Yogic Yarn

Micro poem with video

My brother (right) and I (left)
Family ties and yogic knots,
Brotherly love and headstands,
One with the wildflowers,
Offering support without hands.

Freshly home in the UK, catching up on some yoga and yarns with my (not so) little brother.

© Darius the Mate


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Wordplay Pathway

Home

Tanka

Bittersweet goodbyes...
Pages turn with the seasons
Winter kisses Summer
Technicolour brushed dreamscape
- We fly into the sunset.

Not far from home now. You can read a bit more about my thoughts and feelings on going home, here.

I’ve arrived in Changi, Singapore, from Hobart, Tasmania, via Sydney, Australia, ready and braced to catch my final flight to Heathrow, and home – after a monster 31 hour effort.

A sweet relief is on the way.

© Darius the Mate


What is life without community? I would love to connect with other nicecissists out there. Reach out, let me know what you think in the comments, and of course, give me a follow for more – nice!

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Wordplay Pathway

United Thinking

Flash Fiction

She lay awake. Flickers of bright ideas in the dark hours; hot enough to melt the rest of her thoughts, as candle wax, out the ears. She was restlessly focused – vocally restless, she sat bolt upright with an uninvited gasp.

“Crucial to finding the way is this – there is no beginning or end!”

The words fell from her tongue, as gold bullion in her lap. Sheets lifting airborne, as ghostly whispers in the opaque room, frozen in the moons glare, as she slipped on tip toes to the cranky floorboards, which marked her arrival with a groan.

Unpinning her paper map, with all the continents of the world, she tore it in two, clinically, down the middle. Rearranging their order, she placed the two halves side by side.

“My word! There’s no East and West, and we aren’t the centre of the universe!”


Afterword

The divisions which define us, are only as powerful as you let them become. We made them; harboured and grew them, becoming embedded in our culture and history. Identity defines us, but, it doesn’t have to.

There’s no geographical East or West, and, once we look passed the boundaries that we have created – once we invert the map, open our minds, and abandon our tribal mindset, we can see the only thing which divides us, is us. Theres two halves of the brain, which work in synchronicity, for the healthy function of the body.

© Darius the Mate


Written for dVerse: Prosery.

Today, we use a line from Joy Harjo’s poem “A Map to the Next World”; “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”, to create a piece of prose 144 words in length, or fewer.


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Wordplay Pathway

The Final Days

Thinking & Feeling

Bass Strait, Tasmania
My first sight every morning

So, after more than two years, the time has finally come – I’m going home.

Home being, to no home… well, not entirely true; to my parents home, actually – gratefully – but not really my home, not anymore, and it hasn’t been for some time.

That said, “home” will always be home.

But, what does home mean?

Sure, it’s where we live, however, when, where you live is transient, where is home – my home?

Is it where I was born – Los Angeles, far from my upbringing, in London’s periphery, or just that, where I was brought up?

Perhaps, it’s the walls in which laughter echoed, as a child; a sentimental space – a place, in memory.

Is it where a family resides?

Does home need to be familiar, or, is it as simple as where you lay your head?

Do you need to feel connected?

What if you lay your head on cardboard boxes, build a cardboard castle – sure you’re “homeless”, they may say, argument muted, but, there must be a moment those four walls become home, unless, home is defined by utilities – then, are you ever a washing machine or a toaster away from a proper home?

Maybe, it’s where mail gets sent? Imagine cosy dinners around a P.O. Box.

Aha! The age old saying; home is where the heart is. We’ve beat the game! Ba bum bum b…ut

…what if you’re an organ recipient and your heart has been sent to pathology..?

For five years, my partner and I have called many manner of places “home”. For longer, we’ve been separated from the family cell – in some aspects, not all, of course – having mutually shared our first home (an apartment) in the U.K, prior to starting our free footed journeys, beyond the bounds and bounty of imagination.

My old bedroom, in the family home – my parents home – is filled with boxes; boxes upon boxes, of “stuff”, which has utterly overrun it, piled high atop my bed, and everywhere else. The bed itself, floats as a cargo ship, transporting miscellaneous relics, keepsakes, crossing a sea of memories, they collide in waves of nostalgia, manifesting into an aura almost tangible, frozen in time, as icebergs bobbing, off the coast of my youth.

Bizarrely, surreally, despite my gleeful excitement to see my family, I can’t help harbour a feeling of displacement. My home, has become so far removed from any earth and brick, that I find in the parting of my van and I, I am lamenting fully its fast approaching drive into the sunset as a loss greater than its weight in steel, gain in virtual digits in a bank account, or, in the comfort of its shelter. I am mourning the farewell to the nomadic lifestyle it represents, at least for a time.

What am I going back to – really?

My home, is/has, and I suppose always will be, exactly where I am – where I’m meant to be. Except I’m not meant to be anywhere, am I? I was meant be in Canada right now, before the pandemic hit, so, turns out I was meant to travel Australia, a little longer. Are we honestly meant to be anywhere? I don’t think so. I don’t believe in fate. We just are. And I mean that.

Although, infinitely grateful to have a supportive family, who is able to accommodate for my partner and I – our lives, mine, and that of my parents, have moved on significantly from the parent/child conventions of yesteryear, as it does, and venturing back, will likely prove to be as much new territory, as it is old.

I feel somewhat like an invading army, overrunning the walls of their castle with our bags and ransacking voices, bellowing stories of conquest and expansion. I just hope the purity, in the heartache of our time apart, and the long awaited, imminent reunion, will mitigate any emboldened feelings of intrusion, prodded as spear tip in their sides.

In writing all this, I should probably acknowledge both parties, to the best of my knowledge, are indeed counting down the days with excitement. Writing for myself, I feel joyous and warm with expectation. Our planned stay is to be relatively brief, and transitionary, in its facilitation of our next step, yet, with the state of the world, its limiting options, you just never know how long “brief” is anymore. Through the rosy visions of sunbeam lambent toward the wildflowers, in the cling of open bottles of bubble and hop; there is a guilty distillation in my soul, in which I feel kneecapped of my independence. Kneecapped, with a double edged sword.

But, then again, hasn’t everyone forfeited in ways which make my turbulence seem borne of paper planes; fragile and crude?

I am burdened by the knowledge of my overwhelming privilege, to have spent this tumultuous time, in the sanctity of Australia, where I have been free to, if not wholly condoned in the scripture imposed by the higher powers that be, at least in practice; shake hands with strangers, scratch my nose without barriers, loiter in public without imposition, and tongue kiss traffic crossing buttons, at my discretion.

Australia has suffered in pockets, anyone who has lost a loved one can attest to that, but no where close to the degree of many of its closest neighbours in the East, or its political allies, in the West. It has, for all intents and purposes, at least in my experience, been a beacon of normality. I’m sure most will agree. Especially all the Hollywood stars, who have flocked here in droves. The U.K is the great unknown, where policy can change with socks.

I’m stepping out into the road before the crossing lights have gone green.

I’ll be riding a waves of emotion, back to the shores of white cliff – my family, my country, and my home.

© Darius the Mate


What is life without community? I would love to connect with other nicecissists out there. Reach out, let me know what you think in the comments, and of course, give me a follow for more – nice!

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Wordplay Pathway

Beast of Burden

A poem with Symploce, using Anaphora and Epiphora

Asleep; at our most vulnerable – heres a candid shot, thanks to my creeping partners archives.

Beast of burden, am I, who carries this imp on my chest, purring, like an acid trip gone wrong, in sobriety, shivers of anxiety, sending vibrations through my being,

I feel your breath, as a hum, in my body, an itch, as fleas, to beggars, corrupting, with no antibodies, to cure this disease, that breathes through my being,

Beast of burden, am I, who caries this imp, head of a cat, body of a monkey, joints that creak, movement clunky, pale green of ghostly essence, malnourished and sickly,

Like a pickle with hair, matted with feces, limbs of a swine, an aberration of species, face drawn and sunken, hacking and wheezing, pained, as if drunken, on poison, malnourished and sickly,

Beast of burden, am I, who carries this imp, wings of a bat, too weak to fly, with open wounds that seep, putrefying, the voice of babies crying, a thousand souls dying, under duress, and in distress,

O’ why, o’ why, o’ why, do you sit upon my chest – am I, so wicked, to deserve no rest?
Hooves prodding, poking, a weight forever choking, just another soul, am I; under duress, and in distress.

© Darius the Mate


Written for dVerse.


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Wordplay Pathway

Backpacker Barbecue Guide

For traveling Australia

What do backpackers eat?

I know, I know, it’s the question which keeps you up at night.

Oh, it’s not?

I wish you told me that earlier.

Anyway…

To those who have never experienced the van life, they may imagine a scraggly type, in boho genie pants, ornate with Thai motif, sharing spoonfuls of cold baked beans, between themselves and a windswept mutt, which shares its owners features. Now, whilst that may be true often, there is an alternate universe where a venturesome few reside.

