Category Archives: New Writing

Designed for Chapters, Scenes, or short stories to be shared

Fleeing the Scene

Heart and lungs ached beyond mortal endurance as he fled, and heard with dread the footsteps behind him,seemingly chasing after him on the dark country lane.He cursed his own folly for having given in to a panic which as a veteran practitioner of the dark arts of espionage and assassination he ought not to have experienced let alone given into so cravenly.

He’d gotten there late in any event,long after the three others had commenced partaking of the sumptuous repast.And natural inquisitiveness,especially from Marlowe, had caused him to recount as plausibly as he was able the reasons.He realised this was more to put the other two, Poley and Skeres at their ease,for they too were more than a little anxious at his, Ingram Frizer’s tardiness.With formal,gentlemanly apologies now aside,he partook of the repast with uncommon relish.

His ride from Walsingham’s residence out here to Eleanor Bull’s reputable lodging house here at Deptford was far too hastily arranged and improvised for Frizer’s own professional liking.Scant planning and the gift of one of Walsingham’s own blades that had seen action across the water in Holland were hardly compensation enough for his disquieted demeanour. What was asked of Poley, Skeres and not least himself would  under more reflective circumstances been rejected as too hasty and open to failure.

But Marlowe the scribbler. the critic nonpareil,the one who shared his outrageous opinions with all and sundry;those who would listen and many more who heard them because of the timbre of his prevailing larynx,proved alluring enough for the three of them to go ahead with the bare bones of Walsingham’s idea

.With the sumptuous repast coming to an end and their bellies and spirits satiated with Mistress Bull’s copious wines and ales;the boisterous exchange of opinions both large and small took an inevitable turn,one that Frizer was alerted to wait for as patiently as need be by Walsingham himself. The turn that came when Marlowe, ever the disputant, could not hold himself or his temper so fused by imbibing,back from the precipice he himself was allowed to carve.

 Afterward,standing in front of their Master Walsingham ,they would all remark how so like one of Marlowe’s or indeed Master Shakespeare’s stage plays with its own cunningly crafted directions for the players it all seemed to unfold at the time.Which of course was a lie,as Ingram Frizer, his heart and lungs fit to burst on this deserted country lane in the pitch black with hell hound footsteps behind him,knew perfectly well.

He had to come out of this mise-en-scene more alive than that poor sod Marlowe whose last look in this passing mortal sphere was one of sublime incomprehension.And as his loping strides brought him ineluctably to the stables at the rear of the tavern by the bridge and his silken tradecraft let him deftly unhitch and ride off on a stolen steed back to Westminster with his report of mission accomplished- his mind conjured one more illusion.

What would Christopher Marlowe write of this night in one of his plays?With the footsteps heard on a dark country lane receding far, far into the background Ingram Frizer let his imagination roam thus:-

 ” Four figures in a room darkly conclaved,hushed breaths escape from the mirrors’ taut embrace.Leaving no trace of having been expelled from any mouth nor orifice so plain that might betray the breather’s fear.
Malice aforethought alone leaving imprints in the air amid this spectral scene. A coven’d place where meaning and word
intertwine where shadow and light danced their furtive Pavane,
Swirling about,word without meaning,meaning without form,form without content into an empty shapeless void.And in the dimness of guttering candles, the trails of reason evaporated and in the morning to come a new naive horizon bearing a false dawn. “

Surveillance

He watches the lives of others through the end of a telephoto lens.

It’s 5:42 a.m. on an ordinary suburban housing estate and he’s been squatting for the past 6 hours in an unmarked delivery van when he catches a fleeting glimpse of a window-framed face. The same face that’s appeared at the same time at the same window on each day that he’s been here.

Parked in the driveway of the house opposite, he’s taken on the role (at least in his own imagination), of ethnographer studying and recording for academic posterity the esoteric habits and rituals of an hithertofore unknown indigenous society.He records in the neatest handwriting the ephemera of the lives of others.Their daily routines timetabled in line-ruled pocket notebooks of which he keeps more than sufficient under his seat.

Outside his ethereal realm as disembodied observer, in the lives of others a telephone rings.

Its receiver is lifted. It’s followed by a rush of silence.He adjusts his earphones and enters a menacing voicelessness.The spools of his tape-recorder engage.”Click , click ” as though a conductor is tapping his baton bringing an orchestra to order.

