The Start of Something Beautiful

Written by Ricardo

Having a quiet night in? Pizza makes it all better.

Having a quiet night in? Pizza makes it all better.

The light which illuminated Grace’s front room was not the kind she was accustomed to. At this time (which was 21:03 on a Saturday night for anybody out of the know) Grace would usually have just landed on the sofa after spending exactly twenty-four minutes soaking in the bathtub and then dressing in her Marvel pyjamas; the television would be on Channel Four and she would begin watching her shows three minutes late.

But this time was different. Instead of the kit-cat clock which hung on her cream walls striking 21:03, its unblinking, unreal eyes gazing around the room as if afraid that she wouldn’t turn up one day and leave it with only its own incessant ticking for company, the clock showed 21:00 when Grace’s backside hit the sofa. This time, it wasn’t shielded from the eyes of her kit-cat clock with her usual Marvel pyjamas. Today she wore a Batman onesie. And to complete the utter anarchy which was her life in these few desperate moments, the light which illuminated her front room was the glow of the moon instead of her television.

And so Grace sat upon the sofa, alone except for her kit-cat clock, which for the moment she decided to called Terry, and looked around herself. And she noticed that by the light of the moon, everything was in fact a lot darker. And at 21:03 she turned the television on, and the light of a floating number four joined the moonlight in its game of showing Grace the darkest corners of her own front room. And she began to cry. Continue reading →

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Life, Through a Shot Glass

Written by Bobartles

They're sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it's better than drinking alone.

They’re sharing a drink they call loneliness, but it’s better than drinking alone.

If whiskey ran inside our veins,
and burned away our past,
then maybe we could break these chains
and free ourselves at last.

We’d talk about the good times,
of the way things used to go.
We’d lock our hands in darkened rooms,
and no-one else would know.

With no bad blood to hold us back,
we’d build our lives anew.
In happy times or hardship,
those fires would see us through.

Though silence leaves its bitter stains;
uncertainty and fear,
if whiskey ran inside our veins,
then maybe

you’d

be

here?

Written while the poet was severely sleep-deprived, Life Through a Shot Glass is Bobartles’ way of  looking back on his drunken decisions, good and bad. If you enjoyed this poem please check out Harplands, another beautiful but sad poem from the same pen.

Video

Written by Elanor Rose

future_cityscape

What will the future bring? Image // Telegraph

And there, in the midst of it all,

in the palm of my hand,

in among the creases and folds,

(where once I had my fortune told)

was a video. And it flashed red, green.

And it showed me a world,

it showed me a place I had not yet seen

(both unfamiliar and exotic it seemed)

but before long it faded to black

and showed me myself.

 

But I seemed so still and pale.

I thought of turning and twisting,

of staying silent, burning all bridges,

until there were no known fords.

That was not my way.

 

I set the video down dead

and gazed closer at the

head – heart – life

and embraced the fears

once forged by fair hand

and traced them all round until

my index became still

and I had found an end.

 Elanor’s wonderful poem, Video, was written as a reflection on our society’s relationship with technology, with an intense obsession of the future and what we will find, develop and create. Oddly, her inspiration for this particular piece was sitting down to trace the lines of her hand – this was such a simple pleasure, we couldn’t help but choose it in our selection for this month. If you liked Elanor’s writing, make sure you check out her lovely poem, Sheffield Steel

Closure

Written by Lost in a Dream

summer_walk

It’s hard to leave the past behind entirely. Image // Carol Lin

Rose walked away from the high-rise buildings of Tetropolis, towards the fringe of the city. Her bag was heavy and the still, summer heat was particularly overbearing, so the journey took much longer than usual. While it would have been quicker for her to get a cab, she knew that the walk would give her a sense of closure. 

She paused to take a couple of pictures of her favourite places. She laughed at herself for being so damn sentimental. But there was no going back to Tetropolis after all that had happened. 

As she approached the edge of town, Rose found herself pausing outside her first flat. It seemed a lifetime ago. The owner of the grocery store on the other side of the street was sitting in a fold-up chair outside, reading a newspaper, and listening to a tinny radio. She recognised the song playing and it caught her almost by surprise. While she couldn’t remember the lyrics, she knew the rhythm straight away and it took her back to those early days. 

