Eyes

14 Nov

I see you with my green eyes.

My green eyes see what you’re doing.

My green eyes burn.

I see you with my blue eyes.

My blue eyes see what must be done.

My blue eyes weep.

I won’t see you again with my black eyes

My black eyes see what I have done.

My black eyes glint

The day after

22 Jun

The day after the referendum was a good day to be white and English. When the country voted to leave the European Union the excitement was a tangible thing. Smiling hordes of jubilant people finished work early and streamed into the streets. Pubs were quickly filled with happy people wearing England football shirts, joyous women wrapped themselves in st George flags and wobbled down the road, drunk on life and cheap wine. The European migrant workers stayed in. Those that had to endure a walk through town from there place of work were jostled by crowds of drunken men singing the national anthem and waving flags in their faces. The staff at kebab houses, and Indian restaurants, while used to a bit of abuse were snowed under by the ebullient celebrations turning into xenophobia. 

But the white English celebrated hard, and celebrated long. 

The prime minister left number ten under a cloud while his opponents turned in a vote of no confidence in his leadership. Such was the mood of the country that his opponent was swept into power within the week. 

The country basked under a glorious late blooming summer, the heat and sunshine scotched much of the bad feeling and resentment towards the migrant workers toiling in the fields and factories. But it was still there. Soon a government backed scheme was announced. Buses back to former eastern bloc countries would have government subsidies to return workers to their former residence. Many sensing the mood of the country turning against them took them up on the offer. London Victoria coach station during the last weeks of July showed scenes of chaos not seen since the bombings ten years before. Buses and coaches groaned under the weight of returning workers and the few meagre possessions they could carry. 

But many more stayed. They had been here too long to leave. They had children in school, they had risen through their companies to management positions, or had started businesses of their own, serving the migrant communities. 

On a balmy August night a fight broke out, outside a prominent European bar. According to the five English men assaulted they had been walking on the path outside the bar, when with little provocation they were set upon by a gang of drunken unruly foreigners. According to the witnesses and the cctv footage the five men had stood outside hurling abuse at some people smoking outside . When one of the English men then punched a woman in the face the occupants of the bar spilled out and beat the five men severely. In the subsequent investigation the police managed to lose the cctv footage and much of the European witness statements was said to be useless as they hadn’t been outside. The five men, while known to the police got off with light fines for affray, while two Europeans were sent up for deportation. 

No one was very surprised when a week later a mob of people descended on the restaurant, smashed a window and threw in petrol bombs, burning the establishment to the ground and severely injuring a number of patrons. 

No one was surprised when no arrests were made, and no suspects named. Gangs of men took to roaming the streets, policing them of trouble caused by drunken immigrants. The week after witnessed a cheering, baying mob, drag a drunken migrant, who had whistled at a group of English girls, to the bridge and throw him into the river. 
Many of these mobs, or English militia formed across the country, in towns and cities groups of men patrolled the streets, keeping the English safe from foreign aggressors. The slightest accusation could get a migrant dragged into the street and beaten, often under the flimsiest of circumstances. And it wasn’t just the Eastern Europeans who became fearful of the mobs. Muslim and black communities were targeted as well. The police, under manned and under resourced could not contain the fury of the English militia and were only on hand to disperse crowds and deal with the casualties. Often taking to a hospital for patching up and then straight on to a bus depot where they were chaperoned onto the first coach bound for the continent. Many of these victims had only the clothes they stood up in and the money in their pockets. Loved ones and friends only found out a number of days later when the victim would make contact from their home town in the eastern bloc. 

In the early days they were a disorganised rabble of thugs, but they quickly got organised. Militia recruitment started on Facebook, and funding and uniforms soon followed. It started with white armbands with the st George cross and led onto full uniforms. Some suspected government funding but the main parties denied everything. 

