Artifice of Love. A poem.

I wish she would read
this artifice of love
and know my asinine attempt
to swim to her waters
‘festina lente’,
my yearning to sweep
her off her feet
and cushion her
with desirous imposition,
is meant solely
to glorify her absolute
magnificence.

Perhaps, one day,
my muse of truth
will read and understand
that everything I write
is for her alone,
and that my need to
rest in her arms
is beyond all measure.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy, click here.

Leibster and Versatile Blogger Award Noms—thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks so much to Follypen, who nominated me for both the Leibster and Versatile Blogger awards.

You can find Follypen’s wonderful site at this link: https://follypen.wordpress.com/

I’m gonna cheat a bit (as I sometimes do with Award-thingies) and refer you to a previous nomination of mine for some faintly amusing Leibster award answers and questions:

Some Leibster Award Goodness: I’d like to thank the academy…

I’m going to cheat AGAIN and direct you to some of my previous posts for Versatile Blogger Award nominations for some not-quite-so-controversial and possibly-funny-but-who-am-I-to-judge questions and answers:

Versatile Blogger Award Nomination – Woo hoo! Cheers and thank you 😊

Versatile Blogger Award 2 – Thanks muchly!!

And if you don’t want to read humorous stuff, how about some of my depressing poetry instead:

Steve’s angst-filled and depressing poetry (isn’t it about time he got a life?) 

Thanks again, Follypen! I know this is not the best response but I’m so time poor at the moment that this is all I could do (excuses, excuses!)

Cheers

Steve 😊

Indifference. A poem.

Every indifferent look
is broken glass,
slicing my already
severed heart.

Your indifference,
(bricks laid by me),
is the wall separating
our dual Berlins.

Your indifference
is the pendulum
that crushes me whole:
nothing left
and nothing right.

Every indifferent look
leaves me lost inside
and needing so much
more in life.

The All or the Nothing is my first e-book of poetry. To find out how to buy a copy, click here.

Swim. A poem.

Dewdrops on my skin
as I rise from your embrace.
Your satin caress beckons
and I return to your verge.
Each twist and turn I take
moves me closer to apogee,
whence all efforts expire.
Here within your tidal girth,
I float in liquid suggestion.
Here amongst deliquescing salt,
I make my mark and plough you deep,
from here until eternity’s siren call.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Wrecked. A poem.

My gallants and topsails,
tattered, torn and twisted;
shrouding the devastated deck
like grasping lichen on a forest floor.

My ship creaks and moans,
weary and spent from the storm;
a mass of broken timbers,
of shredded hopes forlorn.

The watery maelstrom pulls be down,
slaking this unholy, melancholy thirst,
grasping my hull solemnly
in an abattoir grip; a grating death rattle.

In the dank, dark green encircling below,
where dead men tell timeless tales of woe,
my ship will join my vacant hope,
upon the coral, where loneliness is sowed.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Anvil. Part 11.

The Anvil struggles groggily to her feet. The room is silent. “What did I miss?” she says.

Lady Chao and Granny Chun are still kissing.

“Somebody want to fill me in on this development?” says the Anvil. Violet runs over to her and grabs her leg protectively. Sarain’s EMPG is at the Anvil’s head again. “No fancy moves,” says the oversized mercenary.

Chao and Chun separate. Chao blushes and steps back, realising the entire throne room is watching. “Of course, it’s good to see you, too,” says Chun with a wink.

Chao straightens her sleeves. “I knew you were at the District 7 tower,” she says. “We’ve been keeping tabs on you and Bester’s daughter since you arrived a few weeks ago.”

Chun smiles. “Of course, you didn’t drop in for a visit?”

Chao’s demeanour is fashioned in stone. “I’ve been very busy.” She steps back to the throne and sits. “Place the armature, the midget and the girl in separate holding cells. I will interrogate Chun.” A number of wry smiles around the room immediately disappear under Chao’s sullen stare.

Jayle winks at Johnston and whispers “I’m sure that will be a long discussion,” emphasising ‘long’.

Big Jimmy crosses his arms. “I’m not a midget,” he says. “I’m shorter than average.”

***

The powered manacles on the Anvil’s hands and feet match her glowing neck brace. The gentle hum of control atrophiers are a constant reminder that while held here she is unable to activate her strength, weapons or regenerative capabilities. It doesn’t prevent her assessing the cell’s capabilities and weak points, however. After a few minutes she gives up: it’s obvious she’s stuck here with no way out.

The cell is small—each wall five feet long and eight feet tall—with a steel bench and toilet on one side. The door across from the bench is a seamless part of the wall, with the exception of a tiny transmetal window at head height. The cell is completely sound proof.

The Anvil thinks about her predicament. She has a burning need to get Violet to safety. But how? She is frustrated not only with her inability to carry out the task, but with the infuriating lack of memories to go with it. Aside from the few visions she had earlier, no fresh recollections about her daughter have come forth. She’s still not sure how she feels about the child.

Was Angelique Bester a doting mother? Or was she just married to Bester for the money? No matter how much she tries, the memories remain locked away like diamonds in a security vault. Locked away, much like the Anvil is now.

***

Big Jimmy paces left and right in his spartan cell, muttering to himself. “Never should have agreed to take them out in the Clarissa,” he says. “Knew all that money was too good to be true.”

Every once in a while he feels for his magnum, but it’s not resting on his hip where it usually is. “This will look nice on my wall,” he says, mimicking Jayle’s higher pitch. “When I get out of here I’ll show you where it’ll fit nice, sister.”

***

Violet sits on her bench, nursing her teddy and sucking her thumb. She’s not sure why she’s here, or where the Anvil and Granny Chun have gone, but she’s sure they will return for her soon. She lays down and goes to sleep.

***

Olsin checks the tiny cell window to see the little girl asleep on the bench. She shakes her head. “I don’t get how that kid is so calm,” she says, glancing at Hanx, the other guard. “If I was that young, I’d be freaking out right now.” Olsen runs her fingers along a long facial scar, then through her blonde tresses, and rebalances her carbine in her other hand.

Hanx, a tall wiry fellow with a shaved head and silver eyes, leans against the wall, smoking an e-cig. “Forget it,” he says. “That’s not your problem. No way either of them is getting out of here. Just relax.” He inhales the e-cig, exhales a plume of nothingness. “Be thankful you weren’t on the fireteam that got funked going after these guys.”

***

The rooms of Chao’s secure quarters are huge, lavishly adorned in a mishmash of Chinese, Japanese and Korean stylings, taking up an entire level of the building. There are no windows—peaceful holographic visuals from a forest with Japan’s Mount Fuji in the background are projected just above the surface of the surrounding walls.

“Of course, I have to ask,” says Chun, cradling a cup of shoujiu in one hand as she reclines in a hovering portachair. “What do you intend to do with the Anvil and Violet? Oh, and Jimmy, of course?”