A lot of backpackers kit their van out with a gas stove and refillable cylinder – portable, practical and relatively cheap – but in my opinion, messy, greasy and often smelly, when fitted in as a permanent fixture (especially at the head of your bed!).

However, those without the space for this set up, like myself, who opt for a smaller, more under-the-radar vehicle, might be left wondering of alternatives. 220g canister compatible portable butane cookers, let me tell you for nothing, suck! The canisters are expensive, short lasting, and foiled ingloriously by a light breeze.

If you’re lucky enough to tour the popular backpacker destination of Australia (fuck yea, Straya, cunt! – get used to it), then there is an alternative.

Two years in this larger than life country, and I’ve managed to get around… a bit – it’s big place, if you didn’t know.

The hot plate ‘barbecues’ are all over mainland Australia, and the quaint (and mighty) Tasmania. These barbecues, are provided free, and kept well maintained (often) in the majority of parks around the country.

It’s quite exceptional, actually.

I don’t think we’re trusted to have nice things in the U.K – that’s understandable.

After realising it’s just a glorified frying pan, I became quite experimental.

Far from just the humble burger, I managed to knock up Spag Bols, all manner of omelettes, crispy potato’s, sweet-sticky Chinese dishes, complete with fried rice, and so on – you name it, I tried it – often met by raised eyebrows from the locals, behind their sausage sizzle (sausage and a single slice of white bread, an Aussie staple).

Here’s an idea for all those interested, with more to come!

Note;

I use ‘sea to summit 360 furno’ camping burner for boiling. They are cheap to buy at around AUD$30, and as good as the pricey stuff. Gas canisters are $14-17. I love my gas burner, it’s perfect for a quick tea, rice, pasta, or, anything else!


Teriyaki Turkey Mince and Rice

Ingredients:

• Turkey mince • Red onion • Red or green capsicum • Spring onion • Rice • Teriyaki Sauce • + Add peanuts for extra crunch

Method:

Super easy this one; just chop the capsicum and onion, and fry with a little oil. Whilst the veggies soften, start the rice – boiled or fried. Top time saving tip, get the microwaveable packet rice, for quick and simple fried riced. Add the Turkey mince to the veggies and break it down with the spatula, frying it off until cooked, keeping the rice separate from the other ingredients. Add the teriyaki sauce and heat through for a minute or so, making sure not to burn. Garnish with chopped spring onion and optional peanuts.

© Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

When Life Gives You Lemons

A poem in couplets

They say; when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,
I like their optimism; let’s put that in retrograde!

When life gives you vanilla, add lemons,
When everything is beige, go bronze!

Get some sun, top up your vitamin D,
Or, a squeeze of lemon, for your vitamin C!

When you’re feeling flat, and not your best,
Pick up a lemon, and add some zest!

Complimentary, or; just hard to be beaten,
Imagine it paired with the favourite dish that you’ve eaten,

Add it to sweetness, and you’ve got ‘tart’,
Sun drenched beverages, surely can’t be apart,

Refine richness with a squeeze of its juices,
Savour the sophisticated flavour it produces,

The waxy texture, knobbly, ran under fingers,
That smell it imparts, on the tips, where it lingers,

I adore the scent, alive through the skin,
And the Sicilian memories it evokes from within,

Taormina’s hilltop seascape, gossiping pink petals,
In the shadow of Etna, cameos set in precious metals,

To Syracuse, birthplace of Archimedes,
Ancient architecture kissed by Ionian breeze,

Bar Vitelli, Dad, a grappa, coming of age in the heat,
Where they filmed The Godfather, in the medieval street,

All the way to Naples, across the Tyrrhenian Sea,
Where Mum lapped up lemon sorbet, in Italy,

Blessed moments, when I close my eyes,
Breathe deep that zing, and let my dopamine rise,

I’m there, off of Rome’s Piazza del Popolo,
Finishing dinner with a shot of limoncello,

I feel happy – warm, young and rosy,
Good for winter too, when you want to feel cosy –

At Christmas, with a couple of lemons handy;
Syllabub! Curdled cream, juice, zest and a heap of brandy,

A palate cleanser, but lets not call it the end,
Because lemons promise to be a lifetime friend,

Unlike the pear, who’s easy to bruise,
Not our tough lemon; another reason to choose!

Unlike the banana, who cant get along with other fruits,
Lemons are sociable, can be kept where it suits!

Unlike the passion fruit, with a throwaway rind,
Zest, juice or pulp – use all parts you find!

Best of all, it grows wise as it ages,
One with the philosophers and the sages,

Mature – it’s skin may be hard, wrinkled and dried,
Just like us; the juices are still good inside.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


Written for the dVerse: Poetics.


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Playing with Words

Witchcraft

A poem in free verse

Dropping from her lexicon,
As weighted hands,
Dusted in earth,
That spank the hide,

Ringing in drummers ears,
The rhythm of her voice,
tames beasts of the desert,
To her side

She woke the creatures,
Nipping bloody,
At her heels,
Tearing flesh,

In trance,
Deep into the darkness’,
Insentient recess,

Till the moon,
Enriched her juices -
Refreshed,

She danced to the beating,
of stretched skin,
Soothing the bark of the jackals,

Rejecting safety of his peers,
One ventured,

Alone

Fear gyrating the pupil,
He crept forth,
With raised hackles,


A beautiful boy,
Instincts impaired,
With fur of silver and rust,
Flashing white teeth,
Nostrils flared,
He sniffed the air,

Where her passions poured,
Intoxicated,
He grew accursed,

Lickerish Lupulella’s lollapalooza,
Twisting his tongue,
to try quench its thirst,

Supping from the cup of her hands,
He grows to lust,
Only for her spell,
Never to trust,
Beyond her word,
Remaining silent,

Changing his nature,
He drunk without quell,
Till her rivers grew,

With one bloody thrust,
She tore out his heart,
Threw it skyward,
Her face morphed,
Jaw apart,
Snapped and rolled,

In her belly,
It was cleaned,
Of any and all purity,

Her tempo weaned,
Feet quickened,
Kicked up a fervour,

It shook the land,
Stirred the waters,

The jackals heart,
All which lived inside
Any animalistic spirit,
Essence of pride,

...washed away,

To the rapids,
Without a raft,

Through her drum,
She beat its rhythm,
Ba-bum, ba-bum,

The wild again became bewitched,

That was the power,
Of her craft.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Opulent Ornamentals & Ponderous Peculiarities

A Quadrille Poem

Lent, swaying, pitched on his chair, twirling stache, the devils red hair,

Purveying contents, edge of his rocker; curio cabinet/luridness locker,

– Prismatic jarred oddities, of wonder and fright, fingers of sunbeam, lambent light,

Refractions, grotesque and exquisite – patiently planning, his heads own exhibit.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


Written for the dVerse prompt; create a Quadrille, a poem in 44 words, using a form of the word curiosity.


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Playing with Words

Winters Breath

A Shakespearean Sonnet from the Southern Hemisphere

As autumn crumbles into brittle parts,
And lifted on a whisper of winters breath,
Another season of the year departs,
The clouds brief tears bear mourning of its death,

Cold snatches the pearls of heavenly birth,
To sprinkle twee crystal parcels in lieu,
Bewitching giggling streams in sheets of mirth,
Primed for pebbles to free the babbling blue,

Sleeping giants will stretch their creaking joints,
Steel bones snaking through the mountain resorts,
Planks beneath feet lead where pink noses point,
Warming the wilds with storm served snow sports,

Adventure with an ephemeral glow,
Seizing the season as prints in the snow.

Poem by © Darius the Mate

Published first on Experiments in Fiction.

A big thank you to Ingrid for hosting Sonnet Sunday; putting all the work together from the featured poets. I loved reading them all.

You can start this collection with Ingrid’s “Spring into Summer”.

