Sunday, 30 June 2013


I went back to places we visited
Long ago, or only a few months back
Maybe to reminisce bring a vain smile to my face
Capture anew, fragmentary, that old spark

Going back made me feel old
Perhaps it was only just the chill of winter's breath
On my exposed neck, no collar had my jacket
And each barren tree grey-limbed, close to death

Like memories, really, those untrustworthy motes
In the brain, swirling like changing tides
Oceans exploding in confusion, furious churning
Each memory a picture painting a thousand lies

Going back is like admitting defeat
Trying to find purpose in casual things you've said
Deciphering long gone messages for double meanings
Like a grave robber digging up the dead

Best to let these things lie, give them peace
Bury them, if you have to, but oh... not I
I'm simply too tenacious in wanting to plunder the truth
Even that which is most obvious, easy to deny

Maybe there were soft looks, underneath the diamond cutting glance
Those last few looks you shot at me before walking away
But only fools walk backwards unmindful of the peril
Only fools chase memories like the night chases the day.

Saturday, 29 June 2013


It’s cold outside, I can feel it in my bones
But I came out here to be alone
Don’t be offended if I tell you to leave
You’d want solitude if you’ve seen what I’ve seen

Yet loneliness is not a stranger to me
She warms my bed at night
Talks in whispers in my head at times
Walks beside me as the years go by

Don’t be afraid to call my name
The one who writes upon this page
We’ve all felt pain, we’ve all had friends
We’ve all had fights to pay our debts

It’s cold inside, I feel it in my bones
But I came in here to be alone
Don’t be upset if I tell you to leave

But you’d want solitude if you’ve been where I’ve been.


Pure heart
I reach out
To touch those silken tresses
Gliding through my fingers
Such soft caresses
This foundered love
Going nowhere
Quiet infatuation
I can only stop and stare

Aching too much
Unspoken words
Longing for perfection in azure eyes
A beating heart
This frozen wasteland I despise
My foundered love
Captured in jagged rhyme
I catch my tongue too often
No, this is not the time

          I could lay here in the light of morning
Watching you sleep
Every curve of you etched forever in my mind
The treasure of our time together
Every precious smile
Every touch, every kiss
How ethereal in this gold of dawn,
Your hair floating on your pillow, a halo
The rise and fall of your chest
Your breathing, a song

But this is not my time, this is not my fate
I am caught in a strung out moment, a limbo
I am being told to wait
And while my heart aches and I yearn for this again
I know that should I cage the impatience
And count off the days, and wait

Someday, as pure as the cold ice of a glacier
More powerful than the tsunami that breaks
I will hold you in the fortress of my arms
I will do whatever it takes

I will do whatever it takes...

Friday, 28 June 2013

Black and Blue

It's hard to slow the thoughts
Of an over active mind, caught in a moment
Running it again and again
That one precious memory, a watershed event
There a slip on the pavement, rust in the chain mail
In pride's armour, a dent
Brought low by the innocent slip of a loaded tongue
Or a pen dipped in poisoned ink and dragged
Across my soul
Bitter like the taste of ashes in my mouth
A gaping wound, yet a bloodless hole
How easy to walk the shoes into the ground
Prepare that journey for another
It's not yours, you're the interloper
Tiding them over until they find feet of their own
And march without you to somewhere new
Leaving you with your head in grey clouds
And your soul battered and black and blue.

What is a word?

What is a word, but a thought trapped in time?
Seeming to float, with myriad meanings, to float on an invisible line.

What is a voice, but a thought, in sound?
A flaying of reason, a reason to float, a thought, perhaps drowned?

What is courage, if yet, I cannot speak?
Where go my feelings, if I fail, become weary… weak?

Who am I, but a transient pilot… a soul…?

What is a soul?  I think you know.
You’ve gazed upon mine and I on yours.

You can’t touch it, can’t feel it,
Can’t buy it, can’t steal it.

It nestles, they say in the heart.

What is heart?

A million fingers point. A million sighs are breathed.
In the end, it only matters if a heart given is received.