Chao downs her cup and places it on a hovering tray. It fills, as if by magic, via a very expensive subluminal nutriment processor, invisible to the naked eye. “You’re not really in a position to ask, Chun.” Chao drinks from her refilled cup. “But if you must know, I intend to negotiate with Bester regarding the girl.”

“Of course. The others?”

“The armature can be rebirthed. It’s an expensive piece of hardware that shouldn’t go to waste. As to the little fellow, he can join my organisation or a death match. I don’t really care one way or the other.”

“Of course, very generous of you.”

There is a long and uncomfortable silence that follows. Chao sits in another portachair opposite Chun, crossing her legs and fingering her cup aimlessly. Chun keeps her eyes on her captor.

“Why did you leave?” Chao’s voice has softened, almost a whisper.

Chun leans forward, smiling whistfully. Her face is a mass of lines and memories, each crease a dedication of years. “Of course, you know why, Chao. You were focussed on your business interests. I was focussed on myself.”

“So, you became a nanny to the stars.”

“Of course, as good a job as any. Believe you me, being a nanny for hire for overbearingly pompous rich people can be pretty stressful.”

Another pregnant pause. “We could have had children.”

Chun sighs. “I don’t believe that it would be ideal to raise children in this…environment.”

Chao stands, all business again. She places her cup on the hovering tray. “And I suppose dragging a child through the waveruins and out to sea was ideal.”

Chao rolls her eyes. “Lady Chao, I appreciate the drink, but I think that perhaps our business is at an end.”

Chao scowls. “I agree.”

Four armoured guards stride into the room and take position around Chun’s portachair. “Of course,” she says. “You always were very efficient.”

***

Shi-Cho flexes his new fingers. He can feel the power cascading through his limbs and body. He still looks human, but the fiery plasma and enhanced cyberaugs below the surface make him much more.

“The prototype M-series armature,” says a miniature holographic Bester, projected from the console of Shi-Cho’s interceptor. “Easy to acquire since I own the company. I won’t bore you with the specs. No doubt you’re absorbing them now.”

Shi-Cho’s eyes glow momentarily as the inlink feeds data directly to his synapses. “Now this is more like it,” he says.

“Good dog,” says Bester. “Now go and get my Violet back.”

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

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

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Ghostly. A poem.

Am I a ghost to you,
incorporeal as mist,
drifting on the fulsome breeze,
far beyond your view?

What would it take
to anneal this brume,
a somatic conversion
to make me real?

Your fugue is my grave;
Here I will linger on
until I fade completely
from your uncaring heart.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Stuffing. A poem.

The stuff of yearning dreams
and wanton, empty years,
stuffed to the seams,
stuffed with regret.

How much more stuffing
could this vagrant heart beget,
stuffed full to bursting,
stuffed with loneliness.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Haiku Friday. ‘Cold’, a haiku trilogy.

‘Cold’, a haiku trilogy.

1. Cold
It’s so cold in here.
Icicles within your stare
doth make me shiver.

2. Distant
To cross this tundra,
where wind, snow and ice, doth reign.
Find a way to you.

3. Frozen
Frozen statue, me.
Fear hath made me what I am.
Fear won’t let me go.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Paranoid. A poem.

Are you
looking
at me?

Stop looking at me!
So many people, I see.

All
looking
at
me.

Who do you think you see?
Who are you to judge me?
Why won’t you let me be?

Just stop!
Just stop
looking
at me.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Ready Player One. A movie review.

You know how spoilers spoil movies? Well, there are none here to spoil stuff. Just thought you’d like to know.

Ready Player One is the Steven Spielberg-directed movie based on Ernest Cline’s best-selling novel of the same name. I have the book but haven’t read it yet (it’s on my ever-growing list).

Wade Watts lives in overcrowded and destitute Columbus, Ohio, in 2045. Like most people alive in the future, he escapes day-to-day life to live in the Oasis, a limitless virtual world created by James Halliday. Before Halliday died, he created an Easter Egg to give control of the Oasis to anyone who finds it—or rather, finds three keys. Naturally everyone wants control of the Oasis, including the dastardly IOI corporation, who wants to monetize it. Yeah, it’s Willy Wonka for the 21st century.

Ready Player One Movie

Ready Player One is a glorious CGI, video gaming and 1980’s pop culture fest. Every scene in the Oasis is packed full of characters (Batman! The Iron Giant! Gears of War! Halo! Wonder Woman! TMNT! Gundam! To name a few) and 80’s references (Atari! Dungeons and Dragons! Back to the Future! Star Wars! Just a couple) that you may miss the first time around (my son wants to buy the blu-ray later so he can freeze frame each scene like the nerdy gamer he is). Most of the movie is set in the Oasis, with about a third of it in the real world.

The special effects are fantastic, the music by Alan Silvestri is wonderfully complementary to the movies and characters referenced, and Spielberg shows he hasn’t lost any of his flair for direction in his old age. Some of the secondary characters are a bit two-dimensional, but I find most visual effects-heavy movies tend to overshadow character development.

If you’re a gamer you will geek out over Ready Player One. If you’re an 80’s pop culture nerd you will love the nostalgia. If you like a good teen-based action adventure, you’ll enjoy it. I had a great time with this movie, and my 20-year old son loved it more than I did. Check it out.

Rating: B+       

It’s a mystery why I’m nominated, but I gratefully accept!

Trudy K at Pinching Words has nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. Thanks so much, Trudy! As usual I ‘m always a bit flabbergasted at why I get nominated; equally happy and bemused. That’s not to say I don’t appreciate it—I do!

As to this award, there’s some indicia I have to list:

The Mystery Bloggers Award

It’s an award given to amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates, it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging and they do it with much love and passion.

Okoto Enigma

I didn’t write this. I’m feeling a bit embarrassed right now. But thanks for the kind words, Okoto, and thanks for thinking about my blog, Trudy!

The Rules (with my responses in italics):

  • Put the award logo/image in your post

That fancy, flashy logo is adorning my post above!

  • List the rules

Hey, they’re right here!

  • Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog

Thanks Trudy! Trudy has a wonderful blog of poetry and writing, please check it out at https://trudykblog.wordpress.com/.

  • Tell your readers three things about yourself

I’m going to cheat a bit on this one. I did another award post a few days back where I listed stuff about myself. So, here’s a link to that one.

  • Nominate 10-20 bloggers you feel deserve the award

I listed a bunch the other day, so I’m gonna cheat and refer you to the earlier list.  

  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

So much work in these award things!

