Summertime.

Stained Glass Window
Photo by Adrien Olichon on Unsplash

via Daily Prompt: Ceremony

They stood together at the altar. Her sense of happiness palatable. If  any from the happy congregation could have seen his face, and austere expression, it would have conveyed much about his thoughts.
He stared straight ahead. Not at her, and especially not at him, although he was aware of the self satisfied smirk. That look that said it all. The look that said, We have a secret. You will never tell, and I will get away with it.
He listened as he continued with the prayers, and the blessings. The hypocritical blessings and prayer’s from one so sullied with sin. It was sickening. In the quietness of the church, the creaking wooden door opened and he watched the priests face turn from arrogant self satisfaction to fear, and anxiety. Perspiration began to trickle down his face. His words became muffled and quiet, so much so, people strained to hear the ceremony.

He so wanted to turn around and see the cause of the priest’s unease. She sensed what he was about to do, and pulled hard on his hand, and briefly glared at him. Her angry eye’s told him all he needed to know. So to keep the peace, he continued to stare straight ahead, and wait for the priest to regain his composure. But that was not forth coming.            The sun shone its warm healing rays through the many stained glass windows, brightening the church interior. There friends and families looked on with joy and happiness. many believing this was a coming together that was ment to be, from a very young age.

The stench of alcohol was pervasive, from he assumed the latest entrant into the church. The priest lamely continued with the ceremony. But his words were still weak. Barely audible, and he continued to perspire, and glance furtively and continually at the congregation. His anxiety plain to see.

Then it started, as expected, and brought with it  a sense of relief. We all could sense something untoward was about to happen, and now the waiting was over.

‘You Bastard’, the words were loud, thunderous, and slurred. The ceremony stopped. Many in the congregation turned to see where the angry words emanated from. Some ignored the angry words, which were heavily laden with many years stored up emotion. Hoping things would quieten, the priest continued the ceremony. The priest rocked back on his heels, nearly knocked over by the force of the anger and venom, that the words were wrapped in.

‘You Bastard’, again the angry words revebatred around the peace and solemnity of the small country church. His anger directly aimed at the priest. There was loud shuffling among the seats, as a few of the others tried to contain, and control the drunken angry man. Tried to plead with him to see sense, and not ruin a young couple’s wedding day.
He broke free of those holding him, energized by his indignation and sense of righteous, and stood in the aisle, before the altar. His voice even louder this time. His face red, and tortured. Reflecting his years of alcohol abuse. His dark suit, shabby.

‘You did this to me’, he screamed at the priest, who again rocked back on his feet, as he absorbed the words directed at him.
‘Had you not taken my innocence as a child to satisfy your perverted sexual desires, I would have never ended up like this. Why do you think I’ve become an alcoholic, a drug user, Why ? he asked accusingly, never once lifting his gaze from the priest. ‘To hide those memories deep within my mind, and soul. To hide that shame, that has haunted me all of my life. That sense of filth and inadequacy I have felt since. Why could you not have let me be, Why ? You caused this, to me and many others, and I’m here today to call you out. To let the members of your congregation, and this small town and community know that you are not that helpful innocent soul, the do godder sent by God, to do his good works. You are a charlatan, a deceptive, sleazy lying manipulator, who in the past has taken the innocence of many young boys, and condemned them to a life of misery, addiction, chaos, abject life failure.’ ‘You’, he continued to point his shaking hand at the priest, ‘used your position and power, and our sense of deep shame, humiliation, and fear to satisfy your lustful desires at our expense. Satisfied in the knowledge that none would speak out and expose you. Well no more. You are, a destroyer of people’s lives ‘.
The congregation listened in silence to the man as he unleashed his vitriolic speech, swaying slightly in the aisles. The priest looked uneasy on the altar. The young couple turned around to see who was this intruder into their peaceful wedding day.

