fiction, photography

PRECINCT

Chris R-1-81 Image by Christine Renney

After visiting the shopping centre they always lingered, had done for years. It was difficult now to pinpoint exactly when this had begun, much less how or why. It was unspoken that, once the shops had closed, they would skulk along at the edge of the precinct where the teenagers gathered.
Pubs, clubs, burger bars and pizza joints dominated and the couple would find a table where, from behind the plate glass, they could gaze out across the now car-less car park.
The litter, the day’s debris, had been swept and shovelled against the kerb and in each and every corner and crevice. The youngsters didn’t seem to mind. They kicked through it, tramped on it, added to it, restless and eager for the night with all its possibilities.

The couple talked over their pizza, dissecting the lives of others, of old friends, people they rarely or never saw anymore, colleagues from work and people they barely knew. They raced toward conclusion after conclusion, invented scenario after scenario. There was something about that place, that time, that offered obscurity: a middle aged couple with nowhere particular to go, nothing to do except to visit the multiplex cinema to see the latest blockbuster – ‘Action/Adventure’ or ‘Romcom’, sequels and prequels they watched indiscriminately. But this particular night their hearts weren’t in it and so they began to wander.
This, in fact, was what they had wanted to do all along. Simply to walk, just to be here and not feel the need to dress it, to skirt around this fact. They were elated and entered a busy pub. It was like walking on air and the drink helped to prolong this feeling and then, suddenly, the moment was lost. The revellers had deserted them. Of course, they could have followed, chased the party, found another pub or even a club but – they had shopping bags to cart and so stayed put, drinking until common sense prevailed at last and they began to make their way toward home.

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poetry

Auto pilot

Zdzislaw_Beksinski_56_1600x1200

The day your father died

the day the towers burned

the day she found out she had a tumor

I was doing something irrelevant

caught on auto pilot

like the time the door bell rang and

the pizza man handed over a bag

how did you think a small bag could contain a large box?

you said as you ran after him shouting

you gave us the wrong order!

but he sped away on his little red bike

because he too was on auto pilot

and we dreamers who

find reality too hard

yet strive to know

we are often and regrettably lost

choosing puzzles over clarification

wandering the halls of the VA

in search of meaning

watching ruinous faces lose their facades

and close down

like unwound clocks tired

of ticking

 

when you had your first seizure

in the toilets and everyone began

to scream

I recalled my cousin seizing in the field

full of pollen and dragon flies

and held your head firm like a babe

baptized in a steam

in that moment I was not

a child of pretend and play

but an adult seeing the heart monitors of the world

bleeping to wake

the sleeper in me

who does not pretend to know

the journey in you

 

when I lift my head from

distraction and sound

clear my mind and look around

then in the reflecting glass of true response

I can be as much as possible

the owner of my walk

thinking not of purchase and power

but the small mercies

we often over look

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