Stolen Voices

The worst kind of thief there is,
is the one who steals another’s words
then speaks them silver-lipped
and serpent-tongued
or writes them with crooked finger
and poisoned pen
without appreciating their weight
or realising their value
only seeing inked shapes on paper
not the skill it took in crafting those shapes
so when you’re caught
and our expressions of love,hope,pain & hurt
are reclaimed by us
the ones who have enough courage
to share our story with the world
I hope you are wordless, you are voiceless
a blank piece of paper blowing in the wind.

This poem was written following an issue where a few people were being plagiarised. The last straw was when war poetry was stolen from the pens of others , their name displayed as the original.

This is my feeling towards people who steal the words of others and say they are their own.

Take It Easy

Paul

I Can’t Believe It, I Came 3rd!

On Sunday (Halloween), I entered Black Bough Poetry’s #BBMicro2 contest.

The premise and rules were to create an original 4-line poem about Autumn or Halloween, post it on twitter using the above hashtag.

There was a panel of judges working throughout the day, all of whom are really talented poets.

A shortlist was announced on Monday and that’s when I got the first shock! I had made the shortlist! I couldn’t believe it as I’d read some of the other entries and I thought they were outstanding.

On Tuesday evening, the winners were announced. I came in 3rd. I will be celebrating this achievement at the weekend with my wife. It hasn’t really sunk in because I never imagined I’d get anywhere near the shortlist or finalist. It has given me a lot more self-belief in my writing! Hard work pays off.

You can see all the winners on by visiting @blackboughpoems on twitter. Or visit their website (blackboughpoems.com) to view the current books and anthologies they have for sale. Their Christmas/Winter edition has just been released and has some stunning artwork alongside incredible poetry.

Take It Easy,

Paul

The Sculptor

My palms are worn leather
handling hammer and chisel
the sinew in my forearms is taut
carrying marble creates strength
my neck stands tired yet agile
from always looking upwards
but my days of crafting pedestals is over
so I’ll wait for my body to reset
and return to an even keel
the cost of marble is too much
once it’s been etched
it can’t be returned
even though I probably value the material
more than the people I’ve placed upon it
I’ll craft myself an armchair
to rest and read on
and watch the pedestals crumble.

—————

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. If you want to read more, feel free to browse the site.

Take It Easy,

Paul

Autumn & I

I welcome Autumn
as she drapes me
in a blanket of bronze and straw-gold
whispering seductive sweet promises of
late lavender sunrises
and delicious red sunsets
she mentions velvet night-skies flecked with tiny diamonds
and an occasional silent symphony by the Northern Lights
even the rain softens under her presence
guiding acorns to ground
while winged sycamores float safely down
and when the wind wraps itself around her
it whistles happily
carrying her scent of blackberry and pear
feeding my nostalgia of years gone by
everything about Autumn is chaos
everything about Autumn is just so
I long for her and her embrace to return
by the time Winter shakes my hand
with his icy fingers.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem , I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to leave any comments you may like.

Take It Easy,

Paul

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 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

From Your Brothers

There it is again
that distant gaze
powerful, it pierces faraway sandstorms
looking for the memory
of where that long lost piece of you
may be buried
and the Afghan sun can’t even burn your eyes
because you’ve stared so long, so often.

That subtle curl of lip
and your eyes wander softly
back in to the room
amongst the lads, lagers
and a few over-under dressed lasses.

There’s no sand here
and you know the rain
is always close-by
– like us –
we just hope we can help
to find you some hard-earned peace.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem. It’s dedicated to my friends who’ve spent time fighting for the country on faraway shores.

Paul

Hope, Bottled

I remember how
my hand fit into yours
with welcoming ease
and the warmth of your skin
heated my tepid fingers
as we walked along the beach

the North Sea was trembling with chilling intensity
– as we skimmed stones
plucked fresh from champagne-gold sand
they wisped over waves
their light friction warming the water
and calming the sea

I told a joke about blushing lobsters and seaweed
you laughed because it was so bad
and the frame of your face
lit up the dusky sky
better than the distant hilltop fire beacons
could ever hope to

I’m hoping this has all has gone to plan –
that some years have passed –
and our hands still fit each others
that the message I buried in this bottle
is not lost to the tide
like so many other romances
and we’re reading this in the spot
where we sat and snuggled that night
stargazing at the peach-kissed setting sun on the horizon

      – because I know that I will love you forever.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem dedicated to my beautiful wife, Christine.

Take it easy,

Paul

No Sense Of Summer


The string is delicately coarse
between my fingers and palm
when I pull
the blinds need a heavy touch
to open this morning

I’m expecting hues of
poached peach & rhubarb
to welcome me to Monday
but the sky is chalk-grey and despondent 

My ears crave the tranquility
of a blackbird & sparrow choir
when all I can hear
is the drowning of the day
the rain pelting the paving slabs

And I can’t smell the jasmine
that normally waltzes its way
from the raised bed in the garden
beyond my bedroom window –
but the scent of damp mown-grass
is refreshing

It’s bittersweet
that mid-July’s sun won’t be seen today
because on the bright side
I’ll savour this rainy day
with you.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. I hope you enjoyed it and at least some of it resonated with you. While you’re here, why not check some of my other 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

Birdsong

Instead of sleep
in the early hours
I sit and listen to the
siren song of the starlings and finches
at four am
they gather on the dew-kissed fencetops
when the delicate new day
is climbing from grey earth
to sherbet-pink sky
and I wonder what’s to come
in the next 19 hours
before my head hits the pillow
because – although most days are the same –
like the dawn chorus
everyday is different.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. If you want to read more, please explore the site.

Take it Easy

Paul