Then it stopped. The shouting, the anger. The loud angry man collapsed on the floor. None moved to help him. Just watched. The young couple at the altar turned round, and after a few moments, Jason, the groom went to the fallen body. The stench of urine, an unwashed body, alcohol and cigarette smoke that emanated from the man, was stomach turning. The long hair was unkempt and matted with dirt, and God’s knows what else. Those in the congregation watched in silence, as did the priest.
He moved closer to the fallen man, and moved the his long filthy hair away from his face, to check his breathing. The mans skin was in even worse condition close up. Pock marked with red sore’s, a few of which were leaching some disgusting poisonous looking liquid. His breathing was short, fitful, and strained. He called for a Doctor, a nurse among the congregation. For an ambulance to be summoned. He searched inside the mans crumpled dirty suit for some ID. In his hand the collasped man held with a tightened grip an object on a broken chain.  Not knowing why, but Jason wrestled with the clenched hand to release the object. Eventually securing it’s release. He studied the object, wiping away the accumulated dirt and filth.

He recognised the silver coin, given to him by the older brother he so much admired. The coin from all those years ago, that held pride of place among his belongings, and which he treasured. A symbol of their togetherness and closeness, a bond which would never be broken.

‘Where did you get this’, he asked the fallen man urgently. His voice loud and urgent.

‘Tell me where, Goddam you. Answer me’. He shook the man’s shoulders hard. But no response.

He had searched over many years for the brother he so loved and admired. Never knowing what had happened to him, was worse than actually knowing. No contact for years. Nothing.

Jason lent over the  older collapsed man, wishing him silently for his consciousness to return.

‘Where the hell is that ambulance’, he called loudly to no one in particular.

The wedding congeration looked on in silence.

The man continued to struggle to breath. His breath’s audibly becoming weaker, and fewer. Unable to fully expand his chest. He moaned quietly. Jason watched his face intently, and was helpless, as the last sign’s of life slowly ebbed from the man. His lips turning slightly blue. The failing weak breath telling its own tale. Jason closed his eyes, began to pray by the man’s his side, and wished him a safe passage to the next life. As he knelt beside the fallen man, with his head bowed in prayer, his hand was gripped in an iron clamp. He looked up and into the now open eye’s of the fallen man, and in that instant he recognized him. That slight smile, that twinkle in his eyes, told what he needed to know.

Then he was gone, life extinguished. In that small church on that bright summer’s day, not a sound was uttered.

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Nothing.

mark-eder-310600-unsplash

Photo by Mark Eder on Unsplash

I have nothing to say, nothing on my brain
How am I meant to entertain and engage
Those who are kind enough to view what I write, and at times, voice their appreciation
I aint mad, angry or depressed, no toxic people on my case
Nothing of any duress happening in my life
Bit dead on the romantic scene, I must admit
Would love, love, love to meet a suitable partner
To share this life’s journey with, that’s for sure
But the landscape is incredibly barren whenever I step outside the door
I looked, just looked at a woman a few months back, not a stunner, not a beaut
More out of interest I did briefly stare
She actually physically winced, when my glance caught her eye
Just cause you’re a woman, don’t necessarily mean, I want you, let me be clear
I got standards you know, which you gotta meet, or else you aint coming in the door
I watched a pretty woman coming down the street. Our eyes did meet, and she was okay
But I had watched her briefly from afar, shoulder charge some poor fella out of her way
Good looking as she was, that was so off-putting, I turned away from her enticing glance
That’s one dance that would not end well, so I aint even moving in that direction
So there’s nothing really going on, currently.

Writing Groups. Are they worth it, and should you join ?

startup-593341_1920
Photo Credit : https://pixabay.com/en/startup-start-up-people-593341/

That is a question I am currently pondering. Like anything  in life they have both advantages and disadvantages. But obviously when it’s leaning too far in one direction, then it may be time to reconsider your options and choices.

While they may be good for the social interaction, if you choose the right group, and you fit in, and they can certainly be good fun. Helpful in getting one into the discipline of writing. To continue that chapter, to come up with fresh ideas for the next week’s meeting.
As to whether they help one improve as a writer. I don’t think so. If you want to improve your writing, I suggest you read a lot, listen to a lot of radio drama, particularly BBC radio drama. Watch a lot of films. The Homeland series on Netflix, which is a fine example of exemplary writing, although I believe written by a team of writers, but still very well written and entertaining. I for one have absolutely no idea where the plot in going to move from one scene to the next, and that’s what makes it so interesting and engaging. That is why, I like many millions of other have watched and enjoyed it. These are the places I spend time, and find inspiration from.

