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.

Fables of a beautiful weakness

Tell this story tonight, worn on this face.
Tantric and telling like the birds in flight.
Showing much more than flesh and bone.
Keep it safe, snug in your pocket like a pebble.
Dipped in the gold that is spun from your eyes.
Hold tight.
On to me and all that we have to carry.
Refugees of a dark place we once called home.
Our fabled postcard from the other side.
Slipping down the side of the couch of life.
Forgotten if never mentioned by anyone but ourselves.
Take my hand and dance through the flames.
Kiss me and let us bathe in the rains.
Alive with the magic running in our veins.

While you were out

A kind word cupped in my hand like a wounded sparrow.
Its wing, contorted and bent like these preconceptions.
Without you, I move much too much at random.
Wondering what lies beyond those windowpanes.
Beyond the chasm that stretches in my mind.
I wonder where you’ll find me.
Dressed in my finery, like a made up lush.
Hoping for a dance.
Slathering my lips the darkest shade.
Horribly limited by my circumstance.
I count the colours that separate us now.
A warming tangerine smile that mocks and devours me.
With sharpened teeth I ready myself for the assault.
A swift attack on the loneliness that engulfs my saturated mind.
Soggy and heavy, absorbed of the dark walls that creep into my eyes.
As the scene rattles into view, I wake once more.
Peeled and unravelled, with the juice of reality staining my lips.

Burning feathers

What scrapes at the inside of this skull?
Trying to break free from mirroring misery.
A bird trapped, or a candle with no flame.
Fighting against something that isn’t there.
Inside these reflections, dwells a silent creature.
Bound in feathers, but fearing flight.
Waiting to breathe, to fly and ignite.

Amazing shadows

Blink the dark and silence the nightingale.
Two turns on that apology.
Cut the veins of the ghosts and watch them bleed.
Where did you go?
What is that running down your face?
Claustrophobic thoughts of freedom.
Suffocate lungs all drenched in oil.
Such luminous reflections tiptoe across your eyes.
We measure the umbrage that dapples our fears.
From the tree we wish to burn.
Amazing shadows, holding hands into tomorrow.
Making us strangers again.

Intramural

These times of danger settle within.
On your eyelids and under your skin.
These creatures dwell out in plain sight.
They do not only pierce the night.
While people sleep and dream such dreams.
Dancing devils grow black and mean.
And they toil and think, and plot most secret.
To enter your soul, corrode; then keep it.
The ogres lick you with loving words.
That churn in your brain like diving birds.
Which peck and splinter all hope and trust.
And spit on dreams until the rust.
But these monsters don’t hide under your bed.
These horrors are the ones that reside in your head.

Shared spheres

On tarnished minds the earth does rest.
A swallow up in the rafters.
Breaking for the dawn.
The bended knee, the broken back.
How much weight is rested on those weary shoulders?
The magic is hidden young. Robbed when you weren’t looking.
Hidden in anniversary cards and chocolate eggs.
Luscious dreams to melt on your tongue.
But you tip this world over, looking for the things you’ve lost.
Things you never even had.
As you fade into the pages of the book of existence.
A noted inscription against your name.
That you were here, that you breathed and worried.
As that gloom may coil around your ankles.
And the sky temporarily goes grey.
This world will still spin on its aching axis.
A jewel shining against the blackness of space’s muddied windowpane.
And you remember, and never forget.
That we all feel the same.

(Half)Empty/Full

A Wounded heart, dying in decompression,
A heart that beats, formed by the cells of God.
This loneliness covers me like a crypt.
A quiet sanctuary for the seeker of stillness.
Blood on my hands and guilt through my bones.
A lesson learned in the guise of judgmental tones.
Tears run like a river of lost moments, damming me into distress.
Tears that rip and free the waves of elation, washing all over me.
Death.
Life.
A bitter end to a dying wounded bird.
Who soared higher than all the others in the sky.

An art of unknowing

Do not sleep. Just dream
Call my name, and count to fifty.
Slip into that small space between the bookshelf and god.
Go, and leave all that stuff upon me.
A poetry of indecision.
Boxed unimagined dreams.
Like my name scratched into the refrigerator.
A frigid corrosion of souls.
I took you inside me, as I took your name.
You banged my inner wall of doubt away.
Yet a partition grew, out of rocks and hewn history.
Mistrust and apathy.
Everything you offered, it all touched me so deep.
Knowing what I really needed.
Snatching it away like a jackdaw.
Now you leave me settling for any interruption.
Spinning on turning tables.
Knocking on answers, waiting to understand.