  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice with one weird or one funny

Sorry, I only ever do weird in award posts. My questions to my nominees:

  • If you could make a meme about yourself, what would it be? Would it be funny or straight-laced? Do you think it would go viral? Well, you’ve got dibs on yourself, haven’t you?
  • Now that your meme is out there clogging up the internet, it gets stolen and used for evil purposes! Bwah-ha-ha-ha! What do you do? Steal an experimental superjet and track down the villains who did this? Shake your fist at your computer screen and vow vengeance? Write your own personal virus to destroy the internet so no one can use your meme for evil ever again? Well that’s a bit selfish.
  • Zombies have broken into your house. Do you defend or sacrifice your housemates? If you don’t share with anyone I’m afraid you’re the main course. Sorry.  
  • One of the Zombies has a T-shirt with your personal meme printed on it. You know for sure you never received any royalties for that. Do you tear it off the zombie, pin it to the wall and question it about where it got the T-shirt? Or do you sit in your room in a huff, refusing to let the zombie in?
  • It turns out the zombies are actually your friends after a big night out (yeah, hangovers can be killers—see my fancy double meaning there?). Do you kick them out after scaring you to death? Realise that one of your friends is the evil anarchist who stole your meme and question them all like Poirot or Holmes? Kill them all, just to be safe? Hey, I never said you liked your friends. One of them is an evil supervillain who stole from you, after all.

My answers to Trudy K’s questions:

  1. Which song gets under your skin?

That would have to be Cole Porter’s I got you under my skin. Just to be literal. I actually play this song when I busk and gig. Yep, for real.  

  1. A leadership style which describes you best is?

At the moment I have no staff, so I’d say laissez-faire (yes, it’s a legitimate management style). When I was an actual manager I believed in empowering my staff (and still do) and was consultative. With a little bit of autocratic thrown in for good measure (because if you’re the boss, why not).   

  1. Blogging for life?

Damn straight I will! I currently have little else to do in my sad and misbegotten world.

  1. Do you believe in God?

Damn straight I do! The Big Guy Upstairs and I are Sympatico. We’ve got this bromance thing going on. He’s got this cool book. I read it and was hooked.

  1. Shopping or the beach? Why?

BOTH! Beach when I’m broke (which is most of the time, nowadays) and shopping when I’m not (so, not a lot of shopping nowadays). Ah, the heady life of an amateur poet/writer. It just gets better and better.

Thanks again Trudy K!

Cheers

Steve 😊

The Timely Fool. A poem.

Long years of suffering,
so tinged with hope and fear.
I have watched you from afar,
but outstayed my welcome, here.
Now, your door has shut so tight
and my path to you is blocked.
Now, I’m back to wandering,
to the relentless ticks of clocks.

I wish that you could sight me, here,
from your tower, oh so tall.
But I am just a speck to you,
a distant, lonely thrall.
As I wonder through this wilderness,
my thoughts belong to you,
and as days turn into nights, adieu,
I’m your lost and timely fool.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Anvil. Part 10.

Lady Chao’s headquarters is just as ruinous as the other buildings surrounding it. Rusted metal supports play peek-a-boo through holey concrete walls. The lower levels are salt-sutured steel and raggedy plate glass. Only the top four levels are decently attired: various rooftop antennas, dishes and hangars; multiple gun emplacement bubbles poking through garish red panelling; open flight bays punctuating the walls with intent.

Kanji manoeuvres the interceptor into one of the flight bays and settles the jet down on its landing gear. The side door whooshes open and cluttered bodies pile out, Sarain still restraining the Anvil and Jayle dragging Chun and Jimmy’s unconscious frames. Johnston acknowledges several heavily armed guards, their neurolytic tasers and plasmafeed gunnery directed at the armature, Sarain’s EMG to its skull and her massive arm around its chest. Kanji exits last, pats the jet’s side affectionately and lights up a cigar.

The party makes its way from the hangar through a jumble of sleek, shiny corridors. The inside of the building is much better appointed and armoured than the externals would suggest. A few brief moments in a fast elevator and Johnston is leading the group to Lady Chao’s audience chamber (he refuses to call it a throne room). The grand double doors are engraved with oriental dragons, naked men and women, fire breathing snakes and lotus blossoms.

Inside, the walls are lined with armed and armoured guards. Their weapons snap to attention and target the Anvil. She raises her manly eyebrows at the welcome, while Sarain pushes her forward until they are less than five metres from the dais and the elegant wooden throne.

Lady Chao is not present. Johnston checks his watch. He taps his foot. Kanji puts out her cigar on her thigh and places the stub in a pocket. Jayle winds up her depleted plasma net and reloads it into its housing. Sarain releases the Anvil, but her EMPG hums mere centimetres behind the armature’s head.

Granny Chun comes to, clutching her skull. She eyes the throne as she stands. “Of course, that’s not good.” She grabs for her pumpgun, but it’s gone. Jayle shakes her finger and winks.

Big Jimmy rubs his head as he rises to his full four feet. Everyone in the place towers over him. “Plasma net. As if I didn’t have enough headaches for one day.”

Jayle fingers Jimmy’s .357 Magnum revolver, the butt extending from one of her belt pouches.

“Nice antique,” she says. “It’ll look nice on my wall.”

Jimmy glowers at her. “I’m glad I could help you out.”

“You guys all right?” says the Anvil, glancing back and forth between Chun and Jimmy.

“All right, shut up, everyone,” says Johnston, who ceases fidgeting as a sliding door behind the throne opens.

Lady Chao enters, her blue artisilk dragon robe swaying with a gentle swishing sound. She is a tall, older woman, with Asian almond eyes, big lashes, a nest of crow’s feet and long, steel grey hair. She carries herself regally, but there is more than a hint of menace, especially when her sleeve moves to reveal her engraved, durasteel arm. She slides into the throne and regards the Anvil with a frown cut from amber.

“You killed my fire team,” she says.

“They tried to kill us,” replies the Anvil.

“You stole my interceptor.”

“I didn’t destroy it, though. I was shot down.”

Chao eyes Johnston, one eyebrow raised. “It was necessary for the recovery op,” he says, sheepishly.

“In my defence,” says the Anvil. “I was just trying to get us to the launch tower. We were travelling by boat and your jet appeared.”

“My boat,” interjects Jimmy from behind, raising his hand. Chao glares at him and he fades back into the scenery.

“Where’s Bester’s little girl?” says Chao.

“You can’t have her,” replies the Anvil.

The EMPG pulses next to the Anvil’s skull and the armature collapses. Sarain pries open the back capsule and pulls Violet from within. The little girl clutches her teddy close. “Granny?” she says, through tears.

Granny Chun rushes forward before Jayle can stop her, kneeling and placing her arms protectively around Violet. She eyes Chao warily, who at this point had not noticed her standing behind. Chao’s eyes widen.

“Hello, Chao,” says Chun.

Every eye in the room looks to Chao and then back to Chun, almost comically in sync.

“Chun?”

“Of course. Long time, no see.”

Lady Chao rises from the throne. She strides slowly down the dais steps and moves toward Chun. Her arms rise and the artisilk sleeves drift back off her durasteel arm, the neon tattoos dancing in the glowglobe light. Her gleaming red nails reach towards Chun’s neck as the old nanny rises to meet the challenge, pushing Violet behind her.

The two women kiss.

Every male jaw in the room drops.

Jayle winks at Kanji. “Well, that was unexpected,” she says.

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

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

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Lottery. A poem.

These dubious numbers
will not fall in line for me.
Indeed, more’s the fool;
those digits that summon
up every heavenly aspect of you.

