A dustcart trails cherry blossom in bridal chaos. Traffic roulette spins on who’s gonna carry the scent bouquet. A guy asks strangers for money and his words rehearse legitimacy through an ice show of withdrawal. £21 for shelter, he says. I don’t ask what sort of shelter he means.

I sit in a cafe and mourn the loss of cold coffee and stale nicotine. Normality filters everything from this windowed street life and I wander too far into the sideshows and circus tents to remember what it was like.

There’s a snake oil cure splashed out across repose and the scream of surrender.  The sun shines but the shadows still fall flat no matter what they wanted to be. I run the tips of my fingers through the filigreed agony of a thousand nights and watch the debris burn off in fireflies. It seems like I can only see the freaks in mirrors these days.

A streetcleaner calls symphony in crisp packets and paper cups. There is a girl sat in an abandoned doorway, every part of her life is covered in filth. She watches the stumpy machine, like it’s on TV, like it could mean something in another life. The brushes sweep grey spirals around her but she is too much rubbish for even the dust collector to recognise. Some people are measured for a coffin the day all return tickets get cancelled. I buy her breakfast and it’s me has to do all the crying because there’s only survival left in her.

I go to the polling station. Seems like the people who deserve to vote the most don’t get one. A gymkhana of rosettes talk outside, one candidate asks for my card number and tells me the grass needs cutting in this town. I shut my eyes and pretend it’s the sun. I’ve already raked through the canker of promises to find the ones who will do the least amount of damage. He smiles and I know there are only pencils and bad choices on the inside.

The bank is full of old people. I transfer money from one account to another as easy as remembering my address. The automatic door keeps opening even though no one comes in. Ghosts of past employees, we joke as the roar of contrition plays Bach in the corner and I search out deliverance on my iPod. When I try to leave the door twitches like it doesn’t want to let me go. I turn the music up to max and let oblivion take me.


©2017 Jac Forsyth

21 thoughts on “HOURGLASS

  1. Every time I read one of your pieces, I’m staggered by the wealth of imagery you’re able create. The way that you’ve divided this by hour and minute is brilliant. Reading you inspires me to actually write, rather than simply tell a story. Lines like “the shadows still fall flat no matter what they wanted to be” are truly memorable.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Well right back at you, my friend.
    Local elections here today. Kids begging on the street and politicians promising to cut the grass more often. The imagery of life is unbearable sometimes, so I sit in a cafe, briefly ponder the untimely split of My Chemical Romance and write down my mind.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Love your imagery, the economy of expression. ‘a gymkhana of rosettes’ – a gem! And ‘I buy her breakfast and it’s me has to do all the crying… ‘ Brill as ever!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I shut my eyes and pretend it’s the sun. I’ve already raked through the canker of promises to find the ones who will do the least amount of damage.

    Perfect ummation of the sh*t for choice in a world gone mad with extremes. The heartbreak in 9:30 is palpable. “We are only healthy to the extent that our ideas are humane.” – Kurt Vonnegut

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Someone asked me today if this was a piece about loss, and yes there was a profound sense of loss when I wrote it. It’s taken me time to figure out, your comments fit so perfectly with the tone of this thinking.
    I’m gonna pop over and check out your blog, I already know I’ll love it. Good to meet you here, Phil.


  6. Son-of-a!

    I like how when I read 9:15 am, in my head I just said nine-fifteen, and it rhymed with “nicotine.” ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been playing around with deconstructing elements of poetry and slotting them into prose. I don’t know where the hell it’s going as I’m no poet. Possibly nowhere. But to take words that rhyme and use them within the delicacy of prose is exciting. Songs that sing themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yeah, pretty much where I was that day. Internal and external reflections, mate.
    Phil over at, Not very deep thoughts, has a cunning plan for the three of us to work on something together, kinda like we did with your first shipwreck picture. He’s bringing his own chair and some French toast, which is the password to anything as far as I’m concerned.
    What do you reckon?
    That last picture you did scares the crap out of me, so we could do that?

    Liked by 1 person

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