Poetry Archive :: May We Know Them

A year ago, I would have laughed at the value of affirmation. Now comes an understanding that such repetition has a significance beyond what was initially obvious to a brain that would tend to shut itself in and avoid change. Not any more. Affirmations of strength and confidence have improved both my mood and ability to be adult in the face of considerable pressure. Sure, there are moments when everything falls apart, but they are becoming fewer and further in-between.

Poetry serves a lot of purpose in my life now, and long may this continue.


May We Know Them

Life, please grant true strength,
existence, tough: fight daily
antagonism.

May we know which path
is safe to tread: protection
granted via respect.

Aid opposition,
equality’s measure, firm
foundation, belief.

May we gain these gifts
without resentment: instead
willingly offered.

Allow all women
hope, love, regard: not with spite,
always open arms.


National Poetry Day :: The Spaces Between

This year, for National Poetry Day, we did things a little differently. Most of the rest of the Poetry World [TM] seems to consider Twitter a place to network or advertise. Making art or poetry here is very much not the done thing. Presumably this is because you don’t make any money when stuff is given away for free. Personally, that’s a dumb way to approach creativity. Stuff gets produced regardless, thus enjoyment comes not from critical acclaim but the experience of creativity.

So, I scheduled 24 Haiku, with accompanying .GIF imagery, and it just happened on the day. There was no ground rent, or worry that nobody would show up. Lots of people saw it, and it made me happy. Honestly, what’s the problem here?

If you click on the Tweet, it’ll take you to Twitter and you can read it for yourself, but if that’s too hard, here’s the entire thing here in full, all 24 stanzas. ENJOY.


The Spaces Between

The spaces between
fear, success: enlightenment
providing reason.

Begin new journey
without judgement: regarding
benefits to soul.

Dispense with anger
jealousy dropped: replacing
hatred, add belief.

Pride, luxury no
longer desired: instead calm
considered response.

First step completed:
time to eat well: consumption
affects mind, body.

Readdress diet
every mouthful: mindfulness
allows feelings place.

Walking every day,
increase to run: smallest steps
transforming a life.

Gym time’s not scary
start routines small: keep moving,
escape entropy.

Reduction of Things
material wealth: take stock,
living matters more.

Question relations:
challenge convention: mindset
altering outlook.

A key to knowledge
self-reflection: challenging
traditional past.

When all this is done
take a step back: growth evolves
from long-term habits.

The spaces between
experience: involvement
breeds fresh impression.

Consciousness opens,
receptive mind: preceding
course alteration.

Thousands of options
presented whole: pick and choose
the best way forward.

Reinvent prospects
identify goals: right time
for new employment?

Hobbies, interests,
define passion: perception
sharpened by belief.

All of these guidelines
simple focus: look to self
healing, redemption.

Put your blame aside
accept notion: ego takes,
allow soul to give.

In quietest moment
loudest truth remains solid,
malleable self.

Become new, own change;
embrace evolution’s march
transmute existence.

Only by assent
freedom accepted, can life
progress as fruitful.

Let go of bitter
past and present: look upwards
understand the vast.

This being, perfect
cosmic miracle: release
altered energy.


Goodbye

Sometimes it is hard to accept that occasionally, progress needs to be sacrificed in order to allow growth. Having begin to grow fruit this year in our garden, that notion is very much being learnt as plants rot in the ground that’s either been far too dry or now excessively wet. The strong and healthy survive, whilst inevitable losses will be removed. Then comes the choice of what gets dug over or composted, and what remains capable of surviving another year.

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Those of you paying attention will notice that, across the next week, a number of posts on this site have been composted. I’m doing a quality sweep, in effect, meaning the best remains but the rest is detached. The features that have been introduced in the last few weeks will be reviewed, and after the NaNoWriMo ‘break’ in November we’ll decide which ones return long-term. Everything that doesn’t make the cut gets electronically shredded, but as no more than about a dozen people saw this stuff? No great loss.

What won’t be removed, and is only going to get stronger, is as follows:

  • Short Stories
  • Weekly Poetry
  • YouTube Playlists
  • Special Twitter Projects
  • Episodic Fiction
  • Special Events

With that in mind, Wednesday this week is quite important.

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I’m holding a Virtual Tea and Talk Day on Wednesday 10th, this will include (obviously not real) tea and cake but real talk about how my mental issues are under control for the first time in (at least) two decades. It will be about offering understanding and support too, plus there’s a good chance I’ll be trying to get some of you to part with your cash. 

Yes, there will also be haiku.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Poetry Archive :: Last Gasp

Haiku are, at least for me, the means by which progress can be measured.

Things are looking pretty good right now.


Last Gasp

Perhaps the point reached;
old degrading: allow peace
space within your heart.

Ignore constant beat
marching time: this future hewn
with past’s storm-felled boughs.

A fatal, last gasp
Summer’s passing: arrivals
falling into place.

