Emotional Contraction

I curl inwards
Though no sleeping rose am I
Waiting for tomorrow’s sun
Protecting the bloom
Tighter and tighter until it hurts
Fingers curling, toes, too
A spine made willow
Bent by autumn storms
This is the life you’ve granted
Sights and sounds
Growling through the dusk
Moaning through the midnight
Weeping till the dawn
An emotional contraction
I’ll never unfurl

Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

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Sitting Without Reason

She sits at the bus stop day after day. I stand at my window, imagining her name. Rain or shine, snow or wind, it makes no difference to the girl in the little lemon dress. She waits there regardless. I watch her the same.
There are buses every fifteen minutes that lead to and from the city, but which city, I no longer recall? I’m as obsessed with her as she is with time. She’s crying today.
I pour out a coffee on this evening to chill souls. Seeing her waiting for a man who’ll never arrive has warped my mind. Today, I shall make a difference. Today, I shall do the right thing.
The door clicks shut in my wake; my eyes are already upon her. She shields her own from the steadily falling snow, invisible against her porcelain features. The coffee steams from the cup.
The distance takes an age to cover, not because of the traffic, as there is none, but from my stuttering footsteps.
“Hello,” I say when almost upon her. “I’ve brought something to warm your soul.”
The cup is offered and dropped, slipping from her fingers like a dream. This saddens me and I leave.
The next day comes, and she is gone. All I can think is, was she ever there? And, was I?

An End


Thank you for reading

Richard


Image courtesy Darren Viollet Unsplash.com

Skeletal Explanations

Photo by Ryan Gagnon on Unsplash

She plays his bones like a glockenspiel
He likes how it tickles

He grins at how her skull echoes
She just glad he’s talking in her ear

Theirs is a musical marriage
Hollow notes and ricochets

A tickle of the ivories, they say
But who ever played their own

Such skeletal explanations multiply
As their symphony develops

How grateful are the moles and worms
Now they’ve taken it below


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Six Signs

Photo by Pelly Benassi on Unsplash
Photo by Pelly Benassi on Unsplash

The first sign came in the form of migrating crows. Not in the least bit odd, apart from the fact they don’t. They poured from the fields like a great Black Plague, out over the basalt cliffs and away.

The second sign was subtle: A grasshopper dead in the snow.

The third sign was less so. An earthquake hit the city, shaking every brick from its neighbour and every bottle from the fridge. I lost my milk in the event, which annoyed me greatly.

The fourth sign was as easy as breathing. The wind changed colour from nothing to lots. Crimson particles filled the air.

Sign five was my personal favourite. A dove flew over and sat upon my shoulder. There, the creature cooed for all it was worth, until I stroked its head. This seemed to settle my avian friend. Perhaps the crows sensed this.

Sign six, the final one, was given a name: The Return. The crows streamed back over the ocean like a black fog. They coagulated, poured down like an open vein, ignoring everybody except one, me. They pecked and cawed, scratched with sharpened talons, refused to stop. It woke me from my slumber, that which all else had not.

I awoke from my dream to the dove at my feet and a snowing of black feathers. I looked from one to the other and wept, for I was no longer bound by disdain. The wind, having returned to clarity, only emphasised my own crimson nature. The steadiness of the earth only served to highlight my volatile self. Mephistopheles had returned from his sojourn, and thanks to the six signs sent by my father, Death, would make sure the world knew. Well, everyone has to have something to do.

The End


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Cellist

Photo by Tanya Trofymchuk on Unsplash

The Cellist

There’s something about the cello that ruins the soul. It’s as if whoever first built one had fallen from grace, and in so doing, torn their heart from their chest and strung it from ear to toe. Before bleeding into the land, into history, into nothingness, they’d picked up a twig and begun to play. Death was not an option. Only a life of unending sorrow remained.


I recite this story to my secretary as I sit here and play. The notes rise and fall with her breaths. My fingers rest only when she blinks. I pour my everything into this most personal performance, not to impress, but to explain.


She smiles when I desperately wish her to weep.


Thank you for reading

Richard

Indelicate Descents

Photo by Ning Shi on Unsplash

Falling like feathers through each other’s mind,
this is our way, these delicate descents.
But not always.

Our hearts once rose like rocks, forced from Vesuvius by tectonic immensity.
As gold-plated angels, we ascended.
As false gods, we looked down on them all.

Sparks extinguish.
Lights go out.
Coatings tarnish.
Heights are made from which to fall.

I see her, feel her, think of her as a rainbow does the sky.
One without the other is pointless,
as only one gleams.

She sees me, hears me, thinks of me as a star does the endless night.
Such pinprick pomposity!
Blink and it’s gone.

We tumble like feathers in an indelicate descent.
We tumble.
Fall.

Another dream soured.


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

The Ghost of the Grey

Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

Indefinite, she rises
A sombre shade of grey
Melancholy by her movements
Spectral by the day
Licking at the sunset
She pokes the dawn away
This ghost is acting strangely
This ghost of Anna-May

A charcoal wash, her paintbrush
In gloaming, she will pray
To those willing to hear her
To listen to what she’ll say
For screaming’s not so fearsome
In a misting winter bay
Where she leads the dead from water
As they set their feet on clay

To fear her, is to see her
Unadulterated fay
She who walked amongst us
Now drifts here to betray
The ones who marked her passing
The ones who sparked foul play
But most of all once lovers
This man who writes to pay


Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed.

Solitary Lines

Courtesy Xoltan Taso Unsplash.com

Hours pass in endless judgements
Arguments of self
There is no winner
Can be no winner
Just the ticking from the shelf
Reminders from the mantle
Motioning of time
That I’m a sinner
Soul’s growing thinner
‘Cross this solitary line

Thank you for reading
Richard

Richard M. Ankers
Author of the brand new steampunk extravaganza Britannia Unleashed