Thursday, April 2, 2020

2 Minutes. Go!

I feel like I should write a song,
But no one wants to hear it.
It’s long and convoluted, probably lacking spirit

And the melody’s all fucked.
It’s got no catchy breakdowns,
And the chorus is never the same twice.
It ain’t hummable. It sure ain’t nice.
I want to write a battle hymn,
But I’m goddamned tired of fighting.
I’m tired of arguing and lately;
I’m getting sick of writing.
No one’s listening see,
And I know how I feel.
I’d rather be stuck in an echo chamber than a hamster wheel …
Maybe I want to burn the whole fucking thing down.
Maybe I want to cover the world in bubble tape and kiss the babies.
Maybe I want a time machine, but hell, man. Times are rough.
We’re all tired. We’re all scratching itches we don’t want to talk about.
No one wants to hear that song. That story. It’s an old one. And it’s never been good.
I’ll just strum this C chord and pretend I’m understood.


  1. I feel your pain. Burn the whole fucking thing down!

    1. My favorite part:
      And the melody’s all fucked.
      It’s got no catchy breakdowns,
      And the chorus is never the same twice.

    2. Yeah, it's great. Bleak and solid, with a please fuck off to trouble, the world, crap, crap people, the works. And there isn't a salve cos it's dried up. Echo chamber - I really like that line.

  2. Warning: I don't write poetry.


    I see a hawk float overhead;
    you call it a turkey buzzard instead.

    I see potential in disaster’s wake;
    you just anticipate the headache.

    I see the shapes of clouds in the sky;
    you blame it on the weather guy.

    I see the new buds on the trees;
    you dread raking fallen leaves.

    I see hope in the green of spring;
    you call me the hopeless thing.

  3. The fifth body looked as though it was merely sleeping. The others had all appeared troubled, having suffered from extremes of violence or disease, but this one could have been dozing, his eyes freshly closed and his hands momentarily still. He was dressed well, his clothes free of the labels most often used to declare their worth, with his only concession to vanity being the silver ring he wore. But that alone set him apart, its design suggesting that this no ordinary mortal.

    The Witness turned away. He had little stomach for the dead at the best of times but seeing one of his brethren here, on a slab among the fallen, disturbed him. There was no reason for this to have happened, he knew, knowing the regenerative powers of those who lived within the Faith would protect them. There had to be something else; something or someone who'd interfered with the Plan, their secret a secret no more. And yet, seeing him like this, they'd all been humbled. Humiliated. Brought down low; their benefits stripped away; their aspirations as dust in the wind. There were unseen dangers here, people with advantages of their own, anonymity only one of the weapons they might use. The Brethren would have to act decisively and with haste.

    "Brother Marcus. A moment."

    The priest lifted his face from his magazine, his expression shifting rapidly to clerical bland.

    "I have a mission for you. One which befits you well." The Witness dug into his pocket and drew out a key, letting it dangle from its fob. The embellishment on it was a simple one, a quartered circle surrounded by three letters, but the effect of it was dramatic, the priest rising quickly to his feet.

    "You want me to go out to your car? I'd be happy to. I have an interest in them. I used to drive them long ago. I had an early one; one rather like this..." He held up his magazine, revealing its centrefold, the image there a sepia-toned one of a 507 roadster, hood down and the spinners on its wheel hubs blurred. Its driver was a celebrity - an American comedian - whose fame had endured until recently, a scandal bringing him swiftly into disrepute.

    The Witness nodded, thrusting the key into his hand. "I need you to go - go to the village. I need you to do some shopping. It's rather urgent."

    1. This is interesting and mysterious. As a snippet it could go anywhere. What does he need? Why is it urgent? Is he going to bring him back to life? Questions, questions. It's always funny when you have part of a story. Is it the beginning or the middle?

  4. I want to be a badass tree,
    gnarled with rivers of tough, bitching bark.
    My sap rising every spring, thick and potent.
    I will stand straight, my branches saluting the wind.
    My leaves budding like a boss no matter what the fuck is going on in the world.
    Just because I can.

