I am drunk on light
its golden hues
intoxicate the senses
multi-coloured jewel drops
sparkle in the grass
I would collect them
store them in a jar
to light the dark.
I am drunk on light
its golden hues
intoxicate the senses
multi-coloured jewel drops
sparkle in the grass
I would collect them
store them in a jar
to light the dark.
Living with animals
Can be a chore.
The cat woke at five
He wanted out the door
The dog went out
And came in to puke
On my floor
A delightful breakfast
Combo of cat poo
And clear vomit
There it sits
Awaiting my pleasure
Beneath the paper
Soaking it up.
The cat runs in
And yells for food
How can you think
At a time like this?
He doesn't care
How I feel
All he wants
Is the attention.
The dog stares apologetic
But he isn't doing squat
To clean it up!
I still love 'em don't I?
I have never held you, never touched you, never smelt your unique scent.
Never brushed the hair from your eyes, nor trailed a finger down your cheek.
I have never cuddled you close; never seen you look at me in that special way
I know you will, with that small loving smile hovering on your lips.
I have never shared a drink, a kiss, a strawberry, licked your ice-cream cone,
Nor held your hand as we walk down the beach.
I have never rolled over in bed and felt your comforting warmth beside me.
I have never heard your snore, nor had a chance to be annoyed when you leave the toilet seat up.
I have never watched you sleep, never sat beside you in a car,
My hand on your leg feeling the play of muscles as you drive.
I have never watched you eat, never watched you exercise,
Never explored every inch of your body comparing scars and injuries
In one of those exercises only lovers do.
I have never scratched your back, nor had you scratch mine.
Never watched you dress or undress.
Never smelt your cologne, or let you smell mine.
Never watched you brush your teeth, or smelt the minty freshness of your toothpaste.
All these ordinary things and more we have never done, and yet
I remain always grateful for the closeness we do have.
The intimacy of our conversation, the things we have shared,
The deep things of our innermost soul we have bared.
The trust we have developed, the small games we play,
The secret messages we send. I long for this to end,
Yet in a way I will regret its passing, but I expect
That which is to come, will be all the greater for this moment apart.
My neighbour stood
hanging out the washing
oblivious to the trouble
playing above her head.
A pair of cheeky faces
peered down at her;
I watched the drama unfold
through my window.
The faces withdrew
tussled with each other
up high on the roof.
I laughed at their antics
as they tumbled above
my neighbour's bobbing head;
I marveled at her ignorance.
The coup de grâce
was delivered with grace
when the monkeys leaped
over her startled face.
I confess I saw it coming
but was no less amused
when the monkeys abused
her washline as a flying trapeze.
The smile was later
on the other side of my face
when they swung by
and visited my place.
(This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental)
To have a good lawn takes a lot of work. Anyone who has ever tried to cultivate one knows this. We don't strive for turf to rival the verdant swathes of a well manicured golf-course or the velvet-like finish of a bowling green, but we like to imagine that one day our patchy, weed-infested, half-dead grass will suddenly blossom and instantly catapult us to the highest echelons of prideful home-owners.
As a result we weed, and mow, and apply copious amounts of fertilizer and top dressing. We rake, trim, and water with the zealousness of the determined gardener. We study guides and we look enviously at our neighbour who bought that "wonder mix" from the advert on T.V. which astonishingly actually turned his wasteland into a green wonderland. Just as we think maybe we should do the same, it all dies and we turn with a sigh (and no small amount of schadenfreude) back to our own lawn and resume the endless round of water, cut, trim, weed.
My mother was no stranger to the rampant urges of the dedicated amateur to achieve that pristine sward that graces noble homes and she did her share of the cycle of work. We lived through the applications of pig, chicken and cow manure that made our house smell like a barnyard and drove us to play inside instead of out. We endured the Saturdays spent in fetid nurseries looking for that magic elixir that would get rid of the weeds or make the stubborn stubble sprout long blades of green. We carried bags of fertilizer and cavorted in the rain throwing it wildly to the winds. We joined in the fervent prayers to the lawn gods to please make it grow.
After many years my mother's efforts paid off and we had a small, smooth, green, soft lawn. It wasn't Wimbledon, and no-one would roll a ball across it with effortless ease, but it was a LAWN. She would go out in the evenings and run a hand over it when no-one was looking and smile. She had won. So you can understand the outrage when she discovered a small, round, dead spot in the middle of the lawn during one of her evening inspections.
