Dan Bowan

 

 

 

Hagler would run backwards in his army boots

 

Because that’s how half of the fight would go, on the back foot. Such logic. Don’t lose power, keep your balance even on the temporary retreat. So on his training runs, alone in the cold darkness of the morning Marvin would run backwards for balance, for strength.

Pastry, coffee. Welcome to the morning. Two of the squatters from the rooms above the supermarket got into a fight on the street out front. Also right there was a police car just sat for no reason. First time those fuckers have been anywhere useful by coincidence. I pay for my pastry and get the story – that nothing really happened. A few swings and a miss, then it’s broken up. Seems like nowadays this town can’t even do drama very well. My legs carry me over to the coffee shop, brain saying no…  Look at your eyes, Look at the dark circles, It’s a habit, Just don’t spend the goddamn money, You can’t afford it anyway.

It tastes good, even for a shitty cup of coffee. I get to the job and feign good cheer/interest/engagement all that shit. Then remind myself – Remember you’re going the other way, remember it is not that hard. Just smile, balance the power, eye contact, footwork. Stick and move. But it is still so hard, even after all these years of practice. Of jumping rope and lifting the weight. Ignorance being what it is, I hope to be left alone. To voluntarily disengage with people many of whom find me a threat though only knowing me for a matter of days. I could prevent this I suppose, but sometimes you work with what little power is handed to you.

It is after all a Wednesday, and not a good one at that. All this constant expectation as that toward a child swimming his first width of the pool. I turn on some classical and neglect everything else I should be doing. Still a stupid kid making bad decisions. But then suddenly there’s silence. I’m left alone as though all my prayers were answered. Knowing it won’t last I lace up my gloves, close my eyes, take a good few deep breaths – in the nose out the mouth, listen to the bray of my heart and Shadowbox. Keep the arms up and move, I tell myself. Circle, circle, circle.

 

 

Dan Bowan lives in South East London and writes prose/poetry and short stories. He has been writing for over 15 years been published in various independent magazines and art papers.  See more at: www.channelzeroprose.blogspot.com

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Dan Bowan

 

 

Trick or treat

Throw the dice as to
Whether it’s wet leaves or dog shit
It all looks in the same under
The orange lights

You see the squared hedge first
The smooth slate path and
Treated black metal spikes on the front railing
Doing a good job of keeping out the riff raff

Cross the threshold
Half expecting intruder alert floodlights to
Bathe you…
Hounds to be released

And then approach the drawbridge
Press the bell
Wait for the silhouettes to appear
On the other side of the leaded church glass

It’s always expensive glass
Not the frosted shit with wire running through it
And the head shapes appear
Sounds of contentment appear

And Light warms your face
While a Log fire
And too-early-in-the-year mulling spices
Are inhaled

They offer a bucket of homemade candy treats
Tied up with string
And they smile and hug and take a family portrait

Or something like that anyway

Then the door closes and the penniless November night
Taps you on the shoulder
It points back over to the shining green-brown pile by the kerb;

‘Don’t slip on that.’

 

 

 

 

Dan Bowan lives in South East London and writes prose/poetry and short stories. He has been writing for over 15 years been published in various independent magazines and art papers.  See more at: www.channelzeroprose.blogspot.com

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Dan Bowan

 

Death and sunflowers.

A tattoo of sunflowers around a baby’s face brings up thoughts of godlessness and anarchy from my stomach as each day wished away remains unformatted a broken line of roots a tree branch a stand-alone synapse gradually diminishing reaching out to nothing but still we are sure there is a point and a reason and a living to be made and living to be done yet still we shoot at the clock hands bows and arrows and shade our eyes from sunlight while lightning offers no more solace than any other demon we face striking out at us for our blood and we sit and write it all down to escape to destroy to remain complicit and subjugated while the id plots and plans like the rancorous enemy we surely are because just as the sum total of our resentment builds to cataclysm and pyroclastic flow at no point does the thought of stopping and speaking the cold hard truth ever enter our conscious mind knowing as we do that a single syllable would surely spell the complete end of our cursed and privileged time upon this crumbling planet full stop or maybe not but would you be the first one to gamble on the positive to roll the dice with angel wings and see what number comes up because I cannot truly say I have the strength to back that play knowing as I do that everything I have seen and heard up until now will only go on repeating like a single vinyl groove worn down by a single edged diamond so I keep the dice in clenched fist secret and selfish with no chance of foreseeable loss no rain no crowds no gravity no death no sunflowers.


Dan Bowan lives in South East London and writes prose/poetry and short stories. He has been writing for over 15 years been published in various independent magazines and art papers. His work was recently included in the Art in the Underbelly show, part of the Norfolk and Norwich Visual Arts Festival.  See more at: www.channelzeroprose.blogspot.com

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Three haiku by Dan Bowan

Kigo.

 


Summer’s last day

Exactly as summer’s first

A sinking feeling.

 


# # # # #

 


September’s shadow

A black cloud that follows me

The sun still hiding.

 


# # # # #

 


New love and new life

Create warmth within my chest

Breath becomes steady.

* Dan Bowan lives in South East London and mainly write
prose/poetry, as well as short stories/flash fiction. He adds “I
have been writing for 14-15 years and work a day job to pay the rent.
I've also performed at The Poetry Society in Betterton Street and a
couple other places.”


