

The old man had stopped a few feet from him, and seemed eager to engage in a conversation. Though annoyed somewhat, he had no intention of being rude and instead smiled and replied to him.

“It is indeed, a little too warm for me though.”

“This little church provides a nice little oasis from the outside world I find.” The old man said.

He nodded in agreement.

“Yes it does. Sorry, did you need to get to the candles too?” he asked him, motioning out of the way to where the candles lay.

“No, thank you. Please carry on. I didn’t mean to disturb you too much.”

“No trouble. I was just lighting a candle for my mother. It’s her birthday today.”

“I see. I shall leave you to it then. Though I should say, we never truly know what is coming our way, and must always prepare for the worst; but hope for the best.” He said.

He looked at him a moment, unsure of what he meant.

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, just being philosophical. Please, I shall leave you in peace. Enjoy your day.” The old man said, and he suddenly turned and walked away, his loud jacket echoing off the small stone walls as he departed down the church.

How odd, he thought. He watched him go, then turned back to the candles that lay before him. Only a few were still burning brightly, the others dying out and completing their mission and sending the prayers into the sky. He held the small candle by the base and stuck the wick into a bright burning flame. The wick inhaled quickly, bursting into life. He placed it away from the others on the rack, letting it glow in its own lonely beauty. He thought of his mother, who had died a year ago. He watched as the wax dribbled down the side and remembered her quiet tears when she’d heard she was going to die. The cancer that had lain within her which had accelerated with an ungodly speed, to prove salvation impossible. His mother, his rock; gone practically overnight.

He closed his eyes and prayed for her, thinking how devoted to god she was and knowing if anyone were to be in heaven, it would be her.

The tourists who had entered before him had found their way to where he was now. Their foreign tongues licking at his neck signalled him it was time to leave. He turned and left, making his way towards the door, dropping a pound coin in the donations box near the entrance; but never looking down the aisle towards the alter, or taking in the sad pictures of the saints that peppered the walls.

He pushed the huge doors open, shut since his entrance into the small church on St. Collin’s street, and stood just inside the doorway. Nothing divine was calling him or pulling him back. There was no need to sprinkle himself with holy water or skim the bibles in search for a hymn to ease his soul. He stood in the doorway like a kid on a dock, because it had just that second started to rain.