  5. Well, you just might die and you just might live
    You can hoard and you can give
    And you can worry and you can fret about shit that hasn’t happened yet
    You can have it and still not know it
    Staying close to those you love
    Carry it all around instead, trying to get that terrible dirge
    From playing in your head
    And even then you still can’t get a test.
    You can’t see the end game; you don’t know the rules
    Maybe your power is slipping away
    Or maybe that’s just how you feel today

    But the system can’t save you
    And God’s far away. So maybe you pray.
    While we wait and we wonder, count our old aches and pains
    Fearing they might be something new, as if that’ll cure today

    Stay home if you’re sick
    Stay home if you’re well
    Have yourself a picnic in the middle of hell
    Fight for your place at the head of the line, fuck social distancing, this one’s mine!
    Or you can love what you’re doing, at least some of the time
    But man, we get sick of our own company, don’t we?
    Me? I’m planting my garden with plenty of flowers
    We might need the food, besides.
    I’m dreaming of the future; I know all about the past.
    Maybe I’ll take up painting next, Still Life with Lilacs and Me
    So maybe I’m not built for speed
    But Honey? I was built to last.

    1. Ah, that sums up the status quo. I'm on day 19 of stay-at-home. And yeah, we can't get tested, so I'm sure the numbers are way out.

      This make me laugh. I love this line: Fight for your place at the head of the line, fuck social distancing, this one’s mine!

      And the beginning is also funny with hoarding - probably of the mystical bog roll!

      How do we fill our time in isolation when there's so much of it. And we hope there's still so much of it.

  6. Rain. Drained. Time chimed. It spoke, but it didn’t. It flew, but it stayed low. He felt it and yet it didn’t move him. He couldn’t say that it really did. Rain. The chill of it seeped into his skin, even though he watched it from a place of warmth. It spied into the insides he kept hidden, protected, even a mystery to himself, fearing he couldn’t feel anything.

    Perhaps when he was a child. That might have been the last time. Him and Keith would take their bikes up the steepest hills, trudging up panting, so tired at the top that they’d collapse, leaning forwards on the handlebars desperate for a breath. But the view. The view was always worth it. Always worth the silent trudge. There was no breath to spare for speech. And then the reward. Over much too fast. Seconds really, if they counted it.

    They didn’t. They never counted it once. The reward was enough. Whizzing down so fast that your throat ate your heart and you didn’t die. That adrenalin rush was something he’d never been able to capture since, although he’d damn well tried. Even the lines of Keith’s body, sighing slightly as it slept, didn’t rustle up the same rapture in him. His mother had been right all along. Make the best of your childhood because things are never the same. You grow up, and you have to grow up fast or you’ll get left behind.

    And he always felt left behind. In his career, his painting, even his pace, which had shuffled down to a crawl. Even if he’d wanted to take his bike all the way up that grand old hill, he’d have collapsed halfway. And laughed, probably. Well, Keith would have laughed. He’d suck the whole seriousness out of it, spit it out without a toffee coating, and keep things as they really were, no embroidery, no exaggeration.

    “Can’t you sleep?”

    Ben twitched and leaned behind him. “No, I was thinking about bikes.”

    “You don’t have a bike.”

    “When we was boys. The Bridges Hill. Down by the school.”

    It was Keith’s turn to laugh, pulling the covers as he turned over, wrapping himself up like a sausage. “You always beat me up that bloody hill.”

    “I sure wouldn’t now. Huffing like an old man.”

    “It’ll pass. It’s a big thing, surgery. You need to give yourself a break. You know that, don’t you? You’re not Superman.”

    “But you are,” said Ben. “You always were.”

  7. "You're looking well," Jane said. "You're positively blooming." She stirred another chunk of the sugar into her coffee and took a sip, wrinkling her nose when the sweetness hit.

    "It's hot. And I'm sticky. And I feel like a cow. I don't know how you do it. Even before this..." Evelyn motioned toward her stomach, "you were half the size of me. I'm sure you're doing this to spite me. Inviting me here; to Winston's of all places."

    Jane arched one eyebrow. She was right, of course. She was enjoying this; seeing the 'most likely to succeed' from her finishing school days struggling through the door, swollen-bodied and thoroughly miserable. If there was any justice she'd go to full term, suffering through the hottest months of the year. She'd been especially delighted to learn that it was to be twins, her only regret being that it couldn't be more. A horde of children would slow her right down, dragging her even further behind. And the sleepless nights she'd have; they'd be especially cruel.

