Google+ A Tangled Rope: 01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday Poem: The Restless Wind


The Restless Wind

All that will remain will be dust
on the futile crying wind.
We will all turn to dust

as our words crack and dry
blown far from our thoughts
by the always restless wind.

All we have is the dry cracked heat
and the empty silence of wind-blown words
that say nothing, as nothing can be said

now that the days are empty of all
but the heat and the dry dead wind
that never stops blowing our restless dust

across these plains that were once
the hills and green raining valleys
where we knew our ordinary lives.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shakespeare and Historical Accuracy

‘Let us sit upon the ground. And tell sad stories of the death of kings; how some have been deposed; some slain in war, some haunted by the fear of Brussels sprouts returning in the dead watches of the night.’

As the original Folio version of Shakespeare’s Richard II shows, the bard was much troubled by the role of Brussels sprouts in history, and concerned that their influence was much overlooked by those who would learn lessons from that history.

Of course, for those of us in later years the only lesson we ever seen to learn from history is the strange propensity for those in the field to have a predilection for leather elbow patches on their jackets, something which also applies to male history teachers too.

Still, as none of us can ever forget what we learnt in history, especially British history, even though we may be slightly hazy on some of the more recondite aspects of it, as Shakespeare himself showed – and contemporary Hollywood has adopted with glee bordering on the orgasmic - we should not let mere historical accuracy get in the way of making up a good story.

Still, though, we should always remember that Shakespeare was right about the sprouts.


[See also: Shakespeare and Advertising]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Gone


It was a morning much like any other. He got up unwillingly, not quite believing the night had gone so fast, and stumbled off towards the bathroom, only noticing halfway there that the bathroom had gone… disappeared.

He looked down, realisation coming slow to his sleep-addled brain. He was standing in long grass, the breeze blowing ticklish waving green blades against his bare legs. Still seeing, but not registering, the scene that lay around him, eventually he began to realise he was standing on a small hill, covered with long green grass, under bright, warm sunlight. The hill carried on down a gentle slope to a valley bottom, where a stream meandered, and then back up on the opposing side to the peak of a higher hill where bare rocks grew up towards the cloudless sky. On that opposite hillside, a herd of some animals he could not recognise grazed in apparent tranquillity.

He turned to see his bedroom door, slightly ajar, standing on the hillside behind him. He noticed it seemed to shimmer around the edges, and that it was fading. The longer he looked the more he could see of the rising hillside behind it, through what should have been a solid white-painted wooden door.

He took a step towards it, craning round to see if he could see his bedroom through the door. He could… but that was fading too, he could see small white flowers – a bit like daisies – appearing through the very solidity of his bed.

‘This is some dream,’ he said, surprised at the loudness of his own voice in the relative quietness of the landscape.

Steeling himself, he closed his eyes and stepped back through the fading doorway.

He stood, eyes closed, trying to decide if what he felt under his bare feet was more grass or his bedroom carpet. He realised he couldn’t tell, his legs still itched and tickled from the grass, but he couldn’t tell, without opening his eyes, if that was a memory or something that was still happening.

He realised he didn’t want to find out.

Right, he said to himself. I’ll give it a count of five and then I’ll open my eyes.

‘One…. Two… three… four… five….’

He opened his eyes.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Gone to Distant Lands


Gone to Distant Lands

There is distance hidden there
in your half-closed eyes.

You are off and travelling
far away on your own blue seas

leaving me behind on these shores
watching your sails disappear

beyond the far horizon.
You are gone to distant lands

while I wait for you to return
to come back home with satisfied eyes

to stretch out languidly
in front of the fire while you dream

of being back again in those places
faraway, where I have never been.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Down the Well




It was there, right in front of us. Although, to be fair it was more like a hole in the ground rather than one of those circular walled things with a bucket, a winch and a little roof.

But it was a well.

I dropped a stone… then, what seemed like several seconds later, there was a loud, echoing - and very satisfying - plop.