A token parody
of a prodigious, passionate girl.
Just numbers spinning
in my head and heart,
my lottery, my heady whirl.

These fallow yearnings,
have fallen now, far from grace.
My mad desire to win your
succulent mind and soul
like all things, is lost, again.

Lost, my heart disgraced.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

The Black Tree. A poem.

The tree is black and formless,
its charred soul departed
so many years before
from this noxious darkness.
This fractured stump,
dreaming of chlorophyll
and carbon dioxide smells.
This burned and sullen timber
that in this wasteland dwells.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

One Lovely, Bloggly, Nomination!

I would like to thank the lovely Kiera(n) Fortasse for a Lovely Blog Award nomination! Whilst I’m not really too sure what it all means (a lovely blog, that is, but you could include life in that statement as well), it does mean a lot to know that someone likes me (yay!).

Thank you, Kiera(n). Please visit Kiera(n)’s blog and say hello by clicking here.

‘Ere are ze rules (tried to make it a bit classy by sounding French. FAIL).

  • Thank the person who nominated you for the award
  • Share seven things about yourself
  • Nominate 7 other bloggers and inform them

At least it’s not 15 questions, like the last one I answered
 

Seven Things About Me (or Much Ado About Nothing)

  1. I read far too many books at the same time. Yeah, that’s right. Too many books. It’s one of my few (read: many) foibles. I often have about ten on the go at a time. Some people are sex addicts. I’m a book addict. (I’d love to be a sex addict but that would involve having someone to have sex with. Other than myself, I mean.)
  2. I like to draw fantasy maps. “You crazy cartographer, you!” Okay, that probably wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when you read that. More like: “He’s such a freaky nerd.” Yeah, well, you’re one, too. Otherwise you wouldn’t be blogging. So there (sticks tongue out in a very mature manner). You can check out some of my maps here. Nerd.
  3. I’m a pretty good guitarist and singer. So, got dibs on yourself, eh? I guess so. If you’re so good, why don’t you play us a song? Because, I’m shy. Actually, it’s more like I’ve got a lot on my plate right now. But eventually I’ll post some music. I’ve actually released seven solo albums, so I guess I’ll post about them sometime. Don’t hold your breath, though. I’m writing poetry, instead. Oh, alright. Here’s an old song of mine on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/track/2m3uMJPbTrJJ7FipkKWlro
  4. I love taking photos, but I’m a lazy photographer. I love my iPhone 8. I recently upgraded and now have a phone camera with a nifty optical zoom (only 2x, but hey, better than nothing). I take photos of stuff. Nothing crazy or illegal. Trees, buildings, statues, dogs. Boring stuff. Did I say boring? I meant INCREDIBLE!!! Didn’t sell that real well, did I? You can check out some of my photos here.
  5. I walk and swim regularly. I also work out a lot. I’ve got a pretty good bod (or so I’m told). So, why am I not having sex RIGHT NOW? Because, as a Christian, it’s not the done thing when you’re single. Yeah, I’m a Bible basher/thumper. But I believe everyone has the right to believe what they believe, so I’m not here to convert you. I’m pretty liberal, that way. Don’t believe me? Check out one of my poems about the Big Guy Upstairs, right here.
  6. I’m a mature age university student. Approaching middle-age is like a spaceship crashing into the sun. Is it hot in here? Must be male menopause coming on. Oh, I love uni, by the way. It hasn’t made me any smarter, but it does fill in my time. When I’m not thinking about sex, that is.
  7. I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. Should I be a poverty-stricken writer? I’m already a destitute poet (I’m assuming you would have read some of my poems by now. But, if not, click here so you’ll know what I mean). I would REALLY like to retire but being broke isn’t conducive to retirement. I worked for about 30 years and I know I’ll have to go back to work at some point, but for now I’m shooting the breeze. I could make a gross sex-related joke right now, but I won’t. Because I’m classy, that way.

 

Nominating Seven blogs! If you’re blog appears here, smile! And get to it.

One Woman’s Quest – https://vjknutson.org/

Movie Babble – https://moviebabblereviews.com/

Crumpled Paper Craneshttps://crumpledpapercranes.com/

Firewatersitehttps://firewatersite.wordpress.com/

Little Fearshttps://littlefears.co.uk/

Nicole Sundayshttps://nicolesundays.wordpress.com/

The Board Game Shackhttps://theboardgameshack.wordpress.com/

Thanks again Kiera(n)!

Cheers

Steve 😊

Kill. A poem.

Why don’t you kill me?
Release me from this misery?
This womb that clings
and grinds me down
to tombstone dust
and empty dreams,
restrains me tight
in chains of languid
and bitter thoughts.
Oh, but for a little death,
a dance with angels
or demons to portend.
Not for me.
With life and pain
I must contend.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

The Luminous Details of Poetic Description

Exercise:

  • Poet Ezra Pound described the “luminous details” that reveal and transmit an image swiftly and deeply.
  • Find an image that resonates with you. Write a poem about this object in no more than 10 lines, keeping in mind the art of description, and the luminous details that move the reader.
  • When you have written this poem, write a quick explanation of how exploring the ‘luminous details’ felt to you.

IMG_0534_cropped

Barn. A poem.

Slumped, your brother’s shoulder a welcome resting place.
The creaking of aging joints, the wind ruffling patchy tresses,
liver spots of brown and red on bleached and crusty skin.
Iron will a testament to endless winter frosts and summer heat. 
Littered memories at your feet, the dust of bitter/better years.

Stephen Thompson

Last year I drove my parents to Queensland for a holiday (I wrote and posted a poem about it at the time); I then picked them up when the holiday was over. (No, I didn’t want to holiday with them. Does that make me a bad son?) 4400 kilometres later, I had nothing to show for it other than this photo I took of an old, collapsing barn outside of Grafton, New South Wales.

I like the use of imagery and metaphor to describe the details of objects, features and conditions. Sometimes my poems are a little too ‘obvious’ in nature, so I like to stretch myself when I can. I enjoy using what poet Ezra Pounddescribed as “luminous details” and acting “as a filter, finding the most resonant, charged details to transmit the image to the reader”.

In this poem I saw the barn as an old man, the dead tree next to it providing support, a literal brother-in-arms. For me it reflects the state of many old and abandoned buildings, but also the aged people in our lives, who are hopefully not as neglected or forgotten.

How do you feel about your own poems? Do you feel you capture the luminous details that Pound mentioned? Why not try this exercise and share the resulting poem with us.

Cheers

Steve 😊

Stair. A poem.

We stopped upon the stair,
our furtive conversation
like a tender questionnaire.
She smiled and talked and stared
and in the animation of her lips
and smile and hair,
I found a love that swelled
long after she had left me there.
And that fire that burned in me,
as I yearned to breathe her air,
consumed me from within,
because she was, oh, so unaware.
And so I dream and often think of her;
and perhaps one day, she’ll care,
and perhaps one day she’ll feel for me
the way that I have dared.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Perspective. A poem.

