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Twenty Ten FourWe never notice.
Our alarm doesn't ring, it sings
Pharell beating our mornings
till we remove from our snooze. We
forgot the tink-tinker or
and emerge the same.
The same commute to work:
Heads sunk, tired eyes drunk by
thumb movements. Our ears dumb
locked into a Will-I-Am trance. Not
a glance of the changing scenes;
the only birds we see are angry.
The same office echoes with
of emails blaming others and smack-talking.
instead of actual talking. We fall for
the hype of Skype and only Siri’s
voice drones narrow answers
we accept as truth.
The same playground, huddled corners;
Children pick a blackberry instead of
picking blackberries, for their late-night
Facebook fights. Words will always hurt see:
no kids to hit with sticks and stones. Unless
there’s an ap for it.
What do we do when stop?
Orwell you're too late
took thirty years to demonstrate your
doublethink and we all cling to
The Beard of intrigueHis beard was fascinating.
It was a loom, woven with intricate detail and so long it would put any wizard to shame. Each pattern in the coarse mound of hair seemed to share a secret. Perhaps they were memories- I’d heard others collect memories in such ways- etchings on their bodies, collecting objects and even journal writing. Maybe this man was his own journal.
The rest of him seemed positively ordinary. He rested in his chair in a blue business suit- albeit a little outdated for fashion, but suited the character I had begun to form in my head for him. His sorrowful eyes narrowed on a frustrated brow of greying features, illuminating a sense of tiredness. Perhaps the beard in all its might was weighting down. His skin was as rough as sandpaper, blotches and scars etching his hands and face with no revelation to the puzzle of his beard.
I wanted to move closer, debating whether it was rude to ask. The very notion excited me as I built up theories as to why his beard had the
Shopping and Wizards.A thousand bags
shuffle down the high street between
clasped hands, scrunched with new purchase.
They’re buggy-dodging the determined mothers,
the rushed businessmen-- a pinball
machine shopping centre.
A green-robed man, tall with wand and hood
must be a wizard. He’s happily
procuring sushi and sparkling water
whilst his companion;
short with her piercings and jeans treats him
as if he wore the same.
Down the high street,
two track-suited parents
zoom past on their children’s scooters—
half-smoked fags between fingers yell
how fucking amazing this is.
spotted teen raps
his love for Jesus on a muffled
He raps for the Father,
He raps for the Son
and Holy Spirit.
He raps for peace, for hope, for you.
In a corner,
Brown eyes, hefty tears,
a snot-ridden face--
four years old.
A train runs through the mall toot-tooting
as grumpy shoppers move out of the way.
Napo 8- SusanWhy did you lock her out of heaven
and throw the key
into the lions land?
A beautiful girl enjoying
a new fantasy to live.
She'd stopped believing, but
faith stays in a heart longer
than a head.
"She wasted all her school time wanting to be the age she is now,
and she'll waste all the rest of her life trying to stay that age"
Napo 7- Teen of the 90'sI wanted to be Posh Spice because my
hair was brown bobbed and she dated David
Beckham; I wanted to marry him. I
had no internet and recorded songs
on the radio to tape, daring to
pause and knock out the DJ’s droll. I sang
to S Club and thought I was the coolest
in my smiley faced top and my yingyang
friendship necklaces. You had to know the
Macarena not just for weddings but
school discos too and then every steps routine
to fit in. Slow dances with boys made me
wish again that they were David Beckham
and not greasy teens with bad curtains for
hair. They pressed themselves against you before
travelling to the next girl in leopard
print skirt. Viva forever was merely
a fantasy ; one I’d dream the whole of
the nineties, hoping my teenage self could
find her inner strength, her true girl power.
Napo 6- IreneShe left you a letter
outwitting at last the greatest.
A photograph, filched;
a King’s humiliation.
In your eyes she
holds the highest.
Napo 4- Warrior with painted faceThere’s a warrior with a painted face
and streaks of black across his chest; he stands
wild with pride. His merciless eyes ignited by the
echoes of fallen enemies. He slew
two hundred men and just scars mark their defence.