The whole idea in a writing group, is everybody reads what they have written, and receives feedback from the other members, which is good and bad. It’s enjoyable if people are complimentary about what you have written, but uncomfortable, not too nice, it the others start finding holes in your work. I like to think all the words I write, are precious, and angelic, and for someone to suggest that perhaps they should be dropped from the piece. Well I find that a bit hurtful, to suggest that about my babies, my children, as I see them.
Perhaps others who write also feel the same. I suspect that many do. although the ethos of many writing groups is that they are open to and welcome to honest criticism. I find that is not really true, at all. I don’t like to be criticized about my writing, or anything at all, really. and when I criticize, or shall we say give my view. In a way I like to believe is gentle and encouraging, many don’t like it. Which is fair enough. But if you put your work in the public arena, and ask for feedback, do not be too surprised at what comes back at you.
Some are going honest, which I believe is the right way. Some will enjoy your writing, and other’s are going to be vocal in the dislike of it. But if I am bored by someone’s writing, and find it as interesting as a plank of wood, I will tell them. As much as I would tell someone I was speaking to, that I find their conversation and chosen topics, uninteresting beyond belief.
In that way generally, people can become more interesting and entertaining, because others will call them out on their ‘dullness’. Make it clear to them, they are not a modern day Gore Vidal, or Peter Ustinov, in terms of being interesting and entertaining company. In this way I am helping them. Same as when I tell an off colour joke in company, and no one laughs or smiles. I learn pretty quickly not what to do next time in that company. In that respect honest feedback is helpful, if you can learn from it.

Writing groups unlike some other types of groups can be a magnet for the wounded and traumatized. Why do so many write, but to unburden their soul, there traumatic ,and difficult past. To unleash the emotions, and memories that they have kept hidden and suppressed for so long. They can be released and unburdened through the stories and characters they write. An inexpensive form of psychotherapy I find, and that is what I have used it for in the past and currently. Not on purpose, it’s just when I write, I write from the depths of my soul, and whatever is in there, will find its way into a piece, or a poem, or words of some description.
Events and emotions that I’d could not, and would rather not share with others openly, can be dispersed quiet easily and anonymously through my characters, or my sometimes strange views on the world. Or through a factual pieces of writing I may produce. So in that way, from a psychological perspective, a writing group is helpful, if your willing to be truthful and let it all flow. The hurt, anger, bewilderment, deception, and all the other pleasantness of life ! that we have all experienced at one time or another in our dealings with others.

But a writing group, even for the most normal of people, can give our sadistic side free reign. An opportunity to offload our anger, bitterness, disappointments, and general unhappiness. A psychological cleansing. Even better than a steam and a sauna. Affording  such a sense of joy, peace and relaxation and ease. For the truly psychologically traumatized, sadistic and toxic, it can be paradise on earth. An invitation to find fault and criticize another human beings work, which can mean, secretly criticizing them as a person. To watch and enjoy, as they squirm and shudder, under the weight of your caustic words. Like devastating cruel weapons, further traumatize and destroy them before your very eyes. That could continue over weeks and months. All in the name of helpful criticism. That can be the hidden agenda. All in the name of ‘helping’ another person become a better writer.

For myself, I don’t like to criticize others, to find fault. It’s not a nice way to be. Whats the damn point in destroying anthers person fragile soul. Which most of us are, underneath our sometimes harsh exterior. ‘Cut me, and I bleed to’, as someone once said, somewhere.
Throughout my school years, like most I witnessed and was on the receiving end of criticism and fault finding among my fellow classmates. Not to the extent of bullying. But I never enjoyed it, neither indulging in it, or watching others being on the receiving end of it. Even though it was cloaked under the banner of  rough banter and young’s boys humor. It was never anything more than cruel.
When I left school and moved on the world, I found I much more enjoyed being in the company of people who are gentle, kind encouraging, supportive. Happy for your success. These are the characteristics I would look to embody in my own personality. Rather than the others, who still like the school mates of my youth, even as adults like to criticise, cut down and destroy others. They have never really moved on from the school yard. Or perhaps life has lead them down a more traumatic  path. Who knows.
If being in a writing group, and the willingness and ability to offer criticism, seems to be a key to entry.  To ‘help’ other writers become better. I don’t think I want to become that kind of person. nor part of such a group. Who needs that. Ain’t life hard enough already for people. To become that type of person, I don’t think helps anybody.

