Paradox. A poem.

I am me and me is the quantum of you and me and you and I

%$&#

HATE

This

World Earth Terra Planet People Society Civilisation Virtuality

So

Much.

BUT

I was me but I’m not sure who I am now maybe I’m not who I think I am

%$&#

LOVE

This

my World your World their World our World whose World no World

So

Much.

The Sale. Part 14.

My fingertips were worn from scraping constantly against the inner wall, tracing our way through the maze. The electric bulbs in the stone and earth ceiling flickered dimly and our shadows gently danced on the surrounding walls as we stumbled on.

My right shoulder lanced with pain every time I jarred it. Every thirty minutes or so Aisha would rip another piece of cloth from the bottom of her tie-dye dress, remove the old dressing and apply a new one to the wound where the bullet had passed through. Her face and arms were a mess of bruises and scratches from the fist fight with Crazy Junifer. Aisha held the knife she had taken from Junifer at the ready and I gripped my Maglite like a club; we were both a little twitchy. Occasionally, we would glance at how dirty, dishevelled and drained we were and laugh. What else could we do?

Finally we found another door. It was steel, much like the one on the lab/torture room, but unlike that one, had a regular handle and no lock. I leaned against the wall, breathing a sigh of relief.

“Ready?” I said. Aisha smiled grimly, nodded and took position beside me.

I pulled the door open. Beyond was a set of wooden stairs leading upwards. Aisha and I hugged and laughed. We took the stairs slowly, the slats creaking with each step. At the top was a conventional timber door with a standard doorknob.

Aisha opened it quietly and glanced into the hall beyond. “We’re back in the house,” she whispered. We exited into the unfamiliar hallway, lit by small glass chandeliers in the ceiling; the door we opened was in the middle of the corridor, with single doors at either end.

“Where to, now?” I said.

Aisha shrugged, gestured eeny-meeny-miny-moe, ending on the left door. I grinned. We tiptoed to the door, and Aisha opened it slowly.

It was the main hall that led to the lounge, kitchen and front reception, where all this had started.

And standing at the far end was Silas, still dressed in his lab coat, his snub-nosed revolver held at waist height. By his side, restrained with a chain Silas held firmly, was a huge, growling and salivating Doberman.

“We really have to stop meeting like this,” Silas said.

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here to read more.

So, What Is The Sale?

The Sale is an unplanned, multi-part short story I created to challenge myself as a writer. My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliffhanger, then work out how to solve the issue and continue the story.

Only you can tell me if it’s successful, or not. I hope you enjoy my little experiment.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Machiavelli. A poem.

You are my Machiavelli,
tug my strings until
I scream.

Your ceaseless manipulations
keep me dancing to
your whims.

While I smile and play along
as I always will,
it seems,

be my lonesome Machiavelli
and spend some time
with me.

A Poor Poet’s Cause

I’m putting together a book of poetry to self-publish, hopefully before Christmas. I’m working on whittling the two hundred plus poems I’ve written over the last nine months down to about fifty, as that’s the general size of most poetry books. The book will include some poems I’ve published on this site and new work not yet seen.

Why self-publishing? Whilst self-publishing your own novel can negatively impact your chances of getting signed to a publisher (unless you’re a particularly high selling self-published author a la E L James or Amanda Hocking), self-publishing a book of poetry should have no negative impact at all. But, why, I hear you say? Let’s face it, poetry, even when it does sell, generally only has small print runs. In other words, it’s probably not going to make or break your career unless you’ve already won a Pulitzer for poetry or something.

I know Amazon allows you to self-publish for free, but that means you’re restricted to the Kindle platform, and I want broader distribution on multiple platforms, so I’ll be going with either Bookbaby.com or ebookit.com. I just need to check out the reciprocal tax agreement between Australia and the US, to make sure I don’t get additional tax withheld by these American-based companies.

Because I’ve left this all a bit late (as usual), my book of poetry may not see the (blue) light until early next year. Either way, at least it’ll be out there at a low and reasonable price, available to all.

I’ll keep you up to date on how it’s progressing. I hope that you will support this poor poet on his journey to further obscurity.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Abraxas. A poem.

Abraxas, find me
sullen and
scathed.

Take thy mighty vengeance
and bury my
soul
with all the rest,
deep below whence it
won’t be
found.
And bellow my name
from your golden walls,
cast my pain in chromium steel
upon pilaster
seeds.

Curse me forevermore.
And here I will
sleep
In misery.

Pain. A poem.

Pain is my best friend.
He lurks in fibre and ligament,
playing hide and seek
amongst time-worn bones
and weary blood.

He enters my thoughts
and hopscotches through my brain,
tugging on discontent
and dreams better left alone.

He wanders through
my cells, arteries, and veins,
grasping at the walls of my heart
in a gentle bear hug of regret.

He is the one friend
who will never leave.
Eventually, he will set the table
and dine upon the last of me.

Haiku Friday. ‘Renewal’, a haiku trilogy.

Renewal. A haiku trilogy

1. Passage
Please, grant me passage
that this testament should see
another sunset.

2. Buried
And here I lie, buried
underground. A cadaver
for your amusement.

3. Daybreak
I will claw my way
back from this intransigence
to taste the daybreak.

.

Haiku, I love you.
Let me count the syllables.
Five-seven-five. Mmmmmm…

See what I did there?

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Bliss. A poem.

Today, she gave me bliss.
I was confounded but content,
my feet mired in tar, holding me firm.
My mouth unfrozen this time,
heart quickened but not expired.

Conversation played across a court;
a sporting event, a contest of champions.
I would send the ball, she would receive
returning service like a tennis pro.
So perfectly matched,
like two people moulded
from the same supple clay
of our sculptor’s eloquent fancy.