Decomposing fault,
brittle crackle: time to wait
for Spring’s renewal.

All soon forgotten,
season’s change: redefining
our shared existence.



Poetry Archive :: Your Loss

Starting next month, I’ll do my best to provide at least a paragraph of explanation per poem. Often they just get written on the fly without much thought, but occasionally something begs to be written. This is a case in point, and is one of what is likely to become a running commentary of how people live their lives so much online, as to make it impossible to devolve reality from fantasy. Relationships will suffer. People will get hurt.

Nothing good comes from obsessive behaviour, and never will.


Your Loss

I am sorry that suddenly
we are no longer whole;
overnight, unexpectedly
perfect World caved in, messy
puddle of emotional frailty
left at your front door.

I am fully aware circumstance
has overtaken reality, swallowing
moments bring clarity: intent,
zenith of combined passion
lies buried in that hole
dug with garden shovel.

I am conscious of your loss,
meticulously recorded across
all social media, tinged
blood red indignation
endlessly retweeted outrage
no end in sight.

We were never an item
despite protestations
contrary positions posted
until, crucially, reality
intervened after which time
nothing else was real.

You have created drama
where none previously existed
in a clever attempt to
deflect reality’s glare
away from a truth
that never involved me.


September Short Story: Sacrifice

This story was first published in 30 parts via Twitter during September. It is now reproduced now in a complete form, with a number of small edits and corrections made to improve narrative flow and maintain correct continuity.

Enjoy.


Sacrifice

 

Knowing this is how he will die, Daniel Burton succumbs to fate.


The salty whiteness his body is tumbling towards registers acceptance with more than a measure of panic: he’s willingly sacrificing himself to me with no fear, why? He’s in love, first time in 34 years. With HER. Searching this man’s mind, these last seconds are blissfully calm. Elaine’s honestly, beauty and courage shattered resolve never to even consider the possibility of a woman in his existence. This is true love too; the Librarian’s Contract has been broken. Daniel has to live.

The vast lake of sentient semen, built over nearly six hundred years from ritual offerings, thinks it has the right to be hacked off at this turn of events but is surprisingly sanguine instead.

Then it begins to laugh: deranged and maniacal: what will now happen is beyond funny.


There’s a voice, in Daniel’s head, chuckle that unexpectedly busts out into a full-blown cackle of delight.

‘Nice work, my son! Whether you like it or not, we’re now in this for the ride, together. I can’t harm you, because if I did the World will come to an end, quite literally… I have one last task to do before this is all over then you get the happy ending that fucked me over in the first place. HANG ON…’

Up from the lake comes shape of a hand, catching falling body with delicate skill. The last thing Daniel remembers before passing out again is the smell…


Chained to the Non-Fiction section of the Manchester Central Library, Elaine McCormack knows something has altered in the nightmare of existence since September 12th, 1468. Deep below Manchester’s streets familiar presence in her head is laughing maniacally whilst Edgar’s in pain. Next to Fiction, the warlock to whom she’s been magically bound since her 16th birthday drops to the ground, clawing at collar of a perfectly starched Jerome Street shirt. The air darkens, swirls of mist and iniquity not seen since their fateful first night on Saddleworth Moor.

This game, meticulously managed over centuries encompassed the Industrial Revolution, two World wars… rise, fall and renaissance of a centre for commerce and inspiration. Finally they’re here, second decade of the 21st Century, about to lift the curse that’s crippled this city. For six hundred and fifty years this man wanted her love. That was all that was needed: steadfast refusal had been her undoing, and in his anger they were both bound to this spot to suffer for all eternity… except not any more.

Daniel had broken their curse, simply by being kind.

There’s a low rumble from beneath the foundations of the Library, as Edgar Burrows grasps extended existence is about to be forcibly snuffed out by his own deranged and distinct ego. The spell used to separate them back in 1968 had simply escalated this inevitable confrontation. Except Burrows isn’t ready to leave, and with the curse that joined him to Elaine temporarily weakened, there might yet be an opportunity to reach for a second stab at immortality without the millstone of his own sexuality to continually assuage. It is worth a try, so he’s gone.

As warlock vanishes in a puff of sulphur and salt, McCormack’s mental and physical bonds evaporate. Falling to the floor, the woman prepares for reversion to pre-pubescent state, or to die instantly from old age. When neither happens, there’s cause for considerable celebration. Her thoughts go immediately to Daniel: he’s beneath, in the Chamber. This offering has not been consumed by the Creature and remains… asleep. Protected inside its body, reward offered for assistance, if she really cares for him. To remove Burrows completely… there is still a way.

Running through the Library, people are leaving, belongings left behind in panic as they bolt for the exits. Only now is it apparent that the entire building is shaking, books beginning to dislodge from shelves: outside sirens grow louder, emergency services arriving on cue. Time is running out, and the item that Elaine needs is locked inside Edgar’s office. Fortunately for her, he won’t realise what is about to happen until it is far too late. The obsession with self-preservation is literally about to become his own undoing, blinkered to the end.