If one becomes two, and two become one…
Then to those two concerned, half the work is done…

Thursday, 27 June 2013

A thought

Sometimes I wonder what it would take
To make you see me
As I see you
And not just some shadow creature from the corner of your eyes
How I long to be the focus of your attentions
Not just the stand in
The near enough, but not quite
The "let's just be friends" guy.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013


I scattered bread for the birds
A feast for the people
That begins in a brown paper bag
Stepping over sleepless forms in the street
On my way to the subway
I met Jesus on three corners already
Shouting up a storm
But is there any way I can find a way to get myself back home?

I don't want to know your problems
Frankly I don't care
You breathe it like oxygen, gun muzzled
Handbags crazy shoppers at Wallmart
Bargains to the needy, five fingers
This rap, is over done
Riding out the storm
Is there any way I can find a way to get myself back home?

Home; that promise of salvation
A secret place I can be myself
Don't claim to know me, because you've read
My smile, I can turn on you like a snarling dog
Just back off, give me space to breathe
I'll be back soon enough
Dancing in the storm
Is there any way I can find a way to get myself back home?

Monday, 24 June 2013

I, The Fool

It’s cold outside, and you have nowhere to go.
And now I say, “I told you so,”
You should never have let him under your skin.
You should never have given in.
But you weren’t thinking with your mind
And I wasn’t the only one who thought you were blind.
But you didn’t listen as you always do,
And now the shit has stuck to you.
But you never really gave much credence to thought
You’ve given your love up to be bought
By some hypercritical man steeped in winning charm
Who, like all the others, swore you no harm,
And yet, you never saw or you ignored that dark twinkle in his eyes
Or the way he owned you even when you bought his lies
Because you were in love, and he was perfection
And you'd swear on the bible there was a perfect connection.
Chemistry, you call it; that electrical spark,
Now burned out and useless, you here in the dark.

It’s cold outside, and you have nowhere to go.
And now I say, “I told you so.” 
But the warning's too late, always, much to my regret,
And the wounds, ever deeper, still heal and you once more forget,
The depth of the feelings I hold in the prison of my heart
As you come full circle, arrive back at the start.
I, the Fool, will once more be that friend,
To clean you up, help you mend,
And set you once again onto your feet,
In time for the next suitor with roguish charm to entreat,
My sage words, ignored once more
Until next time you knock upon my door.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Reinventing the truth

We stand face to face
This gap of inches that could very well be miles
We play our cards so close to our chests
The daggers of our teeth hidden behind vulpine smiles

And it's hard
Working the lie
Keeping the line on line on time
Not forgetting what you've said
And who you've said it to
Not knowing what was right the first time
Or if you're reinventing the truth

Never looked eye to eye
There were so many times we failed to see
The hidden meaning behind carefully voiced opinions
Or the silences building walls between you and me

And it's hard
Working the lie
Trying to keep your smile a smile for that extra mile
Not forgetting who was there
Whose eyes would not be fooled
By the blinding lies of a tomorrow that shouldn't come
When you're reinventing the truth

Now you want to deal the blame
From a poisoned deck of cards
A loaded gamble stacked to favour the house
And to placate the feeding sharks

And it's hard working the lie
Practised so many times
Inside the confines of your head
But the words come out dead
The story convolutes beyond recognition
And those who know don't need the proof
They've seen if before and will see it again
That you're reinventing the truth

The First Time (Part I)

I saw you for the first time at the airport
We clutched each other tight in a strong embrace
You kissed my cheek, you said how much
You’ve been looking forward to this…

For the first time… we were friends
In the flesh

Twelve days of holiday
In the midwinter sun, what fun

Twelve days of rain but never mind
We turned up our collars and walked anyway

Twelve days we knew each other better than most

It ended so suddenly
But I was too blind to see

What was to be

Alone but not alone in my dreams

Alone but not alone in my dreams
I watch her move through the curtain screens
Yearning for touch but I’m so afraid
I find it’s easier to just turn away

I thought I could pick you a flower
And give it to you in half an hour
But I gave into the other needs
And gave you only a handful of weeds

Oh I’m so, so sorry, but the time is all wrong
And the voice-like tick in my watch has gone
And my hair doesn’t stay flat unless it is wet
Tell me your name again, I’ll try not to forget

But I feel so distracted when you’re around
I find my eyes keep staring at the ground
I’m afraid to look up and into your eyes
I’m afraid my lips will be paralysed