Perisher, NSW, Australia
Thredbo, NSW, Australia

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Playing with Words

First Kiss

A poem in free verse

The air was lively and brisk,
The earth was homely and accommodating,
The water trickled nearby with a zestful chirrup,
The sky was feeling wild and experimental,

The boy was nervous,
The girl was calm,

She lent forward, on the invitation of a flutter beneath his shirt,
He met her with darting eyes which searched for unfamiliarity for lips,

They rested, as a butterfly to a leaf,
Tasting with their tarsus,
Beating wings against one another,
With an amateur aptitude,

She led, spearmint ‘chewy’ pushed to the side of her gums,
He followed, out of rhythm, in a minty muddle, with his tongue,

He was in love before she pulled away, carrying his saliva on her upper lip,
She was finished with him before he knew he was in love.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Trading Cards

Double Tanka Pokémon Poem

Japanese children compete in a Pokémon card tournament, Tokyo, 4th August 1999. Yoshikazu Tsuno, Getty Images
Bitter is the boy,
Who traded Pokémon cards,
For the next mans dream,
Worthless paper promises,
Which bring him no warmth inside,

~

Years increase value,
Some seek that which gave them joy,
Whilst collectors laugh,
Becoming Pocket Monsters -
Life is a trading card game.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Sand Castles

A poem in free verse

We build our castle in the sand,
standing proud,
upright and pristine,
buckets of expectation,
become the mould,
shaped according to its vessel,
its straight edges can’t defy the breeze,

the winds of change

Grains lifted,
airborne,
one here,
one there,
but it holds its form,
threatened with nothing of substance,
light basking it in a radiant sheen,
vigorous incandescence,
now time to live inside,
to watch the waves,

the changing tide

It breathes evanescently,
fluid salutations,
never quite hello,
never quite goodbye,
transience lapping up the shore,
grain by grain,
the foundations of your castle,
wash out the sea,
till it tumbles back into the beach,

All kingdoms fall,
eventually…

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Lost Kitten

Tanka

Sometimes, we get lost -

Kitten on a busy road,
Arched back and frightened,
Uncertainty all around,

- Which way to not get flattened?

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

False Prophet

A poem in free verse

Overloaded with the vision,

I spill parables,

seen through the incision,

of the all seeing eye,



They dribble the chin,

dragged up on the sins,

they douse,



Through the orifices,

Of my inner self,

On revelations,

I gift their wealth,

in my wisdom,



Spewed at length,

words falling,

from stylising tongue,

which finds its calling,

in the hearts and minds,

at which it lunges,

In direction of the earmarked,

whose transgressions,

it expunges,



Through snarling teeth,

verses howl,

beyond the scabby muzzle,

a jowl,

covered,

by lambskin fleece,

to mask the beast,

I secrete beneath,



taming the bleat,

a mimicked sound,

where I nuzzle,

my snout,

to confound,

the crowd,



Spouting all they need to hear,

to the ear,

that follows,

where I lead,



Sheep indeed,



I breed,

In them,

for my own purposes,

in this new world,

ruled by bandits and warlords,

which loot and horde,

there is no safety,

but in number,

they need a saviour,

to shake them from their slumber,

granting salvation,



If they choose,

to heed my word,

then who is to blame?

I did not ask for fame,

or reverence,

all I wanted,

was to be heard,

and if I found the right instrument,

which stirred,

emotion,

Does that mean this is unjustified devotion?

Or, am I as good as real,

To make them feel,

the things they want to feel?



We all have learned behaviour,

I too,

from the books,

which I savour,

verse by verse,

until it insatiably became my curse,

and my gift,

the pace grew swift,

till I devoured,

growing fat and overpowered,

word by word,

now, instead of just being heard,



I lead the herd,



The internet has fallen,

technology has regressed,

everything which I detest,



No longer do we mine for oil,

companies which existed to corrupt the soil,



gone,



In the year of our lord, 2158,

The consensus is – it’s too late,

to save the past,

the time has passed,

and they are right,

now, at last,

The second coming is upon us,



Repent!



For making this earth ill…

all I really want…



Is to continue,

beyond the devastation,

and torn sinew,

growing anew,

– not to rebuild,

we must leave the past behind –

For the few,

To reap the yield,

in clean, unadulterated earth,



For this mission,

a rebirth,

of a prophet,

make of it what you will,

a true messiah or a scam?

Am I the wolf

or, am I the lamb,

Of God?



In Gods new world,

there’s room for both,

to run free,

that is his oath,



To think –

Christ would grace this land,

this Jerusalem,

– Gods will and command –

where buildings crumble,

in the aftershock,

of World War 3,

why has God chosen me?



The balconies are lined,

remnants of humankind,

hear my oration,

deliverance from damnation,

echoing through the shell,

where commerce used to dwell,

– a mall,

let silence fall,

when I speak,

is this the truth that you seek?



…to nodding heads,

once happy to consume,

until their world was bled,

buried,

exhumed,



We rise!



Once hidden,

we consume each other in the open,

on the broken,

bones of society,

fractured,

we heal,

stronger,

set on the wound as callus,



Rejoice!



I have been given the sight,

Together,

my flock,

we walk into the light…


The promised land, of tomorrow.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


Written for dVerses Open Link Night.


What is life without community? I would love to connect with other nicecissists out there. Reach out, let me know what you think in the comments, and of course, give me a follow for more – nice!

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Playing with Words

Out for Blood

Haibun; prose and haiku

Unfortunately, phone cameras just don’t get close to this quality.
A super blood moon from in 2019, image credit; Mike Blake

I sit, my women by my side, with legs dangling – as the moon in the sky – out the back doors of the van, facing out across the Bass Strait, to the mainland of Australia, from my coastal cradle in Tasmania, rocked by a chilling wind which tightens the air.

Numbing sea of dusk,

Black waves lap over the rocks –

Steal and shape their form.

The “Blood Supermoon”, flying through the sky – pumped and swollen – battles the darkness, in a fray which has spanned the ages, destined, ultimately, to be lost, in a distant flow – of what we call time – beyond mortal bounds.

May she bathe in blood –

Our moons hoary complexion,

Flushed in her frenzy.
The phone camera really doesn’t do it justice!

We are here at the epoch of her supreme power, draped in the red of her own cape, or; perhaps refracted sunlight in Earths atmosphere – it is up for debate. A trail of Infinite energy, sourced from across the universe, scattered in starlight – a fallout of the tumultuous tussle of time, space and all the things which crash about in the cosmos, silent to earthly ears.

Twirling in the sky,

She dips into the umbra -

Flowers in her hair.
Zoom, zoom – into bite size pixels!

Tonight, she celebrates her victory, for the sky is lit, for all to wander in the would-be-darkness, and share in her spoils. The Flowers of May, still hold their scent, as she prepares her outfit for the Strawberry moon of June. Our hero’s job is never done – her schedule ever busy – as she prepares to Clark Kent her super powers, until their time of need.

She’s full in the face,

Drunk off the bloody goblet -

Panning to pale cheek.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Grumps

A poem in free verse

A knock in three,
I rise for thee,
but, barely see,

through the cigarettes,
which went down for breakfast,

two more worries at the door;
I’ve been dreading this day,
the Grandchildren come to play,

One more second of peace before…

Shrieking! uninvited joy,
through the musty corridors,
and into the high walled garden,
the plants suffer,
where attentions do not tread,

These little mites,
bearing their cuddles and need for comfort,
behind snot and dribble,
unappealing as burnt toast,
I spread myself thinly between,
as to not come across too sweet,
a sugarless spread,
try marmite instead,
on your unsophisticated palates,

Don’t call me Gramps,
best call me Grumps,

Wee devils,
who question my dishevelled manner,
and everything else,
infernal curiosity,
which need be shelved,
yet turn a blind eye,
to the paintings which loom,
as their heirlooms,
in my doom,

In timely strokes,
I poked away,
dabbing and brushing,
as aging hands sway,

Or, to my poems,
which litter the table,
where the ashtray climbs,
as the highlands in winter,
where I spent my youth,
bonnie and in bloom,

the little tykes pounce on my lap,
laddie, and the lassie too,
spirited hair attempting to escape in all directions,
in blonde tuffs,
that grew,
as kicked up lawn,
and flap as dying canaries,

– I do mind if you mine my beard,
not that you asked,
but leave anything which you might find,
for its mine,
crumbs and other oddities,
all things weird,
drops of ash,
a hidden rash,
stash of cash,
its mine –

Whilst the ashen mounds,
are beaten from their crystal cut bounds,
to float down again,
as snow on rolling hillside,
where I used to glide,
on planks,
in the Cairngorms flanks,

I thank you,
for that momentary reminisce,
a time of bliss,
where my dear lady lives,
behind the glass,
of the café,
I pushed scran down the pipe,
As she’d unload rounds of banter,
into my ready hide, tough as leather,
But, already sore from the Scottish ice,
we warmed our fingers,
as we blether,
around tea brewed black,
in porcelain,
not paper,

like it used to be served,
when things were right,

there’s not a night,
I don’t rest my hand,
on your pillow,
to a hollow,
as in my heart,
and trace the dents your body followed,

not a day goes by,
I don’t wipe my eyes,
of your presence,

aye,
I miss you so,
I wish you dinnae go,
but, I also miss my brew,
and that’s one thing I can change,

just another tea,
and a cigarette,
away fae you.

Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

The Lion Queen

A poem

Image credit: PeteLeong Photography
She is my Lion Queen,
Rolling beneath white linen,
As sun rises over the scene,
Everything the light touches is our kingdom”,

Bodies dressed in gold,
As eyes patter out curled lashes,
Diaphragms breathe bold,
My mane nuzzles in her neck,

I am her Lion King,
Protecting the pride,
But, she - she is my everything,
Deep inside - she is the roar from my chest,

As she sits up, hair wild,
Yawning to reveal teeth and lion breath,
She’s classic, as old cinema, yet restyled,
Their ferocity muted by loves apex.