There is to his mind a haunting absence of noise. When telephones ring and their receivers are lifted, conversations follow. Except when they don’t and he catches another fleeting glimpse of the window-framed face that he saw just a few minutes ago.

Inexplicably, the receiver is replaced,” Click ” .The tape-recorder stops.

It’s 5:52 am and across the city in a sound studio on the fourth floor of an otherwise unremarkable office building the voices he’d captured less than 24 hours ago are on playback. Their rhythms and cadences mimic the lives of others.They hear him listening to them, listening to him listening.

Observed. Recorded. Collated. Analysed.

“Click”

Dustbowl Memories

“Never felt heat like it kid..”; my grandpa would reminisce apropos of nothing. It would always be Summer and we’d be sweltering as a family out on the porch trying to catch our collective breaths and there’d be grandpa reassuring us that this ain’t so much hot today as cool.

Even though the mercury was doing its darndest to top 90. “Man, that ain’t no kind of temperature not leastways till it gets past a hundred and just stays there”. he’d always accompany this utterance with a usual expectoration of chewing tobacco effluent.

And I suppose and we’d all suppose that he was right. well, kind of. Him and his whole extended family upped sticks and trekked there way over here to California all those years ago. Because of The ( capital tee) Heat (capital aitch).The furnace that was the Dust Bowl.

By chance, or maybe as one of my Aunts contended, by some grander design, one of my many distant cousins came by to visit one day. She’d finished her journalism major up at Berkeley and had just gotten a commission to produce a series of radio documentaries on the Dustbowl, and was wondering if grandpa might be interested.

Turned out, none too surprisingly that he was and naturally that put the spring back into his step.

We taped them all, all the episodes and down the years, on big family occasions, we sit around and listen to grandpa’s voice, reminding us all. There’s one or two passages that our Cousin edited as an introduction that kind of sums up Grandpa and ” The Heat “

“Sure I recall, clear as day all the names and their faces, those times and their places,
Down at the rundown rail depot from where the last westbound left in that dry-cracked goodbye summer with me and my closest kin  on board.”
In another passage suffused with his inimitable cadences, he recalled ” Days were so hot and dry that water was our heaven
and  the wells coughed their grinding choking echo. Dust was going to be our future, had we stayed”.


“Some folks never left, they remained In those places and their times. I recall, some years later seeing in the newspaper and county archive records all the shrouded names and their faces who waved me off down by the rail depot in that dry-cracked summer when the westbound whistled its goodbye.”

And when it came to saying our farewells for another year until the next Thanksgiving or Christmas, we’d switch off grandpa’s voice and notice just how hot the tape machine had become.

An Examination of “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” by Bob Dylan.

© Dr Koshy AV

I should be working but feel forced to write on Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

As a point of entry let us take what people call poetry which draws them to it like women draw men, in droves. What people mean by poetry, what women swoon over in reading Neruda is imagery and here we have a few lines that equal Neruda.

“…your flesh like silk…

and…your face like glass…”

But she is a “sad-eyed lady” and “of the lowlands” where no man comes.

Yet, all men are after her.

Who is she?

“With your silhouette when the sunlight dims
Into your eyes where the moonlight swims,”

Uff!

I hear the women go ‘uff! If only someone’d write about me too like that!’ Uff, uff, uff.

I remember Pater on Mona Lisa.

“The presence that rose thus so strangely beside the waters, is expressive of what in the ways of a thousand years men had come to desire. Hers is the head upon which all ‘the ends of the world are come,’ and the eyelids are a little weary. It is a beauty wrought out from within upon the flesh, the deposit, little cell by cell, of strange thoughts and fantastic reveries and exquisite passions. Set it for a moment beside one of those white Greek goddesses or beautiful women of antiquity, and how would they be troubled by this beauty, into which the soul with all its maladies has passed! All the thoughts and experience of the world have etched and moulded there, in that which they have of power to refine and make expressive the outward form, the animalism of Greece, the lust of Rome, the mysticism of the middle age with its spiritual ambition and imaginative loves, the return of the Pagan world, the sins of the Borgias. She is older than the rocks among which she sits; like the vampire, she has been dead many times, and learned the secrets of the grave; and has been a diver in deep seas, and keeps their fallen day about her; and trafficked for strange webs with Eastern merchants; and, as Leda, was the mother of Helen of Troy, and, as Saint Anne, the mother of Mary; and all this has been to her but as the sound of lyres and flutes, and lives only in the delicacy with which it has moulded the changing lineaments, and tinged the eyelids and the hands. The fancy of perpetual life, sweeping together ten thousand experiences, is an old one; and modern philosophy has conceived the idea of humanity as wrought upon by, and summing up in itself, all modes of thought and life. Certainly Lady Lisa might stand as the embodiment of the old fancy, the symbol of the modern idea.

