Since the launch of my poetry collection I’ve been struggling to write much in the way of poetry, so I’ve picked up my sketch pad and pencils instead. The image above was actually from a poem idea that I’ve been swirling around for a few days. The hand is my own, and I used a photo of my hand holding an empty wine glass as well as the very usefully close by real thing (my hand that is) to reference where the fingers bent and how the palm creased in this position. I spent about two and half hours playing around before I decided that this was probably as good as it would get for now. Unlike in the past, I decided not to worry about erasing mistakes as soon as I made them. I misjudged the scale of the glass to start with and had to make it larger a couple of times, and adjust how the fingers were positioned. I left all the original lines in until I was confident that I’d got …
There’s a sense of her, an echo, in the curve of your mouth when you say certain things or see your father turn, his face so open and like your own but not enough of him in it to hide the sense of her, the echo ringing from your tongue.
The tavern was so quiet that Elias could hear the wind whispering through the gaps in the walls. When the serving girl brought him his drink he paid her with a whole silver, saw her eyes widen, and patted his coat pocket. ‘Keep ’em coming.’ She nodded and darted away. Apart from one table near the door, every seat was taken. Elias counted the mercenaries, almost all of them Roderick’s, their necks marked with his brand. The King had called the practice draconian, but that didn’t stop him hiring Roderick’s men when revolts broke out. That was why rebels had to hire Elias.
When finally the foot stuck in ‘was’ escapes the mud and plants itself in becoming there is a second of achievement, of fanfare flooding out yesterday’s shortcomings. Until ‘becoming’ equals ‘was’ due to the addition of the second and subtraction of the first. Already there is the pull of yet another step half taken already and calling.
Someone says ‘look how dark it is, how black’ to a sky mottled by streetlights almost navy blue with the singing of bulbs whistling away shadows, their footprints of fake dawn greying the corners of this bedroom so the only true night is behind lids of clamped tight eyes wishing I could say ‘looking how dark it is, look how black and thick this night sits now the hours have turned to quiet.
Each man’s home is his castle, so I made mine a fortress, my sitting room a keep, and a battlement of books to stand watch for invaders wielding words like realistic, while I was carving hope into a portcullis, certain these walls could hold.
How even when we whispered it there was someone shushing our small mouths with calloused fingers. Pressing the words back inside as if they were Ouranos horror struck but what we birthed in those terrible, unspeakable words. Filling our bellies with ideas we were not allowed to give life to. Until we burst from the ineffable and held it screaming before their faces. Made them look at what we’d made.
Another month gone, and another month beginning. As we move into November, it is time for a new prompt. This month I want you to think about the wonderful speculative fiction of authors such as Neil Gaiman, especially works such as Neverwhere. Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series is another that you could look to for this month’s prompt. Both of these writers take the modern, real word, and overlay the fantastical. Fantasy and reality woven together to create engaging stories that suck the reader in and have us wondering what really lurks in the shadows. The guidelines for those of you who are new are as follows: Speculative Fiction: a genre of fiction that encompasses works in which the setting is other than the real world, involving supernatural, futuristic, or other imagined elements. [Oxford Dictionary] Use the image below to write a story, poem, perhaps even a script. There are no rules about form or style. If you would like to create a piece of art in response that is also welcome. This prompt is about …
The house bursting and yet empty. This is a bareness of harvest or pestilence. Tilly put the book down when her Aunt asked what she was reading. She made an excuse and escaped through the kitchen. Hurried along the pockmarked lane. The keys were cold in her palm, which was odd, seeing as they had been hung by the Aga. When she climbed the gate she heard him muttering about townies always f’ing over good gates by not climbing over hinge end. The tractor won’t start at first, takes a little coaxing. Great Old Lady, done more than her fair share of things and would carry on longer than he would no doubt. She eased it into gear and checked the harrow out of the back window. He’d liked things finished, seen through to the end. Today was as good a day as any.
Stung between garden fences twilight coaxed you outside, to the square of wilding lawn uncut from summer’s end, the coils of wood smoke streaked with petrol rising above an evening glow of light behind closed panes as one by one they too flickered out.