Written for dVerse’s Poetics.

Today, we are incorporating movie quotes into poetry. I have chosen a childhood favourite;

Everything the light touches is our kingdom.” The Lion King, 1994


Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Judgement

A poem in free verse

Duality; life and death,
A new journey beckons me from the Duat,
The strength to inhale each breath becomes onerous,
The Kingdom of Osiris awaits,

Judgement awaits.
Who dictates my life,
But for my own heart,

Balanced against the feather of Ma’at,
Judge away,
For I am free of sin,
Ready to address my assessors,
A simple man,
Who split papyrus to make bread,
I tore in parts,
My wealth,
To be divided between my two surviving sons,
All I ask, Is a fair decree,
When Anubis stares me down,
Formidable fur,
Black,
Rich as the soil of the Nile,
Lit by his just perceptions,
I trust,
Ive lived as a good man,
Yet, my fingers,
Cleaned of my last reeds,
Which residue determinedly lines its cracks,
Carrying my labours into immortality,
Or restlessness,
Shake with the thought –
My reflection in the jackal’s austere eyes,
As he prepares my fate,
Heart in hand.


Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Triumphal Arches

Sicilian octave (strambotto)

Arch of Constantine
Image credit: Walks Inside Rome

My pearl, who’s skin shimmers as nacre in light,

Firm as carved marble, enduring as Greek bust,

Breasts swollen from rolling meadows fertile night,

The hollows of triumphal arch’s, toast lust,

A song of three heartbeats, will the bard recite,

My love, sharp as the sword which can never rust,

Honed blade in hand, if felled for country in fight,

Know my sword held its edge till the final thrust.


Poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Where Fireflies Dance

A poem in free verse

The dark centres of her eyes call to me as sirens,
across savage oceans of bubbling seafoam –
green and brown heterochromatic whirlpools –
that suck men under.
I would be foolish,
a foolish man,
to think there was any salvation to be found inside,
yet this voyage has thrashed any resilience I might have had.
I lean in,
take her lips between mine,
knead them softly,
delicately,
with purpose,
as if working clay,
which would be presented to an Emperor.
She was sculpted by higher beings.
I work my fingers into her supple thighs,
breaking her down,
releasing her to me.
My blood pumps hot inside me –
inside her.
A heat to make the waters rise and flood the land,
crashing on the shores where fireflies dance, at night around the fire.
All things which make men different from animals,
washed out to sea.

When I wake up, she is gone.
I am alone, again.
This cursed island,
echoes laughter in the buzzing of insects.
Sandflies ravage my skin into a reddened map of islands,
which offer me no bearing.
The urge to tear flesh with my nails is consuming –
as do minute residents, to my flesh.
The carcass of my ship, still half buried in the beach,
as whale bones,
a rotting skeletal wreck,
disappearing and resurfacing with the tidal forces,
haunting me,
the ghost of my ruin.
I think of her –
the lady of the island,
who has made her home in the hours of my dark recess.
She taunts and tortures me,
with her wicked seductions,
and promises of deliverance.

May I see her in the lonely night,
I beg.


Original story by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

As Ants

Naani

Getty images

Carrying ideas aloft,

Greater than their bearer,

We march in droves, as ants,

Through the garden of time.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

The Pearl

Tanka

A gift and a curse ~

I crave the out of reach pearl,

Breath trails in bubbles,

Diving deep into limits,

~ All for glory... or ruin.

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

The Fall

A poem in free verse

I cannot stretch my mind to find the cure,
In as far,
As I cannot stretch enough my muscles,
I can’t even carry my own weight,
Lest attempt the burden and trouble,
That I drag on my heels,
These sinews are strained,
Uncooperative, stubborn, fickle,
Beaten up and corrupted from years of abuse,
For excess, or success,
Battling hurdles in life’s race,
Toppling cones of some description,
Through the hazy morning smoke clouds,
Too jaded to escape,
Pale and sickly green,
Flinching at the thought,
Of trying to be normal,
A pain beyond tears,
That falls as locusts in the heart,
A plague to purge any sense of self,
That might have existed,
To the ripples of Phoenix wings,
Beating, but not beaten,
Fire dances from the void,
To see the door,
Through fight and focus,
Climbing out through the screen,
To the rolling hills and mist,
Beyond the limits of the past,
Maybe, of the future…
Certainly, of the future… one day,
From ash piles, to snow capped summits,
Where the air is clear and nourishing,
The crackle of ice beneath surer feet,
The numbing of fingers, which draws you to their existence,
The ever present, ever quiet,
Working away for your benefit,
Crystalline kisses from the sky,
Which melt away in spring,
To celebrations,
Of rushing rivers,
Circular,
Ashen skin, and back to ashes,
On the wind,
We drift on unobtainable vapours,
Disappearing in the air,
As breath, free from the lung,
Grasping the moment,
To snatch space with empty hands,
Jumping for dreams,
To land on legs which give way,
Wounds below the surface,
Muscle, tendon, bone,
Throbbing thoughts process,
Through the beating heart,
Of the drummers tempo,
Counting down time,
Mere mortals cannot live in the clouds,
The crack of thunder,
The flash of reality,
From mountain peaks, to peaking early,
Let down by fibres of being,
Being of fibres, torn and tender,
Is my body a prison?
– For that boy,
Who cartwheeled atop joy and laughter,
The cheek to think he could rebel against,
That which catches us all;
The fall.


I’ve decided to try something different and include a reading of ‘The Fall’.

I felt quite emotional reading this aloud, and that may present in my voice.

Once I had finished, my partner asked me if I was feeling sensitive, seeing my eyes glossed and watery.

I said, I’m fine, of course, the chlorine from the pool got in my eyes, since I had my morning swim without goggles.

That’s true.

I’m not sure which is truer.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

The Gorge

Haiku

Scorched in hellfire –

The sly emerald serpent,

Gorged on crocodiles.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Waltz of the Ages

A Waltz poem

The Iron Dome missile defense system (left) intercepting rockets fired by Hamas across the Gaza Strip, 14th May 2021.
Image Credit: Anas Baba/AFP
All for a piece of land,
A city old as script,
There was blood in the sand,
Long before prophets gripped,

Canaanites built the bones,
Laid stones that formed great walls,
Ancient foes cast no stones,
In heat of West Bank brawls,

Where rockets dance at night,
Fear twinkles behind eyes,
Right to left, left to right,
Both claim principle ties,

Twelve Tribes in Iron Age,
Two between Iron Dome,
Another day conflicts rage,
In their ancestral home.

Written for dVerse Poets Pub: Meeting at the Bar.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Ode to Owen

An Ode to Wilfred Owen in the style of ‘Dulce et decorum est’

Wilfred Edward Salter Owen MC
18 March 1893 – 4 November 1918
Knives carve off limbs, flesh torn, dangling, serrated,
As skin mangled from claws on Christmas Turkey,
In war cries, angry men’s lives are narrated,
The line between liberation and invasion is ever murky,
Boys with blood sullied hands grip hair on severed heads,
Those that could have painted portraits,
Coloured from a pallet of the slaughtered instead,
Fed on fables; a prophesied paradise awaits,

We grow fat, in our ivory towers,
Safe from the stranger that bubbles fat and skin,
Like butter in a pan, from drone showers,
In war, does anybody win?
Greed dances between missiles of falling tears,
Precision strikes in the heart of our society,

What have we learned in one hundred years?
Wilfreds woes live on in propriety,

Eyes rattle and roll, jaws hang without screams,
Bodies rot, go putrid in a stupefied sun,
Pierced and hung, displayed with no head to dream,
In ancient squares, where civilisation begun,

Babylon had fallen - long before Saddam in Firdos Square,
Lines drawn on maps separate nations in the sand,
To say we have not learnt one thing, would be unfair,
We’ve learnt of it, how to better wash our hands,
Politicians bleed lies through crooked lips,
Contorted through years of kissing corrupt feet,
The only thing which is true, is found in deaths cold grip,
But, for distant sounds of innocence echoed on the ruined streets,
Still, children’s lives are worth less than ammo,
The old lie: which never dies, the same old story,
May only foreign babies be born to know;
Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

Written for dVerses Poetics: Poems to a Poet.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Open Wound

Quadrille poem

Past to the flames,
Burn away,
on the pyre,
Intensifies in fire,
Dancing behind eyes,
Embers crack and fall,
Turn to ash,

Cauterise open wounds,
Seal the tomb,
Leave no name,
There’s no blame,
Just seared flesh,
Wound with bandages,
Of dreams and promise.

Written for dVerses Quadrille Monday (its long been Tuesday here in Tasmania); create a poem in 44 words. Today we’re celebrating homographs by including one or more versions of the word ‘wound’.

Homographs, being words that have multiple meanings, may be interpreted without context, openly.

