Without Regret

Sometimes they’re just words…

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Should I regret this life well lived

when night time comes and stars look down

then I should surely reassess

and count the costs, repent the loss

to find the joy that like gold veins

runs through this rock on which we built

and lived and loved and spent our days

for these are all were gifted free

until like sand they run away

through fingers old and worn and laced

across our chests and unto sleep

Along The Weathered Winding Trail – Room 101

A start of somethign perhaps…

In response to M’s writing prompts which you can find at the link below.  These are often just quick pieces, ideas or glimpses of what might be…Fun to do though.  I used to try do them in 101 owrds but meh, it’s close enough…See the prompts here


The lights of the night beyond splashed across the hotel bedroom walls and painted his body in neon pinks and blues as he walked towards the window. Breathing deep he slid open the heavy glass panes and the noise of the city spilled in with the cold winter air. Shivering he lit a cigarette and watched below, the smell of her cheap perfume still on his skin and that god awful noise she made ringing in his ears.

Fighting against the wind Dennis folded the map and forced it angrily in to the side pocket of his pack.

“So, where now?” Cath asked taking a drink from her canteen and motioning towards the valley below them.  “Down there?  Seems the best route I think.”

Dennis took a deep breath and counted to five in his head as he watched the water glisten on her lips.  She licked them noisily and it made his stomach lurch uncomfortably.   

“No, we need to head up.” He pointed westwards to where the sun was beginning to arc towards the snow covered peaks.  “The pass is another couple of hundred feet up and a few hours beyond that we should be not too far from the cabin.”

“A couple of hours?  Jesus Dennis how are we so far off track?  I thought you said you knew how to read a map” 

Dennis snatched the canteen and took a drink. 

“Careful” Cath snapped back, “that’s got to last us until we can find water again and you know I get thirsty.”

He stared at her as he felt the water slip down his throat and down through his chest like a knife slicing slowly into him.  His heart was racing and he wondered if anyone would believe him if he said she’d slipped and fell into a ravine.

“Sorry, you’re right” he replied.  “I don’t know where we went wrong.  We need to get moving though as we need to be there before dark.”  He knew exactly where they had gone wrong, they had gone wrong when Cath had insisted on taking charge because he always got these things wrong apparently. 

Dennis hauled his pack onto his back and pulled the straps tight.  There was snow in the air and the temperature was dropping.  Probably too cold for her to die from hyperthermia if caught out he thought, far too early in the season.   Pity.

“This way then” he said setting off along the narrow track along the cliff top.  To their left tall pines climbed into the sky and far below he could hear the babble of water. 

“Maybe you should go down and get some water before we set off” Cath suggested shaking the bottle. 

“Maybe you should get mauled by a bear in the night because your sleeping bag has been filled with bacon” Dennis thought to himself before insisting that there was a waterfall on the map not far away and that they could hold out until then. 

“I’m really thirsty “ Cath replied taking another drink.  “Are you okay waiting until we get there?”

“Yes dear of course” Dennis replied, his fists curled into a ball wondering whether there were wolves in the area.

They walked quietly for a while, the beauty of their surroundings lost on Dennis as he stared at the ground counting the steps as he went.  This was supposed to be a trip to help fix things but just a day in and things were resuming their usual patterns of accusation and recrimination. 

“Gorgeous isn’t it” he said looking up and motioning to the white tipped mountains in the distance.  “The brochures really don’t do it justice.”

Cath didn’t respond and when Dennis turned around he saw that she had her ear buds in and was humming along to whatever she had playing.  It was probably Bach.  She liked Bach.  Bach made him feel stupid because he simply could not appreciate it like his wife and her university friends did. 

“Fuckin Bitch” he said aloud. 

God that felt good. 

She looked up, removing one of the buds from here ear.  “Did you say something?” She asked.

“No Dear” Dennis responded.  “Not long to go now though and we should be at the waterfall.”

“Ok” Cath said and went back to her music.

“I want to screw your sister” Dennis muttered under his breath smiling.    

Cath removed her earbuds again.  “Are you sure you didn’t say something?  You do have a habit of mumbling as you know.”

“Bears” thought Dennis.  Bear would probably eat all of her, even her fat arse.