With the rise of the militias people began to be more afraid of speaking out, any form of dissent voiced on social media was quickly shouted down until the offending post was removed. Any form of public protest was quickly broken up. The English militia started using social media to track dissidents and quieten them down. Some had their houses burnt down, others were beaten in the streets. Any form of non patriotic speech was frowned upon. Information officers for the militia lurked everywhere. From public houses, to places of work, someone somewhere was listening, recording names of dissenters and rabble rousers. 

Many weren’t seen again.

Quickly the English militia joined forces with a number of right wing political movements to form one big party. With the militias influence they were swept into power on a landslide of votes. While many knew that the elections were rigged, none dare speak out in case they were beaten or burned out of their family home. 

Once in power the ethnic cleansing of Britain began in earnest. Camps were established to house immigrants rounded up ready for deportation. Among those corralled into these camps were the hard line resistance. Union leaders and left wing journalists were first. Often snatched in the middle of the night from family homes and bundled into a van, driven to a camp with nothing, they were clothed in prison style jumpsuits and driven into Europe on buses where they were told to start a new life, as they would not be allowed back across the border. 

Next the people of colour were rounded up, regardless of whether they had lived in the country for years, or whether they were born her, the party did not want them. They were expelled from the country on buses, or in some cases ferries were laid on that dropped anchor off the coast of North Africa and told those on board to disembark. More than a few drowned in the panic as militia men wielding rifles cleared the decks.

After enemies of the state had been removed the party moved its ideals onto creating a stronger people to work the engine of the country back to greatness. The jobs recently abandoned by migrant labour was given to the native English, whether they wanted it or not. If you were unemployed, you arrived at the dole office to be presented with a work assignment. To not work was to be against the party. If you were against the party you faced expulsion. No more benefits would be paid. Everyone could be useful. The elderly were pressed into light duties, the disabled were found work that they could perform. In horrific scenes a boat full of chronically ill and mentally ill patients was deliberately scuttled in the English Channel. The cleansing moved on. Criminals were forced to work, to be productive for their food and lodging. Children were given light duties on farms and in factories when not being schooled. 
The countries of Europe horrified by events in England stopped trading with English business. Further afield man you other countries quietly screwed up trade deals and walked away from this isle of hate. To remedy the situation, the party’s decreed that all wages would be spent on English produce. Savings cards were produced so that large goods could be purchased. Employers took over the distribution of saving stamps, and money for the masses ceased to exist. Workers at the end of the week were presented with stamps in a card that they could exchange for certain goods and services. No one had any debt, and all items of a personal nature were identical. Individuality was crushed, beaten and left to rot. All art and music became government issue by the party. All art and music celebrated the party. And Britons rejoiced knowing the party had made them free.

The end

26 Sep

The End
Today I sat at the end. The day promised storms but the evening turned mild so I decided to take a walk. I sat on the bench where we died a little looking at the memorials of people who went the whole hog. Blank grey stones with worn names of those who went before, lives lived to the full but gone, forgotten, dust below the ground. The lush green foliage covers the remains of heroes and zeroes alike. 

I saw you again today. I don’t know why you’re haunting me like this. She rode her bike across the street in front of me. From the back the curls of her hair and the wiggle of her hips could have been you. It must have been you, but she turned and the similarity left. 

So I sat at the end and thought about the beginnings. Where did we begin, how did we begin, or even why did we begin? But then that led me to think about how and why we ended, here, in this place of ends. A branch of thick bramble had grown to cover the spot where your tears fell and it’s cruel spikes had begun to twist around the metal bench. A breaking sound of a rabbit moving through the undergrowth stirred my mind. So I thought about other beginnings. Beginnings not yet upon me, those I wish were due and those that came to pass. 

After a spell I stood and walked through the green tunnel to the gate house. To the left and right ancient stones leaned at crazy angles through the lush vegetation. Stones too old to need the plant life trimming back. No cut flowers rested on these tombs and no prayers had been whispered here for many a year. A squirrel paused on a tree, a red tinge to his grey coat stood out against the iron bark. His liquid black eyes regarded me as I passed by and sensing no threat he scampered on up the tree. 

