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.

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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.

Damaged the same

Leave those words where they land.
Bury them in time and walk across the snow.
The stretched out ghost that hangs in the air.
In our lungs.
All fog and white, fading into a nothing.
How precious was that moment?
When the blood began to shed.
And the tears you bled, from another wound.
We come in pieces, all broken and jumbled.
Your religion tells us we are perfect, but still must change.
We are damaged the same.
Scuffed knees and dormant psychoses.
Jesus in a black bag.
Satan in a veil.
We are tripping over the rug of this world.
Spilling tea on the soul of saints.
Watching the cracks creak a little wider.
Filling the voids with gold.
But not lost souls, just painfully aware we are human.
Trying to return to paradise.
Following maps that are written in tears.

Roam

He left the fires burning.
Embers alight still in his eyes.
Yet leave, was his calling.
The gulf of the divide, in a way, brought them closer.
He’d settled under their sky too long.
Scratched and irritated them like an unending itch.
The world called him, the only answer he had; was to leave.
So as the flames licked, he skipped away.
Pulling his bones to soil that was untouched.
Unstained by the smiles of those he loved.
Isolation sleeps with the lonely.
A mind strong, only in grave defiance.
The scars would begin to stretch in time.
As home, became a stranger’s word.
A poison on their tongue.
To roam, in a caravan of one’s own.
Satisfaction for the lonely.
Where his heart could not pull.
But to convulse in spasmodic frets.
Pulling him in all directions.

93

Lost, feeling the way out.
Travelling through the veins of god.
Hearing that global heartbeat.
I want to swallow the moon tonight.
To feel the tidal shift in my stomach.
To spit out the bones of the past.
And the well-travelled tin cans.
I touch this earth, and it feels like home.
Yet when my eyes blink open.
I am crushed by the weight of this world.
I belong here, but a million miles behind in time.
Waiting for the palm leaves and ferns to sprout in my veins.
I wish to return, and remain.
Eating forbidden fruit.
Running with the beasts.
Perhaps the change will come from inside.
Washing over me like conscience.
Seeing the divine in all that my eyes lay upon.
This is our home. It’s our only one.
Ninety three million miles from the sun.

Second guessing

Disappearing now.
The time came suddenly, like a Monday morning.
Calling you, as long lost friend.
You took a hold of the avalanche and held your breath.
Erasing all in a brilliance of white and gold.
No more tomorrow thinking.
Or second guessing.
Passing now into something else.
Not man made.
Between interstellar space, and home.
It was so easy to dive in, to dive through the dark this time.
Not like before, when you tried. When you failed.
And the water froze you like heartache.
A new terrain looms in your eyes.
This escape is now your land.
No longer the mistress or mister, the sister or ghost that your tried to figure out.
Your god.
Take the keys, and say goodbye once more to the floor which once pulled you.
An inconvenient gravity.
Breathe in, and out again like holy oxygen.
Disappear and explore.
Once more.

Enamoured

Are you ready, to drop from the sky.
For your bones to feel alive.
Forget that we’re miles apart.
Drift into the light, then dream and breathe me.
Be with me, as the night comes.
And time laps at our feet.
This is our moments colliding.
Walking away from hurt and the decay of yesterday.
Those healing words that rip across my heart.
That speak of times where a smile is etched across our lives.
An odyssey to tell by those we leave behind.
For these moments are precious and solitary to only us.
A grappling hand, in the chaos that today threatens.
Steadied and secure, cupped in my own.
In my eye line.
Which blazes with the light you offer.
Bottled, stowed and suffice.
Living. Here. Now.
Enamoured.

Years subside

Twilight and daybreak intertwine.
Casting shadows and dawn on these eyelids.
People come and talk to me of passion.
Then they linger, and talk to me of death.
I feel stuck inside a moral station.
Watching the trains as I in decide.
I feel a murmur of god, yet the call of the wild.
Battling against the push of gravity.
No longer feeling its pull.
How the years have folded like a napkin in my lap.
Dirty and used.
Yet I wonder. I wonder if I’m hungry still.

