Friday, February 20, 2009

The Witch of Words

She'll look you in the eyes
and smile as
she casts her spell
and turns you
into poetry.
Now you are immortal.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

...choose your own story

The thick snow covers over the capitalist state we’re in. Even the roads with their etched lines of a thousand cars look beautiful, magical under snow. The marbled sky reflects the undulations beneath. Where there’s been snowdrift; ridged banks form; mimicking the hills in the background. Inhaling the air cools your whole body like pulling on a menthol cigarette or the sharp almost pain from sucking those eucalyptus throat sweets. There’s a hazy sunshine powering through the cloud coverage, enough to warm the exact spot on his shoulder blade where beneath the winter coat his freckles form mathematical dot-to-dots made up of little isosceles. Her nose wrinkles like a rabbit when she thinks of this little secret to his skin that so few other people must know. They walk with carelessness and ease, despite the black slush and its icy counterparts. It gets harder going when they’re walking along in the deepest bit – the bank beside the road. The increase in the leg work results in deepened breathing providing the soundtrack to the afternoon. An engine cuts into the staggered breaths.

If they hitch a lift go to 2             If they jump into the snow go to 3

2     Ha! Finally! He’d said that something would come along. The car was rolling slowly, all too aware of the hazardous surroundings, so it wouldn’t be hard to attract the driver’s attention. He waves his arms in the same way he dances; jolting elbows here and there. Somehow it seems to have worked and the darkened window buzzes down, replacing the monochrome image with a tired looking face hiding amongst salt and pepper stubble.

Any chance of a lift to the next garage mate?” He extends the jerry can; shaking it slightly as the viscous liquid circles the very corner and makes a dry rasping rattle.

There's one just a couple of miles down that way…” Says salt and pepper, indicating with his gloved hand over a snowy pile that presumably has a hill under it somewhere.

Sure… Jump in.”

If the driver helps them to their car go to 4                        If he takes a detour go to 6

3           They exchange glances as the vehicle approaches. From the snow to each other and then to the quickly shortening road before them, as if following a tennis match. And without speaking they both seem to know what the other’s thoughts are and make a leap in tandem from the road into the powdery white bank. The driver has a grin on her face as she speeds off into the slush and our girl is laughing uncontrollably as she flails about making a backwards snow angel in the deepest snow she’ll ever see. And our boy is snuffling – a kind of laugh hidden by the inhalation of snowflakes and their interference with his respirations. And they kiss in the snow and the laughter, and try to stand up once again. This snow is knee deep and harder to manoeuvre through so with little grace or finesse they return to vertical and carry on walking towards the lake. Around the forest in the distance there’s a pink glow echoing the colour of our girl’s cheeks.

If they make love in the snow go to 5                   If she tells him a secret go to 7

4           They both sit in the back of the Jeep and their eyes occasionally meet with their quiet driver. The snow is really coming down outside and our girl pulls her sleeves around herself and sits on them until she resembles a sailor's knot – all bound up. The silence isn't really an awkward one. They're listening to a French radio station about Arthur Rimbaud '...j'adissi je me souviens bienma vie était un. festin où s’ouvraient...' Her gaze falls to the dusty ledges beside the window sill. The skeletons of a few bugs frame the darkened glass and she can't help but wonder what this stranger's tale is and what brought him to her and her brother. As the garage comes into sight over the hill, her eyes light up at the thought of being alone with this dark and quiet French man. Her brother gets out of the car shaking his jerry can again, the way she recalled him shaking his cup for milk when they were small. Now was her chance and she slid easily through the gap in the Jeep to sit beside the stranger.

Je vous ai attendu ange” he murmurs. I've been waiting for you, angel. She hushes him with one finger to his mouth, as she presses the button to release his seatbelt and takes his hand to lead him away from the warm engine. That could wait.     Go to 5

5          They hold hands as they walk along the lane; scooping up the occasional ball of powder and scrunching it together to form a loose snowball to throw. There's a tightening in the air as the sun hides behind an enormous fluffy cloud that hangs in the sky in all its pathetic fallacy. As they pass fields of virgin snow both pairs of eyes scan for an entrance to this magical land. He points to a slight incline leading to a gate. Either side of the gate are layers of barbed wire clumsily wrapped over stone-walling. The gate itself free of the ivy-like wire, but lopsided and standing on one leg like a bar stool in a lazy French café. Looks as good a place as any, they silently agree. The track is deep, but not slippery. Rooting one leg under the cross-piece on the third bar he swings his other leg over the gate, which wobbles emphatically and threatens to throw him off like a bucking bronco. He jumps into the claggy snow the other side as she attempts to follow him – a little more shakily. They walk together through the deep snow; kissing and laughing like children. The cold air goes unnoticed and she pushes him into the soft white blanket. He sees the birds huddled and gathered on the wires above him. She sees the reflection of the white hills and clouds in his eyes flashing white as she makes love to him for the first time in the snow... THE END.

6 The clouds over the hill tell darker tales of rain rolling in from the coast and lost highways. Our boy sits upfront with Salt and Pepper and our girl bundles into the back with the ragged sheep dog with odd coloured eyes. One pale blue like those of her beloved Daddy and glaciers and summer skies; the other rich brown like her own or a fresh cup of coffee. She feels uneasy and can't say why so her fingers bend down to entwine the rope-like fur of the dog, which she nervously winds round her snow cracked fingers and unravels over and over. Our man is sure they should have passed the garage by now and is surreptitiously peering out of the window to try and gain some recognition of where they might be. He hears the dreaded CLUNK of the door-locks going down and knows that his breathing is getting erratic with the fear of what may be next. The absurdity of the situation is almost laughable. If he was watching a film, he would be screaming at them before they'd even got in the car to stay away! Stranded on the moors in the snow with no fuel for their car and no idea where it might be now. What choice did he have but to trust the first stranger that came along? Thoughts colliding up inside his head make him have to catch his breath. If anything happens to my little girl...

And in the back our girl looks back seeing the snow disappear as though a dream was melting away behind her. She looks at her Dad and winks. This is the signal he has been waiting for and he stalls the car almost immediately to reach for the chloroform saturated rag he had prepared earlier.

I told you, babe, you won't have to call no-one else Daddy ever again after today.” THE END

7 She wonders if she's ever seen him look so beautiful. Being with him in the snow gives each of them a glimpse into what it would have been like if they'd known each other as children. They come to the brow of the hill and she reaches for his hand and places it on her not yet showing tummy. “You're going to make a brilliant Dad”, she says and his eyes light up with orange particles that glow. Eira is Welsh for snow. THE END

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

in the palm of your hand

Lyre bird calls
to tell us lies
and you, my muse,
have amused me
with the morning coffees 
and coughing chorus
and that talk of soldiering 
with the solder.
You keep secrets in the
palm of your hand
like little scars
and acronyms
and I'm not sure
you'll open them 
to me...

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Snows and hangovers  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's cold out there...

Your eyes might have glaciers in them
too cold for a swim 
In Tarifa 
the roads melt
in the summer.
You're like a snowflake in a hot world.

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