Sunday 6 October 2013

jousting in the night

 shades of night

 drift on purple clouds 
as morning opens her arms

 butterflies flutter 
 on a sweet thermal

a gracious intuitive joust 
beckoned by desire 
and shared adoration

 the give
the take

 a gentle negotiation 
dis-similar integration 

of two respectful souls 
destined to ride the waves

Sunday 3 May 2009

here again

here again,
the wrong end of the day
the world suddenly slides
into an over-night bag
soundproofed against
the perils of darkness
seeking the soothing
rejuvenation of sleep
and the faint edge
of night life
creeping in
and over
and up
seizing and warping the very bones
of comforts laid in store
premature hopes
untimely liaisons
smashing dreams into a thousand pieces
will she
won’t she
can I
can’t I
jigsawing the realities
into a socially acceptable peace

Tuesday 17 March 2009



“How did I get into this mess?”

I banged a fist on the steering wheel, perhaps in some vain hope that an answer would jump out at me, but apart from a slight tinge of fear that I might set off the airbag, no thoughts came to mind. I had been having a quiet drink in the Bull, relaxing by the fireside after a stressful day in the office and now .... where the hell was I? Well I was driving down a dark country lane in the pouring rain and heading for trouble without a doubt.

Billie had texted me with some crazy story imploring me to “get your ass over here double quick” and I had rung her back to find out what was going on. She was practically incoherent because she was so hyper and probably a little pissed but after calming her down a little she had given me directions and pleaded with me to go and help her.

We went back a long way and we were good friends, the best of friends. Lately though she had been a friend in need just a little too much. It seemed like she was always in some scrape and needed bailing out, with me being the ‘chosen one’. There was no way I could let her down though. Fact was, as she knew, I could always be depended on and I would always help her out, if I was available.

I saw the lights of a house in the distance and from Billie’s directions that seemed to be the place she had described. I called her again on the mobile but her phone just rang to voicemail. I didn’t bother with a message, I’d be there soon enough. As I reached the place I saw it was a farmhouse with a large yard at the front which was lit up as I drove in.

I grabbed a torch out of the glove compartment as the yard floodlight had gone out and the place now seemed in darkness apart from an eerie flickering upstairs. I locked the car, even though the nearest people were about five miles away, and the car’s answering beeps scared the shit out of me. The quiet blackness of the countryside settled on my shoulders and I pulled my collar up as the rain darted at my neck.

The silence was deafening and it was with trepidation that I picked my way to what appeared to be the front door. My eyes were darting around trying to cope with the weird shapes that loomed up and I decided there and then that I was going to have words with Billie after I got her out of this mess, whatever it was. I stood at the door and knocked. The sound reverberated around the valley and would, I was sure, wake the dead and their uncles and their grannies and bring them all rushing at me like a scene from Night of the Living Dead. Nothing to be worried about, I told myself unconvincingly.

I called out, “Billie .... Billie ... it’s me Frank.” I tried the door and as it opened with a ghostly creak I realised my heart rate was going up. “Billie, are you there?”

I shone my torch around and hovered in the doorway. Why the hell was I here? What was I thinking off? All she had to do was snap her fingers and she knew I’d be there, I must be mad! I heard a screech from above. Like a chair moving on bare floorboards. My mind was working overtime. Why wasn’t she answering? I moved forward flashing the torch to look for a light switch, which I found and clicked on. Nothing! I called out again and finally I heard Billie’s voice, “Up here Frank, I’m in the bedroom.” She sounded distressed, as if she was crying almost. I moved quickly to the stairs and tried the switches there. No power.

“I’m coming Billie, are you ok?” There was no reply, just a shuffling and a gasp. I had a bad feeling about this. I took the stairs in twos and saw a light under one of the doors and I kept calling, “Billie, Billie ...” I took a deep breath and put my shoulder to the door. I turned the handle slowly, not knowing what to expect as the door opened. The landing was lit up and as I squinted for second, getting used to the light, I saw Billie, sat on a bed sobbing with a faraway look in her eyes.

I was so relieved. For a moment I had been really spooked, but there she was. My face broke into a smile and I quickly moved towards her, “ Another fine mess. What on earth have you been up to this time?”

Something was troubling her ... and me. She didn’t look glad to see me at all and she wasn’t talking. As I reached her she glanced over my shoulder and suddenly I heard a voice. A man’s voice. A voice I had only heard in nightmares for the last seven years, “Hello Frank.”

I felt the old anger creeping back as I turned. There he was. The man who’d devastated Billie’s life, and mine all those years ago. My mind went back to the night I had grappled him away from her bruised and battered body. Her beautiful life almost extinguished by his hands throttling her tender neck. A seven year sentence hadn’t seemed long enough!

The subsequent restraining order against him obviously wasn’t working. It meant nothing to this sadistic brute because here he was, as large as life and looking every inch the madman.

