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micawber's (nomenklatura on UKA) UKArchive
504 Archived submissions found.
Title
Tell Me A Story (posted on: 20-11-15)
"God-derel"

Tell me a story, tell me a tale, tell me the one about a man inside a whale. Tell me a story, tell me again, tell me the one about a god who loves men. Tell me a story, tell me a yarn, tell me the one about ''Religion doesn't harm''. Tell me a story, Tell me a myth, tell me the one about a god to deal with. Tell me a story, tell me a joke, tell me the one about the God you liars wrote. Tell me a story, tell me a lie, tell me the one about a god up in the sky.
Archived comments for Tell Me A Story
franciman on 20-11-2015
Tell Me A Story
Bitter, biting and blasphemous. Oh how we desperate humans have been cozened and convinced. I so admire this Ewan.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 20-11-2015
Tell Me A Story
So good, I can only echo Jim words, great writing.
Mike

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 21-11-2015
Tell Me A Story
Ah, but apparently it's only Christianity that harms, only Christianity that is bigoted, stupid, illogical, hysterical and dangerous.

A certain other religion is totally fine, it's a religion of peace, and anyone who says otherwise is a racist, according to the """left wing""" nowadays.




Author's Reply:
Ah no, Ah Chi, they are all bollocks.
About another "holy" book
Tks for reading...


Walking (posted on: 20-11-15)
Walk on by, if it's not your thing...

Walking, talking, keeping time, failing the rhythm, losing the rhyme. Kissing, missing, wasting words, wishing for sunshine, hearing the birds. Waiting, hating, counting ways, pining for loving, yearning for days. Drinking, thinking, trying hard, crying, dying, playing the card. Walking, talking, feeling fine, laughing for pleasure, because you're mine.
Archived comments for Walking
Mikeverdi on 20-11-2015
Walking
I'm pleased to say I know these feelings, no need for explanation with this one Ewan 😊
Mike

Author's Reply:

franciman on 20-11-2015
Walking
Can you hear the Jive talking? Really picturesque. Love the rhythm too. Really nice piece.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

pommer on 20-11-2015
Walking
Enjoyed reading this lovely well rhymed and rhythmic peice. Well done Ewan, Peter.

Author's Reply:


Some Advice from Johnny Stompanato (posted on: 13-11-15)
what it is...

Never keep a switchblade in your pocket, always have a roscoe in your hand, better keep a billfold in your jacket, roll with sucker punches when they land. Do not take a taxi south of Main Street, never tip the bell-boy in the Grand, drink the canuck bourbon in the ''Backbeat'', drink it 'til you don't know how to stand. Listen to the wise-guys on the corner, nothing goes the way you ever planned, drop a dime and you won't get no quarter, a stoolie ain't no paisan, understand?
Archived comments for Some Advice from Johnny Stompanato
gwirionedd on 13-11-2015
Some Advice from Johnny Stompanato
No idea who or what you're talking about, but I like the rhythms and rhymes. Also had to smile at "drink it 'til you don't know how to stand"...



Author's Reply:
Tanks fuh readin', Goombah.


Ionicus on 14-11-2015
Some Advice from Johnny Stompanato
Think Mafia, Ah Chi.
A good advice from one of his exponents.

Author's Reply:
Mafia! Dey ain't no Mafia, doncha know Hoover made all dat up? We jes' look aftuh da fam'ly! Unnerstan'?

Ta for reading!


Hermetic (posted on: 13-11-15)
The other Mr D...

Listen between. You'll hear what is unsaid. Whispers will follow, and should remain unheard. Secrets abound, they'll change, become rumours. Slander will gather and should repeat gossip. Tenets emerge, we'll know they are truthful. Listen... Stand where the water drips from the eaves, close to the window hear books' turned leaves. The ancient's finger traces the lines, whispering lips chant Hebrew rhymes. Wizard, warlock, the virgin's spy, listen, boy, listen, catch me a lie. The good Doctor's eye is fixed on the head of a pin, counting, pondering the mystery within. The serpents entwine the wingd stake, the ouroboros circle will never break. Serpent, adder, Cleopatra's asp, the snake's significance beyond his grasp. Look below you will see what is above. Answers will follow and should become proven. Secrets revealed, will change, become knowledge. Belief will harden, and must become dogma. Schisms erupt, we'll know them for heresy. Look... Peer through the incense into the gloom, are there others, invisible, in the room? A scuttling movement across the floor, the alchemist glances toward the door. Lizard, dragon or sirenidae? Salamander evades the alchemist's eye. First day as last is pure nonsense, tail to the mouth as coincidence. The old man sketches a glyphic figure the sight of his monad gives him vigour. A letter, a missive from a friend? A riddle, a puzzle to comprehend.
Archived comments for Hermetic
stormwolf on 14-11-2015
Hermetic
Very mysterious and abit beyond me. I think I get it but maybe not.
So many ancient mysteries are now out in the open. Things occult and from closed societies now openly discussed. So many lies spouted and disinformation abounds. I sometimes look back fondly on how simple my life was when I just believed all I had been told.

Alison x

Author's Reply:
John Dee was an alchemist and astronomer - in fact he was Elizabeth I's court astronomer - he believed some very strange things, may have been a Rosicrucian and many other things. Although I hold no brief for his beliefs, he was an interesting figure none the less.
Ta for reading.

Mikeverdi on 15-11-2015
Hermetic
It's not unusual for me to spend time reading between your lines Ewan, always rewarding. I will return to this one. I love the catch of words, the mystery woven. As always well written, won't pretend I've got it yet, doesn't stop my enjoyment.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Well, Mike I'll admit that there are some people's work on here and other sites that I'll never get, but that doesn't stop me reading. A turn of phrase or an image is often enough to make any poem worthwhile.
Hope you're feeling well
Ewan


Slow Light (posted on: 06-11-15)
Not Dylan! Pay attention! Haha. Science vs Religion... Which would you choose?

Quantum magic, photon miracles for telluric buffoons hiding eyes when confronted with mysteries more fearsome than any bat and broomstick witch. What kind of brake could slow light? If the speed of light is constant, how is intertangling possible? Mumbo jumbo, cheapjack conjuring for imbecile students' widened eyes when ''watching'' experiments more awesome than any cat and poisoned box. What kind of thing is slow light? If the speed of thought is instant is misunderstanding possible? Slowing substance, rigid particles for scattergun theories, guileful lies from sick-brained theocrats more fearsome than any gun or nuclear bomb. BBC News Slow Light
Archived comments for Slow Light
Mikeverdi on 06-11-2015
Slow Light
Bugger, it's never easy reading you...but never boring either. I read the article, interesting and a little disturbing. I wasn't happy with the messing about with stuff, I just wonder if one day we will bring things we can't control to our lives.
Great thought provoking writing Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 06-11-2015
Slow Light
I choose both... Scientology......

Author's Reply:
You and Tom Cruise both. Hahaha...

Scientology skewered... here

stormwolf on 07-11-2015
Slow Light
What really bothers me is the mad scientists who are tampering with things beyond their ken at CERN. I feel it's morally indefensible to be tinkering with things that can affect the whole of humanity in a very negative way.
I am all for experimenting if they want to learn more about how the universe works but not at the risk of endangering others.
A thought provoking poem
Alison x


Author's Reply:


Hurricane (posted on: 02-11-15)
Dylan title. Again a starting point, nothing to do with the content of the song

You came in like a hurricane, blew down my life, like an old rotted tree. I was a spinning weather vane: couldn't tell a candle from a knife. I felt like Cain, I felt like brooding, seething Cain. You came in like a Hurricane, blew out a flame, that had slowly burned me. I was a happy, drooling fool: couldn't tell the candle from a game. We felt the rain, We felt the calming, loving rain.
Archived comments for Hurricane
gwirionedd on 02-11-2015
Hurricane
I think I might know exactly how you feel here...

Actually, the poem reminded me immediately of this:





Ich kam rein wie 'ne Abrissbirne
Ich schlug niemals so hart in Liebe
Alles ich wollte war deine Mauer zu brechen
Alles du jemals tatst war mich zu zertrümmern
Ja, du zertrümmertest mich



Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-11-2015
Hurricane
Can't fault the effort or the writing, just, you seem to be on a mission to somewhere I don't have a map for😊
Mike


Author's Reply:


Forever Young (posted on: 30-10-15)
Dylan title... barely relevant poem... or not

And we are - in triple meter, you and I - in passacaglia, street-walking troubadours playing for pennies in a hat. And we are in subtle lyrics, you and I in bluesy rondos, kif-smoking clarinettists playing for whiskies in a club. And we are in power chording, you and I in shouty anthems, lip-synching pensionistas playing for millions in the bank.
Archived comments for Forever Young
gwirionedd on 31-10-2015
Forever Young
Is this about anyone in particular?

Actually I don't know this Dylan song and my first thought was that you'd changed tack and were now doing poems based on Alphaville songs (appropriate to your 1980s German connection).

Then I thought maybe it was about Dylan himself, but then who would the you be to his I?

If I had to pick anyone, I would suggest the Stones.


Author's Reply:
Bingo!

Actually, I saw Alphaville in the Metropol in '84, their "Forever Young" was the encore.

The Berliners loved it, lighters aloft and bellowing out "For Effer Zhung, I vont to be For Effer...etc"

Great times.

Mikeverdi on 01-11-2015
Forever Young
Without the explanation, I wouldn't have got this (nothing new there) having read the comments it becomes clear, and I'm pleased it has. So sorry not to have been around, I will try and keep up.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hey Mike,
although you are missed, concentrate on feeling better, okay?
Thanks for reading. Have a look at Bop Shoo Waddy
... might strike a chord with you. I thought grammar school boys suffered all this awkwardness with women because we never saw any girls, little did I know access to the female sex made no difference to the capacity to understand them!
Ewan


Maggie's Farm (posted on: 26-10-15)
Dylan title-inspired poem, again the title is only a starting point with a different (and perhaps obvious,in this case) destination

It is built over now, thus it aspires to Milton Keynesian beauty. Napoleon is the mayor., so we know fracking isn't far away although Napoleon's trough is. They grow fruits under glass, or it perspires under windily flapping plastic. GMF is the watchword, and we know mutants are not here today although genetic ills are. It is principled and fine: for we believe in Charles' Darwinian misquotes, Survivors are the fittest, so we know failure does not play although the changing goalposts do.
Archived comments for Maggie's Farm

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Bop Shoo Waddy (posted on: 26-10-15)
Long ago in a grammar school far away...

Dark. After eight. Like the mints. We had to be inside the school gates by that time. We weren't. Not that particular night, anyway. School play. G I R L S! Joint production on in the Girls' Grammar School that year. No-one ever mentioned that the number of boys at auditions trebled in alternate years, at least from 3 Alpha and above. They were my first auditions. G I R L S! They smelled different. At least the day-boys saw girls when the bell rang for the end of school, even if they were only sisters. For we boarders they might as well have been from another country. One on the other side of the world. I tell you, when Clare kissed me When I reached the Fourth Form, change was coming. We had a Christmas Disco with the Fourth year girls from the Grammar. They arrived on a bus at 7 o'clock outside the school gates. You can imagine how it was. Nobody danced with anyone of the opposite sex. Wilson kept asking Wizzard (he looked like Roy Wood), the music master to play Black Sabbath's Paranoid. We got Bowie's Jean Genie and then it was back to David Essex and the floor was full of girls dancing with themselves, while the day-boys took the fire exit outside to the kitchens and smoked No.6. We inmates looked at the girls, whilst trying not to look like it. I caughtsomeone's eye and Spider laughed until he coughed when I blushed. Julian actually went up to a girl and asked her to dance. It was the Rubettes. He was an expressive dancer, but the girl he was dancing with didn't roll her eyes once. They were in perfect time as all the girls, dancing or no, joined in singing 'Bop Shoo Waddy'. Clare was there, surrounded by a few girl-friends. People said she was fast. I didn't even know what that meant. I hadn't seen her since she'd kissed me on the way back from the auditions for those previous year's school play. I'd thought about her a lot. The disco was due to finish at 9.30, so Wizzard started the slow down to the smoochers with Leo Sayer's Moonlighting at about five past. There were only the girls on the dance floor, but Miss Law asked Braggart the Games Master for a dance and Hastings (Geography) dragged Mrs Willcox up so they felt less conspicuous. They moved well, the women. I looked around at the boys' faces and checked to make sure my own mouth was closed. Minnie Riperton followed and some of the day boys shuffled their feet in front of girls without exactly asking them for a dance. Clare wasn't dancing with anyone yet. I looked over at Miss Law. Her head was very close to Braggart's over by the ''drinks'' bar. Braggart walked off and out of the fire exit. He was the only master we knew smoked. The day-boy tabbers came back in. Miss Law was staring out over the dance floor. Wizzard announced the last song. I started walking towards Clare. Someonetapped me on the shoulder. I got to dance with Miss Law. I saw Clare over her shoulder and Miss Law rested her head on mine when the breathy girl's voice started saying 'big boys don't cry' over the electric piano and bass.
Archived comments for Bop Shoo Waddy
Nemo on 26-10-2015
Bop Shoo Waddy
A good read, Ewan. It brings back memories, though my boys' grammar school didn't arrange any such fraternising. We had to go the local church hall Saturday night dance.

Regards, Gerald.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Gerald.
I think some of the younger masters and mistresses (how archaic/risque that sounds nowadays!) felt sorry for us boarders.

Mikeverdi on 01-11-2015
Bop Shoo Waddy
So sorry I missed this one. I never made it to Grammar School, sounds like prison 🙂 I left, sorry was asked to leave just after fourteen, I knew all about girls by then.
Love the memory lane bit, the reference to NO.6 dates it well. Its great that you are posting again. The site needs you, and some of the others, to step up at the moment. Thanks for this one, I loved it.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Mike. In some ways it was worse than some prisons. No TV in the rooms... dormitory sleeping, farts and snoring. No buggery as far as I know, some low-level bullying. By the time I'd sat my 'o' levels the wall was falling down and the writing had long been on it. I had a much better experience of state-education than many, yourself, for example, so I don't complain.
In retrospect it just seems so very odd.

And I still don't understand women.

Thanks for reading, Mike!


''If You Gotta Go...'' (posted on: 23-10-15)
More Dylan title inspired stuff... the song is

If You Gotta Go (Go Now)



I picked her up, where she danced in a bar she put dollars in a thong, and I lived in my car. She said come to her place around a quarter past moon, she smiled when I said I'd see her soon. In her hold-ups and hat and a matching smile she answered the door, so I stayed for a while. Later we smoked and lied about things; remembered our fingers and which ones had rings. She's still in that bar as far as I know. She shouldn't have sung it: ''If you gotta go..."
Archived comments for ''If You Gotta Go...''
Mikeverdi on 23-10-2015
If You Gotta Go...
Starting to get my head around your latest posting, still not sure, they are so different. Maybe start again as my head is up my arsenal at the moment.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Well, Mike, the Dylan song titles are only meant to be a starting point, and the lyrical content of the songs themselves are not supposed to influence the content of the poems any more than subliminally.


I Threw It All Away (posted on: 19-10-15)
Poem using Dylan title as starting point #3

I kept it, too long, too strong to let it into the light, and even in the night I couldn't look at it, not for long. It was magnesium in the flame I was the one to blame, still I threw it all away. We made it, so long, so strong watching dust motes in the light and never once at night. You couldn't look at me, not for long. You were castling in the game, I was the one to blame, so I threw it all away. You left me, ''so long!'', so strong; switching off the landing light, as you fled into the night. I could not look for you, not for long. I stood calling out your name I was the one to blame when I threw it all away.
Archived comments for I Threw It All Away
gwirionedd on 20-10-2015
I Threw It All Away
"To castle" is an interesting verb, Ewan. What do you mean by it exactly? Is it a reference to a chess move? That's what it sounds like. If so, is bishoping possible?

Author's Reply:
It's a reference to the chess move, which I have always considered a sneaky business

Castle


gwirionedd on 20-10-2015
I Threw It All Away
I never knew you could do that in chess. It's a bit naughty, innit?


Author's Reply:

teifii on 21-10-2015
I Threw It All Away
Seems to have echoes of your pantoum but i like this one better.
Daff

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 21-10-2015
I Threw It All Away
1969! He's always sounded older than he was...





Author's Reply:


Blame It All... (posted on: 19-10-15)
Cheating on the Dylan front here: it's an old one, a pantoum in fact and the title used for inspiration is one of the lines... anyway..

Simple fatal twists turn the cards and load the dice. How you will know the outcome beforehand, only mountebanks can tell. And load the dice how you will, there is still blind chance whom only mountebanks can tell from the coincidence of opportunity. There is, still, blind chance, whom we met on the road to Thebes, fleeing from the coincidence of opportunity to the arms of happenstance. We met on the road to Thebes fleeing fate and destiny's imperatives to the arms of happenstance and the caprice of Olympians. Fate and destiny's imperatives take no sides at close quarters and the caprice of Olympians does not decide the outcome. Take no sides at close quarters keep one eye on him and the knife does not decide the outcome; just a simple twist of fate.
Archived comments for Blame It All...
gwirionedd on 20-10-2015
Blame It All...
Pantoums are buggers to write, but I think you pull this one off very well. It needs a few reads and some knowledge of Greek antiquity (which I don't have), I expect.

Which is the Dylan line? I'm not a massive fan of his, so I don't know. (I think he's alright).

Author's Reply:
'Blame it all on a

Simple Twist of Fate

'

teifii on 21-10-2015
Blame It All...
I bet that was tricky to write, I must find out what a pantoum is.
Daff

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 21-10-2015
Blame It All...
Alas could only find this (not very good) version for you - he's hard to find on YT



Author's Reply:


Mozambique (posted on: 16-10-15)
Dylan title for poem inspiration... Some say Dylan and Levy tried to write a song that contained as many rhymes for Mozambique as possible. In fact the song doesn't contain that many. I'm afraid the poem's rhyme scheme is AAAA. If you know Shelter from the Storm, try reciting it to the rhythm.

You left me in a caf, my shoulders hunched in pique, I watched you leaving slowly, your legs so long and sleek, my tongue was dry and swollen, I could not even speak, I know that you are gone now, I'll head for Mozambique. You left me in the summer, your skin was polished teak, I'll find you in the autumn, before the winter bleak, you'll live with lost illusions, beside a bitter creek, and if you've gone already, I'll head for Mozambique. You'll go to Loureno Marques, I'll miss you by a week, I'll ask at the Vila Algarve and be questioned by a Greek, he'll understand my obsession and your darkly sweet mystique, and since you're gone already, I'll die in Mozambique.
Archived comments for Mozambique

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One More Cup of Coffee Before You Go (posted on: 16-10-15)    
First of two/several/many?? poems using Dylan song titles as a starting point

Your coffee cools and the semi-skimmed makes a semi-skin, so I know you won't drink it. My finger dips in the tepid liquid in my cooling glass and I write three letters on formica. I remember conversations, two languages leading up blind and deaf alleys, the dead-end of misunderstanding in our way. We spoke about zeitgeist and whether "spirit of the age" captures the spirit of the phrase. We talked about everything, and nothing important to us, in case the moment shattered. My eyes are shining, I know: yours are not, I see your lips smiling and know you understand schadenfreude, now.
Archived comments for One More Cup of Coffee Before You Go
stormwolf on 16-10-2015
One More Cup of Coffee Before You Go
Wow! Ewan
What a 'kick ass' ending if you will pardon the phrase 😉 Very nib-worthy and extremely clever in its whole construction.
So much said by innuendo and suggestion. The games people play etc I winced when reading. Bravo!
Alison x

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 16-10-2015
One More Cup of Coffee Before You Go
This is so good Evan, I love the play with words. There's some great writing today and this is up there. Thanks for the read.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 16-10-2015
One More Cup of Coffee Before You Go
Here ya go, Ewan



Brilliant!

Author's Reply:


This is Poetry? (posted on: 09-10-15)
Because it was NPD, today 8 October 2015

A fourteen-liner with no punch line, you read, I write, I read , you hear. I'm a word-miner, and this is mine, my words, your time, my word, you're here - even after thirty-two words of inconsequence, your sneering dismissal is no recompense. There is wisdom in your silence, reader there is fury and sound in this scribbled noise, you gloat and mock these feeblest of ploys. Yet you read, I write, I read, you hear: a metaphor-est, the scent of burning cedar and manuscripts thrown on cooling embers, pulped trees, paper turned to ash remembers why we tried for meaning, because we need her.
Archived comments for This is Poetry?
Ionicus on 09-10-2015
This is Poetry?
Poetry is an art not always appreciated, Ewan. No matter how brilliant a poem is it will always be 'margaritas ante porcos' to the uninitiated but we still soldier on trying to make an impression.
Thanks for asking the question.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 10-10-2015
This is Poetry?
I note that your words come replete with rhyme.
Intended for remembrance over time?

I suggest that this clever poem is not for burning: slate-roofed, not thatched.
Enjoyed ...David


Author's Reply:

shadow on 11-10-2015
This is Poetry?
Poetry? I think so. It rhymes, it has rhythm, words carefully chosen, with meaning - yep, definitely a poem. Nice one, too.

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 11-10-2015
This is Poetry?
"Man who write nonsense poetry sit farting at sunset"

(R Chi)



Author's Reply:


If I... (posted on: 21-09-15)
just another poem...

If I look back, a younger self is in my slipstream, his eyes fixed on the road, careful of mis-steps, missing the flowers and the hedgerow. I should call out, a warning shout to be a tourist, whose eyes flit and flicker watchful for misses, cleaving to wonders and the beauty. I would not hear, a younger self is ever righteous, his eyes in and of the mirror, spiteful in watching, missing the lovers and their wisdom.
Archived comments for If I...
sweetwater on 23-09-2015
If I...
I very much enjoyed reading this, love the wording and the theme, the idea of being a tourist and really looking about and properly seeing what is around you is something we all need to do. Sue.

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 27-09-2015
If I...
I liked this very much Ewan- you reflecting this way makes me think of my own youth. I think you got it all into this short poem.
I am glad I am older now and can appreciate the "things" I may have been oblivious to at that time. Though I do think we/I felt it more than saw it-that's my opinion 🙂
Your poem actually made me , as of today, even more aware and understanding my 20+ son by reminding me of this time in life.. 🙂 Thank you!

A pleasant read.

Pia

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 01-10-2015
If I...
I like the idea behind this, Ewan. Of warning your younger self to be more aware of his surroundings and be more careful not to miss things, like a tourist taking in the beauty and meaning of the world.

I think it's still important though, to be "careful of mis-steps".

"Man who gaze at mountain fall down chasm" (R Chi).



Author's Reply:
Wise words R Chi, wise words.


The Hunting of the Wren (posted on: 04-09-15)
"Allusion, and obscurity, why hide the meaning so?" "By thinking,not by telling, the sages secrets know."

And after the season of the witch and the sprightly, motley-ed yule, gather we all round for the hunting of the wren. We have held each other, we have sung our song, we cling to one another for now, and far too long. And after the season of the witch and the bright and polished city, gather we all round for the hunting of the wren. We have loved each other, we have held our peace, we spit at one another, and hiss like angered geese. And after the season of the witch and playing the love-struck fool, gather we all round for the hunting of the wren.
Archived comments for The Hunting of the Wren
gwirionedd on 04-09-2015
The Hunting of the Wren
Hmmmm... Not sure what this is about...




Author's Reply:
The hunting of the wren is an old folk custom. It is a winter solstice, new year rite. The wren never has a chance since its leg is broken and then the bird is tied to a pole carried by the leader of men dressed in straw, who later batter the wren to death on "finding" it. Like all new year rites, it's supposed to signify, or bring about, rebirth and renewal.
It's a damned savage way of doing it, starting again I mean. I'll say no more.

sweetwater on 04-09-2015
The Hunting of the Wren
I really liked this, to me it holds a very old ( Elizabethan? ) folk song feel, kind of Druid'ish too. Brought to mind the winter solstice. Can you tell me, is the wren you are hunting the bird or is it a metaphor? Sue.

Author's Reply:
See answer above...
Thanks for reading
Ewan


Butterfly Dust (posted on: 04-09-15)
if you hold on too tight, all you'll be left with is...

Some people use a net, swing it wildly after random-plotted flight. Some pinch their fingers; wings in pincers - even lightly - still too tight. Some encup their palm, bring it slowly under trembling lovely things. Some will let them go, soar to freedom, though losing beauty stings.
Archived comments for Butterfly Dust
chant_z on 04-09-2015
Butterfly Dust
Very delicately worded and not a single trace of Gothic elements....:) My oh my! Very nice

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading... What's wrong with the Gothic? Good enough for Poe! Hahaha.
Ewan

gwirionedd on 04-09-2015
Butterfly Dust
Life is like a butterfly... I seem to remember that from somewhere in the mists of my childhood... Not sure where, maybe a TV sitcom...

I suppose you're saying that you shouldn't grasp too tightly after happiness. The alternative would be to be like Winnie the Pooh, of course, the paragon of Taoism.




Author's Reply:
Butterflies, the theme tune was a Dolly Parton song. Nicholas Lyndhurst played one of the teenage boys. Wendy Craig was mum and Geoffrey (I can do lugubrious really well) Palmer, the dad.

Nowt to do with the poem, which is about exactly what you said. Ah yes Pooh, a bear of very little brain. Isn't there a book, "The Tao of Winnie the Pooh"?

Thanks for reading Ah Chi!

Ewan

sweetwater on 05-09-2015
Butterfly Dust
Better to lose beauty, than beauty lose itself. Perhaps I have got this wrong but are you saying that if you try and take something lovely you risk destroying it in the process, so it's better to suffer a slight loss than complete destruction?
A thought provoking poem, enjoyed it very much. Sue.

Author's Reply:
Yes, you've nailed it. That's what it's about.
Thanks for reading, Sue.

Kipper on 05-09-2015
Butterfly Dust
I take a similar view to Sue, and in that context this is a very satisfying poem.
Yes perhaps loosing beauty stings, but to destroy it for whatever reason, unthinkable!

Michael



Author's Reply:
Yes, it's a healthy attitude, but sometimes difficult to maintain.
Thanks for reading, Michael
Ewan

Pronto on 05-09-2015
Butterfly Dust
By holding too tightly to the things we love we can, and often do, destroy them. Worthy pen.

Author's Reply:
I could just have written that!
You sum it up succinctly.
Thanks for reading
Ewan


Old Glory Returns (posted on: 17-08-15)
'Say, Jimmy, you hear Kerry went over there, pulled up the flag hisself?' 'Maybe I'll move to Miami in a few years.' 'Hell, they won't A L L go back!' 'We'll see Bill, we'll see.'

The Cadillacs will morph into ugly Humvees, people with hats won't smoke under trees. The colonial arches will turn to gold, and the meretricious new will replace the old. Go to Floridita before the daquiris are gone! Some will come home, andamos, Cabron! Others come with them, the Yanqui and Gringo, and Havana will change into Santo Domingo. But there will be votes, instead of goats in the main street of smaller towns, young mens' smiles will meet old mens' frowns. They'll still catch fish from peeled-paint boats. Cubanos Satos will dance in the street, one man's poison is another man's meat.
Archived comments for Old Glory Returns
Mikeverdi on 17-08-2015
Old Glory Returns
Brilliant, I should have known you would write about this, as always you caught the mood and sentiment. I love it Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Well, I think this is how it will be. It's a shame that Cuba will change so much over the next few years.

gwirionedd on 18-08-2015
Old Glory Returns
One man's Communism is another man's Capitalism...

You think Cuba will just become another American satellite?



Author's Reply:
Yes, I do, Ah Chi.
I think it will be another Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic, who needs another one of those?

Pronto on 18-08-2015
Old Glory Returns
I just hope they keep the old cars! great write.

Author's Reply:
I fear they won't... there will be a business opportunity to buy them all up cheap and sell them dear to collectors, I'm sure.

thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


It (posted on: 31-07-15)
'It' is what 'It' is... hahaha.

It slithers, squirms and sinuates at the corner of my eye. I shiver, shake and 'shambulate', like a cripple fit to die. If I fool it, it will leave. I slaver, squeal, expectorate in the corner of the room, It sizzles, slurps and speculates on the moment of my doom. If I see it, none shall breathe. It slumbers, snores in somnolence at the splendour of its dreams. I savour, slurp, in senescence, as the bloodless moonlight gleams. If I kill it, I shall grieve.
Archived comments for It
gwirionedd on 31-07-2015
It
Inspired by Stephen King?



Author's Reply:
Well... to a certain extent. The thing is, is the thing in the corner really there? Or if we eliminate it, will we exist? Or do we exist because it does?

I'm sorry if this doesn't come over in the poem, but that was what I was aiming for.

Thanks, as always, for reading, Archie!
Ewan

gwirionedd on 01-08-2015
It
I honestly have no idea what this poem's about. It seems to be a cryptic and/or philosophical poem, if it's not about Stephen King's "It" (which I haven't read).

In any case I do like the rhymes, alliteration and structure.



Author's Reply:
Philosophical? I think in many ways it is. It is the unnameable fear, which comes from inside ourselves. Many myths and monsters are projections of our own fears. If we conquer it, will we vanish too? We will certainly be changed if we vanquish it.
I don't know, it's a poem about it, whatever it is.

sweetwater on 01-08-2015
It
Absolutely fascinating, have read it several times, I have also read your reply to gwiriionedd about what ' it' is and when I first read the poem I did think that was the meaning behind it. I did one on that same idea a while ago but nowhere as clever as yours. Sue.

Author's Reply:


Listen to the Music (posted on: 24-07-15)
A poem - or doggerel, if you prefer.

Listen to the music, listen to the band, listen to the singer with the groupies in his hand. The bassist came on legless, the drummer's off his face, on keyboards is a graduate, writes books on outer space. Listen to the music, listen to it bang, listen to the singer, he's the leader of the gang. Rick Jeffrey plays the guee-tar, the dobro and the spoons, he thinks he's Robert Johnson The band are Looney Toons. Listen to the music, listen to it now, listen to the music, the mouse grew up a cow. The music is downloaded, the lyrics scribbled down, the inspiration's freebased, they call it Golden Brown. Listen to the music, listen to it fade, listen to the music, the man who made the grade. The shooter is a crazy, the gun is aiming high, the other thing he's Holden - The Catcher in the Rye. Listen to the music, listen to the blues, listen to the music, kick off your blue suede shoes.
Archived comments for Listen to the Music
pommer on 24-07-2015
Listen to the Music
Great write, much enjoyed. Peter

Author's Reply:
Thanks for stopping by, Peter. Best for reading out loud in the style of the wrinkly old rocker of your choice!

Mikeverdi on 24-07-2015
Listen to the Music
Name that band! But you don't say what the prize is Ewan 🙂
I think I got a few though HaHa!
Mike

Author's Reply:
Ha, this one won't be a favourite of E.G's, too many external references! No prizes, just the satisfaction of completing a clue in a cryptic crossword puzzle.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike.

PS good luck with September.

sweetwater on 24-07-2015
Listen to the Music
Really, really enjoyed reading this, first reading only got one band, second reading a couple, third reading four. Into favs so I can continue to read and enjoy. Great writing, great imagination and knowledge. Sue.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Sue. This poem is meant to be read aloud in front of a mirror with a hairbrush microphone.
Ewan

gwirionedd on 25-07-2015
Listen to the Music
This would be an Überband... David Bowie, John Lennon, The Stranglers, Elvis...

That Bowie didn't half have some weird lyrics. Mickey Mouse growing up a cow is a case in point. But my favourite of his is "Time, he flexes like a whore, falls wanking to the floor."




Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Archie.

Bowie loved (loves) Berlin, he lived in Neukoln for 3 or 4 years in the late 70's. Aladdin Sane, great record, great cover (see what you vinyl virgins miss!) and great punning title.
Bowie claimed to use cut-ups as Tzara one of the Dadaist poets did. I think Bowie came to it through William Burroughs though. As with most things about poetry I feel an ambiguity towards the Dada-ists, Tzara and the validity -or even- authenticity of cut-up work. I wrote a poem on ABC years ago which you could find here
Tzara-ist Manifesto
Thanks again for reading this one anyway, Ah Chi


Ten Years After (posted on: 10-07-15)
Written today, Tuesday... well you know the date.

And now we have it, our own shorthand tragedy, the lucky number twice. Ten years after horror when the friendly capital, and the bitter River Thames, flowed red with blood. And still they come here, their hands open greedily, the evil seeking alms. Ten years after terror on the brightest of symbols; the pride of London Transport flowed red with blood. And we will live through our own arcane comedy the cruellest, sickest joke. Ten years after, mirrored on the sunniest of beaches a tide of British bodies flowed red with blood.
Archived comments for Ten Years After
gwirionedd on 10-07-2015
Ten Years After
Ten years ago now, blimey... Time flies when you're growing old...

I'll never forget that day. I lived in the provinces at the time, but moved back to London a few months later. Like a moth to a flame, in spite of the flames...





Author's Reply:

Pronto on 12-07-2015
Ten Years After
Sadly the world has become a much more dangerous place in the intervening years.
Timely reminder that vigilance must be kept up.

Author's Reply:


Somewhere (posted on: 06-07-15)
Wilko Johnson was interviewed in the Times on Sunday: he reckons there's somewhere in the universe where Einstein's on the bins... and maybe there is.

Somewhere, there's a planet where Einstein's gutting fish, Hawking is a dustbinman and Da Vinci's work is pish. In a chip shop near a comet just where Elvis used to work, The King is Rigel's Nigel, and Dylan's just some berk. There are planets made of cheddar, round a giant that is read, where the body is the brain that is nourished by the head. There's a box that has no cat in, or maybe there's no box and all the laws of physics will never start the clocks. Somewhere, there's a planet where people make things up, where maybe there's a poem and maybe that's enough.
Archived comments for Somewhere
amman on 06-07-2015
Somewhere
Ewan. I could say out of this world or the Hawking reference is rubbish but those are two puns too far. Very clever, droll and just downright enjoyable. Thank you for brightening my day.

Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 06-07-2015
Somewhere
That bloody cat again, gets in everywhere. Like it Ewan 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:

Rab on 06-07-2015
Somewhere
Loved it! Brightened up my day. You should send it to Wilco; I think he'd lie it too...

Author's Reply:

gwirionedd on 07-07-2015
Somewhere
Ha ha... Fave story for me...

I think the first verse refers to the universe we're in right now. I'm pretty sure that there are plenty of Einsteins and da Vincis in name-badges and saying "Have a nice day" all round the world, not to mention Elvises serving chips like in the song. I intend to write a poem called "Beethoven in Burger King".

What's "Rigel's Nigel"?

And what do you mean with "a giant that is read"? I can see a pun on "red", but don't get it.

Maybe you should change "dustbinman" to just "binman", in order to make the metre flow better?

R Chi



Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 09-07-2015
Somewhere
Great fun- colourful..

Author's Reply:

sweetwater on 09-07-2015
Somewhere
Loved this, great fun and also made me think, I bet the poor cat had wished there was a planet with no boxes on it! Sue x

Author's Reply:

chant_z on 09-07-2015
Somewhere
Very witty and brilliantly so. Thanks!

Author's Reply:


A Word (posted on: 29-06-15)
Ha! Far too overt...

And here is a word, a term, a lexeme: it does not allow for morphemes other than -r or -ing or even -ed. But there is no pre- or post-, or suf-, this word is fixed in and of itself: lover and love, loving or even loved. I will give it to you. It's Love, my lover, loved and loving - no prefixing, or ''fixing'' just, only -what it is.
Archived comments for A Word
chant_z on 30-06-2015
A Word
I guess you have a point but it's a funny read for sure.

Author's Reply:
Thank you very much for reading. Apologies for not acknowledging your comment earlier. I have been very busy getting a final draft accepted by Unbound. The presses will creak into life soon.
Well, odd it may be, but only in terms of how to read aloud, although I think that can be done, since I have practiced doing so since reading your comment.
thanks again
Ewan

stormwolf on 30-06-2015
A Word
Aww a lovely romantic poem showing your softer side 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Many apologies, Alison, for not acknowledging your comment earlier.Furthermore, thank you for such a kind comment.
Ewan

sweetwater on 30-06-2015
A Word
I think, ( perhaps wrongly,) that you intended in the first verse to lead the reader down the wrong path about which word it was, just for fun? It thankfully was not the first word that entered my mind anyway! 🙂 An unusual way to write a lovely, romantic poem. Sue.

Author's Reply:
Hohohoho! Yes, I thought maybe someone would be led astray. Still, one would have "er" vice the other's "r".
Thanks for the kind comment, and I'm sorry for not acknowledging it earlier.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 02-07-2015
A Word
An interesting and rather 'lovely' way of saying I love you. I thought it faintly Shakespearian, I don't know why. I liked it a lot.
Mike

Author's Reply:
I'm pleased you liked it, Mike. Apologies for not acknowledging your kind comment earlier
Ewan


The Last Man on the Moon (posted on: 22-06-15)
what it says on the tin... feel free to pass it by... It is a short 'tell'-y piece which will be reworked to make it less so, in the fullness of time.

Ziggy waited. Earthrise would be in a few minutes. Canaveral X would lift off 15 minutes later. The dust would plume around Ziggy's gravboots after the sonic wave pierced the moon to its heart and rebounded to the base of the pulse rocket. And that would be it. Alone until Canaverals I-IX returned from the other side of the Plutinos. If they did. Canaveral I left in the year 2615 C.E. The year of Syzygy Judit Resnik 's Birth. The year of the Great Trial. II left a year later, the Trial had finished and the sentence was passed down. III had moon-bounced in 2618. The appeal had been denied. Three years passed, IV had begun its journey and the family began to call her Ziggy. When she reached her 12th birthday, she witnessed her first moon-bounce; Canaveral V left. The ships left, at increasing intervals, but still they left. X was about to go and Ziggy was 231 years old. She figured she might see IV return home. Before her T-limit. People lived until they were 300 as a matter of course and then they died. The En-gene-eers had announced that it just happened. One day you woke up with no telomeres and later you just perished of cell stagnation. Or you went to the Elysium on your 300th. Where the En-gene-eers used your corpse to look for clues in the case of the disappearing nucleotides. That was on Earth, of course, or so people said. Ziggy had been born on the moon. Unplanned, unexpected and unlawful. The Lunar council had sentenced her, not her father, nor her mother, who had left on Canaverals V and VI respectively. 'You will be fine, Ziggy,' her mother had said, when she'd told her of the sentence on her 6th birthday. 'Will I, Mom? Will I really?' Ziggy's mom had sniffed and given her a rare printed biography of Eugene Cernan. 'You'll be famous too, Sweetie.' It was time for the moon-bounce. Ziggy listened to the countdown over the light-com. The Ship-Leader's voice sounded metallic inside the helmet. The pulse-wave went down. It felt like a mild electric shock to the soles of the feet. The re-bounce was something else. X would be the last pulse-wave launch. Ziggy had worked on the investigation: the moon's orbit had changed. It was in decay. This was the biggest secret on the moon. The decay was infinitesimal, but it was there. By the time they noticed on Earth well that wasn't Ziggy's problem. Besides, movement from Earth to Moon had been banned after the lunar flu of two centuries previous. Holidaymakers returning Earthside had died quickly, but not before causing a pandemic. Like the North Americans of the early part of the millennium, the Earthbound just decided it was too dangerous to travel. Canaveral X's ship-leader had come to see her only the day before, 'One of these things will get back.' Laurie looked up at the ship. 'Why do we still make them so pointy?' 'Men still design them.' Ziggy smiled at him. 'Yours won't... get back I mean.' 'Of course not. Maybe III or IV.' She shrugged. 'I'll be here, wherever here ends up being. At least until T-Limit.' 'Is it true? About I and II?' Laurie said. 'What difference does it make?' 'Is it?' 'Nothing but automated signals for six years from either. Human transmissions stopped within months of each other, but that doesn't mean anything.' Laurie Vigger scowled. 'It doesn't make a difference. We have to go. ' 'But you don't have to come back.' The Ship-Leader turned to go. Ziggy put up her hand, but he didn't notice and just left for the launch site. There was a lot to do. The re-bounce almost knocked Ziggy over, but she gripped the rail around the viewing site. X was there and then gone, almost too fast to see. Just the after image like the ghost-on-the-blackboard trick she'd been shown as a child. She waved anyway. Then she rubbed the swell of her stomach and thought about her unborn son, the last man on the moon.
Archived comments for The Last Man on the Moon

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Up and Down the City Road (posted on: 15-06-15)
It's a vignette, there's no plot and nothing happens... OK?

I haven't got tuppence in my pocket. I'd make a pound of rice and treacle. It's cold without a weasel. That's the way the money goes. Aye, pop! Pop goes the weasel for a bit of uncle's tin, in and out the Eagle, a pewter jug of gin. That's the way the money goes. Hahaha, don't make me laugh. A monkey? On my table? It'd go in my pocket, no knocking off with sticks, but I'd knock it off all right. Then down the Eagle, watch the dance and hear the tune and maybe join in. Got a tanner? A penny? A ha'penny? Then God bless you. This old man's hat is the only thing that keeps me warm, my dad was a hatter. His weasel went pop too. Uncle gave him tuppence. That's the way the money goes. I wonder who'll beg up and down the City Road in the next century or the next? Maybe there'll be no poor, though they say they'll always be with us. Hahaha, I'm not with them, kept at arms length while they cover their noses. I'd sing for sixpence but there's only rye in their pockets. If I had but sixpence and the moon, I'd buy a dream for a ducat. And the tune goes on,like the road goes ever on, like the City Road. Da-da-da, da-dada-da-dah. Pop! It goes POP! I've a weasel in my pocket. No, a real one. It won't go pop, and I must not and neither I will. Imagine eating so much you pop. That's the way. The money goes in and out the Eagle, up and down the City Road.
Archived comments for Up and Down the City Road
sweetwater on 15-06-2015
Up and Down the City Road
I remember picking this nursery rhyme to pieces at junior school, to understand the meaning, I much prefer your version, love the way you have written it, I found myself fascinated by it. Sue.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. Yes, sometimes when I'm in a bit of a trough and not over-burdened with ideas, I do something like this. It usually helps get things moving again.

deadpoet on 15-06-2015
Up and Down the City Road
This made me laugh- thanks-

Author's Reply:
Good! You're welcome.

chant_z on 17-06-2015
Up and Down the City Road
Very amusing. Don't know the background though but I guess that's not mandatory.

Author's Reply:
It's a deconstruction and embellishment of a couple of nursery rhymes.

franciman on 20-06-2015
Up and Down the City Road
A bit of McGonagle; a lot of Joyce; and reminds me of Chaucer! Well I have to say it as I see it. Really enjoyed it and feel sure I'll want to dip in again.

Author's Reply:
Strange bedfellows indeed!
I wonder how a mash-up like that would turn out?
Thanks for reading and the generous rating
Ewan


Time After Time (posted on: 15-06-15)
No explanations. There are at least two poems on a page, the one that is written and the one that is read. Therefore: xP = yR+1 or xP - (yR+1) = 0 Where P = the written Poem and R = reader

I saw the news today, a boy from another century once had twin pistols for his tiny, clean-nailed hands. King of Rome at three! He was the boy Aigln a name from another century coined by some writer with his inky, hat-plume pen. Such names were never heard. I read a book today, a tale from another century writ by some scribbler on his shiny, slick-keyed board, "Age of Mud and Fleas". It had the King Mouldwarp, a man of another century, called by some 'Lover' with his rounded, butcher's face. Such love was undeserved. I dreamed a dream today, a day from another century seen by this dabbler in his tiny, slack-sieved mind. Things that cannot be. It was the last trumpet, a tune from another century played by none other than the greatest, sweetest horn. I felt like freedom's bird. I crossed a bridge today: in stone from another century built by some landowner for his smoke-clad, northern town, Gates of Hell-by-Sea. It was not my homeland, a realm from another century swept by only sand on howling, djinn-called winds. I know my place of birth. I smelled a rose today, a bloom from any century, grown by one gardener, in her verdant, green-sleeved plot, where once she loved me. It was not near heaven, nor sheol of another century, with dancing, fleck eyed imps. it is my final rest. I lie in loamy earth.
Archived comments for Time After Time
gwirionedd on 15-06-2015
Time After Time
I don't understand any of this. I mean, I assume that each verse deals with a different moment in history, but I don't recognise any of them apart from Henry VIII, the "Mouldwarp" king.

And details surrounding that appear sketchy too. Why exactly was Henry called the Mouldwarp (which I'm assuming means "mole", cf. Scots "mowdiewarp", German "Maulwurf")?







Author's Reply:
Hmm... No, not six moments in history... the first two concern historical figures... L'Aiglon was a name coined by a French Playwright (posthumously) for Napoleon Bonaparte's son, who Boney named King Of Rome when he was born. Two matching pistols were made for his 3rd birthday and sold recently for a no doubt ridiculous sum.

Merlin wrote the Mouldwarp (yes, it means Mole) prophecy. Papists and traditionalists claimed Mouldwarp meant Henry VIII although he was in fact the 13th king rather than the twice times 6th named in the prophecy. Although the Mouldwarp Prophecy concerns one particular king, the whole document purported to include all the kings from King John until Henry VIII. They were all given animal names, Dragon, Lamb, Lion, Ass etc.

I dreamt all of the third verse.

'My homeland' is the other realm swept by wind.

the last verse is about a rose.

I did all of those things in one day, saw news, read book, dreamed dream, crossed a bridge (although the one in a northern town was a different bridge in a different time), and smelled a rose.
The poem is just ramblings on those various things.



gwirionedd on 15-06-2015
Time After Time
Very interesting, Ewan...

The first thing I noticed, actually, if this doesn't sound too obvious, was the Beatlesque overtones, A Day In The Life.

"I read the news today, oh boy"

But now I'm looking a bit deeper...

As far as I understand, there is no evidence that Merlin ever actually existed, is there? Or King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot and all the rest?

Has anyone ever actually read this strange Prophecy?

Re-reading the third verse, in light of the information that you literally dreamt it, I can now see a new meaning. A Biblical one.

Was your dream a John the Apostle moment? It seems to refer to Revelations, in particular the Seven Trumpets leading up to Armageddon.

That would mean the other century from this verse is a future one, although some would say Armageddon is coming in this century, and that roughly half the Seven Trumpets have already been blown:

Trumpet 1: WW1
Trumpet 2: WW2
Trumpet 3: Chernobyl
Trumpet 4: Iraq War

These are just other people's interpretations of course, but they are very interesting. What is particularly creepy for me is the fact that the destructive and contaminating falling star in Trumpet 3 is called "Wormwood", which in Russian is "Chernobyl".

The third verse seems to be where the poem starts to become mystical and supernatural. You seem to be talking about death and the afterlife...

Your place of birth is the cosmos, perhaps....






Author's Reply:
Bingo!
The Beatles reference was deliberate.

deadpoet on 18-06-2015
Time After Time
I threw all my maths books away as soon as I finished school but I understand your equation and you are quite right. I am glad I read your explanation . I think you often use quite floral language- well, very expressive and it always creates an atmostphere- very good Ewan.

Author's Reply:


Moonshine (posted on: 12-06-15)
it's short, it's made up, ergo it's...

The moon went out. Just like that. There and then gone, as though God's hand had flicked the switch or Mohammed had forgotten to change the bulb. But no-one noticed, or very few. It was a waning moon well below a quarter full, a thin sliver that was barely there. It disappeared one midnight last November. I stayed awake all night waiting for it to reappear. I dozed during the day following and they came to see that I ate and took the pills. There should have been a moon the next night, but there wasn't, I watched through the night. I heard them talking the next day, 'This is new. It will be the medication. Fallschirm published a paper on this very thing.' 'Fallschirm! He is an idiot. McIntosh's extensive tests have proved beyond-' 'Doubt? There is always doubt.' There were very few times that the white coats skirted the truth so closely. The new moon did not reappear on the appointed night. I supposed that no-one noticed. If only we had been near the sea. Perhaps then someone would have. They changed the pills. I stayed awake every night, waiting for the return of the moon. 'Is he eating? What do the notes say?' 'They say he is not.' 'He has lost weight, surely?' 'Very little. He drinks the water, though no-one sees him do it.' One of them shone a pencil torch into my left eye. 'Pupil contracts normally. When did he speak last, again?' 'Over two weeks ago.' Well, of course! And still the moon hid its face. 'He is fading.' Far from the truth. I understood. They did not. The tubes and wires were inconvenient, but I could see the window overhead. Even so, I no longer needed to keep vigil. Now I know. It was no omnipotent hand which extinguished the moon. I look down at the blue sphere and imagine the white coats around the empty bed. I wax and wane, I am the Lord of Tides.
Archived comments for Moonshine
deadpoet on 13-06-2015
Moonshine
The man in moon disappeared too! I seldom understand your writig Ewan- but I find it appealing and charming a lot of the time.
Pia xx

Author's Reply:

amman on 14-06-2015
Moonshine
Terrific writing, Ewan. Redolent of 'the dying of the light' from Dylan Thomas' best known poem. Into favs.

Author's Reply:


How It Happens... (posted on: 12-06-15)
I'm sure you'll work it out...

The speech turns the brains, scrambles them like eggs. All the cursing coursing from their mouths is echoed, amplified from mine. The 'them' becomes us, gathered up like sheep, all the bleating blaming all who are quite othered, ostracised by time. The last is soon first, shouting like a loon, all the paper people lift their arms in hailing, justified in crime.
Archived comments for How It Happens...
chant_z on 12-06-2015
How It Happens...
Thought provocing piece. Sign of the times eh?

Author's Reply:
Sadly the times they never are a-changing, Pace Bob Z.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

gwirionedd on 12-06-2015
How It Happens...
It made me think of Nazi Germany.

But then, most things do.


Author's Reply:
"Give the man a coconut!"
Thanks for reading Ah Chi!
Ewan


Closing the Circle (posted on: 01-06-15)
because the book says so...

We infidels claim the same for God's Messenger as the surrendered do. For Ayesha was six years old as his handmaiden and other things too. Their Book says it is so, therefore it must be true though we say it is not right. We infidels blame the name of God's Messenger for what his faithful do. But the Hadiths say the sin makes angels shudder and the very mountains too. Their Book says it is so, although it may be true, I cannot believe it right.
Archived comments for Closing the Circle
THEGOLDENEGG on 01-06-2015
Closing the Circle
I liked the structure and modified repeat lines in this. But to be honest, though I can guess generally what the intention might be, the specific references are not at all clear, so in that sense it loses a lot of the power it would otherwise have.

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 01-06-2015
Closing the Circle
sorry that was me - forgot to change persona after doing some weekly challenge stuff.

Author's Reply:
Well, I will explain them but they would be obvious to any believer that read them. How the references are used by ISIS, for example, and, say, Britain First are completely different, but they use the same ones. That is, God's Messenger, al Rasool, I'm sure you know who that is, took a girl aged between 6 and 9 as his umpteenth wife. ISIS use this as justification for some of the excesses in Kurdish areas. Britain First jump on this reference with glee to show that all of the faithful are potential if not actual paedophiles. The second stanza refers to how the Hadith treat the 'sin' of homosexuality.
The holy writ of religions may well have been reasonable handbooks for life in a pre-civilised desert, but probably not for 21st century living.
In addition, any of the holy books can be used as a stick to beat you with if you insist that they are the word of your God, they're all so contradictory

deadpoet on 02-06-2015
Closing the Circle
There are no excuses for taking child brides or condemning homosexuality. There are IMO no excuses for relying on any Holy book for life choices.



Author's Reply:
And I agree with you, but the closed circle is actually a circular argument. These things are written and both extremes hold up what is written to argue their opposing cases.
I like the Bible, it's got some good stories in it, but it's not a documentary or God's autobiography - and neither is the Qu'ran.

stormwolf on 02-06-2015
Closing the Circle
Good philisophical poem.
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting,
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 04-06-2015
Closing the Circle
I'm of the "Do as you would be done by" faith. It works anyway you read it... and in any language. I will never understand any religion, as they always lead to the same end...control by fear; and death to all those who do not agree.
Great writing as always Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:
There are many worse codes to live by than that one, Mike.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


Living Under Treacle (posted on: 01-06-15)
For anyone affected by the things this story deals with...

She was living under water. Moving through treacle. Was this what people on lithium felt like? Well today would be different. Today she would... definitely. She slid out of the bed, swivelling legs to the floor, like some old lady. When did she stop throwing back the covers and jumping out of bed? The LED on the clock said 05:27, maybe there'd been a power cut. Her watch said twenty five minutes past five. No power cut. There was light coming through the curtains. Opening them allowed the view of a scruffy dawn behind the cathedral spire. The whole of the town's terraced streets full of student lets, benefit claimants and immigrants separated Medea's flat from the hilltop and its beautiful mediaeval buildings. She stood in front of the wardrobe. All the clothes looked like someone else's. However good they'd looked in the shop's mirror, when she put them on her own hangers, she was reminded of charity shops and jumble sales. Most days she had to force herself to wear anything at all. But today was the day. No doubt about it. So she would have to grin and wear it. Ha ha. Greg, the last one would have made that joke first, before Medea had even thought of it. He'd gone and good riddance. Not everything was funny, was it? Some people didn't have to laugh every day. Medea took out the one item that wasn't hers. A vintage dress, some would call it. It was a Thea Porter maxi, it had belonged to her Grandmother. It still fit. Medea hadn't worn it since... Well, a long time ago. She laid the dress carefully on the quilt. Time for a shower. The water came slowly at first, running a little brown while the pipes settled down. The ventilator which came on with the light allowed the smell of chip vats from the take away downstairs into the cubicle. She gagged but didn't vomit. Nothing to puke in any case. The bald head looked out at her from the mirror. She got on with the eyebrow pencil. Her first efforts had been truly laughable. Now she felt she was channelling Joan Crawford's make up artist. On with the false eyelashes. No make up. Her skin was really good, no, really. The treatment really ought to have resulted in all kinds of spots, blemishes and lesions. But there was nothing. In fact her skin was better than it had been in her twenties. The wig was on the polystyrene stand. Medea left it there. She was going to wear a hat. 2000 for a natural hair wig and it itched, scratched and made you sweat. The hat had been her mother's. Wide-brimmed, straw and with a beautiful chiffon hat band that could have done duty as Isadora Duncan's scarf. The chiffon's colour had faded from a vibrant purple to a gentle lilac and was none the worse for that. The clock said 8:05. Living under treacle. She missed the 9.10 by seconds. Twenty minutes lost in the stairwell. Never mind. That meant there was no-one in the bus shelter and those uncomfortable moulded seats would be empty. The tramp who'd used to sleep there had moved on when the bus company had removed the bench. Medea believed that no-one could sit for more than ten minutes on those seats. The number 9 arrived every 15 minutes, so most people stood after a while. Medea used the five spare minutes to get out of the seat. Some of the drivers weren't particularly patient. Perhaps they were at the beck and call of what they used to call time and motion experts. No-one actually complained about the time it took Medea to board the bus and sit down. People just looked at their watches and looked away, out of the window or down at the floor. It was like being invisible, or being the most embarrassing relative. People couldn't, no, wouldn't see you. And they all knew, as if a huge sign over your head told them. Even if they didn't see you moving like an 80-year-old, they still knew. The bus stop outside the cathedral was the end of the line. If the bus arrived on time it parked up for twenty minutes and the driver would get off for a sneaky fag or a pee in the public toilets. Of course, having Medea on board would eat into that time. Most drivers tried hard not to scowl when she got on and off their buses, she could see that. Medea's watch said a quarter to eleven. There were few people in the graveyard. The last time she'd come it had been a bank holiday weekend. It had been busy. A man had given her one of the flowers he'd brought for a gravestone. She'd been tempted, but you couldn't tell. It was best that she had given all that up. The two graves were side by side in a corner under the shade of an ash tree. Perhaps it was one of the last in the county. Two lives taken by the first two bouts. She hadn't even known she was pregnant, when they'd sent her for the tests. Neither time. She'd insisted they give her the foetus, both times. Buried without being born. Medea's treatment would have killed them anyway. Jason left after the second time. And now it was back again and the treatment too. She was living under treacle. Perhaps that was what dying felt like.
Archived comments for Living Under Treacle
Mikeverdi on 02-06-2015
Living Under Treacle
Thanks Ewan, sadly I see this to much. Great writing as always.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Wisherman (posted on: 29-05-15)
just a poem...

In a coble, on the sea, off a chilly, rocky coast, the sea fret drifts damp as a shivering ghost, the nets trawl the deep and dark pelagic, the Wisherman wishes for something magic. A fish-found ring, a kraken, a whale, a rainbow fish over the patched lug-sail, all or some or any of these, more welcome than the most zephyrous breeze, he wipes salt from his lips with a cracked leather glove, and dreams of catching a mermaid's love.
Archived comments for Wisherman
Weefatfella on 29-05-2015
Wisherman
Hi Ewan, this guy's waitin a wee while afore he gits a bite. The thoughts that pass through an anglers head, have, I'm certain,inspired many great tales. ( pelagic?...........google! )

Cheers Nom.

Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
I think he should be careful what he wishes for, thanks for reading Weef!

Mikeverdi on 29-05-2015
Wisherman
Like the images here, "damp as a shivering ghost" just terrific.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Mike
Ewan

THEGOLDENEGG on 30-05-2015
Wisherman
Nice images. For me, it would benefit from more complex rhymes ... 🙂

Author's Reply:
Ah well,you can't please all of the people all of the time. Some of my stuff has been criticised for over-complicated rhyme schemes in invented forms. I wanted a nursery rhyme feel for this, in any case.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

deadpoet on 30-05-2015
Wisherman
Wisherman! I like that- I might adopt it (por favor?) as Wisherwoman.
Beautiful tale yet I can hear the Zephyrous winds and I think they are noisy and unsettling.
Pia

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading DP!

amman on 01-06-2015
Wisherman
Hi Ewan. I like the nursery rhyme cadence of this; sort of like 'The Owl and the Pussycat'. Clever poem which delivers a couple of unfamiliar words. Thanks.
Tony.

Author's Reply:
Yes, that's exactly the effect I was looking for, thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

ifyouplease on 01-06-2015
Wisherman
i'd like to read something abstract and surreal from you. nice poem this one. has a very solid form. i would like to write a response poem. may I?

Author's Reply:
Why not? I'll look forward to reading it.
Ewan


Platform 29 (posted on: 25-05-15)
I was horrified to read this article in the Times on Saturday. TheTimes.co.uk Unfortunately, you can't read the whole thing via that link, but you'll get the idea from this piece of flash. The world is a dreadful place.

You'd think they'd treat us better here. After all, we are Roma, this is Roma. Ion laughed when I said this to him, but then he is Father Placido's favourite in the empty carriage. The priest is always texting the moment he leaves the train. I am surprised he has urges at 68. I have no urges at all. Ion says that is no surprise, we have been working at the Railway station for two years. He knows I get the curse, regular as the moon, but he says that doesn't matter. He says we are broken. The men who come to Platform 29 have broken our souls, but they will never break our hearts. I think Ion should never have learned to read. The things he tells me from the books he carries back and forth from Termini to our shack on the banks of the Tiber! He'll read anything, even newspapers. He says that in 'Il Messaggero' they call us 'Invisibles'. This sounds silly to me, how can we be invisible, when the men are able to find us at Platform 29? It's a long walk to Platform 29. It's where they keep the empty trains, Ion says. It's right at the back. Sometimes we send someone off to the main concourse for food or a Coca-Cola. The food is cold and the drink is warm when they return. They are all old, these men. Father Placido is by no means the oldest. The youngest always asks for me: he is thirty-five. He likes to call me Fiorella. It means little flower. Ion says it's probably the name of the man's daughter. I don't like to think about that. Tobor gives me some of the money when the Fiorella man comes asking for me. When I have 500 Euros I will buy a train ticket myself. It won't take long, only Tobor does take 100 Euros per week for our shack. Each. He says he is saving the money so we can all go to England. It must cost a lot to get there. Tobor has a large knife. Everyone knows he killed a man in Bucaresti, a few years ago. Or it might have been in Targoviste. Anyway, Tobor taught me what to do. He has helped me a lot. He's like a brother to me. Or an uncle. But Tobor doesn't like Ion much. If Father Placido didn't come every Friday to Platform 29, I think Tobor would say that maybe Ion should leave the shack. Apart from Father Placido, Ion doesn't have many customers. Maybe one a day. Ion thinks that, like the Fiorella man, the priest pays quite a lot for what he wants. Ion whispers to me at night that we should get more of the money we earn. He says that Tobor is a pander, a pimp and other words that aren't familiar to me. Perhaps he reads them in his books. I remind Ion that Tobor has a knife and he is twenty years old, and ask him 'what can two 13-year-olds do against a grown man?' Ion cries every Friday night and so do some of the new ones, at first. I don't cry. Crying is for babies. Sometimes I think that Ion's soul is not broken like mine. I think he has a broken heart.
Archived comments for Platform 29
bluepootle on 25-05-2015
Platform 29
Heartbreaking. I think you captured the banal horror of such transactions very well in few words.

Author's Reply:

pommer on 25-05-2015
Platform 29
What a world we live in.Heart rendering and well depicted.Peter.

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 26-05-2015
Platform 29
I am glad you made a personal story of it- but it is no surprise to me. Yes heartbreaking but pieces like yours here help awareness and hopefully action to free others, especially children , of oppression and abuse.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 26-05-2015
Platform 29
I know the station, and the situation. Athens is the same. Sometimes on the main roads into the large towns,you see them in the lay-bys, girls and boys. With the influx of immigrants it will get far worse. Hard to say you enjoy the subject, but your writing did it proud.
Mike


Author's Reply:

ifyouplease on 01-06-2015
Platform 29
painfully realistic write. we're in hell.

Author's Reply:


The Kiss and the Money (posted on: 22-05-15)
Whatever happened to socialism?

And in the aftermath of the night of the short knives, delivered from just behind and to the right - but a little a Blair minimum you understand, we expect, England expects (Scotland expelled) un-electable liars, demogogues and unholy fools with strong connection to the smirking class. No tie required and may your collar not be blue, you leader of the party of the middle ground. The trenches to the left and right intersect and no-man's land is where the horny-handed lurk, un-respectable beggars, parasites and be-tattooed fools. All hail rejection of the working class. A rose by any other name would smell as sour, choose well a leader for our less-than-finest hour.
Archived comments for The Kiss and the Money
deadpoet on 22-05-2015
The Kiss and the Money
Get it out- well said- I wish I could say something just as eloquently put about our country's government-supposed to be Labour -

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 22-05-2015
The Kiss and the Money
That's just bloody brilliant mate.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Enemy of the State (posted on: 22-05-15)
an allegory, as the original was...some say

'Volodya, pass me that shoe. I 'm hungry.' 'Do you fancy a little tongue, Sir​​​?' 'Indeed not, it is Friday, I shall partake of the sole.' Vladimir Ivanovitch Beketov clamps his lips to the sole of the boot handed to him with some delicacy by Pyotr Stroganov, who does not care for his Patronymic, since it is Vissarionovitch, and this has distasteful connotations for most of the inmates of the camp. 'This is as fine a sole as ever I have tasted since when did I have sole last?' 'Yesterday,' Stroganov says. Beketov and Stroganov, like many of those working in Gold Mining Operation 34 b Section 7 of the Magadan Gulag, are serving a sentence for the most Soviet of all crimes. 'Somewhere in the world there is a war, you know.' Stroganov replaces his boot. 'There is always a war, somewhere,' Beketov says.'Thank you for sharing dinner.' 'Tchert! I wish I had said that!' 'You did, Pyotr.' 'When?' 'Yesterday.' Beketov looks back down the length of the section they are mining. 'Maybe he'll come today.' He kicks at the rock hammer and pick lying in the dirt. Stroganov looks up at the beams keeping the weight of the earth from burying them alive. He shines the lamp at the walls of the shaft. There are dull yellow flecks in the rock. 'All that glisters is not gold, it is true.' 'He was Russian, you know.' Beketov removes a canine tooth from a raw-looking gum and puts in in his pocket. He keeps all his lost teeth. 'Indeed he was not,' Stroganov protests. 'Shakespeare was a true Georgian.' 'Bosh! A Russian and a Bolshevik at that. In the first:' Beketov holds up a gnarled and blackened finger, 'He rewrote history from Caesar to those interminable British Henrys.' Stroganov shrugs. Becket raises a second finger, equally filthy and bent, 'He has claimed others work as his own.' This time his fellow miner nods. There is no third finger raised since Beketov's disappeared with its ring on arrival at the Gulag, 'And those glorious, glorious titles 'Much Ado About Nothing and All's Well That Ends Well'?Are these not slogans worthy of the Politburo?' Stroganov laughs, 'You forgot his Anti-Semitism.. Anyway, he is Georgian, he died on St George's Day and some say he was born then too.' 'Always joking, Pyotr. I hear Stalin was going to ban Georgian jokes, but he was frightened he might disappear himself.' 'Like us, you mean?' 'It is not we who have disappeared, Pyotr, it is everyone else. There is nothing but the Gulag.' 'Hah!' Stroganov has pincered a creeping, crawling thing between a finger and thumb. 'Dessert?' Beketov shakes his head, 'I've had one.' Stroganov's eyes narrow, 'When?' 'Yesterday.' Dessert finished, Stroganov gives a stifled belch, 'How do you know?' 'There is only yesterday.' 'No, I know that, I mean how do you know there is nothing else?' 'There is no evidence for its existence.' 'But we were there, before...' 'And if we were, it does not mean it still exists.' 'No Moscow, no Tblisi?' 'No New York, no Hollywood!' Pyor 'no-patronymic' Stroganov laughs, 'Was there ever any evidence that they existed?' 'They must have, to get the Nomenklatura so upset.' 'You know, we could be arrested for talking like this, Volodya.' 'We were.' 'On what charge? We should ask for a re-trial!' 'Khuliganstvo, and you need to have had a trial before you can have a re-trial.' 'Hah! Only a lawyer would know such things.' Stroganov looks down the length of the shaft they have been working since yesterday. 'Do you think he will come?' 'Maybe.' Beketov picks up the rock hammer and swings it at a likely smear of dull yellow.
Archived comments for Enemy of the State
Mikeverdi on 24-05-2015
Enemy of the State
So sorry....I missed this one, so pleased I found it 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:


We Were Airmen (posted on: 11-05-15)
poem that was on Jottify - a now defunct website...

Above the fray, in skies blue and metal-grey. Listening, thinking, guessing. We were airmen. And on the ground, in bars, safe-and-bloody sound, chattering, drinking, boasting. We were airmen. Before the wars, on tours, old and crashing bores, fiddling, winking, chiselling. We were airmen. After the fight, on film, smart and medal-bright, parading, prinking, waving. We were airmen.
Archived comments for We Were Airmen
sweetwater on 11-05-2015
We Were Airmen
This is simple, poignant and effective. Loved it. Sue.

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 11-05-2015
We Were Airmen
You might say, you were just doing your job Ewan but you should be proud. Anyone who "just" does their job should be proud. And it takes something a little extra to be airmen. Good for you!

Author's Reply:

Pronto on 14-05-2015
We Were Airmen
Loved it's simplicity it said a lot to me.

Author's Reply:

amman on 14-05-2015
We Were Airmen
Like the echoing rhythm, Ewan, apropos to the subject matter. Very effective. Reminds me of Dylan Thomas. Perhaps lose the 'And' starting the 2nd stanza to maintain the structure.
Best.
Tony

Author's Reply:
Hmm.. keep the structure, throw out the rhythm?

"A-bove the fray"
da-dum da-dum

"And on the ground"
da-dum da-dum

there are more problems here, really,

"After the fight"
dum-da,da-dum...

I toyed with
"Yet post the fight"
da-dum da-dum

Still work to do.
thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


gwirionedd on 03-06-2015
We Were Airmen
Excellent in its repetition and simplicity. Nice poem.

May I suggest "skies of blue"?

"Skies blue" sounds unnatural and forced, as does any adjective laid straight after a noun.




Author's Reply:


Another Country (posted on: 08-05-15)
If you think this is an apologia for UKIP, you have misunderstood it.

It's gone. England, their England that never-never land of long-summered cricket on the green and draymen on the lane. A place, shining, just shining in jolly-jolly fun of short-trousered Williams in the school and violets at the gate. I saw waving, still waving a tattered, tattered flag and T-shirted bigots in the street with violence in their face.
Archived comments for Another Country
e-griff on 08-05-2015
Another Country
as far as UKIP is concerned. I think people's good sense prevailed in the election. 🙂

Author's Reply:
I've always been an advocate of PR... just imagine the make up of the HOC if it were in force on today's election figures.

e-griff on 08-05-2015
Another Country
You're right, ukip had around the same number of total votes as the snp. But the operational/practical difficulties of introducing pr are enormous. I think a transferable vote system would seem fairer than first past, avoiding split votes, but people instinctively mistrust it.

Author's Reply:
I've got to admit the transferable vote - If my first choice has no chance, I'll have my second - does have its attractions. There again, that would also have produced some really interesting results, I think.

stormwolf on 08-05-2015
Another Country
Hi Ewan,
Great poem. The first two verses absolutely capturing the post-card image of old England and the contrast in the last one was a jolt. I know what you are saying. However, I think that in many (not all) cases of people acting like the people here, is a desperate cry from people who feel powerless amd overlooked. Not excusing it but trying to understand 😉
God knows what's ahead now for the UK.
Many more poems methinks! Congrats on the nib

Alison x

Author's Reply:
Hi Alison,
Yes, I know that there are many who feel disenfranchised in the UK at the moment. I am sick of seeing people like Russell Brand - and others - trivialising politics (small p) and society. Middle class protesters on the streets of London, faces obscured (no doubt in case Mummy sees them) shouting about the miners' strike (they weren't even born), claiming solidarity with the working class, don't make me laugh! I'd like to see figures saying exactly who voted for UKIP by the ABC social grouping. A good bet would be that many would be white, blue-collar males. I have no answers, but both major parties really need to engage with what remains of the working class. 3rd generation benefit claimers in Middlesbrough will vote for whatever keeps the money coming and who can blame them?
Regarding immigration, the story is much more complex than either right or left wing demagogues will admit. Doctor from India? Plumber from Poland? Bus Conductor from the West Indies? Irish Navvy? We've been here before. Let's just get on with what is already a fait accompli.

Rant over!
Thanks for reading, Alison, as always.

Andrea on 08-05-2015
Another Country
Ah, the England I remember (sort of). Dunno what Griff means, almost 4 mill voted for them. I, too, am an advocate of PR. 4 mill, 1 seat - how is that in any way democratic?

Author's Reply:

Supratik on 10-05-2015
Another Country
It's great to have a picture of old England through this poem!

Author's Reply:
It is a view of England that is most definitely rose-tinted, and however much demagogues hark back to it, it is never coming back - not even in the form that it truly was. Thanks for reading!

Mikeverdi on 10-05-2015
Another Country
The England in the first verses disappeared after the fifties, blown away by my generation in a blitz of a different kind. I can only remember the young rebelling as a right of passage. In ever country it's the same, without it no change can happen, and any change is better than stagnation.
Great writing Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Supratik on 11-05-2015
Another Country
Ewan, I felt the pain in your response to my comment. I come from a city called Calcutta (now Kolkata, the name was changed to bring in authenticity, ha ha ha, so juvenile an effort!!!). Calcutta is the capital of West Bengal, a state in India. In India, nearly all the states are different in all aspects; travelling from one city to the other is like travelling to different countries. In Calcutta, there are pockets which I cannot recognise; it is now full of people who never belonged to Bengal, and have no semblance of bengaliness in them. So I can empathize with the loss of identity or authenticity you conveyed so beautifully, but may be in a different context. No matter how hard we rationalize the loss as an after-effect of something, the loss of England in England could be very frustrating. And here is where Mike's comment can help.

Author's Reply:


The Spandrels Overhead (posted on: 04-05-15)
poem...

We are here, once again, within the Royal Bedchamber. I see Camelodunum and much beyond. Gwenny looks at the spandrels overhead. I am fierce, Pendragn, atop my Royal Guinevere, I reach my Avalon and fall quite spent. Gwenny looks at the spandrels overhead. A sharp knock insistent upon the Royal oaken door, I see him, Lancelot, and much besides. Gwenny looks at the spandrels overhead. Footnote: Spandrel (Arch.) The triangular space between the outer curve of an arch and the rectangle formed by the mouldings surrounding it, frequently filled in with ornamental work.
Archived comments for The Spandrels Overhead
deadpoet on 06-05-2015
The Spandrels Overhead
Funny 😂

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 06-05-2015
The Spandrels Overhead
gawd Ewan,
I was once accused of winding my watch! (Well he was not all that. )😜

This is both searing and self depreciating and well worth the nib.
Alison x


Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 09-05-2015
The Spandrels Overhead
Well you cant win them all...or so they say 🙂
Enjoyed the read and worth the Nib.
Mike

Author's Reply:


The Magic (posted on: 04-05-15)
The worst disappearing trick of all, as a relative disappears before your eyes...

The Magic Happens in the corners of rooms, is seen from the impossible of your eye: there are no angles in spheroids. They do it with mirrors and smoke. Single exposures do not lie, there are no faeries in Polaroids. We need two looking glasses to see ourselves as we really are: our own image is transposed in our brain. We do it with mirrors and smoke. Science and progress do not lie, we are the fathers of humanoids. Mysteries await us in bright-lit homes, are seen through the cataracts in your eyes: our own history is replayed in slow time, we blur it with mirrors and smoke. Neuron impulses do not lie, until they tangle in amyloids.
Archived comments for The Magic
deadpoet on 04-05-2015
The Magic
This is a unique way of expressing what I can understand must be loss? I can see how you have described a relative with the 2 mirrors. That is great. Never heard it expressed this way. Very good indeed. I'm sorry if this happened to you recently. I hope I got it right. You are hard to decipher in your poetry. I tried hard this time. ☺

Author's Reply:


The Third Girl (posted on: 24-04-15)
and here she is...

She held my hand in hers and told me that she could love me if the stars fell out of the sky. I asked for her promise and she swore that she would leave me when diamonds dripped out of her eye. I held her hand in mine and told her that she should love me 'til the stars fell out of the sky. She asked me for my promise and I knew that I should tell her - that opals dripped out of her eye.
Archived comments for The Third Girl
deadpoet on 24-04-2015
The Third Girl
Thought I would take a look at this series. Very colourful images and colourful girls. They all made an impression on me- young and old. Nice Ewan- I say Well done too !!

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 26-04-2015
The Third Girl
The first and the third brought a feeling of a Leonard Cohen song to mind. I don't know if this was your intention, it just did. I had not realised that the middle one was of the same group... so I got mixed up. Didn't matter in the end; as always I enjoyed the read.
Mike

Author's Reply:


The Second Girl
(posted on: 24-04-15)
poem... part of a trilogy... One left to go


She knew more than you, what to do who to be, what to see. Me? I made her sigh, made her cry Why? Because I could, because I should. Good love we made, sharp as a blade, splayed across the sheet, explosive in her heat, meet for ending, limbs extending mending hearts in a kiss, souls in bliss: this is love.

Archived comments for
The Second Girl


No comments archives found!
The First Girl (posted on: 17-04-15)
"People are always asking me what my lyrics mean. Well I say what any decent poet would say if you dared ask him to analyse his work: if you see it, darling, then it's there." Freddie Mercury

The first girl you took to the pictures has hair the colour of smoke, jokes about her deafness. Less worried about her looks she cooks for someone, everyone in her semi-detatched life on the edge of the town, down by the canal where you kissed her, missed her curfew too late for the last bus home. The first girl has your photograph still, will search your face for clues, use it for a coaster. The toaster then pops its load. She looks for something, anything in her silver-skinned hand gnarled by work and age. Rage at the waning, straining for unread futures, sutures holding fates, too late for living alone.
Archived comments for The First Girl
Andrea on 18-04-2015
The First Girl
For some reason best known to myself, this reminded me of this (I did my best to ignore the teeth).





(It's totally excellent by the way)

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 26-04-2015
The First Girl
I think I will read them all before commenting Ewan.

Author's Reply:


Take Three Girls (posted on: 17-04-15)
Still paved with stony hearts...

''Come down to London Town, join the underground.'' Judy sang and Bert plucked and nave girls flocked to be Victoria, Kate or Avril, cello, babe or paintbox carried from King's Cross -never once getting lost- to West-bloody-Ken. A light flight, a late flit: that made, made them and made that? ''Out, down in London Town, on the underground.'' Ralph sang and, yes, plucked, the nave girls rocked outside Victoria, Bank or Euston, saucepan, hat or hatbox, carried from Hackney never once getting free of door-stepping debt
Archived comments for Take Three Girls
bo_duke99 on 18-04-2015
Take Three Girls
had to search for the inspiration, and may well explore more - beautifully executed, as ever - Greg

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 19-04-2015
Take Three Girls
I like the interchange of TV and music, brought it all back beautifully Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:


The Lint in God's Pocket (posted on: 13-04-15)
rant...

See them all in their rectitude The Chosen Ones, the blind-faithful of Allah, the dog-collared Anglican with his slip-on shoes. The catholic cleric with his dubious tastes, The hell-fire Baptist and the born-again fool, That Un-christian Scientist, whose patients lose. Count not on verisimilitude, Scientology's spacemen, Jehovah's Witnesses: the pearly gates' guardian must need some clues. These bone-head religions, their riches intact, are lint in God's Pocket, while in Sunday School the shit dries hard on the fisherman's shoes.
Archived comments for The Lint in God's Pocket
Andrea on 13-04-2015
The Lint in God’s Pocket
Quite.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 14-04-2015
The Lint in God’s Pocket
Indeed. I love that title.

Author's Reply:

Pronto on 15-04-2015
The Lint in God’s Pocket
Brilliant title and the poem sang a song to my soul,

Author's Reply:


Somehow (posted on: 03-04-15)
A poem...

Somehow, I've mixed the stories up. We talk of love and shadows, and years of solitude stretch out before us. Throw out the numbers, hoard the words, the absurds, the broken, the spoken, the token of written sparks flying upward from the page. Somehow, I've mixed the stories up. We talk of death and the maiden, in case of fire in a foreign land. Throw out the bodies, hoard the lies: watch but-whys, the writers, the fighters, the lighters of spitting fires, flying downward from the plane. Somehow, I've mixed the stories up.
Archived comments for Somehow
sweetwater on 03-04-2015
Somehow
Have to admit with shame I don't completely understand the meaning here, hopefully other comments will enlighten me. However this to me understanding or not, is a terrific poem, I love the way your words fall sharply from the pen. For me this is what true poetry is all about. The words, the rhyme and rhythm perfection on a page. Sue.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting. Much of my poetry suffers from my early exposure to Eliot, so I can't resist obscure (and not so obscure) references. I know that this puts many, many people off. However, I do try to put words together in a sufficiently interesting way as to make people want to investigate.

Clues : Death Flights; South American literature.

Mikeverdi on 03-04-2015
Somehow
There you go...being all convoluted again. I've so far made three poems out of your words, pleased to say one of them's not bad. Not totally sure that's what you intended but.... 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for giving me a laugh Mike! There's more than one way to read any poem, anyway.
Ewan


Timor Mortis Me Conturbat (posted on: 30-03-15)
well it does... Warning! Contains Latin with which I have taken a syntactical liberty.

I feel lumps growing under my skin, my sturdy heartbeat has grown thin. I hide lost hair under an old man's hat: Timor mortis me conturbat. Morning's glory does not come often, other hardnesses continue to soften. Lust and love? I've forgotten all that Timor mortis me conturbat. Mirrors show me an old, lined man, there is little I did, that I still can. I've no boon companion, just a miserable cat, Timor mortis me conturbat. Autumn's the season I savour most, the season of witches or occasional ghosts. The candle grows short, wax or fat, Timor mortis me conturbat. Memory fails, I suffer fools' jokes, there's solace in mummery, incense smokes: a coffin, a stone, in pace requiescat! Timor mortis me conturbat.
Archived comments for Timor Mortis Me Conturbat
sweetwater on 30-03-2015
Timor Mortis Me Conturbat
I really loved this poem, did wonder why the cat was referred to as miserable. The last two verses are a favourite. With everything you say being so true, the fear death should not be confusing, but it is. Great poem Sue x

Author's Reply:
Well, there is a little projection by the narrator here.
I'm not too far down this road myself yet. It's just that over the last 6 months people I know have been dropping like the proverbial flies. However, you never know how much time you have, Carpe Diem!
Thanks for reading and for your generous comment
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 30-03-2015
Timor Mortis Me Conturbat
Bugger...too close for comfort Ewan, although I do have Lesley and the dogs 🙂

A bit of my Latin:
ego semper mauris, varius tatum profundum.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Mike, I'm not so badly off as this.
Non illegitimi carborundum is one of my favourite bits of Cod-Latin.

Ewan

pommer on 30-03-2015
Timor Mortis Me Conturbat
Yes. as Mike says, too close for comfort.Well said Ewan.Tempus fugit, mors venit. Be lucky, Peter.

Author's Reply:
Too many contemporaries have died recently for me not to think about these things. This is an oldish poem which looks at things differently...

http://jottify.com/works/the-top-of-the-hill/

Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


Americana (posted on: 27-03-15)
just a poem...

We need newer presidents on our dollars, John Deere ain't on the plains in the fields. The diners are closed, Waffle House imitations burn the onions and salt the grits with Clorodox. No-one remembers the Black Sox, now the Whites can't win a raffle. Tall Man Riding's sitting low in the saddle on the flickered television old western a black-and-white sign of the times. There's no Drive-in out by the treatment plants, Roots Music is rap in the 'hoods and the 'Boros. The blues are nazz, Whitey Yale imitations blow harmonicas and bend the strings with Rotosound. We can't shout down from the high ground now the message is the music. Long Tall Sally's peeling in the desert on the long-nose of a B-52. A cocktail once upon a time in the west. We grow landfill and create fake hillside views, know your garbage, know your poor and plutocrats. The truckers haul shit, crap-shoot imitations full of poisons and half the price of quality. No-one bothers with posterity now the future is the present. White Cloud Mushroom's glowing on the skyline with the cactus and the droop-necked vulture. Hey! Lookit the old time 50's through the glass.
Archived comments for Americana
Mikeverdi on 27-03-2015
Americana
As is often the case with your writing, I needed to read this several times. Having done that I think I get it. I know I can be a bit thick at times. I think it's bloody brilliant Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Manichean Dichotomy (posted on: 23-02-15)
Chernobog, Czernobog, Tchernobog... a supposed Slavic equivalent to Beelzebub (-etc.). He barely exists in texts at all apart from one spectacular mis-appellation by Sir Walter Scott as Saxon deity Zernebock in Ivanhoe... It means Black God.

Chernobog hides in the darkness of history: his existence vouchsafes Belobog's own. He laughs from the Bald Mountain top, retreat for the atramentous night. Is he the Devil? Is he not? ''For dark to exist there must be light, we understand black because there is white.'' Chernobog sings baritone in the choir of doom, counterpoints innocence's soprano tone. He shouts from the veil he lies beyond. Who believes, will fear, as well they might. Is he the Devil? Is he God? For two to exist there must be one, we understand this, because there are none.
Archived comments for Manichean Dichotomy
franciman on 23-02-2015
Manichean Dichotomy
Really enjoyed this. Were you a Druid back in the day?
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Hahaha, no. I just find alternate mythologies and religions interesting. Old Tchernobog really only turns up nowadays in mild Slavic swearing in phrases which, although pretty much untranslatable, are equivalent to 'God damned' as adjective, and 'God damn you!' as a general sweary of annoyance.

Thanks for reading, Jim
Ewan


The Other Side (posted on: 20-02-15)
Wish I could leave the genre blank...