In a moment of nostalgia, she recalled the heavy, black notebook in her bag. The book was never really out of her thoughts, but she tried to push it to the back of her mind. She knew that she should have destroyed it with the other stuff, that’s what Felix said, but when she held the lighter up to the thick cream pages, she couldn’t do it. 

Knowing that she couldn’t take the book with her, Rose resolved to dump it in the next bin. Although she had written the book, she had never read through it. Would those happy, opening pages be laced with irony? Would she herself change through the pages? 

Sitting down at a disused bus stop, she pulled the book out of her bag and decided to give it a read before throwing it away. 

Lost in a Dream’s Closure was written in response to our November Half Hour Challenge theme, Book of Secrets. This short snapshot of Rose’s life leaves us hungry for more. What was in her past that she’s so desperate to throw away? But also, how is it that she cannot part with it? If you’re a diary or journal writer, would you find it sickening to throw your past away like Rose? Maybe it’s the pull of nostalgia that makes this HHC such a simple pleasure. If you liked Lost in a Dream’s writing, make sure you check out some of her poetry as well, such as ‘Parnassus Park‘ and ‘Time Was Standing Still‘.

Only A Smile

Written by Dice

comic_strip_commute

Such a fleeting moment. Image Courtesy of themetapicture.com

Part 1

Sitting there she was unassuming, but when she smiles you understood why someone thinks she is the most beautiful woman who ever lived.

That someone sat opposite her on the train. He usually found himself on the same carriage as her during the commute to and from work. If he was honest, he often made sure he was on the same carriage. He wondered if she noticed, she’d probably think he was a “weirdo” if she did. Today he had been luckier and she had come onto the train after him. He had wondered where she was, she had almost missed the train.

The man often battled with himself over whether he should say something, but no one ever talks to strangers on the train, she would surely think him weird. Would she even answer him? She’d probably just give a curt reply and return to her book. What if he mentioned the book? He read it himself and really enjoyed it. But wait, what if she wasn’t enjoying it, maybe she’d think he was a geek for reading it.


Just say something, say “hi”. What if she doesn’t answer? What if she doesn’t like him? She’s probably wondering who he is and why he’s glancing fervently. There was no point in talking to her. But what if she did like him? But what if she doesn’t, was it worth the risk? Just say “hi”, just say “hi”.

She probably doesn’t like me.
Coward.

Part 2

He glanced again. He looked a little serious, but when he smiled he was cute. Did he smile because he liked her? Don’t be silly, he was just being polite.

He’d probably think she was a creep or something if he knew she had chosen this carriage because he was on it. She’d done it a few times before, that’s creepy isn’t it? Maybe that’s why he was glancing. It couldn’t be because he liked her too, could it? He would have said something. Maybe he’s shy. But not even a “hi”. He didn’t like her. What if she said something? Is it odd for the girl to say something? Does she look “easy” if she does? He probably didn’t think the same as her. Even if he replied, he’d probably take what he wants then move on. If he wasn’t interested, it would make the journey to work awkward, she’d have to avoid the carriage he was on.

Just say “hi”. What’s the worst that could happen? She could be embarrassed, she could embarrass him. There was no point in talking to him. But what if he did like her, he doesn’t. But what if he doesn’t, was it worth the risk? Just say “hi”, just say “hi”.

He probably doesn’t like me.
Coward.

Dice’s flash fiction was written on behalf of the HHC theme for February – unfortunately, he missed out on the love-themed month, but we’ve managed to pop this piece into our Simple Pleasures theme for April. A fleeting glance with a good-looking stranger on a train, bus, or plane has happened so many times, it’s hard to count on one hand. But what happens when you pluck up the courage and strike up a conversation with them? They could be the partner of your dreams. We’re hoping for a part 3! If you like Dice’s writing, why not check out some of his other work, including ‘Keep Smiling Through‘ and ‘The Writer’s Block‘.

 

An Address to the Coconut

Written by Eruantien

coconut_face

Hello…Steve? Wilson? Coco Chanel? Image Courtesy of Genna Marie

So grand is tha’ noble face,
Mighty Baron of the nut race.
There’s nothin’ canst thou not adorn,
and yet be held highest in scorn.

Tha’ makes many a pud so great,
by off’rin’ tha’sen to the steel grate.
Tha milk shall break my fast ‘ere honeydew,
the milk of Paradise shall satisfy but few.

