The Rainstorm

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Like a drowned rat my mum always used to say. I couldn’t have described it better myself. Cold, wet and tired, I splashed home through slick city streets with no other wish but to get out of the rain. Any meagre shelters, shop fronts and the like, were taken and all were unwilling to share. All but one, anyway.
Her wings unfolded upwards into a large, conical canopy, a very definite shape against the liquid onslaught. She offered an umbrella for two, that’s all, a sanctuary from heaven’s tears. For a while, I couldn’t have asked for more. For a while.

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Population Explosions and Mankind’s Undoing

They were uncommon in the wild even less so in the city backstreets. The newspapers expounded their unanimous decision — for and on behalf of the people — that they should be expunged. That’s butchered to you and me. At first, the powers that be played the environmentalist card, the It would be wrong, so wrong and God would not wish it so and so on and so forth, but when they expanded out of the backstreets and sewers and into the gardens of the rich and famous their opinions soon changed. The THEY were wolverines, a most unusual plague.
I met my first wolverine or, as my daughter called them, snarly-growl-growls, one mid-winter morning after a foot of snow fell in one night. I’d parked my car, for reasons of personal embarrassment I shall neglect to have its make and model mentioned, further down the street than normal. The wolverines waited.
Unaware of my furry entourage, I pulled up my collar, lowered my head, and charged of into the still falling snow. I did quite well until I left my yard but then fell down a curb I couldn’t see. I felt foolish with a hundred pairs of ebony eyes upon me, less so when I realised whose ebony eyes they were. As you might imagine, I ran.
Running through snow is an acquired skill, and I fared no better than a child in deep sand. However, despite moving at what seemed a snail’s pace the advent of a wolverine attached to my backside encouraged me to move faster. I yelped, kicked out, then ran with a speed I should’ve thought impossible whilst clicking the button to unlock my car doors, as fortune would have it, already gripped in my hand. Kicking two more of the slavering beasts out of my path and swiping another with my briefcase, I flung open the closest door, the passenger side, and leapt within.
“And where would sir be going?” asked a rather gruff voice.
When I looked up to see a wolverine dressed in a rather snazzy suit complete with matching hat, I knew my troubles and societies had just significantly worsened.

To Be Continued: if you, my wonderful readers, wish it.

Anticoagulant

Like a graze, he moves,
scabbing over the sidewalk
in dried crimson.

His eyes give him away;
they flitter over the real world
seeing through it, around it.

A flailing moon is caught like a fish
on a dangling rod, impaled
on a celestial hook.

The scab has waited, lingered
in the shadows awaiting this.
He flashes a scimitar smile.

They don’t know what hit them.
They don’t feel a thing, at first.
They do then. Oh, they do then.

The scab is fresh now
blood oozing out over the city:
This anticoagulant killer.

Wetted, We Weep


Raindrops impair the city,

a liquid distraction.

A view of something unreal;

I watch the known as unkown,

a world in monochrome refraction.

A pigeon makes misery of my mapping

breaking the dark majesty

of washed away grime,

obsidian and silver running together

before gravity repairs;

a bird lies on the pavement

in a million captured moments.

Is this my city?

Is this what I came to dream, 

or just the residue of some madman’s nightmare? 

Who knows?

Who cares?

Not I, though I can’t stop staring.

What a Croc!

They emerged from the sewers, not urban myths but urban facts. The sun illuminated them in subtle shades of verdigris, an army of scaly, chomping, mutant crocodiles all standing up on their hind legs. Everybody ran. Everybody except me, that was. Whether fear or inquisitiveness held me, who knew, but it was me they came to first.
Excuse me one clacked, his teeth smacking together like a crazed stapler. Have you seen a pet lizard around here, he’s about the size of a chihuahua and is wearing a green collar?
“No,” I replied. “You could ask in the Police Station,” I suggested.
Gracias, he said — must have been Mexican.
Off he and his kind stomped, their tails swishing about, flipping trash cans in their wake.
The police must have been honoured by the Crocs’ visit judging by the rockets they let off. I suppose it was a rather special occasion. It’s not every day someone loses a lizard.

The Colours of Life

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Come with me.

There are places in this world where the colours of our past have vanished to be replaced by a tepid, monochrome wash. Cities are one such place, those murderers of trees and flowers. They stole the light, our green and gold, and replaced it with shadow, chill breaths of misting grey and the detritus of colours lost.

Yet, whilst a city has its parks and gardens, birds and occasional wildlife, hope remains. It would, if they did not diminish, were not extinguished in traffic noise and creeping bricks, broken fences and boarded doors! Such is this thing we term progress.

But there is beauty, the city folk shout, and maybe in minuscule quantities of window-ledge daffodils there is. Yet turn down the wrong alley, turn left when you should have turned right, and all is bitter regret. Darkness engulfs behind the trash and trailers. Places bereft of light give birth to wretched shades of black and deformed puce. They are lightless. They are lifeless. They are everywhere.

Instead, we unwrap broad wings and take flight. We rise over the towers and over the concrete jungle, looping for joy and to shed the grime. We fly as fast as the wind will assist us out of the smoke and smog, beyond the train lines and cobweb of roads, until we see liquidity, first pools of swirling freedoms, then a never-ending expanse of blue.

