Flushed

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s prompt word is Service


Flushed 

This DIY job is not a service but a replacement of vital parts, because the toilet cistern no longer flushes and its innards have fallen apart.

Luckily I remember some skills from when I was a 16 year-old apprentice plumbing and drainage engineer, back in Peaky Blinders land, ay, can still hear my gaffer say: “Water will always find its lowest level.”

Words of truth, but in this case the water has nowhere else to go – trapped, just sitting there idly in its ceramic fish tank waiting for replacement parts.

So it’s off with the tank lid, hands plunged into cold and calcified water, deep into the guts of this watery grave of broken plastic parts never meant to last or endure the hard water of our town’s supply.

Parts unscrewed, loosened, taken apart, brightly-coloured plastic contraptions of simple yet remarkable ingenuity pulled out like sunken hulks hoisted from the sea bed, then replaced with a brand new system all shiny and seaworthy for its future days in a 6 litre tank.

Job done – I marvel at my capability, thinking I have won; yet, water always does what it wants in the end and can easily make fools of our controlling ways; while some may believe the mark of civilisation lies in our art, our music, our architecture, our distribution of wealth – the true mark is simply how we try to manage the precious gift of water.


Editor’s note: The above is a true story – the flush has been threatening to go kaput for a while, so I ordered the spare part in anticipation. Also, I really was a plumbing and drainage apprentice based in Peaky Blinders land, Small Heath, Birmingham, by order! Props for good mate fellow WP blogster BK at Be Kitschig for telling me that if my adventures didn’t make into poem form I could always write a ‘flush fiction’ piece 🤣


Poem: by Ford.

Image #1: The Sleeze Brothers. Cloak and Dagger. Marvel. 1989. US.

Image #2: View-Master, 20,000 leagues under the sea. 1954.

To Bring You My Love – a Project #2 extract for Six Sentence Stories

DNA-DNE-DNA-DNE

DNA-DNE-DNA-DNE


I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s cue word is Journey


To Bring You My Love

The night train watchman bids her a safe journey behind his mask,

And sails away along the carriage in search of fish the bigger to fry.

And she – she winds back her thoughts to a lady and a lord –

DNA domina, DNE domine,

DNA-DNE-DNA-DNE…

The repetition makes the same sound as does her train

Clattering along rails under English skies.

A metal crate on wheels and track, parting mountains and rivers

To take her fast to her childhood love and a solemn pact.

Quickly now hurry, DNA-DNE-DNA-DNE, before my boy takes

His final breath, before he…

DNA-DNE-DNA-DNE.

***


“My Dear, which train shall I take to bring you my love? For the love of poets is vast and unbound, and many a reflection may be seen in scripts from their souls. Cryptic. A puzzle. A treasure map to the heart. Meet me there in words yet said. Match my love with time yet spent. Reciprocate the loving sentiment with your own true words of poetic beauty.”


Words: by Ford, extract from The Remains of She, the upcoming collaboration between Spira and Ford.

Art images: Spira and Ford. Train images: Marklin, Hornby, Lima. Stafford castle photos unknown.

March 10. 2021.

The Pandemic and I (16) – testing positive

Meh. I am now Covid-19 positive.

Yesterday morning I was sent home from work after getting my results from a weekly PCR test. Luckily I have no symptoms apart from a slight loss of taste and smell. No temperature, no aches, no tiredness. I saw my doctor for blood pressure, breathing etc – all normal. I need to go for a new PCR test next Tuesday, and if negative can return to work.

Honestly, I’m not that surprised I have it, and had already mentally prepared for such a situation. Currently we have four resident positive cases at work, plus in the region I live in the infection rate is super mega high. I had the 1st dose Pfizer vaccine on 29 January, and while I was under no illusion the vaccine would prevent me from ever catching it, I think having it has (thus far) helped keep the symptoms at bay (fingers crossed).

