Book Club

Fiction, Pulpit

He walks into the room. The windows are open and the curtains are murmuring slightly. Food is spread out on the one, round table. Dry sandwiches, fresh meze, grapes. It’s like the Temple of Apollo with TV. The house of a classical god finally turned into apartments.

Two chairs in the middle of the room, by the table. There’s a bag on one. Around the walls are sofas of various colours. The bag is her bag.

He sits next to her bag. Drops his satchel in front of him. Looks at the food.

She walks in.

“Where’s everyone else?” he says.

“No-one else is coming.”

“Oh, but I saw -”

“Oh, she’s leaving. She left these books.”

She hands him a thin white tome with one spot of Roman writing on the front.

“Okay”

“I’ve got some stuff too.”

He pulls out a laptop and starts doing something. She sits down next to him, where her bag was, and starts reading a paperback, thoughtfully.

They do this for a while. Sometimes they take nibbles.

Suddenly, he stops typing. He goes to his bag, he pulls out a slab of chocolate and slams it down on the table. Goes back to what he’s doing.

“What’s that?” she says.

“Food. Calories. Fat. Sugar. Food.”

“It’s not food if it doesn’t have calories.”

“Water doesn’t have calories.”

“Exactly.”

“We still need it though.”

They go back to their stuff for a minute. Typing, reading. Then he starts shuffling. Eventually turns to her.

“Do you want to read it?” He gestures to the computer.

“Sure.”

He hands over the laptop. Crosses the room to one of the sofas and lays out. He waits for her to read. He picks at the red grapes, avoids the green ones.

Waits.

She reads.

“Jeez, I bought all this stuff and no-one turns up.”

“It’ll get eaten.”

“Probably. If we tell them. Some of it’s from earlier. Old and drying.”

“I’ll eat it if no-one else does.”

Waits. Reads.

“You’re a real romantic, you know that.”

He considers.

“Really?”

“Yeah. And there’s something about this that makes me sad, I’m not quite sure what it is but it’s there.”

“Wistful”

“Yeah, maybe that’s it. Maybe it feels wistful.”

He walks back across the room, receives the laptop. She picks up her book again, the writing says “Arcadia”.

They perform their tasks.

They stop.

Someone asks.

“Why are we here? There’s only two of us.”

Curtains murmur, seeds from Rivita lie languid on the carpet.

“You know, I think I know why.”

“Why?”

“There’s only the two of us.”

They look at eachother.

“Why don’t you act like you write?”

“Maybe I do. Maybe you just don’t see me.”

“Maybe.”

“Or maybe my romances are about people who are already together. And I don’t have anyone. And, I don’t know…”

She looks at him. Waits. “Yeah. Just read them stories.”

“Sure, Hannah. Always works a charm.”

“There’s a character in this book called Hannah, you know.”

“Yeah, I read it. Et in Arcadia Ego. You get around, girl.”

“Fuck you, romantic. This is why we can’t have nice things.”

“Why?”

“You ruin them.”

“Et in Arcadia Ego. You don’t have to care.”

“Stop quoting Latin at me. You sound like a suicidal accountant. Oh, Carpe Diem!”

Pause.

“I think we should have nibbles.” he says.

He crafts a Ryvita canapé, the bed of homous with the topping of goat’s cheese and tomato. He crafts it carefully. Crafts it with flavours in mind. She’s eating grapes.

“Here.”

She takes it. Looks at him and bites.

“Hey, what about the chocolate?” she says, muffled.

He looks between them.

“Let’s tear it open and ravish it. No-one else is coming.”

They go to the chocolate. He opens it sheepishly, offers it to her. She takes two squares, then he takes two.

They bite.

“Mmm. Good chocolate.”

“I bought it special.”

“To make me fat?”

“To make all of us fat. I’m egalitarian like that.”

“And there was me feeling all special.”

Rueful Cafe

Fiction, Pulpit

A story I’m working on. For now it can be flash fiction.

 

Nightime on the cold cobbled rue de gogh
Drinking coffee beneath cauliflower stars
As old lovers wander by in death shawls
Looking for a funeral. The terrace is stained
With veins of frost, but sitting in a scarf
And a cafetiere somehow blood circulates.
She’s late. It rings with each bulbous spasm
Of the accordion, alongside more tuneful
Swellings and fingerings. Cold cobbles
Shine moist with the starlight and wet
Eyeglasses that hide bitten eyes. Some
Candleflame joins the table, dancing
With the breeze and blowing blue on rusted
Joints – the wick spine’s weaknesses.
Then even as a fiddle begins a slow
Melody the light shines brighter and burns
Into a woman.

“Cold are you? Sorry I’m
Late.”

“Mais bien sur and do I pour you
A coffee or shall we go gently into the
Evening?”

“Coffee. Inside.”

Where the music
Is dulled like the light around the sun
Is dulled and those sunken melodies take
On a romance with the flirting clouds
Of breath, mingling in the dim din,
Steaming lenses.

“Well, this is nice – you always
Had an eye for cafes.”

Smiling woman.

“I’ll
Have to come to the shop tomorrow. I need
Something blue.”

“Blue?”

Sullen man.

“Are you
Getting married or something?”

“Of course.”

To Muse

Fiction, Rakehell, Romance

My poem is you on that hill in France, and their breaths mingling with those of ancient Cathars that drift on the breeze like so many wizards on magic carpets, spreading unknown secrets to unknown passers-by searching for mountains.
My poem is Peruvian crags, broken sheepfolds, dusty books whose pages turn at ghostly hands, responding to the stare of unseen eyes. Their dead dedications living eternally.
Lips on coffee cups forgetting sticky soft reflections on the enamel, rose dreams of romance in a dark and waking world. Eyes that explore faces to avoid eyes and eyes to avoid faces and eyes with souls like velvet cushions.
My poem is two people lazing on a jungle bough with sunglasses and vests. An isolated day on a beach, in a dream city, where lives are made and broken and seen and ignored.
My poem is an English teacher. Sam Feathers crying lascivious tears at Arcadian shepherds, the regency chair at the front of the class talking of its myriad masters, novel man dancing round disruptions and a doctor talking tearaways with the vegan lioness whilst the sun kisses their garden table and I sit and I sit and I sit and I sit.
My poem is untold stories is walls of words and loving sentiments is decisions made in stone to be despaired, is comfortable shoes beneath the viewing plane. The stars of night and the shades of day, the couple who cannot help but hold hands. The moment of union forgotten.
My poem is trees and trees and trees You. Sit. And. See. Me. Out. Of. The. Corner. Of. Your. Eye. My poem is the silence that speaks. That licks the wild honey pie. Chalk figures masking silhouettes, bass beats of bloody red purple hearts sucking and pumping. Caves of memorial emotion and fleeting feelings flying succour across seas to rougher shores. Fleshy warmth. Head that opens and rays out. Born from a tree imprisoned in ice, travelled through time and exuding life. My poem is a will to you of a nightime moment of pondering songs
It is
I’m gonna sleep now.