There’s a warrior with a painted face
who prays to gods mightier than he; he kneels
arms open to implore. He calls upon his army
to pray with him; equals once more. He watches
embers burn before retiring to his tent.
There’s a warrior with a painted face
and inside his heart rests a son and daughter
sleeping. There is a reason he is
Napo 3- Leaving the Train Station
Leaving the train station
alone I watch strangers head home.
The waves for yellow cabs and
stench of fresh-lit cigarettes, I let
the cold cloud white breath.
Even at midnight, a long-coated businessman
hurries past with laptop bag bulging and blackberry to ear. Behind me,
a clip-clack of heels and giggles-
their night hasn’t ended.
Across the road, three youths in hooded
tops kick a can whilst eating chips only stopping
as clip-clacks pass them and swoon
immaturity. Swear words exchange.
In the ice-wind rubbish travels as if taking
a commute, tapa-tapping the concrete.
Exhausted I can only wait with
white breath etching blue hands desperate to be
warmed. Eyes fight; tired and
His EyesIt has been three months since we heard from the mainland.
Speculation abounds. Some catastrophe has befallen them there; a plague has ended them, or a war, or perhaps something so dreadful that we cannot even imagine it. We are left here to starve, slowly, as we wait for news and supplies.
This morning we saw a boat on the horizon. Through the spyglass we saw that its occupant is a lone boy, and that his skin is patterned with lesions. Sula saw something in his eyes, he said, though he did not say what it was; but he was so shaken by the sight that he begged us to shoot the boat down before it reaches us.
We have no choice but to obey. We may pity the boy, but if he carries a plague a show of mercy might doom us. We will fire the cannon as soon as he comes within range.
We burned the flotsam brought in by the tide. There is no sign of the boy's body. With luck the current carried it away.
Sula woke with fever today. He sweats in rivers, and he will not open his eyes. He begged f
For the BoatmanCharon, I still keep the constellations in jars. You will not take me across the Acheron, so I wait on the river bank, trying to steal pennies from other passengers. I hear them clinking in your hull, ferryman, forgotten and oxidized. You call me by my name, even now.
"Persephone is dead, and her king never heard you crying out as I have."
I sang a hymn for you, Charon, but you only smiled and turned away.
Charon, have you met the slighted king? When he called, I answered, but his memory was just as rotten as mine. I had loved him with my own shadow, once. Ferryman, have you ever been in love?
"Stay on the shore. There are those who would see you swallowed whole. Little one, stay on the shore."
No one told them they couldn't swim to Tartarus. Sometimes, I believe I knew them better before you refused my paper stars.
Charon, am I drowning again? Or has there always been saltwater here? They never said anything.
"The inbetween is purging itself of you."
No one's joi
FFM 25: The Delivery BirdMom pressed her feet into the stirrups with all of her might, tears of joy and agony streaming down her face. The last push was the hardest, working out the shoulders and wings that followed the long, slender neck. After that, the rest of the stork slid out easily.
Mom and dad wrapped their arms around one another and looked upon it with a combination of euphoria and crippling exhaustion, eagerly waiting to see what the white sack in his beak held. But the messenger only looked back sympathetically, bowing its head in a solemn apology.
The pouch was empty.
In the Valley of the DevilsThis is how we prepare for winter in werewolf country: by lighting all the torches on the ramparts around the encampment, because werewolves fear fire, and so that we can see them when they come skulking in the dead of night. Sometimes, beneath the flames, we see the werewolves in our midst, the ones standing beside us. This makes the winter longer, and darker.
This is how we prepare for winter in the forest outside the camp: by catching rabbits and deer and possum, and roasting them on spits on our little fires, which we keep small so that the village will not see the smoke. If they locate us, they will come with guns and silver shrapnel, and tear us to bloody bits.
By first frost, we have finished digging the ditch around us. It is filled with blades pointing up, and hemlock and mistletoe, which the werewolves avoid as a vampire avoids garlic. We toss in the cut branches, and also some parts of their brethren, a skull or tooth, or a hand, which was once a paw
Do You See What I SeeRed.