Keep it together (Extract)

Taken from the novel ‘Keep it together’. Follow the peacocks…..

ki

untitled

Geluk (Fortune)

Despite what you may read or be told by some, the truth is, we all expect something in life. Fundamentals such as good health, family or even a nice home; we are always searching for what we believe to be ours. Digging in the dirt for diamonds we’ve been told are there. Few of us ever really see that expectations lead to disappointments. Many more of us search for riches and rewards that are never really ours, or are even obtainable. Money, it is said, is the route to all evil and yet its influences have corrupted many a heart, strong and weak alike over the space of time. Golden paths of good intentions. It is not only openly intoxicating and hypnotic, but maintains a more insidious nature, that of which; like a frost that settles while you sleep, lays itself down within the hearts and minds of those honest souls that are so busy surviving. If money then was the sole reason for the tragedies that afflict the wealthy, if not complicated, Van-Black family on a sweltering hot weekend in July 1977, then it would be all too easy to see the reasons for the events that took place, and perhaps easier to sympathise if your moral compass is set to that degree. However, as with many stories, this is not the simple black and white of it all, and money; although forever the Devil’s dally, plays only a slight role in all this treachery. As it may just be the whisper in the ear of a malign-able heart, or the tiny drop of poison in the cocktail of life. For someone once said ‘The less we deserve good fortune, the more we hope for it’.

It was a series of events that led to that dark sweltering, yet stormy weekend. Seeds that were sown years before the Independence Day flags were stuck up in store windows welcoming the two hundred and one years of freedom. As if a twist in the fabric of fate, an independence of their own had begun, borne out of a revolution of complacency. Wheels in motion that start, not at the beginning, but in a good place nevertheless to watch it all unfold. It begins with three invitations on their way, to three different couples who live in the greater Boston area in a place called Rosemount.

untitled

Rosemount

Rosemount Heights would never be known as anything other than a snobby neighbourhood, and some would argue it had every right to be. Of course these would be the same people who inhabited this affluent area of Boston. The apartments and houses were a little less imposing than many other grandiose dwellings that occupy money driven cities in America. Nor could they claim to be of any particular architectural interest, indeed some have suggested many of the properties should be condemned due to their crumbling facades and foundations lodged so far in the past, the slightest disturbance could bring the whole lot crashing down. However, the lawns were always manicured upon much scrutiny, the dogs walked were always cleaned up after; and the rambling nature of the older properties were accepted due to the wealth they concealed. For you see, to obtain an address in Rosemount heights was not only a status of money, but also that of social standing and in a city where that meant everything; this was coveted most ferociously. It was the week before Independence Day weekend, and all along the tree lined avenues of The Heights, as was commonly deferred by the locals; people were smartening their already immaculate properties as if Washington himself were to trundle down the leafy streets. The flags never looked crisper in the sun which burned down as one of the hottest summers of the past few years, cooking everything and everyone to a summer bronze.

Brahmin court was an oasis address to the well-travelled feet of the local mail man. At some point in recent history, planning officials were able to somehow, and illicitly no doubt, put through plans of an apartment complex situated within the realms of the wealthy estates. This led to a short lived venture of a few other apartments being built within Rosemount heights, though small in scale than to more centralised neighbourhoods. This phase quickly passed, and the apartment blocks that were built were forced to conform to the strict, somewhat militant, upkeep of their surroundings. Brahmin court served as an opportunity for each mail man to offload a greater number of letters in one go, and without the stretching driveways of the surrounding properties, was much preferred. It was true that a surge in patriotic spirit had seized many of the locals recently, and in these summer days of scorching weather; it was not unknown for a mailman to be offered refreshments such as lemonade or iced-tea by the occupants of the many houses they delivered to. There was also a chance to gossip about gasoline prices and plans for Independence festivities. However, this was not to be the case in Brahmin court, where you were more likely to be commented on your poor attire and lateness of delivery than you were about the weather.

This was true on Monday the 27th June, 1977 when Christine Mason accosted the mail man outside her apartment, who it seems was delivering her a letter in a manner most disagreeable to her.

‘’What time do you call this?’’ She exclaimed, exploding from the entrance of her building to the man clearly fatigued from the hot sun. She wore a large grey cardigan that she kept taught around her with one hand, while the other gestured hysterically.

‘’Sorry mam’?’’ he enquired.

