Will Collins is pondering relationships

Journey to the Depth of the Deep-freeze

You’re on the driver’s seat.
I’m only your passenger.
On either side of us fields
of sunflowers caress in a breeze.

You’re wearing your purple shirt
with jeans and jagged eyebrows.
It is quarter to three in the afternoon
on an autumn Sunday; we’re returning
from lunch, wine and chat with friends.
The break in our silence comes
to tell me you want to call it a day.

I watched the sunflowers caress,
mute and childless.  

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Three Days Before the Train

A doll stares at 80s artex.
Her eyes fixed wide open
like she is looking at
a winning lottery ticket
or she has just been told
her mother is cured of cancer.

She is waiting for you to enter her
bed and wrap your arms around her. 

* When we first encountered Will Collins, he was reading creative writing at Winchester Uni. He's now graduated and become a lecturer at the Basingstoke College of Technology but plans to take a Masters in the near future.

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Flash fiction: Terry McKee can't sing but…

I Can’t Sing but That Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love You

I’m driving down the road, on my way to the market to get something for dinner, singing along with a love song on the radio, even though I know I can’t sing, still that doesn’t stop me from singing. I want to sing in the worst way, always have. Fortunately for the guy in the next lane, my windows are up.

“Life isn’t fair,” my mother always said. She was so right! My sisters sing beautifully. “Angels”, she called them.

They sound like Leona Lewis, with such incredible range. And they know to dance like her too, as if they’re making love with the wall. Another thing I’d really like to do well, but I’m the queen of klutz. That saying about walking and chewing gum fits me to a T and just forget doing it in stilettos, like Leona. An untied sneaker is my equivalent to running with scissors.

It’s incredible when someone opens their mouth and sound so spectacular comes out, especially if she has less than mediocre speaking voice. Looks become unimportant as well, a person can forget all about the face when the singer’s languishing between the music and lyrics, fully entrenched in its meaning, but oh my, if they are pretty. The combination is breath-taking, a sure fire hit.

Tone deaf and un-coordinated, I can’t do anything of the things I want to do. Somehow I missed out on the dancing and singing genes and now that’s all I want to do, sing. Love songs, hate songs, rock and roll, folk ballets, any song, just as long as I can sing it. I’ll do anything that proves I have some special talent.

Then you touch my arm and laugh, “You can really belt it out.”

“It’s for you,” I say, “sorry it’s not very good.”

Then I realize I don’t have to be good and just because I can’t sing doesn’t mean I can’t get what I want. You’re still sitting next to me, besides singing is fun.

“That doesn’t matter, you’re still my angel,” you tell me and kiss my hand as if I’m royalty.

With my best flirty eyes, I ask, “So what do you want for dinner?”

* Terry McKee lives in southern Florida, with her husband, three dogs, two horses, numerous lizards and six dragon flies.

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Helen Pletts is remembering her grandfather

In the morning
In the morning,
i taste your funeral.
Even the radiators' anthem
appears unchanged.
(Theirs the only music
  until the first psalm).
someone grapples
the compartments of breakfast cutlery;
we fall between the forks.
In the moments prior to your departure
the dark coats fold on us;
a clouded navy blue,
a sentried black.
And all the dawns
come rushing
through the milk spout
on the cereal.

* Helen Pletts is a regular IS&T contributor and has a new collection coming out in 2009.

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John Irvine's lost his sheep

John Irvine says “This isn't exactly a haiga but rather a limerick set into a photo I took not far from where I live…”

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Kate Pottinger is walking the woods

Deep Woodlanders       

I do not see the ancient men
I feel their eyes upon me in the undergrowth
where foxes bark at night
behind the trunks of trees
half blackened by the rain.
The birds are silent here but
hidden in the canopy they watch
the fusion of the present and the past.
Sensing movement I turn round to see
the tangled ropes which gently swing
in glutinous, grey light
where bodies thin as air and dry as dust
have nudged them passing through
and I would like to know
if they see flesh and bone          
and footprints on the muddy track
and in another thousand years from now,
if I, as thin as air and dry as dust,
will peer from undergrowth
where foxes bark at night,
and watch the flesh and bone and footprints
on the ancient, muddy track.

* Kate Pottinger is one of the co-founders of an arts cafe set up by one of IS&T's regular contributors Mandy Pannett and says this poem “rather came out of nowhere one damp afternoon in November when I was walking my dog in the woods.” She adds “I have been working on a novel for the last ten plus years and finished the final draft earlier this year amidst great celebrations and sighs of relief from those who had seen me through the very lengthy labour to the birth! Now the question is, what do I do with it?”

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Two haibun for Christmas

Well I don't expect anyone else to be working today, so here are a couple of haibun for the Christmas holiday season that I finished recently…

by Charles Christian

Shimmering in gold, two little angels – halos askew – frolic on a petrol station forecourt. It must be school nativity play time again. That, or the start of the Second Coming.

          deer moving cautiously in my garden –
          their bones remember the wolves

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Caught in the car headlights, an old man and his chubby dog out walking on a snowy Boxing Day afternoon. Over his shoulder, the old man carries a log. For the rest of the drive home, I keep a look out for King Wenceslas and his page.

          raucous cries in a twilit sky –
          rooks heading home to roost

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Sonia Jarema has one last present to unwrap

The Last Present
Before he died
He bought and wrapped
This present
It sits in my cupboard
The snowmen have
Waved many summers
Away now
And still
I can not
Bring myself
To unwrap
This last present.
She told me this
And I did not laugh
Did not entice
Her to unwrap
But wished that
I too had
A last present  
To cherish
And not unwrap
Two decades later
I reached  into
The cupboard
That holds
Only memories
And found
Eighteen years
Left unwrapped
And started
To peep
Till two years dropped
And now I pull
At the paper
Of the sixteen.
And wonder
If one day
I wish
I hadn’t.

* Sonia Jarema says “I am an allotmenteer living on the edge of London, finally letting the air get to my writing.”

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