Month: October 2014

To read in the bloody light.

Once again the moon

has turned red

as if it is a sign of fertility

and lovers walk the garden beds.

“Oh what a cliche!” She laughs and looks at me.

I watch a couple kiss in the bloody moonlight.

She says; “I have written a poem, would you like to hear?”

I nod and try to feel her body through her dress.

She holds a page up to the moon

but it is too weak to read by-

she tries to remember the words.

Make the river muddy to hide the lack of depth

then people may think you wise.

The moon begins to clear

and lovers move away across the garden beds

looking up with soft sighs

with love and foolish eyes.

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The Sea

I seem to have a memory of the sea

of wave lifted ships

of heavy rope

and deep blue oceans where I,

looking down into the blue, see nothing but water forever.

I seem to remember

a past life

of sail and salt

of smell and sound

of midnight black on quiet decks

and stars above

and shouts and calls and endless sun and heat.

It is a memory of the sea

of a life

of ancient swimming mammals and fish

a life I miss and know that if I ever go to sea again

I will be going home.

A Halloween Ghost Story

Simon McCarrick used drugs. He was a heavy user, spending all his money and destroying his health. One day, under the influence, he drove his car home from town and passing through a quiet suburb he hit and killed an old man who was crossing the road at a set of traffic lights. Simon, dizzy and heavily affected, climbed out of his car and turned the old man over. The back of the old man’s head was caved in but his face was unharmed and Simon had a good look at the man’s features, then in a panic, Simon ran back to his car and drove home.

That night Simon swore to himself he would not use any more, he sat shaking in his small rented room above a fruit market. He had no one to help him and he had been throwing up half the night. Finally, although sick, he dragged himself into bed. The old man’s face flashed through his mind and the night seemed so dark and cold. He could not sleep.

The next day, Simon tried to nap but the noise of the market and the sun through the windows kept him up. He went for a walk in the park and with his nerves as bad as they were he bought some drugs and began using again. The same thing happened that night, he swore off using and he felt sick. He crawled into bed again and tried to sleep. This time the night seemed softer and less threatening and just as he was falling asleep he heard a noise. It was a noise from within the room, he opened his eyes, it sounded like an animal scratching at the walls. Sometimes animals came in, attracted by the food below. He looked about but as soon as he turned on his lamp the noise stopped. He turned off the light and rolled over in bed. The scratching returned. It was coming from the corner of the room. This time Simon sat up and looked without turning on the lamp.

In the corner was a mass of cloud, internally lit by a blue light. Simon froze and his eyes went wide with terror. He would have screamed but these things had occurred to him before in his drug hazes. He sat silently, blinking and shaking his head, trying to shake the nonsense away. But instead of the cloud disappearing, it grew larger and larger until it was the old man he had killed. The old man stood in the corner of the room and stood there silently watching Simon.

“Oh God”! Simon yelled. “Oh God!”

The old man seemed to hear the cry and stepped back to the wall, then with a flowing motion and agile strength, the apparition climbed the wall, still watching Simon, until he reached the ceiling, then in the corner he stopped and perched like a night owl waiting for its prey.

“What do you want?” Simon called to the man, the ghost made no answer. His was silent but then, before Simon’s eyes, the man began to decay. In twenty seconds the ghost went from being the old man to a skeleton with strips of flesh and rotten clothes falling from him and collecting in a putrid pile on the floor below. Soon the old man was a skeleton, it stayed very still in the corner of the room just below the ceiling. Simon screamed, the skeleton stayed a little while longer, seeming to enjoy the terror and then disappeared into the black night.

Simon did not sleep or move all night, he just waited. Nothing happened until sunrise then Simon climbed out of bed and examined the wall. There was nothing remaining of the apparition. The were no marks or stains.

Terrified Simon left the house and stayed at a friends place for the night. The friend let him stay in the front room on a couch. As night fell, Simon was happy to be away from his room. He lay his head back on the hard couch and closed his eyes. At that moment the apparition reappeared. Blue and terrible in the black night. It climbed the wall and there from the top corner again it decayed. Simon screamed. By the time his friend came into the room there was nothing there. Only Simon, tears running from his eyes and pale in a state of terror.

People began to blame it on his drug use and no one believed what he told them. He did not mention that he had killed the man he only told them a ghost visited him. Simon stayed at others people houses, they let him stay in spare rooms or the garage but each night the ghost would visit him no matter where he was. Simon could find no peace.