This extract is taken from Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance (Oxford: University Press, 2012). Pater referenced 1 Corinthians 10:11

Dylan has created a ‘character’ that rivals Mona Lisa, and Cat Stevens’ Lisa, Lisa, sad Lisa, Lisa… who “hangs her head and cries on (his) shoulder.” A ‘character’ who makes even Dylan, the artist who knew he was great write “my warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums, should I leave them at the gate, O sad-eyed lady, should I wait?”

It is difficult to analyse poetry at its best and explain why it moves us so intensely.
As in here. Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place supposedly to start.
She has “a mercury mouth”. Does the world slide towards mercurial or does one think of mercury rising in the mouth of the meter on the wall to show the heat increasing? In the missionary times? A veiled reference to her being a Playboy model once if this is Sara and to the missionary position or her chastity and purity in the face of the odd paradox that she makes men become like bitches, in/on heat. A mouth too can bring down kingdoms.

Eyes… that smoke and prayers that rhyme, a silver cross on the end of the chain and a voice that is like wind-chimes, she is ethereal like the skylark, whether Shelley’s or Wordsworth’s. Also American or Mexican or Spanish, with smoking hot eyes, and that cross, and those prayers…

No more someone who can be buried. No more poor having met the bard. Worthy of being carried in a palanquin, no longer fit to travel in a streetcar (un-)like Blanche in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, having become revealed as a queen but who fit enough to carry the four ends of that palanquin? None.

No man bold enough to approach her. She comes from the depths. Only the prophet, sad-eyed like her, and the poet but even he may have to set aside his pecuniary fiscal eyes and esoteric music, his gifts or valuables, and have to wait.

A virtuous woman whose bed-sheets are like metal and belt like lace, whose deck of cards – dictating her life or with which she gambles away her life – have the king and the joker but not the jack or the ace, still having traces about her of her genteel previous poverty and its hollowness shown in her face, who is street-smart, she is, this sad-eyed one, or swan. She has gypsy blood in her and her songs are flimsy like matchbooks, but her sunlight dimmed silhouette when the moonlight swims in her eyes is either so much a sight to make one stop, stand and stare or so much one that puts you off that no one will try to impress her. Scared. Irresistible.

Not the kings of Tyre, who wait as do the suitors of Portia, for a “geranium kiss,” and with their lists of their prisoners, who want sex with her and not just a loving real kiss. She was forced to compromise, but the voice who sings this poem asks why. Haunting us. “And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this!”

As a child she had flames on her midnight rug, not of boys, but of arson, and as she grew up she kept curfew, and took the same medicines her mother took as well as had Spanish manners and that mouth that suited cowboys better, than women, being mercurial. Who can resist someone like that?

The rich and the poor – the farmers and the businessmen – wanted her on their side but how did they not understand that she was beyond all ‘sides’, transcendental, with flaws – a phoney false alarm, being the true one – , yet able to fall in love with the child of a hoodlum, having the sea at her feet like woman in Apocalypse/Revelation, and not drawn to or by dead angels hiding in the closets of the rich and the poor. Blameless. Not to be persuaded.

Only one could persuade her. Not her husband. Not her past. No one fit enough to employ her. “And your gentleness now, which you just can’t help but show,” not being the kind of achievement we can put on a CV to get hired.

“Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saint-like face and your ghost-like soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

We come to the crux of the poem. She is not Pater’s Mona Lisa, she is the Bride, as Dylan envisages her, American, gypsy, Spanish and implicitly Mexican, but also Beatrice, Dantescan and an Italian breeze, virgin Mary and fallen Magdalene, and even the prophet and poet, the singer or bard, the wandering minstrel, the troubadour, the thief – which one of the two on the cross? – and not the joker, who she is ready to share the parole of, the child of the hoodlum, is forced despite his courage and foolhardiness to ask her, therefore:

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Even he is treading softly, as he does not want to tread on her dreams.