I morbidly fear the clothes that I wear
I’m conscious of the way the people stare
And if I’m seen with you in this miserable way
I don’t want to ruin your day

So I hide in my basement beneath the strong yellow light
And I’ll watch you from a distance until I think it’s all right
Though I’d rather join the wolves in a chorus to the moon

Then to tell you, sincerely, that I love you.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

The First Time (Part 2)

That was the first time I knew
All was not how it’s supposed to be
That was the first time I knew
That you had lied to me

Through thick and through thin
Wind, hail and rain… you said that you’d be there…

Be there for me…

And now I know that I’m all alone
On this end of the phone

You’re gone.

Why do you hate me?

Why do you hate me?

I’ve been down and out holding my own
For so long now I can’t go on
Been down in the dumps and I’m wearing a frown
Heard your shit now for far too long

Why do you hate me?

You’re a spider and you’re spinning lies
The threads are ripping, now you can’t keep up
Now you wonder why you’re ostracised
And why you’re staring at an empty cup

Why do you hate me?

You’re a spider and you’re spinning lies                     (Why do you hate me?)
The threads are ripping, now you can’t keep up         (Why do you hate me?)
Now you wonder why you’re ostracised                    (Why do you hate me?)

I think it’s about time you fucking grew up                  (Why do you hate me?)

Oh grey sky

Oh grey sky
Bruised face
I saw you cry
Such a disgrace
When you tell me you love him
That he doesn’t mean to hurt you
But when you say it is your fault
You don’t know how much it hurts.

Oh grey sky
Averted gaze
I saw you cry
Through the scarlet haze
When he tells you he loves you
And means not to hurt you
I can’t help but to cry, but oh!  This rage inside!

It angers me to see your blackened face and eyes
The rage I feel is uncontrollable; it gets fiercer every time

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Journey's End

Thought I was moving forward
And I knew which way to go
Thought I didn’t have to stop for directions
That my confusion wouldn’t show
Wondered many times if I knew what I was doing
If I even had a master plan
Only to find my grip on reality
Slipping through my opened hands

Once there was a time not too long ago
When a smile would melt my heart
Now I’m keeping time with a broken watch
Keeps taking me back to the start
Heavy feet pounding the broken pavement
A sleeping city lost in her dreams
Find it harder to hold it all together
When it keeps unravelling at the seams

Soul… where are you?
I turn to look to see if you’re there
To find you’ve faded in the air
Heart… are you true?
Somehow I’ve gone and lost my way
Chasing the sun through yesterday

Heading out alone to a distant horizon
And the road ahead isn’t bending
Looking for a guide to lead the way
Holding onto hope when that light is fading
While closing my eyes at night to sleep
Find the thoughts in my head churning
Trying to find absolution somewhere
To absolve my conscience burning

The bread has gone dry, the wine sour
The table has yet to be cleared
None of the guests have arrived
And the cups have disappeared
Turned out of bed hit the street
Made my way slowly through an empty world
Watching strangers faces passing by me
My breath in smoke trails curls...

Soul… where are you?
I turn to look to see if you’re there
To find you’ve faded in the air
Heart… are you true?
Somehow I’ve gone and last my way
Chasing the sun through yesterday
Only to fade away… nothing

The dust settles
The crows fly
I’m looking for that place
Where the sea meets the sky
And maybe then

I can be free

Monday, 17 June 2013


If the sky was still blue and the grass was still green
If the lights never faded what will you remember of me?
Looking through the keyhole to another dimension
Another world…

                It feels the same
                This eternity
                So many things to do
                Time is slipping by
If we could grow old together, each in a different time
If the light in our eyes never dimmed, what will you remember of me?
Dreaming our lives in sleeping tides
Of a rolling sea…

                We’re still the same
                Changing slowly
                But changing all the same
                Time has run away

If the world would stop spinning and day not turn to night
If we could walk the other way and keep this day forever
What would you think of me?

If we had forever, and we lived in yesterday,
If the roses opened and stayed in bloom forever
Would you still think of me?

                Nothing is the same
                We change, they change
                Our hearts grow and die
                And Time—

                                —he is no enemy, nor friend
                                he has no beginning, yet there is an end
                                a darkness of the soul
                                the closing of a hand

If I said I loved you, what would you think of me?

