Kites

15.

He hadn’t expected there to be so many kites.

They filled the sky in every direction, snapping and twisting the air into something far too simple to fathom.  And his heart ran ragged in his chest now, like it had on that day.

 14.

The day his father had shown him how to run.  ‘Never look back,’ he had said, cradling the boy’s face in his hands, ‘the kite already knows what to do.’

 13.

But he had looked back.  And he had seen with his own eyes how the grotesque worm had trailed behind him on the orphaned earth, catching on every rough stone and bitter blade of grass when all it desired was the sky.  And it wasn’t what he wanted.

 12.

The day his father had shown him how to run.  The kite broke from his hands like a bird, soaring into the air as if it couldn’t do anything else, ‘Never look back,’ his father said, the wind snatching at his words, ‘the kite already knows what to do.’

 11.

But he had looked back.  And he had seen with his own eyes how the fragile frame of wood and cloth bumped and battered its way over the uneven ground.  As much like a bird as he was.  And it wasn’t what he wanted.

The day his father had shown him how to run.  His coat billowing between them like a grey fog, ‘Never look back,’ he said, breathing heavily, ‘the kite already knows what to do.’

 10 seconds left to live.

But he had looked back.  And he had seen how the insipid worm had jumped for the fallen branch, catching and knotting itself around the strength of the wood when it had none of its own.  And it wasn’t what he wanted.

 The day his father had shown him how to run.  Slower this time, the kite more reluctant to dance for them, ‘Never look back,’ he said, struggling to find the words, ‘the kite already knows what to do.’


8.

But he had looked back.  And he had seen with his own eyes how his father bent double with the effort of running to keep up with him, grunting as he assembled a strength that was harder to find with each breath.

The day his father had shown him how to run.  The kite hit twice, hammering into the ground before it finally took flight, ‘Never look back,’ he said, looking deep into the boy’s eyes as if it would make a difference, ‘the kite already knows what to do.’

7.

That first flight, after so many falls and so many failures, made so much sweeter because of them.  His smile had been brighter than the sun.  That day.

6.

‘You see now,’ his father had said, slipping down onto the earth, his chest rising and falling with the kite, ‘you see now what it is to be the kite.’

And he saw.  He saw the rage, he saw the torment and he saw the fury of the kite.  And he saw the dragon as it crouched low on the horizon, its lips drawn with the blood fire of the western sun.

5.

The storm had come so suddenly, and the kite had trembled with the air as thunder sounded out the shape of its ruin.

His father had called for him to pull the kite home, and the fear that shaped his words had echoed with the gathering darkness.  But the boy hadn’t pulled the kite home. He had taken the small, red handled scissors from his pocket and cut the string, watching as the kite folded itself into the air and became the air.

And he had smiled as the storm came and took the kite.

 4.

And the storm drew fury like a sword, splintering the day into shards of sour light that cast the fires of hell across the same heavens that had roared out its coming.  And it sliced, again and again at the dragon, driven by a wrath that knew nothing of what had been or what was to come.  Again and again, until blood ran slick over the acrid skies like oil on glass.  But even as the air cleared and the clouds settled, the beast rose up again, bloated with the same destruction that should have been its ending.

 3.

The day his father had shown him how to run.  ‘You see what it is to be the kite,’ he had whispered, ‘but still you do not understand.’

And the kite had roared out its freedom cry then, louder even than the storm, clawing for the same absent sun that had once blinded it.  But the climb was too harsh and as the kite broke that one last time on the air, the fall came.  And with it came the price.  Twisting and distorting all the pieces that had made it a kite into something that wasn’t a kite anymore.

The kite they had built together.  The kite he had kept safe underneath his bedroom window, propped up so it would be the first thing he saw and the last thing he saw.  The kite that had tugged at him like a puppy every day.  The kite he had held across his lap as they drove to the top of the hill that looked out over the cement factory.

The kite that had been lost that day in the eclipse of dark fury that had turned all the colours of his mother’s dress into black hate.

2.

Delicate spindles of pale wood, bought from the market on a Saturday afternoon while the football was on.  Measured lines, drawn with a wooden ruler and the plastic protractor from his pencil case.  A thousand forgotten summer days, reconstructed in geometric shapes that spread out over the table in wings of bright fabric.  Little bits of pale string cut from a neatly spiralled ball into perfect lengths and tied up in knots with nautical names.  The orange handle that looked like it didn’t belong, wound around and around the neck in neat circles.  Glue in a bottle with a plastic stick.  Bows of yellow ribbon tied into the tail.

And that one last bow.  Made out of the scraps.  Made to look more beautiful than all of the others because it was made for his mother… and she still wore in… her hair… every Saturday.

The memory that lay so soft in his mind turned in his gut like someone was wringing him out.

Today was Saturday.

They say that once milk has turned to yoghurt, nothing on this earth can turn it back.

 1 second left to live.

He hadn’t expected there to be so many kites.

They filled the sky in every direction, snapping and twisting the air into something far too simple to fathom.  And his heart ran ragged in his chest now, like it had on that day.

The End.

There was no sound as the death that he had carried with him broke free.

