Lights firing inside my head,
perhaps, afraid one day they will go out.
I follow her constant breathing, with envy at each effortless sigh,
hoping soon my mind will wander or be distracted by morpheus touch.
I turn, torturing myself,
Processing, clearing, exploring yesterday and the day ahead.
I hope for rest, but a pretension lives on,
where this malady is some inspirational disease.
I fear it is a curse.
Resorting to poetry, I can barely breath,
having captured an hour, to move less gently.
For this one I warmed down, but feel shaky legged,
insecure heartbeat, ice-cream pain, intense.
A talk about dogs, some nearly hit cars,
colder, but brighter, and still not too hard.
Building it slowly, but too fast for me,
phone slapping comfort, keeping a beat.
A rhythm, de-synced to ventricles furred,
ripping the filth that from torpor it learnt.
Inaction made steady, can easily seduce,
that part of me wanting, to without effort produce,
all that I hope for, with no courage put in.
A teacher once told me, I lacked self-discipline,
I still hate him.
Join or contribute to a new cultural open mic – The first event will be at the Dot Cafe in Rochester on 27th February 2013. Let us know your coming here: http://goo.gl/SSgYY
Poetry, philosophy, music, short-stories, painting, plays, history, short-films, photography, stand-up comedy and anything else that I may have forgotten, are all welcome at Seasonally Effected.
Following the Short Encounter’s event last October, I thought it’d be fun to put together a much broader event. Seasonally Effected will give 5-10 minute slots to anyone who would like to respond to the theme. The theme being right now, February, the end of winter, early 2013 or anything related to it, however tangentially.
If you would like to book a slot, whether to sing a song, show and talk about a painting, read a poem, show a short film or make us laugh, then send me an email at:
email@example.com book soon, as places are limited.
Please include a brief description of what you would like to do and how it relates to the theme, along with a short bio.
If your stuck for an idea, apparently the 27th is International Polar Bear Day.
(Please note that there will be limited technical equipment, so most performances will be unplugged – if let me know what sort of set up you need, I will try and accommodate as best I can)
My pulse is used to a sedate 80 beats a minute, and is somewhat confused by its current pattern. The stress of pushing my limbs and breathing, further than a long flight of stairs, has awakened dormant chemistry and stretched flesh, with once muscular potential, into shambling action. Fortunately the crisp bright morning (where there should have been snow) stimulated my skin, eyes, morning breath and maybe even a few lazy brain cells. It helped me open my eyes a little more.
Running and writing is what it sounds like. An amount of running followed by and amount of writing. Best to avoid to many variables at this point. I’m not entirely sure how far or fast I can cope with at the moment. Last night’s pizza weighs heavy on my mind, cheese oozing though tightly packed arteries to a grumbling heart. I tell myself this isn’t the punishing gruel of a new years resolution delayed, or a lifestyle improvement designed to keep up with the exercise fads of the masses. I saw a tweet the other day mocking the slacker generations drift towards the ‘fitter-happier’ paradigm they swore to avoid. I try to convince myself of something more poetic. A battle of mind and body, straight from Hemingway’s Nietzschean desire for a more physical approach to writing. If I want to toughen the calluses of my mind, I’d better get moving or at least stand up while I’m typing this. Despite doubting the sincerity of my self as the ‘superman’, there is some kind of battle going on here. Not fighting the flab as such, but perhaps proving a point or sparing with demon or two. The best way to get me to do something, is usually to tell me its impossible, or at the least beyond my capabilities. Sadly this has rarely worked with feats of physicality, which I have often been ready to abandon. An image occurs of myself aged 12, helped by two happier runners to finish the 1500 metres in last place. Painfully wheezing across the line to the jeers of my idling peers, who had long before recovered their repose. I am not sure who pissed me off more, I expected the jeers, but the helpers confused me. I wasn’t used to sympathy and didn’t like the smell of it. This moment of humiliation still smarts, I told myself the problem was technique. Others alternated between running and walking, I tried to run the whole way, thinking to do otherwise would be cheating. Unaccustomed to the burning pain and death/life feel of hard exercise, I drained to a slow motion jog, ridiculous to see, as the walk/runners tripped past me. I have learnt my lesson and this morning I alternated, uncertain whether my thirty-four year old body would allow me to push quite as hard as in my teens. At least there were no jeering punks to or happy helpers. I ran solo.