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Speak No Evil - 15


Ten minutes later, with the first rays of golden light sifting through the high rise buildings that dominated the central part of the city, the small party of Black Hoods began their march towards the palace. It was a sober affair, made more so given Melvin’s reticence and the purpose that brought them out at this early hour. The pedestrian traffic was not as thick as it had been on their arrival, but was still quite substantial. It was a mix of shift workers making their way home from a night’s toil in the factories and people on the morning pilgrimage to join the King for breakfast.
            “I never realised that the King was so popular,” Jordan remarked.
            “He’s not,” Belsair replied. “But when so many people are starving, pretending to be loyal and getting fed as a reward for said loyalty seems as good a deal as any.”
            “So much for King Julian being the great benefactor of the people, then.”
            Belsair shrugged. “Compassion isn’t one of the King’s strong points. To him, this is just another game, another opportunity to revel in his power.”
            “Surely he can see how divisive his policies are?”
            “That’s hard to say. At the eye of the hurricane, the world is peaceful and the sky is blue. In the midst of such a phenomena, it is very hard to believe the destruction that has come just moments before, or the destruction that is to come later...”
            “I’d have to be naïve to fully accept that explanation, though.”
            “Indeed you would. But think of it like this. How often do you think the King sees people who aren’t posturing and posing before him? Apart from his immediate circle of advisors, there would be not a soul who would dare utter the truth to the King; the truth that pertains to life beyond the walls of his palaces, anyway. The exercise you will see this morning is a matter of putting on airs and graces. The King sees a suitable cross section of society at breakfast, hears not a peep from any of them, and can continue pretending that there are no problems.”
            “You think he is pretending?”
            “Of course he is. I don’t doubt the King is stupid. He knows what is going on. But until someone with enough pluck comes along to deliver the message, he won’t act on anything.”
            “So... why our mission then, if a message is all that is needed?”
            Belsair abruptly drew to a halt, so abruptly that those walking behind him almost bowled straight into him. But he had no eyes for them. He was glaring at Jordan. And while there was no anger in his mien, there was a look of challenge. His eyes searched Jordan’s face, the scrutiny total.
            “They have nooses ready for those who wish to make such announcements, my friend,” Belsair said, softly. “And a monarch suspicious enough to string people up on a whim.”
            Jordan swallowed, felt a knot click in his throat. Still, Belsair held his gaze. In the milliseconds before diverting his eyes, he added one last comment. “Not even men of the calibre of Darellion Kraithé are truly safe from His Majesty’s paranoia. And if that man, great as he is, could have his neck popped at the King’s behest, then none of us are safe.”
            Belsair allowed a few moments of silence to pass, sufficient for the message to sink home. Jordan nodded. He understood the implications, understood them well. Seemingly satisfied with Jordan’s response, the Master of the Knife turned around. “We’re nearly there,” he announced, matter-of-factly, as if this short jaunt was a common occurrence.
            And sure enough, they passed from the last dark and dingy street into an open avenue, beyond which was a large park of immaculately maintained grass. It was indeed the jewel in the tarnished crown of Ma’arnar; or, depending on your take of the situation, another example of the ever-growing divide between a rogue monarch and his despairing subjects. Wide cobble-paved boulevards divided the huge expanse of reserve into neat quadrants. These boulevards were swarming with masses of people, most of who looked out of place in the sheer luxury of the surrounds. Dotted at regular intervals along the many paths, soldiers in the garb of the House of the Sun—the blood red sun floating on a field of gold—watched proceedings. They all wore the same listless expression on their faces, that species of dutiful boredom sentries wore when their mission of the moment was beneath their station, broken only momentarily when pointing directions to the palace, or haranguing those stupid enough to wander off the paths.