I face my window
Pale droplets obscure
The external world
In my tiny womb I turn
To face another day

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book The All or the Nothing! And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Anvil. Part 9.

A sonic boom cracks the sky beneath the floating city. Tossing to and fro in the wild surf below, the little inflatable raft seems little more than a speck on the ocean’s roiling back. The aging interceptor slows and pulls up twenty metres above it, hovering unsteadily in the wind and rain.

Big Jimmy eyes the jet above, one hand shielding his eyes from percussive rain drops. “This a rescue? Or someone else to wanting to kill us?”

Observing the hovering silhouette, Chun pulls her pumpgun from her back holster and cocks it. The Anvil stares dourly at her. “A bit out of range, don’t you think?”

“Of course. But not for long, I suspect,” replies Chun.

***

Johnston watches the overhead monitor. The three figures in the boat below are shrouded in downpour and the image distorts further every few seconds. He hits the monitor with his palm. “Damn it, Kanji, can you get this picture any better?”

The pilot turns back, her metal eye pieces glinting in the cabin light. “You have a choice, Boss. We can take a dip in the ocean where you’ll get a better view, or I can keep this jet stable and you can have a crappy one. What’ll it be?”

Johnston swears. “Okay, I can’t tell who’s who down there, so we’ll have to assume they’re all hostile.” Jayle and Sarain smile at each other, activating various arm-mounted weapons: EMP cannon, Ion Taser, Plasma Net. “No fatalities,” Johnston says.

“Boss, we’re professionals,” says Jayle, winking. Her IT and PN mods are visible outside their forearm housings.

Sarain strokes her EMG, her massively oversized arms and chest armour barely fitting in the cabin. “Just open the door and let me have one shot.”

As if on command, the cabin door slides aside and the elements introduce themselves. Sarain leans out and fires a silent pulse at the raft below.

***

The Anvil’s systems die. She was about to attempt a shot from her MWEs when they both ceased functioning, returning involuntarily to their forearm housings. Chun sees the look of alarm on the Anvil’s usually unmoving masculine countenance.

“Probably an EMP pulse,” Chun says. “It’ll take a few minutes for your systems to reboot. Big Jimmy, time to show us what that antique handgun of yours can do.”

“Shit,” says Jimmy, pulling out his Magnum as he continues to shield his eyes from the deluge.

An amplified voice from above: “Lay down your weapons. We know about the armature. We don’t want any trouble. We can get you out of this storm.”

***

Johnston has his eye on the monitor; he can see some movement amongst the blur. “Stage two,” he says. He squeezes over to the cabin door, takes out his plasma pistol and uses the infrared viewfinder to target the raft floor between the three glowing red figures below.

The raft bottom shreds: it immediately collapses and the three occupants go down into the surrounding waters. Jayle and Sarain speed down into the chaos on droplines.

***

Water clouds her senses. The Anvil’s bulky male form drops like a stone, sinking, sinking. She flails her arms and legs uselessly, a string-less marionette. The jet above recedes as the cloying darkness consumes her. She glances to her back capsule to see Violet, thumb in mouth, but calm, protected from suffocating and the changes in pressure as they sink lower.

Above, an immense black shape collides with the surface and shoots down, some sort of propellant system in its boots. The Anvil sees a huge, hulking black woman, tube-like hair flailing like angry, radioactive snakes. The woman’s massive torso and oversized arms close around the Anvil and drag her up, up, up to the surface and away from the sea’s cold embrace.

As the Anvil’s head breaks the water she sees another woman, with sharp blonde hair and shining, metallic legs, suspended via dropline from the interceptor above and lifting two unconscious bodies in a glowing net.

The droplines retract and the Anvil and her companions are pulled up to the hovering jet.

***

The cabin is very cramped. Johnston eyes the Anvil warily. The armature is still restrained by Sarain from behind, the EMP cannon pushing into her temple. Chun and Jimmy are unconscious, the depleted plasma net hanging loosely around their forms as Jayle awkwardly takes her place on the bench.

“We won’t harm you,” Johnston says. “But try anything stupid and you’re all on a one-way trip back to the bottom. Are we clear?”

The Anvil nods.

Sarain glances at Johnston. “The asset is safe. Looks like she’s gone to sleep.”

“Where are you taking us?” says the Anvil. “Do you work for Bester?”

Johnston laughs. “You think we’d be travelling in this piece of crap if we had the backing of the world’s richest man? You’re in the waveruins. The Chao Triad wants a chat with you.”

The Anvil stares blankly.

“And Lady Chao isn’t very happy about losing a plane and a fire team. I guess you’ll have to explain that to her once we get back.”

The jet arcs and weaves through the surrounding skeletal buildings that extend from their watery resting places like broken teeth.

The Anvil’s systems are back online. She scans the surrounding cyborgs, noting armaments and calculating potential firing patterns and escape vectors. The EMG pushes hard against her head. “You’re not the only one here who can classivise,” whispers Sarain. “I suggest you sit back and enjoy the ride. I wouldn’t want the little girl or your friends to get hurt in an unfortunate crossfire.”

“That’s good advice,” concurs Johnston, strapping in.

The Anvil settles back uncomfortably, mind racing. Outside the rain dashes against the hull as the interceptor nears its destination—the headquarters of Lady Chao.

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

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

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Mirrored. A poem.

I mirrored you subconsciously,
perhaps you noticed you in me.
You mirrored me subconsciously,
perhaps I noticed, but didn’t see.

Neither mirror could reveal
beyond the veil, our hesitancy.
Neither mirror would let us read
of love, of fate, of destiny.

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book
The All or the Nothing!

And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s
less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.

Support starving poets everywhere!

Happy Endings. A poem.

Is there any such thing
as a happy ending?

Maybe only in books and
history told by the winner,
but not for me and you,
we lonely sinners.
I find I no longer
believe in fairy tales
or story book codas.
But all I really want to see
is a life long happy ending
for me and you, you and me.

Is there any such thing
as a happy ending?

If you liked that, then you’ll love the poems in my first book of poetry,
The All or the Nothing, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

The Truth. A poem.

What would I do
if you belonged to another?
No hanging tree exists
that could free my heart
from your beloved tether.
Would I drown myself
in the incumbent surf,
or throw myself
from the weary heights,
dash all my hopes and dreams
with vertigo and a somnolent end?
Why am I frozen here,
the icy curlicues surrounding me
and choking by degrees
until I can move no more?
Speak to me, and I will answer
truthfully.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Advice for the Young (Poet) at Heart

Poetry was not really my thing.

I wrote poetry as a shy, insecure and sensitive teenager, much as other shy, insecure and sensitive teenagers did, but as I grew older it lost its allure. Not because I was less inclined (I was in bands and writing my own music and lyrics by that stage), not because I was any less shy, more secure, or insensitive, but because it no longer seemed to be needed to express what I was feeling (I think alcohol did that instead). But I’m not a teenager anymore, being just shy of middle-age. Now I’m a student, a would-be writer and a recalcitrant.