At the gate I came to the river. I turned a followed the weary path home to my empty house. I knew that I would pass your old house and I hoped that you were there. That, gazing from the window you would see me from your window and beckon me in. I paused at the iron railings as memories slapped me in the face. The windows were as blank as ever. I don’t even know if you still live there, so I moved on. 

It’s always this way. Nostalgia has a funny and cruel sense of humour. Sometimes I catch a smell from a girl in town and turn to expect you waiting there waving me down an alley. Sometimes it’s the bob of a girls hair that catches my eye, I follow but I never seem to fall down the rabbit hole and find you waiting for me. 

I’m not even sure I would know what to say. I know I wouldn’t know what to say. My tongue would be bound with brambles, spiked through and locked. They twist through me and crush my heart in their spiny grip. You always render me mute when I try and remember. 

I played the songs we loved again. Every time I hear that song I smile though it fills me with an ache like none before. 

It rained that summer. It always seemed to rain that year. The first time we kissed in the shelter with the storm booming around us. Purple rain, November rain? No just summer rain and two people sharing a tender moment. I could live in that moment, so happy I could have burst but too stupid to tell you.

I kept all your presents. From leaves to beer labels I have the box sealed up. I opened it to take out the photo you gave me. I tried to breathe in the air within and smell that summer.

 I don’t know why I thought that was important to keep the gifts you gave but for some reason it always has been. I promised you and I tried to keep at least one. The small one survived while the rest fell about my ankles in rusted pieces. Strange priorities but I never let anything or anyone disturb your box. 

Did I enjoy the cheap temptation I broke for? Probably. Memorable? Probably not. It is the bramble of your tears that has grown inside me and squeezed out the life from my heart. I function like a robot from day to day. 

Would you meet me at the end? If I could run from this life would you take my hand and run with me? Could we start again on a blank canvas, paint our selves a new picture with colours from the box of experience? Could we fit our lives together the same way we could when we were young?

Would you? Would you take a trip into the void with me? Let it wash over us a build new lives disconnected from everything else? 

Probably not.

New Styxworth

1 Aug

Leaving Styxworth 
Hi my names Dan. I’m friends with a special guy called Peter Thwaites. Him and his friend Bex are protectors of a place called Styxworth. We met at a party and a few days later Peter told me his first tale of Styxworth. Most people have taken it for fiction but I know that it’s all true. I recorded the tale for him and I’ve seen some things that have convinced me that it is real. One was the ancient coin that his mentor Mehari used to communicate with him, the others I will get to in due course. 

 After we had recorded the events of the first book I didn’t hear from Pete and Bex for a while. But I was keen to hear more. He had left me on a cliff hanger knowing that he had to rescue his Dad from the realm of the Corruption. To get there he had to cross the river Styx and enter the realm of the dead. To reach the deep depths of the Corruptions lair would be an epic journey. But one that I found out had been completed before, many years before.

 A few weeks after Peter had finished telling me his tale I finished work in the pub kitchen. Walking through the pub I saw a couple of familiar faces sitting at the bar. Pete raised his hand in greeting and I waved back beckoning them over. 

  Peter was dressed in a long dark green military style coat and Bex had a thick green parka on. Both of them looked tired and stressed. I nodded in greeting and turned and led them up to my rooms above the pub. Upstairs I ushered them into the front room and went into my room to get changed out of my smelly work clothes. Returning to the lounge I got us some drinks from my fridge and sat on my battered sofa. Peter was hunched over in the mismatched arm chair and Bex sat staring out of the window perched on the wide window sill. 

 “So what have you two been up to since you were here last?” I asked breaking the stale silence. 

 “We are on the move constantly, moving from place to place, trying to stay one step ahead of the Corruption. He is sending his demons after us. He wants us back in his domain but he’s making a game out of it. We can go weeks seeing nothing then last week we had two tracking us.” Said Peter.

 I shuddered at the thought of giant demon creatures roaming the dark streets of the town. 