I looked at Sue and she looked at me, smiling.

‘Hello,’ I yelled.

‘Hello….’ The well echoed back.

I looked at Sue. Sue looked back at me.

‘That wasn’t an echo,’ Sue said.

‘Not unless my voice had a sex change halfway down,’ I agreed.

‘Is anyone down there?’ Sue yelled into the hole.

‘Of course,’ the well replied.

‘Are you stuck?’ Sue asked.

‘No.’ the well… or who ever it was, said. ‘Although, I would regard it as something of a kindness if you didn’t throw any more stones down here.’

‘Ah.’ Sue said, looking at me the way women look at men when they think the man has done something so obviously stupid it is a waste of time the woman even mentioning the idiocy of it.

‘It landed in my tea.’ The voice added.

‘Tea?’ I said, looking at Sue and shrugging.

‘It made me drop my digestive,’ the voice said, sounded rather aggrieved. ‘It landed in my tea… and now my cup is full of soggy biscuit crumbs.’

‘Sorry,’ I yelled. ‘I didn’t know there was anyone down there.’

‘You never even asked.’

‘Sorry, but I never thought…. What are you doing down there, anyway?’

‘I live here.’


‘Where else would a well spirit live?’

‘She has a point,’ Sue said.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Into Another World


It was hesitant at first, tentative like some small creature nosing out into a dangerous world. It felt as though we were out there, exposed to all the predators, weak and defenceless after hiding for so long. We opened the door to the shelter, not really knowing what to expect.

While we’d been in there, I’d remembered various media stories about a post-nuclear war world: the devastation, a destroyed world and the dangers for those who survived of a long slow death by radiation poisoning. A world where the lucky ones were those vaporised before they knew what was happening and the survivors were the unlucky ones.

This, though, was not like that, or, at least, that was what we hoped. There was always the danger that someone with the power; in government or the military, could see that all was lost for them and with the self-obsessed arrogance of all those who crave such powers they could have decided to take the rest of us with them.

It was a relief to step out there, though, into a quiet world. A world of birdsong and a noise it took me some time to make sense of - never having heard it before – the sound of the breeze in the leaves of the trees.

We looked at each other, unwilling to speak, to speculate, about this new world we found ourselves in. We could be a new Adam and Eve in what – from the safety of the shelter doorway – looked like a new Garden of Eden now free from the cruel tyranny of all the old gods we'd made and that had failed us.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Illicit Intrusions


Even then it is not always immediately obvious that the forces of government surveillance have secreted a spy submarine in your bathroom, until the tell-tale protrusion appears above the foam of your bubble bath.

Although, such is the suspicious and paranoid nature of modern life, it will often be the case that your bath partner will remain unconvinced by your explanation of the sudden emergence of such a protuberance underneath the flannel.

Anyway, by then of course, the spy submariners will have realised that they are on the brink of exposure and will have made good their escape, leaving you with only a few seconds to come up with a credible substitute for the submarine, or to be taken for a conspiracy-obsessed fool.

Still, there are many subsequent courses of action that can be taken at such a juncture to convince her otherwise, some of which employ either the use of the aforementioned flannel or the bubble bath. Not only that, there are some more advanced gambits which use both, and sometimes – if you are very lucky – the loofah as well.

Subsequent events, especially if they do indeed entail any vigorous use of the loofah are beyond the scope of this article. However, the fact remains that these government-sponsored spy submarines are invading our bathrooms seemingly at will, and yet there has been little or no comment on this matter by the various self-appointed guardians of our illusory freedoms. Normally such self-important loudmouths are the first to complain whenever they feel the government of the day has overstepped the mark, which – of course – must make everyone wonder just how deep does this bath-time conspiracy go?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

When it is Not Enough


Sometimes, it is not enough. Whatever it is, whatever you do, it is not enough. There were times when it seemed the things that filled my life were enough. If my life wasn’t quite how I’d imagined it, it was good enough. It got me by.

