Blue Sky Thinking :: Doubt

[INT; Alt’s Brain. Things have definitely improved since our last visit. Papers have been filed, cabinets are slowly being refilled. The skeleton staff of GUILT and REMORSE are beginning to make some inroads, revealing lavender walls and a dark blue carpet. GOOD and EVIL have their own separate desks, on which are piled roughly even stacks of folders, behind which is a whiteboard with a series of To Do Tasks marked in red and black.

GOOD returns from the coffee machine with two mugs, placing one on her desk before taking the other to BAD, when she stops, face creasing in confusion… ]

GOOD: How many sugars did you say again?

BAD: I’m going to write this on a Post It and staple it to your jacket. Every day is the same: I say two, you repeat it after me, then off you go and forget!

GOOD: I *think* there’s two in there, but the best way is for you to drink it and let me know –

BAD: It’s BLACK COFFEE woman, I can’t drink that now, it’s far too hot!

[DOUBT suddenly materialises between them, dressed only in underpants and a reindeer headband.]

DOUBT: There’s no sugar, you were distracted by Beauty at the water-cooler again, YOU FAIL!

[As quickly as he appeared, DOUBT is gone, leaving the faint whiff of Stilton in his wake. With a heavy sigh, GOOD trudges back to the machine. BAD watches her with a satisfied smile. These shortcomings were always her undoing…]


I tried yesterday to explain what is like when I experience a mental overload. Then it occurred to me that poetry might be quite useful as a descriptor in this situation. This poem’s existed on the hard drive for a while, but never with a confidence to use as explanation. The time has come.

This is my brain, folks. It’ll be here all week.


Doubt

Disparate threads, basic command
thwarted, abortive path untied
slack flax unwoven, memories
playback fast freeze instruction,
coil induction feedback loop
return track, switch back, look out
reload to starting point.

Every action, reproduction
remember how, order direction
exhaustion, normal purpose
fatigue makes it worse, rehearse
varied needs, cover all, enthral
then overload, as brain explodes.
Noise, sound, panic compounds.

Sit, breathe, withdraw, ignore
wait, noise abates with time
blissful calm, relief morphs doubt
I’ll never find my way back out.
To dream, one day, far away
dissonance dim history.
Then sleep, escape myself.


Poetry Archive :: Mellow

Writing haiku has never really presented a problem, but this restart will give an opportunity to try and be a bit more creative with my imagery. Life, after all, should always be about improvement…


Mellow

Exhale, entwining
bramble’s thorn: protection sharp
relief, juice running.

Seeds burst, explosion
air filled arousal; inhale
winter’s cool foreplay.

Stretching days contract,
hour sacrificed: dark gods
conjure fresh secrets.

Bare arms warm wool-wrapped,
chill morning glass: pumpkin spice
flavours memories.

Summer hanging on
fingertips, slipping: fallen
leaves mark, transition.


Poetry Archive :: Leaves

Considering how horrendous this week has been (and continues to bite, even at the weekend) I’m really proud of our pair of poems at restart. What it proves is that if you work hard enough, and for long enough, poetry can happen. It is the same theory as training muscles or learning a new language. Now I come to think of it, that’s exactly the combination of skills required for poetic development…

Enjoy.


Leaves

Moisture drawn within: pale skies smoothed, gold leaf
ends harshest heat, broken Summer. Bring forth
calmer breeze, breathe quieter evening moments,
burnt chaff spirals, organic drifts away.

Anticipating solstice, build rich mounds
blackberry, apple pilfered: bag and bowl
smuggled prize escapes hedgerows. Loaded tree
groans pleasure; flesh-wrapped seed, succulent treat.

Year moves quietly, leaves soft indentations
twisted twirl, country dance with smoke-soaked reels
Dragged mulch, rake scrapes, dry earth still parched, arid
desert planet struggling, fractured self.

Remember past, moments scored; ask Autumn,
redefine personal progress. Leaving
past detritus, baked sacrifice offered;
plated dessert course satisfies far more.

Legacy of pie, fruit stuffed rewarding
past year’s hard work, redefinition marks
quiet criticism pyre, soft ashes smeared.
Face’s dark warpaint: let battle begin.


