Haiku – Haunted

Strange days are turning.
Rough deeds beget dust, no more,
Haunted by my past

Rough ghosts assail me
Strange fruits turn to dust and ash
Clogging in my maw

It’s the ghost of her.
Dust turning in eve’s strange light
Rough-forms her image

I cry.

 

Written for secret keeper’s weekly poem prompt, using – ghost rough dust strange turn. http://thesecretkeeper.net/2015/12/14/weekly-writing-prompt-15/

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flickr.com/photos/garytrinity/2645250035

 

Haiku Challenge – "Glass"

These are my contributions for this week’s haiku challenge from TJ, on the theme of “glass”. I enjoyed this theme… so much potential! Check out the other entries here: https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/tjs-household-haiku-challenge-glass/

#1
My heart is shaped glass
Channeling clear emotion
If dropped, I shatter

#2
I rattle the ice
Deep sigh. Tap fingers. Chantelle.
Drain the final drops

#3
Hold it to the light,
Reflecting and refracting,
Lying with its truth

glass

Heading In To Work (poem)

I want to be a slug-a-bed
Sleeping in my nice warm bed
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

Thoughts are swimming round my head
About the stupid things I said
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I feel I’m hanging by a thread
Like butter scraped on too much bread
And now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

My mind turns to the day with dread
A thousand messages unread
Because now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I wish I’d ran, I wish I’d fled
But now I’m on the bus instead
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

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Piano (haiku)

Here are two contributions for TJ’s weekly haiku challenge, on “piano” theme. The first is reflective, the second more playful. Hope you enjoy these! Check out some great haiku (and stunning photography) here: https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/2015/08/08/tjs-household-haiku-challenge-piano/

#1
Unplayed piano
Waits in a dusty corner
For just one more song

#2
Jaunty melody,
Discordant tinkling of keys;
Cat on piano!

piano

Transitions (poem)

I started a “this”
Now I’m a “that”
Didn’t notice it happen
Feeling so flat

Going through changes
Nothing stands still
Prime of my life
And over the hill

I paid the piper
Danced to his tune
From sweat-drenched samba
To Clair de Lune

Going through changes
Nothing stands still
Prime of my life
And over the hill

Change is a constant
But so is regret
You’re the sweetest mistake
That ever I met

The sweetest mistake…

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www.flickr.com/photos/maiptitfleur/3773887233 / Creative Commons

Steps (Short Story – Pt 4 of 5)

Part One: http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-1-of-5/
Part Two: http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-2-of-5/
Part Three: http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-3-of-5/
This is part four.

DAY FOUR
He slept badly. The darkness seeped into his dreams, like ink dropped into a bowl of water, while a single discordant note hummed in the distance. Faceless dream-slugs crawled over his body, covering his eyes, filling his mouth… He woke slapping the creatures from his face, choking.

His head throbbed, muscles ached. He rubbed at his feet and ankle, kneading them hard, grimacing at his own touch. The lighter clicked on, and he sat staring into the flame until he burnt his thumb. He looked up at the gray dot of sky, so far away.

Why, WHY? WHY?

In a rage, he screwed his hands into fists, beating them upon the walls. He grabbed the shoes from round his neck, lashing out ineffectually, swinging and slapping them against cold stone. Screaming like a cornered animal, he lashed out at his cage, flailing and wailing, burning bright with impotent anger, then slumping in the dark, sobbing, spent, alone.

Why?

He edged towards the central gap, looking once more into the darkness. He lay on his front and hung his head over the side, feet touching the wall behind him, wondering whether he could throw himself down.

Would I even land?

He stared and wondered, closed his eyes and wondered. He lay motionless for a long time, in silent prayer.

Something struck the back of his head. He instinctively swatted it away. Then something else struck, and again. Plip. Plip. He turned over. A raindrop fell directly onto his face. He experienced a moment of the purest joy, cackling and rolling and stamping his feet. He opened his mouth wide, holding his bottle open by the side of his head to catch every drop of moisture. A concentrated stream of rain, of life, fell straight down the center of the shaft, cleansing him of his sins, and he laughed manically.

The storm passed, the wind above changed, and the rain stopped falling.

He lay there on the step, head hanging over the central gap, for a long time, hoping for more. More. Eventually, he sat up to take stock. He had re-filled maybe a quarter of his bottle. He’d caught some in his mouth, and in that moment didn’t feel the aching pull of dehydration. That purifying, reviving water on his face had been the most refreshing feeling of his life.

I am reborn.

Sitting there in blackness, a thought went through his mind. He lay down on the step again, measuring its width. He couldn’t be sure as he hadn’t measured it at the top, but the steps felt narrower now than when he fell in. They were tapering. That means there must be a bottom.

They must taper to something, right?

He stood up, stretched as many muscles as he could, and resumed down the steps, limping with the effort of each step, but determined to go on. The rain had given him hope, and he walked for hours feeding on that hope, gorged and buoyed with belief.

DAY FIVE
On the morning of the fifth day, he ate the last of the mints, and drank the last of the water. Standing still, body slouched forward, he ran his fingers through his greasy hair, and massaged his neck. After the adrenaline rush of the previous day, his tank was empty.

Step.

Step.

Step, damn you.

Each step was slow, laboured; he grunted in pain. Each step required an effort of will to overcome the crushing weight of a mile of earth above him, the thinning of the air, the rising heat in the stairwell, the hopelessness of continuing…

He fumbled on, smoothed fingertips leading along the wall to guide his way through this dark, silent prison.

A noise stopped him.

What was that?

