Layover

 

airport
Spending the night in an airport
with 8 hours to kill,
hundreds of Krona we can’t spend
and bags under our eyes.

The blue budget-airline signs are dull.
A lonely, morose smalt and
the crowd control barriers rest,
awaiting the crowd the morning brings.

We make camp
staking claim with
towered cases,
lumpy rain-coat mattresses
and a guarded silence.

Ripples of Spanish flow from over yonder,
drifting with a resigned slowness,
immune to the glares of jet-lagged Russians
and the throaty laughs of the French.
A single Italian lady,
a journalist perhaps
or a student,
sits perched and alert,
tendrils of steam spiralling up
in the ghostly half-light
of her MacBook.

I spot maybe nine different countries
by their dress, accent, manner.
I smile that we’re all sharing the same room.

Except that we aren’t.

We’re all stuck in this place,
waiting for the same planes
to take us East,
or West or Home.
Clutching our passports
with a desperate fervour
as if we might lose ourselves,
or our heading,
should it slip from our sight.

We represent the four corners of the world.
Bursting with stories
and exotic names,
card games and drinking songs.
Each of us an untapped source
clean and fresh,
of life and love and
laughter and tears.

And yet here we sit,
our silence a wall.

I pull out a hackey-sack
from my bag
and ask a girl to throw with me.

Her name is Erika.
She’s Swedish.

Soon we’re 3, then 5
and now a dozen
suddenly bonding
and spilling our marvellous stories
like a freshly pierced cask.

We’re finally asked, politely,
to “please stop”
and so we sit together
and the murky blues
are sapphires.

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Area 61 [Part One-Point-Two]

keyboard

[A little sci-fi story telling – don’t forgot to check out the origin of the crippling Area 61 conspiracy so you don’t get entangled in the very loose narrative thread…]

July 17th 2016 – video entry nine hundred and eleven.

I fear this will be my last entry for quite some time. Maybe ever. I’m flying to Illinois tomorrow for this rally and to be honest, I’m not optimistic. I was born innocent and bullied into a purebred skeptic. And I’m feeling pretty goddam skeptical now. 

I’m going to confront the mayor. The freaking MAYOR of New York, the guy winning the race to The Oval and I’m gonna saunter over, find my way to a mic and call him out on being part of a devious, shapeshifting alien race that’s infested our planet. Brilliant. Bound to go off without a blasted hitch. 

But,  I suppose I’m as ready as I’ll ever be. I’ve got the fail-safe described in log 910. At least that’ll get the findings out there. Hopefully there’s at least one person who won’t show it complete disdain… But that’s a last resort. These…creatures are obviously smart. Brilliant. If they’ve chosen chess over archery so far, there’s a reason for that and they won’t throw it away attacking the conspiracy nut at the rally. Hopefully. Oh well. It’s nearly 2am and I’m up in 5 freakin’ hou-

“And that’s where the footage cuts,” explained Geoffrey Lacker, chief security consultant to the president.

A few moments passed in terse silence, then “And this fail-safe he mentions – do we know where or even what it is?”

Lacker replied curtly and deferentially, “In short, no. We believe the failsafe to be an electronic cache of documents, video files such as this one and all the proof he claims to have obtained. We expect it will – on some trigger, likely time-based – be uploaded to a range of major file-sharing websites but no trace of this ‘log 910’ has been found.”

The rest went unsaid. If released, this work would be catastrophic to current White House planning. Decades of labor, planning and deception.

“Find him. If we’re going to stop a goddamn war, then find him and bring him here.” A hard light glinted in the President’s eye.

“And he’d better still be alive when you do.”

The Landing

falling-man

Falling is an odd one.
For some it’s the very idea of freedom.
Synonymous with flying,
soaring
and reaching towards plateaus undiscovered.
It can be a gentle glide
or the laboured climb of eagles
in a storm
fighting for their lives
a thousand feet high. But when the gales clear
life blooms
under the new sun and a great,
warm peace might flood your heart.

Falling also means failing.
It’s the declined extension request
or the anniversary party
for the oldies,
out of town,
when you’re covering that shift.
You fell when the mud,
thick, and gloopy
left you stranded for hours
on that backroad
taking the short way home.

