Preludes. A Poem by the Master.

Preludes
By T. S. Eliot

I
The winter evening settles down
With smell of steaks in passageways.
Six o’clock.
The burnt-out ends of smoky days.
And now a gusty shower wraps
The grimy scraps
Of withered leaves about your feet
And newspapers from vacant lots;
The showers beat
On broken blinds and chimney-pots,
And at the corner of the street
A lonely cab-horse steams and stamps.
 
And then the lighting of the lamps.
 
II
The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.
With the other masquerades
That time resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.
 
III
You tossed a blanket from the bed,
You lay upon your back, and waited;
You dozed, and watched the night revealing
The thousand sordid images
Of which your soul was constituted;
They flickered against the ceiling.
And when all the world came back
And the light crept up between the shutters
And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,
You had such a vision of the street
As the street hardly understands;
Sitting along the bed’s edge, where
You curled the papers from your hair,
Or clasped the yellow soles of feet
In the palms of both soiled hands.
 
IV
His soul stretched tight across the skies
That fade behind a city block,
Or trampled by insistent feet
At four and five and six o’clock;
And short square fingers stuffing pipes,
And evening newspapers, and eyes
Assured of certain certainties,
The conscience of a blackened street
Impatient to assume the world.
 
I am moved by fancies that are curled
Around these images, and cling:
The notion of some infinitely gentle
Infinitely suffering thing.
 
Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;
The worlds revolve like ancient women
Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

Following is a (very) brief analysis I did of this poem for a course:

This is a pretty cool poem by a master of the form. As you can see, I’m full of insightful analysis this morning. But ‘pretty cool’ is about all I can muster today, even with the benefit of my morning coffee (ahhhhhhh, coffee…).

Oh, all right, if I must. I do want some marks, after all.

Eliot uses figurative imagery extensively in this poem. The street is personified, a living thing people inhabit, a world that reflects and impacts them. Time and motion is distinct in every facet of this poem, each of the preludes a different part of the day.

The first stanza is almost exclusively literal: day’s end, when all the day’s concrete acts and ‘grimy scraps’ are washed clean by the downpour. The second stanza is the morning, with people rising to recommence the ‘masquerades’ of their lives. The third stanza flips to second person view point, with the protagonist dreaming and waking into his dark and sordid existence (oh, how I identify with this poem). The street is personified again here, like an animal with little understanding of what it sees each day (perhaps the way the street’s inhabitants perceive their world). The fourth stanza is evening; the street is an ‘infinitely gentle, infinitely suffering thing’, a living and breathing extension of the people existing there, ever the same and yet ever-changing, reflecting old and new, the passage of time and the mundanity of life.

Well, that’s how I see it, anyway. Maybe you see it differently?

Cheers

Steve 😊

Morning Coffee. A Poem.

Whorls of heat haze fumigate the air,

an ocean of dark and broiling depths

mirroring a bleak and surly heart.

Your lidless eye reflects the scorn, 

a barely bitter taste that lingers

like cyanide clarity on the tongue.

Oracle of peerless enlightenment,

an uncaring nurturer, soon gone.

sleep in

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

Anvil. Part 12.

Granny Chun is led sedately to a cell opposite the Anvil’s. She catches a glimpse of the big male skull behind the tiny transteel window as she is pushed gently into her cell by two armoured guards. Prison guard Olsin smiles at the Anvil as she palms the door closed and waves the escort away.

“Like the look of him, huh?” says Hanx, relaxing with his feet up on his console. He’s wiping his sidearm with a soft cloth, a smokeless e-cig hanging from the corner of his mouth.

Olsin drops into a revolving chair next to him. “He’s pretty hot for a biomachine.” She twists a finger through her golden locks and absently fingers her scar, eyeing the Anvil’s cell door.

Hanx guffaws. “You’ll do anything,” he says, smoothly rubbing the cloth around the autopistol’s barrel.

The Anvil returns to her bench. She keeps scanning the room, over and over, until the repetition becomes a meditation.

***

Chao and Johnston are walking a steely corridor, it’s length broken at two metre intervals by ornately potted orchids hovering in suspensor-pods at various heights from the floor. Chao is flexing her durasteel fingers, as she often does when she thinks. Johnston deferentially walks a few steps behind.