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Four haiku by Dan Bowan


Open fires burn
Outside homes, while
Children favour disquiet over sleep.

 
5 o’clock darkness reminds the shopkeeper –
Run from the evening dogs,
Or fall with your brothers by the wayside.
 
 
Oak trees shed faithfully
Year upon year. Sorrowful eyes looking onward
Downward and with pity.
 
 
October blossom would cascade, were it not
For the state of the earth,
Hatred already seeded beneath.



* Dan Bowan lives in South East London and mainly write
prose/poetry, as well as short stories/flash fiction. He adds “I
have been writing for 14-15 years and work a day job to pay the rent.
I've also performed at The Poetry Society in Betterton Street and a
couple other places.”


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Dan Bowan is eating pasta and thinking about synchronicity








I understand
the concept of synchronicity – I mean my favourite movies are always brought up
in my favourite TV shows. That means I’m doing something right, right?

 


Today I ate more pasta than

any human has
ever eaten.

2 sittings of
cheesy goodness

and now I’m
‘fit to burst’, as they say.

I watch the
girl across from me nibble on salad

and sip a
thin soup.

Lightweight.

Last night as I lay awake in bed, eyes open –

my body
tired,

my mind
racing –

I thought up
an entire stand-up comedy routine.

It totalled
about 5 minutes

and it killed
them,

the whole
room, blackened

except for
small red table lights and the

single spot,
roared.

For a moment or two I considered jumping out of bed

and writing
it all down.

Unreal as
these jokes were that I had just happened upon,

they would work in real life,

I knew that
without any doubt.

But, laziness plus tiredness,

plus warmth
divided by stupidity, stayed my legs

and instead,
I closed my eyes and concentrated

on the safer
– imagined success of that fragile moment.

You can’t lose if you don’t try, I thought

as I curled
up to her warm back and ass.

And burying
my face in her neck of long brown hair

I felt a
little like a failure –

But I was at
least a warm, comfortable

failure.

* Dan Bowan lives in South East London and mainly write
prose/poetry, as well as short stories/flash fiction – some of which
have been published in
Creative Week newspaper. He adds “I
have been writing for 13-14 years and work a day job to pay the rent.
I've also performed at The Poetry Society in Betterton Street and a
couple other places.”
 

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Samantha doesn't like Tuesdays

Untitled

Samantha-Jane Brigstock was a very plain girl. Not that anyone would know it as she never appeared in public – or anywhere else, unless under several layers of makeup and colourful clothing. Usually homemade items that were knitted or salvaged from the bottom of various family members closets and charity shops.

Today was Tuesday and she hated Tuesdays. Again – not that this was apparent to anyone around her, with her beaming grin and offers to make everyone in the office cups of tea on the hour every hour. She was in her own way quiet, and yet would float and skip around as though not tied down by the same worries of her colleagues.

What a word – she thought. I am no one’s ‘colleague’. I am a friend. A confidant even. She sipped her caffeine free camomile tea from her glass cup. The sun was turning the sky tangerine and the news website spoke of more snow later in the evening. It was 3 now, she decided she would leave in 25 minutes precisely. Precision was key in Samantha-Jane’s life. It was the touchstone for everything that went well. To the clock. An ordered day, a place for everything – as they say, and all else fell into place.

She would glide out a tad early today and leave the worries of the world in her gentle wake, like a small boat going by and casting bits of floating seaweed off towards the shore. Her long light pink dress swished around her DM boots as she walked to place her cup in the sink – and again as she waved goodbye to the formality of the room and its inhabitants. She reached into her saggy brown leather bag for her security pass and lamented over its photograph yet again. I look like a murderer.

She beeped out with the small rectangle of plastic and swished through the outer doors, giving the security booth her last smile of the day. The pass wouldn’t slip back into her bag as it always did… it jammed and caught and she held her breath trying to release it. Everything went black.

She awoke to a strange female face, young and soft but contorted, and yet friendly – asking what her name was. She spoke clearly and in no uncertain terms: ‘My name is Samantha-Jane Brigstock. Why?’ As she tried to take another breath she felt the weight on her chest and looked down to see the car. Its front wheels were up on the curb and she  – diagonally beneath it. The front bumper was raised and lay across her chest. Then a fireman placed a clear mask over her mouth and nose and held her hand saying something like ‘…now Jane, this is going to hurt a little as we move it.’ She began to feel tired and felt him catch her head as she lay it back down onto what smelled to her like an old woman’s cardigan.

As she drifted further she heard car horns, and then a cranking sound like a chain being pulled across a metal grate. Her vision faded, she felt ok again and the sky turned a dark purple. Today was Tuesday and she hated Tuesdays. not that this was apparent to anyone around her. Precision was key in Samantha Jane’s life. It was the touchstone for everything that went well. To the clock. An ordered day, a place for everything – as they say. And all else fell into place.


* Dan Bowan is 36, lives in South East London and mainly write prose/poetry, as well as short stories/flash fiction – some of which have been published in Creative Week newspaper. He adds “I have been writing for 13-14 years and work a day job to pay the rent. I've also performed at The Poetry Society in Betterton Street and a couple other places.”

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