“Up there look” Dennis said “the waterfall.”

The last hundred metres seemed to take forever as the path grew steeper and underfoot large rocks made the going difficult.  By the time they reached the summit they were both breathing heavily. 

“God look at that, isn’t it amazing” Dennis said.  Before him a river cut through the rocks and plunged downwards to the valley below.

“Yeah its lovely” Cath said handing him the canteen.  “Fill that up will you I want to take a photo.”

Dennis watched as she walked up to the edge of the bank where the river fell over the cliff edge.  Unfortunately it wasn’t particularly fast flowing so there was little chance that she would be washed away.

“Hey Dennis, come and take a photo with me” Cath called out.   

Dennis walked over reluctantly, his usual smile plastered across his face. 

“One for the scrap book” He said standing next to Cath, the heavily wooded valley stretching far into the distance. 

“Indeed it will be” Cath said as quite suddenly she pushed Dennis hard in the back and he stumbled forward twisting slowly as he plunged over the cliff top.

Looking up he saw her smiling down at him as he fell towards his death.

“Fucking bitch…”

The fizzled enchantment and other stories of ruin – Room 101

A start of somethign perhaps…

In response to M’s writing prompts which you can find at the link below.  These are often just quick pieces, ideas or glimpses of what might be…Fun to do though.  I used to try do them in 101 owrds but meh, it’s close enough…See the prompts here


The lights of the night beyond splashed across the hotel bedroom walls and painted his body in neon pinks and blues as he walked towards the window. Breathing deep he slid open the heavy glass panes and the noise of the city spilled in with the cold winter air. Shivering he lit a cigarette and watched below, the smell of her cheap perfume still on his skin and that god awful noise she made ringing in his ears.

Snow began to fall slowly as she emerged below and stepped out onto the street, already he could sense the life beating inside her, feeding hungrily. He hated himself almost as much as he hated them, but their soft pink bodies made great hosts…

And onwards…

Something inspired by something else

How beautiful you are

Beneath the stars alive, so brightly burning

And all about, the darkness yearning

For a word, a touch, a glance

That sweet romance, the slightest chance

To feel that light and love and grace

And like the sun warm on my face

We are, always, here in this place

And lights we pray won’t dim

Like far too many, gone before

those promises they sweetly swore

But time moves on, they are no more

But that is not our fate…

Alas my beard is no more.

A thing about why I am currently beardless…

Note to self…next time you decide on a quick beard trim before bed remember to check the settings because if you don’t youre likely to shave too much off and end up with a goatee, and let’s be honest – unless you’re the devil, a jazz saxophonist or a dirty bastard of dubious morals who hangs around pet shops with ill intent then you should not be rocking a goatee.

In hope rather than expectation I asked Mrs Afterwards whether I might perhaps not have a goatee and suggested it might be okay though I knew full well that I did and it wouldn’t and she quite honestly pointed out that it looked ridiculous and I needed to go finish the job and could I stop disturbing her whist she watched the end of her whodunnit.

Actually, that isn’t the first beard related shenanningan in the last week thinking about it. I run a quiz at work each month and this month I did a “Who’s mouth and beard is this?” thingy. Turns out my team has a lot of beardo’s and before I knew it my phone was overflowing with man bush. I made sure I told the mrs as it struck me that should I get run over by a bus (something I was assured happened often when I was younger and I ought to therefore always have clean pants on), my phone might suggest that I had been dipping into the ‘bear’ pool on Grinder.

I did have a chuckle when I considered turning each of the mouth and beard photos 90 degrees but again, Mrs Afterwards reminded me that it was a work thing I was doing and that I was a horrible man and ought to be ashamed of myself. Just think about it…

Shes always right you know 😉

Now in the calm

Some rhymey stuff

These words, these thoughts, these in between

The lines, the sheets, the days and dreams

This place he finds her,madness screams

As nothing ever lasts.

Each syllable twists in the wind

Words whisked away, she cant rescind

Or even hide where they have sinned

And clings to hopes now dashed.

Forlorn until time heals and mends

To keep from harm the heart pretends

Until new starts warm cold dark ends

Their pain slips to the past.

These fragile things

One of these on a Monday.