This experiment was inspired by a half-cut conversation with Mr Erwin last week, about the merits of mixing physical exercise and creative pursuits. Having written inconsistently for many years, hoping to get something useful from the monkeys on my back, I have tried all sorts of challenges and tools to increase my output. Some have worked to various degrees and I think I might be on the right path, but maybe running will help me travel a bit quicker. Sometimes these attempts feel like those of 80’s TV heroes, completing arcane challenges to get home, only to find themselves foiled ad-infinitum, battling ever onwards to eventual cancellation. Its has to be worth a try though, and if not, I hope to enjoy the episodes.
The wind screams into my ears , hitting me front on, as I struggle to cycle onward down the never ending road. Flat, smooth, long. In the distance more of the same. I stop at a bus stop and see a conspiracy of gnomes hiding at the beachside.
The hateful things are no coincidence, they’re up to something that can’t be good.
The elements are pushing me back, doing their best to keep me away, but my stubborn streak pumps at the pedals that bit harder, and I adjust my gears, vainly hoping for some miracle boost.
Stark at the end. But no more than most of what fell behind. Cliches of desolation fit the landscape, scattered across stretching nothing. But through the wasteland comes absurdity.
A tree of junk and left behind stuff, leads to a charming exhibition, signposted by a garden of brushes.
This ozlike tipsy-turvy distracts momentarily from the sinister. A creaking sign pulls me back, rocking in its own time, a prelude to a scream.
I reach a lonely pub at the end of the road. Welcoming, with a reassuring normality. Empty but for an aging couple, who communicate in passive aggressive fragments of speech. Mewing at the quality of the food, he shuffles from his seat to stare closer at some pictures on the wall. He is not interested, only hoping to break the torpor of his stagnant existence. Either would kill the other given half a chance, but they lack the the imagination.
Their forks screech on porcelain, and I cringe at their lifeless mastication. They are replaced by an older pair. Tie pulled tight in a severe jacket, he declares the food too rich for him and they head out to oblivion. She uttered not a word. There is no other sustenance, they will likely starve out there. A final couple, a few years younger than the last, take the table closest to me. And there are a few smiles, laughter and a steady conversation. Hope there is another way. Between them some signs of at least a passing concern for the others presence.
I decide to leave it here, before more doom laden manifestations further assault my sanity. I will flee with the wind behind me, not to the sea, but back to firmer ground and the hope of meaning in the turbulence.
‘Nice bit of fish.’
Her fork penetrated his jugular and he fell face first, smothering his chips in red sauce.
Its going to be a busy month, I’ve not had much time to write new material recently due to writing my dissertation, but hope to get a lot more active from December. Have had a really inspiring day at Rochester Lit Fest’s ‘Unfinished’ event. Brilliant event and great to talk to other bloggers from all sorts of backgrounds – including creatives, political and lifestyle writers. Also enjoyed reading some pieces as part of the Basement Gothic and chat about all those little problems that prevent us from getting stuff finished, as well as getting insight into how people get round those problems or turn them to their advantage. Its always reassuring to know your not struggling alone.
Anyway, here’s two things that are coming up that might be of interest to some of you…
From 1pm on Sunday 28th October, some of the guys from Cinovice and I are teaming up to film scenes for a short Zombie film on the Great Lines in Gillingham. We’ll be meeting opposite the leisure centre and will be finished no later than 5pm. If anyone is interested, join the Facebook page by following this link We will be the ones dressed like Zombies.
On Wednesday 31st October join us at the Dot Cafe for an evening of sci-fi and horror short stories from local writers, inspired by the Medway Towns. Featuring some peculiar FX, ‘The Sci-Fi Soundboard, Short Improv Challenge’ plus an extra special tin-foil hat making competition. Please let me know if you are interested in reading or taking part in the improv. Join the Facebook group HERE
I am putting together the podcasts for ‘Short Encounters‘, a collection of Medway inspired Science Fiction stories from local Writers via ME4 Writers. If anyone has got any Art work or photos they would like to contribute to the accompanying booklet OR any Music (ambient background sounds or appropriate tunes that I could put between or after the stories) and would like to get involved, please let me know.
Please note that this is a labour of love and completely devoid of any financial benefit to anyone (especially me ;-> ) I will credit any work contributed and hope that by working with a lot of other people, everyone involved gets to reach audiences they might not otherwise.
I am squashed between two worlds
and though grown from my roots,
trying to maintain some clemency.