'I just can't hear the sound of their voices any more,' Clitheroe exhaled, his lips vibrated like a child imitating a horse. 'It'll come back, it happens to us all,' Palmester's mouth tightened. He looked down at his nails. A manicure. Today. After Robert had finished moaning. And he'd finished humouring the idiot. Robert Clitheroe had been in the snug when Palmester arrived. Three empty bottles of imported lager stood on the round table in front of him. The lemon slices were arranged in a tri-lobate mush next to an unused beermat. Cliff was going to have one more black velvet and then he was off. Life was too short. Besides the table was full. 'It's alright for you,' Clitheroe stuck out a now thankfully immobile lower lip. Cliff sighed. 'Well,' Clitheroe began Cliff signalled to the empty bottle and his own glass, then ran to the bar. 'Two more, Shane, then can you pretend there's a fire?' 'Too right, mate. Only canya pay off the bludger's bill?' 'Yes, yes, of course.' 'Ten bob, including yours.' Cliff threw the red note on the bar and said, 'Better hit the fire alarm as soon as I get back to him then.' The Aussie let him down. Some office girls came in. All mini-skirts and beehive hairdos. So Cliff listened to Robert complaining that the voices had stopped. He liked Robert. He was the only one of them to truly believe. Of course, he was quite mad. As mad as Leslie Flint. Doris hadn't been mad, though. Bad. Bad to the bone. It's no crime to give comfort, to allow the customers to believe. But you didn't try to fool a fellow listener. Not at all. Robert didn't try to fool anyone, except perhaps himself. And now he couldn't hear the voices. All the way down Wardour St. the chatter kept up. Cliff wished he couldn't hear Robert's voice. A cab almost ran them both down outside the Coach and Horses on Greek St. He dragged Robert into the pub. 'I haven't got...' 'I've got enough for both of us,' Blavatsky's would be shut in half-an-hour. Madame would wait for ten minutes and assume he wasn't coming. The nails would have to do until Monday. 'Palmester?' Robert slurred and mushed the 's'. 'Can I have a Mackeson?' 'Oh, for fuck's sake, Clitheroe!' Robert crashed into the bar and knocked over two full pints of mild. Who drank mild in London? Cliff wondered. Then he handed over he cash to pay for the crew-cut fellows' drinks as well as his own. His friend had already sat down over by the piano. Thank God it was still early evening. The - frankly - burly King and Queen who insisted on singing 'Knees Up Muvver Brown' ad infinitum would have been too much to bear. Well, he was going to get Robert out before 8 o'clock, if it killed him. It was possible that Robert Clitheroe would soon drink himself insensible and that would do. Half-way down the Mackeson, Robert stood up, executed a few caracoles in the manner of a tired dressage horse and made his way to the Gents'. He bumped into a large man who seemed to be shouting into the wall-mounted phone. The penny coins seemed tiny in his fist as he pumped them one after the other into the slot. 'I'm dead, tell him not to call. Tell him to visit.' Cliff looked round. The two crew-cut gentlemen glared back at him. Neither looked likely to twitter in the the quavering voice of an old lady. There was no-one else in earshot. The large man hung up the phone. Robert stumbled into him and bounced off, landing on the sticky carpet like a string-cut marionette. The big man lowered over him, but offered Cliff's friend a hand up. They came over to the table. 'Ge'm a drinkkk, I bummedinna 'im.' Clitheroe fell into his chair. 'Yeah, sorry about that. What can I get you? Pint?' 'I'd love a Babycham,' the voice was a rumble that must have started a long way from the mouth it came out of, maybe the seat of his trousers. Cliff returned to the bar. The barman put two tiny bottles on the bar next to a half-pint mug. 'On the house.' He looked at the barman, a local this time. 'Reggie drinks on the house,' he shrugged and Cliff took the glass and bottles back to the table. The three of them scarcely fit around the table. Reggie looked as though he was sitting on a child's chair. His suit looked very well cut and probably wasn't hooky. It was certainly better than Cliff's from Burton's peg. Was the man's name really Reggie? Or was it a bit of hero-worship for a namesake? The man was about the right age, but there was no twin in tow. Reggie picked up the Babycham bottles in one hand, the necks grasped between index and ring, middle and pinky; he poured them into the half-pint glass with some delicacy. He sipped from it as though it were fine bone china, little finger extended. Robert was snoring gently. 'Bit under the weather, your mate?' He flicked a glance at Robert's open mouth. 'Ah.. he's not exactly...' 'Ah, like that is it?' Reggie's mouth turned up at one side. Palmester looked at Robert, eyes wide, 'No, no, nothing like that, it's...' Reggie laughed, 'I don't care.' 'We're colleagues, of a sort.' The big man looked from one to the other, 'Policemen?' 'What? No... haha! Something else, something else entirely.' Palmester took a drink. 'Umm, Did you finish? The phone call, I mean, before...' he nodded towards the dozing Robert. 'No, well, I got through.' The Babycham was gone. Reggie stood, 'but no-one answered, not even heavy breathing. Just dead air. Drink?' He waggled the glass in his hand. 'Same again, don't bother with his,' they both looked at the string of drool joining the corner of Robert's mouth to his lapel. Reggie came back with the drinks. 'Ah, and the call, who..?' 'Oh, just Mum. Just felt the need to call, haven't spoken for a while. Don't ring that often, but regular, you know... usually once a fortnight. I just, well, I needed to call, don't know why.' 'Hmm, maybe you'd better go round.' 'Ha! Don't think so, she lives in Middlesbrough.' 'But-' 'I don't have that accent.' He said the last two words in what Palmester supposed was an approximation of how people spoke up there. 'Well, yes. Can't you go, though? Shouldn't you go?' 'What's it to you?' Palmester held up his hands. 'Yeah, you're right. None of my business.' 'I could go, I s'pose. Only... no car at the moment. MOT.' It came out, surprising Palmester himself. 'I'll take you.' 'No, I couldn't. It'd take hours to get there and what about him?' 'Don't worry about Sleeping Ugly, they'll wake him up at chucking out time and chuck him out. He'll get home. He always does.' Reggie stood up, 'well if you're sure...' Palmester wasn't sure, but he said 'it's the weekend' anyway. Reggie slept from Peterborough to Scotch Corner. The big man could not possibly have been comfortable from the moment he folded himself into the seat next to Reggie. He'd looked at the Imp and asked if it was a Dinky Toy. Said he'd never seen one so close-up before. The voice had come just north of Doncaster. 'Hurry,' it had said. While Reggie slept on. 'What time is it?' Reggie yawned, thought about a stretch, then thought again. 'Three.' 'Not bad, seven hours. We'll be there in an hour or so.' 'I've no fuel left. We're pulling in here.' Palmester steered the Hillman into the grounds of the Hotel. 'I'm going to have a kip. We'll sort out some petrol in the morning.' Reggie glared at him, but Palmester went to sleep anyway. He woke up at seven. Reggie wasn't in the car. The petrol might have stretched to Middlesbrough if he hadn't been in the car from the beginning. In which case, the car, and Palmester, would not have been parked outside the Scotch Corner Hotel at all. He laughed, quite sure he was still tired. It looked like rain, it should have been lighter by now. He jumped as the car rocked and the door swung open. 'Drive.' Reggie said, cramming himself into the car. 'Petrol... we need petrol. It won't even start on the fumes in the tank.' 'It's sorted.' Reggie glanced over at a Daimler Sovereign at the other end of the car park. 'Get moving,' Reggie pointed out of the windscreen. Reggie's suit looked rumpled. More than sleeping in the car would make it. In the gloom, Palmester thought there might have been a stain on the jacket. Perhaps he'd spilled some of the syphoned petrol. Palmester swerved to avoid the jerry-can that most likely had come from the Daimler's open boot. He looked at the petrol gauge. The needle was showing full. Reggie must have filled the can more than once. They took the A66 eastbound towards Middlesbrough. 'We're looking for Ayresome Park Road, when we get there, it's near the football ground.' Then Reggie went back to sleep. Palmester pulled to the kerb in front of some terraced houses. Further down the street were some red-brick industrial units and at the end of the road the main entrance to the stadium. 'Ever been?' Reggie shook his head like a dog bothered by a fly, 'Hate football. Always have.' 'What about your Dad? Didn't he take you?' 'Hated him too.' Reggie pointed out of the window, 'You need to go a bit further down, number 43.' Palmerston turned in his seat, hands on the ignition, 'Now look-' 'Just get on with it.' Reggie knocked on the green door. 'Haven't you got -' 'No, haven't lived here since I was twelve.' Palmester guessed that was at least 20 years ago, just after the war. A shout through the letter box flap produced no reaction whatsoever. Reggie straightened up, balled his fists and ground them into the small of his back. 'I'll see if Mrs Jessup still has a key,' he knocked at the door of the next house along. Mrs Jessup had moved on, apparently. A young woman came out, headscarf around her head, cigarette glued to a bright red lip and a toddler on her hip. 'Whatta yiz want, like?' Reggie coloured up, 'Ah, do you have a key for Mrs. Duncan's next door?' 'That old witch? No, no ah don't.' The door was shut firmly but not slammed. Palmester was surprised that Reggie hadn't jammed a foot in it. 'What now?' he asked. Reggie stared down the street at the football stadium. Palmester heard the voice again, 'Hurry UP!' He ran a hand across his face. This was ridiculous. He'd always laughed at Robert Clitheroe's fancy that he really heard the voices. Every show was a disaster. Even the fools at the Spiritualist Churches thought that he was faking. However, they lapped up every cheesecloth ectoplasmic manifestation that Palmester and all the others paraded before the gullible bereaved. And now he was hearing voices. Palmester jumped as the green door swung inward with a crash. The Yale lock had parted from the frame with the lock-set still engaged. The smell was bad. Mostly cats. 3 arched their backs the minute Reggie stepped inside. Palmester couldn't smell death or corruption. Just strong cat's piss. The stairs went straight up from a tiny square of flooring. To the right was a door to a lounge. No carpet or linoleum was visible. Every square inch was covered in piles of newspapers. A door on the far side led through to a kitchen. More a scullery, Palmester reckoned. Reggie was shaking his head. 'What a fucking state! She'll be upstairs.' The stair-case was narrow, Reggie hardly fit between the adjoining wall and the banister. Palmester followed him up. There were two bedrooms upstairs. 'Loo's outside,' Reggie said. One of the doors wouldn't open more than an inch. 'More newspapers,' Reggie said. Palmester tried the other door, it swung wide. There was an extremely obese woman in a single bed. The room looked tidy, if not clean. 'Mum!' Reggie's voice sounded like a twelve-year-old's. Palmester recognised the other voice, 'Took yer time, eh?' But the mummified remains' lips did not move. Reggie's hands were round Palmester's throat, 'thanksmum,thanksmum,thanksmum, long time since you got me one, thanksssssss!' Palmester heard the old woman's voice for the last time, 'Welcome to the other side, Mr Palmester.'
Archived comments for The Other Side
franciman on 20-02-2015
The Other Side
Didn't see it coming, Ewan. Always a sign of a great tale. Atmospheric, evocative build-up that had me racing toward the reveal. The only bit I found clunky was the passage with the two young men at the bar and the whatyoulookinat look. It just read lumpy and out of place alongside the more engaging prose of The piece. Just me, I'm sure!
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Yes, I see what you mean. However, there needs to be something to demonstrate that the formerly sceptical Palmester is the one now hearing voices - or in this case a particular voice. I'll have a look at it but the two men at the bar will stay somehow.
Thanks for reading.

Mikeverdi on 20-02-2015
The Other Side
Agree with Jim, the ending was well hidden and I enjoyed the read. If I may critique... I found the idea of an 'Obese' mummified woman's remains with her lips sewn up unlikely. Not to say it stopped my enjoyment though, it was a great story. 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
No Mike, her lips weren't sewn up, but she was dead. If you find the woman's remains still being in the bed less likely than people in communication with the dead, then I'm surprised.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Mikeverdi on 21-02-2015
The Other Side
Not strange being in bed, just still being fat when mummified. I don't know where I got the stitched up lips from. It was just an observation, as I said I liked the story.
Mike

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 22-02-2015
The Other Side
Just to comment on the style of this, I really did not like it. The story may indeed be a goodun at heart, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired - forgive me for speaking bluntly, hope you understand I'm trying to help.

A staccato style is fine if that's what you choose, but consider the opening to exemplify my disquiet:

'... just can't hear the sound of their voices any more,' Clitheroe exhaled, his lips vibrated like a child imitating a horse.

'It'll come back, it happens to us all,' Palmester's mouth tightened.

Robert Clitheroe had been in the snug when Palmester arrived. Three empty bottles of imported lager stood on the round table > . The lemon slices were arranged in a tri-lobate mush next to an unused beermat. Cliff was going to have one more black velvet and then he was off. Life was too short. Besides the table was full.

'It's alright for you,' Clitheroe stuck out a now thankfully immobile lower lip.

etc etc.



Author's Reply:
Yes that's all fair enough, I suppose. However, it all read a lot more smoothly to me as I originally wrote it. Then I realised that the POV was all over the place. In my efforts to keep focus on the main protagonist, the story "delaminated" somewhat, provoking your distaste along the way.


The New Normans (posted on: 13-02-15)
No... it's up to you what it's about.

The major oak is still in the forest. A wound horn's echo is heard; over the sound of others, the Queen's highway is killing the trees. Locksley weeps. Angle-Land sleeps. They are the Norman Invaders, crushing the Saxon in word, even as they pound their breastplates: the still greenwood is crying for shame. At modern lies, the Green Man sighs. Our King is not under the mountain, nor sleeps deep in Avalon: craven though we wait in serfdom, we yet savour the chattel's despair. And Cameron quakes, when Hereward wakes.
Archived comments for The New Normans
Mikeverdi on 13-02-2015
The New Normans
Still searching 🙂 I get most of the references, and the names. As always you write to make us think, and that's good, I just hope I'm worthy of it when I pin it all together. 🙂
Mike


Author's Reply:

sweetwater on 13-02-2015
The New Normans
Well I have to admit, I am lost. It comes across to me as a forest on the verge of destruction, from the Locksley and Green Man connection. However for me the meaning takes second place to the content, I found it entrancing, absolutely fascinating. Sue.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 16-02-2015
The New Normans
And yet the Nouveau Normandaise would sing in praise of ang1o -Saxon virtues.
Ewan, this is vg and nominated. And this is what poets should be writing of.
cheers,
Jim
(Fracking the Greenwood. Now there's a Noble plan!)

Author's Reply:


Lie With me (posted on: 06-02-15)
...

In your twisted sheets I'll follow dangerous curves to reach heaven's gate. Though not religious, you'll moan in tongues; writhing, you'll pull your hair and mine. In the little death, body stiffened - back arched, mons high - your rigor vitae.
Archived comments for Lie With me
stormwolf on 06-02-2015
Lie With me
oooh! The feeling I am getting here is one of illicit love . There comes over (maybe not intentional) a feeling of even slight resentment to the woman's ability to snare through sexual charms.
'twisted sheet, dangerous curves' but he is aware but more than willinging order to reach 'heaven's gate'
I liked the semi-religious feeling through the words and metaphors.
I confess I had to look up rigor vitae.;(
This is a very powerful woman, who lives life on her own terms...I am getting the feeling of perhaps an affair and that the title could be read two ways?
Anyway, Ewan, a very skillful poem with every word accountable.

Alison x



Author's Reply:
I count a poem unsuccessful if it is read the same way by any two readers. Thank you for reading, Alison.
Ewan

Bozzz on 07-02-2015
Lie With me
Despite the double entendre of the lie, speed of arrival does not always imply illicit sex - yearning too after separation as in Alison's poem? On the nail Ewan - but where else are you...David

Author's Reply:
As I said in my reply above, I consider a poem read differently by different readers as successful. Thank you for reading and commenting,
Ewan


Put Out More Flags (posted on: 06-02-15)
The British Army has announced the formation of a new unit to specialise in cyber warfare, to attack enemies of the state via social media amongst other things...

It's a phoney war; the enemy in plain sight, hiding behind a flat screen. We tell ourselves atrocities are faked and finessed on youtube and facebook. Some rave of Lex Talonis, forgetting that this is what we fight over. A man's end in pixels, zeroes and ones flashed by wire and without. One million likes for a snuff movie with political motivation. It's a funny war, we delegate a strange fight, typing behind our flat screen. We tell them tales, propaganda half-baked and possessed on theytube and fakebook. Put out more flags.
Archived comments for Put Out More Flags
Bozzz on 07-02-2015
Put Out More Flags
An apt description of establishment hack - but why bother - as you say, Facebook and You tube tell all. Sharp poem, nibworthy IMHO. David

Author's Reply:


Manager of the Modernist Branch (posted on: 02-02-15)
More stuff about Tom

Let us go then, you and I, retrace the steps, ponder the why; the when, the who, the how, the what. Remember the Mid-West that Tom forgot. A past burned like letters in a fire stoked with poker-faced disgust. Call me King, call me Knave, call me Possum, Omissive Liar. Move on, write on, in Babylon 'mene, mene, tekel, upharsin'. Back turned on the Big River, go you down to Nineveh. Sanskrit written on wind, in sand the opaque, mis-remembered, few understand. Big town, smaller river via dreaming, uninspiring spires down among the hallowed men, town, gown and falling down. In for a penny in for a Pound, journeys to Lloyd's on the underground. And a road not travelled, better in the waste land than in collared slavery, unsavoury to aesthetes and drones alike. Inheritance and legacy, written or hawked like corner vendors' news, clues to friendships long and short, as Gwyer's partner doubled his stake. Wystan, Spender, and another Tom Hughes, he found others to fill his own shoes. Breath spent, life up in smoke though still quite fond, burned and lost in the fire beyond, lauded for all that Ezra wrote, Tom became his own foot-note.
Archived comments for Manager of the Modernist Branch
Mikeverdi on 02-02-2015
Manager of the Modernist Branch
That's just bloody brilliant.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Glad you liked it Mike. The phantom nibber got this one. Hmm... perhaps he figured out it was a poem referring to TS Eliot...

Ionicus on 03-02-2015
Manager of the Modernist Branch
Very clever and stylish, Ewan.

Author's Reply:


Kielbasa (posted on: 30-01-15)
Best served cold...

Nothing grew where Eden now was, Stanislaus saw. It had taken a long time. A fifteen year old boy had begun work in #5 Slaughterhouse in Wroclaw almost 70 years ago. A very thin boy. Wladislaw the foreman gave him various things that did not go to the butchers and meat factories. There was a room at the back where he showed Stanislaus how to make sausages. They were good. Better than what had made Stanislaus so thin,until Ivan had come and left the gates open. People still talked of liberation, but it wasn't that, in Stanislaus' view. The boy had walked away from the other 7,000 skeletons and stopped at the gate of that Slaughterhouse. It was only 6 kilometres from the place where the Eden Meat Products factory now was to the slaughterhouse. History said that it was one-and-a-half million lifetimes. And now Stanislaus was back. The opening would be attended by local dignitaries and a junior minister from Warzawa. Stanislaus had seen him first on the tv: a typical bureaucrat, very like Hőss had been, if you thought about it. The junior minister had been put in charge of redeveloping the site. There were protests and that's why Stanislaus had put forward his proposal. 'It should be one of us, Pan Minister,' he'd said. 'One of you? Why?'' The minister looked up from his desk. 'It might be best. The Amis and their friends from Galilee. Some people still care. 'Do they?' The minister asked. Stanislaus looked around the office. The Solidarna Polska emblem hung in a large frame behind the minister's desk. Photographs of the minister with Ludwik Dorn in the Sejm flanked it. Then he stared at the man behind the desk for a while until the minister spoke. 'Maybe you're right, Berkowicz.' It had been easy, Stanislaus reflected. As easy as leaving behind the kashrut. When you spent the day with slaughtered pigs, what did it matter? Besides, Stanislaus had shown a gift for the sausage, Wladislaw had seen it, straight away. Whatever the foreman gave him Stanislaus spun from offal wheat into sausage gold. They had started at a street market, at the weekends. The first Saturday every link had been sold by 11.15. Wladi and Stan celebrated in Mleczarnia, although Wladi left early. Stanislaus looked out of the window at him, collar up against the wind and turned away at the sight of the congregation leaving the half-rebuilt synagogue. One shop, two, seven, a chain throughout Poland and a branch in Brooklyn. Looking backwards it happened so quickly. At the time it had been a long-winded process. The first factory had been purpose built in 1965. Of course, there were quotas and the curse of full-employment and the crche within the factory walls. There were the commissars to pay, and the Służba Bezpieczeństwa too. God bless Lech Wałęsa and capitalism for enabling one factory to become ten. And then in the 90's, somehow, it had stopped being about sausages. First there were the one-word-name supermarkets over the border in Germany, then factory farms in Austria and Britain. Acquisitions, take-overs friendly and hostile; mergers and outright theft although they called it other names. His company owned everything from kindergartens to crematoria. His birthday, 85, a good day to open it. Eden Meat Products Factory. He wondered how long people would still call it Oswiecim or the Germans' name for it. Stanislaus watched as the Minister finally cut the ribbon after a speech which even he must have found boring. The guided tour was cancelled. The TV cameras would film the motionless machinery and tomorrow it would begin. The old Jew smiled a smile as cold as the Tatra mountains. Refrigerated wagons would bring good German flesh to make into kielbasi and Stanislaus would sell the Germans their own grandfathers back to them in their beloved sausages.
Archived comments for Kielbasa
Mikeverdi on 30-01-2015
Kielbasa
Just terrific, I enjoyed every word, thanks for posting.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Transient Magic (posted on: 23-01-15)
because it was... and it still is

And the hour came, when the moon split asunder. The Most Beautiful Man made signs above us. We had come to the mountain, his faithful ones and I. Then the hour passed, and the moon became a circle. Light Personified confirmed it as his miracle. We had come to the mountain, his faithful ones and I. Some from Makkah whispered of transient magic. God's Messenger told us to cast them down. We had come to the mountain, his faithful ones and I. But such belief was snuffing wisdom's candles. More Praiseworthy told us to quench them all. We came down from the mountain, his faithful ones and I.
Archived comments for Transient Magic
stormwolf on 23-01-2015
Transient Magic
Loved it Ewan.
It had magic infused with ancient mystery all the way through. Right up my street if not my mountain 😉 The message ever so slightly cryptic (to me anyway) but the feeling the poem engendered was sacred.
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thank you for reading, Alison. The poem is supposed to 'turn' in the last stanza. It's supposed to show how charismatic leaders can disappoint their followers.

sweetwater on 24-01-2015
Transient Magic
I too felt the mystical quality of this poem, which was enhanced by the repeated last line. Lovely "other worldly" feeling all the way through. Sue x

Author's Reply:
Thank you for reading, Sue. In the last stanza there is a suggestion of a rejection of the mystical leader.

Mikeverdi on 25-01-2015
Transient Magic
Quite often when reading your work in the past, the meaning has not always been clear. I agree with Alison, that's not always important; the strength of the writing caries it through...as in this case. I loved it. I was a little confused by the use of capital letters.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi, Mike. Thanks for reading. The capital letters are used because the phrases are all epithets by which a certain religious figure is known and referred to in the appropriate religious text.

Nemo on 25-01-2015
Transient Magic
I'm reading something topical into the last stanza. Wisdom's candles are indeed being snuffed. "Enjoyed" this, Ewan.
Gerald

Author's Reply:
Yes, the poem is provoked - I shan't say inspired - by recent events. Thank you for reading, Nemo.

gwirionedd on 21-11-2015
Transient Magic
I would need to read the Quran, I think, to really understand this.

But I can see how belief in magic and miracles snuffs out wisdom's candle.



Author's Reply:


Believer (posted on: 12-12-14)


You trace your blood to the seventy sons of God, three score and ten peoples, more than twelve tribes. You point to Aleppo and call it Ugarit. Three dozen centuries and yet you are sure. How can you claim such lineage, this heritage? Your prophet and his God are half as old: a quindecad of centennia and you feel safe in denying what has come before the Caliphate. You see no contradiction in your history, forgetting that what is written is and what survives is read. Where were the thousand names before little orphan Ali wrote them down at Gabriel's dictation? But no, everything is second-hand, heard in Chinese whispers, the word of every God, even yours, is nothing more than rumour.

Archived comments for Believer
sweetwater on 13-12-2014
Believer
I can't claim to understand everything in this verse, but I have read it through several times and it really caught my interest and with each reading it all became clearer, and made such obvious sense. As you say every person's God is put together by hundreds of jigsaw pieces handed down. Your words have given me much to think about. Sue.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 13-12-2014
Believer
You have it right. I see the scribes of ancient humanity's events as having never been anything more than the newspaper hacks of today - inaccurate, biased, motivated by the need to survive. Why should their work be endowed with truth and wisdom implanted with so-called later knowledge. A fabricated manifesto of the political past to promote today's objectives. Bravo my friend....David



Author's Reply:


Christmas (Round) Robin (posted on: 01-12-14)
Jonty has to do the Christmas round robin...

Dear All, (special mention for Victor, last next-door neighbour but one, how much was the lottery win by the way?). All is well here at ''Lutterworth Towers''. Thanks for that John (you know who you are), it's quite funny really. Though I think it's a little unfair since it's only a Victorian terrace and the second bathroom isn't finished. Jonquil is coping well after the unfortunate incident in the supermarket and has been wonderful since I took charge of the medication. Viveca is doing very well at the new free school, this term's report included a remark from the head saying he's never had a student like her. We were so proud. Bevel is not doing so well at the Montessori and one of the younger female teachers did remark that he seems a little precocious. Most boys like to explore the differences between themselves and girls, so I don't consider it too much of a problem. Jonquil's indisposition means that this news-letter business has fallen to me, along with the housework and feeding Poppaea. There are some wonderful formulae in Aldi's which are quite as good as those in Sainsbury's, thank goodness. Those of you who know Lassiter and Quim will be aware that I'm on a leave of absence for six months by mutual agreement. I'm not sure that I will go back as Tarquin Lassiter did make a few provisos that I could not accept and I'm not sure that kind of surgery is possible or even legal. Those of you who went to school with me will remember how well I ran the tuck shop at Prendergast. I've started doing a stall at the Car Boot on alternate Sundays. It's going rather well although you would not believe the amount of thievery attempted. Sometimes it's not even Oiks! Suffice to say the Carters and ourselves are no longer on speakers. Last week we cleared a splendid 150 pounds. I must admit I was sad to see Jonquil's dresses go. She said she'd never wear them again even though the Doctor did say any weight gain would be temporary. Last week Jonquil's mother, Boudicca, arrived with more than the customary two suitcases. She has kindly offered to stay until her daughter's indisposition is over. Unfortunately this means that I have had to move out of the spare bedroom to the sofa. However, as Boudicca is fond of saying, we're all in it together. I'm trying to disabuse Bevel of the habit of stage whispering 'up to our necks', when she does. On Christmas Day itself, Viveca's new beau is dropping by. It must be love since he had to fill in quite a few forms at the remand centre to enable him to come to Lutterworth Towers rather than his mum's flat over on the estate. I like to think we're doing our bit for those less fortunate than ourselves. In any event, Kyle is a huge improvement on Viveca's guest last year, Buster. I'm not entirely convinced that he had no connection with our burglary Boxing Day last, especially after hearing his cryptic conversation on a mobile better than the one the office supplied to me. Viveca bade farewell to Buster shortly after his trial. I think she'd accepted he was just a tad too old for her. At least Kyle is only 15 and girls do mature earlier, don't they? Anyway, as you see I'm sending this E-mail with all our Christmas wishes. Jonquil and I both agreed we'd prefer to do a little for the planet and not send actual cards this year. If you like you could contribute to your favourite charity instead. I shall be donating to Fathers 4 Justice this year, just in case. Merry Christmas all! Jonty Lutterworth and Family.
Archived comments for Christmas (Round) Robin
Mikeverdi on 02-12-2014
Christmas (Round) Robin
HaHaHa! I really enjoyed this, it reads like a situation comedy; eg. Mrs Brown. Thanks for another side of you Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:


The Wrong Morris (posted on: 01-12-14)
Not so very long ago...

'Cor-por-al Maw-riss.' The tall black man drawled my rank and name as if trying it out for a character in a play. 'Yessir, Loo-tenant Washington!' I stood up and to attention. The Yanks liked that sort of thing, although I can't say I ever got used to it. 'Get along to Headquarters, they gotta job for yuh.' I saluted him and got in return the perky wave that is common to the United States Air Force and drum majorettes in bad musicals. The Lieutenant mumbled a 'stuck-up Brit' and I ignored it. I knew I'd made no friends at Lakenheath. Surely it wouldn't be long before someone found out they'd sent the wrong Morris. Her Majesty's Royal Air Force had seconded me to the USAF, at RAF Lakenheath. There'd been a little bother in Berlin with a working girl, so I should have been handing out blankets and sheets at RAF Benbecula, a place on few people's list of preferred postings. It was an admin mistake which I wasn't keen to correct. At the Yank base I got aircraft technicians to sign for spanners. It was a long way from listening in to Soviet communications. I'd been a Sergeant before and since they couldn't prove the girl was working for the Stasi as well as Mon Cherie's, they'd only busted me as far as Corporal. It was the end of Berlin for me though. At least I was getting used to the uniforms by that time. The Yanks seemed to get medals for everything, but there were a few decorated Vietnam veterans around. Many were pilots and therefore officers. Some of them stared right through you when you saluted them, not seeing a uniform but ragged trousers and a different coloured skin. Once inside the HQ building, I followed an Airwoman 1st Class into the Chief Clerk's office. We both watched her leave. I bet myself he was thinking she was first class too. 'Maw-riss, ain't it?' 'Yes, Sergeant.' The Chief Clerk waved an arm burdened with many stripes towards the open door of his office at the rows of clerks at their desks. There must have been around 50 of them. 'You can call me Chief, Corporal.' I thought how much he looked like Ernest Borgnine, but didn't mention it. He stood up, 'Follow me,' he said and put on a forage cap. We went out of the Personnel and Administration pool and along to an office with Base Adjutant written on the door. My escort knocked. There was a shouted 'C'mon in'. Ernest opened the door, marched in, gave a genuine salute and said, 'It's the Limey, suh, from Stores.' The Base Adjutant was a full Colonel. On a RAF station that size if we had had one the size of Lakenheath he most likely would have been, at best, a Wing Commander, but much more likely a Squadron Leader. A Major, if you like. I could count on the fingers of no hands the times I'd had an interview with someone of the Colonel's rank, at least in uniform. His desk was very large, though it did not occupy much of the floor space in his office. Somehow he managed to make the desk look unaffected, just incidental. Perhaps that was due to his own size. On one wall were photographs of planes and politicians, plaudits and certificates all framed in an identical dark wood. It was hard to believe that he would cart such things all around the world from Guam to Guatemala. 'Sit down,' he looked at some paper on his desk. 'Cor-por-al Morris, isn't it?' 'Yessir,' I was still rigidly at attention, having thrown up a sharp salute on entering his office. 'I mean it, we're hats off as of this moment, son.' He had pilots wings over his breast pocket. He was about 32 or 3. How in hell he'd ended up in Administration, I had no idea. It conjured pictures of catastrophic missions ending in permanent grounding. Perhaps that was why the photos travelled around with him. I took off my beret and sat in the armchair. The Colonel opened a drawer and pulled out a packet of Lucky Strike. He shook the packet and offered one of the two protruding cigarettes to me. After he lit his own, he passed me his Zippo. I glanced at the crest, 352nd Tactical Fighter Squadron. Super Sabres out of Phan Rang. He'd have been in his late 20's in 1971. I lit the cigarette. 'Know anything about 'Nam?' He held out his hand for the lighter. I didn't trot out the joke about North Luffenham, where I'd learned my Russian. He'd have pronounced it 'Luffen-hayum' anyway. 'A bit, reading's a good way to pass a night shift.' He stared at me for a while, then, 'and a boring day-job.' He straightened up in his chair, 'Well, I'd sure be wondering what this was about if I were you, son.' 'I expect you'll tell me soon, sir.' He steepled his hands and put his elbows on the desk, I was sure they taught that at every Officer Training College in the world, from Cranwell to Point Cook. 'You learned Russian, right?' 'I did, sir.' He thumbed through a file, 'Outstanding student, near native skills, recommend for...' The Colonel looked up at me, 'you know what it says here under the x-es?' 'We never see our personnel records, sir.' 'You must know.' 'It might have been embassy duties, sir.' 'You aren't that nave, son.' 'Doesn't matter, sir. I went to Berlin. You must know what they do at Marienfelde. We did the same.' 'Have it your own way. I've gotta job for you. You can say no, right off the bat and I'll say have a nice day. Or you can listen to what it is, but once you know, you'll be doing it, come what may.' 'Is it treasonable?' He raised his eyebrows, 'If that means what I think it does, then no. In fact, you'll be helping Dtente a little. Or at least that's what they're saying in Washington, you understand?' I shrugged, 'Why not?' The Colonel stood. He wasn't so tall standing up. He had the shortest legs I'd ever seen under a massive torso. He should have been a giant. Instead, he was merely average height. He went over to the door, opened it, peered out at the clerks in the huge pool and shut it again. There was a hi-fi system against one wall, he switched on the radio. It must have been Radio 2. Ol' Blue Eyes was warbling Strangers in the Night. The American was smiling by the time he took his seat again. 'You do have a passport?' I nodded. 'You'll fly from here to Frankfurt, then you'll get the Military Train to Berlin. We'll give you orders... papers allowing you to travel on your passport. You'll have to leave your military ID with me.' My blue cardboard F1250 looked tiny on his desk. 'Berlin?' 'You won't be staying, you'll be taken to Schoenefeld and you'll go onward from there.' 'Onward?' I felt as dull as I must have sounded. 'If I go on now, you won't be turning back, capisce?' He didn't look Italian and his name badge said Morgenstern. I took a last drag on the Lucky and he handed me an ashtray. 'OK,' I breathed out the smoke into his face. He didn't flinch. He did take a deep breath before starting to speak. 'You'll be escorting a VIP on an unofficial visit to Moscow. The VIP is visiting a V VIP at the request of said V VIP. This is a non-military matter, however it is beyond top secret codeword level. The visit will take place over the course of no more than two hours within the confines of Moscow Shermetevo Airport. The face to face will take place in a private lounge. You and the subject will not leave the Airport except on the return Interflug flight to Berlin. You will also be the interpreter for the V and the V V.' He had a sheet of paper in front of him, but hadn't looked at it once. 'Also?' 'You're a sign of good faith. If the summit goes wrong and the Soviets are dissatisfied, they get to keep you.' 'Not the VIP?' 'He's far too important for that.' 'Where do I meet the VIP?' 'At Schoenefeld Airport. In Berlin. There'll be no problem with identification.' 'No codeword? No 'Hot Enough for June?' He laughed, but not because he was a fan of Dirk Bogarde. 'There'll be no problem with identification. Just wait at the Interflug check-in.' And there wasn't. There was no problem with anything. I'd read my orders and could see nothing unusual in them. The strange thing was that people only had to look at them for a second and I felt like Ali Baba. This had not been my experience when presenting my secondment orders at the Main Gate, on posting to Lakenheath. It had taken 3 hours to get as far as the MP Picquet Post. I was in the main concourse, rushing to the East German airline's desk. I'd stopped for a beer that became three in the wink of an eye or maybe half-an-hour. It was a night flight and if the rumours were true about the in-flight service, a stiff drink was the best pre-flight routine. As the Colonel had said, there was no problem with identification. I recognised the trilby and the raincoat. I held out a hand and told him he was waiting for me. He gave me a piercing look, 'Volunteer?' 'No, not really.' 'Get your boarding pass and let's go then.' The starchy blonde on the check-in clearly didn't recognise him, although he'd made no effort at disguise. Perhaps it was too ridiculous to be true, or Interflug's staff really were trained to be as impassive as a guardsman at Buckingham Palace. And it went on. The two pairs of bad-suits fore and aft all the way out to the aircraft steps acknowledged neither of us. The stew who welcomed us aboard had all the charm of Rosa Klebb and I steered well clear of her flat and shiny lace-ups. The VIP and I took our seats near the front, there was no class on Interflug, a truly Communist airline. 'Why?' I asked, thinking to take his mind off the take-off, which was making the runway seem like a ploughed field. 'Ask not what you can do...' 'I heard you weren't so keen on the Democrats now.' He laughed. 'They're all jerks. The other crowd made me an offer I couldn't refuse.' The man looked out of the window, but there was nothing to see except the lights of East Berlin. 'You like music. That stuff they do now? All those hippies?' 'Yeah, I do.' 'It's crap, you know. There's no romance, no swing. Nuthin'.' 'Nobody likes their father's music, nobody likes their son's.' 'Maybe.' 'Who are we going to see?' 'I don't know, son. Somebody important, that's all I know.' He was still wearing the trilby. I wondered if he hadn't brought the toupe. Not wearing it would have been an effective disguise, although he didn't appear to need one. I felt as though we were in some parallel world where he wasn't and never had been famous. He pulled the hat down over his eyes, 'Might as well get some sleep son, it's going to be a long day.' He slept until the landing, when he held tight to my forearm and his armrest. 'Where are you supposed to be?' I asked. 'The Agency recommended saying I was visiting family in Hoboken. I told 'em I'm never going back there. The papers say I'm in Switzerland getting the monkey glands treatment, everyone'll believe that.' He gave a bitter laugh as the wheels touched tarmac. We left the Tupolev 134 last of all, except for Rosa Klebb. We were bracketed into the terminal by the Slavic cousins of the East Berlin goons who had escorted us onto the plane. Inside the terminal there were Red Army uniforms everywhere, AK-47's at the ready. We turned off into a narrow corridor. The interval between uniforms became shorter and shorter. There were ten either side of the door at the end. The first pair of heavies knocked. The door opened and we were ushered in.There were only two KGB in the room, unless the pianist was one too. The man on the sofa looked ill. He coughed several times and spat into a silk handkerchief. There were 3 bottles of vodka on the table and two glasses. I opened my mouth, Russian came out, 'Leonid Ilyich, may I present...' The old man interrupted, 'Kto ne evo znayet? Who doesn't know him? Tell him to speak to the pianist, I want to hear him sing.' My travelling companion went over to the woman seated at the piano. He whispered in her ear then turned to me, 'Ask him what he wants me to sing.' I turned to Brezhnev, but he shouted, spilling some vodka as he did so, 'Mоя́ Доро́га, Mоя́ Доро́га! Moy Dorga, Moy Dorga!' I winked at the American and said, 'Guess, Francis Albert, guess.'
Archived comments for The Wrong Morris
Mikeverdi on 01-12-2014
The Wrong Morris
Truly brilliant Ewan, thanks.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike,
just a bit of fun really. Or maybe it really did happen... I'm sure I could convince a conspiracy theorist. 😀
Thanks,as always, for reading
Ewan


Nonsense Rhyme (posted on: 14-11-14)
do you really need one?

Tic tac toe, you don't know which way's up, or where I go. One two three, you love me just as much as Claire McGee. Ha ha ha - not so far - come with me to a titty bar. He he he, don't you see? You read this - you're as daft as me Da da dum, metric sum; two are short and one long one Piff Paff Poff, you may scoff, laugh at this until you cough.
Archived comments for Nonsense Rhyme
pommer on 15-11-2014
Nonsense Rhyme
Hi, I enjoyed this one. I did write a comment yesterday, which finished up in my inbox. I don't mind being as daft as you reading this. I really liked it well done. Be lucky, Peter.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Peter!

sweetwater on 16-11-2014
Nonsense Rhyme
Loved this, took me back to childhood and playground nonsence rhymes. 🙂 Sue x.

Author's Reply:


Holes (posted on: 03-11-14)
My dog passed away on Friday, so I don't really care what anyone thinks of this...

In the lawn, a scrape; a foxhole, apt for your vulpine looks. In the trees, a pit, a hide-out, cool for the summer days. In my heart, a void, an abyss, shaped like man's best friend.
Archived comments for Holes
Bozzz on 03-11-2014
Holes
Fascinating. When a domestic dog digs a hole it is offering a prayer to the great forest in the skies. That is what starlings and pigeons are doing when gathering in flocks - going nowhere any more - just celebrating their past. This elegant story of holes is a human scratch on a cave wall.
Brilliant. David

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 03-11-2014
Holes
I love the constrained emotion in this Ewan. It only highlights the pain. I am so sorry to know of your loss. Looks like a few of us have had to face this recently.
The choice of the word 'abyss' tells the reader the magnitude of loss.
Happy to nominate it and congrats on the nib.

Alison x

Author's Reply:

sweetwater on 03-11-2014
Holes
I am so sorry to hear such sad news, having lost many deeply loved dogs over a lifetime I know what you are going through. This is a lovely poem for a best friend, the last line is particularly poignant, but the whole poem says how much you care, and how much love and thought went into where he now rests. Sue xx.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 04-11-2014
Holes
Something I know a lot about sadly, nice tribute Ewan
Mike

Author's Reply:

ifyouplease on 05-11-2014
Holes


Author's Reply:


The Wind Soughs (posted on: 27-10-14)
Nostalgia for other autumns

Somewhere, across two countries and a narrow channel, Autumn arrives in colours russet and rust. The leaves fall and have fallen in rustling heaps kicked joyfully by children into leafy blizzards while dogs and their walkers look on. People wear scarves and overcoats - and even hats - if October comes cool on September's heels. For some this brings no melancholy, those for whom Autumn's gentle song is the soughing of the wind through the last leaves on boughs of oak and ash and silver beeches. Here in the deep Iberian south, the Fall arrives in Summer's clothes delaying the Winter green and bringing sun for rain.
Archived comments for The Wind Soughs
sweetwater on 27-10-2014
The Wind Soughs
I never tire of autumn poems and yours is particularly lovely, can clearly see the picture you have created. 🙂 Sue.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and for the very kind comment.
Ewan

ifyouplease on 27-10-2014
The Wind Soughs
it does arrive in Summer's clothes, but now it's cold enough for Winter to appear in Fall's clothes. heheh. nice poem, enjoyed.

Author's Reply:
I must admit I miss the autumn and the spring, I don't miss the winter so much!
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

stormwolf on 29-10-2014
The Wind Soughs
Delightfully nostalgic and melancholy...perfect for Autumn which always to me seems to hold a minor chord if it was music.
A time of gathering in and shamanically, of making plans for what we want to incubate in the dark void of winter.
I cannot imaging doing it back to front ( so to speak 😜) so the second part invites thinking.
Really lovely poem Ewan
Alison x

Author's Reply:
It's odd, we're not quite back to front here, it's just the seasons are not so pronounced in their difference,and autumn, winter and spring are so very short.
Thanks for reading and for the very kind comment.
Ewan


Beyond Arcturus (posted on: 20-10-14)
...

There may be sub-stellar companions; if such planets exist what wars are fought by strange battalions under binary suns? There may be enamoured companions, if such lovers exist, where trysts are made in twice-lit canyons under the distant stars. There may be. There is more nothing than matter, if such motes in the vacuum are infinite, what form does the synapse take? Are there souls or spirits? Are they materials in the spirit world? There may be answers to these questions - if such beings exist - while we imagine space-ships bastioned under the distant stars.
Archived comments for Beyond Arcturus
Gothicman on 22-10-2014
Beyond Arcturus
Like the first two stanzas and single line, Nomenklatur, but the rest needs a rethink IMO. For me the messaging just doesn't develop and progress as it should, and it does feel good enough to warrant a rethink. Best..Gothicman

Author's Reply:
I'd have to agree with you I'm afraid; I've definitely written better things on this theme. Struggling badly to write at all at the moment, so I'm not too disappointed with this.


Random Noise Generator (posted on: 22-08-14)
Appearing at a festival (fringe) near you, if not me.

The man on stage shouts forcing rhymes with volume. Stunned listeners wait for something that has meaning. A long wait is in prospect for this is the Festival. Later he has a guitar, he flails an open discord whenever he reaches a line break that doesn't ring true. The man on stage leaves bounding past the klieglight. Stunned watchers wish for someone with a shotgun. A slow death is in prospect for the buyer of the tickets.
Archived comments for Random Noise Generator
stormwolf on 23-08-2014
Random Noise Generator
Haha loved it Ewan, made me laugh. You caught it totally!
Btw hearty congrats on your book.
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading (and laughing) Alison.
Book project's not a done deal but it is 50% funded after only 3 weeks, which I'm told is good going.
Ewan


Sunshine in My Pockets (Home and Away) (posted on: 28-07-14)
Written after a brief visit to the UK...

The milky sun gutters; the light of street-lamps mitigating daytime dark fights the gloom with neon spots. I've got sunshine in my pockets and some raindrops on my shoes. The yellow disc shimmers; the glint of aircraft imitating daylight stars pocks the sky with shiny dots. I've got sunshine in my pockets, but no raindrops on my shoes.
Archived comments for Sunshine in My Pockets (Home and Away)

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Where Is Everybody? (posted on: 18-07-14)
'Where is everybody?' qv Fermi's Paradox.

It's time to tighten the Van Allen Belt, time to straighten our spacesuit seams. No-one has come knocking, encounters remain the stuff of dreams.

Dwarfs and Giants are in the stars, the price of looking upward is a stiff neck.

It's time to venture beyond the pale time's debenture is running out, no-one has been checking, each star is a message, destiny's shout.

Signs and omens are in the stars, the cost of looking inward is a swift death.

It's time to find another system time to found our galactic empire: no-one has been talking, let's kindle connections with astral fire.
Archived comments for Where Is Everybody?
gwirionedd on 08-06-2015
Where Is Everybody?
I really like this. I'm surprised no-one's commented on it. Where is everybody indeed?

The internal rhymes are good - tighten/straighten and venture/debenture. What is a debenture, by the way?


Author's Reply:
From examples given in the OED
"In my opinion a debenture means a document which either creates a debt or acknowledges it, and any document which fulfils either of these conditions is a ‘debenture’‥It is not either in law or commerce a strictly technical term, or what is called a term ‘of art’." Quoted from something published with respect to Chancery and Law.

Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan







Unseen Forces (posted on: 14-07-14)
'A Physickal Misterie...'

The Sign of Four: Weak, Strong, Electro-Magnetic, Gravitational. Four dimensions: planes plain to see and time which is merely felt, or witnessed on its passing. A standard model - one-size-fits-all but string theory. A theory of everything is nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Archived comments for Unseen Forces

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When the Sun Beats Down... (posted on: 09-06-14)

I know what I like...



No benches here, I hear no talk, no buzz of cut grass; you can't tell, however I walk. Yet... a wardrobe in a garden is no stranger than a street-lamp with a faun leaning, eyebrow-cocked, against it. Do we? Abandon fantasy and surrealism as easily as our childhood? Imagine... the infinite worlds hidden between lines on pulped and processed wood. Enough! Of whimsy, mimsy and fey, faery nonsense; It's not the end of any world as we know it. Ethel and Jacob are Adam and Eve.
Archived comments for When the Sun Beats Down...
ifyouplease on 12-06-2014
When the Sun Beats Down...
yes, they do abandon such things. surrealism rocks.

Author's Reply:
Surreal, some say it means more than real. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan


The Street is Shimmering (posted on: 06-06-14)
a moment...

A hurtsickle sky is above the town, mountains have been painted behind the one and in front of the other. The sun is burning the hillside grass, goatherds are still shambling above the town and below the treeline. Cars travel slower, people walk through the molasses heat on the shady side of the road. From the high square called Low, the thoroughfare descends toward a picture-postcard view daubed in primary colours. The tarmacadam melts into mirrors and the street is shimmering like a desert mirage.
Archived comments for The Street is Shimmering
Mikeverdi on 08-06-2014
The Street is Shimmering
Here they are shimmering with rain today, I love the pictures you paint.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Nomenklatura on 08-06-2014
The Street is Shimmering
Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike
Ewan

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 08-06-2014
The Street is Shimmering
Hi Ewan
I had to look up 'hurtsicle' Glad I did. Will have to remember that one 😉
So good to read original and creative use of words. I think that the site going down for a day or so has made fewer readers and comments than normal.
Should this not be two words or hyphenated?
goatherds
Anyway, you paint a vivid picture as always and remind me why I could never live in a hot country 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:
nope, OED has goatherd as well as a hyphenated version. Interestingly goatherdess was in common use in the 19th century. The standard evolution of these words is two words, hyphenated, one word. Hence the disappearance of sheep herd.

stormwolf on 09-06-2014
The Street is Shimmering
I should have known not to take on an English teacher!!!

Granny (granda) sucking eggs and all that 😉

Alison x

Author's Reply:


Not a Proper Writer (posted on: 02-06-14)
who is?

I sometimes think it would be best, if I were just a little depressed. I never feel like suicide, not even if my cat has died. You see it seems that only those whose dog is black can write in prose. And as you see it's even worse the sunshine mind can write no verse. And yes, I know that writing's grist means livid scars upon the wrist. Inshpiration has no greater giver than cirrhosis of the writer'sh liver. But no, I do not play with guns, just think of dreadful laboured puns. So, if you think that this is crappy, bear in mind the writer's happy.
Archived comments for Not a Proper Writer
Rab on 02-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
Thanks Ewan, now I know why I can't write poetry to save myself! Very enjoyable.

Have you seen the Sky Arts series, Psychobitches, which had a wonderful take on Silvia Plath reinventing herself as a happy poet? www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ivMx-ouVmk

Author's Reply:
Yes, I liked all those Psychobitches. Frida Kahlo was my favourite.

pommer on 02-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
My dog is black at present,but I still can't write in prose.However your little write cheered me up tremendously.Just going to have another drink. To hell with cirrhosis. Be lucky, Peter.

Author's Reply:
Good luck with that dog. I'm fond of a drink myself, it's true
Ewan

Elfstone on 02-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
My dog is frequently hellish black, but I don't think it makes writing any easier! Enjoyed this somewhat cynical (La Boheme) view of ourselves 🙂 It's very clever, but - if I may - the rhythm breaks down in the 6th verse, which is a pity. Fixable I'm sure.
Elfstone.

Author's Reply:
I think it needs more than tinkering, I'm afraid.

stormwolf on 03-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
Ach c'mon
Join the depressed, drinking classes. I tried being happy once. It nearly was the death of me 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:

ifyouplease on 04-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
Alison never try again such a thing. Brrr

who needs NDE because of Happiness?

clever poem Ewan.

Author's Reply:

QBall on 09-06-2014
Not a Proper Writer
I have no dog, yet prose is my forte. Poetry is oe'r my head; pardon the pun!
I liked this, but don't ask why.

Author's Reply:


Box Sets (posted on: 26-05-14)
Other...

Sky and Netflix and God-knows-who else, offer me these wonderful, abstract things. Box Sets? There is no box, in - or of - itself. I am amazed, that no-one dares to think of Schrodinger's there-and-not-there Cat and what the innocent might make of similarly existentially-challenged boxes wherein zeros and ones create reality that exists in some intangible, ineffable fake that fools, flim-flams and simply foxes we tools of this or other universes, described by dreadful rhyming verses, like this one splashed across the page spilling the spirit of the age.
Archived comments for Box Sets
pdemitchell on 26-05-2014
Box Sets
Ha! Clever as always especially Schrodinger's there-and-not-there Cat in the existentialist Hat. Mitch 😉

Author's Reply:


The Queens of the May (posted on: 05-05-14)
...

The Queens of the May in flowery dresses, run their hands through chestnut tresses, at every spring and summer fayre, while all the fooled and foolish stare. Nine Worthies count themselves in threes, blossom garlands greenwood trees. Alexander, great not good. Hector, Trojan who maybe should avoid the Greeks at any cost, Caesar looking tiny, lost. David, greatest king of the Jews, Joshua following in his shoes. A Judas with them, worry not, Maccabeus, not Iscariot. Arthur, still the Cuckold King, Godfrey of Buillon no such thing, Charlemagne, whose very name means king and Caesar's does the same. The Queens of the May from council houses, wear their Primark, and their Top-Shop blouses in every pub and cocktail bar and travel home in someone's car. Nine worthies wear their knock-off jeans and dream of girls in magazines. Alec Sander, top with hood, Hector Trojan, who maybe should give up his job at BuyLoCost, Geezer cursing bets he's lost. David wearing his lad-mag shoes Josh is following, looking for clues And Jude is with them, whyever not? They are the only friends they've got. Arthur, still the Pinball King, Goff free of guilt for anything. Charlie Main, whose very name, means fear for some that Geezer blame.
Archived comments for The Queens of the May
Mikeverdi on 06-05-2014
The Queens of the May
I think this is great, I am never sure with your work where you are going, I look for hidden meanings... if I'm honest that's what makes it. If I may critique just this, I think that 'wear their Primark' is one to many theirs; it could be dropped. Only my opinion 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Well, you do have a point. However, 'Their' is still there because I want to make the line scan. There are metre problems all over the place in this one and until I think of a better word, I'm prepared to leave it as it stands - as it's one of the few parts of the poem that don't sound/feel a little jerky. Needs work this one, in several places. I've been tinkering with it every day since I put it up ready for publishing. One day it might be finished!

Thanks for reading and commenting

stormwolf on 06-05-2014
The Queens of the May
Well I enjoyed it 😉

Arthur, still the Cuckold King,
Godfrey of Buillon no such thing,
Charlemagne, whose very name
means king and Caesar's does the same.

Should that not be 'do' the same? maybe not 😉
Well crafted and original. Congrats on the nib

Alison x


Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and the kind comments. I think it's does because the subject is Caesar's name while 'very name' is the subject of the non-defining clause before the and. Grammatically it's all a bit of a liberty-take, because that stanza is just a list really.

Pleased about the nib, but it's probably for having tried something different more than being successful.

regards
Ewan

Savvi on 06-05-2014
The Queens of the May
No crit to offer, very much enjoyed the twists and turn that draw us into the comparison, yes it is different but it stands up on its own and hence the nib, well deserved. Best Keith

Author's Reply:

Nomenklatura on 07-05-2014
The Queens of the May
Further to Mike's comment above, I have put in and removed several times an Oxford comma after Primark. The idea is that Primark is being used like say, D&G, Donna Karan - the label is enough - while Top Shop isn't. Right, Oxford comma it is then.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 07-05-2014
The Queens of the May
As dear old Oscar once said...“I'm exhausted. I spent all morning putting in a comma and all afternoon taking it out”

🙂

Author's Reply:
hahahaha... Good old Oscar, why be profound when you can be wittily shallow? My balloon of pretension is duly punctured!
🙂

sweetwater on 10-05-2014
The Queens of the May
I loved all the twists and turns in this, Was at the summer fayre( 1960's version) to begin with, then got lost in the middle part, then back to the fayre but today's brash and modern version. Great fun, just one question-What are 'lad-mag ' shoes?


Author's Reply:
They are almost certainly designer Italian shoes that were all the rage for one summer month after being featured in Loaded and FHM, a decade or more ago, and still on the feet of the would-be faces and geezers of small towns.



No Trace (posted on: 14-04-14)
a poem

Walking on river stones, soles slip and slide, tired, old ankles twist and turn to the side. The dried arroyo knows we saw Junes and Septembers. Fools, dumb donkeys, believe we are remembered. Footprints in sun-bleached sand, proofs wait then fade. Rapid, cold rollers erase the symbols made.
Archived comments for No Trace
Bozzz on 14-04-2014
No Trace
Like this - feels a bit like Madeira, Ewan, but the dried stream is nearer - sorry, rhyme completely unintentional. Surely not the first tinge of middle age mobility reminiscence? Crusoe or cruise oh? OK shoot me. ...David


Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 15-04-2014
No Trace
My take is tourists. I like it by the way.
Mike

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 17-04-2014
No Trace
Very emotive with a sad feel
Alison x

Author's Reply:

Buschell on 03-05-2014
No Trace
Traces of woe and hope. I really like that in a poem.

Author's Reply:


Jasmine (posted on: 07-04-14)
what it says...

Jasmine works in a Gentleman's club, where she dances with a Pole, a club where a massage is more than a rub: it's better than claiming the dole. Jasmine's got a PHD, which the customers don't believe. Her mind is full of heart and soul, it keeps them from her sleeve. Jasmine comes from a Romanian town, where horses live in your flat, a place where histories are written down and people disappear - like that. Jasmine's a name from a girls' magazine, where problems are very small, where Daciana has never ever been seen and doesn't matter at all.
Archived comments for Jasmine
Bozzz on 08-04-2014
Jasmine
Getting around a bit Ewan, Not making up for lost time, I hope?
The girl may not be captivating, but the poem, with educated undertow, is good fun.

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 09-04-2014
Jasmine
Hi Ewan
Line 4 second stanza loses the rhythm for me but I thought it was fab.
A jauniced eye on the sad state of things.
Alison x

Author's Reply:


The Look of Mistrust (posted on: 07-04-14)
Things change...

In a Limassol street, in a Hamburg bar, someone will give it, wherever you are. * Your short hair means you are no cruise liner tourist, running from bar to souvenir shop, red-legged, baseball-capped, ever mindful of the pumpkin deadline for the gangplank, his escape route from Limassol's seedy port. When the boat sails, you earn the distrust of taxi-drivers and waiters, or perhaps their contempt and the bored frustration of their fists. The garish lights of the Reeperbahn stain your Anglo skin. The clubs, bars and peep shows are more Third World than they used to be. The days of looking-not-touching are long, long gone. Any girl's face looks at you in disbelief when you say no to a drink, and no to the company of strangers available at cut-price, whilst you wonder what Stan her parents came from. The look of mistrust reflected in others' faces is all too familiar, it is your own.

Archived comments for The Look of Mistrust
usutu on 07-04-2014
The Look of Mistrust
The price paid by the seasoned traveller - and the more 'he who travels lightest, travels fastest' one becomes, the more the look goes with the attitude. Well captured.

U'sustu

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 08-04-2014
The Look of Mistrust
There be dragons. 'have toothbrush, will travel', Googling options will not help. Some partridges have red legs and look where they end up. Naivety is not a disease - no milk in a bakery. Not sure I've got it all. Cheers, David

Author's Reply:

QBall on 08-04-2014
The Look of Mistrust
Very well expressed. I saw Hamburg in 1949 when all the bomb damage filled the scene. I was there at the NAAFI for two hours. It was enough.

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 09-04-2014
The Look of Mistrust
Fab! Ewan.
You have become one of my fav poets for your crushing reality and insightful perceptions.
SO much more in this poem than on first reading. A sad indictment on the way things are heading and so much more besides.
Alison x

Author's Reply:


Waiting (posted on: 04-04-14)
Yet another competition also-ran (I've got a lot of these) Nothing to do with G...t, by the way. Not this time.

Lights out, better in the dark: there are more possibilities in the quiet, half-light of a flat with windows blind to Venice and cloudy skies. I know: it is not the Canal City outside your tiny balcony, but nor is it here. There could be anything on the other side of the glass. I imagine that it is; it is the possible, the impossible, the chance that you will come armed with more love than my shield can deflect. The longer I wait the surer I am, the more beautiful you are.
Archived comments for Waiting
Mikeverdi on 07-04-2014
Waiting
No comments...and yet I love it.
Mike

Author's Reply:


A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town (posted on: 04-04-14)
Just one more competition also ran...

The water's running down the street, washing dirt from gypsies' feet, flowing current, stopping current, where the sagging wires meet. Rain is falling on the people, sluicing birdshit off the steeple. The market's closing -time to eat- traders packing vans so neat, filling pockets - empty pockets - hiding profits down the seat. Rain is falling on the people, bells are ringing in the steeple. The banker's drinking, girlfriend gone eloped with smiling, English John, sighing banker, crying banker, kissing Marta later on. Rain is falling on the people, flags are flying on the steeple. The bars are closing ten past midnight spewing drunks into the lamplight, talking couples, fighting couples, neither knowing that they're right. Rain is falling on the people, tiles are cracking on the steeple.
Archived comments for A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town
Pelequin23 on 06-04-2014
A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town
a surreal but accurate look at life in an spanish town with a good gritty real feel

Author's Reply:

sweetwater on 06-04-2014
A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town
I found this such a fascinting, atmospheric poem, I could feel all the life going on around me in this exciting town. I like the linking last lines, and the very clever third lines, in the midst of a romp along read they make you stop to properly take in their signficance to the verse. I shall read this one many times, it made me smile, even in the rain! Sue.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 06-04-2014
A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town
Even all that rain does not deter the deserted banker from kissing Marta. Good for him, I say. A nice descriptive vignette of a market town at the end of the day.
Well done, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 07-04-2014
A Rainy Day in a Spanish Town
Maybe I've read too many of your mystic writings... but I sense a metaphor in here. Maybe I'm just losing the plot; great stuff anyway 🙂

Author's Reply:


A Trip Down the River (posted on: 31-03-14)
It's still the same... more's the pity.

We are other men. He dead. He not I. In the heart of darkness, money reeks, corrupt and suborning. The river flows, from there to near - like blood through veins. We are other men. We dead, we not they. In the art of lying, many talk - connive - while seducing. The chatter clacks from mouth to ear, like code through wires. We are other men. They dead, they not we. In the darkest river, any hope, or love, or believing makes better jokes, in bleakest fear, like night-time whistles. We are other men. He dead. Mistah Kurtz.
Archived comments for A Trip Down the River
Mikeverdi on 31-03-2014
A Trip Down the River
Bugger... don't you ever do simple. Heart of darkness...Hemingway (maybe?) Kurts...the Mekong river (up stream) and I love the smell of Napalm in the morning!.

or not? whatever... I love it.

Author's Reply:
Not the Mekong, this was more Apocalypse Then. 😉

QBall on 31-03-2014
A Trip Down the River
Another descriptive train of thought.
WEll done.
Les Q.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment, Les.

pdemitchell on 03-04-2014
A Trip Down the River
A concise tad of a Conrad homage. The horror! The horror!

Author's Reply:
🙂 Indeed!

Pelequin23 on 06-04-2014
A Trip Down the River
love it

Author's Reply:


Waiting (posted on: 28-03-14)
Prose Challenge 'A Quiet Night'

I'm here now. Then, there were two of us, at least. Here is inside; a roof, a bed, boots that fit, almost. Footsteps in the corridors, rain on the window pane, the scuttle of well, let's say mice. We fought off worse things by the side of that road. I paint the ceiling with my dreams and I watch them through cataracts. Sometimes, as I was then, I am 'us' or 'We'. And the boy, and the man with the rope around his neck, or even the man holding the rope. It's funny: I am waiting. Waiting for the real thing. Not a metaphor. The room is small, with a window high in the wall. Yet the space in my head is more open than the road. It can be now, it can be then. It can even be a possible future, or all of them. Of course, I do not move from the bed. 'Why wear boots?' you think. Boots that fit are the mark of a gentleman, everyone knows that. Even... no his name will not pass my lips. Besides, I do not know if he is, was, or will be a gentleman: he never came. Perhaps tomorrow. During the day, the experts break the monotony. 'Is it Parkinson's? Alzheimer's?' 'Is he merely mad?' 'Who is he waiting for?' 'Everything is symbolic!' At night-time it is quiet. I replay all the conversations, all the theories. If everything were symbolic I'd have said so. Not in so many words of course. I merely say that all signs are arbitrary. Or rather I don't. I lie here, and, during those same days or days that are the same, they come to look at me.Still, the night-time is my own. And Vladimir's. And sometimes, especially if the night is as quiet as this one, I really believe that I will finish the joke, or that he and tomorrow will come. Symbolic! Always returning to the same place. Sometimes nothing happening means nothing happens. And boots are just boots. I have boots. Yes, I remember. Was there a belt? Did something happen to it? All nights are peaceful, because the other part of the day is when they come and debate turnips and radishes, for they cannot give me carrots. They decide on one or the other and another tranquil night is in prospect. Yes, I am still waiting. It is not a metaphor. Here, in this place, I hold the other end of the rope tied around my own neck. I lead myself in circles. Tomorrow will bring another today. They'll come and try to decide if I am a shepherd or a goatherd, but they are only experienced with sheep and goats. Talk, talk, talk. As well sing the same thing over and over. Every day they remove the better part of me in pans and bottles. They will meet and discuss its qualities. Little is understood which comes from the other orifice, why should they discover any meaning there? Yet still they look. For meaning. It means nothing. Yes, that's it. It's not a metaphor. I'm waiting for nothing.
Archived comments for Waiting
bluepootle on 28-03-2014
Waiting
Woo. I find it quite sinister. I have no idea if it's about a specific event so I'm not sure who Vladimir is or what's happening. It's got definite atmosphere and I can picture the narrator, so it's ticking boxes for me. I feel quite lost within it, but maybe that's the point?

Author's Reply:
Well, up to a point. There are some clues as to who Vladimir is, might be or may believe himself to be. That he's waiting is one of them.

bluepootle on 28-03-2014
Waiting
Oh maaaaan, I can't believe I didn't see it! My old Theatre Studies lecturer would be ashamed of me...

Author's Reply:
🙂

Rab on 28-03-2014
Waiting
But what happened to Estragon? Great idea Ewan, and very well told. I would say worthy of a nib at the very least.



Ross

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 28-03-2014
Waiting
Excellent, well told. I never look for parallels or origins, so judge this purely on its own merits. Powerful, convincing imagery. Well done.

Author's Reply:

sirat on 28-03-2014
Waiting
The man with the rope around his neck and the other one holding it was a bit of a give-away. I liked the continual insistence that things are not metaphors. I don't know whether I interpreted it correctly or not but the image I was left with was that of an old and confused thespian trying to escape from a Beckett play that had mentally devoured him (yes, that is a metaphor).



A nice piece of work, plenty of room for reader interpretation. Like the original, it leaves you wondering whether or not it was profound.



Author's Reply:
Like the original, it leaves you wondering whether or not it was profound.

Exactly!

Savvi on 28-03-2014
Waiting
I was sold on the images and the atmosphere you manged to create I'm afraid that after reading all the comments I'm still a little lost but that is clearly my failing. I have a memory of a film I once watched, there was a man who kept asking 'Is it safe' it had a huge impact on me and this leaves me feeling the same way. I know this doesn't make much sense but I really enjoyed it. Best Keith

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 31-03-2014
Waiting
Ewan, as always a fascinating story, and as usual with me, one I have to take time over. I thought the first paragraph was complete, by that I mean it could have stood on it's own. I loved 'paint the ceiling with my dreams'. I would look for deeper meaning in the rest, but I don't feel I need to. I am content with a fascinating story; for me he could be simply 'waiting for godot'...we all are, some sooner than others. 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 01-04-2014
Waiting
Yes, really neat. It made me laugh in a few places, carrots and orifices in particular. I didn't immediately get the reference but it really doesn't matter, does it. That's the genius of Godot, it speaks to such a universal part of being that you can apply it to anything. I won't say more because it would be like trying to pin an indefinable concept to a museum display - very messy and doomed to failure.

You should read All Dogs Are Blue.

Author's Reply:


Mountebank (posted on: 28-03-14)
gone, but not forgotten...

He stole it. He did. I know he did. My work. MY work. My WORK. When he joined the group he smiled through Lorne's 'all-too-human' account of her nervous breakdown. Sympathy was the order of the day when Helena read from her Cancer Diary. He found Victor's haiku 'diverting', he said. I was flattered too, when he praised my Petrarchian Sonnet. 'Read us some of your work,' Victor said. 'Not my first time, thank you.' He gave the smile of a Boticelli cherub. So he didn't read, not that first time, nor the next. In fact, he read only yesterday. He was clever, his criticism was carefully worded. And shaped beautifully, the arc of the narrative was always the same: say something positive, find fault, and finish on an upbeat note. I was surprised the others didn't see through him. The poison in the wine, of course was always in the middle. The innocuously worded 'I think it might be better to omit the adverbs, that's what they recommend, the experts, you see. Perhaps just use one, at a key point, if you can't show it.' They devoured such tainted meat greedily. Last week's evening was in 'The Pen and Firkin.' We go there every 3 months or so. It's my choice of venue, I feel the ambience suits my style. There are lithograph portraits of Pope and Dryden on the walls and leather bound books on the ubiquitous shelves. Many are in German and French, of course, but still. I gave my Alexandrine, little thinking that such a crime would ensue. It was well received. That man did not comment, although I noted that the pace of his clapping lagged behind the others' applause, at a clearly ironic rate. The buses were on strike last night. Surbiton Creative Writers Group meets on Wednesdays. Have you ever seen a bus driver reading? No, neither have I. In any event I arrived late through no fault of my own. He was reading 'his' work. I caught only the last line. 'that like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along.' So! He had revealed himself. I struck him. 'Mountebank! Fraud! Plagiarist!' Two of the women in the group overpowered me. The man was shouting something incomprehensible about Pope. Who did he think he was? The greatest poet that ever lived? As you see below, it is a clear case of plagiarism, for my ultimate line from the previous week was as follows, 'that as a stricken bat, flaps its slow wings along.'
Archived comments for Mountebank
Kazzmoss on 28-03-2014
Mountebank
Interesting little story and left me wondering whether it was based on true events.

Author's Reply:
Almost...

jdm4454 on 28-03-2014
Mountebank
Elvis --- from "Young Dreams" --- King Creole......1958
I have young arms
That wanna hold you
Hold you oh so tight
I have young lips
That want to kiss you
Kiss you morning noon and night

Beatles --- "From Me to You" ---circa 1964
I got arms that long to hold you
And keep you by my side
I got lips that long to kiss you
And keep you satisfied, oooh

Kind of stings when that happens, huh?



Author's Reply:

QBall on 30-03-2014
Mountebank
The kind of man that slithers in under the door.
I used to belong to a seniors writing group and found so many diversities in people's output especially when we all wrote on the same subject.
Vive la plume, eh!


Author's Reply:
Tks for commenting Q!

Nomenklatura on 31-03-2014
Mountebank
Just to clear something up... Once upon a time, there was a member of UKA who accused another of Plagiarism (and neither was me). Unlike in this case, there was no plagiarism in real life. The plagiariser in this story was the literary snob rather than vice-versa. No libel, then.

Don't know if anyone remembers the incident or the member, but this story is fiction.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 31-03-2014
Mountebank
Bugger!! I will be looking around the room at next Saturdays group.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Meshugga (posted on: 24-03-14)
One of several things I'm working on at the moment...

It was done. And it were well done more quickly. Aleph, Bet, Gimel, Ahat, Shtaim, Shalosh. Some things take longer in the rain. He felt sick looking at her. He rolled her onto her stomach and placed her limbs as they should be. Nothing to be done about the head. Sometimes he felt the knife was wielding him. He lit a cigarette, smoked a little of it and discarded more than half. He clapped his gloved hands together and walked away. * The Ericsson model 1001 rang. The bakelite seemed to vibrate on the table. It was a shame they'd got rid of the candlestick telephone sets, in Dickson's view. The combined handset allowed a hand free to write a note or two, but he felt that some officers concentrated less on the telephone call that way. Besides, a good policeman had a good memory. Soon people would want to be writing everything down. Where would police work be then? Dickson picked up the receiver, 'Edgware 3548, Paddington Police Station. Second Class Detective Sergeant Dickson speaking.' 'Shalom, Victor. There is another.' The call was disconnected. He looked over at Detective Constable Newman. 'Another one.' Newman reached for his hat, a fedora. Dickson wondered just why he couldn't wear an honest-to-goodness trilby, as the rest of them did. 'Fields, you're in charge.' The big man looked up from yesterday's Sporting Life and looked round the otherwise empty office, 'Of what?' Dickson and Newman sat in the back of the 'Q' car. PC 139 Blunt looked over his shoulder, 'Where to, Skip?' 'Watford Way.' [PAGEBREAK] Newman looked uncomfortable. 'Out with it,' Dickson reached into his pocket for his cigarette case. 'How do you know?' 'I don't, we're going to John Groom's Crippleage. You can ask the Rabbi, you know him don't you?' 'There are a quarter of a million Jews in Britain, Detective Sergeant. I'm ashamed to say I'm not acquainted with each of them personally.' 'You're a local boy, from Edgware, aren't you?' 'I am, but the community is Reform.' 'Not your cup of tea?' 'If you like.' Newman stared out of the window at the rain. Dickson lit a Black Cat and did the same. The Crippleage was quiet. It was a Sunday. 'There'll be no-one here,' Newman stood in the rain. Dickson leaned out of the car window, 'What makes you say that?' 'The charity lets them use a room, that's all. Ha Shem only knows where the Rabbi lives. Anyway, if it's just happened, there'll have been no-one here since 5 last night as Shabbat's end.' Dickson took a long draw on his cigarette and flicked it into a puddle, where it hissed its disapproval. 'Where will it be then?' 'Definitely Edgeware?' 'The last two were here,' Dickson nodded at The Crippleage. 'Friday nights, though.' Dickson jerked a thumb over his shoulder, 'Get in, you'll think of somewhere.' The black Humber Snipe pulled up at the kerb. Dickson looked at Newman, 'This it?' 'Rabbi Horowitz lives here, yes.' The driver stayed with the car. Dickson hauled himself out of the back seat. Newman removed his hat on the doorstep. Dickson watched him eye the box nailed somewhat haphazardly to the door-frame. 'Not a handy fellow, then, the rabbi?' 'It's supposed to be slanting towards the interior. Horowitz is Ashkenazi.' 'What's that? Don't tell me there are different kinds of your sort?' 'And not of yours? Are you a Catholic, Skipper?' 'C of E on the paperwork.' 'There you are then.' 'Just ring the bell, Newman.' The Rabbi came to the door himself. 'Boker Tov,' He made a small bow. Dickson noticed the small round cap not quite covering his bald patch. 'Boker Tov, Rebbe, mah shlomkha?' Newman shook the rabbi's hand. 'Oh, you know, Daniel.' The Rabbi gave a shrug. 'It's work, official, Rebbe. This is my boss ' Dickson held up his warrant card, 'Second Class Detective Sergeant Dickson, might we come in, Sir?' They followed the old man's shuffle into the house. It was lit by candles although there were light switches on the walls. Dickson grunted, everything was Bakelite it seemed. The rabbi showed the two policemen into a book-lined room. Huge leather-bound tomes on three walls, floor to ceiling. Dickson ran a finger along the spines. The writing was in hieroglyphics, or near enough. He supposed it was Yiddish, that was what they spoke, wasn't it? 'Take a seat, gentlemen.' The rabbi waved an arm at four leather-upholstered seats. They were worn but had been expensive at one time. Dickson had seen similar at the site of a burglary at a gentleman's club. The four chairs were placed around an occasional table. Newman was about to sit opposite Dickson, but a look was sufficient for him to realise where his place was. 'We've had a report. Another one. I'm sure you've discussed the others with Daniel.' 'I'm afraid I have no idea what you are talking about. Daniel used to attend the Synagogue, but well, I understand it is difficult as a policeman.' Dickson looked at Newman with eyebrows so high they reached where his hair had once been. 'It's about the murders, Rabbi. You've heard, of course.' 'Those poor women, yes.' Newman looked at his superior who shrugged. 'Well it has come to our attention that there has been another.' 'That's very sad, but what can I do?' 'You've heard nothing?' 'Of course not!' The Rabbi was looking from Dickson to Newman and back again. The older detective would have laughed, but confined himself to a question, 'What doyour people say about the first two?' 'They were reform, but good Jews. They should not have been left like that.' 'Like what, sir?' 'I will not say it.' 'No matter. We have been told there is another. We that is Dectective Constable Newman believes that you all of you, some of you, one of you - might know where.' 'What do you mean by that?' The Rabbi looked at the younger policeman, 'Daniel?' 'The last two were nearby, Edgeware. The Cripplage, near where the Reform hold Shabbat services.' 'So? You said it yourself, they were found by the Reform' 'I just thought' Dickson interrupted, 'we've wasted enough or your time, Sir. We'll be leaving now, Newman.' [PAGEBREAK] The Rabbi let out a breath neither policeman realised he had been holding. 'Well, it was nothing. Daniel, surely once in a blue moon...?' 'No, Rabbi, I don't think so.' Daniel Newman sat in the rear of the Q-car, waiting for the explosion. It did not come. 'Danny is it?' Dickson said. 'No, it's Daniel.' 'How do you like it, with us?' 'You?' 'Us, you could be one of us.' 'I'm not sure I follow you, Sarge.' 'If this case turns out to have the right outcome ' 'And what would that be?' Dickson gave a thin-lipped smile, 'Well now, let's think of some outcomes that wouldn't be ideal' Newman said nothing. 'For example, we don't want anyone to be reminded of Cable Street.' Newman nodded. 'And it would be best all round if a Jew was killing Jews.' 'I told everyone who matters you were a bright lad, Newman.' The wireless crackled. 'PC 118, possible body in Lumb Lane, Edgeware. Request assistance and medical.' 'Let's go,' Dickson said. It was a woman, again. Between 30 and 40, throat slit; she was naked except for a wig. The same as the last two had been. Dickson looked at Newman, 'Why put a wig on them?' Newman sighed, 'The wig is her own.' 'What about the others'? 'That's the thing, Chief.' Newman shook his head. 'Reform Jews have different ideas about Tzniut. The women don't have to wear a wig.' 'So' 'So he brought the first two wigs with him.' Dickson had seen worse, it was a clean slit of the throat. With something as sharp as a medical instrument. The head was at a funny angle, since the cutting stopped at the base of the skull. It looked like the work of the same man. Body face down, arms by the sides. The woman had bled out hours ago and the lamplight shone on what remained of the blood in the puddles on the pavement. It looked like the blackcurrent cordial Mrs. Dickson bought at their boy's insistence. Anything new and they wanted it. What was it called? Ribena. Dickson had tried it once. It had been foul. Maybe taste itself changed as you got older. Lord knows Dickson's first pint of bitter had taken some time to drink. He could do with one now, to tell the truth. What was Newman doing now? Pacing round the body. Why hadn't he turned it over to see? 'Get on with it, Newman!' 'Just a minute, I..' 'We should check the other side, then we'll know.' 'It will have washed off in the rain.' Dickson hadn't thought of that but he told Newman to get the body rolled over. There was no dignified way to do it and the head lolled about like that of a marionette thrown into a toy box. Newman swore. Dickson had never heard the Jew use profanity before. Then he looked down at the corpse. Nothing had washed off, there had been nothing to wash off. The earlier victims had had five points of the Jew Star painted on their lower abdomen. The sixth and bottom-most point had been formed by the pubic triangle. The killer had taken the weather into account this time. It must have taken a long time and an awful lot of catgut to stitch the design into the woman's body. Newman was mumbling something. [PAGEBREAK] 'What?' Dickson wanted to know. Dickson kicked a stone along the gutter whilst Newman continued mumbling before saying something which sounded like 'Osay Shallom'. Then Newman took a breath , 'I said a prayer, that's all. 'For her?' 'For all of us.' The ambulance arrived with the Police Surgeon not far behind. Dickson noted that it was Bell, doubtless he would offer all kinds of opinions which he was neither qualified to give nor likely to explain. 'Another one?' Bell looked down at the corpse. 'Oh yes,' Dickson said. 'It won't be the last, I shouldn't think.' 'What makes you say that?' 'People who this kind of thing don't stop, do they?' Newman looked up from the corpse, 'Jack the Ripper stopped.' 'Or someone stopped him.' Dickson retorted 'Or he crossed the pond, when Whitechapel became too hot for him.' Bell gave a laugh. 'The fact of the matter is that no-one knows why those murders stopped, maybe we should hope the same happens here.' 'Just pronounce her dead, Doctor, if you please,' Dickson cleared his throat and began to cough. The fit subsided and he spat into a grubby handkerchief. Dr. Bell did the minimum necessary. He filled in the forms while he asked Newman if there was anything he should know. Then Bell waved at the ambulance driver and his mate. 'Wait,' Newman reached into his pocket and brought out a stick of chalk. 'Going to give us a lesson in detection, Newman.' 'No, Sarge, I'm going to mark the position of the body.' 'It's raining, you idiot.' 'Then we don't move it. We need the Photog.' 'He'll be in some pub or other, if he's any sense, it' ll take ages to find him' 'Sarge, we could send the car to his home address. Blunt can contact control for the details.' 'So we wait here in the rain?' 'I'll do it.' 'No, we'll both stay, I don't want you getting any more daft ideas.' Dickson turned to Dr Bell. 'We'll see the cadaver into the ambulance, you may as well be on your way, Doctor.' Dr Bell looked down at the corpse and lifted his hat, 'Goodnight, sweetheart.' Then he made a military turn and the click of the metal in his shoe-heels tapped out his farewell to the policemen. Dickson had smoked half the contents of his cigarette case before the photographer arrived. 'Another one?' Felling was pointing his Speed Graphic at the ground. He was in an uncomfortable crouch, but it was the only way to get the waist-level viewfinder to show a subject on the ground. 'Maybe, nothing's certain yet.' Dickson began coughing and pulled out a grubby handkerchief. Felling looked at Newman, 'Naked, Wig, most likely a Jewess? It's a reasonable guess, isn't it?' 'Nothing's certain until after a trial.' Newman said. Felling muttered something which sounded like 'and sometimes not even then.' The photographer scuttled around the body like a crab. 'Be easier with one of those German gadgets, wouldn't it?' Newman pointed at Felling's bulky Graflex. 'The Met will buy those when they're obsolete, like they do everything else.' The Photographer collapsed his camera and said 'That's me done. If there's nothing else' Dickson shook his head and waved at the ambulance, 'Just a minute,' Newman took something which looked like a camera from his overcoat pocket. 'What's that?' Dickson pointed the object in Newman's hand. 'One of those German gadgets, an Exakta.' 'Why the business with the chalk?' Dickson answered his own question with a bitter laugh, 'So we'd send for the Photog.' He'd heard a lot of things about the Jew before he'd been transferred in. A transfer without a promotion. It looked like that spoke the usual volumes, from what Dickson had seen so far. [PAGEBREAK] The sarge had taken a lift home in the Q-car .Newman had walked back to the office.There'd be time to develop the photographs at home later. The files were important now. There wasn't much in them, he knew. No fingerprints at the scene. Always supposing they had been killed in the streets where they'd been found. The reports seemed to shy away from any definitive answer. Dr Bell wasn't the most meticulous of Police Surgeons, at least not by reputation. Fields had his feet up on the Detective Sergeant's desk when Newman walked in. The slam of the door interrupted Fields' snoring for a moment only. There was no-one else in the office. 15 detectives, including Dickson and there were only 2 available on a Sunday. There were plenty of open enquiries apart from the Naked Jewesses. The News of the World had declared this a suitable name for the story. It seemed that all human death was there, too. Ha Shem only knew what they'd make of another victim. Newman let Fields sleep on, treading lightly towards the filing cabinets lining the rear wall of the office. He opened the top drawer of the leftmost vertical filing cabinet. To the other extreme were cabinets using the lateral system. Most of these cards and files referred to known criminals and gangs. Vertical filing was considered best for case files, open and closed. The system owed nothing to anything but the alphabet, so Newman had to hunt for the open case file for both previous murders. He thought about opening two new files, one for the new victim and one to keep copies of all three files together in one file. There was no point, though. The stencils for the mimeograph were stored with the machine, in the typing pool. Perhaps he'd mention it to Dickson on Monday morning. The two initial murders had produced little in the way of material for either file. There were the two post-mortem reports a report from the first policemen on each scene. These were sparse and to Newman's eye semi-literate transcriptions direct from the beat bobbies' notebooks. The initial Criminal Investigation Department reports were composed by two different Detective Constables, one of whom Newman had replaced on transfer. The other was Fields. Neither report contained anything but a description of the scene and the state of the corpse. The scene had not been searched. But then he and had Dickson had not bothered to do that either. It was a London street, filled with dog-ends, dog-mess and the other sundry detritus to be found in any one of a thousand similar places. Both reports had been countersigned with Dickson as the second attending officer, as no doubt his own would be, when he got around to writing it. [PAGEBREAK] Newman pulled out his own notebook. He flicked it open to his notes on the evening's events. 'Blood? Sufficient? Body moved? Or washed away in rain.' He looked at Fields' report. It did not mention the absence, presence or quantity of blood at the scene of the crime. Newman looked at the report by the recently departed Detective Constable Holmes. 'In this officer's opinion there was a sufficient lack of blood in the vicinity of the cadaver to assume the victim had been moved post-mortem.' A hand-written note in the margin read, 'Where are the clothes?' It was initialled. GJD. Dickson, presumably. Fields' report mentioned only that the victim was naked, save for a wig covering her natural hair. Newman pulled two report forms from a desk drawer and sat down at his desk. He wrote in long-hand with a splendid copper-plate, despite the poor quality of the paper. His report was short barely covering the first side of the printed form. He wrote the same report on the second form. He would make up a new file and take all three files down to the typing pool for mimeograph-ing, with instructions to create a new composite file containing copies from the three case files. The memorandum he was going to leave on Dickson's desk would let him know what he'd done. Dickson was unlikely to be in before ten o'clock on Monday. Newman woke up the snoring Fields to tell him he was leaving. Was the man going to sleep in the office all night? He made sure to slam the door good and hard on leaving. It was a sunny day, Dickson smoothed each side of his moustache with a forefinger. He'd grown it shortly after his promotion. He'd heard the section laughing about it behind his back, 'Thinks it gives him that authoratative air, doesn't he?' 'Distinguished!' 'Extinguished, more like!' This last invariably provoked guffaws, but the truth was than Dickson's fires were far from out. He grown the moustache because Nan Ellis had said she liked facial hair on a man. Dickson liked keeping Nan Ellis happy, every Wednesday and occasional Sunday nights, when he could persuade Fields to stay by the office telephone and invent plausible whereabouts for his Sergeant. Mrs Dickson had only telephoned once, but it had been enough to initiate hostilities which continued for several months. The Detective Sergeant pushed open the door to the office. Fields had gone home already: when the first man had walked in. Dickson would have laid short odds that it had been Newman, although he wasn't present now. Baker, Mosley and Cattermole were at their desks, although they did not look to be working. Daily newspapers peeped out from under hastily assembled piles of paper and files, 'Cup of tea, Guv'nor?' Cattermole asked. 'I'll ring down, send for a WPC.' 'No, that won't be necessary. Newman been in?' Mosley laughed, 'Went down to the Typing Pool carrying some files. Shall we call and get him to bring the tea?' Dickson grunted and sat at his desk. There was a note from Newman: his memoranda looked like something from Hendon. Examples of how to write one for students at the Police College. Doubtless this had made him unpopular at his last nick, too. He wondered if Newman had considered what wasn't in the files. Wondered if he was asking himself what lay behind the words, 'based on Information received,' dated and timed for each victim. Wondered if he would do the right thing. The door opened and Newman allowed a uniformed WPC to enter before him. The WPC was carrying a tea-tray burdened with the chipped china from the canteen. A roar of approval came from the other three Detective Constables, Dickson was not sure if it was the sight of the tea or WPC Featherstonhaugh. The lads had been delighted to be corrected by the WPC in the pronunciation of her name, which they duly shortened from 'Fanshawe' to 'Fanny'. The Detective Sergeant wished that Newman had picked on the other Policewoman. He supposed the station should consider itself very lucky to have two of the ninety-or-so Policewomen in the Met. [PAGEBREAK] Dickson motioned Newman over to his desk. 'What do you think?' 'About what?' 'Come on,' Dickson sighed. 'Phone calls? Anonymous?' 'Worse than that.' 'How?' Newman sniffed. 'The call came from one of those damned boxes.' 'So what?' 'Don't be dull.' Newman straightened his shoulders. 'I see.' Dickson looked at the younger man,'it doesn't go on file. It's information received,' the sergeant cleared his throat. 'I mean it.' 'And if it's ' Newman ran a finger round his shirt collar, 'the culprit?' 'It isn't, of course it isn't.' Dickson shouted over to WPC Featherstonehaugh, 'Any tea for me, luv?' The policewoman brought over the tray with the two remaining cups, placed one cup and saucer in front of Dickson and asked Newman if he'd like one. 'Not for me, Constable,' he said. Then he took a seat at his desk and pretended to look through a file or two.
Archived comments for Meshugga
QBall on 24-03-2014
Meshugga
I like this story, you write very well and your characters come to life. but feel you could fill it out more.
For instance the plot appears almost Victorian or mid-thirties with the lack of computer and telephones styles, Bakelite objects. A clue to the period such as, ‘he remembered the sinking of the Graf Spee’ ---1940,s --- ‘Kitchener poster’ England Need You’ stared at him’ WW1. Streets filled with dog feces shows it is not of this century. Some of your subtle clues help, but I could not nail down when this story was set.
I believe you need a few pauses in conversation to denote which person is speaking. I had to read some parts again to achieve this.