If lost, the things I hold most dear,

these minutes, hours, months and years

that helter skelter through my mind

swim intertwined with all I am,

and without which I could not be.

Still I would cling to hope and faith

that were we ripped from life and love

that in that place of darkest loss

not knowing where or when or why

I would reach out and find you there

and once again sweet love would taste

and life renewed, new memories make

this destiny once more to live.

Alive

Just messing around with words and patterns and themes…

This dance, this tender back and forth

blown on the wind, true north, stars bright

seem gone at dawn, but night burn white and linger still.

When passions red paint rooms and beds and will, aflame

here in this embrace call your name and then

complete submit and without blame or guilt lose track

of time and lack no thing for all I have and need is you.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

and cake.  I like cake too.  And biltong and great tv and my van and my family and the rain and comics and Judge Dredd and tattoos and boobs.   Oh and my drill.  It’s a cordless bosch and I enjoy it a lot.  Great battery life.

There no more

One of these…

Oh how we fell from where we soared, burned by the heights for which we reached

And helter skelter in this place , this now, this dark, this night we crashed

and broken, bloodied, bruised and fighting still the urges to be right always

and onwards we will drop beyond green pastures where we played.

Until, at last, in cold and dark

we recollect but now too late

this compromise, sweet give and take, was always that which gave us flight…

7 Deadly Sins

Another of these thingies

Oh how we fed so hungrily

our bellies fat with lofy lies

love whispered in the soft warm dark

and tongues drip empty promises

.

And time and tide do steal these things

that tender once now feel so spent.

I see you, cold and breathless still

Uncaring gladly watched you pale,

yet yearn, fools heart, for one last touch

while like bright stars dissolved at dawn

you fade yet hold tight to lost truths.

.

And there alone reside in tattered robes of rage

And home made crown of sharpest thorns,

so safe behind tall castle walls

untouched by all but darkest self.

The End

Even more wordy words

At days end, somewhere in the darkness,

Memories fade of endless firsts

and how I took your hand in mine

and promise poured so sickly sweet.

Cold breath, warm skin, sweet recollection

footsteps in the snow that slowly

brought you to my door

with liars dreams of ever more.

Those roads, we knew where they would lead

and need, such greed breed treachery

and love it twists, obsession births

and

Texas

More words…

In the darkness her tears flow through him,

Carving winding canyon’s in the barren hills of his existence

Bubbling and swirling, filling the arid wells of a hundred lonely lifetimes

Where he searched for her across all of time.

.

And then at last paths crossed at sunset

Stars align and fondly smile

Lie wrapped in arms still scarred and shaking,

pain of their making , yet oh so sweet.

.

And in her tempest feels her rage

and calms and comforts, calls her name

into the wind and soft returning

promises to never fail.

.

Deep and far and beyond memory

her rock through ages, dusk and dawn,

But river beds run slowly dry

when storms give way to golden days.

.

No blame. No fingers pointed harshly

Lived and loved but slowly lost

Bliss for a moment, Stratos soaring

Knowing, eyes wide, at such cost

Maggie Said

Some words…a few rhyme..

Words wise, oft thick with sickly praise

malaise spills at her dark demise

and in those final hours she beckons,

nightfall, crooked finger calls.

.

This halo tarnished, pious pride

held back, regret digs talons deep  

and wide and far she searches longing

for one more chance at ever more.

.

Again she watches as he turns

Each moment replayed thousand times

She burns and rages at the loss

This cross she bore, redeemers bride.

.

The tears, cold fears, though seldom solace

Bring yet anger sweep away

A heart entwined, yet always empty

At last peace finds in sunset’s rays.

.

She softens this last time as all

She was and is slow slips away

And summer days and grass that sways

Bid walk one last time until rest.

Ladybird

Cold I sit, consoling words still tossed upon the wind,
Your fires burn bright where embers once were piled….

Cold I sit, consoling words still tossed upon the wind,
Your fires burn bright where embers slowly died
reminders of our sighs, sweet lies and smiles forced wide
oh how I watch you shine.


There in the grass where once we lay
you watch clouds chased through skies as blue
as eyes that wept when days grew grey
and we forgot that love can’t always last.


