life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Unfolding

ccc9963b759d8bfec58b054edd59e343

Time unfolding, holds

emblems, signatures

as hair caught in

boar brush

smells still of her

the nape of her long neck

bearing sound

tugging through until end

before light has pushed itself

past dim cloud line

warming her hands a little

just enough

just enough.

Where she was

there are now white washed walls

clean and no longer redolent

of those hours, those years spent

would they know if they touched?

The plaster, holding some memory

or reverberating solace

how her wrists looked

playing piano in silent day

with open windows to bird call

hushed by her haunt.

Would they know, if turning

in sleep they saw through half opened eyes

a murmur of her, crossing the room

one black pearl resting against

her warm throbbing neck

how much of us remains

when we are gone? How to

evoke, conjur, return to

remain, stay just one moment more

by her side before

vanishing and eddying across

cold river with the sound only

of onyx oars spent into depths

her hair trailing, thick mist

veiling before long lost

only the sound occasional

a splash or dip into darkness

and then the ache sets in

like a hole unable to be covered up

or crime undone

everywhere she was

now absent in terrible

emptiness, we keen to recall

in desperate hour, when moon

is hidden behind glowering cloud

she walks the earth and is no longer

traces of ourselves built into effigies

I reach and I reach out and still

she is always further

the smell of her in my mouth and nose

the taste of her against my

broken arms

feeling like she were whole

even as she is ether and starlight

I sense her against me in gloaming dusk

moving with agitation, mocking life

forcing a cry

beseeching time and tall trees

hidden faces in darkness

their green heights impossible

as her return

she is gone and still

the clock ticks

orange cat whiskering through high grass

outside, watching with yellow

eyes, birds overhead, out of

reach

out of reach.

Within me a glassed place of a place

cast in silver, in bronze, in clay

the shape of her

a flute, a goblet carrying fresh

spring water as benediction on

hot day, her voice stroking me

from the marbled abyss

she cannot stay, I pull on the

scarlet thread it comes loose

and unraveling her skirts, her

soft blouses, the perk of her breasts

against my mouth, urging, reddening

nipples swallowed by cries

our hands interlinked

blankets and sheets disarrayed

by motion, moisture, light and dark

her candle throat thrown back

devouring a sanctuary of

secrets and thirst

she opens for me again and again

my fingers breathing her need

we are leaves fallen from trees

made into earth and grown

against the cherry tree staining

our lips sweet and bitter

for love is found in mercy

and grace, her sinew and

hunger, baptizing memory

I hold her locket with a slice

of her dark hair growing old

in want, a touch no more

as if she never painted these

walls or grew round cheeked

beneath me, her laughter

caressing the corners with

silver, we sleep our hands

linked beneath thick covers to

keep out Winter and by

Spring I am watching

crocus urge upward

through northern dark

soil, their fragile mouths

opening to sun as once

she took me into her

one by one

til all of me

was found

and

now

without her weight

against me, shy

smile coming from

beneath long dresses unbuttoned

shining hair, falling on

wrinkled sheets

the smell of her still in

my center a thorn

as I stand by the

window its metal latch

open and cold

to my

skin.

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fiction, photography

THE LAST STATION

Chris R-1-206 Image by Christine Renney

The Station was small and tidy. This is what struck Carter as he stepped onto the platform; how incredibly neat and tidy it was. The Ticket Booth and Waiting Room were painted a muted purple that shone in the sunlight. There were window boxes and the flowers were unseasonably fresh and fragrant. Strangely, there were no signs and Carter had no idea where he was.
He realised that the train he had only just departed was already pulling away and he could so easily have jumped back on board and made his way back but he didn’t.
He moved toward the Ticket Booth and the middle-aged woman behind the glass smiled broadly. But as he drew closer Carter realised that it wasn’t a woman at all but a cardboard cut-out, faded and creased. And the smile he had found so welcoming at a distance was in fact a little grotesque.
Turning from the booth Carter looked around and he could see quite clearly that it was the end of the line. He was unsettled by this but he was unsure exactly why. He also noticed that the section of platform where he stood was separated from the rest of the Station by a chain link fence on his left. Carter walked across and moved close to it. He could see a concrete staircase at the far end that led up to the road above. Carter stepped back and studied the signs attached to the fence, instructing him to ‘KEEP OUT’ and warning him of the ‘DANGER OF DEATH‘. But it didn’t look so very different over there. It was dirtier, yes, grimier and dustier. Most of the floor tiles were cracked and an old rusty ticket machine lay on its back. But it seemed much more familiar over there and Carter realised that it was on the other side of the fence he longed to be.
The fence was split here, there and everywhere. Carter chose a gap close to one of the posts. He pulled and it came away easily. He clambered through and, once clear of the fence, he could hear the traffic from the road above. Carter looked up at the ceiling but it didn’t come down around his ears and although of course no-one was watching he moved stealthily across the station. He was less than halfway up the staircase and he could tell that the entrance had been blocked. He climbed to the top and pushed at the boards but he could see in the gaps around the edge how they had been bolted into the brickwork from outside and there was no way he was going to be able to shift it and break through, at least not without tools. Ideally, a drill and a saw but at the very least a hammer and a sharp chisel but even with tools he would make too much noise and draw attention to himself. No, he couldn’t break his way through.
Turning, Carter heard the train and rushing down he almost slipped more than once on the dusty concrete steps. But he hadn’t even reached the gap in the fence and the train was already pulling away. It couldn’t have stopped for more than a few seconds and Carter had missed it again, his chance to jump on and make his way back.