            Ah, yes, the wonderful palace of Ma’arnar... Jordan had seen its likeness in many pictures and etched on coins, but none of these representations would ever do it justice. For starters, the sheer size of the palace could never be fully appreciated in simple two dimensions. Nor could the audacity of the place, with polished marble towers, each one ending in a gorgeous spiralled dome that caught the morning sunlight so that they dazzled and sparkled like kaleidoscopes and the intricate colonnades that opened the main atria, giving the illusion of yet more space. None of this could be accurately portrayed in any lithograph or the tiny etchings on the silver and gold surfaces issued from the Royal Mint!
            The whole effect was to promote size and space, to make anyone walking within those colonnades and underneath those towers feel small and insignificant. And while there were no heavy walls, and gatehouses to impose a sense of dread and security, Jordan knew by reputation and long conversation with Felipe Belsair that each tower had a compliment of arrow slits with a superior bowman sitting in duty ready to launch projectiles at any person deemed a threat. Right now, there would be hundreds of pairs of eyes glaring down at the throng gathered below and just as many tightly drawn bows at the ready. While a large-scale army wouldn’t be held back by such as this, the defence was enough to hold them back long enough to secure the King and his important dignitaries within the main keep, which was sufficiently disguised so as not to be obvious.
            This was known colloquially as the Summer Palace. It was where the King spent the warmest months of the year, where the open plan allowed cool maritime breezes to drive away much of the summer heat. Winter was spent at the Grey Palace, the dour, heavily fortified hulk in the mountain passes, surrounded by large forests that provided more than enough firewood to fend off the bone-numbing chills prevalent in winter. Had Julian elected to take his court there, then Jordan would have disembarked from the locomotive at the Railway terminal, waited for the engineers to turn the engine around and replenish the coal supply, then would have boarded once more and taken his sorry arse home to Tor.
            But no, things were going according to plan. The plan first, the plan last, and if luck should hold out, the plan would be executed to perfection, pun intended.
            Presently, they observed the flow of people gravitating towards the centre of the courtyard, from where they would be herded like cattle into the banquet hall and the trestles set up for their breakfast. Once everyone was settled, the King would make his dramatic entrance, replete with the sounds of trumpets blaring and the royal figure himself dressed in splendid robes of gold edged purple. As was befitting his most noble status, the King would be served first, followed by his Queen, and any other dignitaries who were nominated that morning to join the façade. Once they received their portions—normally brought to them straight from the kitchens, piping hot and tested for poison by some anonymous scullion who wouldn’t be missed if the food was indeed spiked—then the rabble were allowed to descend upon the smorgasbords and sate their appetites. While they fed their faces, a string quartet filled the air with sensuous music, much of which went unappreciated, drowned out by the noise of hundreds of feasters gorging themselves.
            “During the dining phase,” Belsair had said, “make an excuse to get up and walk around often. Note where the sentries are. Note how many there are. Once you’ve counted them for certain, double that number. There will be those in mufti pretending to scoff like the rest of the peasants, but in reality, keeping their eyes peeled for trouble.
            “When it comes time for the King’s address to the commoners, thanking them for their loyalty and congratulating them for being simple minded serfs slaving away to secure his position, make sure you’re located near the east exit. Without fail, this will be where the King will make his exit. From there, it is up to you to make the right moves... if you know what I mean.”
            Jordan had nodded acquiescence at that last statement, delivered by Belsair with a slight nod of his own and a brief, mischievous wink. Yes. Jordan knew exactly what Belsair meant. The watershed moment of the entire enterprise; delivering Melvin to his destiny, and securing his own. Timing was the essence here, split second timing, knowing the exact moment to strike for maximum effect, even if it meant martyrdom.