Drive

You wanted to make me believe in love.
Taking my hand and leading me down the highway.
Past the car crashes of former entanglements.
The scars ever present on my mind.
The road stretches ahead, but I’m caught in the pull.
Of trying to glimpse at the dead.
You’re trying to make me believe again.
Showing me peace on the horizon.
But my palm is sweaty, and the fuel is empty.
I wonder if we’ll make it.
But I push my foot onto yours.
And I climb inside your soul.
The pedal pushes and we fly, deep into the night.
Down the road of good intentions.

Journal – I had to grab a suitcase

I’m all alone and I can’t get back. Get back with my wanderlust.

I am very fortunate to be able to travel. It’s a freedom that I do not take for granted and one I appreciate greatly. My recent wander-lusting has taken me to Australia, the land of vegemite sandwiches and killer spiders…..
Read the rest over at the journal

MR

Begin the begin

Falling freeways that collapse like thunder.
Splattering dust into my open heart.
The sun shines on, blanketing our eyes with dizzying despair.
That road was to the sea, the ocean that promised such departure.
The great wide expanse that echoed home.
So we look above.
Counting trails and streaks across the sky.
Fighter jets and passengers making their escape.
Crawling, flying and fretting to other cities.
Other sights of wonder.
My mind melts into now and I collect my possessions.
All packed into one golden shell I carry in my pocket.
It whispers your name, it breathes your air.
Cinnamon cords that play forever on my lungs.
I crack this pumpkin sky and break on through.
The open road, a littered landscape of longing.
Making my way to you once more.
Stabling the state of mind i’m in.
Begin the begin.

Looking at the distance

Where did the morning sun go?
That grew and flowered on my sleeve.
Made way for the darkening globe, and the urban noise.
Thoughts of you chased me though the city of Manhattan.
Tomorrow you settle into the victory, the arms of love.
Sidewalks and segues into different dreams.
The outback rattles and ransacks our minds.
Climbing higher than the skyscrapers, your dreads do climb.
If only I were a passenger, I would hold on tight.
Rushing like the ghosts through your bones to safety.
But you give me the directions, detours into chasms that are stained with your soul.
An inky black that creeps and dwells within.
And ask me to bare the light, to banish the darkness forever.
You ask all of this, as the sun rolls into twilight’s lap.
You pray for change and those arms of love that squeeze.
Careful like a dove, that hopes to soon be flying.
All of this, half a world away.

As the city sleeps

Still waiting for the big revelation.
Be prepared for anything, but do you still believe?
Dreaming of big distractions and carbon copied lives.
Left with diamond headaches and pills to make you sleep.
Don’t sleep, dream. Let it in.
Kick start that desire that you are just as good as God.
Good as gold even. Counting zeros on a monthly slide.
They call you the king of commodity.
Hanging on the end of the line.
Hanging onto anything.
Smear the sugar on your lips and catch the bees.
Be prepared for the sting.
Close your eyes as your tongue lolls over.
Cityscapes and supernovas.
Mercury swinging in to shift the traffic.
Allowing you to arrive more easily.
Sleeping another day away.
Swimming in medicated decay.

Drenched departure

Untied the silence while the rain came.
Blanketing this world is a quiet monsoon.
Layering and prevailing over me, and all I see.
Let it seep into those muddy bones.
Washing everything. Purify and personifying a state of being.
Fresh like holy water.
Stinging the sins like acid.
Drown and choke underneath those silent waters.
A vast tide that you wash over me.
Those days that were always numbered.
The borrowed time and delicious decay of it all.
How sour those words met my mouth when I asked you to leave.
Tying my tongue into confused states.
Separate states and traumatic time zones.
The flight into a new world where the clouds coughed around me.
And the skylarks sung our demise.

Oxford’s Eeriest Ghosts

“For heartbroken Sarah, it was clearly too much, and she hung herself from the couple’s four-poster bed. Today it’s claimed that if you see her – and you surely will – but ignore her too, she will either scream and shriek like a Banshee or hang limp and lifeless from the bed.”

A Magazine piece available online Co-produced my with friend and amazing human being Shaunna Latchman.