Okay, so a bit of a mashup for today’s post, pandemic meets Six Sentence Stories and my contribution is dedicated to dear Covid-19, with the prompt word being: Plow (a somewhat apt word right now, lol😏 )

Ode to Covid

Covid, dear Covid, I know you so well, how you cause merry hell in your search for kicks and spats and brawls, how you make us redesign our daily routines, rewrite our blueprints and protocols. I know you so well; the clang of your bell, the rap of your fingers on the doors at work, your spiriting away of the seniors and an ex-colleague of mine, the vicious spells and altered states you leave behind. I know you well through masks and gloves and disposable fatigues, have seen you in action through the misty lens of a medical visor, tried to counter you by offering my arm to a needle full of Pfizer. Week-on-week tested negative, negative, negative, as you wormed your way into our lives with nothing more to give than fear and sickness, isolation, and now me – made positive. Nice work, you did it, you plowed my defences – mon gestes barrières – and though our personal war has just begun, I am yet unwounded and happily breath the air you propose me to quit. Covid, dear Covid – old friend now – I aim to persist on whichever battlefield you decide to see fit.

***


Funny, how in my last pandemic post I wrote this:

“Maybe the vaccine will help me, maybe not. Maybe if I catch Covid-19 the symptoms won’t be as bad as my body is now currently learning to recognise it and remember it for future combat.”

Go body!

Body-Rap. France. 1988.

Staying in?

LOL. I have no choice now.

TVTA, it’s time for your next round of injections. Ouch!

Airgam toys catalogue page. Spain. 1977.

Staying upbeat? 

You betcha! The TVTA scanning room is already abuzz with new materials waiting to go, go, go! Our intrepid office cat Wooof has chosen this time of infection to break out his special gold-edition Hello Kitty mask. And I will use my time off to laze in bed in between bouts of copious alcohol drinking catch up on projects. 

Upbeat idioms!

See you later!

Another popular English expression heard among my French colleagues (such as “What the fuck!” and “Good job” and “Let’s Go!”) is…

“See you later!”

So, vintage mates, see you later!

Stay safe and healthy out there everyone!

[edit 19/02/21 : I saw the copy of my positive result and they state now the results of any variant detection. Luckily I didn’t get a variant, though I trust they would have told me if I had. My test on 16/02/21 came back as ‘Weak Positive’, so still some work to do yet before I get back to negative. Will add here a HUGE thank you to everyone who sent well wishes – it’s really appreciated and really helped cheer me up 😎 you guys rock!]


Disclaimer. This report is meant to offer an overview of the fluid impact upon a care worker in the French medical system. No names of any persons or institutions are given. Some of the reportage here concerns decisions made at a French national level which is available to the public at any time. No breach of confidentiality or professional workplace standards is made or implied. Any health advice stated here is exactly the same as that given by the World Health Organization public advice pages 


Ode to reading

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s cue word is Marvel


Ode to reading 

Happy am I to allow conjured words to dance upon my stage,
The bliss of poetry tumbled from ink and sprinkled on the page.

Hungry am I to devour and read, poems, micro stories,
Five-thousand word tales, novellas on a leash, messages in a bottle.

The immersion into the belly of the beast of the epic novel,
Gifting tens of thousands of fibrous words as if spun from a throstle.

And just as oils and nutrients are essential for the skin,
The writer must read to grease the gears of creation from within.

You read you write, a revolution of inspiration, articles, reviews, blogs, papers
On socioeconomics, antagonists and protagonists, 25¢ Detective Comics.

The Classics, the Romantics, a bestselling psychological thriller,
Or a childhood Marvel comic, about the King of the Monsters – Godzilla.


Poem: by Ford.

Image: Marvel Comic N°338. Herb Trimpe cover. 1979. UK.

January 20. 2021.

A Translation + Draig Tân + Project #2 update!

Poetry…

I’ve written more of it than I can remember, and have been fortunate to have had some of it published. But I can honestly say I’ve never had a poem translated into another language – until recently.

The images you see are unique artworks by my good friend and collaborator Spira who translated into the Hellenic language the poem part of our 2020 collaboration when we marked the 2500th anniversary of the battles of Thermopylae and Salamis which took place in 480 BC during the Greco-Persian Wars.

The poem is entitled The Breaking of Bread and you can read it in its original English language version here along with its companion sculpture in the Spira/Ford collaboration project #1.

