Found another skull today. Bleached containment; all teeth and jaw and separation. January is the most depressing month of the year, TV told me. Folds me. In its statistics and the desire for redress. Seems the only pathway through this month is booked on line. Dark when I leave. Dark when I return. Drinks machine been making all the right noises and keeping hold of the coffee. Haven’t had any caffeine since 6am. Haven’t seen the sun since New Year’s Day. Money pulling thinner than the gossamer tripwires made again and again by spiders with no flies left to entertain them. I put the skull high up on a stone wall, makes me feel better, somehow. December called shotgun on all the blood and fire, and hey, let’s be honest here, there’s nothing scarlet about fog, and rain, and snow too weak to make it past the Tarmac. The beautiful lie is over for another year. Another month. Chin up. Skull says. No matter how bad January comes creeping, at least you still got your head attached.
Skull image by skullappreciationsociety.com
Remember. Caught holding the fuses while treason is canistered and staked; 36 barrels to the gallows. Seems the rust of October is gathered in at the corners. Trees and bones laid to rest. Three steps from winter and there are those who say we should sweep this naivety of frost away to the fires. Build a Guy to blame and flame. A parliament of gunpowder and indiscretions. Remember. Except you look at me, your eyes all blue like a November sky, telling me that you got this watch covered. Telling me for just one day, it’s okay. But you know me. Can’t sit in the cinema without being on the end of the row. Can’t look for a way in ’til I’ve found a way out. Most times when I’m sleeping I’m still running. Fingers curled around the handle. Figure even my grave will have a backdoor. November rings like a herald. The exits are HERE, HERE and HERE. Remember…
Guy Fawkes image: izquotes
Fuse image: shutterstock.com
Never could trust October. Too many savours and flavours in the pot so it just tastes of salt. And the rain it don’t give no mind to what kind of rewind we find. Just as long as it can come to the vivisection party and bring a friend. Can hold its liquor with the best of them. Better than the rest of them. Running down the fault lines. Moaning. Groaning with the floorboards in all the old, familiar places. Fencing off the faces. And on days like this the damp of it comes leaching, preaching, making all the exits tight. Slam ‘um open. Slam ‘um shut. Damned if I can figure out which side the bars are supposed to be on. Autumn always did like to pick pride as a guide. Skeleton suits. Military boots. Now and then I’m pinned open. Guts like a white rat. White coat. Turn coat. Turn around. Stand down. In October the answers are easy; it’s the questions that’ll kill you. And the rain, hey it just don’t care who it pisses on. It just likes to piss. I didn’t draw my bedroom curtains today. My 87 year old neighbour phoned to see if I was still alive. I didn’t answer. It’s October.
Tonight you kill someone. Not a faraway kind of killing like a bullet or a button. Or a word. Misheard. Just the tearing of skin, and sin spliced out on the lathe
A sigh. A lie. Perhaps? Incoherence and poetry tangle in the mumbled softness of his drunken debut. Curled feline on his chest the creature drools a silk in translucent symphony. Slip sliding war and whisper into his veins. His heart. His kiss. Click. Turn. Click Turn. Another sigh. Deeper this time. Harder to bring back. And inside his dreams he sees time fused nuclear in endless ticking. Dust and bone on the evening air as the song of the last bird becomes a howl.
The creature leans closer. Breath to breathe. It rolls, silent in victory as the sweet of his flesh fades with all the colours that aren’t red.
And he fights. Yes. True enough an angel in his strength. But daggers and diamonds cut the same in names and games of beasts. The creature twists on him. Inking ruin in triple joints, scarring his chest in maggot and worm. Click. Turn. Click. Turn. A care for a dare. A knife for a life.
And in dreams of Blake he is searching. Searching. For the choice in the never choices. Scream. Beg. Beg. Burn. Click. Turn. Click. Turn. Until there is no difference between them. Conquest and surrender bound to the same incongruent beat. Too fast. Run down. Walk down. Drag down. Too slow. To slow. To stop. And when the knife is offered, they cut. No hesitation. All the way down to soul.