My mother is a small woman, not prone to raising her voice, but that evening a roar rose from the garden, "Who killed the grass!" She stomped into the house, "Did one of you do something?" We all vehemently denied any knowledge of who or what the lawn-killer might be. The next night there was another small, round, dead spot right next to the first which had grown larger. "One of you is responsible!" My mother had discovered untapped volumes to her voice. Again we all denied all knowledge and/or responsibility.
As the days wore on and more spots appeared, my mother went through all the stages of grief, first there was anger, directed at the unknown responsible party "The person responsible had better watch out'; then there was denial, "This can't be happening'; and finally there was acceptance, 'I need to find out what is killing the lawn". We all went to the nursery the next weekend and a long conversation ensued with the resident lawn expert. "Small round spots...yes they are round...no they are not black...yes yellow...overnight...spreading."
The expert nodded and delivered his diagnosis, "It's gold-spot fungus."
"And how do I get rid of it?" My mother honed in on the important point.
"Pee on it!" The expert said.
My mother was made of stern stuff, she didn't blush, or ask how, she just gathered us up and went straight home, "Jimmy," (this was my father) "Come!" She led my father outside and aimed him at the first spot, "Pee on it" she commanded. My father baulked, pointing out that he didn't need to urinate, it was broad-daylight and the neighbours were watching. My mother didn't bat an eye, "Fine we will do it later."
And so they did. Once it was safely dark (even if the neighbours were watching they couldn't see anything) my father was forced to overcome his shy bladder and dutifully urinate on each and every spot. To ensure accuracy my mother knelt on the lawn and highlighted each place with a small penlight torch (too much light and the neighbours would see). A month later the gold spot was dead and my father's duty was over. I remember afterwards my father could be observed watching the lawn carefully. I don't think it was because he hankered after that dream lawn.
Maisie never fit in.
There was a wall between her
and the rest of the world.
The wall existed from the start of her life
and continued until the very end.
Her earliest memories were of sitting alone
while the other children played.
She ate alone.
She sat alone.
She stayed at home alone.
A sense of separateness consumed her whole life.
It clung to her like cigarette smoke clings to clothing
and its reek warned others away.
No man is an island, as the poet wrote,
and Maisie was no exception.
Her first attempt to break the wall down was in kindergarten.
Her mother took her from school for a dental appointment
and bought Maisie an ice-cream on the way home.
Maisie bore her cone back to school, resisting the urge to take a lick;
no matter how inviting its creamy smoothness.
It dripped down her hand as it melted,
but she resolutely ignored the temptation
and took her offering into the playground,
thinking no child would ignore an offer to have a lick.
Yet that is exactly what happened.
Not one child Maisie offered her treat accepted.
Finally, Maisie tossed its soggy, melted remains in the bin
and sat alone dejected.
As the years went by Maisie went through stages
where she accepted the wall and made no attempt
to integrate herself into the groups.
At other times, she tried to fight the wall and find a way to fit in.
Her attempts ranged from sitting on the fringes
hoping to be absorbed by a form of social osmosis,
at other times she invited one or more children to play.
Birthdays were a torment of indecision—
who was least likely to refuse to come,
thus satisfying her mother's need to throw a birthday party.
Maisie made it through childhood and adolescence
alternating a need for society
with an acceptance of her independence from it.
In early adulthood, Maisie made her last final attempt
to rectify her situation and breach the wall.
She read books. She studied people.
She tried to repair her apartness
by adapting chameleon-like to her surroundings.
If the group laughed, she laughed.
If they preferred a song, a singer, an actor, a film,
she preferred the same.
If they spoke of boys, love, and things they had done,
she spoke of them too.
She became so adept at altering herself to match those she was with
she even mimicked their accents. "You do what is needed" her motto.
She did it so deeply and so well, she forgot who she was.
Maisie was lost and more alone than ever before,
for now she did not even know where to find herself
in the maze of personalities she had become.
To make matters worse none of those whose likes and dislikes she adopted
ever remembered to call or invite her out to their parties and shindigs.
She would only hear later of the fun they had had,
and her heart would bleed within
as she realised that nothing she did made any difference.
I am truly alone, she thought to herself as she fell into depression.
That was her state for many a year.
Depressed and alone without friend or family,
she merely existed in a grey fog drifting through life,
not trying nor fighting, merely being.
The wall had won.
One day she awoke with the sun streaming through her window
and something awoke within.
This is no way to live she thought to herself.