EX/WHI :: Part Thirteen

Previous Part :: Next Part



Chris is awake, bolt upright from cold, wet grass, looking around in terror, pretty sure that he was dead about thirty seconds earlier.
This will be the second time his heart has stopped whilst in active service: considering where the last one took place, it is considerably less stressful to be alive here trapped in an alien simulation. He looks for Ami: she’s standing, staring at him with a mix of relief and trepidation before moving his side, checking pulse, as body is gently pushed back to fully horizontal.

This time, there is no objection to her actions: on reflection, lying down’s no bad idea.

‘Because I am a stickler for protocol I’m gonna ask you some questions to check for brain damage. Name and Social Security number, please.’

‘I believe I still am Mark Donald Chambers, 075-26-1431 and I was dead, right?’

‘Very much so and I know as a result your heart’s gonna want some time to recover quite apart from whatever else was rearranged in your body. What’s today’s date?’

‘Friday, June 15th 2018 and you need to explain what just happened.’

‘I will but not yet, not until I’m sure we’re not being eavesdropped on.’

‘You know we are now?’

The nod is almost imperceptible: back at the pillar, his partner wasn’t losing the plot, something happened she couldn’t explain. If he hadn’t reacted so strongly to that touch –

‘No more questions, try and relax.’

‘Aren’t you gonna ask me who’s the joke for a President is right now?’

‘At least you don’t have Brexit to worry about. Be grateful for small mercies.’

A backpack is somehow behind his head and Ami’s fatigue jacket across aching chest as suddenly, Chris is shivering uncontrollably: shock. Almost instantaneously air agitates, now familiar movement as reaction to his condition: a low camp bed materialises to their left, something he’d use in combat training along with blankets and a stainless steel canteen. About to try to get up, a sensation of weightlessness negates any effort and he’s literally floating off the ground, moved from concrete to canvas without ceremony. The blankets float up, down to cover his form, jacket gently placed back into Ami’s lap.

Chambers won’t say another word until prompted: Bishop knows they’re being watched, possesses a ton of intel it’s currently impossible to communicate and he is best serving them both lying here, being a good patient. None of this phases any more, their hosts owning total dominance not only of life and death but the laws of physics, yet Chris just wants to sleep for a week. The thought is acknowledged within subconscious by someone out of his field of vision, and this is no longer psychic sensations. Whoever it was who communicated with Ami in her head before he died also understands the need for immediate recovery.

‘I will provide induced unconsciousness to allow cellular regeneration to complete. When you wake, there will be opportunity to communicate with your partner unhindered.’

Chambers is satisfied because they are being referred to as partners and not subjects there is no danger, right before losing consciousness for the third time that day.


Previous Part :: Next Part

Write Now :: Drafting

Sometimes, you are the problem.

wounded.gif

No really, before you go off on one, and I ignore the whole ‘don’t inflame your audience’ rule of blogging, there’s merit to grasping that how we as individuals deal with learning new things. It’s particularly tough if, after years of just doing the same old same old it becomes apparent that to get better, stuff has to change. This has been the harshest lesson learnt via exercise, by some way. Just repeating the same stuff, over and again, will work to a point. If you want to really improve? Time to step out of the comfort zones.

reading-icarly

I am slowly bringing drafting to the table as a means of planning work before writing begins: in most cases this might only be a four or five line synopsis (so there’s an idea of beginning, middle and end) but in the case of my current poetry project? Well, we’ve gone a wee bit further. I did a thread in the week to flesh this out, as this is another means by which I can get a message across in Social media far more readily than is the case with the blog:

The key however to making all of this work best is the process of redefinition, and understanding that what once was good enough is no longer the case. Doing enough will not get work recognised on a wider stage. This is now highly personal subject matter that is being dealt with, but to maximise impact there must be a fluency to language and imagery which won’t happen straight away. The word polish is thrown around a lot as if a quick look-over will be enough, but the level of shine on your work should not be superficial. How you know it’s enough is also a matter of much debate.

michaeltakeshistieoff.gif

What’s comfortable for Michael is as subjective a response as your reaction to the .GIF. How you feel is enough is not judged by the failure of your work either, you could pour heart and soul into output and it simply never touches the soul of those particular judges. So, how do you ever make progress? In my case it is knowing I’ve done my best and then walked the extra mile. That means drafting more pieces, spending time doing things sensibly, making space to edit. Essentially, I respect my work.

