Tag Archives: existential fantasy

Warriors

Running. Days spent running. Long days running away. Far, far away from that Hill. Senlac.Where Harold Godwinson fell. All that remained of his Housecarls, all that evaded the keen eye and whetted blades of those Normans was here in this rout.

They are seized by fear as they broach the deep autumn green of the forest with the day darkening about them. They trample into the swirling grey and brown. Heaving past trees so gaunt, so erect everywhere flecked with its shadows.

They feel feral eyes lurking, they smell that stench only warhorses make; the tang of their salivary breath as their stalking footsteps are tramping heavily on foliaged ground.

Warriors, masterless curs with their master dead, are breaking, staggering into a run. The run of hearts and minds now fleeing and pounding all at once as if seized by a madness. Their fevers fired by diagonal shafts of sunlight and arrows. Threading and piercing. Whispering their death, clattering and cutting.

Bone bared, sweat-browed fighters are now falling amid the dense. And of all the summers that are to come, those summers no longer are theirs but the forest’s.

The Saint,A Stranger Among Men

The Saint, A Stranger Among Men
A previous age, perhaps less materialistic than our present one would have recognised and
acknowledged his otherness. His air of inner spirituality which others say he carried with him
and wore as lightly as the finest cape about his shoulders. Shoulders that others imagined
might have sprouted angelic wings. Eccentric, a flaneur with a quietly assertive insouciance
he wafted along the boulevards with transcendent equanimity. Then on a day of no particular
significance, at least none that I could apprehend at the time nor afterward, I actually
encountered him at one of the more popular Cafes, this figure of some Left bank
intellectual /philosophical speculation /admiration/veneration. This itinerant dispenser of
wisdom and insight.
The Saint with the shabby overcoat and hangdog expression asked me if I could spare him a
few reminiscences. I replied that the change in my pockets changes with the changing tide,
though I could offer him some reflections instead. The Stranger sat back in his chair
ordered himself another absinthe and began whistling some nameless tune while he waited
for his drink to arrive.
” If all our pain and sorrow only came on the morrow would we set the alarm late or not at
all? taking the chance that vicissitudes had all somehow passed us by while we were fast
asleep.”
This I realised immediately was the aphoristic balm which the Saint dispensed with
customary generosity to those he presumed were in need of immediate spiritual relief of some
kind; which in his own inimitable view included just about everybody. Though not all at the
same time.
” And were we to store all our tears shed in our lives, how big would the bottle have to be?
Could we claim back some pennies if we returned it empty? ” I was inwardly responding with
something akin to mild annoyance, outwardly with a beatific smile bordering on rictus when,
the Saint glanced askance at his watch where time had stopped years ago.
He wondered aloud where the waiter might’ve got to with his drink? “ If we don’t feel the
suffering of others, how will we know if we have blood in our veins? ” thereupon the Saint
got up, bid me adieu and was gone.
Some time after he’d left I saw in the mirror that there was no longer a reflection there
of me.

Writer in Exile

Dexter Stevenson
lime green ascot
and redundant cigarette holder,
never shook Hemingway’s hand;
never came to write the
great American novel,
never realised the fecund
potential of his literary dreams,
instead he was anthologised
in limited circulation magazines
from Baffin Island to Crete;
After the War,
a solitary screenplay was
optioned but never produced,
he had known the people
who had known the people
on the lot at R.K.O.;
They had Joseph Cotten
or was it Van Heflin,
test for the part
of George Meredith,
dissolute foreign correspondent
contemplating suicide,
John Huston was interested in
directing but made,
” Treasure of the Sierra Madre ” instead;
Dexter Stevenson’s prolonged sojourn
at the Hotel Nacional caused
much embarrassment in later years
for the proprietor and guest alike;
the raison d’etre for the hospitality
had since passed away into legend,
no-one now remembers Stevenson’s
deserted clifftop assignation with
that victim of the pill-bottle
her infamous golden locks
her winsome ” pooh pooh pah dooh ”
something he didn’t get away from;
Here deep in the labyrinth,
D.S. finally got away
from himself.

