Saturday, 15 December 2012

Character Study: Ash

            The wind whipped her hair, blood-red waves tumbling over and around her bare shoulders, the ink-black tops of her angel wing tattoos visible above the back of her vest top which was a deep forest green colour, bringing out the similar forest green tone in the irises of her eyes. Her eyes weren’t always that exact shade of green; they changed with her mood, or the light, or what she was wearing. Sometimes they were every shade of green – emerald, grass, pine, moss, olive – all at once. People assumed that her hair was dyed, because that exact colour of red just couldn’t be natural; but her eyes always amazed people. Some guessed that she had a range of different coloured contacts that she switched between on a daily basis, but the truth of the matter was that both her hair and eye colours were natural; she had never dyed her hair or worn contact lenses even once in her entire life. Not that she could remember anyway; her hair grew out of her head that fantastic crimson colour. With her strange hair and eyes, and perfect, pale complexion, she was beautiful. She was tall and athletic; even when she didn’t work hard at maintaining her figure she was toned and lithe, like a dancer.

Her hair, she let simply grow out in long, soft waves that cascaded down her back almost to her waist. She wore little make up – just a small amount of eyeliner to define her almond-shaped eyes – so the only real alterations she made to her appearance were her tattoos and piercings. Aside from her angel wing tattoos she had five other tattoos; five thick black bands, one around each wrist and ankle and one around her neck. She couldn’t remember even getting them and had no idea what they signified. Her foster parents told her that she had had them when she came to them when she was just fifteen; they didn’t know what the bands meant either and she had no recollection of anything before then, so she supposed she would never know. She hated them though; she didn’t know why but she despised the sight of them on her skin and often thought about getting them removed. Her piercings, however, she could remember getting done and she loved them all. She had several studs in each ear, a ring through her nose and a bar through her tongue. People said that her piercings and tattoos made her look formidable, but to anyone who knew her, they were just an extension of her; part of her personality. She wasn’t Asha without them.

She had another mark on her body, one which wasn’t man-made like her tattoos or piercings; a birthmark in the shape of the letter ‘E’. It was elaborate, almost like a design or a fancy type-face, and many thought it was just another tattoo, but according to several dermatologists it was her natural skin pigmentation, meaning that it was a birthmark. The birthmark was just another interesting and strange aspect of her natural appearance, like her hair and her eyes. The birthmark was on her chest, just above her left breast; over her heart. It was a dark bronze colour, almost like that of a henna tattoo, and so it stood out against the near-white of her skin. The extreme paleness of her skin created a stark contrast with her deep, red hair but, no matter how long she spent out in the sun, she never got any darker; nor did she burn, she just remained pale. The final permanent aspect of her appearance was around her neck, just beneath the line of the black band tattoo. There lay a thin chain that held a blue-tinted, clouded-glass vial, with a silver cap, through which the chain was threaded. The vial didn’t appear to contain anything, and she had never been able to open it, but her foster parents said that it was only possession she had had when she was given to them, and so she refused to remove this one solid link to her forgotten past; though it appeared to have no purpose and she had no idea if it was even significant.

She may not have been completely happy with her appearance but everyone said that she was stunning, beautiful, and she hated to complain, so she accepted the way she looked and even tried to make the most of it, wearing colours that would emphasise the red of her hair or highlight a specific tone of green in her eyes. Though she always seemed to get a lot of attention from guys, she was never really that interested in them in return. She never really thought about relationships; she was too busy day-dreaming, thinking up stories. She had a wild, fantastical imagination and was always creating new worlds inside her head, filled with all manner of weird and wonderful beings. She had always loved to read and write and her mind teemed with ideas for novels. Most of her friends thought she was wasted on a ‘boring’ English Literature degree and that she should just stick to writing books herself, but she found reading gave her a kind of escape from the realms of her own imagination, into those of another’s.