And so, wings spread, wind carried far and wide
lost to these arms and calm caress
the things you hide, unsatisfied
I watch you fly away.

Footsteps

This verdant land where through the grass
names long forgot by men on wind
are whispered still and walk abroad
when mist shrouds veil and hill and dale.


This verdant land where through the grass
names long forgot by men on wind
are whispered still and walk abroad
when mist shrouds veil and hill and dale.
Their sacrifice, such love and loss
Still carries over valleys deep
and mountains, white capped, tell their tales,
forgotten take eternal sleep.
These millions, each beating heart,
Such hope and longing for the day
When old they look upon a life
Well lived and sons and daughters roar
And shine and blaze or silent sit
And contemplate what came before.
So take this banner, pen and book
And let not time this life forget
And in the hearts a story write
Tomorrow’s child to still remind .

The stuff of stars

These things from which were crudely hewn
And in this expanse shaped and formed
Give way to heart and hate and fires
that burn and fiercely do refine

 
These things from which were crudely hewn
And in this expanse shaped and formed
Give way to  heart and hate and fires
 that burn and fiercely do refine
 
This love that cuts and scars run deep
warm laughter hollow peaks then fades
And darkness melts at growing light
Which swells and soars, illuminating.
 
So come what will, we bend unbroken
Buffeted by winds of change
and edges soften, time moves onwards
rearranged and stained and aged.
 
Now take this thing I have become
With artists eye see shape and form
And lines, deep colours, shades and tones
this creation ever changing.

Grey

Would have done more but the cat keeps bothering me…

There in that moment, clocks stand still
and heartbeat thuds loud and wild
while tender words from sweetest lips
do spill and sweep my will away.

This evermore, this home and hearth
we take for granted, without thanks
many not counted nor recalled
such treasures held with scant regard

Through fingers finest sands escape
and time enslaves and laughing toys
with kisses fading into night
and into misty lands we stray

Always you – Part 2

The second and final part of this short piece…

Part 1 is here

The cold metal frame of the trolley digs into my hands as we wander past the bust station, the street lights flickering into life in the growing gloom.

“It’s Just around the corner here” Tom says pointing as he shuffles along beside me, directing me down a long street of identical red brick houses that sit squat over the road like dark haired fisherman on a river bank.

Again he tells me how grateful he is and I reply and tell him that it is no problem at all.  

“Have you lived around here long?” I ask avoiding the puddles trying to keep my good work shoes dry.

“Oh yes” he says, a sense of pride in his voice.  “Been here since they went up new in the seventies.”  He straightens his flat cap and then pauses for a moment as if remembering before I jog him from his thoughts.

“This way?” I ask, shifting the weight of the trolley from one hand to the other.  I can feel the splashes of water soaking through the bottoms of my trousers. 

“Yes, yes straight on, not far now” he says pulling his coat tight around him as the rain continues to fall.  “Quite a thing it was back then you know” he continues.  “To buy our own home, took every penny we had saved up plus some we borrowed from the family.  But it was worth it in the end.”

“I’m sure it was” I reply and he leads me across the road and down a smaller side street.  Cars line one side, the water swirling and swerving around their tyres sweeping litter along.  Weeds strain through crevices in the path, and as we pass the houses the cracked paint, cluttered yards and stained net curtains tell of better times now past.

He tells me how he’s seen everything change so much over the years, and I’m reminded of my own grandparents who I see less than I should. 

“Just over there” he says and nods to a house with a neatly tended front garden and freshly creosote stained fence that stands out from the others.  The Gate squeaks as he holds it open for me and he looks almost embarrassed.

“Better get some oil on that” he says and pulls it closed behind me.

The gravel path, dark from the rain,  leads to the front door and Tom fumbles for his keys as I let him pass.  Eventually he pushes the door wide open and encourages me to head inside.

“It’s straight ahead to the kitchen” he says as I step into a small entry hall.  I’m uncertain if I should take off my shoes but head down the short hall anyway, desperate to put the trolley down. 

“Anywhere in there is fine ” he shouts taking off his coat and hanging it on a peg behind the door.  I place the trolley down gently on the light colored linoleum.