I found it easy enough to get out of bed in the morning without being overtaken by some existential dread of the horrors the new day would bring with it. Neither did I, though, jump out of bed as though I was an actor in a breakfast cereal commercial, full of life and eager for the joyous new day to begin.

Usually, the alarm went off and I hit snooze… and, well, I didn’t… snooze that is. I’d lie there waiting, trying to remember my name, who I was, where I lived and why I was getting up. I have very vivid dreams and it takes a while for me to find my way out of them and back to the real world.

Or… it used to….

Then I found myself turning away from the world out there and back to the dream world. The dreams would linger, follow me to the bathroom, tugging, pulling on my arm, beckoning me back to bed.

Then, one morning, I looked up into the bathroom mirror and she was there, standing behind me. I looked into the reflection of her eyes, her faced framed by the long black straight hair, her dark olive skin shining with life, energy and strength.

‘Come back,’ she whispered.

I turned.

There was no-one there, but I remembered her from my dream. I remembered the things we did there, back in her dream world… and I wanted to go back there, back to her, more than anything.

I decided there and then, standing naked in the bathroom, that if she ever called me back to her world again… then I would go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Condiments and Conflict

Obviously there are some in this world who – for reasons of their own, no matter how deluded – put their mustard on a lower shelf than those of us who are more enlightened about these matters would normally wish. Notwithstanding the fact that we would all – well, most… some of us, just me and you it seems – would like to live in a free world here such matters of conscience are left to the individual, there is something galling about the way some people have the temerity to store their condiments.

Of course, putting recent political scandals to one side for a moment, we would all regard the fact that when the now-former MP for Little Puddle by the Wayside was caught engaged in some rather unsavoury activities involving both freshly-ground black pepper and certain choirboys from a nearby cathedral, it seems that more people were aghast at the fact that he stored his pepper in a jar on the kitchen window-ledge rather than what he was up to under those cassocks.

Still that is the world we live in – or so it would seem from the media, who seem to occupy a world very dissimilar to the one we spend our time in. But anyway, all I can say is: mind how you go and be careful where you put your mayonnaise.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Looking for Shelter

It was slow; hesitant. We crept through the bushes, keeping low; watching and listening as we crept closer.

There was no movement. The house looked deserted, empty. Although, we had been fooled like that once before, back in the beginning. Nowadays, we were much more cautious. We had all watched Steve die and none of us wanted to see any of the rest of us die like that, or be the one to die… especially not like that.

We glanced at each other as we crept closer and I could see the memory of Steve and how he died, slow and screaming, in their eyes, and – I presumed – they could see the same fear in mine.

This time, though, we were armed. Although, I wasn’t sure Cathy knew as much as she claimed about shotguns, so I tried to keep my distance from her until she proved her competence… one way or another.

I’d had training though, and I knew the safe combination and where the Desk Sergeant kept the keys to the outer door at the station. So… after Steve, and after we’d buried him, and sobered up after drinking to forget the way he died, I’d gone back to the station. There, I'd picked up the guns and ammunition, stepping over the remains of the people I’d once regarded as colleagues, work-mates, on my way to what passed for the armoury in our small local village station.

Now, though, we needed food and shelter. This isolated farm looked as though it could answer our needs, one way or another, providing no other survivors had got here first.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Poem: A Reflex for Survival


A Reflex for Survival

Holding on will happen slowly
as the fingers learn how to clutch
and never let go, like something
recalled from lost instinct.

A reflex for survival, a need
to go on living, despite the desire
to lose the self in falling down
to some deep, darker unknown

to lose the self in the mystery
of not having a name, or expectations
heaping upon the shoulders.