            That was a risk Jordan was prepared to take, if not for the realm, then surely for his own honour. And was he scared of dying? Yes. Not so much of the dying itself, but the fact that once dead, that was it. Your legacy was measured on that which you had achieved, so if Jordan died without achieving his objective, then the sum total of his legacy would be a huge deficit. There was no way to amend that.
            “Strike hard and strike to count,” Jordan muttered under his breath.
            From somewhere within the massive complex, an iron bell tolled six times. This was the signal that breakfast was ready for the masses; for Jordan and Melvin, it was the moment of truth. Endgame.
            They drew up into a circle. There would be no pre-mission pep talks. All time for such had long since passed. This was the mere formality of farewells. Should success be in the offing, then maybe the members of this party would meet again and share the tale of what was to transpire. If they were lucky. And the chances of having such luck were, as far as Jordan knew, extremely slim.
            “I guess we are most grateful for your assistance in this matter,” Jordan said. He reached out with his hand, to grab hold of Belsair’s wrist in the traditional handshake of close confidantes. He assumed that the time spent on the train and the time navigating the clogged streets of Ma’arnar gave them both some kind of bond. It was also in part a way of thanks that Jordan found hard to say.
            He was surprised, therefore, when Belsair seized his arm not at the wrist, but farther up his arm, almost at the joint of his elbow, and squeezed tightly. Those black eyes that were considered rare in this part of the world now blazed balefully across the gap of inches between them. Belsair flashed his winsome teeth, but there was no longer any warmth there. Jordan heard the sound of metal clinking, and utterly astonished, looked down at his wrist and saw a manacle. He looked back up at Belsair’s face, trying to pierce the coldness, to find the companion and fellow Black Hood underneath. He couldn’t find it.
            Jordan struggled to free himself from the manacle, from Belsair’s steel grip. Worst of all, the way Belsair’s eyes placed their own clamp on his own. It had only taken scant seconds, but he sensed the sudden change come over the three-man party. Next to him, Melvin struggled; he too, was entrapped by a manacle, this by one of Belsair’s companions.
            “What the hell is happening?” Melvin queried, voice raising an octave as the raw edge of panic seized him.
            “Should you tell him, sir?” the companion named Aldernon said.
            Belsair smiled some more. His whole demeanour had changed. No longer did he look stooped, hunched over. Somehow, the kink that Jordan was sure he’d seen in Belsair’s back was gone. So to the rheumatism that had so affected the man’s joints. He stood taller, stood easier, moved lithely. Jordan was astonished to find that even the man’s hair appeared darker, as if he were growing ever more youthful right before his eyes. And then, Belsair’s trusted companion had called him “sir.” Not exactly the title one greeted a Black Hood with, at least not in the manner of deference now afforded to Belsair. And yet it had happened—was happening—as sure as Jordan drew breath. And the manacles.
            “I think my friends here are worthy of an explanation,” Belsair said. He sounded different, the words weighted with a quality far removed from the history Belsair had painted over the course of two days of travel. He was no longer a master thief, a silent killer. Just what was he?
            But before Jordan could splutter for an explanation, Aldernon reached into one of the voluminous pockets of his overcoat and pulled forth a silver whistle. Three sharp shrills sliced the air, and for Jordan and Melvin, signalled their death knell. Out of nowhere, or so it seemed, men appeared. All of them wore the garb of the House of the Sun, the blood red sun floating on a field of yellow. More than enough of them held naked swords; all of them meant business.
            Belsair stepped away a few paces from Jordan, and let slip his cloak. Even Jordan’s lips let loose a gasp of shock. He was staring at another House of the Sun cloak, and seeing Belsair dressed so seemed all the more an insult. Melvin visibly paled, came quite near to pissing in his pants. Jordan, though, always the one with the highest convictions, simply glared, admitted defeat. However, supplication was the last thing on Belsair’s mind. His smile was cruel, a twisted jag of lips exposing many teeth.
            He spoke again, all traces of the assassin banished. And the words he spoke were a steel-gloved hand that seized Jordan’s heart and crushed it into pulp. “Your travelling companion is none other than Darellion Kraithé. You are now under arrest for high treason.”

