Talk Of War

osd4nghd4km-jordy-meow

There is talk of war
Up and down the borders
Talk in the East
Talk in the West

There is talk of war
In the guttural tones of Polish and Russian
The twang of America
And the softness of Chinese whispers

There is talk of war
Of settling old scores
Reheating cold wars
Avenging festering sores

There is talk of war
Each time
We lack the courage
To talk of peace

 

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Join HBO Free Trial

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

 

The Clock’s Struck 12

traffic-1123758_960_720

The clock’s struck 12
And all’s well.
The citizens of the polis
Are safely in their beds
And the city has emerged from its stupor.
It’s functioning again
– like a city no less!

Yes, there’s traffic.
There’s always traffic.
(No rest for the vehicular)
But it’s flowing!
It’s flowing!
(I have to say it twice
It surprises me so).

And the pavement,
It’s empty of fools with phones,
Ambling gawkers and sidewalk hawkers.
Just a few good people
Hurrying to where they belong.
Go. Go.
Godspeed and good night.
Bequeath me space
– I want it all!

For tomorrow will herald
The return of heat and haze,
Cloying, never enjoying, humidity
And the torturous, tedious,
Never tender embrace
Of congestion!
Of congestion!
(I have to say it twice
It irritates me so).

But for now
The clock’s struck 12
… and all is well.

 

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Join HBO Free Trial

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

We Will See Clearly

hong_kong_haze_comparison

A distant thunder
Cries out like an uncaged beast,
Warning of a future
Still to come.

And when it comes
It does not come lightly.
Office workers and school children,
Flee to their homes
To escape the melee
Which will drown the pavements
And toss the ferries tied to their moorings.

And then …
A cleansing.
The sky de-carbonized
(The ocean carbonized).
Across the harbour
Buildings and hillsides,
Previously fuzzy and blurred,
Become sharp and distinct.
And the trees,
Once an olive grey smudge,
Now green – tree green no less!

So for a short time
We will see clearly …
To our shame
What filthy beasts
We humans truly are.

 

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Join HBO Free Trial

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Ships

bilbao-1216612_960_720

The ships come and the ships go, which is just as well as there is something terribly sad about a ship that just sits there, never leaving, left to rust and decay, its thankless task complete, prompting irate letters of complaint from upright citizens about eyesores and the danger to the children who use it as a playground and a diving platform.

When we were young, my friends and I, we would welcome the arrival of the great cruise ships with joy, climbing the bow lines one hand over the other, until coming to the big metal plate designed to keep rats, and possibly children, from boarding those mighty vessels, you’d hang, like the Sword of Damocles, dangling over the water twenty or thirty feet below, until just at the point where you could hang on no more, you’d thrust your hands by your side and plummet downwards, piercing the surface, and, defying the urge to slow yourself, you’d sink into the grey green darkness, and if you were man enough you’d reach the bottom before pushing back up, ignoring your lungs, which were telling you there was no way you would make it, and then finally breaking the surface and laughing, and if you were lucky, or smart, you’d just miss getting kicked in the head by an oncoming friend before you swam to the stairs to do it all again, much to the delight of the tourists with their cameras and applause.

The tourists still come on the great ships, still seeking romance and adventure on the South Seas, still with their cameras, and now with their video cams and smartphones, a sign of how technology advances, and if not they can always buy such equipment, all at duty free prices, from local merchants who are always willing to bargain, and then they come to our shop. which can’t provide the adventure and romance they seek, but we do sell souvenirs, and they depart with their wooden masks and floral shirts, seemingly happy with these purchases, but I can’t help feeling that one day these items will find their way into a box, then into a cupboard, never to be seen again, except when photo albums are passed around or old video tapes are played when there is really nothing much on, and there will be some laughter and a cry of ‘Did I really wear that?’ but I suppose it will all bring back happy memories.

Then the warning siren sounds, finding its way into all the corners of the town, bringing the tourists back to the mighty vessel, and when they leave the town will grow quiet again for a while, because we are a shipping town, and my father will check the stock for the next arrival, which is usually soon, as he always says that it is better to do something today than to put it off until tomorrow, but I will be able to sneak away and watch the ship move off and slowly disappear into that thin gray line that separates the sea from the sky, and on some days I wish that I too could sail away, but most days I would simply prefer to fly.

(Reposted after failed writing comp bid.)