‘’It’s eleven O’ five…’’ she informed him, not bothering to ask him again ‘’…and I’ve been waiting for my mail since at least ten this morning. Which is when you usually deliver it by.’’ She held out her hand expectantly for the large bundle of mail she saw he had ready to deliver at the apartment building. The hot sun was reflecting off the windows and the glare was getting in his eyes, yet the scornful look upon her face could not mistake her mood or impatience.

‘’I’m terribly sorry mam’, we were late getting the delivery this morning which led to a delayed start.’’ He explained, somewhat affronted by her attitude, but nevertheless holding on to his professionalism.

‘’Always a reason isn’t there, the man last week was late delivering too and he came up with some bull-shit excuse to me then; and I see you’re no different.’’ With that, she snatched the letters from his hands before he had time to hand them over or offer an expanded apology.

‘’Again, I’m sorry mammmm’.’’ He said, letting the last word drag out and hang in the air to imply that he thought her anything but. She turned on her heals and marched up back to her apartment. As he departed, he smiled to himself knowing she had grabbed the entire complex’s mail.

Back inside her air conditioned apartment Christine Mason caught a look at herself in the mirror as she entered the hallway. A thirty year woman stared back, yet she did not look her age. Sunken eyes on a small bird like face reflected back. Her dark auburn hair, her mother’s only inherited physical trait, hung loosely and lifeless down past her shoulders. She had become more and more pale recently, as if in an effort to sub-consciously fight the sunshine. She deeply welcomed a paler complexion, a sign of a more aristocratic lineage. This she needn’t have accentuated, having come from perhaps the most well to do stock in the area, and now this waning merely heightened her contempt for the outside world. She would never be a towering imposing figure like her mother, she had stopped growing by the time she was seventeen and fate had concluded she would have to suffice at just over five foot. Her best feature, as she believed it, were her high cheek bones which to some gave the impression of a small sparrow. She thought this defined her and hoped it would help distinguish herself more from the working class. That’s not to say she despised any class, least of all her own which she felt firmly planted in. Christine had a very specific outlook on life, her life, and all the little universes that spiralled freely within it. All under her jurisdiction. At least as she believed them to be.

She was a snob, she was first to admit it, however she did not hold disdain for any class like many of her ilk. Indeed her family in general had a somewhat malleable nature in regards to social environments. When she was younger, she remembered running down the great stairs that dominated her house at boarding school. She hated the creaky giant stairs which were arduous on her bones, and was always in a rush to get down or up them. This particular decent she was running a bit too fast and tripped, tumbling to the bottom like a twig from a tree. Her fall resulted in a broken ankle followed by a period in bed and a cast adorning her left foot. In her decline, she had knocked one of the cleaners with her, causing the fifty year old soul to topple to the foot of the stairs with her. She can still remember yelling to the nurse, who appeared in much haste, to treat the older lady first whose injuries matched her own. She may be rich, but she was much younger; and in her mind should wait her turn. This was the conflict ever present with Christine. What is right is how it should be. True though, some of her thought processes weren’t politically correct, she was a paradox of right and wrong that only her cat like mind could ever untangled. She was also outspoken, perhaps a result of her stunted frame, and she believed in telling people what was wrong with them. She was just as likely to yell at the mail man for being late, as to the Mayor of the city for increasing taxes for those of higher incomes.

Some people who knew her could be known to have said that with the birth of her son Anderson, Christine softened somewhat. These were few however. It was more like that of a snake shedding its skin that the transformation of Christine occurred, if at all it did. It was more believable that she channelled her efforts into her son’s future, care and wellbeing. There was an order to her world and everything had its right place. If you were a bank teller, do you job and do it right. If you’re running for election, then the best candidate, and preferably a Republican, should win. If you were a husband, better yet her husband, you should be able to support her and their son to the best of you masculine abilities. Or so help you……

Victor had been sleeping when he heard the front door go, shaking him from his convalescent slumber. For weeks he had stared blankly at the same four walls in the bedroom of their apartment. That was not to say he was bed bound, but that his cast on his foot did not offer much in the way of mobility. Victor was tall and lean, he wore thin spectacles which rubbed into his nose, and could often be seen taking them off to rub the bridge which was usually red. Though well-educated and with an extensive vocabulary, he was very down to earth and spoke very friendly and warmly most of the time. This morning his short black hair was sticking up on top of his head and he hadn’t yet shaved.   He had not heard any of yelling outside from the kitchen, and was just in the process of making some coffee, tightening his dressing gown’s belt around himself, when Christine’s post-mail man fury swept back into the apartment.