Whatever it means to fall
only one thing,
inescapable,
is constant:
the landing.
Your feet might kiss the sand
softly, a warming embrace
or maybe it’s your wrist,
then knees,
then that fresh ice cream cone
when you clip the kerb.

If you’re lucky,
they’ll put you back on your feet.
If you’re truly lucky,
you won’t need that help.
You’ll shrug,
mourn the ice cream
and move on, smiling before long.
For some that final trip
is too much. They don’t get up.
It’s no longer about trying.
Not about will
or refusal
but cold, honest,  can’t.

I stand here,
gazing down at the city where I’ve fallen.
Where I’ve stumbled,
tripped,
scraped knees
and opened old wounds.
The wind rushes through my hair.
I close my eyes and hope,
sincerely
and truly,
that no one tries to help me up.
That they’ll let me lie,
broken,
where I chose to be,
where the help was never offered
living.

Snookered

[sat down to write and after 4 minutes had produced this. thought i’d keep it in its rough, coarse-edged state up here. i mean who has time for proofing, really? 😉 ]

So it begins.
You and I
on a field of green
staring. You stand in formation,
proud,
and ready
protecting the real prize:
my black enemy.

The ice cracks,
stalemate becomes engagement
as we collide.
I glance off you,
a minor scattering
and return,
reeling
behind mine own shields.

Slowly, deftly I pick away:
first one, then another.
Fifteen by the end
succumbed to my touch.
Five more in succession
quick,
and unyielding.

So it ends.
You and I,
on a field of green,
staring. You lie helpless,
naked,
and alone
with your end
inevitable.

We collide once, hard
and all is silence.
I slowly stop rolling
and come to a stop,
dead
and still, waiting.

Next frame?

Area 61 [part one]

 [message interception successful]
[begin decryption…3…2..1…channel opened
….reading data….
source_language
-type{unknown} && location{home}
channel.begin{character_matching_algorithm}
….employing_matching_sequence
….apply_allocation_algorithm_103
….extract_real-time_translation….]

[decryption  successful:
read.message{“if his suspicions lead to awkward lines of enquiry, terminate. pro-vega 3 election successful for peruvian gov. stage C approaching completion. Illinois the final key for 7-18. campaign proceeds as planned.}
…………
end of message]

 

Rick sat back in his chair with eyes wide and mistrustful. The closed basement allowed no wind and there was an uncanny stillness about the room: a tranquillity away from the humming of computers or the whirring coffee machine in the corner. There was a large bulletin board replete with pictures, clippings, translations of obscure languages into English, conspiracy forum printouts and more, all interlinked and supported by the detective’s greatest allay – yarn and drawing pins.

The soft glow from the monitor cast Rick in a pale, unfavourable light. His piercing green eyes bore into the computer screen and continued to stare, transfixed at the pop-out window on screen. A fully intercepted message. The fruit of an entire adulthood of labours.

A quick search for “Illinois” was enough to find the rally the message spoke of, on July 18th – only four days from today. Ironic really, he thought morosely, a rally. Back where it all began. He booked a flight. The intervening days would be spent decoding the rest of the message and – all going well – uncovering the sender. All that however after a long, well-earned rest.

***

Some years previous

Holdberry Farm was not a happy place. It had an air of neglect and indifference, like the pile of last year’s Christmas presents gathering dust in the wake of this year’s haul. Weeds, ivies and vines entombed the house and the nigh-abandoned farm was a shadow of the proud, healthy allotments which surrounded it.

Holdberry was just one of many homes to feel the unrequited hostility and brutal apathy of alcoholism. Jerry Martinez was just another bulbous red pimple on the pockmarked face of modern America. In his honest moments he would summon a kindness: a new toy, a double ice-cream and such trifles.

On such a midsummer day he took his family – doting, miserable wife and cautious son – out to the presidential campaign rally in their area. It was an average day filled with cheering, clapping and laughing at all the right moments: to an adult it was the perfect example of political savvy, to a child an indescribable bore.

