All Day

30 January, 2007 at 16:16 (Uncategorized) (, )

I pulled on my coat this morning,
Black Leather, heavy,
Ready for the interview that was…
Heavy as the coat, or the clouds today.
And, walking out the door,
I suddenly smiled, as,
My fingers touched a smooth, blue box in the pocket.
I texted a poem,
That was, far too short,
To do justice to,
My sudden halting, at your words last night,
My staring at your quickly retreating back,
As I felt in my overfull pocket,
Something new.
I walked out the door this morning and smiled,
Last night I just,
Stopped,
Stumbled,
Out into the street,
Stopped again.
Completely bedazzled, uncertain where I was,
Blinking hard,
Because, it really is a very full pocket,
And surprises make me cry.
Today, I have brushed my fingers over the smooth surface,
And smiled.
Today, I have unfolded the little note, several times,
And smiled.
Some might say secretly.

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Nervous?

28 January, 2007 at 00:22 (Uncategorized) ()

Yes ok, I’ll admit to being nervous.
It has to be the worst timing…
I suppose, I guess, that part of me is terrified.
When exactly will you arrive?
Oh, you’ll let me know,
Nice of you, thanks, but rather typical.
Will I drop everything when I get that call?
To be honest I’m not sure,
Only in the usual way I think.
The way, I mean, that I would do for anyone.
Not just you, and I wonder,
What will they think?
I suspect, if your latest conversation is to go by,
This new girlfriend means re-invention on your part.
The past has changed again,
Last summer has changed, to suit whatever it is,
That she thinks of you.
Yes, I suspect, that this is going to be interesting,
Yes, I am, nervous.

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J.J.L.R.

26 January, 2007 at 10:42 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I am surrounded by women who hide things,
Women who closet a gift in a pocket, quite secretly.
A book hidden in plain sight,
An owl secreted in a pocket,
And then pointed out, in time for a facial expression,
To be seen, savoured, remembered.
I am surrounded by women who hide things,
Who pepper walls with their presence,
Most quietly.
Women who cause smiles, that I never could.
Quietly romantic, open, sweetly drunk in,
An issue of the Modern Grocer,
Lies open on the table, and a smile is seen.
In a pocket, long after it was placed there,
Fingers feel an unexpected stone,
And, he smiles,
In a way that is quite unknown to me.
I wonder if I could become,
One of those women,
If I could make someone smile like that.
Perhaps though, I am doomed to be,
An obvious woman, oblivious to,
The hidden smiles of sweetest secrecy.

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In The Woods

24 January, 2007 at 22:06 (Uncategorized) (, , , )

Faith had never really liked the woods. When Jim had finally taken her hands that day and spoken deep into her eyes, the way she had always wanted him to and he’d said that of course they would go to the woods and she hadn’t minded because they were walking together and he had taken her hands and, when it got cold, as it was wont to do in the woods he’d given her his coat to wear.
Faith was walking on air. Every so often Jim would allow his thick fingers to brush against her and he’d squeeze her hand. The first obstacle was one of sound. Cutting across the path was an eerie whining and Faith was frightened. It sounded nothing so much like she imagined ghosts would sound and she paused in the path, Jim continued.

“Oh come on Faith, it’s just a fox.”

Faith considered this, she’d never heard a fox sound like that, she’d heard them barking a few times when she walked in the fields of an evening but this wailing, moaning, whine of an almost human nature sounded nothing like that.

“You trust me don’t you?” asked Jim and, when she nodded, a little hesitantly, looking into the pools of his bright blue eyes for confirmation, he swept her into his arms and carried her beyond the eerie noise.
He didn’t put her down though she could tell she was getting heavy for his arms.

“Careful,” she said. “You’ll drop me!”
“No I won’t.” he snapped, irritated.

She became silent after that and comforted herself by snuggling into the warmth emanating beneath his shirt. The woods were dark, but the path was solid and Jim’s breathing became gradually more laboured as he struggled with her until she finally said,
“Look, why don’t you put me down?”
Jim looked around.
“Yeah I suppose here would do.” he said.
He swung Faith down and looked at her, those piercing blue eyes gazed into hers and for a moment she thought he would kiss her. Then he stepped away from her and looked up at the trees. Something looked down from the trees and Jim stepped off the path.
It swoooped down from the trees.
It was black and had no feathers though it flew silently towards Faith. It was black and rotting, it was gelatinous and dripped as it flew and where it dripped arouse smoke for what it touched could not bear it.
Faith heard Jim, a little ways off the path, make a movement as if he was reaching out to it, she saw the not-wing, dripping and foetid and black reach towards him and heard his shriek of fear and the sounds of his shoes runnning, squelching through the damp undergrowth and she could not move.
It came closer, it had no eyes, nor mouth, nor any sort of feature but something akin to a head pushed from it’s main mass, now hanging, flapping slowly above the forest floor.

