Tuesday, 27 October 2009
Left to sour.
Her arm ached from his weight and her back urged to buckle. His face though: round, peaceful (perfect), slept an unending sleep.
So she waited on, wrapping the mac tighter about them as the rain pummelled on.
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
He traced a bloody path through the house of things left and turned right, but felt wrong.
The waterfall he had created ran red from the top, warping what he had forsaken.
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
It drowns out all common noise, that situational stuff kept locked up in one's subconscious.
I used to fight, but am now a disinterested shell, trapped up in this wondrous melody I can never identify.
Monday, 19 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
The bare, alien bulb swings like a thief.
“We could change the date.”
Slouched in his seat, he draws on a beer.
“But is that what we want?” Comes the reply from an eclipsed corner.
A laboured sigh.
“Neither of you understand.”
A rippled silence.
“Nor will you ever.”
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
It was bears this time, in my bedroom. I had to hide beneath the covers, hide my breath and my scent.
If I wanted to live I had to become, in effect, dead.
I could not move, could not tremble - could not fear.
But then the wet snout started its way down my spine.
Sunday, 11 October 2009
I remembered then what I had meant to do.
Night was bleeding out and I couldn’t see your face.
I placed my fractured fingertips against the edge of your thigh.
It felt dry and cold, so I placed an ear against your chest and held my breath, for hope of hearing a thump.
Friday, 9 October 2009
I waited by the door most days. On that hard step, where we first met.
When it rained, I wore a coat. When the sun went out, I held my phone up to see by; a little light shining for you.
Whenever the postman came, he would ask: “Still waiting?”
And I would reply: “Always.”
Also, I found this: it looks like the berries are exploding out of her mouth, like she is mother nature.
Monday, 5 October 2009
“Where will you be?”
“At the apocalypse.”
He snorts, and rolls his head back.
She continues to look at him, unmoving; deadpan.
They dangle their legs over the concrete ledge, close to the lapping canal water. Dead scum floats beneath their feet and it smells faintly of a harbour when the tide rolls out. They watch light dancing against the blank underbelly of the bridge, carrying traffic. Around them the detritus of broken industry lies shattered; a burnt out car, rusted steel drums, puddles made iridescent with a thin veneer of oil. A halo of fast food packaging flutters in the wind. Few boats wander past. Crickets chatter.
He thinks about what it would be like, to see the world end. Would it be quick, or drawn out? Would he even have the chance to make a phone call? He lies back a moment and tries to imagine that the sun is now a searing explosion washing over his body. If it was, then he’d be dead by now. Vaporised: burned into the earth as a permanent shadow.
“With my family then, I guess.”
“I don’t think you understand. It’s not about where you want to be, but where you will be.”
“I never thought about it like that.”
“It’s not such an easy question.” She holds her hands out, palms up as though the concept were an object for him to see. Her naked feet form a Newton’s cradle. The sound of skin kissing bounces off the water and concrete. He feels, for a moment, as he did when he was a child at the local swimming pool, listening to the unreal sounds of water slapping and voices ricocheting. Chlorine burning his nostrils.
He draws his eyes down, shuttering them from the sun.
“I’d be at home then, he says: sleeping and it would all be over by the time I woke up, or rather I would never wake up because I miss important events. Always have,” he adds, quieter.
“I like that.” She pulls a loose hair from his cheek and blows it away. “Permanent sleep. I wonder if you’d carry on dreaming.”
She brushes back one side of her hair, tucking it behind an ear. She cranes her head a little. The first audible chug from a pleasure boat rolls in from around a distant meander.
“I think I’ll be in a supermarket,” she says. “And I’ll be the only one smiling. Have you ever noticed that? That people never smile in supermarkets? They all carry expressions of boredom; or else annoyance, or inconvenience. I saw this woman once, in the queue and she was worried, you know? Like something was distressing her. She had the face of a trapped animal.”
“I’ve never looked that closely.”
“Well I have. And that’s where I’ll be, with all those people and I don’t think their expressions will be any different.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Why don’t you?”
“That’s not what I was asking.”
She giggles at him and shakes her head.
“Alright then,” she says. “I think it will be because they won’t realise what’s happening to them, because the idea that they will all die and no-one will be there to remember them, will be too much to handle. They won’t be able to comprehend it, so they’ll carry on as if nothing is wrong.”
“You’re a pessimist.”
“I’m not deluding myself. There’s a difference.”
“But what if they did realise?”
“They’d laugh. Really hard.”
“It’d be too late, the apocalypse will have happened.”
Looking back, it feels a bit weird. If I knew what I'd be doing right now, I would have laughed at myself, and even felt a little shame.
Life is so ordinary, isn't it?
I hope my writing has improved. F&#@ that, I know it has. That was the point, and I have tried not to lose sight of that. At a few points I did. This time last year I stopped blogging altogether, between the start of October and mid December, and then again until January. I blamed writer's block.
There is no such thing.
I now update on a regular basis and each time, I try to push myself a little further up the hill. The funny thing about hills is, of course, that gravity wins when you're too tired. I think I understand Sisyphus a little better now.
His problem was that he was too proud. I have next to none. So I will keep writing, because I have nothing left to lose.
Over the past year I have started two novels, ditched one and now I'm diving back into the second. Maybe by next year I'll have finished it. Whatever happens, these words will feel strange by then.
Up next is a short story I thought I hadn't finished. Why should I let it waste away amongst endless tweaking?
Shed your pride, and you'll stand a little taller.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
I followed his deliberate movements across the limestone to the edge. He combed three fingers through his greying beard.
Against the noon sun his body formed a dark blot on the landscape.
He then collapsed to his knees and allowed his profile to face me, and said: Is this how you would remember my body?