“Can you believe it, over an hour late today.” she proclaimed spotting the coffee bubbling away. “Thanks, I’d love a cup.” she said. She went over to her husband and kissed him on the cheek, dumping the letters on the table as she went.

“Well it is holiday weekend coming up, maybe they’re short staffed down at the depot? Or in the holiday mood already!” he replied. She glared at him.

“Really, I couldn’t give a fuck if they are short staffed. People expect their mail on time! And especially today, I need that letter as soon as possible Victor, it needs to be returned by the first of the month.” She sat down as he poured her some coffee and she started to sift through the mail.

“You had any breakfast yet?” he asked her, looking up at the clock which hung on the wall. It was nestled between two water colours of terrier dogs Christine had painted last year; that he had never mentioned, but didn’t care for.

“I should think so, it’s gone eleven. We can’t all lounge around in bed all day.” She saw his face fall and added quickly “…no, I’ve been up since eight going over the application. I had some cereal when I woke.” She now looked at the clock on the wall. “How’s your leg today?” She knew it would be the same as yesterday, but she asked anyway. What was affecting him more recently were the headaches that usual came on in the afternoons.

‘”It’s much better today, the cast is itching less. I think the itchy feet have become more metaphoric than literal now.” he said, sipping his coffee from the patterned bone china his wife had so carefully chosen before their wedding.

“I know it must be frustrating, but it will be off soon enough.” she replied. She knew he longed to be busy, his work kept him in his element and this self-induced seclusion, under the surface; must be driving him mad.

“But at least you’re getting to spend more time with me and Anderson.” she said. As if hearing his name, in walked their son, his mouth full of croissant of the chocolate variety, patches of it sticking to the swing door of the kitchen from his mucky hands. “Anderson honey, is that the extent of your breakfast? I thought I set out a bowl of oatmeal for you?” Christine chimed, fixing the parting of his blonde hair which always fell in front of his eyes. It wasn’t that Anderson was a bad child, he listened to what was told to him most of the time and he kept himself out of trouble like most children try to do in the back of their minds. He followed instructions well and showed definite signs of intelligence for his age. He did however possess a quality that was only apparent to an outsider. It would have to be said there was definitely something about him, and not something to shout about. His parents, some-what stricken with rose coloured glasses, would indeed state that the boy had been cast out of perfection and that he could achieve anything he wished to.

True, this was smart advice; but in this particular case somewhat misguided. It was like saying a haunted house will be interesting in that Anderson was unusual. For a child his age, Anderson was a little too quiet sometimes, not in a withdrawn self-deprecating fashion, but more of an eternal studying way. He was like the underground trains that ran through the night, ferrying the more peculiar passengers with more sinister deeds. Before he had time to answer she had spotted his empty bowl by the sink and moved towards it to wash it up. Victor stood surveying the kitchen, sipping further on his coffee. As she talked he watched his wife, and then to his son; although pained by his recent predicament he had to agree with Christine, that he had the opportunity here to spend more time with those important to him. He moved towards Anderson and ruffled his recently tidied hair while Christine lamented further on the state of the mail service and the country.

After tidying up in the breakfast things, Christine re-attacked the mail while Victor took Anderson to clear the chocolate stains from his face. She made a separate pile for the other people on her floor whose mail she had taken by mistake. She would dispense herself later, as for now she wanted that letter that was her reason for going out in the first place. It was perhaps this letter that was the reason for outburst to the mailman shortly before. Though she spoke her mind nearly all the time, Christine usually handled herself better, clearly her frustration waiting had gotten the better of her. So much rode on this particular letter. They were in the process of getting Anderson into St. Mansfield School whose elementary education was second to none. It was expensive too, and had waiting lists as long as it’s tuition bills. However, Christine had decided that it was the best, and the best was what Anderson would have. She had filled in the first part of the application they had received when they had first been to visit the school back in May. Set in extensive grounds, it was a boarding school which began as early as the elementary level. She would not be sending him to board, but the education system offered at St. Mansfield was renowned to turn out notables of many of the prestigious Bostonians; despite many of them having I high dependency on drugs; a fact Christine seemed to overlook.  She came upon an envelope addressed to her and her husband, which made her stop thinking about the school letter entirely. An ivory envelope which on the reverse bore a family seal she recognised almost immediately.