Click below for the article’s main page:http://oxhc.co.uk/Oxfords-Eeriest-Ghosts.asp

Your dispensation

Fire.
The one that you wanted.
The one you wanted to burn inside your head.
Down to the water you fly.
Walk across the water and drown in sweet satisfaction.
To the life you’ve led, and the troubles you fled.
In all the misery on those roads you tread.
Nothing now could bring you closer to me.
It’s a road down which I cannot follow.
Spit up a new belief.
Something that keeps you high.
And what you can leave all behind.
Shift those dreams, and take down the sky.
Paint it a discharged red (suffered from a mind gone mad)
Such temporal madness used to keep things interesting.
I lost you to St. Peter, as the devil would not let go of me.
Ingrained memory and a guilt that stings.
Now nothing can keep you down.
So fly, leave and believe. Leave it all behind.

Elle va bien

ELLE VA BIEN

 

They jostled onto the train that had arrived with a clankering commotion at the station. The vaulted tiled ceiling of the underground station swirled with the sound of metal, tannoy announcements and tourist hubbub. They train had emptied somewhat, spilling out its human cargo which shuffled towards the luminous sortie signs, the basic words even foreigners understood. Ingrained from childhood French lessons and the trappings of travel. They were able to get seats as the train pulled away and snaked into the belly of the city, passing tunnels and bones of the long forgotten.

The seats were as hard as wood, worn down from millions of asses thankful of somewhere to rest for the short journeys between stations. They were heading down towards Saint-Marcel and thankful too to be getting away from the crush and pull of the touristy hotspots. They watched the other passengers engrossed in smart phones, conversations and anxieties of potentially going the wrong direction. Passengers on life’s train of happenstance.

Opposite them sat a lady, listening to her headphones and glancing off into the train. Looking, but searching for nothing. Her brown hair fell around her face, framing her like a motionless portrait typical of those seen meters above in the many museums dotting the city. She sat motionless, listening to her music as the train swayed and hummed down the line. The only movement was a collection of tears that suddenly began to build and breach, trickling down her face. They watched as she tilted her head down, blinking away the collection of tears and emotions that had appeared. One of them jabbed the other in the side, bringing attention to the scene before them in case it was not being seen or felt for the degree that it was. The audience of empathy which was required. He reached inside his pocket and took out a tissue, hoping it was clean. The crinkles indicated it had been with him all day, but looked devoid of anything unpleasant.

He reached across and gently touched her arm. She looked up, surprised. “Are you okay?” he asked, hoping his eyes spoke to a level beyond the language required. She nodded and mumbled words of appreciation, taking the tissue and dabbing her eyes. A small smile appearing at the corner of her mouth, her eyes shaking away an embarrassment that wasn’t necessary.

She looked above her finding the line map, a tiny yellow light indicated they were at Bastille. The train usually emptied a lot here, and she glanced around seeing those exiting and ones awaiting to board. Her hand found the phone in her pocket and she skipped the track on her music. Her mind was suddenly taken elsewhere as her heart skipped a beat, and the chaos around her ebbed away. It had never been ‘their song’, but it was always one that had reminded her of them. The lyrics so seemingly fitting for what they had, what had burrowed inside of her and warmed her soul. She did not notice the two guys sit down opposite her, the limited space between where their knees nearly met. She was off elsewhere, hearing laughter and smelling them on her bedsheets.

The train jerked, and though she stayed in her memory, it shifted along with the train. It had all crumbled, corroded only yesterday. Smashed liked a teetering tea cup on the edge of a kitchen counter. She could understand things not working right now, she could even acknowledge the arguing. But those had been usual relationship problems. To be told you were no longer needed, that you were no longer welcome in their life. That was what had hurt. She could deal with the packing up of possession and the moving on. Going into work the next day as routine propelled her forward. But she could not take the hurt that had ignited within, perhaps lying dormant for the inventible. That she was never the one, she could no longer make them happy. All that she had to offer, came up short. All those reasons she had told herself why she was inadequate rang out to be real in a horrible realisation of truth, a view she had shielded her eyes from, like looking at the sun. It had swallowed her, submerged her in a grey that clung to her like oil.

