Category Archives: poetry

Alicia Poe – a Hopeless Ghost

I am the ghost of the girl you killed

Over and over when you silenced me

Every time you deprived me of peace

Told me to be nice, say nothing of anything

That is not nice even as it happened to me.

I am the ghost of the girl not allowed

To cry in the night, in pain, in fear.

Shut up or I’ll give you something to cry about.

I am the ghost of the woman you killed

Over and over, when you denied me

The right to be myself, to have my feelings

When you shut down my thoughts,

Ignored my needs, turned my pain

And my despair into irrelevant nothing.

Locked me in the house for my own good

Then in the attic since I could not be trusted

To act in my own best interests.

Saying only you knew what was right for me

Only you could say what was good and proper.

You said nothing is more tragically romantic

Than the untimely death of a beautiful

Young woman. And how you smiled

When you said that to me.

I am the ghost of the woman you killed

And I have all the time in the world

For my revenge.

(Art by Dr Abbey, poem inspired by the art, and a bit of a snarl at Edgar Allen Poe, who really did say something to the effect that the death of a beautiful young woman was the only real subject for literature)

James Weaselgrease and the bear

The above image comes from The Gathering. The young man on the right is a very young James Weaselgrease (to use my son’s steampunk performance name). He is the child in this story who Salamandra rescues and to whom she gives her bear.

 

James Weaselgrease and the bear

 

She gave me this small toy bear

Torn, battered, restored with care

Softness in my open arms

Best of magic, best of charms.

 

Old toy bear to ward off fear

Wonky face and sewn up ear

Damaged but not yet destroyed

Comforting, my spirits buoyed

 

Courage with a messy face

Saved, repaired and full of grace

Saw who I could choose to be

Found the hope to uplift me.

 

Nights are long and dark and grim

Demons tear us limb from limb

Days are cold and grim and grey

Much to steal your life away.

 

Even in the darkness, light

Find the means to live and fight

Fill this time with something good

Do the best, the most we could.

 

In each tiny action seek

Kindest ways, protect the weak

Every chance there is for joy

All your wits and strength deploy

 

She gave me this bear to hold

Ease my fear and make me bold

Do for others what I can

And this is how my work began.

 

Image at the top by Tom Brown, poem by Nimue, bear by Dr Abbey.

Reverend Davies

Reverend Davies is the father of Owen Davies. He runs the Pallid Rock orphanage, and has a church. Although quite who the church is dedicated to, it may be better not to ask. It features an organ powered by live fish, and there may be a small Elder God living in the rafters.

This piece is set  around Sinners, at which point Reverend Davies has, through a mix of bad luck and his own actions, lost the people who mattered most to him…

The worst feature of grief

Is how things you used to loathe

Begin to haunt you

How your wife fussed over you

Moved things so that you

Could not put your hands on them

The precise way she had

Of closing a door too sharply.

Her only show of anger.

 

The way your son fiddled

Relentlessly, with everything

His insolence, his answering back

His total inability to leave

His dirty socks in a laundry basket

The things of his you sat on.

 

The indecent way she had

Of looking at you, sometimes.

How her mischief enraged you

When it tugged the corner of her mouth.

 

They are gone now

The things you used to loathe

Torture you most, I find.

The boyish, tuneless whistle

I would sell my soul to hear again.

Never to have my collar adjusted

By gentle, affectionate fingers

Never again to be laughed at

By the woman I most wronged.

 

What richness I had

When I thought myself ill-treated.

Spoonwalker by Dr Abbey Masahiro

It sounds to me so botanically beastful

His walking is looking like dancing

And making noise, zee boo, zee boo.

Eye colour changes by temperature.

When rainbows appear, he sings

Songs of the ancient moon.

Rider of storm, rider of wave.

Cutlery thief exposed.

 

 

(Dr Abbey is part of the Hopeless Maine film crew, and slowly being lured into other things, which is what the island tends to do to people – more here  https://hopelessvendetta.wordpress.com/2020/05/01/casting-durosimi/  )

Upon arrival in Hopeless

From

The ongoing works of Algernon Lear

(and Pulvis)

(Really Craig Hallam)

 

Upon arrival in Hopeless

 

A veil of mist covers the screaming shore,

smoke pouring into a drowning maw.

A sea of green glass

laced with antique foam

rattles the bones of the beach.

 

The sea tastes the shore and the beach bites back,

splintering hulls and breaking backs.

Hopeless’ dark beauty

looms like a threat,

and a dream sweat prickles the skin.

 

Crawling from the surf to clandestine shore,

paying forth the brine from our lungs,

the island gifts rotten breath,

we arrive in debt

to a ledger writ in abyssal hand.

 

Nightshade

By Craig Hallam

 

 

 

Nightshade

 

Pale ankles buried in the brine,

the sand washing against your roots,

you were timeless there,

the hem of your skirts

floating on the ebb tide.

O, let me never see the ocean again

if it does not caress your sweet self.

 

The wind gave birth to the sea breeze

that it might play in gentle fronds

loosed from your tress.

The scent of wood smoked fish

comes on the wind.

O, let me never breathe again

if your scent is not in the air.

 

With dulcet command the horizon obeys,

the midnight ocean bows.

Blade summons your rich blood,

and shocked arousal

from this onlooking thrall.