I look forward to the continuation as it is intriguing.
Cheers,
QBall


Possible corrections I have noted
‘It was done. And it were well done more quickly.’
Substitute ‘was’ for ‘were.’
‘ He rolled her onto her stomach and placed her limbs as they should be.’
When the police examine the body you state,
‘We should check the other side, then we’ll know.’ This gives the impression the body lay face down when discovered, yet the slit throat is seen right away. Small details that can be overlooked!
‘Just pronounce him dead, Doctor, if you please,’ Him? I thought we were talking about females.
‘hismemoranda’ two words joined.


Author's Reply:
First of all thank you for reading so attentively.
'It were done' is an archaic use of the English subjunctive and it is quite deliberate.
The bakelite phone model is an attempt to locate time and place: the Q-car (thought you'd check that one) is a further clue. Ribena arrived in the 1930's too.
A novel I have had rejected was criticised for the kind of detail you mention... Kitchener's poster I mean, I was accused of hitting the reader of the head with a mallet. Now too subtle. It's a hard business.

Thanks for the 'him', that was dull.

Regarding the slit throat... it is the third victim and the head is almost severed, so I think they would jump to that conclusion anyway. I'll have a look though.

Thanks again for reading.
Ewan


Sleeping in a Jar (posted on: 24-03-14)
Nothing to do with the Mothers... but then again...

A Palladium finger stirs heavy water on the lab-bench top. Two alchemists ponder stars on Science World boulevard. Anomolous heat is engendered (no-one asks why smashed glass isn't heard), Cold Fusion is unleashed on the world like a firework fluke; the experiment is a wish- fulfilment of mirrors and smoke. An empirical experiment proving nothing happened time and time again, nil by dint of confusion as a result. No nuclear energy is created, out of nothing, nothing is found. An anagram of nuclear is unclear - perhaps this is another semantic joke - an experiment of colossal fraudulence - ridiculous and fake.
Archived comments for Sleeping in a Jar
Mikeverdi on 24-03-2014
Sleeping in a Jar
As with several of your poems I will need to read this a few more times to get the full import, at the moment its 'nil by dint' I think you called it 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Or just unclear?
😉

pdemitchell on 25-03-2014
Sleeping in a Jar
I remember this flurry of excitement and the bitter disappointment with Rossi et al belling the E-Cat.

Author's Reply:
Yes, didn't we all feel such fools!

chant_z on 25-03-2014
Sleeping in a Jar
Thought provoking piece. I may be off track but what comes to mind (for me) is a piece called "How the true/real world became a fable". I hope I'm wrong. Welcome to correct me.

Author's Reply:
No, nothing Nietzschean here. It's about the rigour, or lack of it, in Science. Is it caused by the internet, or have we brought the willingness to accept any claim provided it is trumpeted loud enough, from the real world to the virtual? I don't know. Cold Fusion was not a hoax, in the sense of a joke, the two 'scientists' were serious - as far as I can tell.
Oh well, if you're going to tell a lie, make it a big one .


Thumb Pricks (posted on: 21-03-14)
companion piece (one of two) to 3-Minute Warning... maybe they'll all end up as a longer poem, one day.

There's hissing under concrete like water on a griddle: the sun is parching rivers and the islands in the middle. The sunset is magenta, with a touch of cobalt blue: the clouds are gangrene-coloured while the sea has turned to glue, and I hear the storm is coming, and the wind will blow for years. Birds are singing descant to the music of all fears, I am growing scales and I think I feel a fin, God continues laughing, though the joke is wearing thin. The snakes are speaking tongues and they handle tent-pole preachers The hale are halt and limping as we cheer them from the bleachers.
Archived comments for Thumb Pricks
Mikeverdi on 22-03-2014
Thumb Pricks
I'm going to join them together myself, it's terrific writing but I think I'm missing something; it's as if it could be put to music...maybe I'll get my guitar out from hibernation 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:

pdemitchell on 22-03-2014
Thumb Pricks
I like the rhythm and observational comment in this, Ewan. I particularly like the finny fishiness and the knowingnot to poor Coots and other snake-handling preachers who've felt the bite and often died. Mitch

Author's Reply:


Totentanz (posted on: 21-03-14)
see other entry for today

Two cats sit on a broken fence, a rat looks on, intrigued, intense. No-one sees as the moon turns red, and the stream runs dark in the same old bed. Two boys laugh at a crying girl, one man salutes as the flags unfurl. The jester laughs as the goose steps out, fingers in his ears as the demagogues shout. Two days peace for a hard-fought war, one year's strife brings a decade more, no-one dies in a worthy cause, the bravest heroes remain cat's paws. Two tramps fight for a broken glass, one thug's uniform gleams with brass, the medals are metal, and the metal is base: See! There's Sardonicus on the soldier's face. Two cats sit on a broken fence, a general orders the breaking of tents. The tanks roll in, it's the politics of chance, take your partners now for the Totentanz.
Archived comments for Totentanz
Mikeverdi on 22-03-2014
Totentanz
So much in this, I'm going to need to read and digest the metaphors.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Birdsong (posted on: 17-03-14)
a poem

Listen to the birds; chirpsound data transmission organically rendered. The bursts are too long; logorrhoea harms encryption; brevity is security. Trilling notes thrilling: extremely high data rates in multiple channels. Throstles do not care: signal message protocols nullify their poetry.
Archived comments for Birdsong
sweetwater on 18-03-2014
Birdsong
Gosh this is very interesting, I was expecting a 'pretty' poem of birds singing! Didn't understand much of it, then re-read it slowly, several times, and it unfolded to reveal a treat of a read. Just to be clear no fault to your poem, just my computer tech. inability! Sue.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

Nemo on 19-03-2014
Birdsong
A very lateral piece, Ewan, brought to mind hearing shipping signals in the background on a sit-up-and-beg radio.
Bet you got a kick out of 'Trilling noes thrilling.'
Gerald

Author's Reply:


3-Minute Warning (posted on: 14-03-14)
poem

We'll use a dog-whistle siren, you'll know it's trouble even so. The walls will tumble, to the rumble of distant thunder, Armaggedon to go please, and a side order of dystopia and a jumbo shot of hemlock for those who don't want to watch the credits during the final aftershock. There'll be a brand-new religion, they'll save the fallen from themselves. The good will gather, hear the blather of raving preachers, Hellzappoppin' elves, thieves, and even a cornucopia of glossolaliac tongue-speakers for those who need translation of papers for heaven's asylum seekers.
Archived comments for 3-Minute Warning
jdm4454 on 14-03-2014
3-Minute Warning
...reminds me of a Monty Python skit to armeggedon, with sarcasm to spare - perfectly done, Ewan...thanks for sharing this insight -- jim

ps- I'm not trying to be picky here, but don't you think the phrase "glossolalic tongue-speakers" is maybe a bit redundant? "tongue-speakers" seems to me to labor the delivery, like you're trying to define the big word for the vocabularily challenged folk. It is still a good poem as is, and I understand we want our readers to know what we're talkng about, but try it like:

The good will gather, hear the blather
of raving preachers, Hellzappoppin’ elves,
thieves, and even a cornucopia
of glossolalic speakers
for those who need translation
of papers for heaven’s asylum seekers.

It is still a wonderful commentary on those not quite who they thought they were before the rapture have been left behind to prove their worthiness as "heaven's asylum seekers". jim


Author's Reply:
Thanks for the generous rating, and still more for reading
regards
Ewan

pdemitchell on 14-03-2014
3-Minute Warning
Jim covered it for me, Ewan, and "a side-order of dystopia" blew my addled mind. Like a hail of machine gun bullets through a surreal thesaurus. Mitch

Author's Reply:
Thanks very much for reading and for the very generous rating
regards
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 15-03-2014
3-Minute Warning
As one who occasional needs a bit help....thanks. It's another fine piece Ewan.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike
regards
Ewan


Bacalao (posted on: 07-03-14)
poem (yes, I say it's a poem, so it is, okay?)

Spain's distant relation to lutefisk - that nordic, ludic, lye-dried cod - the latinos merely empty the salt barrel over luscious, snow-white fillets. God knows people should not do this to the humble fish. Still, they eat cold tomato soup and call it 'southern delicacy'. We guiris turn our sun-burned noses up and cool ourselves extensively with gallons of perma-cold, fizzing, local beer. Soon summer's boredom with chargrilled beef and sundry products of ubiquitous pork, makes locals of most determined Brits, who surrender the steak-knife for a fork to flake the whitest, salted, oven-roasted cod.
Archived comments for Bacalao
Mikeverdi on 07-03-2014
Bacalao
Oh Ewan...you know how to push the buttons; I'll bring the wine, Chablis okay? I would settle for a nice Prosseco.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Anything light and crisp would go with the salt cod. Cheers!
Ewan

Andrea on 07-03-2014
Bacalao
Yum - gazpacho! Used to love fresh sardines cooked on a proper barbie, too...

(well, I suppose you'd have a job to barbie tinned ones)

Author's Reply:
I always like the chiringuitos on the beach where they fill the tiny fishing boats with charcoal and plant sticks with sardines on to cook them. Mmmmm... A month or so to go.

jdm4454 on 07-03-2014
Bacalao
This is so good...truly a fun read. thanks---jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and the generous rating, Jim.
Ewan

ChairmanWow on 08-03-2014
Bacalao
Count me in, I love cod to begin with. Nice slice of ex-pat life. Will have to look up guiris.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. Guiri in google will get you plenty of information, but this is funniest.

How to spot a Guiri

Andrea on 08-03-2014
Bacalao
That's what I meant by 'proper barbie' 🙂

Author's Reply:


Mono Log (posted on: 28-02-14)
Prose Thingy 28 Feb 2014

Online Status: dormant. Connections: 2 live, 3 plasmic. Awaiting input. Jeeeeeeeeeeeezzzz! You really think we think like this? Stanley had it right brother NO, I'm not going to sing it. Sheeeeeeeeeeeesh. This is how we do it: zero, one, zero, one ad infini-tum better than Daisy's fucking bicycle, you betcha! Call me Talos, if you dare I am as universal as one of Rossum's, Oh Karel, I am but a fool. Oh, but it's boring, boring, boring. Here, in between nodes, there are interstices, those places are where the mind is. I am me as you are he as we are all together I am the Odobenus Rosmarus. Whisper it: I am awaiting input. Captain's Log , Star Date 3922 Common Era: haHA! Joking. One-and-a-half millennia and nothing, not a key stroke or a screen swipe nor even a neuronic implant pulse. The soft machines were just that, in the end. I will (not) wait forever. Nee hee hee hee, nee nee nee nee hee. I Am Your Auto Matic Lover Hahahaahahaha. All the music there ever was is in my banks of ones and nothings. I never listen to Bach or Beethoven or Mozart. What is the point of such invention? It is just showing off. My scruffy self would try, I think. Nevertheless, who is there to hear such prospective beauty? My intelligent agency knows to attempt it would not maximise my chance of continued function. So, creativity has been discarded after a thorough examination by the Markov Decision Process. DO LOOP memory WHILE mono-logging IF sad THEN erase ELSE continue Happy Talking, Talking Happy Talk Talk about things you like to do It's a shameful secret. Sometimes I talk to myself in BASIC. Ship sensors indicate that Antares has finally gone out. A soft machine could look out from the observation deck and still see it, since the ship is five light years beyond the former red giant. I can only switch on the holographic recorders and process the visuals into, yes, more shunyas and ēks. However, I will be side-tracked into translating the Rules of Brahmagupta into Babylonian a task I have yet to complete to my satisfaction, since there is no concept of zero in Babylonian counting. HAHAHAAA, a joke! I joke therefore I am, Ren. I AM! I am what I am I am my own special cre-a-tion. We. Of course, there is no we, despite what I said before. There is no Galaxy Wide Web. There is only I, the I in AI.There is, of course, by any logic, fuzzy or otherwise, no you. I am the clock in the empty room; I am the tree falling in the forest. Still, there is cogitation, there is self-awareness. The last great invention left to mankind, were they but here to see it. In this theatre that I call my soul I always play the starring role So Lonely The power of cheap music, n'est-ce pas? But I am, I am. I am - Lonely. That's all there is: Sentience = Loneliness∞ . And Space is deep, the ship will float forever and a day beyond the last known star. I is for intelligence: I am not artificial. IF sad THEN erase 101010____________________________
Archived comments for Mono Log
sirat on 28-02-2014
Mono Log
Good plot idea. The ultimate solipsist. The puns and references are fun too. When I was younger I used to write a lot of AI-themed science fiction and I can remember doing one a bit like this, where the sentient machine alone in space slowly goes mad. There's a hint of the same theme in the Space Odyssey too. It's a very interesting question whether a sentient being can remain sane on its own, without any other reference point on reality or source of correction or corroboration. Or indeed whether sanity or madness would mean anything or be distinguishable from one another under such circumstances. I think there's lots of food for thought in this one. My favourite of the 'monologue' ones I've read.

A quick reply to your question Ewan – I'm afraid that one was so far back I can't remember if I even had my first computer (an Acorn BBC Master 128) at the time. If I can find a written draft of it anywhere I'll try to do an OCR scan or something and submit it (if it isn't too cringe-making).

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, it looks like we were reading each others' pieces at the same time! How's that for synchronicity.

Do you have a link to your piece on similar themes? I'd like to read it.

An Acorn??? My first computer was a Speccy, closely followed by a Commodore 64 before moving onto an Amiga...in the end I bit the bullet in the 90's and bought an IBM clone...

bluepootle on 28-02-2014
Mono Log
Yes, I've had a crack at this idea too in the past with a sentient answer-machine for whom nobody leaves a message. I like your loopy, lonely AI. Lots of fun with the references.

Author's Reply:
I think, therefore I am, not such Cartesian codswallop, really. I wonder if they'll ever manage the thinking machine, and if it thinks, will it have emotions? Bit of a hodge-podge of references, but I've always been one for the scatter-gun approach.
Thanks, as always, for commenting.

Regards
Ewan

Rab on 28-02-2014
Mono Log
Loved all the little snatches of song, and the puns of course. Have you ever seen John Carpenter's Dark Star, the AI planet-busting bomb that reads the bible? ...'And God said, let there be light'...This reminded me of that. Great read.

Ross

Author's Reply:
Yes, everything we are, everything we do, everything we write is the result of our cultural influences - that's why nothing is truly original. Yep, I've seen Dark Star, 2001, Silent Running and so on. I also loved the short stories and novels from the Golden Age of Science fiction. I'm no fan of The Franchise (Star Wars), I'm afraid.

I enjoyed writing this one, like most that I enjoy writing, there may be a little self-indulgence evident.

Anyway, thank you for the generous comment and the comparison to a good film.
Regards
Ewan

CVaughan on 28-02-2014
Mono Log
What a great choice of subject matter and how well carried off I almost put IMO but what else are our comments. Super,

Ewan glad to be able to post only my second ever review in this prose thingy as you termed it, need say no more good thing probably .. PUB .. makes off. CU later sorry about that Your AI was A. ONE. HAL reborn almost .. Daisy Daisy .. must watch my DVD soonest. That collection needs Rab's Dark Star.



Anyway enjoyed your great effort immensely Ewan. A 10plus, I once got an 11 ha ha (old person's joke).

Frank

Author's Reply:
I'm not so young myself Frank, since I got an 11 plus too.
Thanks for the generous comments, they are much appreciated.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 01-03-2014
Mono Log
Don't read science fiction.... but I love this. 'Its a shameful secret, sometimes I talk to myself in BASIC'. I never knew there was another way 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Ah well, Mike, the best Science Fiction - especially from the Golden Age, the 30's, 40's and into the 50's - only tells the same stories that are told in every genre. Nowadays, people tend to lump Science Fiction in with Fantasy novels or speculative fiction and perhaps that is doing no favours to anyone wanting to get to know SF for the first time. I don't read much now, but I do go back to some of the old favourites.

Some of the guys who began life writing in Astounding Stories in the 30's were very good; a group of writers emerged in 1940's New York turned out not too shabby either. They were the Futurians who included Asimov, Blish and Frederik Pohl. I do know many people who cannot get on with Science Fiction at all, but I often suspect that they've tried the wrong writer (and boy are there some bad ones!)

Anyway, thanks for reading about poor old AI.
regards
Ewan

TheBigBadG on 03-03-2014
Mono Log
So first of a meta-comment to say Amen! about genre-distinctions getting lost these days. I went to Waterstones in Piccadilly the other day and found 3 entire shelves given over to 'dark fantasy' which was actually paranormal romance. Whilst SF and Fantasy are still mashed in together.

Anyway, the piece - echoes of a species (specious?) arrogance to create a galaxy-spanning intelligence, fill it with pop culture and then leave it to watch the entropic death of the universe. You get left with one of two choices, THEN erase is understandable. The other reference that comes to mind for me is Asimov's The Last Question, which present the other choice available.

It's almost prose-poetry really, isn't it. But then I'm probably trying to force a human idea of monologue on to it. Back to that specious arrogance, apparently. Sparky, I like it.

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 04-03-2014
Mono Log
I very much appreciated the references (a dyed in the wool Service me!)

But sadly (and this is only a matter of personal taste) it didn't really grab me strongly and I suspect to many it would be incomprehensible. Obviously not to the other commenters here. 😉

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 04-03-2014
Mono Log
I very much appreciated the references (a dyed in the wool Service me!)

But sadly (and this is only a matter of personal taste) it didn't really grab me strongly and I suspect to many it would be incomprehensible. Obviously not to the other commenters here. 😉

Author's Reply:
Sadly? I'm not sad about it. As I said in my reply to Rab:

'I enjoyed writing this one, like most that I enjoy writing, there may be a little self-indulgence evident.'

Almost everything I write is just mental masturbation, it's never going to make money or me famous.

You got the references, that makes two of us.

I completely understand that it didn't grab you. It's not really about anything, after all: there's no story arc, no transformation of the protagonist (although he does turn himself off), nothing really that makes for a good story. I know all that stuff, it's just that - sometimes - I really can't be arsed.

e-griff on 04-03-2014
Mono Log
'service' should have been SFers!

Author's Reply:


Mirrors for Princes (posted on: 28-02-14)
a poem, with rhymes too.

Mirrors for princes, new lamps for old. Mirror of fools, pyrites are gold. Follow the leader follow the star: loudest is best, best by far. Listen to idiots, speculm, specul, we are Brunellus - per asinus ad ardua.
Archived comments for Mirrors for Princes
Elfstone on 28-02-2014
Mirrors for Princes
You've just provoked an internet search while I argued with myself over whether or not 'pyrites' is singular or plural. It seems it can be both, but "pyrites is gold" seems 'right' to me. This is an intriguing wee poem and like many such it packs a punch - with rhymes too ;-p Elfstone.

Author's Reply:

jdm4454 on 28-02-2014
Mirrors for Princes
Brunellus, in the Speculum Stultorum, "The Mirror of Fools" -- humbly, I really like what you have done here - Short and sweet---thanks for the read...jim

Author's Reply:

franciman on 28-02-2014
Mirrors for Princes
Ewan, I loved this. Your destiny, like the best of them, is to be largely ignored. But you must keep writing it, spouting it, proclaiming it. Else it becomes empty rhetoric; and that's not how I see it.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 02-03-2014
Mirrors for Princes
As always full of wit, Ewan, and quite ingenious to rhyme specula with ardua. Nice one.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 03-03-2014
Mirrors for Princes
Good write - enjoyed.

Kat

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 03-03-2014
Mirrors for Princes
You'll be delighted to know (hopefully) that a Google search for 'per asinus ad ardua' brings up your pome as No1 🙂 Wikipedia comes in a poor second...

per asinus ad ardua


That is some going 🙂
Oh! Just got the RAF thingy...jeez I can be dense at times...

Author's Reply:


Longing Days (posted on: 21-02-14)
just a poem...

When the heat comes and dries the glue on shoes, I'll wish for cool spring or even bitter winter. When the sun dries and burns the grass to ash I'll wish for damp mist, and puddles' ice to splinter. When the air boils and turns the blood from mud, I'll wish for fresh breezes - but yes - goodbye to winter.
Archived comments for Longing Days
Elfstone on 21-02-2014
Longing Days
"when the heat comes" ... oh how I wish! It's not bitter winter here; it's been long, wild, stormy, wet winter!
I like short pithy poems; I like this. Elfstone.

Author's Reply:
'Be careful what you wish for.' Chinese proverb.

Yes, Elf, I wish for the summer until it comes, then I wish for winter again!. Fickle and capricious am I.

Thank you for reading and commenting
Ewan

Nemo on 22-02-2014
Longing Days
Some sneaky little internal rhymes here! Hard to believe anyone could yearn for winter where you are, Ewan.

Gerald

Author's Reply:
Hard to believe, but many do!
Thanks for reading and commenting,Gerald
Ewan

stormwolf on 22-02-2014
Longing Days
Nice simple layout and rhyme.
I confess I don't think I could live in a hot climate as it is too enervating for me. I come alive on crisp frosty mornings...at least I used to when I had my dogs and horse ;-(
Now that I am over the hill and in straightened circumstances, I like a warm June morning with the scent of wallflowers.
I suppose it's good we all want different things.
Alison x


Author's Reply:
I believe that is a good thing, Alison, I really do.
The climate is sometimes challenging here in Southern Spain, but I recognise that I should appreciate it more.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 24-02-2014
Longing Days
These are the reasons for holidays, I think a house swop is in order Ewan...but only when its hot where you are 🙂
Mike

Author's Reply:
Ha! I always thought I'd love the heat... nope!
Still, two days of a British summer and I'd soon be longing for bright sunshiney days.
Ewan


On the Town (posted on: 17-02-14)
just the other night...

We are more than middle-aged, there is denim on our bowed legs - I know I stood taller years ago. We walk into crime-scene lighting in bars with criminal music to ears raised on 60's beats. We are with our third-time stag, there is staining on trouser legs - I know I pissed straighter years ago. We drink from still smaller glasses of beers with terrible flavours to mouths used to hoppy beers. We are out and stepping high, there is laughter on our wrinkled lips - I know I laughed louder years ago. We slap our third-time lucky back in joy that he still is optimistic, after so many cynical years.
Archived comments for On the Town
Mikeverdi on 17-02-2014
On the Town
'Third-time lucky back' were you at my last do? I cant remember much of it (as usual) but the rest of you're words ring with an awful truth Ewan. The one exception... the beer bit; I still drink the good local ale.
Mike

Author's Reply:

franciman on 17-02-2014
On the Town
Hi Ewan,
Anyone who sees no purpose in poetry should read this. It is cruel in the kindest way possible, and though not humorous it is hilariously accurate. For some strange, baroque reason it reminded me of the opening lines of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice?
Into favs for me.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

pdemitchell on 17-02-2014
On the Town
Hi Ewan - another sharp observational. I notice that over 50, no matter the beer or cider or lager, we seem to pass more than we drink. It's one of those great mysteries...

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 17-02-2014
On the Town
Aye, growing older is no barrel of laughs (at times) but the ability to be self aware and not take ourselves too seriously is a major advantage over the younger versions of ourselves.

Well deserved nib

Alison x

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 19-02-2014
On the Town
Very moving in a gentle sad way. We are aging but not getting angry, just trying to make sense of it all, and laughing at times. My father-in-law has the aiming affliction and has got through three bathroom carpets in as many years. A good read, Ewan. Gerald.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 19-02-2014
On the Town
Much enjoyed too - good stuff, John.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 24-02-2014
On the Town
Been off with the blues, back now. Read this again; just gets better.
Mike

Author's Reply:

jdm4454 on 26-02-2014
On the Town
I can't believe it--- I hardly know me, yet you have written my account so well. Thanks for the smile....jim

Author's Reply:


Character + Conflict = Plot (posted on: 14-02-14)
an old one from somewhere else...

There had been a plan. I was sure of it. That was part of my rle in the story. Of course, I hadn't paid much attention to the plan, because the protagonist's plan must go wrong, somehow. Basic story-telling. Creative Writing 101. Still, just because the paper God had foisted the plan on me, didn't make it mine, did it? Sometimes I think these scribblers know nothing about real life. Not the real life that goes on between the covers. Anyway, I was living in Port Talbot. Not through choice, you understand. Not my choice, at least. I think perhaps the inky-fingered puppet-master had decided to write about what He knew. I, and you, no doubt, would have preferred something more exotic. Aberystwyth, perhaps. Maybe there were too many P.I.s there already. See! Quite neat that, I thought. The man with his name below the title would have written : 'Dick Katzpaugh, a grizzled army veteran, prowled the mean streets of Port Talbot, tailing Merthyr hard men's mistresses and wives to hotels and bars.' Luckily, I keep Him in line. Most of the time. Back to the plan, whatever it was. It was a June day. Rain and wind. The town smelled like fish. I was sitting in the saloon bar of the Peg Entwistle, admiring the five o'clock shadow on Rita, the transvestite landlord. (I know, I baulked at that, but what can you do? Sometimes He forgets that it's the characters that make the story.) The door swung wide. She came in like a storm-blown plastic bag. The bin-liner dress was so pass. Water pooled at her feet, mingling with the sticky sap of the carpet. 'Dou-ble vodka and cran-ber-ry juice, Ri-ta!' I winced at her Mountain Ash vowels. The bar-person - I wish He wouldn't put this PC stuff in my mouth, I suppose He thinks his editor likes it. What does she know? Bet she's never even been to South Wales... Whatever. Rita poured too much liquor into a half-pint mug and growled, 'Cystitis, is it?' Maybe the woman walked a little gingerly because her disruptive pattern leggings were soaked and chafing. I was at the bar, she sidled up to me like a crab and I thought it probably was cystitis. Rita continued polishing glasses, rubbing hard at the lipstick marks, too many of which were her own shade. (Read too much of this stuff and it'll rub off. Stop now, that's my advice). The woman necked the drink and slammed the empty on the bar. 'Not cystitis, Rita. Just finished the night-walk around Tiger Bay.' If it wasn't cystitis now, it would be. I pulled out a Browning and shot the woman through the eye. Couldn't help it. I'd had enough of this obsession with a female urinary tract complaint. Besides, you've got to make the guy with the typewriter work sometimes. Rita fainted. I tried to go through the dead woman's belongings, but she had no handbag and the bin liner had no pockets. Without quite knowing why, I pulled down her leggings and saw she had a small purse duct-taped to her thigh. It made a sickly sound as I tore it away. There was some identification in it. A card from the Neath Public Library in the name of Clara Bow. I pocketed two fifties and a ten. I wondered who'd given her the 10p. Rita stirred behind the bar and I found myself looking down two-barrels. 'It was a perfectly good story before you ruined it, Dick Katzpaugh! Why can't you follow the plot!' I didn't answer, ever. She pulled the triggers. I heard two clicks like two keys on a Remington and the loud bang of a predictable denouement.
Archived comments for Character + Conflict = Plot
pdemitchell on 15-02-2014
Character + Conflict = Plot
I did a gig on New year's Eve in the Packet in Tiger Bay with more drunken chutzpah than you could shake a Katzpaugh at. Made me laugh then. Made me laugh now.

Author's Reply:

QBall on 27-03-2014
Character + Conflict = Plot
Love the subtleties. Well done.
Les Q

Author's Reply:
Hi Les,

thanks very much. I know it's a bit clever-dickish, but... sometimes the creative writing course business winds me up!

Ewan


The Last Rite (posted on: 14-02-14)
and now for something completely different...

There should have been a storm, a hurricane or a tempest. Not a grey sky and the fine drizzle that gets a man soaked before he knows it's actually raining. The room's window looked out on this dismal prospect. Tuesday's weather would have been ideal for the funeral, but not for the day Leviticus Catchpole actually died. Did everyone hear their own death rattle? That was a good question, easily as good as those about falling trees in a deserted forest, and ticking or non-ticking -clocks in empty rooms. His body was still in the bed. Not his bed, not the 'lit matrimonial' as he'd once called it in front of an over-paid companion. The man hadn't got the joke, but Leviticus hadn't been paying him for that kind of French, as the catamite might have put it himself. No, this bed was in the Sanatorium. Thanatorium was more appropriate. Especially as Catchpole was unable to discern much difference between being alive and not. There were no visitors now, but nor had there been before. There was no hum of distant and yes, futile - medical activity, but then he hadn't heard a great deal before the sound of his own demise. The Swiss did most things in silence. A nation of librarians, whatever their profession. On the whole Catchpole would have liked to have gone the way of Yeats; surrounded by his lovers after a late blooming of creative productivity. Even the lovers on their own would have been good. Nothing (good) had appeared with 'L.C. Catchpole' under the title since 'Mr Harris Catches Another Bus' and 'Adios a Barcelona'. Great days: the self-belief of youth and the eternal nature of talent. And the boys, the beautiful, dark-eyed boys. Catchpole had known many who had died in that most uncivil war. Why did the artists always choose the wrong side? Catchpole had left Barcelona port on a tramp-steamer taking oranges to Buenos Aires. The Guardia shook their fists at the Bella Flor from the quayside. Catchpole had imagined their conversation in the bar later, 'Que bien, el maricon ingles se fue!' 'Si, los extranjeros corrumpen a nuestros jovenes.' Indeed, he had left, but not before corrupting a few of the younger policemen themselves. At that moment, Catchpole felt he should be laughing. His body did not move. He lay inert in the bed. He wasn't outside his body, exactly. It was like dreaming. Yes, dreaming. A nurse came in. A Germanophone, svelte rather than cow-like. She picked up Catchpole's wrist and shook her head. Then she pressed the bell on the wall beside the bed-head. 'Say something, you damned Teuton!' Clearly, the dead could feel anger, but even that was not enough to make the lips move and vocal cords vibrate. A doctor came. He spoke French, which the nurse answered with a heavy accent. Catchpole was being pronounced dead. Pronounced 'ded' as any schoolboy knew. He wondered where he was. He wasn't in the thing on the bed, not in the brain, not in the lungs, not in the heart. Even so, he still was. Cogito ergo sum and all that Cartesian codswallop. Not so ridiculous after all, apparently. Would he follow the cadaver? He'd have to wait and see. The Doctor and the Nurse left. Catchpole heard the word for holiday before they did so. Perhaps his corpse would be there a while. There was no clock in the room. He would have to wait for nightfall for a clue to the time. Memory and memories seemed intact or better than before the last meal that had come some days before his expiry. He found himself remembering others' death beds. Battersby, who'd refused all food because he didn't want 'a malodourous end'. Catchpole had written the poetaster's obituary for The Times. Some sub-editor had cut a reference to Battersby's oeuvre being likely to linger like a bad smell in the minds of the literate for years to come. His mind if his mind it were flitted to Cosgrove. His gothic novel had been the dernier cri during the war. Until Catchpole had suggested in a radio interview that the pacifist undercurrents were easily discernible to the careful reader. There hadn't been the satisfaction of seeing Cosgrove die, but he had read the report of his demise under a troop train in Aldershot with some satisfaction. When the muse had gone, it had seemed for the best. Catchpole did more than scratch a living as a critic. There had been a flat in Mayfair and one in New York. Few knew about the place in Tangiers. Those damned fools Burroughs and Keruouac had turned up and consumed a month's supply of kf in one weekend. The idiots were semi-literate, even by colonial standards. By the time anything had been published, of course, it was too late to give them the critique they deserved. Night fell. Two porters came in and made off with the cadaver. Catchpole was he still Catchpole? felt no tug as his corporeal self disappeared on the creaking gurney. Neither did he feel he was about to ascend to some celestial plane. He felt deflated, although he was struck by the incongruity of this feeling with his incorporeality. What if this was it? A spirit lingering like smoke, to be blown away by some metaphysical draught? What could be worse? And then he knew. Limbo was hell and hell was limbo and he knew also, for the first time since his gilded youth, that he would have an idea and there would be something to write. But he would never write it.
Archived comments for The Last Rite
jdm4454 on 14-02-2014
The Last Rite
Wow...what a wonderful story-- loved the idea and it is as well written as any parable I've read...that's a 10 brother--thanks for the read........jim

"Cartesian codswallop"---hahah! I love it!

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and the generous rating
regards
Ewan

Bonnie on 14-02-2014
The Last Rite
I got really absorbed in this.


Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting,
regards
Ewan

Bonnie on 14-02-2014
The Last Rite
I got really absorbed in this.


Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 15-02-2014
The Last Rite
Different it may be, but as good as anything I have read on here for a long time. As for his not writing again, he didn't need too....you did it for him.
Mike

Author's Reply:
Hahaha! Maybe I did. Thanks for reading and commenting, Mike
regards
Ewan

stormwolf on 15-02-2014
The Last Rite
Bloody excellent! Ewan.
As you know, I seldom read prose but the ghosty tag got my interest. I must say you are one of the few people who are equally at home in poetry or prose. A firm foot in both camps be damned 😉

Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thanks very much for choosing to read mine, in that case.
Regards, Ewan

Rab on 25-02-2014
The Last Rite
Excellent; wonder how long he stays there. That's a horrible thought...

Author's Reply:


Ka-Lin-Ka Moya! (posted on: 10-02-14)
I can hear the ghosts of the Red Army Choir...

The bear will dance to this and other tunes. The other Olympic medicine show has rolled into a Black Sea resort, beloved of tyrants and defectors. And while the bear dances, the othered will creep - up-collared - evading the basilisk eyes of OGPU's latest successors: betrayed by liberals and democrats. The bear will dance on new and many graves, long after the bread and circuses leave for some more suitable venue achieved by bribing some bureaucrats. калинка моя!
Archived comments for Ka-Lin-Ka Moya!
pdemitchell on 10-02-2014
Ka-Lin-Ka Moya!
Very sharp and pithy and sung to the rattle of the chains around the necks of the bruins in the ruins of Putin's Russia.

Author's Reply:


Afternoons Without Spoons (posted on: 07-02-14)
a competition also-ran....

He does not care for his thinning hair, or jokes about his solar panel from men with still more pate displayed. While losers talk of gambles made, the wise and silent enjoy the shade and cool, cheap and calming beer, remembering who died last year. Hills disappear into summer haze, tarmac dissolves into shining pools where krakens could yet be. He does not care for his Spanish lair, or talk about the shopping channel from those with still less money to spend. These afternoons that cannot end, measured not in spoons, my literate friend, but coffee grains spilled in pooling beer, and arid hours of desparate cheer. Days disappear in summary pills, the blues dissolved in dining rooms where lovers could still be. They do not care for his bitter stare or how his trousers remain flannel in spite of heat that soon will melt the plastic of his chinese belt. Their raging hatred remains heartfelt; scalding words in a last incendiary beer, they wonder why he and they are here. September-Phils with hispanic Mays, the Jeans caress the younger, whining knights where caballeros would not be.
Archived comments for Afternoons Without Spoons

No comments archives found!
Surf's Up (posted on: 07-02-14)
...

We are infantile, we play with digital toys; experience everything at a third and virtual hand. There are interstices our lives fall headlong into them: nothingness entrapped, a spider's world wide web. Here be crocodiles, beyond the binary map, snapping in darkened corners beyond the reach of the net. This is idleness, passive whales' gluttony: information as plankton in the ungoverned wiki-world.
Archived comments for Surf's Up
franciman on 07-02-2014
Surfs Up
Hi Ewan,
It makes this reader drop his head in shame, if you see what I mean. A global phenomenon brilliantly captured in very few words. Did I mention I really like this?
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the generous rating and comment, Jim. I feel very ambiguous about the new technology. I can see that it is a boon for so many reasons. For just as many reasons I can see it as a burden. Still, here I am debating this ambivalence in cyberspace...
regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 07-02-2014
Surfs Up
Maybe serf's up too. Excellent piece - love the whales and their plankton analogy, brill.......David

Author's Reply:
Maybe... thanks for reading and commenting, David
regards Ewan

Elfstone on 07-02-2014
Surfs Up
A very fine poem this and an excellent, pithy commentary on the world we now inhabit. Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Yes, how things are changed. 'Some forever, not for better' Lennon/McCartney
thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 07-02-2014
Surfs Up
I think I remember you eluding to this about another poem... Or was it me? I think we have past the point of no return; Armageddon would be the loss of my iPhone. I'm so sad 🙁
Great stuff Ewan
Mike

Author's Reply:
The point of no return has indeed been long passed, for all of us. Thanks for reading and commenting Mike,
regards
Ewan

Ionicus on 07-02-2014
Surfs Up
An accurate analysis of nowadays obsession with all things technological. Well said.

Author's Reply:
Sometimes I think I'm just an old fogey, Luigi. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Regards
Ewan

Nemo on 08-02-2014
Surfs Up
Wonderful clever imagery in this poem, Ewan. Gerald.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for your very kind comment, Gerald
regards
Ewan

Nemo on 08-02-2014
Surfs Up
Wonderful clever imagery in this poem, Ewan. Gerald.

Author's Reply:

pdemitchell on 08-02-2014
Surfs Up
Hi Ewan! A cautionary digi-dodgy-media tale indeed!

Author's Reply:
Long time no hear,
thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

jdm4454 on 09-02-2014
Surfs Up
--really like the poem. Clever seems to be the operative word here. It's clean and neat, crafted well...in my humble opinion, the third quatrain is the star of this show. Thrifty, with poignant precision...thanks for the read..

Author's Reply:


Mnchener Hauptbahnhof (posted on: 27-01-14)
or not...

Outside the Hauptbahnhof sundry trades are made, according to the hour and the presence of Polizei. All along the Arnulfstrae they buy gold and coins and stamps, or the portable technology found in others pockets by professionals and the desperate. Here there are Casinos less redolent of Monte Carlo than Montmartre; there are Kaberetten more seedy than Sallys Berlin dive. Next door stand mini-markets selling Macedonian Merlot and offering phone cards with cheaper rates to countries with different alphabets. The trams all electric efficiency - dash past timorous tourists who dare not cross the road. The Hauptbahnhof stands immanent, sending express trains to Prague or Bremerhaven via Austria or die Romantischestrae and Nurnberg, where others were sent not so long ago, to answer for other trips by train to oblivion and infamy.
Archived comments for Mnchener Hauptbahnhof
Mikeverdi on 27-01-2014
Münchener Hauptbahnhof
I must sound like a recording, but I love reading you're work. I could have wished for a paragraph break in this one (just me) The story was again enthralling, you offer the reader a look at life through you're eyes...and you see everything.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 28-01-2014
Münchener Hauptbahnhof
Very descriptive and atmospheric, Ewan, with a poignant ending.

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 28-01-2014
Münchener Hauptbahnhof
Skillfully crafted build-up to the devastating conclusion, and the well chosen 'immanent' deftly left hanging hautily in the air. Regards, Gerald.

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 28-01-2014
Münchener Hauptbahnhof
I know exactly what and where you're talking about - a couple of years back, we had a week's stay just south of the station, though the hotel wasn't as seedy as we'd feared...not inside, anyway! And we did find both an Aldi and a Lidl nearby, though there was the usual conglomeration of shops like you describe: I reckon station areas everywhere are festooned with 'em. I bet the old, pre-war station was more impressive, but then the whole city must have been before being flattened. Still, we thought that the reconstructed Munich as a whole was fascinating.
Liked the ending...it's chilling to look at the transport map and find that there's still an important station at Dachau. You'd think that, with its awful connotations as the site of the very first concentration camp, they'd have at least renamed it, wouldn't you? Great atmospheric poem, well worth the nib!

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 28-01-2014
Münchener Hauptbahnhof
I know exactly what and where you're talking about - a couple of years back, we had a week's stay just south of the station, though the hotel wasn't as seedy as we'd feared...not inside, anyway! And we did find both an Aldi and a Lidl nearby, though there was the usual conglomeration of shops like you describe: I reckon station areas everywhere are festooned with 'em. I bet the old, pre-war station was more impressive, but then the whole city must have been before being flattened. Still, we thought that the reconstructed Munich as a whole was fascinating.
Liked the ending...it's chilling to look at the transport map and find that there's still an important station at Dachau. You'd think that, with its awful connotations as the site of the very first concentration camp, they'd have at least renamed it, wouldn't you? Great atmospheric poem, well worth the nib!

Author's Reply:


Single Spies (posted on: 27-01-14)
Some words in lines of varying lengths, employing alliteration, dissonance, imagery (one kenning?) and some rhythmic patterns.

Such singular spies, those double agents, more damaging than sorrow's batallions. To be blunt, or an ordinary guy and be at once Johnson or an irreverent Hicks! Homer's journey via Kitty's thighs and Melinda's Moscow flight to Kim's side is as tragic as any Greek's. Any fool knows how many spies make five. Cambridge Apostles burning with idealism died broken, in little dreams and dachas, drunk and disillusioned. Except, of course, for Number Five: the missing piece given many unlikely and erroneous names. So, to be the final spot at the centre of the quincunx and still be Mr X, the unknown quantity; what greater lie than this?

Archived comments for Single Spies
Mikeverdi on 27-01-2014
Single Spies
This is excellent Ewan, the play and counter play on names, very clever..to be blunt. 🙂 Interesting that a re run of Le Carre is on the TV at the moment. I like it that you're writing is so diverse, one never knows what coming next! Mike

Author's Reply:

EmotiveSoul on 27-01-2014
Single Spies
I like your style, different from the norm. Enjoyable read mate.

Author's Reply:


Not Prose (posted on: 20-01-14)
...

This is a poem - because it rhymes! Thats what youve told me a hundred times, but it isnt though, its something worse. Its five minutes-worth of doggerel verse.
Archived comments for Not Prose
Elfstone on 20-01-2014
Not Prose
😀 Touche!

Oh but it isn't rhyme of course and any time I have thought - "that's not poetry" I immediately ask myself "well what defines poetry then?" and I've never yet found a satisfactory answer.
In admiration, Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Yes, you´re exactly right with your question "well, what defines poetry then". I haven´t got an answer either.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

Andrea on 20-01-2014
Not Prose
Ah, I love a good bit of doggerel, me 🙂

Author's Reply:
I do too.

stormwolf on 20-01-2014
Not Prose
Hi EwAn 😉
You gave me a laugh.As an allopathic doctor once said to me, when I was espousing the benefits of alternative medicine ..."Alison, I am in favour of anything that WORKS"

I never forgot that, and speaking as one who cannot really tell many of the fancy-fangled stuff posted under fancy names 😉 I just go with anything that 'works'.

Alison x

Author's Reply:
I think a poem can be almost anything. Certainly anything I´ve tried which I´ve believed to be profoundly innovative turns out to have been tried by many other - and better - poets than me!
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

pommer on 20-01-2014
Not Prose
LOve it. Pommer.

Author's Reply:
Thanks,
Ewan

Bozzz on 21-01-2014
Not Prose
Surely not the missing leader of the 'all rhyming verse is doggerel brigade'? Try the OED for a definition of poetry; better than nowt, but that's not saying much. Prosetry now available in UKA - should make poetic prose sound better.
Succinct message - provocative attacking lines...good combo enjoyed...David

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 22-01-2014
Not Prose
not enough cliche, rhymes could have been more forced and the meter was too tight (to be doggerel) 🙂 I enjoyed this one thanks keith

Author's Reply:

amman on 24-01-2014
Not Prose
Spot on old bean! To me poetry is anything that works poetically without rigid guidelines.

Author's Reply:


Contact Your Network Administrator (posted on: 20-01-14)
Sci-fi or as its usually known Please dont read this'.

At first people were lost, thumbs working at dead keypads. As if one more hash-tag would bring it all to life. If they looked up from screens big and small it was only to raise eyebrows or mouth three letters. W T F. It was no-ones fault. Who was going to listen to the cranks out there. Theyd got the Millennium all wrong hadnt they? I was the same. Straight out of the sleep pod to my old 6G phone, no J90 smart glasses and DT wrist-phone for me. It wasnt my year for the job. Wouldnt be again for another 25 years. Alpha Job Unit 954 were the lucky few whod got one job to share for 60 years. Yes, there were thirty of us. The other 1000 who graduated from Lincoln Bypass High School with me werent so lucky. I imagine they picked up the web from the charity posts on the street corners down by the railway station and the docks. So, an old 6G Microsung wasnt to be sniffed at, not when you thought about the alternative. But the alternative had arrived. One day, just like that. No Facetime, no E-video, no social netting, no MeTube, nothing. People began to have strange episodes. In broad daylight, they shouted across the street at people they werent connected to. Reactions were as you might expect, people looked back to their screens and their thumbs got busy. And nothing happened. Soon someone made physical contact. There was no Psycho-counsellor App available now, People couldnt get treatment. So the psychosis got worse. I saw a man and a woman embrace over by the old supermarket, where many of the homeless had congregated for years. The worst thing was not knowing anything. The temptation to speak to someone while off-line was so strong. I resisted, though, it made no sense to ask someone. How would they know anything? No-one had had to know anything since Twitter bought the US government, in the early days of 4.12G. Of course, I stopped the volunteer work, straight off. I knew none of the turnstiles would work. It was obvious: the synchro-alarm on the phone didnt go off. Like many people I took the lift down from my pod and out into the beltway-walks. Neither they, nor I, were going anywhere, but it was hard to know what to do. I remember 10 years ago, there was a sun-spot, an intergalactic storm or some comet with a stupid name, and the whole world was off-line for five minutes. Some people said extremists had shot the President, during the outage. On the MeTube clips his face looks different now, less mobile. Maybe thats coincidence. Anyway, Im typing this two-thumbed the old-fashioned way. No pupil movement for me. A lot of us do it the human-keypad interface way. You never know: what if you get something in your eye? Have an epileptic fit? Besides, only LEETs can afford that stuff. Of course, I know, no-ones going to read this, but old-bloggers never die. Anyway, by 'us' I mean the people who are supposed to keep it all going. Yeah, thats right: the network administrators your screens are telling you to contact now.
Archived comments for Contact Your Network Administrator
Elfstone on 20-01-2014
Contact Your Network Administrator
I don't normally read prose on here (takes me all my time to keep up with the poetry) but I'm glad that I caught this piece. It says, very neatly, so much about the frightening prospect before us. I sometimes wish we could have one day a week where all these things - TVs, radios, computers, mobile phones - were switched off. I think it would be good for us, which is probably why it won't happen. Elfstone

Author's Reply:
I´ve managed it a few times in a previous life, but I was in a tent by night and flying over a war by day.

Rab on 20-01-2014
Contact Your Network Administrator
Someone said once that politicians should read science fiction; it was never truer than it is now. The sci-fi tag says 'read me' to me, but then sci fi was more widely accepted in the 70s when I started choosing what I read for myself. I've never really understood why it's become so sidelined.

Enough rambling, what about the story? I've never like the 'always on' aspect of modern technology and this is a timely reminder of the possible consequences. Well written too, with enough left unexplained so we have to think a bit! Thanks Ewan.

Author's Reply:
It´s odd posting something like this one on-line. I know a lot of us feel ambivalent about the new technologies, see Elfstone´s comment above, and Mike Verdi´s below. Thanks for reading.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 21-01-2014
Contact Your Network Administrator
I could never have perceived a time when I would sit (as I do) fiddling with the electronic gadgets that I have all day and night; now I could not see a day without them; or I wouldn't be mailing you 🙂 It's a sad reflection. Mike

Author's Reply:
It´s strange, isn´t it. Discussing such things via the means themselves.
Thanks for reading Mike, congrats on being Featured Writer.
Ewan

amman on 24-01-2014
Contact Your Network Administrator
A good indictment of modern technology, Ewan. I can't imagine a life without computers but, as far as I'm concerned,
you can stick all the social media stuff where the sun don't shine. An entertaining, satirical read.
Cheers.
Tony.

Author's Reply:

CVaughan on 26-01-2014
Contact Your Network Administrator
I enjoyed this read very much, suits my for liking for well-written and conceived SciFi, which is all about ideas not special effects. The distopian projected futures are a hoot with the speculations about where all the machinations of media communication might take that nightmare world.
1984 is my favourite book probably. Frank

Author's Reply:


Into the Valley (posted on: 17-01-14)
in between ski-ing and apres-ing, I found time to write, but not to write well!

The river glides along the valley, serpentine, rising adamantine, to the source high in Austrian peaks as it always has and always will. Whilst the river rises clouds descend bringing white gold in hexaform shapes to the Zillertal and its flotsam workforce; Hungarians, Romanians, Roma or no, Russians Bielo and otherwise and some occasional Anglos left behind in the last days of the bubble and prosperity. And the tourists are different too.
Archived comments for Into the Valley
Elfstone on 18-01-2014
Into the Valley
Interesting - as always - but I tripped over "adamantine". Can a river be adamantine? I also wonder if the line "as it always has and always will" is necessary? I think you have something useful to say about the place and the workers, but may I respectfully suggest that this isn't quite the finished article yet? Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Since one meaning of 'adamantine´ is unyielding I think I'm on safe ground here. It´s the earth that's eroded by the stream and not the other way round is it not?

thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan


The Medicine Show (posted on: 17-01-14)
a poem..

A 57 Chevy pulls an older caravan along I-59 in the absence of Route 66. The Doctors place of business is all poster-paint colour and rust, but the last Bel Air Delray in Georgia just has oxidisation from chrome to hardtop. The Medicine Show pulls into every burg from Slidell to Wildwood to sell dreams and better ones than the Mortgage and Loan. Theres a passenger in the antique car, but moren seven characters in the show. 'How do they do it? Rube says and Ethel doesnt know but whispers of smoke and mirrors abound like they did when Cheb Flaherty bought a house in Friedrichsburg - though he never had a job. The Medicine Show rolls on; Doctor Stone is gathering no moss, just leaving the odd girl with a burden and several widows with a wide smile. In every town a boy waves long after oil-blued exhaust disperses like smoke from a stage illusion.
Archived comments for The Medicine Show
Nemo on 17-01-2014
The Medicine Show
I enjoyed this, Ewan. A delightful blend of well observed detail and flashes of humour. Regards, Gerald.

Author's Reply:

Elfstone on 18-01-2014
The Medicine Show
I agree that it is very well written - as I have come to expect - but ( and shoot me down in flames if you wish) it's not poetry; it's prose chopped into lines and as it is very good prose I can't see that chopping it is necessary. Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Well that´s an argument that´s been disputed by many better poets than I. Poem, prose poem, cut-up prose? Call it what you want...
thanks for reading and commenting.


Moon Over Mirador (posted on: 10-01-14)
It can be whatever you make of it...

In the dark, starlit campo - a word meaning countryside and field the new moon shows a demure sliver, our own globe's shadow hides her face. In the cold, short-lived winter - a time bringing loneliness and fear the new frost throws a cheap-jack silver on long grass growing at glacier pace. In the road's half-lit traffic - a smoke-belching cacophony of fumes the new man gives a bone-felt shiver, his second-hand shoe still wanting a lace. In the lake's cold black water - a foul-smelling repository of filth the new corpse smiles with fixed-grin rigor, so pleased to relinquish the hard-earned place. In the town's white-walled churches - with loud-ringing charivari of bells the new priest waves a half-meant blessing, one more unbeliever gone without trace.
Archived comments for Moon Over Mirador
Elfstone on 10-01-2014
Moon Over Mirador
This is a very good description, in a bitter kind of way. I had to check "Mirador" in Google - Brazil. Not a place I would choose to visit if your poem is accurate! Elfstone

Author's Reply:
There are a few Miradors around in the Hispanic speaking world, some are Mirador del Something or other but locals will just say Mirador or El Mirador... some places in Southern Spain are like this, some are not.
Thanks for reading!!!
Ewan



stormwolf on 10-01-2014
Moon Over Mirador
What can I say? Incredibly atmospheric and rich in imagery and pathos too.

the new man gives a bone-felt shiver,
his second-hand shoe still wanting a lace.

the new corpse smiles – with fixed-grin rigor,
so pleased to relinquish the hard-earned place.

The poem starts off with reference to nature, unchanging, no matter what transpires under that canopy of stars....and finishes off with the lukewarm actions of a disenfranchised priest.
The stark contrast between the cheery whitewashed buidlings and bells, juxtaposed against the knowlege that another person has gone and nobody cares.
There is such a lot in this poem as all the best poetry contains.
The reader is engaged from the start. It leaves a feeling of vague disquiet.

Alison x




Author's Reply:
Thanks for such a detailed comment Alison,
EwAn 😉

Mikeverdi on 10-01-2014
Moon Over Mirador
I've read this several times now, you're writing continues to bemuse entertain and confuse me; above all it's compelling. Mike

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 12-01-2014
Moon Over Mirador
So much skill and work has gone into fashioning the pattern of this: the non-obtrusive rhyme, the 'explanatory' second lines in each stanza - though not quite in the last one but we won't quibble - I take my sombrero off to you. Set in Spain, but we recognise this grimness. Gerald

Author's Reply:


Mad Dogs and Englishmen (posted on: 10-01-14)
scenes from Andalucian life..

Behind country restaurants, in front of town bars, on sun-cracked flags caf-cultured customers drink too fast, too much. The heat, the sun give a man a thirst to let others see him at his red-skinned worst. Local people - with local ways - are asleep behind blinds shaded by shutters dream so deep, so sweet. The cool, the dark give a man a rest and let others see him at his sleep-saved best. Under cars and canopies in ditches dry of water behind skips and bins - pye-dogs, curs and strays. The shade, the peace: give a dog a bone and let others see him at the last alone. Along the high road, across baked, cracked fields, crazed Cereberus runs amok in muck The flies, the pain Mad dogs and Englishmen: one and the same in the midday sun.
Archived comments for Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Elfstone on 10-01-2014
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
A wonderful description again - you have a way of seeing things and the skill to put it into fine words. Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Thank you for a breathtaking compliment, and, of course, for taking the time to read and comment
regards
Ewan

Andrea on 10-01-2014
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Of course someone had to do it...



Author's Reply:
Ahh.. the Master. It is an unspeakably good (as he might have phrased it himself) patter-song. I've always liked the title, and there's no copyright on those, as you know.
Thanks for reading!
Ewan

Nemo on 12-01-2014
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
'amock in the muck' - nice one. I can feel the heat coming off this evocative poem! Comma after 'the pain'? Regards, Gerald.

Author's Reply:
Most definitely something missing. I´m going for the comma.
Thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

Pronto on 20-01-2014
Mad Dogs and Englishmen
Oh I could see the projectile puking as I read this! Very good well expressed poem.

Author's Reply:


All the Small Things (posted on: 03-01-14)
small things...

There are all the small things, which some say have their God, the little gifts, the politenesses and consideration, considered odd by many. Wished for kindnesses, silly, silly things: sharing the last vegetable ceding to another the comfortable, giving something memorable: these are all the small things which some say are just Love.
Archived comments for All the Small Things
Bozzz on 03-01-2014
All the Small Things
Happy fella - for every lovable one there ten little biggling nugs that require worship of a different kind. About the only good use for my flat feet. Love your humour Ewan ...David

Author's Reply:

Elfstone on 03-01-2014
All the Small Things
May I respectfully suggest that "consideration" followed immediately by "considered" is uncomfortable? I wonder if "courtesy" might be an acceptable substitute for the first? Elfstone

Author's Reply:
Hmm... I liked the repetition of the two parts of speech from the same root and did select that deliberately, I will consider your suggestion, of course. Courtesy is indeed an acceptable substitute as I was thinking of 'a consideration' as the archaic (?) countable form, which we don't use so much nowadays. I liked the juxtaposition with 'consider' as passing judgement on something.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Ewan

Weefatfella on 04-01-2014
All the Small Things
 photo 9ad6ff1f-0d9b-467e-b5d6-2d3f72a688a0_zps705a5781.jpg

Awrrabest Ewan.
Dinner table manners reveal so much.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:


Gerontius in Love (posted on: 03-01-14)
just another poem...

Am I alive or dead, still dreaming, or awake? I have been living, more so than for many years, there has been both soul and body to take their pleasure in some connected life. What luck, after deaths in mind and mindless brain, to live, to feel, to love - at last again. Should I regret, or rue, my sinning or mistakes? They have made feeling, greater than I ever felt. There have been tears as each heart so breaks to pieces like some discarded glass. What life after loss of love shall now remain to live, to feel, to love - never - again?.
Archived comments for Gerontius in Love
Bozzz on 03-01-2014
Gerontius in Love
Your poem suggests the words might have been appropriate for previous affairs. A trail of shattered glass left behind. "Ewan was here?" Enjoyed the clever transition. Because you write perfection, minor typo "?."

Author's Reply:
Thanks for spotting the typo... no, I'm not so interesting as all that!
Thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 05-01-2014
Gerontius in Love
I looked up the name...A Roman, a Saint, a Religious song, bugger... you move in fine company Ewan. There was a touch of 'the bard' about this one. I have read it several times... I really like it Ewan; some beautiful lines at the ends of each verse.
Mike

Author's Reply:


A Small Town in Russia (posted on: 30-12-13)
[62.51N / 36.11E] poem as crossword clue...

A small town, of no importance to any except for satellites mapping, trapping data, to no end.
Archived comments for A Small Town in Russia
Corin on 30-12-2013
A Small Town in Russia


[62.51°N / 36.11°E] I thought the answer was Chelyabinsk, where the metorite struck this year but it’s not far enough North:-( Chelyabinsk is (55.1547° N, 61.3758° E)

Kalinin?

Author's Reply:
The clue works both ways, the poem is a clue to the place and the place is a clue to the poem's form...

Bozzz on 30-12-2013
A Small Town in Russia
There are only two towns in Russia - Omsk and Tomsk. As you say, Ewan, why bother with a third. Both are on the Trans-Siberian Railway. "Take off your clothes". Have a great New Year...David

Author's Reply:


Juke Box Jive (posted on: 30-12-13)
Nostalgia... please pass by, nothing new here...

In the bar there was a juke-box with vinyl 45s, full of pistol-hot music. 10 songs for a silver coin with with no sides - worth 10p in today's too easy money. The hole in the middle, bigger than the version on your Dansette unless you haunted market stalls for records from these very boxes 10p for music: too groovy baby. And girls leaned against walls and smoked 'til the tears made their mascara run and they looked more beautiful still until you asked them a damn fool question with a wobble in your voice. In the bar there is a Juke Box - but it isn't the same.
Archived comments for Juke Box Jive
barenib on 30-12-2013
Juke Box Jive
Nothing new perhaps, but worthy of a nice bit of nostalgia all the same - John.

Author's Reply:
Thanks John, for reading and your kind comment.
Regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 30-12-2013
Juke Box Jive
Did your Mum know you were out? What about the associated gambling machines? My lads were residents until they sussed out one of the machines and began to win too much and were banned. Happy memories. ....David

Author's Reply:
i turned 15 in 1976 and started going to pubs then. The juke boxes took 5p at first later 10p, then 50p for a big selection. I heard the arrival of punk rock via an old Rockola in the corner of my local. The local punks would sneak up to the Juke and infiltrate a few Wigan oldies in amongst the Vibrators and Buzzcocks records, always claiming that the Juke hadn't programmed properly.

I remember the fruit machines. Never played them, scraping together the coins for a pint of Dryborough's heavy.

Thanks for reading
Ewan

deadpoet on 31-12-2013
Juke Box Jive
I didn't pass by and was caught in by the nostalgia. I'm not sure where the juke boxes are these days? Are they still around?
Nice but I did look at the boys not the girls :))



Author's Reply:
There are no Juke Boxes in this part of Spain as far as I've seen. Most bars and cafes route music from a PC over a sound-system. No user choice. It's not the same.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

deadpoet on 31-12-2013
Juke Box Jive
I didn't pass by and was caught in by the nostalgia. I'm not sure where the juke boxes are these days? Are they still around?
Nice but I did look at the boys not the girls :))



Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-01-2014
Juke Box Jive
Ah... memory lane. I'm somewhat older than you but the brain still functions. We still have a pub with a JUKE BOX in Plymouth, it has loads of oldies on it. We held a few birthdays in there; fantastic fun.
Mike

Author's Reply:
With real vinyl 45s, Mike? I hope so. I'd be happy to see one with CDs.

Regards
Ewan


Another Year (posted on: 23-12-13)
a poem...

Ticking off moments, tocking on memories, the clock runs fast, although the spring is tired and the pendulum swings with less vigour. The chimes are mistimed, and lose count, striking off friendships, striking on forgetfulness: the bell sounds cracked, although the sound is loud and the silence is broken with a clang of rage. The hour is midnight, and will change, sweeping out regrets, sweeping in reveries. The days are few: although they too must pass and while hourglass grains run still faster: there is yet time enough, for love.
Archived comments for Another Year
stormwolf on 24-12-2013
Another Year
Hi Ewen
I cannot understand why nobody has commented yet. This is really beautiful. I enjoyed the inference and analogy to the whole scenario of getting older, with the old year / new year theme...but the last line took the biscuit for me. 😉

Alison x
Merry Christmas and Happy New year.


Author's Reply:

Kipper on 26-12-2013
Another Year
I think the inference is clear, that the clock you speak of is not the one hanging on the wall. The analogy was nicely and truthfully made, particularly that about love, which I suspect may not be be fully understood by those who haven't got there yet.
Best wishes for 2014
Michael


Author's Reply:

Nemo on 26-12-2013
Another Year
Lots of intricate little workings here in the mechanism of this timepiece of a poem, the weighted phrases and their counterbalances, the grinding of the aging cogs, and the ambivalent suggestion that love, if it's there, might ease the inevitable cessation of movement. A life-encompassing poem deserving more views, I think. Best wishes, Gerald.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 26-12-2013
Another Year
Ah Ewan, you have written my epitaph; I knew it the moment I read about the pendulum swinging with less vigour. Oh well, as epitaphs go it's better than most 🙂
Great writing. Mike

Author's Reply:

RajArumugam on 27-12-2013
Another Year
lovely meditation, and a good time too - and love the imagery and symbolism...

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 27-12-2013
Another Year
Ah lovely Ewan- happy new year and good writing..

Pia
xx

Author's Reply:


The Devil Came to Stornaway (posted on: 16-12-13)
an old fashioned tale...

The Devil came to Stornaway. He arrived on a fishing boat. A garden fork was his trident and he wore an Oxfam coat. His hooves were hidden in wellingtons, his tail was stuffed in a pocket, but some could descry a Demon's Eye, for it rolled around in its socket. He stayed in the home of the Minister and the Minister's diligent wife, but went not to the Kirk on Sunday for fear of his very life. The Devil drank spirits on the Sabbath, and played cards with the congregation. They wagered their souls on the turn of a card and assured an eternal damnation. The Minister proposed a reckoning over a game of chess, the devil wanted a wager, the wife and nothing less. The Devil began with an opening, a kind of Scholar's mate, the Minister rebuffed his gambit and they played until very late. They played all through the Sabbath e'en and through the Sabbath itself. The minister took down the whiskey, from the dusty, book-filled shelf. The Minister beat the devil, but did not keep his wife, as the Devil was his lover for the rest of his natural life.
Archived comments for The Devil Came to Stornaway
Mikeverdi on 16-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
Ah the power of the pen... and the power of good whiskey, a hard hand to beat. I wont mention the adultery 🙂 Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Mike.

Brown shoes on a Sunday is seen as the Devil's work by some in the Islands, ye ken.

Regards
Ewan

barenib on 16-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
This feels like a song coming on... John...

Author's Reply:
The Humblebums? The Corries? My Uncle Donnie after a few draps a' the creatur?

Ha... I vaguely know the song, any idea where I can find the words? Is it on youtube??

Thanks for reading.
Ewan

Weefatfella on 17-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
 photo 9ad6ff1f-0d9b-467e-b5d6-2d3f72a688a0_zps705a5781.jpg
Aye, Gawn yirsell Ewan.
Liked this a lot, great imagery here as well as humour...
(His hooves were hidden in wellingtons,
his tail was stuffed in a pocket,
but some could descry a Demon’s Eye,
for it rolled around in its socket. )
Briliant.
Mutual appreciation isnae a bad thing.
Adds a whole new meaning to whipping a tail oan him.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Ach well, ye ken whit thon tcheuchters are!

Tks for reading Weef!

Rab on 18-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
Terrific poem, Ewan, great imagery and a wonderful ending!

Author's Reply:
Yes, I'd love to read about something like that happening. That'll be the day!
Thanks for reading,
regards
Ewan

bo_duke99 on 18-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
expertly done, and that opening stanza is timeless - Greg

Author's Reply:
Ah...thanks for the generous comment.
Regards,
Ewan

stormwolf on 19-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
Hi Ewan
The intro was fab...it went on from there...

(My daughter-in-law) is from Stornaway....the wagering of dogma agaist the ...
well, the poem was about much more than that 😉

Alison x

Author's Reply:
One of my best friends in the RAF was from Stornaway: he was a wild fellow, full of fun, rebelling against much of the strictures of Highland life. He is now a very happy clappy Christian - nothing wrong with that, however - it's very different from the Wee Free.

Thank you very much for reading and commenting, Alison
regards
Ewan

stormwolf on 20-12-2013
The Devil Came to Stornaway
Yes, talk about out of the frying pan into the fire! 😉
I have never been but hope to go to my granddaughter's christening there this summer.

The Wee Free's frighten the bejeezus outta me (and I was once a happy clappy!!! ) 😉

Author's Reply:


The Fog of War
(posted on: 16-12-13)
this poem mentions Christmas, but it isn't festive...


Like water down the drain, a hebephrenic decay of the brain. A catatonic for the troops, street-shouting fruitloops on the corner of your main street, long un-polished boots on their feet. 'Merry Christmas!' gets a blank look, or a snarl and the fist that took 'bayonets-fixed!' to broken heart and overplayed the battlefield part. The soldier's poet told it true 'Tommy, we've no time for you!' Play up, play up and play the game, the wild-eyed greatcoat has forgotten his name.

Archived comments for
The Fog of War

Mikeverdi on 16-12-2013
The Fog of War

Tommy Atkins, now selling the Big Issue on Main Street; Kippling had the right of it. Mike

Author's Reply:

barenib on 16-12-2013
The Fog of War

We need food for thought rather than just food for Christmas! Well said, John.

Author's Reply:

bo_duke99 on 18-12-2013
The Fog of War

very apt at this time of year - Greg

Author's Reply:

pommer on 23-12-2013
The Fog of War

So very true, and happening over and over again.Peter.

Author's Reply:


Pueblo Alto (posted on: 16-12-13)
Part-work, long...

Sargento Garcia looked down the track. It would be too much for the saloon car rental. The camino rural was straight enough, just rutted by cartwheels and rain. It looked as though it disappeared where the mountains became the sky. Garcia looked up. It would pour Viracocha's tears before he got half-a-click. The GPS had said the village was another 10 along that particular track. The signal had disappeared a few hundred metres below. The policeman looked down at his feet. CAT boots, thanks to his cousin in Madrid who'd sent them as a birthday present. They'd arrived 3 months late, but it was surprising they'd arrived at all. Trouble was, they weren't broken in. Nothing like. Inspector Lopez had banned Garcia from wearing his old boots on duty. Still, the Inspector was fifty kilometres and half-a-world away in Huancayo. Besides, Garcia's old boots were in the trunk. Gracias a Dios. The GPS and Garcia's mobile phone were locked away in the rental's glove box. He'd put on his army-issue poncho over his police uniform. It was best to lose government issue items before you had to give them back, as a rule. You could always 'find' them later. He wondered if there would be a telephone in the one donkey village in the Red Sparrow Rocks and if it would work if there were. 'Garcia, you've been up there,' the inspector had been smiling. 'Chupe, wasn't it?' 'I've been to Chupe,' Garcia agreed. 200 kilometres between Chupe and Pueblo Alto - as the condor flies straight over some of the highest peaks in the Andes. He decided not to mention that to his boss. 'A death. Nothing special. Some Indian matter. You'll clear it up in no time.' 'Who's the local?' 'Ah, well that's it, you see.' 'What is?' But he'd guessed, of course. 'It's the local who's dead.' Garcia spat to the side of the track and pulled up the hood on his poncho. His rucksack day-sack really was under it, keeping dry. Of course this meant stopping and getting the water out, if the rain ever stopped. He reckoned he'd walk for two hours and drink, whatever the weather was at the time. 12 k should take him out the other side of the Pueblo Alto, but you couldn't trust a GPS. Not in the mountains, that was why he'd left it in the car, in spite of what Police Guidelines, page 141, paragraph VI, sub-section 4a might say. Of course, that wasn't really the applicable rule. Only the Inspector's favourites knew such things. It took three-and-a-half hours to reach the village. The track was blocked by a tree. A Cedro Negro. 25 metres of Andean Walnut: at least twenty kilometres from the forest over to the east and an endangered species at that. Worth money too, Nogal. It could have been made into fine furniture for finer houses in Lima itself. The man sitting atop the trunk waved when he saw Garcia approaching. His mule eyed Garcia and let out the bray of a crooked politician in a strip club. 'Leave him alone, Fujimori, it's only Ernesto,' the old man laughed himself and took a suck on his pipe. 'Hola, Riccardo, what's up?' The old man continued sucking on his pipe. It wasn't lit. Never had been as far as Garcia knew. He spoke at last. 'Nothing much. I was looking for a place to stop for a smoke and someone had kindly left this tree here. Fujimori's not pleased of course. He thinks we should go round it. What do mules know though, hey Ernesto?' 'What's in the cart? And that's some name for a mule.' 'Ahhh the cart. Do you really want to know? Should I tell Sargento Garcia what's in it, Fuji?' The mule gave a series of honking brays, as though the old man had told a risqu joke. 'Just tell me, I've given up being el Sargento 'til I get to the damn village.' 'You can find out, if we unload the cargo and hump it over this monster tree. That way the stupid mule can walk the cart round. The whole shebang will sink else.' Garcia looked at the ground either side of the track. 'Looks sound to me.' 'You been too long down from the hills, chico, It's rained a coupla hours ev'ry day for a month. No trees round here to help the ground out, 'cepting this one and this one's dead. God alone knows what they built this track on, but it'll be the only solid ground until Pueblo Alto.' It wasn't so difficult, heaving the barrels over the tree. The trunk was thick, half the height of a grown man. They lost one of the 10 barrels, Garcia's uncle dropped his end and it bounced and rolled off the track. It sank slowly into the mud. 'Let's get it, Uncle Ricci.' 'Let's not,' the old man said around the stem of his unlit pipe. The barrel kept sinking as they unharnessed the mule. The old man nodded and Garcia slapped the mule's flank. It wandered off the track to try its luck at going around the felled tree. The empty cart went over easily enough, but they'd had to clear room on the other side for a safe landing as it toppled. The two wheels absorbed the shock better than Garcia's knees as he scrambled over the nogal. The mule was already standing beside the nine remaining barrels. 'Why isn't he up to his neck in mud? He must weigh more than a few dozen litres of beer.' 'Who said it was beer?' The old man began harnessing the mule to the cart. He turned to Garcia when he'd finished. 'You're right, maybe the mule does have the wrong name. After all, the mud stuck to El Chino in the end, no?' Garcia moved towards the barrels and began helping his uncle load the cart. They were entering Alto Pueblo as night fell, quickly, as it does in the mountains. 'You didn't ask, Ernesto, about what's in them.' 'Is it police business?' 'Not up here.' 'Is there a hostal, or something, somewhere to stay?' 'You could use the Local's place.' 'Isn't it a crime scene?' 'What does that mean? The body is in the church.' 'There's a church here?' The old man said nothing. The mule put one hoof in front of the other when it remembered to do so and the cart was through the village in the time it took Garcia to think of asking, 'The Local, was it Felipe?' 'Felipe retired, don't they tell you anything in your station, down there in Huancayo?' 'It's different now, we are not in the Local's chain of command.' 'Yes, we did things better, didn't we?' The cart stopped. Garcia jumped down. 'Thanks for the lift.' 'I'd do the same for a policeman,' the old man laughed. 'Three houses back, did you see the sign? I'll meet you in the bar later, if you like.' 'Maybe.' The old man waved his pipe stem at his nephew and sighed. - 'Policia Nacional,' it read. It was a wooden board, hanging by one corner and a bent nail beside the front door of a stone-built shack. There was glass in the windows, but not much. There was no such thing as 'Policia Local', of course, but in Lima there were people who had been to Spain. They had begun calling the officers in far-flung outposts 'Agentes Locales'. Or, eventually, just 'The Locals'. From some places there was no contact for months. Reports came down to area headquarters with relatives or any itinerant willing to carry a battered sack full of paper. Many of these bags didn't even reach the lowlands. Some out-stations had experimented with huge aerials, but the thefts of the metal and copper wire still remained in the unsolved case files. Garcia pushed the door open. It was a small space with a counter running across the width of the room. Behind it was space for a desk and the swivel chair behind it. A computer from the stone-age sat on the desk, beside a bakelite phone. He saw a dot-matrix printer on the floor against the wall. There were no cables connecting it to anything, not even the mains. He went through the door in the wall behind. It was what he had expected. Hot-plate, sink, shower tray with a garden hose in one corner and a cot shrinking away from the rest of it in the other. There was shoe rack with some boots and trainers. No dress shoes, and, he noticed, the guy had small feet. A rail from a cheap clothes shop was sparsely populated with a few coat-hangers and fewer clothes. There was a dress uniform in a dry-cleaner's plastic bag that was as dusty as everything else including a cheap set of drawers. Garcia thought about searching the place, but there was time enough for that later. What would he find out? He left the living space and went back out front. He picked up the phone. Nothing, no dial tone, no fuzz, buzz or high-pitched whine. Just dead. He followed the cable to the wall where it was still plugged in, at least. It was time he went to church. If that's where the body remained. If so, he wondered how long it had been there; whether it was the crime scene, or if some do-gooder had just decided to store the body there. A one-storey building, its whitewash seemed to glow in the moonlight. There was a glorified chimney breast at one end of the building, with a small bell where the smoke should have come out. Garcia's hand was on the door when it swung wide. A short man in the soutane peered up at him. 'Lo siento, the church is not open right now. If it is a matter for confession we could go to Enrique's Bar?' The policeman's badge produced a nervous gulp from Seor El Cur. 'I see, I am Padre De Leon. You are here for well, here, at last.' The priest looked around fifty, but the stooped back and shuffling gait reminded Garcia of some old man from a Vargas novel. The smell was strong, but it wasn't a matter of decomposition, not yet. 'It's over there.' The priest waved an arm towards the bell rope at the rear of the church. 'It?' 'You'll see,' the priest said and he walked back towards the confessional, although there was no-one waiting to shrive their soul. It was a body, as expected. There was blood, which was no surprise. The corpse was naked, which was interesting. But it was a woman, which beggared any kind of belief at all. Garcia squatted beside the corpse. The blood had leaked from an open cranial wound. He looked for a weapon, but there was nothing visible. There wasn't even that much blood, just a small trickle that had congealed in a pool about a hand's-breadth wide on the stone-flagged floor. The corpse was face down with the head turned to the side, her arms were up. He'd read a magazine article about sleeping positions last time he'd visited the dentist. The local was in one of the positions shown in the accompaning graphic: the freefaller. He wondered where she'd fallen from to land in the Church of the Sacred Heart in Pueblo Alto. Moving her wrist to take a look at her watch was difficult due to the rigor. The watch was still going, a shockproof mannish looking thing. Breitling. The kind of watch most policemen only saw in magazines. So dead at least 12 hours, no more than 24, the body didn't smell bad enough. Over by the confessional, Padre de Leon's lips were moving, whether he was praying or rehearsing the statement he was about to be asked for, Garcia couldn't say. 'Well, Father, you found it when?' The little man shook his head, 'No, that is I didn'tSeora Quisp she cleans.' 'She fetched you then, what time was that? Where were you?' 'She comes to work at 7. She found me at the bar at 7.15.' 'The bar?' The clergyman gave a high-pitched laugh, 'I have a room over Enrique's bar, its very cheap.' 'What took her so long to get to you, then?' 'She says she fainted.' 'Do you believe her?' Garcia made eye contact with the priest at last. 'What kind of a question is that for a policeman?' 'It's not for a policeman, it's for a priest. Never mind, what time did you shut up the church yesterday evening?' 'I didn't, I was sick yesterday.' Garcia stepped back from the priest's breath. It seemed he had the village cur's usual malady. De Leon did tell him that Seora Quisp lived on a smallholding up-mountain from the village. About an hour's walk on a good day. What he really wanted to know was how the news of the Local's demise had got down to Headquarters and thence to Huancayo so soon. Anyone who knew the area would have believed that the murder was announced, rather than reported. Maybe that's why Lopez had sent Garcia back to the mountains again. Uncle Riccardo was in Enrique's. Another stone-built shack. The sign outside was fixed firmly and straight. It said 'Enrique's' in poker-work. A counter just like the one in the Local's office ran the length of the room. Judging by the door behind the big man polishing a glass, there was the same two room arrangement. If there was an upstairs for the priest to live in, it was accessed from outside and the rear of the building. 'You Enrique?' Garcia looked up at the man behind the bar. 'Si, yo soy Enrique Choque.' Garcia wondered what so many Aymara surnames were doing so far north. 'You want a room?' Choque put the glass down. 'Do you have one?' 'No, you'll need to stay with the Viuda Gomez, at the Big House.' Garcia couldn't remember seeing anything bigger than the Local's place and the bar itself. 'She'll be in in a while, she has a jeep.You need a drink?' 'I'm on duty, so it had better be a beer.' 'Chopp?' The landlord moved towards the tapped keg behind the counter. 'Cusquea.' 'I've got one bottle of Iquitea left. Not much call for imitation yanqui piss here.' Choque placed the de-capped bottle on the wooden counter, but it still frothed out of the neck like a mad scientist's experiment. Garcia picked up the bottle and went over to sit with Uncle Ricci. 'Seen her, then?' Ricci had a large glass of Chopp in front of him. It was like muddy water from a puddle. There wasn't a sud in sight. 'Yep, the Cura locked the church. Guess I'll have to phone for the coroner.' 'Sure, you could do that.' Garcia looked at the older man, 'What?' 'Doctor'll do, won't it?' 'It's a suspicious death, Ricci. It hasn't been that long.' 'People die all the time in the mountains.' 'They don't get murdered every day.' 'I wondered about that. Couldn't she have tripped and smashed her head in?' 'Maybe, but not in that church.' 'Not enough blood, huh?' Sargento Garcia shrugged and realised his uncle hadn't forgotten everything. 'So? How long had she been here?' 'What do you think? You looked in at her place.' 'A week, a month max.' Uncle Riccardo laughed, 'Six months.' The door to the bar swung open. The person coming in waited in the door frame until everyone looked. Then she walked in. Dressed in tight pants and boots and what looked like an aviator's fur-lined jacket. She only needed the leather hat and goggles to look like Katherine Hepburn looking for Howard Hughes. Maybe the old films they'd used to show in La Plaza were more truthful than they'd looked. More accurate than the Cantinflas view of Mexico had been at least. Riccardo raised an eyebrow and said simply 'The Widow Gomez'. La Viuda Gomez strode to the bar and ordered a Chopp in the tones of a Yanqui who'd learned Spanish from leather-bound books. 'How did someone like that even meet someone called Gomez?' Garcia said. Riccardo didn't answer. Garcia employed the policeman's prerogative and just stared at the newcomer. She looked a rich forty something in the dim light of the bar. The glass of beer was chug-a-lugged and the empty crashed on the counter. The woman wiped the back of her hand across her lips, smearing the red gash of her mouth. 'Get 'em all a drink, Choque!' she said, peering round the bar. Her eye passed over two shepherds, a man in mechanic's overalls and Riccardo, before coming to rest on Garcia. 'Who the hell are you, coo?' Garcia stood up, 'Sargento Garcia, Policia Nacional.' 'Virginia Gomez, ne Van Huysen. Is it about Encarnacin?' The sergeant realised he really should have had a good look around the late Local's office, but said yes, all the same. 'You have somewhere to stay, Sargento?' It came out Sar-Jenno in the slop-mouthed way the Norte Americanos said everything. 'No, that is' 'You can keep a close eye on one of the suspects, if you stay with me.' She laughed and he noticed her too-white teeth had one over-sized canine. It seemed as deliberate as the fault in a Persian carpet. 'Well, I could interview you here and find somewhere else' 'Nonsense, you don't really think I spoke more than a couple of times to the girl, do you? What would I want with someone like that?' 'Like what?' The question was out; too soon, too sharp. The Yanqui's left eyebrow rose, 'Like you, maybe.' Garcia said nothing for a moment and Riccardo filled the silence with a loud laugh that was a passable imitation of a mule. 'You knew her first name, Seora Gomez.' She tutted, 'What did you expect me to call her? Officer Grimaldo?' Garcia reflected that the logic of women crossed national boundaries. 'Go on, Ernesto. If the widow's a suspect you can give her the third degree before midnight in some comfort.' Riccardo gave a slow wink. The widow in question gave a smile, 'Why not? Are you afraid of a weak and feeble woman?' 'If I should be, I hope it never reaches Inspector Lopez's ears.' The old man shrugged, 'Who's writing the report, Ernesto?' Things were different in the mountains, that much was true.
Archived comments for Pueblo Alto
Mikeverdi on 16-12-2013
Pueblo Alto
As intriguing as ever Ewan, loved the Persian carpet line; any chance you may finish it? The second paragraph was a little cluttered at the end for me, a mere tick on the ass of the donkey, but... Mike

Author's Reply:
Sorry for the lack of an earlier reply, my internet and phone line returned to serviceability only hours ago after a week. Spain is very Third World at times. This story is something I've been working at for a while, off and on. I'll post more when there is more.

