It Never Rains but Profundities Pour

rain

Eyes peer from inside tiny raindrops. Warped and tortured faces
pry from behind the prism wall; colourful, pretty and benign. Screeching,
reaching and stretching arms vie for a place away from its very core
to the outer, fighting the elasticity, which suffocates them and their wants
while thin veneers hold them captive.

Subdued yearning pierces the thin skin and they bombard our senses fresh from their muted dreams. Dissipating onto our floor their ravenous spill mingles willingly with souls who have long since gone and flow in a languid wave of twitching people into the drains’ cavernous outreach only to be swept stoically into a gloom of a sombre journey that will end one day in some vast oceanic pool; only to begin again, someday, where someone will be waiting.

More downpours of lost hopes and twinkling, chiming wants pummel the ground. But as rain is rain and life is life and, not unlike like the weather, it often evaporates  on lazier, humid days, and its journey is stopped in our tracks.

Riding the Waves of Asiatic Elephants

elephant

Despite a cool breeze of liberty, I sit here sweating in boredom, sticking in dreariness and repetitive thoughts. Swallowing them down in cold bursts of relief, topped with a dreaminess of milked tears, I cannot find a place to rest.

A healthy stoicism replaces my clothes of suffocation, layers of discomfort and an itch that can’t be reached till I walk with the trophy of apatheia.

“Yes!” I cry. With this freedom I heavily adorn myself and wearing it, I can feel the fresh, cool air, lapping on the shores of my discontented mind, cooling  the burnt dreams of a new land; wherein lies silken promises to wrap my body. Under a lukewarm sun the ice thaw bathes me in apologetic water, water that is my Monsoon.

Callie

cally mine

The frenzied scratching and bloodied paws made Callie wince and her frame shudder more. She rubbed her arms to work up some heat, but ridges of mud provided no comfort. The dog yelped as if he had been hurt, and she dropped to her knees in the five inches or so of cold water.

“What is it, boy?”

He was panting hard but wouldn’t stop. Callie was convinced by now that he knew. He knew how bad things were and that they were both stuck and could soon die. The smell of gas was growing stronger and her chest wheezed. The more she wheezed the faster he dug – time was running out.

Callie had grown up with her devoted Pup as she liked to call him. No longer a pup, the majestic stance of the animal was something to cling to in the dank, cold, gas-filled tunnel they found themselves trapped in. He was dirty, wet, bedraggled and looked half the size of his true capabilities.

He was bought as a bribe to entice her to love the small village her parents had dragged her to. Soon though they were inseparable, and Pup made it easy for Callie to love the place. He was into everything. They would take snacks down to the streams and follow old rail lines and climb the grassy slag heaps, once the old coal mines of long ago, which were now overgrown with bramble and bluebells, and it was idyllic.

Callie’s head felt like it would explode as, kneeling helplessly, she remembered that small boy up on the hill. She was surprised when he had called to Pup. The dog whined and his restless head was unsure when he stared at the small, waif like figure, but despite that, Pup bolted up the hill towards the boy who by then had simply disappeared from view.

Callie followed and was met by sounds of crying in the entrance of an old mine shaft; mounds of soil and overgrown weeds had nearly swallowed it up. The ground felt soft, and she was very wary with each step until, whoosh, both her knees sank followed by her elbows until she was up to her small neck in soil and debris. She screamed in blind panic before disappearing from sight. Pup dug furiously and was soon lost with her in an old vein of the coal mine.

Just then the boy appeared again. Pup stopped digging and whined at the boy before running towards him. He greeted Pup, then smiled and led them down the old tracks to reveal a clearing and the sunlight. Inside a nearby cart was a tiny skeleton.

Clinging onto Pup, Callie trembled as she stumbled through the water towards the figure who gently reached out. Pup gave him his paw.

‘Thank you for coming to find me, boy.’

The small figure seemed happy as he turned and faded into the crevasses of the black night walls of the mineshaft.