I looked with disgust and fury at this monster. “ I thought you were ...”

He interrupted me sharply with a maniacal cackle.


Wednesday 18 February 2009

On The Inheritance

Tuesday night Wednesday morning and I have just finished the first challenge from The Liverpool Nanowrimo group that meets once a month. The challenge was to write a short story or extract to about 1,000 words, in the style of Mills and Boon.

It may not seem like a challenge but I have found it extremely demanding to the point of pulling my hair out, throwing tantrums and generally making life hell for those near to me who have tried to venture advice or comment. The fact is that I just do not get it. I can not make my brain work comfortably at the task in hand and have thought at times that it is a bit like pogo-ing using hands or trying to write upside down whilst blindfolded and handcuffed, behind the back.

My extract is here to read and having posted it I felt a little better about reading others entries which are;

Well I did feel better but now ... well I cant comment until Thursday, after our monthly meet. So till then..

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Extract from The Inheritance Chapter 3

Extract from The Inheritance Chapter 3

Mathew Broadbent was a determined and confident man, some would say arrogant. Most people when asked their opinion about him would venture that he was a typical alpha male. If he ever found himself in a group he would naturally raise himself to the fore taking on all comers and affirming his place in the pecking order as top dog or at least “up there”. It had come as a complete and utter surprise then, to him and others that he was now in the position of being a follower.

He sat away from the main group in an effort to distance himself from the responsibility of making decisions and he was unusually quiet, only really speaking when spoken to, averting his eyes to avoid the possibility of confrontation. It looked like the last thing he wanted or could cope with at the moment was questions or challenges of any sort. He already had a bellyful of questions which seemed to be wriggling and reaching into every corner of his body and boring into his mind like a diamond drill on PCP.

He looked like he had no answers.

For probably the first time in his 32 years on the planet earth he was filled with apprehension which engulfed him like a cloud of poison gas. His mind was in freefall and he had lost all sense of control.

Caroline walked amongst the people with a reassuring word for some and a soothing touch for others. A frail looking woman turned to look at her as she passed.
“Oh thank you my dear, I’ll be alright. We’ll be alright , won’t we?”

All eyes seemed to be on Caroline and it was as if her unassuming and caring attitude was wrapping them with a warm blanket. Some drew strength from her poise.

When she saw Mathew her heart skipped a beat even though he was a complete stranger to her. She had briefly caught sight of his downcast face and was moved by his dazzling blue eyes and chiselled features. His hunched shoulders may have disguised his intensity to some but Caroline was deeply moved by the firm contours of his broad chest and slim waist.

She moved to his side, knelt slightly and gently touched his arm. He tilted his face to hers and at once she took in the deep hurt which seemed to etch his features.

“I thought you might like some food and a drink perhaps,” she managed to say with an encouraging smile. “After all we all need to keep our spirits up.”

His countenance was forlorn but he looked disparagingly at Caroline and spat out some harsh words as she handed him a mug of strong tea and a small bar of chocolate.

“Ha.. food. A lot of good that’ll do! I .. I .. just can’t work it out. How the hell did you people let this happen? It all seems so surreal,” he said haltingly but with a certain venom. His eyes darted over her face in an arrogant manner as if in search of some answers.

An elderly couple sat nearby and the woman spoke up gently but firmly as Caroline moved back slightly from the tirade.

“Now then young man, there’s no need for that. This young lady is only doing her job and a fine job she’s making of it under the circumstances!”

Caroline appeared a little taken aback at the unexpected anger but the lady was now smiling at her and frowning in the direction of the dark angry young man. She smiled, grateful to have an ally but her cheeks were flushed and it was obvious that she had been affected by his remarks.

Despite Mathew’s anger the look on his face seemed to say that his worries had been lifted, at least for a few seconds by his outburst. He looked directly at Caroline and she was transfixed, “Sorry I er ....” he said in a slightly begrudging manner.

“That’s ok. Trying times. I am Caroline,” she said trying to regain some composure. “I’m sure it will all be fine.” She tried to smile reassuringly as she looked into his sadness laden face.

“Mathew ... “ he replied. “Mathew Broadbent. I feel like I have ...” he stopped in mid sentence as the words caught in his throat and he tried to stifle a sob but it didn’t work and there was a slight growling noise quickly followed by a tear which was quickly wiped away. “ .... I’ve never ... I mean nothing like this has ever ... happened. I feel so utterly useless.”

As if embarrassed he cast his eyes downwards and she moved away a little to give him some space. He drank greedily and seemed a little revived.

Caroline’s demeanour became strong as she once more became a pillar on which people could depend. Her grandmother had always said that she had an indomitable spirit. As a member of the cabin crew on transatlantic flights she had always exhibited a calm disposition but this tragedy had been by far the biggest test of her strength.