It took me many years to move away from being the type of person, with a quick and witty remark, to a perceived vocal threat. An absolute necessary skill that was honed to perfection in my school days. Without that form of mental self defense, one’s school days would have being miserable beyond belief. Which was the outcome for many of the less quick witted, and those who lacked the ability to respond fast, with a clever repoist required to survive in such a  jungle.

I have no wish, nor right to criticize another when they are only trying to improve themselves, and their creativity. Although I will happily criticize and castigate the wrong doer’s. The cruel and unkind. Those who treat others badly, and criminally.

So as to whether writing groups are a good idea. Maybe helpful for your ego, at times. But when the entry and requirement seems to be a willing and ability to criticize another, no matter how gently it is done. I don’t think its for me.

The Elevator.

Elaevator

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

‘ Come in here, and we’ll take the lift ‘ . His voice gruff and commanding. It was what I expected from someone like him. The red checks, large beer belly, the result of much good living and little exercise. He was tall, and had the complexion of one who spent much time in the outdoors, and lived on a bad diet.
Like many of his age, he always wore a suit. It was just the way of it, for men of that time. The people round us hurried about their business. It was never the happiest of places. Too much human tragedy likely to happen here at any moment a distinct possibility. As was happiness and joy. Well more relief at the outcome, and then the freedom.
At last the lift arrived at the ground floor, the other’s exited it. Watching them it was hard to tell, how it went. Many people are hard to read. He went first then I followed. No one else decided to join us. The dull grey interior of the lift, badly in need of a clean, and spruce up. The ever present scent of disinfectant, that even now takes my mind back to that place. The double doors shut, with a resounding swish like sound. He reached over and pulled the inner gates across and the lift began it’s journey upwards. He never let go of the loosely wrapped plastic package he held under his arm. It looked soft, so I assumed it was clothing .  The lift silently make its way upward. After a few moments, he reached across and pulled the inner gates apart. The lift came to a juddering halt, and we both fell forward towards the grey steel doors. I looked at him, but his expression was plain, non committal.
He reached above my head to the copper colored control panel, that housed the different floor numbers and the open and close switches, an emergency phone, and the interior light, which he flipped to turn the interior to total darkness. I tried but could not see, not even my hand. I called out to him, but he did not answer. Alone in the darkness, I was afraid. Again I called out, but he did not answer.
It was unpleasantly warm to the touch. That rough hand on my bare thigh, as it slowly moved upwards. I silently cursed myself for wearing short trousers, as I cursed God for making the weather for being so warm. Then just as quickly I asked God if he would forgive me, for cursing him.
In the silence and the darkness, his breathing loud, fast and guttural. The scent of the earth, alcohol and cigarette smoke from him, sickening to my young senses. His movements were rough, brutal, and urgent. The soft package slipped from his grip, where he held it tightly, as he fumbled urgently at his clothing, and at mine. I struggled to escape, but in the small space I was trapped. He was stronger than I. The only sounds his moans of excitement, wrapped around quietly spoken swear words. It continued for a few moments. I closed my eyes and thought of the ocean, and the freedom it offered.
When he was satisfied, I tidied myself up in the darkness and the silence, as did he. Reaching across to the control panel, he flipped the switch, and the darkness turned to light. I knew the drill, not to look at him, nor speak. So I just stood facing away from him, and stared into a corner of the lift. He pulled the black wrought iron gates back together and the lift continued its journey upwards. When we reached our floor, we marched down the dull grey corridor towards the general ward.
She was sat upright in bed, reading the newspaper. Looking reasonably healthy, as the sun shone throw the windows. Everybody it seemed was in good form. That’s what the good weather can do. The nurses was smiling. The other visitors gathered round the beds of their relatives were laughing. It seemed like no one was really ill in the sunshine.
I followed behind him, as we approached the bed. She smiled and put down the newspaper, seeing us approach.