Trick the Treats

witch 1

Blood spilled over onto the cruel hand that had just squeezed life out of her latest victim. Such a strong little girl, she mused before laughing. The same dry cackle exuded from the ravenous bellows deep within her mottled soul. She stopped and looked around; her long nails scratched uncouthly at her long, flowing, ragged garb. What she saw was completely different. No tatters or drab, grey bloodied stain. She only saw ‘true’ beauty, which she was not. Her large feet clunked around the dusty grit as she sniffed the air before running a tawdry sleeve across her nose, blistered and generous.

“Ye gods, another day, another year. It gets monotonous,” she said sighing. “Little upstarts trying to outdo me. Will they ever learn?”

A few miles away Jane, Sarah and Sasha giggled in a bedroom littered with costumes and lipsticks and high hopes and plans for a Halloween to be remembered. This was to be Sasha’s initiation. Thomas, her major crush, was to be there at the party in the woods. Sarah looked at the clock and wondered where Susan and Bobby had got to.

“They were due here at 6 after practise. We don’t have her costume and we haven’t much time.”

The others were not so concerned.

“She probably can’t leave go of Bobby. That’s nothing new. They’ll be here.”

******

Susan lay all alone. Her hair, once a golden shrill of curls, lay dank and muddied on the floor near an old oak tree. Bizhar kicked at dead autumn leaves and kicked in the bag of fancy dress Susan had with her. With hands astride her hips, she grunted to herself.

“Takes more than costumes and weird hair to make a witch. I should know.” She laughed mercilessly again and pointed gnarled, bony fingers at her pile of wanton savagery and watched the fire consume both the mound of dead leaves and its contents. The wind had carried an item of clothing without Bizhar noticing, and it was swept away until caught on branches near the road.

******

“Where the heck?” said Bobby as he lifted the cuff of his sweater for the tenth time and paced. He wondered whether he should now start to head Susan’s way and meet her coming but once again changed his mind. He reached for his phone and hovered over the keypad then flipped it shut. Agitated, he tried once more.

The ring tone startled Bizhar as she knelt still beside the pyre. Quizzically she looked around before standing upright and soon aimed her lifeless green eyes at the flames. Inside them, it seemed, was the source of her irritation. She rolled back a sleeve and held it whilst plunging her arm through the leaves and flames. She reached about blindly then lowered further onto her knees, cursing and spitting smoke and embers.

Finally she pulled out and held aloft one of Susan’s arms before flinging it. Then, thinking again, she rescued it and threw it back into the fire. She eventually found the offending article still sounding and just about intact. She turned it every which way, then with much fumbling and by simple accident she heard a voice.

Ah, I know. Yes!” Bihzar thought, stroking the greying hairs under her long chin. She postured vainly and with a hideous mocking that belied her contempt for the mortals she saw as the bane of her life with their toys and fancy, vacant ways. She was stopped by the sudden frantic yell.

“Susan, are you there?” Bobby’s panicked voice asked. “Where have you been? Where are you?”

Bihzar ran ragged nails through her long, unruly, wizened hair and lifted a shoulder slightly, at the same time casting a glance to her trophy set ablaze, recalling the piteous screams and pleas for mercy. ‘Susan’s’ voice emanated and ran through the phone.

“I am here in the woods. I had a little trouble, but I’m OK. If you could come meet me though – about half way – we can go from here and it would save me walking.” A ragged fingertip traced dried lips holding a grey, green smirk.

“OK, no problem,” Bobby replied with relief. “Say, if I go pick up Thomas and the others, we could just meet at Ted’s old farm since time’s getting short. How does that sound? I’ll call them…or you can.”

“No, no, you call. I… am… er…” the old croc said, scanning the interface for clues. “I’m low on something… battery?”

“Ha! OK you weirdo. I’ll call. Talk to you soon.”

Bizhar began to smell things, good things, amid the charcoals and debris that were Susan’s remains. Plans, visions, more young blood and meat: treats for a deserving soul this Halloween Eve. The passing of time was irksome, she thought to herself, with fragility and aging as the years dragged on into centuries. But today was a day for celebration nonetheless as birthdays always were. She cackled at her own devilish humour. “I am still as beautiful and as strong and powerful as ever.”

