Full of Fire: Part 3

(Part 1Part 2)

She never regretted moving to this flat.  It was her bolt hole in this fast paced city, a place where she could flutter and eventually fly free of her parents, beloved though they were.  In fact, they were the reason why she had moved to the city.  She couldn’t quite face looking into their eyes once Robert had been to visit her at the parent’s house.  If they had known of all of the positions that they had made love in then her cheeks would be forever burnished, matching only those of rosy fresh apples.  No, much better that she had moved away to a swanky new flat with him instead, free to both explore their love and to allow their careers to take a foothold upon the employment ladder in their chosen fields.

The flat wasn’t really swanky in all honesty.  Sometimes, especially after a heated remark or two, it could feel like a shoe box and one that she yearned to escape.  It was at times like those that she felt she could happily return to her parent’s house, to become engulfed once again in their loving embrace.  But she realized that this would never happen again, she had flown the coop and would not return to live there in this lifetime.  She visited, from time to time, and had hosted her mother and father in her adopted city, but they would not meaningfully live side by side again.

Robert was her immediate family now, her lover and confidant, her romancer and family man.  Her father wrote often though, kept the familial bonds strong and she wrote back as often as she could, though writing was not her forte and clearly her path in life was not to follow her father.  She loved his letters though, decorated as they were with doodles on each page.  The notes on his latest writing project filled her with hope for her father and his health, as she often mistakenly equated the health of his imagination with the health of his ailing body.  Her mother sometimes added a page or two of notes as well, updated her on school crushes and old boyfriends.  It was these tidbits from her mother that she really enjoyed, kept her in the loop of small town life and let her feel guilt-free pangs of happiness.  In this raging city of 24/7 access, it was grounding to know that life continued as much as it ever had in other parts of the country, parts that the creeping suburbia of the city hadn’t yet reached.

The illness unhinged her for a while though, the images of her father spraying droplets of blood was not something that she wanted to think about, neither was the fact that her parents were indeed mortal and not immortal, as a childish version of her thought still.  Her foundation of independence had just become solidified yet it felt like even as she started to make her mark on the world, the world had started to shake the rock that she built her life upon.

In all honesty she tried not to think about the condition slowly taking over her father’s life.  To put death at a distance and to keep love close.  That was her motto, though she could never think of the words to articulate it, it was how she lived her live in the shadow of her parent’s slow, earthly demise.  Her father would probably be writing a poem at this very moment and she could just picture it, his pen gliding across the paper in what would seem to be a well-rehearsed manner.  The words would flow, the inconvertible truth that this man was born to give a voice to his generation would be undeniable.

In her darkest moments, sometimes the ones that followed the passionate lovemaking sessions with Robert where she lay in quiet repose resting, the thoughts would intrude into her mind like unbidden shards of shattered glass.  He would be remembered by the many, not by the few.

It would not be long now.

Dark Nights, Darker Days

The city of dreams,
This is the city of my nightmares.

The city of my last love,
This is the city of a thousand cold hard stares.

I can’t breathe, but
I can see what
(I think) is all around me.

The city has me in a
Choke hold and it ain’t
Letting me breath.

Let me go, just let
Me go.

I scream to mangled foes,
Whilst all I get is broken bones,
Blow after blow.

In this city of spite,
There is no respite.

I don’t need to be free,
I just need to be.

Full of Fire: Part 2

(Part 1 – Part 3)

She had heard him coughing over his poem in the far off room, could no doubt imagine the fine spray of blood that was probably even now covering his crisp writing paper.  It would not be long now before he was too ill to write.  This was a period that she had been dreading, even as he sought to convey the full confection of his feelings for her in his short, often romantic, poems detailing their shared life together.

Today, however, was a different story.  She had already heard him earlier, muttering under his breath about the lines that had formed on his paper in the distinct rays of the morning sun.  Once or twice she thought she had even heard him growl in resigned and quiet anger.  Why didn’t he stop, rest and enjoy the short time that they had left?  Why hadn’t they eaten breakfast together the past few days, as they normally would have either in the light yellow breakfast room or in one of the cafes that proliferated the nearby shopping arcade?