No rules and regulations
of what it is to live and how.
Right and wrong etched deep
into the very core of the soul,

so that each step taken
becomes the right step
and each step is the only step,

while always dreaming
of just letting go and falling,
falling down forever, never touching
this too familiar ground again.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Pale Shadow


Each of those times acquired weight, acquired significance. It is strange how some memories can grow stronger, become – sometimes – more real than the here and now, while others fade and are lost.

I suppose those particular memories; such as the one of her sitting on the riverbank just watching the river flow, became precious to me. I would take them out of my box of memories as I lay alone on what used to be our bed, examine it, noticing more detail each time, polish it and slip it back into the box of my memories, wrapped in the soft folds of the time we spent together.

Now, though, she is gone and reality seems to be a pale shadow of what it used to be when she was here to light up the days and to bring her own particular warmth to the cold of the nights.

Now, the days seem endless, empty and pointless, while my nights are haunted by the ghosts of the past as they try to steal my precious memories and turn them into the dust of mere dreams.

Sometimes, I wish I could forget, step out into a new day that exists for itself, not merely as a backdrop, a stage set, where those memories play out in front of me, almost close enough to touch and almost real enough to step inside and go back to when time had weight and significance.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Passing Through


It was not a day for taking time, or a day for looking around at the scenery we passed through. There wasn’t that much to see, not according to those I travelled with, anyway. They regarded the world as something they had to pass through.

They were only interested in how hard that passage would be: how well the road kept in poor weather, were there bandits, would there be a tax to pay for passing through someone’s territory, and so on. They also worried about how the goods would cope with the passing days: would things spoil, rot or fall apart before the travellers could sell them and such similar concerns. The travel itself, as well, was no simple business: draught animals, carts, carriages and even the backs of the trudging people, all of those were out on the roads as we passed along.

Everyone was suspicious of everyone else they met on the road, always fearful and wondering if the people coming the other way, or going the same way, up in the distance, could be trusted: whether they were bandits, soldiers looking for taxes, tolls or bribes or some other way people had found of taking the goods from people. Although, empty roads were just as dangerous, each traveller never sure if someone was hiding at the road edge, an ambush waiting to be sprung.

They were nervous, edgy, journeys and several times already I’d seen blood spilled, more out of nervousness than out of antagonism, danger or threat, so I was not looking forward to the rest of my journey at all, especially as each day that passed seemed to bring me no nearer the far city where I needed to be.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Bedroom Adventures


It was, almost as a matter of course, not one of her better ideas. Although, having said that I must – at this juncture – point out that I, without any shadow of doubt whatsoever – always see her ideas as being some of the best, if not the best, ever put forward in the history of civilisation.

It is – obviously – that circumstances conspire against her and she should – under no circumstances be regarded as at fault when this universe fails to live up to her - somewhat rather exacting - standards.


Now, as was the one with the badminton racquet and the flippers, it fell to me to stand next to the bed, while she gave the watermelon a final polish* before preparing to bowl it towards where I had – I thought, at least – arranged the tins of mackerel fillets in tomato sauce in a rather artful arrangement.

Say what you like about beauty, and art and aesthetics, but I do honestly believe – and not only while she’s looking – that there is no finer sight in this universe than a stark-naked (except for the obligatory fur trapper hat, of course) lady of a certain age standing on a bed in the privacy of her own bedroom, preparing to bowl a highly-polished watermelon at a stack of mackerel fillet tins.

As I’m sure all red-bloodied males would agree… especially if within her earshot.

But then, just as all seemed perfect, we suddenly realised it was time for the next episode of Downton Abbey, so what could so easily have been a perfect moment was ruined by the vagaries of TV scheduling. It is – as I’m sure you would agree - about time they did something about it.