Hoping to think and not offend;
I was raised too cautious,
but in awe of heroes;
I fought inside my mind:
I did not step on grass.
I did not talk in class.
I did not sleep around.
I held back most I felt.
Understanding is the rarest thing,
a ghost amongst ideas.
And when the call was sounded
and as usual I had no heart,
but on hearing violent voices and
displays of casual threat,
the petty digs and schadenfreude,
provoked a hidden rage.
Speaking a little louder,
at risk of unknown change
then in a moment critical,
To share an open feeling
of honest lost belief,
where no one is a victor,
but everyone is heard.
Better loud than silent
I suppose, or else I’m wrong,
to roar my thoughts ferocious,
as I retreat in to my cage.
I don’t agree with all I love,
but love those who don’t agree.
If my mother taught me anything,
it was how to be contrary.
This nasty little tale is my contribution to the ME4 writers short and nasties collection, which can be downloaded at: http://roysmith.podbean.com/
He throws open the shutters that have kept out the past few days and wicked light invades our hidden world. I had watched you drift into endless sleep, as your tiny nails cut into the palm of my hand, waiting whilst your breath whispered to pathetic silence. A man of straight lines, dressed in black with a coachman’s hat and cane; his servant carrying assorted boxes, as he stands stiff at the centre of my room. Through thin wire glasses his yellow eyes flit from my chair to the bed where you sleep no more.
I heard you cry that night; a choking fit then nothing. Left alone in silence with your porcelain skin and gentle face, hoping for one more sign of life, but knowing it would never come. Your father sent this shade to solve his guilt, to grab one last glimpse of his fading creation and free himself of the obligations his family would never allow. He never met you, but I saw him looking back at me every time you laughed or smiled and even when you lied. They kept us well, or so they had me suppose. A terraced house upon a hill overlooking the banks; a small house, but clean, surrounded by boat builders, dockers and their whining wives. The family sent us money, just enough, but not so much, yet we were happy and I loved you dearly. They will send no more, after today I am worthless, and despite this I know your father cared for us, though was far to weak to show it.
The straight line man and his bulky assistant pull wood and metal apparatus from their weathered boxes, building a scaffold to hold the heavy machine they move with such care. They bolt and screw and tighten each part, so the thing stands firm in the centre of the room, pointing down at where you lay. He powders your face and ruffles your hair, not happy with your sweat stuck curls, twisting them around his fingers and pulling to spring. You lay too straight my beautiful boy. He turns you to the wall and puts his knee behind yours, forcing a bend with a crack, before flipping you back to face his lens, propped up on a tear soaked pillow. My nails scratch at the arms of the chair and I feel my blood racing as I watch him manipulate your fragile limbs. You mustn’t fear my child, you have no more need of this broken body.
I met your father whilst I was working at his mother’s house. She rarely spoke, but everyone obeyed; her few words were bitter-cold and empty of kindness. He was the life in that house, as you were in mine. When he was away the days dragged on in mechanic isolation, unchanging and grey. That long summer he left a trail of smiles behind him, I ached for the relief of his presence, the lightness brought by his casual words. We loved one night, time caught and kept and there you were, a secret in my belly. Her screeched orders sent me packing, hidden behind these prison walls; to birth you here and raise you, in silence away from him and her.
He hides beneath a darkened cape that flows from atop the metal box. The cloth of his pristine suit stretches over his hunched back, close to ripping and I swear the daggers of his shoulder blades protrude in the way of severed waxen wings. I cannot watch and bury my head within my hands, he twists and turns the dials of his vicious lens, clicking and snapping into some ghastly configuration. I look up at your peaceful face and feel your love beaming back at me from your unnatural pose, your painted eyes staring into nothing, but somehow pleading.
Click. I scream, as searing white floods the room, blinding it hangs and fades in a permanent instant. I find myself caught between light and dark, your image burning into my mind. You glow, outlined with streaks of colour and wherever I look you follow, inescapably staring into my soul, accusing, reaching out to cling to earthly things.
I am alone now in the fading day; the room is empty, cleansed of any memory of you. Upon the bed lies a husk. There is no sign of who you were, all that is left is a featureless form, dried of emotion, there is nothing inside. It is not you. He has taken any part that remained, stolen away the only thing that kept me. And as he walked away, I swear those boxes seemed to sit heavy in his servants arms then in the sunset glow I caught a sideways glimpse of unfolding leather wings.