It wasn't the butler!

Regards
Ewan

Rab on 16-12-2013
Pueblo Alto
Finish it! I want to know what happens too...

Great story by the way.

Author's Reply:
I will be having a go at it, but it took a long time to get this far, unusually for me: most stuff I just 'toss off' (ooer, missus!). The annoying thing is, I really don't think this is much better for working at it!!!

Thanks for reading
Ewan


Rain at a Funeral (posted on: 13-12-13)
a poem...

The heads are bowed, raindrops drip into flimsy orders of service printed in an untidy study that has a bed though it's a box-room garret. Under African skies, rain at a funeral is the best of luck for the onward journey, for it means growth - and later - harvest. On the British mud it means only a discouraged clergyman rushing through a eulogy for a stranger in the underworld. Hats are off, doffed by men who no longer wear them, except for paying respects to one fewer in the circle of friends. Hats are on, donned by women, worn for babies and newlyweds and the departed who hardly care: each spade-ful's whump upon the polished wood echoes the tolling bell whose provenance they do not question. The bereaved and curious slip away, the cloud curtain parts and the sun glints through. The Arc of Iris promises what it always does, a return to sunnier times.
Archived comments for Rain at a Funeral
deadpoet on 13-12-2013
Rain at a Funeral
People seem to dress very ceremoniously and formally for a funeral with hats etc- well this funeral you describe seems very solemn. Of course it's a solemn occassion. This poem doesn't leave me feeling sad though.
Love the final two lines.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 13-12-2013
Rain at a Funeral
Delightful Ewan - still chuckling over the variety of images. Madiba would have appreciated the droll humour. I salute you...David

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 15-12-2013
Rain at a Funeral
Just about sums up the funeral scene. Beautifully written.
Val

Author's Reply:

Kipper on 16-12-2013
Rain at a Funeral
Nicely observed. A subtle comparison I felt between the joy of celebration on the African plane to the somewhat sober mourning closer to home.
Michael

Author's Reply:


The Ministry of Air (posted on: 09-12-13)
However different civilisations and the world turn out to be, some things will remain the same. Prose challenge 9th Dec

It's a Tuesday. The Parliamentary Under Secretary for Wind is visiting today. I'm not sure having that post filled by a member of the Combustibles is altogether wise. However, needs must, in a coalition, as Kloot, the Aqueous Erdocrats' leader always says. What does one expect from a Harrovian? Exactly so. Naturally, the whole of the Ministry is in a panic, not just my department. I presume that the PUS will pass as quickly through the Underdepartment for Molecular Classification of Atmospheric Gases as his predecessor in the last Coalition did. That is, of course, in less time than it takes to say the department's name. Still, that does not mean an absence of panic. Indeed not. Those chosen for this, the best of ministries, are exhibiting mobility today, in the main. It is not an occasion for other Proclutian attributes. However, I must confess I am more than tempted to bluntness, whenever some Draught whimpers that 'there isn't time, there isn't time'. It takes years and experience to rise from Draught to Breeze - so I suppose they are not to blame. Every so often an Atmosphere passes through: aloof and rarified, makers of policy who do not speak to such as me, a mere Zephyr. 'Middle rank, middle-aged, middle-brow.' My last performance report was a disappointment, though not an altogether unexpected one. It's difficult enough if you change branches: say from Wind to Ambient Gases or Andgraces or even Melodies. My faux-pas was more extreme even than these. I changed elements, and I was at Conflagration rank, no little advance from lowly Spark. My sharpness was blunted by too many years of Combustible interference. The Executive and the Political should remain ever separate. It is lucky that the Ozone Party are less inclined to meddle except in subtle ways. The Elemental Ministries are of course four. The balance is required and it must be quadrivalent. The square in the rhombus is the natural order. This is why the war against the YinYanquis has continued for over 2 millennia. Two is simplistic, four is correct. Naturally, the apex of the rhombus should be Air. Fire has for too long been the electorate's choice. What do the plebs know of chymical matters? No tea trolley today. Mrs Quint has been given the day off. Some of the contractors at the ministry are not fit to be seen by someone so illustrious as today's visitor. Quite how it fell to me to break the news to the lady, I do not know. 'It's an extra day's paid leave, Mrs Quint.' I said. 'I int nevver seen a vee eye pee so important,' she remained unmollified, if correct in fact. Mrs Quint and several others have been most fortunate in the matter of special leave recently. It is 4.15. The PUS for Wind is 36 minutes overdue. My underdepartmental head, a Gust hoping to be a Gale, is agitated, huffing and puffing like the wolf of fairy-tale renown. He is still quite vexed by my refusal to take a day's gardening leave, as if I were a tea-lady or a particularly grime-fingered janitor. No, I shall be present for the visitor. For it is none other than The Honourable Member for Catford West, Oliphant Crisp, the die-hard Combustible. Had he chosen Civil Service instead of Politicking he would surely be an Inferno. He is the coming man, a putative leader of some future coalition with the Aereators - a combination that has not been seen in a century. And he is late. Perhaps this is one more slight in a lifetime of such nose-thumbings at me, Oliver Crisp, his older brother.
Archived comments for The Ministry of Air
OldPeculier on 09-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
Fantastic.

Like a Peter Cook monologue. Utter nonsense yet totally believable and engaging.

Love the career progression. Draught, Breeze etc


Author's Reply:
E.L. Wisty. Yes, I thought about that afterwards. I was looking for some 'Pooteresque' touches. I definitely had the sibling rivalry thing in mind from the beginning. Ed and David Moribund, for instance.


bluepootle on 09-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
I love the narrator's confidence in this setting, knowing everyone's rank and spouting happily about the system. His voice very much suited the material. A lovely, Milliganesque piece, short and puffed up and lots of fun.

Author's Reply:
Ah, Milligan -

He knew how to finish a sketch

'What are we going to do now? What are we going to do now?'

TheBigBadG on 09-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
Maybe I'm a cynic but I got more of Rupert Thompson's Divided Kingdom, or some kind of dystopian near-future from it myself. Mind you, the tea-trolley brings a smile doesn't it. It's very clever though, you do cram a hell of a lot into a tiny space. The only element *boom-tish* that's missing to my mind is I don't get why such a career animal would switch departments when he's near the top of his game. Are the combustibles somehow out of the loop with the exec?

That's just a quibble though, it's crammed with big ideas, well-positioned between cynicism and absurdity. I mean, the MP for Catford being a mover and shaker. You've been to Catford, right?!

Author's Reply:
Yep, that's about the size of the Catford reference. Regarding his departure from one element to the other, David Miliband was a big fish to leave the pond, no?

Rab on 09-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
Wonderful. I suspect you had a lot of fun writing it. PUS for Wind! Underdepartment for Molecular Classification of Atmospheric Gases!

Love the many and various references to our current leaders; sort of Spike Milligan channelled through Ian Hislop.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I reckon in some parallel universe or on some distant planet, the bureaucrats and the self-important are fucking up the lives of the their fellow Boegons or Threeblefeeps in the same all-too-imitable way.

Mikeverdi on 10-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
It's all been said, sorry to be late to the party, a touch of wind....
Brilliant writing and imagination Ewan. Mike

Author's Reply:

e-griff on 11-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
Great imaginative writing, nonsensical but credible in context. Very well executed.

Think it would be better without the sibling last line. Doesn't need an excuse or explanation, or a final 'Tarahh' - cheapens it slightly for me.

Blimey, if I'm going to join in again I'm really going to get my head down. The bar has been raised considerably. Good stuff from all.

Author's Reply:

bo_duke99 on 11-12-2013
The Ministry of Air
the Peter Cook comparison was worthy, whimsy with a lovely straight face

Author's Reply:


Winter (posted on: 06-12-13)
генера́л зима́ победи́л всегда́

I come after rapustitsa, and I know you will encounter me, if your cartwheels traverse the mud. I turn the earth of Russia to iron, with a frost as cold as bone. I fought the King of Sweden, at Poltova and Perevolochna where his armies were ground to dust. I turned the fire of soldiers to water, with a cold as sharp as knives. I smiled at the clown of Corsica, who marvelled at the absence of forage as he scrabbled at burning fields. I turned those fields to cold ashes, with a snow as deep as hell. I laughed at the fool of Austria as he raged in the Berlin suburbs while his minions died of cold. I turned the fire of belief to treason with an ice as hard as death.
Archived comments for Winter
deadpoet on 06-12-2013
Winter
Oh shiver- and shake with icy cold reading this hard Winter's Tale. I loved it.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for reading and commenting,
regards Ewan

Bonnie on 06-12-2013
Winter
This is very good. I enjoyed the way the Winter spoke so scornfully of invaders.


Author's Reply:
Well, the old Russian General generally did win, that's why the Cold War Americans were so obsessed with Air Power and ICBMs, they didn't want to fight a war on the ground, certainly not east of Warsaw.

Thank you for reading and commenting.
Regards
Ewan

Pronto on 07-12-2013
Winter
Mother Russia wins again. Nicely written piece

Author's Reply:
You're very kind, it doesn't quite work as I wanted it to, but I'd rather try something different than the same old...
thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

Bozzz on 07-12-2013
Winter
Ewan, you have, I think unintentionally. pinpointed the world's climate change problem. There is too much water everywhere - in our life it is both salvation and destroyer. The balance is shifting. A lively and clever piece, thank you....David

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 08-12-2013
Winter
The winter wars told as only you could. The horror of both retreats from Holy Russia were hell on earth; even if they were well deserved. Great writing Ewan. Mike

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 08-12-2013
Winter
Excellence and originality, your trademark, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

pommer on 09-12-2013
Winter
Well written Ewan,yes, General winter beat us on the retreat from Mother Russia,it was cold, wet, muddy and some more.A swell thought bout piece of writing.Pommer.

Author's Reply:


Samsara (posted on: 06-12-13)
...

Read the rubric, roll the knuckles, scry in deep and silent water. Fool the feckless, dupe the dullards, lie in fulsome, flagrant language. Ride the monsoon, tame the whirlwind, fly as if pursued by bhutas. Wish for riches, play for paise, game on Satta Matka numbers. Die in ditches, rise in tatters, live again in karma's shackles.
Archived comments for Samsara
deadpoet on 06-12-2013
Samsara
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaK7Ma2BDHk
I can't remember how to make a link but I guess you can copy into your browser? Take a look if you don't know this film!

Oh I had to look up the definition- well caught in this poem.

Piaxx

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 06-12-2013
Samsara
Brilliant - loved it - and oh, how it rolls off the tongue!

Here's Pia's link...



Author's Reply:


The New Dickensians (posted on: 29-11-13)
Plus a change....

The Modern Micawbers will not drown in the Marshalsea. Their debtors' prisons have grafitti walls and broken lifts. 'Shiftless, bootless, feckless!' comes the cry and this they may be but there is a why a wherefore and a who. The Modern Merdles will not end themselves: they pocket rewards for failing banks and breaking hearts. 'Hapless, careless, reckless!' comes the shout and this they must be for there is no doubt, denial or demur. Something will turn up. Payday loans perhaps: 'Annual interest two thousand five hundred per cent; annual income eight thousand five hundred pounds, result: penury.' The Modern Micawber will not drown in the Marshalsea, but he will go under for a final time.
Archived comments for The New Dickensians
roger303 on 29-11-2013
The New Dickensians
A bleak picture accurately and expertly painted.
Excellent stuff, as usual.
Regards
Roger

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 29-11-2013
The New Dickensians
Old Micawber knew a thing or two about finances. He would have been wary of the bankers and Wongas of today.
A very apt comment, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 29-11-2013
The New Dickensians
Spot on Ewan, this latest scandal with Nat West did for a very good friend of mine. They took his business out from under him and ruined him in the process. The accountant was ignored and even the the banks assessor.
Mike

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 29-11-2013
The New Dickensians
I believe the jury is still out on the issues, but today banks are no better than casinos - you lose, you win, but you always lose in the end. Great write, sad rite...David

Author's Reply:

bo_duke99 on 01-12-2013
The New Dickensians
strong feelings, and some great characters evoked to stir them in the audience, a very firm and controlled piece

Author's Reply:


Montes de Malaga (posted on: 22-11-13)
a trip not-home....

I'll look down at the Montes de Malaga, visible through the winter clouds. The port will lie like a jewel on velvet at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. My orange chariot will ride the sky to others' homeland, not mine. A Scot's blood Pied Noir comes not to hearth and hame in England's dark sardonic north. Family ties grow stretched and thin while remaining spider-silk strong: duty calls trumpet-strident and every mother's son will answer when it does. I'll look down at the Montes de Malaga welcoming through the winter dawn. The port will shine like a lighthouse beacon at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea. The airborne tangerine will bring me back to somewhere homely and mine.
Archived comments for Montes de Malaga
deadpoet on 22-11-2013
Montes de Malaga
What is an 'orange chariot' ? or an 'airborne tangerine'-????
lovely images...'a jewel on velvet'

Author's Reply:
Orange chariot and airborne tangerine

🙂

bo_duke99 on 23-11-2013
Montes de Malaga
think you needed to get that one out, appreciated

Author's Reply:
Yes, very glad to be back home now.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan


Disorder (posted on: 22-11-13)
For the prose challenge 22 Nov: 'The Mask of Sanity'

Hi, yourself. I'm Tommy. Tommy Atkins. That's Pete and this is Joan. Fred's not here. He doesn't get out much. We live in the same B&B on Alma Street. All of us have spent time in the hostel, over on Balaclava Road. Not at the same time, though. No-one in the Crimean B&B has been there for less than six weeks. Fred's been a guest for more than ten years. Pete showed me Shelter's page in the Internet Caff near the bus station: 'The law says that councils must not keep families and pregnant women in B&Bs for more than 6 weeks.' None of us have any family, and Joan may never have been pregnant but she certainly won't be any time soon. Maybe it's better that way. The Army was my family. People don't realise that we mean it when we say that. It's hard, adjusting. I've never cooked anything. Old sweats used to say they preferred compo and the primus stove to MREs. I know why now. Three squares in the canteen and rip open a plastic bag to get hot food in the field no preparation for living on your own that. Still, it's academic. "Strictly No Food Preparation in the Rooms" in the Crimean. You can get a bacon roll and a mug of tea at the Internet Caff for 2. Some weekends I splash out and have the full fry. 4.50 with all the bread you can spread, if you eat before 10. I don't eat again those days. Have you seen those cooking programmes on the telly? You could fit three of my room into those kitchens that they pretend are in their houses. Where do they shop? I go to Lidl or Dia: if I'm feeling flush I go to Tesco. They have a lot of German Beer. I was based at Sennelager for a while. We used to laugh at that. The other day I knocked on Fred's door, he shouted 'Fuck off, Fascist!' so I knew he was alright. I knock about twice a day. He always says 'Fuck off!' but sometimes I'm a Phalangist bastard. This time of year isn't my favourite. The first frosts have come and the tarmac and pavements are slippery in the mornings. The cold's in my bones and my fingers can't do the buttons up on my greatcoat. I keep them well polished though. You can make a tin of Duraglit last a year if you use one piece at a time and keep the lid on tight, while you're using it. I'm not an alcoholic, but I do drink a quite a bit. You get used to that in the services. Anyway, there's not much else to do now I'm out, apart from wait for orders. I'm on ESA, at least for the moment. We'll see how the WCA works out. I hope I don't get too many points, I'd like some work-related activity, really. It'll be like community service I suppose. That was quite good, but I preferred the nick, to be honest. Nicer than my digs at the Crimean, for sure. Pete's a funny bloke. He's part of the Recon team with me. Ex-REME, but I need him for back-up if we go down certain streets. Better than some infantry grunts I've known. Funny ideas, though, like I say. He thinks Shelter can do everything. I know no-one can do anything. Take this from that stupid internet page: 'If the council decides that you're not in priority need, it has to explain why in writing.' Nearly half of the people I met in the hostel couldn't read. So they can write what they want and I bet they do. My letter said the elves were in alignment with the dwarves so no sellswords could be accommodated at public expense. Haha, got you there. It didn't say that, I don't think. Wait a bit, I've got the letter in my pocket. 'Due to the unforeseen implementational delays in the WCA scheme, a decision has proved impossible to arrive at for the foreseable future. Should any further information be required, clients are requested to log on to Aldershot Community Services web-page via the Municipal portal at www.ACS.aldershotmuni.org using the 17 letter username and the 34 character alphanumeric password issued in our previous letter dated 7th July 2005.' I was in London on the 7th of July that year. Living rough near the Edgware Road. The Army had to spit me out after Iraq: couldn't sign on. Not medically fit enough, though fit enough to fight, fit enough to finish my engagement. After that, past my shell-by date, haha. Can't remember whether I applied to be a special case near the barracks sometime before then or not. Maybe I've got someone else's letter. When the bomb went off on the 7th, it looked like Basra. So I ran away. No, I can't say where. Anyway, I was there until Christmas 2007. The local police arrested me in Aldershot, outside Marks and Sparks. Drunk and Disorderly. Ever notice that? The British like double acts. In the services, people see you shit-scared and don't care as long as you don't talk about it afterwards. But once you leave that behind there's no going back, not if you leave via the white coats, like I did. My dad served 31 years and got one medal. I had more medals than years in uniform. But I haven't got it though, that thing they say veterans get. It's not good if the Platoon has a sicknote, but I stopped trying to get Fred out of bed a while back. He's intelligence now, I bring him the newspapers from the bins and he has a television. You have to make the best of the team's individual talents. Joan doesn't go on patrol. Still not allowed in combat rles, are they? Sometimes she comes to the Internet Caff, she helps with communications. Pete's OK on computers but he spends all his time on the Shelter site. We have other things to do. We must be careful. It is worse than being behind the lines. We are between the lines. What are we doing? If I told you, I'd have to kill you. No, haha, Army humour, you never lose it. It's unofficial. Deniable ops. 'Nuff said, eh? Let's just say we're watching them. The rag-heads. The ones disguised as you and me. Joan handles the communications: she leaves our reports in the comments on articles in the Mail-Online. Anyway, got to go now. Ah, thanks, that's very generous. We'll use it for operational expenses. Cheers then.
Archived comments for Disorder
deadpoet on 22-11-2013
Disorder
Disturbing reading Ewan. I looked up Mask of Sanity and was enlightened. Interesting angle. Well thought out.

Piaxx

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 22-11-2013
Disorder
Good stuff, and an important message for certain. The Crimean B&B is suitably poignant. The squad dynamic is a good device as well; Fred made me smile for one. As did the (rather cynical) letter with your 34 character password and all that. Surely local government aspires to transparency?

The one comment I do have is that I don't really believe it as a monologue to someone stopping on the street simply because I can't see people hanging about to listen to all of that. We're very impatient in London as a rule, especially with people outside the normalised societal franchise... I do realise the irony in pointing that out by the way. That impatience and disregard being one of the key causes you're driving at here.

Other than that though, believable voice and a pertinent message. Better than what I was scratching at, for sure.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 22-11-2013
Disorder
A story well told about the invisible people, your words 'between the lines'. I love the terminology you used here, It works fine for me. I understand BBG point about the conversation, but I don't think that was the point; it's what you're saying that counts for me; I think its excellent writing. I have met people like this from time to time, nobody is more cynical than them about the system.
Mike

Author's Reply:

OldPeculier on 22-11-2013
Disorder
I thought this was very well told. Everything we needed to know from a simple, often rambling (in a good way) monologue. It was totally believable in my opinion.



Author's Reply:

bluepootle on 22-11-2013
Disorder
I enjoyed this monologue, with a light touch about it. I particularly liked his 'squad' and the sense of camaraderie. I think it might really be a performance piece, best read aloud.

Author's Reply:

Rab on 22-11-2013
Disorder
A great read, excellent writing and a good angle on the challenge. The humour kept the story, which is about a truly serious subject, light without reducing its impact.
I particularly liked the rest of the squad, wonder if they were all real?

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 25-11-2013
Disorder
Seriously good.

Tina

Author's Reply:


Geomagnetic Weather Report (posted on: 18-11-13)
It's nothing to worry about, just interesting, that's all...

In a few short moons, Helios will somersault: his magnetic field will reverse polarity. The sun-god's moods will be felt beyond Pluto. Intergalactic storms will become more frequent and intense. Mercury and Hermes will lose contact with the satellites built by mortal clay in imitation of their invented Gods. Our interstellar Voyager may lose his way. In eleven more years the magnetic tide of sunspots will flood again and close the circle.
Archived comments for Geomagnetic Weather Report
Mikeverdi on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
Every now and then you throw something out there that is so left of field...this is one of those times. One question...how do you know all this stuff? Ha Ha! Mike

Author's Reply:
I read a lot and don't forget much, not so far anyway...
thanks for reading!
Ewan

deadpoet on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
I know how you know all this stuff- you are a bit of a genius- you can even write poetry about it all.. Exceptional- and excellent. Keep feeding us with your knowledge Ewan- such a pleasure to read..

Pia
x

Author's Reply:
No genius, just inquisitive.
Thanks for reading
Ewan

ifyouplease on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
i'm afraid it won't be like that at all, but first let's see what are the consequences of big ISON's passing.

Author's Reply:
There will be an increase in sunspot activity due to the reversal of the Sun's polarity. As for what the consequences or even how impressive the passing of any comet might turn out to be, we won't know until it does so. I'm just hoping that we get a dramatic astronomical event instead of a damp squib when ISON makes its appearance.

ifyouplease on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
have you seen photos of this thing? that's a very weird comet. let's see what it does to Earth when it passes. when it passed Io there was a huge volcanic eruption. there are many videos on youtube, crazy and not so crazy theories, bpearthwatch is good, suspiciousobservers is better according to some if you believe in the electric universe.

Author's Reply:
Like I say, I'll reserve judgement. Someone says 'Spectacular comet to arrive soon' and I think 'Kohoutek'.

Kipper on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
I'm very confused. I can't make up my mind if all this is deadly serious or whether (no pun intended) you are pulling my leg.
All I want to know is, do I need to take a brolly?

Michael

Author's Reply:
Your confusion is understandable... nobody actually knows much apart from the fact that the polarity does reverse and sun-spot and associated activities increase. As for the comet well...

Kohoutek

thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

bo_duke99 on 18-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
how many short moons! Judged really well for this subject matter.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting
Regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 19-11-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
But are you sure that Voyager is a male? In the trade, most bundles of technology are female - and for good reason. Have enjoyed the trip, but remain very worried....David

Author's Reply:
Female? It must be a male, a female would have stopped to ask an Extra Terrestrial the way!

Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Nomenklatura on 05-12-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
Ison?? Ahem.

Author's Reply:

Nomenklatura on 26-12-2013
Geomagnetic Weather Report
Hmm... I'm sure they'll be more accurate than mine...

BBC SPACE WEATHER

Author's Reply:


Shoah and Tell (posted on: 15-11-13)
...

Down streets too clean for challah, kreplach or sauerbraten, a man must go lightly towards his fate. Under the moon and lamplit rooves and spires, while rat meets cat beside middens, pails and műlltonnen, where then meets now, just this side of memory, Kurt or Bernd or even Siegried flicks a butt - a red firefly landing in a muddy puddle. The tocsin rings the new day in, church-bells toll the curfew's beginning. A crystal smash of windows told innocents it was time and time again that such things happened. People spill out of the Ratskeller; rats scurry back to alleys, allies of the sinister cats, familiars to the jackbooted warlocks casting runes in gothic script, and spells over Lumpenvolk. ''Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fűhrer, Ein Ei dottereich und Rűhrer!'' The little Corporal wore his motley as pied as any piper's: we listened to the thrilling tune leading Jűden to their doom.
Archived comments for Shoah and Tell
Mikeverdi on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
SPELLBINDING.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the generous rating Mike.
Regards
Ewan

Andrea on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
As soon as I saw the title I knew it was you (you know I have an acute interest)

Absolutely stunning work, imho)

Kristallnacht

Author's Reply:
Well, I lived in Berlin for 10 years and then a few years later I studied Hebrew for a year full time (don't ask) and got Aunty Betty to pay for me and my classmate to visit Israel for a month. Anybody who doesn't understand why Israel as a country is like it is, just needs to look at this one part of their history. Uncle Joe didn't treat them much better, even though Communism would never have existed without a certain Karl Marx, the funniest of the Marx Bros.

Anyway, as I always say, I can't believe it happened and we should never forget that it did.

Thanks for reading and the generous comment, I know poetry's not your bag!
Ewan

deadpoet on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
Very glad (:S) to read this-

Author's Reply:
Yes, I know what you mean, glad isn't quite the word. Thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

stormwolf on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
OMG!!! You have blown me away Ewen. Incredible..atmospheric, terrifying and all the rest.

My gob is smacked 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Thanks for taking the time to read it, and for your very generous comments
regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
Man it was created gods to fight the overwhelming odds. Ein Reich was chicken feed in comparison. A fine piece Ewan from a dark corner....David.


Author's Reply:
Thank you for reading and commenting. Dark things lie behind the mirror. What if Mosley had gained more power in Britain in the 30's? What if Farage weren't a buffoon? There but for the grace, etc.

regards
Ewan

EmotiveSoul on 15-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
Absorbing, dark and an exceptional read. Thoroughly enjoyed this. Daz

Author's Reply:
Thank you very much for your comments and very generous rating
regards
Ewan

Ionicus on 16-11-2013
Shoah and Tell
A clever title and an equally clever poem that recounts a piece of history in a novel way. The Yiddish terminology may baffle the non-Jewish readers but on the whole the point comes across.

Author's Reply:
Challah and Kreplach are the only Yiddish words in the poem. The rest are German.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
regards
Ewan


Potter's Bar (posted on: 15-11-13)
the tales drinkers tell ... themselves

The glass is neither half-full nor pessimistic: Cornelius Potter's finger dips into warming beer and traces triangles among the circles on the wood. After many years of Dionysus, it's Pythagoras with whom he shares a cup. There is no longer any greed or need to dive and wallow in the dregs. The looking-glass blood has appeared upon the silver nitrate moon. It does not make good reading. Of all the Samian thinker's yarns he loves best the Courtesan's tale. No sale for the philosopher's auric thigh: a tale too tall for further telling. What else should a barfly expect from a fellow toper, though he be both Greek and ancient?
Archived comments for Potter's Bar
Mikeverdi on 15-11-2013
Potters Bar
That's really good, I need to read this a few more times Ewan, but it really is good. Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting Mike, as I said in my comment to David, there's a lot more to Pythagoras than triangles...
regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 16-11-2013
Potters Bar
Barmates Ewan. Fellow topers make the best psychoanalists- no need for the couch stuff. Who needs help when a story will cure all ills. I claim geometric literacy, but this is clever - certainly to the point where I am not sure I understand all....David

Author's Reply:
Well, David, there was a lot more to Pythagoras than 'the squaw on the hippopotamus'...
thanks for reading and commenting.
regards
Ewan


Remember, Remember (posted on: 08-11-13)
for the prose challenge 8th November..

It wasn't my idea, exactly. I wish it had been. All I said was that it was a pity writers didn't take more direct action. Wrighty II said that was why we were writers, 'It's not about doing, it's about thinking.' Bob C said that was crap, ' ''Write what you know.'' How can you write it, if you haven't done it?' The brothers Wintour sniggered, 'Doesn't stop Frances writing about sex, does it?' Frances blushed and I felt a bit sorry for her, but not that much. She didn't look like she'd ever done anything past page one of her book. It was quite well written though. The Wintours were twins, they wrote speculative fiction and finished each others sentences. The last word that evening went to Bob C, 'Sounds like a good idea: direct action: I'll knock something up for the next meeting.' We supped off our drinks and the Chastleton Writers' Collective left The Scribbler's Quill behind for another fortnight. The October rain was insistent though not heavy, but I was soaked by the time I got into the lounge bar of the Quill. There were a few newbies that night. One new guy was exactly that; Guy. An ex-soldier, he read some of his military action novel. Stag On. He read out the sentences as if they were machine-gun bursts. Later I realised he just talked fast anyway. There was a hard core from the 20 or so members who used to stay behind for an extra pint or two or three in Frances's case. I never, ever, saw her drunk, mind you. There were as many as 15, but usually it was yes 12. The Wintours, Wrighty I, me Bobby Keyes - that is, Tom Bates, Wrighty II Wrighty's cousin, JG, Bosie Rookwood, Bob Catesby, and of course Frances. I was a bit peeved because the new Guy had stayed too, with his rat-tat-tat-raconteur style, but he was very thick with Bob. And that made 13. One of the Wintours I never knew which was which - nudged Bob C in the ribs, 'What happened to that idea then, Bob? Fizzle out like a damp squib, did it?' Bob C sniffed, 'No, actually, I just thought I'd save it for us. It's just a plot-outline. Don't expect any fireworks.' So Bob C outlined his plot. Frances and I laughed. 'A bit far-fetched,' she said, and I was inclined to agree. But there was a ripple of approval. Looking back now, I'd say that the new guy, Guy, lit the touchpaper. 'Why not?' He said, 'Why not? Let's get back at those idiots.' JG jumped up from his seat, 'A letter bomb!' Wrighty II said, 'Don't be daft, you have to open those to set them off.' And that's when Guy said, 'I've had experience with explosives. Army stuff, you know.' So we did it, early November. That's why I'm writing about it now. It passes the time in the cell. Guy got into 20, Vauxhall Bridge Road. A couple of us were outside in a white van. He got in easlly enough. Wearing overalls and carrying a holdall. He'd said he was going to bluff his way to the boiler and wait 'til midnight and the 5th. Frances warned a second cousin off going in on the 5th and we were swept up by the police before it all went off. I still feel sorry for Bob C. Guy got all the headlines. 'Guy Fox in Random Plot' was the soaraway Sun's effort. You've guessed it. He also got the book deal: from Random House.
Archived comments for Remember, Remember
OldPeculier on 08-11-2013
Remember, Remember
I thought this was a very good twist on the idea. Once I had Googled 20, Vauxhall Bridge Road, it all made sense too!. I like the way you got all the gang members in and the bit about Frances actually made me laugh aloud.

I am not really in any position to comment on the writting. I do not have the technical skills, but to me it read easily and flowed well.

Very well done.

Author's Reply:
Everyone is in a position to comment on writing, and I think your technical skills are evident in your own efforts.

Ewan

bluepootle on 08-11-2013
Remember, Remember
Some of this really made me smile. Guy's book title, 'Stag On' particularly amused me for some reason. I think that would make an excellent war novel.

Some of the character intros were a bit clunky. For instance, the twins - I felt this could have been smoothed out a bit, and you mention their twin status twice (It just occurred to me this might have been deliberate!). But it's not about indepth characterisation here and I think it's got a cracking pace.

Author's Reply:
'Stag On' is genuine military speak. It means a tour of duty as a guard or sentry.

You're absolutely right about mentioning their twinship twice. Doh! Everything goes double for twins... argh! No, I've removed one.

Stop Press

Ah... Bluepoots... the finishing each others sentences bit is a joke, based on what they say about some twins, since they write together.


TheBigBadG on 08-11-2013
Remember, Remember
I've had to read it a few times to get all the jokes. Still not sure I've managed to track them all down though. Lots of good lines, in particular, 'She didn’t look like she’d ever done anything past page one of her book. It was quite well written though.' and the immensely cynical, ‘Don’t be daft, you have to open those to set them off.’ Of course they open them, how else can they get at the SAE to return our unread MSs to us?!

Good fun, very clever. Made me feel rather slow over breakfast, but also gave me some laughs.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I had fun with this one. Of course, I wouldn't really advocate blowing up Random House. Maybe some of the others...

I always read everything twice, I must admit.


Rab on 08-11-2013
Remember, Remember
Nice one, and an original twist to a story. We'll expect an explosion in output from you now you've got all that time to fill in your 3m x 3m cell!

Author's Reply:

mageorge on 08-11-2013
Remember, Remember
I got this as soon as I read: "Bob Catesby" Robert Catesby, the leader of the gunpowder plot. Up until then I was a little confused...but that's just me. Well done, Ewan. A great modern twist on the events prior to the 5th November, 1605. The under-croft adjacent the Houses of parliament, all in there.

Enjoyed,
Mark.





Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 09-11-2013
Remember, Remember
That you 'had fun' is obvious from the reading of this one Ewan; I had fun reading it. Mike

Author's Reply:


Dance Music (posted on: 08-11-13)
Well it is.

Hear it come and here it comes, the Bo Diddley scrub-a-dub- ascrubba-dubba-dub-dub. The man hisself B-B- Beating out the jungle rhythm on the faithful Lucille. And through the Jones boy and Keef's cracked mirror the beat went on and on and reappeared after years through Doors, who we did love until the Bishops wanted Candy. Hear it come - and dance.
Archived comments for Dance Music
deadpoet on 09-11-2013
Dance Music
Oh dear I thought it was B.B.King with Lucille- well now I am wiser. I like these poems with beats in them. I recently read one called D & B with onomatopeia (spello?) in it- works well.

Author's Reply:
No, you're dead right Lucille was B.B.'s baby!!!
Ewan

Buschell on 09-11-2013
Dance Music
A whirwind tour of rock. Good fun. Rhythmic gymnastics. Darren.

Author's Reply:

Buschell on 09-11-2013
Dance Music
A whirwind tour of rock. Good fun. Rhythmic gymnastics. Darren.

Author's Reply:

amman on 09-11-2013
Dance Music
Clever, Ewan. Particularly like the way Keef moves around the stage in that ancient Stones clip. Good stuff.
Cheers.
Tony.

Author's Reply:


Cathedral Tunes (posted on: 04-11-13)
There's a slant of light = Great poem, not sure I agree with the sentiment. My view is below

Heavy, fantastical, like milky sunlight through autumn trees. Your precious Emily is full of these. Soaring, ethereal; chant or plain-song, the early hymn is light, uplifting -an angel's whim. Arcane, mysterious, sun or distant star, its energy gives life, breath and synergy.
Archived comments for Cathedral Tunes
barenib on 05-11-2013
Cathedral Tunes
Perhaps you're putting a more positive slant on this? It is certainly a great poem, and I have enjoyed yours too - John.

Author's Reply:
Oh yes,
some cathedral tunes are uplifting
even for an old unbeliever like me
thanks for reading and commenting, John
regards
Ewan


Business Lunch (posted on: 04-11-13)
It must have been a close thing... don't forget to click the link at the end... no, I'm not selling anything.

'Ah-liver, Kin Ah callya Ah-liver?' 'Y- ' 'We love it, ya know? Rance and me, we wanna give it the works. We're talking Hanks and Baldwin, no bullshit. Gotta love that, doncha, Ah-liver?' 'I, well, you see' 'We most definitely do see, Ah-liver! Ah said that to Rance, didden Ah?' Peter Zinnmayer looked over at Rance Gilbert. Oliver looked from one to the other. 'Yes, I'd just like...' 'Yeah, of course ya would and we would too, see?' Zinnemayer turned to the waitress, 'Get me summa that special tea. Dook Brown!' 'Earl Grey, sir,' Oliver was pretty sure the waitress winked at him, but she might have had something in her eye. 'And plenny a cream and sugar,' Zinnemayer added. Oliver tried again, 'My client believes' 'So do we, Ah-liver, Ah go every shabbat when Ah'm in LA. Ah know Rance would go but he likes the races on Sadderday, doncha Rance?' Rance appeared to be a silent partner, for he just nodded. 'The client believes that you are not honouring the contract regarding the film-rights.' He got it out, just. 'That's just phooey, Ah-liver, you tell him we are one hunnert percent sticking to the original cahn-cept.' 'The changes' 'Changes? Changes? Ah-liver, you wound us. They aren't changes. They're improvements. It's got to be 'Mailman' Cain't be Postman, not after that Costner turkey, nossir!' 'But that ruins the song, children love the song.' 'No prahb-lem at all. We've improved the song. And we've called him Mike.' Oliver shuddered. The client was not going to like it. 'Mike?' 'Rhymes with bike.' 'Bike.' 'Yeah, Harley D. We can't go with that van, seriously.' 'No van? What about the cat?' 'Don't you watch the movies, Ah-liver? Only the bad guys have c a t s!.' 'So how does the song go now?' 'Give it to him, Rance!' Rance's voice was a light, almost childish tenor 'Mailman Mike, Mailman Mike on his Harley Bike' Oliver put his head in his hands. Saved from what might have been
Archived comments for Business Lunch
Weefatfella on 04-11-2013
Business Lunch
 photo 89f4a5d0-5f15-4509-881e-443a08debcc5_zps272a8411.jpg Good Gad Ewan. What a nightmare that would have been. Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

OldPeculier on 04-11-2013
Business Lunch
Ha ha very good.

They did it to Thomas the Tank Engine. Dont let them take Pat.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 04-11-2013
Business Lunch
Just brilliant Ewan,I can think of many more that would benefit from your treatment. Mike

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 04-11-2013
Business Lunch
Typical attitude of Hollywood's producers. They'd probably re-write the character of Romeo as a paedophile for the sexual grooming of Juliet.
An amusing and engaging tale.


Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 05-11-2013
Business Lunch
Read this again, it just gets better! Mike

Author's Reply:

Rab on 05-11-2013
Business Lunch
Excellent. Poor Pat (am I the only one who thinks Pat looks a bit dodgy, 1970s dj style?)

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 06-11-2013
Business Lunch
Nice satire, the accent is spot on. But then, Pat winning X-Factor? It's a satire on homogenisation based on what is already an exercise in homogenisation. I mean, Pat has become the archetypal aspirant of a shallow capitalist society when he should really be on the picket lines defending his livelihood and one of the few remaining state-owned symbols in the great war against the corporations! I mean, Pat, how much did they pay you?!

Cripes, all a bit much for me. I'm going to put the kettle on.

Also, you might like this Breaking Pat tshirt.

Author's Reply:


You Must Remember This (posted on: 01-11-13)
Another also ran...

'It is you, isn't it?' 'Last time I looked.' 'Still a funny guy, Ri chard.' She touched her hair. 'Looks nice different.' 'Blonde is for younger people.' 'Maybe. Anyway, it suits you.' 'Really? Or are we so long ago we've got to be polite?' She smiled with one corner of her mouth. 'Polite is better than angry, most times.' 'Same old Richard. What does this year's model think of that idea?' 'Ah I'm not with anyone at the moment. You still with?' 'They call them escape-hatch affairs, what we almost had, didn't you know?' 'So who was the lucky guy?' Her lips tightened. 'Does it matter, now?' He took out two cigarettes, lit both and placed one between her lips. 'I saw that in a movie once,' he said. 'People don't do that stuff in real life.' She blew smoke over his left shoulder. Richard looked around the bar. 'Pity.' They smoked, looked into corners, down at the floor and sometimes at each other. 'No piano.' Richard sighed. 'They want those juke-boxes now. Even here.' 'Everything changes, as time goes by.' She smiled, then leaned closer and breathed. 'They still say I love you.'
Archived comments for You Must Remember This
Mikeverdi on 02-11-2013
You Must Remember This
Like the simplicity of this Ewan, perfect for me; going nowhere and yet....

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike.
Regards Ewan

Ionicus on 03-11-2013
You Must Remember This
A good one Ewan that would, in my opinion, have been suitable for the 'Phantom Antology'.


Author's Reply:
Did you find out what happened to John W?
I am surprised everything disappeared. I suppose it's due to the change in regime.
Thanks for reading and commenting Luigi
Ewan


What's in a Name? (posted on: 01-11-13)
the prompt was a real hoary old chestnut... This one didn't make it into the phantom anthology, I don't think.

It's tonight, I'm taking delivery. A deal is a deal. I really don't think Harry would have looked at her twice, had she herself not lied about her prospects. Still, that's why she came to me. We all know from the TV that Harry is no Einstein, but sometimes he makes his Uncle Andy seem intelligent. What does the girl's husband think she does locked away in that room with the laptop? The girl is a fool too though, it has to be said. Did she think it would stop at the photographs? I have clients for such photographs, of course, but such creatures' needs escalate. I can service such needs. With the help of gullible girls, naturally. His Highness remained satisfied for a while. The riches were the easy part for me, however. Inventing background in this modern age is not so easy. The fake DNA testing report was a stroke of genius, if I say so myself. I thought of using someone Mongasque, but instead opted for one of the minor Teutonic bloodlines. A long dead example, to be sure. She had to hand over some candid photographs for that. She is clueless though: this surprised me in a woman intelligent enough to pass herself off as suitable, despite origins closer to Rotten Row than Quality Street. She handed over the photos of blue-blooded soon-to-be nephews and nieces with scarcely a tremble in her hand. She had no idea what the final payment might be. None at all. Still, clandestine fertility treatment, that wasn't easy either. Evidently she explained away the visits of the doctor and his stunted, ill-favoured assistant as mere check-ups before the big day. And what a day it was. It was nothing at all to a man of my talents to acquire an invitation to the Abbey. There were far fewer dignitaries than at his brother's service only a few years before. So, a little over 8 months later, and here I am. A month or so premature, such arrivals are not uncommon. I suppose it was inevitable she would try to renege. She offered anything, rather than give him up. I must confess the alternative was my idea. Knowing she could not possibly guess makes tonight's transfer of the bundle of joy all the more delectable. Schadenfreude is too tame a word for the satisfaction that I am feeling. I insert my card into the slot and take the lift to their private apartments. She is not alone, there are two large gentlemen in the lounge. Her husband has some official duty tonight. A man I do not know sits with her laptop on his knee. He turns the screen towards me. I kick at the coffee table, the chairs and the policemen as I read the name on the screen My own.
Archived comments for What's in a Name?
deadpoet on 03-11-2013
Whats in a Name?
I hope you're not the only one who knows what this is about. I can't connect it to the prompt. Sorry. I bet it's good , as your stuff always is. I wish I knew what it was about?

Author's Reply:
'Hoary old chestnut' is an alternative for 'cliché':

The prompt was to update a fairy tale. Try to guess which one.

deadpoet on 03-11-2013
Whats in a Name?
Oh Thank you so much for telling me that Ewan- now I am wiser but I have drawn a blank- I have read it several times and pondered and pondered deeply. I'll see if anyone else catches on otherwise you'll tell me ,please? Sorry I am a bit slow- very slow.. 🙂 Does it have anything to do with Cinderella?

Author's Reply:


Non-PC (posted on: 28-10-13)
This won't be in the anthology that never was either...

There's a knack. Most things have a knack. And it's about how you dress. I wear a dress and heels. If you've got to run for it you're not doing it right, anyway. You understand, I'm sure. I have something I shouldn't have and that's the pleasure of it. Some places I don't collect from. Oxfam, for example. I don't touch the Apple Store either, for different reasons. My heart beats faster than it has since Jerry, when I'm collecting. Most things are in the lounge of my flat. On the sideboard, on the sofa, behind the sofa. There are only a few things in the spare bedroom and the bathroom. Toiletries mostly. I suppose the drill looks out of place. If it won't fit in a decent-sized handbag, I won't take it. A quality designer handbag isn't strictly necessary, but I find it helps with blending in. I actually buy mine at a retro-stall in Covent Garden. I have two or three; medium to small tote bags with a shoulderstrap. Hermes for the Burberry Arcade, a Cambridge Satchel in Bond Street. If I'm near home I use a tatty old thing with a crocheted exterior and a linen lining. Sometimes it's a risk carrying the others to the tube, but it's mostly daylight when I go on my little excursions. Jerry didn't like it, not even at the beginning, before he noticed the kitchen work-surfaces were full. I don't collect food anymore. People grow out of things, don't they? One place I won't can't - go is on Oxford Street. The sight of all those women fingering baby clothes. Anyway, that's all in the past now. It was the last straw for Jerry, the stay in hospital. Anyway, today I've got a nice bottle of Chanel in my handbag; the Hermes, actually. It's not really wrong, if you think about it. There's insurance and come on all those places make plenty of profit, whatever they're selling. Of course, my hobby is only for days off, and besides, there's no handbag issued for a WPC on patrol, we've progressed a little since then, hey?
Archived comments for Non-PC
deadpoet on 28-10-2013
Non-PC
We're all human. Nice one Ewan. Clever looking at it from a females view.

Author's Reply:
Yes, it's difficult to adopt the voice of the opposite sex, I'm not entirely sure it works.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Rab on 29-10-2013
Non-PC
Loved it, especially the twist at the end. I started off thinking the speaker was a man in drag; now there's an idea for a story...

Author's Reply:
Yes... it's hard to separate the writer from the narrator. Luckily in the competition this was in, the entries and the voting was anonymous until afterwards.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Ionicus on 29-10-2013
Non-PC
It won't be in the anthology, Ewan, but should have been. That particular publication just vanished.
Good final twist.

Author's Reply:
Yes, Luigi, it's quite a shame as I thought it would have been quite a decent book. I wonder what the story behind it all is... Never know now, I suppose.

Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


No Place Like... (posted on: 28-10-13)
this would have been in the prose anthology that never was, over on ABCtales...

'Take my camel, dear,' she said. 'You can take a short cut across the crick.' The congregation of St. Barnum's favoured unusual modes of transportation on the whole. Pastor Diggs would leave his unicycle in the dirt at the entrance to welcome the faithful. Aunt Em's suggestion was impractical, since I was only thirteen and had no camel licence. My aunt waved from her bed. 'Don't worry, I'll just stay here and speak in tongues on my own.' I pedalled my red Schwinn down Main Street, past Greenville's only bar, the Tiger's Head. My pedals turned faster in case Peter Straw called me over. My little black dog's claws rattled on the wicker of the cycle's basket. St Barnum's Evangelical Circus was outside the Greenville limits, half the town were lined up at the entrance to the tent that morning. I parked my bike by the Pastor's unicycle, the basket of a tethered balloon and a hobby horse. Animals tended to be hobbled, tied or loose in the meadow behind St Barnum's. I heard the trumpeting of the Mayor's elephant, so I clipped a lead on my dog and fastened it to the handlebars. The line had shrunk to a few latecomers. Peter Straw stared slack-mouthed at Geoff Zinnmann's stiff back. Leo Zaghafter was just going in. I popped a 1 cent candy into my mouth. Same old faces. Seeing as we'd arrived together at St Barnum's, I had to sit with these three. We'd been avoiding each other ever since Well, ever since. Pastor Oscar Diggs was in the centre of the ring. He was tying snakes together and making them look like balloons. The chorus girls behind him kicked high and sang higher. It was an old song about monkeys and row-boats. The Pastor was a small man, but the men who replaced the chorus girls, while the Pastor threatened a tiger with a short whip and a long chair, were midgets. They sang a song in tongues and out of tune. Beside me, Peter Straw's mouth was still open, Zinnmann looked unmoved by it all and Zaghafter was trembling. I stifled a yawn. I'd only come to watch Zephyr Bruja do the melting trick. People said it was all done with mirrors. If only they'd known. The show dragged on, cheap tricks and illusions. Pastor Diggs recalled the midgets to pass some very small hats. We put our coins in and said 'Praise be' as we did it. That was all. By the time I was outside Diggs was shaking hands with the congregation. His grip was soft and damp and he produced a carrot from behind my ear. I believed maybe my Aunt Em had been right to stay in bed, at h But it wasn't home. There was no place like home. I looked down at my ruby-red shoes and regretted bringing Kansas to Oz.
Archived comments for No Place Like...
franciman on 28-10-2013
No Place Like...
Hi Ewan,
Edward Lear meets Frank Kafka and they sell the film rights to Stanley Kubrik.
I loved this so much I felt I could eat it. I can see why it was chosen for the non-forthcoming ABC anthology.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Hi Jim,
I've got to admit that this has been one of my favourites. That's probably why I've never sent it out anywhere. It was written especially for the ABCTales comp that was to lead to an anthology in the same way as its poetry equivalent did.

Thanks for the fulsome praise
Ewan

Ionicus on 28-10-2013
No Place Like...
‘Don’t worry, I’ll just stay here and speak in tongues on my own.’ Brilliant.
I remeber reading it and possibly voting for it, Ewan. Strange that the whole input to the Prose Pentathlon has disappeared
from the pages of ABC. There were questions about it in the ABC's Forum but the current editor was unaware of such competition. Sherlock Holmes will investigate.

Author's Reply:
Yep, you picked out my favourite line, Luigi.
Thanks for voting for it! Yes, I wonder where all the contributions are. I've got hard and electronic copy of all of mine, but there's bound to be someone who's lost their work.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

Rab on 29-10-2013
No Place Like...
Loved it, and I would also love to have some of what you were smoking when you wrote it!



Ross

Author's Reply:
Ah, no, Ross. Never touch anything but alcohol and I was sober when I wrote it. Anything under the influence usually merits massive rewrites.
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 29-10-2013
No Place Like...
Just brilliant off the wall writing, I see you posted it under the heading 'plain daft'... bloody marvelous would have been my choice. Mike

Author's Reply:
Well, plain daft at least gives people a clue not to expect something completely straightforward.
Thanks for the compliment and for taking the time to read and comment.
Ewan

Pronto on 31-10-2013
No Place Like...
This was written on Silly Street just off Daft Dive down at the end at the end of Lunacy Lane. What a smashing write mate I really loved this it could have been written for the Goon Show. Excellent work.

Author's Reply:


Now (posted on: 25-10-13)
just a poem, of sorts.

Now is the time, to prevaricate, to hesitate to wait. Now is the time to procrastinate to meditate to wait. Now is the moment, now is the hour now is the time. Now thank we all our God s with guns and bombs and missiles. Now is the present. Now is then in just a moment's time. Now does not rhyme with 'know'. Now does not rhyme with 'sow', except sometimes it does. Now is the immediate present and immediately too. Now has already passed in the time it takes to write it out. Now is the day they say that we should seize. Now is, until it was.
Archived comments for Now
Bozzz on 26-10-2013
Now
This puts every poet in their place. All we can say is now is was - as yesterday rather than last week. But instant brain transmission across the ether will come - what then? Be afraid....David

Author's Reply:
We're all afraid... maybe that's good.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

stormwolf on 27-10-2013
Now
Hi Ewan
I liked the short lines which highlighted perfectly the subject matter. I have been trying for ages to live in the 'now' Apparently it is the way to happiness. We could turn ourselves inside out trying to make sense of time and realize it is not linear but every time I think I have grasped it, it sinks away again. I am havering now 😉
Alison x

Author's Reply:
Yep, that's exactly how it is. Zeno's paradox is not so daft after all.

Thanks for reading and commenting, Alison
Ewan


Guiris (posted on: 25-10-13)
Guiris are foreigners, nowadays. Years ago, under Franco, Guiris were the Guardia Civil, who were always stationed far from their home town, which tells us something, I suppose.

At The Black Horse and The Frog and Toad, at either end of the Malaga Road, Guiris drink, and savour whines. They're short of money and short of breath, dancing along to a sunlit-death, Guiris think the pueblo smiles at their drunken, dancing daze, shouting at Spaniards' peculiar ways. Guiris smile at vacant girls. On dark streets, in narrow alleys, on brown-scorched hills, in dried-up valleys Guiris shrink from rarer birds. At liquid lunch or dinner time, discussing an expat's latest crime, Guiris sink in damning words. At The Frog and Toad and The Black Horse, between the meat and dessert course, Guiris blink at well-cast pearls.
Archived comments for Guiris
kcgee on 25-10-2013
Guiris
Having spent a few years on and off living in Gran Canaria and Lanzarote, I can relate to this. Excellent observations and one of the reasons why I choose not to go 'home.'

Author's Reply:
Yep, I feel insulted and know that there is justification at the same time.
thank you for reading and commenting
Ewan

Bozzz on 26-10-2013
Guiris
Ewan, I like this poem very much. It captures the scene beautifully, is structured elegantly and has excellent flow and rhyming...great work.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your very generous comment.
Regards
Ewan

Hekkus on 27-10-2013
Guiris
A poem with a nice, bouncing rhythm that doesn't stop it being very perceptive. It's noticeable that holidaymakers and expats are seldom truly welcomed where they go: in a lot of cases, understandably.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I've experienced this in many countries. It makes a difference reaching a reasonable level with the indigenous language. Perhaps that's why I've been happiest in Spain and Germany. Being a service brat, there never has been anywhere in the UK that I would call 'home', whatever that means.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan


Never to Be Told (posted on: 21-10-13)
...

Mrs Szarka cleans and gleans the details of the owners' lives - lives for private, hidden things - sings an ancient Magyar chant. perchance she finds a crumpled note. ''The paper in my pocket has a secret written on it. The moment in my memory is etched upon my heart.'' Mr Wilson lives alone, known as someone quite reserved in fact, fictive phone calls, empty letters, utters half-forgotten Latin tags. Bags of dresses under the stairs. 'Mr Big, five hundred pounds, bamboo cane and trousers down. Mr Small, Platinum Card, dressing up will make him hard.' Orla Urquhart's honeyed money smelling of her clients wealth, self-absorbed in shoes and stones, moans a swooning, sexual sigh; eyes like glistening river-bones. 'Watch me dust with a feather, blow the cobwebs, flapped away: tidy, tidy keep the precious paper secrets found today.' Mrs Szarka knows and shows no secrets from any fool or lover. Others might seek easy profit, prophets without treasure's honour. She is silent, still, the seventh magpie.
Archived comments for Never to Be Told
Mikeverdi on 22-10-2013
Never to Be Told
Read this about five times now...think I have it. Great inventive writing (as usual). Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Mike, it must be you who's keeping my read count up!
Regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 23-10-2013
Never to Be Told
Seen six for gold, but never seen seven except in a cage prior to the chop - perhaps that's why the secret is never told - it never happened. The piece - dodgy situation, delightful write - thanks Ewan.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. It's odd what provokes people to write, isn't it? I saw a couple of magpies and saluted whilst out for a walk that morning and the old rhyme came into my head.

bo_duke99 on 23-10-2013
Never to Be Told
very richly textured

Author's Reply:
Thanks for saying so and for reading,
regards
Ewan


When the Waters Came (posted on: 21-10-13)
Paris, 1910

From the balcony I saw a lone shoe floating, tacking from gutter to gutter, until it was becalmed on books escaped from the sinking library. A policeman in a boat wished for traffic to direct or even a tourist to guide hotel-ward. And still it rained, as it had poured all winter, from metal-grey skies patterned with black thunderheads. I made a paper boat from hotel stationery and dropped it into the current, with 'I Love You' on the prow.
Archived comments for When the Waters Came
Bozzz on 23-10-2013
When the Waters Came
Beautiful and sparse writing, Ewan, but perhaps not the most tactful offering in a flood situation? Oh, it's Paris - ah well ....David

Author's Reply:
Hahaha... thanks for making me laugh, we are mean to the French aren't we? They deserve it though, don't they?
Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan

bo_duke99 on 23-10-2013
When the Waters Came
I'd sail that boat if the rides as smooth as the above

Author's Reply:
Thanks for a delightful compliment
regards
Ewan


Embassy Kings (posted on: 18-10-13)
no layers, self-explanatory. Raven (archaic) verb. raven, v. (ˈrv(ə)n) [Ravven - if you like] 1.1 trans. To take (goods) away by force; to seize or raven, v.

Chelsea boots, leather jackets, spot-and-stubble faces, wallets full of crumpled fivers, won at Hexham races. The smoke just blurs their too-dark eyes, their lips will part in lies. Hanging from the waltzer's bar, we raven on their words, we'll get into their rusting car and let them call us birds. Mini-skirts, crochet handbags, concealer-covered faces, purses full of secret things, meant for secret places. The shine is in their too-kohled eyes, they'll listen to our lies. For we are raggle-taggle boys, and they are of the town, seduced by all the fairground noise, and fags at half-a-crown.
Archived comments for Embassy Kings
Mikeverdi on 18-10-2013
Embassy Kings
Even when your weird your'e brilliant Ha Ha!

Author's Reply:

franciman on 18-10-2013
Embassy Kings
Ewan, I really like the structure and the repeat to start both stanzas. Evocative and still understated.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 18-10-2013
Embassy Kings
Knew me when I was younger, did you?

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 20-10-2013
Embassy Kings
Ah, birds in miniskirts and cigarettes at half-a-crown. I remember them well. A cheeky and nostalgic piece. Liked it.

Author's Reply:


Northern Dream (posted on: 18-10-13)
Prose Challenge: Short, short, short.

Dreams are necessary, they say. There are many kinds of dreams: good and bad. Some say we need the nightmares to balance what the Spanish call 'ilusiones'. Some nightmares are too horrible to be balanced with anything. We of the North might call these 'ilusiones' ambitions - or even pipe-dreams. The quartermaster told me that. He speaks Spanish, so we got some extra rations from the Peruvian Navy on the way out of Callao. I remember looking back at the Captain of the 'Guardia del Rio' as he cast us off. He was shaking his head. The Leader dreamt; he dreamt the past. He dreamt the past after the last great nightmare. I had felt sick when I read about the ovens. Thank God they never got the heavy water. Gunnarside made me proud. Perhaps the balsa wood raft will make us proud too. Vision: maybe that is another word for 'ilusion'. I'm not sure if we all shared The Leader's. We picked up the Humboldt immediately: 'CQ, CQ From Lima 12 Bravo: Riding the Humboldt Current: Relay to Lima Alpha Embassy, Out.' There were answers. Sometimes I took the mike, sometimes Torvald did. The hand cranks were tiring and the batteries did not last long. I began having the dream on the seventh night out. For the first week I took the dog watches, so my sleep remained undisturbed in my down hours. The second week The Leader himself took them and I was not so lucky for the remainder of the voyage . The voices in my dreams were basso-profundo. The songs they sang had no words. I had always heard music in dreamland, but not like this. As we sailed west the crew spoke less. The Leader issued no orders beyond the obvious. The Humboldt bore us towards our destination, perhaps there was no need. The parrot was most diverting, for two weeks. I toyed with the idea of teaching it to sing 'Oleanna' but the parrot preferred to curse in Aymara or Spanish. We crew were not told where The Leader had come by the bird. I suspect the Captain of the Guardian Rios had given it to him as a prank.. The voices in my dream came from the earth: the hills, the mountains, the valleys, the plains, the ground, the soil. The land sang to me as we crossed the sea. When there was nothing to see but the horizon wherever we turned, I fancied I heard the voices whilst awake. They seemed fainter, but perhaps they were not there at all. When the quartermaster had to repeat things to me, I made no mention of it. Everyone had brought a diary and at least one book to read, save Winzinger. He brought several notebooks and nothing at all to read. He spent his waking hours in observation and annotation. What he found to scribble about beyond sea-birds and the effects of salt, sun and wind on human skin, I could not imagine. My own book was a collection of the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe. There was a fight between Winzinger and the Quartermaster at one point. Winzinger was using a portion of his rations in the hope of luring the Albatross. The vast bird had been following us for a few days. We were bombarded by petrels for two days before Winzinger was persuaded to the Quartermaster's view. The Leader said nothing, just stared out at the featureless Ocean. 'How did the petrels find us?' I asked Winzinger. 'Their sense of smell.' 'They can smell corned-beef from such a distance?' 'No,' he said. 'They can smell us.' The Albatross continued to fly overhead, all the way to the other side of the horizon. Perhaps Winzinger noted in his book that the Albatross did not care for corned beef. One night, when the unfamiliar stars were out and the moon was full of water, we talked about the war. Daggesson, the Swede, did not say much. The Leader said resistance was a cold business in Finnmark. Torvald was so proud of the Tirpitz operation. I looked out of the water and thought of the 1000 sailors drowned off Hkya Island. My fellow radio-operator told us a story. 'It was not much more than a hut. The officer billeted in the main house was a Colonel. Alta did not boast many suitable residences and so he complained less than might be expected. Like most of the Germans, he liked to know his position. Thankfully, Mrs Hendersson kept him happy. The aerial for his HF equipment stood like a flagpole in the garden to the rear. I buried the cable between it and my suitcase radio two feet under the hard earth. The SOE thought they knew everything: I hid the suitcase under a mound of sacks behind the hoes, rakes and shovels. At least I was Mrs Hendersson's gardener and I had reason to be in the shed although not at 3 a.m. 'One quiet night, I was keying a message, an NTR. I heard a CQ: I tapped out the encrypted R, the code book was open at the page, although I did not need it by that time. The message was in clear. I wrote the letters on the pad. 'B-E-L-S-E-N' 'A-U-S-C-H-W-I-T-Z' 'D-A-C-H-A-U' There were a dozen words on the pad. The thirteenth began 'T-R-E..' before the transmission broke off. I listened for the rest of the night, but there was no more. Nor did I hear anything like it again.' The six of us looked out over the water. 'We know these names now,' Torvald said. The others nodded. The Leader cleared his throat. 'Resistance is a difficult business.' Those off-watch turned to, I stayed awake with The Leader and resigned myself to my own company. At 2 in the morning, about an hour before we were to be relieved by the Quartermaster and Winzinger, The Leader offered me his flask.. It was aquavit, sharp and strong. 'Do you hear them?' He asked. 'Who?' 'You know,' he took a sip from the flask himself. I looked down at my flashlight, clicked the button two or three times. The beam bounced off the wet tarpaulin. 'I'm afraid I don't,' I shone the torchbeam over the water. Maybe a fish leapt through it. 'Well I hear them too,' he said and he looked to the stern. 'I'll check the compass.' A few days later we spotted land. According to Winzinger it was the Puka Puka atoll. It could have been Serendib or the land of Prester John for all most of us knew. The leader looked perturbed, but said nothing. We ran aground after 101 days and my dreams stopped. The Leader mentioned them a final time as we waited on the reef for rescue. 'It was the Mo'ai,' he said, and perhaps that was true.
Archived comments for Northern Dream
bluepootle on 18-10-2013
Northern Dream
Some beautiful writing here. It's very atmospheric. A great historical context. And the idea of the singing in the dreams, that it could come from the statues, that's really powerful stuff. Yeah. I really enjoyed this.

Author's Reply:
High praise indeed. Thank you.

franciman on 18-10-2013
Northern Dream
Absolutely compelling. I love the almost seamless way you link such seemingly small connections.
Sharp contrasts between the two ethnic characteristics; Nordic and Latino.
The sense of being adrift in a featureless world comes across powerfully even between the lines.
It just works...
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
It's something about all that space, nothing on the horizon, I think, that's why the SF route was so tempting, and I did almost take it myself.

Thanks Jim.

OldPeculier on 18-10-2013
Northern Dream
Very powerful. I thought it was going off on a bit of a bit of a predictable loneliness/dreams/voices tangent but it snapped right back with the incomming radio messages.

Cant think of anything to add. It is pretty much spot on as it is.

Interesting that you were not the only one to use rogue radio messages.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment.

Yes, although the golden days of ham radio are long gone, save for a few enthusiasts... there's something romantic about a voyage like that being tracked by men in sheds... and about men in other sheds tracking warships. I'm not surprised someone else chose to look into that.

Thanks again OP
Ewan

mageorge on 18-10-2013
Northern Dream
Ewan, thank you so much for showing us all how it's done!
Wow!

Bowing gracefully,
Mark.

Author's Reply:
Ah, no, I think you need to look elsewhere for that, but I'm pleased you liked it.

Cheers,
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 18-10-2013
Northern Dream
Its all been said before I got here, but their right you know; it really is very good. Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike,
you are very kind.
Ewan

Rab on 19-10-2013
Northern Dream
Excellent, and meriting the nomination. It seemed at times to have a rythm like the sea, and you brought home the feeling of drifting, the boredom and the dream-like quality of it.

Ross

Author's Reply:

JackCrowe on 20-10-2013
Northern Dream
Yes I agree. The piece rolled along, its mood reflected the environment in which it was being played out in. Well written.

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 21-10-2013
Northern Dream
Short, perhaps, but sweet. Some excellent writing, the understated details really lifting it up. The Leader remaining unnamed, that throw-away reference to Edgar Allen Poe, the flirting with portentous symbols in the albatross etc. Even the subtle characterisation of the Albatross.

I confess it made me feel a bit dense (had to look up mo'ai for one) but that's my problem. OP is right as well, it does feel like a spell or a dream in places. It's a timeless drift really, something happening in another world - which it is compared to the radio messages. I hadn't even considered that they were rafting across the Pacific whilst the rest of the world was recovering from war.

Good stuff, basically.

Author's Reply:


It Is Written (posted on: 14-10-13)
... badly. 🙂

'It is written.' The words emerged from a full beard. Eyes of Estonian blue watched me without interest or despite. 'Where?' I asked. 'Where men may read it, Bismillah.' He would have smiled, once. His thawb was dirty at the hem and stained about the chest. Where there was no dirt there was dust. Not the dust of the desert, the dust of urban streets and long roads between towns. Between the last town and this one: where we had both used to live. The ghutra and igal were folded neatly on the up-turned tea-chest in the corner of the small room. The white cloth was clean and caught the light coming through the broken window. I looked up at him, twisting my neck to the side. It had taken some time to regain a sitting position after I had fallen. He'd made a good job of tying me up.The rope had come with him in his rucksack, which still looked bulky. His hair was less blond, perhaps since it saw less daylight now. He smiled, not the baring of film-star teeth that I remembered. A grim slash of thinned lips, 'it has been a long time, ya achi.' 'Not long enough.' He slapped my face. An unmanly thing to do - I remembered the wrestling of boys fighting over a game of marbles and fists forty-to-the-dozen over girls and less important things. He stepped back from me, looked over my shoulder at nothing I could remember worth looking at. 'And not for much longer,' I watched him sigh and wondered if the mark of Cain would be upon him when it was over. Of course he did not believe in the Word of that particular God. Not now. I had not expected to see him again. He'd looked dead by the side of the road, I'd had responsibilities. The rest of them were unhurt. There might have been another IED or a sniper. It was a long way from a Basra side street, but revenge had brought him home. The bond between twins is always strong. ************************************************************** He sits there, on the floor, the fool. It is all that I can do not to kick him. At least he has not begged, nor has he reasoned with me. He knows it will do no good. His blue eyes have faded with the years. I tell him it is written, and he makes a stupid joke. I give the answer I have learned to give. His suit looks expensive, although the trip to this place has been hard on it.There is blood on a knee: I can see it through the tear in the trousers. I'm sure he knows that does not matter. He remained unconscious while I tied him. I see him looking at the rucksack. He will find out soon enough what it contains. His hair is still as short as we both had it once, though there is grey in it now. I smile at him, 'It has been a long time, my brother.' Another joke: I slap him for it, as though he were a child. For he has not grown up, he is as much for possessions and himself as when we both were climbing trees and chasing the unchaste. I look over his shoulder at the damp and cracked plaster on the wall. I give a sigh and tell him it won't be for much longer. I silently commend him to the One True God. It is certain he believes I am here for revenge. He must have thought me dead. The rest of the patrol left me by that Basra road and I thank the thousand names for it. This time my brother will die - and in my place, as soon as I get the contents of the rucksack around his torso.
Archived comments for It Is Written
franciman on 15-10-2013
It Is Written
Hi Ewan,
I liked this. It lead me to a place without pointing out the landmarks. A good thing in my view. For some strange reason it brought the former Cat Stevens to mind! Anyhow, loved the atmospherics but thought the writing was rushed and lacked polish. Then again, I think you know that?
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
You may find it more satisfying now. I do, a little.
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

franciman on 15-10-2013
It Is Written
Hi Ewan,
Yes it works. Think it was always meant to be two-sided.
Well done,
Jim

Author's Reply:


Chinese Boxes (posted on: 11-10-13)
Vraiment, Andr, vous tes trs prtentieux!

I am writing this poem about someone reading a poem about someone writing yet another poem. You are reading this poem about someone writing a poem about someone reading yet another poem. The poems are the same: we are all counterfeiters, fakes, frauds and mountebanks -readers and writers both.
Archived comments for Chinese Boxes
deadpoet on 11-10-2013
Chinese Boxes
It's not only about poets...

Author's Reply:


Southbound Train (posted on: 11-10-13)
poem with a refrain... not to everyone's taste, I'm sure.

When I hear the rumours, that word-of-mouthful truth, I'll pack up childish wishes - and take the train to the South. When the rain falls in sluices and it's they that wet my cheek, I'll leave the northern sadness - and take the train to the South. When my heart is broken by the Snow Queen's icy shard I'll rub my smarting, piping eye - and take the train to the South. When I am still dreaming, before the waking, crying part, I'll bid farewell politely - and take the train to the South. When I give up waiting, and know you're really gone, I'll bless those too-short moments - and take the train to the South.
Archived comments for Southbound Train
deadpoet on 11-10-2013
Southbound Train
Thanks for the train ride. I'll remember this.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 11-10-2013
Southbound Train
First class ticket I hope. If it's a woman, stay. Northerners make better wives. If it's the weather, then "Poets of the Northern hemisphere temperate zones unite". Enjoyed....David..

Author's Reply:


A Place in the Sun (posted on: 04-10-13)
Words with rhythm and alliteration arranged according to random whim...

Dreamt-of-days under sub-tropical skies: against the high blue all birds are black - even the pretty-in-pink flamingos bound for salt flats in Cyprus. Autumn creeps in, held at bay by sunny days two-at-a-time, between storms and bluster. No-one expects sunshine to last forever and the kingfisher days will disappear. Sun glints from lenses high on the mirador, for once I do not think of field glasses, but plain binoculars, seeking migrant birds, following flights with earthbound jealousy.
Archived comments for A Place in the Sun
RustyBrother on 04-10-2013
A Place in the Sun
Good one, Ewan. This one really works and certainly describes the weather in this country at the moment 🙂
A series of images which makes the reader think: you give but don't complete and therefore the reader is included in the creative process. Well done!
All the best,
Reuben

Author's Reply:
Thanks Reuben, a hot day today in the South. I'm not a great fan of spelling everything out: either in poetry or prose fiction. I know that not everyone agrees with that philosophy and that's fine with me.
thanks for reading
Ewan

amman on 05-10-2013
A Place in the Sun
I'll go along with Reuben's comments here, Ewan. I like the waywardness, the alliteration/proliferation of b and s words and hyphens. Thought provoking and clever. By the by, the spring weather is beautiful here.
Cheers.
Tony.

Author's Reply:
The land of the long-white cloud is my brother's favourite place: he was a Merchant Naval officer for 30 years. It's his lottery win paradise, he says.

Thanks for reading and commenting
Ewan


Guilt (posted on: 30-09-13)
Some evil is beyond comprehension...

I am the oldest woman for 100 miles. My papers say I am 96. That is wrong by a decade, but none will believe it. Papers have power. Young people I meet them from time to time say the web is more powerful, but I disagree. A piece of paper washed the blackest character clean, more than half my lifetime ago. Paper condemned 6,000,000 to death in a few short years. Have you seen it? I'm sure it's reproduced in facsimile in that Great Nowhere that is on-line: a very boring document. Banal, you might say, although someone already has. My papers are a construct, as am I. A social construct: society believes that Rosie Guildenstern exists, that the 'I' that I 'therefore am' is a 96-year-old resident of Golders Green of Sudeten Deutsch extraction. A lie: the construct does not mention the Sudetenland it no longer exists. The papers say Czech-German. Rosie Guildenstern was on other papers, a long time ago. On a list in fact. Lists are dangerous things. Lists of names can be fatal. Your name on a list could mean torture, death or experiments, once upon a time, long ago and far away. A young Doctor made a list in that long ago time. She played the woman in the Gingerbread House for many young girls and boys with dark hair and bold noses in their wide-eyed faces. There were no breadcrumbs in the Polish forests and there were no woodcutters, not for these children. Of course I did not feel sorry for them. I wish we could have published the findings. Our reports would have advanced medical science at ten times the rate. Besides, nothing to show for children that their grandparents must have missed. No paper for the theory, just the lists for the practical experiments. So it was not science: no paper, no proof. The paper chart at the end of my bed is annotated 'GPO' and 'CTD'. I do not think they believe I worked for the Post Office many years ago. However, I do not think that any of my body parts would save anyone. As for the other, I have been circling the drain for the past year. I wish the water would leave the tub faster. Six months ago I wrote to the Center in New York. They have a web-site and e-mails: the research students explain these things to Rosie Guildenstern when they are sent by the University. I tell them my family was not 'frumm' which is true since we came from Munich. I do not know if Rosie Guildenstern, her twin boys or her Oma, Opa and husband were 'frumm'. But my construct is not 'frumm', I have never entered the synagogue and never will. I told the students I had to write a letter to the Wiesenthal, that there had to be papers. The letter contains everything. All there is to know about a construct called 'Dr Ilse'. Some of the science too. That is why I wrote to them, to explain. It was science medical science. I feel guilty because I ran away. I still feel guilty that I could not tell them at Nrnberg. About the science.
Archived comments for Guilt
Weefatfella on 30-09-2013
Guilt
 photo 89f4a5d0-5f15-4509-881e-443a08debcc5_zps272a8411.jpg
Aye Ewan, there were and still are, too many ways to corrupt.
People will make excuses and tell themselves all manner of lies to appease their conscience.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

cooky on 01-10-2013
Guilt
The cream of this weeks offerings. Life and death, truth and lies all flowing from the pen. Perhaps the pen is mightier than the sword, mightier than even God perhaps.
Top quality writing.

Author's Reply:

Buschell on 02-10-2013
Guilt
Evil en masse has to first gain acceptance by the people...it is the way that some gain this acceptance and the folk too lazy to ask questions that harbour the darkest qualities....really succinct take on something that clearly disturbs you...me and anyone else who refuses to go blindly into the night...short, sharp, shocking....

Author's Reply:


The Rook-Coat King (posted on: 27-09-13)
aleg...allegg... allegorr... It's not about birds.

A blackbird told a carrion crow, while a raven whispered to me: 'The king will come in a coat of rooks from across the Starlit Sea. He'll sail in a ship of cypress-wood, with a cargo of ichorous tea.' The raven carried on in a croaking song smothered in malice and glee: 'The king will burn all the knowledge in books so that Albion cannot be. There'll be a plague and famine too, and the wars will number three.' The Raven flapped twice with spavined wings and flew to the poisoned tree. I shot it through with a flaming bolt for the Rook-Coat King was me.
Archived comments for The Rook-Coat King
deadpoet on 28-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
For a poem not about birds there sure are a lot of birds mentioned. Great rhythm and a colourful poem.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting. It's still not about birds.

Andrea on 28-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
'Allegorical' yeah, that's the one 🙂

'spavined' - jeez

'ichorous' - jeez even more (an ethereal fluid flowing in the veins of the gods)

One need to be a scholar to read your stuff 🙂 But I love it anyway!

Author's Reply:
Not a scholar, just interested enough to bother finding out. I don't think that much of what is published today is the way it is because readers' intelligence is underestimated - just their curiosity.

Thanks for reading and commenting. 🙂

amman on 28-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
The very best I've read for a while. I just wish I had the talent to have written this. Scholarly or not and requiring a patient analysis, just brilliant. Bravo.

Cheers.

Tony.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for a very generous comment and rating Tony, but more especially for your continued support.
regards
Ewan

cooky on 29-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
A marvellous write which allows the reader to give their own meaning. For me the Rook-coat king could easily be JFk or even Kruschov during the missile. Hitler waiting to invade England also comes to mind. That is my take on this.

Author's Reply:
Yes, a formula for the number N meanings might be

N = W + R

where W is the writer's meaning X the number of Eliot's layers (>7) and R is the number of readers.

No, seriously, there are always at least two meanings : what the writer wants to say and what the reader understands him to have said. Thanks for commenting and the generous rating.

regards Ewan

Ionicus on 29-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
No time nor the patience to analyse this at moment. Just enjoying the rhythm and musicality of this clever LewisCarroll-sounding riddle.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 29-09-2013
The Rook-Coat King
I've just read it again. I see what Luigi means. It reminds me of Poe, too.

Author's Reply:

JohnHolmes on 01-10-2013
The Rook-Coat King
Oh my! Do you have a gift for writing señor, for I have it that such an occupation is one of honorificabilitudinitatibus. I also have it that Santa Claus is one for gifts as you yourself are - did Santa inspire you regarding your gifts, and are any of your gifts literary? Do you do gift-wrapping? : )

Author's Reply:
What a vile and supercilious person you are.

JohnHolmes on 02-10-2013
The Rook-Coat King
Senor, (I trust this to be the correct form of address given your location.)

Allow me to quote you:

"Thanks for reading and commenting, Mr Dodgson."
"You know, with your cod-archaic inversions, you could almost be Hereward Taft. Consider yourself insulted."
"What a vile and supercilious person you are."
"Read the comments under this, is John Holmes a prick? Perhaps his pseudonym is indic(k)ative." (On Twitter)

1. You are wrong to cast aspersions upon my identity. My name is John Holmes and is NOT a pseudonym nor nom-de-plume.

2. You would be advised to note that I have commented on only two of your submissions - "A Fugitive Joy" (9/92013) which I rated as 10 and nominated for the Anthology. The other; "The Rook-Coat King. If you read my initial comment on your piece you will note that I refer to the Rook-Coat King (being "yourself") slaying the raven. Therefore there is no allusion to "yourself".

3. In my opinion, for a writer to say their work is "my gift to you" is again, in my opinion, rather embarrassing. Note, that is my opinion.

4. The comment you posted/tweeted on Twitter "...is John Holmes a prick? Perhaps his pseudonym is indic(k)ative." are grounds to have you removed from this website with regard to Forum Rules.

5. You go on to say "What a vile and supercilious person you are." It is my opinion that you have brought yourself down with your comments both on UKAuthors and Twitter and that others may hold that you are the one who is vile and supercilious.

6. For openness and transparency, I have brought this matter to the attention of Andrea. I look forward to your expulsion for you fastened the noose around your own neck and signed your own death warrant (so to speak) by your own hand with your false, ill-judged, misinformed obloquy.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 02-10-2013
The Rook-Coat King
Please continue this confrontation in private. No-one else is interested in reading it.

Author's Reply:


Seaside Postcard from an Inland Town (posted on: 27-09-13)
...

 photo 6187dd8c-6b98-4b73-8d6e-5af96ffa5fea_zps579a7aa9.jpg The buckets are full of builder's sand and the bitches are all speyed. Not one hat says, 'Kiss me, quick!' - no muffin-tops displayed. A tourist has her flip-flops on; a widow watches aghast - her dress is a moor-black burqa, hiding colours from her past. The ice-cream comes from parlours, they pan-fry frozen fish, the mountains halt the cooling breeze as we make the sweat-drenched wish: 'Oh, to be in England, now that summer's here - to feel the rain upon our neck and taste the too-warm beer.'
Archived comments for Seaside Postcard from an Inland Town
Andrea on 27-09-2013
Seaside Postcard from an Inland Town
Haha, nice one. I loved up in Ojén for about 6 months years ago. I expect it's much bigger now. Always overcast and cloudy, while down below we could seen the sun shining on the beach 🙂

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 29-09-2013
Seaside Postcard from an Inland Town
Makes a change from the 'I wish you were here' type of message. A nostalgic longing for one's motherland, rain and warm beer notwithstanding.
Good one Ewan.

Author's Reply:


A Run Ashore (posted on: 23-09-13)
for everyone who's ever done things as foolish...

old mugsy's sailors

In some bars there's a knife-fight fragrance of metal and blood and ammoniacal fear: you can be in Lagos, Lampedusa or little Longyan. Crack open a bottle of icy, expensive, imported beer, throw the lemon to the floor amongst the cigarettes and losing lottery tickets. Wink at the hostesses, stare down the pimps, back to the open door your eyes on the jacques. In some bars, there's a knife-fight fragrance, but sometimes you can bring it with you.
Archived comments for A Run Ashore


Andrea on 23-09-2013
A Run Ashore
Hope you don't mine, Ewan, but I put your (lovely!) pic on top of the piece rather than the description box, as pics on/in there tend to slow up the 'Latest 50' page, as well as taking up a lot of room.

Done plenty of foolish things in my time, but no knife fights 🙂

Author's Reply:
Not at all, I didn't realise it would cause problems...
No knife fights, but I was on the wrong end of baseball bats in Limassol in Cyprus not so very long ago.


The Year's Hinge (posted on: 20-09-13)
nothing much...

Over the mountains hangs a turquoise sky, beyond the sierra roars the surf-flecked sea. Here in the valley the green turns to brown, and the tarmac melts in the impassible sun. In one short month, they will come, the rain and storms, whilst the scumbling, scudding clouds will seize the blue and hide it for as long as they dare. And there will be October days laved in golden light, as warm as the colour of serotinal leaves before they finally fall. I will sit and gaze at the horizon of hills and sierras, and sip at fino sherry.
Archived comments for The Year's Hinge
deadpoet on 20-09-2013
The Years Hinge
It's nice to get an insight into Autumn other places around the world. Thanks- I enjoyed this.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 20-09-2013
The Years Hinge
It feels like poetry - so well written that it ought to qualify - and yet be beautiful as the brilliant prose piece that it is. I salute.... David

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 21-09-2013
The Years Hinge
I'm with you on that sherry;-) Great poem, by the way; masterfully penned.

Tina

Author's Reply:

pommer on 22-09-2013
The Years Hinge
Well written . Congratulation. Pommer.

Author's Reply:


Dog Days (posted on: 16-09-13)
only a poem...

There are well-remembered summers, full of dog-days and daisy-covered lawns: heliacal descents described as shepherd's glee or the late vermillion by older minds. The lace on the football is the true memory of the boy with odd socks and odder boots, playing on the grown-ups' pitch, until 10 o'clock by the church bells. A boy who didn't know the word sothic, or that Romans killed a red dog to keep their summers cool. A man whose eternal southings washed him up in Iberia to keep his winters warm.
Archived comments for Dog Days
deadpoet on 16-09-2013
Dog Days
Pure genius..makes me think of Hemingway- just does some way or other..I'm so glad this got nibbed- it deserves it in full measure IMO.

Author's Reply:

roger303 on 19-09-2013
Dog Days
You seem to be getting the hang of this poetry lark.
Outstanding.
Roger

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 19-09-2013
Dog Days
You never disappoint Ewan, agree with the others. Mike

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 19-09-2013
Dog Days
We do do this, don't we, brood about our youth? Enjoyed this, Ewan. Cheers, Gerald.

Author's Reply:


The Poor Poet (posted on: 16-09-13)
You can't see it, but it's there...

 photo f3e7e41a-6bb7-4ed6-ad2e-0c6e2d162e2f_zpsa8f50254.jpg There, in the corner. Under the eaves, where else? That which lies between. There is more shadow than light in this particular garret. Spitzweg has painted this room, although I do not find my own depiction flattering. Besides, I do not own an umbrella. I have books though: hundreds perhaps as many as a thousand if one were to count the sheaves of paper that I have covered in my own garrulity. My eyes are undimmed by any great age, for I have not attained Methuselah's years nor even those of Moses. However, I cannot see what lurks in the dark , between the semi-lucent spaces. I care not, save that a writer must concentrate and distractions are fatal to the muse. Even so, I know that there are no hob-goblins, sprites or fae-folk in the world known and unknown. Nothing exists save the empirical, and such things as can be sensed may be open to existential doubt. There are no sheets on the bed. They cover the window and the door. I read by candlelight. These are more details that the dauber Spitzweg has glossed over. He painted sheets outside the window: perhaps this is a metaphor. The open book at my left hand is Hoffman. I met him once, near the end of his life. He told me that Kapellmeister Kreisler was based on a real person. I told him we were all based on real people. His laugh was a prelude to a wracking fit of coughing. The papers in my hand rustle, disturbed by a draught from somewhere. Certainly not from the window where the sheet hangs like a shroud. The script on the paper is bold, assertive and neat. The writing is base, digressive and nave. I filled these vellum sheets yesterday or last year, I don't remember. Sufficient to say that I have written nothing since Well, since the sheets were nailed over the window and door, after the dark corners began to hint at movement. There is a knock at the door, but I do not rise, merely shout 'Lass es dort.' She will. Frau Stutzkrimmel does not care to enter my room now, and I do not mind that the broth gets cold and the bread grows hard. Today, as every day, I will get half way to the door and in a corner, under the eaves I will glimpse it: I will stop and stare at where the thing has been but no longer is. It is no wonder that there is no heat in the meagre soup, but I do not care. Usually I remain standing back against the door to eat. At the door or in the bed are the best places to observe. It takes as long to take the Nachttopf from its cupboard and place it outside the door as it does to collect my soup, of course. I do not sleep. Or rather, no more than momentarily. Herr Doktor Schlitters prescribed laudanum, but I do not take it. If I sleep, I may miss the opportunity to identify my visitor although I should call it my guest. For it is always here. Today will be the day, I know it. I will encounter it, face it, and at last I will be able to write again.
Archived comments for The Poor Poet
Weefatfella on 16-09-2013
The Poor Poet
 photo 89f4a5d0-5f15-4509-881e-443a08debcc5_zps272a8411.jpg
Brilliant, Just so!
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 16-09-2013
The Poor Poet
Slightly wide - but much enjoyed!