She then picked from her teeth a bit of flesh that had been trapped. She wiped her fingers down her front and began to walk, waving her arms at her side anticipating the evening ahead.

Perched on the old timbers in one of Ted’s old barns, which had stood derelict for years but which still housed the cobwebbed tools, machinery parts and old hay, Bizhar swung her legs like a school kid. No one had ever bought the property due to rumours and it being the local Bermuda triangle as far as missing people and unsolved cases went. This was half the lure and appeal of kids today around these parts, especially at Halloween.

******

Jane and Sarah came downstairs first and gave a twirl for Jane’s folks.

“You look gruesome enough, though it’s kinda hard to tell,” said her half pumpkin, half victim-oozing-blood kid brother all geared up for his night of mayhem. Sasha soon followed, equally decked out except for a change in theme, as this was her night, one she’d dreamed of.

Jane’s parents cooed and walked around her. “What’s the occasion? I thought this was Halloween, not a fairy tale.”

Sasha wanted to be stunning, just right for Thomas, and answered, “I, er well, let’s say we get enough of the same old, same old. I wanted to be different, a beauty among the beasts.”

“Well it hasn’t worked. You are still a witch, ha, ha.” The kid then hastily scarpered through the front door. “See you guys later.”

The girls, on the other hand, waited for the sound of the horn from Bobby’s car and their ride to fun.

Sure enough, the horn sounded, and there, hanging out the windows, were the three friends ready to give their dates a night to remember. Sasha only had eyes for the suave vampire as he jumped out of the car and swooned at her feet. Luke, the hunchback, greeted Jane and picked her up, screaming ‘Esmerelda, the bells’ before she had a chance to compliment him on his hump. Sarah’s favourite idiot, in the bloodied bed sheet and holes, was Brian, who escorted her to the car.

Bobby yelled for them all to get in. “Susan will be waiting! Hurry it up!”

The music blasted as they drove towards Old Ted’s farm, and laughter trailed through the lanes as they went. A heavy fog had begun to appear as they wound down the tracks and turned into the farm. Bobby slowed and peered deliberately for Susan through his windscreen.

“Maybe she’s further in. It is cold…a barn maybe?” said Jane, trying to thwart a rubber eye from nestling near her wench-like bustier.

Bobby nodded and carried on. Suddenly, he screeched to a halt, throwing the others slightly. It was a rabbit then a flurry of them, followed by critters of all kinds, running as if for their lives.

“What? That’s crazy. It’s a stampede,” said Bobby, who couldn’t believe his eyes. They all watched from the back window as the animals trailed off into the dark.

******

Smoke billowed steadily as Bizhar added the last of the slaughtered pests to her makeshift stove that rested on bricks and sticks atop an old tractor’s engine. Impatient and peckish, she stirred at her broth, rich and thick with the blood of her captured guests. She sat, legs agape, and stirred on, twitching and murmuring now and then at the thought of the treats for later, now steadily approaching. The burgundy sauce bubbled, and then Bizhar saw a glimpse of something through the murky stew…

******

The ‘wedding’ ceremony began. Sasha’s big day. She stood smiling next to Thomas, his fangs gleaming. Jane and Sarah held their bouquets, which seemed incongruous amid the costumes and setting, but before their Halloween festivities could begin, the wedding had to take place. It was Sasha and Thomas’ initiation into their group. Luke and Jane, Sarah and Brian and Bobby and Susan were ‘old married men and women.’ Sasha was doubly keen: besides it being unusual, she had only had eyes for Thomas since starting college, and if this was a way of getting him, then who was she to argue.

Bobby, a bit amiss without Susan but resigned to the possibility that she might have given up and gone home, pronounced Sasha and Thomas ‘man and wife,’ and they all ran out into the slightly chilled farmyard where the others jibed and threw loose straw and any old things found about them. Stale manure as a confetti substitute was one that did not go down too well.