An angel and a devil danced the tango

An angel met a devil
and they danced together, a secret tango,
and they fell into each other's arms
and down until, limbs entwined, they lay
upon the ground
in a naked embrace.

An angel met a devil
and they fell, deep, into a forbidden love
and their blood
and their bodies
sang for each other's touch,
their kiss.

An angel met a devil
and brought death upon their world
and pain
and loss
and hope stood no chance
in that war-torn place.

An angel met a devil
and they were led out to their deaths...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

eye of the storm

Meandering - an aimless wander - tracing a line along the sea-front;

etching a path into the wet sand - foot prints - soon to be swept away by the rough tide.

Storm clouds swarm - swirling - above my head, reaching out across the water;

waves crashing through the grey horizon,

sea and sky moving together in a macabre kind of dance.

The charcoal lines of the old concert hall stand in stark contrast to the whirling patterns of the grey


framing the scene; capturing the motion of the clouds rolling behind it.

Water smashes into me, curling around my ankles, trying to drag me away

into the storm.

Pain, like a million shards of ice, clawing at me, trying desperately to hold on.

My feet push through the stabbing cold, carrying me over the stony shore, out of the grip of the waves.

Staring out - across - at the vast, grey expanse of sea and sky -

the storm playing out before my eyes, drowning the sound of the tempest raging inside my head,

the static - buzzing - in my ears;

energy - hot, almost palpable - cloistering, choking me.

Wind encircles me; enveloping me - whipping at my limbs and face - like an invisible cloak,

dark and cold.

I stumble back from the hypnotising display,

dragging my stiffened body toward solid ground, to cower with the rest of the world

- in doorways and under awnings -

waiting for the wind and the rain to move on; for peace to be restored.

pass me that top hat, i'm feeling a little crazy

Don’t know where I’m going

Don’t know even if I’m going

Motion slowed

- stopped completely

suspended in this nowhere place

- in nothing -

neither falling

nor flying so

I can neither stand on the bottom

nor swim up to the top.

The best way to travel is ALWAYS by candle, but

My feet have gone numb-

that’s if they are in fact my feet -

and not someone else’s

doing all the walking for me

- nor someone else’s mouth

doing all the talking for me.

There are things - in the darkness - floating around me

if that’s what I am - floating -


Broken teacups, nonsense teapots, scones with jam and butter

- with holes in it -

lampshades with no lamp to shade

mirrors with nothing to reflect

glowing blackness everywhere around me

like starlight without the stars

the moonlight in the night sky with no moon to shine

this place - that isn’t any place that exists

in real life -

but in a dream world; like I’m asleep

with my eyes wide open - at least I think they’re my eyes -

except I can’t see nothing; just everything.

Weird things

Made up things

That have become real - to my eyes - these eyes -

If all my dreams were to come true

I don’t think I’d like them anymore…

let me keep my delusions

- my head has stopped hurting and

the tumbling has become rather comforting and

I’m beginning to wonder if this isn’t just my mind playing tricks on me

- or someone else’s -

their imagination suspended in mid-air

next to their favourite arm-chair,

or fire guard…

the facts are ambiguous and

sleep inevitable…

my first for my last love

Once upon a time, when you were mine and
I was yours. Once we talked, walked hand in hand,
our life a song played by love and drama.
I was Sita, and you were my Rama,
that myth like all myths, now ancient of days.
My life ended like in those tragic plays.
Dreaming in the darkness of my lonely
soul, mine a softer beat to you. Only
in the deepest mem’ry of my heart, and
within the shelter of my unclean hands,
you rest, and together we stay. But now
the truth is hidden non. When I ask how
you choose me go. Beyond these worldly bounds,
to seek treasures others have not yet found.
My voice an echo, with no reply, for
you left long ago, you flew my nest, your
own desire waiting for you to lie down,
put your head upon her hair. Kiss her crown.
Now for my time to fly away, to slip
from here into destinies hands. My lips
whisper my heart’s deathly wishes. Night brings
me what pain I long to leave behind. Sings
the bird, his morning song, so I despise
this world, my departure that it denies.
Sweet morn’ for some but for me it brings hate,
how long must I hold on ’til my poor fate,
does bring me the joy I have long desir’d?
My heart’s misfortune so long admir-ed,
that bitter wine that flows from others’ pain,
’til I myself may feel that warmth. It stains
the soft linen wrapped gently around my
limbs, the salt tears fall from my half-closed eyes.
How hard it is to say good-bye, to wave
a hand at this forsaken world, and save
my last breath for my last love. And blow thee
a kiss, do not deny that love for me,
that you once held in the chas-m of your
heart. Tell me this, did you love me before?