“I want the girl moved off world ASAP,” Chao says. “I’ll reach out to Bester as soon as I know she’s locked down. She’s not secure here.”

“I’ll get on it straight away,” says Johnston.

Chao stops suddenly and Johnston almost collides with her. She turns and looks him in the eye. “No mistakes,” she says. “I can’t stress this enough—anything goes wrong and I will find you.” Johnston shrinks under her gaze. “There is nowhere you can hide.”

“There will be no mistakes,” he says, his voice breaking nervously.

***

Shi-Cho has assembled a troop of armatures and mercenaries, the best that money can buy. He has twelve assault carriers, ten interceptors and almost thirty armed drones. His cloaked fleet is en route to the city’s underside and from there down to the waveruins, where the tides play languidly with the rotting towers like they’re vestigial toys of yesteryear.

The tiny hologram of Bester flickers momentarily as the fleet passes through the gaps between the overcity’s airborne spires and tethered transtubes. “I want you to contact the undercity triads. They’ll have the best idea about where Violet might be.”

Shi-Cho smiles as he flexes his powerful new armature muscles. “No problem, boss.”

“I don’t want a war with the triads,” says Bester. “They’re good customers. Don’t be afraid to get a bit pushy, though—this is my daughter we’re talking about. Violet must not be harmed. If a hair on her head is damaged, I’ll hold you responsible. And if you think that new armature body will protect you from my wrath, think again.”

Shi-Cho grimaces and salutes mockingly. “Your will be done, Mister Bester.”

***

Johnston and Kanji arrive at the door to Violet’s cell, ignoring the two lounging guards. Kanji’s vicious metal arm, adorned with spikes and razors, glints wickedly in the glowglobe light. The ruby-red sensors where her eyes should be are unsettling.

“We’re moving the asset,” says Johnston. “Open the door.”

Olsin stands and strides over, carbine at the ready. “On whose authority?” She’s shorter than the two mercs, but her eyes are fiery—she takes her job seriously. Hanx watches from his seat with wry amusement.

Kanji smiles, displaying rows of disconcertingly filed teeth. “I suggest you do it.”

Hanx flicks the switch to the cell door and it slides smoothly open. “Nobody tells us nothing,” he says.

Violet stirs from her sleep, rubs her eyes and stares vaguely at the figures before her. Johnston fires a tranq dart into her chest and the little girl drops like a stone. He lifts her body gently and leaves the cell block, Kanji walking behind, eyeing the guards.

The Anvil’s cries are silenced by the surrounding walls, but the muffled sound of her manacled fists beating on the doorframe brings Olsin over. The guard hits the com and hears the Anvil’s screaming voice: “They can’t take her! You need to let me out of here now!”

“Settle down, sugar,” says Olsin. “Save your energy—you aren’t going anywhere.” She shuts off the com and settles back down in her chair as the Anvil continues to pound on the door.

***

Shi-Cho closes off the hologram. The third triad boss he’s spoken with and none have any idea about Bester’s daughter. There are another seven controlling the sprawling undercity waveruins.

Next: Lady Chao in District 7. Here’s hoping she knows something, he thinks.

***

The Anvil’s internal clock tells her three hours have passed since Violet was taken. She stopped trying to break down the door after ten minutes—the manacles draining her strength made it a useless proposition from the start.

Outside the transteel observation port, she can see Hanx and Olsin playing cards.

Across the way, Chun is at her window. She’s signalling with her fingers; an old army code, somehow ingrained in the Anvil’s mind. She wishes her memories of motherhood were as complete.

Bribe the girl, signals Chun. She likes you. Play on that.

The Anvil taps on the glass. It takes a good few minutes of this before the guards notice and roll their eyes. Olsin gets up and fingers the intercom. “What’s up?”

The Anvil holds her bank account palm hologram up to the tiny window. “I need out of here,” she says, smiling. “As you can see, I have enough money to pay my way.” Olsin’s eyes widen. “If that’s not enough I can help you in other ways.” The Anvil raises her male eyebrow in what she thinks may be a sexy way, unsure if it comes across as leery. She’s not used to being in a man’s body, after all.

Olsin calls to Hanx, who reluctantly comes over. The Anvil continues: “Free me and my companions, escort us to a jet and you can have as much as you need to start a new life.”

Hanx rubs his shaved pate thoughtfully. He glances at Olsin, who’s considering her options. “Chao would track us down and kill us,” he says. “I like being alive.”

