The Arrangement

She kept a bowl of flowers on the sideboard I never once saw wilt. Regardless of the time of year, weather, or the close attentions of her ginger cat named — unsurprisingly — Ginger, the flowers thrived. They were pink, pretty even, but never worth more than a cursory glance.

I passed those flowers every day for the three years we lived together. Not once did I water or maintain them, and to my knowledge, neither did she. I prayed they’d keel over just to prove they weren’t plastic, or, at least, not as false as me. Once, I even tugged their petals, but we’ll keep that to ourselves. Obstinate flowers still didn’t fall.

The day I left, I paused at the door. “At least tell me their bloody name, I’ve looked at them all this time and still have no idea what they’re called!”

“Same name as me,” she replied, her eyes wet and weeping.

So, I still don’t know.

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50 Word Stories: Concrete Dawn

We waddled to the lakeside like two overstuffed penguins, laughing and joking, discussing the past. There we watched the sunset, a tangerine moment that made us cry. We looked at each other like once lovers, then jumped, or, rather, plunged. Our concrete filled boots did their job. It was bliss.

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

The Route

Route 66, East to West

Peddle to the floor

Hair a mess

Driving a daydream

Nightmare or more

Is this forever

Where the road is the law

Passing the steers

Who nod and agree

Each carrying less

Than my mental debris

Faster and faster

Just fumes for a bride

The Pacific, it beckons

Blue seas open wide

For miles and miles

And then countless more

This Vultureless carcass

Beyond nature’s laws

Deserts and mountains

Blue skies, vast and true

My improbable notion

Of a hitch-hiking you

Swamped senses struggling

Unable to cope

They grow worse by the yard

God! Hand me a rope

And suddenly there

As air touches sea

My smiling persona

Now failing on me

The route ends

My velocity… does not


Thank you for reading

Richard

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Sometimes

A Writer’s Dream

Is it wrong to wish to write for writing’s sake? Is it wrong to feel the need to write a disclaimer only I’ll ever see?

I sometimes think I was born to the wrong era, that before computers and watches knew your name, I might have been happy. I’d have sat in my room as others scampered about living their lives and smiled at the view beyond the window, written down what I saw without forethought or fear. The clouds would’ve drifted across cerulean fields like mythical beasts and birds would’ve tweeted the minutes. With a quill for a sword and a wooden chair for a colt, I’d have lived out my days as a warrior of words and others would’ve been happy I did. But it isn’t days of yore, and there’s no time for idealism in today’s world of exactitudes and uncompromising rapport. We are. We will. We do as we’re told.

I sometimes wish the curtains to close and never open. Here wrapped in my private night, I’ll live in peace with these hundreds of thousands of words scattered all around; most long forgotten and stashed away in burrows of rabbited nonsenses. The songs I love will play in endless loops through ears with no wish to hear the spouted obscenities and harsh realities — or so they claim — of this, that and the other. Darkness will fold around me like a lover’s kiss, all-encompassing, and I won’t even know if I’m dead, nor care. But then the words will come, white on black, and I’ll feel more alive than ever.

Sometimes a voice calls from deep within that I presume my own but still doubt. This — let’s call it soul — knows my name, my home, my life, wife and circumstance, but even this supposed virgin self is dubious to my needs. What are my needs?

I have absolutely no wish for anyone to read what I write. I have absolutely no desire to be famous. If people happen upon these reams of written words and enjoy them, feel them, I’ll smile and thank them, and expect no thanks in return. If a child picks up one of my books and their eyes light up with wonder, I shouldn’t care if their parent commands them to put it back — not if the spark’s already lit. If? Such a little word. Such a pertinent package. But the cold hard reality, is something has to pay for a coffin and good intentions won’t.

Sometimes I think I’m free. Sometimes, but not often.

Thank you for reading

Richard

The Bite


Such candid emotions
They bite at your skin
Nipping and teasing out the truth
Un-gentle persuasions
So close to true pain
That know the answers before they are given
Shaking out falsities
Like a dog with a bone
Whose teeth will never blunt
And eyes never tire
But the last laugh is yours
As the agony of withdrawal builds
For the simple reality is this
They could’ve just asked

Champagne

Beneath the veneer, the sparkling wit and quaffed hair lay the remnants of a soul in despair; it was his eyes that gave him away. They were lost. He would always be lost.

I pitied him then, turned away with the broadest back. And though he spat venom, riled and roared, it missed on all accounts. So weak!

I left him to his collected friends and so-called compatriots like grapes on the vine missed in the picking. Worthless, a vintage fit only for insects, he’d rot into the soil without ever knowing what it was to taste champagne.

The Rustling

The Rustling

They attacked with banging guns and booming rockets, an unnecessary commotion, striking as though we were leaves on an autumn tree awaiting winter winds. Perhaps we were in our russet way?

Fall, some called it, the time when one generation made room for the next. Whether or not the giant oak wished it, all it had nurtured, its beloved children, were expunged.

We fell tumbling to the ground in swamped screams. They heard us though. Everyone heard us. And like the tree that bore us, our country, we’d be reborn. For leaves die in silence but their rustling echoes forever.

50 Word Stories – The Raised Eyebrow

Two years! Two years of drinking more coffee than a whole family of cocoa bean addicts. That’s what it felt like, anyway. And I preferred tea. Would I have done it all again? Damn right! When I asked the barista out? She just raised an eyebrow. Still, wasn’t a no.

50 Word Stories – Perspectives

When she laughed, the world laughed with her. When she smiled, the world smiled, too. A bundle of happiness wrapped with a bow, or, at least, auburn pigtails, she stole our hearts and captured our souls. We called her Lucrezia. History would remember her for reasons other than our own.