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

A Disgusting Tryst

gothMany years hence or was it yesterday
I dreamed of giving fellatio which is
never a good dream
and wondered why in the dream
a woman had a penis and I was
hoping by opening my mouth I would
be loved by that woman
there are myths and signs and wonders
even in nightmares
totems to the soul
speaking to our inner darkness
I thought of my chess pieces
how strategizing was never my thing
the mother who hated and was indifferent
the brain damaged father who struck out
in endless anger
and my own yearning for more
more, more, more, more
but when you have no more and that is it
you keep returning to the same place
hoping the outcome has changed
surely the definition of madness
resides very closely in that repetition
no release, release found often
under the pulse of music and movement
dancing away the scathing hurt
or beneath someone I pretended cared
fucking away never worked
it only hurt
more
never good at sharing
gods aren’t male, they’re
created by men for stroking
and controlling like canes can
be weapons or lovers
language shifts like time in grief
now as a grown ass woman
I dream of fellatio as a lesbian
women with penises torturing with
confusing potential
I carry the fetus who didn’t make it
like a scar across my withering chest
and my hormones shout
you haven’t got long left!
Get out there and strut your stuff
before you are truly as invisible
as a ghost
my grandmother if she were living
would tell me to bow to Jesus
because The Old God of the Jews
let us down
and was too angry
and it worked for her
she chain smoked on her way
to saving souls
and chucked the fag butts
out the window
at 80mph
because she knew
her Mormon friends would never
smell the scent of tobacco on her lips
because they didn’t get that close
nor the perfume of vodka
just an essence
I learned to like too much and recognize
drunk women and distant woman
the black and the white queens
chess pieces ravaged by their tendency to torment
as a way to even the odds
cultures eaten by death
I didn’t complete the act
it disgusted me then
as it does in my sleep
step out into a full moon
my other grandmother said
her hands are holding
red books of communism
and when she puts them down
her hands remain red
because she, like the girl in Brothers Grimm
her crime cannot be rinsed
it is found in the pigment of her abetting
the shape of a key burnt into flesh
guilty, guilty, guilty!
I loved her until I knew that
more than you should ever
love anyone
wanting to tell someone how
the ache approximates a bomb
in your heart when it grows large
but the Shrink left her post
abandoned our discussion
she didn’t have the teeth for it anymore
so many people broken
her dance card was full
mine was empty
what a fool I made of myself
for the fiftieth time
lighting candles with my rage
causing shadows to catch with flame
I still burn beans because
I forget I’m cooking when I’m thinking
of all the people who have come and left
now you’re getting married
and I wish you horror
because my bitterness isn’t all used up
the potential for regret is endless
here we waltz to the music of time
made of stars, wrought of cigarettes
and dark bars
I wore black since then because
the shape of knives can be hidden
better in velvet and if you try
to sink it in
I will have the last laugh
one more card to play
violence
dress yourself carefully
pay attention
just so, just so
here we go
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fiction, photography

THE THICKET

Chris R-1-201 Image by Christine Renney

There was a wood directly behind the house and although Joseph had been living on the outskirts for almost a month he still had not ventured into this small but dense thicket. When he needed to make his way down into the village for supplies he would walk around it. There was a beaten track that began just beyond his garden and led straight into the trees but each time Joseph reached the edge and peered in he would find himself stalled and unable to take the next couple of steps. He could see that the path was very narrow and overgrown with bramble and gorse encroaching on either side and it seemed to him that it became even narrower as it disappeared into the darkness.