Faith heard Jim shouting in the distance but the words meant nothing to her as the creature enveloped her in it”s gelatinous, warm embrace. She had time for one last breath full of the hot scent of meat left out too long covered over in sweetest horse manure before her mouth was sealed by the gooey taste of that smell. She could feel it, black and covering her. Rotting and foetid and pulling her deep within itself. She felt herself surrounded and the sensation of movement, of falling far within that black sweet-sickening place. Around her she could feel the heat rising and added to the foetor was the stench of smoke, of fields burning in the autumn. And then, It was gone, she could not have said how she knew for she was covered and dripping and the blackness surrounded her. But she looked up to discover that it covered her like a second skin, gelatinous and oozing over her and it covered the part of the wood that she was in as well. She looked up and saw that It had left her in a round and smoking hole, the sides of which were sloppy with the remains of itself.

The sky above was as black as It had ever been and did not fill her with hope. As she began to cry from the sheer hopelessness of it all she felt a stinging, burning sensation run down her cheeks, the black slime began to react with the tears. Began to burn into her face like acid. She raised her hands and scrubbed furiously at herself rubbing off the slime where she could and wiping her hands down her dress. Finally the stinging stopped and she could feel the sore wounds covering her cheeks.

She pushed at the earth surrounding her, her hands slipped and slid over the loose soil beneath but finally she could feel them gripping at the rock within. Hand over hand she pulled herself through the mud and slime. Hand over hand she dragged her body up from the hole in the woodland floor. Hand over hand until she felt the grasses scratch against her ruined face and pulled herself, panting, from the hole.

She lay there, at the edge of the hole, looking up at the night sky for some time. Her dress was spoiled by slime, her face by the burn marks that followed her tears down her cheeks. She sat up and looked around the wood somewhat helplessly, lost in the dark, unable to even see the path that she had taken to get in.
Nevertheless she set off into the dark, because there just wasn’t any other way to go.

Eventually, she came to a sort of glade, peering into the dark she made out the figure of a…man? He sat on his horse and gravely watched her as she approached. She couldn’t quite make out his shape as he looked down at her, his eyes seemed to glow somehow from within. She couldn’t quite make out if they were brown…or yellow…or red…He turned his muzzle…his face…he seemed to shift in the low light and then he slid from his horse and she saw that it was simply a large grey rock that he had been sitting on.

“You’re lost.” he stated.
“No I’m not. I’m just walking, thats all.”
He looked at her.
She looked back, defiant despite her covering of black poison.
“I’ll show you the way back.”
He held out his hand.
She raised her chin, and, to her surprise, took his hand.
“Its this way.”

And her curious guide, his shape tall, but not too tall, led her through the woods right to the outskirts. She tried to make him out in the dimness, his hair was long, she thought, and his eyes, they seemed to retain their glow. When they reached the edge of the woods he pointed her way back.
“Over there.”
She nodded to him. “Thanks.”
He nodded back and his eyes seemed to smile, she thought. Then she headed off over the grass her eyes firmly on the way ahead.

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Writing

23 January, 2007 at 22:50 (Uncategorized) ()

Who are you to make me write this way?
Who are you to dissolve me with a look
And have me write it down?
Where did you spring from and what made me,
Suddenly look at you and start painting?
Where do the muses come from
and why do they stay or go?

And still I’m writing.
And still I’m painting.

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That Isn’t It At All

22 January, 2007 at 15:23 (Uncategorized) (, , )

No, not what I meant at all,
Not what any of us meant at all,
J. Alfred would agree with me I’m sure.
That beneath a streetlight I might see,
Dashing off behind the sacks of rubbish,
A fox, who had come into the city at night.
That is not quite what I meant at all,
I can see that Alfred is paddling now.
That, behind a dry stone wall I once,
Changed tampons with little privacy,
And saw, cubs watched over by there mother,
She nipped them, roughly, a little wild,
That is not quite it at all.
Oh the difficulty in expressing,
All that I have felt since seeing these things,
In subtle words.
I should be silent, learn that I am listened to,
Much better without the words that tumble,
Like an ever-flowing river,
From my lips.

