Six Sentence Stories: The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack and the Beanstalk. Illustration by Eric Winter, 1965, Ladybird Books.

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 given.

This week’s cue word is Eternal.

 

 

The hen that came down a beanstalk

Jack is dead, oh, eternal be his memory –

Yet I have no time for his eulogy, as I clamber down this bristling stalk,

Over leaves as long as surfboards, over beans as big as basketballs,

Down, down, to meet my new horizon which shimmers with a hope

That I may return to a coop of my own.

 

Down I climb to claim this liberty, but – curses – that ogre is after me;

Bigger than me, bolder, brasher, brawnier, broiling with anger and betrayal and

Bloodlust!

 

“Get back ‘ere!” the ogre screams.

 

Frightened, frantic, faster and faster down the beanstalk I scarper,

While above me the ogre booms down oaths of murderous revenge:

The rain is his sweat, the wind is his breath, thunderbolts his words,

Flies and mosquitoes his crumbs of bread…

Broken from the bones of Englishmen like Jack.

 

Down, down, about to touch the ground, and there at the foot of the beanstalk stands

Jack’s mother – her each axe-chop a strike for Jack (oh, eternal be his memory) …

Chop… chop… chop… and at last the beanstalk topples, and with it the ogre

Who breaks his neck as easily as once he broke his bread.

 

Jack’s mother, she scoops me up and cradles me with more love

Than I had ever thought possible could exist; and for this, tomorrow,

After resting, and mending my wings and bruised beak,

I will lay for her a golden egg, as she puts on black robes for the eternal memory

Of her son, brave Jack, who set me free from a castle in the sky.


 

Six Sentence Stories: circles of unsleep

1983. Sleeping Beauty. Brazil.

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, and six sentences only, based on a cue word given. This week’s cue word is Circle.

 

 


Poem: Circles of unsleep (I wanna be sedated)

Circle is the clock face saying I should be asleep; circle is the cycle ride to work and back again; same shift, same protocols of care delivered in protective bubbles I dare not breathe too hard against.

Lately I have become disc-shaped playing cards of the person I once was; shuffled, dealt, a forever-hoped-for lucky hand, laid out on a round table next to coffee cup ringlets and saucers of treats meant to keep me going… like a faithful mouser at the family farm.

Circles, circles, going round and round, loops without digression, boomerangs navigating space to return to fingers that grasp in all faith the hope we will defeat the monsters which orbit us.

Will I soon sleep soundly and not awake in the night?

Come full circle, after untold circuits, round and round, our retrodden footsteps stamped into the ground, balls of confusion and spheres of illusion as misty as peering into crystal balls with both eyes shut, will we, will we, will we circumnavigate that which seeks to destroy?

Circle is the mask I wear on my face; circle is the hole in the heel of my sock; circle is the wheel spinning on my bike; circle is the pizza and the cherry pie; circle is the window I gaze longingly through, at the lantern light of the fat, full moon: O moon, you remind me of a great wheel of cheese, as I drift off to a sleep I know I will soon be disturbed from, ba ba baba, baba ba baba… I wanna be sedated.

(After Ramones)


Metallica vs. Ramones – Sedate And Destroy (YITT mashup)


 

Six Sentence Stories: a viral poem

Britains toys. 1983. UK.

I’m linking up with Denise at Girlie On The Edge Blog, where she hosts Six Sentence Stories, and the cue word this week is Routine.


A viral poem:

The rime of the ancient healthcarer

 

07h: Colleagues arrive, smiles behind masks, Wuhan shakes all around, wash hands, clean-crisp uniforms, temperatures taken.

09h: Patients washed and fed, some ache, some throb, some sneeze, some cough, mask on, wash hands, gloves on, temperatures taken.

14h: Sanitize, sterilize, realize some don’t like their own company in isolation, oxygen, pills, hand gels and meals on wheels, change mask, wash hands, touch face – blast it, wash hands again.

16h: Mask on, mask off, wash hands, mask on, disinfect, tick boxes checked, temperatures taken.

20h: Wash hands, change clothes, mask off, go home, wash hands, change clothes, watch news with family, prepare sandwiches for tomorrow.

00h: A routine sleep brings bad scenes lathered in dystopian creams, because there’s not enough water to keep us clean in viral dreams it seems we all must share, day after day, day after day, they dropped down one by one; virus, virus, everywhere, and all the crowds were gone.


After The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

#Coronavirus #WashHands

666 screwed…

It seems ominous this post I’m writing to mark Britain’s official exit from the European Union today is post N°666.

Get thee behind me, Satan. And all that.

Iron Maiden. The Number of the Beast. 1982. EMI / Harvest. Art: Derek Riggs.

Not ominous really, perhaps just apt. If I were a blog newbie, then post N°13 would do just as well.