She knew, of course, why he had been focusing on his writing, even more so in the autumn of his life, ever since that damn diagnosis.  It was to be a slow decline for the writer of such fiery youthful polemics, which had made him his name as an author in the country of his birth.  There was to be a steady lessening of his commands, a slow fire that would rise up from his belly and engulf his lungs so that in his last days he would feel as if he was drowning in flames.

They both faced this poetic decree by his doctor with solid stoicism, unmoved by his descriptions and livid features, the jowls that so willingly proclaimed the closing chapter of a life well lived.  She had swallowed hard that day, had pushed down that knot of fear, pushed it down so deep she had barely registered its original presence.  Yet it lingered, as the ghost of an early morning dream does to those that live the day believing that they are forgetting something fundamental in their routine.  Guilt mingled with the fear, the fear that, even if he were to pass as she was still undecided on this matter, she would remain in this house built for two alone.  Her coming winter was to be spent in silent reflection.

She had somehow forgotten of his ills, perhaps buried them once more, as she busied herself with the tasks of daily life.  Filtering the mail, answering calls, fielding journalists.  In truth this was a remote interaction with the world at large, her life with him had been steady, filled with the romance of every day love.  Gestures that Romero would never have a chance to show to his youthful Juliet that filled theirs instead. avec amour chaque devoir quotidien.

This day she had let him write alone and she thought he was progressing, writing further poems of truly requited love, the kind that beats across the decades and the kind that fills the marital bed with the warm glow of satisfaction.  Towards the drawing of the late summer sun she had heard that cough percolate throughout the house time and time again, shaking her core foundation and filling it with a silent dread.  She abandoned her tasks and rushed towards the sounds of his frail body, wracked as it was by coughing convulsions.  They embraced as one, his eyes holding hers.  A quick glance at his desk showed a poem, scribbled all over and dotted with the fine droplets of blood that he had indeed sprayed forth.

It would not be long now.

Hospital Visit No. 132

Jaded I can’t even get wasted, the brown bottle bin empty.

It’s the gas, the final plunge that I think about each and every night.  That infinite high that accompanies gross body trauma.

The welcoming words of the paramedic; the soft hue of the ambulance lights.

That Cheshire cat grin as I think I overdose on the self administered pain killer.

It is the all encompassing hug of the soft welcoming paws of hospital.  The knowledge that I have survived again, that the bone can break and the flesh part, but I remain.  I remain.

A Letter To Simone II

Porto,

Portugal

Friday 20th August

Dearest Simone,

Your latest letter breathes joy into my very frame.  Yes, yes, I am always too formal in my correspondence!  Still I am here, I have managed to escape the landlocked country of the Switz and I now face the great open Atlantic, I am coming Simone, I am coming!  I can almost hear the gentle lapping of the waves against the great southern continent that holds you, my dear friend, in its gentle and comfortable embrace.  I am safe here on the southern tip of the European continent, no one knows I am here and the country is morose and still, but it is safe and stable.  The language is the same as your host country so I will be well prepared to converse and drop into the background on the journey over.

My very bones feel rejuvenated here in Porto, as the morning sun cascades down the terracotta tiles of a thousand roofs.  We are safe, we are safe!  My European plain sensibilities are becoming swamped by the Hispanic love of life and of relaxation.  I feel that although we will always carry the guilt of the free, of the survivors, we may try yet again to live in this beautiful world.  In all honesty Simone I am surprised I feel this way but it is because of our escape and of the dangers that we have survived that I feel this way.  We must answer the boot of our oppressor with the scream of our freedom.

Yes, you know I am always reading!  I have managed to find a few different novels but nothing of serious importance, just some light novels and novellas that keep me going.  I am finding deep inspiration in the architecture and geography of this city, in watching the swaying hips of the beautiful women and the light steps of the children inevitably trailing in their wake.  Although the great spirit of this country is asleep at the moment, under this monotonous leader, I have no doubt it will wake up and bring great vitality to a united and friendly Europe.

