This Dark Tide

image courtesy of Lester Salmins on Unsplash.com

This Dark Tide

I concentrate, close tired eyes, breathe

Feel the air enter sinuses all of a rush

Surge down my throat like the North Wind a gorge

Pool in otherwise forgotten lungs like stagnant water

The accompanying rise and fall lifts a grumbling gut

Expands a chest with pigeonesque pomposity

It’s all fake, but proves I’m alive until sliding away

A moment. A dream. A thought. An almost.

This dark tide has infiltrated troubled shores

Revealed only by a spotlight moon, an inner eye, and sent scurrying

The clouds soon regather and it begins anew

This is the way, the looping thrum of existence

And I wonder: Is this really life

Unsavoury Games

Photo by Radu Florin on Unsplash

Unsavoury Games

The Look

There was something unsavoury about her smile, an unavoidable diagnosis of disgust. Whilst she revelled in self-centred superiority, the world might’ve burned. The others played on.

The Feel

She felt wrong. The whole thing felt wrong. As if having swallowed a live worm when expecting a jellied one, she wriggled within. I’d have wretched, but she was watching.

The Fact

She’d done nothing other than sit there politely minding her own business. I hadn’t sought her, nor looked upon her by any other reason than an accident. She happened upon me. This was the simple truth.

The Result

Evasion proved the smarter side of valour. I slipped away to another table like a furtive rat, eager for some space and a place to breathe. She followed. Why the hell had I chosen this casino?

The Game

She sat and asked the time. I made a point of looking at her watch, but she ignored it. I gave her the correct hour but added twenty minutes. She laughed a crescendo.

The Cost

I woke to an empty bed and an emptier wallet. She was long gone. I wasn’t annoyed, though. I blamed myself. She enjoyed her games, always had. I savoured them, too, once, but less so after we married.

THE END

Thank you for reading

Richard

Almost Jade

Author’s note: After seeing all the mindless bombs and destruction of late, I have decided to post this story as I can’t bear to send it out for print. As Marvin Gaye once said: ‘Whats’s going on.’

Photo by Peter Žagar on Unsplash

Almost Jade

This colossal loss compounds at every turn. There is no hope. We have no hope. There never was hope.

As I sit and stare from my window like a moth bemused by a star, searching without finding, dreaming without knowing what of, the world around me crumples. This rock for a heart weighs heavy. The unending guilt, more. 

Today I rouse myself from bed and endeavour to do. The question remains, do what?

A green shoot sprouts from a pot on my kitchen window. I neither placed it there nor remember my wife or daughter having done so either. Still, logic dictates they must have. Perhaps I am tireder than I thought. This newborn holds my attention as though liquid gold. New life, who’d have thought it! The tiny one strives to reach the jaundiced light abstracting the sky. I admire its gumption, if not its sense. Nevertheless, it is to this I turn my unwavering attention.

Three days later, I am sitting in the same chair, wearing the same fierce frown of determination, just from a fuzzier face. The shoot is now a stem. This stem is jade green. 

There is a flaw to my latter statement. I have always believed plants a lush emerald until they flower. Grass carpets the world in emerald. Trees umbrella these carpets with protective shade, also emerald green, though their shade is not. Even the languid kelp fields swaying beneath the waves suffuse the deep in emerald green. So why is my shoot jade?

I have a purpose. Mother Nature, life, has granted me a meaning. I am almost complete.

I have shaved and bathed, for I feel today is the day. When I take the long walk from my bedroom to the back of the house and the chair set centrally in my kitchen, the one I have sat upon for three weeks in patient repose, I expect my flower to have bloomed. I race when a measured approach would better suit my condition. 

The kitchen is gone, the only room they have exterminated. 

It is not the loss of bricks and mortar, not the invasion, nor even the fact my home will soon collapse atop its amputated limb, but losing my little flower which chills. Losing an unanswered question, a hope. 

I weep, as I have since the war began. I will never know what jade might have bloomed, or if it might have replaced the real jade, my Jade. This world has taken another step towards monochrome.