“Would you like a cup of tea?” He asks.  I check my watch.  Not sure if will even be worth going to the pub by the time I get home now.  Even so I decline politely but Tom insists and takes an old battered kettle from the stove and fills it.  “Please, take a seat” he says waving towards a small wooden table and chairs against a wall.  A biscuit barrel in the middle of the table in the shape of a bear grins at me as I sit down.  He seems grateful for the company and I find it hard to refuse.

Slipping off my coat I hang it over the back of the chair and It begins to drip onto the lino.  I start to apologise but he laughs, a glint in his eyes.  “Oh don’t worry” he says, “now if my Kathy was still here that would be another matter.  She liked things just right she did.  Very particular.”

His words are a mix of pride and sadness, and it seems to me a fair assumption that she has died.  Looking at Tom I guess he must be somewhere in his eighties at least.

“How long since you lost her?” I ask looking about. The kitchen is simple and compact with clear work surfaces and plain white cupboards.  A single plate and glass are drying next to the sink and a small vase of tulips sits on the window ledge which looks out onto the garden.  

“Oh nearly eight years now.” He looks out of the window as he drops three tea bags into a pot on a tray with two white china cups.  “One for each of us and one for the pot” he says smiling.  Steam begins to drift lazily from the kettle spout.  “You’d have liked her.” He fetches a half pint of milk from the fridge, “Everyone around here did.  Not a person she wouldn’t help if she could.”

For a while he says nothing more, concentrating on the tea.  He pours the boiling water into the pot and gives it a stir before bringing it over to the table and setting it down.    

“Do you take sugar?” he asks.

I shake my head even though I normally take two.  I don’t want him to have to do anything else.  He moves so slowly as if distracted, yet each action is so purposeful.  I wonder if this is the pattern of his days. A quiet private existence filled with the routines developed over a lifetime which are now all that is left.  

Waiting for the tea to brew he remembers that he has not yet asked my name and apologises. 

“Oh you have the same name as my father” he says when I tell him and his hand shakes as he pours the tea, the china cup clinking as he lifts it from the tray and offers it.  I accept with a thank you and add milk.  Just a little.

“So do you have any children?” I ask.  I don’t like the idea of him being alone all of the time, dragging that trolley to town once a week and then straight back home.

“No, it never happened for us.  it was just the two of us.  We would have liked a family but I guess it just wasn’t to be.”

I take a sip and add a little more milk.  

“Looks like the rain’s stopping” he says and asks if I want a biscuit, reaching for the grinning bear.

“No I’m fine thank you” I reply as he takes a KitKat from the jar and slowly opens it.

“Kathy loved a KitKat, always used to hide them from me.  I knew her hiding places mind, just pretended I didn’t.”

A distant single chime of a church bell tells me it’s half past six.  I check my watch to confirm.   I could actually probably still make it if I set off now, I might be a few minutes late but nothing major.  

“Do you need to get going?” Tom asks taking a bite of his KitKat. “It’s okay if you do, I am just so grateful for your help.  Not sure what I would have done if you hadn’t stopped to help me.”

I check my watch again and then pull my shirt cuff over it and reach for the biscuits.

“Maybe I will have one after all” I say lifting the lid on the bear barrel. “And then I’ll help you put that shopping away shall I.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then

We set the night ablaze, the shadows
scuttled as infernos burned
and in your arms, soft thighs, sweet sighs
a dance of life lived to the full.

We set the night ablaze, the shadows

scuttled as infernos burned

and in your arms, soft thighs, sweet sighs

a dance of life lived to the full.

Not ever did I all those nights

wonder would we ever be

a thing not this, not all consumed

a violent tempest, blissful still.

And to this day, this hour, this now

this very moment still we rage

and burn, sheets scorched and satisfied

and tender smiles such tales do tell…

Awake

Words…

These scars u bare etched on your skin

While smiles spread sweet across your face

Soft sighs, clenched fists, eyes red like dawn

love’s vows, now bitter on your lips.

Each broken promise, empty words

Ring in your ears quite deafening

And into darkness breathless screams

As tempest black consumes your voice.

Back bent, weighed down you claw and stretch

Cold fingers, dragging from your mire

Face to the sun, new dawn, new day

Slowly emerging free once more