By doing so, it then automatically develops a depth that simply would not be the case otherwise. It also means that when I fail, it is simply the first step in the journey to further improvement. That whole ‘why do we fall?’ metaphor in the Batman films is the mantra that plays out in the back of my head: each time I am rejected, it is a learning process, and up I get, ready to move on. Sure, it is both demoralising and often upsetting, but so is life. If it matters enough? You move on.

liffindsaway.gif

Therefore, the days of being a big old cry baby at not winning stuff is behind me. My success stems from the personal satisfaction gained no only in writing, but producing work to what I consider is a consistently high standard and, if this keeps happening, eventually something will give. Add to that some shameless self promotion and, it’s all good.

It is time to start learning, and move everything forward.

Pictures at an Exhibition: One

I don’t do nearly enough with the pictures I take. That’s all about to change starting this week (well, after this submission is done anyway) because honestly, with the tools I have at my disposal? We can do so much better than this, which is very little.

Montage One.png

I look up as a reminder that the vastness beyond this little blue speck should be the leveller for everybody. That means a lot of skies in my photo folders, which in term serve as potent inspiration to all of my work. Most of this however is stops on a much longer, more involving journey. It’s mucking about with the things I enjoy and love, in the hope that eventually the right combination of metaphor and poetry occur and someone else is inspired. That means quite a lot of chaff with the wheat. However, only by repetition does the process improve. I can’t expect to learn a Symphony in a week, and this isn’t a Reality TV challenge.

Montage Two

From these little experiments with words and pictures, important stuff springs forth. It is the means by which information can be passed and digested with far greater ease. You’re far more likely to be seen pictorially than through a normal Social media post. I can stick poetry out to the masses in far more interesting ways. Not just poetry either… there’ll be a series of these next month on the resurrected Instagram account.

I have great plans for my own work. Maybe I’ll even find ways to make money out of them. WHO KNOWS.

Blue Sky Thinking :: Guilt

[INT; Alt’s Brain. This place resembles a badly-organised office, with filing cabinets open, paperwork strewn across soft, padded desks, chairs and work-surfaces. In the middle stand GOOD and EVIL, both dressed in matching white and red suits respectively, staring at the mess, before turning to look at each other…]

GOOD: Okay, so we’re in agreement: cessation of hostilities until this place is returned to some form of functional order, yes?

BAD: Agreed, and it might be an idea to locate the staff. After all, it’s only been a month away and her brain resembles an explosion in the Amazon ‘Back to School’ section…

[A pile of papers next to a filing cabinet shifts and falls, revealing a woman fast asleep. She’s dressed all in black, with a cloth mask wrapped around the lower half of her face.]

GOOD: Well, there’s someone, what is she supposed to be doing?

[BAD pulls out a small tablet PC from his pocket and hands it to GOOD, who scrolls through a document. Her face crinkles, then enlightenment is located.]

GOOD: That’s Guilt.

BAD: Bet they’re not the only one sleeping on the job. I’ll handle the rude awakening, you see if you can locate Organisation in this mess and we might have a fighting chance of getting somewhere…


It is said that guilt is a strong motivator. I prefer my life not to be ruled by such toxic emotions, but eventually there is always a reckoning. When yours arrives, make sure you’re ready to deal with the fallout. No emotion, just facts and truths are enough.

Always know your exits.


Guilt

If there were memory
these accusations thrown,
hate, recriminations
annoyances unknown:
something more than disquiet
undoubted disbelief
at least complicity
not seeking your relief.

Your histories held close
forgotten in my time
both grief and anger burn
your torture not sublime.
Removal of our past
choice, history rewrites
compassion isn’t lacked
our countless nasty fights.

Happy to play villain
easier coat to wear
feel free, feign ignorance
that part of you not there.
These toxic memories
have always been the case
renounce harsh hate for love:
put feelings in their place.

If this means loneliness
an ostracism made
decision instant, right,
my cards already played.
Your guilt will not redress
through other’s words and deeds
leave now, and close that door
only your heart that bleeds.