But of course that may be some time off yet.

Ah yes my love life, you know Simone that I rarely talk of such passions openly.  But what can I say, this country is infecting the very marrow of my bones and I have indeed been meeting up with a few of the local ladies for dates.  Do not misread that though!  I keep my distance and act with discretion, but with my local cafes often being graced with my presence I have come to meet several women for short dates, nothing more than fanciful dalliances really.  My heart does flutter however whenever I have the opportunity to meet Roberta though.  I’ll haven’t the time or space to write about here though as this is just a short letter before I sail to Recife, my next letter will be full of details though!

As I said there have been no more poisonous letters and I am positive that we are now safe to continue on with our lives, to make them worthwhile once more.  I’m sending a small package with this letter, including a book of poetry which I will think you will love.  The Atlantic crossing will take some time but each morning I will wake and think of you.

Yours faithfully and with all of my love,

Sasha C.

Letter 1Letter 2

Shipping News: A Cut Up Approach

I was on the second ship leading the north Atlantic convoy, which was one of six in total.  My head was screaming with the cold, my fingers numb and becoming number as the minutes passed.  We had to transfer mid ocean from our small liners to the bigger ones, the ones that could break the ice of the north, the ones that could pass by and crunch the icebergs that would otherwise soon sink these tropical ships that we had come this far on.

Morning medicine, my mourning drink.  I was sick of the air, sick of my mouth tasting of salt, my cracked lips and shaggy dog appearance.  I was becoming a wreck, like the Titanic in her grave slowly rusting, slowly breaking down to her elemental beginnings.

I was home, verdant fields of tall grass framed by never-ending blue skies and cradled by deep pleasant dreams.  The wooden door creaked as I opened it, I announced I was home and I heard the movement of my lover in our shared bed.  I imagined the sheets cascading off her body, the soft smooth silk of her skin and the comely shape of her buttocks, the two small welcoming dimples at the base of her spine.  The curls of her hair resting on her shoulders, her sumptuous breasts that were full of milk, nipples pert and erect.

Home smelt like home.  This was salt, this was corrosion.  The transfer was awful, I saw their pale and emaciated bodies silent in the bunks, numerous across the whole range of decks.  We could not go on like this, we must not go on like this.  Moving the bodies was horrendous, a horrible job.  I had thrown my younger brother around as a child and had remembered how heavy he was even when young, how I could feel the weight of his happy soul.  This was something else, the bodies far lighter than they had any right to be.  Glassy deep blue eyes set silent in paper thin crevices for faces.

I loved her then and I loved her still.  There was something wonderful about the moment between coming home from work and announcing my entry to the wooden house.  This was the liminal zone, I was neither away nor settled on the prairie.  When I remembered this moment consciously I tried to slow it down, to breathe in deeply, to try and enjoy the moment when I’d open the door and see her gorgeous brown eyes, the flicker of the smile that would start to spread across her face as she spied me coming in.

I could almost taste that moment, but the foghorn soon reminded me that I was a thousand miles away, surely more, from my beloved.

The bodies had been swiftly moved from the ice breakers to the tropic liners without any difficultly.  I was convinced that our skeletal crew would break down at this task but we kept quiet and professional, we carried out our task with ease and left the liners floating in peace in warmer climes, buffeted by only the smallest of oceanic waves.

Silently our breakers made the way north, the ocean becoming day by day peppered with more chunks of frozen sea than I could count.  Chunks that could rip and tear steel, that could doom whole convoys and destroy even the hardest of souls.

I craved her touch more than ever at this point.  My cracked lips had become something beyond sore, something that I knew hurt but was pushed deeper into my sub-consciousness.

I missed her hips the most, how my hand would follow the contour of her outer hip bone and glide slowly into the girdle where the delicate touch of my lips would meet her soft warm skin.  Where I knew that when she arched her back she was that much more relaxed, ready to give in to the carnal sin of our shared passion.