* Not a euphemism

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday Poem: This Delicate World


This Delicate World

We go, just you and I, to look upon
this delicate bright world, bend close and peer
into all that is not so easily
described. We think it would be wrong to give
a name to what we see when it remains

as something like a mystery, not taken
so easily into the hand and held
but left to fly so far away and free
up to the topmost branches of the high
and furthest tree. A place where it can have

the world beneath it, waiting there for it
to take it all, then hold it safe, away
from reaching hands that stretch towards it all
each wanting to devour, destroy, to take
these precious moments all away from us.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting a Pet


Well, it was not as if I really needed one. I didn’t have – or so I thought – the kind of lifestyle where a pet would be suitable. After all, with all the exotic night life of the city, my wide and cosmopolitan circle of friends, a full and satisfying career, the….

Then, I realised my days were spent mostly alone, staring at a computer screen where my latest opus was failing to arrive with all the alacrity of an arthritic snail on a work-to-rule and my evenings were spent either reading other people’s books to steal their ideas, or falling asleep in front of the TV. It was hardly the life of a best-selling author.

More accurately, it was the life of a barely-selling author. One who sells just enough to fool himself that he can put off having a proper life – like the rest of the population – because the big time is just around the corner. The fact that the corner seems to be going on forever without ever straightening out into the back straight down to the big time was – perversely – why I kept hanging on, hoping that soon that long slow bend would come to an end.

Anyway, a pet….

I realised that I did have the time… too much time… and, yes, I was lonely. I was hoping for a dog I could take on walks and meet people... well, meet women. I wanted something cute and lovely that would hint at an exciting life for me, or, failing that, a cat that I could engage in philosophical discussions late into the evening.

Instead, though, for some reason I could never fathom, I ended up with a cute, loveable fire-breathing baby dragon for a pet, one with a very unsettling habit of setting fire to the clothing of every woman I chance to meet when out walking it, which means I only ever seem to meet them the once.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Gathering Place


It became a gathering place, more by accident than anything else, although, it had the river and the sea which were both useful. It was small enough for us all at first. When we arrived there were just the six of us, but after time more arrived, slowly in the beginning; one or two every six weeks or so, but soon I found myself Lord of a small village.

I did not want to be in charge. I’d had enough of that before The End came. I’d been running my own business and getting sick of all the petty administration and government rules and regulations. I had seriously considered selling-up and getting out. Then The End came and there was no more business, no more government and – mostly – no more people.

Now I am the government. I still hate government, but now I see it is necessary… even though I do as little of it as I can get away with. I’d much rather be working the fields, fishing in the river or out at sea in one of our boats. I prefer even herding the sheep to looking after the village, even though the similarities always tend to make me smile.

It is the endless bickering about who does and who doesn’t do ‘their fair share’ that get me down, that and the arguments over women. You would think, well, I used to think – before The End – that somehow if humanity could start again, reboot our civilisation, and that the next time we’d do it better, especially after all we’ve learnt.

Instead, I should have looked at all those ‘revolutionary’ societies, the communists and fascists and so on and how they had all fallen apart trying to create something new.

It seem that humanity will always create some kind of balls-up when more than a few of us get together to build something. So, these days, I just try to sit back and let it – sort of – evolve, sort itself out.

Sometimes, I even think it will… eventually.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday Poem: A Possibility of Creation


A Possibility of Creation

This could be anything, a shape that fits
Easily into the curve of the hand,
Becomes a possibility of creation.

A tool or a weapon, or something
That can be used to twist a new day
Into motion, as we wait for the world

To come into being all around us
And move beyond what we hoped
And what we always dreamed would be.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Needing the Touch of Water


She ran down to the sea, needing the touch of water, needing to hear the susurrations of the waves and the circling cries of the gulls. She needed to see far out to sea and the horizon where the ships disappeared off into the unknown beyond the edge of seeing.

I stood further back, at the edge of the soft sand, just beyond the tide-line where the flotsam lay like some rejected offerings to a fastidious sea-god, watching her. She had already shrugged off her sandals and her feet were under water, her dress clutched in one hand, the free part of it fluttering in the sea-breeze. She was looking hard into the water; as if she was decoding some secret I could not see.