‘Tonight you kill someone. Not a faraway kind of killing like a bullet or a button. Or a word. Misheard. Just the tearing of skin, and sin spliced out on the lathe.‘ The creature curls crimson in its smile, tasting sweetness of blood on the night air, ‘Told you so.’
©2017 Jac Forsyth*
*Image courtesy of Pinterest The Wood of the Self-Murderers: The Harpies and the Suicides by William Blake. The painting illustrates a passage from the Inferno canticle of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Dawn scatters these abandoned skies, cankered in memories of bone and burned outcast grey with the clinkers.
I say do as you’re told
Reborn days blink ashtray eyes, another nightlight outgrown and called into flesh by the fragrance of stinkers.
when you’re alone with the enemy
Torn dolls in hearsay lies, tales of rag and truth postponed and woven silk into the control of blinkers.
dance on the stolen road
Worn blank the replay dies, futures carved deep in headstones and riddled into the moss of night thinkers.
kiss away autonomy
Sworn to betray goodbyes, the rise and fall of empires condoned and sealed tight in the crushing of whimpers.
drink the lead in boiling gold
Mourn away doomsday cries, hopes flee overthrown and we who would be gods go crawling with the death of drinkers.
and find nothing but the silence of alchemy
Another flare, and she forgets that there is anything but poison left in her mind.
Four Two. Files corrupted. Can’t use the right words.
Four Two. Take it. Take it. In bee stings and car crashes. Leave the money you bastards. She screams. And toxin stumbles, heavy as wet sand.
She says. Lanterns always burn brighter than lighthouses. When the storms come. And don’t go wasting no more time looking for the right name on the rescue boat. Scaffolded in paper cranes and paper cuts. Can’t be bothered to look for the difference between hands and fists. Anymore. She says.
It’s all dry land to the shipwrecked. She says.
And the in the silence between words she breathes another spoonful and waits for the wreckers to call her home.
©2017 Jac Forsyth
Four Two was inspired by a wildly desolate piece of artwork created by Ash Finn.
Fire up a match. Share a cigarette and let me see the ghosts in your words. Did you ever think the fight would end here? That we would be caught feeding flax seed to the extinction of doves while drums cry hawk over the bones of skeletal cities? Fall on foot, foot on fall. I fold, nicotine in your anger. Will you take me, break me, make me in the furnace one last time?
And our breath, torn in sails
Across the plains
Fire up a match. Drag your smoke in hand holding patterns of exile. Once I cut a silver tally with the blades of pencil sharpeners and chose who would bleed my wounds. So the phoenix becomes the flames. For a while. But it’s always easier to burn bright than to blow out the match. And we who are raised in the ashes of what it was to be free, well we’re just having fun.
©2017 Jac Forsyth
Monsters are drawn so easily in burnt embers and the taste of ruin. And is this what it is to be human? A bag full of nothing but noughts and crosses? Philosophies of ghost-glass searching for that one last game of cyclic snap? Glory chained? Beauty crushed? Alliance written Dickensian in the fear of folding?
And so the golden haired sons became monsters. Not because they were inherently evil, but because they had taken that one first step beyond the threshold of their battered conscience.
Stand silent. Scuff out cohesion in tempests of contrition. Words we have inked, stories we have scraped raw into weeping flesh. Crime told. Guilt carved. Memories drawn in rusted nails and forgotten gallows. Them. Us. Us. Them. Allegories and flags torn down, sunk with the catastrophe of truth. And future fold and future fable entropy in perpetual sandcastles. Stand silent! Stand silent! The behemoths cry. Dress defeat in the colours of ignorance. Roll out the canons. And call victory.
©2017 Jac Forsyth
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
Image: 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.
*Image courtesy of pintrest.com
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