O, Nightshade, strike me down.

This life is lived at your behest.

Why Do I Paint Monsters?

 

They say I am veiled as the paintings in my attic

that I keep my life concealed like skeletons beneath white sheets

that only hair pins hold me together and a spinster’s habits

that I am pale because only tentacles touch my heart.

How little they know what goes on in my secret place,

my haven, where I keep my paintbox, my paints, my easel,

which always tells the truth whoever steps from behind the curtain

into the frame and by the steady brush of my hand coalesces.

Why do I paint them? You ask. Why do I keep their faces

emptied out with a candle above as a nod to their puttering souls

lit without a single match by flames that grow ever brighter

as this island gets more hopeless and I grow wiser?

My life has not been easy. Read this in my downturned lips –

this would not have been my first choice, but now they want me

to oversee the rules of a new game I am hiding my damp brushes

and paints away and smiling a small smile like a masquerade.

 

Words by Lorna Smithers, who we welcome to the island with this piece. I have had the honor and pleasure of doing the art for two of her book covers- The Broken Cauldron and Gatherer of Souls. It is beautiful writing of the sort that will change your internal landscape.  Please visit Lorna here.

 

Art- Tom Brown

The Blue Emperor

A patchwork of bricks undulate in smog

the houses and inns connected by arteries of alleys

Walls sag like tired frogs sat in grime and bulge from years of swallowing

In between the amphibious buildings that eat people whole is a man a cobalt dragonfly

his hood up a hole and no face sleeves connected at a chest no outline of legs when he glides

A rag child said two claret dots inhabit the dragonfly’s shroud

This the only statement that was said aloud but whispers chatter in cupped palms and over drinks

since shutters sealed when patrons leave as a weary bird calls and light wheezes through sky

In the darkest blue speckled with stars streets are glossed black and cherry

as human-flies pop no fists connected or intoxicated braying just echoes of thick snoring

In the grey when fish fill noses port stains dry on the road tasting like rusted pig salt

Investigators finger the outlines squatting in corners writing a profile on bleached yellow paper

Children push at thighs to spot guts but there are no gizzards no sliced hands or spoiling innards

just a spattering of puddles saturated in stonework crannies that insects stick to like seeds in jam

No victims just a switch of people to pools on mouldy cobbles

The Blue Emperor flutters on a headline before being washed down gutters

Handymen scrub watching every seagull shadow stains not cleaned just passed to skin

The thin and sick vagabonds that don’t know tricks chant and pray in warped corners

Ankles poised to kick a bolted hatch when the dragonfly hovers and silk flows

On a pub door fingernails dig and oak is scratched and split

Watch at two for a dragonfly

If it stops in front say goodbye

To loved ones embrace and sound a bell

The Blue Emperor is where you dwell

Pray Pray Pray

For a light to mark the day

and a good sea wind to take his wings away

The Blue Emperor by performance poet Ziggy Dicks (welcome to the island, Ziggy!)

Art by Tom Brown

The Blind Poet continued

In anticipation with the misty aura precipitation falling on the wet cobbled streets,
footsteps echo, echo.
The blind poet’s back straightens; shoulders awkwardly flex, fingers and fist clench with intense momentary anxiety around the long black cane. Will it ever be the same?
Ten years is a long time to wait, sit, think and debate with fading colours of her midnight black hair.
From the homeland he remembers too painfully a saying –
No man is an island
Except for the Isle of Man.
Will he know how to talk to her?
Can smiles run together?
A grin starts to fill his wet stubble skin, and then within seconds the echoes vanish.
No trace, no return, no smiles.
Silence
Damp, cold, empty, nothing.
She could light up a room on arrival,
turn a glance to a gaze, thousand yards of staring bearing all beauty can behold
with confidence many never possess.
He was hooked, drawn in and now many full moons later gutted,
sitting alone in the mist and rain on the harbour side of Hopeless Maine.

 

 

Words by Gary Death

Art by Tom and Nimue Brown.

The Blind Poet

The Blind Poet
Hopeless, Maine
If only you could see it.
Through the mist bursts forth the ferry’s bow.
No flicker of a smile, without hesitation or concern he steps confidently ashore.
The Blind Poet has arrived.
Carving visual thoughts through orange glowing streets he pauses to reflect on heady days of old.
The gambling, the addiction all now conflicting into each stride taken in this new location.
The black cane, the stick a weapon or an aid to defend or project for safety or status.
All of these are debatable.
He trusts no-one.

Once well-read ‘til his eyes swelled and bled, those secrets kept deep within his head – tilts to listen for footsteps on the wet cobbled stones….he waits for news.
Memory holds many chambers of hope, love, regrets and pain.
He knows that her beauty will never be seen again.
But maybe…
The voice a touch can rekindle a flame on this misty evening in Hopeless, Maine.

Galleries of oil paintings, landscapes of old forest trees.
Sitting viewing, holding hands.
All spin through his ageing head.
The good days the easy times.
Thoughts of warmth wrap themselves around him tonight in the lampposts’ glow.
A seagull cry breaks the silence and thoughts of the past.
Echoes of steps drawing nearer and nearer fill the quay side street.

Words by Gary Death

Art by Tom and Nimue Brown.

To be continued.