Coming up for air

What lurks beneath your feet, leagues under yet scratching at your back?
Tickling the spine that creaks and cracks.
Drop the things you can no longer carry.
Things to pull you under; the little things.
Tears for a lover lost in the spray.
That cling and pull like lead on your bones.
I tried to breathe under water.
Swimming to the ocean floor, and the depths of my mind.
Grew new skin. Housed within an Atlantis locked in time.
We allow others to wash upon other shores.
To dry in the sun like old bits of seaweed.
Crinkling and cracking as our hearts harden.
I see the sun now, twinkling in its majesty.
Blinking above like a solar eye winking, smiling once more.
Calling me up to the chorus and ring of tomorrow.
I need to come up for air.
To feel the sun and salt on my back again.
To cough out the poison of the deep.
Where nothing but leviathans and despair creep.
I hook a line into your heart, and pull out of the rip tide.
Pulled forth into the breaking waves of gracious adoration, deserving of a quiet day.
Out into the air and the salty miasma of an oceanic dream.
Effortlessly you appear, as I quietly transform.
My saviour in the eye of storm.

Circles in the oil

The dark sky sways, undulating in that oily void.
Threatening storms, and to swallow me.
We move in motion, dancing across the dangerous divide.
Hoping not to fall. Hoping instead to fly.
Yet the golden dreams crumble to ash, and the sulphur seeps into our bones.
Laid waste across the terrain like cooling magma.
Did you prick your finger upon the wonderment?
Did you breathe in a new world design?
The lungs now get heavy with the tar of life.
Weighing down your soul until you shake into nothingness.
Black. All turns black as the sky shifts and salutes a new day of redundantment.
Our bones turn to chalk, and we write are names on the tombstones of tomorrow.
Erase. Re-write. Turn back the time to let in the light.
We all want our lonely little world.
To swim away from the one that’s drowning.
Let the pin prick breach and gape.
On a raft of a thousand reasons.
Allow the blood to cover a new imagination.
And suck the seed of dreams, to save yourself.

Seeing Things Hearing Things

Harley Holland

‘Ockroot. This is the place. This is the place you can’t seem to shut up about.’ Sadie said as she slammed the boot to the red Volkswagen beetle shut. She slung the green barrel bag over her shoulder and tapped on the back window. The sun beamed down over the parking lot and reflected off the large tortoise rimmed spectacles Sadie had left on by choice while she drove. She claimed it was always by choice that she wore them. Just as it was always a choice whether she wanted to breath or not. The grey hood to her jumper could not hide the long ashy blonde waves of hair from swaying in the wind. A new place with the same assholes. She was sure all these middle of nowhere towns were the same. The locals sat at their local diner eating the local livestock fucking their neighbours. They would give a cold stare…

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These Dreams

 

Where do the dreams go to die?
The great throes of a beast whose being shines with an energy of a lifetime.
The elephant graveyard of hopes, where the bones crumble and crack in the burning sun of reality.
Do they die at all, or hibernate under the covers of life.
Forgotten about until the final hour, to flash across our eyes like signs on a road never taken.
These dreams wither; they fold and float away on the winds of existence.
Spirited away like the seasons of youth.
Like leaves from a tree they decay.
Never watered, chopped down before the seed ever even germinates.
These dreams, forever in my mind yet always out of reach.

A Prayer dissected

Wings to fly, yet grounded.
The anchorage of my soul, gravitised to you.
The buildings and clouds climb above us.
Reaching up to god.
Trapped in this feeling, caught in the chaos of blinding resolution.
That glued my eyes open to the reality of it all.
Your feelings match the buildings so tall.
The reach and pull, and ascend away from me.
Into the space of another time.
Another life yet to be.
The weight of your world breaks my bones.
Splinters my soul and leaves me gasping for breath.
Split and scar the flesh to pull out the love.
Though there’s no need to cry.
China tears and crystal cries will only shatter in the echo,
of the words I spoke in pain, in dismantling the church of our hearts.
But keep that light on in our chapel.
The one that banishes the shadows, the things others know.
Those little pieces of our life mean more to me than those.
Let me devour them as you whisper in my ear.
‘You will again pray here.’

Dissolve

In the moment we fade, into shadows and dust.
Corroded and broken, like heartache and rust.
For time is motion, both forward and back.
And into the darkness, our minds birth the lack.
Of knowing limitations, of body and mind.
That we all fade away, over spread golden time.
Once oh so pretty, that the angels despaired.
How a dream would unfold, how souls ceased to care.
And the ghosts swirled around in a sad misty dance.
Where the passage of fate, and time took their chance.
To rob them of hope, to turn night out of day.
Where love and of beauty, will dissolve away.