Ciudad desierta ( Deserted City )

Mythic streets evaporate at dawn,

leaving only complacent memory

to recall imperfectly those scraps

and oddities of ephemera that

defy rational explanation;

a pristine franked letter posted

in Huddersfield 1841;several ornate

glass marbles that were a birthday

present to some Rhineland princeling;

the signature of Thomas Alva Edison

on a page awkwardly torn from a

Hotel register omitting its name,

the building itself demolished long ago;

a skeletal frame of a Penny Farthing

half buried amid the inconsequential

detritus of the communal refuse tip;

a yellowing poster of a once well known

brand of cough syrup,the discernible lines

of a now defunct city tram route;

And somewhere,the presence of an

inveterate aesthete and poet of civic

renown struggling to evoke a nostalgia

amongst those who had not read Borges

nor knew of his blindness.

I, Camera

There is in the photograph you’re holding

someone taking a snapshot

of someone else posing

for someone else’s camera –

who’s being photographed by somebody

taking a picture to post online,

and in turn is getting snapped

by others taking shots

who without knowing it

are clicked for posterity

forever pointing lenses at

others in others’ images

that reduce to a single dot on the horizon,

which upon magnification

turns out to be you,

holding a photograph

of someone taking a snapshot..

Stalker

He saw you there,

there in the magazine

there on stage

there on the screen;

pristine,immaculate

in black

in white,

you filled his eyes

sparkled and dazzled them;

Pristine,immaculate

your form,

your shape

so casually,lazily

represented as if

painted by Michaelangelo

in an Age of beauty and mystery;

Pristine,

immaculate

he sees you now

leaving your fancy apartment

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..

Broken Memories

The Chanteuse

alone,

crooning existential

torch-lit ennui,

marinaded in

absinthed vocals,

in the salons

and bars of

La Rive Gauche,

domicile to flaneurs

and bohemian confreres;

she is wounding

their hearts with

visceral monotonous langour;

amid smouldering pyres

of  Gauloises,

stygian-leafed frissons

of earthy odeur,

redolent of arcane

manual labour,

debts

and

despair.

Warriors

Darkening the forest deep
autumn its green,
swirling grey and brown
shadows flecked,
trees gaunt,erect;
trembling leaves
seized by fear,
feral eyes
darting and lurking;
salivary breath
stalking footsteps bound,
tramping heavily
on foliaged ground,
breaking
staggering
into the run,
of hearts and minds
fleeing and pounding,
fevers fired
by diagonal shafts,
of sunlight and arrows
threading and piercing,
whispering their death,
clattering and cutting,
bone bared,sweat-browed
fighters fall amid the dense;
and all the summers that are to come,
no longer are theirs but the forest’s

Les Autres

When winter’s cadence sounds,
burn their pictures
the photographs of the dead
burn them,
so that they shan’t
trouble you again
when winter’s cadence sounds;

the gardens are shrouded
in snow
upon which no earthly foot
will fall,
and the door chimes dormant
hang suspended by a thread
of your own disbelief;

an imperceptible menace
waiting for a breath,
a snap of cold winter’s
air to cut the thread
and send it crashing,

crashing onto the floor,
where you shan’t hear it
except in your imagination’s
ear firmly fixed on the
sound of winter’s cadence.

Maria Alvarez :Scenes from an Undistinguished Life

Maria Alvarez embroidered her
life with meticulous detail,
consistent in her affectations
she accumulated the outward
appearance of savoir-faire;
her aspirations,unfulfilled
and unfulfillable,lent their
careless trajectory to her life;
whenever vicissitudes threatened,
a laconic smile and something
of hubris at the corner of the mouth
would sustain her amid the disillusionment;
such was the order of her life
until the careless trajectory
of a point three-two bullet
bisected her spouse’s slumbering frame,
setting her free from the borrowed melancholy
in which she had sought refuge
from joy,uncertainty and herself.

Maria Alvarez : ( The Spanish version )

(Translated by Marlena Abadcastello of
the Cervantes Institute,Manchester)

Maria Alvarez bordo su vida
con cuidadosas puntadas;
constante en su afectacion
acummulo la aparencia
externa del savoir-faire;
sus aspiraciones nunca cumplidas
y sin poder cumplirse,prestaron
una trayectoria indiferente a su vida;
cuando la amenazaban vicisitudes.
Una sonrise laconica y algo de
orgullo en el recoveco de su boca
la sostenian en medio de toda su desilusion:
asi transcurria su vida
hasta que la trayectoria indiferente
de una punto tres du dos balas
disecciono en dos su cuerpo durmiente de esposa,
liberandola de su melancolia prestada
en la cual habia buscado refugio
de la alegria,inseguridad y de si misma.