Thank you for reading

Richard

The Disaster (Drabble)

The Disaster

Disasters happen, my grandfather claimed. This was in the years long before his own. He’d wag his finger and frown like a grumpy goat, and I’d laugh and giggle regardless. Take it seriously, he’d mutter. You’ll thank me one day, he’d say. Of course, I didn’t, couldn’t, not when everything seemed so far away.


Now, as disaster looms and I struggle to raise my head, my own grandchildren filtering around me like ground coffee a percolator, I wish I had. It’s not so I’d know, but so I’d know what to say.


I’m so preoccupied, I forget to say goodbye.

Photo by Bruce Tang on Unsplash

Raven

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I once watched an artist paint the sky. His brush caressed the canvas like a lover’s kiss. His every fluent movement, poetry in motion. At least, I thought so. The painter did not.

Whether it frustration, or a lack of imagination, who knew? But the fellow grew so incensed, he snatched each sheet from his easel and tossed them into the wind. There they drifted like enormous snowflakes off to decorate unfamiliar landscapes.

The trees provided shade and anonymity. These I used for hours. The painter remained unaware of my presence throughout. And although I couldn’t see what he painted, I took a certain satisfaction in knowing I would.

As the sun evaporated into the river in tangerine bursts, things changed. The poor fellow’s inability to capture what he wished gained momentum until in one shrieking outburst he threw his palette away. It landed upside down in the water.

I expected to see a brief flash of vermillion, perhaps a touch of violet, cerulean or emerald green; there was only black. The paint bled into the river like a cut midnight vein. Spilled ink might have described it, but ink had a purpose and this did not. What a waste. What a terrible waste.

I clasped a hand to my mouth, but too late. The cough echoed into infinity.

The painter turned. He wept. Tears streamed from his old eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I spluttered.

The painter looked right through me, right into my soul. His eyes took in my colours, my personal palette. He refused to stop, swamping me in his sorrows. I feared we’d both drown.

When the sun disappeared below the horizon with a pfft of extinguished flame, only then did he look away. To heaven, actually.

“Ah,” he crooned. “Now I remember.”

“Remember what?” The words left my lips without permission.

“Raven. Her hair was raven. If only I’d not tossed my paints away. Ah, well!”

Head drooped and feet shuffling, the painter packed up his belongings and made to leave. He paused as the moon came out in mercury silvers, turned back. “Never forget what she looks like, young man.”

“I won’t,” I promised.

With that, he departed. I never saw him again.

#

I often looked back and mulled over his words. He’d seemed so genuine. But only as I too regarded her bone white features and robes of liquid obsidian, did I know who he meant. I couldn’t have captured her raven hair either. Her ebony eyes already had me.

An End.

#

Thank you for reading.

Richard

 

Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash

 

Pain-Less

If this hurt of teeth and talons renders numb

Or slashing words and blunt-nosed answers

Tied up with twine, perhaps a handcuff, too

Fails to bring a stinging stimulus

Then what’s the point in pain, my love

If ever there was one, yes, if ever

Has it vanished, upped and left, retracted

Fluttered away on cold breaths and steam

Impaled itself upon a willow strip

Just gone. All gone. Run away forever

Left a soul in need of something suddenly pain-less

Ageless Angel

She was that age, that ageless something

Between rose petal cheeks and silver waves of fascination

Where the foundations moved but the plans never changed

Where her eyes only ever shone brighter, more acutely than before

Piercing like twin stars set in her own personal heaven

A girl with a woman’s knowing, woman with a girl’s innocence

The sort of carefree soul who bought coral rings just to remember other people’s dreams

It was easier for her living through the dreams of others, I think

As she had no time to waste on her own

I’ve forgotten what they called her because her name never really mattered

Not to those who shared her timeline, her space, her place

A name, as with the asking her age, was pointless

For whoever took the time to speak to the wind

When the only thing that mattered was feeling it rustling their hair

No, her name was only sought by those determined to tame her

To mould and conform her; they might as well have bottled an ocean

Elemental, unbridled, let loose on us all

An ageless angel without a prayer of surviving, she couldn’t have cared any less

And when I was with her, neither could I

Yet, now, I wished I’d known it

Guessed or made up something to define her soul

To capture the uncapturable even if but for a day

I suppose I will until my own spark fades

And all those dreams with it of her body pressed to mine