Two peacocks, whose heads intertwined were set in the centre of the seal. She knew them to be white peacocks, she had seen the symbol a thousand times before, but embossed on the ivory envelope here, they were just birds, bleached of distinction. Below them they rested upon giant jewels. Above the peacocks were the words ‘Hvem har set en påfugl dans i skoven’. It was her family crest, which she had always hated. The words meant ‘Who sees a peacock dance in the woods’. It had always been obscure and strange to her. Her family, the Van-Blacks, were descended from Dutch immigrants who had come to America around the turbulent time of the civil war. They had been involved in shipping and had investments in the Dutch-India trading company. As such, generations of her family had been influenced by the exotic offerings of the east and had been prominent in the spice and trade routes from the Netherlands to India, trading in gems, tea, opium and minerals. When they came to America, they moved into the mining industry and built up a business in what they considered to be what they already knew about. Her family owned many mining centres in the Appalachian which were once, and continued to be, very profitable for her family. Their considerable fortune lay under the ground, as she liked to think of it. Securely tucked away in places that required digging to get to.

She was reluctant at first to open the letter, seeing the family crest which had crashed into her Monday morning. Her connections with her family had become so tangled and so chaotic, and she hated anything that led to drama and messiness. What she really disliked was not being in control, and that is what her family constantly made her, impotent. She hated them for that. With fresh annoyance she slit open the letter with a letter opener that had once been her father’s. Unfolding the card within she found it was an invitation of sorts. Inside there was also hand a written note.

In honour of the birth of our great United States, we request the company of
___Christine & Victor Mason____
in celebrating Independence weekend at our home: Nova-Manor.
Please arrive on Friday the 1st July at 7pm.

We hope to see you then. Yours Sincerely
Mr & Mrs Van-Black

She read the accompanying note, done in a much less formal hand:

Darling, I do hope you and the family are well. Your father has some news which he wishes to share with you all. This is very important for him, and hopes you will attend. I know things may not be perfect with all of us, but these are the steps he is taking to hopefully resolve them. Please come, if not because of your father, but for me.

Yours, Mother

She re-read it, just to be sure. Such mixed emotions began to swirl around within her. The one thing that leapt out immediately was the absence of any invitation to include Anderson. What could the news be? She wondered just as Victor came back into the kitchen. ‘

’Clean as a whistle.’’ he said, motioning to a much cleaner version of their son she had seen moments ago. ‘’Honey, what’s wrong?’’ he asked, noticing the change in her. He looked at his wife, then at the letter in her hand. ‘’Is it from the school’’. She snapped back suddenly to where she was, having drifted away into her thoughts momentarily.

‘’Huh? No no, it’s not the school.’’ She said. The school she thought, it had been pushed out of her head. She smiled at him, she didn’t know why but she decided not to mention the invite to Victor just yet. She would soon, she actually wanted his opinion on the subject, but for now she wanted to let the information settle a bit. She sifted through the rest of the mail and came across the letter she had originally been waiting for. Victor began tidying things up in the kitchen and Anderson had gone to play in the other room. All was in order with the application and she went about filling in the form that had arrived, rounding it off with a photo of Anderson she’d had especially taken for the occasion. ‘’There!’’ she said aloud. After getting changed and kissing Victor and her son goodbye, she left her apartment announcing she was off to the post office to see the letter off securely and promptly. True to her word, she made sure the other mail for their apartment block found their rightful homes.

As she walked down the block her thoughts travelled, surprisingly not to the future she was hopefully securing for her son, but to her other family. It had been a long time since she had seen them and years since they’d all been together. That isn’t to say they had no contact. Her mother never forgot to send Anderson birthday and Christmas cards along with gifts, dutifully signed from both her parents. Yet ever since she was married, she had all but cut ties with her father. Odd really she thought in hindsight, it was always her father whom she’d gotten on with better with. She crossed the street to avoid the man walking his dog, and looked up to the sky. This weather was quite insufferable, but she couldn’t abide driving in this heat. She walked on further, stopping only once to admire the view at the top of Peabody road, which looked out over to the harbour where she could see Nahant Bay sprawling out into the ocean. She continued to think about her family. Her father was now, what; fifty seven years old, and the last conversation they had had was at Anderson’s christening.

If she’d had it her way, she never would have invited them. But, for the sake of show and society, she could not have excluded them from their own, and only, grandchild’s christening. After she’d been married to Victor, her father had warned her about their match. It’s not that he didn’t approve of her getting married, under any other circumstances he would have welcomed it. He just detested Victor, which had always struck her as odd, as being objective, she could comfortably say Victor was very agreeable. They were just too different to ever get on or see eye to eye, that was the problem. Victor came from old money as well, but he was definitely a forward thinker and felt the new wave of women’s liberation was a good thing. Her father viewed the marriage as more of an ‘offloading’, or so it seemed to her. He made it clear then his views on inheritance, and seeing as Victor was from a well to do background, he removed any financial responsibilities from himself.

