Tag Archives: metaphor

Adult Scars – Micropoetry

adult scars run deep
prone to reopening
when picked at until
festering scabs form
habits from childhood
where we wish to return

A Thought’s Reliquary

A Thought’s Reliquary

Friday Flash 19 July, 2013



He opened the notebook, the creak of cracking cardboard a writer’s melody.
“I see you have yourself a reliquary,” said Grandfather.




Proofs of holy writ, held within the ink of the pen, waited for the opening incantation. He paused and found no words. Was he a heretic?



The first words were important and they rushed from the pen; not so much writing as scribbling random thoughts in search of a repository.



Shuffled sheets in a lectionary of unrequited (or unsent) love letters, parables of adolescent anxiety and beatitudes of pop song lyricists,



Scratched sonnets and ambling discourses with a hip-hop feel competed for space between the lines. An epistolary apocryphal gospel at best.



He rested the pen between the pages in the crook of the hymnal’s spine, a genuflection, as the last sentence dried in the valley’s shadows.



As the cover of the notebook closed it murmured, sighed through paper exhalations, as one who held their breath waiting for the benediction.

Pieces of a Puzzle

In the common room of the hospital, an idle television spoke to itself in the corner while two patients sat at the beige Formica table. Attired similarly in faded tracksuit pants and a loose t-shirt Jason wore a pair of woollen Ugg boots with his toes poking through. Morris fidgeted in a pair of Bart Simpson slippers. A plastic band around each patient’s wrist proclaimed name, date of birth and attending psychiatrist. One wore a red band indicating allergies to medications and foods.

“Right, let’s get this party started,” said Morris.

The lid of the puzzle box was flipped open and the contents poured out of the box, spilling all over the table. Four hands deftly sorted through the pieces of a puzzle scattered between them. First, corners, then edge pieces. Beginning at the corners, the outline of the puzzle was constructed. An empty frame waited for the picture to be assembled.

The front of the box proclaimed a serene, pastoral idyll of green fields, wandering bovine, mountains and a vast expanse of blue sky. Colours were gathered into piles, like sorting a packet of M & M’s before eating them. Greens, reds, blues and partial shapes of cows.

“We should get Gracie in here. With her OCD she’d have the colours sorted in no time,” said Morris scratching at the salt-and-pepper stubble on his chin. “Didn’t see you at the ‘bus stop’ for meds this morning.”

“Psych session.”

“Still crazy?”


Morris paused from sorting pieces and looked at the younger man over his spectacles. “You doing ok?”

A slight nod of the head from Jason, eyes focused on the puzzle pieces. Hunched shoulders and listless movements sifting through the pieces; a young man layered with melancholy and sadness. The television continued to talk to no one in particular from its corner.

“One thousand frickin’ pieces,” Jason mused. “Can you think of anything less relaxing than a puzzle for someone who’s depressed?

“What do you mean?”

“There’s gotta be a point when you’ve had enough bloody blue pieces of sky. Can you think of a more ironic colour? There is only so many times you can pick up a piece of blue sky and pray it fits.”

“There’s a nice ocean puzzle on the shelf if you want,” said Morris with a smirk.

Jason smiled wanly.

“So why are we doing it?” Morris asked.

“Because we’re depressed and screwed in the head.”

Morris chuckled in consolation. “Tea?”

“Yes, thanks.”

As Morris left the table, Jason fished through the pile of blue pieces, spreading them out on the table, hoping to find a pattern. Shapes, holes and tabs failed to lock together and form a picture. Instead he saw fragments and sections, disparate and disjointed from one another. One by one he chose a piece and tried to make it fit.

“How’d you go?”  Morris asked on his return.

“Two pieces of sky. Two lousy pieces of sky.”

“Try a more methodical approach. If a piece doesn’t fit, put it down in a different spot. Work your way through the pile. You’ll soon find the piece that fits and you then repeat.”

In the background the television droned on as pieces of the puzzle slotted into space. The beige background of the table poked through areas of the puzzle still unsolved. Gaps formed where pieces had been lost, disappeared or eaten by the vacuum cleaner. Stray pieces from other puzzles sat loose to one side, disconnected from their own box and scenic picture. Lost souls in need of a connection.