The bow of the ship cuts the ice, the sea underneath, and our dreams as clean as any knife I have ever known.  Our hopes are cleaved into two.  The ocean is our life, the seabed our grave.

CNV00024

Photograph by author using a Pentax S1a and cheap film.

Short Scenes

I love delving into new authors without really having much or any knowledge of their work or style.  Recently, on a trip to Newcastle, I had a bit of time to kill so I popped into a bookstore and browsed the shelves.  On one of the shelves I found When I Was Mortal, a recently published short story collection by Javier Marías.  I had heard of his name, indeed had looked at his novels before, but I had never read any of his work.  The front cover grabbed my attention with the beautiful photograph of the crow, elegant yet not too understated.

javier

I am fast becoming a fan of short story collections and folk tales.  Vonnegut showed me the way and Márquez taught me the value of them, Marías is now enticing me to know more.  The short story is a wonderful form, one that is much maligned in the modern printing world.  Of course how could it not be?  Where once it was a mainstay in helping the author to produce work and maintain an income whilst working on novels, it is now rare for authors to be able to earn a living from short stories as a sole main income.  Only stable authors have collections of short stories out in the shops.

Of course this is largely due to the internet and the relatively dying off of short story magazines in recent decades.  But where there is a will there is a way.  New independent magazines are appearing all the time online and in hard copy, and you can contribute to them, as I have done.  The Paperbook Collective is one such example: full of photography, poetry, reviews, short stories and short scenes.  I also got wind that another friend is looking to set up an interactive online magazine full of music, photography, poems, short pieces and essays.  It is something I look forward to contributing to.  Even now as I type ideas fizz and pop into my head, short scenes stolen from real life or dreamt up in fantasy.

In the meantime I heading back to the world of Mariás.  Keep on writing, keep on dreaming.  (But, perhaps most importantly for me, I must keep on editing!).

Framed

Here a few photographs taken with my Pentax S1a, using black and white film, framed.  I think they look pretty good in the relatively inexpensive frames, it certainly adds a certain subtle element of calmness to the photographs and slightly lifts them as well.

Okay the digital photograph was taken in a bit of a rush and there is a bit of smudge but here you go:

photographs in frames

I’ve got a few photographs that look pretty good in the frames, but the ones above highlight a quick peaceful scene of a teddy relaxing on the couch at home and the bottom photography represents some destruction near the house but it’s still a relatively peaceful scene.  I especially like the the detail of the trees and leaves that the film has managed to capture, although I perhaps have the camera set on too high a exposure as evidenced by the lack of detail on the left hand side brick post.

I’ve also been scouring the charity shops in the region to see what sort of photograph frames I can and I can happily report it is well worth the hunt!  Got some beautiful frames for photographs that I have given away as presents to family and friends.  It is always worth checking out charity shops as they have continually rolling stock and you never quite know what you are going to find!

I always think that there is no other feeling quite like when you are being creative and then, once you have finished either editing, painting or developing, standing back and scrutinizing the work that you have produced.  A lot of the paintings I’ve painted or photographs I’ve taken are often given away to family and friends for free.  I did once try to sell some artwork online but it just wasn’t happening, I felt almost curtailed by the fact that selling the artwork was forcing me to be creative instead of actually producing art just for it’s own creative sake (not that anyone ever actually bought anything, thank god!).  I feel the same way for any medium, whether it is writing here or my other more serious blog, or by doing anything creative.  I do it because I want to, I have the time to (when I can) and because I love just adding to the world in my own little way.

Who truly knows why we do what we do, or why we create what we create, whether it is some integral internal urge to express or whether it’s just to play, to feel truly at one with this planet and everything that lives, sometimes it is just daft, for fun, for shits and giggles, other times you just feel an urgent need to connect.  Ultimately of course that is what this blog is, it is a creative connection.  Not to anyone in particular, as I say in the about section its for no-one in particular but for everyone.  Just head out and create!