I could see from the shape of her body, the way she leant out towards the depths, that she wanted to be out there, swimming free, escaping something that lay on the land behind her, something beyond the dunes, back in our real life, something she did not want to face.

I, though, felt anchored to this dry land, mistrustful of the promises of the sea and still wary of the stories told by my father and mother, my uncles and their wives, the tales of the deep and the enchanting songs of the mermaids, of how the promises made by the sea could exact a very high price. I had seen the waves that could tear a life away from a shattered deck. I had seen the sea’s rages and its torment; so I stayed back while she listened to the gentle lapping waves whispering to the beach, believing all the soft promises they made.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Where the Minutes Sigh

The hesitancy of moments found in a place where time is taken and held, there, poised and waiting for the next second to fall into that space between my fingertip and your skin. We know too much about this world and turn away from it to escape into a world of our own, limited only by how far we can throw these unnecessary sheets away from the promise and honesty of nakedness. The place where fingers stroke down the seconds and the minutes sigh into hours of delicate motion and this day becomes timeless, existing outside of everything else while holding us safe together inside it.

We have seen how that world beyond this room takes dreams and stamps them down into the mud of an ordinary day, how it takes possibilities and smashes them in the face with cold reality. We have seen how happenstance, hazard and chance conspire against all we could hope for, and hold our futures hostage.

So, we have turned our backs on all that and closed the door of this room against everything but the here and now and the now and together, this is where we will stay while time and the world lay siege to the locked door, walls and closed window of this room.

We know we cannot hold out against time and the world forever, but as long as we are here with each other then that short time will be long enough to last us for eternity.

Friday, January 11, 2013

It Came Out of the Sky


It came out of the sky like a great tumbling avalanche that threatened to engulf the whole world, spreading chaos and destruction for miles around.

Oh, the humanity!

There was paprika everywhere.

Quickly, I closed the cupboard again before any more could fall out.

Such is the lot of every human, except – it seems – for those who live in that strange part of Media-land where their cupboards are never over-full and they live lives of calm and contented domestic containment where nothing falls out of cupboards, nothing is too big too fit in that cupboard and there are no teenagers and young adults who all seem to suffer a medical condition that prevents them from lifting anything back into a cupboard, except when the box or container is almost empty. In which case it is put back in the cupboard with too little in it for anyone to use again, until – many decades later – it is found at the back of the cupboard for everyone to marvel over how the packaging has changed since then and whether the contents of the container would be interesting enough for it to be worthwhile contacting a 24-hour emergency call-out exiobologist, especially when the last one we called out was eaten by that thing we discovered in the fridge a fortnight ago.

Anyway, such is the nature of Cupboard Space, that there is always never quite enough room for everything you want to put into a cupboard, but it never seems to contain whatever it was you were looking for – especially the paprika which is now spread all over the floor, while your pedigree Labrador is now – mostly - bright orange, rather than golden.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday Poem: The Space Between Words


The Space Between Words

Just some more words to fill up
the endless white emptiness
that spreads out from this page,
out into the infinite space
that lies between all our words.

The space between these words
we can fall through and go on
falling forever without ever reaching
a place we can land and turn

back to face what we have spoken,
what we have written and what
we meant to say, as the words
fell into silence and the emptiness
spread out across all our lives.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A Second Honeymoon


And then, of course, there was the helicopter. Although, saying of course in such a context does somewhat presuppose a familiarity with the current trends in second honeymoons that are not normally touched upon in forums such as this… at least not without using a bespoke bejewelled touching stick and sterilising it properly afterwards.

Anyway, as I was saying before we were taken off course by one of those deviations that seem to turn up at times like this. You are – despite all the indications to the contrary – no doubt a very busy person and you like your little dalliances on such interludings and waysides of the worldwide wankfest… web as this cosy and bijou… er… whatever it is… to be as brief and to the point as … well, as something brief and to the point.