About twelve months ago, I woke up at 4:00am in the morning (nothing new there, I generally wake up at ridiculous times of the night with my head spinning) and immediately wrote a poem which I posted to my blog (see below). It’s the piece of writing that reignited my youthful passion for writing poetry.

Reborn.

Darkness then

             warming rays

                         bright fingers on my face

Cellphone silence

              binary muse

                          prod me back to life

Womb of sheets

               engulfs my being

                          consumed alive

Silken lover

                her promise yields

                           to the light

Reborn.

Stephen Thompson

Since I wrote that poem, I haven’t been able to stop. I write poems when I’m walking, when I’m sitting on the toilet, when I’m eating (hopefully not all at the same time). I have a vast amount of inspiration to draw on (as a result of my less than spectacular life choices).

Having rediscovered my own poetry, I find I am not as well read when it comes to poets as I should be. One particular poem I love is The Road Not Taken, by multiple Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Robert Frost, as it holds personal meaning for me in my less than spectacular life’s journey so far. Choice and predestination are things I could chat about for hours, but I’m sure you’d rather read the poem.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
 
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
 
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
 
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

As an amateur poet, I recommend that all amateur poets read as much poetry as possible and learn as much about the craft as possible, including the various formal poetic forms and meter and time. A great place to start is The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms, by Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, which includes poems from throughout the ages by some of the greatest living and dead poets.

Cheers

Steve 😊

My first e-book of poetry, The All or the Nothing, is available now. And at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem!
To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Tomb Raider. A movie review.

There’s no such thing as spoilers (in this review, anyway)!

Alicia Vikander is the new Tomb Raider (for those of you not familiar with the previous movie incarnation, Angelina Jolie was the titular heroine), and she ably fills the tank top—umm…role.

This is a reboot of the franchise, based heavily on the popular computer game reboot of 2013 (so many reboots…). Lara Croft (Vikander) is a girl with no direction to her life after losing her rich father (Dominic West) seven years ago. Refusing to accept that he’s dead, she hasn’t taken over the Croft fortune and title and is living a simple life as a bike messenger in inner city London. She receives a Japanese puzzle from her missing father which sets her on a quest to find him and the tomb of Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai, a supposed sorceress with power over death.

Tomb Raider Movie

I enjoyed Tomb Raider. In this origin movie Vikander is a feisty, yet vulnerable underdog, who kicks some serious ass along the way. She’s very physical in the role (Vikander did the majority of her own stunts), but at no point does this Lara Croft seem unbelievably super heroic. Some of the set pieces are over the top, but through them all you believe that Lara is scraping through, stubbornly fighting on. One thing I would have liked was more opportunities for Vikander to show her stuff—a few more action set pieces wouldn’t have gone astray.

Go see Tomb Raider if you like gritty, believable action heroines who feel pain. And bring it, as well.

Rating: B  

Back to Life. A poem.

The sun shone through,
my hope returned,
and I drifted on rays
of sutured miracles that
stitched the dark and light
together. And like the
Creator Himself, brought
me shining back to life.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99 for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Anvil. Part 8.

The tall old woman is angry. She throws her cup of shoujiu across the room where it shatters against the wall. “They took my interceptor?” Her eyes are narrow slits, her crow’s feet now a delta fanning both sides of her face. The armoured men kneel before her, heads bowed to the floor. One watches her nervously with wide almond eyes, the other, a strong chinned black man with a sharp goatee, scowls silently.

“Lady Chao, we could not have imagined—” says the first.

Chao rises from her throne, an extremely rare wooden item (where does one get wood, nowadays?), hand carved with weaving oriental dragons. Her hands clasp and unclasp rhythmically, long red nails glinting in the glowglobe light. The woman’s blue artisilk robe sways in a serpentine rhythm as she walks. Reaching down, Chao grabs the speaker by the neck, lifts him like a marionette. The sleeve of her robe falls back, revealing a shiny durasteel forearm, engraved with intertwining snakes and flowering vines in garish neon hues. The man’s neck snaps with the sound of a branch breaking and she tosses his lifeless body into the far wall. The black man grimaces.

“It’s up to you, Johnston,” she says, striding back to her throne. “Recover the girl. The interceptor is expendable.” Her eyes drill into him. “As are you.” Johnston gulps imperceptibly, backs away from his master and exits the room quicker than he would like.

* * *

The launch tower is in sight, about ten kilometres away. The interceptor bounces through the squall, swooping and re-correcting as needed.

“Of course, I thought you knew how to fly this thing,” says Granny Chun, strapped into a cabin bench seat. Next to her, Violet grips her teddy and grins. “It’s like being on a roller coaster,” she says. Big Jimmy, on the other side, holds his head in his hands, occasionally stroking his full beard nervously. “Give me my Clarissa any day,” he says.

In front, the Anvil struggles with the flight controls. “Apparently the sim progs didn’t cover bad weather.” She looks to the readouts around her, glances at the tower ahead. Even from this distance, there’s no mistaking the size of the thing—a kilometre-wide metal platform, rising three hundred metres above the surface of the waters, bristling with antennae, thermal exhaust towers and nearspace shuttles. Their way off this world.

They are five kilometres from the tower when the port engine explodes in a hail of debris, smoke and fire. The interceptor immediately starts to drop, the age-old systems straining and failing to correct its altitude.

“What the hell was that?” cries Big Jimmy. “What is it with people wanting to kill you?” His antique Magnum appears in one hand as the other steadies him.

“Of course, you should put that away,” says Granny Chun, whisperingly calm. “We don’t want a stray shot hitting anyone.”

Jimmy stares at his piece uncomprehendingly, then sheepishly slides it back into his leg holster. “Sorry,” he says.

The Anvil looks around, trying to sight the attacker through the plastiglass canopy. She checks the scanner. Nothing. The interceptor spirals towards the ocean. “Chun, look for some life jackets,” she says.

* * *

The hologram from his palm chip fades as Johnston jogs to the flight bay. Beside a big antique interceptor wait three augmented women, with bodies punctuated by scarring, cybernetic parts, dermaplastics and dangling neural fibres. “Kanji,” he says to a huge African woman with a massive barbed metal arm, dreadlocks and glowing red visual receptors for eyes. “Start her up.” Kanji immediately boards the jet and the engines churn to life. Johnston climbs into the back and straps himself into the rear bench. The other two women follow.

“The rogue interceptor has just been downed by one of my contacts at the launch tower,” says Johnston. “We have less than five minutes to get there and recover the girl. We need to get her before Bester’s men do. I’m feeding you ocular video from our assault troops of the armature and the other occupants of the jet.” Each of the women pauses briefly as they review a replay of the Clarissa assault on their retinal links.

Jayle, with a scarred angular face, spiked blonde hair and durasteel legs, smiles. “L-series armature: subdermal mesh, megajoule MWEs, endura core, protein revitalisers, reformative layering. Nice.”