 

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Join HBO Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Shop Amazon – Contract Cell Phones & Service Plans

You And I

ckt0ojl9vmi-jd-mason

We had our happy times
You and I
We had our laughs and smiles
You and I

We had our ups and downs
You and I
We had our ins and outs
You and I

We got old and weary
You and I
And then you chose to be
The first to die

 

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Kings of the Savannah: A Tale About Growth

zebras-278084_960_720

Out on the grassy plains of Africa nature plays out in harmony. Mother Nature has decreed that the lions eat the zebras but the zebras breed faster than the lions so there are always plenty of them about. Zebras of course are not keen on the idea of being eaten by lions, but are comforted by the fact that the more zebras there are, the less likely they themselves will be the one who gets eaten. Besides, they know that Mother Nature is a cranky old biddy who shouldn’t be messed with.

And so they all lived happily (except of course for the odd zebra or two who didn’t live because it was meal time) – but not ever after.

Because at some point the zebras started to notice that the lions had begun to kill more zebras than they could possibly eat.

‘What’s going on?’ they demanded to know.

‘Growth.’ said king lion, whose full name was “A ‘king lion, run”, but who’d dropped the article, the apostrophe, the comma and the verb for the sake of simplicity.

‘It sounds more like greed to me.’ said king zebra, whose full name was “Not another ‘king zebra” but who had shortened his name for reasons not dissimilar to those above.

‘Not at all,’ said king lion. ‘Greed is an ugly human concept which we would never embrace. Growth however is natural and is thus pure and beautiful.’

‘Besides,’ said his second in line lion, ‘If you put the growth into a spreadsheet you can produce colourful bar charts that really liven up the room!’

‘Oh!’ said the zebras.

And so they all lived happily (except of course for those one or two zebras being eaten at meal times and those hundreds of zebras being needlessly slaughtered in the name of growth) – but not ever after.

‘We need to do something,’ said the zebras. ‘Black and white lives matter!’

‘You need to arm yourselves,’ said the arms dealers.

‘Where did you come from?’ asked the zebras.

‘That’s not important,’ replied the arms dealers. ‘What is important is that if you had guns, lots and lots of guns, you could defend yourselves against your enemies, the lions.’

‘Oh!’ said the zebras. ‘But what’s in it for you?’

‘Growth,’ said the arms dealers. ‘And lots of colourful bar charts that really liven up the room.’

‘We’ve heard about those.’ said the zebras knowingly.

And so they all lived happily (except of course for those one or two zebras being eaten at meal times and those hundreds of zebras being needlessly slaughtered in the name of growth and those lions being gunned down by vengeful zebras) but not ever after.

‘We need to do something,’ said the lions, not surprisingly. ‘Tan lives matter!’

‘You need to arm yourselves,’ said the arms dealers.

‘Where did you come from?’ asked the lions.

‘That’s not important,’ replied the arms dealers. ‘What is important is that if you had guns, lots and lots of guns, you could defend yourselves against your enemies, the zebras.’

‘We like the way you think,’ said the lions. ‘But what’s in it for you?’

‘Growth,’ said the arms dealers. ‘And lots of colourful bar charts that really liven up the room.’

‘They really do.’ said the second in line lion, nodding his head vigorously in agreement.

And so the arms dealers all lived happily ever after, with an abundance of growth and plenty of colourful bar charts which really do liven up the room.

As for the kings of the savannah, well it’s hard to say. Sadly they’re way too busy shooting at each other to ever ask themselves if they are happy. But they too have plenty of colourful bar charts, which really do liven up the room, so it can’t be all bad. Can it?

 

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

 

Fire

fire

It’s funny how a fire attracts an audience. The whole neighbourhood is out tonight. Someone’s even brought a deck chair.

‘Whose place is it?’ asks a man to my right.

It’s mine shithead. I say nothing, preferring anonymity.

He’s talking again.

‘It’s a good job it hasn’t spread.’

Why? My neighbour’s an arsehole. Have you met him? Have you heard the noise he kicks up late at night?

Another question.

‘I wonder how it started?’

Who knows? An Act of God? I would have preferred a song and dance routine Lord. Maybe some ventriloquism. Anything but this.

Still more.

‘I’m glad it’s not my place. I wouldn’t want to come home to this.’

For Christ’s sake shut up! I don’t need a running commentary as my life goes up in flames.

Him again.

‘It’s a lovely evening. So nice and warm.’

The banality of this man’s mind is beyond tolerable. Any minute now I’m going to stick my fist down his throat and rip out his fucking vocal cords!