Anyway, sorry for the downbeat tone, I’m just mightily sad that today marks the date I, and many like me, will no longer be treated in law as European. To this I say… go fuck yourself. And please give me my European citizenship and freedoms back. To my Euro and Brit friends in the UK who never asked for any of this, I hope life will be uncomplicated and kind. To my fellow Brits in Europe, I hope it goes smoothly… we are subject in many ways now to our host country regs. And to the Brits who voted Leave… enjoy your celebration, sure, but please don’t rub it in the faces of those whose lives, family, homes, and jobs are being affected.

And now, a Nutella poem

The Nutella Poem

(part III. Exit crisis)

Nutella, Nutella, O how do we send thee across the Channel?

Your nuts enrobed in palm oil, cocoa and tariffs, held up in traffic,

lorry park queues and bound by new rules…

We want our Nutella! shout the hungry masses at the borders.

Nutella! Nutella! Not commemorative tea towels and 50p coins,

Nor mugs with slogans and a chubby thumbs-up!

Nutella! Your nuts! We want your price cuts,

supermarket discounts and multi-buy dreams,

lathered in cocoa, palm oil, oh sugar, oh Nutella…

Oh where is Nigella?

Nigella, Nigella, a recipe we need, to feed us,

to please us, to ease us, tease us, to free us…

from empty cupboards and ration book hell.

Nigella, Nutella, palm oil, nuts, cocoa and sugar,

(love never ends) We’ll always be together, together in Nutella dreams.

Italy. Topolino. 1978.

#JeNeSuisPasUnVirus – be kind. It could be your nation.

#guyverhofstadt – keep up the fight for continued European rights of those citizens about to lose them.

Nutella Poem (part I)

Nutella Poem (part II)


Happy New Yeats! Party like it’s 1999, in 1962!

Prince Magazine Special. 1985. Australia.

Happy new year vintage mates! Sorry we’re late and sorry we got the wrong year, but Wooof and I just got back from time travelling in 1982 watching Prince recording 1999, then we got lost in 1962 and found a cool book of poetry from W.B. Yeats, and then we got tangled up in a vintage space war between aliens and robots disputing a 3 billion year old moon made of chedder cheese and denim!

Continue reading

Poem: Idles when idle

Editor’s note: This poem has been selected for a special mission and will return soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.

 





Poem by the editor. Thanks to Idles.

Poem: The Broken Boat Saloon

The Broken Boat Saloon

1.

Suddenly we were confronted by God in the bar of the Broken Boat Saloon,
Our final frontier drinking den, our misty outpost for a world left behind.
We’re All In The Same Boat proclaimed the sign above the bar,
Next to a Spencer carbine rifle that the landlady swore
Was once used by Custer in an Indian war.
So full of bluster, though we dared not say – at least to her face anyway,
And instead would butter her up for her fine bosom and curly hair,
Order copious amounts of her strange beer and liquors
Before setting our weary frames at tables full of the same old faces.
The house band there never got paid – except in beer and mash –
Yet they turned up most evenings to help detach us
From the axles and wheels of a world bent to grind us.

2.

The Broken Boat Saloon, where we’d huddle together in that leaking life-boat,
Poor, overfilled, but able enough to carry us away from whatever
Sinking disaster every man, woman and child had abandoned themselves from.
And in that creaky boat, with sails turned amber-rose
From nicotine and blood, and in the comfort of other refugees
And survivors of frontiers – multi-lingual and all colours and creed,
We’d bail out our grief and plug the holes of despair.
You heard it as good as we: that unearthly rap at the door
Which opened to the landlady’s clenched paw – she wasn’t letting him in…
Not on yours or anyone else’s life.
“Who the hell do you think you are?” the landlady growled.
“I am Duende,” said the stranger. “Duende with no beginning, middle or end,
And I am here to show you God.”

3.

And in Duende came, dressed in black, cowboy boots and a Stetson hat,
Hard to tell if it was a woman or a man if truth be known, let’s say ‘he’
Went straight to the bar and said: “Give me a drink.”
“What’s your poison?” the landlady enquired.
“Whiskey, and three of your patrons to get up on that stage,
For I’m in need of both liquor and entertainment.”
“Cost ya,” said the landlady. “The whiskey ain’t cheap and neither are my patrons.”
Said Duende: “You misunderstand, I make no payment for the things I want,
But I will give you a night to remember when I show you God.”
The Saloon went silent. The landlady spat on the floor, lit a cigarette,
Before shouting across the bar for three to take the stage –
Three to entertain the stranger called Duende.

4.

Old Ginette got up first, with aid of her cane.
Her hair dyed pink, as was her custom in later years,
Some called her Lady Rose, but most just Old Ginette.
Well, she took to the stage and struck us silent as a mighty bell
Would still us to make us stare up at the heavens.
And was it poetry or song that parted her lips, as she said to us:
“Brothers and sisters, I quit going to church on Sundays
Because my legs could no longer make the steps,
Nor could my eyes bring themselves to look into the faces

Of people that bored me to godless and witless tears.
So, now, brothers and sisters, I sit in my home
All alone and pray to God, lo!
Because you don’t need to go to church to find God, right?
God was with me Sunday morning when I dyed my hair pink.
God’s in my hair, brothers and sisters, Gods in my hair!”