Bobby’s head jerked around when he thought he heard Susan shouting. “Hey, listen up. Quiet! Did you hear that?”

They all fell silent and listened. “No, you’re imagining things,” came a reply.

“It was Susan. I’m sure of it. I mean, how many kids would come here – sane kids? I am going to take a look around.” Before Bobby could take a step, they all heard a scream and a cry for help coming from one of the barns.

“Susan! You’re right,” Jane spat out. “Shit!”

They ran towards the barn.

Hampered somewhat by his over-sized cloth slippers, Luke soon discarded them, slipping his sweaty mask into his pocket. He issued instructions to Thomas and Bobby. “You two search this one. Girls, stay here!” He ran off toward another barn.

“No way,” Jane piped up. “We’re coming.”

They heard sobbing high in the rafter. “I’m up here. I can’t get back down,” she screamed. “I’m hurt. Please get me down!”

“How in the hell did you get up there?” asked Bobby, running his hands through his hair frantically. “OK, girls, go get help. The damn phones are in the car. Go! Call for help and tell Luke we are over here will you?”

Luke studied the smells emanating from inside the other barn as he edged in. It seemed to explain the animals somewhat, but it stank grotesquely. He’d killed a few rabbits in his time and eaten them, but this was something else.

From nowhere, a hand was on his collar, the jagged nails piercing his skin to the bone as Bizhar lifted him up effortlessly and dangled her dessert, licking her lips. She nonchalantly placed his body, twitching and dripping warm juice, on a nearby hook. “Sweet,” she thought. “Very sweet.” She cackled, grazing the air with putrid breath, and put on the mask she’d taken from Luke’s pocket.

She stripped off and donned the rest of his garb including his slippers, which she’d collected from where he had dropped them. Bizhar made her way to the barn where she could hear the others desperately trying to rescue ‘Susan’. She laughed and shook her head coolly and swayed across the yard, pleased with how good she was at ‘throwing’ her voice as well as impersonations; she had forgotten – it had been a while since festivities had been so full.

Bizhar poked her head through the frame of a window, and they turned.

“Luke, she’s here. Give us a hand.” The masked figure didn’t respond, instead beckoning with a finger before leaving the window.

“What the fuck?” Bobby said in disbelief. “We don’t need games.”

Just then they heard a muffled voice saying something about ladders, so they followed. Susan had gone quiet. They reassured her and said they’d be back.

Outside, the three young men stood perplexed, as they saw no sight of Luke.

“Great!” Brian said as he swung around. “What’s he up to?”

They saw a ladder sliding out from between broken boards nailed across a window and ran towards it, hands out to receive it. They tugged but met resistance.

“OK,” said Brian. “Thomas, you and Bobby go around and help Luke. I will pull from here.” The two disappeared through a splintered slot. After waiting and tugging some more, he yelled, “Where the heck are you guys. It can’t be that hard. Luke?”

“OK, I’m here.” Luke’s voice seemed strange. “Give it a pull now. Reach in a bit first. I need your arm through the window.” The unfamiliar voice did not deter Brian, who was thinking of Susan and wondering how the girls had done about getting help. He reached in with his arm and felt a sharp tug and soon he was wedged between the frame and the ladder.

“Whoa, strong man. Be careful!”

Bizhar removed the mask, and Brian saw behind her the full hideousness of his fate. He was brought in slowly, piece by piece. His arm, neck and head were severed with little effort, the torso dropping to the ground outside the window. Bihzar decided she’d treat herself with some of the delicacies and gorge tomorrow; she would have all day tomorrow. She hung the pieces on the hooks available. All had been filled with what was left of Jane, Sarah and Sasha along with the boys…

******

Her grumbling stomach roared, bringing Bizhar back from her vision, and she stirred the pot of animal slime once more. Laughing, she shook her head and kicked it over and started again. She proceeded to add small, carefully selected pieces of sweetmeats to her new broth of blood now simmering before her.