Olsin stares at the Anvil’s masculine face beyond the transteel. His eyes are very blue, his jaw looks like it was chiselled from steel; she likes that in a man—synthetic or not. She puts a carbine shell into Hanx’s gut. As he collapses to the floor in disbelief she fires another into his skull. Quickly to the console to kill the zipcameras and another flick to open the cell doors.

The Anvil steps out, manacles and neck brace glowing. Olsin strides over to her and kisses the armature longingly on the lips. “I want the money and you,” she says. Olsin presses the carbine between the Anvil’s eyes. “But how do I know I can trust you?”

Granny Chun stretches and files into the corridor between the cells. “Of course, we need weapons and an escort. It would not be wise to try and fight our way out of here. Of course, we need you.”

Big Jimmy walks over to stand beside Chun, looks up to her. “I want my gun back.”

The Anvil holds out her manacled hands. “I give you my word I won’t renege on the deal. I owe Jimmy as well.”

“Damn straight, you do,” says Jimmy.

***

“I have Bester’s daughter,” says the hologram of Lady Chao. “But she’s not in my district. I’ve hidden her away so we can…negotiate a return.”

Shi-Cho’s eyes narrow. “It would be in your best interests to hand over the girl.”

Chao laughs and the hologram flickers. “I’ve had her placed in a transluminal containment field in transit. That’s a tachyon sensor block, in case you don’t know. You won’t find her.”

Shi-Cho frowns. “Perhaps we should talk face-to-face.”

“Meet me at my tower—you know where to find me. You alone, and no one else.” The console hologram flickers and fades.

Outside the interceptor’s cockpit windows, Chao’s misshapen district tower looms in the dark, the crashing waves below hidden in the murky night. Behind Shi-Cho’s interceptor, his cloaked fleet hovers silently, untraceable. Not quite a transluminal field, but the next best thing.

The HUD in his eyes shows the planned trajectory of multiple missiles toward the tower, faintly glowing paths targeting flight decks, gun emplacements and communications dishes. One thought and the missiles are away, gliding silently through the air, each seeking their final destination. Shi-Cho activates his fleet com.

“Lady Chao is to be taken alive,” he says. “Other than that: no prisoners.”

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. ‘Isolated’, a haiku trilogy.

Isolated – a haiku trilogy

1. Veil
If only I could
take away the coal-black veil
encompassing me.

2. Crown
My only constant:
crown of thorns, heavy on my
lonely, empty heart.

3. Walls
Do you hear me cry?
Perhaps the walls I built here
block the noise too well.

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

Rectified. A poem.

I wish that I could rectify
all my copious sins and lies.
I wish I could rebuild the trust
I stole from you with prurient lust.
I wish I could remove the stain
upon my family’s blessed name.
I wish I could reset this life,
changed so paltrily now to strife.

But I cannot rectify these things.
And so I must abide with them;
regret, it seems, my only friend,
goes ever on, until my end.

 

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

Chasm. A poem.

I stared into the chasm
and it stared right back at me.
My cries echoed off its pithy walls
until I nestled silently
in its precipitous embrace.

The chasm walls engulfed me;
the sky above sequestered and aloof.
The comforting, yet uncomfortable
damp and dark engaged my palate
until I could consume no more.

The walls around, too slick to climb,
the asseveration of escape beyond me.
I realised, then: I’d made this fracture
my cold, igneous bed, within which I lay.

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

Would. A poem.

Would you shed a tear for me
when I’m gone or about to go?

Would you wave as I depart,
smile awhile, wander alone?

Would you care if I passed away
from this world, from this fray?

Would you be lost if I moved on,
a wilderness, your compass gone?

Would you shed a single tear
when I leave this place, gone from here?

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

Consequence. A poem.

If I had my chance again,
would I change the things I did?
I am so invested in this pain,
and have lost, yet gained so much,
it was surely
meant to be.

And if I had my chance again,
would it truly set me free?
We only learn from hurt, it seems,
from bitter consequence
and suffering.

God found me there,
alone in my electric chair,
death’s certainty suddenly
uncertain.
I reached out in return
and embraced the grace
that He did bring,
acceptance,
the consequence of things.

Do I need my chance again?
It seems not, for this humbler life
accedes to the betterment
of consequence.

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

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!

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