In the muffled shadows, he had grown used to the only sound being his own labored, wheezy breathing. Part of him enjoyed the silence, had always enjoyed it.

Probably nothing.

Somewhere above him, he heard a shuffle of feet and the sounds of something sniffing the air.

There is a reason that children fear the dark, the monster under the bed, the boogeyman, the enemy unseen…

What is that? It sounds… animal.

Another shuffle, somewhere far off, above.

His heart rate shot up, pounding half out of his chest. He felt sick to his stomach, and stumbled, bracing himself with both trembling hands against the wall.

There’s nowhere left to hide. Nowhere left to hide. Nowhere left to hide.

Chest tightening, gasping for breath, he saw spots in the dark before him, dancing and taunting. He picked up the pace to a hobbled stumble, down and down and down, no longer running towards salvation, but fleeing some-thing, chasing him through the black.

Hope will drag you so far. Fear drives you the rest of the way.

He smelled sulfur in the air. Hell itself was waiting for him, and he couldn’t get there fast enough.

… to be continued

The final part – http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-5-of-5/

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Steps (Short Story – Pt 3 of 5)

Part One: http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-1-of-5/
Part Two: http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-2-of-5/
This is part three.

DAY THREE
He woke painfully, still clothed in night. The boots were a poor substitute for a plump pillow, the stone of the steps an unforgiving mattress. His leg and back muscles spasmed and cramped.

“Aaaarrrhhhh!”

He screamed, puncturing the bubble of silence, as he stretched his legs and pointed his toes to relieve the pain. His scream echoed oddly, the sound stretching and contracting, stopping abruptly.

He reached for the water bottle, optimistically holding the bottle upside down over his mouth and tapping the base. His mouth salivated in receipt of another mint, but he felt dehydrated, sluggish. Levering himself to his feet using the axe handle, he walked around shoeless on the step to stretch out the cramp. The cold slab felt pleasing against the soles of his feet, and he relished the brief respite from the increasing sensory deprivation. He tied the long laces of his boots together and slung them around his neck.

Onwards, downwards. Can’t be much further now.

He marked the passing of time by the brightness of his window to the skies, each step taking him further from the light, each hour bringing him closer to freedom.

He marched on at a steady pace, pausing frequently for breaks, mindful of becoming too exhausted without water.

Will my boss even notice I’m not at my desk today?
Will anyone think to stop by my house and check on me?
Should I have waited at the top for someone to find me?

No point second-guessing now. He needed to head down, and out.

He tried counting the steps off, but kept losing track, and eventually lost interest. His mind hopped from topic to topic, incapable of deep insight in any one area, conditioned by a life spent flitting from one shiny bauble to the next on the internet. He had no idea how many hours of funny cat videos he’d watched. Too many. He knew where to get the most salacious celebrity gossip. He knew the best free porn sites (rather too well). He knew nothing remotely useful for his current situation.

He reflected on his own, depressingly normal life. A few longish term girlfriends, but nothing had stuck. No great drama, just hadn’t quite worked out. Livvy, beautiful, sweet Livvy… she could have been the one… pity I wasn’t the only one for her. The usual imbalance of love. His parents had separated when he was young: he hadn’t seen his dad for twenty years. Mom had died a few years back, brain haemorrhage in the supermarket, dropped down dead, like a light switched off. He hadn’t thought about her for a while, and felt some guilt about that, but he’d never been one to dwell on the past. – As for work

He focused on the future, his future, with a hot little wife, a couple of kids – one boy, one girl, naturally – and a promotion at work to pay for the modern, classy, spacious house they were all going to live in. Something with high ceilings and natural light. Windows. Lots of windows. As dreams go, it wasn’t much, but it was all his, and all he had right now.

He slouched on down the steps.

He had never been one for religion. Never been to church, except for friends’ weddings. Never prayed. Never believed. Never had faith. He’d seen precious little evidence of any Divine power in his life, and the chaos he’d lived through. He was a man of evidence, of things grounded in the physical world that you could see and taste and hold. But he prayed now. He justified it to himself logically – can’t hurt to try – but it went far beyond that. He was losing hope, losing time. Losing his mind.

He needed to reach out to something.

He reached out, and he prayed. He prayed for his mom, in the way that a five-year old who skins their knee in the playground cries out automatically. He prayed for salvation – a hot meal, a beer, some bandages for my feet. He prayed for relief – a warm bath and a comfy bed. He prayed for forgiveness…

Hands clasped, head bowed, he prayed and prayed, feet taking him automatically, mechanically downwards. The repetition of each movement forward, the clacking of wood on stone, and the all-encompassing dark, had a hypnotic effect. His upper body swayed as the prayer became a chant, while his legs kept on taking him down the endless steps. He prayed and chanted for a long time, descending deeper and deeper. The chant became a rhyme, half-remembered.

In the darkest corners
Of every bedroom wall

In this place where dreams die
And spiders fear to crawl

Something old awakens
The smell seeps through the wall

Time has lost all meaning
His soul will surely fall

There’s nowhere left to hide
Nowhere left to hide
Nowhere left to hide…

He trailed off into silence. The man walked a little more, then stopped, sat, hugged his knees to his chest, rocking slightly.

Nowhere left to hide

Sitting there on the step, the dark seeped in through his eyes, his mouth, his ears, through his skin, and was carried along his veins and arteries into every organ, every cell in his body, until all light was gone, and he was one with the dark.

… to be continued

http://www.alistairlanewrites.com/steps-short-story-pt-4-of-5/

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctory_1s_m1ne/872441928 – Creative Commons

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