Putting on her work clothes, combing her brown hair. Seeing the day instead of cowering in her bed like she wanted. The feeling of detachment and lack lay upon her, making her feel that no one really cared for her in this world. If she turned up to work or not; nothing really mattered in a way. The tears welled and broke forth, streaming down her cheek in a warm river. She had forgotten she was on the metro. Her mother would have been ashamed to see her show such emotion in public, but she did not realise. Too consumed in grief and self-piety that she found herself deep beneath the streets of Paris on a Metro train that ran all day, every day. Until she felt something nudge her arm, softly yet foreign. She looked up surprised to see a small tissue and concerned smiles greet her. She nodded a thanks and was able to cough up “Merci, je vais bien,” and she smiled slightly, knowing it was true.

They grey was still within her, but in that moment a tiny part had turned to white.

SHELL OF IMAGINARY IMAGINATION

Strange little threads that are held on to.
Causing commotions in my morning coffee.
Sinking feelings that cut too deep, simple systemic exposure.
Buzzing like the office fluorescents, dialling a tone.
Naked and running. Leaving myself at home.
Heaven bubbles in my veins, blowing blooms along my spine.
Disturbing the herons of this mind.
Take me down to the water.
To the catacombs of the happy, were they hoard their treasures.
This middle distance, which keeps us at arm’s length.
Puts my past to sleep, and rip open my mind.
Something so obscene.
The devil can dip its fingers in my soul (if out of sight).
A sunglass reflection in the mirror, which at first seemed so close.
Cut the distance and pull the cord.
Curtain calls and swallow whistles.
Finding me alone on that wondering star.
Flying, down Mulholland drive

Kiss me like a stranger

How long had she been driving? The sky above her was threatening the night, while bullet lights of passing cars pierced her eyes. She had left that morning, surprised by so many things that were happening, but no longer surprised by being surprised.

She had packed up things so quickly. Everything swept away with such ease she felt she could be erased from life in a blink of an eye and no-one would notice, no one would care. A part of her doubted she would even go through with it. But down the highway heading out away from town she smiled to herself, a scared secret smile that she was doing the right thing. Not the best thing, this would not make her instantly happy or even make the pain stop. But it was the right thing to do.

She yawned theatrically, and pushed her hair back catching her nail in some of the strands. She opened the car window for the cool air to wake her up a little. Her phone had been switched off since she’d left, she knew there would be endless calls and texts until she was located; talked around and called back. She was happy to silence that. The radio rang out, lifting her spirits as the night closed in on that highway which was getting more isolated. The lights in the distance were getting further apart and she knew she was hitting the ‘Quietlands’, the stretch of road that coursed through a mini desert with nothing of interest on either side of her.

She was getting tired, and she was hot still, even as the day’s heat descended. She felt grubby and sweaty, her back sticking to the seat of the car as she zoomed away from her past. She knew her destination. She had had it planned and etched I her mind for years now. She knew which road to take and how long it would be until she got there, and she planned to drive through the night to make it.  Her eyes were getting heavy though. The lids dropping like a shutter to a store closing for the night.

She took a right turn down a road she knew was wrong almost instantly. The silent highway tarmac gave way to a rough dirt track which snaked around the cactus and mounds of earth. She stopped suddenly, releasing she had gone wrong and put the car in reverse when he spotted some dim lights up ahead. They weren’t moving, and she guessed they were pulled to the side of the road. What a shitty place to break down she thought and put the car into gear and drove slowly up to where the other one was parked.

She pulled alongside the car, which she noticed too was the same model as her own. At least she might be able to help fix it, her own car had given her quite a few problems over the years, and she always carried a spare of everything. The sun had disappeared over the horizon now with the slither of light hanging on to the blue black sky. Though the lights were on, she couldn’t see anyone at first.

“Hello?” She called out, though the open window of her car.

It was then she appeared.

She floated as if on a sea of crimson, her red dress puncturing the sandy track like blood slashed across flesh. She came from the bushes, her hair immaculate with a faraway look in her eye. Jessie was a little taken aback, but she called out again; assuming she had not heard her as she had not replied.

“Hello, do you need some help.”

The woman smiled and carried on over to her car where she knelt on the wound down window.

“Hey. What’s up?” She said, as if meeting on old friend.

Jessie looked at her through the dying light of the day, framed in her car’s window pain. She was everything she had wanted to be once. She looked immaculate, like she was stepping out onto the town. She wore a confidence that married her friendliness well, the two playing out for the audience of anyone.