I understand completely that you are indeed in a hurry and want to get to the implied dirty bit of this peregrination without any of the asides, preludes, diversions and deviations – except, of course, that sort of deviation – as soon as possible, preferably before anyone else walks in and catches you frequenting such insalubrious pages as this one, which – despite the decorations and so forth – does seem – at best – somewhat tacky and of dubious literary merit.

Anyway, about the second honeymoon – and the helicopter: We are running out of time here, so I’d best make it brief… which – coincidently is exactly what she said ruined the first honeymoon, and that didn’t even have a helicopter.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Dreaming of a New Possibility


I could have taken her away from here. We could have met as we normally did, as though we were just sneaking away together for one of our times away; one of those times when the work took us off to some other part of the country. This time, though, we would not have come back. We would leave it all behind. Walk out of these lives we live now and into something new.

I like to think – these days – that I would have done it for real. Despite all the problems and the complications, at the time it seemed so tempting.

We used to lie there, in some anonymous bed in some anonymous room, with the warm breezes fluttering the curtains and just talk, plan and scheme; create a new life for us together, far from the messes we’d both made of our lives.

We both spoke of our parents, and their generation, who’d stayed together but grown apart, living lives that only rarely touched. We decided we did not want to be like that. We wanted to walk together, hand-in-hand, across the beach as the sun set, even into our sunset years, growing older and closer as the years passed.

Obviously, though, it was all a dream and there comes a time when you wake up from a dream, no matter how much you would rather stay, there, inside it. The day came, as deep down we knew it always would, when that talk of dreams and plans faded into nothing, faded like a dream, and we found the only thing we had left to say to each other was ‘Good-bye.’

Monday, January 07, 2013

Monday Poem: Sandcastles



We are here, eager for the morning,
waiting to take the day in our hands
and run with it down to the beach,

to build the sandcastles of our childhood
on the hard sands before the tide of life
comes tumbling in to wash it all away.

When we return to these beaches
as grown-ups there will be no trace
of any of those sandcastles we struggled
to build against the onrush of the tide.

The world around us too, has changed,
the long endless beach is now a small cove
that encloses this small beach so tight.

The sand churned by all the days between
holds no trace of the days we spent here
in those long endless summers of childhood.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

The Consequences of Morning


Even then, there were so many reasons why we stood at the door of the day, uncertain, unwilling, not wanting to face the morning the day had spread out for us. We had seen mornings before and we knew they could hide so much from us. We knew that out there, beyond the door, the day would be waiting for us, waiting to take those dreams we had found and tended through the dark of the night and rip them from us; to leave them dying in the harsh light of the morning while we stood there unable to escape the cold clarity of the daylight.

We wanted to turn, go back to the warm bed, shrug ourselves deep under its protecting blankets, hold each other close and tend our delicate dreams. We wanted to turn our backs on the day, close the door of the morning and hide inside again.

We knew, though, that - one day - the day would – eventually – drag us out of our hiding place and confront us with all we had done during those dark hours of the night, showing us that nothing we do in this world is consequence free and that those dreams we so carefully tended, of us making a new life together, would – one cold bright day – turn into nightmares that would haunt us forever.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

The Times I Made for Her


There were times I made just for her. I took her from the bed up at the top of that old house, where she lay each morning in the springtime sun, and brought her down to my room downstairs. She would follow me, eagerly, wanting to see what kind of new world I had made for her down in my workroom.

I would open the door for her and usher her into the gloom of my workroom. It was such a contrast to the high, light room where she spent her days, waiting for moments like this – the times when I summoned her.

In the dark and the flickering of my candles, she would – each time – hesitate before my workbench as I cleared it of papers and books, to give her enough room. Then, she would drop her robe to pool around her feet, before climbing up and kneeling on my bench in front of me.

The shock of my fingers, charged with the possibility of a new world for her, would make her jump, twitch, and shiver as my hand met the flesh of her chin to bring her eyes up to look into mine.