How can such beauty be real?
Does it only exist to haunt
my dreaming and waking hours?
I wanted to profess to her ghost
my wants and needs,
how I missed these opportunities,
these games of hope and fear.

No matter how much I deny,
she is the apple to which I aspire
Heaven’s gate and Eden,
all as one, combined.

Cel. A poem.

Each day in this cell
passes like a film cel,
a moment captured in acetate,
rinsed and repeated,
on perpetual loop.

The subtle changes in aspect
of each textured frame,
a motion blur of constituent parts,
every event a cinch mark.

If only we could edit our dailies,
to make sense of the narrative,
to remove the chaff that haunts
like a dime-store critic
in the background of every shot.

The emulsion soon grows thin,
the script is pure melodrama
and the cues are overly-theatrical.
It can’t be saved in post-production.

This life, winding in 35mm,
fed through perfs before the gate
until the spool finally hits the floor.

The end. Curtains.

Finish Line. A poem.

Down again, in November showers
that wash the sin from my crown.
Out walking my black dog in the rain,
skirting hills and wither deep.

Just another day in here,

Under my skin
Under the hood

Where the engine strains and groans
as it drags my weary chassis
to the finish line.
Where I’m content to lose again,
to choose again.

And choose life this time.
Even with its witless overtures
and empty virtue,
it holds the one thing
that burns like fire
and wakes me from my bitter sleep.

The Search for Everything. An album review.

Being a poor student I don’t often buy new CDs (how times have changed—in my previous middle class existence I would buy two albums a week). Being a guitar player I (sometimes) gravitate to guitar-oriented music. Such is the case with John Mayer’s newest album, The Search for Everything. (I’m going to refrain from commenting on Mr Mayer’s purportedly douchey private life. He’s a great guitarist and song writer and I admire him for those things, rather than his tabloid exploits.)

After a few country-tinged albums, Mayer has returned to his blues-funk roots. The twelve songs showcased here are sad and remorse-filled tales of heartbreak, love, drunkenness and loneliness (hmmmm, my four favourite things, it seems). The lyrics, like most of Mayer’s other work, reflect a deep personal melancholy that obviously strike a chord with me.

Still Feel Like Your Man is the funkiest and best cut, and had me grooving out and marvelling at Mayer’s tasty and ample riff work. Other faves included the punchy Helpless, the tasty instrumental title track, funk-filled Moving On and Getting Over and poignant piano strains of You’re Gonna Live Forever In Me.

Mayer’s singing and playing is top notch throughout, and as usual he surrounds himself with top musos to back him up, including regulars Steve Jordan on drums and Pino Palladino on bass.

I know Mayer is not the mega-selling artist he used to be, but The Search for Everything demonstrates aptly that he is still an amazing song writer and musician, who struggles with his personal demons. Just like the rest of us.

Heartily recommended.

All Because Of You. A poem.

That overbearing, all pervasive
dark matter,

the swollen river that floods my
heart and breaks my banks,
chokes my throat and pierces my
brain stem, that sticks it’s bamboo
needles under mental fingernails, creates
tattered meat from perilous fortune, twists
my will until my spine shatters like crystal
and leaves me

a pointless fool.

All because
of you.

Two John Green Books. A review.

I recently read two John Green books, Paper Towns and Turtles All The Way Down. For those of you who don’t know, Green is a top-selling writer of literate young adult (YA) novels with a flair for smart, sassy characters and quirky humour.

Paper Towns features straight-laced Quentin Jacobsen (Q), who has lived most of his teenaged life next door to the high spirited and unreachable wild child Margo Roth Spiegelman. When they were nine they discovered a dead body, and although they run in different social circles now, they share a bond over that event. Margo decides to let Q to be her driver on an amazing night of payback, then promptly disappears. Whilst her parents are unconcerned, Q and his friends follow a trail of deliberate clues (including a Walt Whitman poem) attempting to find out what happened to Margo.

Paper Towns is a fast-paced mystery and road trip that touches on the reality and unreality of suburban life, the facade of personality and the lengths people go to find their real selves.

Turtles All The Way Down is Green’s latest novel. It features terminally anxious Aza and overwhelmingly exuberant Star Wars fan fic writer Daisy as two teens who decide to pursue a missing businessman on the run from police, in the hope of claiming the reward. Aza used to be friends with the businessman’s son, Davis, and reuniting with him ignites a love complicated by her anxiety issues.

Turtles All The Way Down is about friendship, loyalty, first love, the incredible difficulty of living with mental illness and coming to terms with profound loss.

Green’s books are always humorous, well written and paced. He’s a smart writer, utilising his precocious teen characters to tell love stories with deeper meanings than most average YA lit. Often (at least in the three novels I’ve read so far) his leads tend to be very similar—unusually smart, funny, quirky, well-read middle class teens with a significant issue and loving parent/s—but his stories are so engaging I can overlook it.

I love that Green’s books are short. I can knock them over quickly in between uni texts and other, more weighty tomes. He is not an ‘overwriter’ (yes, Stephen King—I love your writing but your books can drag at times) by any means.

I have another couple of Green’s books on order. I guess that makes me a fan.

Haiku Friday. ‘Lost Muse’. A haiku trilogy.

Lost Muse. A haiku trilogy

1. Purpose
When it takes its leave.
Gone: the purpose, the will and
the testimony.

2. Black
Where do we exist,
now that the sun is dimmed,
fallow and so spent.

3. Steps
What I would give to
hold her hand. Another step
beyond this despair.

My love for the 5/7/5-syllable majesty of Japanese haikus will never dim. As will my longing for my muse, no matter how hard I try to extinguish it.

Steve 🙂

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