 “The trouble is,” said Bex, “They’re not like the demons you imagine, they’re people that have had their spirits removed and taken over by the Corruptions minions. Hard to spot but easy enough to deal with. It’s the people that they take over that I feel for. Their spirits left wandering this domain until they can find a way through to the other side.”

 “How do you, er, deal with them?” I had to ask.

 “Easy enough, Bex can spot them for me, marks them up and the hunt begins. We can’t let people see us. Once we are alone I grab them and travel to the other realm through a door. Halfway through I let go and the demon is lost. Unfortunately so is the body.” Peter smiled grimly and gripped his drink, his knuckles turning white. 

 I let that sink in for a second or two. “So those missing people adverts you see……”

 “Some, but not all.” Again Peter smiled a strange grim smile.

 Bex returned her gaze to the street watching the odd person as they walked past the front of the buildings opposite. She kept her hand on something in her inside pocket, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what.

 “Do you remember last time I told you that I had to return to Styxworth to rescue my Dad?” I nodded that I did. “Well if you’re ready then this is how it came about.”
Endings.
 It was a grey day the day we buried my Dad. The sky was a steel sheet and rain hung in the air making everything damp. I remember so much of that day. Mum shaking and crying as the long dark car turned up to take us all to the cemetery. The stale dry air of the chapel and the droning words of the minister. So many words but none of them could capture the essence of what made Dad, Dad. This minister had never met him. How could she speak about him that way? How could she offer words of platitude about a man she’d never met? I thought of the time when we had gone to McDonalds and claimed it for Scotland. I remembered the bristle of his chin after a long weekend, before he shaved for work on Monday. I thought about him and Mum, silly after drinking wine dancing to her old records in the front room, while I rolled my eyes and sat laughing on the couch. 

 Beside the grave was worse. More words, stupid words, words of ceremony. Words old enough that their power had been robbed, like an old lion, able to roar but not to hunt. The light rain clung to us all making grey jewels on mums black coat and small grey pearls in her hair. The sun never showed its face from behind the featureless flat sky, damning us with its absence.

 After this we were herded off to a hotel on the edge of town. In an old musty room adults drank with no joy and told quiet stories to each other. Ruddy faced men with beery breath stood in front of me not knowing what to say, shaking my hand, then walking away. Red eyed women clucked around my mother fetching small sandwiches and small strong drinks. After an hour or so the already quiet conversation began to falter as people drifted away, staring at watches and checking phones. Soon it was just me and Mum. We slumped into a waiting taxi and returned to our house. 

 We stood together on the street looking at our family home, crouched with its teeth bared, ready to assault us with its silence. I kept waiting for a curtain to twitch, for Dad to look out or open the door. But nothing happened. The menacing stillness lurched out at us. We stepped forward and entered its dark lair.

 Everything was the same. The still, dry air clung to us and the steady tick of the clock hammered our ears. This was it. Home. Emptier. Silent. 

 Mum coughed and walked into the front room. She removed her shoes and sat on the couch. I did the same and sat beside her. We sat together until the mute calm overwhelmed us. I turned the TV on and went to the kitchen. I filled the kettle and boiled it. I turned on the radio in their and turned it up. I tried to fill the house with noise, tried to push the oppressive gloom into the corners and away from the both of us. I took a cup of tea through to Mum and we sat and stared at the TV, not caring what was on.
 The next day I awoke went downstairs and had some breakfast. As per usual I ate my cereal in front of the TV. Slurping the chocolate flavoured milk from the bowl was the best bit but today’s joy was muted by the cloak of my fathers absence. It roamed around the house pouncing on you when you least expected it. A song, the squeak of the floorboards, or the hum and rattle of the upstairs toilet flushing. I had to get out. I went upstairs and pulled on my jeans. Grabbing my favourite t shirt I ran downstairs. Mum was shuffling around in the kitchen. I grabbed my trainers and stuffed my feet into them. 

 “Going out for a walk Mum.”

 “Hmmm, I might do the same, take your key with you.” 