The others living on the outskirts were making use of the path. Joseph often noticed one of them pushing through the tangled branches and disappearing into them, or someone emerging head down and hunched over, laden with supplies. But once clear they would stretch and yawn, readjusting to the light and reacquainting themselves with the sky.
Just a few days ago one of these men had spotted Joseph watching from the window and, putting down his heavy bags, he had glared back. Looking down Joseph pretended to busy himself at the sink and when he raised his head again, the man was gone.

Following this incident Joseph began to imagine that the others were talking about him, that he was a topic of their discussion. He was sure they were perplexed as to why he continued to walk around, trudging in the wet grass of the meadow, rather than making use of the more direct path leading through the wood. Joseph was convinced they considered him a fool and were laughing at him. He began to keep his distance even more, as far as it was possible. But he continued with his chores, working in the gardens and chopping firewood and hauling supplies from the village. It took him a little longer but Joseph was working hard and doing his share and the others had no reason to complain.

Joseph has hardly slept in days. He creeps from the house and moves stealthily across the garden in the moonlight. Reaching the trees, he stands at the edge of the footpath. The others don’t use it after dark and certainly not at this late hour. Joseph is determined that tonight he will be able to do it, and steeling himself, he takes first one step and then another and suddenly he is walking through the wood. In fact, he is moving quite quickly, almost running and he can’t see but he can feel the brambles and the gorse brushing against his legs and pulling at his coat. And just as suddenly Joseph stumbles and he is down, flat on the ground. There are scratches on his hands and blood on his face and dirt in his mouth. But he isn’t hurt, not really, a little bruised maybe but no more than that and yet he can’t move. Joseph is now frozen to this spot and he wonders how far has he managed to come? Half way perhaps? But he suspects that it is considerably less than that.

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poetry

One Way

Do I just need fresh air

Will I be better elsewhere

Or is it that

My lungs are diseased

That the problem is in me

That even with a change of scenery

The badness will stay with me

And I’ll be this way wherever I go?

There’s only one way to know

The answer to that:

Leave

And don’t look back


Re-posting this poem because I’m in the process of moving to a new flat in a new area i.e. finally leaving and not looking back! I’ll be quiet on WordPress for a couple of weeks while I sort my life out, but I’ll be back soon with some new writing. Hope you’re all staying safe and keeping well ❤

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fiction, life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Blister

sihouette-image-naked-woman-silhouette-33325142

I will not be your blood blister

I will not be so abused I learn to like it and take it with a mouthful of sack cloth

I will not be your punching bag. Held by Devil for you to take your life’s frustrations out upon.

I am injured and talented at self-loathing but there is still fight left. The fight tells me not to submit to become, that smear of inconsequence you so desperately want.

Light is fading and we walk along rivers edge. You tell me to jump in, hand me the locks and chains, swallow the filagree key and cross your arms.

The river is swollen like an angry mother calling her children home. Trees weep into its corners like penitents and the sky drizzles its damp message through closed mouthed cloud cover.

I have lived 32 years and each one seems too long. The locks that separate parts of the river from each other, are black and painted with some type of waterproofing, I wish for a moment I had been waterproofed, painted shut and able to exist beneath, without air.

The dead watch with empty eye sockets from the other side of the river. They stand in unison, quiet and obedient to their demise. A flickering memory of times when they existed and tried to reach out, never quiet enough.

I am a child being baptized without a crowd.

A whore who has swallowed the semen of the river too many times and risen to the surface despite her tambourine sin.

I am someone’s daughter though they have long forgotten the birth and gone about their life. Wounds that do not exist cannot be licked, or didn’t you know?

I am the cross of a woman who alternately hates me, especially on Monday’s, when in her wrath she pitches me from her sight and turns to the wailing wall, the mumble of her faith, her ever succor.

I am your bit on the side. Eaten crumb by crumb, morsel after taste, tasty between mouthfuls. Always spat out.

I am untouched and lying in long grass in late summer and nobody walks past and nobody kneels down and performs the benediction over my sleeping form, and nobody takes their religion seriously, instead raping me there between the sun and the moon.

I am your mother. You hand me the green dress I wore on the night he beat me blue, and I watch my nipples pop through the thin fabric like expression marks, my long neck ringed in roses of hurt. He says he loves me, he says he wants me, he knows only how to harm. And when we fall, together, I hold you in, I stop breathing, thinking if I can press every muscle against you I will protect you from coming out, a long bloody trail across his perfect white tiles and his parents never knew, for crime is the easiest thing to hide.