In her head, the Creature’s apprehension manifests as surprise and resignation, before its guilt stops her progress. The ego is sorry, as afraid to die as Burrows… but is about to do so willingly for her soul. Joint sacrifice is unstoppable, stolen life now returned, unhindered. With a massive bang, door to Edgar’s office is blown off its hinges before being reduced to a surprisingly neat and evenly splintered pile of firewood. An ancient Tome of Spells that had been used to bind virgin to warlock is in Elaine’s hand, conveniently open at the right page.

Except after centuries of abuse and subjugation, McCormack cannot read the words; killing and torture her abuser’s task, not hers. She was better than this… but unless there was action, more innocents would vanish. A hand moves gently on her arm, book taken from a shaking grasp. This man ceased to exist the night he bound them together on the moor, yet continues to represent pure body of their curse: Burrows true self, forcibly removed decades previously. His ethereal manifestation smiles, resignation obvious and inescapable, tears falling as he speaks.

‘I am so sorry for all of this, what I did to you. The Evil will stop at nothing to keep himself in this plane, and to stop him I will smother every atom of that persona into oblivion. Let me read the words, so you can understand the good that existed but was lost so long ago.’

As the Creature reads, book turns from solid to smoke, vapour swirling around and into the fabric of the apparition. Instead of being bound to the woman, good has reattached itself to evil with one task in mind, to forcibly cancel darkness out with light, once and for all. The building suddenly stops shaking, and with a thump, Daniel appears on the floor in an ungainly heap.


Outside the Library, Emergency Services are in a state of some considerable concern. The ground beneath their feet has gone from solid to distinctly unstable within moments. With complete synchronicity, every manhole cover and access point covered by a metal plate is blown upwards into the early July morning. How anyone is not hurt is a miracle… and as each one whistles into clear blue sky, they vanish without a trace, before time slows to a crawl.

For a mile surrounding the Library an overpowering, oppressive stench rises like a wave from beneath city’s streets: is it hideously overripe cheese, rotting food or dead fish? Perhaps it is all three: as nearly four thousand people lose consciousness simultaneously nobody cares.


There remains a fair deal of contention as to what exactly happened at 10.15 am on the morning of July 16th: most agree they won’t ever forget the smell. Details are still under investigation, discussion in public subject to a raft of legal restrictions… but evidence remains. The three foot high wave of white liquid that engulfed Albert Square and surrounding streets has been described as a mass hallucination, because how else would the entire Town Hall have remained undamaged? Except amazingly, everything for a square mile is now pristinely clean.

Skeletal remains that appeared in 162 neat rows east of St Peter’s Square are being identified by the Manchester Police Force. Early rumours suggest at least some may belong to a number of the Jackson’s Row Missing, homeless people who mysteriously vanished across forty years. Initial damage reported to the inside of the Central Library could not be confirmed, and patrons were somewhat divided over what they observed in the hours leading up to the incident. The event’s only casualty was last seen inside the building: Edgar Burrows remains listed as ‘missing.’

Manchester Chronicle reporter Daniel Burton was injured as a result of a separate incident on the same day and remains stable at the Royal Infirmary. His harrowing report surrounding this incident and Burrow’s true identity has been read nearly twenty  million times on the Internet.


As man sleeps, wrapped in hospital linen, Elaine refuses to leave his side. Outside their room a dead Elm tree continues to regenerate: late, unexpected burst of Spring green in mid July. There will be issues to address over McCormack’s abilities once Daniel is fully conscious…


 

All Change

I’ve never been very good at change. It takes time, effort and often quite a lot of stress in order to cope with the unexpected, or at least it used to. This week, a couple of rather significant Real Life issues dropped in my lap and neither are avoidable. As life is what it is, that means that the massive set of plans for October need to be shifted, as there will simply not be enough time to complete them to a level that I’ll be happy with.

So, what does this mean moving forward?

The Spaces Between

Next week includes National Poetry Day on the 4th: for this I’ll be presenting 24 Haiku, one per hour for the entire day, with some appropriate visual accompaniment. Because of previously stated RL upheaval, the Symphony project is being shifted to start on November 1st instead. Your weekly haiku and micropoetry are back to cover the gap, plus a return to scheduled daily content following last week’s ‘break.’ As for #Narrating2018 and #Soundtracking2018?

I’ll give you those details tomorrow.

Last Gasp

If you enjoyed last month’s Short Story, October’s will be of interest (don’t want to spoil it for you, tune in on Monday) and undoubtedly some other gubbins will turn up. The only submittables this month are four planned poems, and they’ll be easy enough to complete… then there’s NaNoWriMo coming up, and we’ve already got a plan in mind for that.

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Excited yet? I am. No, REALLY. So much stuff to look forward to, and finally the ability to grasp that if you want everything to work, that requires effort.

See you on Monday 😀