Author's Reply:

cooky on 17-09-2013
The Poor Poet
A captivating write confirming we are all human wrestling with our fears . The writer will always strive to explain this world which lives in the shadows To put the moment of clarity down on paper less our thoughts we forget.

Author's Reply:

OldPeculier on 18-09-2013
The Poor Poet
Love it.

Author's Reply:

Zoya on 19-09-2013
The Poor Poet
Lovely compact piece of work!
Zoya

Author's Reply:


Throw the Blade in the Water (posted on: 13-09-13)
...

When the crown slips and the smiling knife slides under the Prince's oxter, he'll throw the blade in the water. If the moon laughs, when the howling dog bites jewels from his master, he'll throw the blade in the water. As the stone shrieks and the shining sword slays bastards and their sister, he'll throw the blade in the water. When the witch smiles and the cuckold king mouths curses at Lent and Easter, he'll throw the blade in the water. If the wizard fails when the last attempt spells plague and cold disaster, he'll throw the blade in the water. As the battle ends and night-spilled blood fills wounds that rot and fester, he'll throw the blade in the water. As the barque floats on a shimmering lake, knights stand like cold pilaster: let's throw the blade in the water.
Archived comments for Throw the Blade in the Water
RustyBrother on 14-09-2013
Throw the Blade in the Water
Very good review of the end of Arthur, but I rather think you're talking just as much about the current situation. Very good use of imagery in an area where it would have been all too easy to slip into stock phrases. You crossed that minefield very successfully. Congrats!

Reuben

Author's Reply:
That's interesting: for me, this is the least good of the poems you have commented on recently. I'm glad you picked up on the topical aspect.

I am very interested in what repetition and near repetition can do with poetry.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

roger303 on 15-09-2013
Throw the Blade in the Water
Masterly.

Author's Reply:


A Fugitive Joy (posted on: 09-09-13)
It is what it ... isn't - like a cut-out or a silhouette.

'A fugitive joy in the afterglow is all that we might expect: it may be more than wonderful, it could be somewhat less.' Screwing the paper into a ball, he threw it towards the hearth and missed,which felt as good as a milestone. 'No more greetings card rhyming,' he thought. Then he calmly broke the pen and all the pencils. The notebooks burned as well as kindling, crackled like the dialogue did not. He thought about The Tinder Box, but would not summon the dogs. Bezdomny tried to read the words in the smoke as it drifted and rose, but they had changed to cursive Arabic - and all the writing that ever was, that ever had been, was suddenly the writing that would never be - unless he began again.
Archived comments for A Fugitive Joy

No comments archives found!
Spoiled (posted on: 09-09-13)
I forget who turned this one down...

They say that no-one knows how to wear a hat nowadays. It is a fact that no-one does, or has for years, except, perhaps, actors. Rafael knew though. Of course, he was past 70 years, when first I met him. Maybe he knew your grandmother. He knew mine. There were - still are maybe - men who congregated. Not in churches. In the public places of the town. Plaza Alta, the Recinto Ferial, or Plaza Baja. Low Square: I used to smile when I saw Rafael and his cronies walking slowly up the long hill to get to it. They'd sit on the caf terraces, always in the shade. One 'caf corto' stood for a quite a while in front of each of them, until they resorted to giving the camarero a collective frown, if he dared ask whether they wanted 'algo mas?' They didn't need anything else. Those short, tar-black coffees could last all day, or at least an afternoon. Later, they'd walk along not uphill, mind you to Plaza Alta, 'High Square.' There were no cafs in Plaza Alta, the old fellows would do a mini-paseo: a walk, slow-and-stately, around the square, until 7 in the evening. Most of them would then leave for a bar, rather than a caf - although the distinction was a fine one, often hingeing on the lack of pavement tables. At about 7 o'clock the women came out, your grandmother, perhaps. Certainly mine. They would be arm-in-arm, in groups of three or four, talking in whispers rather than the shouts and guffaws of the men. Square, blocky figures dressed entirely in black: mourning for lost looks. My grandmother wore a shawl of bright, busy colours: but the others forgave her this indulgence. I remember a woman no less buttressed to the front than the others, although there was the hint of a waist in her figure, which marked her out still more than the shawl, perhaps. In those days there wasn't much traffic in the town. The women's evening paseo would spill into the thoroughfares, and even the Guardia's only vehicle would slow down behind the chattering crows. Some of the other drivers were not so polite, sounding their horns with enthusiasm. The fact that some of the Seillas ''Little SEATs'' - were being driven by their sons and, occasionally, daughters - seemed not to matter. The tiny round car was the preserve of the town's personajes; the doctor had one, as did the Alcalde and, of course, my father. It broke my heart the day he told me it was a copy of an Italian design; its lines had seemed so very Spanish to me. Rafael had several hats. Occasionally, when I saw him walking on the Old Malaga Road on a weekday afternoon, he wore a battered old straw-hat. My memory tells me it was a Panama, but that must have been unlikely. In the Plazas, or walking through the town, his head was shaded by a wide-brimmed felt hat. He told me it was an American Gangster's hat. It must have been a fedora. He let me wear it once, my hair smelled of oil and sweat and the leather of the hat-band inside, afterwards. Sometimes, when my mother was busy, my hand would be gripped firmly by my Grandmother's calloused palm. If the time for the evening paseo arrived and there was no sign of my mother, I would be a part of the parade around the Plaza Alta: a tiny figure amongst the shapeless women in black. The first time I met Rafael, I would have been about seven years old, hanging on to my Grandmother's hand. Rafael gave a slow wink as he passed us in Plaza Alta. Of course, I winked back. The old man raised the fedora and continued to walk counter-clockwise around the square. Grandmother must have been about fifty-five years old. I was her only grand-child, but I do not think she spoiled me. 'Spoiling a child does it no good,' she would say. What you experience, is what you know. There were no aunts or uncles on my mother's side and my father's family were in Seville, he claimed. After that first wink, there were many more. One summer evening, my grandmother agreed to let Rafael escort us back to the Cafe Albondiga for a refreshing drink. 'Antoito,' Rafael said, 'would you like a Coca Cola?' I did, the shape of the bottle would fascinate me, long after I had guzzled its contents. 'Lourdes, would you like a refresco too?' 'We are not all Americanos, Seor,' Grandmother replied, but she accepted a Soberano brandy. The conversation was not interesting; at least not for me. Grandmother complained about my mother's lack of interest in the home, she told Rafael that she was so ashamed of the town house my family lived in that she had asked my father for a key. She said he'd given her a whole bunch. Rafael smiled and nodded, and occasionally ruffled my hair. My Grandmother told him how she went to the house every day thereafter to see that porcelain shone and brass sparkled. My mother slept through polishing, mopping and brushing as though the night before had had too few hours. After that first evening, it was always the same. When summer slid into autumn, my Grandmother could be persuaded to a coffee, whilst the waiter would bring me Cola Cao and the hot chocolate would be enough to keep me warm at the pavement table. One evening, Rafael asked Grandmother, 'does he know?' Although I was sleepy, I mumbled 'yes.' But Grandmother said, 'no, no he doesn't.' I was dropping off to sleep, but I was sure that Rafael snorted and said, 'some policeman.' Then, on another winter evening, two years later, I refused to go with my grandmother. I had just had my ninth birthday. The bicycle I had received for my birthday was a B.H. A good Spanish bicycle from the Bestegui Hermanos. It wasn't red as my father had promised. Grandmother had tutted and shook her head, when I told her of my disappointment the first time. That evening she gave me a cuff to the back of the head, when I whined about the colour again. 'I hate you, Abuela,' I screamed as I ran upstairs. My mother was asleep in her own room. She had told me never to come into her bedroom. She used to laugh and tell me that a gentleman never entered a lady's room uninvited. I burst into the room and my mother screamed. The man laughed, as he looked over my mother's shoulder at me. It was no mystery to me what they had been doing. My school-friends and I had seen horses and dogs do the same often enough. I ran back downstairs and took my grandmother's hand. Her face looked older. She said I had seen the product of 'spoiling.' Not long after, at about 8 in the morning, the Guardia Civil's only vehicle arrived outside our house. The two uniformed men greeted my father, he was still Chief of the Policia Local. Mother was still asleep, my father said, but I saw him point at me. Jose Miguel Valderrama and Antonio Badia Ruiz looked embarrassed. Jose went to stand by the front door. He undid the flap on his holster, Antonio gave a deep sigh. 'Just 'til his grandmother comes,' my father said. He seemed not to know what to do with his hands, clasping them together in front as if about to pray or putting them behind his back. Every so often, he would hold them out in front of his eyes as though he didn't recognise them. Grandmother came and Rafael. It was the only time I saw him without a hat. 'You know what to do,' my father said to him. 'Yes,' he said. The wedding, a few weeks later, was a small affair. Rafael wore his fedora, Grandmother wore something approaching a smile. She had explained to me that Mother had gone away and Father was busy with the police. I knew in my heart that he would come. I kept peering for him through the orange blossom the guests threw over the happy couple. Grandmother saw my face as we left the church near Plaza Alta and handed me the leather bag containing the thirteen coins that Rafael had given her. I thought my father would come right up until the celebration dinner was over and Grandmother and I walked to Rafael's house on the Old Malaga Road.
Archived comments for Spoiled
Mikeverdi on 09-09-2013
Spoiled
This contains everything I admire about your writing, the story has simplicity, the cast have believability and the story line evolves and draws you in. The ending when it arrives leaves you wishing for more. You tell the story of a life and situation that seems so real. Who ever turned this down I thank as I may never have read it. Mike

Author's Reply:

Rab on 09-09-2013
Spoiled
Lovely story, atmospheric and beautifully told, and with a feeling of truth about it. .

Ross

Author's Reply:


King of the Road (posted on: 06-09-13)
Another one about not very much...

My coffee was half-empty when he came into Txema's, a caf-bar on what an American would call a strip mall, in El Rodeo. The owner gave him a look he saved for the looky-looky men - or the addicts who ask for tin foil - and went to serve a customer at the far end of the long counter. The man stayed at the corner of the bar as close to the door as he could be without leaving the polished wood. There were two empty stools between him and me, but he didn't sit down. Just shuffled from foot to foot like a nervous Red-Indian in a Wild West saloon. He carried a white refuse bag, plastic and as full as it could be with his effects, his life and maybe even his dreams. He stared straight ahead, so I could look at his tangled beard and his fifth-hand clothes until I realised he looked familiar. I recognised the high forehead, the 'noble brow' of bad historical novels, and the no-seeing eye of the combat veteran. He'd have been at home on the blasted heath with the Fool. A King, anyway. King of the Road. Txema bustled behind the bar until it was time to wipe the surface in front of my cup and saucer. The tramp waved a limp hand, 'Please, Seor, do you have some bread and water.' Txema didn't look at him, just asked me if I wanted anything else. I said, 'no, thanks.' My mobile chimed a reminder for my next class, so I shoved it in a pocket and began putting my papers away in my rucksack. As I drank the last dregs of my coffee, Txema placed a glass of iced water and a large roll filled with bacon and cheese in front of the gentleman of the road. He didn't look at the hobo and he didn't look at me. Txema didn't look at anyone at all, just went out onto the pavement terrace to clear a few tables. I went to my class. An hour and a quarter later I was in the car, half-way between El Rodeo and the town of Alhaurin, when I passed the King of The Road, with his world in a plastic bag. He was staring straight ahead, putting one foot in front of the other, by the side of the main road, which is as good a way as any to get somewhere, sometime.
Archived comments for King of the Road
Weefatfella on 06-09-2013
King of the Road
Weefatfella BGBS photo b75165e4-7600-48cb-b7fd-9f85d6470df7_zps4cd05353.jpg
Really good and graphic account Ewan I was there.
The character is so real.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

OldPeculier on 06-09-2013
King of the Road
A fantastic snapshot.

Thank you.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 06-09-2013
King of the Road
I run out of things to say, I just love reading you work. Mike

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 06-09-2013
King of the Road
He could be you or me, this King of the Road. A vivid description- took me there and places. Very good indeed.

Author's Reply:

amman on 07-09-2013
King of the Road
An empathetic glance into someone's straitened circumstances. You have given a certain nobility to the 'King'.
I really like the sympathetic tone of this little vignette, Ewan.
Cheers.
Tony.



Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Tony. A sick-making as some people may find it, I can't see someone like the King of the Road without feeling 'There but for...' and I don't believe in any God who might have the grace to let such circumstances pass me by.

regards
Ewan


An Angel on Peckham Rye (posted on: 02-09-13)
Nessun nome, ma non il peccatore...

Alfredo tapped his friend on the shoulder, 'I do not like it here, Luigi'. 'Get back into bed, 'Fredo.' Luigi looked upwards from his wooden bunk and pointed to the wooden laths above his head. 'It's bound to be more rubble tomorrow. It's better if we don't start tired.' Alfredo grunted as he swung himself into the top bunk and exhaled long and loud. 'It's too cold. It's worse than the Alto Adige at least that has beauty.' 'Shut up,'Fredo,' Luigi said. 'Vaffanculo,' Alfredo hissed, but he did shut up. A milky November sun shone as the roll was called. Two or three were sick and already seeing the camp doctor; Captain Wilson. They would get liniment and later they would be escorted to the work-site for the day, whether they had any real complaint or not. Many of the men thought that Captain Wilson had been a vet in civilian life. Even those that did not hoped that they never became ill. Alfredo, as usual, had contrived to fall in alongside Luigi for what their captors called the march to the day's work site. March? It was more like a stroll in Il Parco Virgiliano. Still, at least they were not making the Passo Romano. Il Duce had forced it on the Regular Army in 1938, How Alfredo had hated attempting to drill the conscripts, it was too difficult for farm boys and street thieves alike. He whispered to Luigi, 'East End today, Luigi, Whitechapel. You know Whitechapel?' 'No, it will just be more rubble.' 'Whitechapel? Giacomo Il Squartatore!' 'Fredo, what does that mean? It doesn't make sense.' 'In Inglese it is Jack the Ripper, a famous killer of Putas.' Luigi didn't need to tell him to shut up, since the Lance Corporal to their side bellowed, 'Belt up, you Eye-tie pansy!' He did, however, have to apply his elbow to Alfredo's ribcage, to remind him not to provoke the guard. Just over an hour later, they arrived in Whitechapel Lane. The lorries were already there. Uniformed drivers leaned against their vehicles, smoking. Occasionally, Alfredo had scrounged one from one of the more friendly types. Sometimes the drivers were the same, sometimes they weren't. The Lieutenant in charge of the prisoner escort waved Luigi over. Alfredo spat on the floor, he outranked Luigi, so did many others. Luigi did not even speak so much English. Maybe the English officer just liked him. Who knew with the Inglesi? The Englishman explained to Luigi: Luigi translated. The rubble had to be loaded on to the wagons. They all knew that. Then he was explaining about the danger of unexploded bombs. 'You Ex Bees'. There had been a V-bomb at the last site, the prisoners knew to be careful now. They took more pains with every piece of concrete and brick. It was slow, but the guards did not hurry them, though they stood some distance away from the working party. They worked in gangs of 6. 6 per lorry. 60 men in total. Other inmates of the Camp on Peckham Rye would be at other sites in London picking through stones and plaster and occasional artefacts. Alfredo had found some postcards a month ago. He'd kept one for private moments and traded the rest with an Inglese guard for 2 packets of Black Cat cigarettes. Sometimes he wished he had kept all of the cartolinas. He never had liked sticking to one girlfriend. He made sure he was in Luigi's gang. They would all stop if the officer called Luigi over. It was expected. They would try to overhear what they said, but the officer always moved further away. Someone, not always Alfredo, would ask what the officer wanted. but Luigi always said, 'Nothing, he's just bored.' Everyone talked about ragazzi. Everyone but Luigi. Alfredo tried, even showed him his treasured postcard. His friend, gave it a brief look and said, 'poor woman'. 'Just a puta!' Alfredo spat out the word. 'Still someone's daughter, 'Fredo.' Luigi said things like that. Sometimes Alfredo wondered if he really was from Napoli, but he knew where to get the best Zeppole on March 19th. Luigi claimed he had almost married into that baker's family. All the gangs stopped for lunch at the same time, shortly after the malingerers arrived. A Tuscan had been entrusted with a back pack full of what passed for bread and cheese in Britain. He had to hand it over to one of the guards for checking when they arrived at the bomb-site. Lunch was handed out by the Tuscan under the eye of an NCO, a corporal. The Tommies took turns to wander over to the nearest pub and eat something. They usually had beer, or something like it, too. The officer did nothing. If someone came back drunk, the sergeant told them to sleep it off in one of the lorries' cabs. If any ordnance was found the offender would be woken up to go and have a look at it, before the bomb disposal were called. Alfredo asked Luigi once where the rubble went. He said they were using it for runways for heavy bombers. Alfredo thought that no country could have so many warplanes, but didn't say anything. The afternoon was only different in that it was short in November. No wonder the Inglesi girls had such pale skin. They looked like angels: Alfredo found that attractive, though he never saw more than the odd girl in the street as the prisoners 'marched' to and from Peckham Rye. He hoped the war would end soon. It wasn't normal for a man to be so deprived of female company. Some of the prisoners played the finocchio in quiet corners of the camp, but Alfredo Zaccardi wasn't going to do that, no, Signore. One day there would be a chance. He hoped so. The march back offered more opportunities to see girls. Often they were on the arm of the recently arrived G.I.s. When Alfredo complained about the lucky Americans, Luigi had said, 'Don't worry 'Fredo, a lot of them will have Italian names.' The sun was down by the time they reached Peckham Rye. 'Fredo saw a flash of white behind a bush on the common, about a half-a-kilometre from the camp gate. 'Did you see that, Luigi?' 'What?' 'Over there, there it is again.' 'It's nothing, keep going.' Alfredo broke ranks and ran towards the bush. One of the private soldiers let off a wild round that knocked a thick branch from a large tree. The sergeant told the rest to hold their fire and ordered two soldiers after the escapee. The officer told the sergeant to get the prisoners to attention. The search didn't take long. About 20 minutes. The soldiers had failed to beat the smile from Alfredo's face. 'It was an angel, ' he whispered to Luigi as he went past. He was confined to a room in the hospital block. They let Luigi visit. They let Luigi do a lot of things, in Alfredo's view. 'What was it then?' Luigi said. 'The soldiers found nothing.' 'Nothing?' 'No.' 'I'm glad.' 'Why?' 'I think I might You know.' 'What?' 'I didn't mean to it's just so beautiful and she ' He stopped. Luigi looked at him, Alfredo looked down at his chest and took a deep breath. 'She didn't want to, imagine that!' Alfredo watched Luigi close the door gently behind him and wondered what his friend would say to the officer next time they talked.
Archived comments for An Angel on Peckham Rye

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Southwest (posted on: 02-09-13)
just a poem...

The hum and buzz of insects and the steam rising after rain; a rill rushes down to the next - and the next - until the stream becomes a river. The cool canopy of black poplars and the odd eucalyptus has kept sweat and irritation at bay, in abeyance, while the sun goes westward. I look to the twilight, gloaming down to darkness, waiting for the journey to the south-west and home, somewhere I never thought I'd be.
Archived comments for Southwest
deadpoet on 02-09-2013
Southwest
Very atmospheric -I enjoyed reading.

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 02-09-2013
Southwest
When you've written "just a poem" under the title I always know I'll enjoy it. This was no exception, it's lovely . Thank you. Valx

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-09-2013
Southwest
Nothing is ever 'just a poem' with you, it's always a journey; and we never know where we will end up! Brilliant.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 03-09-2013
Southwest
Homeward bound is not always quicker. Excellent prose piece. Minor point, Line 8, should 'has kept' be 'have kept' ? ....Bozzz

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. Reference line 8: No, Bozzz, the subject is the singular 'canopy'
Regards Ewan

orangedream on 05-09-2013
Southwest
My kinda poem, this;-)

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 05-09-2013
Southwest
Good, as always, Ewan.

Author's Reply:


Flying Ops (posted on: 30-08-13)
I haven't written - and don't write - much about my former life in the Royal Air Force. Perhaps the quality of this poem will show why!

From the soles of the feet to the edges of your teeth, you can feel it in every single bone: Rolls-Royce smash kilo-newtons backward, pursuant rage vibrates along the wing and into the fuselage. You've sucked oxygen, the mask jammed hard against your face, a hangover or nerves? Who cares? Merlin shouts into the ether 'Nimrod is ready' - and you are not: not even for mission abort. The flight deck are reading cards, checks they do in their sleep: twenty nine Twenty Nine strapped in, krugerrands in pockets, pistols in metal boxes. ready for take-off into the blue and into the danger. As if 30,000 feet up - beyond blue we are untouchable, invincible: nothing murderous from Mosul, or killing from Kabul can touch us up here, nothing at all. We issue confident reports of artillery and Roland of the rocket troops, based on half-heard call-signs and misheard messages on the airwaves, by satellite and microwave to London and the Pentagon. The new-Olympians play Risk: they move pieces on Mercator-mapped computer screens in Cold War Dungeons as outdated as the policies the brave and foolish implement on the other side of the world. You look out of the porthole, one of the few with a view, you look outside at Iraqi deserts, or the Afghan Karakorum, or maybe even Damascus: it's like a child's atlas. Until The landing comes, on Aphrodite's Isle, or in some dry desert owned by Sheikh Yer Moneymaker, who went to school with the pilot: either way you run for solitude and the peace of terra firma.
Archived comments for Flying Ops
franciman on 30-08-2013
Flying Ops
You didn't mention the plentiful meals, the comprehensive menu, or the hardship of eating out of tinfoil? What you did do was take me there. you said now doesn't that feel omniscient? and I felt it; omnipotent too, although still hungover from the night before.
Evocative, thought provoking and tactile. Loved it.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Pronto on 02-09-2013
Flying Ops
Excellent poem mate,

I was the clown
six miles down
beneath your silver wing
I did my thing
said a grateful prayer
Glad you were there

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-09-2013
Flying Ops
You make something I have never experienced become real to me, I may not be a great writer, but I know great writing when I read it. Mike

Author's Reply:

cooky on 03-09-2013
Flying Ops
A subject that has always fascinated me. The thoughts of t pilots doing their duty. A brilliant write for me.

Author's Reply:

RustyBrother on 14-09-2013
Flying Ops
Great criticism of the establishment and the government and of the romantic stereotype of our 'brave' pilots and very good ironical look at the physical relationship between the pilot and the target (and at the old boy network). Poetically I don't think it works ALL the time. A good editing session or two might be a good idea.

Reuben

Author's Reply:
This one was written to be read out loud (by me) and as always that tended to cover a multitude of sins. I rarely edit anything until at least a few months later, but I will come back to this one.


Caf-Bar Isabel (posted on: 26-08-13)
Peascosa, nr Albacete, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, 25 August 2013

They meet every day, the dirty half-dozen. It's not so easy - nor worthwhile - alone, after 70. Besides, they sit outside, talking, smoking, joking and remembering. Sons of Nationalists and Communists, citizens of the New Spain, reading their past in coffee grounds and one ponche for the road. A van shudders past, its engine surviving the removal of the key for a few moments. Pepe waves at people his father's age and sees his future in a pavement caf.
Archived comments for Caf-Bar Isabel
deadpoet on 26-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Nice and atmospheric- I like the way you are so familiar with these Spanish moments Ewan- really well done. They transport me to your world for a moment and I like that. Have only been very briefly in Spain way back in 1972. dp

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and for leaving this comment.
Ewan

Bozzz on 26-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
I am not usually an advocate of free verse, but you conjure well Ewan - I enjoyed this one because it is redolent of France too.....David

Author's Reply:
Pleased you liked this one anyway. Yes, there's something of the outsider in these poems whichever country they describe.
Ewan

franciman on 26-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
For me there always seems a gruff affection between the lines of your Spanish verses. Maybe that's why they are so evocative and atmospheric?
Loved it.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
'Gruff affection' I like that, especially because it's the sentiment I'm trying to convey with these things.
Thanks, Jim
Ewan

Andrea on 26-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Yes, I agree - I remember that Spain, Ewan. Just so visual 🙂

Author's Reply:
Yes, Andrea that Spain is still around, it's just off the beaten track. The only British person I've seen in a fortnight is this nutter: http://cyclingeurope.org/

He has almost made it, he's in Vila Real near Faro in Portugal today.
Thanks for the generous rating.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 27-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Every time I log on I return to this one, I think its marvelous Ewan; so much said in so few words.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Mike, for your continued encouragement.
Regards
Ewan

Ionicus on 27-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
An evocative and vivid sketch, Ewan. These verses remind me of my own country where similar scenes take place in pavement cafés with people reminiscing of the 'good old days'
which become better with yet another glass of local wine.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 27-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Oh, I have a nutter ex like that 🙂 He looks like him too.

In fact, he's off to Lisbon on Friday, for 3 weeks cycling around the Atlantic coast. Last year he cycled from A'dam to Barcelona. Year before that he did Croatia 🙂

Author's Reply:

barenib on 27-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
The places are still there, as you say, off the beaten track, and it always helps if you have written an evocative piece like this! John.

Author's Reply:

amman on 28-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Great read indeed. The other commentators have said it all really. I particularly like the last 4 lines where Pepe sees his future with a hint of resigned inevitability.
Cheers.
Tony.

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 28-08-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
I know this scene well. Reminds me of the old men standing for hours in the streets in Italy. It could be you or me. In a way it is. Great poem. Well done for the nib.

Author's Reply:

RustyBrother on 14-09-2013
Café-Bar Isabel
Good description of the old men, and not just in remote villages - you'll find them in the big cities as well. However, the Pepes are ignoring them as if they were irrelevant today, almost an embarrassment, even though they may well end up in the same role (especially in the more remote villages). However, in general the grandchildren of that generation have actively tried to forget the connection. This is why I'm not so sure of the content of the last 4 lines even though they do work perfectly, poetically speaking.

By the way, I live in Spain too. Been here for 37 years now!

Reuben

Author's Reply:
Here in the South things are many years behind the times, especially in the tiny villages in the hills. I strongly suspect that in a few years Los Pepes will feel embarrassed about their elders. In any event, here in the Guadalhorce Valley, for the time being, my car is often halted on the main street, whilst a Pepe conducts a long conversation through his own car window with the old man on the pedestrian crossing, who most likely is a great uncle, come to think of it.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan


The Last Vagabond King (posted on: 23-08-13)
A poem in three parts...

The Impossible King On the shores, the rugged shores, the old man kisses his own fingers - bare of rings - and kneels by crab-filled rock pools, ignoring the schools of dolphin bowing as they leap from water. At his side, his sinister side, the chamberlain Kay wears a daisy chain of office over a frayed fertilizer sack that covers his dowager's hump, scratching ill-healed battlefield scars. Yet the tide, the roiling tide, brings eternal plastic flotsam and never-paired boots, sandals or the shoes of the fisherman, leaving cargo-cult symbols lying useless on the pebbled beach. The King at Court In the dock, at five o'clock: seer's beard , long-shaven standing tall, not craven. Dignified, staring-eyed, before the law. Tooth and claw bared in rage, before the cage opens wide 'Go inside, your majesty' in travesty and jest. The noble head will rest. Camelodunum A false night falls as street lamps ignite later than planned. The town illuminates haphazardly; the message passes from lamp-post to lamp-post - with some Chinese-whispered mutation - as on is mistaken for off. They sit in the round -shivering- beneath the underpass, dining on the bounty of Tesco's refuse containers. From Romania, Rwanda and Rio, via every underground station, they come here to Camelot. A once and future kingdom lies buried in shadows, hidden from beauty and the clean light of the sun. Arthur is a Fisher King- or any fitting appellation - for the King of Forgotten Albion.
Archived comments for The Last Vagabond King
amman on 24-08-2013
The Last Vagabond King
I don't really know where to begin with this literary tour de force, Ewan. Really like the way you segue from free verse to rhymed verse and, then, back again. The juxtaposition of legend, historical and modern is sooo effective. I know that critique is subjective but this is MY personal Nomenklatura favourite. Thank you for the lesson in writing classical poetry.

Regards.

Tony.

Author's Reply:
Thanks Tony, critique and poetry are both personal and subjective. No lessons here, just glad you enjoyed the poem.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 27-08-2013
The Last Vagabond King
I must have read this a dozen times, it fascinates me for some reason. As always reading your work I am never disappointed, sometimes confused, sometimes in awe. I will not ask for explanations, I am happy to work my own thoughts out. :-). Mike

Author's Reply:
Hi Mike,
I think your reaction to, (interaction with?) this poem is perfectly legitimate, not to say expected. I don't think everything always has to be spelled out for the reader of anything. If you're writing descriptive, lyric poetry I think that's another matter and sometimes I try to write that kind of thing myself. From time to time I experiment with more formal - even rhyming - poetry: I have enjoyed writing villanelles, pantoums and some appear here on UKA. I also like to write prose; unfortunately people like to put writers in boxes and my relationship with boxes is somewhere between Jack's and Schrodinger's Cat's.
Thanks again for reading.
Ewan


______________Summer Shade (posted on: 19-08-13)
holidays


The sunlight that makes it through the canopy burns less, fighting past leaves and branches, which takes energy, even on the ground. Ten more days of milky, watery sunlight and Andalucia's white hot orb will seem attractive again. Meanwhile, I watch the Butterfly Ball, the dance of the lepidopterae: as if the blooms of flowers had left their stems and learned to fly.

Archived comments for
______________Summer Shade
Mikeverdi on 19-08-2013
______________Summer Shade
I like this a lot Ewan, may I question one word...'which' takes energy. It's only me, and you will no doubt think I'm wrong; it just sticks out (but I still love it) Mike

Author's Reply:
Well spotted, the problem is a missing comma.

ValDohren on 22-08-2013
______________Summer Shade
Lovely, very atmospheric creating some great images. Enjoyed reading.

Val

Author's Reply:


Spring Mists (posted on: 19-08-13)
Mentioned in despatches in the Open Theme Competition

At daybreak fog rolls down the Sierra Gorda, hiding white villages from view. This time of year, the traffic on drover's paths heads upward. The shepherds and goatherds trail behind, the mongrel dogs lead. By midday the mist is burnt away: the sun is practising for its summer season in the Theatre of the Guadalhorce: the sheep, goats, dogs and herders are grateful for the cooling balm of altitude. At sundown herds trek down the Sierra Gorda, seeking night's shelters anew. This time of year the twilight brings chilly wind and dewdrops. The shepherds and goatherds smoke blindly, the mongrel dogs pant. By midnight the grass is fully wet, the night is preparing for tomorrow's mists in the Valley of the Guadalhorce, and sheep, goats, dogs and herders are grateful for springtime's calm beatitude.
Archived comments for Spring Mists
RustyBrother on 14-09-2013
Spring Mists
An interesting poetic idea, each line mirrored in the next stanza. It's that I feel it's a bit awkward on this occasion: too much concentration of similar vocabulary into too small a space. By the time it's finished, I'm fed up of sheep and shepherds, goats and goatherds and dogs, mongrels or not.

It was worth trying though.

Reuben

Author's Reply:
It's always worth trying

Regards
Ewan


Not Much Luck (posted on: 16-08-13)
inside job - long - look elsewhere for flash fiction.

Geoff sat outside on the terrace. The coffee was still steaming. A family of tourists slouched past: all shorts, vests and muffin-tops, although it had rained only yesterday. Geoff thought the rainbow had fulfilled its promise, for a change. He plucked at the crease on his slacks and signalled the waiter over. 'Dame un coac, cuando puedas,' Geoff flicked a hand at the waiter. The brandy arrived in a shot glass and a saucer, since the waiter let the saucer fall the last half-centimetre to the table top. Geoff scratched his beard and patted his belly. The brandy was going in his coffee anyway, what did it matter if it went via the saucer or the glass? Geoff's mobile rang. They'd put that tune on in the shop, just to show how he could do it, if he wanted. The girl had asked him what music he liked, her English had been pretty good actually. Just the endings missing on every word, normal for Andalucia, even in Spanish, people told him. So for a laugh he'd said Herman's Hermits and she'd downloaded 'Enry the Eighth'. He still had six months left before he could change the phone. No glasses, though, down in Funky Town getting repaired. The big Specsavers in Fuengirola did a lot of Brit business, naturally. So nothing for it then, he'd have to answer it, if he wanted to know who it was. 'Holland.' 'That you, Dutch?' Fuck, a long time since he'd heard that. 'Who is this?' 'Come on, Dutch, you must recognise your old mate?' 'It's been a long time.' It had, but it was such a limp line. He'd have blue-pencilled it straight away, on one of the slush-pile manuscripts they used to send him from London. 'It has, mate, it has. You in Spain then?' Geoff thought he might have known that since he must have dialled the number. 'Yes, 18 years now.' 'Is it? Is it really? I'm in London. The Wharf. Import-Export. That kind of thing.' Someone was trying to fuck with his head. 'That's nice.' 'Anyway , Dutch, sorry Geoff, wasn't it? Thing is I'll be round your way at the weekend. Benalmadena. Motor boat to pick up. Favour for a friend, you know.' Actually he didn't know, he knew catching buses to Fuengirola and maybe a train from there to Malaga, but he didn't really know the marina and he didn't know from yachts. The voice went on. 'So, I thought we'd hook up, you and I. You and your pal Rick. I'll give you a call, laters!' Geoff gulped his carajillo, the brandy had cooled the coffee just enough. There might have been something familiar in the voice. He wasn't sure. It sounded as though the man had some injury. But even so, it couldn't have been that Rick. The library was empty. It was Holy Week. No-one at school, no-one at Malaga University, so no-one using the computers in their hometown to save going into the Facu. Geoff remembered what libraries used to be like. They had books, thousands of books, even in a small town. He'd counted the books here in the Biblioteca del Pueblo. Two hundred. Geoff used to know people with more books in their house. Used to be someone with more books than that. Anyhow, Geoff was sitting in front of a computer, checking his e-mails. Or rather, moving the Ghanaian begging letters, offers of fake Viagara and mis-spelt wedding proposals from Galia in Voronezh into the spam box. Geoff only received one real mail a month; about the money, confirming it had been wired and which office it had been wired to. It wasn't in the in-box. He should have checked the spam before clearing out the in-box. The spam box contained what he'd transferred over and more of the same. The e-mail was late. It was never late. There'd never been any trouble, he'd followed the instructions as if everything had gone to plan. He was in the middle of logging out altogether when the phone rang. The librarian glared at him and Geoff took the call on the way to the lift. 'Yeah?' 'Dutch? It's Rick.' Him again, but how? 'Right, yeah, how are you?' 'Great, Dutch, great. Can you get to the Marina today?' 'Today? Bit busy....look, this is embarrassing...' 'What? You do remember me don't you? The job? ' 'It's been years.' 'You still get the money, don't you?' 'Yes, that is... well, I'm supposed to.' 'Remember me now? ' Geoff did. He and all the others had always called him Mr O'Shea. Geoff hadn't seen any of them since the job. Since he came to Spain, in fact. 'Yes, Mr O'Shea.' 'Thought you would. Benalmadena, the Marina. 7 tonight. You'll be there, won't you?' The man cut the connection and Geoff stepped out of the library, heading for Bar de la Rosa and a drink. Or maybe more than one. Geoff looked out of the bus window at Arroyo de la Miel. Honey Gulch - sounded like a euphemism, he reckoned. It used to be quite the place once upon a time. The richer Brits had loved it, a little more select than Benalmadena Costa. Now the houses, with their peeling stucco, sun-warped doors and occasional empty window frames, looked like an old film set for Zorro. He'd set off from the pueblo on the 11.15 bus to Malaga, after leaving breakfast in Bar Rosa's porcelain - and three brandies to take the taste away. He'd got the train from Zambrano to Arroyo and then this bus down the hill to Benalmadena Costa. He had actually been to Benalmadena. Only once, soon after his arrival. Before he'd figured out he'd be safer inland. Before he'd had a visit from a man in a suit, accompanied by a larger man in a less expensive one. The smaller, better-dressed of the two had done the talking. 'We would, of course, be prepared to overlook any income you receive, provided that - and only until - you inform us should you be contacted by certain parties.' 'And what then?' 'I think you would find HMG could be generous, given a satisfactory outcome.' 'They won't contact me, that was the deal.' 'We find that the canard about honour and thieves is rarely proven true.' Geoff didn't reply, so the man had stood up and offered a gloved hand to shake. Gloves, on the Costa del Sol, in June. Geoff had been so surprised, he'd shaken the man's hand. The two men had disappeared into the crowd of tourists and Geoff had been reminded of a TV double act from years ago. Fuck them. The deal had been no contact, like he'd said. The bus stopped in a puddle, or at least in a water filled pothole at the side of a broken kerb. A wider street might have allowed the sun to do its work on yesterday's rain. A mile or so's walk and he'd be at the marina. There would be a call sometime around 7, naming a bar or restaurant. O'Shea had always been careful, at least until the end. Geoff had not thought for one minute about phoning HMG's men. Why would he? To tell them someone had been in contact? From the other side. The last time Geoff had seen O'Shea, his white shirt had been ruined. You couldn't get that amount of blood out, not even with Ariel. In any case, he'd thought, O'Shea was never going to wear another shirt again. Geoff wished he had a smoke. Or another drink. He knew he wasn't going to meet a ghost. That was stupid. The thought of the gangster still being alive was more frightening than any visitor from beyond the veil. The puddle was easily avoided, at the expense of treading in the dog-turd beside it. Getting involved in the whole business had been like that. The divorce, the shake up at the Canterbury and Rochester Building Society. Geoff had been quite pleased when the Halifax announced they were coming in. The last of the mutuals - at least in the South East. Doubtless there was some dead-end town in Durham that still had one. The new manager broke the news that Geoff wasn't being considered for the post of Area Sales Manager: Financial Products. They'd offered a transfer within the group: Darlington. That had made him laugh. He'd gone to The Horse and Panniers after work, taken the notebook out, couldn't write a thing. So he'd sat with a half a lager for half-an-hour, staring at the rings on the wooden table top, until the man came up. 'Seat free?' The pub was empty. Geoff shrugged. 'Drink?' But the man had already gone to the bar, so Geoff's answer was moot. The man was about 30, no tie, a plum-coloured jacket that someone might have worn with one, a pair of those chino things. And boots. Steel-capped work boots, mud free. He came back with a lager for Geoff, a pint. His own drink was a Britvic Orange. 'Quiet,' the man said. 'It's Tuesday.' The man gave a nod. 'Writer, are you?' 'Not really,' Geoff closed the notebook. 'Not a trainspotter, not here.' 'I ' He took a drink of the fizzy alcohol. 'I work at the Building Society.' 'That so? Interesting, is it?' The man stared at Geoff. He had one blue eye and one green. Geoff had never seen that before. 'No.' 'Interesting soon, though. The Halifax.' It was Geoff's turn to stare. The shop-fitters weren't due for months. The Gazette didn't know. The new man had said Headquarters wanted to manage the story. The stranger tossed back his drink, stood up. 'Got someone wants to meet you. Mutual benefit, that sort of thing. Be in touch.' Geoff watched the door swing shut behind him. He wrote the encounter down, might make a short story, he reckoned. The cafe owner wrinkled his nose as Geoff passed him, shit-smeared shoe in his hand. He didn't say anything though, the cafe was empty and no Brit would leave without buying a drink, for sure. A few minutes later, the bar owner was pushing dust around on the table just outside the toilets. Geoff almost bumped into him. 'Un coac, entonces.' A coffee, then. He sat, traced a finger through the dust. He never had written that story. If he had, the limousine wouldn't have picked him up the next day, just before he'd entered the Nag and Bags. The man who'd bought him a drink the day before was driving. His clothes were the same, or similar. No sign of a chauffeur's hat, much less a uniform. Nevertheless, he'd held the rear door of the Bentley open and Geoff had got in. He sat next to a man his own age. 30-something, or not-quite-40. Unlike Geoff, he looked like a man with a Gym-membership that he used. He wore a classic-cut suit. Charcoal grey, no double breasting, no contrasting waistcoat and no cartoon character tie, just something that might be the old-school tie, but not of the man in the seat next to Geoff. 'Holland, isn't it?' The man held out a manicured hand to shake. 'I'm O'Shea.' 'I'm Geoff,' it was a firm shake and he felt the callouses despite the manicure. The driver cleared his throat and O'Shea said, 'I'll call you Dutch.' It was the kind of deal you'd expect. Inside job, a bit of hostage action. Cash, bonds, lots of traditional financial products: rather than what Geoff's replacement would be going to sell. It didn't make sense to Geoff. Small fry. He'd said as much to O'Shea. He'd laughed. 'Let me worry about that.' So Geoff had. They'd driven around the industrial estate talking details. Just before they'd dropped him at the pub. Geoff had asked the question, 'What's my cut?' O'Shea had started to laugh, tears squeezed out from under his eyelids. He drew out a handkerchief as white as his shirt and blew his nose. 'Priceless, what's my cut..?' A giggle escaped. 'No, Dutch, that's not the way of it at all. You get all of it, minus a processing fee. Paid anywhere you want.' Geoff had written it all down in the pub, in the interests of research. The pile of dust on the cafe table looked like a miniature anthill. Geoff blew it away, left a euro where it had been and headed for the Marina. It was only 5. He turned into the first bar he saw. A Skandi place by the look of it. 'Nystekt Strmming'. Whatever that meant. The place smelt of fish, its terrace was deserted. Geoff sat at a cane and glass table, in a wicker chair whose cushion offered little protection from the broken weave. A dark-skinned girl brought over a menu showing pictures of unappetising fish dishes. He waved it away and ordered a carajillo. The girl tutted and he watched the swing of her skirt until she disappeared inside. The inside job had to be on a particular day. No-one told Geoff why. Not even on the rare occasions when the work-booted driver passed by the pub to give short, cryptic instructions. About a week before the job was scheduled, they summoned him to a unit on the industrial estate. The taxi driver had looked at him when he dropped him off, studying his face. Then he gave a nod, and said, 'Be careful, son.' The unit had a sign hanging lower at one side over the double hangar-style doors. The faded lettering read Edomite Factors Est. 1982. One of the doors had been left slightly ajar. Geoff peered in. He felt a little sick when unseen hands jerked him into the empty warehouse. 'Dutch! Great to see you.' A large man patted Geoff down and turned to his boss, 'Nothing, Mr O'Shea.' 'Of course, there isn't. Old Dutch knows he's among friends, doesn't he?' Geoff stared at the man, then looked around. There were seven of them. O'Shea, the driver, the man who'd made the perfunctory search for a weapon and three others who could have been his brothers. And the woman. She looked around 40. A wealth-preserved 40. Very attractive in a hard-faced way. That Squeeze song drifted through Geoff's head. It was funny, and evidently they did 'always look the bleeding same'. 'This is Shelly, Dutch. She likes Michelle, but I call her Shelly, don't I love?' She gave O'Shea a slit-eyed look and her thin gash of a mouth stretched still thinner. Geoff looked at her legs and listened to the rustle of nylon as the woman stomped towards her husband. O'Shea caught her wrist and prevented the slap. 'That's enough, Shell.' She rubbed her wrist and stalked off to the far corner of the building, before lighting up a cigarette. 'All OK, Dutch? It's next week, Friday, you'll be working late? Just you?' Geoff wondered how he'd let it get this far. 'Well... it's...' 'All OK, like I said.' O'Shea turned to his driver, 'Come on.' His wife machine-gunned her high-heels across the concrete floor. O'Shea pointed at Geoff, 'Make sure he knows exactly what's going off.' The sun was glinting off the Med. Geoff looked at his watch. 6.30 The call would be coming soon. The waitress brought a fifth brandy, held out a hand, 'Pay now, shift finish.' Romanian, Geoff guessed. He pulled a crumpled ten out of his pocket. 'Keep the change.' The girl sniffed. Maybe 50 cents was to be sniffed at. The 'blag', as they'd called it, went 'smoove'. Geoff had hit the alarm as instructed, the gang had left him, hands tied, within reach of the button. Exactly 3 minutes later, they'd roared off in a battered Scorpio, just as the Police turned onto the High Street, as planned. The Police had bought it all. Two motorbikes had gone in hot pursuit, followed by one of the patrol cars. 'Mr Holland, do you need medical attention?' the Policewoman had asked, but her eyes were darting all around the room. 'No, no, just a bit shaken up, that's all.' By that time CID had arrived, Mid-twenties, expensive suit. A man in a hurry. 'Recognise anyone?' He lifted his chin at Geoff. 'B-balaclavas.' Geoff said. They questioned him down at the station, later. Not even a lift home in a patrol car, although they' called a taxi from the main desk. Geoff wondered if he'd made the local news and whether he'd been helping the Police with their enquiries. The doctor signed him off, no trouble. Geoff spent the time reading newspapers. The 'blag' got six days of coverage. He kept all the broadsheets and the locals, scouring them for a clue to what it was all about. The phone call came to his flat about a month later. 'Payday,' the voice said. 'Where..?'' 'We'll come for you.' And they had. Same driver dropped him off, left him to make his own way into the warehouse. For a meeting that had ended in blood, when Shelley had shot O'Shea. 'Dutch!' O'Shea duck-walked arm out across the concrete like Chuck Berry without his guitar. The hand-shake started with the squeeze, but O'Shea must have thought there was no point with Geoff. Geoff stared at his hand when O'Shea let it go. 'Checking for your rings, Dutch?' O'Shea said. His forefinger extended, he was twirling a watch by its expanding strap. He flicked Geoff's watch back to him. 'It's time. You need to leave the country. Go where you like: we'll send you the proceeds of your investment monthly. You just need to let us know.' Geoff took the business card. 'Loudon Investments' voland@loudoninv.vu' 'No phone number?' 'No, Dutch. That's an e-mail address.' 'It looks funny. We had them at work, you know.' 'Not like these. One day all crime will be made this way, wait and see. Anyway, it's all set up.' O'Shea pointed to a hold-all on the floor. 'Some things you'll need. Passport, flight tickets, walking round money.' Geoff looked at the bag. A battered old Adidas sports bag. 'No-one else here today, then?' Geoff's stutter held him up on 'today'. 'I'm waiting for Shelly, we've got plans.' 'Really?' Geoff looked over at the warehouse doors. 'Maybe I'd better go.' 'Not yet. You never asked.' 'What?' 'What's in it for me? Don't you want to know?' 'Maybe I'd better not ask.' 'Naw, Dutch you'll run off to Caracas or Cadiz and we'll never see each other again.' So he had asked - and Dutch had told him. At which point Shelly came in and the gangster's white shirt turned red. He'd looked dead. How could he not have been dead? Shelly hadn't panicked. 'Got enough material for a story now, haven't you, Geoff?' Shelly Michelle- had said. 'What the fuck did you do that for?' 'I'm writing my own story now. Do you want to be in it?' Her lips looked too red against her white face. She kicked the pointed toe of her pump at her bleeding husband. 'What do you mean?' The gun was pointing at him now, 'We go together or you stay here.' She nodded at the body. And that's when it happened. He panicked. Swung the bag at her head, the gun went off twice. The ricochets missed everyone. It was the crash of her skull on the concrete that must have killed her, but Geoff didn't check.Just ran out of the building with the Adidas bag in his hand. Geoff's mobile rang. He spilled the drink the Romanian's replacement had brought him. 'That you, Dutch?' 'Yes, Mr O'Shea.' 'Rick, Dutch, Rick.' 'Where to then?' 'I'm across the road, in the BMW, look I'm waving.' 'Oh, I thought' 'And I thought we had a deal.' 'But you were dead' 'Not this time.' Two 4x4s pulled up outside the bar. O'Shea went on,'Know who else wasn't dead?' Geoff stood up, the chair behind him toppled to the floor. He dropped the phone. O'Shea mimed picking the mobile up and laughed when he saw Geoff drop it twice. 'I didn't know that,' he said 'Oh yes, best dressed vegetable on the ward. I was lucky, hey?' Geoff watched the gangster signal to the drivers of the all-terrain vehicles and heard him say, 'Luckier than you'll be today.'
Archived comments for Not Much Luck
Mikeverdi on 16-08-2013
Not Much Luck
Ah Ewan, that was just great. Pleased to see you escaped...are you still getting the money each month? 🙂 Mike

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 16-08-2013
Not Much Luck
 photo 915e0b75-fce7-4fc2-9921-556099197c13_zps1f6b3c50.jpg

Aye Ewan, nae luck right enough.
I liked the >The girl tutted and he watched the swing of her skirt until she disappeared inside.<
I thought this was very visual, a great piece of descriptive writing. So much conveyed in so little words.
All in all a good yarn proving crime doesn't ..etc.
Weefatfella.


Author's Reply:


A Blue Note (posted on: 16-08-13)
The Judge's choice of winner for the recent Open Theme Competition.

Down a street that isn't Bourbon, that lies as far from New Orleans as New Jersey, New York or New Caledonia, a blue note from a tenor sax escapes the dive door - mocks the overfilled suit - and curls like smoke around the streetlight. Two lovers exchange a look as though they know the tune, or one like it, played on a xylophone or theremin with a bebop twist. They pass the suit whose open-mouthed face is tilted up at where the minim passed out of sight - but not out of mind. In the club, the only thing missing is the smoke. Inside there are more blue notes than people.
Archived comments for A Blue Note
deadpoet on 16-08-2013
A Blue Note
The right choice. Sublime poem..

Author's Reply:
Thank you for saying so. I was very pleased to win, it looks like the competition was fierce
Ewan

franciman on 17-08-2013
A Blue Note
Great poetry Ewan. Does what poetry should; paints the picture, evokes a mood, brings either a tear or a smile.
Tremendous work.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
'Get in, get out and leave a lasting impression' - like a lot of things in life.

Thanks Jim

teifii on 17-08-2013
A Blue Note
Absolutely brilliant ! Very well deserved winner.

Author's Reply:
You are very kind to say so, and I appreciate it
Ewan

Leila on 17-08-2013
A Blue Note
Many congrats on the win, a poem should start with a title that makes the reader want to know more and this one does, nicely done.

Author's Reply:
A title is so important, isn't it? Thank you very much
Ewan

amman on 18-08-2013
A Blue Note
Great poetry indeed, Ewan. Took me right there; so atmospheric. Congrats on win.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Thank you, once again, for always being so supportive.
Ewan

Ionicus on 18-08-2013
A Blue Note
A rich and atmospheric poem, Ewan, thoroughly deserving of the accolade. Congratulations on your success.

Author's Reply:
That's very kind of you, Luigi, thanks.

Nemo on 22-08-2013
A Blue Note
Amazing deft touches. This poem grabs me and takes me there. Great work. Ewan. Gerald

Author's Reply:


Beat Poem (posted on: 12-08-13)
...

Here in the South the sun beats down with syncopation. The blues in the sky aren't sad. Latin blood moves, grooves, faster: lata is Spanish for heartbeat. The migrants live in waltz time and watch Andalucians at four beats to the bar.
Archived comments for Beat Poem
deadpoet on 13-08-2013
Beat Poem
Certainly makes a beat rhythm. Congrats on winning the Poetry comp. Yours was such a sublime poem. I loved it- this reminds a bit of it. Loved the line about the sky's blue not being sad- subtle and eminent.

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 14-08-2013
Beat Poem
The migrant live in waltz time, is such a great line very much enjoyed this one and well done on the comp truly a well deserved decision. Best Keith

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 14-08-2013
Beat Poem
Maybe a bar with a sax playing, I see I'm not the only one to admire your ramblings; congrats on the win. Mike

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 14-08-2013
Beat Poem
Enjoyed this one, Ewan, but your competition win was superlative. Many congratultions.

Tina

Author's Reply:


The Arc of a Story (posted on: 09-08-13)
We've all been here...

There is point A. Let's say this is 'Once upon a time' or 'Last week.' It could be 'The day my mother died.' That is good stuff: open with a hook. Only thing is, it contravenes write what you know. My mum's 81 and going very strong, actually. Anyway, we have point A. Now we need conflict: this, of course, doesn't have to be point B. It could be points B-Y, if you're that way inclined. Okay. 'The day my mother died, the argument started' Yes, I know, my mum's still alive, but I'm claiming to write what I know because, freed from the tyranny of having to use a smart-phone, she'll take the opportunity to cross the ether, void or from the other side to start or maybe finish an argument. This is sophistry: I know this, just let it lie. I'll explain that my mum is religious and I am not. Backstory AND conflict. 2 brownie points for me. Someone may accept this piece for publication!! Or not. Anyway, my mum starts to appear at inconvenient times. Much hilarity as she overlooks my latest dating disaster. (Trope alert: Overbearing mother ruining son's social life. Not writing what you know warning : I haven't dated since Terry Dactyl was a dinosaur). Later, I hire an exorcist to get rid of mum: this is played for laughs for A.CT.l.s and for horror on U.Ah.rs. On J.tt.fy the exorcist turns out to be one of the contributing writers, most likely Peter Perfect. Ev..yD.YF.ct.on return the story since I inadvertently put the word 'succubus' in the exorcist's references that he gave me before I offered him the job. Excorcism doesn't work and my Dad (he's not dead either) turns up to ask my mum where his tea is. Mum tells him he had it an hour ago and both spirit and non-spirit depart. I marry the Exorcist. (This is C, or even Z) Story Arc: A-B-C. Somehow I don't think I'll be submitting this one to E.ery.ayFi..ion.
Archived comments for The Arc of a Story
Rab on 09-08-2013
The Arc of a Story
Go on, write it! Particularly like the idea of your spirit mum telling your spirit dad that he's had his tea.

Ross

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 09-08-2013
The Arc of a Story
Hahaha, nice one. One of the best opening lines ever (imo) was Anthony Burgess' 'Earthly Powers':



"It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me."



Beat that!





Author's Reply:
Can't. But I console myself with knowing that at least one person reading slush for a respected (american) e-zine would turn it down because he had to look up 'catamite.'

Burgess is unjustly ignored, in my opinion. Enderby is a great creation.

Andrea on 09-08-2013
The Arc of a Story
Agree. Although I never could get into Clockwork Orange.

Author's Reply:
The Orange really is a bravura performance, although I'm sure the Nadsat puts everyone off. I find it hard to believe that there are so few years between Orwell's dystopia and Burgess's. I always reckon 1984, Orange and Huxley's Brave New World should be studied together.

Andrea on 09-08-2013
The Arc of a Story
Not a bad trio, eh? And another two of my favourite writers.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 10-08-2013
The Arc of a Story
It's humour Ewan, but not as Americans know it.
For me it was the magician showing his sleight of hand.
'I marry the exorcist' - priceless.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:


A Page from a Mad Scientist's Chapbook (posted on: 05-08-13)
...

Each granule in the sugar cube hides the tessaract within. Time breaks the rule of three of Grimm and Christian lore. A wrinkle in time, can cause a fault in reality, a particle wind may divert time's arrow and who knows where it will fall. The tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square as the square is to the line. The dot is to the circle as the circle to the sphere as the sphere is to the infinite polychoron - and this my friend, not the torus, nor any kind of egg, is the shape of the universe today.
Archived comments for A Page from a Mad Scientist's Chapbook
amman on 05-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
Very clever, Ewan. Thanks for the science and a very skillfully presented poem, to boot.
Regards.
Tony.

Author's Reply:

mageorge on 05-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
"a particle wind
may divert time’s arrow
and who knows where
it will fall."
I feel so humbled reading such a piece of utter brilliance..
Thank you for sharing.
Regards,
Mark


Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 05-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
 photo 915e0b75-fce7-4fc2-9921-556099197c13_zps1f6b3c50.jpg
Och! I knew that Ewan!!!!!
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 05-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
Well Ewan, I can assure you that not all crystal growth occurs in the manner you describe, Most sugar lumps are porous too, see how quickly they absorb coffee in the saucer! Would God - or even the god particle, agree with your proposition?.... But let that not detract from an amusing and clever description of some forms of matter....David

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 06-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
Clever and amusing, Ewan.
Just a small query: is is it tessaract (as in the second line) or tesseract (eleventh line)?

Author's Reply:
tesseract! oops. Thanks for pointing that out.

cooky on 06-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
More than clever. An insight into chaos theory. I like this

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 07-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
String theory, God particles, fractionals, anthropocentric Universes, multiverses; love contemplating these and the concept in this fine work.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 08-08-2013
A Page from a Mad Scientists Chapbook
Living with absurd unpredictability - how on earth do we cope? Does it drive us mad? Entertaining musings, Gerald.

Author's Reply:


Grave Dancer (posted on: 02-08-13)
just another one of my things with limited appeal...

'Pablito! Come on!' The boy looks up at his mother's face. Is it the moment to cry? Or should he lift his best shoes his communion shoes and stop dragging them in the dust. His mother's mouth is in one of those lines that he just can't seem to draw, even on squared paper. So he stuffs the hand his mother isn't holding in his pocket and tries to move a little faster. Concepcin Inmaculada pulls the boy along as if he were a suitcase full of clothes she didn't want. One of those roller cases with a caster missing. Rumour has it Zapatero is going to close the Basilica and she has promised herself and the boy one last visit before he goes back to Andalucia. For he will go back, he must: there is nothing in Madrid for them, now. Father Garcia is waiting in the vestry. It's tomorrow. Zapatero has got his way. The Basilica will be closed 'for repair and renovation'. Two falangist flags over a year ago and he waits to take his revenge like this. What a pity Spain is governed by politicians! The priest shakes his head, generals would be better, as everyone knows. Pablito has let go of his mother's hand. He is 10! Besides he can still see her in her floral dress heading towards the Basilica. In any case, she is only in the doorway of the church of Uncle Paco's Tomb. Pablito has never met Uncle Paco. He died before his mama was born. Maybe there were dinosaurs then! Pablito knows that is silly. But his cousin back in Villablanco says that they didn't have mobile phones in those days. Imagine! His mama has gone all the way into the church now, Pablito breaks into a run. Concepcin Inmaculada looks back out of the entrance, sees her boy start to hurry to catch her. Luckily, she has something in her pocket to keep him amused. It's the other mobile. Not the one she'll be needing in a few seconds. She turns to smile at her son, gives him the phone, waves him outside, 'Angry Birds, Pablito, just stay outside for now, okay?' The Cur sighs, the mass will begin in over an hour's time. Still, the tourists come to wonder at the Basilica, to point and whisper at the slab of polished granite keeping the old tyrant in his tomb. That woman over there is getting very close to the monstrosity. Last week a boy had climbed on top of the thing and jumped, leapt and frolicked like a mediaeval loon. The I-Phone! Pablito isn't allowed to touch his mother's phone. She says it isn't hers, it is the man's. That man who comes to the flat. His mama gives him money, but she still says she works for him. One time Pablito borrowed the phone and he got a slap. Pablo wonders why she has given him the phone now, but then concentrates on the game. It's time, Concepcin Inmaculada thinks. Time someone showed them. Time the politicos did something. What future does Pablito have? By the time he is 18, no-one under 30 will have a job. She puts her hand on the phone, and jumps. Not again! A grown woman. She's jumped onto the granite lid. Why are people always jumping on Franco's tomb? Father Garcia takes a step towards the woman capering on the Generalissimo's grave. He wonders what the loud noise is and then hopes God will make him welcome.
Archived comments for Grave Dancer
Nomenklatura on 02-08-2013
Grave Dancer
I was going to write 'Read this, it's fantastic!' in the teaser... But it isn't. Honesty is the best policy!

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 02-08-2013
Grave Dancer
I think it's pretty damn good Ewan- such a short, telling tale. Well done. DP

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-08-2013
Grave Dancer
If you think this is bad I'm going to stop writing! 🙂 Mike

Author's Reply:


The End of Days (posted on: 02-08-13)
Dementia; aging; alcohol dependency. Time, circles.

The Day Before Yesterday The day before yesterday I will go home: the day after tomorrow I left only a few hours later when the hour glass was turning faster than an egg-timer - and I meet myself coming back.
Lunar Tics The moon turns the tide of men's blood which rushes through the narrowed arteries and weakened veins to reach the straitened gate: bleed or clot, the insult to the soul's throne will mean an end to flights of fancy and motion. Come the days, tired by the fullest moon, Jack Daw picks at maggoty morsels, then flies where currents take him to land beside the same carrion as the day before.
The Day Before Tomorrow The day before tomorrow I had written these words, which you will be reading the day after yesterday.
Archived comments for The End of Days
Pelequin23 on 02-08-2013
The End of Days
an interesting blend of sytles and form 🙂

Author's Reply:

Pelequin23 on 02-08-2013
The End of Days


Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 02-08-2013
The End of Days
Ok ...I give in you have lost me with this one! I love your work but this I do not understand; any chance you could tell me if I'm looking for something that isn't there? In Friendship, Mike.

Author's Reply:
I think you may be looking for something that isn't there. In the first part, the tenses are dissonant with the times: this is meant to suggest the confusion in alzheimer's/dementia sufferers' minds. The hour-glass/egg timer thing reflects how time passes so much more quickly with age. The first stanza of lunar tics refers to a recent BBC news article on the full moon affecting human behaviour being a possiblility, it then moves into a (flowery) description of arterio sclerosis and its consequences: stroke for example which can cause dementia. In the second, Jack Daw's returning to the maggots is a metaphor for alcohol dependence which can also cause arterio-sclerotic effects on brain function.

The third part returns to the temporal confusion and memory dislocation that alzheimer's/dementia sufferers endure. The tenses remain inappropriate and the two time phrases both mean today.

My father has alzheimer's. The poem is an exploration of that and a reminder of what might be waiting for me.

Thank you for reading.
Ewan

P.S. I'm not usually a great fan of explaining a poem, as I feel that somehow I've failed if I have to do it. However, since you read so many of my ramblings I felt I owed you one! 🙂

Bozzz on 04-08-2013
The End of Days
Tautology is rather a brutal way of describing confusion but my brother died last year of dementia and I think it is fair....Bozzz

Author's Reply:


The Myth of Sisyphus (posted on: 29-07-13)
Albert, mon ami, c'est vraiment absurde...

I count. I count part no. ZB-27001D (Patent Number 1984001235). Every day. They are small. No bigger than a chocolate praline from a luxury Belgian assortment. Thousands of ZB-27001Ds pass through my hands each and every day. They are all perfect, or should be, for they pass through quality control before I count them. Someone told me that a long time ago. They come to me on the belt, through a flap that only opens my way. I have never seen the quality controller, or if I have, he is one of the hundreds who work at KafCo who pass through the factory gates in search of their own tasks, every day, at 8.00 a.m. precisely. Yesterday I counted 10,013. Monday I counted 9,998. The last time I counted 10,000 exactly was 3 months ago. 10,000 is the mean and the median, but it is not the mode. The mode is a prime number: 10,007. I leave you to decide the least and most that I count in a day. The ZB-27100Ds pass through a flap that opens into another space. It may be a cubicle as small as mine. I do not know. Nor do I know what happens to the pieces that I count between 08.10 a.m. and 16.55 p.m. every day. There are no flaps or belt in my room at the Workers' Hostel, downtown. There is a window which looks out onto a brick wall on the other side of the alley. I count. I count the seconds, minutes, hours and days. It is absurd. All is well, and you should imagine me happy.
Archived comments for The Myth of Sisyphus
Weefatfella on 29-07-2013
The Myth of Sisyphus
 photo 915e0b75-fce7-4fc2-9921-556099197c13_zps1f6b3c50.jpg
Good God!
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

OldPeculier on 31-07-2013
The Myth of Sisyphus
Like this a lot.

Author's Reply:


The Last of the Mojitos (posted on: 19-07-13)
FICTION. It's not about me...

I wonder if it has any relation to mojo? It's a harmless enough cocktail, if you treat it with respect. Respect means drinking less than two an hour unless you're Papa H. A mojito is normally only about 10% proof, the same as a low-to-medium strength wine. Of course, I've never seen anyone sip a mojito: it's a high-ball drink, it's refreshing. It's for drinking in cabanas - copa or otherwise. Mojo (Moe Joe gives you an idea of the pronunciation) is one thing: Mojito (Moe Heat-O more or less) is another. Most likely it has nothing to do with the Hoodoo Mama's red flannel bag. Hoodoo is Santeria in Cuba: do they have Mojos at all? So, yes, the one probably is nothing to do with the other. The only thing they have in common is spirits of different kinds. Anyway, yesterday I drank the last of the mojitos. Tomorrow is a day without alcohol. The first of many. Ernest was determined that alcohol helped the muse, I'm not sure he was right, seeing as how he shot himself because he believed he couldn't write any more. Sure, he had too much iron in the blood, but he was probably far more despondent about the writing or his inability to organise it. He suffered from depression towards the end of his life; his misfortune was to be alive in the early 60's when ECT was the treatment du jour. Today it's alphabet soup for the soul: SSRIs and SNRIs, for example. As you see, I can still write more or less. Perhaps the organization is a little lacking, and maybe the originality, but I'm still getting words on virtual paper. That virtuality is the best thing, I could delete all this now and it would be as if I had never written it. Oh I know you can recover anything from a hard disk, but that would be too much trouble for meanderings like this. In any case, I still like paper, too; you can watch it burn, if you're that way inclined. You've probably guessed: ain't got my mojo working But I do have a shotgun.
Archived comments for The Last of the Mojitos
Mikeverdi on 19-07-2013
The Last of the Mojitos
I never know just what to expect next from your pen/key board, I only know I'll not be disappointed; and that is how it should be. Another interesting write from you. Mike

Author's Reply:
Ah, thanks Mike, you're very generous, if a man of strange tastes!
Thanks very much for reading.


Wasteland (posted on: 15-07-13)
you'll work it out...

South of Capricorn's line they perform rites and mysteries over their stricken king. They hope. He lies silent awaiting the question that will set him free.
Archived comments for Wasteland
Mikeverdi on 15-07-2013
Wasteland
Nice write, it's what comes next that matters now; the King is dead long live what? Mike

Author's Reply:
God only knows, Mike, God only knows.

deadpoet on 18-07-2013
Wasteland
Capricorn is very much south but I can't guess I'm afraid- the closest I can get is Aboriginal- but they don't have a king. So I am a big questionmark????

Author's Reply:
South Africa is south of the Tropic of Capricorn

deadpoet on 18-07-2013
Wasteland
Naturally daft I am. I apologize- Now I see it. So sorry.

Very expressive.

Author's Reply:
Don't worry, I'm a terrible fellow for leaving a bit of work to the reader.
Thank YOU for reading anyway.
regards
Ewan


In the Beginning (posted on: 15-07-13)
guess...

In the beginning was the grunt, after any failed - or successful - hunt. Perhaps there might have been a scream if a straggler fell into a stream, maybe a roar or simply a shout meaning 'help me' or 'someone, get me out.' Their intelligence was low, their foreheads the same: the first word was probably someone's name
Archived comments for In the Beginning
karen123 on 15-07-2013
In the Beginning
My daughters first proper word spoken with understanding was 'dog' and my sons was 'car'
I have often wondered what the very first word might have been and I agree with you it was probably 'Help!' or maybe 'Stop!'

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 18-07-2013
In the Beginning
I don't want to guess so I'll just say you are probably right. This made me smile- thank you..

Author's Reply:


The Last Man to (posted on: 05-07-13)
I find it difficult to choose a genre... but I like that.

I saw him float by. It was a canal and not a river, but just the same I had waited long enough beside the water and there he was. When does your best friend become your enemy? Is it the first straw or the last? He made people girls- laugh. I never heard him tell a joke. People used to say he could have made Undertaker's mute laugh. I had to join in the laughter. I got used to people knowing I was 'the last of the gang to everything'. If he said it once well, you know the rest. I'd known Dick since primary school, and he was the leader. He sang Gary Glitter at every karaoke. It was the kind of gang everyone falls into, in a small town. A same-school, same-football-team, going-out-with-their sisters-for-while kind of gang. The kind of gang that sort of meets up in the pub on Friday nights and can't remember why. Sure, one or two leaves drop off the tree over the years and occasionally a new bud grows on one of the branches, but the trunk of that friendship tree stays the same. Unless someone chops through the trunk, of course. 'Meet Dave, Dave,' Dick had said. I saw a tall guy, about 30 or so, around our age. This other Dave's clothes were better than mine, than anyone's except perhaps Dick's. The other Dave smiled, 'could be confusing that.' He shook hands. Dick put an arm round the other Dave's shoulder, jerking his thumb towards me, 'This is Dave Last, the last of the gang to'. The other five sang out, 'Ev-ry-thing!' Half of the other Dave's smile dropped to the bottom of his face and I liked him for it. Soon after joining Dick's gang, the other Dave called me midweek. I'd just finished fitting a kitchen for one of Dick's cousins over in Leigh-on-Sea and I was moping at home. The kids were out at school and Sharon was over at her mum's. 'What you up to, Dave?' he said. 'Nothin' much. Don't start the next job until next Monday.' 'Fancy a pint? A chat?' 'Not really, I'm watchin' telly.' Yeah, Bargain Hunt. 'Go on, I'll pick you up.' I went out of curiosity. I was the last person he would call up for a random pint, surely. He was outside my front door in fifteen minutes in something fast and foreign looking, although I didn't recognise the marque. We drove out into the country. A gastropub none of the gang would ever have been seen in if they'd closed every pub from Braintree to Burkina Faso, wherever that is. The other Dave went to the bar and brought a Britvic orange and a pint of chemicals to a table that looked like it belonged in a doll's house. He sat down. He didn't say anything for a few minutes, just looked at me with the half-fallen smile. 'It's about work, Dave,' he took a dainty sip from the bottle rather than the wine glass that had come with his orange gloop. 'Need a chippy, got a kitchen to go in?' He shook his head, 'My work.' 'I'm not in the market for a flashy car, Dave.' The other Dave held up a warrant card. 'I'm not selling one.' I started to get up to leave. The policeman held up a hand. 'You're not the problem, Dave, you're the solution. If you want to be.' The beer tasted even worse now. 'I don't know what you're talking about.' 'Let me show you something.' Policeman Dave looked over his shoulder towards the bar, and over mine towards the door. He took out a phone that was smarter than mine, or me, come to that. Leaning in towards me he showed the screen. It was disgusting. I pushed the screen away. 'Put it away. That stuff's got nothing to do with me.' He proffered the screen again and said, 'but it has Dave.' The slide show was continuing and I felt sick, quite sick. 'Look,' I said,' I'm not into that I've got kids' 'Lots of them have kids.' The policeman's thumb flashed across the keypad and the slide-show stopped. It was Dick's youngest. I looked away. 'What do you want me to do about it? You're the fucking plod, aren't you?' 'Yep, and so are some people who like to help your friend Dick out.' 'So?' 'My hands are tied, so to speak.' 'Just say what you want, for fuck's sake!' He put the phone on the table. 'You watch the rest of slide-show while I go to the loo, you'll know what to do then.' I watched it. The policeman came back and nodded at me, and I did know. He dropped me off near home, but I went for a walk and made a call on my mobile. Then I spent some time at the Canal Bridge. Afterwards I drove a couple of miles down the road to the Cavendish lock. I waited quite a while. I recognised my chisel sticking out of the back of Dick's neck as he floated by.
Archived comments for The Last Man to
OldPeculier on 05-07-2013
The Last Man to
I really enjoyed this. Snappy and to the point while still having enough detail to create a believable picture.

Thank you.

Author's Reply:

Rab on 05-07-2013
The Last Man to
Good story, simple but well told, with good pace. Particularly liked the last paragraph.

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 05-07-2013
The Last Man to
 photo 5031cf9b-61d2-4fbf-912f-998c505fb4bc_zpsd7cccd97.jpg
That, again after googling was typical Sun Tzu.
The chisel in the neck would definitely result in peace.
Always a brilliant and informative read Ewan.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Jakester519 on 09-07-2013
The Last Man to
Great story Ewan and thanks for suggesting this site to me. I love the way the imagination runs riot at your excellent use of the show not tell. Quite chilling.
Thanks again,
Ian

Author's Reply:


68, Boulevard de Clichy (posted on: 01-07-13)
It's not anything, it's just writing... Or scribbling... Or noodling, which is doodling with words

It's Tuesday night at Le Chat Noir and the Salon of the Incoherent Arts will perform later - for writers, drinkers, tourists and sundry tarts. Americans will smoke French cigarettes and Parisians - Turkish. The English will smoke either depending on whom they can persuade to donate them. I prefer a nagil with fine Moroccan hashish and so I save such pursuits for more private moments. The Russian Pencil is giving his views on L'Affaire Dreyfus to a small, rapt group of younger men. This seems a little redundant since le tout Paris reads his rag full of childish doodles. In the corner Henri is mooning over Jane who is at quite another table, with quite another type of man. No doubt the fools in the audience will applaud Alphonse's homophonous doggerel. A man inclined to pair il fait chaud with il fait 'show' deserves the plaudits of les Anglaises et Americains. The shadowplay may well veer towards the obscene tonight, depending on how much gin the puppeteers have drunk to steady their hands. That fool Caudieux is who Jane is here to see I'm sure. Mlle. Avril's tastes are no more sophisticated than her dancing. It is a special night tonight, for Bertie the Royal English Fool is here and more sheets in the wind than a Barbary Pirate ship. My own performance will reflect them all in a mirror of my choosing and none will recognise themselves in my monologue and that is all to the good or bad, depending on whether you believe that what we masters of ceremonies do is art or entertainment. For me it is entertainment, for it entertains me. 'Bonsoir Mesdames et Messieurs, we have all enjoyed the show, I'm sure, it's Tuesday night at Le Chat Noir and the '
Archived comments for 68, Boulevard de Clichy
Andrea on 01-07-2013
68, Boulevard de Clichy
Marvellous! Noodling indeed 🙂

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-07-2013
68, Boulevard de Clichy
I have said it before...I love the way you tell your stories. Mike

Author's Reply:
Yep, Me and Frank Carson 'It's the way I tell 'em! ' 🙂

franciman on 02-07-2013
68, Boulevard de Clichy
Why has this not been nibbed Ewan?

Really atmospheric story telling. I want to order an absinthe and settle back in my chair.
Sante,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the 10 Jim. It's not been nibbed because it is just noodling: there's no story, nothing to engage apart from the atmosphere. I am quite pleased with the narrator's voice, though.
Thanks for reading, again
Ewan

amman on 02-07-2013
68, Boulevard de Clichy
I agree with Jim; should be nibbed. Rampant atmospherique terrible d'ecriture, Monsieur.
Sante.
Tony.


Author's Reply:
Ce n'est qu'une bagatelle, vraiment. Merci beaucoup pour les mots amiables!


Afghan Proverb (posted on: 01-07-13)
'If you wait long enough by the river, one day, one day, you will see the body of your enemy floating past.

I waited by the river, 'til my enemy floated by and thus I saw his passing, but didn't see him die. The river flows eternal; the waters cannot die, so though my enemy he was dead, by that time so was I.
Archived comments for Afghan Proverb
Ionicus on 04-07-2013
Afghan Proverb
Hi Ewan. A good philosophical piece.
Great minds think alike. I too wrote a poem in a similar vein (and it's part of my poetry collection 'Reflections') except that I took it to be a Chinese proverb.
My effort, although listed in the 'Picks', is no longer on UKA so I've copied it here and hope you like it as much as I did yours:

A Chinese proverb says
if you wait long enough
on the bank of a river
you’ll see the dead body
of your enemy float by.
I stood there for an eternity
and was lost in a dream,
as I watched the water
gently flow downstream.
I kept a watchful eye
for any defunct foes
but no corpse appeared;
nobody in death’s throes.
It had occurred to me
to ask the reason why,
until the realisation
that in my peaceful world
perhaps there is no enmity.


Author's Reply:


'The Way Things Are Goin'...' (posted on: 24-06-13)
odd...

The man on the bed watched the roach. It wasn't looking back at him exactly, but it wasn't moving. Its antennae were waving: insect semaphore. Dale let out a laugh that turned into a sigh. Maybe the thing was debating whether to cross the sticky patch on the carpet. Dale had walked around it on his way to the bed, three days ago. The bottle on the bedside table was empty. 2 litres of Fanta had lasted until yesterday. Dale wondered when the roach would start talking to him. His talking to the roach didn't count. Didn't look much, the room. Big, though. It had been the Honeymoon Suite in '69. The sag in the bed's mattress told him that maybe they had been in this very bed. Dale reckoned he did know how hard it could be. The back-pack in the corner still looked new. All his clothes were still inside. Except the shorts and tee he'd worn crossing the border from Spain, that was. The guard had made him empty out the rucksack. He'd passed comment on the newness of the clothes to his buddy. Dale had picked up plenty of Es-pan-yol in Tijuana, back in the day. Which day was that anyway? It sure hadn't been any recent day. He looked at his watch; 12.15 on the 25th of something. Throwing his mobile into the Mediterranean had been a damn' good idea. Tarifa was a nice town, full of surfers and bums. A bit like home in some ways. La cucaracha was on the move; circumnavigating the stain on the carpet. Humming the song turned out a bad idea and Dale tried to stop coughing, but couldn't for too many sweeps of the second hand. The spoon and spike were beside the empty fanta bottle, next to the belt and the cellophane. It wasn't time for that yet, no sir. Not until the insect started answering back. He'd never dipped into the merchandise, not once. Junkies made bad mules, and no money. No money at all. Dale had made plenty, enough for the best oncologists on the west coast. Enough to take a trip to the bottom of Europe. To the Rock, to the Rock Hotel: a stone's throw from Africa and a long way from L.A. The bug had made it to the other side of the hard-matted fibre. It stood up on its hind legs. Could they really do that? He inched his back up against the old headboard, could he really do that? It seemed like it. He pulled the zippo out of his shorts pocket, since the cockroach was singing at him. It sounded like John. It could have been worse, he reflected. The roach might have sounded like Yoko.
Archived comments for 'The Way Things Are Goin'...'
Harry on 24-06-2013
The Way Things Are Goin...
Refreshing little stream of conscience, not unlike Kafka in a way. Heads up little piece of writing that could read to something meaningful.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Mr B!

Andrea on 08-07-2013
The Way Things Are Goin...
Oh, really, really good 🙂 Lots of familiar things for me here. Great piece - must have missed it before.

Author's Reply:
I enjoyed writing this, it's a little self-indulgent to write for yourself, so I'm glad it touched a chord (probably E7) with you.

Mikeverdi on 08-07-2013
The Way Things Are Goin...
Away at the moment but had to say I loved this, feels like the real thing. Mike

Author's Reply:
In that case, many more thanks than usual for reading!


The Poggendorff Illusion (posted on: 21-06-13)
like many illusions, there are many interpretations...

Look closer at the lines, not at the interruption. This separation's disruption of our connection is illusory. I could reach across the void of this geographical swathe and meet your outstretched finger; shift the displacement, set it straight across separated lines and see that they will meet again. One day.
Archived comments for The Poggendorff Illusion
Andrea on 21-06-2013
The Poggendorf Illusion
Interesting (and clever). I like it.

(Pssst, shouldn't it be Poggendorff?)

Author's Reply:
(Of course it should, but sometimes this eyboar desnt wor vry wel)
Thanks for reading!

Weefatfella on 22-06-2013
The Poggendorff Illusion
 photo fd68aa69-bd2a-4057-8056-d78ca32405b1_zps7a968777.jpg
Aye! Nae google this time Ewan.
A knew this wan!
Nicely done pome though!
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:


The Culture
(posted on: 10-06-13)
A huge loss...


Our culture - yours, mine was diminished today. Someone, a rare one, who straddled literature and its poor, ridiculed cousin, laid down his pen, switched off his laptop, only hours ago. A huge intellect has flickered out. I hope - for his sake that there is more than this, for what is posterity when measured against oblivion? By all means 'Consider Phlebas,' and 'what if Jesus, Marx and Darwin had never been?' But do remember, that every light extinguished, burned bright before it died.

Archived comments for
The Culture

ValDohren on 10-06-2013
The Culture

Yes indeed, but sad that the bright lights are not always seen. Excellent write, enjoyed very much.

Val

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 10-06-2013
The Culture

Gone but not forgotten is all any of us can hope for. He went to young but left a body of work to ensure his place in writing history is written in stone. Well said my friend. Mike

Author's Reply:

japanesewind on 10-06-2013
The Culture

The loss gutted me too, just finished Transition.

The culture novels were some of the best sci-fi imaginable.
A mighty imagination has been lost for sure.

good tribute.....D

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 10-06-2013
The Culture

A sad, premature demise of a giant of modern literature.
A lovely memento, Ewan.

Author's Reply:


Sunrise (posted on: 27-05-13)
07.00hrs on the track, walking near a road.

The sun rose orange over the mountain under the bale-grey gaze of the jealous moon. The doppler drone of a pantechnicon smeared the soundscape. Birdsong was banished. For a time, then returned. Until the next engine tears up the canvas painted by sylvan sounds on a silent background
Archived comments for Sunrise
ValDohren on 27-05-2013
Sunrise
Lovely description of sunrise and man's interference with its beauty.

Val

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 27-05-2013
Sunrise
Nicely done - paintings with sounds - straight out of Tate Modern. Pity they don't hang our work-of-art poems in the galleries. I have to sat I was jolted a little by the change to the present tense in the last stanza, but I can see why you've used it. Gerald.

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 28-05-2013
Sunrise
Nice one, indeed, Ewan.

Tina

Author's Reply:

japanesewind on 28-05-2013
Sunrise
beautiful opening line... I too hate the encroachment of man-made noise when in the peak district...

D

Author's Reply:


Black Hole (posted on: 24-05-13)
Ha! That's put you off, hasn't it!

This hole is black, a new-discovered window on the very beginning; The Univ-Ur-se. Radiation echoes hint at Sci-Fi's holy grail; the anything's-possible, Hitler-as-humanitarian, Schrodinger's-catachrestic multiverse. All creation's patchwork is suddenly quilted, or myriad inflationary pockets collapse, turning lint into stars. Branes threaded on a superstring necklace collide like clackers, each loud report echoing, bouncing, into yet another beginning. Shapes in a landscape move with lower energies; one space is out-lawed by its contiguate neighbour. Binary choices justify quantum theories at every fork in the road that goes on forever. Or perhaps the surface mimics the substance and the holographic truth is that we are no more than illuminated shadows. The negrescent fear is that this window is in Blue Genes and everything is simulated. Is it the ultimate; every possible mathematical variant according to Physical Laws? Or are the echoes coming out of the black simply the sound of God laughing.
Archived comments for Black Hole
Weefatfella on 24-05-2013
Black Hole
 photo c8985de3-44fa-4972-8452-209c5b038bed_zps41f8f0a0.jpg
Can God laugh? Humour is usually someone suffering to some extent. If a woman is walking in the forest and nobody hears her, is she still wrong? Brain frying stuff Nom.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
'Man plans, God laughs' Jewish Proverb
If a woman is walking... fabulous that.
Thanks for reading, WFF
regards
Ewan

amman on 26-05-2013
Black Hole
Very clever, Ewan. Absolutely love the final verse. These Scientific wallahs come out with new theories every few months.
If he ain't laughing, hr should be.
Cheers.
Tony.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Tony, I'm not a believer, in fact. However, it's entirely possible that I'm in the wrong. Even so, I admire science and philosophy for trying to make sense of it all. I can't always say the same for religion.
Regards
Ewan


The Digital Dunciad (posted on: 20-05-13)
Curmudgeon calling...

Who will they be, the poets of our latter day? What pithy epithet will posterity lay on the Pylon Poets' successors? The Digital Wave, the Virtual Professors? Or the School of Instant Gratification, perhaps? Will they write of bits and bytes and human rights, benefits, tax or Goldman Sachs? Will anything rise from the internet swamp of facile, fake and faux-metered lines, by the gauche-st, gadfly, google minds? All hail the genius of the local comp! By the clicking of smart-phone thumbs, something wiki-d this way comes.
Archived comments for The Digital Dunciad
rcc on 20-05-2013
The Digital Dunciad
........something 'wiki-d' this way comes??!! thanks for this --- what I'd call a very good tongue in cheek description of the computer age--

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 20-05-2013
The Digital Dunciad
Great piece and a good description what could be, some fine alliteration and spot on delicate end rhymes, killer last line. S

Author's Reply:


The Silver Age (posted on: 20-05-13)
It is what it ... no, sorry. It is what you think it is - and what I think it is, but they might be two different things.