Jerry’s son wandered off exploring and – quite by chance – made his way into the candidate’s rehearsal room inside. The soft patter of footsteps approached with unsettling quickness and he stuffed himself – with a distinct lack of grace – inside the shuttered wardrobe. What he saw next would mar the next decade of his existence…

***

Present day

The skin bubbled like simmering water then turned transparent, revealing insides devoid of blood, tissue or organs. It was a myriad of light: all colours, bending, shifting, warping and dancing as its shape – initially human – moulded to become plump and near-formless, like a rotten pear. When it spoke the series of high-pitched whistles and clicks made his hair stand on end. Its eyes…

Rick woke in a blistering sweat, pulse racing. 13 years and still as vivid. Here he was, after all that time and finally he had proof. A scrap of it. A single decoded message. It was enough. He’d make it so. It was time to confront the world. Confront the inescapable truth that the human race was not alone, not even on our own planet. Not even in the very highest offices of the most powerful leaders in the world…

Comfortable Moon

moon1

And here I am, stood before you,
staring.
Your face a reflection of my own
as I struggle through uncharted lands
with no sun,
nor stars
to guide my tongue.

My eyes find yours and all else, is
darkness.

I’m buried, drowning in all the words
unheard,
unspoken as I store them in bottles,
waiting.

Your smile matches mine.
Gleaming,
shining and the dam cracks,
thoughts splutter and words burst forth
a torrent.

I promise you the moon. It’s clichéd,
irrational,
unattainable and something no one
else will endeavour to you,
your heart.

But the moon is cold.
Let me spark a warming fire
burning,
coloured by the dying embers
of sunset and heated with the passionate
fervour
of reconciled lovers at dawn.
I’ll sing and regale you stories
telling
tales and my breath will stir up a breeze
to give it life.

But its days are short.
I’ll make you a watch, giving us
time.
Tanning the strap from the silent moments
where we wish we’d taken a
moment
to hear, to listen.

But the moon is dark.
I’ll build you a lamp always
glowing
of glass with blue flame,
Matching those eyes,
bright
which so ensnared me.

But the moon is lonely.
I’ll give you my ears that you’ll
talk, be heard.
I give you my voice to console
and my eyes to behold
any – and all – that you’ll show me.

Dare they make us leave,
I’ll cast the watch to the fire,
burning,
bringing  a time that stands still.
I’ll-

Overhead the light flickers. I glance up and in that moment I lose you. Gone. The face staring back from the mirror is only my own. You’d never been so close. The words die in my throat and I know you’ll never hear them. With a heavy sigh I turn and leave my dreams shimmering in the mirror hoping, praying for the courage one day to tell you I care.

Forgottenness

couch

[the following thought process is a bit odd, erratically considered and came as a surprise to me. a bit like the couch I found in a field once.]

Forgottenness is not – it seems – a word. Convinced Google was trying to beguile me I persevered with searching for a definition hidden amongst the rubble and falsehoods until, exempting an uncredited Wiktionary entry about its employ in Heideggerian writings, I saw there was naught to be found.

That left me stumped.

How can we not have a word which describes the place, or state, or vacuum which is filled with everything once known and now forgotten? I thought maybe I could build a fitting suggestion from the sum of its parts.

Obscurity is key. It’s the undrawn curtain before the opening number. It’s the sleight of hand which holds your attention just long enough for the secret, the answer, the true content to slip you by and leave you where you started: in obscurity.

Can we understand what we’ve forgotten? I don’t believe so. Let’s add nescience to the mix. “The doctrine that nothing is actually knowable” isn’t the goal here, but the accentuation of ignorance and lacking awareness. It blends wonderfully with obscurity. It also has the delightful quality of being such a tasty word: it starts at the bridge of the nose, takes a sharpness from the tongue and concludes slowly, with all the venom of an angry python.

So we can’t perceive it. We are really quite unaware of it. But conceptually speaking, can we even understand what it is for a memory, or a word, or an era to be forgotten? It’s unfathomable. Try it. Right now, try and remember something long forgotten. Even the idea boggles the mind (boggle – a superb word sadly not applicable to my efforts here) enough to make me uneasy.

Maybe the word exists and I just can’t find it. Perhaps I’ve forgotten it. Perhaps this is just the latest iteration of The Matrix and I’m doomed to repeat my search endlessly until it falls in to fathesciety.

