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.

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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.

Another dream soured.

Thank you for reading

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

Solitary Lines

Courtesy Xoltan Taso

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

Snippets from a Lost Soul’s Diary

Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash
Photo by Emerson Peters on Unsplash

…and though the world fell all about like tarnished snowflakes shaved from an iron sky, I walked on. My father’s words rang through my ears in those moments, loud and true. How, when he’d lain there on his deathbed with nothing, having been nothing, having proven nothing, he’d still dared to influence my butterfly future. He’d pursed his lips together as though having eaten a lemon, his eyes squinting, and hissed, “Make do, son. It’s all you’re good for.” I’d closed his curtains and walked away. I never stopped.
…there was a truth in the recalled memory, but not my own. Mankind had made do and then panicked when realising themselves having stagnated. I, on the other hand, would never stagnate, for light always reaches the horizon, and then the next, and then another, until finally touching the shore. I would break upon hers, even if I walked through a thousand such chaotic nightmares. What other choice had I? That’s what lost souls were for.

Thank you for reading

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

The Blackbird Sings

Photo by Andrea Tummons on Unsplash

I wake. I weep. My blackbird alarm clock chirps all the louder, only adding to this hell. 

I dress. I fall. The belt I wrap twice about me fails to secure. Will I ever learn!

I eat. I drink. The race to the toilet is a mismatch, and I’m the loser. 

I dress… partly. For once, I use my head and don’t bother with pants. Take that fate! Yeah, take that.

I mow. I rake. Several women and a few giggling schoolgirls shout or point or scream or jeer.

I work. I slave. There’s always a distraction, but never a distraction enough. 

I avoid. I blur. My beat-up Volvo hovers on the periphery, catching the light in concave shadows and rusting browns. 

I vacate. I climb. The shower beckons a sweat-stealing pleasure. But I don’t deserve pleasure, so head to my room, instead. 

I undress. I collapse. My eyes close like shutters this evening, midnight filling the void. 

I dream. I scream. They are here, as always, unblemished by blood or glass or broken bones, or my drunken incompetence. 

I hope. I pray. Perhaps this time that blackbird named Death will let me die in peace. 

Chirrup! Chirrup! No release today. 

Thank you for reading

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

Of Words and Their Consequences

Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash
Photo by Trey Gibson on Unsplash

There was no particular difference in our styles. We wrote as we were, evil and worse. Yet, there were discrepancies. Some might have termed them oddities.

Kara had a propensity to exaggerate situations. I had an inclination to err. Only when our shared editor pointed this out did we ourselves notice.

It became a farce, our correcting each other. Soon after, it became more, each desperate to put the other right. Our editor said it didn’t matter. But it did.

I tore up all her notepads. She snapped my pencils in half. I flushed her ink down the toilet. Kara laced mine with something she ought not; she knew I sucked my pen whilst thinking.

I died on a Monday. Kara spoke at my funeral just three days later. I rose from my coffin and laughed when she said how good a husband I’d been. Our editor, now her editor, laughed too.

Kara self-published her book; it was under-appreciated by others and overrated by her. I read it over a person’s shoulder whilst haunting a toilet. Neither the manuscript nor the toilet was clean.

When Kara joined me in the afterlife, we joked about it. Our editor was now God. Neither of us liked what he had to say.

Thank you for reading

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

Another Dawn

Another Dawn by Richard M. Ankers

A thin veil of mist delays the dawn. The stars sense it, blazing a trillion semi-permanent goodbyes. Glitter applied to the night, a decorative destiny, the bats fly higher as the swallows awaken, but neither feels fulfilled. A familiar feeling, one I’ve known far too long.

I love these moments, these hints of the beyond. My own private purgatory without having to suffer the indignity of demise, I inhale the damp air, laugh as it laps at my lungs, imagine the soil above me. Somewhere, a barren soul remains as arid as ever.

The spiders have the right idea, hanging their nets to capture the moment. They toil in relentless circles, the dew doing nothing to dampen their spirits. If spiders have spirits, that is? I really ought to know.

A blood-red sun emerges like a sliced tomato atop a decaying salad. This distant giant pulses through the clouds, pours through the mists and fruits in tangerine as a dispelled dawn. My grey nowhere is gone.

I hide in the shadow of an ancient oak. Well, ancient compared to most, anyway. Here, where night’s shawl lingers in a cool kiss, I observe the sparkling gold between the leaves. Like drifting embers, I think. Like the world’s burning. But burning isn’t my job. Never has been. That’s for someone else entirely.

The first arrives later than usual after most people have had their coffees and lunch. She is followed by more, a steady procession of once life. I greet them with a sickle smile and a hollow hello. This is the best I can muster. I try, though. Really, I do.

The rest of the daylight hours are busy, bordering on suicidal. I manage them as I always have, with grim determination.

There is no respite at night, if anything, it’s worse. It’s like they await obsidian in the same way I do grey, intensifying their efforts at self-persecution, war, murder, capitulation. But who am I to judge, as that’s the job of another. Who am I? Yet, I do. This is what they’ve made me. Me! This is what I’ve become.

Dawn, and all is still. I breathe in every peaceful moment whilst the night dwellers tuck themselves in to sleep and the day roamers rub their eyes. I wish I could stay here forever, stood between the sun and the stars.

The tears pool in my amphitheatre caverns.

I am the one you all must meet. I am the darkness glimpsed through the mist. If you hear me, you’re elsewhere. If you see me, you’ve arrived. I will welcome you as best I can, but the truth is, I couldn’t care less.

Yours forever.

Thank you for reading