    "I love patisserie. I always did. The thought of all that cream, spurting." Jane raised an elegantly manicured hand and the attendant arrived, pushing a cart laden with pastries. "Of course, you'll have to abstain," she said, sighing her regrets. "You're already looking gross, you poor thing."

  8. Julian scowled, his face darkening. "Why do you think I invited you here," he said, dramatically throwing his hands outwards. "We needed to meet. We had to meet. We had a duty to be here."

    "I hardly think so," Madison replied. "In fact; I'm sure of it. I only came so I could see what the fuss was. You have a habit of exaggerating everything beyond proportion. You're a typical narcissist; actors are all the same."

    Julian sighed deeply and then collapsed into the curve of the window. There was never a man more wretched and low. No mortal had such woes and trials, making every moment of each day a penance. He was...

    "Listen," he said. "Do this for me. I beg it of you." He straightened, pressing the side of his face against the glass, his other cheek available if she'd felt the need to reach out. His eyes were closed and she wondered what he was thinking, what subtle manoeuvres he was planning. Even though she knew it was a mistake, Madison succumbed. He knew everything about her: no violinist could equal his skills of manipulation, playing her like a novice, unschooled in the arts of coercion and seduction.

    "I'll do it," she said, her voice barely a breath. "But this is the last time, you hear?"

  9. Twelve months ago, it had been beginning. She'd only been afraid then; her thoughts scattered and with chaos everywhere. Nobody had seemed to know what to expect; at least no-one who'd wanted their voice to be heard. She'd done all she could with the knowledge she had. She could console herself with that much.

    Two years ago, it had been hectic. They'd both been working, their days filled with busy making and travel. George had been away in Ireland, overseeing constructions in Dublin, while she'd been up in the north of the country in Edinburgh, negotiating contracts for the literary agency she had a partnership in. Neither of them had had much time for anything but the jobs they had, investing their free time in ways that supported their work. They ate and they slept and they occasionally Skyped, maintaining their tenuous relationship by proxy.

    Today, it was different. Today, they were apart again, worlds and thoughts and needs dividing them. There was no time for them to be together, their priorities changed yet again, their differences magnified. What could a woman and a man do, when everything was working against them?
    The pandemic changed everything. There'd been rumours for a while, reports given little importance, the implications either disbelieved or concealed by politicians. There'd been movements in the background, subtle changes in market trends. There were deals made in deep secrecy, the buyers' names always redacted.

    And then everything changed, seemingly overnight. The stories of hideaways and celebrities who'd disappeared from the public view re-emerged, the newspapers trumpeting their theories even as they appealed to the public for proofs. Living off the grid was 'in' again, the populist magazines brayed, their subscriptions rising in line with other publications, their niche survivalist readers smug in the knowledge they'd been right all along. There were riots in the markets and hoarding of the most unlikely of staples, the values of canned sardines and toilet rolls rocketing to unheard of prices.

    And now it was quiet. Peace prevailed everywhere. There was little but silence and rubble all around.

  10. The stone cow of Surley

    The lowing cow’s heart is stone, cutting and cold.
    A scold snorting her approval for another’s ruin.
    Her glass half-empty, she filled it with black bile,
    Never to drink, but to watch it darken and bubble.

    Three on a heath marvelled at her creations.

    Over time, the glass cracked in dislike, piece by
    Piece, from edge to edge, until it shattered,
    Pouring its poison in currents to pool around her
    Feet, and she carried it far, like a dog on a leash,
    Seeking any excuse to tease, bitch and bewitch.

    The stone cow had nothing else to do.

    In her castle she gloried in being her own queen,
    Her friends her subjects, eager not to be cast out.
    I’ll call her Louise, but that isn’t her name,
    I’ll say she lives in Surley, but therein I lie.
    Does the mirror reflect the spite in her eyes?

    The postman knocked today with a letter overdue,
    Addressed to a john and smothered in twirls of lilies,
    Perfume sneaking over the edges, stems curling
    Out and all around, offering a safe handshake.

    But I have wandered off the point on to paper,
    Where the written word is unclouded by prejudice.
    I think it might just be a generational balls-up,
    Suffering and loss. Flip them. Dump them. Fuck them.

    I taste red, hear hot and cold touch, and feel a fox cry.
    The song dances, curling like a cat in peaceful slumber.


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