Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Eastern Passage

Marigold was happy at the prospect of a drive outside the city and her engine burbled gleefully as I sped along Pleasant St and through Shearwater towards Eastern Passage. The day was an unpredictable one, grey, sleet, rain, snow, wind and occasionally the odd glimmer of sunshine and blue sky bursting from within the heavy cover of grey cloud. A regular Nova Scotian day. The van radio had been stuck on a light rock station for a few months now, and the merry melody of Roy Orbison added to the mood of adventure. I had never been to Eastern Passage even though it was only a few kilometres down the road. The main thoroughfare eventually became Shore Rd, and there were fewer and fewer cars to accompany me on the journey. Marigold passed by rows of cottages, houses and the occasional mansion. A spatter of small stores and supermarkets appeared in front and gradually disappeared in the rear view mirror. Soon, all that could be seen were the houses on the left, and the wide expanse of the ocean on the right. I pulled over for a moment, to admire the view and snap off a couple of memory lane photos. I watched the rhythmic waves make their way towards the shore, casting small cascades of white foam as they broke upon the rocks. The colours were tinged with a grey melancholy, as if even the earth itself was trying to find cover from an expected snow storm. The waves gradually became larger, more powerful and impressive. Far in the distance, the shape of trees and outcrops became obscured as the rain and sleet began to build. I moved into the passenger seat, opened the window and breathed in the cold hard air. The heating in the van was non-existent, and the chilly air crept inside and clung to my fingers. I twisted the camera left and right, searching for interesting views and then captured them. Once saved to memory, I rolled up the window, changed back to the drivers seat and then putting Marigold into gear, I pulled back onto the road and continued through the village. I drove as far as I could, toward the golf course and then stopped when the road ended. A couple of surfers were preparing themselves for time on their boards. Their preparation almost ritual like as they donned dry suits, got their boards ready and then made their way down towards the waters edge. I watched them stand looking out across the water, gauging the force, the waves, the surge and building their anticipation.
The van was getting cold. Marigold doesn't like the cold much and bitches about it whenever possible. Realising that the prospect of having a van with no heat, no power and no will to return home, I revved up the engine, did a u-turn and then started back for Eastern Passage and Cow Bay Road. Considering the wind and weather, there were a few people out on the road, walking towards the village centre. Hardy people. I wondered where they were going, what they were going to do and if they were cold or not. I was beginning to feel it, and I was sat in the cab of the van, so I'm sure that they were either well insulated (which I was not), or that they didn't feel the cold the way I did.
I pulled into Cow Bay Road and began the winding course that would take me passed Rainbow Haven and numerous inlets, small shorelines and countless trees, stripped of all leaves by the winter. The scenery was quiet, damp and rugged. Every now and then a few rays of sunshine would break free from the cloud and illuminate the land with colours of warmth. Then they would disappear again, the view would change back to the mix of dulled fall and winter shades. Beautiful but somehow sad. I slowed the engine, cruising along at a slow pace to ensure I could take in as much of the passing terrain as I could. The ocean lay to the right, and between the trees, the hills and isolated houses I could see the white water of waves and spray build, roar and crash in cyclical fashion. Black dots of surfers moved backwards and forwards, waiting, searching for the rising water that would let them know the time to hop up on their boards and begin their journey towards the land, powered forwards by the strength of the sea. I drove onwards, up and down small hills and then the ocean left my view. I turned onto Bisset Road, the road that I knew would lead me back towards Cole Harbour, and Main Street which I would take on the way home. Bisset Road seemed long and empty, without the sea view, the scenery rolled by as Marigold hungrily chewed through the kilometres, winding effortlessly round curves. I was happy, I had not seen the ocean for a couple of months or so, and the short time spent watching the waves was calming. I drove with contentment, the van happy, the elements contesting gleefully and me sat in the driver seat viewing and feeling it all. As I eventually pulled back onto Main Street and started for home. I breathed in deep, a long sigh of satisfaction. I will return to Eastern Passage, to see it again. Hopefully when it is basking in sunshine and the ocean reflects the sky in shades of perfect blue. I look forward to driving there again and I'm sure that Marigold does too.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Return

