Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The River.

.... in the.....

There’s a stick lying in the grass at the side of the river, the swimmer is thinking about Huckleberry Finn and on the other side of the water the frogs are calling. 

Blue dragonflies skip from floating leaf to dangling branch.

Fish glide; a frog jumps in and hurries to the safety of the bottom.

Air temperature has been hovering in the mid-thirties most of the day and the swimmer doesn’t need to towel off; he sits down in the grass and reads one more chapter.

Then looks at the stick.

The stick is large, the broken end of a branch and the swimmer can imagine the weight of the stick, substantially in his empty hand.

He thinks about picking the stick up and throwing into the currant, but then hesitates.

Would the stick be happier staying where it is, in the grass – or floating downstream?

Past the frogs.

Past the watch of the ruined castle on the not so distant bluff.

Past the old abandoned train stop.

Under the bridge.

To the open lands beyond where farmers are growing sunflowers and sweet-corn.

The swimmer thinks about all this as he decides whether or not to.

Pick up.


Or let rest.

He (the swimmer is a he) also thinks about his sandals.

Put them on.

Or not.

Bare feet on the sandy bank feels like a perfect way to finish the day.

But he still has to walk back through the forest.

There is a stick lying in the grass at the side of the river before the forest begins; the swimmer is thinking about Huckleberry Finn.

And on the other side of the water the frogs are starting to sing.

NOT  formerly published in The Archives.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Not the same one. (bird)


There’s a bird singing.

A plane passing.

The table is rattling as i pour a little more wine in the glass.

A child is singing, a few doors down.

A car passes.

I drink some of the wine.

It’s red, it’s from the Corbieres.

Anoter car passes.

A motor bike too.

Someone scrapes a chair across the floor in the apartment next door.

And now the child is crying.


The table just rattles, another motor bike passes.

And i type.

And i sigh.

I have drunk too much of this wine.

And then suddenly, it’s quiet.

Just the snap of the galss as i slam it on the empty table.

NOT  formerly published in The Archives.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

A park, a book and a nightingale.

....... of love

Tell me about the park.


I want to know.

It’s just a park.

You went there, it must be good; tell me.

I sat on a bench and read some of my book.


There were two dogs, they knew each other, they were playing chase – one was a white scotty, the other a golden spaniel.

I thought you were reading your book.

I was, but I saw the dogs.


Two people came in on their moped, one had a white helmet.

And the other?

I don’t know. I think they knew the owner of the dogs and went to say hello, I didn’t see them leave. Two girls came.


What do you mean ‘ah!’?

You noticed them!

I noticed the white helmet and the dogs too.

Tell me what they were wearing.

One had black trousers that were split open, her legs were showing. She had a pack on her back.

You were looking at her bum.


Were. What about the other?


No what?

I didn’t notice her bum.


There it is again.

Anything else?

The sunset over the rooftops and the bird.

Which bird.

It was in the tree above the bench where I was sitting and reading; it might have been a nightingale. The song was majestic. She was still singing when I left.



Why did you leave?

Dusk was settling, I could no longer see the words clearly; besides, I had finished a chapter.

Is the bird still singing?

I could open the door and tell you.


No………………………………………………. But the girls are still there.

 formerly published in The Archives.

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

Get Out or Die Trying.


The guy in the late-night supermarket looks like the guy who helps his mum in the newsagents back in the village; it’s not him of course, he’s even taller and his beard a little rougher. 

But his eyes smile in the same way.

I last saw the guy in the village yesterday morning at the end of the market; he was smiling too having just given his mum a bunch of roses for Mother’s Day.

She was smiling more than either of them.

The beer the guy in the late-night supermarket sells me turns out to taste less than i had hoped for so i leave it on the table for my daughter’s friend who has just arrived from the capital; my daughter is nearing the end of a month’s abstinence so she won’t be drinking any.

I have slipped off to the bedroom to write this down before i forget it and i notice the note stuck alongside the keyboard telling me that the password for the Wi-Fi in the office i had visited earlier is « Welcome! »

The office is one of those new start-ups that do something technical with data and computers and employ a lot of people much younger than me who, although surrounded by table football tables, open space and water pistols, look just as imprisoned by desks and paperwork as any office fifty years ago.

Get out or die trying is scribbled, in English, on the door of the lift.

It wasn’t me.

NOT formerly published in The Archives.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

And then there were two.


If you are drunk when you write, should you be drunk when you re-read and then rewrite?

Or will everything just seem good, no matter?

There’s a place in Spain, bathed in sunlight and textured with sand……


I can feel it.

The sea is gently rolling onto the shore.

The sky is blue, of course and there’s a railway that runs along the coast –someone wrote that you can feel that an octopus will land on your lap; you are that close.

Concrete – you hate this stuff – there is a lot of it there, but it doesn’t matter.

There’s warmth – from the sun, the smiles of the folk you meet and even the policeman that helps you start your car when the battery is flat.

There’s a young woman; she works in the guest-house and owns a tortoise.

The tortoise has no name.

I started this with a question, here’s another – what would you call the tortoise?

Gonzalez seems like a good choice.

formerly published in The Archives.

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