“Do you need help, is your car broken down?” Jessie asked, smiling encouragingly.

“That piece of shit? It’s old, but it’s working.” The woman replied, giving Jessie the once over.
“Oh, I thought you might be in some sort of trouble?” Jessie asked, making it a question.

“Trouble?” the woman asked curiously, and laughed a little. And with that she turned around and walked back to her car.

Jessie watched her, momentarily unsure of what to do. She then suddenly felt the urge to get out of her own car. She unbuckled her seatbelt and climbed out of her dusty machine which whirled and deflated after the long hot day.

“What’s your name?” The woman asked her, as if beckoning her over. Jessie made her way over to the car, the same colour as her own yet caked in dirt as if it had emerged up out of the sand.

“Jessie, how about you?” She replied. The woman had jumped up onto the bonnet now, sitting upon it like a kid.

“Where you heading?” she replied, avoiding the question. Though Jessie didn’t feel any danger, she didn’t want to tell anyone where she was headed. She knew once the world knew, it would throw up things to pull her back. Back to the life she never had wanted to live from the start.

“A long way away. Listen, if you do need any help, I’m happy to assist.” Jessie said, listening to the desert around them open to the twilight.

“You running away?” She asked suddenly.

“No.” Jessie replied defiantly. She saw something then flash in front of the woman’s eyes. The same defiance that twisted and churned in her own belly. “No. I’m making some changes for the better is all.” She added.

“What’s so bad that you’re leaving behind?” She asked.

“Urm…listen, if you don’t mind. I need to get going. So if you do need any help, please say.” Jessie said, politely but firmly. She was always one to go along with what people said and wanted, but she was indeed trying to make some changes in her life and now was a good time as any.

The woman cast her eyes down to the ground, while she toyed with the sunglasses she had in hand. As if finding what she was looking for there, she looked up at Jessie.

“Is it Jack?” The woman asked suddenly. Flaring her eyes. Jessie glared at her, not sure of what was happening.

“What?” she asked, a slither of understanding falling down from the sky.

“Or is it slowly seeing the dream you dreamt back when you were only twelve, wither and die like everything out here. Cooked and charred in the sun until it blows away into time?” She said.

Jessie stared at her, sensing something familiar. She looked at the car, the licence plate covered up in dust and dirt. She looked quickly into the passenger seat, spotting a duffle bag and vanity case.

Suddenly the woman jumped off of the bonnet and came towards her, grabbing her face and kissing her quickly on the mouth. Jessie couldn’t help it, but she closed her eyes; tasting the watermelon lips and feeling the hazy intensity. She pulled her in close, cocooning her away from the world in a moment where all made sense to her. Her mind flashed back to her old house, the smell of takeaways and the cheap cologne.

They parted as suddenly as they begun, Jessie knew then what she needed to do. She dropped to the floor and grabbed the largest stone she could find. Picking it up, she launched it over and over again into the woman’s skull, battering her down into a scarlet pulp that matched the inappropriate dress she was wearing. She threw the rock off into the buses near to where the other car was parked and then returned to her own. Her hands were shaking, and blood smeared onto the steering wheel as she turned it around and sped off back towards the main road. As she glanced in her rear-view mirror, she noticed the headlights of the other car had faded, snubbed out like the life of the woman who now lay in the dirt, beaten and crumpled and gone from this world.

When Jessie got to the main road, she turned right, accelerating hard into the direction she had been heading before.

After a few miles, the blood on the steering wheel had faded away and her breathing had now returned to normal. She reached over to her own small bag she had on the front seat and took out her lipstick. She smeared the scarlet shade across her lips, puckering in the mirror as she sped off into the night. Determined more than ever to get away, and to get to the place she had planned to in her dreams for years. Not looking back once.