Searching

Look inside a different view.
A world spun on a wavering axis.
Shifting and shaking to a tectonic heartbeat.
Bring a different truth, I’ve heard so many.
Cracked from the ice and the frozen tongues.
Coughed up by devils and delicious ruin.
Was I allowed to change my mind?
Change my religion and make it fly?
Or cloak my thoughts and despairs.
Drown the reasoning in a bath of holy water.
I held my breath.
Waited for the manna to rise.
The milk and honey to seep out of my blood.
Out of my mind.
I caught the world, flying on the wings of a dove.
Into the eye of the storm.
Looking for a home. Looking for a hope.

Run

These leaves, they cover and smother me as my mind claws and scrapes at the end.
Called down to the lake, past the rotting trees.
No one came looking for me.
Broken bones and a honeycomb heart that heaves to an old tune.
Tasting tears, and welcoming fears to consume and throttle me.
Adrift along that quiet sea of loneliness.
Watching the lighthouse of hope slip beneath the sky.

Still running away

The rain had come as soon as she left the main path. She heard it now pattering on the leaves in the canopy above her. The sheltering forest where all was unsure and forbidden. She never saw it this way, this was always how it was put to her, and this is always how it was made to be. She ran along further, carving her own way through existence. The sun had yet to set, but the rain clouds had smothered the earth in that part of her little kingdom, and the forest now gleamed with a wet twilight.

She had caught herself only a couple of times, hesitant to step deeper within and away from all of what she knew and all that she resisted. Her feet sloshed now in the puddles that had formed on the forest floor. Bits of moss and time made her slip and stumble, but on she flew. Running away, running beyond. Looking for herself again.

She had left the hills and the ruins behind her, blinked them away in a heartbeat as her skin touched the dense air of the woodland and the smell of freshness. A return, a renewal of sorts; though she knew it was not to begin anything again. The sanctuary lay beyond this world now for her. She had seen the darkness, and tasted the decay of life. She had thought about her death time and again. Stored it away in small pockets of her world, only to find it ever present on her horizon. Popping out of the days and the jars she kept in her kitchen cupboards. No one knew of course, she had shuttled from each thought to another in the dizzying malaise of the worn down and woe-begotten. Left to sit and turn in the sun like an unloved pot plant on a window ledge. Her death had come each time in many colours, brilliant reds and blues that would drip down from the sky and swallow her. There was never any pain; that was how it was supposed to be. The ashen taste in her mouth told her it was coming, and all would be done. Pushing through the thicket now, she came to where she was meant to be.

Making her way into the clearing she, the forest heaved and silenced itself, as if waiting for the show to begin. The leaves parting like the curtains of a stage. She stepped out, like tiptoeing onto a dream, making her way to the clump in the middle of the clearing. Her eyes were thick now with water, her eyelashes shaking off the dew of a realisation. Cracking and tearing her way from the chrysalis. Tiny eyes shone out from the trees, the beasts joining her in to taste the end.

The small knife gleamed in the grey light which danced around the clearing, little sparks and souls prancing lyrically on the blade. The ash had begun to fill he mouth as the black sky above had begun to open. Her world was beginning to drown as she felt the skin prickle and the cool metal throb to the vein.

And then she stopped.

At her feet she saw the body, the clumped skin that lay before her like a rug at the end of a bed. She stood frozen, the rain trickling down her face as the sky now heaved and lightened the vista. The dream was begin to rumble, the humming underneath building like a train rumbling underground. She knew what it was before she touched that place, that skin and hair before her which had to be known. She knew already, but she was scared to see. Scared to reach in and feel her way through a thousand lives and know the truth.

Bending down she rolled the body over, the eyes shining back like she knew they world. Reflecting mirrors that caught that dancing light and shone back to her like the waves of the ocean. Her time flowed through her in an instant, a tidal spray of understanding washing over her. She stared at her own body, laying on that cold forest floor. Discovered only by herself and the eyes of the animals now which fidgeted and rustled around her. The blood had dried over her throat, the deep slash made a lifetime ago, yet the crimson stained her skin like a smashed cherry, licking at her neck. Her death had come a gone, many times before.

This was a moment she was discovering now, but it happened all the same each day. Every time she took that knife from the drawer. Each time she turned off her phone and closed the world away. Those moments at work when she wished to be away from everyone. Feeling alone in a crowd while they burned holes into her. Those were the times she died, when she came here to that forest clearing where the sky above swallowed her. These were the moments when her soul cried, and dripped down into that forest on the edge of her life, taking her further and further from god. Further from the light. Blurring her memory into a stain on the window of time.

