A personal cul-de-sac, short stories and poetry


I am at this point in my life thirty seven, for large swathes of my life, I have imagined for some egotistical reason that I could be a writer.

Like many an ambition in life, I just imagined I could do it and never really put any serious work into improving my writing or learning with some proper aim the art of the written word.

I too often would read of a great writer who sat down and just ‘started writing’ somone like Hemingway or Hunter S Thompson, around them coffee cups and cigarette butts would appear and out mist like magic a novel.

It is arrogant to think I could just write something important without any practice or patience, my position reminds me of people I have met in my life who never went to university but have often told me they could easily complete a degree. This kind of thing is easy to pontificate about but to actually complete, well that is a very different proposition.

As a result I have here a collection of very short stories and poetry that never went anywhere, a collection of dead ends.

Some of these are nearly 20 years old and are written in diaries and notebooks I have collected over the years. Some of the material was written during difficult times in my life, some I don’t even remember why I wrote it or what it was about.

Even if none of the stories are completed or I don’t remember my original aim they display a personal narrative, an enjoyment of writing that I feel should be part of this blog.

Pines (2002)

A great pine panorama opened out neatly in all directions as far as he could see. The bright blue sky above and the deep green ocean of treetops below. The cicadas sung away in two separate rhythmic chants. One chant seemed to be in discussion with the other and the harmony slightly altered with each wave of noise, small birds chirped cheerfully in the tree canopy as he felt himself drop downwards.

All at once he felt his being collapse and drop beneath the ground; there under the carpet of brown pine needles among the rocks dirt and gravel he was part of the dark underworld, he felt uncomfortable and felt the gnawing of the rocks and sand.

Jye opened his eyes finding himself facing downwards on the pine green couch, the cushion cover was a dark green polyester which was extremely itchy and uncomfortable to the skin. He pulled himself to a sitting position and itched lethargically his red cheek.

He walked over to kitchen feeling the cold tiles on his bare feet and became aware that there was something or someone else walking behind him .

Judith walked past on her way to the bathroom which was at the back of the house behind the kitchen.

“hey dude” she said smiling

“hey Judith”, Jye said equally cheerfully taking another swig of water.

She disappeared and he heard the squeak and rattle of the old pipes as that shower came into being, he for a short time tried to imagine her naked under the shower, but he had never seen her naked and had a difficult time trying to imagine what shape colour or texture of the image of this picture. It played out in his mind like a censored video and the whole image felt a little odd.

Ghost In the Coal (2000)

Tom watched Greg carefully extract his packet of drum tobacco. He very gently put his fingers into the packet and pulled out very thin cigarette.

Greg had a certain stance that his whole body formed while he smoked a cigarette, his body relaxed as he pushed his groin forward and spread his legs apart.

Out of the silence he let pass an almighty burp, one that could of been heard some distance away.

“There not much we can do but wait mate” Greg said while blew smoke in towards him.

Tom just gave a nod of understanding, knowing any conversation would be strained and difficult.

Greg’s shoes made a distinctive crunching sound of movement

“I’m going up in into the cab to listen to the footy” he darted with enthusiasm up the cab of the loader flicking the butt  of  his cigarette into the coal heap, the bright white butt object stood out in stark contrast to the coal, it smoldered away sending small decorative smoke patterns into the air.

The door made an almighty crash, and he started up the machine.

It became noisy; Tom walked over to a small generator some distance from the loader, there it was silent and sat on the tow bar arm and felt totally blank.

The was a massive mountain of black coal in front of him and he grabbed for a small piece in front of his shoe.

He gripped at the fragile, sharp shiny piece of coal and closed his eyes and imagined the green world of the Carboniferous period. Somewhere around 250 million years ago this pile of black rock was alive, thriving even.

It was odd, he thought, to be surrounded by the fossilized remains of dead forest.

Looking at the black material it took some imagination to perceive that forest, it seemed to Tom like such a calm beautiful place, green and natural, no noisy humans.

And now this… Tom looked at at the neat pile of coal about 5 stories high towering above him.

Manchester Not

It was the afternoon and Stan had decided to observe the beach and its transient population. He took a position in a small dip sandwiched between two groups of people enjoying the sun. The area was a narrow channel of about six metres from the ocean, in this channel his head operated like an automatic fan slowly observing the tiniest fragment of interest.

His head jerked; confronted by a brunette in a small colourful bikini who meandered so close to him that her shadow was on his blue and green beach towel. Stan paused in an internal gasp as the blue sky enveloped this bronze beauty. She was well proportioned, her skin it had a reflective hue that reminded him of a dry wetsuit.

The girl seem to pause purposefully there in front of him, spending an eternity with her hands on her hips scanning the panorama. She slowly moved her delicate hands outwards and ran headlong into the cold surf, the water seemed to reflect off her skin like that of sea mammal and she took off into the sea like it was her natural habitat.

He gazed at the ocean as it swallowed the girl and imagined a tsunami headed towards the beach, a asteroid hitting the ocean, a warship opening fire, a giant fracture in the earth opening up and swallowing the beach, a volcano erupting and an army of piranhas headed directly for the swimmers in the surf.

It occurred to Stan that whenever he went to relax, he often began running through different disaster scenarios.

Stan turned his head and checked on his sunbaking girlfriend, she lay silent face down in the sand in her chocolate brown bikini, for the last half hour she had been giving grunting noises for answers to his questions.

He picked up a small cup full of sand and let it spill out slowly onto his leg, he observed his hands for a long period of time. They where thick fat and white. They looked battle worn,  his fingernails where dark black from the coal dust and the lines in his hands where stained by coal dirt that soap would never reach.

Cold white 

Cold white milky marble, hands together in prayer eyes shut prepared for the afterlife.

An effigy I became transfixed by at the Louvre

Ready to open her eyes and see heaven for eternity, Death Lovingly captured.

My mind races as I imagine her thoughts at her own effigy.

Did she pause over herself with grief, or take comfort in her pious repose.

Tumbleweed (1998)

Tumbleweed, twist and turn

Strike my lighter watch you burn

Dusty path, has ended here

Fade away, you disappear

Stone and Brick (1998)

Stone and brick

Mortar and tower

Iron, steel and aluminum

Personality, no persons

A polis, linked by trade

Pitching battles

We give our will

Penitus (2000)

Downwards from the concrete bridge.

A drowsy shoal, a petrol-shimmering plasma ebb.

Lines across the breadth of river like undulating layers of geography

Eddie currents in motion

Purple paisley kaladascope surface

White packet of tiny teddies floating undulating in the breeze

Small sprites around the peer, untied split second

Sprites uneven explosion on the surface of the water.

Cars come by so close distract attention, people on bikes

Cars thrushing, thrashing, meshing, wind, whoosh, speed, exhaust noise

Urban river, no natural state

Man made sandstone bank

Artificial man made bank

Worn industrial past.

Smooth sandstone, mud bank with mud just a couple of inches back from the wash

People on bikes, wind in trees.

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