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Eight Pictures Of Birds

20 January, 2007 at 19:01 (Uncategorized) ()

I saw your name and smiled,
It has, after all, been a while,
I walked the gallery, quite quickly, I suppose,
Knowing I’d know when I saw it.
That first time,
When I crawled inside your tent,
I was amazed, amused, amazed, excited,
I wanted to stay.
Wanted to read all the names,
Brush your hair for a while.
Later I saw the drawings,
The scribbles beside them,
The random pieces of letters, of words, of poetry.
You drew these, eight pictures of birds,
About three years before
I crawled into your tent.
Before your bed was ever leapt upon,
By Japanese performers.
I like them.
Theres a calmness there,
But it’s your calmness,
Somehow lonely? Searching? Something…
So I’ll sit a while and stay,
As I couldn’t do in your tent,
Read all the names the birds hold
Listen if they have a song.
Wonder where you are these days,
What you’re doing.

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To The Vine

18 January, 2007 at 19:15 (Uncategorized) ()

Oh vine, what is it about you?
That brings forth such wonderful fruit…
So ripe, so sweet, so succulent,
And capable of such fermentation.
You absorbed the summer sun,
You took in the light,
The grapes you grew swelled with you,
And now…I’m drinking it.
I’m drinking in the sunlight,
I’m taking in your warmth,
And lying back on this cold winters day,
I could almost believe,
You gave me sun.

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Drinking Games

16 January, 2007 at 16:19 (Uncategorized) (, , )

The point is, when you got out drinking with an old mate you expect to learn things. When you haven’t seen them in a while you expect to catch up, find out who they’re seeing, what they’ve done since they last saw you. When they get a bit tipsy then you get to find out what they wish they’d done. Later, when you’ve both really gone for it and are vomiting behind the bus shelter you get to find out what you both wish you hadn’t done and what you really would rather you weren’t telling each other.
Sometimes you find out things that they never told you about when you last went out drinking together, or things they were keeping quiet about when you were really friends and went drinking every Friday night.
The point is, some things you don’t ever expect to find out.

When I went for the biannual catch up with Marty I didn’t expect him to confess to murder, but he did.

It was somewhere around the third whiskey, good quality malt none of your blended malarkey that are supposed to taste of peat (like that’s a good thing?!). I was feeling warm and mellow and I supposed Marty was about the same. It was the sort of warmth at which you get around to reminicing over the good old times, though that was what we had been doing for the last hour. That was the other thing that surprised me. We’d eaten, a curry at the place next door, and we’d had some beers with that but just Indian ones, nothing strong. We’d chatted over the meal about what we’d done, how much we’d earnt, which girls we’d been with. (Maria for me, Latin-American girl who’d moved over here for Uni and stayed to work for some fashion magazine in London. I’d been with her almost since Marty and I had last caught up and was intending to pop the question next week, she was expecting it, she’d even hinted at the ring I’d bought whilst we were waiting for a cab outside the jewellers). We’d kept it light. Even when we were in the pub it was mostly what we’d done since we’d seen each other last. Then for the hour before the whiskeys we’d moved back in time.

Marty and I had started out working for the same company in Sales. That company had unexpectedly (for me at least) gone bust and left us jobless. Within a week Marty had found us Sales Management positions in a much more solid company in another part of the country and we’d moved in together as housemates. Since then I’d stayed with the company and he’d moved jobs several times, what he was now pulling in was amazing but I prefered my pension plan to his (nothing official, all in different savings accounts and such whereas mine came with a company guarantee).

It was that third whiskey that changed things. Oh it started innocuously enough.
“You ever did anything stupid back then?”
I looked at him, when we had been living together stupid covered most Friday nights, and Saturdays, and Sundays assuming we hadn’t been too hungover…or even if we had I guess.
“I mean really stupid,” he clarified.
“I guess,” I said, the warm haze of the whiskey not quite covering the intensity of his question.
“What’d you do?”
“I hit Poula.”I admitted, the haze vanishing slightly. “That’s why she broke up with me.”
“Well, shit man.” he stared at me. “You really loved her. Why’d you do it?”
I shrugged, I’d never managed to work that one out. “I was drunk, I don’t know.”
I still remembered the feeling, of turning around and having her scream at me that I was a drunken, worthless son of a whore, of finally snapping but instead of screaming back, which is what I’d been sure I was going to do. Instead I felt my fist fly out and I’d been too drunk to call it back. The pleasant haze of the whiskey was completely replaced by the nauseaus feeling in the pit of my stomache remembering the black eye, just as I’d sobered up at the time. Sobered up and walked from the house because, when you’ve just hit a woman, well, what the hell can you do?
“Come on man,” I said, not wanting to remember Poula, “What did you do?”

