Shorty short: Dinner at 6 

Eric looked at the grey sky. Then his watch. Then back at the sky. It was a miserable day whichever way you looked at it, and the worst part was, there was well over 12 hours of it he had to endure. For God’s sake, how was he going to avoid the commotion?

As he stood there on top on his narrow steps down leading to the footpath, he wondered. Couldn’t he just slip back inside the house, change back into his comfy trousers and hoodie, call his work and feign contagious flu, then brew a cup of milk tea, slump on the couch, watch old episodes of Friends and pretend the world outside his door didn’t exist?

Instead, he was dragging his feet on the ground, eyes barely looking up for fear of seeing the flood of pink, or huddles of couples giddy as teens hooking up for the first time. Ugh! He thought. Stupid, silly people. Didn’t they know what was waiting for them at the end of it all? And yes, there was going to be an end. Either the relationship would die, or one of the two will go first. Either way, doomed! Just to be left with an ache in your chest no amount of binge drinking foul tasting beer, or hitting the scene will fix.

The whole 15 minutes to his work, Eric kept his head down, the music loud and angry in his ears, and a chant in his head, ‘She is dead to me. She is dead to me.’ He forgot the number of people he bumped into thus. But it must have been the effects of the day, but no one seemed to mind that he walked into them, sliced past them, or plain out spun them around. They just smiled, wished him a wonderful day and continued, bewitched.

By the time Eric got to work, the place was maxed with customers, laughing, giggling, whispering, making goo goo eyes or making out. Ugh! ‘She is dead to me,’ he muttered, causing a lady waiting in line to order coffee frown at him.

‘Hey Eric, got any plans for tonight?’ Mickie asked, rattling around the coffee bar as he spotted Eric. Eric shrugged, got behind the counter, chucked on an apron and said, ‘I think I’ll go out the back today.’

Mickie grabbed him by the shoulder. ‘Not gonna work man. I want that handsome face out here where customers can see you, today of all days. Now get on the register.’

Eric forced a smile and approached the register. ‘What can I get for you?’

‘Where can I get me I one of you?’ The old lady winked her wrinkled eye, giggling like a school girl when Eric gave her half a smile. ‘I’m only kidding. How about a cup of flat white and you for dinner tonight?’

Mickie laughed, pouring a shot into a cup. ‘Don’t do it lady, not unless you want to be a rebound.’

The lady giggled and oohed. ‘I don’t mind,’ winking once more at Eric.

‘One flat white coming up,’ Eric gave her a hard stare and her change back. Then he turned to Mickie. ‘What the hell you doing man, embarrassing me like that?’

‘Oh come on. I’m just trying to fix you up. No one should be alone tonight man.’ Mickie’s cheerfulness dropped several degrees. He handed a couple of takeaways over the counter and dropped his voice to a whisper. ‘Mrs Mackerel,’ nodding towards the old lady sitting in the corner table still smiling at them. Mickie smiled back. ‘She lost her husband of 50 years this year. This is the first time she’ll be spending today alone. Where’s the harm in trying to make her smile?’

Eric felt low. So low. Here he was wallowing in self pity over a one year old relationship. He grabbed Mrs Mackerel’s coffee and walked off.

‘Here you are, your coffee,’ he placed the cup in front of her and returned her smile, ‘and your date for tonight. What time shall I pick you up and where?’

The smile that lit her face, it was all he could see for the rest of the day. It was what made the day fly by, and before he knew it, he was knocking on the door of her granny flat. He held out the bouquet as she opened the door, wearing her Sunday best.

‘How do I look?’ She asked. ‘Wonderful.’ He replied, taking her hand in his. ‘You look wonderful tonight.’

[Today’s prompt : it’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t mention love, Cupid, roses, February, Valentine or heaven.]

Poem, Twisted Fairy tales: Old Grumpy Gretel

Once upon a time
deep in the woods, beyond the pines
where light was green, filtered through lush canopy
there, where the soaked earth remained for days
there, where the birds took solace from beasts
roamed a little old She in a clearing.
Her grizzly mane, the yellowed teeth,
those manic eyes beneath the fringe,
or such smile as there ever was,
the curdling cacophony
circles upon circles at the edge of trees
her eyes ever scanning, ever seeking
the one and only path to free.
There was a day of old in memory
when the woods had be thinner still
and dear old Papa had seemed caring
leading his kids to safety, hungry and in need.
Not such a good Papa, thought she
staring back at the old house, crumbling,
soaked like cookie in tea.
She’d been a young one once,
with a name, and a sibling
till the evil old witch thought she’d feed.

Round and round the trees she went, manic and mad,
freedom from the trees,
no more bread crumbs remained,
Just weak old Gretle, frail.
Lonesome and loathing were the days.