Friday, 14 June 2013

No Goodbye

Without saying goodbye, she went away
No final words, just... gone, without a trace
And I am left to face the world alone
Not knowing left from right, or which way I should go

I felt the rift growing between us long before parting ways
But I was too scared to make mention of it, in those formative days
Scared, perhaps, to make it seem real
Or perhaps, most likely, was scared, so scared, to tell her how I feel

So, with no words and no solemn goodbye
She left; the day, I remember, was cold, grey clouds hanging in the sky
A grim prognostication tore me from my bed early that morning
And while I feed this cold fire more fuel, it's only my heart that is burning

I wonder what would have happened had she stayed
Without any word of warning, would her leaving still have caused dismay
Or am I simply too romantic deep in a poet's heart
To comprehend the race was a circle that ends where it starts?

This stubborn pride, the mighty oak unbending in the breeze
This beating heart measuring time, my life, like an incurable disease
To have one more late night conversation, perhaps to hold her once more
Before a lingering goodbye, a promise, perhaps, before the closing of the door

Such things in movies are played out, overdone, made trite
All I can do is wish you the best, sweet dreams, my love, and good night.

The Uncanny Knack of Talking Around Corners

You possess a knack of saying things
That have no meaning or purpose
But rather are a meandering river of words
Going nowhere, a veritable vortex of syllables
Shaped into pretty stories, pretty lies
Around and around, they dance

You're three steps ahead before you pause to take stock
And ask,
"Have I told you this before?"
Still you plunge on unheeding; even if I answer in the affirmative
"I've heard this tale before."
Off you go again, running down a new tangent
I stifle my yawns

This uncanny knack of talking around corners
Some benign state of befuddlement
Or a deliberate net of... I don't know what.
Lacking perception or even the will to care
I just nod and accept, and the challenge goes by
But you pick us because we're non-confrontational anyway...

I wish all people were as void of substance as you
It would make my dead end job satisfactory
To stare into empty space and mutter vagaries about the rugby on the weekend
And how much piss I drank
Multiplied by exponential levels of hyperbole each time the story is told
And how the barmaid with too much makeup and hair bleached so bright it glows
Wanted me to drive her home after her shift, said with a salacious grin
As I turn another corner, still talking
When the reality is I simply stayed at home.

Thursday, 13 June 2013


A clock ticks, the hand sweeps
A perfect circle, never ending
Marking moments that never again can be revisited
Laughter at old jokes and crying to sad songs
The arguments and fights, and yes, the love making
All consigned to "then" because "now" is but a flicker
Gone too soon

And in all this time, he waits
The patience of a million stones washed by the oceans of apathy
To be taken from the shelf, dusted off and used
And then shelved again until next time
Still, he accepts his tired lot without protest
Hoping in vain for change
That never comes

Time moves forward, forward only
And even if he could reach back to pluck that one moment
When his eyes meet her eyes and an exchanged look lingers
From one second onto the next
What could he do but cast a feeble sigh, anyway?
The moment was not his to keep
And she has already placed him back on the shelf