It starts with a simple color. A simple color that results in the end of everything that was. Everything that would be. A simple color that destroyed the futures of so many. Who would have thought the world could be ended by the simplest of colors in the eyes of one girl.
She jumps from broken rooftop to broken rooftop. She glances back every other second. She pants and sprints, her auburn hair flying behind her in the wind. She has been running for only a couple of minutes, but the jumping has taken a toll on her body.
She looks up to the sky, the sun had been gone for years now. Darkness and plague raved the world. This was her fault. She tries not to think about it as she runs for her life. Haunting memories of what she did. She can still hear the screams of people whose lives she took. She begins to cry, each tear is hot and heavy of her face. She begins to stop, slowing with
The Ghost Dear Diary,
Today, Lizzie made a new friend. She says I should come play with them, but I’ve seen the scratches on her arms and the smile that tells me she’s hiding her pain. Felix doesn’t like the new friend either – he hisses every time the boy comes near him.
I don’t think anyone else can see him. Just me, Lizzie and Felix. It’s almost like we’re at war – Lizzie and the boy against Felix and I. The grown-ups try and tell us that it’s good to have an imaginary friend, and that it will help us become friends with other people, but I think they’re wrong. I don’t think the pale boy who walks through walls and wears a scary grin is Lizzie’s friend. Friends don’t hurt each other – Miss Eddy said so.
Felix has gone missing. The last time anyone saw him, he was with Lizzie. I think the boy had something to do with it – the mar
Morning RitualIt was a known fact of life that Arnold could not function without his morning coffee. Thankfully, he had married a woman who made an amazing brew. Jessica was amazing, and Arnold knew that a shlub like him didn’t deserve an angel like her. He made sure she felt duly appreciated, too—after her coffee elevated him above his zombie state.
The weekend had come and gone, and once again Monday was making its forceful presence known. Not that he had to go in to work today… instead, he would have to attend his mother’s funeral. Not that he was grieving. In fact, it was going to be all he could do not to dance on the woman’s grave once the last scoopful of Earth was atop her. Six feet was not enough. She had always tried to control his life. And she had downright hated Jessica. Perversely, as horrible as she had been, she had also always insisted she was a good mother even to her last breath. No one in the family missed her.
Arnold navigated his house my memory, n
Last MealLawrence Russel Brewer was a Texan white supremacist who, along with three of his friends, was tried and convicted for the 1998 murder of African-American James Byrd, Jr. and sentenced to death row. On September 21st, 2011, Brewer was executed by lethal injection. He expressed no remorse for his crime, and stated he would do it all over again if he could. Make no mistake, this man was a monster in virtually every sense of the word. In all likelihood, he deserved to die, and his death was probably too quick and painless to be honest. However, that isn't the point of this little story you're reading.
The point, rather, has to do with Brewer's last meal request...
Shortly before his execution, Lawrence Russel Brewer was given a choice of what his last meal would be, as is customary in many US prison systems when executing inmates. Brewer's last meal request was a veritable feast: Two chicken fried steaks smothered in gravy with sliced onions, a triple meat bacon cheeseburger with fixings
The Mirror BladeThe mirror was smooth and cold to the touch as she ran her fingers across it. They didn't leave a mark - not a whisper of fingerprints trailing a pale grey line. It shouldn't be there; there was no record of a mirror being brought in, but here it was, completely out of place and completely intriguing. She pulled her hand away and stepped back. The mirror was huge, standing at least six foot tall and surrounded by silver gilding that formed twisted celtic patterns and drew the faces of children and faeries.
Liz looked around as the soft sound of music drifted towards her ears. The doors were shut and she was the only one in the room. She swivelled back towards the mirror as the sound grew louder: It was coming from beyond the glass.
"What?" she whispered to herself as she took a step closer to the glass.
The music grew louder and she could pick out voices amongst the melody. She couldn't understand the voices but they were clear and pure, singing high and bright but muffled through the
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