Poem: Sold

I’m a story teller by nature, and love the film medium for being such a rich environment that can weave very intricate tales, rich in details, much more than what a book can do in each scene. I especially love films that socially comment on issues in one society or another and brings it to light.

Recently, I heard about a film called ‘Sold’ based on a book about a young Nepali girl sold into human trafficking in India and her quest to find a way back home. It’s a topic I feel very passionate about, especially in situations where girls/women are treated as if they are nothing more than properties of someone who claims them, usually a male figure. I’ve slowly been working on a story that I’d like to myself turn into these dialogue film, but until then, I can only hope other story tellers and film makers keep shedding light to these heinous happenings of young girls being sold to brothels etc. be it anywhere in the world.

I don’t know quite why I felt I needed to post this, but, the movie inspired a poem, and I thought in order to do my tiny bit to keep this issue in light, it would be unjust to keep the poetry to myself. I apologise if the following should disturb anyone, but the intension is to represent perhaps a small fragment in the tapestry…

Sold,
what little remains
of memories, the hills that rolled
the mother that spoke,
so softly, so softly
the harsh world
hushed, locked away.
The pride you may take, maybe even mute frail voices
bind arms, shackled and weary
not a peep will be, though tears may fall
occasionally, as the night dives deep
so deep, the morning light creeps slowly.
In the rays of light such bygones forgotten brief
and there be the songs, of old hills and homes,
of a corner, safe and cosy
a haven, such small haven
from monsters that be.
Yet, morning brings neigh an image warm.
Sold, questioning humanity.
As night draws close, weary hearts in young bodies
sway with fright, the dread of what lay ahead
heavy. So heavy.

Poem: Bumblebee

Flutter my little bumblebee
flutter with wings that zing
and sing me songs of summer indeed,
flutter my little bumblebee
your gold and black flitting
like cotton candy treat,
won’t you swim through air
laden with sweet callings of nectar rich
from this flower to that,
as if in the blink of an eye
they shall vanish.
Flutter, my little bumblebee
for you are the joy that brings
the honey to my being.
Flutter, and let me wonder
how it is that you take
such beauty from blooms
and no harm come by.
Flutter, my little beauty
my darling girl
like the colorful and singing bumblebee
leave me the marveling at your beauty
the childhood that brings peace
that your laughter shall always grow
brighter and brighter
evermore.
Flutter, bumblebee.

Trouble writing? Here’s what you need to know.

I don’t know about most of you, but I know I’m struggling to write at the current moment. If you have been following me over the last few months, you’ll have noticed that I’ve been doing more Poetry recently rather than the short stories and articles. I was never really a fan of poetry, simply because I never really understood the differences from one to the next. However, the last couple of months has seen me write somewhere along the line of hundred or more poems across all sorts of genres/topics. Yet you wonder why I’m claiming I’ve been having trouble writing?!

Well, this is why.

… I’m trying to do so many things all at once, because, let’s face it, whether by default or not, we writers and other artists are pretty much made to feel like we haven’t achieved anything in our respective realms of art until we hit the big stage.

It’s draining!

… Knowing that there is this added pressure to prove ourselves to not only others, but ourselves. We have got to let go of this grand self-criticism. It’s doing us more harm that good, occupying our brain space with junk, and hence we find time slips by without much notice, and before we know it, we are anxious, and this anxiety renders us helpless.

Hence the trouble writing!

…Too much junk taking valuable space in the head. But I can offer some hope, ointment to use at times of overwhelming sense of pressure; a little ray of sunshine in knowing this:

100_Joseph_Heller[1]

(“Every writer I know has trouble writing.” – Joseph Heller)

I’d totally go and give late Mr Heller a big fat hug and a rigorous hand-shake for saying something like this out to the public, if I could, but writing about this is the next best thing I can do.

Funnily enough, this satirical writer is greatly known for his book, Catch-22, which is undeniably a situation most people in the creative field find themselves. Joseph Heller is the father of the phrase now in constant use: catch-22.

So, if you haven’t already, then take a moment, and let the quote sink in. Rather, let the meaning of it sink in. You are not alone, I and every other person out there who tries to write meaningfully has the same issue.

But here is what you should ultimately keep in mind: it’s only trouble, it’s not permanent! You will write, I will write, hell, we all will write!

In fact, after two months of not being able to write stories, here is a little peek into one that I began two days ago…

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Fingers crossed that the next time you come across, ‘Love Letter’, it won’t be in a photo, but actually be reading it here on the blog. 🙂 yes, I still write by hand!

…Fingers crossed!