No. Stay calm. Think positive. Remember when you were young. They burnt down the cane fields at the end of every season to renew the earth. Try to think of this in those terms.

I do need something new. Something bigger. Something where a simple ironing board does not consume an entire room.

And my things? Well, there only things. How much of it needed throwing out anyway? Always a difficult decision. What to keep, what to throw out. It’s been made for me now.

That’s funny. I can no longer hear his voice. I feel calmer. Stronger. Resilient.

So where will I stay? I have friends. Someone will help. They always do don’t they? Someone else’s cooking. Now that sounds good.

 

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

Knowledge

bed-linen-1149842_960_720

It was 3.15 in the morning. He had been awake for at least three-quarters of an hour. Not just awake, wide awake. It was not something that particularly bothered him. He knew the drill. It had happened so many times before.

Circulation inside the flat was nonexistent. His bed cover was pushed aside and was damp with perspiration. All the windows were open but there was no breeze to break the heat. He knew from experience that outside the air would be much cooler. On other nights such as these he had gotten up and stood naked at window savouring the crisp chill of the outside air but he knew that the relief it brought was only temporary and would not help him sleep.

Instead he waited, content to let the inevitable happen. Sleep would come to him when it was good and ready, and not a moment sooner. He knew that he would be tired the next day but it gave him little concern. He knew that he had nowhere to be, no deadlines to meet, no people to see, absolutely nowhere to go, absolutely nothing to do. He gave a small yawn, but it was a yawn of indifference, not tiredness. Unemployment does that to a man.

Join SHOWTIME Free Trial

Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now

Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial

Amazon.com – Read eBooks using the FREE Kindle Reading App on Most Devices

As Long As Your Enjoying Yourself

frogs-1672919_960_720

It’s just a regular check up. The kind you have when you want a job at an institution that is big enough to care about such things.

It seems to be going well. The doctor is nice. Friendly even. I think I’ve nailed the whole ‘say aaargh’ thing!

But now he’s having a fiddle down in a place where the Bible says he really shouldn’t!

“Do you ever check your balls?” he asks with blunt directness.

“Sure,” I reply.

“What for?” is his immediate follow-up.

Well … when someone literally has your life in his hands, you really do have to tell the truth.

“For fun!” I answer.

“Oh!” he says. “I was thinking more along the lines of testicular cancer, but as long as you’re enjoying yourself …”

 

Men’s Feel Your Balls Testicular Cancer Awareness T-Shirt Large Navy

Men’s Balls Ready for Battle Testicular Cancer Awareness T-Shirt Medium Navy

Men’s USA Flag Testicular Cancer Awareness, Cancer Ribbon T-Shirt Large Navy

Men’s Straight outta Testicular Cancer Shirt 2XL Asphalt

Men’s I Do Not Like Testicular Cancer T-Shirts Cancer Awareness Tee Large Black

Men’s Testicular Cancer T-Shirt – Being Strong Is The Only Choice Large Black

 

My Writing Space

irish-hands

To my right is a door and a telephone. Nobody knocks. Nobody calls. I am alone. I am undisturbed. I am the master of my domain. I am free to do as I wish. If I want to.

Behind me is a sink. It is full of dishes, sad by-products of meals long forgotten. Wash us they cry in unison. Be quiet back there, dishes can’t talk. We know they retort, but odours speak louder than words.

To my left is a living area, so called. I do hope there is nothing living there. It is a wasteland. It is an ongoing tribute to the war between myself and my laundry. A malevolent pile sits there quietly. I will not be intimidated. I will not be compelled to act by a scruffy set of over-sized men’s apparel. I’ll iron you when I damn well please, and not a minute sooner.

In front of me is my machine. My friend. My companion. How many times have I beaten you at backgammon? How many times have I conquered you at canasta? How many times have I broken your bank at blackjack? You are a good loser, stoic in defeat. How many times have we strived together, shoulder to shoulder, to complete some essay due yesterday? Strategic Management. Organisational Behaviour. What could we have been thinking?

I have neglected you since those days. You have sat here saying nothing, yet I have heard your pleas for attention. Now at last I have something to say. Now at last I have ideas to convey to you. I long to turn you on. I long to caress your keys once more.

But I can’t. I have not paid the power bill.

This piece was written in the 90s, some time after I finished an MBA. At the time I would have been in either unemployed or underemployed, two states that continue to bedevil my existence.

Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial

Shop Amazon – Give the Gift of Amazon Prime