A Place in the stars

(Not part of, but in conjunction with ‘Echoes in space’)

Lots of people were afraid. Rationale and irrational fears grew like ivy in the cluttered world he lived in. As Jerimiah grew up, he found fear was just a pat of life. His sister had always been afraid of spiders. Snakes too, though spiders were a more every day hazard, bringing out an alarming response from her no matter who was around. He never forgot the day she found one in her bed when she was going to sleep, the screams had echoed down into the street making the dogs in the neighbour’s yard bark. They had shared a bedroom in the old house then, out of necessity more than anything else. It wasn’t until he was five years old that he had a room of his own. Of course, this came with the collapse of his parent’s marriage and he would have traded in a second the large bedroom at his father’s house, for the pokey one he shared with his sister. At least that way they would still be together. But people, like marriages collapse. His sister departing only a year into his larger bedroom life, not from a spider attack, but from the leukaemia that had corroded her from the inside.

Jerimiah was afraid of one thing, and one thing only. He was afraid of time. How it snuck in on him and those he loved. Snatching away those things, and people he held dear. Turning, tumbling and changing his little world that he would want to keep secret and safe under a bell jar. He would look up into the night’s sky and see the stars blinkering above him. Fixed into position like reliable Christmas lights, always there like the season, waiting to bring joy. It wasn’t until he was much older that he learned the true nature of space. The twirling chaos that attacked the cosmos, with everything in flux. But for that six year boy within him still, he would always see safety and security in the stars. His friends that were always there like jewels in black cement.

Jerimiah though was understanding about people’s fears. He understood why his sister had been afraid of spiders. How her mind would run with a thousand possibilities of what could happen, and the deathly mist that surrounded them and the poisonousness possibilities. Much like he understood people’s fear of flying. He had met an old lady on a flight to Rome once before, sitting in the aisle seat next to him. She was so afraid, her white knuckles had gripped onto the armrest for the duration of the flight, her eyes closed as if in silent prayer to keep her aloft, and to land safely in the eternal city. He had wondered what she was so desperate to live for, what in her life was she so afraid of losing. One’s death being usually a horrible climax of pain and distress, but momentary. What was she so afraid of not completing? What had her life really been about?

He had sat there himself on that small plane, thousands of miles above the French Alps, watching the snow-capped peaks shimmering in the sun. If they were to descend; collapse in a fiery demise and be strewn in wreckage across the snowy landscape, what was he missing out on? What in his life was he left to accomplish or leave behind? He would be missed of course. His partner would be distraught, and tears would be shed. But life would go on, time would cover the hurt up in sand and silence. Changing once more the nature of things.

Time. His biggest enemy.

He had landed in Rome safe and sound, the flight not having crashed like many unfortunate others had. He had quit is job that very day, enjoying a nice little holiday there instead of the work he had come there to do.

If he had known he were to die at the age of thirty three, Jerimiah would probably not have done things much different than he had. He would most likely have avoided a lot more arguments. Those stupid back and forths with people over things that mean nothing to wider universe. He knew time was always against him, under his feet like an escalator he couldn’t stop or slow down. In this way, he lived a full life. He understood the preciousness and fragility of life. He squeezed his partner a bit more when they hugged and kissed. He meant it more when he said I love you. Perfection was not to be a part of his existence on earth, yet Jerimiah saw the bigger picture. It was all a blink in the eye of God, and he knew he had no time to waste.

When at thirty three, he reached the top of the escalator, he glanced over the side to see how far he’d come. It all looked so small and crushable from his vantage point. He was alone, but he wasn’t sad. He could see his friends glittering their celestial magic as diamonds across the inky black. Their luminosity radiant and strong like a million burning suns. And he took his place in the stars, content and happy that the clocks had finally stopped ticking.

I dare not touch, a hair upon your head.
Your skin that falls like rain.
Into my arms I dream you would tumble.
Kissing your lips that welcome me like a traveller’s light.
Burning out of the darkness.
Threatening sweet cherry deliverance.
I would peal back your skull and dive into that sea of thoughts.
Swimming with you, hand in hand on a celestial ocean of knowing.
To know you. To touch you.
To take the pain you feel, and burn it within my own bones.
I place this pedestal only for you.
Keeping you safe and aloft, closer to the heavens.
Where you belong.

26

Twenty five of them, she’d counted as they’d sung Happy Birthday in the small restaurant that they insisted was her favourite. The other candle must have dropped off somewhere, or the staff at establishment had been given false information. Exasperated by their inclination to not really care. But there they were now, twenty five of them standing up in the frosty platform as her friends and family chorused in with the jubilation. She smiled patiently, looking at the other couples in the place staring at her in quiet satisfaction that it were she that were the spectacle.