That night Simon spent in his own apartment. He was certain he would soon die, the terror was too much. As the darkness fell and the phantom appeared, Simon fell to his knees before the old man and begged.

“Please, stop haunting me!” He yelled, “I’ll do anything to have you stop! What do you want me to do? I’ll go to the police and tell them what I did! Anything to have you leave me!” Simon lay before the ghost who looked down at him. The ghost did not climb the wall, instead he looked down at Simon and nodded.

“I…” The ghost said in a voice deep with death, “I want you to go to my wife’s grave tomorrow at midnight. I want you to place flowers on her grave and I want you to say a prayer for her.”

Simon looked up at the ghost. “I will. I will!” He said. “Where is her grave?”

The ghost told him his wife’s name and where her grave was in the city graveyard. “Do this, at midnight and I will no longer haunt you.”

Simon agreed.

The next day Simon, feeling happier with himself, took all the money he had and bought a large bouquet of flowers. He walked past the graveyard and looked to the front corner where he saw the massive gravestone that the ghost had told him to find. Simon went to it, committed the path to his memory and he read the name on the stone. “Mary Watts.” The name read. That was her name, Simon thought, then he went home and took a nap.

Making sure he would not be late, Simon headed out to the graveyard half an hour early. He sat in the park opposite the graveyard until midnight, then carrying the large bunch of flowers, he carefully made his way through the dark to the correct gravestone and laid the flowers out. The town was silent, it was cold and there was no noise. He felt a sense of relief to be ridding himself of his curse. He smiled and then kneeled down on the grave and crossed himself. He said a prayer, something he remembered from his childhood and then again crossed himself. He took a deep breath, it was wonderful to be free. He began to think of other things, and sat for a moment quietly, he could see some stars twinkling in the sky.

“So,” a voice screamed from behind him. “You killed my husband?”

Simon turned and standing behind him was a huge skeleton, covered in dirt. It had burrowed up from the grave, the horrible gaping hole lay open beside it. The skeleton shook the mud from its bony fingers. Simon screamed. The skeleton grabbed him and then dragged him back into the grave with her.

Crying in the Book Store

When I go into my local book store, I spend a lot of time looking at what is new on the shelves. I pick up new books and I study the covers, I feel the books in my hand for several seconds (especially if the covers have indents or raised design) and then I read the first paragraph and then a paragraph at a random page.

Very often new books disappoint me, I read yesterday a book that said about a prisoner of the Japanese in World War Two: “He put on his only clothes, a dirty hat and a cock rag that he wore like a g-string that barely covered his cock.” It was a reputable release that had won a major award. It’s not just the language, I love words and I enjoy swearing if used correctly, it was the fact that the author was not creating magic he just seemed to be producing words.

I then spend a long time in the classics section. The classics section makes me cry. I actually stand in the book store with tears in my eyes, because the books there are so good and I know that I will never be as good as those authors who have gone before.

I stand in the store crying quietly. The staff look at me, the security cameras turn in my direction and other customers get away from me but it makes me feel so good and so happy even though I am not worth a fraction of Charles Dickens or John Steinbeck.

They are giants whose books made my childhood and adult life much better than they would have been without them.

Funny Bunny

When I was in the first grade at school the teacher told us we would be writing a book and she would publish it. All we had to do was take the small pieces of paper she would supply, write a story, illustrate it and she would staple them together and add a cover.

I was very excited about this. I planned my story and I spent a long time designing the illustrations. My story was titled ‘Funny Bunny in EasterLand.’ It was about a rabbit (an anthropomorphised rabbit) who one day while digging in his warren dug too far and ended up in EasterLand where he devoured a chamber full of chocolate eggs and then lived happily ever after. It ran eight pages with eight illustrations and the teacher gave me a piece of purple cardboard upon which I drew a cover and she stapled it together and there was my book in all its glory.

All the other kids, (many of whom took it as seriously as I did) also finished and we put our books on a shelf down the back where we could read each others at our leisure. Once you read a book you initialed it and at the end of the week you could see how many people read yours.

Funny Bunny was a run away success. By the end of the first week everyone in the first grade had read it. The teacher commended me and I won some award equivalent to the Nobel Prize in Literature for first graders in Wagga Wagga (the town in which I grew up).