 I grabbed my key from the hook next to the phone and shoved it into my pocket with the button. Quickly kissing her cheek I walked down the hall and opened the front door. The weather had improved over night and sunlight warmed my face. I pulled the door shut behind me and walked off down the street.

 I went where my feet took me, not noticing where I was, my head filled with flurrying thoughts, coming together and exploding like a flock of birds. Of course yesterday we had buried my fathers body, but I knew that he, what made him, him, was tending the bar at the Ferryman pub in Styxworth. Could I go and see him? Mehari had called me the Traveller. Did that mean I could travel between the realms? Could I visit at weekends or would I have to wait for my own eventual death to be reunited with him? Would I see my friend Bex again? Where was she and what was she doing? Was she visiting Mehari in his strange cave?

 With all of these thoughts writhing around my head I didn’t notice I had walked to the park. Home to some of my earliest memories playing on the swings and climbing frame with my parents. I sat on a bench and looked at a small bunch of people. They were swaying together, making ritualistic moves. The way they moved and the shapes they were forming looked familiar to me. They were running through the positions I used for my Qi attack and defence! How did they know about that. I sat and watched for a while until they finished their routine. They bowed to the leader and broke apart smiling and chatting to each other. I had to find out what it was. 

 “Excuse me,” I said to the small grey haired man that had been leading them through the positions, “What is it that you are doing here?”

 “It’s called Tai-Chi, and ancient martial art that is meant to focus our Qi energy. It’s popular amongst some of the older folk due to its slower pace.” He said, swigging from a bottle of water. 

An apology

4 May

Hi. How are you? 
Uh ok this is awkward. 
So how did we arrive here? We’re just people. Why can’t you look me in the eye and why do I feel like I shouldn’t? 
We used to share so much more. Sorry too much too soon?
So, yeah, wow, how did we get here? 
I was going to use this as a personal apology to you, but well, I don’t know you any more. How could I? That was 20 fucking years ago. 
Sorry I’m getting angry and I’m really trying not to. Calm down. 
Try again. 
[deletia]
All that went before has gone. 
A fitting eulogy for life. Right? All that we did is washed away. All that we were is gone, like we didn’t leave scars on each other? 
[deletia]
Fuck it, look I’m trying. I’m trying not to raise my voice and I’m trying to be sincere.
Maybe if I stop talking specifics and started talking generally? Remove the emotion? Does that still count?
Well I’m still here. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be. There were times when I almost gave up. Melodrama? Possibly. 
I hope you are well. I bare no malice, but then why should I? I was the selfish party, I acted only in my self interest. 
Do I hope you bare me no malice? Kind of. I still want to mean something to you. I still want to be remembered. As much as we did or didn’t do I hope that shaped you. 
Too much? Blowing my own trumpet too far? 
Probably. 
What do I hope to achieve here? I’m not sure. I felt like I had to address something burning in me. 

