But still the horse begged him

A line. A blade. A loss. So the knight rides. Solitude scoured in these tales of silk and sanctuary.

And Storm sang drums along the tabled mountaintops. The honeyed dawn of light was always too sweet a friend for death, my love. It cries. For such things are already undone.

But still the horse begged him. Run me free. Whispering obsidian through another glacial pass. The armour, wept. The metal, sighed. The chains, mourned. So the knight rides. Fury and flame set cold in the questing, seeks not to heed the truth of dragons.

And Storm sliced the earth in two. Fear the light of darkness and even the mirrors will tremble. Rest. Sleep. Silence. Oblivion, upended in hooves and flesh.

Take the day! Take the day in stone and blister! The canter cries. For I cannot bear to look upon it. So the knight rides. And his passing leaves nothing for the rain but the stench of love, bloodied and written in dust.

©2017 Jac Forsyth

But still the horse begs himImage: Kay Nielsen, ‘But still the Horse begged him’ (1914)

Trying to balance editing, coffee and the jet lag of British Summer Time today, and all I have in my head is this image and an elemental beast of writing. I adore the work of Kay Nielsen.  Illustration tells the story when all I can do is write it down. 

x Jac

*Image courtesy of pintrest.com

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Silent howling

The sullenness of blue holds tight to the moon today. A jackal sketched transient, I am tied in orbit just the same. There are tales they say, of a darkside that no one  but distant explorers would be surprised to see. Truth and territory, staked in tricoloured folds and pinned to look like the wind. And I wander in the silver of spent firelight, waiting for the storyteller. Waiting for the story. Something unfathomable to hold between my fingers. And the satellite of sunshadow, breathes silent answer with the death of words. Child. Walk with me. Dream with me. Come taste the chalk dust that falls so softly between the pillars of small steps and giant leaps. Damn moon, always was a troublemaker.

©2017 Jac Forsyth

*moon image courtesy of pintrest.com

The eye in I

What would it be like to shut off our primary source of entertainment? Most of you guys have already clocked the wicked of talent of Stuart over at Forged From Reverie. This piece of prose came out of a conversation we had earlier today and is totally inspired by Stuart’s observations in:  Tell your eyes to shut up

silences

The ghost with two faces

I knew that the lights were too bright here. A postmortem wretches, dragging a white stick along the pavement cankers of dead men. Another restraint of storm twitches through paper bag leaves, wounded and wasted. Silent scars outline in words forged from clay, bold in the hands of memory.  And even in tearing sun, I stop to find the corners of this jigsaw.

And would you fire up the dragnets of prediction? Often we lie down in the foothills when all we want is to be torn apart by silent wolves. I have looked for blindness in the darkness of seeing. Shifting stories under stinking sheets. Painting with the blunt end of the brush.

I knew that the lights were too bright here. The accountancy of shame would tell me this is fear, but in the corner of a sunlit room the ghost turns another face. Hope smiles. Still waiting for the taste of my screams.

silent-hedges

Searching for the Self: Somewhere

Sandcastles and sanctuary. Delicious and thought provoking prose from the always glorious Orchid’s Lantern. Soulful Sunday methinks.

Orchid's Lantern

The beach. Where water meets earth. It is damp, flat, open here. There are steep, grassy cliffs leading back up to civilization. I think I’m supposed to feel something in this place: happiness, excitement, or humbleness towards our great planet. I think creativity is supposed to bloom here, born of a new found appreciation of the small things and just being. Of smelling the ocean air, of feeling the sand between my toes. But the truth is, I don’t feel any of that. Instead of beauty I think of soliloquies, Stephen Dedalus and sulking. I feel uncomfortable; my mind awash with greyness and a longing to be Somewhere Else.

I look along the coast to the bustling amusement arcades and eateries. That isn’t the Somewhere either. I’m starting to think the Somewhere doesn’t actually exist.

Children play happily on the beach. They don’t mind the cold wind that tangles their…

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The Third Wish

A neat little row of leaves had gathered at the top of the cathedral steps like a crispy looking jury. Megan raked the lamp through them, ‘I bet the other genies are more flexible around the use of language.’

