Friday, 25 July 2008

The new optician

No, whatever you sold me honey was a shitty thing,
A shitty and broken thing,
With eyes that sting and capacious holes that sing
the very message of the lines and shadows
that promised never to cling

A spectacular face, and wrinkle free,
How glass could choose to be
If it were chosen to live on me

You, woman, sold as seen, these myopic frames;
And me, a bold has-been, blind to the game,
Broken and shitty, all the same.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Like Tantalus

Somewhere in the corner of her mind, the light buzzed on.
Seeping through tiny wrinkles between her eye-lids, the cracks of light crept. She flashed her eyes open and the glare throbbed maliciously.
She let out a whine and rolled about on the white single bed. She put her head under the pillow and wrapped it around her face. She shouted down the hall for someone to come and turn out the light.
It stayed, taunting her, just far enough so that she couldn’t reach. Like Tantalus in Hades.
There probably was a light switch, but one never seems to see them in a place like this. They lie in dark corners, hidden from all but those who roam the halls and wards by night and have arcane knowledge of all such switches and dimmers.
The woman might have gotten up and somehow denied the light of power, but she could no longer rely on her legs.
So she turned instead to her clock. It was lit, gloriously, by the unrelenting bulb hung above her bed.
She watched the clock face. She saw the hands turning; one slow, one swiftly, one almost undetectably. They ticked ever onwards until three o’clock came.
Almost to the second, the lights rested at three o’clock. Perhaps an unseen timer controlled their rise and fall?
The woman turned over to sleep, but her restless mind was filled once more. This time a sound: tick, tick, tick. She almost screamed but reason held her, just. A sturdy wall and a strong arm meant this torment was easily restricted.
And then, sleep. Sleep was coming.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

We all look at the sun

And we all stare at the spaces
We all look at the ground
In the times when nobody’s chasing
And no-one makes a sound
Finding yourself just a-wondering
How many people can I hound
But there’s nothing to say and nothing to face
When everybody’s gathered round
When we’re all just sitting around

And we all look at the sun,
We all look at the sun,
When there’s nothing left to see here
We’ll all look at the sun...
Yeah we all look at the sun
We all look at the sun
When the light inside blinds us
We’ll all stare at the sun,
Just looking for the golden one...

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

The Cloud

Exploding, hazy set and spun over the crest of the mountains, the clouds hovered.
Such a sight to be greeted with as one climbs the last peak before salvation, this cloud spoke to me of sanctuary, spoke of comfort and rest.
We’d travelled for nine days through the passes of the Hindu Kush avoiding bandits and brigands, wild animals and harsh weather. Above all, we’d left our enemies far behind.
Somewhere, war rolled on, but up here the thin air sent my head reeling and thinking only of where I would next lay down to sleep. Right now I could see that place, in the valley below. The village of Chest-e Sharif had been sprinkled like leaves along the shallower slopes below.
I gazed at the cloud and thanked God for bringing us this far, to the brink of safety. I roused Rasul who was always on the edge of slumber now, often quite literally stumbling too close to the edge.
“Rasul,” I said, “Look how far we have come; we have nearly reached our goal. See, even the clouds are welcoming us with salutations!”
But Rasul winced as he stared into the vaporous cloud, rallied and set off down the mountain without another glance at the magnificent cloudscape.
Perhaps when he looked out at the clouds, level with ourselves, he felt a strange blasphemy, to be living as high as heaven? Maybe he saw in the cloud the detonation of the war he was leaving behind? Or perhaps this white cloud was just one lofty peak too high for him?
I called then, down the mountain after Rasul, called to find out what made him turn away, but he said that he was just tired of looking.

Monday, 21 July 2008

The Windmill

Everyday, it seemed, he'd see the turbine.
Whether gazing from the backseat of his father's Ford Mondeo, or when his mother took him for a walk across the sand dunes; there, spinning away in the distance, would be the wind turbine.
On some days it barely moved. John would sit and watch it while his brother played football on the beach; watch as it tried to complete its rotation, heaving and grunting its way around the clockface.
It was so far away yet he could tell it was huge, a giant gleaming windmill slicing the clouds. He called it a windmill, though he knew it wasn't. His father had corrected him on that score: "It's a turbine, it's not a mill," he would chide him. "Haven't they taught you about mills and industry at school yet?"
Apparently when the wind blew strongly, the turbine span and produced electricity which could then be harnessed and used. His mother thought it a little strange he be so fascinated by what she considered to be a man-made blot on an otherwise attractive natural landscape. But John saw only magic where she saw mechanics.
That this unseen force could blow in across the sea and cause those massive rotor blades to creak to life and then spin and spin, ever faster until they were a blur, until they were nearly out of control, like they were threatening to take off, like they were powering some strange futuristic craft.
That this thinnest of nets could reach out and capture the invisible wind, and then transfer it into motion, white light and heat; this was the strangest of childhood magics to John, and he could happily watch its hypnotic dance all day.