Blank Canvas

The cement is fresh, clean and thick,
You can leave drifting prints,
Feet, hands and any passing,
Implement–
Writ large, or small,
Poignant or plain,
Beautiful or tragic,
Abstract or visceral.

You could tap-dance to Shakespearean sonnets,
Illustrate the hypocrisy of a binary system,
Carve a caveman’s treatise,
Sketch barn owls’ eyes,
Smear jaunty barbs,
Or daub thoughts from the inside
Of your brain.

Stand too long in this,
This clean piece,
This fresh start,
This promise,
Becomes an anchor
As you sink,
With every passing thought:
Of what could have been,
What marks you should have made,
What better thoughts some other would have had,

On and on,
You scrawl through every reason this could be a pitfall,
While you sink right through,
Leaving nothing behind.

It all having been in your mind.

 

words

discarded metal unloaded
clangs
to
the
ground.
Bullets from a smoking tongue,
Heavy in the air.
People listen-
Hear them clatter,
Spent –
The hordes don’t scatter;
But feel and inhale the reverberated spatter.

They take heed;
Spit them at a pulpit,
Hurl them on a pyre.
Black them out,
Glorify their ire.
Make them creed and council,
Scratch them through,
Take them as an affront.
Slap them together for a kidnapper’s stew.

Yet the weight of your hate never comes back to you.

It builds and flows,
Cross comment currents that scream,
That whistle through the wind,
Screech;
Whine and moan.
Till they become:
The only conversation known.
Again and again.
The storm inhales them,
Turbo-charged fuel for “collateral”
Damage.

You stand in the eye of it all,
Golden,
Your views strewn.
Lies or truth,
Facts or falsehoods,
Matters little.
Power backs your endorsements.
Blockades reality.
Screens or Foxholes:
You have an audience.

The tornado carries the believers,
Lifting them buoyant as they bludgeon,
One leg dangling free;
At any point,
A sentence can plunge them into the sea.

While you stand golden,
In the centre of –
A three-mile island.
With your smoking tongue,
Never tied,
Ready to spit bullets-
And lies.

Out of Sight

When you’re down, you’re down,
When you’re out, you’re out,
Out of sight.

When you’re beaten, you’re beat,
When you’re bludgeoned, you’re bloody,
and down,
Down.

When you’re down, you’re down,
When you’re out, you’re out,
– Out of mind.

Down and out.

But you bleed,
like train tracks,

Running,

Down, down
Down and down
Down and out
Under and under
Further and further

Out of sight.

Till the dams burst
Till it ruptures
And the crash comes.

And the world above sees you
surface, for a second.

Glittering,

In sweaty, blood-speckled, tear-
stained flesh.

For a glimmer.

They see.

Will they see you tomorrow?
Will they still sweep you under-

The rug

Where all those others lie

Festering.

Running,
Like train tracks,

Down and down,

Out of Sight.

 

Strong and Stable she tells me

Strong and stable she tells me.

Oh really I say, that sounds nice.

Strong and stable she tells me.

Interesting, I say.

Strong and stable she tells me.

Not very specific though, you know what I mean?

Strong and stable she tells me.

Like are you saying ‘strong’ in terms of defence and ‘stable’ in terms of horses?

Horses aren’t part of policy.

Although fox-hunting is. Does it refer to looking for a manger, you know that parable about the Christian saviour?

Overt religious affiliations aren’t part of policy.

I don’t think Boris would have been let in anyway. So, no room at any inn whatsoever then? (To be honest I can’t imagine Lenny’s a fan.) Could stable refer to our economy?

Strong and stable and exactly the way we’ve been doing things for the last 7 years.

So, stable means that we continue to grind people into the ground till there’s no joy, and we cut all the fat from the ‘back-office’ and the ‘waste’ that we don’t have, so that we can create greater problems in the long-run in policing, healthcare, housing, prisons, education and people’s wellbeing?

Strong and stable she tells me.

Does the strong refer to iron grip, like you have on your ministers and the press?

No comment.

Could it refer to your ‘Brexit’?

Strong and stable she tells me, not soft and poached.

A hard-boiled Brexit. Are you referring to some sort of Raymond Chandler novel that I’m not familiar with? Or are we actually discussing breakfast? (I’m very confused.)

Brexit means Brexit.

Right, Britain’s exit from the EU, which we have established is going ahead, we’re wondering more how you’re going to negotiate that and what it will involve…

A red, white and blue Brexit.

Ah so it’s going to be French then. That does make sense.

 

Alchemist: Fingerprints (Part Three)

He holds the card in his hand, while she hadn’t dared. She left it where it landed, as if tampering with it might illicit some complex chain of events, or leave fingerprints.

His are now all over it.

Behind them she spies the piece of bread, peppered with Hara’s blood.

He hadn’t thrown the bread across the room, or screamed at her so close spit flecks hit her face. He hadn’t grasped her wrist and twisted her to a kneeling position on the floor.

Instead he had swatted it to the ground.

She dislikes the waste of it, and something in her boils at the sight of bread on the floor, it’s more than wasteful, it’s a superstition, she’s sure.

She can see how he can be easily wound, like clockwork. She still held the knife.

He flips the card over, there’s no further information on the back.

“Who do you think it’s from?”

“I didn’t think anyone knew I was here.”

He smirks, “You’re kidding?”

She’s not kidding. The two of them stew in their own little worlds for a moment.

Hara confused by the woman he thought he knew, who he thought he shared common knowledge with, who he thought knew him.

He pulls the card up and put it in her eyeline, she glances at it carelessly.

He stands transfixed, and repeats the action as if he’s swiping something across a self-service checkout, and the barcode won’t ring up. He stares deep into his eyes, like a doctor might, to indicate the seriousness of their revelation, and to see if there’s anything there to stare back at them with understanding.

She blinks and draws herself back, her eyes dry. The knife is still in her hands, which are almost wooden; deaden. Hara’s no longer in her sightline. The card is back beside the mat on the floor, she takes a great shudder of breath, and realises she hadn’t been breathing.

She’d been paused.

“It’s some sort of cloaking device.” Hara calls from behind her.

He’s munching a sandwich, the silent observer, where she once had been.

“You stood there for a minute, maybe longer. Without moving, your breathing slowed, your heart-rate slowed, and you didn’t blink.”

He rubs his temple as if he’s scrolling through a series of images, which she realises he is. There’s a swirl of memory that takes over.

She’s in another place, a dilapidated building in another country, her mind is soaked in detail, a floorplan of the room pings direct to her eye, spreading out green in front of her. Voices whisper and distil within her cortex, filtering into key information, a target. She’s to go left, then right, then meet the man who she can hear in her mind, but first she needs to remember the code word.

She taps her temple, and rewinds through the bloody memories, to the man yelping in front of her.

“The Alchemist.”