I never saw the lesser poetic vehicles, poetic tropes, of the simile, questions and anaphora (repetition) used redundantly but redeemed so well as in this poem. Call me Ishmael or Queegeeg or even Quinn the Eskimo, but this poem or song is serious, sad, romantic, melancholy and leaves one unable to leave it behind. Makes you search and search desperately for a sad-eyed lady to whom you can ask, should I leave my gifts by your gate, O(r) Sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

The one you know you will never find or if you find you will always lose or have already lost before you met and can never get to keep. Unless you are like Dylan who can write a song on her to keep her forever in it like a leaf pressed in a book, dead or alive.

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Bob Dylan

With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Who do they think could bury you?

With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who could they get to ever carry you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I put them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

With your sheets like metal and your belt like lace,
And your deck of cards missing the jack and the ace,
And your basement clothes and your hollow face,
Who among them can think he could outguess you?

With your silhouette when the sunlight dims
Into your eyes where the moonlight swims,
And your match-book songs and your gypsy hymns,
Who among them would try to impress you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I put them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

The kings of Tyrus with their convict list
Are waiting in line for their geranium kiss,
And you wouldn’t know it would happen like this,
But who among them really wants just to kiss you?

With your childhood flames on your midnight rug,
And your Spanish manners and your mother’s drugs,
And your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs,
Who among them do you think could resist you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Oh, the farmers and the businessmen, they all did decide
To show you the dead angels that they used to hide.
But why did they pick you to sympathise with their side?
Oh, how could they ever mistake you?

They wished you’d accepted the blame for the farm,
But with the sea at your feet and the phoney false alarm,
And with the child of a hoodlum wrapped up in your arms,
How could they ever, ever persuade you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

With your sheet-metal memory of Cannery Row,
And your magazine-husband who one day just had to go,
And your gentleness now, which you just can’t help but show,
Who among them do you think would employ you?

Now you stand with your thief, you’re on his parole
With your holy medallion which your fingertips fold,
And your saintlike face and your ghost-like soul,
Oh, who among them do you think could destroy you?

Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

Songwriter: Bob Dylan. from Blonde on Blonde.

Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands lyrics © Audiam, Inc

I could write more on this as poem and music, talking of alliteration, rhyme, the keyboards, drums, the acoustic guitar, his signature voice and singing style, the bass, the versions, the covers, the imagery, the references and allusions, and inter-textuality, the frame, the contexts, the significance or importance of the song in the album and its influence on others, the figures of speech and so many other things, but it would make it boring and so leave the rest of the essay for all of you, my dear friends, to create in your minds for yourself…

Why poetry in toxic times?

Why Poetry in Toxic Times?

Poetry can be discovered in most unlikely places.

For example, sitting in the atrium of a big mall, facing a gushing fountain on a hot humid May-end Mumbai evening, you say to your companion, surrounded by all the twinkling fairy lights and fir potted trees placed strategically on the white marble floor, “How poetic!” The crystalline water jet shooting up in a column against a darkening sky in the middle of a soulless glass-n-concrete and sanitized property can be a great diversion for a tired shopper left poorer by few thousands by that sexy and seductive commercial space: The vertical movement of pure drops of H2O can be a big visual relief in a place that registers the maximum footfalls these days in Mumbai or Madrid, Delhi or Peshawar. Malls are the new temples and churches for the post-modern Odysseus hunting for treasures and exotic fare and the urban tribes in Dubai or Kenya find time there to congregate. In such anonymous but identical architectural complexes— in homogenized and standardized settings, amid fake plants and plastic smiles of the overworked and grossly underpaid young poor staff; outside/inside the dazzling shops and their inviting wares, cruising along the well-preserved floors and regularly sanitized loos, gawking at the bald zero-figure mannequins under ark lamps and hunting for mineral water bottle that  costs a fortune for your recession-hit middle-class fake-leather wallet— you get a feeling of derivative power and branded kinship with others  in New York or Berlin. After gleefully splurging more than you have ever planned and secretly planning to go ascetic for a whole year in your personal expenditure, you, the tired Ulysses, decide to sit down on an empty bench and then—suddenly discover the solitary fountain singing merrily on the hot and humid evening. For the other adjacent happy chatterers on the Blueberry, it is a fixture, a prop; for you, it is sheer poetry in a pricey impersonal place, a symbol of purity and eternity. Poetry in slow motion. Water that priceless thing triggers a primeval response in a subterranean crevice of your overtaxed brain and connects you immediately with the first spontaneous priests of raw nature that wandered the earth, at the dawn of the civilization. You feel transported to a dim age when your distant ancestors conversed eagerly with early gods and twinkling stars and swaying trees and murmuring rivers, finding everything in the universe living and sacred. They talked with the gods and gods with them under starry nights and on fresh dawns, near crystalline rivers full of marine life. All this harmony was recorded in delightful and sublime verses, in epic poetry by the all-seeing ancient minds. There were few facilities then but poetry was a presiding deity of their immediate life; to-day, there are facilities galore but poetry, that musicality, that harmony, is sadly absent. Or, almost. The poetic spirit has started disappearing in prosaic times. Begun withdrawing from an age that is high on high-tech but low on basic human emotions. Bonds are brittle—you care more for your China vase or crockery or Swarovski glass than your dear siblings or pals.