Sarain, dark skinned with oversized zylex torso and arms and glowing neural fibre hair, winks. “A nice challenge, y’mean,” she says. She extends an electromagnetic pulse cannon from one of her forearm housings.

Johnston frowns, remembering the throne room. “No screw ups,” he says.

“You worry too much, boss,” says Kanji from the pilot’s seat.

The jet rises on a plume of superheated air and exits the hangar at top speed, slicing through the rain and wind and leaving the waveruin tower behind.

* * *

Water is streaming in through cracks in the fuselage. The Anvil pops Violet into her back capsule, sealing the little girl away from harm, then straps on a life jacket that’s far too small for her broad male frame. Chun pops the side door. Water sluices in, filling the cabin to waist height. A raft inflates. Jimmy struggles to exit and falls in face first, swearing as he does. Chun follows, groaning as her wounded leg makes contact. The Anvil follows last as the interceptor sinks beneath the waves in a coda of spume and froth. The raft is buffeted left and right, half full with rain and surf, the Anvil’s side dipping low under her weight.

“Well, this trip just keeps getting better and better,” says Jimmy, water cascading down his dark face.

To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

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

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Bleach. A poem.

Acid

wash away my pain

release me
from
this
blinkered

Bleach

burns me clean and pure

tear shreds off my heart
and break
me

Down

Until time bleeds on
my
just

Reward

And bleaches this
world

just

like

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and at just $5.99Au for 62 poems, that’s less than 10 cents a poem! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

The End of the Affair. A poem.

At the end of the affair,
when all is lost, was won,
when the final note is written
when all has come undone.
The longing and the passion
converted now to envy,
the embers now black charcoal
of fires that once burned brightly.
The guilt remains, it always seems,
entwined with all the lies,
an empty feeling of redemption,
of honour, long defiled.
When familiar scents turn stale
and insomnia becomes your partner,
how dim the lights do seem
how the shadows seem much darker.
Life returns to humdrum,
an absence of spontaneity
at the end of the affair
no love, just shame and frailty.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Hangman. A poem.

I hang on your every word.
Every nuance and subtlety
tightens your noose
and I gasp and grasp
for air and the latency of truth.

My limbs flail in puppet motions;
I’m a paper doll with button joints,
anointed in your sonic weave
and desperate for your affection.

Pull on this rope, hang me high
until my final death rattle
punctuates the scene like gunfire,
the memory of your voice fades
and I am left longing for more.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Wings. A poem.

You endow me with gossamer wings,
a loving benefaction granted;
a gift that encapsulates and enables
flight to peregrine places
uncharted and exotic.

But with so many destinations
and arterial paths and so
many cloudy possibilities,
only one makes any sense:
the one that leads directly
and succinctly to you.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Annihilation. A movie review.

Alex Garland’s new science fiction movie, Annihilation, is now available on Netflix in Australia (part of Paramount’s current risk management strategy is to recoup production and distribution costs in smaller markets by going directly to streaming).

Natalie Portman stars as Lena, a Cellular Biologist with an Army background, whose army husband Jake (Oscar Isaac) has been missing for a year. One day he turns up, but he seems like a different man. He also starts vomiting blood. On the way to hospital, the ambulance is intercepted by government vehicles. Lena awakens and discovers the government has a secret watch post overlooking an area called the ‘Shimmer’ – a hazy and colourful border of light that frames the site of an alien meteor that hit a lighthouse on the coast. The Shimmer is expanding. Several military teams have been sent in, but none have returned, and the Shimmer prevents radio communications. Lena joins a group of female scientists, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, and Tuva Novotny, to attempt to get to the lighthouse and discover what’s going on. Inside the Shimmer everything is mutating—plants, animals, the environment itself. It isn’t long before the scientists find out what happened to the last team and the implications for them…

Annihilation-movie-poster

Annihilation is a slow-moving thriller, with generally subdued acting (except when things get a little crazy). The special effects are exceptional, with the Shimmer almost hallucinogenic at times. None of the characters are particularly likable, but then, this is a movie about a concept, rather than the people involved. There’s a fair bit of explicit violence as well, so be prepared.

Annihilation has been hailed by some reviewers as both revelatory and confusing. I wasn’t confused, but not because I’m particularly smart. Annihilation is a movie you need to pay attention to and some viewers just won’t get it. I don’t believe that Annihilation is as ground breaking as some think. It is, however, a well-directed, intelligent, slow burn sci-fi movie, with a great concept and a nice twist at the end.

I enjoyed Annihilation. It’s not as good as Arrival, another recent thought-provoking sci-fi movie which provided a greater emotional connection with its characters, but it’s still an enjoyable concept film.

Rating: B-

Night, Again. A poem.

Night, again
and here I am,
pondering the specificity
of my unctuous requests,
enraptured and Heaven-sent
on the backs of clasped palms,
no random incidental
tests of charm.

Every night
I thank Him there,
for faith and hope and grace,
every single day I share.
all part, this humble life
under His long
forgiving stare.

Every night
I ask for love,
that this be finally done,
because without her this life
is lost and never won.
Without her
I am nothing
and no one.

And then
I turn again
to sleep, and join billions
of patient souls who pray
for all their souls to keep.
I dream of love and subtlety,
with those who wonder when
their prayers will bring them
long and
sweet
relief.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Anvil. Part 7.

It’s six hours out and Granny Chun vomits into the bucket for the seventh time. She groans and spits bile into the foul, bitter broth meandering at the bottom of the pail.

Violet is out of her capsule, sleeping restfully, strapped into a seat next to the Anvil. The boat heaves and sways in the racking winds. Big Jimmy laughs as he stands on a raised platform so he can reach the wheel. Outside the tiny cabin, water cascades in sheets off toughened plastiglass.

“This is the life,” cries Jimmy, breaking into a sea shanty.

“Of course, you are such a cliché,” murmurs Chun from her bucket.

The Anvil sits stolidly, immune to the effects of the storm and the constant churning of the seas around them. She stares at her male hands—big, meaty things, far larger than the dainty palms and delicate fingers she imagines she had before. Still, she struggles to remember, and yearns for a Memjet to clear the haze and let her see everything clearly.

She glances at Violet. The little girl is fast asleep; it’s almost as if the tot was tucked away in bed, and not affixed to a padded steel chair in a tiny boat bouncing in the middle of a raging ocean. The Anvil doesn’t know how the child does it. In fact, she knows very little about her child at all. Her appalling lack of memory is disturbing. Armature rebirths aren’t supposed to have recall problems; they’re not unheard of, but they’re extremely rare. The Anvil just wishes she could show some spark of recognition, some lingering emotion towards her daughter. I guess that will come soon enough, she thinks.

Around them in the distance, the husks of broken buildings stand like waylaid fisherman, up to their necks in surf and rain, waiting to be saved. Above the silent overcity hovers, stretching as far as the eye can see in all directions, streams of sunlight breaking through between the grav-supported spires, like the blessings of God.