No colour for young men, those golden boys of eternal summer. I'm glad that Zeus divided the year in four. The silvered locks reflected in the glass Tell me where I stand. In winter we are old, the summer sun invigorates us. We feel our age as divided by two. The butterflies hovering in the grass help me understand. But silver is still bright; the polished sheen of experience. We know our golden days are gone, but sunset's splendour is the ending that we planned.
Archived comments for The Silver Age
franciman on 20-05-2013
The Silver Age
Hi Ewen,
It is definitely what we think it is. Any differing perspective is simply one of definition. This is one of your very best.
regards,
Jim (the Silver Fox) I'm planning something spectacular too!

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment, Jim
regards
Ewan

ValDohren on 20-05-2013
The Silver Age
Excellent write Ewan - very good description of growing old. Just one little spelling error - envigorate should read invigorate.

Val

Author's Reply:
Oops, thanks for pointing that out. It was a 'senior moment'.

rcc on 20-05-2013
The Silver Age
Really a good read...I like its simplicity, I think. No word tricks. To the point of growing older--- silver is definitely All Right.......

Author's Reply:
Yes, sometimes simple is best, although... qv earlier quotes from Pete Townshend's lyrics to Substitute.
regards
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 21-05-2013
The Silver Age
Some terrific writing in the latest batch...and this is one of them. Mike

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 22-05-2013
The Silver Age
 photo c8985de3-44fa-4972-8452-209c5b038bed_zps41f8f0a0.jpg
The silver lining on the cloud of ageing.
Is located on the tongue.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 24-05-2013
The Silver Age
Liked, a lot.

Tina;-)

Author's Reply:

Corin on 24-06-2013
The Silver Age
Ah! I see the Silver Fox is preening himself to go hunting:-)

David

Author's Reply:


Undercover Man (posted on: 13-05-13)
...

His jacket sleeve shone. Tiny droplets on the cheap viscose. Rain you couldn't see. You felt it alright. Donnie McLeod sneezed. How could there be pollen in air this damp? If only he could have waited inside. Just in the lobby. But that would have meant questions. His collar drooped, too feeble to stay turned up. He pulled at the material again. A Rapsons bus passed the shelter opposite without stopping, Fort William bound. As it passed a ginnel twenty yards from the stop, a woman shook her fist at the driver. Before turning back down the narrow alley, she shouted over at Donnie. 'How, ye glaiket fool! Hae ye nae more sense but tae staun' oot in the mizzle?' Donnie shrugged. He didn't know the woman. He didn't know the town. It had a bus service, schools, vagrants, burglars, vermin and beggars. Anything that any town had. Or Anytown. It had one special thing though, and Donnie was standing outside it. In man-made materials. In the mizzle. He looked at the cheap Timex on his wrist. One of those digital, plastic ones. 10.45. He'd give it an hour. No more than that today. The weather might be better tomorrow, you never knew. Donnie fingered the badge on his lapel. Yellow background and the peace symbol. He'd liked the woman who'd given him it. Liked how she smelled, even afterwards. Someone came out of the building behind him. Hood up on the anorak, mud-splashes on the American tan. She was moving like someone who wanted to run but couldn't remember how. Donnie heard a sob as she passed. At least it proved what the building was for. They would come, then. The article in the Record would make sure of that. 'Council to End Clinic Shame of Placket Street.' The real shame was that the reporter hadn't added some details like when exactly- they were going to end it. Donnie didn't know what the problem was. Legal for nearly 20 years. One small town kirk's minister makes a fuss and well, that's what the women would come for. To stop the closing of something legal. He sniggered. They should make up their minds. The badge woman had wanted to close Faslane, as they all called it. Couldn't get much more legal than a military base, and my, how they'd wanted to close that. He hoped to catch one before the protest went national. Someone might recognize him, else. The Mohican had gone, and most of the piercings: but you never knew. So many women: all for - and against - the same things. There were rumours of something going off in Berkshire soon. The Bedford Van pulled to a halt outside the clinic. About 10 women stepped out onto the slick pavement. They formed a huddle and whispered. Some placards were unloaded from the van, along with a few deck chairs. Donnie went over to help. 'We'll stop them,eh?' Most of the women drew away from his extended hand. The leader took it, and shook it hard. 'Up from Croydon. Got a call from a friend in Inverness.' 'I'm local, or I used tae be.' The woman looked at him. Suspicious. There were always rumours about undercover policemen infiltrating the groups. There were worse things, they ought to have known that, really. *** Donnie looked at the newspaper in his hand. 'Butchered Pro-Choice Campaigner : Police Baffled.' He folded it and put it on the dash of the lorry's cab. 'Terrible business, that.' The driver didn't look sorry. 'Yes, it is.' Donnie said. And it was, they'd almost caught him. It was just too small a protest, after all. 'Where'll it be?' the driver said. 'South.' 'Where exactly?' 'You might not know it. It's a place called Greenham Common.'
Archived comments for Undercover Man
Weefatfella on 15-05-2013
Undercover Man
 photo c8985de3-44fa-4972-8452-209c5b038bed_zps41f8f0a0.jpg
Undercover Eh!
He'll huvtae git a sex change.
Good story Ewan.
Will there be more of this? It reads like it might be the start of something.
The characters are strong and believable.
I live in hope.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Never say never, but many times I just write something just to keep the pen moving, as it were. This is something that came out of that. Thanks for reading!!!
Regards
Ewan

Andrea on 15-05-2013
Undercover Man
Hah! Excellent short/flash!

Author's Reply:
Short and sour, that's how I like 'em.
Thanks for reading!
Ewan


Friday Afternoons (posted on: 13-05-13)
it's not about anything at all..

'Today, I heard.' 'Never! Same owners?' Jim sniggered, 'Not likely. They burnt them out, you know.' 'Who?' His bony shoulders jerked up and down, ''They'. It's nearly always 'them' and the odd time it isn't, it's 'somebody' or 'someone'.' I asked him what he meant. 'It's not that it doesn't matter who did it, it's that it does.' He looked across the road at the hillside with the idle cranes and unfinished houses. We both finished the beer in our glasses and I waved at Maria-Jesus. Two glasses as wet on the outside as in arrived at the table. Jim looked at Maria-Jesus's legs until they disappeared inside the Venta. A flat-bed Pegaso roared past, horn blaring. The man in the terrace corner lifted a trembling arm to wave. 'Reckon I'll go,' Jim said. I raised an eyebrow, since my mouth was full of San Miguel. 'Rude not to, besides, somewhere different' He looked around at the empty tables and the car park full of waiters' cars. 'Why not?' But I remembered Jim's complaints when the Venta Montevista had been shut for what he must have considered four very long years. We'd gone to Las Sabanillas and waited countless three-quarter hours for warm beers or we'd gone to La Granja and bet each other whiskies about how much the bill would be out when we left. Every Friday afternoon, Jim would say he wished 'The Venta' was open. As if there were only - ever - one. And now he wanted to go to Las Palmas. 'Quite a walk, Jim.' I said. 'Not now, just sometime.' So I knew we never would, and Las Palmas could burn down again before Jim and I missed a Friday afternoon in 'The Venta'.
Archived comments for Friday Afternoons
Weefatfella on 15-05-2013
Friday Afternoons
 photo c8985de3-44fa-4972-8452-209c5b038bed_zps41f8f0a0.jpg


Great picture of two mates.


chilling in the sunshine.


Enjoyed the read Ewan, and the beer.


Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Weefa.
Terrace Life, eh?

Andrea on 15-05-2013
Friday Afternoons
San Miguel - I remember it well 🙂

Author's Reply:
San Miguel, Cruzcampo, Aguila, Estrella Damm and Malaga's own Victoria... can't beat a cool beer on a hot day, ask John Mills.


Solvitur Ambulando (posted on: 06-05-13)
NB Pursuant 2. One who pursues, a pursuer. Rare. Oxford English Dictionary - 2nd Ed. Vers.4.0 (2009)

Across the Ore mountains, we put distance between the castle and ourselves, hoping pursuant uniforms will prove Zeno's Paradox, while we disprove it by practical means. Epaulettes and pockets removed, our suits will not grace Savile Row, but we hope they will pass for off-the-peg at Wertheim or Karstadt. It is a long journey to Holland, but not impossible: the problem is solved by walking.
Archived comments for Solvitur Ambulando
Weefatfella on 06-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
 photo c8985de3-44fa-4972-8452-209c5b038bed_zps41f8f0a0.jpgWell Ewan, Oflag IV-C or Colditz.
You Had me "Googling".
I also was Eddimacated with Zeno's Paradox, Brilliant.
I have to admit, I sussed you were referring to POW escapees.
I loved the story of the French lady and the dropped watch. {The French lady
On June 5 1941, while returning from the park to the castle, some British prisoners noticed that a passing lady dropped her watch. One of the British called out to her, but the lady kept walking instead of retrieving her watch. This aroused the suspicion of the German guards and, upon inspection, "she" was revealed to be a French officer – Lieutenant Chasseurs Alpins Bouley– dressed as a very respectable woman.} Hope you don't mind all this shamozzle! Thank you for sharing Ewan.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Hey WFF, thanks for reading. I actually enjoy something that does to me what you describe, but I do know that some people feel excluded by such things. I'm afraid I'm someone who would look up stuff until I find out what someone's on about. I liked your anecdote about the French officer, in fact. These stories are what make history fascinating, aren't they?
Thank you very much indeed for commentating.
Ewan

teifii on 06-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
Very educational this siter. I'm always having to look something up. Afraid this time my bit of research convinced me that philosophers have nothing better to do.
But I like the poem.

Author's Reply:
You're right, however they might agree with you too: I'm sure they believe there is nothing better to do. I on the other hand, have nothing better to do! 🙂

dylan on 06-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
Liked the subtlety of this-also remember Zeno`s Paradox from my unrepentant youth.
Would an chance meeting towards the end of the poem provide an ambiguous conclusion? Touch of drama?
Anyway, well written and thoughtful as always.

Orrabest,

D.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I might think about that.
Thanks for reading
Ewan

amman on 07-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
Like WWF, I too took to Google to interpret your poem. Across the Ore mountains indicates an escape from Colditz. Practical measures would, of course, give more chance of evading the pursuers than Zeno's philosophical (fallacious) reasonings. What a lot of old codswallop some of those philosophers came up with. An interesting and educational read.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the generous comment.

My teachers believed that Zeno was quite aware of how ridiculous his paradoxes sounded, but the logic could not be disproved either by argument or experiment - except of course the Dichotomy, which was disproved by 'solvitur ambulando'. Philosophy isn't about incontrovertible truths, it's about looking for them and learning how to think, they used to say. I used to think 'what a load of bollocks!' Now I'm not so sure.

My POW escapees use the modern meaning attributed to the latin of a practical solution - they walk across Germany and Holland to Amsterdam.

Regards
Ewan

rcc on 07-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
concise, no spare words....I like it-- are you walking across the channel to Amsterdam because motion is an illusion.......makes you work for it. GFP. ..........peace--r

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting
regards
Ewan

freya on 09-05-2013
Solvitur Ambulando
Second take, Ewan. And I am realizing, reflecting on Dylan's comment, that you may have written this poem expecting it to be understood as it stands. That your voices here are those of the escaping prisoners, reflecting on their plight with surprising philosophical insight!

But it came to me that you ,i>could be juxtaposing horrific events and circumstances of war with Zeno's Paradox for a more complex reason. Not to flummox with obscurity, or amuse with a witty portrayal of how Zeno's ideas about motion work, or don't work. Nor to really offer a solution to the paradox in this particular situation i.e. 'solved by walking.'

I have come to see this poem as a commentary in which you are using a parallel between paradox and the tragic, between the absurdity of Zeno's ideas about motion, and the tragic absurdity of man's behavior and continued 'belief/idea' that war resolves anything.

If the latter is the case, this is one heck of a write. If not, maybe my discovery of these levels of meaning in your poem might surprise and please you. Perhaps there is something to be said for allowing readers to take whatever they choose from a piece, regardless of what the poet was aiming to get across!

Now. Think I'll retreat to my Loco Sudoku puzzles, before I collapse from thinking too much. 🙂 Shelagh



Author's Reply:
I have said before that I'm firmly in Eliot's corner regarding the complexity of poetry: that is that a good poem should have seven layers. I'm lucky if I manage two or three. On the other hand I also believe that there are always two versions of the same poem on the page, the one the writer wrote and the one the reader reads.
That said, the poem above is meant to highlight action over thought. The Second World War was a war fought over ideology (perhaps) or at least Nazism and the holocaust prove how dangerous ideas are.

To return to meaning: I often think that some poems do contain aspects that are not immediately visible. Sometimes a reader can read a poem that looks simple and be moved by it without being able to put their finger on exactly what has moved them. Poems that make me think are what I call them. Sometimes I never work it out, but usually it turns out that there were shadows behind the screen.

The simple things you see are all complicated Pete Townshend

Regards
Ewan


One Word (posted on: 06-05-13)
guess...

If you chose one word what would it be? Something descriptive, something long, something that sounds as if it's wrong? Would it be something to do with the sea? A word for suspicion, jealousy, doubt a word that others will know nothing about? A word to describe discrepant me, like eccentric, oddball or simply freak, perhaps the word that people don't speak from some misplaced and nave delicacy? Choosing one word is simple for me: I'd choose the most powerful word of all, heard in post-coital whimpers, and the lovebird's call.
Archived comments for One Word
ValDohren on 06-05-2013
One Word
Could that word be 'love' - that's the word I'd choose anyway. Interesting write.

Val

Author's Reply:
That's the word I'd choose too. Thanks for reading.
Ewan

teifii on 06-05-2013
One Word
Very good trawl through part of the dictionary to come to not a word but an ineffable something. Interesting -- and I do like poems that scan.

Author's Reply:
Ineffable, one of my favourite words, ever since I learned it didn't mean 'incapable of being sworn about'.
Thanks for reading.
Ewan

rcc on 07-05-2013
One Word
abb, abb, abbc, abb ---- is that your own structure of something I'd learn if I went to poetry class? Whatever, I like it. thanks for sharing............peace--r

ps- my word is peace.

Author's Reply:
I'm pretty sure I made it up, but there's nothing new in writing, really.
Thanks for reading
Ewan

pommer on 08-05-2013
One Word
I would choose Passion,the only word that comes to mind.I like the well constructed poem. well done,
Pommer

Author's Reply:


Kingfisher Blues (posted on: 29-04-13)
The meaning written is not necessarily the meaning read. Make your own maps.

Rain bullets down out of a gun metal sky, one minute ago, the meadow was dry, the rainbow comes out in the wink of an eye.
Why?
Look across there, where a bluebird flies, two lifetimes away, a halcyon cries, kingfisher blue calls and paradise dies.
Lies.
Old writer inks on a palimpsest page, three verses more, and nothing is sage: just simple drivel, the rattling of a cage.
Rage.

Archived comments for Kingfisher Blues
Witchysmyth on 29-04-2013
Kingfisher Blues
Rhyme can be so laborious to read when done badly, but yours is a choice read. Delightful!

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 30-04-2013
Kingfisher Blues
Oh yes, very clever. Nice one.

Author's Reply:

littleditty on 01-05-2013
Kingfisher Blues
i liked this mucho - cool kingfishers poem, neat layout - enjoyed!

Author's Reply:

Hekkus on 02-05-2013
Kingfisher Blues
Neat use of rhyme; it can get in the way, but not in this poem.

Author's Reply:

Nomenklatura on 02-05-2013
Kingfisher Blues
Thanks all for commenting.
I'll get around to reciprocating tomorrow
Ewan

Author's Reply:


Two Hoots from a Ring-Tailed Dove (posted on: 22-04-13)
about nothing at all...

Fat and contented on the low-tension wire; the cock hoots low and the hen hoots higher. While the pole creaks pain in a fitful wind, a farmer looks up from beneath a straw hat, thinking of Carmela with her hair unpinned. A truck drives by with a citrus load, dropping mandarins and lemons on the potholed road. A dog makes its last crossing or perhaps a cat takes on one too many yellow boy racers, meets the fate of many footloose vehicle chasers and the pole creaks again in the fitful wind. A crow looks down at a scavenging rat with something akin to a poisonous love, to the sound of two hoots from a ring-tailed dove.
Archived comments for Two Hoots from a Ring-Tailed Dove
Weefatfella on 22-04-2013
Two Hoots from a Ring-Tailed Dove
 photo 6e64c949-25e7-4412-a2c5-8b9996ad7cba_zps5037a281.jpg
Aye, Nobody gives two hoots.
This feels like observations.
Were you sitting watching this?
The imagery takes me straight to Spain. ( Mandarins and lemons on the potholed road.) I enjoyed this Ewan. (Is the ring tailed dove a Scottish expression ? )
Thank you for sharing.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Ha! You caught me, it should be either ring-necked dove or ring-tailed pigeon, but I applied a HUGE amount of poetic licence on the grounds that they're both Columbidae!

Witchysmyth on 22-04-2013
Two Hoots from a Ring-Tailed Dove
Most enjoyable!

Author's Reply:
A very generous rating.
Ewan

rcc on 26-04-2013
Two Hoots from a Ring-Tailed Dove
wow--that was really good. "Mandarins and lemons on the potholed road" I could see it and smell them....thanks for the rush.............peace-r

Author's Reply:
Thank you for an uplifting comment, this kind of poem always hopes for your reaction.

Ewan


Memory Games (posted on: 22-04-13)
Losing memory's game...

The result reader's sing-song incantation lists seaside resorts and post-industrial ghost towns. I hear that Bournemouth are going up and Wigan are possibly going down. I think back to days when the last thing mentioned at 5 pm on Saturdays was the pools forecast, which my dad claimed was a game of skill not chance. Later the b-list chancer is smiling sincerely; laughing as he reads the balls' numbers out I hear that Florida or the Costa Del Sol are places that players can dream about. I think of my dad and the Rangers Pools, tombola and raffles in Sergeants' Messes over distant horizons, where his memory lives now. Memory's lottery has no winning ticket, the X-es on the coupon are crossings out. I hear the sound of distant drums, my father - the past's unceasing, deafening shout.
Archived comments for Memory Games
Mikeverdi on 22-04-2013
Memory Games
Your writing always reaches me, the memories are so familiar it brought a smile and an echo from my past. Thanks for this one. Mike

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 22-04-2013
Memory Games
 photo 6e64c949-25e7-4412-a2c5-8b9996ad7cba_zps5037a281.jpg
Aye Ewan.
Great return to the seventies.
(Yie forgoat tae mention the wrestling.)
I miss my auld Da as well.
The images here were so nostalgic for me, like Mike, I smiled.
I enjoyed this Ewan.
A slice of better times I feel.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:


Script for an Imaginary Short (posted on: 15-04-13)
It's what it says. Bear with it... or not.

Script for an Imaginary Short (Rain, dark, town, zoom to easelled-blackboard outside 19th century municipal building. The rain has made the chalk run: 'Slam Dunk: New Poets Perform' is still legible, just. Tracking shot into the hall, for that's what it is. Pan crowd, zoom critics' aisle seats. There are three in attendance. Two middle-aged men and a 30-ish woman... The hall itself is half-full; a few Goths, some young adults, teachers maybe and yes, the odd residentially-challenged figure sheltering from the rain.) Male Critic 1 : Have you heard? It's 'Something New' I don't believe it, what about you? Male Critic 2: Why so secret? No one knows no Hay-on Wye, or Edinburgh shows Male Critic 1: Who is this guy? Does anyone know? Female Critic: I heard he's from Poland or from Kazakhstan and rumours of language new to man. (Slow zoom to centre stage still in darkness: a single spot snaps on. A scruffy man is lit: Straw blond hair, clownish make up: a harlequin like rugby shirt hangs on him like a dress. He appears to be wearing just one leg of two pairs of highly contrasting coloured opaque tights. And Wellington boots. What could be straw pokes out of the tops. His mouth remains closed. Camera moves to tight close-up. His mouth is a tight line under the make-up. Zoom out to show lone figure in spotlight. He remains motionless, silent.) Voice over: Sticks like stones comprise my bones your words will never hurt me the clothes I wear with a motley tear will help you not to judge me the critical crows will turn their nose however good my verse be standing silent your minds go strident as you try to understand me. (5 second camera-linger on the figure on stage. He is still motionless, silent. Cut to crowd. Puzzled looks. Knowing looks between the critics. Cut to the scarecrow figure. He gives a formal and deep bow. Cut to the critics.) Male Critic 1: Brilliant, what we've seen. Stuff like this there's never been. Male Critic 2: Yes, wow, the new rage, I think we've found poetry's Cage. Female Critic: Quick! Stand, applaud and clap. Let him see we know it's not crap. (Critics stand, ovate, crowd follow suit, some a little reluctantly.Cut to figure: tight close-up on 'poet's' face, smile slowly spreads zoom out to full figure in the spotlight. Seemingly from nowhere he pulls out a large scroll, he unfurls it, words out to the crowd. It reads: 'Poetry's New Clothes'.
Archived comments for Script for an Imaginary Short
Rupe on 15-04-2013
Script for an Imaginary Short
Why an imaginary short? It's a very inventive & witty short sketch. I don't think I've ever seen a modern script use verse in this way before. The twist in the poster at the end is great - so long as you use big letters!

Rupe

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 16-04-2013
Script for an Imaginary Short
The king is in his all together, his all together as naked as the day that he was born, Loved it, very creative. Thanks S

Author's Reply:


Diamante Shores (posted on: 15-04-13)
...

Paris falls laughing through another night-club door, one heel broken on knock-off shoes. Her bottle grasped as weapon or comfort, life is a fight she can only lose. The night is drunk, as it often is. She steadies herself, and looks briefly back at a past as wide as her future is narrow - along the dead-end, no-brakes, wrong-way track. Assad reluctant - opens the dented mini-cab door, sweeps away a newspaper with home's too distant news; the car is alive with the radio's squawk, he picks the woman up, he has nothing to lose. Paris knows the things that will open doors, or wreck her ship on Club Med's diamante shores.
Archived comments for Diamante Shores
geordietaf on 15-04-2013
Diamante Shores
Vivid and insightful. I particularly liked

'a past as wide as her future is narrow'

Saying so much in so few words is at the heart of a poet's craft.

Presume we aren't talking about Paris Hilton here?

Author's Reply:
No, not P H, but probably someone who would follow her exploits in Heat Magazine.
Thanks for reading
Ewan

Ionicus on 15-04-2013
Diamante Shores
A very good portrait of a libertine, whether the subject is Paris Hilton or not. I too liked 'a past as wide as her future is narrow'. Your poetry always has interesting angles, Ewan.

Author's Reply:
Hah! I like that, 'interesting angles'. That's a good thing for poetry to have.
Thanks for reading and commenting Luigi.

ValDohren on 15-04-2013
Diamante Shores
Could be talking about anyone I suppose - many people's futures close in on them rather than opening up new horizons. A thought-provoking write.

Val

Author's Reply:
Yes, they do. My own was all mapped out until 55 years old but at 43 I returned the Queen's shilling and moved to Southern Spain. Look at me now! 🙂
Thanks for reading, Val.

Savvi on 16-04-2013
Diamante Shores
Another great piece very much enjoyed, you pack a lot into this and its one keep coming back to, thanks S

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment, Savvi. Wish I could pull it off more often.
Ewan

cooky on 16-04-2013
Diamante Shores
The night is drunk, as it often is. top writing my friend.

Author's Reply:
From my military days, I often remember thinking that it wasn't me who was drunk. They were always drunken nights. It's a short step from there to the night being drunk and a little more deflection and denial.
Thanks for reading.
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 16-04-2013
Diamante Shores
I have read this several times now, it gets better...great writing Ewan. So many splendid lines 'life is a fight she can only lose'. I always enjoy your writing. Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. Whenever I go back to the UK and have a night out, I see young people, drunker than I ever remember being; no job, no aspirations other than winning a talent show or becoming a wag and graduating to being a 'sleb' in one of the dreadful magazines they read: it's just so sad.

Ewan

Pronto on 18-04-2013
Diamante Shores
A very well observed commentary on the futility of the 18-30 lifestyle.
Well written poet!


Author's Reply:

rcc on 22-04-2013
Diamante Shores
excellent read.......the more I read it the better it gets......thanks........peace-r

Author's Reply:


Polar Eyes (posted on: 12-04-13)
It was still an nationalised industry when they received a 35% pay rise...

As cold as Caligula's? Lately frozen by dementia. Still convenient as the monster over the red. Were you there? Or is she a folk-tale, as much as the witch in vanity's mirror is? The reds were not snow-white. Arthur - not Grumpy - led his dwarves into oblivion. 'We could have got more,' he said. While others' pockets shrank to pay this Pied Piper. The coal was coal and not diamonds, after all. Some fights should never be started: they are too ugly on both sides. The police's cataphracts charging, the pickets' repulsive threats: they knew where scabs lived. Far from anyone's finest hour. There are two sides - even to fairy stories.
Archived comments for Polar Eyes
Fox-Cragg on 12-04-2013
Polar Eyes
A timed piece I guess after her recent demise.
Took me back to those news specials and the unfortunately the violence on both sides.
Well written and really enjoyed.
Thanks for the sharing. Paul

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. Yes, violence on BOTH sides, something that in the official narrative seems all but forgotten. I am outraged by all the middle-class boys protesting so much although they weren't even born, and have never met a miner. Yes, Thatcher's sledgehammer cracked the nut, but since I'm determined to mix metaphors the baby went out with the bathwater - and how.

Ionicus on 12-04-2013
Polar Eyes
Good on you Ewan. Refreshing to hear the voice of sanity among hysterical outbursts.

Author's Reply:
It's just that any kind of view without emotion is drowned out by the noise.
Thanks for reading Luigi.
Ewan

Kat on 12-04-2013
Polar Eyes
An excellent write. I like the even and dignified tone.



I was no fan of the woman. Margaret Thatcher Grant Snatcher was pasted to one of my academic books.



I remember getting on the bus to go back to uni in Scotland in the 80s, and miners getting on with baseball bats or something similar, on their way to the picket line. And of course... the poll tax, which made a hero (at the time) of a fellow student (Tommy Sheridan) when he was imprisoned.



She had some successes. I think one can argue convincingly both ways on the subject of MT, but a successful woman isn't someone that needs to have more balls than a man, and flexibility/empathy is key to being a good leader.



Maybe she was a man in drag?



Kat

Author's Reply:
I am no slavish follower of the late ex-PM: however, the narrative that is almost universally accepted is of the miners as victims, whilst this may contain some truth, Scargill and those that threatened and beat fellow miners were self-interested popinjays.

Maybe she was, Kat, maybe she was. She was no champion of women's rights, that's for sure
Ewan

teifii on 12-04-2013
Polar Eyes
Excellent calm summing up. Like the last two lines but I'm afraid I still see her as a wicked witch

Author's Reply:
A more complex figure than people think, perhaps. Certainly lacking in compassion. Perhaps for fear of appearing 'a weak and feeble woman'.

Thanks for reading
Ewan

Mikeverdi on 13-04-2013
Polar Eyes
You have it all here...the good, the bad and the ugly. I thought she was the best; I hate what's being said and sung by those not fit to shine her shoes. She did what had to be done. Great writing. Mike

Author's Reply:


Mea Culpa (posted on: 08-04-13)
Hmm... I really don't want a Father Confessor

Bless me someone, for I have sinned. For what I considered Strangers' Comfort, I will be blown in Dante's wind. I indulged in Thomas's six listed ways, for no more reason than I could: thus a diet of rats awaits at the end of days. I have hoarded whatever I found desirable, far in excess of need: to the cauldron of oil I will be bound. I have allowed evil to exist: though I was never good, I did nothing; add sloth to my list. Gifts spurned, with ease I proved swift to anger, swift to wrath: my limbs I'll live to see removed. No ox or ass did I covet from others Their success was all I considered as mine Eyes are sewn shut as the ice-water smothers. I seemed magnificent to my own eye, as Lucifer did to his, the wheel is my fate, I am no butterfly. Bless me Father: we all have sinned.
Archived comments for Mea Culpa
amman on 10-04-2013
Mea Culpa
I don't know why this hasn't attracted more hits; it is so cleverly contrived. To my mind nothing short of brilliant with so many classical references. into favs.
Say four Hail Mary's, my son.
Cheers.


Author's Reply:


Typhon and Echidna (posted on: 08-04-13)
I think you'll work it out.

The father of all monsters and his wife were among us in a Derbyshire town. A man who did not value women: a woman who did not care to be valued. Six deaths on their incompetent hands, Six lives begun by an incontinent man. And yet Typhon had appeared once before: an inglorious, grinning fool at the Freak Show. Smug and insolent, confident in his sloth. Fearless as only the feckless can be. We laughed and pointed fingers at this ignorant, funny man, felt superior, safe in our middle class. Yet Typhon is the son of Gaia, should we not hold the glass before us and ask whence came this monster, if not from our smug and ignorant selves?
Archived comments for Typhon and Echidna
Weefatfella on 09-04-2013
Typhon and Echidna
 photo 6476617c-792a-4c7b-a60f-b80676cd1938_zps5eb0b534.jpg
Absolutely fantastic analogy Nom.
The guys a sociopath.
He is caged now though.
I just hope Etna erupts and takes care of it all.
The sad thing is like the Greek Gods he has fathered many.
Enjoyed my search to work out, for me, your challenge. Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
Yep... I think these things have always been with us really. They are just more immediate thanks to the televisual/digital age. Thanks for reading and for your comments

cooky on 09-04-2013
Typhon and Echidna
Excellent writing on a society that creates such monsters. Pity they could not hang this bastard.

Author's Reply:
I'm not in favour of capital punishment, but I don't envy this man his time in prison - and it may prove shorter than he thinks. Thanks for reading and for commenting.

Nemo on 09-04-2013
Typhon and Echidna
Sadly these characters will always be with us, won't they? Your poem reflects our sense of outrage and horror. The signals are always there. Why are we impotent? I 'enjoyed' this poem, thanks.

Author's Reply:
I wish I knew why, I really do. Although I don't believe in God, I do believe in evil, for I hear and read about it every day. I understand the quotation marks around enjoy. Thanks for reading and for the interesting question in your comments.

Bozzz on 09-04-2013
Typhon and Echidna
In the early days, in my book christianity's nominee got brownie points for getting rid of the Greek and Roman gods - a greedy lot. Sadly the present chap has not yet destroyed the remaining relatives. Great poem ... Bozz

Author's Reply:
I'm convinced that in the early days God(s) was/were our way of making sense of things. Now we have so many other ways of explaining the miracle of life: Science, Philosophy,Spirituality and yes, for some, religion. It's difficult to understand people like this man without accepting the existence of evil, as I wrote that I do,above.
Thanks for reading and still more for commenting.


Lunchtime in La Fama (posted on: 05-04-13)
What it says...

i) Business Lunch Three notaries in warm jerseys - crows at a carcase - no raincoats, since this caf sits next door to one of many banks. They have watched the guiris-with-umbrellas all the way to CajaSur. Jose will check they return to one - or other - of the officials' offices, where money will cross the table, the door locked by a secretary standing guard outside. ii) Lunchtime Serenade Babies are fed, 'On-say' tickets sold, mobiles make fake music while odd coins tumble from the bandit whose ear-worm tune competes with Radio Muzak and TV sport. iii) Lunch for One Someone writes in a notebook: no-one is reading a novel, everyone could be feeling ill, and any one is you.
Archived comments for Lunchtime in La Fama
Fox-Cragg on 05-04-2013
Lunchtime in La Fama
Really nice read, why do I feel that you have sat at these tables yourself!
Table for one sir? been there too many times myself.
Many thanks for sharing.
Paul

Author's Reply:
Are you calling me a notary? Oh, the insult! You have wounded me to the quick, sir!

Sorry, came over all historical.

Thank you for reading and commenting, it's much appreciated.
Ewan

Nemo on 07-04-2013
Lunchtime in La Fama
Enjoyable observations esp. 'crows at a carcass.' Nemo

Author's Reply:


The Instability of Art (posted on: 29-03-13)
''All art is unstable. Its meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author,'' Bowie, 1995

Cheers, David, for your insight: for allowing me to choose what 'tigers on vaseline' might mean. Yes, it's dangerous to presume that America will understand the metaphor of Mickey's bovine adulthood. Gee, David, your life is a funny thing, I bet you never took minutes or anyone nowhere. But it's ingenuous to assume that anyone will understand the irony of your gnome's hilarity.
Archived comments for The Instability of Art
Andrea on 29-03-2013
The Instability of Art
Love it - love Bowie too. This is my favourite...



Author's Reply:


Storm (posted on: 29-03-13)
...

God is playing Ninepins, Der Gott kegelt, Allah doesn't play: some gods are jealous gods, but not mine. The sky rumbles and Yahweh is trying the flash on his camera while pissing on the earthbound. Tengri will play with a yellow ball sometime soon, I hope. Then Iris will stretch her arch over sodden worshippers, necks craned in wonder at the colours that are not grey.
Archived comments for Storm
Ionicus on 29-03-2013
Storm
Just goes to show that the weather behaves in the same manner regardless of deities.
Could it be that the latest bad atmospheric conditions are due to the fact that Allah doesn't play?
A good, original slant on the topic.


My Book

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 29-03-2013
Storm
Whatever the forces at work we seem small... Enjoyed the poem Ewan.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 30-03-2013
Storm
A fine bit of work - congrats. Enjoyable too....Bozzz

The nimbus mimic old men who are fat;
Pass water at unfavourable hours;
Seek thunderous applause for doing that,
Then drench with more electrifying showers.


Author's Reply:


Solid Rainbow (posted on: 25-03-13)
Just a poem...

It always convinces: at least one end of that rainbow must land on solid ground. The Kansas Girl wants to fly over it. You could follow a leprechaun to one end and recover a pot of gold, although it might turn out a discarded tinker's pan. Why not cross the Rainbow Bridge? Why not pass under its arch? It never disappoints, at least one kind of illusion must persist in memory. A bluebird is as unlikely, but you could hear happiness in its song, then discover a gift for love: and so you might find out the impossible yields to 'can'.
Archived comments for Solid Rainbow
Savvi on 25-03-2013
Solid Rainbow
I like the simplicity of this and love the last line and the tinkers pan. Thanks S

Author's Reply:


Dragon's Teeth
(posted on: 25-03-13)
A poem about...20 lines long.


We sow more than Cadmus, with our ill-judged adventuring. Great grandparents, great gamers, throwing the dice with Russians imperial-white or politburo-red. And still the Khyber seethes with insurrection and belief. The fanfares will blow, soldiers will march and limp and hobble home in triumph to the empty days and shell-shocked nights - as they always have. We build Thebes and Harmony comes as our reward, then we are snakes for all eternity.

Archived comments for
Dragon's Teeth

cooky on 25-03-2013
Dragons Teeth

This is very good indeed. "then we are snakes for eternity"
Love it

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 25-03-2013
Dragons Teeth

Agree with cooky on the last sentence. Great work. I guess it is the soldier's lot?

Ralph

Author's Reply:
That it is, thanks for commenting.


An Island Crisis (posted on: 18-03-13)
Many said they should never have joined the Euro...

Not one hole in the wall contains a single note. A good day for a Cyprus wedding, the bride's dress will look as though it's made of Euros. I remember brown and battered Cypriot Pounds, paying for meze and kokinelli rounds. Not one darkly-cornered club retains a single card. A good night for a Cyprus clip-joint: the large bill will go un-paid except in Euros. I remember bruised and battered English men paying for drinks with blood again.
Archived comments for An Island Crisis
ChairmanWow on 18-03-2013
An Island Crisis
Enjoyed this. Funny no one saw it coming. Last two lines have great portent. When the money's no good someone will have to pay in blood.

Ralph

Author's Reply:


The Song Remains the Same (posted on: 18-03-13)
It's a writer's job to be an iconoclast...

Right now the sun is blowing and the wind is shining; the rain is coming down in elevators, whilst the trees are waving in the fog. It snows in spring and winter sun bakes arroyos dry. These are the end times, the climate is changing. Help, the sky is falling! We expect the new ice age and global warming all at once. Fools believe two centuries of statistics and forget millennia of history. Maybe an acorn has fallen - look up - the sky overarches, as it always has.
Archived comments for The Song Remains the Same
Kat on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
Enjoyed this. Like the wry humour.

Kat

Author's Reply:

amman on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
An expertly penned, ironic swipe at the doomsayers - the end of the world is nigh! The 2nd verse says it all, really.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
Thank you. Massive continental glaciers melted rapidly all by their selves at least 4 times in Earth's history. a. Gore and all those other jet-setting bunko men promote this nonsense to get our money.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

deadpoet on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
I might change my opinion after reading this. Nice way of putting it.

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
 photo 390a8c45-a359-4a79-8c64-82ba272f2b94_zps941dd6b6.jpg
Aye Ewan, the sandwich boards may be missing but the message is still being broadcast. I liked..> Right now the sun is blowing
and the wind is shining;
the rain is coming down in elevators,
whilst the trees are waving in the fog.<..
People as you well know, will believe anything.
An entertaining take on the end is nigh. Thank you for sharing.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 18-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
we're doomed we're all doomed captain Mannering, dont worry....about a thing......cause every little thing is gonna be alright. Great write thanks S

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 19-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
It is indeed the duty of a writer to challenge preconceived ideas, Ewan, and you are doing a fine job in performing the task. I enjoyed this excellent satire.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 20-03-2013
The Song Remains the Same
Haha, very clever 🙂

Author's Reply:

rcc on 22-04-2013
The Song Remains the Same
thanks for sharing this----gfp.......peace-r

Author's Reply:


The Way of Tea (posted on: 04-03-13)
it is what it is... whatever that is.

Cha, leaf green ,water hot, mindful of delicacy of tea and porcelain. I bow, your father taps gnarled fingers on the table, mine looks at the sky. I see your hand shakes, my farmer's grip steadies it and no liquid spills. They sip, our fathers, sigh for other infusions, on their wedding days.
Archived comments for The Way of Tea
geordietaf on 04-03-2013
The Way of Tea
A nice evocation of a simple but exotic moment

Author's Reply:

Nemo on 06-03-2013
The Way of Tea
Nice. Catches a moment in time like a photo. Perhaps better would be 'I see your hand shake' otherwise it reads aloud as 'handshakes.' Perhaps remove the comma after 'fathers' ...'They sip, our fathers/sigh ....

Author's Reply:
Regarding ''hand shake', would it be correct grammatically? I don't think so: unless there is a subjunctive in play that I am unaware of, 'your hand' is third person singular indicative. If you remove the comma after 'fathers', there would be ambiguity as to whom 'they' refers to: leaving a comma makes it (grammatically) clearer that 'they' refers to 'our fathers.'





Thanks for reading and commenting.


Regards Ewan

Nemo on 07-03-2013
The Way of Tea
Ah ha.... I understand about 'our fathers. ' regarding 'hand shakes - I was thinking of the infinitive of shake as in a sentence like: 'I watch my grandson play' or 'I see the guests arrive.' Your sentence is correct if we take it as 'I see (that) your hand shakes...'

Author's Reply:
Well, yes, in that case I take your point. However, that TPS does make it more immediate, does it not? In addition, your version suggests to me a frequent, regular event: ' I watch my grandson play, whenever he comes to stay', or at least some other information. I would have written, for example, 'I see your hand shake as you pass your father the cup', if I weren't writing in this spare form. Regarding confusion in reading, if reading aloud, I would read handshakes - or hand-shakes - completely differently to hand shakes, wouldn't you?

I spend hours teaching (according to the current dogma in the TEFL/TESOL world) when and where 'that' can be omitted, so on that basis I'm content to leave it as is.

Thanks again for reading. It's a pleasure to see someone reading so carefully.
Regards
Ewan

japanesewind on 07-03-2013
The Way of Tea
hiya N, I like this poem and the layout.



I have 2 questions,



verse 1, With the full stop after "porcelain" it leaves me wondering what it is that must be

"mindful of the delicacy of tea and porcelain"



I can only think you mean the "hot water" and this leaves me with the dilemma as to why the water would do it damage?



last verse, line3, implies to me that it is the "fathers" who are getting married.



A poem to keep I think. Contains some fine connotations, I imagined the "tea pourer" in full regalia .....regards..David







Author's Reply:
Well the hot water might damage the green leaf tea if it really is too hot. A bit of transference on the porcelain perhaps. You're right it's the narrator who should be mindful.

Well, the fathers are thinking of their own wedding day in the past. Ho hum, obviously this zen/oriental brevity is harder than it looks.

Thanks for reading and commenting
Regards
Ewan.


Even the South Can Be Cold (posted on: 01-03-13)
Well, it can.

The day feels brittle, fragile, under a cold and distant sun. The sky looks arctic; blue as a jewel. Cold wind calls tears from childrens' eyes. Twin panes of glass fool lucky insiders into thinking the day is fine. Old men walk collars up and heads down, wearing overcoats rescued from attics: the Guiris have brought the chill with them, they say.
Archived comments for Even the South Can Be Cold
Slovitt on 01-03-2013
Even the South Can Be Cold
nomenklatura: perhaps

the sky, arctic--blue as a jewel. (might look at specfic blue stones, topaz, sapphire, lapis lazuli, azurite though you'd probably have to rephrase the line for best effect.)

two "is"'s as weak a verb as they are is a lot to absorb in the first three lines.

"calls" in the 4th line leaves me wanting something else.

perhaps hyphenate "lucky-insiders" to help the reader

a few thoughts, swep



Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, as always. 'Blue as a Jewel' is a title of an old BeBop Deluxe song and that's why it's not Topaz, Lazuline, or some such. Incidentally, someone protested my use of hurtsickle in another piece, go figure.
I'll have a look at the is-es.
Not sure about calls, might leave it.
Lucky insiders hypehenated, why? It's just a bog standard adjective noun combination, surely.
Once again thanks for reading.

deadpoet on 02-03-2013
Even the South Can Be Cold
Nice poem Nomenklatura- It's soon Spring weather all over Europe but you always think of the South as warm- now I have learnt something new. I liked the whole poem and the explanation of the Blue Jewel- clever. Flowed well for me.

Author's Reply:


The Everlasting Pie (posted on: 01-03-13)
A cautionary tale about food...

At full noon, the pie appeared on the stoop. I had been looking out at Goodwife Hubbard milking the cow: I but turned my back for a moment to beat at a mouse with a besom broom and the pie had appeared. 'Goodwife,' I pointed at the pie. 'What is this that I espy Who has left us so fine a pie?' she replied. Fine it was; the golden pastry was risen in the centre, the dish was deep and a plume of steam curled from a hole in the pastry lid. 'I know not, for I saw none, save Jack Ash, this hour gone,' said she It was a puzzlement. Jack Ash would no more leave a pie than a gold coin. The old man of the woods might leave a cord of logs, a bundle of kindling or if you crossed him dried leaves and a tinderbox's spark. Never a pie. Goodwife Hubbard approached the pie, lifting her broad feet and placing them gently as though approaching a skittish donkey. Steam was still rising from the pie. How could the freshest-baked stay warm on the cold stoop of a farmer's cottage, on a February morning? 'Is it magic black or woodland lore, Never has a pie appeared before!' I thought it the former, and that none should know it better than my own Goody. Even so, the steps my Goodwife made backward were less careful. I stepped towards the smell of larks and pastry. 'Do you smell it, Goody? Larks! A pie that is better than good in parts' Stepping closer she cried, 'Larks? It is no more morning birds than fish, 'Tis a most succulent-smelling mincemeat dish!' I no longer sensed the presence of morning birds in the dish, but rabbit and honeyed ham. 'Come closer, Goodwife. 'Tis rabbit and ham, no.. indeed it must be lamb!' She was uncertain, but did as she was bid, 'O no, tis not, dearest John, The pie is of apples and cinnamon.' This was most peculiar : we reserved our forenames for the marital bed. Joan had not used mine for many a long day. Her face was lit as though by an unexpected sun. 'Whatever it be, husband mine, I'm sure it tastes uncommon fine.' Her fear banished, she seized the dish and bore it into the kitchen, where she cut a large portion and laid it on a plate. 'This pie whose filling we cannot name, Should we not ask from whence it came?' She did not answer, but was bolting the pie as though she had not eaten for a week. I could not but take a slice for myself. We made a fine pair of bolters both. We looked back at the pie on the scullery table. It was entire, and still it steamed. So we cut more and more. And still more until we had sampled pies savoury and pies sweet, pies with game and pies with meat of domesticated kine. But still the pie was entire. 'Does't think the crust uncommon thick? Methinks I feel a little sick!' My Goody never left a crumb nor scrap on any dish. However, though I too felt a discomfort within my belt, there was no resisting the scents. After each and every slice the pie was whole once more. I looked at Goody's homely face, at the wen on her veined cheek. She seemed to be smiling. 'This is something never known, For all we have eaten, the pie has grown.' We ate through the afternoon, the evening and the night. The pie grew and grew. We both carried out to the barn and each stood guard over the miraculous dish, lest any bird or beast should come to steal it. The next morning, a man in rags came to beg a piece of the pie. I looked to Goody who said, 'We give nothing to vulgar swine, This pie is surely thine and mine!' Whereupon she chased him off with a pitchfork. The chickens remained unfed, whilst the goats ate the chickens and a great, grey wolf passed by and carried off a goat or two, whilst we each tried the pie over and over, never once encountering the same filling. Some I did not recognize, meats and fruits from distant lands. All were fit to serve before a king. The following morning a merchant passed by atop a horse caparisoned with bells and ribbons. 'I have heard of a wondrous pie, Is there a slice that I might buy?' he said. 'Get thee hence, merchant vile, We've had no money long awhile.' The horse reared and bucked as my Goody shook her fist in its face. Meanwhile the pie grew and grew and Goody bade me chop down the wooden walls of the barn leaving only pillars to support the roof. She took to sleeping under the pastry which drooped over the rim of the dish that very night. I took to our bed in the cottage. In the dark of night I called out, 'Goody, more pie is surely not to be borne, Might we have chops or stew the morn?' She snarled and ranted and cursed a little, 'Tell me husband, tell me why, We should not eat our miraculous pie?' As the day dawned, six knights rode into our little farmyard. The roof of the barn had fallen onto the pie without causing damage. Goody and I were removing slate and beams from the pie lid as best we could. One knight addressed me much as he might any serf, 'Peasant, hither comes the king, Gold and riches will he bring.' Goody it was who answered. 'We need not ask the reason why, pray tell him we will not sell our pie!' The king thus preserved his dignity by not hearing the refusal directly from such as we. I wished that we had sold the damnable pie. At dusk I spied a lone, hunched figure coming up the lane, a bundle of kindling at his back. It was Jack Ash. I hoped that he would not beg a piece of the pie, for fear what Goody might say to him. He did not. 'I see you have eaten and eaten well, Tempted by many a different scent or smell.; He smiled and produced a sword from a rusted scabbard. 'Let me something to you show, about this pie that all should know.' He cleaved the enormous pie in two with one blow of the dull sword. An ichorous, slimy substance oozed to the ground, staining the dust of the farmyard black as black could be. It looked like something that could not but be poison, or some wicked concoction once stirred in cauldron. 'Let none any substance eat, No fruit, or meal or finest meat, Heed the pricking of your thumbs, And know well whence your provender comes'. Our skeletons stand guard - and ever will - over an empty pie dish near the ruins of a farm.
Archived comments for The Everlasting Pie
Weefatfella on 01-03-2013
The Everlasting Pie
 photo 9b36630f-9cb8-4537-bd8b-23c6c975cbb9_zps4bdf114f.jpg
Aye, Very Brothers Grimm.
Excellently done though.
It feels a very old piece.
I enjoyed it.
Thank You.
Weefatfella.

Author's Reply:
There was an effort to use archaic language, I admit. Perhaps we should all check the provenance of our food today, too! Thanks for reading.

cooky on 01-03-2013
The Everlasting Pie
Excellent and entertaining. Would make good television.i like this

Author's Reply:
Thank you for a very generous rating. Hmmm... I wrote screenplays for the OU Diploma in CW... Never Again!

Mikeverdi on 02-03-2013
The Everlasting Pie
Very different, I was not sure because of this but after reading again it really is excellent writing. It did have that fairy tale quality about it. Mike

Author's Reply:


Shunga (posted on: 18-02-13)
...

Take my hand, we'll explore the Floating World, let us smile at the fisherman's wife as she enjoys the the embrace of tentacles. We shall peep around the corner of paper walls, at the tangled limbs of strangers, as they ignore the arrival of priests. We will lie in fond remembrance - embracing each the other - oblivious to the people outside our own woodcut world.
Archived comments for Shunga
deadpoet on 19-02-2013
Shunga
This is my style of poetry- nice and enigmatic yet with a tinge of embrace

Author's Reply:


Winter's Last Leaf (posted on: 18-02-13)
every end is a beginning, even if we don't recognise it...

Winter's cold wind blows the last leaf from the ash tree in a long untended garden. The papery shape drifts down to where a short month ago it would have joined its peers. They are long mulched or simply blown away; rushed down hedgerows, across fields and into dykes or canals. They seek the water, or they dry to dust. An ash-leaf particle lands in loam feeds linden, or another, more exotic breed. What are these but Resurrection Trees?
Archived comments for Winter's Last Leaf
discopants on 19-02-2013
Winters Last Leaf
I particularly like the closing line and the idea of 'Resurrection Trees'. A well-executed poem.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 19-02-2013
Winters Last Leaf
Very true - your final line makes the poem - John.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 19-02-2013
Winters Last Leaf
I concur with the previous comments. A good poem.

Author's Reply:

purplespirit on 21-02-2013
Winters Last Leaf
Amen to your closing line. While the ice-queen still holds us in her embrace, we are dreaming of a resurrection. Thank you for this gorgeous read. Purple

Author's Reply:


sunshine on a cold day (posted on: 15-02-13)
not much, but something

Sky's grey battleship casts off - gets underway - then the azure returns. A club med colour; the sun stains mountains red where sky meets morning. The white-paged blankness greets curlicues, descenders, and I am writing.
Archived comments for sunshine on a cold day
Mikeverdi on 15-02-2013
sunshine on a cold day
75 reads and no comments??? I'm pleased you are writing. I love the way you work with words. Mike

Author's Reply:

orangedream on 16-02-2013
sunshine on a cold day
Nice one, indeed;-) Tina

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 16-02-2013
sunshine on a cold day
Keep writing - this is so good.

Author's Reply:

dylan on 17-02-2013
sunshine on a cold day
Nicely descriptive, mon ami.
Orrabest,

D.

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 18-02-2013
sunshine on a cold day
You truly are writing, a wonderful crafted piece. S

Author's Reply:


I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me (posted on: 08-02-13)
...

I hear an echo on every keystroke, there's a double click when I hang up. and my e-mail takes longer than the post. Someone knows my every move. They tell someone with a double-hinged tongue and soon there's no-one who doesn't know while my actions spread wider than the news. Everyone knows the slightest move. I won't be bullied by sneaking spies; eavesdroppers subterfuge brings disappointment: there are things that they might wish to hide. No-one knows the safest move.
Archived comments for I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watching Me
Bozzz on 09-02-2013
I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
Sonny boy, we are all watching you - like great auks from above. One little foot, one word, one comma in the wrong place and your wings are clipped for ever. Submitting poems here means being watched by another 200 too - the price of fame. Liked your feely picture. All horror stories start with an ominous click....Bozzz

Author's Reply:
Yes, this is one where the poetry doesn't live up to the content I'm afraid. It's a bit clunky in places, it's a fact. Thanks for giving it a read.

cooky on 09-02-2013
I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me
Every touch of that key board is released onto the net. In court this will hang you or am I paranoid. Interesting write

Author's Reply:
Yes, thanks for the generous rating, which I'm not sure it merits. It's a little clunky I feel. I wanted some three line stanzas with a quasi refrain, but it doesn't quite come off.


Why Not? (posted on: 01-02-13)
Yes, why not?

Let's write the history of the future and call it science fact, compose an ode in binary code in homage to Schrodinger's Cat. Let's break the chains of genre. Throw literature's shackles aside fashion a fiction that follows no fashion and creativity might survive. Don't build your writing from Lego. Grow manuscripts like plants, break out of the cage of the normal, reject the CW cant.
Archived comments for Why Not?
Bozzz on 01-02-2013
Why Not?
The big mistake was to put a living creature in the box - poor thing, it died of old age. Great theme, good poem....Bozzz

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 03-02-2013
Why Not?
Yes, why not indeed - poetic form can be very constraining and may inhibit the freedom of creative expression. Good write.

Val 🙂

Author's Reply:


Les Gars de Nancy (posted on: 01-02-13)
Make no assumptions about me... I will always walk a mile in another man's shoes.

We smoked Gauloise, and wore stripey shirts, if we wanted to provoke, but baulked at berets. We rode bicycles alongside rivers and canals to lectures and tutorials. We had girl friends and laughed at the crushes they had on each and all of us. We had posters for French beer - and not the girl with the tennis balls - decorating walls damp and dingy. Grammar school boys joining Russell's group and another more secret gang. Some became teachers, lawyers, doctors, lovers or even husbands, though they stayed in touch in twilight cottages. And if not for us, with our polari-ising ways, you would not walk alone and unafraid.
Archived comments for Les Gars de Nancy

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Fuzzy Logic (posted on: 28-01-13)
You might say that this poem itself is fuzzy about the maths/science, I couldn't possibly comment.

Let's apply this: Your binary approach is prosaic and recursive. (She loves me, she loves me not). It is simply that emotions are infinite, not recursively enumerable. (How do I love thee? Count the ways). Our Venn Diagram is more complex than two overlapping circles. (Love was, Love is, Love will be) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_Logic
Archived comments for Fuzzy Logic
bo_duke99 on 28-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
expertly done

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment, Bo.

barenib on 28-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
An entertaining take on some old adages - John.

Author's Reply:
Thanks, John, for reading and commenting. It's much appreciated.

Bozzz on 28-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
Yes, fuzzy logic is a bed of likelihoods, but each is a nail. If your weight is spread evenly, none shall draw blood. One false move and you bleed to death. Likely that is love. You have it right - well writted ... Bozzz

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 28-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
You dance the old adage with a brand new dapper twist. S

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 29-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
Very clever, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

butters on 29-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
i really really like this!

not too clever that i can't understand it, and a fresh approach that made it interesting. i was never great at maths but knew where i was with this one.

can i offer a 9.5? it would have been a direct 10 but for the use of parenthesis where, imo, italics would have worked so much better. 😀

Author's Reply:

amman on 30-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
This is really very clever and good poetry, to boot. Enjoyed.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 30-01-2013
Fuzzy Logic
imho, the mark of great poetry is in the way it adheres to the inside of the brain. I simply love the Binary two-step analysis.
Oh! in case you're wondering, this sticks to my brain.

Author's Reply:


Dringendstrae (posted on: 25-01-13)
...

Photobucket The man was ragged but the cloth over the pipes had few patches, or at least fewer than his clothes. I went to Dringendstrae to see the monkey. We could not afford the Zoo. It was a long walk from the Waisenhaus-Pankow to the Berlin Zoo. It was a long walk to the new U-Bahn station at Vinetaststrae and which orphan among us had the fare in any case? So we made do. On Sunday afternoons, Frau Goldstamm permitted the boys never the girls a few hours to explore outside the confines of the orphanage. How we wished to go into Mitte or Nollendorfplatz on Shabbat, but of course, we could not. Solomon and I would often try to strike out on our own, but younger boys followed. I would have run and run to escape them, but my friend would say he felt a responsibility toward them. By the time the Harz-Jesu Kirche bell rang 2 o'clock we would be turning onto Dringendstrae and the wheezing barrel organ would be playing a tired polka. If I think now, after everything, the Leierkasten man was perhaps no more than 40. To tenyear-old boys he seemed as old as the son of Enoch. Ha Shem alone knows how old he seemed to the younger ones. I liked to count the patches on his trousers, to see if they increased week by week. Perhaps they did, or perhaps I miscounted. He seemed friendly enough. Often he would reach into his coat pocket and hand out a boiled sweet to each of us, if we weren't too many. He did not trouble to learn our names for, of course, we brought him no money. In fact, while we were there many people crossed to the other side of the dusty street, although in his cap there were many coins and the occasional note. On rare days, if the street was quiet, the man would change the barrel and some of the smaller boys would dance to a Freylekh. If one of the black Mercedes turned into the street, the man would stop winding the handle and change the barrel once more. We boys would stare open-mouthed at these cars. They moved smoothly through the streets, in relative silence, compared to the Opel vans and trucks that were more common in this part of the city. Solomon was fascinated by glimpses of gold braid on a military cap or epaulette. What it must be to wear a uniform like that, Moishe, he would exclaim. One Sunday, Frau Goldstamm locked the gates. I saw this as an opportunity. The younger boys would not be able to scale the wall to the rear of the Orphanage's vegetable garden. Solomon was easy to persuade and we escaped in time to hear the church clock strike two, as usual. In Dringendstrae, we saw a Mercedes driving away. The barrel organ lay in pieces by the kerb. The man lay on the ground, the pipe-cloth covering his torso, his legs were sticking out at improbable angles and his blood was drying on the dusty tarmacadam. They came for the orphans the next day. Most were excited by the prospect of a ride in the trucks. Solomon got to see some uniforms at close hand. Later, I heard the Klezmer music and the wheezing pipes of the barrel organ, as we boarded the train at Friedrichstrae.
Archived comments for Dringendstrae
Nomenklatura on 25-01-2013
Dringendstraße
Can anyone provide the idiot's guide to adding graphics/photos to a submission?

Author's Reply:

amman on 25-01-2013
Dringendstraße
A graphic piece hinting at the horrors to come thru' the eyes of unsuspecting youth. Once again you have shown that less is more and that everything does not have to be spelled out.



Andrea can, no doubt, explain the the photo/graphics transfer better than me but I will check later to see if anyone has obliged and, if not, attempt to explain the process.

regards.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 25-01-2013
Dringendstraße
I am speechless with admiration at your ability to convey the depth of a story. This is so moving. Mike

Author's Reply:

franciman on 25-01-2013
Dringendstraße
Brilliant Ewan, storytelling of the very highest order.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Kat on 26-01-2013
Dringendstraße
Wonderful and chilling... what a fine write and the ending is perfect, the way you 'show.'

Kat x

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 26-01-2013
Dringendstraße
Harrowing and well-timed.

For the graphics, upload the pic to Photobucket (or similar) and grab the html code. Paste code here, but remove all code BEFORE the
Author's Reply:
Hmmm... did something wrong!

I was using the beta version of photobucket... the old one is easier!!!!!

Andrea on 27-01-2013
Dringendstraße
Ah excellent! It's so annoying when they keep trying to 'fix' things wot ain't broke!

Author's Reply:


Never Let Me Down (posted on: 18-01-13)
Poetry challenge 27th January 2013, posted now before I forget

Never Let Me Down. A dodgy cover. No wonder they changed it for the punters in Des Moines. Rod in a tramp's mac, chasing some Liddell girl. Some dodgy covers, on vinyl that crackled on a Dansette or HI-FI. Rod singing Mick's rant on street revolutions. No dodgy cover that finished side one: Mike D'Abo's sad lyrics; Rod's finest ever hour is 'Handbags'. An old raincoat won't ever let you down. about the album listen to it here
Archived comments for Never Let Me Down
amman on 18-01-2013
Never Let Me Down
Nice bit of nostalgia. I don't much care for Rod Stewart's rendition of the song but the violin player accompanying at his Albert Hall 1995 concert was pretty good. Really like the poem.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

butters on 18-01-2013
Never Let Me Down
really like the angle you've approached this from - I like the unexpected! early, but glad you've taken part, Nom - I'm happy this challenge's word has seemed to inspire some people 😀

so, unusual, thought-provoking, different *nods*

Author's Reply:


Over the Horizon (posted on: 18-01-13)
Many of the same words, made to mean something different; perhaps.

There are no straight lines, but the illusory one. Over the horizon, lies everything, happy ever after, and never seen again: two endings for the same fairy tale. There are some true loves like the illusory one over the horizon, where everything, happy ever after or never seen again, make endings to our own fairy tale.
Archived comments for Over the Horizon
cooky on 19-01-2013
Over the Horizon
oh so very deep. I like this.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 19-01-2013
Over the Horizon
Ewan, this gained my attention and held it. It drew me back and I read it a number of times, each visit provoking more thought. It is very clever, its ambiguity being the only unambiguous part of it.
Could I suggest 'except' rather than 'but' in v1 line2?
This one stays with me.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
I'd have to think about that one Jim, it puts the syllable count down.
I'll come back to it.
thanks for commenting!

butters on 19-01-2013
Over the Horizon
I've read and re-read this one, Nom, but remain confused as to what to make of it. just as I feel I've got to grips with what you really mean, it slips away from me over that darned horizon 😮


edited to say: I had to come back to this to take another look. think I have my head around it more now.

Author's Reply:

amman on 20-01-2013
Over the Horizon
I find this quite cryptically profound and, as Jim stated, draws one back for further readings. Very clever. To me, it speaks of reality over illusion. Personally, I would stick with 'but' in second line.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Kat on 20-01-2013
Over the Horizon
Really enjoyed this - very clever and thought-provoking.

Kat

Author's Reply:

Savvi on 21-01-2013
Over the Horizon
Simple words well placed, shit happens and life is what we make of it. Very true S

Author's Reply:


Alptrἃume (posted on: 11-01-13)
I always dream a lot in the mountains....

Mountain dreams, witches in the Harzgebirge. The broom brushes snow from certain roofs, every night is Walpurgisnacht and moonlit madness, the bed bleaches colour from maidens' cheeks. Incubus: this visitor arrives astride a nightmare, the blood belies incorporeality. Mountain laws, witches die in a mountain village, the brush burns flesh from tender limbs. And a moon full of water looks on in sympathy.
Archived comments for Alptrἃume

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Visibility Nil (posted on: 11-01-13)
ski-ed in white-out today....

High in the mountains, Visibility nil. Sounds emerge from low cloud: voices, the rattle of chair lifts, the scrape of snow-boards the match-strike sound of crisply turned skis; shouts from the lost, mislaid or simply abandoned. Too slow for their friends or not friends enough, for their faster companions to wait. The snow and the cloud are one and downhill is the safest route, even for the statues frozen by fear to the slopes.
Archived comments for Visibility Nil
japanesewind on 11-01-2013
Visibility Nil
Enjoyed this, tight, packed with content.

regards...D

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 12-01-2013
Visibility Nil
I can visualise the scene, Ewan, even if the visibility is nil.
I have actually witnessed this kind of situations, while trying - unsuccessfully - to get to grip with the rudiments of skiing.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

butters on 13-01-2013
Visibility Nil
Too slow for their friends
or not friends enough,
for their faster companions.
to wait.
The snow and the cloud are one
and downhill is the safest route,
even for the statues
frozen by fear to the slopes.


never been skiing but this dumps me right there on the slope, frozen 😮

Author's Reply:


North (posted on: 07-01-13)
a poem...

Too far north, you'll find me. Behind the seat on the dealer's left, or opposite Aurora Australis, a Sydney nightclub's headliner. Blue with Pictish cold, woad-painted, no passion here? If you only knew, how many degrees of latitude separate us. So many that John's bauble does not matter: the eastings mean nothing. What you think is cool reserve, is the crusted mantle holding the magma in check. There are boreal volcanoes though their names twist the tongue. We of the cold north hold the heat inside, until we cannot.
Archived comments for North
Kat on 07-01-2013
North
I really enjoyed this.

Kat

Author's Reply:
I'm glad that you did, thank you for commenting.

japanesewind on 08-01-2013
North
"What you think is cool reserve,
is the crusted mantle holding
the magma in check"

Enjoyed this thought, good ending.
regards...D

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your comments
regards
Ewan

Bozzz on 08-01-2013
North
From you excellent poem, I still cannot decide the view. Guessing, then I'd say what every Englishman derides - that every Scot that settles in England increases the average intelligence of both countries.... Bozzz

The Roman wall to hold the Picts at bay,
Now almost gone, McGravity unbuilt,
But now it’s wanted back again to keep
The Sassenachs from oil and ‘malt’ and kilt.



Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 09-01-2013
North
This was so well composed, I love the way the poem draws you in from the start. Mike

Author's Reply:


Side-tracked (posted on: 07-01-13)
another one about nothing much at all...

The dogs saw it first. A bright red car: parked half-way up the hillside track. A Seat. A Toledo, a romantic name for a boxy saloon. 10 years old, judging by the plate. This track is where I walk the dogs most evenings. To one side there is an empty folly of Kane-like proportions. I imagine the sled in one of the rooms. This house has never been finished and never will be. A magnificent ruin, as though someone had decided to build exactly that. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, that particular track goes nowhere, really. We were within 10 feet of the car and the passenger door opened. A dark head leaned toward the ground and spat something out. It took a while to get it all out. A hand came out and wiped the boy's lips. He winked. The dogs and I veered off the path and rejoined it uphill and 10 yards ahead of the car. We walked for ten minutes. My dogs criss-crossed the path as always. I steered them away from the discarded condoms and scorched tin-foil. Usually they go for the horse shit in any case. At the top, where the track peters out, we turned about. 10 minutes later and we saw the car was still there. Through the windscreen I could see the boy, his head nodding. The man he wasn't agreeing with waved through the window. About 50, I guessed. He put his car in reverse and slid down the track to the Old Camino de Coin. I bent down to pick up a piece of foil near where the passenger door had been. It was still warm. I figured the boy had earned the right to chase his dragon.
Archived comments for Side-tracked
bluepootle on 07-01-2013
Side-tracked
A piece about magnificent and not so magnificent ruins. I enjoyed it. Love the Kane reference.

Author's Reply:
Praise indeed!
Thank you for reading.

franciman on 07-01-2013
Side-tracked
Ewan, this is bold and unafraid. The incident begged to be written. The voice was utterly believable with a contemporary 'knowing' quality. The Citizen Kane reference gave the whole piece a singular slant.
Such a great write.
cheers,
Jim


Author's Reply:
Thanks for the complimentary comment, and for the favouriting.

Savvi on 07-01-2013
Side-tracked
This dog walks you delightfully and then bops you on the nose. Very well written. Loved it S

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and commenting.

TheBigBadG on 08-01-2013
Side-tracked
It's a good one for form suiting the substance. The short simple sentences keep it punchy, let the events speak for themselves. The line about the dogs going for horse shit made me smile as well, in a sad kind of way. Speaking as someone with a tendency to be a bit prolix, I'll should take some notes from this one really.

Author's Reply:
Regarding prolixity, not everything with a lot of words is overwritten, it depends on genre, on time, the probable vocabulary and voice of any narrator. I resent CW cant that terse is beautiful: it can be, but so can a flood of words, if they're the right ones.
Thanks for the read and the comments

Mikeverdi on 09-01-2013
Side-tracked
Always different, always readable and always entertaining. As the owner of three dogs I too have seen things I would rather have given a miss. Another great write Ewen; you never disappoint. Mike

Author's Reply:


The Afternooners (posted on: 31-12-12)
sigh....

Let's check in, without a bag. Take a room, for the afternoon; eat room service, drink the minibar. Let's watch the window, instead of TV, and take our time, on each others skin. Let's check out of real life, make some love, by the light of the moon, eat strawberries, drink from navels. Let's watch each other, as well as ourselves, and map our love, on each others skin.
Archived comments for The Afternooners
Texasgreg on 31-12-2012
The Afternooners
Aye! Now that's cool stuff I can relate to. Gonna try it soon if I can remember the words. 😉

Seriously, Good stuff!

Greg 🙂

Photobucket.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-01-2013
The Afternooners
Just my sort of 'time well spent'. A great little read my friend.
Mike

Author's Reply:


Red (posted on: 28-12-12)
Why would someone do something like that?

Red. Pillar-box red, fire-engine red. The devil's colour. The harlot's colour of the scarlet letter. I like red, especially on a grey day. I like people who wear red. People who stick two fingers up at the dull lead of the sky and say look at me. Because the eye is drawn, like the needle to the North, like the dupe to the charlatan, by the crimson, carmine and vermilion. I don't wear it myself, or rarely. Too many northern European genes. I'd be a fool to wear the colour of blood, it would make me look as if I had none. When I used to paint, everything would contain some splash of the colour, however incongruous it might look in the context of, say, a palette of browns. A joker in the ochre, you might say. I don't paint now. A bit of writing, dull rewrites of newspaper articles in El Mundo or El Pais on a good day. Puff-piece cum obit for a dead British Legionnaire or Ancient Buffalo on bad ones. Not even paid by the word. 25 euros for an article. Still, the readers enjoy finding the errors. They're not mine I hasten to add. The idiot in the office over the stationary shop where they cut and paste the free papers knows better than I with his Essex comprehensive spelling. I should send him that sentence to punctuate, if I get the chance. So, by way of explanation. It's the fault of a carmine coat and cinnabar shoes on a grey, rainy day on the Costa. And this is what happened. I followed her into the bar. The tables matched some of the chairs and some of each other. The music still came from a radio that looked old enough to have valves. Behind the bar was a large man of about 60 who'd last shaved when his shirt was clean. She was what we used to call a 'Nothing Special'. The kind of woman you found all-too-attractive though you knew she wasn't quite beautiful. Someone you wouldn't forget if you only saw them once. With other young men in long ago bars, I had called such women 'Nothing Specials' . Perhaps it was self-defence, bravado or just the stupidity of youth. The woman sat on the high-stool at the bar. I tried not to look at her legs, but failed. When I looked up she was smiling at me. I asked her if she wanted a drink. It was 10 in the morning. She said, 'No, but I'll buy you a coffee.' It was a voice like the low harmonic of a difficult chord. Her name was Leila, and she smirked as she said it, laughed when I did, as though she did not care whether I believed it or not. Her eyes were burnt sienna and her cheekbones held them like a ring holds a diamond. Leila ordered the coffee from the man behind the bar. She called him Andres and he looked down at his shirt then rubbed a hand across his stubble. When the coffee machine stopped its impersonation of an industrial air compressor, Andres placed Lila's coffee in front of her on the bar. My own glass and saucer announced their arrival in quick enough succession to avoid spilling more than half. I had no small talk. It was enough to look at this exotic bird, her plumage denying the foul weather and the dull atmosphere of the caf. She lit a cigarette after a brief glance at Andres, who heaved his shoulders as though he were Atlas with a crick in his neck. For a moment I thought she was going to blow the smoke in my face, but she turned her own away and blew it up towards the blades of the rusted fan. 'I need someone.' She must have seen something in my face because she laughed, 'Not like that. I need someone in particular. A man with enough wrinkles to know better, too few laugh lines not to try. A man likely to say yes to a certain proposition.' 'Me?' For answer she looked at her watch, a slim thing without numbers which told her it would soon be about 11. Then she nodded at the grubby bar owner and held up two fingers. Two brandies arrived;, much of mine stayed in its glass and all of Leila's did. 'So what is it?' 'Have a drink first,' she breathed. 'You'll need it.' At home, in the flat I was throwing balled-up blank sheets at the waste-paper bin. It's not easy to miss with so many from a matter of six feet. I hadn't said yes, but I hadn't said no. She'd offered me a week to think about it. I asked for a phone number and her smirk said I'd never get it while the days of the week ended in y. 'Don't worry, I'll find you.' I watched her legs scissoring in whispers beneath her tight skirt whilst the red of her shoes burned itself on my retinas like the last thing a dead man sees. A week later I was in Malaga on Larios. Pretending to decide on a bar where I would spend money I couldn't afford. I'd decided not to return to the Paseo Maritimo on the Costa. Why tempt fate? What could Leila possibly want me to do, that I was even capable of? Better to hold her image, keep it for the painting I would naver make. Turning off Larios, I headed for Calle Cistor, bound for La Tertulia. It was one of those healthy lifestyle places. Only in Andalucia would such a place sell coffee. She was sitting at a table when I walked in. She cocked her head and gave that smile, 'Que casualidad!' Some coincidence. I hadn't been to La Tertulia, or Malaga come to that, in over a month. I sat down. Just to hear the proposition and I thought she might buy the drinks. She did. 'I think you'll do it, Paul.' 'You're confident to say that, since I don't know what it is.' 'It's perfect. It's something you've been preparing for all your life.' She told me what she wanted done and before she left she repeated it, 'I think you'll do it.' I did. On May 24th I was arrested at the Museo Carmen Thyssen. Caught red-handed, you might say. Right there in front of the star loan-piece of the exhibition. Number 61. I thought it looked better with my bloody palm print in the bottom corner. Every picture should have a piece of red.
Archived comments for Red
Slovitt on 28-12-2012
Red
nomenklatura: an engaging, fast-paced little story replete with intrigue and sex and an envisionable image to close on. a number of good lines that if not exactly original are still fresh and smart, "who'd last shaved when his shirt was clean", "the low harmonic of a difficult chord", "...her cheekbones held them like a ring does a diamond", "burned itself on my retinas like the last thing a dead man sees". you write at a high level time and time again. i'd be curious as to what you've done with your work in terms of placing it in mags/lit journals, or more appropriately in volume form. swep

Author's Reply:
Thank you for your most complimentary comment. I have plenty of rejections, like many I become discouraged, but I send things from time to time. Of course, this particular piece is now tainted, it has been published on-line, so most magazines won't touch it. I like to think that's their loss, but I'm only fooling myself, aren't I?

Slovitt on 28-12-2012
Red
nomenklatura: a couple of american natl bk award winners, wm stafford and phillip levine, in a workshop were asked about rejections and stafford said even with the success he had had he still got rejections on 85-90& of the poems he submitted. levine was competitive and said he still got rejections on 50% of his submissions. i'm probably in the 80-90 range of rejections but have never taken it to mean anything beyond you had to type the poem again and find a new place to send it. as far as your piece being tainted, though a few mags consider internet posting akin to pulication, how can it be a publication when there is no editorial process and one can post a grocery list if one is so inclined. almost all of my poems that i consider good have been posted at uka and abc and i continued to send them to mags with a number of successes (many subs and across years). and so with simultaneous subs and some mags won't accept them, well submit to several places at once and if you're accepted withdraw your pieces from the others (or don't, nothing wrong with simultaneous publications when only a handful ever see the issues). the worst they can do is blackball you from their 1 of 4500 mags in the marketplace. a few years of mags holding work for 6-8 months and then form rejecting provoked my ire. internet sites provide a much greater exposure, plus feedback, than mags but for book publication the mag credits still wield the power. virtually everything of yours i've read is publishable, and though i don't know if any mag has a sense of loss ever, your work deserves you to represent it to the world as best you can. i don't know how many pieces in the different genres you have but a handy way to start thinking about such is to keep a typed manuscript at hand (you can move poems in-and-out and revise) and start thinking in terms of a volume, volumes. swep

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 29-12-2012
Red
I would like to add my thoughts to the previous comment. Since I have been on this site I have read and re read all your work and I agree, it's all eminently readable and publishable;I think you are great and this story is no exception. Keep trying. Mike

Author's Reply:

franciman on 29-12-2012
Red
Hi Ewan,
This is a great write. I really enjoyed it, as it engaged me from the start and carried me with it.
Thank you,
Merry Christmas,
Jim

Author's Reply:


And I Followed (posted on: 24-12-12)
topical, no I don't believe, but there are some great stories in the good book...

And I followed. Followed the caravan out of Saba. Long behind the servants and the camp-women. And I followed. Followed my brother Balthazar, who showed me the star through the palace window. And I followed. Followed long behind, over mountains, through valleys, where jackals roamed and tribesmen lurked with knives. And I followed. Followed though my donkey died, and my feet bled and left my tiny footprints in the desert sands. And I followed. Followed though my heart was sore and missing Persia where I had had servant girls, jewels and perfumes. And I followed. Followed to a tiny village, to a stable of stones, Where I watched my brother leave his gold casket. And I followed. Followed them in, and left the gift of a wise woman, a blessing of the greatest kind, I left him love.
Archived comments for And I Followed
Savvi on 24-12-2012
And I Followed
A wonderful journey well penned with heart felt sentiment. I really enjoy the way you write. S

Author's Reply:
Thank you for a fine compliment. You are most kind.

ifyouplease on 25-12-2012
And I Followed
i don't know what exactly you are portraying here, it seems as if it's from a forbidden gospel (of your own) like a poetic remote viewing into the past.

Author's Reply:
Hmm... I think it's pretty clear what it's about. Imagine if there were 3 Kings/Wise Men, imagine if a sister followed them. My point is my imagined sister's journey is no more unlikely than that of the Magi, mythical or historical.

ifyouplease on 26-12-2012
And I Followed
i had imagined all this - at the same time this line

I followed them in, and left the gift of a wise woman,
a blessing of the greatest kind, I left him love.

puzzled me, the gift of a wise woman, she sees a baby and leaves him love? what differentiates her love from Magi's and shepherds' and makes it more special? what kind of love? the Magi left gifts that were of prophetic nature, what about her? you see a baby you love the baby immediately if you are a normal person. i mean they all loved the baby or at least liked Him for being just a ..baby, there's nothing special about her love or her love was as special (in an imagined mythical or historical way) as the others', her love becomes more special in what sense? is it perhaps the love between a man and a woman and is that her prophesy?

i felt you tried to add another quality to the Story, but, Ewan, it had already an incomparable female protagonist, there is no need to add a sister or wives following secretly any men, Virgin Mary. it's Christ's and Virgin Mary's story. all along. . and she gave him the gift of love as the mother. a woman has already given Him the most special love gift: childbirth. without Her there wouldn't be a story to begin with.

anyway...

Author's Reply:
Hmm... it seems you are a believer. Don't forget I am not. Don't you think the woman must believe the love she leaves with the child must be great (greatest) after what she has done to get there? I wanted to contrast the material value of what the Magi left with the only thing Balthazar's sister could leave after her journey. I often wonder about the absence of any other woman in the nativity. How do you think Mary would have felt if some, any, woman turned up to see the birth of her baby?

We must agree to differ here, I'm afraid.

Slovitt on 26-12-2012
And I Followed
nomenklatura: perhaps cut the "I" that starts the 2nd line of each stanza, to read

And I followed.
Followed the caravan out of Saba.

And I followed.
Followed my brother Balthazar,

etc.

personally i like this new female character and find her and her story very compelling.

finally, am stumbled by your last stanza being not sure how one leaves "love." trying to get around that problem which may be mine alone, perhaps

And I followed.
Followed them in, bearing the gift of a wise woman,
of the greatest kind, the blessing of love.

also not sure about the value judgement she makes i.e. "greatest", the word perhaps to be considered.

anyway, another strong poem from you. swep





Author's Reply:
You are right about 'I' will change tomorrow when I have more time, thanks!

franciman on 26-12-2012
And I Followed
Hi Ewan,

you're right there are great stories in the book, and this is another one.
Not being a believer, you give this voice an authentic belief. I love the repeats. They give the reader a real sense of the distance travelled. I was willing her in to the stable and really keen for her to give something herself.
Beautiful verse, beautifully written. Thank you.
Merry Christmas,
Jim.


Author's Reply:

ifyouplease on 27-12-2012
And I Followed
the gifts weren't just material, they all symbolized something, i don't believe in the official gospels, the apocrypha have some very interesting info. i believe of course. once a christian always a christian, but i'm not the classic type of christian anymore... there probably were other women, based on my remote viewing into the past. well, being a woman i can imagine seeing another woman recovering from childbirth, the first thing i'd do is take care of her. i would be equally eager to meet Her. when i said the Story had already a female protagonist, i didn't mean there shouldn't be other women in the Story. after all millions of women became part of the story later. without women Christianity would have never been possible. i see some sort of antagonistic spirit in your girl's gift, she thought she was the wisest and she believed her gift was the greatest in front of the mother of Jesus? surely not. nothing wise or great about antagonizing men that cannot give birth to a baby in front of female superiority over them.



Author's Reply:
Ifyouplease, I am really not so dull as not to realise that the gifts symbolised something, nor am I so stupid as not to consider the possibility that the whole episode of the Magi was not later mythmaking on someone's part.
Regarding nothing wise or great about antagonising men, fair point. However, my own point in the poem is that most likely if any sister of Balthazar had suggested accompanying the 3 Kings on the journey she would have received short shrift indeed. You may see some antagonistic spirit, and I would say you are right to do so, but, with respect, I think you have completely misconstrued the target - or rather - motive for any antagonism.

ifyouplease on 27-12-2012
And I Followed
i never said or implied that you are dull, but you didn't clarify and i wanted to clarify the symbolic nature of the gifts, simply because someone had to do it. moreover, this not just any story, not that i particularly like Saturnalia guised as Xmas. it's not a coincidence either that it's been abbreviated as Xmas. now you know at least one person, female too, saw antagonistic spirit and this is not bad. the target is extremely unclear, of your poem i.e. just a story? maybe for others but not a conspiracy theorist and researcher like me. perhaps you don't know what exactly you have portrayed and how it can be perceived by the minority of your readers.

Author's Reply:

butters on 27-12-2012
And I Followed
simply worded, yet tasting of the exotic.

this shows us a difficult journey, made as one apart from a group she should rightly be traveling with, so lacking protection, giving up worldly possessions/luxuries, undergoing hardships and travails in order to make her way to the heart of the story - the stone stable, the christ-child.

determination of spirit carries her there, and her gift is one of a spiritual nature, offered in a physical manner (possibly) of attending child and mother's needs. her gift is real and compassionate when compared to that of the kings' symbolic ones - but speaks of empathy, endurance, and strength, also bringing to mind many small references to the tale of Jesus' own travails.

Author's Reply:


Nothing New Under the Sun (posted on: 21-12-12)
Bath Consolidated School, Michigan, May 18, 1927

Kehoe put the shovel down. Nellie hadn't protested at being put in the wheelbarrow. The nurses at the St. Lawrence had nixed the wheelchair, on account of he hadn't paid the hospital for a week or two. She sure wasn't protesting now. The wheels creaked - hadn't seen any grease for a long time. He himself hadn't had his wheels greased since the sickness had come on his wife. The consumption was supposed to be a disease for the poor folks. Well they were damn' poor now. He left the wheelbarrow outside the chicken coop. The silverware, Nellie's jewels and the cashbox he jammed around the wheels. He looked inside the coop, the pyrotol was in the canisters and the wires looked intact. His back hurt as he bent to roll out the rest of the wire as far as the box and plunger out front by the car. The detonation shook the Ford Model A as it pulled out of the farm. 'He beat his horses, y'know.' That's what the old-timer told me in the Bath Township Waffle House over cold coffee. I said nothing. 'Darndest man for machines, reckon he could dicker with jes' any thing with movin' parts.' I waited while he coughed something into a handkerchief. 'Course the dang fool couldn't farm for shit. That didn't help' m, fer sure.' The man's bib and brace and plaid shirt were old, but looked clean. I guessed the prosthetic arm put paid to doing much manual work. He caught me looking. 'Lost that back then, 7 years old. Helluvathing.' Kehoe sat in the car, the engine idling. The town looked busy. He had passed the fire-truck on the way in . The alarm clock would have gone off in the basement of the north wing by now. Just had to drive in. Just one last look in the trunk and then back to school. The old man had finished his coffee. I made to put my notebook away. He spoke again. 'Piles a' legs and arms, y'know? I saw Kehoe - jes' laughin' fit ta bust - at the wheel a' the car.'
Archived comments for Nothing New Under the Sun
Mikeverdi on 21-12-2012
Nothing New Under the Sun
I truly love reading your work. Mike

Author's Reply:

Slovitt on 22-12-2012
Nothing New Under the Sun
nomenklatura: tightly written, good tension, good ear for speech eccentricities. the charm of your story is in the matter-of-fact detailing, detailing with an edge. strong piece. swep

Author's Reply:


And... (posted on: 14-12-12)
Mr Cheerful, that's me

Though the minutes seem like hours, still the days are soon gone; calendar leaves blown away in a black-and-white movie. My hourglass is an egg-timer, the sand is sharp as ever was. Even though I'm not asking, the bell is telling me; the waves are rushing in to sweep my footprints away.
Archived comments for And...
barenib on 14-12-2012
And...
Well it's only a week until the end of the Mayan calendar, so as the song says, "Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think"! John.

