Turn to 400!

Bit a departure for me, this post, in that I’m nominally talking about writing as oppose to sharing a piece of writing.  But this is something of a preamble to me writing something that will be shared, so I guess it still qualifies.

Last year I appeared on the mythical property ladder.  I’m not sure on which rung yet (it’s a ladder so I presume there’s more than one; property step sounds less impressive after all), but I’m on there so… yay? Anyway, that’s not important.  What is important is that I had to pack up all my stuff that had been collecting dust in the garage, and move it into the new garage.  And then I began to unpack it.  Yay?

Yay!

As is often the case, the packing and unpacking of things is often a metaphor for the packing and unpacking of dreams and goals that were once clung to and then forgotten.  And so it was with me, as I dusted off a box and came face to face with the demons of my past.

A whole series of them.

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Poem: Tree

The blistered shadow sprouts with crooked back –
a homeomorphic echo of songs pursuing
the rhythm of memory-dusted bone.
Trinkets packed away, so the smiles
and tears can be surrendered to time.

Slender fingers applaud the bladed currents;
exposed skin, painting faults against the sky –
cradling dormant frames of childhood,
with their trinkets and down; innocent whorls
Still.

In the last weeks of the year the birds return,
dark strokes of oil still finding their shape,
but bringing the songs back with them.

The Mermaid Who Was Between Colours

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The moments when Nooka slipped through the grasp of the darkwater were becoming the most exhilarating, and terrifying, of her life.  Just like every journey before, she could feel the insistent press of the water against her skin and scales fade as she coiled closer to the surface, the powerful muscles in her tail able to now propel her at speeds that shifted the blur of her world into something intoxicating.  Nooka felt so powerful in that moment, it was as if she had become the strongest mermaid in all of the Blueshade.

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Poem: Inventory

We hollow out the attic; become a pair of sparrows

chasing a summer that pricks our tongues. Above, the

rain sells our secrets in whispers.

You move as though your ears can’t close.

 

Neat lines of cardboard meddahs spill tales from

folded tongues.  Exposed to time again their children tremble –

our fingers reach out, but it’s under your nails they hide.

Touching what you touch.

 

When the sun has moved beyond our estimations,

we eat sandwiches from the supermarket;

something not offered by your parents –

that feels important today.

 

The final bag is scrapbooks. You speak of

grass harbours, where you’d run until

your stomach ached and the air grew quiet.

Then you grow quiet,

As if that, too, is being reassessed.

 

We are given the spare room, where the sheets already

carry an imprint. I listen to your breathing, how it sounds

like those boxes and bags are too full.

Above my head the wallpaper is peeling. My fingers

feel false as I push the years

back into place.

 

I can’t do it like you can.

Poem: Sandpit

summer scratched knees,

grit and glass; stars press on green,

and raindrops of sweat in the sand.

a crater. a shallow hole.

with no ripple to its name

to slow nor speed up time,

if the desire were there.

 

the girl arranges quartz-crusted slugs

in size order, then

by personality.

the bully goes first – a plastic shovel

smears it across the wooden frame,

and the smell of cat shit fills the air.

harpy

Pamela wouldn’t call it love—not yet.  She had embraced that word too fast with Josh, and it had opened the door to complications, forcing her from all she had known.  No, this time she would find a better name for it.

She studied Tom’s form as he leaned against the stall’s counter, the gun awkward in his hands.  He squinted, adjusted his posture before firing—a routine intended to deceive but which was only fooling Tom.  The tracksuit swaddled his fey frame; his was a body that could never hope to protect a woman, but Pamela reasoned that she had been protected too much already.

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Intuition

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She steps into the sun-baked garden of the pub with hesitant feet.  A toss of her head pushes away the scent of stale beer and allows pricklish anger to reclaim her skin.

Only three tables are occupied, so it takes seconds for her to notice the old man.  As she watches him hunched over a pint, she wishes again that it had taken a few more.  He’s like a vulture in the last days of his life, swooping down and snatching away every rehearsed line and gesture.

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