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.

A Silver Skylark

My limbs are heavy and my head is hanging low.  I’m smoking the last cigarette I have and on the last piece of paper I own I have wrote down my last will and testament.  The money in the bank can be given to charity, I ain’t got no family no more.  Give out my belongings to the homeless and give the food to the hungry.

Do what I couldn’t in life, spare me the embarrassment of riches in death.  Do what you have to do.

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.

Full of Fire: Part 1

(Part 2 – Part 3)

(Full of (foul), you are society’s ire incarnate….////

(Burn that witch/turn her heart… black)///

Use your paw to punch a gaping maw- -..

…/// (Bloody gullet, … let it flow over tongue, tooth and lip).

Let your children bathe in fire, (born anew)…. Let your desolation angels roam (free), cursing this ill-gotten – (land)….

Claw open the skin of this earth/let flow her fiery blood/ … to burn each plant and tree///


It was no good.  It was too dark, too miserable, too damn silly and too damn awful to proceed with at this late hour.  What the hell had he been thinking, he thought as he dashed out a few squiggles and symbols on the broken lines of a half-hearted poem.  He just couldn’t get into it.  It was a waste of ten minutes, no less and no more. The imagery was vivid, sure, but it was just ridiculous.  Especially at his age where he should know better, should be better surely?  He jabbed his newly sharpened pencil into his hand, a quick defiant flick to make sure he was still alive and still feeling.

Yes he was and he sure as hell wouldn’t be getting lead poisoning from that small scratch, no matter how much he heard his infant self suggest so in such innocent tones.  He’d need a bullet or two to do that.

Writing came easily, even in his childhood where he could whip up a story out of thin air.  It continued, for a while, into adolescence but necessarily slackened off when girls took his interest instead.  It returned, sharper than ever, as he reached the waning years of his teenage life.  Never announced itself as such, he just picked up a pen every other day and doodled a quick story or two on a pad of paper that was lying around.  He sent letters as well, hand wrote but rarely read, and eagerly awaited replies that never came.  Ah well everyone is busy these days he’d reason to himself, no one has time to spare half an hour or so, to dedicate a task to a single person when they could be messaging everybody at once on social media.  Announcing their new found love to the world, or sharing an intimate picture to people they’d only met once and even then only briefly.  No, he wrote alone and for himself.  His handwriting was awful anyway.

The stories, well they changed and grew, some became novels, others became short stories.  Sometimes it was fiction, sometimes non-fiction.  Often he’d plan a whole novel in his head but it actually never came out onto paper as new ideas pushed aside old, and screamed for their place in the sun.  Sure he made a living out of writing, a meager one, but it was a living none-the-less.  Not many could say that these days.

The coughing fits started again after he scribbled and crossed out most of the above poem, malformed as it already was.  Blood splattered in little droplets onto the fine paper, parachuting down in an attempt to escape a dying body.

He knew this too, of course, and didn’t begrudge any of the droplets their last attempts at freedom.  In fact he was rather envious, even as they gathered in number and deformed his poem further.  It was a rather beautiful sight though, the blood of life, oxygenated in full in the fresh breeze of a summer morning.  His wife heard him, as she always did, and rushed to be by his side, such was the situation of his advanced condition.

It wouldn’t be long now, no it wouldn’t be long.

The Snake

Can’t seem to place you, I feel lost in the miasma.

Can’t palpate you, I hope nothing will ever change.

 

I am silent inside you, growing for ten years or more.

Inane life, making every second count now that I control the clock.

Your flesh is my flesh, your blood is my blood, your life is my life.

I am the one that will erupt: engulfing your body, ripping up your social fabric, destroying all forms of personal privacy.  I will silence your voice and I will haunt your thoughts.

I will desecrate your organs, tear apart your muscles, bathe in your blood.

Yes, yes, I am here now.  You and I are one and the same, yet you alone will whisper my name in the dark hours of the night with fear.

Cancer.

Speak it with reverence.  Hear the hiss of my tongue, hear the rattle of your death.

Roads To My Reading

Here I present some of my favorite books of 2012 (and a few from before).  You’ll notice they are mostly travel/history books in one form or another, often about places outside of my home country.  Reading for me often opens up the mind, and I tend to gravitate towards travel as this opens up the realms of history and prehistory for the writer, something I’m particularly keen in.  However I am keen on a good novel, so please let me know if you come across any, and I am always open to reading about travel writing, no matter where in the world.  I’d heavily recommend you take a look at the blurbs of the books as they are awfully interesting, and I’m happy for any suggestions to add to my pile.  I’ve put ‘Anna Karenina’ by Leo Tolstoy on this list, but I’ve only just managed to hunt down a copy from my local library after having to hand back in my University copy unfinished.  Rest assured though that Oblonsky, Levin, Vronsky and Anna will live long in my imagination.  Click the links to learn more about each book.

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  • And Quiet Flows the Don‘ (1978, USSR 1920) as the first part of the Don Epic by the Russian Nobel Prize winning novelist Mikhail Sholokhov (I think the Melekhov family will be with me always).
  • The Don Flows Home to the Sea‘ (1978, USSR 1940) as the second part of the Don Epic by the Russian Nobel Prize winning novelist Mikhail Sholokhov.
  • Anna Karenina‘ (1995, serial installments 1873-77) by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (not pictured).
  • The Periodic Table‘ (2000) by the Italian chemist and writer Primo Levi (not pictured).
  • Timequake‘ (1997) by the American novelist Kurt Vonnegut (not pictured).
  • The Stranger‘ (also known as The Outsider, or L’Etranger in the original French version) (or.1942) by the French author and philosopher Albert Camus (not pictured).

Of course this is just a selection of some of my favourite recent books that I have come across.  Every time I enter a library I feel honoured to share the same space as so many great works of literature and art.  The beauty of the written word never ceases to amaze me, whether it is from a novel, a poem or a piece of travel writing.  It can open up new ways of thinking about every day events, or provide new views on events or people you thought you knew.  It can move you to the edge of tears, or terrify you to point of horror.  The sign of a truly great book is one that keeps you hooked, long after you should have been asleep after a busy day.

I shall forever have treasured and fond memories of volunteering in a Oxfam book and music store, and mulling over which book I should buy next when my shift ended.  One of the pure joys of books is passing them onto friends once you have finished it to lend it out or give it to someone else to enjoy.  I haven’t included any brief synopsis’ of the books here because I want you to take a minute or two to click the link and have an explore, and see what you think is interesting.