The wind toyed with her hair as they motored along, windows wide open to absorb as much of the warm fresh air as possible. The engine hummed happily, bubbling with its own excitement at the prospect of adventure on the open road. She lent forward and changed the radio station, searching for a song that would reflect their mood. After rumbling through static and broadcasts in French, she stopped, the song was by Snow Patrol, its gentle melody and lyrics bringing waves of nostalgia. Looking around her, she saw the smiles on the faces of those that she held dear, a calm, contented satisfaction mingled with an anticipation of adventure. The mood was perfect. Reaching over she touched his knee. He responded, placing his hand on hers and looked into her eyes with his lips forming a wide smile. His eyes saw deep into hers, and seemed to open her soul. At the same time, his own appeared to open, and for that moment of time they were intrinsically interlinked, mind, touch and spirit spiralling in a dance of desire, passion and love. Together they looked forward through the windshield at the long straight road ahead. In the distance, mountains sprung from the earth, tree covered, green and welcoming. Nature had called them from the city, and they were answering that call. A primeval yearning to belong to the elements, and entrust the ebb and flow of life to them. Earth to sleep on, the air their ceiling, water to wash and swim in, fire for warmth, security and to cook with. They had prepared for this time, organising the family and gathering the provisions for the days ahead. Now they were on their way, kilometres had been covered, villages passed by them and disappeared in the distance while new landscapes contantly shaped, formed and grew ahead of them. Views that stole breath, and impressed images of bliss upon the mind. The children sat quietly in the back, watching the world pass by outside the windows, transfixed by the visions. Music and mood, the sensory calm and gentle rhythm of the motor combining hypnotically. They were smiling. Without words they let the road pass them by, curiously looking at each inlet, each cluster of farms and houses, signs of life.

The flamingo hanging from the mirror swayed as if dancing when small potholes momentarily bumped the steady wheels. The sun blessing the occupants with steady warmth as they continued, miandering along into the high ground. The map had been discarded long ago, now they were heading northwards, to a destination that they had only seen in dreams, a name that they had mentioned in hushed reverant voices - their Eden. Each of them had seen the place in their sleep, they had touched the cool running water and felt the warm, smooth texture of the earth between their fingertips. They had explored every part of the lake, touched every tree and absorbed the beauty of every flower. With each passing moment, they knew they were getting closer, as if the vehicle was driving itself, bringing them home. They could feel the pulse of life, a pulse weak and barely present when they were in the steady rush of the city, but that had been growing stronger over the days, beating with a comfort that drew them onwards. Not far to go.

The traffic on the road diminished, and they were soon the only vehicle to be seen. The sun cast the box like shadow across the grey worn surface. The sound of the engines approach picked up by the keen ears of the animals hiding in the trees out of view. They picked up a scent, a sensation of change. Cautiously, some of them approached the road to get a glimpse of the travellers, to match instinct with sight. As the vehicle passed them by, the animals watched them with curiosity. After generations, after many lost years, the travellers had found their way, and were coming home once again.

The road texture changed as they slowed down, and turned off to the east. A thin winding gravel road interspersed with grasses and wild flowers, the track long overgrown, overtaken and hidden by nature from casual passers by. The mood inside the van became more focused, more alert. Eagerly they looked at their surroundings, recognising the trees, the shrubs, the way the wind whispered through the long grass outside the windows. Above the low rhythym of the engine, insects could be heard chattering and singing, pausing in their performance while the van passed them by. The van slowed as it neared the final bend of the long journey, turning and twisting downwards to then open into an expanse of space felt as though it was welcoming them with arms wide open. The trees parted, the grasses flowed, the sun shone through leaves and cascaded light into their eyes as they glimpsed their destination in front of them.

He brought the vehicle to a slow stop and then turned off the engine. For a moment none of the occupants moved, silently grateful to have arrived, to feel the warm sense of belonging, of returning to the place that until now had only been in their dreams. The light was abundant, bright and warm, casting the shadows of trunks and branches across the baked earth that awaited their footsteps. The creatures chorus rose to a crescendo, welcoming them after so long an absence. Water glistened from the pool and the trickle of the stream bubbled over smooth shiny stones. The earth greeted them with an embrace of spirit. One by one, the occupants opened the doors, still silent, but each with a warmth and bond to each other and their place. This was the earth that they would nourish as the earth would nourish them. This was where they belonged, this was home.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunny Day

sun shines out in a sky coloured blue
the grey blizzard gone for a while,
cold surrounds, but fresh kind chill
that livens the soul, and sharpens
the breath envelopes while we wrap
in layers of increasing thickness.
the walk is welcome, the air cleans
lungs with its cool crisp taste
the clouds of our breath disappear
like incense in the wind.
marvel at the beauty, the bewildering
variety of life, its pulse.
those around amble on, they pass by
and continue on their way, shoulders
shrugged against the season.
what thoughts fill their time, what
life do they lead, what are their
dreams, what hope do they hide.
is it the same day as mine.
watching sun pass to moon, day to night
beauty pass by and all feel sublime.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Journey Home