centre stage: a collection

It’s all a lie,
And now I see.
The fault, as it
Were, is in me.
My face bears no
Truth, but a
False endurance.
Smile, Laugh,


Slowly rising, crashing through the black horizon.
Pushing through darkness, flooding empty space.
Highlighting the black silhouette of a building.

She raises her head, staring out into the vast sea of people.

The urban skyline stretching for miles.
Lights, shining through freshly cleaned windows.
The head of each sky-scraper,
caught in a cloud of imagination and awe.

Applause, encore, a standing ovation.

Doors fling open, bringing forth life and movement.
Car exhausts, horns, begin the soundtrack to the day.
Ringtones on the underground, half over-heard conversations.

She greets the sound of praise, bows to her audience.

Business lunches, opened with a gesture.
Greetings over drinks, praise. A quiet ear; receiving party.
Old friends.
The sun dips away beyond the edge of the earth.
The fiery glow fades into darkness with the ever-falling sun,
Dragging all recognition into submission.

Curtain falls.


I am the oppressed.
Of late and recent
days my life a dull
ring; a story with no
plot. Follow me through
closed doors and dark
passages. This is my


The sharp metallic ring,
A corpse.
Dragging its limbs from the cover of sleep,
Reaching for the noise of day, the sound of civilisation.

The crow stands tall on his branch.

Stumbling under false awareness,
Breaking out into blinding light,
The sickly sweet smell of morning feast.
Plunging into harsh, pounding rain.

His beady eye follows her path.

Beasts gather; vultures to a carcass.
Swarming clouds, pressuring, confining.
She cowers from her repulsive reflection; a weed within a ring of roses.

His flock return. All set their glare upon her.

Surrounded by her own-kind.
Helpless, ill-feeling;

His cry ringing in her ears.


Am I to blame
for my own fate?
Should my blood
pay the price?
My hand brings my
pain, yet your words
fill me with hate.
My soul, cries for
the night.


Covert affection guides her hand,
Cruel light reveals her shame,
And her unknown treasure responds to the beat of her heart.

Luminous night-watcher.

A blade, slicing into soft fruit.
Mutilation of glowing flesh.
Wine flowing from the open wound.
It’s beam piercing through emptiness.
Black ink.
Spreading across the page.
The memory engraved on her mind for eternity.

A crater on its surface; a hideous pore.

Furtively she looks around,
Her nocturnal friend in her grasp.
Her pulse; blood coursing through her pain.
Dark, deep … death.

Clouds conceal its light and night takes hold once more.



She was just a girl.
Young, impressionable,
Treated with contempt.
“We are all responsible
for each other…

Good night.”

a sonnet in spelling out the list

A study in spelling out the list
Old man listens with such pain and sorrow
To names of those who have died or are missed
In wars lost and won against mighty foe.

In glorious battle honour is won
By valiant men who lay down their lives;
To die with pride, when all is said and done,
Is a fate that seems to be so contrived.

That timeless and most fearsome enemy,
Conflict, ever fatal and unresolved.
Men fight for false notions of liberty;
Vain hopes that, of their sins, they’ll be absolved.

Death is never graceful or dignified,
But with grace we remember those who’ve died.