‘Welcome’ she said.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here : https://creativewriting.ie/writing-prompts/

Unseen

School2

Photo by Nicola Tolin on Unsplash

I am an invisible man, I see what I can, and others cannot see me
I run along the sand watching the women, ain’t life sweet
But it’s not complete
They have no idea, what’s going through my mind
Am I thinking rape, do I want them dead
What the hell is wrong with me

Will you come over, she said
I was thinking whats inside this womans head
How can she see me, can she read my mind
Is she perhaps psychotic, mentally unbalanced, and unkind
Most probably an alcoholic, looking at that lived in face

What can I do for you, I enquired
Face as serious as I could be
I can see inside your mind, she said
What your thinking that ain’t right
Come sit with me I’ll give you some insight

Who the hell was this woman sat down in front of me
A gypsy, a fraud, a charlatan or a fool
Out of interest and curiosity, I sat with her
Together we watched the sea
Slowly she spoke first, not giving much thoughts to her words
Then they just flowed so freely

It’ll be the end for you, if you carry out that plan
I’ll be the first to report you, to let others know
I could stop you, she said, but I won’t
Because it will be upon your head, if that’s the route you choose
What fool is this, I asked myself
A stupid gypsy women, foretelling my future

In anger and exasperation I went to move away
From this idiotic woman, out here bloody well ruining my day
I’m off, you fool. You know not what you speak of
Yeah maybe you can read my mind, and ain’t that good for you
Don’t worry, when I go on my killing spree, I won’t be stopping by for you

It’s those others, I will make them pay
They that ignored, and disrespected me
Treated me like a fool. Pushed around and tormented. Called unkind names, laughed at
Every damn day at school. Did they never think
What it’s like to be on the receiving end of that
The high school prom, what a total disaster that was
Alone and laughed at, no woman by my side
That was the beginning of my plans, for many of them to die

Years of suffering, torment, a nightmare going to school
Could they never see, the hurt, the sadness
It was more than cruel
Alone, the blade held by my wrist, and the tears that flowed
The bottle of capsules in front of me, that I wanted to ingest
Empty days, and lonely nights
Little did they know
What of your family, the gypsy woman asked
They that love you so. You carry out those’s deeds
It will be prison, or execution that’s where you’re heading to
It’s the price well worth paying, for what they put me through
Every day, they forced me to go that school
Even though I begged and pleaded, they would not break the rules
This is my parting gift to them, I’m going to do what I’m going to do

Will you give no thought to those that are to die
What of their brothers and sisters, how deeply will they weep
Will you not reconsider, before you take that final step
You don’t really have the right to take a life, that’s God’s prerogative
I considered for a moment, but my mind was set on this path
No amount of cajoling, counselling or forgiveness
Would turn my mind from what I was about to do

There are other ways to take revenge you know
This is what she said to me. But my mind was set
That’s just the way it was gonna be

Away from me, I said to her, and let me be away
I have much to attend to, on this fine and sunny day
Gather up my weapons up, make my way to school
Carry out that killing spree, and for once I will be that cool kid
Other’s will be afraid of
Then when it’s all over, I will take my own life
No more on the receiving end of such cruelty, no more that little fool
Away from me, away from me, I have much work to do.

Tranquility.

Forest

Photo by Lukas Neasi on Unsplash

Forest

He watched her through the trees. Unseen and unmoving. He camouflaged himself so well, to be near enough invisible to the human eye. She sat in the clearing, as the large oak, and conifers in their magnificence stood so tall so proud.
In times of crisis and lack of life direction, she always graduated towards the peacefulness and the sense of security she enjoyed among the trees. The quietness, the silence. Nothing moving. She had to release and let go. From the depths of her wounded soul she let loose with such a ferocity, she physically fell backwards, surprised and shocked at herself, with her gutteral, demon like screams, expunged from her body with such momentous force and venom, she was embarrassed. Again, and again she screamed. Screams of anger, of human hurt and distress. Screams of betrayal and deceit. Screams of mistrust. Screams of a once blossoming, truthful love, now lost, never to be reopened. Crude, nasty words she knew existed, and which sickened, to her very core, which she never, or only very seldom used, now loomed large in her vocabulary, and spewed from her with an evil venom. She did not, could not recognize this voice emanating from her. A voice barely human, full of evil intent.
Fearful, she ran deep into the forest to escape whatever had possessed her. Her heart beating faster than ever it had before. Her legs jelly like. Her light summer dress wet from her clammy body. Her perfect long hair, now damp, and unkempt. As fast as she ran, the spirit followed her.

