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 …
It takes 725,000 pounds per square inch to transform carbon to diamond. Pressure forces the atoms to crystallise which sounds fragile in truth, like spun sugar, beautiful, but soluble. Yet they hitchhike magma flows, erupt without warning land where they may. The sort of precious men kill for. Rough cut they are still priceless. Polished, they still remember being carbon.
So it started with a broken laptop. Or maybe it started with your brother, pointing you towards a target, that wasn’t me by any means, but I was somewhere on the other side of it. Or maybe it started with an offer made to my Grandfather, which he passed onto my mother and her new husband. Or maybe it started with a newspaper ad, Welshmen need not apply. Or maybe it started in Ireland, with a broken engagement and a ferry ticket. Or maybe we are so far from the start there is no point loosing myself on the path back to it. The sun rose again, and the weather changed its tune but that’s not the start.
She call them lollygagger, adjusted the folds of her scarf, let them watch her fingers trace the sweep of her collarbone like a wink but not an invitation. Clutched at the other hand with smaller, damp digits unsure eyes flickered from her to the jackal-backed boys circling their cigarettes, tongues dragging across their teeth. Nothing to be afraid of dear.
A few years ago I decided that I wasn’t going to bother making New Year’s resolutions anymore. The fact was that whatever I ‘resolved’ to do, I always ended up feeling like I’d failed by year end. So instead I set myself a number of goals that I wanted to achieve at some point in the year, and then periodically I would sit down and review my progress towards those goals. This year I had a few things that I really wanted to achieve, number one on that list was publishing my poetry collection ‘It’s All In The Blood’. The collection launched in November and is now available to purchase through Amazon, so I’m counting that as goal achieved. It’s even had it’s first review: Quietly powerful, heartbreaking and uplifting at the same time I’m quite chuffed with that as far as reviews go. My other main goal for the year was to complete my AAT exams, and on the 19th December I found out I’d achieved 87% on my Personal Tax exam which means …
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.