Unearthed design

These dreams that held you, turned you over in time.
Made you everything but mine.
They smell like morning peonies, precious symphonies align.
You found the bones of a long lost soul, turned up in the tide of your blood.
Washed away in monsoon floods.
Seeing if your veins could fly, coughing dandelions and mud.
Crack this dream like and egg, stitch up the wounds that never heal.
Stretch it over the world.
Pulled into another paradigm.
Live now for those golden days of charm, pulled out deep from the mire.
Throwing us both on the pyre.
Setting your soul on fire.
Then leave all this decay behind.

Mooncats

(A Collaboration with the cosmically colossal Nara15blog

The depths of space.
Cold and frozen like a liar’s tongue.
Decorated with imagination, and the Christmas lights of the Milky Way.
Like kings we travel across mountains, the time valleys and the soundless desert to offer the myrrh of our hearts.
Watching the world from up high above.
Metallic buckling and inclination set us down.
Dropped onto that dusty surface.
That sunken dark side of the moon.

A whirl and snap, a titter and tap.
The astral music of our future calls out across the dunes.
Feeling our subtle energies, ameliorate with the salt intake.
To deflect the dark interference, a vast endless shriek

In the indigo star mist they barely exist, through cells of the unknown.
A flight of fancy tickling their whiskers, as the mooncats rise, out of klexy carbonize ebony.
A night call that sounds all hours of the day, as the sun passes them by.
How their lives abide, stretched and multiplied by the gravity of circumstance.
They ceaselessly divagate in the nebulous noon-shine quest.
Tunnelling in the honeycomb of a starry satellite.

Beware the fringes of the universe and the edges of the rock.
For lunar moths will dance on their nose, and call them out to space.
A grave of diamond dust to mark where they had been.
Eclipse our minds with astral sulphur, and sing us to sleep with the haunting Egyptian sounds of the gods.
Bastet tiptoeing in your ear, while the mooncats purr.

Summer climb

Did you see?
The moon collapse. Sinking into the hazy blue.
Nightsleep shake and eyes wake.
Body rise along with the mercury.
Taste the air like nectarine slices.
A sweet design.
Walk into the softening air of the summer climb.
Sunshine sway on the sand abandon.
The moment lands on the skin like a dragonfly.
Holding out hope for a break from chrysalis.
The time has come. What have you done today?
Laughing as the butter melts on your back.
The midnight sun which never fades.
Uncertain, like talking to strangers.
Burning longer, as the time stretches out onto the horizon.
Catch the rays like the insults.
Thrown our way to re-calibrate our senses to summertime highs.
Watching starfish rise into space.
Et chantez dans les vents solaires.

SHELL OF IMAGINARY IMAGINATION

Strange little threads that are held on to.
Causing commotions in my morning coffee.
Sinking feelings that cut too deep, simple systemic exposure.
Buzzing like the office fluorescents, dialling a tone.
Naked and running. Leaving myself at home.
Heaven bubbles in my veins, blowing blooms along my spine.
Disturbing the herons of this mind.
Take me down to the water.
To the catacombs of the happy, were they hoard their treasures.
This middle distance, which keeps us at arm’s length.
Puts my past to sleep, and rip open my mind.
Something so obscene.
The devil can dip its fingers in my soul (if out of sight).
A sunglass reflection in the mirror, which at first seemed so close.
Cut the distance and pull the cord.
Curtain calls and swallow whistles.
Finding me alone on that wondering star.
Flying, down Mulholland drive

Scratches inside the skull

Hear the clouds, rolling and calling.
Rumbling across your spine.
Vertebrae by vertebrae it moves you.
Like a little child crying out in the dark.
The air gets heavy. And the rainbows die.
Anything you wanted, falls back.
Turns into time.
The rain you feel on your fingertips.
Are the tears you cried as a child, busting the dam.
Flooding your spirit, marking a way to the funeral of a childhood friend.
The one you wished the most for.
Built those dreams with sand and innocence.
Playback the videotape in your mind before the lightening burns the image.
Filling your eyes with fog and fury.
Of a lost dream, crumbled and put to sleep.
Snatched by the monsters and left to die in a foreign atmosphere.
Alone, in a time glass.
Covered each second in the sand of regret.

Land of the free and the home of the brave

Her eyes flickered from the calendar on her desk to the phone quickly as the device in front of her rang out shrilly. She knew who it would be on the other end of the line, she pictured them, slumped against the phone booth while the hot July sun glared in through the tampered glass. Her arrangements were all unfolding as she had anticipated, each one of her children doing exactly what she had expected them too. All was coming together, there was just one thing left to arrange and this phone call, she hoped, would finalize that. She let the phone ring once more before lifting it from the cradle, placing it up onto her heavily powered face.

She did not speak, she waited for their voice.

“Mame?”

“Yes.” she said, curtly.

“It’s all arranged. She said she will be there for the 4th of July.”

“Good, thank you Perkins. She is aware of the situation I trust?”

