Monday, 28 July 2008

Seagulls (flash fiction)

It was like a scene out of “The Birds,” the Seagulls diving all at once, ripping his hat to shreds. A bowler cap, timeless and stylish. The wind blew it down Swansea Beach and into a discarded chip tray where the seagulls had destroyed it. In the days that followed, his head felt naked and exposed, despite the matte of prematurely greying hair that lay on his head like a sleeping dog.
His girlfriend was secretly relieved; she thought the hat was silly, so when he decided to search out a new one she accompanied him with great reluctance. He searched the charity shops first, but their aisles of cast-off clothes held nothing for him. His mood worsened; he told his girlfriend of the time his mother had lost her favourite brooch and how she brooded for months and it must run in the family. She nodded and made him tea. He searched the aisles of Debenhams and the racks at TK Maxx. He walked the beach and cursed the seagulls. He started noticing people’s hair and when he was with his mates he constantly compared. His best friend drove him to Cardiff where they ruffled through boutiques and found a few that fit in size and style but were too expensive—the last one had come to him cheaply, so should the next.
He stopped looking. He stopped combing his hair. He took to eating lots of sea food and bitterly cursing all men his age whose hair retained its youthful brownness. One day he stood in line at the market for an order of cod and saw the vendor a booth over wearing a stylish golfer’s cap, checked and full of life. He looked once, then twice. Mid-purchase, he dropped his fish, ran and made an offer.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Carmarthen Train # 1

Sheep like white dots on some sort of great
green blanket eat calmly like they know our
photographs depend on it.
These hills are inviting but never built for
tourists, the sides are slick today with
rain that shakes off any hangers on who
got past that castle other side of the water.

The train feels slow today, passing those
square-cut hedges, reminding me
to remind myself
I am a visitor.

Courtney sits accross from a woman
with glasses in friendly conversation.
Everyone on this train has looked
at each other at least once. Soon
Courtney will be on a long flight back
to the states, she is saying she'll miss it.

"Stay somewhere long enough and it becomes
a part of you."

I wonder if this is applicable to photographs
taken from train windows.
The teenage girls accross the aisle start
dancing to invisible music as we pull into
a town I've never been before and
isn't that what I'm after, always?

Saturday, 12 July 2008

too old to marry young

It doesn't gnaw at me any more,
just darts through my brain
taking pieces of me with it.

the what-ifs.

it's not to say I know exactly
what I'd go back and undo, it's just that
there are so many possibilities.

like what if I'd talked to the girl
reading CS Lewis in the cafeteria
that rainy tuesday in spring, or
what if I had the ability and inclination
to love any of those girls from
my youth that my Mom was sure I'd marry someday.

probably be a social worker in the
Greater Seattle Area and generally
less embarrassing at family reunions.

it's a twisted sort of nostalgia,
for things that didn't happen.

if I said I was sorry, that'd be
only half, no, a quarter of the story
and you know how sorry I'm capable of.

I'll just need a few more thinking years
to know what to do or undo, all while
passing girls reading CS Lewis without
saying anything,

lest I wake up and find myself a teacher,
Mom always said
I should work with kids.

_ - _ - _ - _

not too satisfied with that one.
today is bad with writer's block, so I'm just glad to get a shape of it posted. got some feedback from my professor on one of my stories. work continues.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The cafe across from the train station

Everything here is a little crooked.
The booth backs.
The peas + faggots sign under the lamp.
The lamp.
The “Gent’s Bathroom” placard.
The vent above the coke machine.
The signed “Twin Town” poster.
My handwriting sitting here
on crooked cushions
and her smile as she hands me change.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Earl Grey

Mounting the snowcapped summit, muscles aching
from cold and effort, he unwrapped his face of wool,
let the scarf drop, brushed icicles from his beard.
His companion pulled a thermos from the pack,
then teacups and saucers.
Soon steaming liquid, stirred by spoon
while overhead, a mountain goat scuffs
at a cliff edge.
The two sit cross-legged, pinkies aloft.

camera zoom out.
In a distinctly American British Accent, the voiceover:

"Earl Grey. Bold. Beautiful. British."


My friend Betsy considers herself a bit of a tea expert;
I used to accompany herself and her fiance to Capitol Hill
tea dens where they would always order for me,
at least after the time I scratched my head and asked:

"Do you have any rasberry?"


Over brit-side, you needn't be an expert to know good tea from bad,
the important thing is that there be tea, period.
The offer requires no occasion— rather, occasions require IT,
celebration or consolation, "pour you a cuppa?"
being the universal comforter;
healthier than
"want a cigarrette"

but perhaps more indulgent than
"What you need to do is go for a run."

Its new to me.
Coming from coffee-capitol where we run fast and refuel faster,
it can't be coincidence that I'm now finally learning the
importance of calm, sip by sip, each afternoon, the therapy
inherent to stirring sugar in the face of a crisis.

This may be the one thing I take with me, whether or not
I scale any mountains or ever become an expert.
The moments while you wait for the bag to steep.
The way the milk swirls in. I may never be an expert
but perhaps that, too is something I’ll take from this.

And at least now I know not to ask for rasberry.

So I finished a draft of a story today. The story's called "My Ugly Twin" and it rose out of a prompt Becca gave while her, Shane and I were writing at the St. George Pub (yes, I'm already nostalgic for their visit) and it's a first-person account of two brothers falling out.

The above poem/spoken word was originally written sometime late Spring and I'd intended to clean it up a bit and see how it flies. May still suffer some tweaking.
In the interest of catching up, I'll post more stuff on Friday or Saturday.