It is an honour and a treat to see my work translated, and for it to be done in such an artistic way is a treasure to behold .


Draig Tân (Welsh Fire)

In 2018 my eldest cousin and I, armed with ancient family photos and documents, and a subscription to a well-known online ancestry site, made some research on our family tree. We already knew about the paternal side – all from England, Birmingham, Peaky Blinders land, ay! But we knew little of the maternal side other than links to Shropshire and Worcestershire, and the intriguing but unproven link that our Great Grandparents came from Wales – thanks to elder family members remembering something about a ‘Welsh connection’.

Well, it came as exciting news when my cousin and I learnt from the documents we supplied that our maternal Great Grandparents and the lines before them came from Powys in Wales. Finally the dots had been joined. Welsh blood ran through us! Get in there you red dragon and up the Manics!

Then… 

Back to Spira, who I told of this news, and who made a sculpture not only in celebration of our collaborations, but with a nifty ‘red dragon’ nod to my new Welshiness.

Draig Tân (Welsh Fire) by Spira.

The sculpture is called Draig Tân (translated to Welsh Fire). Please check the rest of the images here


My thanks to Spira, a Wizard of our age, and the finest person I could wish to collaborate with  😎


The Remains of She

And talking of collaborations… what news of Project #2 coming later this year?

I can tell you that the sculpture parts I’ve seen so far are both haunting and beautiful. Ancient anachronistic awesomeness awaits! I can tell you that the recent writing parts I made are organically pushing me to incredible boundaries and beyond.  

There will be more Welsh fire. Hellenic spells. The Wizard and the Shaman will give precious gifts to the one who will bring renewal to the Earth. Look to the skies. The spring. A resurrection. Friends, in these dark times there will be a light to save us all.

Project #2. The Remains of She. Exclusive extract


The Remains of She. Coming in 2021!

Poem: Ghosts of the Seven Seas

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a prompt word.

This week’s word is Horizon


 

Ghosts of the Seven Seas

O lover of mine, O Lily my love, I sail to thee across the sea

‘Neath a gown of stars twinkling in a mannequin sky,

O’er tumbling waves to the beckoning lantern

Of a lighthouse tall on a distant horizon.

 

I pass Christmas islands and frozen shores,

Cross coral reefs as pink as your lips and blue as your eyes,

To find you my love, O Lily my love,

I’m so sorry I’m late – but I have been to war.

 

A war which wounded me yet claimed without success my beating heart;

For each battle with invaders, charlatans and thieves,

Each duel with a demon and dance with a devil,

Did but strengthen my love and desire for thee.

 

Is it too late? I call out across the waves to the pirate breeze,

For I feel I am a ghost upon a ghost ship,

Sailing to deliver the gold ingots of my soul,

And all the trinkets and treasures of my pining heart.

 

Is it too late? for the lips of Lily to press mine in tender kiss,

For our arms to embrace, for our fingers to caress?

Is our love so far, so stretched, so tempered, so drowned and diluted

By all this sea which cruelly divides us?

 

Replies the pirate breeze: Ye poor fool captain upon the deck

Of your vessel bereft of direction and crew,

Ye seek the kiss of your living lover? Well, let me tell you the cold truth:

Your Lily died while you were at war, and is nought but a ghost

The same as you.

 

***


Poem: by Ford.

Image: La Tartane by Francis Bergèse. Heller catalogue 606. 1979. France.

PS: I love you

PPS: **if they smile at you thru sharpened fangs*and no matter how much they dress up their lies with fake gold*know that the truth will always sting*know only you can set yourself free*and see beyond the misery of what they want you to be*question everything*question it all**

PPPS: Look after my star

24/12/20.

Teaser Trailer #1. The Remains of She – the new Spira/Ford collaboration coming 2021!

The Remains of She.

“A journey to a childhood castle in search of ancient artefacts, healing and renewal; and a love story about to unfold which has travelled across the centuries.”

Announcing: a new art project featuring sculpture by Spira (aka the Wizard) and poem by Ford (aka the Mage) … 2021 will be bringing you the latest collaboration from these two artists.