His father held his face like he was a child again, catching tears with fingers that were always his own, ‘Don’t look back,’ he said softly, tilting his head with the words, ‘when you look back you see only the struggle, and when you look back you forget that the kite is not the sky.’

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Weekly Tanka Prompt Challenge – Week 23 – Animals & Seasons

how sweet the seasons

of curious animals

temperate and soft

to this postmodern reptile

lays the burning of a star

 

 

Tanka: 5-7-5-7-7

Animals & Seasons prompt from: Ramblings of a writer 

The scent of roses

Pin me to the sun, I begged you once. And you took me to your sky. You showed me eternity burning, blown autumn with the cinders of perdition.

In the hours when you sleep, I lie awake. The loss of you still wrapped around me in blankets. I am scattered, the edges of my mind blurred and rubbed out. The parade of me called off. Switched off. Temper the sound of my breath. My heart beat. I dream of ghosts, fevered and recycled demons, clawing Marley at my door. Flicking channels, I seek out my own fear in cinematic nightmares. Another autopsy of death drawn scarlet on snow. Another scream of innocence, muted down to 4am. I am cold. Disenchanted by the mechanics of terror. I hold a spyglass to catch the light of dead stars, but that smoke in soft curls still burns. When you sleep. Sometimes, I miss your silence more than your words.

And all that is left of me is the scent of roses, on your skin.

 

 

Please hold the line…

Please hold the line while we try to connect you.

Another untaken flesh floats with the seaweed, tidal through this silent night. Eyeless ghouls moan their pleasure, rebellious at the scraps. And we who are wolves, wait silent. Our throats too narrow, too bloodied with echoed howling, to eat from this master’s banquet.

Please hold the line while we try.

Another silenced footstep. Another silenced cry. Another silenced breath. Where are the drums in this melody of marching? Where is the tail in this stinging tale? Where is the straight in this twisting? Build another book out of burned pages. Build another truth out of lies. Fear. Hate. Erase. Forget. Repeat.

Please hold the line.

Another sullied standard unfurls, raised virgin on the ramparts of this lost kingdom. The bloodied bones of enemy, chalked out, rubbed out. One more blueprint of arrogance. One more brick of separation mortared. One more howl on the wind. And we who are wolves, wait silent. Beaten to mongrel by this empire of ogres.

Please hold.

Please.

A message from Tesla?

I unintentionally read my way through the whole of Nikola Tesla’s autobiography, MY INVENTIONS, last night. This was rapidly followed by a dream in which I was totally paralysed. My sister, who was dressed as Edison, was reading a me passage from the same book. I kinda wish that dream me had paid attention to the content of Tesla’s message rather than wondering how I would still be able to drink coffee while lying face down on an inflatable princess castle. Having read his book, I feel Tesla would have been sympathetically resigned to my ineptitude.

Out of respect for his efforts, I plugged his name into Google this morning. He would have loved that:

tesla

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

An online copy of, MY INVENTIONS: The Autobiography Of Nikola Tesla, is available to read at www.teslasautobiography.com

Give him my love and apologies. Hopefully he’ll have more luck with your subconscious minds, and keep an eye out for Edison.

A man with seaguls

She touches her fingers to his for as long as he will bear them, ‘Hey, I meant to tell you earlier, Poppy painted a picture at nursery today.’

‘You peddle words like they would call him back,’ he shuffles on the path, white slippers catching at the stones, ‘but he is set free. Why would he return to the wasteland of your suburbia?’

‘She said it was you,’ she smiles anyway, ‘and actually, I can see where she’s coming from, in a primary, dribble down the paper with a blunt object kind of way.’

‘Where do you want him? Where is he in this?’ he smacks the palm of his hand into a long scar that cuts through his hairline, ‘Where is he in this utopia of you?’

The wind stirs up the bones of empty trees. She stoops, picking up a silver remnant, another bastard reminder of that November night, ‘She even gave it a title, A man with seagulls.’

He pauses, tilting his head to catch her words and her breath is burnt away in the sweet of his familiar. He leans in, conspiratorially, ‘Man, men, mice, a misplaced piss, a strange choice of water bottle and they rapture, they have no idea that it’s really them who run on the wheel.’

Grief, vicious at her flesh. Even the scent of him has been sanitised away, ‘She wanted me to give it to you…’

‘They don’t know that the cage has bars on the inside. Locks on the inside. They are the caged, they are the rats,’ he laughs, spinning away from her, stumbling as his slippers lag behind with the stones, ‘they are the watchers, watched.’

‘But they say you can’t be trusted with anything,’ the bullets still ricochet, ‘…not even your daughter’s painting.’

‘You’re not welcome here you know,’ he stumbles again, ‘he won’t tell you, but you make him sick. Sketching out Foucault in the charcoal of your conformed normality. You make him vomit.’

The madness of mankind had scattered his sanity. And now it seemed that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put him back together again. Tears can burn like anger in the meaningless. In the desolate. She closes her eyes and feels them die away, ‘I asked the staff if they would put Poppy’s painting up in the main corridor instead.’

He turns, stooping, whispering back through her words.

‘And then everyone who sees it will remember that the world isn’t ready yet,’ she watches him curl, twist again into winter, ‘not for a man with seagulls.’