I am a patient. My bed is starched and folded. I am broken and belittled. My tongue blistered from licking my own wounds. They said I wouldn’t make it. I hoped they were right. You stood at the doorway and clicked your fingers and something in me knew it wasn’t yet done.

I give birth. The child is still born on wasted sheets that must be burned. In the olden days they buried quiet dead beneath oak trees and they nourished the next generation. I breast feed the silence in my head and they all close in like crows, to shut my screaming mouth.

We lie in each other’s arms and you say; “I’m not like the rest” and I never believe that because I can’t believe anything anymore, but the sound you make when you say it and when I am inside you, stays like a long song in my fevered mind.

We visit the grave site and wild flowers bloom over where your bones lie. I push my hand into the fecund earth and think for a moment, you are there, reaching out.

The edge of love can be a broken glass in your jugular. The sin can be a salvation. We are riding buses to the end of the world and you only know how to paint because you have no time for effort.

How are you today? I am finding ways to end my life. I am counting pills in little bottles. I am watching stretch marks fade from pink to silver, each one a cry from you that was never sounded, across glassy water.

Dennis Hopper has a large gun, Keanu uses his hips, Ione only knows plaid and frigging. Lying beneath a wool blanket watching blow up dolls drown, they use their youth like elixir and it’s easy to believe then, it’s easy to wait and apply Chapstick when your lips feel numb.

I’m by the rivers edge and you are with someone else. I knew it ten years ago, I know it now. Instead of a knife I have a candle. It burns its hot wax on my useless fingers and they curl like paper boats when they hit water.

We start the car, the purr like a cat I once had, cleaning her kittens. I feel your hand pull up my skirt, it’s never smooth now, it’s always wrinkled and my hands look like shrieks against my numb skin. Nobody buys cigarettes from tobacconists anymore. We import our vice by the truck full.

I want someone to claim me, to reach in and save me, to eat me alive and spit me back into myself. I want you to fuck me with love and hope. But ghosts can’t smoke and they can’t perform cunnilingus and I am getting older now.

Too old to be your blood blister. We need to burst it and let it bleed, until I see, a way out.

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prosetry

Teeth

She looks down and sees her bottom jaw resting on the ground by her feet. Carefully, she picks it up to assess the extent of the ruin but it is clear: her mandible has entirely detached itself from her head and now sits quietly in the palms of her shaking hands. It half-smiles at her, just as it had done so many times before at handsome strangers and bad jokes.

As if newly erupted from the grip of the ivory bone, her teeth form a sparkling semi-circular row. She studies the teeth, noticing that, where they are not laced with blood and saliva, they are obscenely white, almost iridescent. With claret edges, her teeth look like menstruating pearls. They look delicate and indestructible.

She begins to run and so does the blood: it trickles through the gaps in her fingers, collecting in the crease of her elbow before dripping onto the pavement, leaving a trail behind her. The blood is gooey and viscous, and though it looks too dark to be fresh it keeps on flowing. A mess of bloody saliva pours from her jawless mouth, down her neck and settles in a sticky pool on her chest. When she tries to spit out the taste of rusty nails and panic, she discovers that she has no tongue.

The unfamiliar residential street is curiously busy for 3 a.m. and she knows a lot of the people that she passes. She stops to ask everyone she sees to help her to put her jaw back in place. She is met with bemused faces. She screams and shouts and begs but no sound emerges from her, just the occasional crimson gurgle. She looks pleadingly at the passers-by then looks down at the jaw in her hands, motions fitting the jaw back to her head and then looks back at her potential saviour, praying they’ll understand. They look at her with pity and faux-guilt, apologise and say things like, “Sorry, dear, I’m in a rush,” “I’m not a dentist, unfortunately,” and “Oh, I don’t really want to get involved.”

The fact that she can’t properly communicate to ask for help, or even find out what has happened to her, frightens her and causes her far more distress than the fact that her jaw has fallen off. She tries to communicate using her eyes; she is certain that her eyes must surely convey the horror, confusion and desperate need to be helped that she cannot speak aloud. But no: she is ignored and unsaved. Tears tumble down her cheeks, over her top lip and straight down to her chest to mingle with the rest of the mess of fluid. She tries to spit again and grows frustrated upon remembering that she can’t. She runs out of tears and sits under the glow of a streetlamp, with her bloody, perfect jaw beside her, and hopes for somebody to throw her a tissue at least.

