poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Facing the fear

I don’t want to lie to you but I sure wish I could start lying to myself. Tell a different story of me, one that sits less altered in her chair, skewed by the forks laid to eat in tarmac

Truth doesn’t sit well at 2am, when the specter and the sickle crescent with the moon, to chime their heady blend of ‘what if’s’ and disturbance cavorting against imagination

I think of the quiet Christmas eve house, Tom and Jerry fooling about, seems I’ve been living long, if memory can stretch the length of night, without curling back upon itself

you’re there of course, shy and bold and beautiful

and out of the corner of my eye, I see the young me, her nylon night-dress and untrimmed straggly hair

Penguin looks with his sad eyes, Teddy tries not to cry, as knots in the wardrobe come alive, menacing faces, terror in familiar places

he said, sit on my lap child, this won’t take long and after midnight, Cinderella was never the same, she preferred cinders and dark corners

just as you, pulled me out, toward gathering morning and soon light will decide fear and tomorrow will appear slow and steady like a hand on your brow, wiping away the wait

there, there, child, sleep it off, dream the future, where you have inherited the surge and the dragon and you avenge your unseen foe

inch by inch, we reclaim in years, snatched from time, half over us, like sword of Damocles, poised to swallow whole

yes we have much to dread, feel the hook of fear and do it anyway, bury that part saying oh God, no, I can’t as the kids who jump, reaching for rope and burn

to vault into space, grabbing rubber tyre, absailing in space and time, lifted from their feet, by the impossible feat, oh God you can leap

keep on, just keep, on

facing the fear



chris-r-0048 Image by Christine Renney

We haven’t spoken in almost a week. Time since we argued feels stretched. I don’t fill it as I usually do. Although I keep to my routine of work and such I don’t read and I try but cannot listen to music. She is above in our bedroom. I am alert to her every movement, each and every footfall, every creak and thud.
The telephone rings and I am startled but realise I have spoken hardly at all since we stopped shouting and that here, in the house, I haven’t uttered a single word. But still I sit stiffly and wait and when I hear her pushing up from the bed I am relieved. I listen to her voice through the ceiling, one side of a conversation, low and abstracted. I hear her put the phone back in its cradle up there and I lift the one down here – I don’t key in a number but still I hit green and pressing it hard against my ear I listen to the tone. I am surprised at how loud and insistent it is.

A little later I will relinquish this room and take my turn up there. I will lay on the dishevelled bed. I am exhausted but won’t sleep. For hours I will stare up at the ceiling and at some point I will undress and crawl beneath the covers. Eventually she will join me and, facing away from each other, we will adopt almost identical foetal like positions and try not to move, try not to touch.



i’m walking around in that same old rain
each tired drop splats a fresh cliché
i’ve been so scared for the longest time
but, really, can i shrink any more?
when i’m hung out to dry, how small will i be?

isn’t this all just a bad dream?
this can’t be the world we live in
breathe it in, boy, the sun at your back
sun kisses, you fool, sun kisses for you
the sun kisses her shoulders too

i’m a stranger burning beneath a fake sky
where there’s smoke there’s chimneys
she’s got a severe case of the chiminy changas
and i’m not supposed to notice that, but…
so help me, i do


Ausencia de corazón


She said

I hate it when you cry, you’re crying about nothing important I wish you’d stop

which was

ironic given, she never cried, her eyes dry for years, her sobs kept stifled behind thick walls

growing wild

She said

things that made her feel undone, the way you first feel as a child when someone first hurts you and that pain is so unknown

and raw

She said

things that crushed her flowers into dried husks and wilted her hope before it began to bloom turning

to ash

and in her voice there was

a shame, a regret, not for the words she used to lash her but for the weakness she observed and a judgement, as wide as  a bird of prey

cutting out the sun

Sometimes you don’t forget moments

they stay like unwanted photo albums, pinching you to turn the page

Look! That’s when you found out she didn’t love you!

Look! That’s when you learned to stop wanting to be loved!

Look! That’s her thinking you were pathetic and doesn’t she look pretty in her suit and those little tiny shoes

all shiny and new

It’s why she keeps her hair long and unkempt, it’s why she never grows her nails or polishes them

because she isn’t shiny

she’s dull and she’s tired before she’s even run half the course

and what people do when they look at you and decimate you without needing to say anything

stays like a needle, a barb, a thorn, punctuating time

brings you right back in a moment

you’re the small child again trying to impress

you’re the little girl being told

you’ll never be smart enough to go to college

you’re the sullen teen who lets

people hurt you even more because why the fuck not?

you’re the briefly happy dancer, turning on her wielding toes away from the crowd and into the song

lost for just a moment, believing again, before

you’re the girl sitting on the side of the bed as he tells you he slept with your best friend and whilst he’s at it, he confesses to a slew of others

little bodies in little beds in little dirty rooms writhing to the sound of squalor

when birds mate, they mate for life, and in a dangerous hour, she believed that of herself but soon she discarded such a notion and encased herself in amber to ensure nobody

nobody at all

would hurt her anymore

the irony being, we can don armor, we can learn arts of repellence, we can even buy a gun

but if someone wants to harm us

they can

without lifting a finger

it’s always in an unguarded moment

when you think you’re safe

when you delude yourself you might actually

make it

karma bites your ass and shrilly mocks your false faith

don’t you know you’re always going to be without a God, because you were cursed from the day you set foot on this earth?

it only took

a voice, a thought, a look, a glance, someone who resembled her

reminding of all the pain in a cocktail of memory shining efflorescent in the dark

she felt herself grow small again, until her shoes were far too big to fit on her feet, doubt does that to you, in its aching defeat

left with the words she learned along with her alphabet and counting to 100 in three languages










She said

I didn’t know it could still hurt

even after they ripped your heart

chewed it up and

spat it out

fiction, life


Chris R-0763 Image by Christine Renney

We are both eloquent when cruel and each determined to undermine the other. But my drinking has begun to take its toll and I am now at a disadvantage. We have been like this for hours and it is still early, just seven in the evening.
Clara shows no sign of flagging. In a loose fitting and shapeless cotton dress, her skinny frame almost entirely engulfed, she rages. Bloated from the beer and in my too tight trousers I feel naked, exposed. I close my eyes and try to concentrate on the words she hurls so effortlessly, time and again hitting the mark and, although I am unable to respond, I am impressed with Clara’s performance.
Her dialogue is worthy of Cassavetes or Carver, sparse yet unsparing. If only I could rise to the challenge but what would be the point? In the morning I won’t remember. All bitter recriminations will be reduced at best to a simple list, each in its designated column.

Despite the fact that I haven’t read as much as a sentence in more than a year, I have a selection of novels stacked on the coffee table beside me. Clara now draws my attention to this neglected heap, this testament to my lethargy and indifference. She lifts a book from on top and studies its cover. I watch her intently, readying for her next line.
‘I remember once you were going to write one of these but now – well, you can’t even be bothered to read one,’ she spoke softly, the wrath in her voice has now been replaced by something else, something I want to confront even less and I hope not to remember.
Mustering for all I am worth, I shrug my shoulders. Clara throws the paperback. It hits me on the shin, bouncing onto the rug at my feet. I pick it up and, steeling myself, determined not to glance in her direction, I start to rip out its pages, letting them drop, uncrumpled, on the floor.

It is always at midnight or thereabouts, a few minutes before or after that I am able to conjure the right words. Clara has long since taken to her bed and it is too late. I could wake her of course, and often I have come close. But I can’t help but feel a line has been clearly drawn underneath all she has said. And it only seems fitting that I should be forced to play out my part alone, that this unwanted clarity of mind should be painfully wasted.