We hardly even noticed her exit the stage, such was our awe,
Our enchantment, open-mouthed and dumb as dead salmon.
And the house band seemed just in awe of her as we –
That ragtag trio of drifters dressed in black – banjo, fiddle and a Spanish guitar,
Skinny little dogs they were, declaring often: “The Lion Cult loves you!”

5.

Captain Luke got up next, with the aid of two friends,
Drunk beyond measure and deemed ‘round the bend’ –
Even when he was sober, which was rare.
Dandy Luke they sometimes called him – and he tried his best,
With his hair greased up on the crown of his head
Like a hillock of freshly-laid dog mess.
And ink spots on his frilly white shirt (Luke liked to write poems
When he wasn’t seeing double),
Kept a lea of black stubble on his beer-soaked face,
Which wrinkled as he parted his lips and began to sing:
“Gonna tell you ‘bout a girl called Emma-Jane McGee…”
And boy were we shocked that not only did he possess some mighty fine pipes,
But knew words other than: ‘Bartender make that the same again.’

“Emma-Jane McGee fell from a tree,
Into a grave pre-dug by her husband,
A husband whose heart was owned by another,

A woman from the south, a woman like no other.
How he’ll kiss that southerner upon her fresh lips,
Twist a ring on her finger and say ‘I do’,
While poor Emma-Jane beneath her tree,
Turns in her grave and slips to sleep.
Goodnight, goodnight, Emma-Jane McGee.
Sleep tight, sleep tight, Emma-Jane McGee.”

After, the house band had to be nudged into action to move,
Because they were standing there in just as much awe as we.
“The Lion Cult loves you!” they declared to Captain Luke,
As he stepped down from the stage, and fell flat on his face.

6.

Unaided, ha! – as if she ever needed anyone’s help!
Third and last to get onstage was Bad Girl Sally who was all the rage
Back in Madame Minou’s Whorehouse when the sun shone for days,
And we all got our money’s worth from a good decade.
Bad Girl Sally slapped her foot down on a stool and began to wail:
“Show me your face, your soul, your balls, your titties, your gold.
Show me your heart and I’ll show you mine too,
‘cept my black heart is busted in two.
Say broken mirror on the wall, who’s the sassiest of them all?
The classiest, bad-assiest, nastiest, most trashiest?
See, I want it all, and I want it now! Give me…

Diamonds and tiaras and black panthers and piranhas.
O, doctor, dear doctor, I have this disease… and the disease is myself.”

We watched Sally pick up the stool and toss it over her shoulder –
Lord, it hit the banjo player of the house band square on his head,
Though he didn’t seem to mind too much – he was in awe of Sally
Like the rest of us. Awe, red raw, bleeding all over the damn stage floor,
As Bad Girl Sally suddenly ripped off her dress
And showed us her breasts, upon which she’d scrawled in black paint:
‘Over’ on the one, ‘Rated’ on the other.

7.

And we wondered if we witnessed miracles that night
At the Broken Boat Saloon after Duende walked in.
And in the silence that followed Sally’s performance,
We heard the slow-handclapping of Duende at the bar,
Who grinned through his teeth and a dangling cigar.
“Did you see God?” he asked us. “Did you see your true creator?”
The landlady tugged her Spencer carbine from the wall
And aimed it’s business end at the head of Duende.
“Let’s call it three-hundred bucks, shall we honey?
Coz the only God we know here is the colour of money.”
And Duende stood straight and tall and took off his hat,
And his head was all shiny, and had this queer radiance, an aura
That stunned us one and all in the bar of the Broken Boat Saloon.
“You say you saw no God tonight?” Duende said evenly.
“If so, then who do you see before you now?”
“I see a man full of holes,” snarled the landlady,
And she shot Duende dead to the bar room floor,
Who did nought else but got back on his feet, dusted himself down and said:
“I’ll forgive you for that, for I’m the forgiving type. Now get to your knees
And worship your God, and pray The Lion Cult has a song left in them yet.”
And the house band, not immune to the occasional spell of metaphysics,
Began playing the Cowboy’s Lament,
And Duende nodded his head and closed his eyes,
As if dreaming of Laredo, and a young cowboy wrapped in white linen,
The same dream we had dreamed under countless starry skies,
Around campfires, or in cots, or in the arms of whores and gunslingers.
Boy, what a cheer rose up, and a rush to the bar to buy drinks for Duende
Who was deemed a God worthy of celebration that night
When the muse found us all at the Broken Boat Saloon,
And the sweetest voices sang from deep within the soul.


Words and art by the editor.

Thanks to a three-masted ship of inspiration:

Sophia Riley-Kobacker ** The History of Emotions Blog ** Everything2: Nick Cave’s Love Song Lecture **