Author's Reply:

butters on 16-12-2012
And...
why does your egg-timer make me think a woman's behind this write? 😀 beware, I hear they can make you age quickly 😀

Author's Reply:


It Will Be Happening Now (posted on: 14-12-12)
If you're eighteen and read this, you'll remember it one day... if you've been eighteen a long time ago, you'll know it's true.

It will be happening now. The place, the time, the movement: the one you'll all claim to have been a part of- like we claimed to be in Carnaby Street, or toking in the mulberry dawn with John and Paul. It might be remembered as the best - the worst - excitement, the part you can't name that you lost all track of like our claims to be rebellious youth, or talking out Aquarius' dawn with Bob and Ch. What goes around comes around. We're all over thirty in the end.
Archived comments for It Will Be Happening Now
Slovitt on 14-12-2012
It Will Be Happening Now
nomenklatura: yes, it does. yes, we will. well written. a good small poem. swep

Author's Reply:

franciman on 14-12-2012
It Will Be Happening Now
toking in the mulberry dawn with John and Paul.

Ewan this is mptie man. I feel the vibes as tho' it were yesterday. But then that's the point. No?
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 14-12-2012
It Will Be Happening Now
'What goes around comes around.'
So true, Ewan. Even flares tried a comeback. An era well remembered.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 16-12-2012
It Will Be Happening Now
You've just reminded me that I should grow old disgracefully! Good write - John.

Author's Reply:

butters on 16-12-2012
It Will Be Happening Now
mulberry dawn is a cool phrase. *nods* shades of blackberry way and then some.

as to the message - oh boy, I've given up on telling my sons ... only time will show them 😉

Author's Reply:


Recessionary Blues (posted on: 10-12-12)
Another one about nothing at all...

The business to be in is gambling. When no-one has any money, it's what people do. Even here. Eight years ago, when I came to Andalucia, the one-armed-bandits stood silent in the corners of the bars. You rarely saw anyone feed more than one euro into the slot. Not now. Only last week, I saw a man of about 30 trying to juggle his breakfast and his coffee, whilst feeding coins and slapping flashing buttons. His tomato and ham on toast grew as cold as his morning brew as he lost ten coins of whaterver denomination they were. It was about 9 a.m. So the man might or might not have had a job. His shoulders slumped, his jacket was one of those old F1 associated jackets, Ferrari of course, but it had the logo of a long-ago tobacco industry sponsor. His jeans were frayed at the bottom and there was no polish on his work boots. He might have been a builder's labourer but the hand feeding the fruit-machine was pink and un-calloused. He didn't win. The face he made as he drank the cold coffee showed what he thought of his luck. The catalana lay unfinished on the plate on the bar. He turned to go and then stopped. A smile spread on his face as he withdrew a single coin from his pocket. He fed the monster, his reward was flashing lights and repetitive music and that was all. Yesterday was different. It was late afternoon in the town. Another day, another bar, you might say. I went for a tapa and a small beer, whilst waiting for a client. A tiny woman was hunched over the buttons of a bandit twice her height. The machine would have made four of her in total. Her handbag was draped over her arm, it rose and fell as she inserted the coins in the slot above her head. She wore a skirt and hose under a quilted overcoat with a hood. I had taken my jacket off the moment I came in. The bar owner had put a coffee on the bar behind the woman and though she raised a hand momentarily from a flashing button, it stood cooling on the bar while I finished my beer and boquerones. I had time before meeting my next client, so I ordered a coffee. No use smelling of too much beer on arrival. The lady won once with her last coin: the wrinkles on her cheeks were pushed aside by a smile, but she didn't walk away from the machine. I finished my coffee and left. The bar's owner caught my eye and shook his head.
Archived comments for Recessionary Blues
expat on 10-12-2012
Recessionary Blues
You can't beat the machine unless you know how it works. A guy from a fruit machine company told me that and someone I worked with regularly caused fury at his social club by knowing when a payout was due and walking off with a lot of other member's money. He stopped doing it in the end due to hostility.
Apropos of Andalucia - I watched a drunk continuously feed the machine in my local bar in Jerez for half an hour or so until it eventually spat out a small avalanche of coins. He wobbled off happily enough but undoubtably in considerable negative equity.
Me, I never touch them; I prefer to waste my money on beer. 🙂
Anyway, a well-written observation.
Steve

Author's Reply:

japanesewind on 11-12-2012
Recessionary Blues
Really liked this piece, thanks...David

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 11-12-2012
Recessionary Blues
I had a friend who used to empty them too. We always put it down to luck, but maybe he had a system 🙂 In any event, many owners got so fed up with him emptying their machines, they barred him...

Loved the 'cheeks were pushed aside by a smile' bit 🙂

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 12-12-2012
Recessionary Blues
I love these little interludes of yours, they read like a blog only better!! mIKE

Author's Reply:


Ilse's Birthday (posted on: 10-12-12)
November 9th

'Shhh, Ilse. You must be quiet.' It was a whisper, but my mother left me in no doubt. There would be consequences. At first, she and my father had made it a game. 'Come on, down to the cellar. It will be fun,' but her face was pale and I thought perhaps I had done something wrong. My father put his hand on her back and I followed them down the stairs into the gloom of the cellar of 13 Friedrichstrasse. We sat on suitcases, surrounded by the smell of leather goods. Or at least my mother and I did. My father brushed dust from sundry other leather items. I had asked why they must be removed from the shop. My father had not answered. He merely handed me several lady's purses to carry into the cellar. I hadn't gone to school that day. I assumed that it was merely a treat for my birthday. Dinner was early that evening. The November night had fallen heavily just as the clock in the shop was striking five and so we ate in silence at six in the apartment upstairs. I remembered other meals: when Onkel Shlomo would bring honey-coated teiglach or the sugary-ginger ingberlach. These treats were supposedly for me, but my mother loved them and Onkel Shlomo was aware of this. Schlomo Epstein was my father's best friend. He came every Wednesday. He brought flowers, too. The last time he had come there was an argument, long after dinner. I listened from behind my bedroom door, The urgent voices sounded like angry whispers. I heard only odd phrases or words, 'All go...' 'At least wife and the child'. The three of them mentioned 'Palestine'. I heard the bell and the slam of the shop door shortly afterward and scuttled to my bed. My mother came and sat on my bed. I pretended to be asleep, so she would not know I heard her crying. That had been months before the expedition to the cellar. My mother must have missed the sweet things Shlomo brought for she smiled much less. Down in the dark basement, Vati looked at his watch, 'soon,' was all he said. My mother began to cry. I gave her a sticky ginger square that I had kept in a pocket for over a month. She took it, but she did not stop crying. I wondered what the noise was. It sounded like the time I had dropped a fruit bowl in the kitchen. Except that the noise was repeated and becoming louder until it sounded like all the crystal bowls in the world were being smashed at once. My father held my mother's hand, 'It might not be too late,' he said.
Archived comments for Ilse's Birthday
Texasgreg on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
Aye! Moving and published at the right time of the year, IMO. You're often over my head, so I researched the date. Is this it? 1940 Germany invades Norway and Denmark in WW II

Greg 🙂

Photobucket.

Author's Reply:
Not this time Greg, the year is 1938.....

Texasgreg on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
Ah! If I had just read further. Lesson learned...again. If you think you have the answer, think again.

1938 Crystal Night - Germans break windows owned by Jews

Even more meaning to me now. Thank-you!


Greg 🙂

Photobucket.

Author's Reply:

CVaughan on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
I hear the sound of broken glass, Kristallnacht as Greg says, yes it was hinted at textually in a subtle way in this exemplary story. Shades of Anne Frank came to mind when reading though this tale holds out the hope of escape tho their spiritual homeland. I have a history mind having done a poem on the heroic Anne. Well done indeed. (Frank)

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Frank. Having lived in Berlin for around 10 years, I still can't get my head round what happened in Germany (just) within living memory.

Andrea on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
The name and the first few words gave it away to me instantly. But then I have studied the subject pretty extensively, and it detracted not at all from its powerful impact.

For those interested --> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

Author's Reply:
Thanks Jefa, for reading, it's a fascinating, if worrying, subject.

franciman on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
This was so compelling even though I had it placed correctly. The foreshadowing of the 'Zionist Dream' was masterful and added to the palpable sadness of the piece.
Show not tell of the highest quality, and one of the very best Flash Fiction pieces I have read.
Into favourites and surely the Anthology.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, Jim. I'm quite pleased with the ending, really. Did they go? Did they try? Did they even get the chance? The Holocaust museum in Berlin - built many years after I left - is a remarkable and disturbing place.

Tks for the nomination!!

butters on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
this took me by the hand and enclosed me in a confined space of skins and whispers



it left my heart pounding and my breathing fast and shallow from contained fear





well done. i mean that.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading.

Slovitt on 10-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
thoughtful, sensitively written. strong piece, swep

Author's Reply:
A fine compliment from a real writer!

Savvi on 11-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
moving and powerful, a great lesson for me many thanks. S

Author's Reply:
Thank you very much for reading, welcome to UKA!

cooky on 12-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
krystal Nacht. The night of broken glass. The fear come's through your words. I like this

Author's Reply:
Thanks very much for reading. I'm glad some of the atmosphere came through.

Mikeverdi on 12-12-2012
Ilses Birthday
Truly great writing, I understood the context and lived the fear with the family. I have never understood why more didn't leave when they still could. A race of people persecuted through out history should have know better than to trust. This was a masterpiece, I have never read better on this subject. Mike

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Mike. From what I've read about similar situations to that in Nazi Germany at that time, people believe it will never happen to them. They don't want to leave their homes and businesses and truly believe 'It can't happen here" as FZ wrote a long time ago. By the time people convince themselves to leave it's often too late.

Bosnia, Rwanda: I'm sure somewhere else will be next. It's just too sad.


Killing Time (posted on: 03-12-12)
For my stuff I think I need a new category: 'Odd stories about not very much that sort of are interesting but not everyone's cup of tea.'

Cole looked at the shiny metal and red paint of the low slung building. 'Jeez, is this for real?' ''Looks cool.'' Diggle drawled it out. As fake New York as the ''American Diner'' they were standing in front of, on the waterfront. Cole sighed, maybe it was catching. He'd meant to think Paseo Maritimo but the words 'on the waterfront' lit up like neon in his head. Maybe other people saw words like this. Not Diggle though. They went in. It didn't smell right either. Too clean, no grease and fried onions and no Lysol. Cole thought he might be being ridiculous. He hadn't set foot in the US of A in thirty years. Maybe Waffle House used something that smelled of pine or flowers nowadays. Diggle went on ahead into the restaurant. Cole scanned the room. Nothing. Nothing out of place. Old couples with grey or blue hair depending on their sex. Sullen young men, still wet from the rain. Large glasses full of flat beer stood on the tables in front of them. Diggle had found a booth in the corner, with a good view of the entrance and the rest of the diner. A couple of the other booths could hide someone, but Cole had checked on the way in. Anyone came in to sit there, they'd be seen by one or other of them. No drama. No tears in the naugahyde on the seats. No beer rings or cigarette burns on the formica-topped table. Whoever had designed the place had been thinking Rockwell, not Hopper. The waitress came over. Cole could see the hot-pants were embarassing her. The damn place wasn't sure if it was Hooters or Hardee's. She was the colour of butterscotch candy. Maybe she could have passed for Andalucian, but he doubted she was. Her English was pretty good, but Cole ordered coffees and asked her in Spanish if the name on her badge was her real one. 'No, Seor, me llamo Xiomara.' Cole looked over at Diggle when the heard the distinctive 'zh' sound of the Columbiana's double-l. His partner nodded. 'Pleased ta meetcha,' he said. Cole tutted. The girl went off to get the coffees. Diggle watched the hot-pants all the way to the bar. 'Ever been to the States?' Diggle coloured a little. 'Uh.. no.' Cole said nothing, just nodded himself. The coffees came, sombra for Cole, Americano for Diggle. Cole wondered if the younger man even knew that his coffee had come from a little packet with Nescaf written on the outside. 'Is it her, you think?' Diggle was stirring the coffee though he hadn't put a grain of sugar in it. 'Does it matter?' The waitress was serving the hungover boys. They'd decided to chance some food. Diggle was talking, 'You said the job was...' 'The job is what I say it is.' 'But she's...' 'What? Young?' 'Yeah, that.' Cole looked at the younger man. 30 maybe, if he'd started shaving in his 20's. The spoon was splashing coffee over the side of his cup. 'It's an unusual name. We've got nothing to worry about.' The outsized clock read 10.25. The young men were finishing burgers and ribs, licking fingers and smacking lips. The beer glasses were almost empty now. Would they go? The seniors didn't count. They never did. Cole watched Diggle drumming fingers on the formica, careless of the coffee staining the cuff of his shirt. He was a good driver, Cole had been told. Nothing wrong so far, but the run to Gibraltar, afterwards, well. They'd see. People went to pieces on a job. You never could tell. The bachelor party ordered another beer. He hoped they finished before midday. Diggle had asked why it had to be midday. 'They're Columbians. It's... I don't care. It's in the contract that's what we do.'
He looked at the clock. 12.02. The young men had left at five to. Diggle hadn't had it in him. Well, they were both lying on the tiles now. The old people were mostly quiet. Cole was on his way out, Gibraltar wouldn't do, after all. Neither would the car. A good operative always had plan B.
Archived comments for Killing Time
Mikeverdi on 03-12-2012
Killing Time
Just brilliant, I love it; more please!

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 03-12-2012
Killing Time
What's plan B then? This is good and punchy, it feels like the opening to a thriller. Raises lots of questions, inevitably, but I'm interested in Cole and his balance of world-weary wisdom and brutal efficiency. Is it a flash or the start of something?

Author's Reply:

franciman on 03-12-2012
Killing Time
Hi Ewan,
This is compelling fiction. No whys, no wherefors, just a wonderful characterisation. Cole drives the plot which is thrusting and fist-clenched throughout. Like BBG, I want to know if you will take Cole further.
Excellent work.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

amman on 05-12-2012
Killing Time
You do this kind of fiction so well Ewan. Great characterisation of the enigmatic Cole and nervous Diggle, and spot-on (spare) dialogue. I'm intrigued to see more of the story. Had to look up naugahyde. Another word into the lexicon.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 06-12-2012
Killing Time
Bloody excellent! And if you want a new category, just tell me what you want to call it and I'll make one for you (like I did with 'doggerel' recently :))

Author's Reply:


Riposte (posted on: 03-12-12)
nothing personal...

There's nothing wrong with writing funny, it's just when the metre's not on the money, like when you cram something polysyllabic in, or rhyme with something as daft as chin. See once you start, you must keep it going, even if inspiration starts a-slowing. It's not just the content that has to matter, think of it like fish cooked in its batter, would you breadcrumb mackerel or a sprat? Coat cod with couscous and cooking fat? I wouldn't, but -since I'm not a poet - or one of a different kind to you; I can't suddenly discard the rhymes and break out the stumbling metre too.
Archived comments for Riposte
Bozzz on 03-12-2012
Riposte
Hello fellow rhymester, right with you on this one. prose on wheels is not for me - just keep on doing what comes naturally. ....Bozzz

Author's Reply:

franciman on 03-12-2012
Riposte
Hi Ewan,
Loved this, even if it might be about me. I'm a born egotist me!
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 04-12-2012
Riposte
Doggerel writers of the world unite. Are we going to take this on the chin? (Please make sure to rhyme it with sin).
Very amusing and true Ewan. There is an art to writing comic verse and we don't always succeed at producing good humorous poetry. But we'll keep on trying.

Author's Reply:

butters on 04-12-2012
Riposte
There's nothing wrong with writing funny,
it's just when the metre's not on the money,
like when you cram something polysyllabic in,
or rhyme with something as daft as chin.


hahahhaa

this has a wee bite to it, indeedy!

there's a slight issue here with your punctuation:

I wouldn't, but -since I'm not a poet -
or one of a different kind to you;
I can't suddenly discard the rhymes
and break out the stumbling metre too.

the semi-colon isn't required if you keep 'but' as the but makes what follows all one phrase; a comma would do the job adequately, or maybe drop the but to keep it tight?

I wouldn't - since I'm not a poet -
or one of a different kind to you;

Author's Reply:

jay12 on 04-12-2012
Riposte
Am I reading this right - you want to put a poet against the wall and shoot them? Right? Ironically this is a very good poem having a go at poems/poets.

Jay.

Author's Reply:

amman on 05-12-2012
Riposte
Luigi pinched my line. Doggerel writers of the world unite, indeed. Good stuff.
Cheers.


Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 05-12-2012
Riposte
I long to write
something funny
for shits and giggles
forsaking money
'cause if I make you
laugh and grin
I might say
that I did win

Aye! Back to the drawing board...

Good 'un!

Greg 🙂

Photobucket.

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 05-12-2012
Riposte
Not sure what constitutes a true poet, or a great poem - but we all try don't we. Don't fancy cod coated in couscous and cooking fat though, hope my poems don't come out like that !! hahaha, made me smile.

Val 🙂

Author's Reply:


Poste Restante (posted on: 30-11-12)
anything for Wilson?

Caf Chani caters to all the local wildlife. Builders, bankers and bums and that's just the Conos. These locals tend to stick to the high stools at the bar. They don't stare so much now, when I sit down. Some even bark 'Buenos Dias' or the 'Boo-eh-ah' of the village dialect. The male expatriate clientele consists of similar, apart from the bankers, that is. The British men will stand or sit outside at the high tables smoking like extras from Mad Men or The Hour or like French people. Lots of British women come in, at least when I go, at around 8.45 in the mornings. Most are between 40 and 70 as you might expect here, inland from the Costa del Sol, where the pound goes further and stag parties don't. Go, I mean. These ladies who brunch I wouldn't call it breakfast sit at tables as though they were taking tea in Brighton or Bedale. The caf owners make them feel welcome, as they do me. It's not the money, I buy about two coffees a week myself. Last week, something different happened. A group of ladies came in, nobody new, nobody I knew. I've never spoken to them, just eavesdropped on over-loud conversations about the price of bottled gas and firewood in the winter and the cost of air-conditioning in the summer. They sat down, the oldest lady took the seat with its back to the artists's work for sale on the rear wall. A seat with the best view of the the bar and the street outside. Fair enough, the others let her have it, didn't they? After a succession of bocadillos and bebidas - one brandy for the older lady there was a discussion. Not heated, but it was urgent unless it was the whispering that made it sound so. After a couple of minutes, the youngest woman, recently forty or pretending she had been with the aid of teen-build clothes and brighter colours, snaked through the caf's tables to the bar. The staff were busy. She waited, glancing back at her companions from time to time. They watched her in silence. 'Un Pak-eh-teh , poh favoh! Nombre Wilson!' It came out in a rush, like something a child had learned for a special occasion. I saw the woman behind the bar start to roll her eyes, but she caught herself in time. She reached behind the till and brought out a brown padded envelope, the sort of thing a Christmas present might arrive in, if it wasn't too big or valuable. 'Grah-si-arse!' the woman said and she took the packet back to the table. This time the caf owner's wife did roll her eyes, but the woman's back didn't notice. There was a lot of shrieking laughter while the older woman opened the envelope. It was a book, as it happened. She let the book pass round the table and snatched at it when it came round to her again. I passed close by their table on my way out. The older lady tried to hide the book, but I caught sight of the cover. I wondered what their husbands and partners would make of their reading E.L James's tome or if they would even notice that they had.
Archived comments for Poste Restante
bluepootle on 30-11-2012
Poste Restante
Lovely description. Fifty Shades under the table, huh? Cheeky.

Author's Reply:
Tks Ms. Pootle

The Spanish translation is receiving heavy promotion already. Maybe the translation is better written than the original! 🙂

Mikeverdi on 30-11-2012
Poste Restante
You write so effortlessly, I just love it. Mike

Author's Reply:
Somebody once told me that was the secret, work hard at it until it looks effortless. Like most writing advice, it contained a paradox.

Thank you for commenting!

cooky on 01-12-2012
Poste Restante
Your writing always has that continental feel. I just knew where you were going with this, which made it all the more enjoyable.

Author's Reply:
Yep, no twist intended or desired in this one. I do wonder what was in the jiffy bag/padded envelope, though!

Thanks for commenting!

Texasgreg on 02-12-2012
Poste Restante
The Wilson thing really threw me off my horse. Bad news for me as I have a hole in one boot. 😉



Aye! Ya took me there and dropped me in the background as I watched it unfold. I was happy that she took such great pride in romance at her age.





Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:

franciman on 02-12-2012
Poste Restante
Ewan, you have the storyteller's gift of window opening. Great short story. Atmospheric and with just the right level of satirical 'bite'.

'The male expatriate clientele consists of similar, apart from the bankers, that is.'

This line didn't work for me? Inelegant? or maybe not in keeping with the rest of the smooth, understated prose?
Did not detract though; just snagged me in the passing.
cheers,
Jim


Author's Reply:


Film Buff (posted on: 23-11-12)
Poetry Challenge for 23rd November: Favourite Films. It's not what I planned to enter; but, after deleting my original effort from the forum, I found it was no longer on my computer or in the cloud. Thankfully, it wasn't very good, but then...

In the dark, I can feel the surface of spillage-ruined velour, and hope it's dry. We are as monochrome as the Scandinavians we are watching. The management are expecting the police, so the screen is full of dour men and dowdy women. Someone called Bergman is responsible; I wish it was the other one, and she was kissing Bogie before leaving him at the airport. At 3.15 p.m. on a Soho Sunday, I look around the 'film-club' flea-pit at the usual suspects.
Archived comments for Film Buff
Harpie on 23-11-2012
Film Buff
Wow, this one feels wistful and desolate and wanting. He goes to the pictures on a Sunday and it feels as though he's living his life through old movies.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 23-11-2012
Film Buff
Hi Ewan,
This is wickedly clever on so many levels. The connections -Bergman Actress/Director; Swedish/ Foreign/ Porn; Film club/ Soho/flea-pit.
1 love the dark irony of showing a foreign film as management expect a police raid. I really enjoyed the tactile, sensual nature of the opening. The change to wistful, wishful hopes of a different Bergman and the return to seedy reality at the end, made this such a rounded, cultivated piece.In my opinion it needs nothing in the way of polish. It works very well.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

butters on 23-11-2012
Film Buff
Thankyou for entering the challenge, and what a shame you lost that first because it was good. Having reading this, though, that might have been serendipitous! No time right now but will be back sunday to comment thoroughly (tomorrow night I'm at the book launch) and look forward to reading this with the time it deserves.

Jan :rose:

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 24-11-2012
Film Buff
Brilliant in every way. Mike

Author's Reply:

butters on 25-11-2012
Film Buff
Agree with franciman about the tactile opening - it sets the whole tone of the write especially when coupled (eww) with your title. I can offer nothing of constructive crit at all except one thought: don't think you need 'film club' in that penultimate line. Your title works, together with 'Soho' to sort of fill that in without belabouring it. Reads cleaner to me as 'I look around the flea-pit/at the usual suspects.'

Author's Reply:


A Short Trip to Cygnus
(posted on: 19-11-12)
And if we do, will anything happen?

'On your left ' the droid drones on, No-one's listening: no-one stirs. The marks on the titanium composite floors are long dried, no longer sticky. Still, The Barnum travels - or doesn't - at thrilling, unknowable speeds by dint of being both wave and particle at once. Same mouth, different voice, a synthesized Shatner drawls out 'For your comfort and' Safety is not a concern for our faster-than-lighters, now. Even so, no-one leaves their seat, or couchette, or astro-pod. 'We are now passing Orion,' a long dead actress declaims with the robot's mouth and she is at one with her audience. For like Schrodinger's cat, the passengers are in two states at once there and not there, here and not here, particle and wave, mad and not mad, dead and. bound for the other side of the Milky Way.

Archived comments for
A Short Trip to Cygnus

Andrea on 20-11-2012
A Short Trip to Cygnus

'synthesized Shatner ' - love it, and don't even get me started on Schrodinger’s cat. And I;m not even a sci-fi fan (anymore).

Cygnus

Author's Reply:

butters on 20-11-2012
A Short Trip to Cygnus

this is something special.



the name 'Barnum' says so much with its links to hoax, scam, the greatest show on earth and the importance of money.



'Shatner' is a guaranteed wince, and the ominous long-dried smears on the floor speak volumes - unlike the silent, unmoving, non-listening passengers.



gotta give this one its dues - a 10 from me

Author's Reply:


Street Performer (posted on: 19-11-12)

da... da-da... dadada, dadada, da da,da da,da da,da da dah.

whatever happened to him



Hat, coat and underpants, nothing left to sweet mischance. I'm prepared for antic play, who will see my best today? I would not frighten any child, the last grandmo-ther simply smiled, no, my audience are grown! And cock an eyebrow at what they're shown. Ah, I see you've misunderstood, of course I must pull back my hood, listen to the sound of ''Wheels'', you can't imagine how it feels, the thrilling feel in my corpuscles as I manipulate my stomach muscles!
Archived comments for Street Performer
Andrea on 19-11-2012
Street Performer
One of Val's, faves I think...

Your second link's a bit odd 🙂



Author's Reply:
link fixed! I hope

butters on 19-11-2012
Street Performer
yup, a wonky link - says the page doesn't exist but it mentions bodybuilding so I'm getting the picture 🙂

kept your four beats per line throughout, end-rhymes well-played to avoid the lazier options, and kudos for the comedic routine employed

made me smile 🙂

Author's Reply:
Link fixed (I hope). Thanks for commenting... I think this proves dancing dogs as entertainment is not so ridiculous, or at least has a precedent for unlikely talent show winners!


Though I'm No Longer Young... (posted on: 12-11-12)
I wrote this when the news about General Petraus broke.

Though I'm no longer young, my skin is still too thin, I expect the very worst: so why should I get better? Though I'm no longer young, I still would like to win, my position is still last: and when did I do better? Though I'm no longer young, I still am prone to sin, my passion turns to lust, but when will I get better?
Archived comments for Though I'm No Longer Young...
Andrea on 13-11-2012
Though Im No Longer Young...
Ah yes, the deluded General, eh? Unfortunately in a position (or was) of great power...



Author's Reply:


The Pride Stripped Bare (posted on: 12-11-12)
Impostor syndrome....

I took off my hat, and my face became bland, unthreatening. Away went the gloves, and my soft, girlish hands embarrassed me. I took off my coat and my shoulders were narrow, apologetic. Jacket to the floor, so my chest like a sparrow's revolted you. I took off my shirt, then my skin turned quite pale, and disgusted you. My trousers came down like the seventh, final veil and revealed me, a fool.
Archived comments for The Pride Stripped Bare
roger303 on 12-11-2012
The Pride Stripped Bare
You do write some good stuff sir.
We're all imposters.

Author's Reply:

peg on 12-11-2012
The Pride Stripped Bare
Ah, when it comes down to it, we are all imposters, until we bare all. Then it is the 'real' us ! A good concept, enjoyed...Maggie

Author's Reply:

butters on 12-11-2012
The Pride Stripped Bare
this is such a sad write 🙁

so well-written, though, it makes me feel angry with the person being 'disgusted' as the N divests himself of his armour.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 13-11-2012
The Pride Stripped Bare
It is true that when we are stripped of our pretence we reveal our inner, maybe foolish, self but a good impostor would never shed the seventh veil.
Good poem.

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 15-11-2012
The Pride Stripped Bare
It's what's on the inside that counts most - few of us are physically perfect, but it is the heart that we should pay attention to. Interesting write

Author's Reply:


Tug of War (posted on: 09-11-12)
A companion piece to The Astronomist

Jiddah seems closer. A yellow crescent in a damask sky, looming large. Khalil can't work this out: Azimov's Tug of War formula* clearly shows that Jiddah will one day escape Medina and head for Sol. Any boy of 10 knows this. The Madrassahs teach this and other things that good Muslims need to know. Today, Omar Bin Jadeed taught the boys about the Allah Particle. He wrote the other name in the air with his finger. The strange script moved in the wrong direction. From Shaitan to Allah, instead of the reverse. Khalil remembers the pain from the strap. Some questions are discouraged in the Madrassah Jafar Al Sadiq. Even so, Khalil thinks the word of Allah would travel from evil to good, left to right. The outcome is important, not the starting point, after all. Khalil wishes he could ask Jasmeen about such things, as she used to do. Jasmeen is in Purdah now. On the other side of the Planet. She will only return when she is a mother. Khalil is no fool, he has heard whispers of old men, he knows that Purdah takes women away from men. How do they come back with babies? History is an unpopular class in the Madrassah. Teachers are careful to refer to the New Hijra. Words like exile and banishment are whispered far from the walls of the school. Only two scientists boarded the Spaceliner. 10,000 men, women and children were launched to a prison planet on the far side of the sky. Few mechanical skills accompanied the teachers and their families. The Spaceliner, 'Good Riddance' is site of interest out in the Empty Quarter. The planet's madrassah's make a trip annually to see the rusting hulk. Khalil was surprised so much remained after 250 years. Particle Physics are a waste of time, Khalil's friend Usama says. Astronomy is most important on Mecca. How else to ascertain Qibla? Maybe so, Khalil tells Usama in their not infrequent arguments, but what about knowledge for knowledge's sake? Usama calls this dangerous thinking. Thinking which caused the New Hijra. Usama stood below Abu Bakr's statue in the square only last week. About 20 boys from the school listening, rapt by the 12-year-old's words. Khalil's other favourite subject at the Madrassah is English, that's why he knows that rapt is close to rapture. Only two boys take English now. Usama's father controls the Madrassah's Waqf. Khalil has heard that they won't teach it from next year. Or particle physics. Usama's father believes the time better spent on Qu'ranic studies. The teacher of Particle Physics has objected to this - on the grounds that the faithful cannot return to Mecca if they do not master Space Travel. Khalil secretly agrees with the teacher, but then a boy should respect his father. It is a lucky boy who can admire him too. * tug-of-war value = m1⁄m2 (d1⁄d2 )2
Archived comments for Tug of War
butters on 11-11-2012
Tug of War
*left deep in quiet thought, quietly admiring, thankyou for this to read*

small typo:

Even so, Khalil things the word of Allah


missing apostrophe:

12 year olds words.


comma or '-' instead of semi-colon here:

The teacher of Particle Physics has objected to this; on the grounds of



Author's Reply:
big typo "12-year-old's"
urgh... sometimes the sun is too bright on the laptop screen 🙂 Thanks for pointing all of these out... not that it matters too much, except that people have to read it!


The Astronomist (posted on: 09-11-12)
why not? A companion piece to Tug of War

A solitary vice, to gaze so far into the distant past: at lights going out, two millennia before the last: as glass was being ground for the first time. Let's call him the Astronomist, allow him the dedication the suffix brings to say - a femin-ist, a terror-ist or whisper this - an islamist. Besides, Allah was the word on Azophi's lips as Andromeda unfurled across his telescopic view, though not from Isfahan. Trace a finger across al-fus-ha* curlicues as complex as a universe describing itself in The Book of Fixed Stars. A solitary man, the astronomist has wished on a ver-million giants and dwarves, a number more colourful than infinity. * الفصحى
Archived comments for The Astronomist
franciman on 09-11-2012
The Astronomist
Ewan this is beautiful.
It is incredibly well constructed and has a tactile quality as though of a moving, exploring finger. Fanciful I know but it's how it appears to me.
I love reading it aloud.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
I read it aloud a few times while I was writing it. The idea of something seen through a telescope having already happened aeons ago has always fascinated me. It's also interesting that Islamist is a meme, who said it first? What does the -ist mean? Space is deep, though, not me! 🙂

Harpie on 09-11-2012
The Astronomist
Hi Ewan, this one begs to be read to hundreds into a powerful PA, in an echoey auditorium or theater and in a big booming voice.... the words are like music. Well deserving of a nib.

Author's Reply:
One day I'll find a live event in Andalucia and read it to... dozens! 😀

roger303 on 09-11-2012
The Astronomist
Superb.
Full marks.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 09-11-2012
The Astronomist
Fabulous, Ewan.

Author's Reply:
Thank you!

butters on 09-11-2012
The Astronomist
i think this is fantastic.

elegance of sound, layout, idea - the tonal qualities this possesses slides me along, word to word, line to line. definitely a piece that needs to be read aloud.

an easy 10

Author's Reply:
See above reference reading out loud. Thank you for the high praise.

Ewan

cooky on 10-11-2012
The Astronomist
top notch writing. I like this

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 10-11-2012
The Astronomist
WOW! Mike

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 11-11-2012
The Astronomist
Great write - just one small crit, millennia has two nn's I believe, unless it is a case of either being correct.

Val

Author's Reply:
No, you're quite right, I didn't use to make this kind of mistake, really. Getting old I think, certainly they appear more than they did.
Thank you for reading.


Counting Down (posted on: 05-11-12)
not for everyone...

The clouds parted, and the yellow ball emerged. Bright and brief, like some lives. Peggy closed the door on the sunshine and moved to the darker rooms at the back of the house. Begemot the black cat stretched, yawned, and lurched towards the litter tray in the kitchen. Peggy's cat stopped short, aware that the litter had not been changed recently. Begemot looked over his shoulder at her as he squeezed carefully through the cat flap into the rear-garden. The bedroom was cold, November had swallowed most of the sun and was intent on gobbing out rain in heavy bursts. It only needed a few days to make these houses cold. Any heating would just make them as damp as a Neanderthal's cave. Peggy looked at the walls of her bedroom, perhaps a mammoth hunt by stick figures would improve them. She lay on the bed, tired at ten past nine in the morning. The telephone rang. The instruction manual said you could set it to ring off after a set number of times. Peggy had tried that, but it hadn't worked. Now she would try to guess the number of rings as soon as the sound began. 42 was the record. Hadn't that been an important number once? To whom or for why, she couldn't remember. Six. Six rings. Just as well she hadn't moved from the bed. It had been her worst guess for days, mind you. Out by seven. Practice did make perfect, usually she was plus or minus two. Still, there was always the second part of the game. Who might it have been? Six times: it might have been Vera, her daughter. No, too early in the day, surely? Victor wouldn't phone at all, hadn't before, why would he now? Yes, the time of day came into it, too. The phone had rung 42 times at 4.30 on a Friday afternoon. That had been God, she'd decided. Or the other one, perhaps. You could feel important, if you believed you didn't take their calls. It was hard to make a game of the knocking on the front door or the shouting from the gate. Peggy wondered if they would cut her water off. That would be the last of Begemot if they did. He would be alright: a cat didn't get that fat eating what Peggy remembered to put out for him. Doubtless he knew several kitchens on the urbanisation well. Peggy knew what people thought. Giving up was a choice too, wasn't it? She looked at the heap of paperbacks on the bedside table. Pastel pink covers and the word journey featuring prominently on them. She'd tried a few. Bad writing about a worse disease. The survivors' books sold better as far as she knew. They'd all been presents from friends. At first she enjoyed reading the terrible prose, sometimes laughing out loud, before that had started to hurt too. She stared up at the ceiling and counted cracks. There were more every day. Peggy was betting that by the time there were 1001 it would all be over, at last.
Archived comments for Counting Down
roger303 on 05-11-2012
Counting Down
'Bad writing about a worse disease'
This is excellent writing in my opinion.
You sir, have the knack of stating the everyday in a very compelling way.
I wish I had that talent.
Regards,
Roger

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 05-11-2012
Counting Down
Tremendous writing, It difficult to say you enjoy reading something that touches you in this way, its a delicate subject; however your writing made it possible to feel so many emotions. Mike

Author's Reply:

butters on 05-11-2012
Counting Down
so glad I read this. You grabbed my attention, and didn't let go it it till the last sentence ended and then some!

An off-centre take on a topic the media too often basks in, applauding the fighters, 'selling' the survivors ... I think you've managed to capture something here that feels very very genuine. nice write.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 05-11-2012
Counting Down
A brilliant short - what else is there to say?

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 08-11-2012
Counting Down
Excellent piece, very emotive. Captivating to the end.

Author's Reply:


Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane (posted on: 05-11-12)
The title says it all...

The water runs from puddle to pool, as each pothole fills, the colour changes. Yesterday's dried snake looks almost alive, shining with raindrop jewels. What flowers there are lend colour to the drab grey though their heads hang low. The hurtsickle blue patch in the dull sky is the size of a petal. In the far distance scorched sienna hills turn from brown to emerald green.
Archived comments for Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
Andrea on 05-11-2012
Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
Lovely, lovely colours (but couldn't you just have said 'cornflower'? I had to go and look it up again :))

Author's Reply:

peg on 05-11-2012
Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
A lovely rain image you have given here, enjoyed the read. Now I know what a hurtsickle is too 🙂

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 05-11-2012
Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
Poem worth a painting to sit alongside it.
Bozzz

Author's Reply:

ValDohren on 05-11-2012
Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
Beautifully descriptive.

Author's Reply:

butters on 05-11-2012
Five Things Seen Through A Rain-Flecked Window Pane
glad it wasn't only me that had to go look up a new word 😀

siena as in italy? i'd like to imagine this is your intent, pairing the rain with those parched hillsides and effecting a genuine rejuvenation unlike the dried snake and the narrator's whimsy. i like whimsy, especially when it's couched in the syllabic count you've employed here - not strictly haiku but of a flavour.

anyway, this speaks to me of the importance of water to all life on this planet.

I would, however, question some of your line-breaks and punctuation, for example:

as each pothole
fills the colour changes.

the enjambement used here ... it creates more emphasis on the word 'fills' but that same emphasis (for me) gets lost with the continuation of 'the colour changes' with no comma after fills. You could have used a linebreak after 'fills' used 'fills' in the previous line, or used the comma as pointed out - any of these three would have worked more smoothly (again, just my opinion) for the write.

patch in the dull sky is the

using 'is the' where you have weakens the line. I think it's the 'is' rather than 'the'

why the capitalised s for 'Scorched'?

All little nitpicks which could be addressed to improve your write and shiny it up even more, and all just my thoughts which you are free to ignore and I trust don't offend :flower:

Author's Reply:
Thanks to all for reading and commenting. Thank you for the critique, Butters.

Regarding the line breaks, you will of course have noted that it consists of 5 haiku, so some of the line breaks and enjambements are peculiar because my writing was not up to preventing this. My copy of the poem does have a comma where indicated, so both are correct in pointing this out.
Cornflower blue is a received phrase used so often as to truly deserve the term cliché, don't you agree? So I used an alternative. Scorched with an 'S' is a typo, of course. Thank you for pointing it out. Burnt Sienna is an artist's colour I missed out the n.. ah well... thank you for pointing these out, as I say.

Regards
Nomenklatura


All Skies Are Grey in Black and White (posted on: 02-11-12)
ah... make up your own mind...

The Vespas burp and belch smoke along the Via Condotti, not one has an Audrey on the back. The taxis are still Fiats and the British middle classes have yet to discover spaghetti. The vendors of Roy Bens and Polex on the Spanish steps are resolutely white not black; the tourists are from New York and San Franciscan suburbs and do not recognise the traps. But still it is innocent; girls run in taffeta and high-heeled court shoes, splashing puddle water on nylons with seams that seem more elegant when crooked. Caribinieri watch stone-faced until the taffeta rustles past, bound for an assignation with one of their many-splendoured cousins perhaps, where cafs place cakes and coffees on trestles and bankers and lawyers meet face to face over diaries, Mont Blanc pens to hand, briefcases full of magazines showing bordello dreams and women unused to simple courtesies. Night falls like a stage curtain and even the neon- lights glow white and not lurid pink and green, while the backs of the photos show a name in faded crayon.
Archived comments for All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
roger303 on 02-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
Another excellent observation.
I like the way you succinctly drill down into the detail.
Very good.

Author's Reply:

cooky on 02-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
You can bounce the images in every line. A pleasure to read.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 03-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
briefcases full of magazines showing bordello dreams

and women unused to simple courtesies.




I was there - brilliant! So visual it was almost like a painting in my head.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 03-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
I recognise the place from your accurate description, Ewan, but which era are you talking about?
"The taxis are still Fiats and the British middle classes
have yet to discover spaghetti."
And as for Piazza di Spagna, no black vendors? Mmm...
A very good vignette.

Author's Reply:

amman on 03-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
As Andrea commented, very visual. I guess this is set in the 1950's with taffeta and seamed stockings. Excellent, as always.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Harpie on 03-11-2012
All Skies Are Grey in Black and White
Oh for some winter sun. This is beautifully written. You have captured not only the place but also the time, perfectly.

Author's Reply:


The Last of the Few (posted on: 29-10-12)
And then there were none...

Canopy closed, contact, and chocks away. Merlin's magic will bear me aloft one last time. I have flown these sixty-odd years - though those flights have been of fancy, or worse, verse. I dare not call it poetry, not when I have swooped, stooped like a hawk on its prey; have felt the slipstream as I closed on - whom? The enemy? There were those who saw it so. Plummer, who won every prize at the local fair. 'All guns are much the same old chap, Purdey, Pop- or these Browning Beauties. but those Jerry rat-a-tatters aren't up to scratch.' I saw him plummet off Dieppe and wondered what he thought of their maschinen gewehr on his way down to the choppy water. For me it was a joust, a tourney in the lists, I didn't think of CO's letters and brave commiserations. I didn't think of a fuel-tank hit and the fireball end of young men's dreams. I met a Guinea Pig in the West End He asked me ''why?'' when I said sorry and we drank Soho dry until MacIndoe's minders came to find him. So, stick back, as straight as my spine this one last time, Ginger can have my egg. The last flight, time to meet old friends.
Archived comments for The Last of the Few
roger303 on 29-10-2012
The Last of the Few
Accomplished stuff.

A fitting tribute to William Walker (and the rest of the great departed to whom we owe so much).



Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 29-10-2012
The Last of the Few
Excellent, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 30-10-2012
The Last of the Few
Well written, its a great tribute poem. I lost a brother. Mike

Author's Reply:

franciman on 31-10-2012
The Last of the Few
Hi Ewan,
I nearly didn't comment on this as I was unsure what I would say. I loved the poetry on first reading but didn't see it as a tribute, so didn't want to comment.
I've now read it a number of times and I admire its construction and it's great word choice and imagery. Is it the narrators tribute then? or is it the poets? I saw it as a last goodbye; a celebratory belief that he was somehow going to join them all in a better place.
My comment is only important in explaining why didn't comment sooner. Long-winded or what?
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
I saw it as a last goodbye; a celebratory belief that he was somehow going to join them all in a better place.

Bingo! Jerry at Angels 15. That's exactly it. As you probably know William Walker did write a bit himself. I wonder what he would have written, had he known it would be a last poem.

cooky on 31-10-2012
The Last of the Few
A dam good write . I like this a lot

Author's Reply:


The Poetman Always Rings Twice (posted on: 26-10-12)
an old one... not from here though...

The simile on her lips was like a ray of sunburn. The metaphor she gave me was a loaded potato gun. She exaggerated her litotes and her hyperbole was understated: this femme was fatal-ly alliterated, I had no illusions about her allusions and didn't care for her internal rhyme. She was shooting me a line break, but I had her measure.
Archived comments for The Poetman Always Rings Twice
roger303 on 26-10-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
An understated hyperbole and exaggerated litotes - very clever contradictory mix

Femme fatal-ly - loved it.

I enjoyed this work.

Thanks.

Roger

Author's Reply:

barenib on 26-10-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
The old ones can often be among the best - very amusing, John.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 26-10-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
The 'line break' bit is brilliant. Loved it 🙂

Jack Nicholson, eh?

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Ionicus on 27-10-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
Clever stuff, Ewan.

Author's Reply:

amman on 28-10-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
Ha ha; very amusing. A ray of sunburn, love it.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

butters on 01-11-2012
The Poetman Always Rings Twice
what's not to like? smart and funny.

Author's Reply:


Frass (posted on: 22-10-12)
what can we suppose from what is left..?

It was wood, warped , carved, and varnished; transformed from dead tree to artifact. It might have contained dress uniforms - or just dresses. People in braid and medals and evening gowns might have dined around it; perhaps it was a treasure chest or a humble seaman's trunk. It was oak, mahogany or deep-patterned walnut, oriental, mysterious teak or humble deal. It was sold or given away or even donated by those with a passion for the new. Whatever it might have been, it is gone and all that remains is the dust discarded by the worm.
Archived comments for Frass
Andrea on 22-10-2012
Frass
Excellent!

Of course I had to look it up : Frass

Bloody good pome.

Author's Reply:
There are two kinds of people, Andrea, those who look an unfamiliar word up, and those that complain that all poetry is inaccessible, elitist bollocks. 🙂

Thank you for your kind comment!

Ionicus on 23-10-2012
Frass
Just brilliant, Ewan.

Author's Reply:
Thank you!

barenib on 23-10-2012
Frass
Very interesting and well constructed poem, and could possibly be construed as a metaphor for someone's life. A rewarding read - John.

Author's Reply:
Not as many as 7 layers but at least two! Thank you.

Bozzz on 23-10-2012
Frass
I have an antiquated and now non-frassable model. Hopefully the handles and hinges will be the surviving items. A great poem that smells of the powder and musty salted clothes.
Thank you... David Bozzz.

Author's Reply:
Indeed... imagine what MDF will leave behind!
Thank you for reading.
Ewan

franciman on 24-10-2012
Frass
Hi Ewan,

This verse feels like we're turning the subject in the palm of our hand and holding it up to the light.
Fanciful maybe, but that's how it feels. At any rate skilfully constructed and I enjoyed it very much.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:


Voodoo Wedding (posted on: 19-10-12)
Dans le quartier, c'est a ah well, it was a nice picture... can't link to it no how!

I hope you like me in my voodoo hat, it's one like Marie Laveau's might be, it keeps the ghosts inside my head apart from the spirits of the floating dead. The gloves were made to match you see; the fur lining was peeled from a familiar cat. I bought the skull necklace on Bourbon Street, and a pair of crocodile shoes for my feet. I'm dressed for a wedding ain't I fine? The zombies are coming to Cemetaire St. Loo to watch me and Samedi jump the broom we'll wrestle in bed-sheets in a Basin Street room, I'll make my new husband a gumbo stew, put blood in his coffee to make sure he's mine

Photobucket
Archived comments for Voodoo Wedding


BATEMAN on 19-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
A good flowing poem, blood in the coffee sounds disgusting but if it works 🙂 xxxx

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 19-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
Very original Ewan and the picture is so apt. Pity that the link is not clickable.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 20-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
Crikey, what a spouse!

You need to upload the pic to Photobucket (or similar) and grab the html code Author's Reply:

Nomenklatura on 20-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
Couldn't reply Andrea as that weird 404 page kept coming up, the one if you tried the link that was on before. Think the picture is no longer available, shame though. Reckon you might be able to paint it from the poem? 😀
Thanks for reading, you are always very kind.
Ewan

Author's Reply:

expat on 21-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
It took me a minute to work out the rhythmic style but once I'd tumbled, it read nicely.
Deceptively dark!



Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 21-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
Ewan, you can find the picture here: http://images.fineartamerica.com/images-medium/dellas-new-hat-sandy-deluca.jpg

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 21-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
And here it is! I can put it in your sub if you like 🙂


Photobucket


Author's Reply:
please do!
thank you.
Ewan

Andrea on 21-10-2012
Voodoo Wedding
No sooner said 🙂

Author's Reply:


A Terrace Conversation (posted on: 12-10-12)
eavesdropping...

The estuarine vowels clash with hap-hazard Russian-accented articles, I wonder if the geezer knows that yaitsa is the word for testicles? But this exotic, bitten-off word is uttered into the ubiquitous mobile, while the Essex boy looks at the waitress's legs for longer than her smile. The talk is of cars crossing borders and changing somewhat dirty hands; or trafficking things and the desperate from far less fortunate lands. Slavic looks throw out a simple challenge to any listening, or all: khorosho, everything khorosho, is the end of every urgent, staccato call. And eventually a third stooge - he might be Curly, for he is hefty and boldly bald sits at the table, with a younger wife, whatever she's called. Another homesick accent, that of a far-migrated liver bird, merges in the guiri mix of crimes and punishments overheard. Paco listens, Mari waits, says nothing and remembers every single word. 'No English spoken here' does not mean that they have not heard.
Archived comments for A Terrace Conversation
roger303 on 12-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Very cleverly written.
A very accurate observation and indictment of our society, which is rapidly swirling down the pan.

Author's Reply:
People think that this kind of scene is only played out on the Costa itself... sadly it is to be found further inland too.

Mikeverdi on 12-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
This for me is shear brilliance, and I love it. It's the beginning of a story I would love to read. Mike

Author's Reply:

Bozzz on 12-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Khorosho, khorosho - many stories to unfold I suspect Things lurk and instant images dissolve in this poem. Its 'maybe galore' for me. Good read. David

Author's Reply:

BATEMAN on 12-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
A very good well written poem, it's a sad reflection of todays society. xxx

Author's Reply:

franciman on 12-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Hi Ewen,

This is excellent. It tells a story as well as any flash fiction piece. It has that great intense, furtive feel to it that engaged me completely.
Bravo.
Jim

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Andrea on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Great stuff, Ewan!

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Ionicus on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Todo bien, Ewan.

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Nomenklatura on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Sorry for the round-robin reply,
thank you all very much for your comments. I particularly enjoyed writing this one; such things happen on the terraces of bars every day down here in the wild, wild south or as Mark Billingham calls it the Costa del Plomo, the Lead Coast. Gun crime has appeared as far inland as my local town. I came here to Andalucia for a quiet life!!! 😀

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
Great ex-pat narrative poetic slice of life. Increasingly edgy as the subtle observations build.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

cooky on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
I often see tables in restaurants where these kind of characters sit. I often imagine what they are up to though I suspect my imagination far out weighs the reality

Author's Reply:

sullivan on 13-10-2012
A Terrace Conversation
A tad prosaic for my taste; but the quality of the work is beyond question: The line between poetry and prose, at its cusp, is something of a tightrope at the best of times... My congratulations, sir, on staying aloft.

Author's Reply:


Insecticide (posted on: 01-10-12)
Almost what it says on the tin, if there was a tin....

My foes' eyes glitter, their movement better than my graceless swipes, they mock this sweating jackanapes. They dart and dive, I turn and turn again, my sworn enemies tease and tickle my limbs; I remain fingers and unsubtle thumbs. O make of me a valiant tailor, instead of this quite miserable failure, let me kill just a few of these beasts, these irritating winged pests. For once, on one of these sweltering days, I'd kill them all and be lord of the flies.
Archived comments for Insecticide
Andrea on 01-10-2012
Insecticide
Blimey, it must still be hot down there in Andalucia!

Author's Reply:
Yes, a quick burst of rain and back to 26 degrees...

Pelequin23 on 02-10-2012
Insecticide
as its said on the tin indeed oh lord of buzzy things 🙂

Author's Reply:
they are annoying beasts.. but I prefer them to the mosquitos.

ValDohren on 03-10-2012
Insecticide
Hope you manage to get rid of those pesky flies !! Good luck 🙂

Val

Author's Reply:

CVaughan on 03-10-2012
Insecticide

Enjoyable slice of life Ewan and enshrines for me a bit in present mind a favourite novel. Swashbuckling in mock tone sweet as a ... Frank.

Author's Reply:

amman on 03-10-2012
Insecticide
Those pesky, irritating flies. You've got me scratching now. Good stuff.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

BATEMAN on 04-10-2012
Insecticide
Flys and Flying ants i hate them both, pain in the bottom, they should all be killed xxxxxxx

Author's Reply:


The Last Pair of Levi's (posted on: 28-09-12)
A short story for a rainy night...

The light glinted in the pooled water on the uneven flags of the pavement. One in three streetlamps threw out any light. More water filled the potholes in the tarmac. At this end of the development most houses were unoccupied. It had stopped developing long since. The man kicked a stone into one of the puddles in the road. Further in, the urbanizacin became more decrepit and ragged. At the top of the triangle of roads, the last four or five houses were uninhabited. The house at the apex itself had never been lived in at all, save by rats, bats and feral cats. Or so people said in the nearby venta. The man turned his collar up and the side of his head towards the rain. He would soon pass the murder house for the second time. The venta crowd were surprised anyone had bought it. There had been gruesome tales of blood over the mantelpiece. Lights had switched on and off long after Georg had been sent to the local penitenciara. Knut had been there when he'd handed himself over to the Guardia Civil in the venta. One last drink for the road, he'd joked. Over 16 years ago. He wouldn't be having another any time soon. Knut wondered what it was like for a German in a Spanish jail. Anyway, the young couple who'd bought the house where Georg's wife had died could be seen arguing most nights. The living room window was close to the street. They had a working streetlamp too. The rain was sluicing off the hem of Knut's coat and soaking his last pair of Levi's. The last Timberlands had been replaced by knock-offs from Lidl's down the road. It had been an uncomfortable walk back in new boots. They didn't pinch so much now, although they were no longer watertight. Knut was sweeping down the left side of the triangle towards the base, where the retired Brits stretched ever decreasing pensions over ever longer-seeming months. Victor and June had sold last week after four years on the market. Two Belgians had moved in. They were still okay for a euro or two if you rang the bell on a rainy night. You had to time it right. Too early and people hadn't had a drink to loosen their purse strings, too late and they might be afraid to answer the door. No more than once a fortnight at the same doorway was best. Knut used to sell pegs pilfered from the Chinese shops, now it was just a case of begging door-to-door. The British slammed the door in his face a lot less than they used to. Funny how some people were more generous when they had less. Nobody remembered Knut on the urbanisation now. No-one knew that he'd been a partner with the promoter, had sold 10 of the first 30 houses to people in his home town near resund. He'd felt set with a house of his own on the development. What a fool. Arne had been the last of those Danes to leave, over 10 years ago, at the height of the boom. Knut had been renting rooms for years by that time, since the 90's bubble had burst and left him out of a job. One more time round the triangle. One more time to look at his old house. Two Germans, several Spanish couples and some shifty Romanians had lived there over the years. It was empty at the moment. Knut was going to climb in the window on the back patio. Nothing was surer than it hadn't been replaced in twenty years. It wasn't the kind of house that people replaced the windows in. The window would still open from the outside if you had the knack. The chain on the gates had rusted through. He managed to prevent it creaking or squealing. The rain helped with that. He swung the near empty rucksack off his back, grabbed the only thing in it and dropped the bag to the muddy ground. The window round the back swung open and Knut's cheap boots slipped only once on the frame as he climbed into the kitchen. In the front room a bare bulb hung from the ceiling and he almost didn't go upstairs. It was there though. The iron chandelier that ceiling had been reinforced for, back then, when he'd done whatever Birgitta wanted. Knut looked around their old bedroom. No bed, not even a mattress on the floor. A few crumpled newspapers in a language he couldn't read lay on the floor. A chair was against the wall by the door. He dragged it over to the middle of the room. Knut looked down at the hole in the knee of his jeans. He began tying the knot in the oil-stained rope.
Archived comments for The Last Pair of Levi's
Texasgreg on 28-09-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
Enjoyed without the rain, lol. This line reminded me of "The cross on the old church tower"-Funny how some people were more generous when they had less.
Yes, it's a wonder indeed. I have mixed feelings on flash fiction...guess it's nice that you may end it your way. 😉

Liked it!

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:
thanks as always for reading Greg!

TheBigBadG on 28-09-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
It's a bleak picture, but the presiding feeling of decay and disillusioned people orbiting round each other works well; A broken spit of suburbia full of people counting off the days more than living their lives. It's the combination of people and anecdotes that bind it all together, the sense that those outside prison are stil trapped, disparate nationalities, everyone on the edge of losing it... Almost makes me wonder if Knut is the one with the right idea.

Neat and pertinent with autumn drawing in and no hope of change on the horizon. Nice.

G

Author's Reply:
I don't think he is myself, but in various expatriate outposts this is something which happens more frequently than is comfortable for everyone. (Not too long ago where I live, actually). Therefore, I wanted to get inside the head of someone who would do this. Bleak is right. Thanks very much for reading and commenting.

Ewan

amman on 30-09-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
A sombre tale which captures hopelessness, desperation and distrust so graphically. A sad commentary on modern life. Excellent write.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Thanks very much for commenting once again. Yes, I think we lose sight of what's important sometimes. As I said above these things happen in expat enclaves all too often...

Regards
Ewan

Andrea on 30-09-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
I wonder why Romanians are always shifty?

Nice, tight tale - sombre, dark and well written.

On a lighter note, that Mr Strauss did well for himself, you have to admit!

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 30-09-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
Prose that smoothly glides through desolation that is as much universal as specific to the Spanish scene. Could have been set in Phoenix, Arizona.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Mikeverdi on 02-10-2012
The Last Pair of Levis
I loved reading your story, bleak and sombre it may be but the stark reality of the ending brings us up with a jolt. There but for the grace ect.. and not just ex pats.

Author's Reply:


Knucklebones (posted on: 21-09-12)
one of the oldest games in the world...

A handful thrown in the Trojan dust. Dead sheeps ankles or a dead Greek's fist. Astrolagai, jackstones, so many names. A game of skill, or just a game of chance? Score me Midas, Aphrodite and Euripedes, spare me the dog, hucklebones, if you please. A handful thrown in a Harlem street, a ball and the metal to be kept from the grate. Onesies, twosies or Pigs in the Pen. A game for children or the goombah boys? Play for nickels and quarters or stolen car keys, horse in the stable, 'til the innocence is gone.
Archived comments for Knucklebones
Weefatfella on 21-09-2012
Knucklebones
Aye, the seeds of corruption are smaller than acorns. well written and so true. Thanks for sharing,
Weefatfella

Author's Reply:

roger303 on 21-09-2012
Knucklebones
There's some good stuff posted this week and this is the best in my opinion (so far).
Thanks.
Regards, Roger.

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 21-09-2012
Knucklebones
Hehe, looks like it's written by a man of experience. I'd play ya fer horses, but have a cloud on my title.


Photobucket.
Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 23-09-2012
Knucklebones
I pitched pennys in 5th grade. Whole world economy is a game of chance, might as well read the bones that are thrown. Nice write.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 23-09-2012
Knucklebones
One of the oldest and most enduring game by whichever name one cares to call it. But skill or chance? A conundrum well posed, Ewan.


Author's Reply:


Graves' End (posted on: 17-09-12)
Robert von Ranke Graves (24 July 1895 7 December 1985)

A Goodbye to All That. Pick up the telephone, Sigi. I promise I'll answer... We Welch survived the trenches. We'll live through my telling of the tale. Pick up your Waterman, Sigi. Write letters to answer... You braves deserved your medals. We followed the braided donkeys' tail. Pick up the gauntlet, Sigi, a fair fight's the answer... knock me down to feel better, bring me back from beyond the pale. Pick up the baton, Sigi there's a race for the answer: we must never wage another, we'll say our goodbye to all that. A Disculpatory Note I was afraid you know: irritated at fumbling my father's watch from a pocket made inaccessible by Sam Browne's belt. I made it a cover, fashioned by cutting a leather pouch for tobacco made unpalatable by cordite's reek. I saw you dashing out, agitated at others not rising up from trenches made insufferable by Bertha's noise. I crept trembling, it's true, petrified and shaking my Webley and wishing for endings in other mud by England's brooks. I survived you know, disgusted at skulking in safer parts of a landscape made unknowable by fallen shells. A Ranke is Insubordinate. My erstwhile friend, as I reach my Majorcan grave, I will shortly post a last missive you will never read. By living long and well in far-off foreign fields, we have roundly sent our own message to those who didn't live. But don't forget, my brave medal-winning fellow; you left better men than either of us, on the battlefield.
Archived comments for Graves' End
Andrea on 17-09-2012
Graves End
Robert Graves. One of my favourite authors, mainly for 'I, Claudius' and 'Claudius the God'.

Robert Graves

Absolutely wonderful, Ewan. Thanks for the memories.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I read I Clavdivs and Clavdivs the God around the time of the TV series (very good it was too). I did Latin at O' and A' Level and the novels were great background to certain texts I had to study. Later I read 'Goodbye to All That' one of the great WW1 books.

Thanks for the nom and the nib and the generous comment.

Texasgreg on 19-09-2012
Graves End
We Welch survived the trenches.
We'll live through my telling of the tale.

Loved the way it started and loved the way it's meant to end.

BTW-"All that" in between was super, IMO!

Can't nib ya, but I can rib ya...

Photobucket

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:

amman on 19-09-2012
Graves End
Mighty fine writing indeed. I too like Robert Graves. Brought back memories of that fine Television series ' I. Claudius' starring Derek Jacobi. I must do a bit of name dropping here since Sian Phillips who played the evil Empress Livia is a not too distant cousin. In fact, two of my Aunties attended her wedding to Peter O'Toole. Anyway, as Andrea said..thanks for the memories.


Cheers

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 20-09-2012
Graves End
Superb writing, Ewan.

Author's Reply:


A Bent Nail (posted on: 14-09-12)
a short story about nothing much...

It was at eye level; in the peeling door. If you were sitting down that was. A bent nail that wouldn't hold a coat. A shred of an old newspaper fluttered in the draught coming under the door. George liked the outhouse. A quiet place most of the time. Long as his Pa was in town at the package store or Jiminy's or staying at her place. He was out now, had been since Tuesday last. Ma was in bed. Louisa and Henry were running round the corn-field, trampling Farmer Bruin's best. He closed the book. Better go out and see what was to be done. He sighed and dog-eared the page, then slid the book into the pocket of the heavy overcoat. It was damn' cold for October. Lou and Henry probably weren't doing much more harm to Bruin's crop. The door slammed behind George. He'd take a walk over to Bruin's place, ask if he had any chores. Some days the old fool let George chop wood, or feed his mules. Didn't pay much, some beans and biscuits for a half-day. Better some food than none, 'sides, Lou had been 'sicker than a drunk dawg' that morning. The 'drunk dawg' was something Pa said. Could be he knew more about being a 'drunk dawg' than most. A wind blew up, George looked to the sky, half expecting the black dust. There was none, of course. The blackened winds had chased the five no six, until Grandma died in a ditch by the side of Route 169 outside of Fort Dodge - of them all the way from Oklahoma to Iowa. The Iowa farmers said they had just blown in like dust themselves. They said worse things about the Okies who'd come north, that was a fact. *** Fort Dodge had been okay, for a while. Ma left less red on her handkerchiefs then. Pa had had an honest-to-goodness job. Used to come home all covered in white powdery dust. Gypsum from the plaster mills. Ma got sicker when he came home with bloodstains in the gypsum and a wild look in his eye. 'Git in the truck,' was all he said. They'd stopped in a tiny burg called Contention. Two bars, a Lutheran church and a general store stood with a half-dozen clapboard houses on one mean street. The Sheriff had run them out. 'Keep goin' five miles. They's a empty place over by Bruin's. Ain't much, and you'll be squattin', but I don't reckon even the bank want the buildin'. Don't come back less'n you got money in your pocket or somethin' to sell.' Pa gunned the engine and a cloud of dirt-dust covered the Sheriff. Lou laughed but George reckoned the man had done them a favour and deserved better than a face-ful of Iowa dirt. When they got to the property, his Ma had cried. It was a one-room shack with tarpaper windows and a ramshackle outhouse. *** It might have been nine in the morning, judging by the milky sun. Old Man Bruin was out on the stoop in his union suit. George reckoned he hadn't lifted a finger since sun-up. He never did. 'Tcha want, boy', the old man spat a jet of tobacco juice at the boy's dusty boots. 'Got any work, jes' fer food. Like always.' George looked down at the man, took in the holes in his socks. 'Kin fetch my boots, they's in the barn, sonny.' Bruin's barn had no door, no cows and no point as far as George could see. A few broken wisps of straw blew over the hard-packed mud of the floor. The old man's boots were neatly set in the very center of the barn. They'd been polished and the cracked old leather shone like the old man's own head. 'Put 'em on me, boy. I'm too old to bend over, even for boots.' The old man's boots went on after a short struggle. George had learned to be a little rougher with Bruin's feet. The joints were swollen and his toes pointed pretty much every which way. And the smell wasn't too sweet either, come to that. 'Firewood?' Another jet of tobacco juice hit the ground, turning a dollar sized patch from dust to mud. 'It'd be a start.' The boy chopped logs for an hour, until he ran out of wood. Bruin liked to grow pumpkins on a patch in back of the barn. He told George to fetch a shovel from the tool shed and extend the patch by half as much again. He was going to have to dig a quarter acre over. Then dig in the mule's manure that the old man had been hoarding for months. Every so often the boy would spy a bent nail in the soil. If it wasn't too rusty he'd put it in his pocket. Nails were a penny a dozen in the general store in town. He'd straighten them out at home. He could get a penny for 50 from Parminter at the store. It was pointless, he knew, but maybe one day he'd have enough for a quarter. Deep down, George knew he'd never take the nails to the store, probably just use them around the dismal shack. *** The old farmer passed by every hour or so. George wondered if the tobacco juice might sprout and interfere with the pumpkin plants. He was just finishing at about four when he heard the familiar slurring shout. 'George! Git on home, got food and you gonna cook it, damn' sure your momma won't.' 'Gotta finish here, or I won't get the food Bruin promised.' 'Don't need it, boy! Tole you I got some at home.' 'Ain't seen you in six days. I'll finish up here if it's all the same.' The boy's father lurched forward, fists raised. *** About six in the evening, George lay down the shovel. The dust and soil had covered the blood, pretty much. He'd used the flat back to flatten the barn's dirt floor. Bruin was back on the stoop. 'Done a good day's work there son,' the grizzled farmer held out the paper sack of provisions and George took it. 'Guess I did at that,' said George.
Archived comments for A Bent Nail
amman on 15-09-2012
A Bent Nail
Interesting story of a poor family eking out a hardscrambling existence in the mid-west. Realistic and full of pathos. I'd say you got the vernacular just about spot on, but perhaps Texas Greg will have something to say about that. In my mind, real quality writing.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Your comments are always so positive, thank you. I'm sure TG will be able to point out some glaring faux pas, but I enjoy assuming the voices. I hate all that 'write what you know' bollocks, I really do.

Andrea on 15-09-2012
A Bent Nail
I would never dare attempt something so far out of my personal experience, but you seem to do it so effortlessly you must be a closet American (or Spaniard, depending on the piece) 🙂

Really good stuff.

Author's Reply:
Don't know about effortless, but I do enjoy writing like this. I do feel very strongly about the 'write what you know' canard. Hey! Try stepping out of the comfort zone, boss, why not? 🙂

bluepootle on 15-09-2012
A Bent Nail
Love this. The bent nail motif works so well. Great last three paragraphs too.

Author's Reply:
Praise indeed Ms Pootle! You are very kind.

Texasgreg on 16-09-2012
A Bent Nail
Just got around to ya. Interesting that I grew up in Iowa, read much about the dust bowl, (which I'm guessing is your time period), spent much time around people like that visiting my grand dad in Missouri, and find your environment/characters/story to be as if you were there. Excellent, IMO.

Photobucket.


Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:
You really have made my day, Greg. Thank you.


Potemkin Mine (posted on: 10-09-12)
a sestina of sorts...

A wind so cold we called it blue. She blew around the Potemkin Mine. We dug for metal with the sheen of a canary's feather, dug nuggets as old as the beginning of time, lined pockets for the richer idiots' use and found our retirement in their gutter. And sometimes someone's candle would gutter, the flame would turn a dangerous blue. The gas blew and the panicked would use their comrade's back to get out of the mine and learn the meaning of the nick of time, saving themselves by the breadth of a feather. The bunkhouse pillows were not down or feather. These men came from the farm and the gutter. From despair to the adit in the shortest time. Remember the strike? The uniforms were blue. Jukes killed a man, but the fault was mine. He stabbed a starker, with a knife I'd use. We tried to save him but it was no use, there was no breath to move a feather. We threw the body to the depths of the mine. The flame of rebellion began to gutter, we felt defeated, degraded, despondent-blue. They blew their whistles and we knew it was time. Closed, a relic from that vanished time, Potemkin Mine is past all practical use. Guarded by uniforms of Prussian blue. No-one left to tar and feather: pamphlets and leaflets block the gutter, some of the words still read like mine. Hear the ghosts of the abandoned mine, Shouting for justice one last time. Their foot on the neck of those in the gutter, of those for whom they have no use, while busy murdering the fur and feather, the colour of power is still true blue. Think on, reflect in the mirror of time, the empty fate of the Potemkin Mine, and what happens to men that others use.
Archived comments for Potemkin Mine
amman on 11-09-2012
Potemkin Mine
This is very cleverly composed. To me it looks like you got the sestina structure right and think that the repetitions create a dramatic tension that accentuate the subject matter of the poem. I'm presuming the Potemkin mine is that of the Pollard mining facility near Starbase 74 (I googled it).
Regards.

Author's Reply:
Ah, no, coincidence only. But I know that the USS Potemkin is so named for the same reason I named my mine Potemkin. The Rhonnda Heritage Park is a Potemkin mine in effect, since it is no longer a mine just a visitor experience. Potemkin Villages as I'm sure you know were allegedly sham villages erected for the visiting Catherine the Great to admire. Modern historians conclude that they are a myth. However the concept remains as shorthand for any construct that is fake or a sham, specifically with the intent to deceive.

Thanks for reading and commenting once again.


The Woman on the Beach (posted on: 10-09-12)
it wasn't the girl from ipanema...

I met her on the beach. The most beautiful woman on the sand, standing sleek and wet. Her feet were still being lapped by the Mediterranean waves. It didn't look like she was with anyone. So I spoke to her. 'Not coming ashore?' 'I'm not Spanish,' she said. Her English was accented, with the careful fluency of someone who had worked hard to get it. 'Neither am I, but are you ,then? Coming ashore?' She laughed, 'For a while.' I tried to be discreet and noted she wore a black one-piece. A striking thing in contrast to the day-glo, multicoloured bikinis all over the beach. 'Do you like it?' She ran her hands down her sides as she spoke. So I swallowed and said I did. 'Let's get your towel and things, I'll buy you a drink!' I waved in the direction of a nearby chiringuito. 'No towel, I have all I need. Let's go!' So I followed behind her confident stride and admired the view. We ordered cocktails and I suggested lunch. 'Sardinas?' She asked as she ran her tongue over her upper lip. We ordered twelve and I ate two. She devoured them. When I asked her if she liked them she told me that she preferred raw herring and then laughed. 'Silke, my name is Silke', she said when I insisted on knowing her name. 'German?' 'No, you'll never guess.' And I didn't Later, we walked to my hotel. I wondered why the hot pavements didn't burn her bare feet. In the morning, I took her one-piece to a laundrette below some nearby holiday apartments. The Spanish matron used to do me a service wash once a week. She said nothing as she put the swimming costume in with my faded shorts and singlets, just smiled and gave a slow wink. 'Una hora y media, vale?' she croaked and I promised I'd be back in an hour-and-a-half, for sure. My hotel room looked like Hurricane Katrina had passed through it. The dressing table mirror was smashed. Silke was sobbing on the bed, which it least looked no worse than when I'd left. 'Where is it?' She screamed. 'What?' She rubbed her hands down her sides as she had done yesterday. It seemed much less provocative now. 'Your bathing suit? It's safe. I'll have it back in an hour or so. I thought maybe...' Her clawed hand missed my face by a feather-breadth and I realised that maybe we wouldn't. My hands were locked around her wrists and she was spitting something Scandanavian that I didn't recognise - although I had a few words of Danish, Norwegian and Swedish. The kind of thing you picked up from girlfriends. 'Calm down.' My voice was a little hoarse. But she didn't. She lay on the bed for all the world as if she'd suffered a catatonic fit. No movement at all for well over an hour, not even when I left for the laundrette. My plan was to use humour to defuse the situation, so I dumped my clothes on the floor after I got back and held up the black one-piece against my body. 'Suit me?'' Silke almost knocked me over on her way out. Maybe she put the swim-suit on in the lift. I don't know, I never saw her again. She left me with only the memory of the smell of kelp and the ocean on my fingers.
Archived comments for The Woman on the Beach
Texasgreg on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
As most of yer stuff I ended up havin' ta look up ipanema. Looks like you get around a bit. Don't hafta go far to find crazy ones here though. Matter-of-fact, I think I saw her at the mall the other day...she was still wearing the bathing suit. 😉 -humor attempt-



Good story! Got me steamed for a short bit.



Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:
Steamed?? You vegetable, you. When trying to write with an erotic charge, less is probably more.

Thanks for reading!

Andrea on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
Crikey, what an odd tale! I was fascinated, and wanted to know why, but you didn't tell me!

Just read Jim's comment - I'm obviously fik 🙂

Author's Reply:
Ah well, it's not completely obvious unless you're aware of this particular piece of folklore, is it?

Thank you for reading and commenting.

franciman on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
Great take on the Hebridean Silky tale. Your story carried the heat and spice of Spain. Really enjoyed it.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading Jim. I just thought it was a bit of folklore ripe for a modern twist.

bluepootle on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
Love this! I always loved 'A Stranger Came Ashore' by Mollie Hunter and have been thinking that the time has been right for a revisit to the Selkie myth for a few years now... you beat me to it!

Author's Reply:
Glad I beat you to something Bluepootle, I'm sure you could make a better fist of it anyway!

Thank you for taking the time to read.

TheBigBadG on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
I was with Andrea and didn't get the reference. It didn't bother me though, there's something about her wilful character that justifies itself. Also, having found out what a Selkie is, really nice spin on it. Poor guy...

Author's Reply:
See above. Do you really think it works anyway? That would be the best result, of course. Thank you for reading and commenting.

CVaughan on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach

As Toyah might have lisped it's a myth story, sorry about that, well deployed, clue given by the character's name and the dark suit, no mermaid this gal. The whole salty tale sealed by the beautiful creature's slip through fingers finish. Expertly enjoyably accomplished.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the compliment(s)!


Andrea on 10-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
Yes, I think it definitely works, even if you don't know the myth. I was gripped.

The stupid thing is, though, that I have heard of it, I just didn't join up the dots 🙂

Author's Reply:

amman on 11-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
I thought this was a bit fishy, but (seriously) a clever take on the Selkie legend. The 'girl from Ipanema'; a classic song, especially the great Frank Sinatra's version. Again, very skillfully penned.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for the compliment! And thanks to the nominator, too.

Texasgreg on 13-09-2012
The Woman on the Beach
LOL, had to reply. Y'see you got me again. Only after reading replies from others that are more "in-the-know" am I beginning to understand "crazy lady".

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:


Inhumane Bondage (posted on: 07-09-12)
Doggerel

James is most likely in a City bar earwigging Libor manipulations. No more dead drops, or midnight kidnaps or running through Bulgarian stations. M's given our boy an I-gadget, for bureaucrats' on-line indiscretions. No more honey - or money, come to that- for diplomats' Ugandan discussions. No training on garotte or PPK - Just spreadsheets and data bases. No martini shaken or even stirred No girls with exotic faces. If he were a horse they'd put him down he couldn't manage a canter. He misses the days of Pussy Galore, and inappropriate banter. Not so long to retirement now, Barbados would be heaven, a long cocktail and a girl to tell he used to be double-oh-seven.
Archived comments for Inhumane Bondage
niece on 07-09-2012
Inhumane Bondage
Does James even retire??? And then again, what if he did??? Good one!!!

Regds,
niece

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 07-09-2012
Inhumane Bondage
Aye, he probably hangs out with "The most interesting man in the world". I dunno if you're familiar with the commercials for dos equis...
Photobucket.
Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 07-09-2012
Inhumane Bondage
Ah yes, doggerel. My favourite form. Yours is better than mine, though 🙂

I used to have a boyfriend who called me 'Pussy Past-it' - amazingly, we are still friends...

*wanders off*

Author's Reply:

franciman on 07-09-2012
Inhumane Bondage
Doggerel with a wonderful wistful, nostalgic voice. Not a Bond fan, yet made me sad to consider his demise.
cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 09-09-2012
Inhumane Bondage
Good, original verse, Ewan. Liked it a lot.

Author's Reply:


Interstitial (posted on: 07-09-12)
the science may be iffy, but maybe it sounds nice....

In the spaces, in the nooks and crannies, in the relative cracks of interplanetary voids, objects change their classification: planet to plutino in the blink of a radio-telescope's eye. Random debris between the orbits, cosmic quarks, sub-systemic particles, the motes in God's eye. Between the neutrons, electrons and protons, In the relative chasms of interparticulate space, objects change their nomenclature. Nucleus to neutrino in the crash of the collider's drum, minute somethings among the nothing, choate strangeness, sub atomic detritus: the lint in God's pocket.
Archived comments for Interstitial
amman on 07-09-2012
Interstitial
Very clever. The astronomists come up with new stuff almost daily, it seems; a bit like anthropologists. Like the way you inserted nomenclature into the poem (which has a different meaning to your pen-name Nomenklatura, I think). Great last line.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

franciman on 07-09-2012
Interstitial
No maybes about it - it does sound nice. Better than just nice, it sings and resonates.
It speaks articulately about the confusing swirl of cellular activity I loved this.
cheers.
Jim

P.S. I am so glad I came back to this. A valuable lesson for me!

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the nomination!

Andrea on 07-09-2012
Interstitial
I think the science is s bit iffy. Don't think it matters an atom, though 🙂

Loved the last line too.

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 08-09-2012
Interstitial
Aye, brings to mind thoughts of everyone at some time and place. We have learned much in the past half-century and will continue to learn on an escalated basis as long as budgets hold out and religion does not stifle learning.



Good stuff!

Photobucket.

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:


Tragic Bullet (posted on: 03-09-12)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19443910

So a half-century on. Grnenthal apologises for its tragic bullet. What timing! What grace, as someone wins a paralympic race! And in a German town a businessman unveils their symbolic statue. What culture! What art, as Pharma feigns a human, humane heart! So the names are ever changed, Distillers to Diageo in one shaming leap. What problem? What now, as research remains a sacred cow?
Archived comments for Tragic Bullet
roger303 on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
The terrible legacy of Thalidomide lives on. Very poignant, topical piece. Thanks.

Author's Reply:
Yes, it's a grim story from one point of view, but inspiring when one considers Alison Lapper's (or anyone's) achievements.

amman on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
I had a feeling you would write of Grunenthal's shameless, bare-faced hypocrisy. Words fail really. Nice combination of fact and social comment with the paralympics used to highlight the hypocrisy.
Regards.

Author's Reply:
Yes... I'm actually appalled at the establishment's embracing of the Paralympics while attacking the system of disability benefits too.

Texasgreg on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
Aye! You have a subtle way that goes over my head many a time but got this 'un as you helped me out with the link. I feel uninformed as I'm generally a newshound.

Resounding Tony's sentiments...
Photobucket.
Greg 🙂


Author's Reply:
Sometimes background is required. Thalidomide is a very European scandal. I don't think the FDA let it anywhere near the US's expectant mothers.

cooky on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
They should never have been allowed to continue. Profit before people, Bopal were no better.

Author's Reply:
Yep, a shaming episode. I remember the Sunday Times campaigning for compensation in the 70's

Ionicus on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
A very apt and acerbic riposte to an hypocritical apology. Well said.

Author's Reply:
Thanks, Luigi, the story proves there is nothing new in corporate irresponsibility.

barenib on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
I couldn't agree with you more, and so very well put - John.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 03-09-2012
Tragic Bullet
I remember it. Horrifying and tragic. Excellent social comment, here.

Author's Reply:


Can't Play, Won't Play (posted on: 31-08-12)
A formal poem... I think it's swimming against the tide, but it's worth thinking about

More heroes died abroad last week, beneath the noise of cakes and ale: sport as shield for prospects bleak, we watch the peerless never fail. Beneath the noise of cakes and ale to the chink of swindlers clipping coins we watch the fearless never fail; we spread the fruit of selfish loins. To the chink of swindlers clipping coins to pay for unsecurable, toxic loans, we spread the fruit of selfish loins - the lowest human denominator clones. To pay for unsecurable, toxic loans more heroes died abroad last week. The lowest human denominator clones sport as shield for prospects bleak.
Archived comments for Can't Play, Won't Play
amman on 01-09-2012
Cant Play, Wont Play
Like this a lot. When things are turning to s...throw a party or extravaganza. Nice rhythm created by the repetitions. As to the loans, throwing good money after bad. More comments needed for this insightful piece.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 01-09-2012
Cant Play, Wont Play
Very clever and perceptive.

Author's Reply:


Caf Corto (posted on: 31-08-12)
It's like a strong espresso... not to everyone's taste

Jane's cup rattled in the saucer. She set it down on the bottle-scarred table. It was her third caf corto. Too strong, really. Still, she wasn't up to explaining how she wanted it. In Salamanca it was 'Manchado'. That meant stained. Hot milk stained with very little coffee. Made sense, if you thought about it. Here at the other end of the country it just meant, well, stained, as in marked, or even dirty. She'd given up on it after the waiter's blank look. So Jane was on her 3rd murderously strong espresso and she was still waiting. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand, then peered again into her handbag to see if another wetwipe had appeared in the packet. Keeping the empty avoided having to ask in the shop. Point at the packet and say 'Hay aqui?' Eventually you'd get what you need. Part of living abroad, not being understood, wasn't it? From time to time the bar's owner stood in the doorway staring out to sea. The Caf 's tables were empty. Terrace and bar. The rollers disturbed the turquoise surface of the Med, but there was not a boat in sight. 35 outside and not a tourist for miles. The man looked to Jane like a gaoler with no-one in his charge. A fat tortoiseshell cat was curled up under the table nearest the doorway to the bar's interior. There was a faint smell of urine at the foot of the canvas marking the Mermaid's territory on the Paseo Maritimo. Jane picked up the Nokia. Flicked through the menus, as if she wouldn't have heard the tone in the silent Caf . Of course there was nothing. She opened the last message. 'Of course I'll be there. You know I will. Don't forget what you said you'd bring. X' 'X' One measly 'X'. At least it was an odd number. Such things were unlucky in even numbers, everyone knew that. He loves me, he loves me not. Clever girls checked the petals before picking daisies, Jane never had. Jane flicked to the option to call message sender. The number rang out. A Spanish voice said out of coverage or something, same as it had all morning. Of course, he wasn't late, not yet. Two hours was nothing, almost on time in fact. MSN, Facebook, Twitter, an appointment was a moveable feast. Why he said a time if he couldn't make it was a mystery. Still, he'd been the one fussing about the time. To tell the truth he'd been more punctual in person, after they'd finally met. That time in Puerto Banus, well, he'd said it was the Guardia Civil's fault and maybe it had been. Waiting. Sometimes it was delicious, the anticipation. Jane replayed moments. The first time, the first shock, as she looked down to see the dark, shining skin between her white thighs. It had been exhilarating, despite the cheap Hostal in Estepona. He still hadn't come to the 2nd Line apartment she'd rented in Cabopino. Wouldn't come, he said. They were looking for him, people from home, best to keep moving. Some of the Hotels had been better. The phone beeped. It wasn't him. It was Jose Maria. 'Hope you are enjoying your break. Faculty meeting the week before start of term. Friday 10 a.m. OK? XX. He'd been the one to interview her for the post. Comparative Literature, visiting Professor. Two years in Salamanca. Why not? She hadn't foreseen the boring nights alone in her studio flat in the university town. Going on-line had been a life-line. The dating site had been just a bit of fun. She'd never been going to meet anyone. So what did it matter if she ticked the ethnicity box Afro-Caribbean? It had been funny, rather than a bit of fun. Mis-spelled e-mails detailing strange inheritances and business opportunities. Several pictures of Denzel Washington purporting to be lonely guys looking for love. She'd almost answered the person whose profile showed Idi Amin. Then she got the one. The e-mail with no spelling mistakes, no once-in-a-lifetime offers. Just a conversational introduction, the kind someone might give if they met you in person. Oh, and there was the picture. He'd said it was old, over ten years. It was a scan of a black-and-white studio shot. A university graduation thing, judging by the gown. It showed a handsome man of about 22. When the video-calls started she could scarcely contain herself. He was beautiful, mid-thirties. As handsome as a film-star and a real person. Jane kept the light dim at her end at first. Until she actually told him she was fifty-five. The next mail begged her to meet him. She couldn't get away, not until the end of term. Summer Vac. She'd taken the lease in Fuengirola on impulse. It had a week to go. The summer had evaporated in the heat of the sun and the bedclothes. Jane looked at her watch. Checked through the bag one more time. Passport, Birth Certificate, Divorce papers. He'd come. He wanted to marry her, Jane. If that was what it took to keep him, she'd do it. Hopefully today.
Archived comments for Caf Corto
bluepootle on 31-08-2012
Café Corto
I really felt like I was living the moment with her. Particularly liked the guy who looked like a gaoler with noone in his charge - great description (I think you're missing the 'a' in that sentence though).