Poetry is like the Golden Barrel Cacti— critically endangered, rare species in the Mexican wild, yet surviving the tough conditions. It is like Welwitschia mirabilis, another hardy plant of the Namibian Desert of the South West Africa. Poetry is a surviving link with our heroic past, with our mythological memory, with a unique moment when man and god were not yet cruelly split but were real for the other and having a continual dialogue. Like these two plants, it is endangered and becoming exotic. But it is a great survivor that adapts to most arid conditions and challenging habitats and grows in most inhospitable climes and times. It is vital to a polluting age like an oxygen mask. It can detoxify your body filled with an overdose of pills, caffeine and nicotine and other drugs, and raked with a toxic desire for More (Remember Henderson, the Rain King?).

Poetry is like the first rains over a smoggy town: It washes away all the grime and revives the dormant seedlings and revitalizes the corroded cores of your inner- life. It is a strong anti-dote to a frightening spiral of mad chasing of the deadly deadlines on daily basis, mechanically performing all the time in office and home and suffering indifferent colleagues, public venues and neighbourhoods that define social existence of competing individuals, and dreaming dollars and economic migrations inside/outside the country of your origin. Poetry is like the first rays of dawn that greet a terminal patient in a grim facility and spreads cheer in a solitary life on the threshold of cessation or a burnt-out top executive fighting for more money and promotion and his bad hangover.

Finally, poetry is coming face to face with your spiritual truths that refuse to be commodified and reified by a mass culture. It fulfills you and makes you whole, like the tiny church-bells chiming on a wintry desolate evening in the Chekhovian land.

Yes, we are the

 Warriors

Of poetry

Who

 Uphold the standards

In war zones

And never ever

Make them fall.

@Sunil Sharma

(From: Preface: Mundane, My Muse)

Daily Routine

Daily Routine

Louis Kasatkin

The first thing I noticed about him was that he always favoured the bench nearest the ornate water fountain, the one at the furthest point of the park’s circumference.

And there he sat, every day as far as I could tell, on the bench nearest that ornate water fountain just at the same time as I was taking my customary perambulation around the park.

I was subsequently to ascertain that every evening at around 5 o’clock he left his office at a pawn-broking establishment, in the city’s old quarter, and would take the tram directly into town and go for what was his accustomed stroll down here in the park by the canal.

Gradually over the days whenever I took my rest on a bench nearby, I would observe this fellow and speculate as to what thoughts might be occupying his mind during his sedentary repose.

Perhaps he dreams, of a lost childhood, as indeed do I on the odd occasion apropos of nothing in particular. Perhaps he recalls long summers ago that he spent with his parents on holiday by the sea, days filled with singing, laughing and maybe crying.

Summers in the park such as those, from which I now I recall the series of incidents, are nature’s magnet for children. freed temporarily to frolic vicariously amid the splendid and plentiful lush topiary of the park’s environs, out of sight and out of earshot of parents and nannies.

And on that one particular evening, tired from my exertions and sat in my usual spot observing almost as a matter of course the likewise repose of my quotidian twin, I found myself idly speculating as to what he might be observing with his doleful gaze behind those thick lenses perched awkwardly on his visage.