To Christine, this was justly unfair. Why should she not be entitled to anything just because she now had a husband? She had concluded that she had been the model child, never causing stirs or headlines like other society girls her age had. And they had frequently, the stories she would hear at school! She had been educated in boarding school, and although excelled in her classes, never pursued a career or entry into college. Instead she set about to be married and to raise a family. Her father, Milton Van-Black, was known to be a ‘man’s man’ and upheld, what she thought, were sexist notions about the roles of men and woman. As she had found herself a husband, and despite being the first child, he had resolved that the company and vast inheritance would now fall to her brother Jacob who, at only four years her junior, was the youngest of the family.

She clenched her teeth as she thought all this over again. It had been awhile since the original issue with her family had come up, as over the years more benign issues had taken precedence. She had married Victor nonetheless, and done a pretty good job up to now she thought in regards to marriage and motherhood. So, she had decided to play him at his own game, and when she fell pregnant she practically willed herself to have a boy. Anderson was born just under a year after they had wed in 1973. If her father was so worried about the male line, then his grandchild, his grandson would have to be due some claim to the estate or company. To an outsider it may seem calculated and materialistic, but to Christine, she merely felt this was what was due to her. She had been shipped off to boarding school at a young age and did everything she could toe the family line. So, when she learned at her son’s christening that her father had no plans to make allowance for Anderson, she snapped and disassociated herself from them all. Her mother had tried to quell the situation, saying who knows what was to happen in the future, and she was sure there would be something for everyone when the sad day of her husband’s passing came.

She had privately told Christine she would see to it that the will would include her, though she would have to let go of any notions of control in the family business. It had been a tangled and gruelling situation. Anderson now only knew of his grandparents through cards and presents. They were always signed from them both, but she knew it was her mother’s way of trying to smooth things over.  Her relationship with her brother was strained anyway, due to his stance of inheriting the money. Which he naturally did not have a problem with. He did have his own reservations, though Christine was unaware of these. Her father justified this all by the same reason for her own oversight.

‘’I’ve told you, you and Victor have enough money. For god’s sake he’s due to inherit half of fucking Massachusetts when his father rolls into the grave.’’ She vividly remembers her father saying, not far out of reach of the reverend’s ear. She hadn’t told her family of Victor’s own family troubles which could lead to his own disinheritance. One storm at a time.

So, she figured she could not rely on her family to help her out and had set about making Anderson have the best of everything she could provide. When the cards and presents came pouring in at birthdays and Christmas, from his grandparents, aunt and uncle who never did forget, she did not lie to him. However, she said that they were from his family, for reasons that will become apparent as he gets older, that they no longer saw regularly. This line had been upheld now for going on nearly four years, as his fourth birthday was coming up in September. Victor it seemed shared his wife’s beliefs as he did not challenge this approach to their son. He had no particular quarrel with any other member of her family, aside her father. He did keep a quiet uncertainty for her mother however, as she seemed to him to be snide and two faced, and he knew too the reasons why he and her father would never get along. There seemed to be a mutual loathing between them.

However, he did not openly fight with any of them. Which, in her own way Christine respected him for. Of course, the same could not be said for her, who refused to have anything to do with his sister after the comments she had made about Anderson on his first birthday.

She arrived at the post office with her family’s entanglements still spinning in her brain. She waited in line, nearly fifteen minutes while the elderly talked the ear off the poor man at the desk. When the letter was finally sorted, she popped into the Dunkin Doughnuts across the street to get a coffee and some doughnuts for them all. As she walked back, her thoughts now came upon the invitation that currently sat on her kitchen table. Sipping her coffee she wondered what the announcement that was mentioned could be. Maybe she thought, the old man had decided that he was getting on a bit now, and it was time to relent and share out some of the money he had hoarded away. Her family were rich, no denying it, but how rich was dependant on who you talked to. Her mother would always clam up when it came to talking about money, saying it was “your father’s concern’’. HA! She thought to herself, I bet it wasn’t just his concern when she was getting her foot in the door. Her mother and father had one of those strange arrangements where they’d had a somewhat arranged marriage, but then fallen in love with each other.

