Crossed knives are a bad omen in the same way loose chords are an asking moment. Finger to an open flame flesh against a bared blade, split second decisions for splitting. I should not taste the nail head, should not press my tongue to the buckle of its pockmarked tooth, see if there is any bite left in the iron, if it will be the last one in a row. Six feet seems like such a long way to tumble. I would look like a marionette with my tangle of strings about my throat. Heart skittering like a humming bird still trapped inside its cage.
Is there a quota for mercy? Do they give it to the younger angels, take their hands on clear mornings, and steer them to the edges of clouds where they can peer over the banks into the depths of blue beneath. All our little prayers bubbling up to be popped by small celestial palms crumb dusted from the mercy their mothers have parcelled out so they can toss it to the mortals below. And do some of us know the places to stand on those clear mornings where the young ones chatter and rustle their down like tissue. Which ones crumble mercy to dust so it falls evenly and ripples far, the others who wodge their palms into pebbles that punch through but settle far too soon. Who’s voice calls them home. Mary Mother of God have mercy, mercy on us all Vertigo & Ghosts by Fiona Benson
Tonight beasts broke loose and rose up roaring, their bright comet backs bleeding light from spectating stars trembling between each other, thankful for the distance. Close at hand we drew curtains, played peekaboo with things we’d thought buried. Only real if we see them.
‘The council started turning the light off after twelve,’ she tells me, head tipped back as she squints towards the spot above us where a bulb should be blazing. The dark means we can’t see chewing gum stuck to the pavement beneath us, or worse the dog shit stains clinging to the concrete slabs. She’s continues staring upwards, but tips her head to the leg slightly, angling herself my way. ‘He’s dating again. Met her at the village green when he went to try his hand at bowls. He’s crap, but on Wednesdays she’s always there to make him a cup of tea and sneak him a bourbon from the club tin.’ The street light splutters into life and we both frown. ‘Strange…’ she hums. ‘I was sure the papers said… oh well never mind.’ She drops her head and her neat, grey perm stays exactly as it should. ‘Are you busy these days?’ ‘Busy?’ I repeat. I think about it for a moment, then shrug. ‘I suppose I’m busier than I was, but I’ve …
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 being artistic and creative in whatever way suits you best. Please keep entries PG as this is open to all. (i.e no erotica) The prompt is open from the first of the month to the end of the month. Use pingbacks to link up to the prompt or leave a link in the comments section. Whichever you prefer. I try to at least read every entry in the prompt and I’d love to encourage anyone taking part to try and check some of the other entries if they can. As always, re-tweets, re-blogs, and …
One of the men lifted his head and looked at me as we sloped past the ash fields, and rows of toilers like grey bamboo canes if bamboo was stooped and bent with brittle hands knuckle white against the plastic handled hoes. Her hands, smaller, firmer, sure, came down on my shoulders shadowed his face with fear. An explanation in a classroom pretending it isn’t an excuse claims to be progress, claims to be a new world built on the broken bones of the last. Mothers scream during childbirth. There is blood and pain and sometimes death. We are lucky we are not all toiling. If the old world had their way who knows what would have happened? We are smarter these days we can laugh at the facts that shattered when the world changed. Who know what will happen at the next night rise.
A moment stretched is still a moment. Curled into the afterglow we looked relaxed, yet I felt your hands clawed in the fabric, prepared to tear the seconds from an hour, as if they might be worth more alone than part of a whole.
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.
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.