Now brace yourself, for her summoned companion was no exotically beautiful and scantily scarfed maiden. Indeed this genie favored the gnarly, whittled appearance of someone who boils up scantily scarfed maidens for breakfast, makes a onesie out of their skin and joins an on-line dating site under the name of Babs McFun. The genie just shrugged and carried on negotiating the release of a complicated bogie with the tip of her nail.

Overhead, the cathedral bell screeched out a dozen speckled gulls from its austere tower. Megan tried again, ‘I only said the word by mistake, and then I had to use the second one to undo all that stuff with my boyfriend and the elephant trunk… I mean that’s not really fair is it?’ but the reassurances were weak and shaped themselves around her words a fraction of a second too late.

The old woman was rubbing the bogie into the chicken flesh of her upper arm like it was a delicious body butter, ‘Is that a wish?’

‘No.’

‘Just checking.’

Megan looked out over the crowd of people milling around the square below, ‘I bet if you offered any one of them three wishes they’d jump at the chance,’ she shook her head, ‘But two wishes later and you end up right back where you started, I wouldn’t wish finding a magic lamp on my worst enemy.’

‘Is that a wish?’ the old woman sucked at her teeth. Needless to say they were yellow and had a part-time job coning off the road works on the nearby motorway.

‘No it’s not a fucking wish,’ Megan glared at her.

‘Only you said the W word.’

‘It was not a wish.’

‘As you wish, Deerie,’ she added the deerie because she looked like a hag and it was expected.

‘Gaaaaaaagh!’ Megan raked her hands through her hair. The damn genie kept saying wish, it was so easy to get confused. Luckily everything still seemed okay.

But as the final noon bell died away, and for those who could read the signs, it was enough that the gulls chose only the newly cleaned cars to spell out their ticker-tape warning.

‘I’m not one for nit picking,’ the genie said, picking a nit out of her ear, ‘but you rubbed the lamp see, and that means you want a wish.’

‘I don’t want a wish.’

‘Do you wish to wish for something else then…Deerie?’

‘Stop saying wish.’

‘Is that a wish?’

Megan puffed out an exasperated sigh as the city tram clattered across the square, ‘If it’s a wish then I have to say the words I WISH, in front of it.’

The ghastly woman bowed, ‘Your wish is my command.’

‘Wait. What?’

‘Your wish is my command.’

‘No, no, I didn’t make a wish,’ Megan raked back over the conversation, ‘I just said…’ she clamped her hand over her mouth, but it was too late and the familiar black light was already coiling from her mouth like an unkempt bikini line.

As the last gull fled to the growing silence of the tower, the air around Megan thickened, picking up the dust and spinning it into tiny ringlets. She caught at her throat, as the first of the words inked itself into her flesh, ‘No, please, that wasn’t a wish, I was just explaining the context…’ she looked around frantically, her boyfriend had warned her over and over that it was the third wish you really had to watch out for, the one you couldn’t undo.

And in the time it took for her to gather a scream, all the garish colours that had decorated the day cancelled each other out. Except for red, obviously.

At the hearing, all the witnesses swore that they hadn’t seen the girl run in front of the tram. Things like that just happened sometimes, poor girl was probably too busy texting to pay attention. The driver didn’t mention the strange looking lamp that had mysteriously appeared in his locker later that day. Why should he? A good clean up and it could be worth a bit of money. Funny how he’d just been wishing that his luck would change.

 

 

The knaves’ tale

In this place light has never touched flesh. The solitary rook cries out a lantern, and every graveyard answers. Ghost and Bone. Skull and Ghoul. Chain and Pain. Crawling from the plague pits, beauty dripping pus alongside the beast. There’s nothing quite like the stench of proximity to kill the mood.  Does it do to wander where the children of carrion rise? Death can be born so easily, carried home on a single kiss perhaps? My thoughts have been feathered of late. And yes, I believed them. I even thought I was the protagonist, sometimes…a billion times. But no matter which road I take, I always end up crashing the same party.

Day cuts deep along the skyline, bleeding crimson with its skin. Chorus would herald the fading of this fearful night, but even the familiar of that song is lost. Scratched silent in the inking of mutilated shadows, a hundred heartbeats seeking out the stick built towers where a crow can become a rook. Fights and flights. Fears and Tears. Rambles and Shambles. Everyone is invited. And spliced between the knaves of rhyme, the solitary rook becomes crow.

© 2017 jac forsyth