"Can you move down please?"
Crammed in like sheep on their final journey. The heat dripping.
The fat man pushed his way into the doorway, huge sweat patches staining his light blue shirt, hair stuck to his forehead, droplets running down his obese face and falling like raindrops from his chin. We moved as far in as possible, bodies squashed against each other, the shared heat and stench of a days work in airless offices burning in my nostrils. I felt sick. The fat mans arm reached towards the handrail, his big hand outstretched and his shoulder dangerously close to my face. I try and turn away, try to find some small tiny pocket of space, wanting to look at the floor, or towards the darkness of the window, but there is no room.

The chirp of the doors sounded and they closed, catching suit jackets and bags. People are still trying to board, holding the doors open while they pull themselves inside, rucksacks and briefcases become implments to make space, to nudge with increasing force against those who tried to take more than they deserved. The frustration was boiling over, in everyone. Do they never realise? Can't they see that it will take longer and longer?
"Come on", shouted someone from deep inside the carriage. I couldn't even see where the shout came from, obscured from sight by the mass of commuters, tourists and families.
Finally the doors slammed shut, and we shuddered forward, fits and starts, slowly gaining pace and disappearing into the blackness of the tunnels. Only four stops. Four stops in this heat, unbearable. I should have walked, but the streets in the early evening are almost as torrid as the tunnels, thousands of people milling around, walking too slowly, stopping for no reason, bumping, bashing. To hot, never enough shade, no air. There is never enough air in London.

We arrive at Chancery Lane. No one ever gets off at Chancery Lane. As we pull in I can see the people waiting on the platform, two or three deep. All with the same faces as us inside. Anger. There is no room. The train stops and the fat man wobbles forward, his sweat covered arm inches from my face. I push backwards, desperate to avoid the touch, to increase the meagre distance. The doors slide open and for a moment everyone gasps for a breath of the air from outside the carriage. Just a little bit cooler, just a slight breeze, just some more space. I wish some people would get off, that there wouldn't be people waiting to get on. I wish I had walked. I wish that dirty fat cunt would get the fuck out of my face. Seething. The sheep look around, to see who would get off, where a small niche of space might appear. Would someone with a seat get off, how about by the doorway, or the window, the only places where a little bit of polluted tunnel air can creep in. The best places in the carriage. But no one gets off at Chancery Lane.
"Move right down inside the cars" the announcer belts into his radio.
Move right down? He must say it for every tube that passes, so many times a day, so many times a week, a year. How many times will he have said those words, the words almost as famous as "Mind the gap". But when can you move down? There is no space. We all silently beg for the tube to get going. Get fucking moving. Please.

The doors close first time and the whine of the motors builds as we gather speed, rushing past all the unfortunate, or fortunate lifers standing on the platform, toes across the yellow line, trying to casually read papers, pushing for the spots where the doors open. The ones who know. The darkness consumes again and the rattle and screech of ancient steel as we bumble onwards, rails throwing sparks that reflect in the windows which are as black mirrors. Only three more stops. Six more minutes. St Pauls is another waste of time, same as Chancery Lane, no one gets off. Every one is waiting for Bank, there is always movement at Bank, getting off, getting on, the possibility of a better spot, a better handrail, one that perhaps does not feel as greasy with the sweat and grime of hundreds of tunnel travellers.

While you Sleep

In the morning haze
beams light your soft shine
they fill you with warmth
and colour your aura azure

Your steady sleeping breath
touches my ear, the rhythmic
rise and fall give me peace
Eyelids closed, calm, kind.

My fingertips glide upon
Your exposed thigh, wrapped
across the thick feather duvet
Golden light stirs like ripples.

Tempted to wake you from slumber
I restrain, allow my eyes to
Absorb your slumbering stillness
A picture etched forever.

I breathe your breath, join
Your motion. Sense your world
Immerse myself in the current.
Control seeps away.

Soft voices from far away
Echo in thought, joined memory
Laughter, eyes shining.
Sun on our skin.

You wake, I open my eyes
A kiss from your lips on my
Forehead. A glow of love.
Outside the sky is blue.


The darkness closes in
like the rising of the tide
Bringing with it a deparate cold chill

With a wind of ice needles
Stabbing relentlessly. Stealing
Breath and will.

It burns my skin, my eyes, my being
I scream. Lungs ripped by the melancholy
Freeze until voice is soundless.

trying to hide beneath facades, ballroom
masks of elegance. The raw texture of
my flesh remains exposed.