 

Burning both Ends

candle

A
flicker,
a stare,
fires a
column
bled bare
by a pale
yellow, violet
flame
as

gliding wax moulds a
grip and steady drips set,
not unlike our game.
The Slowness of time
runs with our thoughts down
this vine, as I tease the quick
with scorched fingers. As
is your want, you navigate
my aim and like moths we
self destruct when we linger.
A breath of air releases a
care, and we flinch in the
flame’s parting sigh.
Sulphur from the quickening
strike reminds me of the
kindling light as
sleeping birds hum
and candlelit morn draws nigh.

Make Love not War (19/09/2008)

827-fullAlone at last. The air around us was hushed and lit only by a dim and unobtrusive guide that would not belie to anyone as it danced, urging us perhaps to surrender. But who was surrendering? Inside I screamed, half torn apart by insecurities, a wounding enemy and euphoria as the candlelight drifted past my gaze. Focus regained, I felt calm with a warm tender touch, almost hesitant. My hopes wanted it to be sincere, my inner turmoil made it more an unattractive suspicion.

The candle snapped a pleasant sooth and when I had turned from it once more his knees were around mine. I felt safe and wanted even though the tentative approaches and his eyes kept me bubbling; doubting, questioning, till I almost could cry. Was he so right? The person I had dreamed of after having come this far on a journey both within myself and outside, losing much along the way. What an ironic reward this would be if tinged with fears and marred by my demons. Would his blue eyes fight them? Would his quiet touch dismiss it all? I steal back my gown as they begin to eat me alive.

Strong hands brushed up against my arms and gently removed my shield, some of my trembles and most of my heart’s ache. Instinctively my arms reached to cover myself before understanding brought them down but held them frail against his hands; frail on their own but with a strength that echoed my internal army hitherto sleeping. When I called they didn’t wake. I summon myself and all I have and fear drives me lest I lose him too. Longing drives me. He drives me but I am on my own, yet, I don’t feel alone.

My mind savours memories, ideas and notions in a scrapbook made when the warmth, understanding, tolerance and longing he has were thousands of miles away… surely that was enough even now? If not, let me be swallowed whole where I sit. To lose is terrifying but to lose after all this would be like death.

A mile of racing thoughts matched my heart’s pulse; rapid and urgent, desperate, sometimes petrifying. Time gets lost. He was still there, his knees gently squeezing mine as he moved to maybe to go find an excuse. Maybe, as he leaned forward into my neck and I felt the prickles where his arm once was, he just wants to feel my hair or maybe, as he brushes past it and pulls me toward him with noses brushing and foreheads caressing, he just might kiss me. Garbed thoughts, past tensions and badgering niggles are swept away by a buzz, a sense of being, a cosy familiarity -him. Rapid waves of another kind swiftly take hold and I give in and throw my caution in its awful mask to the wind. A caution that dressed my scar, my wants and my needs and hid them from my view. A caution that could have cost me dearly and lost me the only thing I ever really tried to win after suffering heavy defeats.

My demons rage again when assaulted. Teased by their enemy’s searching hands. His needing hands? Needing me? I still can’t believe it. their habit is assuaged when warm streams drown them out and his hands, these hands, try to make me his own. I want them to hold me and shield me. Let their generous form devour me until they become like a second skin to mine, to hold whenever and forever and as long as they want me to want them.

I wake from a dream, sweating and shaking, but the dream still ran through me in small, colourful sensations that pulsated through my veins. Tender, sensual images ran up my sides and with an avarice, slid down my flesh and pulled me with him. A need that was sometimes greedy, but well tamed, tried to take me all at once with  a gentle longing trying to capture me forever.  I saw the same blue eyes before they disappeared when he swept  down my body. I felt wanted, needed, protected, peaceful and cared for; the best a love has to offer I remembered. I met his eyes again as he came back  to kiss me, and it was then that I realised I had not been dreaming – it was in fact reality.