To play on this, the title of my poem, ‘Open Wound’, also intended to hold a double meaning.

Congratulations if you picked up on it – it may have been a bit cryptic!


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Playing with Words

Industrial Evolution

Chueh-chu poem

Photo from CNN report:
Last U.S. troops leave Iraq
       Train tracks,
Long since used,
Steam trailed,
Where steel cruised,
Towns thrived,
Lost to time,
Bled raw,
Till veins bruised,

For self,
Or for state,
False wars,
Need/greed fused,
Strange suns,
Host harsh boots
In death,
Black gold oozed.

Chueh-chu is a Chinese form of poetry.

For my first Chueh-chu, I decided to take inspiration from the name, and open with a reference to locomotives.

Chueh-chu translates to ‘sonnet cut short’.

I’ve used a Wu-yen-shih metre; five monosyllable in each line with a caesura (a break between words in a metrical foot) after the second syllable.

It can use a rhyme scheme of AABA CADA, ABCB DBEB, or AABA AACA.

Personally, I loved the rhythm of the Wu-yen-shih metre, and know I’ll be coming back to this form again.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Smile

A Limerick and a Cinquain poem

Limerick

A Wife’s wisdom

My wife had her wisdom tooth removed,

Dinner of ice cream wisely approved,

I wanted some quiet,

I’m on a grief diet,

Now she cold, but the mood has improved.

(True story)


Cinquain

Humour –

Laughter Therapy,

Nourishing, Revitalising, Enhancing,

Take “it” less seriously,

⁃ Smile.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Plagued

Tanka

The Dance of Death 1493
by Michael Wolgemut
Nuremberg Chronicle of Hartmann Schedel
Buried emotions,

Mass casualties of a plague,

In a shallow grave -

The burden of humankind,

Below the surface, rotting.

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Popcorn

Haiku

Buttery popcorn –

Melts into the crisp vistas

Azureous bowl.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Biblioklept

A poem

Leather bound, ornate and well read,
Her fingers kneaded the cover,
Shes a faithful bibliophile,
A collector and book lover,

An impulse latched her true desire,
Eyes scanned around, that which enticed,
Casing the library, before,
Furtively committing the heist,

With a sly slight of hand she slipped,
The book from table to pocket,
A devious dart to the door,
She was away like a rocket,

She fetishised all types of books,
Genres, size, shape, purchased or loaned,
Cardinal condition complied,
They all must already be owned,

Nature of a biblioklept,
To her, stealing books is an art,
Potent thrills came with a bookmark,
Powerful, she felt to outsmart,

Once she started, she couldn’t stop,
Bedroom walls, a fort with the loot,
Far from a the average bookworm,
She’s a dyslexic to boot!

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Rebellious Annie

Flash Fiction

Ten toes twitching with taut tremors like feeling tentacles. This is not poetry; this is hell. He collapsed backward, a laboured wilting of limbs and lifeforce, drew him to the earth. My eyes lined up with the soles of his feet, where his muscles spasmed with a last display of virility.

“Coba lari sekarang, jalang Amerika!”

I gasped into the cup of my quivering hand, pressed against my mouth forcefully, with requisite urgency. I levered into my heels, shuffled and scathed my butt through the jutting sharp rocks, and soddening mud, to bury myself deeper into the undergrowth, beneath the fractured canopy leaves.

I could hear the gunman’s lead-footed boots snap branches on the high ground above my hiding hollow.

“Come out little piggy.” The man’s shrill voice sullied the Jungle air, in broken English.

I am not a target to take porcine pot shots. Fuck this, I’m not going down without a fight. Fight or flight, come on, make your mind up! Shut up! Sit still, you idiot, keep quiet. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck.

My mind raced, like a doped-up thoroughbred on a diet of anabolic steroids, injected through the iris into my brain – I’m stuck in the starting blocks tearing every sinew of my mangled mind. My short desperate breaths, jagged as razorblades through my fingers, my vison, twinkling like pipe bombs denotating shrapnel through my sights, adrenaline flushing logic from my system – I was going into shock.

It is my fault, I did this, I should have just paid them the fucking money. Held hostage in this sweaty jungle pit for 3 days. If I gave them the money they wanted when they held us up at the ATM, then they may have just let us go. There was nothing but goddamn mosquitoes and monkey shit in that cage they beat me into. In the end I crawled in like an obedient dog, on my hands and knees, yelping and sobbing – battered in with a pulpy muddle of facial features. That ATM, there I was, oblivious, in his arms, already hot on the throb of each other’s hearts, with the oppressive humidity, the sweltering heat leading me by the hand into erratic choices – all I had to do was give them something, when those two thugs pulled up with their sticks and machete. I thought it was just ‘hot air’. As usual, I had to run my mouth, like a rebellious kid – that fucking label everyone always stamped all over me.

That’s why I wanted to get away in the first place – pack my bag and get out of that nowhere town. I was having so much fun here. I should have stayed in Bali – beaches, booze, the boys. Too many cheap vodkas and one night of average sandy sex, and that is all it took to get, beyond regrettable thigh chaffing, Simon following me around, like an undernourished, heart thieving, crab-eating macaque. It was his idea to travel to Jakarta. “Hell yeah!”, I said. He looked so happy. Now look at him, dead in his own piss and shit, with a bullet put through his fucking knee, before they blew the beautiful blonde hair out the back of his skull.

Annie, you need to pull yourself together!

Mum, I am so sorry, I should have known better. I wished I called more. I wish I told you I loved you more. I wish I did not leave so abruptly, after Mark moved in. Mark seemed nice enough – I could tell he loved you – I Just never understood why you left Dad, and then, when he passed away so suddenly, I blamed you. I did not know he was a smack addict. I get it now; you were trying to protect me. It was not your fault. It never was. Why was I so cruel? Why am I so shit? I promise, if I make it out of this, I am coming home, to hug you, hold you – I will make this right.

Simons body was still, naked, but for his fluids and those grisly holes in his defiled face and knee. BoBo, the gunman – I think that’s what they called him – slipped down the mossy outcrop, right in front of my squalid den. I felt sure he would be able to feel my fear penetrating the air between us, on the back of his neck. He was the one who pummelled me into that cage. He was supposed to be watching us when Simon managed to pry out one of the jaunty wooden stakes from his incarcerated hell. Bobo – his hands have Simons blood on them – that bastard, he was asleep in his chair, neck back, ballooning in and out as he snored, like a bleeding toad, whilst Simon slid across the damp hut on his belly, to me. If only we ran a bit quicker… Simon… I’m so sorry.

Bobo struck his lifeless body, with a ceremonial kick to the shins, spat some of his disgusting salvia at the pocket in Simons sweet head, as cool and calm as if he was shooting pool. I watched as he tucked his gun into the coarse leather belt, at his back. It was strange, an out of body experience – I burst recklessly from the undergrowth like a hidden predator, leaped ferociously right up onto Bobos back, attaching myself around his waist, with legs that curled like a boa constrictor. My right arm slipped with ease, lubricated with the stagnant mud, beneath his chin, as the force of my tackle tumbled us both over into Simon, and off again, to roll on the dense jungle floor. I used my left arm to anchor my right as I squeezed into him with all the strength of a desperate women, staring death in its haunting sterile eyes. He struggled with a hardy resilience. Who wanted to live more? He was thrusting into rolls, and making anguishing kicks airborne with his legs, his arms flailing at his belt, fingernails lacerating my sides as he wrestled for his gun. I felt the disagreeable rigid steel pressed into my groin, cutting off his access, as I stressed every fibre of my inconsolable being, crushing his windpipe with spartan determination.

I held him long after he stopped moving, tears ejecting down my flushed cheeks, despondent, as the abject terrors began to thrash about in my hippocampus – a flood of shaking rattled my limbs from BoBos slumped corpse. I curled into a shell, hollow, letting the silent jungle fill slowly with noise and movement again. I sat up, looked around, vomited, twice, then, shuddered onto my weakened legs, to no avail, crumpling into a disturbed void in the earth.

I did not realise how close I was to civilisation. The rain was pattering on the side of my skull, as I lay prone in the vegetation, when two farmers trailed through the treeline.

On the outskirts of Jakarta, the rain was still falling diagonally, as unsought lingering mementos on the window panes of the police station – the phone dialled up that numbing tone for an international call.