If this post is found on a pen drive a thousand centuries from now will that be discovery, or should I be crafting myself an antonym…?

A Totally Original Story

[this is the product of me being on a posting-every-day streak and exhausting my half-decent ideas on another project. enjoy!*]

Once upon a while ago a young lady sat grooming her hair. Her comb was brushed with gold and the mirror beaten of the finest silver in the land. Each knot removed and the flowing earth-brown falls cascading once more down her shoulders she heaved a great sigh.

“Will they never let me be myself? One day and soon I’m going to spread my wings and soar up and out of this castle and be free.” she spoke aloud to her empty chambers.

Unbeknownst to this young woman an astral collidae – the complete alignment of all of the orbiting moons – occurred at the moment she spoke her soft, fatal words. The collidae imbued her words with a dreadful magic and in the dead of night, the peaceful fabric of the palace was rent apart by the blood-freezing scream of inconceivable agony.

Vast leathery wings erupted through from her back, tearing her shift to revealing shreds and spurting blood across the floor. Her transformation complete she turned and walked  with measured steps toward the window. At the site of the cruel, bitter moons she wept. Before any could approach and offer comfort her expression transformed to one of absolute, unyielding pain. She threw herself with violent force through the glass pain and – wings beating furiously – flew up on in to the night.

The queen herself ran through the night, slipping on the cobbles and half-blind to the home of Florian. Florian was the mightiest hero in the land and was engaged to-be-married to our young Princess. Hearing the news he strapped on his sword, took a swig of wine, mounted his snow-white mare and raced off in to the night.

Firedeath Mound. She has to be there. It was a resting place for all forms of evil. He would find her, slay the demon inside and bring her home, ensuring their marriage.

***

The next morning the bloodied, ruined corpse of Florian was dumped in the middle of the palace grounds by a horrific winged demon. It bent down, gorged itself on his entrails and with a malicious grin at the stricken courtiers and royals she shot off in to the sun, truly unique.

She later returned and ransacked the entire town. No one lived happily ever after.

[*if you didn’t enjoy that, fair enough, but stick around for my next post. it’ll be good. i’ll make extra effort. just for you.]

Chop and Change

porch.jpg

“It’s incredible how jealousy can define us. When I killed my first man…you can guess. A woman. Not the woman, but one I knew for a span of days and whose name graced the tracing paper on my left biceps: just below the speared heart and above My Julia, right there.

“I’ve always been the mercurial sort. Yesterday bacon was my favourite breakfast and tomorrow I’ll gut you for saying it ain’t brown toast. Anyway, back to him. My beginning. I never thanked him and it’s sad I never will, him being dead and all, but in ending his life I transcended my own. Continue reading “Chop and Change”

Too Early For This

coffee

[Recently chuckled at a little cheesy [unforgivable pun] story by dawnut’s coffee. You should check it out. It inspired me to write another, not-really-related-at-all piece of my own..]

You first set foot on our fertile plains,
centuries and more ago. We were
scenery to you
nothing more
but our home you trod underfoot.
‘Ere long you,
white
rich
you great travellers grew tired
of us existing free,
in our own beds. You began to steal.

Your rough hands grabbed us,
uprooting
us from the world. We were slung
in cages, ferried across borders
and released in palaces: smelled,
but not heard. Seen,
without voice.

Valued for our dark skin
and gritty strength you bought,
then sold,
then forgot and went back for more.
Soon no longer a gift for kings
you reduced us to common.
For the weakest among us,
a copper penny, or trade in
wheat or favours. A slab of gold
for our strongest,
darkest
brothers and sisters.

With time we’ve spread. No longer
an Ethiopian oddity,
we live,
and grow across the world.
In civilisation.
But even time
can’t erode the chains,
the cages. We’re still beaten,
crushed,
scalded at the whims of masters.

You are not above reproach.
You’ve never,
not even once
given pause to think
of my life, my history
but it’s because of you I no longer rest
on the warm ground,
under a bright sun
free.

So go ahead. Crush me.
Scald me.
Stir me, and drink your morning coffee.