No man, be he Welsh, Cockney or Irish,
shall for tha take o’er much in his tin dish;
for thee, my Portobello belle
I have but one hell,

A swift chop
on the chopping block.

Eruantien specialises in traditional poetry with a light-hearted vibe, and that’s why we love his short poem about a poor coconut. Inspired by a certain fellow named Steve the Coconut – who really was a coconut – while visiting South America, Eru produced this piece on a simple whim. The time spent on it was sparse, but then so is thinking about a coconut. He also suggests he could have been hallucinating while on anti-malaria tablets, whether you believe it or not, we hope you enjoyed the poem! And while you’re here, check out Eruantien’s poem The Tarwarkelion, which tells the tale of Ankou, the Legend of Death.

 

Partridge

Written by Rob

partridge_twins

Such a sweet relationship! Image Courtesy of David Mitchell

“Arthur! Arthur, where are you?” Miss Granville’s screech echoes down the stairwell for the umpteenth time this morning.

“Coming, Miss Granville.” Arthur calls back from the scullery. He puts Miss Granville’s shoes down that he was polishing and onto the counter, wipes his hands on a rag, and trots down the hallway and up the stairs, trying hard to ignore the nagging arthritic pain from his knees. Miss Granville is sitting in her wheelchair, facing the window, overlooking the back garden and lawns. She is proud and straight, if wrinkled and old, with piercing blue eyes.

“What were you doing, Arthur?” Miss Granville demands.

“I was polishing your shoes, Miss Granville,” pleads Arthur.

“Don’t you take that tone with me, Arthur,” snaps Miss Granville. “Why are you so behind with your chores this morning?”

Arthur knows there is no point in trying to suggest overwork, so he offers, “I seem to be a little slow this morning. I didn’t sleep very well.”

“Well, you need to buck your ideas up. I need you to go to the animal feed place at Harmstone. My partridges are nearly out of seed. Then there’s my bed which is needing clean sheets. I’ll bet yours needs changing too. And could you pick up some salmon for lunch whilst you’re down town? Oh, and my dry cleaning should be ready by today. I will be needing my best shawl for the W.I. lunch tomorrow. Now, I’ve noticed the lawns need a trim, Arthur. I hope you’re not going to let them get tatty, you know, like you did last Spring?”

Arthur begins, “no, I won’t Miss Granville,” but she cuts him off, with a chop of her hand.

“Look Arthur! My partridges are here again. Aren’t they just the most beautiful creatures you ever saw?” Her voice has softened, her speech taking a dreamy tone, as she lays her head to one side, clutches her hands to her bosom, and gazes lovingly to the far side of the lawn. Three partridge have hopped out from under the rhododendrons and are pecking at the grass. “Oh, I do love them so.”

“Lucky partridge,” says Arthur, bitterly.

“How dare you speak to me like that?” Miss Granville screams, her face contorted like an old newspaper. “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, you ungrateful wretch, and get about your tasks. Never was a woman more cursed with a husband than I am with you. My mother warned me – how I wish I had listened. Now get out of my sight, or you’ll not have time for the ironing before you need to make lunch.”

Arthur collects the bird seed from the agricultural supplier in Harmstone and buys an air rifle with telescopic sight. The following afternoon, after dropping his wife off at the W.I., and when he was supposed to be cleaning her bathroom, he sets himself at the cellar window with his new gun. He only needs to wait ten minutes or so before two partridges hop into view, pecking at the seed he has spread on the lawn. Arthur’s first shot produces a flurry of feathers, as one bird runs in a tight circle before dropping in an ungainly heap, whilst the second flies away, rasping loudly.

Arthur is weeping uncontrollably “Oh, my, my. What have I done? Those beautiful birds. They never did anyone any harm. I must be mad. She loves them so: I must be. But God help me: I’m so lonely.”

Rob’s Half Hour Challenge entry was written last month under the theme Servant. We thought it fit quite well into April’s Simple Pleasures, but it also gave us some lovely dark comedy with a wicked twist. Poor Arthur, at least he didn’t shoot his wife – was that your original thought as well? If you liked Rob’s HHC, make sure you check out some of his other work, including “Thy Tears Wash” and “Smile“.