The wall has taken enough. I need to be me, she realised,
and so she started the quest to find her true being.
Through diligent searching each day,
sifting through the archaeological remains of who she tried to be,
she slowly gathered the fragments of her personality.
Piece by piece, painstakingly found, she tried to put herself together
as Humpty Dumpty never could.
She thought about what she truly liked and what she did not.
She tasted food afresh, deciding anew if she found the flavour appealing.
She listened to music as for the first time
and discarded many an album bought to please another ear.
She went through her closet and chose the clothes that pleased her.
I do not care what they say; she said to herself,
this is what pleases me.
I shall wear purple with orange no matter the fashion
for the colours cheer me and make me look nice.
But not all the King's soldiers and none of the King's men
could put Maisie together again. The wall was still there.
It never left and Maisie never found how to destroy it.
Maisie still has no friends, it must be said,
but she does not care for she has Maisie instead.
Maisie can never leave her or forget to invite her to a party or event.
They celebrate together, admittedly alone, but it does not matter.
The wall never surrendered, but Maisie has Maisie
and together they will remain friends forever, never alone.
Virago: A strong confident woman or a loud mouthed shrew.
George wanted to be a fisherman. Since he was a laaitie running after his ma on the docks when they went to buy fish, he had looked at the rough tough fisherman on the boats with longing. "Ma, one day I wanna go out on the boats too," he told her.
"Boy, if I catch you on those boats I will knock you into next week," she said. "Your pa was a fisherman and what happened? The sea jus' took him. You will not go on the boats. You hear me George?"
"Ja ma I hear you," he said sullenly, looking over her shoulder at the boats leaving the harbor.
When George was sixteen he left school and went to work for his uncle in the shop on the docks selling hot coffee and thick greasy sandwiches. Every day he walked past the boats. Every day he watched them leave the harbor and return heavily laden with fish. Every day he would talk with fishermen who came to buy coffee and food from his uncle.
"'How was the sea today," he would ask the fishermen. 'Ja, it was good," or 'Jislaaik the sea was woes today,' they would say and George would sigh and his eyes would slide past them to look at the boats.
"George," his uncle said, "You keep your eyes off them boats. Your ma will skell both of us out if she finds out you even think about going out on a boat." George's mother was well known on the docks for her loud voice and sharp manner. There wasn't a fisherman who dared to try and sell her anything less than the best of his catch. She could spot any trick and would verbally reduce the offender to an apologetic heap on the dock in seconds. So George kept his longings to himself and worked hard for his uncle. His uncle had no children of his own and came to view George as his own son. After a few years his uncle came to George with a proposition. "George, I will pay for you to go to school. Your ma and I agree, you can't waste your life here in this small shop. You need a diploma these days to get a good job. So go, study something, all right?"
So it was that George went to school and got his business diploma, but the call of the sea was still strong in him and he came back to the small shop on the docks to work where he loved to be the most. If he could not be on the boats, he could be where he could see them and smell the sea every day, and there he stayed. With his business skills the shop grew and they opened other shops selling fish and then a restaurant on the docks selling fresh fish platters to tourists who came to watch the boats just as George did every day. George's mother was in charge of purchases and the fisherman still feared her sharp tongue. After she died George discovered that she had invested every spare penny she had and over the years those investments had grown into quite a sizable sum.
"So what are you going to do now, George?" his uncle asked.
"I'm going to buy a boat," George declared. "I would never do it when ma was alive and I still won't go out on it. Ma would find a way to strike me down from the other side if I did." They both laughed knowing that if anyone could, it would be George's mother who would find a way to do just that. "But I want to buy our own boat. It makes good business sense to have our own boat, and to catch our own fish." In his heart though George knew this wasn't the only reason he wanted his own boat.
George bought a boat, a fine new fishing boat, with all the latest advancements and when it came to time to name her, he told the shipyard to put 'Virago' on the stern. "For my ma," he said, "It describes her perfectly."
When George's children came to read his will, there was one clause, they could not fully understand but they followed his wishes to the letter. They took his ashes out in the 'Virago', now a sad old boat desperately in need of retirement, but George would never hear of it. They placed his ashes securely in the small wheel-house and sank the boat where it would become part of a reef in the newly designated marine reserve.
George had gone to sea at last.
laaitie – slang for a young boy , pronounced 'lighty'
jislaaik – slang expression of surprise, pronounced 'yis-like'
woes – slang for wild, pronounced 'voess', rhymes with 'octopus'
skell – scold, rhymes with 'sell'
Who is this life person anyway?