“Hello, Mum…”


Story by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Blue Planet

A poem in 15 couplets

Violent storms savaged the vessel,
In unyielding torrents, wrestle,

My makeshift raft bobs on the swell,
Bound for the inky depths of hell,

Ship plunged down to the oceans deep,
Hopes adrift, what fingers can’t keep,

Indian Ocean, heavy hue,
Swallowed up the souls of my crew,

Woe! Beneath, water beats, fins peek,
Despair lapping, over rolls, bleak,

Wet cloth, sombre dolorous blues,
With the salty terrors perfuse,

Cursed rouge be the blue planet,
Give me earth - chalk, stone or granite,

Bottomless marine abundance,
Sea meets sky, eyes meet redundance,

Shallow cerulean ceiling,
Blue washed, as dropped paint concealing,

The lurching blackness of nights claw,
Snatches the realm of no mans law,

Pleas pry free from my cracked, parched tongue,
Twister tore through, feeble float flung,

Darkened belly of midnight blue,
Churned up in the froth of the stew,

Cold teeth bites down with the shivers,
The hand which taketh, delivers,

An icy kiss of death, lips blushed,
To slip below, sailors song hushed.

Rippled from our watery graves,
Some still hear wailing on the waves.

Written to the prompt by dVerse, compose a poem in the theme of the colour ‘blue’.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Ruby

A memorial poem, for a cherished dog

It’s been four years since my childhood companion passed away. I would like to share this poem I wrote for her.

She deserves to be celebrated.

For Ruby,

Imperfectly perfect,
Wrong, but just right,
Long snout, bow legs, a nervous disposition,
To shake without cause for fright,
'Runt of the litter',
An easy observation to say,
But, if I could create you again, from scratch,
I would make you the same way

The endless pester for food,
'No Ruby, no beggar beggar',
Hiding bones you would not re-find,
We would like to say you weren't too clever,
Yet, not to conform unto the phrase;
'You cannot teach an old dog new tricks?'
For I had you rolling over,
In dog years of sixty sixty.

In your comic mannerisms,
Hours of laughter you would give,
All the greater to your charm,
An endearing 16 long years that you have lived,
Encouraging your naughtiness,
Now that was my part to play,
Down 'The End' with my friends,
All those teenage days,
And don't tell her now,
But when my Mothers back was turned,
I would feed you ham straight from the fridge,
For as 'my' Ruby, indulgences you earned

Alas, you were but a dog,
These, words I force, to convince myself I'm fine,
Unjust, you weren't just any dog,
You were special, you were mine,
Underneath the tree of lilac flower,
A modest piece of earth,
And back to it, whence you came,
To a time of quiet, before birth.

I miss you…


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

The Hangman and the Heart

Flash Fiction

I jostled for a pocket of airspace to observe - pried  between shoulders of my ignoble peers, on tips of toes, peaking past plebeians. On tongues, the congested cobble stones roared with a frenzy at the culmination of the longest trial in the Shires history. 

The gallows stood stoically, silent, raised above the hysteria of the crowd, the town square frothing in a red mist. The noose swung with wicked calm on the delicate lips of the wind. 

The song of a doomed man. His final words, as his neck slipped through the knot, to be left unrecorded, unheard but to the ear of the hangman. The condemned – my beautiful son. 

The cruelest revelments murdered the air. Be silent! I cried his name. Nothing. Only mouths are we. 

Who sings?

The distant heart which safely exists in the centre of all things. 

My son.

Written for dVerse’s Prosery, a short prose, in 144 words, incorporating the line;

“Only mouths are we. Who sings the distant heart which safely exists in the center of all things?”

– from Rainer Maria Rilke, “Heartbeat.”


Story by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

A Self Portrait

A poem I wrote during a delicate moment.

It’s a big step to share this one.

For those who wonder, I am in a better frame of mind now. We all have our ups and downs, though, some of us are just wired with more volatile fluctuations.

I appreciate you…


From my window I see the world,

Snow is falling but I feel no cold,

I am warm, I am safe, I am not content,

As I’m drawn to nature, sincere and bold,



To be outside, under the mighty, boundless sky,

I develop within the earthen womb till freed,

Clean, unadulterated air, drawn deep within grateful lungs,

Growth in unfamiliar soil, as air born seed,



Ceaseless, to the next adventure I am yearning,

In the freezing air, my fingers numbed,

They give way to the sensation of burning,

And I to thoughts of respite and warmth succumb,



And then I long for home,

From where I wished so long to leave,

Despite, its home, a gently haven,

To understand, to nurture, the newly formed ideas, conceived,



In my bed, I am always tired,

Until I want to be and then I’m not,

Thoughts keep me in state, they create,

And then eat away at the rot,



Until I am cleansed of conscious,

The ever present friend and foe,

Daily stimuli birth unconscious thought,

metamorphic in the subconscious, grow,



In my kitchen, I am always hungry,

I never manage to fill the void,

I playback the day’s events, over and over,

I question my perception until I’m paranoid,



Feverish speculation undermines instinct, mind is lucid,

I know I’m alright, why do I feel so wrong?

I better learn how to get on,

There is only myself, with me, eternally, lifelong,



So, I sit down to eat,

Because I’m supposed to, at this hour,

Stomach digests,

Thoughts devour...



Same again tomorrow, repeat the cycle,

The constant, daily, grind,

Working hated jobs, we are locked,

In a formulaic routine, confined,



I eat to live, I live,

Because I know nothing else,

In diligence, I pursue a just desire,

A happiness inside myself,



When my days are empty,

Loneliness rears from under the surface,

Unappeasable, I feel selfish for not being happy,

I lust insatiably for greater purpose,



The anxieties I had forgotten,

Creep back in with cunning stealth,

Causing momentarily lapse in endeavour,

To appreciate, in life, it’s wealth,



To be content,

It’s an ever moving goal,

And in empty days, I transverse the maze,

Deeper into the hole,



As the shackles dig in around my neck,

In boredom, become technologies little whore,

I scroll braindead, into the bright light of my phone,

Tired eyes fixate, until they’re sore,



Just another sheep, I bleat,

As my cash is herded into the basket of online shopping,

Feed materialism, the beast, endorphins released,

Instant gratification will keep money dropping,



I’m constantly disappointed in humanity,

I put my trust in very few,

I’d rather trust first in my judgment,

Before given to you,



As are we all, I am flawed,

I acknowledge the proof,

I’ve believed so wholly in an illusion,

When dark clouds obscured the truth,



In front of my mirror, I am always judged,

But he never turns his back,

The eyes of others, they never lie,

Mouths appease, but eyes, they mount attack,



Reading body language is a tool,

Intuition has served me in the past,

Inclinations give you a head start

And the wolves, they encircle fast.



I present myself with valiant shield,

In my mind I’m never good enough,

I know I’m sensitive, I feel every nuance,

Faux confidence to prove I’m tough,



Im always wondering if my pain shows,

I tell myself ‘I do not care’,

I’ll stare into your eyes, to see,

If you, of this, are aware,



I balance my personality in different situations,

I tell myself to be reserved,

I can be proud, I can be fierce,

I will not accept less than what is deserved,



On occasion that’s what is required,

If not, I dig until a hole becomes enlarged,

When the matador waves his red flag,

My natural instinct is to charge,



I was not breathing coming into this world,

I’ve been a fighter since the day I was born,

If the wolves in the pack do flash their teeth,

They may find themselves impaled up on each horn,



That’s what the world does,

It turns a combatant from a gentle soul,

When compassion makes you a target,

And being ruthless gives more control,



I recognise myself in baby pictures,

More than my reflection in the mirror,

I see my purest form,

In a world, where everything seems clearer,



Before I was shaped into this man,

The mirrors casting back,

An unblemished boy stared with bright eyes,

Then mirror began to crack,



When I look into my reflection,

And my reflection back at me,

I see fear, anger, pain,

Sorrow and anxiety,



I see scepticism,

Someone who is unsure,

Unstable, unsafe,

Unfulfilled and insecure,



I see someone who’s felt failure, hurt, betrayal and loss.

I see someone who is trying and is tired,

Whose once bright eyes now glare back glossed,



When I see videos of myself,

As a boy of two years old,

Long blonde hair and fresh pink cheeks,

Story still untold,



I see me. A pure child,

of virtue and morality,

Full of untainted joy, hope,

And curiosity,



It’s that inquisitive mind of the child,

Holding the potential,

Endless possibilities,

Deepen the existential,



I see a small boy and a massive world,

where everything is within reach,

Infinite choices that lay in wait,

Each with their own lesson in life to teach,



So, who am I?

Who have I become?

To keep returning to the cold,

Where fingers become numb,



Is that boy still a part of me,

From where it all began?

I know he’s the reason why,

Today, I’m a good man,



I create the world behind,

As much as I control the man in my reflection,

It exists only because I do,

Chance guides the hand, whilst I originate, the purpose and direction,



Do not conform, do not fight your mind,

Finding balance Is the key,

Understanding and accepting who you are,

Loving your own complexity,



I am nothing without my conscious,

If I let my conscious go, will I be free?

No more searching for the answers,

Sufferings no longer be,



If I let my conscious go, I’m trapped,

In the darkness, no reverse,

Just another flash of light,

In the endless universe.

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

The City

Tanka

Light on dark waters -

A network of sentience,

Moving together,

Individually felt,

Two worlds, existing at once.

