Bobby’s Wake

The pitmen gather around the empty hearse,
standing like Davids around Goliath,
some with roll-up cigs burning,
a glowing tobacco-fuelled pyre for,
another brother lost to history.

The colliery band are gearing up,
it’s good to see them still looking strong,
a shame some of the brass looks dull,
but the sapphire and gold thread of the banner,
is still resplendent in the tender summer drizzle.

Bobby’s family give their thanks to the vicar,
with a handshake and bottle of whisky;
his widow unsteady from grief
– and a brandy she’d drank for his honour and her nerves –
is weightless in the arms of her daughters,
the sorrow they’re carrying is a heavy enough burden.

Some of his friends from the village,
wander around the nearby graves,
hunching over the headstones and fading flowerheads,
making empty apologies they aren’t there more often.


Everyone congregates at the roadside when the band begins,
ready for the march to the pub;
tubas and trumpets blowing out the tune to
‘The Bonny Pit Laddie’
a reminder of the man,
just returned to the earth;
close to the coal he used to dig.


At the pub – we all raise a ‘Percy Special’ in toast,
and the tales and tankards come thick and fast;
like pick-axes on silver-black mine walls,
did only a couple of years ago;
the only hush comes from the opening of the buffet table.


These ageing men who’ve fought the police and government;
legends in their own lifetimes;
know that they’ll be together again soon enough,
wondering if they’ll be the missing face, lying in the dirt;
some have a fleeting sadness on their hard faces,
quickly burnt away by the furnace behind their eyes,
and then songs break out with soft smiles

this is a celebration.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem.

I really appreciate all your support.

Take It Easy

Paul

Sarcophagi

The low autumn sun
blinding-white but bereft of gold
because the beech and sycamore stole it
to paint their leaves
before purging the dying
windswept sarcophagi of the season
everyone and everything
wants to be a king for a day
and all kings know kingdoms fall
crumble to decay
and history remembers in bronze
the colour of rotting leaves
atoms return to atoms
return to life elsewhere.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem about autumn.

I hope you enjoyed it, if so why not check some of my other work out.

Take It Easy

Paul

Photo from unsplash: Ilham Ramadhan

Reincarnate

The last of the dahlias
were picked last week
ruby red, imperial, majestic
they ruled the garden
so to let them drown
in the relentless October rain
would have been be sacrilege
instead we slipped them into a glass-vase coma
keeping them alive
until scarlet turned to rust
and petals slipped away
and we were ready to say our farewells

softened stems were carried
and placed among the compost pile
so memories of their life
can grow a new family of flora
and their majesty return.

———

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. Please feel free to have a look around my site for more of my work.

Take It Easy

Paul

The Stranger

The New York night was bleak, cold and solemn. Even the moon concealed itself in the comfort of clouds so it would not bear witness of what was to come. Tonight, death felt inevitable.

Carter Samson’s stomach rumbled as he got out of the elevator at basement level. His senses took ten seconds  to adjust as he stepped out of the soft lighting and droning muzac into the pitch darkness of the subterranean garage. Clumsily, he pulled out his keys and used the mini torch on his keychain to light the path to his car, clicking the remote central locking. He climbed in, started the engine, then felt the firm crush of steel on the back of his shaved scalp. He checked his mirror and stared into the eyes of a face he didn’t recognise. 

‘Where did you hide the bodies Carter?’ the Stranger asked calmly, in a thick Russian accent.

‘W-w-w-what do you mean? I think you have me mixed up with someone else’ he snivelled.

‘Carter Samson, or should I say Cesar Samsonivich you’re not going to get away with murder any more, I know who you are and what you’ve done. This is the last time I ask, where did you hide the bodies?’

The worry on Carter’s transformed to a wide grin, a gold tooth glinting in the mirror’s reflection. ‘I didn’t hide the bodies, Comrade, I feasted on most of them and fed some to my wolves back in Saint Petersburg, well my Russian delicacies anyway. I am the embodiment of the demon, Bauk and tonight I will feast on you. It has been a while since I’ve tasted a Russian eyeball and heart. and I am hungry’

‘Oh, tonight you will only be tasting justice for the lives you’ve taken, zasranec. Turn off the engine. Now’, the Stranger replied angrily.

‘You can’t kill me here, there is security all around, you will never get away. Mmm, I  can smell the doubt on you now. A pity. It sometimes gives flesh a sour note. Maybe your blood will be sweet, though, we’ll see’ Cesar said matter-of-factly.

‘You talk of security, Comrade, but I got in here unnoticed. Very easily. I have no doubt I will be ending you tonight. So tell me, how many have you killed in total? I know of forty-seven in the Motherland and thirty-five in Finland, and for the last time turn the fucking engine off, ’ the Stranger demanded.