He also followed her, but with the practiced expertise of a hunter, from a distance, and well hidden. When she could run no more, she fell to the ground physically exhausted, and breathing hard. Leaned back against a supportive tree, and slowly her breathing returned to some semblance of normal. But not her fear. The malevolent spirit slowly made its way through the trees towards her. She watched from the corner of her eye, hoping she was not really seeing what was approaching her. More than anything it was the physical coldness, and its energy that, foreshadowed the spirit, that frightened her the most. She just about managed to retain the sickly contents of her stomach.

‘You called us, and we have come. You have asked for change, and that is what we will bring into your life, and those around you. When you called on the spirit world for help, be advised many evil, malevolent spirits live in that world. A chance to escape that eternal world and be reborn into human form, will be jumped on, by those of us who are quick to recognize, a pure innocent soul reaching out for help. I will take your soul, your spirit, your physical body, and reek untold havoc onto your loved ones, for evermore. It has already begun’.

He  slowly raised the rifle, enjoying the sense of power and security as it rested comfortably in his shoulder, and quietly cocked the trigger back in anticipation of the shot. It was brutal, and swift, but he had to be sure. The cartridge was well on its way, before the sound echoed around the quietness of the trees. It entered the head with much force, just above the temple. The cartridge exploded upon impact, and slowed down ensuring a much larger wound, and confirmed kill. What was left of her head ricocheted off the tree she was resting at. Her body slumped forward. He watched the black putrid energy leave her body at speed and with a non human scream, enter the forest floor and return to the depths of hell, from whence it came.
Satisfied the spirit hunter lowered his rifle, and for now, peace was once again restored.

 

Wellness.

ill health

Photo by ANMOL on Unsplash

Have you ever being in that hell, when you doubt you’ll ever get well
Do Doctors seem like a waste of time even trying
Offering you poisons that will likely destroy you body and your mind
Is their discomfort and restriction which ever way you move

Is your body up the creek, are you searching everywhere
For the answers that you seek
Is their even a slight glimpse of good health opening up its door
Or perhaps you are locked outside, wondering will it be like this forever more

Will that pain subside, just a little, giving you hope
When will you  move onto an incline to health
Or do you sink back down, with a tailspin and a rapid slide
The road to recovery blocked once again

Is your body in some pain, as you breathe and you strain
Trying to remember what it was like before
Trying complementary, spiritual medicine to see you right
Healing foods, to help alleviate your moods
Make that damn pain go away

Are you now saying Hello to God, asking all those relatives who’ve gone before
To put in some good words, with the angels, to direct some healing energy your way
How’s that working for you, or maybe your just being a fool
Are you holding onto that memory from before
When dancing, swimming and exercise, were a welcome interlude
Not the impossible chore they would be now

Do you dream of health, and the freedom to move
Do you promise to be more grateful, like maybe you should have been before
Do you regret that cavalier attitude you had towards your health
Taking it so much for granted, like you did not even care
Putting your body at risk, maybe just for kicks
How foolish do you feel now, I ask of you

Does the future seem so bleak, is it even worth trying to seek a cure
For what ails your body at this time
Does it seem an impossible dream, to hope that one day
All of this might seem like a bloody nightmarish dream
But now your awake, and positivity reigns again
How good is that

Were you not cured yesterday, how come today aint the damn same
The pain and discomfort returning from out of nowhere
Do you secretly welcome it back, at least it’s familiar
There’s a lot to be said for sympathy and care
That’s what some decent people will offer to those in need

Are you  a psychological mess, in some real distress
Who needs counselling more than healing
Are you one of the many, fed up of rhyming poems
Which may flow easily for the author, but are a bit too trite and smalchy for the reader
But this is the way I roll, as they say in the music industry
If you don’t like it, dont read it, and don’t come here no more

Anyways, I’m off now to change my damn bed sores.