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Deliberate

A poem

Vicissitudes of fortune,

Teased by reality,

Youth wore a mask and cape,

Flavour of mortality,

I’m not superman,

Pill of kryptonite a day,

Swallowed with salt water,

Gives the doctor their pay,

Routine checkups,

End up with a shackle,

No meat on the bone,

Been fed on by the jackal,

Having desperate dilations,

Of the believable,

Opt for the amputation,

The past is irretrievable,

Severed at the ankle,

Takes one step at a time,

Straight to extreme measures,

Too hasty in your prime,

Earn wisdom the hard way,

Chomping on impressions,

Deliberate with words,

Liberate expressions,

Bored of the same old shit,

Lets switch up the metre,

Add another syllable,

Maybe two – I’m a big eater,

Stark, is the desert sand I chew,

Dry mouth, no water to quench it,

They call “us” snowflakes, let them melt,

Wet generation, no need to drench it,

Add insults, upon insult, till they cut,

In salts, it hurts but helps to heal,

What’s wrong with just not being offensive?

Because, sometimes we need to the truth to heal.

Keep it to yourself. Sick of opinions,

Everybody sounds the same, press play,

Reel it off, learnt lines, reel it back, fishing,

Thrust with the left or right, it’s all swordplay,

Feather fluffing peacocks, watch the sharp ends…


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Exploring mental and physical

Tessellated

Haiku

Tessellating waves - 

Primordial masonry,


Set by natures hands.

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Power to the Poet

A Fibonacci poem

To

Write

As the

Pen wishes

No choice of dishes

Politely eat what you’re given.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

A Letter

A mirrored Fibonacci poem

She writes a letter of goodbye,

Seals it with a kiss,

Tears fall down,

But she’s,

Now

Free

He

Sees

His name

By her hand

He already knows

It’s not going to be good news.


I mirrored a Fibonacci to create a syllable count of 8–5–3–2–1–1–1–1–2–3–5–8, to attempt to illustrate the passing of a letter.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Reality Hits

Palinode toDreaming High

Image credit: Getty images
Prelude: Dreaming High

Mum, said I, can I fly, with the birds in the sky?

Yes, you can, before sleep, flap your thoughts, take a leap...

Dreamt of wings, woke in bed, feathers dense, guilt in lead.

Mum, said I, when birds die, do they fall from the sky?

Palinode: Reality Hits

Mum, said I, as I began to ask her “why...?”
See stopped me and said, “Son,

...

Here’s your head start,
You best get on and depart,
Because I’m busy,
Doing paperwork and stuff,
And this ******* computer is playing up,
You’re about to learn some new words,
I don’t have time to answer banal questions,
Or put lines into trivial rhyme,
You got one out of me,
I’ll give you two, but not three,

Go and ask your Dad,
Out, out, out!

Shut the door.”

...

I muttered beneath my breath;
“Fine... but, I’ll make one more.”

My take on a Palinode, a poem in which the poet retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a former poem, for the prompt by dVerse.

In Reality Hits, I imagined an alternate outcome to a mother – child interaction.

Like the mother “character”, I’ve had a busy day today; and in attempting to fit a poem (or two) in, my inspiration will undoubtedly come through in the words. Thanks for reading.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Another Morning Star

A nonet poem

Image credit: Grant McIver
She is at home in words not spoken,
The silence comes with a cute pout,
Her wrath is a morning star,
Hot, fast, and short to last,
Flickered from the past,
Those twinkling eyes,
Shine on me,
Burning,
Wrath,

Written to contrast Morning Star, a poem about love.


This is my second nonet; a nine lined poem with a syllable count that descends from 9 – 1 as your work down the lines.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Snapshot: Rottnest Island

Short look + read photograph collections from places I’ve loved enough to capture.

Rottnest Island, WA, Australia

Rottnest Island is a popular tourist destination located 18km from the Australia mainland via a short ferry ride from Fremantle, Perth.

The island has over 22km of cycling tracks, which link spectacular pristine beaches – kick back and soak up the sun, or check out the vibrant marine life with a snorkel. Of its abundant wildlife – birds, colonies of sea lions and fur seals, by far the most famous (and adorable), is the quokka. Let’s face it, if you’re coming to Rottnest, it’s likely for a chance to see these rare, charming dough faced marsupials!


Photographs by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

A Queen

A ghazal poem

Tehran bazaar in 1971
My Queens hands which hold my heart squeeze tender,
Whilst lips which taste your body please tender,

Neck sweat, pepper and spice, busy laneways,
The bazaar where merchants try seize tender,

Sultry Arabian nights will shiver,
At shaking limbs, trembling, moist, tease tender,

Moon blushed pale, sharing soft tongues in the dark,
Wolves howling, teeth on skin, ease tender,

Without you, walking bare foot in the sand,
Lost in the desert, hear my pleas tender,

Mapping your body, guided by freckles,
Starry skies carved on marble frieze tender,

I have not the grandeur of Persian Kings,
Humble man working the earth, knees tender,

A Darius needs a Queen to age with,
Together, whisper guarantees tender.

My first ghazal; an Arabic style of poetry with deep history stretching back to the 7th century, later developed in 10th century Iran.

It is formed on an independent series of couplets, that should be able to stand alone.

It must contain 5 couplets or greater, and less than 15.

In the first couplet, the last word is repeated on the first and second line, and on the second line of all succeeding couplets.

The penultimate word on each line of the first couplet must rhyme, and on all following second lines in each couplet.

The final couplet should contain a personalisation, such as your own name.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Morning Star

A nonet poem

Morning star

She is at home on the battlefield,

The shaft comes with a ball and chain,

Her love is a morning star,

Effective with blunt force,

Causing great trauma,

Spiked at the ends,

Medieval,

Brutal,

Love.


This is my first nonet; a nine lined poem with a syllable count that descends from 9 – 1 as your work down the lines.


Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

Lug the Legless

A narrative poem

Prologue

Forsaking I, to fend in the woods,
Undertaking trials of great peril,
Those Druid, beneath cloak and hood,
Caste off to scavenge as a feral,

I ran errands for my sacred leader,
Listened at his feet as he versed,
For my devotion, labelled a feeder,
On a sacrifice of blood was cursed,

Now, I crawl through the undergrowth,
Bone of my legs turned to jelly,
To slither in my wake, gods hear my oath,
Let grasses of sword pierce my belly,

If Toranos aid shall not strike thunder,
On the heads of the fickle Druid,
Villages reaped with fire and plunder,
Let their cries of forgiveness burn amid.

Lug the Legless

I laughed into the forest floor,
For my ears had tamed Druid knowledge,
To commune with the beasts of lore,
On advice of ancient trees, I forage,

Mastered beasts with shamanic howling,
Rode wild horses where their hooves tread,
Hillside was speckled with my wolves prowling,
Watchful eyes, whilst I rest my head,

In the burrow, where the shadows cackle,
Dare my treacherous tribe trample a leaf,
Will find vines to their ankles shackle,
Flesh be claimed by the woodlands teeth,

The children sing of the hermits cave,
He, whose occult whispers would possess,
To travel in the fertile deep was grave,
Lest you come across Lug the Legless.

Epilogue

Their armies came from across the seas,
A force so large, their fires ate the sky,
Footsteps shook free acorns from oak trees,
Land beneath their tents would wither and die,

Brave warriors painted in woad,
Fell under the eagle standard,
Blue skin trampled in red as they rode,
Cut down, be not the invaders pandered,

Albion gave herself to them,
Wealth of her earth sworn to new hands,
Fate, by long reaching arms condemn,
Tribal bands in once free, proud Celtic lands,

I danced mounted a boar by the fire,
A joy echoed on the forest wall,
Captured fulfilment of my desire,
Lug the Legless, outlived them all.

My response to the prompt by dVerse; Poetics: Exploring the Narrative Voice.


Image credit: Mary Evans Picture Library

Lug; Proto-Celtic, believed to be from the Proto-Indo-European “leug”, meaning, to swear an oath.

Toranos; Proto-Celtic form of Taranis, god of thunder in Celtic Mythology.

Albion; from the Proto-Indo-European for “white”, is the earliest known name for the island of Britain, thought to be reference to the White Cliffs of Dover.

Ardross wolf, Pictish Carving, image credit: Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Original poem by © Darius the Mate


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Exploring mental and physical

An Ugly Son #2

Short prose

Find part 1 here

Part 2

I thought he hated me because I was different, because the weeping, the laughter, the silence, of my three wretched faces, frightened him - appalled him - I was wrong. It was not that, it was how I so perfectly mirrored my mothers face, shifting, metamorphosing itself from the dark recesses of my thought onto the mortal vessel of my body, every time I would turn them to her. There was not a mirror, nor a window, to caste a reflection of my curious condition, in that dank, sorry cabin – the pitiful tomb he had built for himself – and I. The laughter and the weeping, the prying of my fingers, and the wickedness of my father’s tongue was the only thing which let me know I was a monster. With nothing to confirm or deny its truth, like my God, I threw my faith at the darkness. But, I had never, ever seen, or imagined in my wildest dreams, now exposed with such clarity, such desolating honesty, the abhorrent aberration in the altering state of my affliction. 