No Man nor Boy, nor Beast should Hinder

cropped2nd pasture

This is one of the pieces I published when I began here a year ago when nobody knew I was here, and I quite happily wrote and published and looked for pictures for months on end, which was all I wanted to do, and which I still love doing.  I rewrote a version for my dad’s funeral service.  One year later, I miss him deeply.  I thought I would redo this in his honour…he urged me to keep writing when I’d given up, and now I know you all  better, and thank you,  I’d also like to share.

Inspired by William Shakespeare

“To be or not to be, that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to — ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub,”
~ W Shakespeare

~No Man Nor Beast…by Anita M Kulkarni Nabonne

A gentle hand, cool and unafraid, stroked a young man’s head.
‘No Man, nor boy, nor Beast should hinder.
Unscramble that tethered brow, tame that beast a restless heart.
Smooth the toiled and ingrained lines of tired and old pastures,
make them soft and as green as new pastures can possibly be,
they are laid out just for you, as far and as long as your eyes can take,
pulling and calling you lest they remain forever fallow, unforeseen,
even when seen in daylight’s dream.’

His prickled elbows rest and suffer both old and new veneer that holds
the lack lustre days of lost dreams and freshly varnished wants.
Once a man, now as a boy, he leans and he gazes, reaching
with his welling eyes. The mist is his but is in the wind,
the wind before him, with it’s teasing breath in rapture, it is the wind
who tells him to, ‘follow,’ to ‘come with me and see…’

Beyond the horizon, way ahead, past corn fields and ambition
and laughter and submission, yesterdays, nighttimes and dreaming
of tomorrows, his friend the wind, bristles through the slender, tall grass
and swims in these waves all the way on green and pleasant ocean –
past the weary belly of the setting sun nestling on the checkered
tablecloth – horizon of another land, another time, an even fresher pasture.

Its hem flaps with whooshing exuberance; each tiny, chasm
of possible space bristles the golden hair of the barley till over
and through the friendless, picket fence creaking in the distance.
Once there, it teases spindly legs till through those and up the frail,
wooden stoop, it bursts through a sad, silk screen, that can barely
cling to the original tender arms of it’s beloved, but tattered frame,
but is loathe, so loathe to let it go.

Once inside this other orphan; the mischievous child – lost, but now free
and with abandon, like his friends around him and like the wind – strong
yet gentle, he breathes life into sleeping cobwebs that hold memories
of families and laughter and runs with the ghosted voices till he pushes them with  renewed force through the tired, resigned and cracked shutters; its paint now just warped layers of pain, sadness and dusted,
streaming light, until they are flung unashamedly and without resistance
…well and truly open.

Together they spill in a tumble like bedraggled weeds
onto pastures new. They need no coax or invite till they in turn dive
with naked knees tucked into a warmer chest, into yet another pond, to swim
among the playful faces of wistful dreams that are dandelions, clover and buttercups floating in their own warm and tropical seas till
the daytime sun grows weary and tells them ‘time for bed and dreams…
dreams that have yet to be spoken, touched or those unsaid.’

Small and tired limbs bask on this gentle wave that responds and ushers towards a silvered horizon. Waiting, is the moon’s maternity; arms outstretched and beckoning, ‘Come sleep now, rest your dreams and your happy but aching brow, for tomorrow is another day, another pasture, another lifetime. Let eager rest up a while before you swim again, but dream of what is beyond my skirts.’ She wraps his shivering body and blankets his doubts and fears, keeping safe till tomorrow all his hopes and all his dreams. Kissing his forehead, smoothed and calmed, she whispers to the child, vulnerable but as yet unharmed,

Sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
that flesh is heir to — ’tis a consummation
devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
to sleep, perchance to dream.

Dream;
by wakening them we say live them
in this warm and quilted pasture.  Acres
secreted by distance, out of reach no longer.
devoutly to be wish’d. To live, not die;
to sleep, perchance a dream?

And…

when you waken, it will be there,
when you dream, she will be there.
When you begin to live
you could have it all.

But, sleep now.’