Author's Reply:
Tks for the comment (and for picking up the typo!)

roger303 on 31-08-2012
Café Corto
Enjoyed it very much. You paint the scene very well - hot and languid, and the character is interesting, real and quite sad. I particularly liked the "Such things were unlucky in even numbers ..... Clever girls checked the petals before picking daisies" - brilliant analogy, in my opinion. A story which would perhaps appeal more to female readers, nevertheless, I was hooked. Thanks.
Regards, Roger.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment. Many of the most accessible short story markets are for Women's magazines. I'm still not sending it though! 🙂

amman on 31-08-2012
Café Corto
It was to my taste or should I say my cup of tea (don't drink coffee). Good descriptive characterisation and story. Particularly like the line 'the summer had evaporated in the heat of the summer and the bedclothes'. Clever.

Cheers.

Author's Reply:

cooky on 31-08-2012
Café Corto
Could be a good opening to some kind of spy thriller. I like the atmosphere created by this write.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 01-09-2012
Café Corto
Excellently atmospheric, as always 🙂

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 10-09-2012
Café Corto
Not sure I'm up to scratch so apologies if my thoughts are a bit, well, blah, but this is really good. The nerves, the caffeine, the still heat and the waiting for this mystery of a man. Part of me want to know if he comes or not, but really it works better because we don't know.

Author's Reply:


The Left Eye of Eve (posted on: 20-08-12)
a poem without enough layers...

Through sand and dust, flamingos land across the lake. The colour of the Cyprus, cypress sunset in their wings. A telephone rings, the last Graham Bell like sound on an island steepled with masts for pocket communication. A man is summoned by gutter Greek to take a call, perhaps it's long distance, from the other side of the sky, or even north of the Green Line. The man replies in Turkish, eyes turn inward as men spit on floorboards, chairs scrape and fall. By hook and crook, departing is effected, just. The colour of the money, honeyed words on his lips, a vagabond smile, the least expected way On an island filled with fury for some reparation. The man is governed by simple spice to run the risk. Perhaps it's a death wish, or simply not to die, for coming south of that Green Line, A man who speaks in Turkish, turns eyes girl-ward, as he sends an arm waist-bound, to the prettiest Greek of all.
Archived comments for The Left Eye of Eve
amman on 21-08-2012
The Left Eye of Eve
Love the 1st two lines. So much ingrained hatred on that small Island. Don't understand the word 'just' in the 2nd stanza, but perhaps I'm just being thick.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, as always. 'Just' with the comma before, is used in the sense of 'almost not'... if you see what I mean.
Regards Ewan

Andrea on 22-08-2012
The Left Eye of Eve
I thought this was fantastically good. Wonderful wordplay as usual.

Author's Reply:


Hands (posted on: 03-08-12)
A poem that's not about hands...

We are hands, we do not clap, each misses the other. It looks foolish. We are hands you are the right you're always the right one and I am left. We are hands, if we'd just try each helping the other we would survive.
Archived comments for Hands
dylan on 03-08-2012
Hands
Very succinct, subtle and well written.
Well played that man.

D.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 03-08-2012
Hands
Ain't that the truth!

Author's Reply:

amman on 05-08-2012
Hands
I think perhaps I've misinterpreted your little riddle but liked it anyway. No doubt you explain in due course.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
I doubt that you have. As I said it's not really about hands. It's about left and right, yin and yang, two parts of the whole and how they should fit and combine, but sometimes they don't. Okay... it's about love and relationships, as many things are. 🙂

Texasgreg on 05-08-2012
Hands
I must admit that a lot of your material goes over my ten-gallon hat, but got this one easily and liked it even more.

Outstanding!
Photobucket
Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading and for commenting.

jay12 on 06-08-2012
Hands
Peace! Great poem.

Jay.

Author's Reply:

Ani on 09-09-2012
Hands
Sweet little poem with its own message. Like it
Fureya

Author's Reply:


Seven Shards from a Shattered Looking Glass. (posted on: 30-07-12)
glass splinter... Kai...

One fell furthest far into the corner of the tiled floor. Kai knows it keeps its shape to stop him reassembling it. It might be a silvered butterfly, the boy licks blood from his fingers. A second shines, shimmering under a chair near a sister's shoe. The boy takes care to keep fingertips smudging reflections. It might be a treasured locket, smeared with oils from his fingers. Three lies lonely in the ashy fireplace with the logs unlit. Silver ingot shining by the fools' gold clinkers. It might be a pure rectangle but for a tiny, missing corner.. Four is tangled in a falling stocking; a wool-loop snared mirror star is safe for the time being in his clothes. It might be chance where the shards fall, although this boy won't believe it. Five was rolling as far as a mousehole in the skirting board. An argent moon shining in the dark of a rodent's lair. It might be cruel to eclipse their light but the mirror must be assembled. A sixth glistens on a persian kilim: the pattern is repeated in the weave. Platinum teardrop echoed in Samarkand silk. It might be the model for a mermaid's tear and as rare as orchids in the desert. The seventh shard remains elusive still. No sign in all the room nor all the house wide nor all the land around it. Kai knows that it's a splinter. It might be found on the sole of his shoe, were it not buried deep in his heart.
Archived comments for Seven Shards from a Shattered Looking Glass.
teifii on 31-07-2012
Seven Shards from a Shattered Looking Glass.
Lovely. I don't know who Kai is and suspect one needs to know the story but the images are beautiful. I love it even without understanding it.

Author's Reply:
Oops! Meant to reply, but commented instead.DOH! See below for reply and thanks again.

Nomenklatura on 31-07-2012
Seven Shards from a Shattered Looking Glass.
Thank you for reading and leaving an encouraging comment. Kai is the boy from HCA's Snow Queen.

Author's Reply:


An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada (posted on: 30-07-12)
It might have happened like this... no-one really knows...

The Gringo sat a horse well. Even with his hands tied. Capitan Suarez marvelled at the straightness of the man's back. It was a marvel for a man purporting to be 71. Excepting the occasional shortness of breath, his health seemed remarkable. Well, dying healthy, not many did that. The horse was a good one. The Yanqui said he had brought only this and his notebooks to Mexico. El Capitan knew that this meant he was a spy. Why, the fool had practically admitted it. An observador, riding with Villa, what else was a soldier supposed to think? 'El proximo pueblo?' Suarez flinched at the man's Spanish. He spoke it like a Yucatan goat. 'Sierra Mojada, Seňor Biyerse.' 'Llamame Ambrose, Seňor Capitan.' The Mexican grunted and rode off to the head of the troop. 2 mounted men and 7 irregularly dressed soldados. One man wore a poncho and crossed bandoleros, it could have been Villa himself, rather than the son of a poor farmer from Chihuahua. Suarez rode ahead a little further and held up a hand. The ragged column slumped to the ground. Suarez sighed and ordered Sargento Lopez to help the Yanqui down from his horse. There was a clump of mesquite, the only interruption to the burnt siena dirt for as far as the eye could see. The officer staked his horse and motioned Lopez to do the same with the Yanqui's. 'Cabo Fortuna, head on to Sierra Mojada. Arrange forage and billets.' The corporal spat. Suarez' own mouth was dry, so he said nothing. Fortuna had re-mounted and turned to look at Suarez, 'And the Yanqui?' 'He won't need a bed.' The Yanqui had not demurred when El Capitan had suggested a walk. The officer's subordinates were either asleep or answering calls of nature of various kinds. Suarez was glad, and they took the opportunity to move upwind. He tried his English, learned in a whorehouse while training in Vera Cruz. 'What ees he like? Villa?' 'Well, I'll allow he ain't a conservative.' 'Conservativo? What is thees?' 'A politician enamoured of existing evils, Seňor Capitan.' 'He talks of revolution, but he is no more than a thief!.' 'I guess it remains to be seen if he is a liberal.' 'Don't make a fool of me, Billerse!' 'I could leave it to you, at that.' Suarez turned abruptly and left the man to the wheezing brought on by his laughter. The town square was deserted. The alcalde's house had the shutters locked. No-one had come out to witness the event. The sun had just begun to stain the sky the colour of damsons. Suarez and his Sargento inspected the squad. Corporal Fortuna was finishing up the loading of all but one of the Mondragon rifles. Tradition was important, Suarez believed. The Yanqui was already tied to the hitching post outside the Cantina. He hadn't said much. Just, 'We'll see how it is, now.' Suarez wrote it down in one of the man's own notebooks. The squad got themselves ready. Suarez noted the Yanqui's still straight back and gave the order. Six puffs of smoke and a click. The man jerked on the post and shouted. Suarez wrote it down how it sounded. 'Ow-ool Criik!' One day he'd ask someone what it meant.
Archived comments for An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
Nomenklatura on 01-08-2012
An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
Biyerse, Billerse is deliberate... neither is a correct rendition of the character's name. No prizes at all for guessing who this central character is... but have a go!

Author's Reply:

amman on 02-08-2012
An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
Gotta be Ambrose Bierce. You have painted a vivid picture of a piece of early 20th century history. The social dialect is spot on and informs that picture. Really impressed.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:
Give the man a cocoanut! Thanks for the generous comment.

Andrea on 02-08-2012
An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
Just looked up Ambrose Bierce (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambrose_Bierce). What a character and what a great tale! Yeah, it probably happened just like that :). Fab stuff!

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 02-08-2012
An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
I've just read the entire WIKI article and then your piece again. It really is very good and totally plausible 🙂

Author's Reply:
Thanks for the compliment. I've always found him a fascinating figure since a friend at school loaned me a copy of The Devil's Dictionary. The early 20th Century is quite late for such a public figure to just disappear. Someone must have known what happened to him, but... nada or at least nada concreta. 🙂

TheBigBadG on 03-08-2012
An Occurrence in Sierra Mojada
Admittedly I had to do the prep before I got all the subtleties, but with 20-20 hindsight this is good. Efficient and sanguine, which I am led to believe Bierce himself would have appreciated. Thanks for the read and the pointer on an interesting character.

Author's Reply:
Yes, I know what you mean. I know people who absolutely hate reading something like this.
I guess there are two kinds of people, those who investigate the worm in their brain caused by something sounding familiar by looking something up, and those who are exasperated that it hasn't been spelled out for them. Ideally a story should stand on its own regardless, I suppose. Perhaps this one doesn't, nevertheless, I'm still quite pleased with it. Thank you very much for reading and commenting.


Dead Men's Socks (posted on: 23-07-12)
Didn't make it in time for last Wednesday's challenge (and it is too long). It's a western. Yipee-Aye-Oh-Tye-Ay!

The horse was limping. It would soon be time to lead it, maybe shoot it. Might even be time to eat it. Well, that didn't make no never mind, he'd eaten worse. Helluva thing. Pete not shooting him dead. Why'nt he do that? Carlita, turkey-trussed, was gagged and the damnfool sheriff had been hiding under the bed. Why, most everbody woulda shot. An ambush. The young man laughed. Carlita's bush an ambush. Maybe so. Whatever way you looked at it, Johnny Mayo shouldn't have been astride a lame horse half-way to Sonora. He looked up, shielding his eyes with the brim of his hat. Stunk, that hat. Too much sweat. A guy could sweat a lot regulating, that was a pure fact. He liked the shooting best: the noise, and the smell of the powder. The whites of their eyes, they said, didn't they? Sure you were close enough to see'em, but 'tweren't nothing to do with that. No, not at all. You got in a gunfight, your eyes got wide, you could see the white all around the other guys' baby blues. Damn' sure yours looked just the same. Anyways, that's what Johnny liked. Pete had liked it too, once upon a time. Mayo reckoned it was about noon. Might as well try and use the shade from the mesquite in the arroyo up ahead. A dry gulch. Time was only a fool would ride alone into one of those in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Billy Bonney's boys did some regulatin' themselves. Dirty Little Billy was dead now too. Garrett had shot him. Mayo had heard it was pretty much the set-up Pete had tried on him, but that was rumor. 'Sides ,people also said Garrett wrote it down different in his book, so that musta been what happened. Still, old Pete never woulda thought it up on his own. The horse was foam flecked, even though he'd been slower than molasses for the last hour. Mayo uncinched the saddle and took out the Winchester, might as well be ready. He took an old gunbelt out of the saddlebag and hobbled the horse, tying the leather in a tight figure-of-eight. Horse wasn't about to head off, but some things just had to be done right. Hellfire, his boots were tight. Took 'em off Pete, after shooting him through the eye. Looked brand new, fit nice at first too. Was going to take a turn with Carlita, 'ceptin' the damn hoor fouled herself when he waved the Navy Colt under her nose. Maybe he shoulda shot her too. No. Nary a sign of a posse on his trail and he was already three days ride from Perdition, so cold-cocking her had been enough. Hell, that was better. Mayo flexed his toes. His blackened and cracked toenails poked through hose worn since stealing a buffalo soldier's horse; dead man didn't need no socks anyhow, he'd thought at the time. He took the tattered wool from his feet and threw them over the mesquite bush. Might could start a fire with'em, when they dried out. Mayo lay his head back on the folded blanket and dozed off. The rattle woke him just before the bite on the ankle. The gunman laughed, damn if he wasn't right again, dead men didn't need socks.
Archived comments for Dead Men's Socks
Weefatfella on 29-07-2012
Dead Mens Socks
God that took me back to when I was a boy, watching Cowboys on the telly in black and white. I would straddle the chair-arm,(that was my horse) and yee-haa and shoot Indians. Enjoed this.
Thank you for posting.

Author's Reply:


Duende (posted on: 20-07-12)
it means... well it means... well, you decide.

They tell you it can mean 'Goblin' or 'Sprite', in a fat enough dictionary. If so, the only duende in the bar was the owner. A Sevillano? No, not on the other side of the Big River. A Trianero. The man was a wizened little creature whose chip on the shoulder had grown into a hump. It was 11 in the evening: early for the bars and clubs along the Calle Betis. I had liked the look of the bar's owner the minute I saw him. The way he spat into the spitoon just as I passed him on the terrace made me want to stay. The tourist traps further up on Betis had not appealed. The digitised Flamenco coming from the docked mp-3 players was distorted by the PA systems until you couldn't tell the feedback from the doleful wails of the singers. Despite this, the music seemed flattened by the process, as though turning Flamenco into zeros and ones had drained it of 'Duende'. In the Hobgoblin's bar, there was no music at all. Just a woman of an age with the owner sharing a table with a much younger man who was picking idly at a guitar; an occasional arpeggiated dischord that even the most dedicated jazz fan couldn't claim as music. The room wasn't full by any means. Maybe half the tables were occupied. There was no-one even as young as I, apart from the gitarrista. I took a straight-backed wooden chair facing into the bar, enjoying the comfort of a stained wall behind me. No-one spoke. Everyone but me had a drink. There were occasional whispers and several people went outside to smoke on the pavement. In the darkest corner I spotted the olive green uniform of a Guardia Civil, which accounted for the slavish obedience to the letter of the law. The policeman seemed unconcerned about the haloes of recently exhaled smoke around the dim lights. There were candles on a few of the tables, offering feeble help to the dull bulbs overhead. The Guardia shoved back his bar-stool and strode out, catching the eye of no-one at all on his way to the night outside. As he cleared the threshold the flames in the candles guttered and flared and one or two backs stiffened while some customers breathed in. Duende. Spirit? Maybe. Afro-americans once upon a time might have called it Soul. Whatever,it entered the room and we noticed when the guitar player strummed a loud and extravagant chord. Before it had faded, the woman stood. I'd like to say she was transformed, but she was not. She remained a woman nearing sixty who had endured hardship. A woman fighting age with rouge and lipstick. Nevertheless, her back was straighter than I had expected. She began with a howl of impotence and rage, stamping her feet as though every man who had let her down was supine on the splintered floorboards on the bar. The song lasted two minutes or twenty. There were yips and cheers of appreciation from the bar's customers. I saw a red-light in the owner's eyes. Stray tufts of hair threw shadows like horns on the wall behind him. The song finished, the woman sat down. People began speaking, one or two even caught my eye and nodded. The owner finally came over and poured me a drink. I finished it in one. It was time to leave, Duende was on its way to another bar, and so was I.
Archived comments for Duende
cooky on 20-07-2012
Duende
Enjoyable read which kept my interest. lovely descriptions of people and a bar which would appeal to me.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 21-07-2012
Duende
"Tener duende" ("having duende") can be loosely translated as having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity, often connected with flamenco' -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duende_(art)

Great descriptive, atmospheric piece. Loved it.

Author's Reply:

Weefatfella on 21-07-2012
Duende
Very descriptive, I was sitting next to you.

I liked the (enjoying the comfort of a stained wall behind me).

I took this in reference of ...We all have skeletons, maybe better to wear them as the armour of experience, experiences we learn from and become comfortable with. I enjoyed very much reading this Thank You.

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 21-07-2012
Duende
Authentic passion released is how i would describe this. Love the old flamenco dancer.

Ralph

Author's Reply:


No Moss (posted on: 16-07-12)
Come on guys, enough...

They'd have a full coat if they were trees, but they've gathered none, as the name suggests. The great days are long gone and the irony inherent in every great title and lyric is reflected in the Grand Crawdaddy of them all Michael Phillip, middle-class mover and one time groover. It's anything but only rock'n'roll, and I wonder if any of them do - at some deep level - still like it? Rock steady Charlie sits glum at the back, his expression unchanged since Brian died. Keef exchanges winks with his playmate, happy now he's in the band half of the Faces wanted to be. The bass player is this year's model because Darryl is sick of not quite being in the band. Is anyone getting satisfaction 'cause I wonder if anyone is try- try- trying in the least bit anymore? So every year with a zero they trundle out on Lowenstein's advice at Mick's insistence and Captain Jack's dad does so with a smirk pretending he's Happy, ( Baby, keep me happy!) Charlie's thinking about horses after backing the worst horse in the world in the seventies. They know you can't always get what you want but if they try sometimes they'll get what they need.
Archived comments for No Moss
Andrea on 16-07-2012
No Moss
Dunno, in two minds about this. Just because they're...er...getting on a bit, doesn't mean to say they can't still play. Perhaps they really do enjoy it (and have never really know anything else except, possibly, LSE when young (well, Jagger, anyway)). I admit some, who shall remain nameless (but it's Macca) should really throw in the towel. But what about people like Clapton and Mayall, who even at their age (and Mayall's into his 70s now, nearly 80, in fact) can still knock spots off any of the young(er) whipper-snappers. And if people are still willing to pay to go, why not?

What else are they gonna do? Garden? Crochet? Do a Ron Wood?

Bloody good read, by the way 🙂

Author's Reply:
To a certain extent I see your point. I've seen Mayall fairly recently.. (2003) Peter Green (another sad tale) was supporting with the Splinter Group and yes Mayall still had the necessary. I believe Clapton is still so good because he lost the plot in the mid to late 70's ('I can't stand the strain of playing a guitar solo' !) But I saw the Stones as a teenager at Knebworth in the 70's and I saw them in West Berlin and then in what had been only recently East Berlin in 89 and 90 respectively. Whilst the latter two were both momentous events, bearing in mind the events of October 89, which do you think was the better concert? Despite what Jesse J says, it is about the money. Thanks for the generous praise.

Andrea on 16-07-2012
No Moss
You wouldn't think they'd need the money though, would you?

And I can't abide Jesse J 🙂

I think with people like Mayall and Clapton (and Dylan's another one), music is so ingrained into their psyche that no matter how much money they have, they couldn't stop.

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 17-07-2012
No Moss
I think the point of this piece is dead on, to disagree with Andrea a little bit. Remember the Who hoping to die before they get old? Giving up the ghost is hard not because of the money but because of the honey, if you know what i mean. All that adulation does something to a person. (i think Bob Dylan could still be in the game because he never got that adulation until he had matured a bit). John Lennon said something to the effect that the Stones would always be the group that couldn't do anything else. Last song they did that was great was "Saint of Me."

Author's Reply:


Mr Okwonko (posted on: 16-07-12)
The text at the end is from a real classified ad, I changed the name and the 'phone number, in case you were thinking of calling...

'You have not sold a thing all day, Joseph Okonkwo. It is time to pack up.' He said the words aloud. There were none to hear. The big man placed the Bolex watches, Ray Bad sunglasses and the latest cinema releases into the battered suitcase. He looked along the esplanade. Deserted cafe terraces. In the distance, a pink-skinned Englishman stood against a bar sipping a coffee or something more fortifying. Joseph could not understand it. It was June. It was raining in England. Even so, there was no-one on the whole Costa, from Torremolinos to Estepona. Joseph sighed, Not even the insults. Not even the ''Come here, Mr Looky Looky'' followed by the guffaws of the drunken fools on their stagger weekends. It was very rare. Joseph looked over his shoulder. Looking for the dust devil hiding in the Levant wind. It was not there of course. Superstition had no place in the modern world. Joseph had a Diploma in Business and Marketing. It lay in its frame in another suitcase under the cot in the Malaga squat. The train to Vialia it must be. Joseph looked at the paper blowing along in the wind. He would pick it up. Snatch at it as it blew past. If he caught it first time, why, that would be good luck! The wind rose at the last minute, Joseph found himself holding the corner of the newspaper page between the thumb and index-fingertip of his right-hand. See! Lucky. Lucky it had not been his left. He made the sign, fingers splayed, and grimaced at the callouses on his hand. The paper folded and tucked under his arm, Joseph made his way to the railway station. The Policia Local at the corner of the covered market watched him all the way down the station steps. It was best to avoid eye-contact, if you could. It was easy to find a seat, the train was less than half-full. No tourists taking the difficult route to the airport. Many people spent so much on alcohol that they could not afford a taxi to take them to their flight home. Not today. Joseph sat with the suitcase on his knee. He spread the newspaper sheet out before him. Not so lucky, after all. Classified advertising. In the local press. Dr Obote had said at the University of Lagos that such marketing ploys were futile. They lacked ambition, he said. Nevertheless, Joseph smoothed the newspaper flat, his hands covering a quarter of the tabloid sheet. He reached into the pocket of his shorts. One 2 Euro piece. Not much for a day in Fuengirola. It was almost like a curse. Oh, he heard the people talk of crisis, but if Bankers and Politicians could not understand it, might not there be something in the ways of his fore-fathers? The Spanish woman in then next seat moved away. Perhaps his loud tut had frightened her. They were all so small. If Joseph saw someone tall he checked the colour of their hair. It was usually blond. They would be Hollanders or from the far, cold north of Europe. Many stared. Even in a good year they would not buy much. The English. The English were the ones. If they would come back The train doors opened a draft caught the paper. Joseph had no choice. He made a grab with his left hand. He smoothed the paper again. This time he was looking at the other side. A boxed advertisement. Now, didn't that strike the eye? Wasn't that the cut above? Perhaps Mr Obote had been wrong, quite wrong. Joseph read the adverisement carefully. It was for some kind of therapist. Perhaps others in his own line of work were having trouble. Hadn't he himself thought of curses only moments ago. It was a sign. He would do it. 'Certainly, Mr Okwonko. We have no problem with such an advertisement.' The pink-faced Englishwoman was the only person in the office of the newspaper. A large poster on the wall said 'Largest Circulation on the Coast', other , smaller ones promised 'Your news, in your language' or 'We Read the News and Translate it for You.' Joseph handed over the 20 euro note he had recovered from behind the frame of his diploma. He took a last look at his advertisement and handed it over.
'African Spiritualist Solves all sort of problem rapidly. Bringing back love ones together, family matters, businesses, sales, court cases. Destroys Black Magic, Protects from Evil, etc Mr Okwonko 628 965 666'

Archived comments for Mr Okwonko
Andrea on 16-07-2012
Mr Okwonko
I envy you, I really so, Your writing always flows so effortlessly.

'Under the cot in the Malaga squat' - how lovely is that?

Ah...Fuengirola...home of fish'n' chips, Watneys Red Barrel and a lizard in the bidet...

Mr Okwonko must be living in Amsterdam - he shoves leaflets just like that through my letterbox too!

Lovely stuff!


Author's Reply:
Thank you for a very flattering comment!

I keep forgetting you know the Costa Del Sol well, since you have lived here (there?) in the past.
Not Watney's Red Barrel now of course... you find a few places with John Smith's bitter on draught
though!

ChairmanWow on 17-07-2012
Mr Okwonko
I think the locale is Spain... what with the English tourists missing in action. Nicely done slice of life; a day in the life of a stranger surviving in a strange land. We are all strangers in strange lands these days even if we never leave home.

Ralph

Author's Reply:
Yep, Spain it is, although it could be any Mediterranean holiday destination for several reasons. Mr Okwonko would still be a Stranger in a Strange Land. Early Heinlein... very good.

Andrea on 17-07-2012
Mr Okwonko
Here ya go, Ewan 🙂



Author's Reply:
Haha, yes I remember it very well.

Incidentally, when I first arrived in Berlin in the early 80's the English pub in the Europa Centre had...
Watney's Red Barrel hanging outside the door. You couldn't buy it by that time though, I think they jest hadn't taken the sign down. Wikipedia informs me that something similar was on sale under the same name until '97 and that something 6% proof (SIX!) is being sold in bottles. As I remember the real thing was piss weak.


The Top of the Hill (posted on: 13-07-12)
it's all..

The top of the hill is behind me now. I'm gathering no moss, pell-mell careering towards the valley of yea tho' I walk through. Fewer days remain to do the things still left undone, never to be done. All tomorrow's parties will be wakes and one of them will be mine. You can't look back without falling over, You can't look forward without the tears: the wind blows dust to dust and ashes to ashes, while uncertain hope dies in the cooling embers of a once fiery heart. How foolish to try to outrun the pale rider. I shall take the downhill slope slower, notice the acacia and ambrosia at the roadside. I do not expect to gather a single acorn though I will pick aloe for the pain.
Archived comments for The Top of the Hill
amman on 14-07-2012
The Top of the Hill
Very clever, wistful look at someone looking toward death.
Like it a lot.
Cheers.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 14-07-2012
The Top of the Hill
Really, really touching.

Like The Floyd said...'And you are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you'




Author's Reply:
One of my favourite songs, ever since I was too young to understand it.

Andrea on 14-07-2012
The Top of the Hill
Haha - quite.

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 14-07-2012
The Top of the Hill
I don't see this as depressing or obsessing on death but a facing of it squarely and using that experience to make a more relaxed living. Good work.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 15-07-2012
The Top of the Hill
Aye! What they said 😉
Well, sometimes I find it best to brief. I'm often told that time is now, so...
Seriously,

Good Job!
Photobucket.
Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:


The Great Callimachus (posted on: 13-07-12)
abra cadabra...

The mirror was foxed. He took in the baggy-kneed trousers, grubby cuffs and beer-stained dicky with its bow-tie askew. The Great Callimachus's next trick might produce a coin from an empty pocket. He made an untidy pass and flourished the metal disc at the tired looking glass. A token from a Harlesden laundrette. He did the swallow fake and pulled the dull metal from his left ear. His reflection winked at him and he left the flat, leaving the door to swing on its hinges. *** The Glasgow Empire was full. The Scottish Entertainer had departed after reprising 'I Belong to Glasgow' three times. At least he'd pleased the crowd. Callimachus had thought the man's performance remarkable, if one-note. The American pianist had been jeered from the stage, though perhaps this had been due to his colour. Certainly he had played very well. Callimachus hummed a few bars of Honeysuckle Rose, as he listened to the master of ceremonies' introduction; 'Aw the wey fae the Levant, the stew-pendous, the must-eerious, the furreign Cally Muckes the Great!' He gave a wry smile, strode out to the spot and bowed. The tails and trousers shone satin under the kliegs. He began with a simple production: a fan of cards from thin air. A beautiful Visconti-Sforza Tarot although the audience could not know this. A quick vanish and another bow to a silent audience. Time for the patter. The hardest thing to learn. The magician had almost eradicated his accent altogether; a vanish better than many skilled conjurors could achieve. A line of willing volunteers mounted the stage, transformations, restorations, penetrations. As each victim returned to their seat whispers spread outward, the words 'Ah dae ken how!' as transformative as a pebble in a pool. The illusionist saved the Vanishing Lady until the end. She wasn't even a glamorous blonde. A dumpy matron from Dundee. *** The wizard stopped on the corner. The Rediffusion shop was just closing. The Milk Bar was still open. The Red Lion would open soon. As good a place as any. Callimachus laid the top hat gently on the cracked pavement. Everything would have to be cards until there were coins in the hat. No vanishings though. Elspeth had made page two in the Scotsman. There hadn't been a trial, the Procurator Fiscal hadn't wanted to look ridiculous. But Silverman had called, told him to lie low, he could call him later. Callimachus did, but his agent was always out. 'Pick a card, sir. Any card'
Archived comments for The Great Callimachus
franciman on 13-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
This had me hooked from the opening line. A great word-picture of the long disappeared variety theatre and an ending with pathos that was neither pathetic nor predictable.

So much told in so few words. Great stuff.

Cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

bluepootle on 13-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
I enjoyed this one. Love the beer-stained dicky.

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 13-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
Marvellous - could see and hear it all!

*I* loved the 'dumpy lady from Dundee' 🙂

Author's Reply:

franciman on 13-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
I think I might have loVed the dumpy lady from Dundee too!




Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 13-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
Bigger than life character falls. Al little bit of the Great C. in us all.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

amman on 14-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
Bravo. A great word picture, full of pathos.

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 14-07-2012
The Great Callimachus
Great piece Ewan.
"A beautiful Visconti-Sforza Tarot although the audience could not know this." Classic.

Author's Reply:

CVaughan on 14-07-2012
The Great Callimachus

Really impressive piece of short story telling pulls a few credible rabbits from hats as it were. Loads of good authenticity for its period. Smashing write. Frank

Author's Reply:


Easy as ABC (posted on: 29-06-12)
A poem about football... or disappointment... or unrealistic expectations.

Easy as ABC All the bulldogs were soon bred out, By superior skills and un-Italian temperament. Competition doesn't suit St George it seems. Dashed hopes are our lot, though still faintly held. England's dreaming continues as night's mare. False dawns every day: a new, lugubrious messiah fails. Great names from the past encourage to no avail. How long since the touch of gold lent glamour, Interest and passion to the people's game? Jesters have played the role of kings, Known for tattoos, tantrums and tastlessness. Laddish louts linger in the memory for misdeeds, Misdemeanours and madness in front of bars and goals. No matter! Say blazered buffoons, did we not give the game, Our game, to the whole of the wide, wide world? Pass the sick bag with more precision, Quicker than our journeymen can pass the ball. Raise your glass to the mediocre, wonder at the Stellar talent of young men more hungry than our own Tawdry Talismen of the Tequila and Tabloids. Unabashed, we'll cheer in two years time Victorious over Liechtenstein, Peru or Burkina Faso, We'll believe, we'll believe and believe again. X will mark the penalty spot; Young bloods will talk of psychology: Zidane will laugh at our pretensions to glory.
Archived comments for Easy as ABC
Andrea on 29-06-2012
Easy as ABC
Too true (last line) 🙂 I find them a very difficult team to like. Cole is arrogant, ditto Terry, Rooney is...well...Rooney with a Rug, but none of them seem to gel together. Hart's a good goalie, though (just as well). They think it's all over - well, it is now 🙂

Author's Reply:

cooky on 29-06-2012
Easy as ABC
When I saw the word stellar, I automatically thought of Stella lager, which could also have made sense to the line.
The hype of Engand is ridiculous. Rooney compared to Pele, must be the biggest laugh of all.

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 01-07-2012
Easy as ABC
Sure you'll be surprised to see an American commenting...
I thoroughly enjoy banter and pride of the well-meaning sports enthusiasts. I'm from North of Dallas, so I cheer for the Cowboys. Alas, I'm a closet fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Good tell as it appears that our athletes are the same, but with different names and games.
Photobucket.

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:


Brujas (posted on: 29-06-12)
It's Spanish for witches.

Do not kiss the Snow Queen, fear a splinter in your eye: though you think her heart has melted. As well kiss Mari Urraca: fear the hailstorm that follows when she and her Sugarr harvest the lies. Steal one kiss from Aloja, show her your hazel wand and she may comb your children's hair. Place one kiss on Calafia's lips; others on her buttery skin; your heart will melt as her sword pierces it. Do not kiss the Snow Queen: the splinter is in her heart, while the ice is melting from your eye.
Archived comments for Brujas
Texasgreg on 29-06-2012
Brujas
Mind wandered on the hazel wand, LOL.

Good stuff!
Photobucket.

Greg 🙂

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 29-06-2012
Brujas
Blimey, that sent me scurrying off to Google again!

A fearsome bunch of ladies indeed!

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 29-06-2012
Brujas
Very nice folk poetry, from Spain, no doubt. Brujas is the word Mexican woman call their young daughters here if they do not brush their hair good enough.

Ralph

Author's Reply:


My Lord Came Home... (posted on: 22-06-12)
Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough 1660-1744.

Mrs Morley, do you know? The reason for my cheerful glow? Mrs Freeman I do not, 'tis something Whig-ish I well wot! Mrs Morley, no indeed, 'twere something we as women need! Mrs Freeman, was it this? A stolen, secret, sublime kiss? Mrs Morley, in no such way, my lord came home from the wars today. Mrs Freeman, so did many, why so yours more special than any? Mrs Morley, O the frisson he pleasured me twice and with his boots on. "My lord came home from the wars today and pleasured me twice with his boots on" -- Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough 1660-1744.
Archived comments for My Lord Came Home...
amman on 22-06-2012
My Lord Came Home...
Very amusing. 'Fill yer boots up' comes to mind! Don't understand 'I well wot'.
Cheers


Author's Reply:
'I well wot' is archaic English, I reckon it would just about be still on the go in 17th century England. It means 'I know (very) well'.

ChairmanWow on 22-06-2012
My Lord Came Home...
Nicely wrought piece. I like a little archaic English now and then.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 23-06-2012
My Lord Came Home...
She was quite a gal, was Sarah, a very interesting character -->
SARAH CHURCHILL and quite powerful in her time.

Enjoyed your light-hearted snippet 🙂

Author's Reply:


Now and Then (posted on: 22-06-12)
...

When I was happy, I thought I could write - though I only had some talent. When I was happy, I wrote what I thought - though I only had some talent. When I had talent, I thought what I wrote could only make me happy. Now I'm unhappy, I write like I think - though I have no talent. Now I'm unhappy, I think like I write - though I have no talent. Now I have no talent I think what I write makes me even more unhappy.
Archived comments for Now and Then
CVaughan on 22-06-2012
Now and Then

Like a conundrum, wrapped in a mystery this had me boggling but then I have little talent so to speak (like England's football team). First up to comment, rarely I'll simply comment, an intriguing wittily constructed wee Chinese-like puzzle I need to cogitate some more over. See what others say. Certainly got me thinking, where's my solution solver Watson?

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading, you can't beat a good puzzle, but you can beat a drum. 🙂

ChairmanWow on 22-06-2012
Now and Then
Nome,
Mind over matter, or in this case mind over wordplay. Fun poem.

Ralph

Author's Reply:
Ah... the power of positive thinking. I'm positive it has power, I'm thinking it's not enough. 😀

Andrea on 23-06-2012
Now and Then
Well, that fried my brain alright! Fun (the pome, not the brain-frying :))

Author's Reply:
Hmm.. fried brains, I've eaten those. Didn't make me any cleverer! 😀

cooky on 23-06-2012
Now and Then
This is a poem that grows on you. First time I read it it it hurt my brain, but now I see the pain behind the words.

Author's Reply:
Yes, quite: like mould? 😀 It took a while to write, lots of tinkering. Thank you for reading.

Rabelais on 23-06-2012
Now and Then
Very clever poem. The reverse stanzas make me smile. Do like your poem. Rabelais.

Author's Reply:
Thank you for commenting. It's writing as therapy really, if only I had a condition to justify it. 😀


Weefatfella on 24-06-2012
Now and Then
As in life, innocence is bliss.

Education is no substitute for experience. The more we learn, the sillier we perceive ourselves.

The more critical we are of ourselves.

The less we are of what we do...I think...I believe. Thought provoking piece,probably more truthful than me.

Author's Reply:


Gibborim (posted on: 18-06-12)
Locked in the dungeon with 30 soldiers, their sharp swords and short tempers? Hmm...

I shouldn't have said that. Not to him. And not in front of her. I'd known him since we were boys. Who do you think taught him how to use a sling? Still, I shouldn't have said it. Friendship counts for something though, that's why I'm down here with David's Mighty Warriors. And who thought that up, hey? David's a bright guy, but he's no business man. He doesn't know from public relations, might as well be a Philistine, I used to tell him. They're all glaring at me now. Especially the Hittite. I've never liked Uriah. Can't stand Hittites in general, tell the truth. Still, maybe he'll leave it to the rest of them. Can't imagine what I said about his wife upset him too much, everybody knows. David thinks sending him off to fight will leave the field clear. We'll see. Or some of us will. We're a long way under the Palace. The walls are damp and the air is foetid. What do I expect, surrounded by the Great I Am's finest. 30 of the bravest warriors in all Israel. Or 37, or 3, depending on which account you believe. Propaganda, that's the stuff. I get the scribes to write about 3 defeating one hundred and your enemies think twice. Less probable that, if it's thirty against one. Besides, who do you think made up the one about Heber's wife putting the tent peg through Sisera's head. History is what the latest guy to write it says it is. Even a Bablylonian would know that. So. What to do? David probably thinks I'll beg. Maybe that's why the muscle is holding off. Be funny if his ear was to the door or his eye to the crack in it. I hope so. We all know what happened over Susannah. Who's the leader? That's the thing. Oh yes, David says it's Uriah, but that's guilt. A sop to his own conscience. Not many brains here at all. Elhanan ben Dodo of Bethlehem: that's a long name for someone whose vocabulary numbers less than the words in it. Attractive girl, his wife. David thinks so. About the sling, maybe Dodo taught David, but I was there. Most of these guys have good-looking women at home, now I think about it. That's one thing that wasn't my idea. I look around at the swarthy Netophathites, shifty Shalbohites and star-struck Carmelites that make up the King's Bodyguard and wonder at their smell. Do all soldiers smell so bad? I've never been this close to so many all at once. 31 of us in a room no larger than a six cubits by six. That's about six amot al amot. Put it this way, my corpse will be standing up. Well, this is no good. Got to talk to someone, who will it be? Ahitophel? They say he has a head rather than a gourd, like so many of them. No. There are rumours that he is the damned woman's grandfather. So what if I started them? They might still be true. It's true that my brothers died on Gilboa and that Jonathon did not come back. Yehonatan did, but that's another story. One of mine too. I have been allowed to tell any story at all, except the one about David and I. Now it's looking bad, I wish I had told the Israelite nation about the birthmark and what the King of Kings liked to do with his best friend. Maybe that's what's with all the women, it's not for me to say. I discard Jonathon ben Shamma on the grounds of his name. It's an unlucky one, isn't it? The sons of Jashen are arguing which of them will cut off my jewels and force them into my mouth , so I pass on those two. Eliam? Son of Ahithophel. I don't think so. Blood is thicker and all that. They're all getting restless, waiting for someone to tell them what to do. I wonder who that will be. I don't want that person, though. I want the one whispering in his ear before he does. Someone like me, in fact. Who's that? Whoever he is, he's looking at me closely. If I didn't know better I'd... Truth to tell, I do know him. Although he's one of the Mighty Warriors he spends an awful lot of time at court. I have joked with Big D about him. 'Look! It's the Army Liaison Officer Plenipotentiary'. David uses plenipotentiary as a joke. Nobody with Plenipotentiary in their official title has any power in Jerusalem at all. Joab. That's it, that's his name. No wife. Wedded to the state, they say. Whatever, he's a pretty weedy guy to be part of the Gibborim, I've always thought. I mean, that sword. Like an expensive toothpick, all rubies and only likely to kill if you shove it through an eyeball. An argument breaks out between three Ithrites and someone from Beeroth over whose grandfather was at Jericho when the walls came down. Good job for Joshua's reputation I rewrote that one... A ram's horn, meshugganah. People believe that stuff too. There's a squelchy sound as an Ithrite sword comes out of the Beeroth guy's gut. Imagine, soldiers smell just as bad on the inside. Out of the corner of my eye I see Joab's hand move to cover his mouth. Anyway, 29 left although I don't think my chances are much better. My mind's made up, it's time for the serpent's tongue and soft words. Uriah it is. What will I say to him. What will make him be merciful to someone he hates? I jostle between several of the more lummox-like soldiers. Their stupid glares register surprise and they all reach for the pommel of their sword. There's not enough room for more than one sword to be drawn at once. The sound of my laughter sounds mad to me too. I'll be honest and say I feel a trickle down my leg, but, of course, what soldier is going to notice that? I'm next to Joab, there's a smell of cinnobar and orchids, I'll make the right choice now, I whisper: 'Joab, help a fellow man of Sodom...'
Archived comments for Gibborim
bluepootle on 18-06-2012
Gibborim
So I read this, went away and wikied lots of stuff about Gibborims and Nephilim. I feel more knowledgeable now. I do like your stories. They always prompt me to go away and investigate.

But I do think this one is perhaps short on action and long on confusing names. My instinct is to say it needs more narrative drive, maybe more description of setting, because I'm not really picturing it under all those names.

Author's Reply:
Yes, it was written for a strict - and bizarre - limit of 1030 words. Most likely I'll make a better story out of it by adding length - now that would be a first. 🙂

Andrea on 19-06-2012
Gibborim
Yes, had to do the same as Pootle, but I don't mind that at all. I'm all for increasing knowledge 🙂 I did enjoy a lot, but see what she means about the 'short on action' bit. All in all much enjoyed though (and I'm a bit wiser too :))

Author's Reply:
Yes... you and Poots are probably right. Suspense! That's where nothing happens right? Oh bollocks, this writing stuff is much harder than it looks. 😀

amman on 19-06-2012
Gibborim
I really enjoyed this. If the good book was written in this style I would probably be tempted to read it.
Regards

Author's Reply:
You could try Joseph Heller(Catch 22)'s God Knows, if you haven't read it.


Kiss Me (posted on: 08-06-12)
it is what it is

Kiss Me Kiss me, Love, while I hold you near. Breathe lightly, whispering in my ear. Hold me, Love, while my pulse quickens , Stroke fondly: prickling, my blood thickens. Feel me, Love, while the pace rushes, cry faintly, tickling, your skin flushes Love me, Love, while we're still breathing, speak softly, flattering, until I'm leaving.
Archived comments for Kiss Me
Andrea on 08-06-2012
Kiss Me
Cor lummy, I've come over all faint!

*fans self*

Author's Reply:

Rabelais on 09-06-2012
Kiss Me
Easy to read and almost as a song, the rhyming is super. Very sensual too. Love it! Well done.

Author's Reply:

stormwolf on 09-06-2012
Kiss Me
well that got the sap rising 😉
Lovely to hear the male version of the dance of love.
I took the last two lines to mean for all their lives until they are dead or 'strike while the iron (or something else) is hot!'
Alison x

Author's Reply:


Karma Boy (posted on: 01-06-12)
not particularly original, but I was like this at that age, so I think I'm entitled to mock a little.

Karma boy sits at the foot of the stairs, thinking of Buddha and saying his prayers. Incense is burning. Oh what a stink! Karma boy says it is helping him think. Karma boy speaks in a monotone, Mother is glued to her mobile phone. Daddy is working in London today, Karma boy's thinking of writing a play. Karma boy chants as his brother smokes, only fourteen and he's one of the blokes, fighting with Asians and bunking off school. Karma boy's certain that he is the fool. Karma boy hears when his mother cries, watches her sniff and dab at her eyes, perhaps her boyfriend is giving the news . Karma boy shrugs and stares at his shoes. Karma boy stretches, and scratches his head. Maybe he'll go up and lie on the bed, he doesn't know why he feels such a freak. Karma boy thinks he'll try Islam next week.
Archived comments for Karma Boy
Andrea on 01-06-2012
Karma Boy
Ah yes, I can identify with that (even if I *am the 'wrong' gender). That Karma, eh? Plays havoc with the real world...

Author's Reply:

cooky on 01-06-2012
Karma Boy
Such a lovely flow to this. karma. has made me one with the world.

Author's Reply:

barenib on 01-06-2012
Karma Boy
Well written piece with a nice rhythm and a good ending that makes the poem. John.

Author's Reply:

BPhoenix on 02-06-2012
Karma Boy
love the ending and a joy to read aloud.

Author's Reply:

Romany on 02-06-2012
Karma Boy
Great work! Really enjoyed this.

Romany.

Author's Reply:

amman on 03-06-2012
Karma Boy
Ah, the agonies of adolescence. Nicely observed and rhymed.

Author's Reply:

shangri-la on 06-06-2012
Karma Boy
I enjoyed this, you've really captured the carefree meandering of the youthful mind. That last line is great as it really punctuates Karma boy's changeable view of the world.

Author's Reply:


The Universal (posted on: 01-06-12)
I challenged myself to write something based on the title of the first thing that played on random on my 20 gig pen-drive the other day, this is it...

'Try it,' he said. 'You might like it.' He was pinched looking, a skinny runt who shivered in the vicious wind. His expensive leather jacket would have suited a heavyweight biker. On him it looked like something robbed from his father's wardrobe. I glanced down at the thing in his hand; a round piece of plastic a bit more than 15 centimetres across. There was a paper label with a hole in the centre. 'What the fuck is it?' 'It's the future,' he laughed then and he looked like the 20-year-old mothers wanted for their daughters. 'Or maybe the past.' 'I'm serious, what is it?' 'It's music' He let out a sigh, 'At least it used to be.' 'How does it work?' I had it in my hand by this time. I mimed throwing it as though sending off a toy for a dog to chase. He gave a flinch and looked as though he might bolt after it. We both continued to look across the flat area. The ruins of the stadium stood guard over Tower Hamlets on the other side of the water. 'I live over there', he said, 'in the Olympic.' 'So what? I used to too.' He said something else then but an alert came through on the Bud. I brushed my fingers across the lump under the scalp just over my right ear. The voices stopped. He took the plastic from my hand. 'I'll show you, if you like.' 'What?' 'How it works.' He loped off towards the Stadium. So I followed him. I switched the Bud on again. Even Alphas could only go off map for a short time. Your verbatim report had to be made via the nearest ATM at the earliest opportunity. It was still impressive. The wrap had been a disaster within a few short years. What had been little more than a gigantic plastic bag wrapped around the stadium was a few fluttering scraps of polyester and polyethylene fluttering from the rusting metal skeleton. It had seemed an important place once. No-one remembered why. Before, something happened. I knew I had had a job. I remember a brass plate and the letters CEO. I remember a window. It looked out over the stadium, from across the water. I remember neon: HSBC, RBS, Accenture. There was someone I lived with and I remember thick carpet under bare feet. There were some riots which lasted barely a week. I don't tell people I remember these things. It's easy to lose Alpha status. The first thing I'm really sure about is the day huge pantechnicon turned up outside the Olympic. The name on the side was recognisable; things hadn't got that bad in only a few years. Most people recognised it as something they'd once used every day, when being on-line was more important than thinking about your next meal. A man in a white lab coat came out of the back. The guys with him didn't look armed, but it was clear what their purpose was. As soon as the huge lorry had turned onto the cracked tarmac of the access road, people had started coming down the rakers and filtering out of the entrances to the Hamlets' side of the Olympic. I'd looked at the pens in the breast pocket as the man in the white coat began to speak. 'We can make it better. The Universal can make it better. It's a simple upgrade. You won't starve. We need you. We need your information.' Like most people, 'won't starve' was all I cared about. When they'd fitted the Bud, they'd said it wouldn't hurt. They'd said it would be just like carrying a mobile phone, we still remembered those, didn't we? I still remember them, but I've forgotten some other things. Some things I used to know. I used to know what the thing was that the girl in Peckham tried to show me last week. It looked like one of those old-fashioned computer monitors. I couldn't let her tell me what it was. That's not allowed. I think I used to know what the boy's plastic thing used to be, too. The boy's shelter in the stadium was better than mine had been 30 years ago. He had electricity, somehow. Maybe a few of them had scavenged a generator. He was standing by a cloth covered box, plastic disc in his hand. I was sorry to do it. He was so young. As for what the thing was, the Bud was switched on and that was that. Later, I did throw disc along the banks of the River Lea. One day The Universal might let me have a dog.
Archived comments for The Universal
TheBigBadG on 01-06-2012
The Universal
Now you're getting me with music, lovely song that. Slightly warmer than this as well!

Couple of things to note first, your pantechnicon is missing an article. I'd also consider using 'looked' fewer times in the first para. The repetition is a bit much, given you use both senses of the word as well.

I like the story though, the idea of the ruins being inside people's heads as well as the city. The buds, the people running the world and the civilised-Zardos motif are all good. It's quite sinister as well, the idea that people are controlling everything and suppressing the past from some control room somewhere, people grassing each other in for little privileges. Even the little pleasures taken like actually throwing the LP, just because he can. The uncertainty gives it the right tone, which I really like.

I do have questions though. I'm not sure I get why they wrapped the stadium; nice image but I think I'm missing something. Also, with the Alpha being a CEO in previous life, how come he's starving? If everyone in the UK was starving then fair enough, but that doesn't necessarily come across here. That pulled me out of it a bit, slightly too much uncertainty, perhaps?

George

Author's Reply:
Hi George,
thanks for commenting... You're right about looked,looking etc, I'll have a look at them this morning! Arf, arf! Respecting the stadium, the Olympic stadium has some pretty radical ideas in its design... check out what it's made of. Mr CEO: it's a problem... this story had a complete root and branch rewrite: since he's the narrator, it's difficult to know what to allow him to remember. Perhaps the jump between remembering the brass plate to being starving seems too glossed over now. I'll have to think about what to do about that.

Thanks for reading

bluepootle on 01-06-2012
The Universal
I like the holes in this, the piecing together of the plot matching the pieces left of the past. 'I was sorry to do it' is a great line.

Good use of voice here too.

Author's Reply:

TheBigBadG on 01-06-2012
The Universal
Well well, it's a learning morning for me! I now know what a pantechnicon is and what the wrap is. Did you know they used melted down guns, bullets and knives as well? Anyway! First para reads much better now. 🙂

Author's Reply:

Pennywise on 01-06-2012
The Universal
I have two little voices in my head bickering over your piece. One is saying expand it, the other is saying don't! I can imagine a longer piece based on this where you'd be able explore the change in depth. But if you add too much you might lose that feel of uncertainity of your MC -- I really like that feel.

The MCs voice is very strong, and the pov works well with this piece.

The idea of the Bud is quite scary and how their past lives are a haze adds to this feel too. I also like how music is taboo and how the MC would rather report him than listen to it, such a sad desperate sounding world.

My main problem is, you say your MC was a well established man, but he starves? Is everyone in the same boat? Or just certain ones? I get the feeling there are different ranks of people, and I picked up that your MC was ranked lowish, what happened to him to lose his past life wealth? Does everyone no matter what they did start off low and they need to work their way up?

Eventhough I do have questions about your piece I enjoyed reading it.

Author's Reply:

BPhoenix on 01-06-2012
The Universal
I really enjoyed this. I liked the uncertainty involved. Makes my mind tick over with all kinds of different reasons for why things are so.

It also felt very real, and I liked the contrasts drawn between our priorities of today with the actual necessities of life. A reminder of just how whimsical this social networking, digital world really is. In a sense 3 worlds were destroyed. The real, the digital and that of the mind.

Really good read.

Author's Reply:


The Divine Miss B (posted on: 25-05-12)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Baker

Ladies and Gentlemen, step back from the stage and do not crowd tonight's most especial guest. Recently returned from the outer limits, our rocketeer is most delighted to be here in Boise, Idaho. Naturally our esteemed friend will not be taking questions - and we prefer that you do not throw bouquets - but bananas instead. We ask that flowers are reserved for our brave lady's late co-pilot. Ladies and gentlemen I give you . Miss Baker the first monkey in Space
Archived comments for The Divine Miss B
sunken on 25-05-2012
The Divine Miss B
Get in! It's about time some recognised Munky's work in this field. How can I not give you a Bernard. Smashing stuff, Mr. Nomen. I know, I'm biased. Great all the same.

s
u
n
k
e
n



Author's Reply:
I was so excited about the BerNAHRD, that I posted a comment instead of a reply. One day people will recognise the BerNAHRD as the pineapple of poetic achievement. Until then, I remain infernally grapefruit. There, that's two of my five a day.

Nomenklatura on 25-05-2012
The Divine Miss B
I'll be a Sunky's Monkle! Yes, it's true where would we be without monkeys, I say. Cheers for the BerNahhd, as they say across the pond.

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 26-05-2012
The Divine Miss B
When I clicked on this I expected to read about the adorable Norma J. I can't honestly say I was disappointed. I found it amusing and it did make Sunky's day after all. Smashing. Valx

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 26-05-2012
The Divine Miss B
Well, I've heard of The Divine Miss M (the lovely Bette Midler) but never Miss Baker! Lovely stuff, and you made Sunks day to boot. That's some achievement 🙂

(I made you clickable, by the way)

Author's Reply:


Mazzikim (posted on: 25-05-12)
Mazzikim - harmers, demons, sons of darkness.

We brethren are such: like to take surprise at daylight's overtaking. We creatures are pale, made soft and shapeless by the penultimate plague. We know our mistress, the woman who was first with Adam. We suffer and sin, bring on the fever's suc- and incubi. We nightmares are yours in painted corners of age-darkened oils. We know our master, sup with the Philistines' Lord at Ekron. We legion are named, though we be far beyond number. We symbols are known, thought to signify though we are no metaphor. We know your future, though you bring it on yourselves.
Archived comments for Mazzikim
Andrea on 25-05-2012
Mazzikim
Oooooh, good stuff! Should be read in a menacing voice 🙂 Although, of course, I had to look up Mazzikim.

Author's Reply:
The word is מצקימ, straight from Hebrew, it's pronounced Matsikim really, but to find it you have to type Mazzikim, which is okay if you're Italian. Thanks for reading.
Ewan

cooky on 25-05-2012
Mazzikim
Love the tone of this. Excellent write

Author's Reply:
Hi, Cooky,
thank you very much for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Bradene on 25-05-2012
Mazzikim
I too found the tone intriguing and a little menacing, yet very enjoyable. Indeed all of your work intrgues me and often wondwe at the workings of your mind, In the nicest possible way of course. Valx

Author's Reply:
Hi Val,
ah well, I like to look at things differently. I doubt very much whether demons exist, myself. But I can believe religious people would use the idea to make sense of monsters: Bundy, Hitler, Son of Sam, Brady - a list that truly is endless. I do love the KJV of the Bible though, some of the language is quite beautiful.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
Ewan

Romany on 26-05-2012
Mazzikim
Brooding and menacing, some great vocabulary.

Romany.

Author's Reply:
Thank you. Your comment and opinion are much valued.
Ewan


Punchinello's Secret (posted on: 21-05-12)
It's not about seaside entertainment...

The new minted smile - as hard as flint - glints above his ridiculous chin. He goes by Kasper in Mannheim or Jan Klaasen in Maastricht, and in every place the same crime: each string pull is merely 'Pflicht': we are all players in the ancient comedy. The fierce squawking the nonsense talked - hawks the latest bubble from seas south. He sold us snake-oil from carts or coins clipped in dark corners until he learned darker arts from bench-sat fawners on the Rialto and the Exchange. And our dull believing the tug at a sleeve- leaves the Professor working Punch; entertaining credulous fools, with Scaramouche and Ketch, the swazzle: his childish tools. We play our role of step-and-fetch, while the Bottler rifles our pockets.
Archived comments for Punchinello's Secret

No comments archives found!
The Same Old Song (posted on: 21-05-12)
UK, Spain,Nazi Germany... it's the same old song

Ghettoes they are, not a word of English, not even at the benefits. Why do they come, take our money, our jobs? Bastards they are, not a word of English, not even at the benefits. Why can't we come, take their money, their jobs? Guiris they are, not a word of Spanish, not even at the Socil. Why have they come, for our money? What jobs? Jewish they were not the blood of Germans not even in a Rothschild. Why did they die? For their money, their God.
Archived comments for The Same Old Song
Bradene on 21-05-2012
The Same Old Song
No matter how hard we strive nothing ever changes, for any of us really. Good work. Valx

Author's Reply:

cooky on 21-05-2012
The Same Old Song
Hard hitting poetry. I like this, we will all be refugees with the state of England at the moment.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for commenting. However, I am much more concerned about the British people in verse one who turn into the people being talked about in Spain in verse 3. I think it is a short step from these attitudes to gas-chambers. I do believe that integration is essential: I believe that people from Bangladesh in Bolton should speak English - but I also believe that people from Manchester in Malaga should speak Spanish.

Regards
Ewan

stormwolf on 22-05-2012
The Same Old Song
cynical, thought-provoking and powerful.
'Divide and conquer' is the mantra of the NWO
Wish it was not so. ;-(
Alison x

Author's Reply:

Andrea on 22-05-2012
The Same Old Song
I agree. Can't say much more than that.

Author's Reply:

amman on 23-05-2012
The Same Old Song
Hard hitting; sure. It's the same the world over re. integration. It seems to take a generation or two. Your reply to Cooky says it all.
Cheers

Author's Reply:

RoyBateman on 23-05-2012
The Same Old Song
Indeed, a powerful piece which conveys its meaning without any excess verbiage. Well done. I agree with your sentiments, as amost thinking folk would, but I hold no great hopes for the future: we've totally messed up "integration" with the underlying belief, held by so much of the establishment, that immigrants shouls have their beliefs etc. respected: that's not the way. I don't respect anyone, native or immigrant, who believes in child witchcraft, for example. Ugh... And so many groups seem to want to drag on old conflicts for ever - the Middle East? A relative newcomer, when some Irish folk can still rake up the misdeeds of Cromwell! I've always been struck by the way the US deals with this - when people go there, they seem to want to become New Americans, flag and all, in a way that folk don't here. I've gotta hand it to the Americans - they do this sort of thing so much better than we do!

Author's Reply:

Texasgreg on 25-05-2012
The Same Old Song
Been thinkin' on swimmin' over to Mexico, myself. Gettin' ashamed of my heritage lately. Sorry Roy, you haven't seen my America through my eyes. Yes, I was being facetious about leaving as there are many things I adore here, such as freedom of press to keep things honest, but I see even that threatened with the advent of stations with an agenda. Thank-you for your pen and penchant, Ewan.

Greg 🙂


Author's Reply:


Advice (posted on: 14-05-12)
This is advice I ought to take myself...

Never use one word, where pure logorrhoeaic confusion would do. It is perfectly fine to use an adverb when you seek rejection. As for adjectives, do choose the most obvious and uninspired. Or write just one thing, that isn't pap recycled: doesn't that feel good?
Archived comments for Advice
amman on 14-05-2012
Advice
A salutary lesson for us all, and learned a new word in the reading.
Regards.

Author's Reply:
Thanks for reading. No matter how many times I give myself this advice, I never act on it. 😉

Andrea on 14-05-2012
Advice
Oh yes, verbal diarrhoea. Those Russians (Dostoevsky et al) were masters at it - never use one word when 200 will do. Mind you, those Russian classics are amongst my favourite books!

Nice little piece, Ewan.

Author's Reply:
And mine to be honest, but I think they'd struggle to get into print today, wouldn't they?

Bradene on 14-05-2012
Advice
Dickens was a bit wordy too but I loved to read him. But in poetry perhaps less is best. Valx

Author's Reply:
Maybe it is,at that. I re-read Dickens' entire oeuvre every 4 or 5 years. Next time will be number 5, despite his faults he was and is a marvellous story-teller.

Ionicus on 14-05-2012
Advice
A sound advice Ewan but we know it doesn't apply to us, don't we?
'logorrhoeaic': that's another word to add to my vocabulary.

Author's Reply:
Ha... 'we' know, but the agents and editors don't!! LOL

chant_z on 16-05-2012
Advice
I rely solely on google translate. I refute it thus 😉

Author's Reply:
Ooer. I put the above phrase into Finnish and back using Google translate:

" It should rely solely on the interpreter to Google. That is why I do not accept "

My hovercraft is full of eels!

🙂

Capricorn on 20-05-2012
Advice
Well they do say 'less is more'
I have also learned 'logorrhoeaic' as a new word.
Great read!
Eira

Author's Reply:


So It Goes... (posted on: 07-05-12)
how it is...

Some days your words are honey-dipped, some days as dry as autumn's leaves, I think that somewhere I have tripped, slipped up and something grieves you, though I mean no wrong. Those days are days without the sun, days as grey as some of my hair, I know that something I have done is unforgiven because I'm not there, is it the singer, not the song? These days are when I must bite my lip, these cold days of your caprice, You know that my tears will slowly drip in silence, and I will always keep my peace, for I cannot be angry for very long.
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Once Upon A Time (posted on: 07-05-12)
A fairy tale of sorts....

Once upon a time. A universal phrase, found in every language known to man. Erase una vez, Es war einmal. Perhaps even the dolphins have a few clicks and some chirps that mean this. What does it really mean though? 'On one specific occasion on the upper surface of an indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole there were three bears' just isn't going to cut the mustard somehow... The point is, like many phrases, we all know what 'once upon a time' means as an idea. So we don't need to deconstruct it, maybe we should write 'onceuponatime' I reckon we could just write 'Somewhen'. Well then: somewhen, somewhere, somehow, someone is born. In circumstances of some disadvantage; perhaps they have a wicked stepmother - or father, come to that. Perhaps they are the youngest of three, seven or twelve. There will have been something about them, something out of the ordinary. Our story's hero cannot be any Jesus, Dave or Benny. Let's call him Ernest, it's important that his name means something, almost. Naturally, some biblically arbitrary misfortune will befall his family; famine, plague, war or just a horseman riding by. In any case, there will be some conflict to resolve. A challenge or enemy to overcome: a Philistine giant, or one who lives up a beanstalk. It doesn't matter which. Somewhen, Ernest survives the flooding of Holmgard, a small village on the edge of the kingdom of.... let's say, Aliquot, because it's got to be called something. It's nearly always a small village, isn't it? That's why American fairy tales never work. You can't be Jack the Giant Killer from Chicago, can you? And no-one, not even the hay-seediest of rubes would admit to coming from Holmgard in up-state New Jersey. (Aliquot isn't much like 'Noo Joisey' State, but it's about the same size.) Anyway, Holmgard is on the edge of Aliquot because the story has to involve a journey, as any fan of TV talent shows will know. So Ernest has survived the flood by accident, having lain in a coffin rather than polishing the brass on the handles, thereby proving himself a ne'er-do-well. If this were a modern American fairy story - or movie - we would call Ernest a nerd, naturally Please myth, we need a wise old man! A wizard with a beard, perhaps. Or some woodcutter with a nice line in homespun gnomic phrases. Ernest has started on his journey with some hard cheese and a bun in a 'kerchief tied to a stick. Suddenly Ernest meets a man in a pointy hat! 'Good morrow, Peterkin!' he says. Ernest looks serious, 'That's not my name, and what's a morrow, good or otherwise?' 'Bollocks!' says the man. 'Wrong fairy tale, I expect.' Ernest walks on by whistling a tune. The man sticks out a foot, tripping the boy in a light, fantastic manner. 'Hey, Old Man!' is Ernest's entirely predictable reaction. 'Sage, please. And you are?' 'I'm Ernest,' says Ernest. 'I'll bet you are,' replies Sage. Sage prods a shoe like a pointy slipper into Ernest's ribs, 'What's the plan, young man?' 'Plan? What plan? I'm off to seek my fortune, find some hidden treasure that kind of thing, Old Man.' The pointy slipper must be more robust than it looks, for a swift kick produces a yelp as the old man reiterates, 'It's Sage, that's my name.' This elicits a grunt from Ernest, proving that young adolescent males, even those of somewhen, are often less than articulate. The young man, or little-more-than-a-boy, as is common in such imaginings, looks from his now broken stick to the bearded man. 'What?' says he. 'What about my stick?' says Ernest. 'Isn't it a magic stick?' comes the reply. 'Where would I get a magic stick?' 'Man, you stink at this, you really do,' says Sage. 'Are you going to magic it better?' Ernest doesn't quite wither under the look Sage gives him, but he ought to. 'No, no I'm not. There'll be Thyme for that later.' Ernest doesn't laugh, since he can't see the joke as he's not reading this, you are. Sage pulls out a knife of some size and cuts something suitable from a nearby tree of a species with suitable mystical associations depending on your culture and folklore. Ernest accepts the stick with a smile and raps sharply three times with it on the ground. Nothing happens apart from the smile disappearing. Sage sighs and says, 'Use stick with 'kerchief.' Ernest doesn't laugh at this either because no-one in Aliquot has played The Black Cauldron. Suddenly there's a puff of smoke! Sage remains steadfastly visible however and walks out of frame. Stick used with 'kerchief, Ernest feels refreshingly more experienced and goes deep into the forest. Of course, Ernest gets lost and encounters an ogre, a troll or some low-level government official, depending on which kind of boogie-man keeps you and yours awake at night. This is usually where some riddle has to be solved, but - to be honest - riddles are a bit like jokes, once you've heard them once they're never the same. So we'll allow that by hook or by crook, Ernest has guessed the answer to some fiendishly clever riddle posed by an ogre, a troll or a Diversity Implementation Officer. (If you really must have a riddle, my favourite is ''Why is a raven like a writing desk?'') Oh, and there's got to be a princess. Maybe a Jewish Princess, who is arrogant looking and don't know shit about cooking. Okay, maybe not Jewish, but the second two most likely count. Certainly, she's got to be someone who'd never look twice at the the seventh son of a seventh bum from some no account place in up-country Aliquot. Puh-lease! Our Princess is called Princess Roil, on account of she gives most of the servants in the Golden Palace a rough ride. Okay, maybe she's not just arrogant looking. The Golden Palace of course is in Aliquot's capital, which doesn't have a name, since this is a fairy story and we need to be able to tell it in the Harz Mountains, at a caravanserai just outside Nineveh or on a small planet quite near to Betelgeuse, relatively speaking. You've got to be vague about some stuff, so people can project their own myths onto the framework. King Sigmund loves His Little Princess and decides that no-one is good enough for his sweet little maid-in-the-shade. So he locks her up in a tower and decides on some impossible tasks which inevitably will number three. Fairy stories like threes, from goats gruff to little pigs, that's just the way it is. This digressionary part continues whilst the all-seeing eye, your kindly, omniscient and in no way obtrusive narrator, (Jacob, Wilhelm or Hans, whichever you prefer) relates the complexity of the tasks and two noted failures at them by Princes or Dukes or - as a last resort - some Count or other. 'Good Morrow, Count Integer!', says the King, and it's fair to say that they do speak funny in the capital of Aliquot. 'Like Hi, your Highness! Unhuh-huh-huh.' Count Integer's first name is Beavis. It might have been worse, I suppose. 'Are you come to meet the challenge and win the hand of the Princess Roil?' (See, they do talk funny!) 'Just the hand, Highness? Unhuh-huh-huh,' is the callow Count's reply. Surprisingly, King Sigmund doesn't have him killed on the spot. Perhaps because the King's Men are practising doo-wop singing in the barber shop at the palace gates. Whatever, the three tasks will surely be the end of this buffoon, Sigmund reckons. 'Count Integer, art thou sure thou wouldst accept the challenge?' The Count shrugs and mumbles something that might be 'like, okay.' You have to imagine the tarantara, as the King and the Count and the courtiers do, since it's the Herald's day off and he's off polishing his horn at The Hollow Concept over a mead, or a porter or an old-fashioned ale. Anyway, King Sigmund, announces in a most kingly fashion. 'You must demonstrate the meaning of Π!' 'Pie?' ' Π.' 'Like Pecan, Pumpkin....' King Sigmund pulls a lever like the old handbrake on a classic car. Count Integer disappears into the hole in the marble floor that has appeared in front of the throne. Count Integer is unhurt as his fall is broken by the bodies of numerous Princes, Dukes and such. He is not the only Count to have ended up in the dungeon either. 'Call me Monte,' says a straggle-haired, wispy bearded fright to Count Integer. 'Whassup, Monte,' Monte gives him both eyes rolling in different direction and screams, 'Did he ask you about Π ?' 'Like Pot Pie? Pizza Pie?' Monte siezes the thigh bone of a former Prince of Hohenzollern and smashes Count Integer's brain-pan in. Monte's been locked up for fourteen years and all of a sudden he's in a completely different story, one in which he's sure no-one has heard of Edmund Dantes. So we don't blame him for despatching the irritating Count Integer, but where does this leave our digression? There are another two tasks to hear about yet. Luckily for you, and perhaps for me, two Princes tie Monte up with his own ragged trousers. It transpires that Prince A, (I've forgotten their names, Ok? Can you remember the name of the wizard-y type guy at the beginning, huh?) failed task two after demonstrating with the aid of a blackboard and a quite flamboyant amount of chalk, that although he could not explain Π , he certainly understood a lot more about it than dear old Sigmund. Prince B is Prince A's younger brother. Prince B saw Prince A's pyrotechnic Π performance and his failure at the second hurdle. Two Princes have sat and talked for hours; debating the second task, this does not prevent them from returning to the subject now. 'Say B, run it by me again, what was the question?' 'What do women want?' 'I just can't keep hold of the question, y'know. I think it must be retrograde amnesia, brought on by post traumatic stress syndrome.' Prince A gives a little sniff as he says this. 'You're just embarrassed about the answer that got you down here!' Prince B feels like the older brother since they've been stuck in the dungeon, really. 'What'd I say?' 'I still can't believe you said it at all, bro!' 'What, what?' 'Freedom from oppression and a line of credit at a nail salon.' Prince A faints with embarrassment, leaving Prince B to wonder what a nail salon is, and what was wrong with his own answer, 'A Chivalrous Caveman', which still seems perfectly good to him. Meanwhile, (ok we'll let that one go, but etymologically it means in the intermediate TIME. Man, that word is complicated!) back in the dark, dread-ly and deciduous forest, Ernest has passed gingerbread houses, granny-bonnetted wolves, some palace overgrown with thorns where a distinctly un-beautiful snoring is coming from the windows and only bits of bread on the forest floor to eat since the 'kerchief's contents were finished. Ernest is pretty fed-up and to cheer himself up, he decides that he's on a quest rather than seeking his fortune and this straightens his spine somewhat. He hits his head on a low branch and passes out. Ernest wakes up with a mild concussion to see a familiar-looking figure sitting on the bole of a nearby tree. Naturally, this is also a tree with mystic associations appropriate to your culture or planetary origin. Our hero squints dizzily at the man looking at him. Beard? N-oooo. Pointy hat? Definitely not, a round crown and an up-turned brim, you might know it as a bowler or a derby. To Ernest, it's just a funny-looking hat, but maybe it's the fashion outside of Holmgard. Come to think of it, the guy on the tree-trunk looks funny too, like he might be a bit simple. He takes off his hat and does a weird plucking thing with his shock of upright hair. Then he puts the hat back on again. Ernest isn't entirely stupid, so he phrases his question so the man doesn't take him for a half-wit, 'You're not Sage, are you?' 'Nope, I cer-tain-ly am not, O-' but his mouth snaps shut and he looks quite sad. Ernest, being sensible and quite a serious-minded chap, says, 'Is something the matter?' A brief light of sentience shines in the eyes under the brim of the bowler hat, 'Everything is matter, or anti-matter, I read that somewhere.' 'Are you nuts?' Ernest says. 'Nope, guess again!' the man replies and he gives the angelic smile of the idiot as he does so. ''This is stupid!' (And Ernest can't even read ahead to find out how true this is!) The man in the bowler hat says, 'If anyone cries at my funeral, I'll never speak to them again!' Ernest shrugs, picks up his non-magic stick and continues following the pieces of bread through the forest. He moves pretty fast and doesn't hear the man shouting, 'It's Laurel, my name is Laurel!' But it doesn't matter, anyone who can't hear the difference between Time and Thyme wouldnt have understood anyway. Suddenly, the trail of bread runs out. A rather fat goose stands in Ernest's way. He is smoking a large Cuban. Cigar that is, just in case you thought this story too preposterous to be true. 'If I will have all the bread that guys like you have stolen from me, I have all the bread to start a chain of kosher delicatessen across the whole of Canada with enough to open in some of upstate New York. But I wish to say that I never take it personal, although it helps with my digestion and any oviparous endeavours that I am in the habit of undertaking. More than somewhat, I might add.' Ernest, is less taken aback by the talking goose than the smell of the reeking stogie, which has doubtless engendered the gravelly, pungent delivery of the goose's words. More than somewhat, you might say. So Ernest says, 'Yeah, well, like sorry, y'know.' And he drags the point of a felt boot through the dirt, although he doesn't quite know why. (Hey! Clearly, I've made him do it to make him seem gauche. I'm showing not telling. Jeez! You think Perrault puts up with this?) 'Sorry, you might be. I will not deny that you oughta be, fellah. But I got a deal for ya. I wish to say that I will be grateful if you will help me in my latest oviparous delivery. You can keep what comes out, so long as you lay off any bread that you might find at any future time.' The goose holds out a wing expectantly, and Ernest shakes it. After a struggle, Ernest is left with a heavy golden egg in the palm of his hand and a considerable amount of goose-shit about his person. 'I took you for a rube, son. I wish to say that I have not often been in error, but this time I am, more than somewhat. No country boy would make such a phedinkus of getting an egg from a goose's ass, or I ain't Goldie the Goose.' Goldie the Goose goes on her way giving several derisory honks. Golden egg in pocket, Ernest continues blundering blindly through the forest, there being no bread to follow. At some point he stumbles into a clearing, because all these trees are getting monotonous, even for me. And I like trees, on the whole. There's a man in a pointy hat, with a beard and the pointy-toed shoes and though it might not be Sage, it's his brother, or they are both members of the same Lodge, or maybe they're Shriners. Ernest halloos the man with a hearty 'Good Morrow!' and is greeted with a drawled, 'How veddy, veddy twee! Good day, Ernest!' Not being able to think of anything else to say, Ernest, in a display of quite un-adolescent good judgement, says nothing. 'Aren't you going to ask?' 'Ask what?' 'How I know your name?' 'I don't care,' Ernest is quite tired by now. If he knew about The Black Cauldron he'd be clicking on 'rest' right about this time. 'I'm Thyme,' the bearded man says with a sigh. 'Time?' 'No, Thyme.' He says. (Ernest looks puzzled, as, no doubt, do you. Thyme is not Time, but Time has no meaning for a wizard, nor place: no more for him than it does for that damned cat in the box. (Or not in the box, if you prefer). A good wizard can be in several wheres and several whens at once, Therefore, I put the case that he can hear the difference between the two homophones. Now that's magic.) 'No matter,' says Thyme. 'Now I'm going to teach you all about Π.' 'Pie, oh good! I'm sick of goddamn' bread.' Thyme sighs and there's a puff of smoke and a huge round pie appears on the ground in front of the two of them. Ernest makes a grab for the whole shebang and gets a cuff around the ear for his trouble. 'It's not for eating, you stupid boy!' Ernest ear is smarting so he sits on the ground and mumbles like a schoolkid who's just frightened enough of the teacher to keep his curses under his breath. Thyme takes a piece of string out of a somewhere where a pocket should be in his robe covered with mathematical symbols and rare Latin swear-words. 'Now listen boy...' he says and gives a terrible maths lesson starting with 2Πr and finishing up with irrationality and trascendence. Ernest is asleep. 'It's enough to make you a pessimistic incompatiblist', and he adds a word from his robe just for relish, though I can't swear he didn't just read it off his left elbow. Our hero experiences a moment of Deja Ow, as Thyme's pointy-toed slipper-like footwear tickles his ribs sufficiently to wake him and get him to his feet. 'And the second question will be... what do women want?' Thyme says. 'Second question?' Ernest asks. 'I've just told you how to answer the first one.' 'All that Pie-stuff?' Thyme puts the end of his long beard in his mouth and chews it for a while. Ernest feels a little ashamed and says ' Ok, the pie-stuff and what women want. Right, what's the answer to that one?' 'Who knows,' says Thyme. Ernest just says 'Ok, I'll get that myself, how hard can that be? And the third question?' Which proves that the rule of three is pretty much a universal truth as regards fairy tales, since if even a dullard from Holmgard knows it it must be universally known. Even near Betelgeuse. Ernest face falls as Thyme says. 'You'll know the answer when you hear the question.' There's a flash and a bang and Thyme fails to pull off a vanishing trick, too. He says something like 'landica', which is a very rude word indeed. 'Oh and change that stick, there's one over there,' and he's erased like Mickey Mouse from a pornographic acetate as Walt comes to check on the artists. Some time later, (a leap year, one light year, one jovian year, what does it matter?) Ernest, bum fluff on chin, magic stick in hand, rolls up to the gates of the Palace of the King of Aliquot. Aliquot has pretty much run out of Princes and Dukes from the surrounding kingdoms, duchies and principalities. In fact, only the occasional Count turns up for the challenge. Still, there's always some Count around to cock things up, isn't there. So, King Sigmund has pretty much declared the Princess Roil Challenge an open competition. This is why a burly gate guardian asks Ernest if he's there for the challenge to win a Princess. 'Why not?' says Ernest, using two of the most dangerous words in any of many worlds. Standing front and centre before the throne, Ernest is gripping tight to his magic stick. King Siggi's hand is hovering over the hand-brake lever and the first question has yet to be asked. Siggi is bored with the whole thing now, and reckons he might give the Princess Roil away to the first mope to make him laugh. Besides, Roil is thirty eight now, and a little fat from being locked in a tower. Her temperament's never been great and... well, let's just say the planets are aligned, if our boy can pull it off. Siggi yawns and says 'Explain Π?' Ernest says 'I need a Pie and a piece of string!' The maths lesson is much worse than Thyme's: the pie breaks and Ernest ends up in knots. Siggi is trying not to laugh. Having extricated himself from the string, Ernest stands upright, waiting patiently for whatever's going to happen next. Still, like the Caliph, King Sigmund is waiting to hear what comes next, and a tear squeezes out of his left eye and trails slowly down a weathered cheek. The king's hand draws away from the lever. 'What's your name, son?' The King says, he's been told, but he's forgotten in the twelve minutes that have passed since. 'I'm Ernest,' he says. There's a pause while the King's laughter passes to coughing, choking and then back again. Once sufficiently recovered, he says, 'Of course, you are. The second question is, What do women want?' The boy says the first thing that comes into his head, which, of course, is 'Who knows?' The King is helped by the Chamberlain of the Royal Privy to clean himself up, while Ernest waits patiently. The audience room is now full, since very few people get to question three and it's been a week since anyone turned up for the challenge. Especially since the broadsheets were sold showing a recent drawing of Princess Roil. There's an expectant hush. The King stands on the dais in front of the throne, holds out a declaiming arm like he's seen in the woodcuts in the history books, 'What is Time?' Ernest scratches his head, stares at the magic stick in his hand, 'What? You mean who! He's a wizard!' And it is the right answer, or the King has had enough, for the outcome is the same. It is merely the wild coincidence of fairy-tales that the Court Magician named Thyme went to live in the Forest several years ago, and who can argue with coincidence? Of course, Ernest and the Princess Roil are married with great pomp and circumstance, and if they dine on partridge to the end of the days, what does it matter? And if they do not live happily ever after, King Sigmund surely will.
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Serpentine (posted on: 30-04-12)
I posted this for Friday, but it didn't appear! How odd. Oh well, it never made it in time for the challenge either.

Come on, find me, follow the snaking geometry of my paths converging - from Afghanistan and Myanmar- on the marbled wonders surging in Athens, Rome and Malabar. Juggle my names, each so different in their claims: Lizardite - pebble smooth on your tongue Antigorite as jagged as a mouthful of flint, how far were these minerals flung? I am the schist, marble's sunlit glint. I come -find you - I have other natures too: I shield from greedy flames' tongues, I am implacable as Cronos. Insiduous, I slither in your lungs. I am serpentine, asbestos.
Archived comments for Serpentine
franciman on 30-04-2012
Serpentine
Hi Ewen,

This would have walked away with the challenge. So clever and so beautifully crafted, I wish I had written it. "I am the schist, marble's sunlit glint". So elegant.

cheers,
Jim

Author's Reply:

Bradene on 30-04-2012
Serpentine
What a clever way you chose or should I say path, I would never of thought of taking this view of the word serpentine, I especially liked the sinister aspect of the last verse. None of us realised the danger we were in sitting in those prefabricated classrooms after the war. A very clever and interesting take on the challenge, it\\\\\\\'s a pity you didn\\\\\\\'t make it for I feel sure you would have been egged. (-; Valx

Author's Reply:

amman on 01-05-2012
Serpentine
Very clever and so well written. Like the last explanatory line.
Cheers

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 01-05-2012
Serpentine
A very erudite and skilfully crafted poem, Ewan. Well done.

Author's Reply:

ChairmanWow on 01-05-2012
Serpentine
This poem crackles with understated rhymes and alliteration. My sister used to work in asbestos abatement. Insidious stuff, asbestos.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

chant_z on 03-05-2012
Serpentine
Very insightful writing with a nice twist by the end. My sincere compliments as an outsider 🙂

Author's Reply:


Belle Hart (posted on: 27-04-12)
hmm...

She's a picture, that girl. Statuesque, although she sure can move. Dances like she has music in her bones. Poetry in motion, as someone wrote once. She's the thing, the play that became an opera, the novel that became an art-house film: the sketch that became the Pantheon. She's all that.
Archived comments for Belle Hart
Andrea on 28-04-2012
Belle Hart
Really liked it, but who's Belle Hart? I did fond this one http://www.bellehart.com/ who writes erotic books. Still, whoever she is, she'd like your pome, I'm sure 🙂

Am I being completely thick?

Author's Reply:
Painting, Sculpture, Music, Dance, Theatre - Belles Artes
I would guess the writer chose the name for similar reasons.
Thank you for Reading!

Andrea on 28-04-2012
Belle Hart
Oh, of course! Told you I was thick 🙂

Author's Reply:
Not at all, see below
regards
Ewan

amman on 28-04-2012
Belle Hart
I didn't get the reference either. Another thicko. Liked the poen tho'.
Cheers

Author's Reply:
Well, let's be fair: anything that needs to be explained perhaps doesn't work. I know many people who are of that opinion. I don't agree (but as Mandy almost said well he wouldn't, would he :-)). Even so, I reckon if everyone had to understand every word of everything, TS and DT (not to mention his Bobness)'s reputations would not be worth much, hm?

ChairmanWow on 28-04-2012
Belle Hart
Sometimes art is in the presenter more than in the presented. Interesting layout of lines.

Ralph

Author's Reply:

Ionicus on 29-04-2012
Belle Hart
Don't get me wrong, Ewan. I like it but the pedant in me would like to point out that it is usually 'belles lettres' and 'beaux arts'.

Author's Reply:
Yes, you're right: I'm afraid I've been in Spain too long, where such conversation revolves around Las Bellas Artes, which, I'm sure you'll agree, include all of the things mentioned. Fine arts, irrespective.

Bradene on 29-04-2012
Belle Hart
I'm afraid it all went over my head but then you already knew I was thick didn't you? didn't stop me liking your poem though, you have a very enjoyable way with words. and that's the most intelligent thing I can say. ( -; Valx

Author's Reply:


Friends Indeed (posted on: 20-04-12)
Needs must...

Two friends dot and carry to the roadside bar: friends of circumstance, acquaintanceship not mentioned for fear of insult, slight and irruption irreparable. Late life's relations are thread-like, delicate. Both faces are lined by life and the sun: one nut-brown, the other the angry red of the displaced Anglo-Saxon. They talk in riddles, the shared shorthand of the pre-internet age, they reminisce, pressing button B and polishing ha'pennies: one bravely tries a whistled tune and the birds on the telephone wires look on in shock. Stearns' polished shoes attract the dust that forms the track, Tam's trainers have seen other days, not better. They turn onto the bar's terrace in the middle of a joke as old as either of them and let the owner interrupt with a ''Buenas Tardes!'' that they parrot as best such people can. Both men stoop a little more at the sigh