Andrew James Whalan

Poet Blogger Writer

Category: Fiction (page 2 of 6)

The Gift

How could I understand
When it left my hand
That heavy burden, now lightly lost
Had released all and every cost?

The gift then revealed itself to me..

I am a constant escapee
I am a freedom loving revolutionary
I am the silent conspiracy
I am the light to a world of misery

The Bitter Sea

Mine is a lost soul that swims in a bitter sea
Overlayed and swamped by waves of jealousy
Caught and held under by a rising tide of night
At the mercy of winds of animosity

Until I lose my strength  and drown ashore
Foundered now ocean’s false martyr
Suns may rise, storms may  fall
A light shower  washes my tears away

Beyond The Steps

There must be another world beyond the steps
One where people descend to disappear
Or another from which they’ve made the climb
From this  temporal world to another one

Blue Steps

Blue Steps


In the meantime I watch them sit
And shuffle in their place until settled
And wait as they forget all breath
Until they are called back again

Perhaps in that other world
People whirl and spin so free
And dance and sing without fear
But what do they send back here?

I Can Talk To Strangers

I like to talk to strangers. It’s fun. But my mum and dad don’t like it. They told me not to.

When I asked why, they said bad things could happen to me. When I asked what the bad things they wouldn’t tell me.

I didn’t like that. I kept doing it. They kept stopping me.

Then I found out how smart my mum and dad are. Everybody still tells me not to talk to strangers. Well almost everybody. Mum and Dad stopped telling me.

I still talk to strangers. I still like it. Strangers say funny things. I ask them questions. Sometimes they tell me stories.

Sometimes my mum and dad laugh too. When I’m grown up I’ll know how to talk to strangers when mum and dad aren’t around.

Lost Underfoot

I looLiftarn_Adult_and_child.svgked up. All I could see were legs. Masses of moving legs. I looked down. I saw shoes and thongs and skirts and legs and trousers. But were they attached to anything? I didn’t know. I felt even smaller. It was like a centipede that’s been shopping was walking over me!!

I couldn’t see faces or arms. I couldn’t see that high. I just held on and let myself be dragged through them. I held tight to my show bag too.

Then the hand holding me let go. I didn’t know which leg to grab. They all looked alike. But none of them were mine. Mine was gone. And the crowd moved me on.

Joy

Joy is such a bastard
You never know it’s there
Till it sneaks up on you
And clouts you unawares.
Go and ignore the bastard
Bloody well tell it to go away
Too bad now you noticed
It will settle in and stay.

The Forgotten Tree

Ready for the Path?It seems to have fallen upon me
To be the one that assembles a tree 
From its scattered limbs and leaves
Broken trunk, bark and branches

And like a god I start
To take piece and part
Aligned to my careful plan
I build span by span

But when I look at my space
Bark and branches are missing
Leaves lost from their proper place
Limbs  awry and twisting

I scrabble on the ground
To find the missing parts
But as I look down and around
I see the failure of my black arts

To finalise my creation perfectly
I seek new bark and the right leaves
Straighten limbs and branches
To complete my best tree

Which grows unknowingly in my absence.

The Glass Slipper (3)

Celebrities, I now realise, live in a perpetual fog. And nowhere more so than on the red carpet. This night I’m slow prancing through a warming mist of light. Camera flashes and phone selfie stick shots leave me blinking rapidly and staring dumbly. Further along, the spotlights surround me like a hot cloud. I’m suited up, white shirt, black tie, the male uniform of universal fame. But I do look good, I have to admit that. So my social feed tells me anyway.

Ella like a vision is in front of me. The classic fairy tale goddess : tall, blonde, slim, leading everyone’s eye towards her. Remember, I thought, people don’t stare at beauty like that, they just hold their gaze for longer. It’s her night, after all. That much this simple man does know.Right now, I have little idea why I’m here. It’s an opening night for a product Ella is endorsing. Something, something, folate. I start to fall behind.

“Folate? What the hell is Folate?”

I’m open-mouthed staring at the TV. My reality mega celebrity wife is yet again endorsing another product. And no-one has told me about it. She’s saying what a great health supplement it is. Which is of no use to me at all. I don’t know a thing. And that secret leaks out very quickly. For my followers have tapped into my confusion. According to the social media feedback, that is. The joke continues, smart wife, dumb husband. Not dumb I say to myself. I just do what I’m told. She’s the ball gown, I’m the plastic handbag. And so long as it stays that way, I will have ongoing success.

There’s Ella, in glorious 3D. So real I could almost reach out, tap her on the shoulder and ask, “What’s it for?”

But it’s not me doing the asking. Or the tapping of the shoulder.

Out of the misty light, the voice spoke to me, “Good evening sir, I hope you’re well tonight.”

I squint. I try to see who is talking to me. A smiling urbane gentleman of the old class I thought.

“Thank you, I am”, I replied. As my eyes adjusted, I could see who it was. He was a head taller than me. He was perfectly clean shaven. He had green eyes that were both piercing and twinkling set in a pleasant thin face. He was dressed in a thin grey woollen suit and wearing a earpiece. I couldn’t work out why he was not behind the silken barrier. Then I looked at his badge. And then he spoke again.