The she would smile back at my smile as I took her into the new world I had made for us to share.

Friday, January 04, 2013

On-Line Bullying and Abuse


In the end, it turned out to not be that important; at least when she realised that nobody really gave that much of a shit one way or another. It was just another of those moral panics whipped up by a media constantly worried about its own increasing lack of relevance in people’s lives, now they can find out from other sources just what was going on in - what people like to assume is - the real world.

Still, it was not the first time anyone had posted an explicit picture of an open tomato ketchup bottle on her supposedly Brown Sauce-only website.

Despite several complaints to the web hosting company and to her ISP, the offensive and – in some cases – full-frontal pictures of the ketchup were not removed and in time there were even – to the shock, horror and outrage of the site’s regular users - blatant mentions of sweet pickle and even piccalilli in the site’s forums.

However, it was only when several newspapers and the BBC’s flagship investigative journalism programme We Don’t Make This Bollocks Up, Honest Guv, got on the case that action was taken by both the ISP and web host and the offending pictures and comments were removed, while the police promised they would some stumble into action against those posting the abuse once they had sorted out a shift pattern that allowed them to only leave the police station in nice weather.

So, all-in-all then, it was another success story in British society’s war on on-line bullying and abuse.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Thursday Poem: Deep into an Unknown Sky


Deep into an Unknown Sky

So you let the bird fly
free from an open palm
watching it become a shape,
a speck, and then only empty air,

before we turn away
stepping back out of the silence
of a solemn and significant moment

into the ordinary time
of an ordinary day
where we will go
about ordinary business

in an ordinary way.
Only occasionally
will we pause, to look up
to search the sky

for the traces of a special moment
that took wing from your open hands
to fly into an unknown sky deeper
than we could ever know or understand.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Up and Running


Still, even though it was not quite as clear-cut as the - albeit rather skimpy – instructions suggested it ought to be, eventually we got her new device up and running. However, before we had scoured the instruction pamphlet for all the necessary details, it had already diced a carrot, mowed the lawn and updated her Facebook status by providing a photograph of an activity which is – apparently – still illegal in several American states and three European countries as well as being regarded as blasphemous to certain easily-excitable religious folk.

Anyway, once we’d found the relevant paragraph - written in that nearly-English that is now de-rigour for all multi-lingual manuals and instruction leaflets - we discovered that the switch on the bottom of the device did not do what we thought it did.

Anyway, to cut a long story short enough for contemporary attention-spans, after she’d pressed this switch and tried it out on this new setting she was – consequently – walking around with a smile on her face I’d not seen since her sister put on so much more weight than her over a Christmas festive season.

Still, though, I am worried about the cost of the batteries, but then she does keep smiling that smile, so I’m beginning to think it could be worth it, even though we will probably have to put up another garden shed in order to have somewhere to store all these batteries.

After all, I wouldn’t want it to run out and risk her non-smile returning, at least not this side of me being able to afford a one-way ticket out of here.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

A New Life Together


This shall be the place. This shall be the time. These are times of newness and of beginning. This is the place where a start can be made from these few scraps we find around us.

Here is where our lives can begin again.

We have walked on through so many barren days, leaving our old lives far behind us. We trudged on through this wilderness, searching for some place, some time, we could make our own; a place where beginnings are possible.

Here, there is the silence, the peace we need to begin to build a new life together. Here is where we can find the space, undiluted by all that came before.

We have left our old – separate – lives behind, wandering out here to find a life, a way of living, where we can be together, far away from those old lives.

Even though we sit here and make plans, drawing the future in the dust and on old scraps of paper, still we glance back over our shoulders, knowing that our old lives are out there somewhere, searching for us. We know, too, that one day those old lives will find us and drag us back into their endless nightmare days, far out of the reach of one another.

So, we hold each other close and stare into the flames of our warming fire, looking for portents and signs in the dancing flames, hoping that this place will keep us safe for as long as it can.