Black Flowers

Come.
Walk the path with me,
Where nightmares lead the way.
The path is cracked, and
Overgrown;
The windows dark, with
No one home;
Just shadows hidden from
The day.

Come.
Through the door with me,
This portal old and grim.
A hallway dark, no
Light abroad;
Crooked the floor, warped
The boards;
Who knows what evil lies
Within.

Come.
See this room with me,
With dust and dirt about.
No laughter now, to
Lift the beams;
The moving shapes, not
What they seem;
With silent mouths they wish
To shout.

Come.
Lay and stay with me,
To still your beating heart.
Give up the ghost, let
Loose your soul;
Let bone and flesh,
Grow ever cold;
Like black flowers grown in
The dark.

Snapshot 6

And we sat, with the machines beeping and the rain falling against reenforced glass.
You always liked stories. We would spend our pillow talk on make-believe, not wishing to analyse the events of the day, only wanting to share our duvet cocoon with peace and love.
So as the weather outside reflected my mood, I told you a story. One last story.
About a man who was rescued, although he didn’t realise he needed rescuing. About a man who was blessed, although he was not religious. About a man who was rewarded for years of bad luck, with a lifetime of good luck in one perfectly formed package.

As I watched your eyes, unmoving behind closed eye lids, I wondered what you were thinking. What you were seeing, with your minds eye. Did my words get through? Did they reach you?
I wanted you to hear me, I wanted my words to form a bubble, a perfect little world in which my story lived.

To me, that’s what stories are – worlds enclosed in a membrane that, at the merest touch, will pop and free the story from within.

I don’t want my last image of you to be of you there, in that bed, body broken and sick. I want my last image of you to be this:
You, stood with your arms wide, head thrown back, laughing at the hundreds of bubbles that float around you, conjured with my stories. Reflecting the last of a dying sun on their glistening surface, dancing and moving with your breath. And with each touch of your finger, a bubble bursts, and gifts to you a story that I have made. That’s how I want to remember you.

Snapshot 5

Night driving again.
Headlights of approaching cars growing out of the dark like an onrushing double sun, disappearing behind and leaving an after image in the eye, the red glow of rear lights in the rear view mirror. Left alone once more, within the metal bubble of warmth, road noise, and isolation.

Journeys always seem to both take longer, and pass quicker. Why?
Is it the lack of perceivable landmarks, no road signs or passing white lines to reenforce the forward motion? Or is the way travelling at night messes with the circadian rhythm, confusing the mind and body with a combination of sleeping dark, and adrenaline inducing speed?

Driving past fields, imagining the peace of a moonlit walk, journeying to a destination in the same way as our ancestors, centuries before.
Catching sight of a lay-by as it whizzes past, the oft-thought of sentence that ghosts into the mind – “Imagine being stuck there now…”.

Familiar roads, and junctions, look different at night. When the roads are this quiet, some junctions look like the scene of an accident, where all the bodies have been removed, but the forensic lighting is still there, scanning for spilled blood, skid marks. Or they are like a dressed stage, set for actors to play their way across, before an audience that isn’t there.

Stiff neck. Tired eyes. Counting down the miles as they tick off the odometer, getting ever closer to home. No cars in the rear view mirror means a black, empty space behind, as though the road and all the world has been gathered in by the car’s rear wheels.

Finally coming upon the exit junction, leaving the main artery and filtering off into a smaller, less important one, like an air bubble in a bloodstream.

Smaller roads, slower roads. The mad, head-long rush slowing to a more gentle cruise through sleeping streets, to home.

Snapshot 3

Fishlake National Forest, just outside Utah, is where we buried it.

Wrapped in a blanket, which we took from the cupboard in the hall, where all the bedding and towels are kept.

When we made the decision, there was no going back. And to paraphrase Macbeth, “If it were done, then ’twere well it were done quickly”. Hesitation during any of what followed would have proved disastrous to our resolve.