Her mother adored her father and tried desperately to keep the peace. Though there was more too it she thought. Her mother, as much as she had wanted the peace to be kept, and to be left out of the drama, was always right in the middle of anything that occurred, either as a go-between or final-sayer. She wore two faces, one of the merry little housewife, and the other of the power behind the throne. It was a foolish person who underestimated Veronica Van-Black she thought. She would tell Victor about the invite when she got back, and ask his opinion. She stopped along the way to pick up some fallen leaves that had dried in the sun, she would use these is one of her table decorations. When she got back the doughnuts were still warm in the bag.

untitled

For more books, click here

Instinct

These poisonous measures that bring such illuminating visions.
The kind of thoughts you expect around decay.
Or any other day.
It’s like the fox who gnaws his own foot to fill his stomach.
It’s the bird that flew home for winter, missing the snow.
Lunacy.
Albeit well placed. Camouflaged by desperation.
And that deep desire to be happy.

Skylark – Soaring

You made this sky your own, clogging it with stars.
Oh sweet little bird, are you a phoenix in disguise?
Where have you gone, to light different skies?
I look for you always, in the midnight sun.
Hoping you’re no longer afraid of the dark.
Looking for that birdsong, to vibrate my own heart.
Aviate this dream of mine, deep in the feathers and down.
Peck it into reality.
And fly me to your moon.

Skylark – Soar

That sweet melody of promises you made to break.
From that little bird inside your heart.
As the daylight fades, it bursts into flames.
It’s burning wings signalling the setting sun.
Falling feathers that tickle my soul.
Oh little bird, where have you gone?
Out of the air and into the dark?
One day you will find me, your naked sky to soar within.
Scattering stardust in a different light.

E#

Play me once more, that chamber music of my soul.
Tickling your fingers on my ivory heart.
Such intimate behaviour.
No release.
Like wild roaming beasts.
Trampling through my forest.
Bear me no mind, cause me no trouble.
Such wild bird emotions you set free each time.
That you whisper my name.
That you call to my heart.
Shivering down each vertebrae.
Snap at the heels of my passion.
Feathered in the down of where I lay.
Where you leave me trembling.
Shaking in the thoughts of your behaviour.
Crying out for mother earth to swallow me again.

Skirt your soul

Coughing on the brick dust.
Not complaining.
Just re-arranging.
This sanctuary you’ve housed us in.
Licking the light that shines through the stained teared windows.
You cover me in everything.
You wrap me around you like a piece of string.
Feeling the blood pump through these veins.
Skin on skin. Lips to lips.
With an infinity smile you harken me forward.
Out of this church of our hearts.
The fresh mountain air hits my lungs.
Breathing in the butterfly breath of your exhale.
You tomorrow’s sigh.
Hand gripped and stable. Grounded when I was falling apart.
Steadied my soul.
And when I was letting go, you let me fly.
Soar.

An interior rhythm

How to rise, when you’re broken.
Like lofty branches that scratch the sky.
Down here on the forest floor, tangled with the roots.
I feel collapsed. I feel free.
I want to tear it apart.
I had to burn it down.
Pick the thorns out of my bark, the chattel from my teeth.
Swaying with the world now. Rising on its axis.
I swing to a new realm, on the pendulous heartbeat of tomorrow.
I allowed myself to fall apart.
Welcoming the termites of time. Destroying all I had.
Whilst watching the watchers in the wings.
Birds who fly with nightshade plumage.
Cluck their tongues and talk of responsibilities.
Laying eggs for a farmer who will devour their friends.
You don’t know what it’s like. You don’t know what I grew through.
Such hard terrain and unholy winters. Sprouting to my own spring chorus.
You don’t know me, how could you?
I don’t even know myself.

Auspices

Candied appled smiles that dapple this heart.
Pulling the pieces back from the deep lagoon.
Resetting them like a Picasso in reverse.
Hope is irresistible, dancing on my fingertips like butterflies.
After years suffering those gloomy caterpillars.
Fresh Artic water rushes my soul.
Cleansing all that had rotten within.
Funnel down this love into me, fill me up with the golden light.
Can you see the truth in this statement?
A tinnitus ting-sha in my eyes as I consult the i-Ching.
This heartache is wavering.
Threatening to collapse while strength begins to blossom in the cracks.
Cotton candy turns over this dusty broken soul.
Lighting tiny lamps in my heart for love to follow.