Whenever things go south
or the proverbial hits the fan
someone shrugs and says:-
I want to know
who life thinks they are,
to come mess in MY life!
If theirs is so chaotic,
then let them sort
their own mess out.
Don't come play
in my sandbox.
You have your own!
I was wondering if I could ask everyone for some help. My slightly insane couch potato sister decided in December that she is going to run the Two Oceans Marathon in April (yes she is crazy and yes she is trying to get fit enough fast!) to help raise some much needed money for our step-dad. Mike is terminally ill with advanced kidney cancer that has spread to his lungs and liver. He is on a new drug trial, which thankfully means that his treatment is partly funded. The big problem is that he can't eat. My mom buys a meal replacement shake for him, but what he really loves, and has proven to be the only thing he can stomach on the really bad days, is a meal replacement pudding. Unfortunately they are rather expensive and my sister sends them when she can from the U.K.
The whole story is on the gofundme link:- https://www.gofundme.com/Race4Mike#
We (I) am asking all the amazingly kind folks here to please help get the word out. If you would be so kind as to share the link, or this post link, on your social media networks we would be very grateful.
Thank you so much!
I am on twitter:- https://twitter.com/Meadow337 if you tag me I will sprout effusive thanks in your general direction and generally make a nuisance of myself :)
At night, I dream of water. A black lake stretches beyond the limit of my vision. I float beneath the song of the stars dancing in precession overhead. During the day, I walk through the desert. Heat devils lead the way through the sere rocks. I follow them not caring where they lead. This is my home. This was my home. What life remains after the war clings to the edges of the desert. I am alone here perhaps the only one left, but I cannot make that presumption. I do not know if there are other survivors. I do not know if the Draxians missed any more of my people. I could not be the only one who was away at the time of the round-up.
We survived the attacks. Perhaps even the Draxians felt guilt at bombing people who did not fight back. Our leaders preached tolerance and love. "Peaceful resistance overcomes aggression," they said. So we resisted peacefully, so peacefully that the Draxians stopped bombing us. We celebrated the swift end to the aggression. The next day Draxian ships landed in every town, village, and hamlet. Draxian machines swarmed out of the ships like angry wasps armed with a sting. They flew into every home and found every man, woman and child and stung them to sleep. When the job was done the Draxians came out and loaded up every Atanasi into the ships and left.
Early that morning I had left home to spend the day in meditation. The shrine to the Elder Gods was located in the caves behind our village and every Shaman trainee was put on the meditation roster in their second year. I was in my third year and had only had meditation duty once a month. Meditation focused the mind and taught the necessary stillness to hear the Elder Gods speak. Once the trick of it was established, less time was devoted to meditation and more time to other lessons. I was looking forward to the fourth year when we only had meditation duty once every two months and even more so to graduation at the end of the fifth year when we only need refresh our skills when we felt we had to. I was sure I would never need a refresher because I hated the time spent in idleness.
Now I am grateful for the training. Nothing could have better prepared me for the isolation than the meditation training. I often find myself entering the trance state. I am not sure if I am ever truly awake. At night I slip into the lake of my dreams as easily as a swimmer slips into the sea. The cool water greets me and I silently float beneath the stars.
In the morning, I rise and follow the first heat devil to shimmer into life. I go where it leads. I am alone in the desert, the last of my people. I am sure of that now. I saw the Draxian ships land in my village. I saw their drones sting my mother, my father, my brother, my sister to sleep. I saw the Draxians emerge with their floating pallets and load everyone into their ships. I saw them fly away with my family and I did nothing but watch.
Now I watch. I watch my feet land on the ground with sulfurous puffs of yellow dust. I watch the dust rise in lazy swirls in the wind. It blows away leaving no trace behind, like there is no trace of my people. After the Draxian ships ascended, they blasted the planet clean leaving nothing but scorched earth. Once again, the Elder Gods came to my rescue. I was lying before the shrine chanting the dirge for the dead when the heat rolled over me. When I woke, the world was dead.