Jason scooped the loose pieces into his hand and prodded them with his finger, turning them over and over in his palm. With a guttural scream he launched the pieces into the air causing a sudden downpour. With a soft plop a piece fell into Morris’ teacup.

His head hidden behind his hands, Jason sobbed quietly. Morris fished the puzzle piece from his tea. Jason pulled at his face with his hands, stretching out his eyelids then lower lip, streaking the tears.

“It’s not about the puzzle is it?” asked Morris. He sipped his cooling tea.

“It’s about the picture in my head,” said Jason. “There’s a picture I have of what I was before I got sick.” His hands waved over the pieces, conjuring a memory. “But then there’s the picture in the darkest days of my depression and I ended up here.” Open palms, face up, in a gesture of supplication. “I cannot picture me when I leave here. None of it makes sense.”

Pulling a scrappy hanky out of his pocket he blew his nose and wiped his eyes.

“It’s like someone’s rearranged the pieces of puzzle; thrown some pieces away and replaced them with new ones. They fit, but the picture’s all wrong. I see familiar shapes, glimpses of me, but it doesn’t fit with the picture on the box.”

Across the table hundreds of loose pieces, in no particular order, scattered, waiting to be assembled.

“The picture of me has changed. Is the picture wrong?”

“Not wrong; you’re beginning to understand yourself and your depression better,” said Morris.

“I cannot see the picture of what I want to become. What do I do?”

Morris selected a random blue piece and placed it into the puzzle. “Start a new picture.”

Writing and Sex – A Dubious Metaphor

Writing and Sex – A Dubious Metaphor

In the process of editing a story for submission, I thought about the relationship a writer has with the story. Dark fantasy and sci-fi author Alan Baxter wrote during the week of the editing process as flensing. It is well worth your time to have a read.

I’m going to dirty it up and compare it to sex.

The First Draft – This is when you rip off each others’ clothes and engage in primeval, animalistic, urge-driven sex. It’s a quickie. Pants are down around your ankles. There is no thought to foreplay or decorum. It just happens. It’s rather selfish as all you think about how good your idea is.

Subsequent Drafts – You’ve know reached the “awkward” phase in the relationship with the story. You’ve seen each other naked. But you know there is work to be done.

In a half-baked attempt at romance, you take things a little slower. There is the offer of flowers, desserts, sensuous massage, candles, walks along the beach. Even a movie if you’re particularly keen. You’ve even made a mix tape to make out to. But, you still can’t quite figure out how to get the bra off without appearing like you’re an incompetent teenager and breaking the mood. You have even remembered to shower.

Each time you come back, you’ve learned a little more. You know when and where to stimulate to make it work. You take your time. You luxuriate in your story. You have even gone out and bought new underwear to let the story know it’s special.

Each time you are together, you learn to work more closely, watching, listening, learning.

The Final Draft – You have now learned to make love to your story. You have explored every nook and cranny; you know what turns your story on. You can undo the bra. In the dark. One handed.

Truly you have learned to make love to your story. You consider its feelings by not passing wind when you are intimate together. Snuggling after sex is  enjoyable. Intimacy is achieved; a connection of souls.

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, you have to work on your relationship some more.

Cigarette, anyone?

Heads or Tails #2

[Fiction] Friday Challenge #163 for July 9th, 2010

In her right hand a woman holds a loaded gun, in her left, a coin that just came up ‘tails’…NOW WRITE…


The sweat beaded in her palm, moistening her fingers and lubricating the trigger.  She could feel her grip loosen, yet she resisted the urge to wipe it away, maintaining her control.  She focused on her breathing, the sensation of oxygen consuming her lungs.  It heightened her senses: touch aroused a deeper longing.  The sound of her pulse echoed in her ears.  Sweat mingled with lingering bouquets of wine on her palette.

Her excitement increased as she fondled the pistol in her hand; her breath becoming shallower and more rapid.  With each sharp intake of breath her grip tightened on the trigger.  A final breath drawn in and she squeezed the trigger.  The recoil shuddered through her body, tantalising each fibre as the ripples swept out until they subsided.  Cordite wreathed like a necklace in the aftermath.

The two naked bodies collapsed into each other, rapid breathing raising and lowering their chests against each other until there was stillness.  Her hand lay the pistol on the table, where it beckoned her, reminded her, coaxed her.