The song ended, and they all applauded as she blew out the misleading twenty five burning flames that represented her life on the planet. She hadn’t done it for years, but this time she made a wish while she blew, closing her eyes to make them all disappear for her small moment of intimacy with the universe. The applause died down and she blinked back into reality, reaching for her glass to silently toast her desire. The cake was whisked away from her by the staff, to be dissected for all in attendance, and listened to the others at the table talking about their own progressive years and the fear of reaching thirty, or forty; or whichever milestone society had pegged out for them all to have achieved a certain thing by.

Her mother asked if she’d had a nice time so far. She sat there next to her in her one good dress, or so it seemed, the one she saved for extra special occasions. She had spilt a little something on it up by her neckline, a drip from the red wine she had eagerly been enjoying that evening. She wondered if it would come out, or if this were its swan song evening. She nodded in reply, saying something about having a lovely time and how nice it was everyone could make it.

It was a half-truth really. Though she appreciated the effort all had made, she would have been happy spending the evening at home. She drew a circle of eight on the tablecloth as her mother returned to her friend whom she’d brought with her that evening. Circling around the small stain of her own that had bled into the white landscape that stretched out before her. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee, chatting animatedly with her friend Paul next to him who had turned up late, pushing himself into a space at the head of the tiny table.

She sighed, and took another sip from her glass. It was already 10pm, and she could hear people talking about ordering another round and some coffees to go with her cake. She picked up the small travel journal that lay on the table behind her, a gift she’d opened earlier from her sister who couldn’t be there that evening since she was on the other side of the world. She’d sent her a small, yet expensive looking journal, tied up with old flight tickets from her own exhaustive travels around the planet. She opened it up, noticing a small message at the front:

“Time waits for no (wo)man”

Typical of her, she’d thought, and reached behind to put the book back onto the pile of gifts and treats everyone had nicely brought with them. She sat there again, quietly watching the others. For her own celebration, no one had really spoken to her much that night. She seemed liked a stranger at her own party, lost in crowd of noise, feeling like a spectator to someone else’s play.

She had work in the morning, and she was getting tired. She spotted Katy; her friend from the office who had come with her girlfriend and sat the other side of the table. Laughing and drinking with such ease. Unlike Katy, she hated her job, which she’d started about six months ago and had been miss-sold from the start at what it would entail. The office was grey and dull, and their building was tucked away on the side of town that bled into the industrial estate. She had promised everyone she would look for something else, but hadn’t done so yet; owing herself the biggest apology for being so lazy. Her boyfriend squeezed her knee again, his constant sign of being both there and absent as he drank his beer and chatted with her friend whom, she could tell already, had hastily becoming intoxicated.

The cakes arrived back at the table, the waiting staff smiling as they placed the tiny plates in front of the guests and took orders for more drinks. She pushed her chair back, about to excuse herself, when she realised either side of her were both consumed in their own conversations, so she said nothing. She apologised to a waiter as she accidently bumped into her, nearly sending the birthday slice high up into the air; and made her way towards the bathroom. She stopped, only for a second, and then walked straight passed it.

She left the restaurant, and out into the cold night air where she exhaled deeply, standing on the street. A few other diners stood by the door, sending their smoke swirling around the door like a revolving dragon. She stood there herself now, still in the night with her arms down by her side. Her fingertips moving to a secret rhythm only she could hear. She turned to glance into the restaurant, its glass steamed up slightly due to the dropping temperature outside. She watched as all at her table continued on their merry gathering, laughing and enjoying themselves.

“Avant que ça ne se produise.” She muttered under her breath, and started up the street, in the wrong direction to home.

Skylark – Soaring

You made this sky your own, clogging it with stars.
Oh sweet little bird, are you a phoenix in disguise?
Where have you gone, to light different skies?
I look for you always, in the midnight sun.
Hoping you’re no longer afraid of the dark.
Looking for that birdsong, to vibrate my own heart.
Aviate this dream of mine, deep in the feathers and down.
Peck it into reality.
And fly me to your moon.