I yearn, call on bended knee. A prayer
Unanswered. Abandoned. Devoid
Of all that was once abundant.

So little strength. So little more.
Beckoning the onset of future unknown
To guide me towards the common goal.

Hand becomes fist, muscles tensed to
strike out, to inflict and relish.
Taste the blood on my lips.

Whirlwind of punished energy
Throws me out, spits far.
Soul cracked, chipped, a yard sale china plate.


In the dark the hum of morning stirs
The chill air settled crisp upon the grass
Inside all is silent, close, calm.
Eyes still red with night awake in
The blackness again and again.
Thoughts freely miander
Across plains of sleep and consiousness
Firing in sporadic motion like a
Shoal of fish.

Engines purr below, work to be done
as sleepy drivers hold near their Tims.
Up here the world still rests. Missing their
Company. Scribbled thoughts a happy
Substitute. Bringing closer the warmth
Of body and comfort of breath.
Dreams of lighter days, days of sun that
seem long gone.

I am the Leaves

i am the leaves
i am the wind that blows between them
and carries them to the ground
i am the lush grass that they fall upon.
i am the earth that lies beneath and
the water that nourishes it
i am outside and inside
i am above and below
i breathe, absorb and exhale
my air belonging to all
i am a beacon, a fire that leaps
i am everything and nothing in the same moment
i speak without words and hear without hearing
i see with eyes closed
i give and accept.
i create. i love. i live

View from the Roof

Sun coloured chill as the wind whips the air
I stand facing west and smoke without care.
The burnished bronze of sunsets share
Entices me further, to go beyond there.

Ash drops to the ground and dissolves into dust
I ponder upon an image of trust
The choice is mine, to do what I must
And play the game, stick, twist or bust.

The orb disappears under the earth
Completing its cycle of day, night rebirth
I stand a while longer, a smile curled in mirth
as I contemplate all, and what its all worth.

Daydreams of beauty and hope by my side
A journey onwards taken at stride
Hands interlinked, and on for the ride
Across distant lands, rivers and tide.

I finish the butt, crush the ember that dies
Step back inside and close my eyes
Allow sleep to come and welcome its ties
And dream to wake with tranquil sunrise.


Sheepishly he looked over and again she appeared to be looking right at him. Or perhaps looking through him. Again he had to avert his eyes. The look was too strong for him and he looked at his feet. He was unsure what the look meant, it was impossible to distinguish any emotion from it. Another quick look up. Yes, she was still looking. With each second he was becoming more self conscious. What was wrong? Was there something about his appearance, something about the way he was skulking in the corner. He wasn't sure. He looked over to her, but this time she was chatting with the person next to her. He felt a little better, or was it worse. Unable to determine the meaning of the look and now denied the possibility of more. He put it to one side, and allowed his focus to return to his book. He read a few lines but they did not absorb, his concentration drifting back to the look, to the eyes, to interpretations and possibilities. He closed the book in frustration. Now the curiosity burned. He looked over at her again, still chatting to her friend. He watched her flick her hair with a laugh and turn towards the friend, reaching out to touch her knee.

Was she interested in him, unlikely. He certainly wasn't what he considered to be an attractive person. So what was it then? He thought about going to the bathroom, to check his appearance and make sure there wasn't a stain, or smudge on his clothes, or breakfast crumbs in the corners of his mouth. Maybe his eyes looked bad, or his hair dishevelled. He couldn't stand though, it would make it obvious. Stay cool he thought to himself. Stay cool and approach her, talk to her. An internal struggle began. A fear to move, a fear to approach but a desire to know, a desire to have the opportunity to speak to her. He imagined that she looked over at him again, perhaps looking somewhere else. He rose to his feet, putting the book on the table, and went to the bar.

"Can I have another coffee please?" he asked
"Sure thing honey" replied the lady.