The ocean is a dark place to the city folk. They could never understand how the brilliant white of chalk cliffs or those places where rims of golden sands split the distance between verdant wood and frothing tide; worlds in contrast, yet living side by side. Colours are everywhere here, but still we press on.

We journey over the breakers, which cool the heels of seas travelled far. Past the granite promontories and bone coloured lighthouses, the ones with their golden beams of life. On and on we speed as the sun dips from behind the evening cloud to burn in tangerine and crimson upon a restless sea. Here it begins. Here, what once was everywhere remains. It is sentient, one might say. All the properties of life are wrapped in the colours of today, tomorrow and yesterday. Here, where every moment brings a different hue, a shade of colour so fine as to make one weep, we find a natural world lost to others. It’s in the sunbeams, that blinking single eye of universal hydrogen. And yet it is in so small a creature as a jellyfish that sparkles in those last moments of wetted sun; the silver-sided fish; the floating seaweed and thronged life they harbour. It is in these pools of light that imagination runs wild. It is a miracle, magic, an eternal moment.

However, this is only one sea, the ocean’s offspring. Elsewhere, the mountain plateaus call to us, the steppe and brilliant white of Arctic winter beckon. There’s the emerald jungles and jade of woods, the russet of Autumn and Saffron of Summer. Ah, and Spring, what of Spring?

Use your imagination. Dream in pools and cleanse your thoughts, my friends. Live for a day, a week, a year. Breathe again in gasps of joy.

I am. I will. I do.

The End

Raindrops

They say every city looks the same, every wall, every window, every face. That in this thing we call life, there is no such certainty as being alone in an ocean of your own kind, flailing as you duck beneath the surface one last time, trying to breathe when the city sucks the air straight from your lungs.

It wasn’t always this way, I arrived with hope of a new start, a new life waiting to be fulfilled. I walked down each sidewalk with a smile and a nod; they were never returned. I’d wear my hat at a jaunty angle, polish my shoes and strut; I’d show those small-town, small-minded Joes I’d left behind. Yes, I’d show them. But I didn’t.

And in such ways is the life sucked from someone, bit by bit, one happiness at a time. Before long, my chirpy demeanour had vanished like a streetlight in the smog to be replaced by something dour, something un-me. I became reclusive. It is not something I am proud of nor would wish on another, but here we are dealing with cold, hard facts. If I hadn’t been such a coward I might never have left my apartment again — via the stairs, anyway.

And so it was each dawn before anyone else was up to witness my weakness I’d lean out over my balcony railing and imagine letting go. On Monday I’d be gripping tight, Thursday testing my fingers and by Sunday just using my feet. It wasn’t such a bad way to go, I imagined, fast even, but not for me. I couldn’t abide the thought of splatting on the street and someone bad-mouthing my choice of clothes, the leering many, the cop making one more note in his dirty, little book.

I tried to hold out but the city heat sapped the last of my resistance and I at last succumbed. I dressed in the suit I’d spent almost all my savings on when I’d first arrived, the old lady that fitted it tutting at the shirt beneath, and stepped outside. Night, blessed night, that was my signal to leave, and without a second thought, I did it: I jumped.

It was the strangest thing to hear the rumble as of a giant’s stomach, see the sky light up like when the circus visited in my backwater home, I even smiled. And then came the rain. It fell faster than me, though it defied the laws of physics. I was engulfed in the tears of the Holy Host — washed clean, one might have said. I landed sodden, cold, and as light as a feather, twenty-six floors down and a perfect two-footed finish. Nobody saw me. Nobody cared. But I did. All of a sudden, I cared.

I still love the rain each individual raindrop another lonely soul cast from Heaven. We gather in pools by the roadside, in shop doorways, the underpass. We swirl and swish to a breeze others can’t feel and delight in the freedoms afforded us. We are free for a time all raindrops together. We are free. Either that, or I never jumped at all? I’ll let you decide.

The End

I Wait (A Midnight Walk Disturbed)


There is no malice held in deepest evening, no hate in midnight’s shroud, both are clear of day’s impurities, as am I. With only the moon to light my way, I saunter down silver pathways admiring the night flowers, the moon folk, all the things you have never seen. I smile at a passing owl, say ‘Good evening’ to a mole. None look away. None are repulsed by my insipid, alabaster skin. I am one of them, and they are one with me. This is how it should be. This is what I wish.
I hear it in the distance, a groan as of the night convulsing. My friends slip away into holes and burrows, others curl up into the nothingness of oblivion. This disturbs me. I am disturbed. I wait.
The sound is now accompanied by two blaring spotlights angling over the outlying city suburbs like a Cheshire Cat grown rabid. It hurts my eyes this evil light, confuses and surprises in equal measure. I wait.
They do nothing to hide their approach, these passengers in my world. They scream and bawl destroying the peace of my beautiful midnight tearing down the street at a hundred miles an hour. I wait.
They are almost here. I know they see me as they swerve at the last moment. I did not expect this; it matters not. I thrust forward grabbing the car door; my steel is stronger than its. Talons pierce the metal, the car brought to a sudden halt its driver thrown threw the windscreen, (idiot should’ve worn his belt). His screeches of pain hurt my ears, force a tremble at this daytime monstrosity roiling before me. I take a deep, unnecessary breath, regain my composure and sneer.
Now, I cannot wait. He is rendered silent. I am rendered full.
The night’s blissful peace restored, I meander away as though nothing untoward has really happened. In truth, it has not.

The End for Tonight