Hah, maybe you affected me more than I affected you. Irony? Too fucking right. 
[deletia]
Sorry I’ve had a drink or two tonight.
I still think fondly of you. Occasionally more than fondly. Too much? 
Probably.
[deletia]
Scratch that remark from the record.
Sorry. Do I want to know how fabulous your life is? 
Probably not.
Do I want to know how great he is and how wonderful your kids are?
Probably not.
Am I content to let this lie as it is. 
Difficult.
I’m obviously writing this for a reason. 
Catharsis? 
Probably not.
I remember summers where we didn’t leave each other’s arms, where we rode bikes in the day and drank our way through the ’til dawn. We watched the sun rise wrapped in the quilt off my bed and said we’d always remember each other. We took walks in the cemetery, walks in the rain and walks to the pub. 
I still drink a lot. 
I’m trying to be better. Do you care?
Probably not.
Do I want to come off as pathetic and creepy as this is sounding?
Um, probably not.
Introspection is ok in those who can play guitar and are in a band and love lorn at fucking 21 coz you’re so broken fuck that….
Sorry, I’m really trying to be calm here. 
[deletia]
Regrets?
A few. Sing it Frankie…….
Were you one? 
Kind of. 
Am I sorry that we were together?
No.
Am I sorry we split? 
Difficult. 
Sorry but it is. I don’t and can’t know where we would have gone. 
Am I sorry about the way I treated you?
Yup. 
sorry.
I mean that. The lower case was supposed to signify that I really meant it, but it seems to cheapen it. Fuck I’m so bad at this. I can’t sound sincere.
Sorry, I’ll calm down again. 
Did I ever scare you? I really didn’t mean to. 
Life doesn’t come with a handbook and I really didn’t know the first thing about women. And you never admit that in front of friends let alone other women. 
More front than Brighton. 
If you saw behind that occasionally I wouldn’t have liked that.
So what’s changed?
I’m married. I know right….. Me either.
I’m working a fuck nuts job but the pay ain’t to bad.
I’m a productive member of society. 
Yeah I hate it. 
Every day I have to go out and ensure some body else’s money is safe something inside me curls up and dies. 
Calm down.
Sorry. 
I’m writing again. I’ve written a book. I know I finally saw something through to the end that wasn’t a pint. 
Fuck you.
Sorry, calm down. 
Just a little humour there. Honest. 
Ah honesty. I’m trying there but when there’s a lot of your past you can’t remember or would rather forget then the stories people tell fill convenient gaps. 
If you’ve been caught up and hurt by one or more of those I can only apologise. If you tell me when and where I can try and correct them. 
I can only try.
Why were the summers so long back then? Golden light dappling our skin as we sought the cool refuge of the trees. Our unmarked skin touches and goosebumps run up my spine. 
My skin is a little more marked now. Hell, who wants to die without any scars right?
I know, but I didn’t mean it. Does that count?
Probably not. 
I’ve taken up a bit of your time here so I’ll go. I know I’ve not reached a conclusion but I’m not sure myself. 
Look I’ve written this a thousand times in my head and every time it comes out different. Mostly it tries to be a talk to my younger self but mostly it comes out as whiny. 
Sorry, calm it down. 
[deletia]
That means we remove all that has gone before, mostly in programming etc. 
I don’t want to remove you but I want the hurt to go. 
I’m sorry if I hurt you.
I’m sorry if you had to cover up the hurt while I carried on regardless.
If we could go over would you wanna? 
Sorry, inappropriate. We’ve both come so far. We’re like real people now.
I still don’t feel real, a little like a player in a play. I hope that soon the curtains going to come back, the audience will applaud and I can go home. 
I hope he makes you smile. You have a lovely smile. 
I hope you don’t mind this little intrusion. 
And yes I hope it wiggles a little pin in a wound you thought had closed years ago. Who doesn’t want to feel special.
In conclusion…….. Is there a conclusion?
Not really. I’m trying to be a better person. I fail pretty much everyday but I’m only a man.
I try to see the good in everything. I try, I really do. 
Mostly I fail but I try.
I hold open doors for old ladies, I try to remember my manners, and I don’t play cards on Sundays.
Apparently that’s important. 
Look I’m not good at this. It doesn’t help that I’m floundering around for some meaning. Is the meaning a deeper truth I’m not sure I want to admit?
Probably.
We all lie to ourselves to protect our self image. I’m a fucking good liar. 
[deletia]

  bye.

Pages

25 Mar

Above are the titles of bits I’ve been working on. Styxworth is an attempt at a kids adventure story.
Losing grace is a novel for the disillusioned 20 something coping with a big empty world
The ballad of Jessi Smith and Stockholm are screen plays. At least this is kinda how they came out.
The flying swan is a sit com that I’m struggling with and the rest are poems of sorts.
Click the link, buy the ticket and take a trip. Needless to say the are all my own work and copyright to me.

They’re here

18 Oct

Well they might not be but if you wanna get hold of me by all means drop an email into my box (snigger) at dannybeattiedj@aol.com