They hire him to take up gravestones in old cemetery grounds. Pay him by the hour, to tease out lichen lost names, note them, in neat, thin rows of records only his eyes will read, and murmur each syllable into the fresh split of dark soil before the groundsman comes with his sack of grass seed, already whistling to no one at all.
You have to swim here. Kick to keep afloat, and scoop the water into yourself, with arms winged either side of a weightless body. Dug out by the flow, a pool deepened by cascade. A bridge masked by track and concrete. This place is thick green almost jungle. Clear right to the sand, easy to pretend I know this place. Too well to be tricked. Safety in confidence I say. Water washes all clear away, but to where, and when, will it come to shore again? A prompt mash up tonight. Ending on a question for NaPoWriMo Day Two and ‘Cascade‘ for dVersePoetsPub poetics night.
Memories arrive like choke chains. That smell curled inside your nostrils that sort of seems like Christmas but you can’t remember why. It can be summer, sweat sliding into the creases behind your knees, shoulders tight, and prickled, where you know they’ve been caught because you left the house too soon without sunscreen of glasses to keep your forehead from crumpling into frown lines against the sun, blinking away the green dancers flashing into view when the lights dim. Even with the sound of children, crashing through the shallows and pedalos cutting through the lake, one smell can spring you into winter. Make you shudder and wish that the name you’re thinking of was a little closer than the tip of your tongue.
I’ve caught your words in my mouth once or twice since you’ve been gone. They fall like sugar, dissolving into conversation, stirred past, almost before I have time to notice that I said them instead of you. Even past death you voice lives on.
Dupe When I was told that for two years you squeezed your eyelids shut each time a sneeze scuttled upwards and threatened your sinuses, for fear of them bursting from their sockets, I hid my smile with two hands of guilt. I buried my bead of triumph. That lick of power burning like a forest fire in my lungs as laughter bubbled in its pot threatened to burst the lid, and show the world how much I loved, the idea that I had tricked you. So fully, so unintentionally well that even your best friend failed in convincing you it was a lie. We’re finally here and I’m practically bouncing off the walls with excitement. As with every other year that I’ve taken part, I took one look at the prompt this morning and went “pftt, I can’t write something for that,” and walked away from it. A few hours later the little seed that it left in my brain came up with half an idea and I managed to write a poem for it. …
Some nights I dream I’m back at school, stomach crawling up my throat while I wait for the hall to open its doors, and swallow me whole. I return to being terrified, to being her. I remember it too well, she’s not gone far. I love the quadrille night over at the DVerse Poets Pub. Tonight’s prompt for your 44 word poem is ‘dream’. Take it however you like so long as the word ‘dream’ or a derivative of it appears in the poem.
There is a door along a hill, set back into the stone with a small flight of stairs to reach it. When I was little I thought this door lead to a wonderland and when my Grandmother took me walking, my sister and I would make up stories about what could be found on the other side and how the magic would work to get us there. The Ram Steps were narrow and cut down into the rock face. In summer, when the trees were in full leaf, it felt like we were miles from anywhere, descending into dwarven ruins deep beneath the earth. Our secret stairway, hands pressed to the sides to keep our feet from slipping of lead mulch in the Autumn. In the Bluebell Wood we tracked the old carriage road and peered through the gaps in the hedge and past the Ha Ha into the gardens beyond. We collected conkers from the trees overhanging my Grandmother’s fields and I would imagine a time when great ladies in long dresses would have …
In the mornings we would bake. Scones, crust pastry fairy cakes. You’d whip round those edges, make them trim and leave the bits for leaves and berries from tiny fingertips. Chairs pushed against worktops one on either side, you showed us how to do this and that. … In the afternoons we shared apples. Jo and I sat together and you with that single strand peel turning always turning until it coiled around my childhood and tugged out an adult who will always miss you, pastries and apples. Julia ‘Ba’ Farr – 2 April 1915 – 17 November 2015
We parked up three exits pasts Memory Lane, you pushing keys on an old Nokia brick, waving it across my seat for signal while I sipped water, bottled and lukewarm. I didn’t say this was a waste, though it was of something. You- You and your chase for old conversations, old moments, an old haunt you forgot and then remembered. I stayed silent, sipping water and watching you wave. Written for Inspiration Call: Creative Talents Unleashed list three.
Bring them back out, all those memories gathered in darkened gaps. Those ones we brush past when hunting for knowledge or plucking out art, only to find again in another’s idle word.