That day, by the stream, with my mother’s ghost watching me through the cold water, I had no idea where it would take me, how I would use it – but I would, in time. It did not start easy. I rolled back onto my bottom, numb. The squawk of frenzied birds snaring my attention, I looked upstream, with horror, the rotting carcass of a deer bobbed, caught between two rocks, its body starting to decompose, bloated, the puncture marks of ravenous birds riddling its exposed hind quarters. I spat the remnants of its watery captive from my mouth, that I had been lapping up like a thirsty cat, moments before. I had to get moving, I didn’t know where… but I had to, before I ended up like that forsaken deer.

I walked naively, following my nose most of the day, my short legs making hard work of the brush and thicket, sure that I passed the same crooked trees, bent toward me as if taunting, multiple times, lost and desperate, before finally vomiting up the contents of my stomach on my chin and knock knees, pathetically, as I hunched over, clutching my guts. I dropped down, writhing. I was sure this was the end for me. Albeit a short life, it was a miserable one. I said to myself, there, as I lay on my back, staring into the twilight of the day, there is no God, no good God, who would create a child like I, and damn him to not even but one day of joy.

There was a snuffling at my head, I tucked my face into my knees timidly, sobbed, forgetting the soft features I had inherited at daybreak.

“My God, are you ok? What’s a young girl doing out here?...”

Came a voice above me, through the shield I fashioned with my arms. ‘Young girl’? I puzzled at the word – but, I’m a boy. My face? My mother’s face – was it real? Do they see me – or her?

“Where’s your parents?”

I uncoiled like a beaten kitten, looked up with petrified eyes that begged mercy.

A man stood there, eyes widening
and narrowing to focus, hairy dark finger holding tightly the scruff of a canines loose neck, as the hound sniffed and huffed with agitated enthusiasm, big floppy ears falling over the side of its head like a clothe over the sides of a table.

“Are you ok? Oh, you’re… older than you first look…”

I glared at him, willingly, but there was no voice, nothing. He repeated his questioning. I tried so hard, I wanted to answer him, I screamed desperate pleas from the pit of my being, but I made no sounds, not even a grunt or moan, thus was the suffering of my affliction.

“Must be simple.”

The man said, possibly to his dog.

He took my hand in his, I followed gratefully, the hound too. A rust coloured horse stood restlessly, aged in the rain, tethered by rope attached to a tree, in front of a shoddy cart. He helped me onto the wagon, where I lay amongst the dead animals - rabbits, and a pheasant. The cart bumped on the uneven ground, the wheels squeaking on each rotation. I imagined there were mice living inside. The moon flickered behind the treeline as if the oil were running out in its lamp, till the trees gave way to open skies of stars and moon. Voices - cackles, hollering, hooting – there were people here. I sat up and peeked over the wooden side. There were definitely people here, wandering the streets, all sorts of strange shapes and sizes, some small like me, some big, wearing funny clothes. Houses here were odd too, built of brick and stone, with smoke spiralling in the air, from little shoots. Now, of course, much has changed in the world, and there is little, bar the lining of a man’s skin, which can surprise me, but back then, I could hardly believe my young eyes.

The cart trundled to a stop outside a modest grey stone building, with real glass windows and a door with a heavy handle. The man picked me out the wagon, led me inside, the dog hurried in, dropped into a straw cushion in the corner, as the door thud shut. He removed his earth encrusted boots, on one, a handle of a short blade poking from a self-stitched in sheathe. He placed them by the door, hung up a filth laden pig-hide overcoat beside. The man tore some bread, by his hairy ham fingers, darkened with the spoils of the hunt, dropped the stale morsel onto the table. I devoured it unthinkingly, as he worked up a small fire in the hearth. He poured some water into a stubby, crudely crafted pottery mug, gently placed it into my dainty fingers – took some more, poured and heated it in a metal tanker over the fire. When the tanker bubbled and steam wafted on the draft, about the room, making windows look like it had caught the fog of morning, he lifted it back out with blackened iron tongs, and tipped it into a modest bronze tub. He laid out a white linen tunic beside, as I watched excitedly, before brushing back his feathery silver eyebrows.

“Wash yourself down.”

I began to remove the burlap garments, first my shirt, over my head, then, dropping my lower half, I turned away to hide my body, and the feminine vail, which had gained me sanctuary. He sat into a homemade wooden chair. I lifted one leg over, then the other, and slipped down the inside of the wall, into the warm water. Sploshing, bathing blithely, for the first time in weeks, I ran my fingers through my hair, dark as slate, thickened by dirt, which dangled in matted strands, at my shoulders. The grime let go of my skin and scalp, whirling in the current of my puissance, gathering and sitting on the surface of the water like a vegetable broth. The man’s shadow sulked around the room. I heard his footsteps on the stone floor before I felt his forceful fingers on my head. He began to brush out the clumps of hair with his busy probing hands. I sat there, unmoving, body frozen with a crippling consternation. He took his time, getting out all the knots.

“Now, we won’t tell anyone about this, will we?” I felt his hot, putrid breath on my neck, close.

I tried, to say no, no I wont tell… no, no please don’t do this, I don’t want to - something, anything, but there was no voice. He placed his hand on the barren space at my chest. The dog whined behind, panting, and growling beneath the heavy handle of the door. The mans grip relaxed, laid-off, for a moment.

“Go and lie down!” He hammered at the hound, which sunk down, and whimpered, but resigned to stay.

I hesitated, a moment passed, every second felt monumental, as stars falling to earth, around me, with clout. I did not move, I could not.

A star landed in my lap. A sudden burst of preservation overrode passivity. I leapt from the tub, water followed me into the air with an explosive spray, as gunpower in a barrel. I caught hold of the linen tunic and took it up in my arms, holding it to my body.

The man recoiled in shock, almost tumbling back, but too soon for respite, composed himself, and instead started to make steps toward me. He jolted to an abrasive holt, stared me up and down with savagery in his eyes.

“A boy? What sort of witchcraft is this? Face of a women, body of a child boy. First, you are a simpleton, now you’re a trickster. You take me for a fool, witch?”

A silence.

“ANSWER ME!?”

The over alert canine prowled back and forth the room behind him, back arched anxiously, barking into the panic. The man withdrew, snapping shut the latch above the heavy door handle, to damn me, took up a sluggish iron poker from the hearth, and in throwing himself across the room with unwieldy anger, struck the wall behind my head. I dived across the room, discarding the tunic for the short blade prized from his boot. The hound lunged at me, snapping with frenzied determination. I kicked at it, with the defenceless soles of my feet, its teeth snatched my fleshy calves and thighs. The man’s burly steps, made light work of the room, as he lumbered with raised bar. I pointed the knife outward, clasped tight at my chest. Closed my eyes, pictured my true face, my malformed faces, laughing at my misfortune, crying at the tragic shame.

A shriek. Opening my eyes, the dog cowered, tracking back with snarling fright. A clunk, as the weighty poker hit the stone floor. The man staggered back, eyes threatening to drop from their sockets.

“DEMON!”

The weeping, the laughter, it misted the room with an immobilising fear. I hurtled out of the brace position I had shrunk into and thrust frenetically with the short blade. The man, had frantically dropped to an knee, with unstretched hand toward the iron poker, bringing him conveniently inline with the blade.
It pierced the neck with an impulsive spray of warm blood. I gauged at him twice more, severing small pulpy snacks for the hound. He fell away to his back, as I continued to make lunges. A gory foam filled his mouth, as he gargled on his last forgotten words.


I stood up, kicked a chunk to the whining hound, which took it up in its mouth and scarpered back to the corner. The room was fuzzy, flashes and specks of white. Adrenaline coursed my system with an overwhelming pulse. I wilted to my knees, crawled to the hearth, contemplated climbing inside it’s cleansing inferno. I took up the mantle with my hands, used it to clamber up and pull down a tarnished mirror, which rested next to an old book of lies, and a silver snuff box, above the hearth. I sat at the mirror, naked but for the blood of my captive, my image flickered with the flame. I watched, watched as the weeping, the incessant weeping, and the laughing, the perpetual laughing, hummed a joyless anaesthetising tune. I wish all three faces would weep, so I could be free of it.

Six autonomous eyes, three independent noses, two self-serving mouths - in between, an empty stretch of skin, membrane for the canvas of unspeaking words, the eyes above, restful, emotionless. My face. My faces. An ugly son.

I took the blade, and with it sliced a jagged crescent into the barren breadth of skin. A shrill shriek was let free in the room, and for the first time, I had a voice.

Original story by © Darius the Mate


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