Barbed Wire Kiss

This jagged smile she plays for fun

An indelicate balance tilted in her favour

Such an exact science, applied and described

Crimson painted, plum or sea blue

It matters not

Styled for the moment, smudged with a wave

Exposed is an exposure kindly received

Works both ways she says

And I believe her because she’s grinning

It can only be glee, can’t it?

Trap set, locked and straining

The night vibrates with palpable anticipation

She closes. We close. They close

The next stage of a plan planted

Grown in a place where the sun don’t shine

Tended with steel wool and polish

Scrubbed to angelic perfection

Just awaiting the clack of horizontal gates closed

Where glinting blinds

So eyes are closed

The chink of twinned metal resonates through my spine

Pull away, but I can’t

Free yourself, but I won’t

And she has me, as she’s had those many others

Those tin soldiers, smelted and melted

Reduced to puddles of oozing goop

Sucked through barbed wire lips

With a straw for a tongue

I’ve lost. She’s won. All over

But the night is long and I own pliers

So perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow

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Three Paragraphs on the Art of Loving Ghosts

When loving ghosts, one must make allowances, for their intangible nature prohibits touch, physical warmth, passion. They mire in sadness regardless of kind words, a warming sun, a lover’s wistful look. To struggle is in their make-up, their very essence. Like drifters on a highway, they patrol the ley lines you may not tread. Not yet, anyway. Not until the blue fades from your lips, too.

This insipid cold, if you will, does not make them cruel, nor inconsiderate just unable to yield to the pleasures of flesh and blood. Though they would if they could. They remember them, distant though they may be. They recall them, as the echoes of memories lost. Like violin strings plucked in a dream, they would hear this music called life once more.

So, how should one treat them? How should one appreciate these gentle spirits of the night? How does one love a ghost? Simple, my friend. Remember them. Remember them all. But most of all, and here I beg, remember me.

Once Upon Too Many (A Dark Fairytale)

There once was a boy who lived in a hole. There in the warm, musty darkness where roots embraced him, he hid from the bright world outside. He hid from the loud, the violent and crude. He hid from the harm they’d done.

They found him cringing that meekest of creatures, pushed in a corner like old fruit in a shopping bag. He mouldered. It was their duty to save him. Everyone wanted saving, didn’t they?

The men with their silver badges glittering, their colleagues in white all wide smiles and soft words, tore the boy from the roots he clung to; he screamed for them to stop. They carted him away like a stray dog to a pound and placed him in the knowledgable care of strangers. But they had no knowledge of him, this child from deeper regions.

He woke to crimson, some his, most theirs. Its stickiness reminded him of tree sap back when there were trees to weep. And he remembered. And he wept. The memory of those lost forests stung like the syringes thrown in his hole. His nice safe hole. He ran. They ran, too, those who still could.

Out in the savage daylight, he made a decision. The little lost boy with pain in his eyes made a promise. He’d dig deeper. He’d burrow like a mole. No one would find him again. Once upon a time was one once too many, his mother used to say. Before they took her and all that was green and blue, too.

Surreal Views

Surreal, suggests the fish-headed man

Battling against societal currents, swimming against the tide

He’s getting nowhere fast just as he likes to

Bobbing up on occasion so plastic ears might listen to

A piano with bones instead of keys sounding a glockenspiel salute

That migrating sparrows, pink and proud, nod agreeably to

Whilst carnivorous sunflowers snap them

From the air like feral children with donated candy flosses

This I observe with dispassion, this I see and now believe

As governments say we aren’t dying fast, but slowly

And scientists place hands in back pockets

To withdraw cigars rolled up in green papers

The Queen’s head is on mine. She’s weeping

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

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.

Folded – They’ve Tried

Folded. Yes, folded. They bend and score and twist and press, but I will not be made as they. Not for a day. No, not a day.

Opened. Yes, opened. All flowers must bloom, petals unfurling to take in the sun. The butterflies will come. Yes, they will come.

Beautiful. Yes, beautiful. This world of colour and texture and light and sound. It’s magical when you look. Folded? No, not I.

50 Word Stories – Unexpected

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50 Word Stories – Unexpected

When that first snowdrop pushes through the earth, its white cap more delicate than a snowflake yet stronger than a storm, some might call it unexpected. Last night, a good man slipped the other way in search of bulbs within the earth; it was not unexpected.
Unexpected: an all-encompassing word.