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

A wordless “come in”. A blast of barely warm air from his cheap electric fire. She. She pulls down her mask and smiles, and he, he stutters, You… you haven’t changed a bit. She says, You… you look like shit. I’ve seen better days, he says, but now… I don’t have much time.

She says, So let’s hurry along, do you have the key? And he, though enchanted by the shanty of her azure blue eyes, turns away to a desk missing several handles, its rosewood top tattooed with time and the ringlets from tea cups, and he plucks an iron key from a stack of biros in a plastic desk tidy. And he says, The key to the castle?

She says, Yes, we should go there now. And he blinks a sole pale and blue eye and asks, Will we find treasure? She is already turning to the door when she answers, Every castle that ever was, and is, contains a treasure. 

DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

        DoNotEnterDoNotAwake

                DoNotEnterDoNotAwake


The Remains of She

Coming 2021


 

SSS: a micro story and poem

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and everyone is invited to write a story or poem constructed of six sentences based on a cue word.

This week’s cue word is Clip. Last week’s was Tender. I missed last week’s due to work, so this is my double bill feature to catch up 😊


 

The Haunting of the Clipper

She was going at a fair clip across the lurching tapestry of the Atlantic Ocean, England to America, blue agate skies and lemony sun, seabirds orbiting the old ship as it sailed westward.

Mary leaned on the rails and gazed at the vast and moving plain, her thoughts turning to the dreams of joining her husband Richard at his plantation; did she love him? Yes, otherwise she wouldn’t be making this voyage, but… the but was as stark as the shrieking of a gull as it made a pass over the deck, a black and white phantom of the seas, all hungry and brutal and vital, and Mary gave a shiver.

And she saw then on the horizon gathering clouds, blooming with the menace of a fantastic storm she might later find herself sailing into; a storm as inescapable as the life she was about to commit herself to at Richard’s plantation.

That night, in her cabin, it wasn’t storms which troubled Mary – but terrible nightmares riddled with pleas for vengeance and retribution; and the moaning and groaning she heard was not the protesting timbers of the clipper, but voices weeping with pain; and the dreadful rapping at her porthole was no striking pellets of rain nor hail, but the knuckles of fists demanding her attention; and the howls which pervaded every inch of the ship were no lamentations of the wind – but people calling out to her “Avenge us” and “Free our souls”.

The next morning Mary told her dreams to the captain, who smiled knowingly beneath a seasoned beard, and through a puff of smoke from his billowing pipe he said: “Ghosts, lass, nought but the ghosts of slaves tossed overboard and now un-resting below, aye, did ye not know this route was once sailed by slavers?”

And upon that following night, while Mary slept and once more bore witness to the moans and the howls and the voices demanding her help, she found she was no longer afraid but steeled with resolve to unshackle those ghosts, and a vow made that as soon as she reached the promised land she would burn her husband’s plantation down to the ground.

***


Tender

Tender is the man who succumbs to the virus, tender becomes his limbs and lungs, palest skin, and fragile eyes as weak as glass panes in cheap picture frames.

Tender is the meat he is helped to eat, hashed and blended, almost a liquid, when not one week ago he was scramming Sunday dinner down his throat, unaided, unhindered, unblemished by the invisible fingers of a virus tapping at his shoulder.

Tender is the bed he slept upon here, de-blanketed and de-sheeted, the mattress disinfected, his worldly belongings put into quarantine before being sent to relatives tender with tears.

Tender, so tender, the placement of flowers at a socially-distanced funeral.

Tender are the sentiments we are left with to nurse: the anxieties, bad dreams, stress and grief machined into relentless missiles lined up at the open hatch of a roaring bomber in a midnight sky –

Yet hearts, made of tough steel to meet the enemy at whichever gate it chooses, strong and vital, beating hard; O virus, ye shall know our wrath in the most tender moments you can reduce us to, and by our acts and courage we shall persist.

***


Micro story and poem by Ford.

Image: Suzy la Revoltée. Par Tani et Souriau. Lisette N° 24, 1946.