While he was waiting, he turned to look across at the table where she was sitting. This time there was no doubt, yes she was looking at him. Suddenly self conscious again he turned back to wait for his coffee. The lady put it down in front of him, and he took the hot mug with care and walked back to his table. His eyes concentrated on the cup to make sure he did not spill. Once back at the table, he sat down, and then took another look across the cafe. Her friend was leaving, putting on her scarf and coat. They hugged and then the friend walked between the tables, passing him and then on to the door. He heard the chimes on the door ring as the door was opened, and then again as it slowly closed. The cafe suddenly seemed to go silent, so silent that he could hear the thud of his heart inside his chest. He picked his book back up and opened it, not even remembering which page he was on he filed through the pages looking for something familiar. Anything to distract him from how awkward he felt. Page 98, half way down. He started reading again, slowly relaxing as he became involved with the imaginary world of the novel. His coffee started to cool and without looking up he felt for the mug and once grasping it, took it to his lips and gulped it down. He put the mug back on the table, and then looked over at the girl. She had a book in her hand, but was looking at him. The same eyes, messageless, without an indication of emotion. She was beautiful, natural and for some reason there was a ripple of warmth. He smiled, unconciously. A slight nod of her head towards him. A smile. The eyes seemed to sparkle with it and in a moment he was transfixed. Held by the light within them. The look between them passed and the humdrum echo of clientele returned to his ears. She returned to her book, he returned to his. He felt warm, felt noticed. An affirmation of existence in the mind of another.


....he seemed to jump from the ferry, his long coat almost catching in the door as he sprinted away. His breath came in short sharp bursts as his feet pounded the sidewalk mercilessly. He shoulder barged through the exit door and spilled into the street, scraping knees and hands on the brickwork ground. Instantly he recovered himself, taking a moment to brush the sweat soaked hair away from his face. His eyes glinted below, wild, alive. Muscles tensed as he rose again to his feet, his legs already in motion and scurrying onwards like a wind-up toy. He ran through the park, scattering dozing pigeons when he ran between them. His arms pumped like pistons, relentlessly driving him along the footpath and across the train tracks. Out on to Alderney Drive, and alongside the canal, people stood and stared at the crazed looking man fighting to control his breath and bounding towards them. They stood motionless, transfixed by the image, wind bellowing through the coat, hair dripping with perspiration flung back over his head with the onrushing air. He dodged to avoid them, left, then right. "Watch it, buddy" called one of them as he almost clipped their shoulder. He briefly looked back at them, still running. "Sorry" he called with fading breath, and then he continued. Up along Portland, the first of the hills, he knew that this time he would have to make it to the top. With renewed vigour he renewed his pace, ignoring the sharp burn in his lungs, his stomach aching and legs stiff. His heart thudding mercilessly inside him. The hill dug in, and he dug in. Running on toes, sprinting upwards in the direction of Pleasant Street. He cornered onto the tree lined road and the downward stretch lay before him. A moments respite before the final agonising inclines towards home. Inside he felt a sickness, a need to wretch. He struggled momentarily, pace slowing, but then blocked it out. Adrenalin powering him now, nothing left in his lungs, his body sapped of strength. Only his mind and heart to throw him forward. The final hill. Gritting his teeth he stared upwards, the incline seemed to rise forever past houses and trees he never seemed to notice but today they stood out vividly, individually. The corner of Cameron Street was just ahead and rounding it he knew he would be there soon. With one last final push of all that he held inside him he concentrated on breath, on muscle and began the ascent. Upwards, lungs screaming for air. Legs numb and almost beyond control. The van came into view, he could see the front path now. Home was near. The final steps were oblivious, no memory of the steps to the porch. He fumbled in his pocket for the keys, shaking with exertion and struggling to put the key into the lock. It entered and slid in. He turned the handle and clattered up the stairs, throwing the keys to one side as he darted for the kitchen.
"Darling, where are you," he called.
"I'm in here," she said.
He followed the sound of the voice guiding him closer, drawing him nearer. As he rushed down the hallway and then sprinted the stairs up to the bedroom he fell, skidding over the final steps and hitting the floor of the bedroom. He couldn't speak. His eyes searching the room, blinded with hair and sweat he managed to focus on her lying on the bed. The sunlight bathing her in beauty. He wept to look, tears began to stream down his cheeks, his mouth curled. Slowly a smile broke free from the exhausted man as he saw the sight before him.
"Its a boy," she said.

Cheeky Chappie & Sexy Lass

Cheeky chappie slaps his thigh
and says with face a smile
"come sit by me and let us see
if we can't fondle a while"
Sexy lass with eyes a rolling
steps up to the bloke,
looks him in his face and says
"you make me want to choke".
"aw, hun" says he, with gleeful mirth
"don't play so hard to get,
as what I have and what you want
are in my pants I bet"
says she to he, "just fuck right off,
you're nothing but a freak.
That is not what I'm looking for,
you know not what I seek."
The cheeky man he laughs out loud
"I guess I'm out of luck,
perhaps a fondle is no good...
but hey, how about a fuck?"
The response from her was to the point
Frank and very blunt.
"Piss off you twat, let that be that,
I'm only after cunt".