Speak No Evil - 14


Just before dawn, as Belsair predicted, Melvin returned from his nocturnal adventures. This return was anything but stealthy, characterised by slamming doors, curses as he stumbled into furniture and walls, and crashes when the items he had procured during the night slipped from his drunken grasp and fell to the floor.
            Jordan listened to the ruckus, a smile playing across his lips. He’d been awake for about an hour now, and was fully dressed awaiting the knock on his door that would summon him to action. Judging by the colour filtering through the moth holes in the curtains, Aldernon would be due to deliver this rousing knock in probably no more than a quarter of an hour. Melvin’s head would have barely have touched his pillow.
            It was a cruel tactic, certainly. But none of the other Black Hoods would lose any sleep over it. Besides, it was none of their concern if Melvin was going to make it easier for them to deliver him to his destiny. Anything that assisted with the plan was seen as good... and using Melvin as a scapegoat—if needed—was better than good in Jordan’s mind.
            From next door, there came one last crash, a final curse punctuated heavily with cussing words and then, the creak of the iron bed as it caught and held Melvin’s slight weight. There was silence for a few seconds. A thick, uneasy silence. In that silence, Jordan could hear his heart smashing against his ribs. And then, seemingly on cue, Melvin snorted, once, twice, thrice; the last time, the snort drew out, became a loud and vibrating snore.
            Jordan had to stifle the need to giggle. It was almost too easy. And yet, unlike most victims of a practical joke, Jordan felt no sympathy. Melvin had done nothing to earn anyone’s respect. His deliverance would be satisfactory to many parties.
            At length, the snores fell into a regular pattern, broken intermittently with a few snorts. Very soon, Melvin would reach the plateau that would herald deep sleep. Unless of course, there was something or someone to sabotage that...
            Aldernon rapped at Jordan’s door quietly. Their conversation was non-verbal. A few brief nods, and a suggestive wink by Aldernon in the direction of Melvin’s door, which had been left slightly ajar. He crossed the hallway in three exaggerated steps, paused at the doorway for a split second, before raising his leg and kicking open the door. The effect was instantaneous, and somewhat tragic, and yet, revealing.
            A scream came from within, high pitched, almost feminine. This was followed by a series of blurted words that Jordan couldn’t figure out. By this time, Aldernon was inside the room. All that Jordan could see was the movement of shadows in the grey light. He heard a scuffle, another burst of high-pitched squeals. A growl, Aldernon: “Get up!”
            There was a thud. Jordan presumed that Aldernon had grabbed the boy and dragged him out of his bed. He took a few steps closer, curiosity compelling him to cross the corridor to take a peek. Then, Melvin shouted once more, his words freezing Jordan half way across the hallway.
            “The assassin Maurice Jordan is next door! He means to slay the King!
            Jordan felt his breath catch in his throat as a sickly, churning sensation gripped his guts. He was prepared to accept Melvin’s role as a scapegoat in the plan
            (the plan first, the plan last)
            simply as a means to an end. But with that last shrieked sentence, following Belsair’s prediction to the letter, Jordan realised it was much more than a mere matter of survival for Melvin to take the fall. It went far beyond Jordan’s personal existence; a novice like Melvin endangered the whole Black Hood core.
            Heat flushed through his body. Anger. He looked down, saw that his hands had bunched into tight fists. It took all of his willpower to unclench them, and yet more willpower to not follow Aldernon into that room and kick three shades of shit through Melvin. Instead, he counted to ten under his breath and progressed to the entrance in slow, measured steps.
            By this time, Aldernon had Melvin pinned against the wall by the throat. His face was inches from Melvin’s, a mask of fury made grotesque by the shadows that half-hid his features. Even in profile, Jordan could see Aldernon’s eyes were concentrated slits, could see the way his mouth curled into a ferocious sneer.
            “Go on,” he spat, voice inflected with venom. “Squeal like a little bitch.”
            Melvin shuddered, his breathing nothing more than a series of hitching coughs similar to hiccups. His eyes were closed, squeezed shut, his lips pressed together so that they formed a thin pencil line across his mouth. Beads of sweat dotted his forehead, reflecting like glistening pearls in the pale light.
            “Nothing else to say?” Aldernon enquired. He angled his head slightly, peering at Melvin as if the boy were some species of bug trapped under a magnifying glass. Even half masked in shadow, the look of contempt was evident. Aldernon squeezed the hand constricting Melvin’s throat tighter and repeated his question. “Nothing else to say?”
            “No!” Melvin gurgled. “No!” His hands weakly reached out to try and wrest Aldernon’s away from his throat, but no matter how hard Melvin squeezed, he simply lacked the strength to dislodge that manacle.
            Aldernon gave one last mighty squeeze so that Melvin choked for air. His eyes snapped open, fixed blindly at first onto Aldernon’s. Recognition hit in an instant. Jordan saw the exact moment in the slow motion afforded to onlookers witnessing an intense event. Melvin’s eyes bulged, before his pupils narrowed, fixing on the man who pinned him to the wall. His shoulders sagged. Indeed, had Aldernon not been holding him upright, he’d have collapsed to the floor like a bundle of rags.
            “Aye,” Aldernon growled. “Aye, look into my eyes and see who I am. See very clearly. Know that you have been called out and found wanting. I could kill you now. My actions would be justified. But I won’t. Alas, you are still useful, despite your... shortcomings.”
            Aldernon glared at the boy for a few seconds more, pinning him to the wall with such a look of scorn that even Melvin, stupid misguided gutter rat that he was, dropped his gaze. He let go of the boy’s throat with a snort of derision and turned away. “Get your shit together,” he said. “You have ten minutes to meet as at the rendezvous point. If you’re late you will be left behind. If I learn that you’ve deserted us, I will personally track you down and open your throat.” He paused for a split second, and just as Felipe Belsair had cause to do the first night he made Melvin’s acquaintance, said: “A bit old to be wielding that child’s pig-sticker, aren’t you?”
            Melvin gasped, and the knife he’d clutched for when Aldernon turned away dropped with a clatter to the floor. Aldernon shook his head slowly, snorted once more, then pushed his way out of the door. He paused to exchange another conspiratorial wink with Jordan, before stalking away.

            Inside the room, utterly defeated, Melvin slid down the wall into a squat. Seconds later, he began to sob.