I often thought that he may unbeknownst to me perhaps be slyly observing me rather than I him. But on reflection I guessed his thoughts were as far away as ever, dreaming of his long ago lost summers. It seems that we were simultaneously stirred from our mutual daydreaming by sudden sounds of crying. A child crying.

Crying now, the little girl who stood by the ornate water fountain, looking for all the world as one who has lost her way. There she stood with her golden hair and eyes of grey, reflected in his thick lenses;

And as he watched her he dreamt, of long summers ago, and a childhood by the sea filled with laughing and crying.

And as I look back to then in the park, I see him there as he lies beneath a summer sky and I am no longer sat on my bench but am there on the grass ,side by side with the golden girl and she lies very still.

Sticks and Stones

They’d taken me to A&E around 4 a.m. Not a good time to get sent to the hospital, Saturday before dawn, the morning after the night before. Drunks, junkies, vagrants, the knifed, the shot, the battered, the bruised and confused.

They were waiting for me, waiting for me to die, but not on their shift. I could tell immediately. I’m intuitive that way. I could tell that they don’t fancy doing the paperwork that my dying on their shift would entail.

Their words hurt me alright, worse than any sticks or stones if you come right down to it. “ Chest pains!” some intern or other announced as he waved a clipboard at me in the cubicle, the cubicle with its curtain left agape for the morbidly curious.

What chest pains? My badly timed interjection to the dominant medical narrative caused a furious raising of the hospital staff’s eyebrows and an increase in their patronising tones.

Well excuse them but they have tests to run, degrees to measure,percentages to ascertain ; so my p.o.v. didn’t really count. Not in this cubicle, not in this medical facility’s A&E and sure as hell not at 4 in the forsaken morning with blood, vomit and worse decorating the environs of this most sacred of places.

First I had to be disempowered, brought under their stewardship,my critical reasoning was to be set aside ,so that I can be assigned ,consigned ,designed to fit in with their industrial logic.They were waiting for me, to consent to my own incarceration ,so that they could transform me into one of their votive offerings on one of their altars dedicated to their idols of weakness and incapacity.

If I could only feel strongly enough the urge to discharge myself ,and I went ahead and did just that. Then maybe their words would hurt me less than sticks and stones..But they’ll still be waiting for me,waiting for me…..

My Sweetheart ( A Valentine’s Day Noir )

“My sweetheart!”..that random thought arced across the empty horizon of his mind illuminating its darkest corners like the flashbulb of a papparazzi camera.


He saw you there, there in the magazine, there on stage. there on the screen.Pristine,immaculate ; in black in white and in full glossy color.

You filled his eyes,sparkled and dazzled them in black ,in white and in full glossy..


The  hire car had taxed his already somewhat meagre budget that he’d calculated would be sufficient to draw this adventure to a successful conclusion.But it was a necessary investment ,after all anything even moderately inferior in style and quality than this latest model Porsche sports would raise furtive eyebrows here on the Boulevard Saint Michel.

And raised furtive eyebrows might become inquisitive,inquisitive as to what some tawdry, budget conscious vehicle was even doing parked in this pristine,immaculate area.

Pristine,immaculate – his thoughts strayed – just like your form,your shape.Sweet..heart! a form,a shape so casually,lazily represented as if painted by Michaelangelo in an Age of beauty and mystery.

The mystery he would soon reveal as no mystery at all.The bouquets ,the chocolates,the cards,the jewellery, all delivered by high end corporate business couriers and now on this very special,this unique occasion, Valentine’s Day,no more intermediaries would be necessary..


He sees you now. Pristine. Immaculate. Leaving your fancy apartment here on the Boulevard Saint Michel,

You are alone,You are pristine,You are immaculate;

He reaches for the syringe.And steps out to meet you..”Sweetheart!”