We saw a different side of each other that day – you proved far more ruthless in deed and thought than I had seen before, and I like to think you saw a softer side to me.

As the forest closed in around us, the mood in the car darkened along with the shadows that surrounded us. We knew we were approaching the spot we had picked out using Google maps satellite view. Quiet, secluded, and off the seldom travelled road. We didn’t speak. You knew the way, so I was left to sit and look out of the window, watching the dark greens and browns flow by.

The dark, black peat gave way under the blade of the shovel. You sat on an old stump and smoked, your first cigarette for two years, while I dug down. All about us was the noise of the forest – falling branches, rustling creatures, and the deep age old sound of trees growing. The steady thump and scatter of the excavated peat hitting the floor.

“That’s enough”, you said. I looked at the hole I had created and agreed, it was deep enough. Or maybe it would never be deep enough to hide what we had done, and you were just cold and ready to be done with this. I returned to the car to fetch our burden, and lifting it from the back seat I carried it back into the small clearing we had found.
You stood, and gently placed one hand on top of the wrapped bundle. Our eyes locked for a second, and in that heartbeat of time we knew this was a secret that would keep us entwined forever.
I lowered it down into the ground. And while you went back and sat in the car, I filled in the hole.
It filled in quicker than it emptied.

Snapshot 1

I want to try and write more, and as well as keeping the poetry going, I want to try these ‘snapshot’ pieces of fiction. I have been inspired by Douglas Coupland, who in more than one of his books writes in this style. If you want a good example of his work in this vein, read “Life After God”. I’d like you to be patient and stick with these. I hope to get better at them as time goes on. Thank you.

One day, just as the last morning cup of tea had worked it’s way through my system, I fell down.
It was a shock, because in my mind I was still the youthful footballer, the skillful skate boarder, agile and sure of foot. For a few moments, lying there on my back and looking up at the ceiling, I had an insight into what it might be like to die.
Nothing moved. My entire world was the near 180 degree view of my walls and ceiling. There was silence, just the faint rub-dub of my heartbeat, and the constant low ‘sssshh’ sound that seems to constantly be in my ears.
I held my breath, kept all my limbs and head still, and slowly closed my eyes as though drawing down a blind over a window.
I imagined my inner-self coming loose, untethered, and drifting away like a piece of paper on a still lake. I pictured the scenes that would unfold when I was discovered, cold and alone. The shock, the sadness. In a few moments, a whole lifetime of grief and life moving on was played out on my internal cinema screen. And then I got up, and went about my day.

Come With Me

One of those pieces that just fell out of me, hurriedly written and posted. Hope you like it.

Come with me
My precious one,
We’ll journey where the dreams
Begun;
To drink the wine of summers past
From fragile jade and golden glass,
We’ll build a future set to last,
My darling precious one.

Come with me
My truest one,
We’ll take the road no others
Run;
We’ll hear the words the poets write
That paint the page with pictures bright,
We’ll make a world in heavens sight,
My darling truest one.

Come with me
My loving one,
We’ll leave behind all sin that’s
Done;
We’ll take once more this chance on trust
The very stars will envy us,
A sweetest romance born of lust,
My darling loving one.

Anna Key

Her laugh was what I heard at first
An evil noise with hint of mirth,
A sound that said she’d watch a fall,
And stand and grin, not help at all,
My darling Anna Key.

With wicked smile she turned around
And there she stood on sodden ground,
A face that launched a thousand ships,
But all beneath the waves to slip,
My darling Anna Key.

Gave not a jot for those a fool
Was free with comments mean and cruel,
So quick to cut down stupid men,
With just a word from lips or pen,
My darling Anna Key.

My heart it glowed as breaking day
Though sense would council, stay away,
A beauty dark in form and soul,
My sweet demise her only goal,
My darling Anna Key.

Although I’m lost to wicked heart
I would not go back to the start,
Though love is cruel, here I remain,
Her laugh the evilest of refrains,
My darling Anna Key.