“She is aware yes. She wasn’t surprised at all, but it’s strange as she…” He began, but was interrupted.

“Excellent. See to it that money is arranged also.” She said, and hung the phone back quickly into the cradle, her mind now dancing over the weekend arrangements.

In a phone booth in downtown Boston, Robert Perkins held the phone to his ear, trying to hear against the traffic which sped past him outside his glass shell. He heard Veronica Van-Black, his employer, hang up the line her end; yet he finished off his sentence that he had begun, as if trying to figure it out still himself.

“…it’s strange, she said she was already there.”


This fourth of July, come and spend the weekend with the Van-Blacks who will delight you with wit, suspense, good food, séances and murder. A good time to be had by all, except maybe one.
Keep it together – out now in paperback and eBook. More stories here.

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Mother’s milk

Grow up big and grow up strong.
Be nice to others. Get along.
Don’t do drugs, and don’t’ drink coffee.
Savour each day like a delicious toffee.
Always colour inside the lines.
Say your prayers, once; two times.
Be still, be quiet, be seen not heard.
Be small and quiet like muted bird.
Play nice, play well and be enamoured.
For the nail that sticks, is that one that’s hammered.
Those thoughts of lofty aspirations.
Are just a sign of desperation.
So do not fall into the abyss.
Of needing help, to love or kiss.
For the witch is what they’ll call the other.
The fallen woman.
The post-natal mother.

Seen on television

What position did you wear, glaring out with weekend eyes?
A real woman. Wearing a smile and turpentine.
They cannot buy the things you have, make an offer.
Sipping souls with a slice of lime.
Slip your tongue into another lie.
A strange life where the fake are sanctified.
He’s a real man, he’s the real thing.
He’ll do anything.
Holding out for all but a mother.
Splinter eyes and matchbook teeth.
Both now adrift on that world stage of comedy.
Tracing figure eights and commodity.
She’s a real woman. Saying a prayer into small boxes.
A real man. Attuned to product placement.
Grease those wheels in the mind.
Spin into a Monday morning, hung like a broken jukebox.
Looking now for new interruptions.
Chasing new enemies.

Orbitam lunae in caritate

(Moon love in orbit)
Abound and in the air.
Tied down for fear of flying.
Skim you clouds like a shuttle into space.
Rattling past like a shooting star.
You take me higher.
Coughing out an atmosphere.
Pulling through your gravity to dance like moon daises,
turning towards the sun.
That face of you, eclipsing my world.
Suffering craters so gladly.
My new lunar religion.

Haunted hunter

A mournful tune to play as the bones buckle.
The hum inside your gums while the night lingers on.
What sound called to you, rose you from that grave of regret.
We sit and watch the world tip over, spun into a dizzying dervish and lost in the mind of God.
These darkened eyes that haunt you, casting casualties and consequence.
Do you leave them to turn to stone?
To honey up and glaze like the milky itch of remorse?
How heavy the skin of the idle.
Bleached into the alien grey like driftwood on a beach.
Turn on that apology and settle into an xstatic rhythm.
Shaken from the willows of the wilds. Shaking stars and dust from your mind.
The black swan which follows you, cries out for change.
Etiolated in the darkening world you occupy.
Be still its cries of the dying, the call for collapse.
For this flightless bird of paradise craves warmer climates.
And a world much brighter than our own.

Love saves the day

In his heart, he couldn’t say.
Why on earth he was born that way.
And in his mind, his thoughts progressed.
His soul did ache, heave and compress.
For when he learned that there were others.
He pulled down deep within his covers.
And smiled a smile of understanding.
A powerful notion that was commanding.
That it didn’t matter if you like either gender.
It only mattered if the love was tender.
So he took their hand then stated proudly.
A message to the world yelled out so loudly.
That he loved them the most, come what may.
And in the end, love saves the day.

A lost tomorrow in today’s pocket

We’ll never be the same, crawling out of this chrysalis.
Rubbing the eyes of disillusionment with the fingers of the future.
Everything given, is repeated.
Swimming back around like sharks in the water.
The future begins to fade like a dying star.
Leaving the shelter behind, swept away in the storm.
Love came and went. Permeated, then evaporated like the morning fog.
How we longed to be held safe in those arms.
Rocked into safety as the grey melted.
but everything they gave, was taken away.
Leaving the skeleton bones and the residue of knowing.
A maddening knowledge of what the other is.
A long kiss in the desert to feed you water.
The cut on your wrist as you ascend to the surface.
The monsters flare their nostrils and whisper to me.
Asking me what the future should be.
So let it go. Let if dip and disappear like the day’s sun.
The yellowed eye of the universe closing for slumber.
Rebirthed, repackage for tomorrow.
Without the shame of today.