* * *

The old interceptor wends its way through sleeting rain, sleek wings folded back as it cruises at top speed, dancing between rain drops, riding the wind like an exotic dancer on a mirrored dancefloor.

“We have the boat in sight,” says the helmeted pilot. “Running in silent mode.” The wings extend and engine exhaust vents rotate downwards as it slows, maintaining its altitude over the churning ocean.

Behind the pilot, five men in battered combat armour, hefting aging autofire rifles. The closest has his helmet off; he’s bald, with almond eyes and diamond cheek bones. “Take us in and hover. We’ll downdrop and see what we’ve got,” he says.

“No problem, Mister Tano,” says the pilot. The antiquated interceptor hovers silently, fifty feet over the bobbing boat, matching the vessel’s course. The steel grey armoured men move to the hatch, where they attach droplines to the collars of their dermasuits. Tano replaces his helmet and signals to the others. “Okay, drop and drag,” he says, motioning with his fingers in a coded series of movements reiterating what he’s saying. “Non-lethal fire. The child is not to be harmed.”

The side door slides open with a screech and the cabin’s internal calm is broken by buffeting wind and spray. The troops launch out and down, the droplines taking them at speed to the vessel’s deck below. The wind shakes them about momentarily, but the droplines stay true, guiding them to the heaving floor. Each lands softly on the rain-soaked deck, weapons raised and ready, the cabin hatch before them. Tano gestures two of his men to each side of the door, the others behind him. As he signals to move forward, the hatchway explodes outwards and the Anvil flies headfirst into his chest.

The other troops respond, firing at the big armature as its MWEs extend from its forearms and fry two of them. They collapse to the deck, along with a bloody and unconscious Tano, whose breast bone and ribs are broken. The Anvil takes numerous non-lethal shots, but they bounce off its subdermal protection harmlessly. The remaining two men switch to lethal rounds, but it’s too late. The Anvil swings around, grabs a leg of each and rips them from their bodies in a torrent of blood. Their screams are lost in the roar of the surf.

Overhead the interceptor is starting to rise. The Anvil grabs a dropline from the collar of one of the downed troops and hits the recall. The line immediately drags her up into the air. She enters the cabin; the pilot is pointing a big, old fashioned auto pistol at her chest. He fires. Ion shells find their mark and the Anvil collapses backwards against the frame. One of her MWEs fries the pilot’s head and he collapses over the glowing control board that encircles him.

There’s an explosion below. Looking down, the Anvil sees the aft of the Clarissa is now bits and pieces of detritus, spamming the roiling waves. The vessel is upending and sinking fast. She can see Chun, Jimmy and Violet, soaked and clinging to the cabin hatchway. Chun indicates the droplines still attached to the bodies and latches them to the others and herself. The three rise to the interceptor as the boat slithers below the surface, taking the armoured corpses with it.

As they climb wearily into the hovering jet, Big Jimmy is in shock. “My boat,” he moans. “My beautiful Clarissa.” The Anvil pulls some thermal blankets from an overhead locker, distributes them.

“Of course, that was unexpected,” says Chun, sneezing. Violet sucks her thumb and holds her teddy tight. Chun wraps the blanket around and cuddles her.

The Anvil throws the pilot’s body out the side door and closes it. “I’ll reimburse you for the loss of the boat, Jimmy. I don’t know what happened. It’s possible my MWEs burned through your outboards. Sorry.” The Anvil’s angular male face is stony and emotionless.

Big Jimmy is rocking back and forth, wide-eyed. “You blew up my boat? That’s my living right there. Poof. Gone.”

The Anvil ignores Jimmy for the moment, seats herself behind the control console and looks over the instrumentation. The layout looks complex but is actually fairly simple to operate. She’s sure she has some piloting progs that will help her sim her way through it. The biggest issue, now, is where did this vehicle and its goons come from?

“Of course, I don’t think those guys were sent by Bester,” says Chun, as if reading her mind.

“Who then?” says the Anvil, eyes flicking over the controls.

“Of course, I’d say someone informed on us to the local Surfer Mob. They control the waveruins and run the local rackets. They probably know that Bester is searching for his baby girl. He would have reached out to them when she first went missing, I suppose.” Chun smiles wanly. “Of course, they probably thought they could get more for her via a little blackmail.”

“At least now we can get to the tower quicker,” says the Anvil.

“Of course, they’ll track us.”

“All the more reason to move fast.”

Big Jimmy rocks gently in his seat. “Who are you crazy-ass people, anyway? I said I’d take you to the tower, not get shot the hell up by the mob. What do I do now?”

The Anvil turns and smiles her masculine smile, perfect teeth gleaming. “I guess you’re coming along with us, Jimmy.”

Jimmy scowls. “Great. Just great. I suppose I can get my ass handed to me by someone else along the way?”

“Of course,” says Granny Chun.

 To be continued…

Missed earlier instalments? Click here.

What is ANVIL?

ANVIL is a deliberately unplanned, multi-part short story I’ve created to challenge myself as a writer (I’ve done this before with The Sale – check it out). My intention is to write an episode as often as possible, generally (but not always) ending with a cliff hanger, then work out how to solve the dilemma and continue the story. I have no idea how the story will progress, no idea what it’s about until I get there.

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

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Haiku Friday. ‘Caught, Caged and Sentenced’. A haiku trilogy.

Caught, Caged and Sentenced. A haiku trilogy.

Caught
You have trapped me here.
I once wandered, so lonely,
until your net fell.

Caged
I am in your cage,
your pristine cell; I’m locked in,
pacing back and forth.

Sentenced
Will you set me free?
Or will you taunt and tease me,
then leave me to rot?

Oh, delicious haiku! Your 5/7/5 syllable structure had me at ‘hello’. Or maybe that should be ‘haiku’.

Steve 🙂

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

Upstart Photographer: colour is back!

Black and white photos? Love ’em! But every once in a while I like brilliant and vibrant colour.

Here’s a few shots in their trimmed, yet unfiltered glory. I’ve included some narration, as I’m a big fan of David Attenborough. Mimic his voice as you read. It’s more like a documentary, that way.

I love the textures in the sandstone of this wall. If you prefer roads, however, just turn your device on its side.

As you know, I like to skew my shots. As a photographic hack, I like to think it’s a bit arty. But it could be I just skew naturally. Possibly as the result of my daily bottle of vodka.

Purely for medicinal reasons, of course.

I love the sea, and would gladly make my home on the beach if I didn’t get arrested for vagrancy (especially if I’m found clutching my medicinal bottle of vodka). And the wifi there isn’t so great, either.

Cheers

Steve 🙂

The Madness of You. A poem.

My futile and unavailing words cannot
express the anguished, quixotic,
melancholic, mad salience and
utterly unquenchable need
to hold you and love you
as no one ever could
or would or should.
But here I am,
alone.
Thinking
of nothing
and no one
else but you.

The All or the Nothing is my first book of poetry, and if you like what you’ve been reading then you’ll love it! To find out how to get a copy, click here.
Support starving poets everywhere!

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