All around her was the devastation of the forced landing that her flight had been forced to make. All of the passengers and the crew had been evacuated safely and she along with the rest of the cabin crew had been instrumental in making sure everyone was safe.

Mathew had been on the flight to New York having conquered his fear of flying with the intention of meeting with his sister. As a result of a recent substantial inheritance his life had changed beyond recognition and the flight to New York was to be a turning point in his life. Now he sat shivering and desolate with just his thoughts of mortality and a female flight attendant trying to calm his anxieties.

“I was ... going to meet my sister,” he said hesitatingly and with a nervous chuckle. “Haven’t seen her for twenty years. Guess it wasn’t to be.”

Caroline’s brow furrowed slightly, “Oh I am sure you will do it one day. We have all been through the mill but we are safe now.” Her reassuring tone was not matched by the butterflies in her stomach and it was only when she saw the couple smiling at her that she noticed that she had moved towards Mathew a little. She quickly straightened up and withdrew slightly.

Mathew went on,
“Oh no I don’t think I could face flying again,” he said with a faraway look in his eye. He turned to look enquiringly at Caroline, “ I meant to say .. thank you .. for .. you know, your actions and help. It’s just that I feel empty. We could have all died!”

For a few seconds the world seemed to pass by as the elderly couple looked on fondly at the way Mathew and Caroline looked at each other. Caroline seemed transfixed by some quality that she saw in Mathew’s face and equally Mathew appeared to grow in stature compared to the distraught figure from just a few moments ago.
The spell was broken by a call from a loudspeaker as the emergency services began the job of marshalling the passengers inside to warmer conditions.

“Well we best get inside,” said Caroline. “Perhaps we’ll talk later Mathew? she leaned over and touched his shoulder without thinking and withdrew quickly.

Mathew smiled briefly, “Yes maybe we will.” his gaze lingered slightly and the elderly couple smiled at each other.

“Ah now that’s better. It’s so nice to see a couple in love.” the woman said in a loud whisper.

Caroline blushed and Mathew coughed self consciously but they both recognised that it had not just been the plane that had tumbled from the sky. In some way they were both tumbling and their lives would never be the same again.

Monday 16 February 2009

Robert is blacked out: Stand up against "Guilt Upon Accusation" for New Zealand

Friday 13 February 2009

Windows on Life 2

Windows on Life

I remember gazing through the windows of the house where I was born as life passed by. It wasn’t ’passing me by’ ; the front door of our home opened on to a front step which was on the footpath. There was a token front “garden” which measured about 10 feet by 2 feet and it had a wall which had been built with railings but they had long gone as part of the war effort. As with most metals about the country they had been reclaimed and, as I was always told, they had been turned into ships and airplanes to defend our shores against the evil hordes of Nazis who would otherwise invade us. Three or four is possibly the youngest age I remember at which I poked my nose above the window sill and seeing out in to the wide and foreboding, exciting but somehow detached world. The kitchen window at the back of the house looked down a hill towards the River Mersey and it was a great view over one of the local parks and accompanied by the sounds of the river and a bustling port.

The home I was born into was a terraced 2 up 2 down with no bathroom and an outside toilet in a working class area in The Wirral. Wasn’t everything working class then? It certainly seemed that way for some time. I can’t recall exactly when I became aware of the class system but there is one recollection I have of a Royal visit to Camel Laird Shipyard in Birkenhead by Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh. Along with thousands upon thousands of other people we lined the dingy streets and I was hand in hand with my Mum, probably as high as her knees, so maybe 4 or 5 years of age.

Being in the middle of bustling crowds was not unusual then as the world seemed to consist of thronging crowds going here and there, whether it was shopping or going to work on a bus or by train or by ferry. There was the relative safety and security of home where I could look out of the window and straight onto the footpath and then there was the other world which I always seemed to view through some kind of window. It would be many years before I became aware of the expression ‘in the world but not of it’.

I recall clearly that in some way I was an observer of the world and that it was something that was happening not as a separate entity to me but as part of me. There was a detached feeling whilst at the same time I was a part of it, a little like my left foot which is a part of me but is prone to dance by itself on occasions. It so obviously belongs to me and I do not have feelings of dissociation more a feeling of detachment.

Throughout my years I have always found that the windows on life change frequently perhaps depending to a large extent on the material possessions that ebb and flow as a natural consequence of being in a complex environment with so many contributing factors. Account may also be taken of the emotional turmoil and troubles and highs and lows which will, despite feelings in the depths of despair or in the heights of passion, will always change over time.

I am sure that somewhere there is a psychiatrist with an opinion to offer on this matter which would involve very complex analysis but I am content with my take on the world and the view I have though the windows on life.

Undoubtedly the windows which I look through are a part of me are of my creation and the life beyond is the one I imagineer into existence.
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