“Remember Aidan?”
He’d been a thickset rugby playing lout who was more than happy to join our drinking sessions every Friday, I wasn’t likely to forget him. I remembered his wife Aimee as well, tall, blonde and utterly helpless looking.
“Yeah…” I said slowly. “Aimee’s still in Broadmoor.”
He nodded.
“I killed him.” he said.
“No you didn’t man, Aimee did.”
He shook his head. “No. I did that.”

“But the knife was in her hand…”
“I put it there.” he said.
“I thought you loved her?” I asked, remembering.
“You loved Poula,” he countered and I remained silent. There was afterall, nothing more to say.

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Dreams

14 January, 2007 at 12:44 (Uncategorized) (, , )

“You know you have to come back.” said the dark angel, her black wings unfurled.
“You have to come back soon, before the birth.”
The sand-stone walled station darkened crazily as thunder clapped behind us and I saw a child, dark black hair whipping in the wind running along the track back the way I’d come.

It was about that point that I woke up.

I was drenched in sweat and rolled gently away from Claire so as not to wake her. I failed utterly of course, she was sat up and rubbing her eyes as I came back from the bathroom.

“Another dream?” she asked.
I nodded. “How about you?”
She shook her head, “Do you want to check the computer?”
“Do you mind?”
“Of course not. You wanna tell me what it was about?”

I bent under the desk to reach the power switch and flicked it before answering. She had an idea of the general focus of the dream but the details had been more worrying than before. On the other hand, if I didn’t tell her the details now, before I’d had a chance to see if the others had dreamt the same, then there’d always be some doubt in her mind. Also, what if, upon reading what Stuart or Tony or one of the others had dreamt my mind started playing tricks, inventing things that hadn’t been in my own dream to fit in with theirs? Claire was my safeguard.

I held her as the computer hummed itself up to scratch.
“It started at the railway station, Grimsby I mean, not Lancaster.”
She nodded and wrapped her arms over mine.
“There was a girl there, she had black hair and I couldn’t really see her face, she looked kind of like Sadako, in the flashbacks I mean, not crawling out of the TV. But with her hair over her face.”
Claire shivered, that movie had really scared her.
“Anyway, she said I had to come home.” (I knew this part would annoy Claire, she had argued before, and quite rightly that I had been born in Grimsby, I had lived most of my life in Nunsthorpe, or Laceby, or around Grimsby proper. I had only spent three years, doing a BA in Lancaster and yet, when I said ‘home’, it was Lancaster I meant.)
“She said that I was needed, I had to walk the crossroads again. That doesn’t actually mean anything to me, but I understood it in the dream. So I got on the train and it kind of went the right way to Lancaster but I didn’t need to change, it took me through Cleethorpes and that suddenly became Manchester and I could see Stuart was on the train before me. He’d left his boyfriend behind and he was crying but I couldn’t get to him.”

I paused and thought about that, Stuart had been having the dreams too. I wondered if he’d had one tonight. The computer was on now, I logged in and kept talking, stroking Claire’s hand to try and reassure her.
“The girl met me at Lancaster station and I could see behind her that all my friends were gathered and pointing at this huge black bird that was pecking at the Ashton, you know, that old memorial up on the hill?”
She nodded.
“There was Stuart and he was waving some sort of banner, I don’t know what. There was Sam, he still lives there you know?”
She nodded again, she was keeping very silent now.
“Anyway they were all there and then the girl laughed, it was really horrible, I don’t know how exactly, but it was and then she vanished and we were all looking up at the Quaker House. There was this angel up there dressed in some sort of Victorian get up, all black and corsety but with pink ribbons. And the angel said; ‘You know you have to come back…'”

I looked at Claire guiltily at this point. I didn’t want to continue, it wasn’t fair.

She looked at me.
“She said more than that,” she said.
I nodded.
“She said,” she swallowed a little and I could see tears glittering in her eyes. “She said ‘You have to come back before the birth.'”
I nodded.
“I think I’m catching the dreams from you…the gynaecologist says pregnancy can do weird things to a woman.”
I held her. There was nothing else I could do.

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