Be kinder than you need to be everyone is fighting a battle

I see a guy homeless in Leeds, I stop smile ask him if he would like a hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. He smiles and nods attentively. I say,”fancy a beef burger with cheese n onions?” His smile broadens “yes please”he replied. I ask “Hp or ketchup?” “Ketchup please” “thank you very much “ he added. I pass over his cheese burger and hot steaming drink and notice tears gently falling down his cheek. “Oh what’s up?”, I ask..”nothing you’re just so kind.” “Hey you’re loved “, I say. “Sure you’d feed me if it was the other way around “. We exchanged names. Stuart is his name. I ask how long he’s been homeless, as I sit on the pavement besides him. “3years.”” How did you end up homeless,” I ask. Stuart went on to pour his heart out to me. He said he held a job down for twenty years, one evening, he kissed his wife and headed of out to do a night shift ( little did he know his life was never going to be the same again) whilst he was at work his wife fell down the stairs and ended up in a coma. When Stuart got home the next morning, he struggled to open the front door as her body was behind it. Stuart found his wife dead. He then slipped into depression as life as he knew it was no more. He ended up losing his job, getting behind with the rent consequently ended up with Stuart homeless. As he told me I could see the heartbreak in his eyes and etched in his face. I held back tears as my eyes studied his hands, swollen, dirty, cut, blistered from the elements. Then they glimpsed at his feet, what looks like green puss stuck to his black socks. The smell that came from him was unpleasant to say the least. Stuart shared that he ended up losing custody to social services, his three children. I asked how old are his children now, 18,16,14… as he reminisced about them his eyes glistened and a smile broke out. We chatted for about another ten minutes, Stuart said,”look at the people just walking by, sometimes they look down on me. But they shouldn’t judge. Don’t judge anyone,” he said. He said how he doesn’t smoke, drink or take drugs, just has a 💔 Brocken heart.  Then Stuart shared  how his favourite bit in the Bible is  where it says whoever hasn’t sinned throw the first stone. I said yep we have all sinned. Stuart commented that in life there’s tests and we can easily fail them if we don’t open our eyes and look out for them. I left Stuart a hat, two scarves and a sleeping bag. He was so grateful. Tears streaming we said our goodbyes. We hugged exchanged smiles and I went on my way.
I’m so grateful to have a home, family and friends. I’m blessed beyond measure, my cup runs over. If you pass someone who looks homeless or in need, smile they are just human like you n i. They have feelings. They were probably once like you n I, but life happened and they had a bad break. Let’s be kinder than we need to be as everyone is fighting their own battle.

Footnote:

This is an excerpt from a book I’m currently writing called, ‘By The Grace of God’
It’s about different life situations and people I have felt myself around. I’m hoping it helps people, encourages and changes some people’s life direction, brings hope and points people to Jesus.

Autism

I have feelings even if I don’t show them properly, or the same as you do.
I can kick off but it’s because I’m totally comfortable with you.
I can see you looking at me strangely or back stabbing me as I’m not stupid, even though I don’t act like you.
I want to be accepted just like you.
If you ask me a question I’ll answer you honestly as that’s what I think you want me to do. Then I’ll be surprised if you then don’t talk to me as all I’ve done is answer a question?? Like you asked me to..
I wish you had never asked me.. don’t ask me if you don’t want my opinion.. Then I’m frustrated, I might kick off..I don’t understand you, you say one thing but then do something different I really don’t get you.
I’ll go out of my way to try and help you like.
I can’t read your body language,
I don’t get social ques.
I take what people tell me as truth.
I desperately want to be liked accepted, I want you to get me.
I don’t mean to get on your nerves , I only want to be your mate. I want to be like you.
I get excited, giddy, loud, can totally show myself up. My highs are through the roof, then my lows mean my world crumbles.
Loud doesn’t mean confidence, i just wanna be accepted.
I’ll do anything for anyone, I’m generous, vulnerable, I’m me I like fun. I’m desperate for a friend, even only one.
Someone to accept me.
With a group of people, I feel invisible, I sit alone, no one notices, says a word, I’m dying to get chance to speak. I may not look the same as you but I have feelings, no one likes to be ignored, no one likes to be on there own. Why don’t I fit in? I have feelings, I could stand here and scream what’s wrong with me?? JUST TALK TO ME! I only want to fit in, be accepted for just being me.
I’m me not a label, I’m wonderfully made. Life would be boring if we were all made the same. Please embrace me, take time to speak with me, I’m a good friend, I’m loyal, truthful, funny, clever and I do what I say I’ll do. I’d always be there for you. I’ll accept you for you. I’ll always be there for you to lean on me, rely on me. If only you get to know the me, see past the autism, as trust me I’d be the best friend anyone could be…. 

Footnote:

This is an excerpt from a book I’m currently writing called, ‘By The Grace of God’
It’s about different life situations and people I have felt myself around. I’m hoping it helps people, encourages and changes some people’s life direction, brings hope and points people to Jesus.