Wash over me

The thread from my bones was caught and tugged.
Stuck on that rootless tree.
That dying ember.
Give me a place where it’s quiet in my head.
To rest and melt away.
This lake-shore I wander upon, littered with Prozac pebbles.
Stubs my heart and calls me to the water’s edge.
Reflected in the glassy eye of tomorrow.
Is nothing of what I cherish today.
As birds fly above, they swoop in and steal my thoughts.
There is no protector of my mind.
Leaving me numb and silent.
Dancing once more in the darkness.
To a rhythm only I can hear.

Her birds inside cry

She always comes a minute too late.
Peeking over emotions.
Waiting for the birds to take flight.
She named each dream in her mind.
Building for them a special home. A place of comfort.
But the fires, they raged for almost ten years.
Burning them all down to cinders.
Destroying her spirit to ash.
So now she steps. Carefully and broken.
Side-stepping hearts and crowds.
Like the pigeons in the square, she is present and yet vacant.
Keeping all at bay, as she paddles in her shallow soul.
For her waters are no longer there for swimming.
The sharks left nothing behind.
Silent and full of feathers.

Broken Glass

As she entered the room, the door scrapped noisily back. ‘’Careful!…’’ I said. ‘’….there’s broken glass everywhere.’’

She looked down in the semi-darkness. Only the noise of the door echoed throughout the spacious room, all the earth was still. Littered across the floor were the remains of light bulbs, thousands of them lay strewn about like casualties of some mass domestic crusade, empty like Christmas carcasses.

‘’I’m sorry for the mess, and subsequent darkness.’’ I said. I tried putting her at ease, but even in the quiet dark I knew what her eyes were saying, and what her head was thinking. “It took me a long time to get here.’’ I added. Again, I tried to lighten the atmosphere and add some normalcy to a most unusual situation. She didn’t speak, I never expected her to.

CRUNCH, as I heard her step across the glass. Slow at first, then with more pace and purpose. The glass was shattering further, broken pieces splintering more into something unfixable. I could smell her and the smoke, coughing quietly in my soul. The noise below her feet conjured the image in my head of a giant stepping over long ago stripped bones. Did Jack ever escape?

‘’I’m sorry’’ I sighed out, starring down to the ground. I couldn’t face her still, would I ever be able to I wondered? She held the moment, captured the silence and suspended the time, forcing me to see what I had done. I started to cry. She did not turn away at this, seeming to ache with each tear she watched splash to the ground. Throughout it all she remained silent.

She outstretched her arm and I could see her hand. I held out mine and we touched. A blinding flash, only for a second and then a glow hung in the air like plasma. The room was a flutter of labels, descending and spiraling down like tiny birds. They mixed at random with the glass upon the floor. Paper and glass like the aftermath of an anniversary.  Thousands of them fell like snow; this early winter ensnared the two of us. Each bore two names, written in old script; nothing more.
My name had been misspelled.

Cotton

My feet hurry the ground, and the soil gives way.
Waking to find you next to me. Wrapped up against the world.
We move in emotions, wandering the streets and taking trains to anywhere.
The fabric fantasy of space and love, as we disappear completely.
Plunging through clouds, walking on cotton. The skyline shifts and all glass shatters.
My world is safe, my world is soft.
Feather light and filtered, expunging the dirt of life.
You take my hand, feeling for my pulse with your textile touch.
Feeling further into my soul while the sun and rain pours down upon us.
Umbrellas by the lake and warmness in my heart.
I could live here forever, lost in the gossamer threads of now.
Washed into the white existence of your love.
Then you spill ink over my world.
Staining, seeping and leaking through.
Destroying the pure white fabric of my dream that anything had changed.

Slipping into something

Trying to escape, and trying to remain.
Stuck in flux.
The flightless bird high up in the sky, surprised by its own surroundings.
My home was my own gallows, my seat of self-destruction.
To break free, to dissolve into tiny shards of metallic light.
Longing for change.
You called me forth, humming the chorus of love.
Magnetised in your splendour.
And now, you un-cork the bottled time and let it flow.
The deluge over me, icy cold that stings like sharp realizations.
Time and you are precious, and I won’t waste either.
Live, seek and love.
Folding in you convalescent wings.
Watching it all through glass.

Crocodiles in the water

Alone in the light, asleep in the dark.
Nestled in the warmth, drawing heat from the spark.
It used to be yours, but it burnt me through.
And like a bird in the sky, away you flew.
So here I sit, and think, and pray.
Wondering when you will come back to me and stay.
Wondering further what led to your going.
When we had just started, you backed up; started slowing.
So my world will continue to spin, and I will see and I will do.
Even if you’re here, even with or without you.