A few years later in fourth grade, the teacher, a frustrated writer herself, announced that we would (again) be publishing a book. It was similar to first grade in every regard, we would write, illustrate and design the cover. The amount of times the books were loaned would be recorded. I recalled my success a few years earlier with Funny Bunny so I was certain I would bring him back to great acclaim.

I wrote the book and illustrated the pages with a burning excitement. I wondered how many times each of my classmates would borrow my work, I wondered how many awards would be heaped upon me. This story was about a theft. Funny Bunny had his chocolate stolen and under great stress made his way to the Police Station to see Chief Turtle. Funny Bunny encounters a horse, a kangaroo, a rat, another rabbit (a lady rabbit), none of whom had seen his chocolate but he also meets pig who has a big moustache. Once Chief Turtle investigates they discover that the pig stole the chocolate and the moustache is chocolate all over his face. WAH – WAH. Pig is arrested but makes amends with a whole new box of chocolates for Funny Bunny.

I sat back when the book was stapled and I went through it one last time. It was sensational, the best adventure yet. I proudly put it next to the other kids work on the shelf and waited for reading time.

Reading time came and everyone went and borrowed a book. Mine was the only one left on the shelf. All week went by and no one read my book. Mine was the only one not to be read. All the other kids had their borrower cards full of signatures. Mine was empty. I even caught whispers among the others that mine was wussy and childish. The other stories were about war and racing cars and finding a million dollars on the street etc.

I learned a few lessons that day. One was that I had few friends, the other was that if you want to be successful with your novel it has to be interesting, it has to be relevant and it has to be good. I missed the mark that day and it burned deeply.

Rogerandjessica_carrotcake

The World as I know it

I go to a monthly writing group and they can be a bunch of assholes sometimes, but one thing I realised today is that when they critique my work, it makes me a better writer. Some of them get stuck into you when you read something and it can bring you down, but what they are doing is making me work harder to tighten up my poetry and prose. I think twice now about loose words and sloppy grammar. I still stuff up but at least I am trying harder.

I have a routine, the groups meet on a saturday. I go to the class, yell and argue with them, then I go to the University library and sit among the books for an hour and then I go for a swim. It is my favorite day of the month.

One thing however I have noticed. Some of the people in the group are sensitive and when I criticise their work they take it as a personal attack and then they don’t like me anymore. It’s hard but they don’t realise I am trying to help them become better writers. If I really don’t like a piece of work, I don’t say anything and even if they don’t understand, me not saying anything is the worse thing I can do. It means take the work away from me.

I have been in other groups where everyone is nice and only compliments are allowed. I hated those groups, I want robust opinions and arguments, I want passion and most of all I want people who treat literature and writing as the most important things in the world. Although this group has flaws like any other, it is a good group.

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New York City

I dream of one day visiting New York. It is a city I have grown up knowing but only through books and the television.

I read J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye in 1998. I was sixteen years old. That was the moment that tipped me over the edge. I wanted to walk in Central Park, I wanted to stay in some old hotel, I wanted to to walk the streets and see the sights and hear the noises just as Holden did.

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It is my dream to arrive in this city with my new book under my arm and a list of places that want to see me and my new book.

Here is one of my favorite poems by Ross Clark:

To Behold a City

It must be a city that you have never visited before, and

you should be tired from driving all night. arrive with the

dawn, and watch it wake.

Watch the city’s first-rising

inhabitants as they go about their habitual duties: Milkmen

are finishing their runs through the suburbs: owners opt small

shops are sweeping their footpaths, smoking their last un-

hurried cigarette of the day: trucks are revving and cough-

ing their loads towards city streets: joggers are filling

their lungs with the airs of morning; night-workers are

returning home on the first buses.

the radio station, when

you find it, is playing brightly: the first light glints on

windows and displays, on the frost of the last lawns; a

tardy neon flashes cheaply over bunting.

this is the way to

know a city, to watch it wake like a new lover beside you.

Hi

This is a new place on the internet and a new place for me.

I love walking in the forests, I love swimming, I love reading. A lot of people like those things but often I feel lonely.

I love the colours of the trees.

My following posts will be about me and my writing. Deep down it is a very hard thing for me to do, I hate writing or talking about myself. But I love posting pictures.