She was Miss Manroe

Beauty pays a price
walking down the road of life.
Don’t think all the perks have no flaws
no rotten air poisoning the soul.
The leers and looks
and the hoots and toots,
these are endured with a smile.
She, who turns heads
as soon as she steps
out her door.
This young and vibrant soul
gets unravelled, all rearranged
for the show.
Always for the show.
She smiles wide her cherry lips,
flicks her curls of gold,
and walks down the road, as though floating
from a cloud.
She loves all who see her
she falls for the charm
the wide-eyed dreams of home
a place to call home.
But beauty paid a price
walking down the road of life
hand in hand with only those who stole
her self-respect, her confidence, her drive,
leaving her empty, filled with nothing but thoughts of demise.

And one fine day, they found her
all but a mannequin upon the bed
one they’d been trying to force,
cold, lifeless,
and no longer alive.
No longer the young, vibrant woman
who’d come stumbling upon a life so demanding,
so alone.
Such was the tragedy
of Marilyn Manroe.

(Don’t ask me why I felt compelled to write this today, for I do not really know all that well myself. In my defense, all I can say is that I recently -yesterday- watched a documentary on her life, a documentary based on some of Manroe’s own writings. It was a very compelling and driving tale, and I dare say, it obviously left a mental mark. I didn’t really set out to write this, but here it is, and it’d be a same to keep it hidden.)

Lil Sil at the Fountain of Youth

Lil Sil took a deep breath
lingering behind a tree and away from sight,
tonight was another Light Feast,
for all the young Fairies of age to earn their own light.
Sil felt nervous, apprehensive and frightened,
last year she had failed the task,
burnt the Fairy dust to charcoal alas,
and this year, she be the oldest of them all,
‘the-one-who-was-a-disaster’ and dangerous
and a little bit sulky all these months on.
So Sil hid away for as long as she could that night,
behind leaves and vine,
behind mounds of soil,
at one time so desperate and embarrassed
that she went and hid in her hiding place,
and empty wine bottle down the slope,
away from Fairies prying eyes,
and there she’d slither in through the neck
and lay leaning against the back wall.
Here she was safe, no matter if she was spotted
for she was the only one who could ever fit
through the tiny necked round gate.
She knew not how, she knew not,
she wasn’t the smallest,
but somehow, she was the only one who knew how.
So there she hid, waiting out the hours to midnight
hungry and scared.
She could not fail once again,
though she’d been practicing her potions and spells.
As the Moon rose taller, and as the time came,
Sil slide out by magic and made her way,
to that famous fountain of youth
with the little stone cherub
and her fate.
Tonight, she could not fail!
…and if she did?
Well, she had decided
that if she failed, then she would not ever go back home
to knock on that door
and forever be the joke.
Tonight was the night that would change Sil’s life
whether she stayed in South Grape, or whether she left,
a tiny Fairy in the big wide world
without a light,
without a way.
So Sil sighed, and took another stride
till she stood facing the cherub once more.

Related:
Lil Sil and the Light Gathering
Little Sil the Sulking Fairy

Miss Perfect: who be?

Miss Perfect,
how do you look?
Be you made of plastic
or would that be wood?
Do thy possess no flaws
in your manicured grasp,
or that slight suave
of swaying hips?
Will you laugh openly to a bad joke
or cover and deliver a short giggle, upon poised perch?
And when you speak
do words float out, candied
or are your game to show a side of humanity? Or perhaps, Miss Feisty?
Should I concede, now and again
that beauty is as far as eyes can see?
Guided by sweetened words and batting eyes?
Cause that woman down the corner,
with neigh perfect smile
nor stance and swaying hips
to look upon you and compare
as though orange to strawberry?
Can that woman not claim an ounce of beauty,
for wearing her heart of gold
on her sleeve?

(Inspired by conversation between two people.)

Hardest goodbye

Day perfect
a day blessed,
such is the way
I want it to stay
for you
hopefully
your most favorite hello
one you wish for
more and more
and each day may go
with me in tow
longing to hear
your hello.
And so the crazy selfish wish goes
that I might
maybe
be your hardest goodbye
one you may never
utter
not even once
for once
is once too often enough.

(This poem is based on the saying: may I be your fondest hello, and your hardest goodbye. I like to surf net for some inspiration sometimes :). )

In the Forest Deep

Can you hear the soft cries
carried in the wind tonight?
Can you feel the chill set in
in the cottage upon a lonely hill?
Can you hear the fire crackle
inside the old sooty oven?
And there be a gentle girl stirring something foul
her leg harnessed with iron and bound.
She sniffles and she sobs
every now and then with a glance
towards the cagey room
where chubby, her brother morns
the untimely tragedy about to unfold.
‘Can you not do anything, Sister?’ he asked small,
and with some force kicked the metal bars.
The little girl thought and thought
of how scared the old hag is of pigs
wild and uncaged
and so she sets about to make a gingerbread pig
muddy and all.
She stirs and she stirs till she can’t stir anymore.