A week flies by, Few words falling from fingers, Instead, They dance in the brain, Pirouette and sustain, Position, On the tips of their toes, They strike a pose,
Preforming for a crowd of one, In a dusty theatre, That sees no sun, But, bright and living, Feeling, Giving, Whether booked in a playhouse, Of purposeful prose, Or, aimless artistry,
Just creating, To create,
We create, Because we can, Fresh thoughts that expand, Across the stage, Youthful ballerinas, In black leotards, And pointe shoes,
They begin to gather, Where the shadows linger, Behind the curtain, The artists find their form, The arts, Take shape, Sculpted by gentle thumbs, That overcome, The riddle of clay, To display, The ballet, Dancers,
Chopping board chests, Flat and firm, dainty waists, Perfect form, Which bend toward the sun, Floral stalks, Lithe and graceful, Hold up dusty pink cheeks, That seeks, Heat and light, Heliotropic acolytes, Budding,
Gripped, To words that tug on the heartstrings, They don’t float away, But, leap in the mind, Their syllables flying through the air, Poetry in motion, Like a kite, Twirling, On the winds of creation, Swirling,
Twisting - It’s luculent libretto listing, My lexiphanicism, In its use, Irony not lost on me,
And loganamnosis; Those words which are lost, Wandering/Wondering, At the tip of the - tongue,
Dramatic inner dialogues, Orated; Authentic, Not synthetic voice, Adroit, not Android, And void, Of heart and soul, In beating of the audiences applause,
Smiling through gritted teeth, he nodded, before his boss, who plodded, on his fat little hooves, to his swizzle chair, “swizzle on this” thought Chris, who held out an imaginary middle finger, Only barely dared even in his mind,
Herman Parker General manger, on the door, cut in lettering, that chained him, fettering, beneath, no matter his belief, of worth, warranted, that his mother spent years to impart,
A smile, dialled in, as if truly from within, he writhed in pain, to sustain, the charade, in ill regard, he aimed his smile, and nodded, like a dog for treats,
Mr Parker, who’s eyes grew darker, sent a scolding, A tirade that flew low and bold, whilst holding an extended index finger, capriciously, dropping vicious words, through the air, lodging deep in Chris’ mind, perniciously,
In the schism, between nightfall and sunrise, Chris’ bruxism, wore him away, as he analysed, grinding down to the gums, his teeth, with stress and worry, as bakers flour, breaking down his happiness, in his only sacred hour,
The sun rose, but didn’t pry free of the clouds, the microwaves ping was flat, masticating on morsels of Herman Parker’s words, he sat, and ate his placid porridge, which had no flavour, or joy, a degustation of his station, in life,
The bus was late, so, so was he, he felt defenceless, an amputee, of his own bark and bite, the elevator was out of order, so he took the stairs, with every step, the hairs, stood higher on his neck,
He rounded the final stairwell, a place, which captured the trace, of a person, where cigarette smoke shook itself from clothes, sticky fingerprints layered the bannisters, and low light picked out particles of skin, falling through the dense atmosphere, as petty life forms, whom he imagined, pitied him,
He slipped behind the computer screen in silence, a quiet, which felt uncomfortable and heavy in his tummy, as if he had gorged on fried filth during a diet, “Chris, my office”, Herman’s voice, Blunted across the no mans land of desks, mangled spines and turned up ears, through the mud, he lumbered and lumped without choice,
Arriving at the lettering which reminded him of his place, head hung, emaciated and drawn, almost instantly, he was stung, by the poisoned thorn, which grew along, the length of Herman’s tongue, a razor sharp thicket, dense and inescapable,
“Chris, come in, and shut the door, don’t look up, stare at the floor, now, unbuckle, turn around, I SAID DON’T LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT THE GROUND!”
Or, something along those lines, it was all the same, to Chris’ ear, it was Chris’ fears, which held him back, laid him down to be walked on like a mat, whilst simultaneously standing up straight and smiling, as a simple child, and nodding, the good boy he was raised to be,
Herman’s fat fingers gripped the desk, as he rested on his weight, in front of it, petrol to Chris’ hate, pendulous jowls, let go the occasional speck of saliva, which landed indiscriminately, on Chris’ face, his heart began to race, with an incendiarism,
Chris bit down hard as he started to shake, the shards of spit, repeatedly hit him awake, he clenched, first, his teeth, his buttocks, then his fists, as yet another projectile barely missed,
Chris’ eyes began to tunnel, toward the lathering, of frothy white cannonballs, which had began to pool, at the corners of Herman’s mouth, one struck Chris on his lip, as his conscious began to dip, in and out, black smoke and twinklers choked the oxygen from the room, breathing toxins into the edges Herman’s rotund mandible,
An emancipating volt, put a halt, to Herman Parker’s sentence, as a sudden switch, was flicked on, in Chris’ brain, a penitence birthed of electrical flame, for all the years of stress and pain, which connected in a precipitous strike, lighting fast and precise,
The flash lit everything up, emanating grace, as Chris’ fist made a vivid slug in the centre of Herman’s face, widening eyes were flabbergasted, two rich rouge celebratory ribbons blasted, twirling in spectacle across Chris’ new aura, exotic dancers in red dresses lead a carnival of emotion, unequivocally beguiling, Chris nodded and walked out the room, smiling.
A trio of sparks, Manifesting differently, Creativity; Showing up previously, Daily - now every three.
A busy first week back in the U.K, whilst making my adjustments, poetry has taken a momentary backseat. The inevitable overflow of pent up creativity has spilled out into a rather long poem. I hope you liked it, and the somewhat off the cuff tanka to compliment!
In the dome, thoughts constellate in spaces dark and void of air, Neurons lighting up, as pixels in an infinite code, Programming which downloads a language unknown, and prone to glitches, An arcade of concepts consternate in phrases which won’t translate,
Neurons lighting up, as pixels in an infinite code, 8bit figments, which fragment and implode into black holes, Bred on bright flashes, dopamine rich colours, and catchy soundbites,
Programming which downloads a language unknown, and prone to glitches, Words attacking my brain do not compute - troubleshoot, reboot, Firing up, extraterrestrial pondering descends as space invaders,
An arcade of concepts consternate in phrases which won’t translate, Utilising tools, upgrading dictionary and thesaurus, A nebula of ionised words, nouns, adjectives and verbs, to explore...
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
• Turkey mince • Red onion • Red or green capsicum • Spring onion • Rice • Teriyaki Sauce • + Add peanuts for extra crunch
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
An Ode to Wilfred Owenin the style of ‘Dulce et decorum est’
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
The distant heart which safely exists in the centre of all things.
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?”
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?
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.
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,