‘You are quite the investigator, aren’t you. Okay I’ll play along. You’re right about Russia and Finland, very tasty morsels there. Especially that young couple from Lieksa, they were pure, saving themselves for marriage. I gave them a taste of each other before they died, it seemed fair but they didn’t want to taste each other so maybe their marriage would have failed. There were only ten in England, I wasn’t there long. Then two here in America. The Americans taste of processed foods. My palate is more  refined, I can keep you alive while I gorge on you and tell you how you taste if you wish?’ Cesar replied with a maniacal look in his eyes, his lips being soaked by his meaty tongue.

Seeing the disgust in the Stranger’s eyes, Cesar used this as a distraction and pressed his foot down hard on the accelerator then braked. He no longer felt the gun on him. He turned his head, hoping to see the Stranger crumpled and disoriented in the back seat but his hope immediately turned to horror. The gun’s chamber met his eye and he felt the faintest glimmer of heat on his eyeball a millisecond before the bullet killed him.

The Stranger climbed through to the passenger seat and turned off the engine. He pulled a small axe from the back seat. It had nearly ripped him open when Cesar had tried to knock him off balance but now he was meticulously hacking through flesh, sinew and bone. He started with the head, it always took the longest time and the Stranger wanted to get this done as quickly as possible. Once the head was detached, the hands, feet, arms and legs quickly followed. It was a tight space to cut up a dead body and somewhat impractical but the Stranger had worked in tighter spaces before this. He knew once the remains were bagged up, there would be much more space. 

The Stranger drove Cesar Samsonivich’s car to the Russian embassy. He wasn’t worried about being caught; the tech team knew how to get the Motherland’s preferred candidate into The White House, so making a car disappear from traffic cameras would be easy. When he pulled into the gates, a man he recognised as Ilya took the keys and drove it to the hidden workshops where there was a team ready to change the car’s silver colour to something darker and remove the New York State license plates. The Stranger knew the plan; the car would be sent to Russia by plane tomorrow with the bags of Carter’s body laid out on the leather interior and be used in a propaganda campaign to arrest some foreign nationals the FSB had identified as terror cells. Some information would be leaked. The State media always needed fed and dead bodies and terror cells always kept them full for a few days. 

The night felt cold and pure as he walked through the embassy gardens toward the rear door. The guards on duty saw him approach and waved. The youngest asked him for his identification even though they had sat together at the breakfast table earlier that day. He appreciated the normality after killing that piece of scum. The Stranger looked up watching the breath escape his mouth. He caught a glimpse of the moon peering out from behind a cloud seemingly happy at what was going on underneath it as it grew brighter. He opened the embassy door and let the rest of the night swallow him up.

Thanks for taking the time to read this short story about The Stranger. I may do a crossover with the main character in this and Killing Time in NYC. What do you think? Let me know in the comments.

Take it Easy,

Paul

Crimson Treacle

she wears a noose of silver
around her throat
St. Christopher lays flat
feigning protection

the blood on her chin
cloys like syrup
but her tongue
tastes like rust and copper

she exhales pleasure
sensually chewing
torn tendons and soft flesh
against carefully crafted teeth

arrogantly
she smirks
allowing more treacle to comfort her chin
gargling on voracious words
‘if he had a silver noose around his neck
he may have survived remained intact, but doubtful’

muscle memory
precise and purposeful
dismembers her lust
as she dismembers and disembowels

she showers
in his carotid crimson treacle
relishing the flavour and feel
as she splits sinew and bone
feeling righteous purity

the crescendo of violence
always anticlimactic
plastic wrapped bundles of body and tissue
a food parcel to sate her appetite
a bitter sense of home economics

she returns to her disguise
adorning a lambswool cardigan and skirt
once more ready
for the world to see her
as it always will
meek and vulnerable

she looks up to the moon proudly
graciously thanking her for her gifts
her burgeoning entropy
the as yet diagnosed
clinical lycanthropy.

This is my first attempt at writing a horror poem. I’d love to know what you think.

(Photo Credit: Canva)

The Barley

The barley shook it’s head
in disdain
at the nonchalant breeze
it’s golden hue
dulled
by the constant
back and forth
vibrant only days ago
it now looks antiquated
a stoop has formed
and the barley
struggles
to stand tall
so it allows itself
to be cradled
submitting
to the inevitability
of losing
it’s glorious
shimmering
halo
but the barley
doesn’t despair
because it knows
it will return
shining brighter
than before
under cornflower and magenta skies
what started as seed
will return to seed
nature is endless.