Sometimes she wanders about the strange town for hours, begging for help through her eyes, frenzied, covered in blood and clutching her jaw in her hands, rocking it slightly as if it were an injured bird. Sometimes she gives up after a few minutes and resigns herself to living a life of silence, with only her bottom jaw for company. Sometimes she smashes her jaw against an orange brick wall, sometimes repeatedly, hundreds of times, but it always stays whole. Nobody ever helps. She no longer believes that someone will eventually come along and fix her because nobody ever has before, and she knows that if she expects nothing, she will never be disappointed, only ever pleasantly surprised. She remains mute and hungry and ugly and cries and cries and cries, but she never dies. She is, after all, built of the same matter as her jaw: she is delicate and indestructible.

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Of my chains and my need

chains

I am all those things your father warned you about

Possessive, I wrap around, not wishing to share, an inch

You are mine, I take you out, I stroke you, I put you back inside

If you feel comfortable dividing until we are absent

Then I fly

Out of the window

And away

 

I have never been able to share when I feel this much

Let others have a portion of

My heart is closed most of the time

Blocked from easy loving

Yet

You came and battered down the door

Tore open my secrets, marching into my throne

Here I lie hidden from everything

You observed and loved me despite

My flayed imperfection and demanding nature

Imploring the kind of devotion few can summon

 

Now if you take those ebony eyes

Giving them to everyone else

I may not be able to swallow that kind of pill

Because I was brought up with bitterness and ash

What’s mine is mine

Or I let go and walk

Straight out over cliffs edge

 

It’s not your fault

I’m a one-person lover

I can’t even divide cards

If I see you out in a party

Hoisted over others shoulders in social

Milieu

Don’t take it personally

When you come home

I won’t be there

 

If I were born to give abundantly

Then somehow that was lost

In translation I found

I could only give to one

The rest had to stay outside

Whilst I built my fire and kept

You warm

hoping you would never wish to

Be free

Of me

Of my chains and my

Need

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Statues in the dark

the scream

Where do depressed people go

When the entire world suddenly feels as they do?

Back to their room, where one voice says – take them up on their offer

make a phone call

but the other voice knows they will not because

when you feel that down the last thing you can do is talk.

Where do depressed people go

when the entire world suddenly feels as they do?

Outside to empty streets / not reminded of what they fail to achieve

the silence, a balm on fevered emotion

for everyone judges what they cannot see

as others watch Pandemic movies behind closed curtains

the sad roam in search of meaning.

Where do depressed people go

when the entire world suddenly feels as they do?

they’re told it’s a disease as much as a broken arm yet

judgement is always a cudgel just one step away

even lovers rebuke and ask; Why can’t you get out of your head?

Do something helpful for a change, instead of navel gazing?

or worse, say nothing, ignore, over it, worn out

few can handle a season with dysmorphia.

Where do depressed people go

when the entire world suddenly feels they do?

For a quarantined period, it can even feel like fun

nothing of the permanency, nothing of that locked in sensation

pervading senses, shutting down, until all the dreams you had

are dust and ash on floor, you can’t even get out of bed, to brush your hair

or walk the dog, this inertia isn’t laziness, it’s a switching off

of life’s impulse and so the bulb dims eternal.

Where do depressed people go

When the entire world suddenly feels as they do?

This is how it feels every day, you struggle to find a reason, to steady yourself

into faking it, and surely, the falsehood runs its course and you’re back

with naught and nothing comes from nothing we’ve been all taught

self loathing reflects back in the unwashed mirror, a hateful creature

your worst enemy is between your ears, you hear only

the rebuke and chastising of that part of you wishing to be free

break out, break out, crawl, stagger, run get away

from yourself you cannot.

Where do depressed people go

When the entire world suddenly feels as they do?

trapped in a brain that doesn’t sit up and beg when ordered

motivation a distant memory, as much as you want there are

no magic pills or electric impulses powerful enough

to restart what has lain dormant and half alive

we are quarantined by our own demons they

made prisoners of us long before Covid 19

even those who love us, wish we were different

self hate is a woman without rocks in her pocket

yet

she walks to the edge many times each day

her reflection cries even as she no longer does

for tears are wasted after a certain time

fixed in place by broken ways forward

she seeks to drown the madness with one jump

and they sit on their sofas talking about how it will be called

the great epidemic, where we all stayed in place

not realizing for some of us this is

our hell already created and nothing new

we have been here before, we shall again

it is the wordless, grieving place of those

locked down by their minds in situ

watching the world build around them

statues in the dark

to a pandemic long pre-existing

where screams are never heard.

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