“You can’t go any further.” His voice hardened slightly as he emphasised all the words. The scene now starts to make sense to me. Here I am speaking to the most well mannered security guard I’d ever met. And now he is very diplomatically telling me my night was over. I looked behind him. He had firepower on his side. On his left and right were two heavy set men. Now these were the security men that I would cast in the role, I thought. Exactly alike, they were dressed in jet black suits, short, squat, standing silently and watchfully. If my new found acquaintance had asked to burrow they would. But they were more suitable for scrummaging. When I saw men like that coming for me, I always threw the ball away. Although it didn’t help. But this time I stood still.

I said nothing. I was outnumbered. I was told the reason. I was with a rival company. They had orders that it was best I be turned away. The pop and flash of cameras continue as if these were fans asking for a selfie or even an old-fashioned autograph. But not for long, as the real star is moving on.

I started to say, “I’m with Ella.” But I thought better of it.

I decided to be an anonymous celebrity for now. I stayed in the fog. I waited for rescue. Any other reaction I realised would be all over the media in seconds. I looked down at the phone. “What’s happening Jack?” was the theme of the feed. “Who are these people?” they asked. Tempted, I started to tap on my phone. Remembering the advice I had received about social media, I pulled my hand away. I chose to shut up and wait for the lifeline.

When it happens, it makes me believe in science fiction. Yet again, out of nowhere, John and Tash materialise. My producers, who had been avoiding me for reasons unknown for the last week turn up at the time of crisis.

I always thought of them as the perfect couple. Interchangeable. One could substitute for the other. As they do right now. They step right up to the security supervisor, so no-one can easily listen. Two people invading his personal space. The security gentleman doesn’t flinch. He is inscrutable. He tilts his head down to listen. All I can see is his bald head with a light sheen of sweat.

John or Tash speaks first, the other continues the sentence, without the other even stopping for breath. All I hear is the phrase, “Endorsement conflict.” My head just tick tocks as I look from one to another. I know I still look as stunned as I did during the camera, phones and spotlights on the red carpet. I look down. My feed is full of a jumble of emoticons, some funny, others puzzled, of course, some obscene.

John and Tash stop at the same time. They both look at me. They speak in unison, “Don’t do anything until we tell you.” I think to myself, yes, mostly that’s what I usually do, but not always. Especially when I have an unexpected surprise and try and fix it myself. Just like when I tried to placate Ella after she shattered the glass slipper. But we fixed that, didn’t we?

They continue to speak to the butler. I think to myself, he would make an excellent butler. But his tone is firm. Then without speaking to one another, John and Tash start calling on their mobiles. I’m stupefied by now. I think I hope the camera’s aren’t zooming in on my open flapping mouth as well. They’re speaking as one person to different people. “How did they do that?”, I thought. “How did they decide who called who and who went first?”

Meanwhile, twilight surrounds us. The lights, phones and cameras have moved on, seeking Ella’s long gaze. I’m sure she’s thinking of me. But that would be reality TV being too real?

The next thing I hear is a whisper. The two of them talking into my ear. How can they get so close? “Text her and tell her you’re not feeling well. And then go home.” I do as I’m told. It always works. My new found security detail escort me to the waiting car.

Talking Pizza

If it wasn’t for the windchime, I would’ve made the pickup and left.

I’d made the order just after a day’s snorkelling. Diving and swimming makes me thirsty, hungry and distracted.

Once dried off and packed up, I jumped into the 4WD : my global explorer. I desperately needed to return to civilisation. I had caught nothing and was hunting for a real meal.

And the Talking Pizza was calling me. Excellent, I thought, the world is reaching out to me. I spoke my order to the app. And before I could breath, it came back with a time and a place.

I started the car. I stalled it. I started again. It jumped forward and I heard a dull thud.

“Shit”, I said. I opened the driver’s side door. I circled the car and found the culprit. A small tree had collided with the passenger door and dented it.

“Add it to the rest”, I said. It wouldn’t be out of place. I circled around the front of the car. I got in, started it up again and reversed out of the sand trap.

Now I was running too late for my liking. I sped into town. Beaches on the right, dunes to the left, tarmac in the middle. Then I arrived. A one pizza shop town, I thought. And not crowded too. This should be a quick getaway. I parked close by and sprinted one with my hunger.

The Talking Pizza was welcoming me. A few scattered plastic chairs, a counter, the oven must be out the back, the girl at the counter and a guy in a suit towering over her.

The man in the suit hadn’t seen or heard me at all. He was staring straight ahead at her. Both hands were clenched. He seemed in a hurry. I thought : a city man in a country town has to wait like the rest of us.

She wouldn’t look at me at all. I thought it must be her first day. She barely was taller than the console. I thought of jumping up and down to catch her eye but changed her mind. She and her customer weren’t talking. She had her head down, looking at the cash drawer. I could see her hands moving as she counted out the takings.

She looked up. She had a small elfin face, framed by closed cropped straight brown hair. Her eyes were pure fear. Then she averted them. She stepped back. I heard a windchime sound.

The man in the suit was startled. He said something to her that I couldn’t hear. One of his hands was more clenched than the other. I could see he had a knife.

I went back and got my spear gun.

Grace

Grace visited silently
Grace called you gently
But you shouted impatiently
And angrily sent grace away.

Graceless your life stands still
Falsely happy with its fill
Neither giving nor receiving
Living a life quickly receding

Grace though sent away
Still waits night and day
In patience and with forbearance
To provide hope and love in abundance.

 

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