Every day I wake thirsty. The water of my dreams does not quench my thirst. Drinking it brings strange hallucinations. The first time I bent my head in my dream and drank, I was shocked at the coldness of it. The water has the cold bitter taste of death. It squirms its way uneasily down my throat and settles like a dead weight in my stomach. I dry-heave in reaction. I have nothing to vomit, only this lead weight in my stomach dragging me down, down, down below the surface of the lake. I look up and there reflected on the border between water and air I see my family. Their terrified faces scream open-mouthed at me. They slide down to meet me and I open my mouth to scream as their cold fingers touch my face. With each scream I only succeed in swallowing more water and with each mouthful of death I gulp, I see more Draxians reflected above me. I struggle, thrashing helplessly against the dead fingers pulling me deeper into the lake. I wake thirsty.
There is no water left. I do not know why I am still alive. It has been days since I last drank the cool water from the river in my village. The river is gone, as are all the rivers, lakes, and seas. There is only desert. During the day, I walk through the desert. At night, I dream of water and I hear the Elder Gods speak.
"Ashara," they call my name gently. I am not yet ready to answer. What help are they? What help were they? I was in their shrine meditating when the Draxian ships came. I know they did nothing. I fall; I weep dry tears of sand. It has been days since I drank the cool water from the river in my village. I splashed through the river as I ran, desperate to reach the village in time to save Mother, Father, Ashok, Adya, anyone. I was too late. The Draxian drones had already stung them. I cowered in the Aamrapali grove and watched. I watched the Draxians load them up and float them into the ship and I did nothing. The Elder Gods did nothing. I was their servant. I was the last one left to serve them. They owed me something didn't they? If they wanted my help, they should have helped my family. Too late, I call out but the sound of the Draxian ships drown my voice.
I am drowning in dust. It pours over me finding its way into every crevice. I need shelter. "Ashara, this way…" I hear the Elder Gods call me. Blindly I follow the voice I had heard since I was very young. Its familiar cadences sooth my fear. The wind suddenly stops tugging at my clothing and its whine is still. Coolness surrounds me. I hear water. I stop. I am awake so how can I hear water. I only dream of water, never hear it and when I am awake there was only desert. I smell water. Every sense heightened by the desert, my parched cells open and suck the moisture from the air. I stagger towards it and I feel the touch of a fine mist on my skin. One more step and my outstretched hand immerses in the small stream of water trickling down the rock face. I plunge my face in and drink.
I drink some water from the river that runs through our village and wash the tears from my face. All I can do is return to the shrine and sing for my family. I assume their deaths, and when I reach the shrine, I fall on my face before the Elder Gods and sing the Dirge for the Dead. The wave of heat washes over me and leaves me unconscious. I wake to a dead world.
The world is dead and I have died with it. I sit in a cave conversing with the Elder Gods. I drink the water they provide from a rock. I eat the bread-fungi that grow in the damp crevices next to it. I listen to the Elder Gods speak, something I have done since I was very young. I am a Shaman-in-training chosen by the Elder Gods themselves, the first in ten thousand years.
"We chose you because we knew this would happen." I close my ears. I do not want to hear what they have to say. They keep talking. "We chose you for this. You must find your people and return them to Atanasi. Only you can cross the lake and bring them back. They are the life of the planet. You are the life of the planet and while you remain, nothing can truly die."
At last, I listen. I lift my head and listen. I listen as the Elder Gods tell me of the journey I must make. I must cross the lake within one night. There would be no second attempt. I must cross and return with my people at the first attempt or we would all die. I drink the water. I eat the bread-fungi. I feel strength return. I sleep. The next day I walk the desert, but I do not go far. I return to the cave; I drink and eat.
"You are ready."
I nod and stretch out on the moss beside the water. I dream of water. A black lake stretches beyond the limit of my vision. I float beneath the song of the stars dancing in precession overhead. I float toward the far side. I am too slow. I must go faster. I hear the voices "Go below" and I bend and drink. The water is cold and the icy shock of it threatens to wake me, but its dead weight soon drags me below the surface. The fingers of a swift current tug at me; I open my mouth and take in another mouthful. I sink lower and the current grabs me and carries me. The current throws me from the lake. There gathered on the shore are Mother, Father, Ashok, Adya, everyone. I lead them into the water. The current is against us but we must leave this shore. The people cry in fear as the current throws them onto the rocks. I stand helpless and watch. A hot breath of wind touches my back and I remember.
During the day, I walk through the desert. Heat devils lead the way through the sere rocks. I follow them knowing they will lead us home. What life remains after the war walks out of the desert with me and with every step life returns. It rains. I return to my village and drink of the sweet water that flows through it. I make my way to the shrine of the Elder Gods and give thanks. They owe me nothing for they have given me everything.