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Autumn Ghosts

Joe stood at the corner of the train station, chatting to a stranger over a cigarette when Keeley arrived. She smiled at the ease with which he carried himself in making the most of his time. When he spoke about his previous marriage, he told her how it used to irritate his wife and the corners of his mouth flickered downward each time.

She worried he hadn’t forgiven himself for leaving but as time went on; she saw him let go of the deepest connections to his past. Christmas was easy, but he had a pensive expression when he watched her children open their presents, thinking of his own, even though they were adults.

They had spent two weeks together, and then less than a week apart before they saw one another. Keeley insisted on her independence. She wasn’t, as she reminded him, his wife. Yet he enjoyed the time away from her. It was, she knew, part of the change he was making for what was a surprise to him.

The failure of his marriage, and his part in it.

Keeley had no concerns about it. He spoke about his faults without seeking pity, and his writing was a scalpel to the tumours of his past. New flesh had grown over the old, and he told her she was the first person to touch this new version of himself. Keeley wondered if it was too much work, but then he would come through the door, taking responsibility without taking it. He spent his youth in a marriage dictated on his wife’s terms over his, when he didn’t know what he wanted.

She wondered what he had been like, young and earnest as he took his vows before experience provided him with a painful education in their application.

He said he failed at his marriage, and he meant it.

Joe looked up from the conversation and grinned at her. His teeth were white against the salmon pink of his lips and his blue eyes twinkled with delight as he excused himself to come over to her.

He slowed down as he came towards her. She heard his sharp intake of breath, smelled the faint tang of tobacco and underneath the sandalwood and cinnamon musk of his skin.

Joe knew each moment of their relationship was a test or a celebration. He had, by all accounts, been a dutiful father and had retained a dopiness which she found endearing. Kindness came to him with a practiced ease and Keeley knew he wore the burden of performance with her, but it was a weight he carried with grace.

Keeley’s heart thumped against her chest. She leaned towards him and they kissed, a light brush which was a promise against the hungry, hot play of their mouths later. The anticipation made her shudder and he took a deep breath before he murmured his appreciation.

The risk in him diminished, but his hands were rough with her in the best way and he knew how to use his strength for her benefit. His liberation and her comfort made them explosive and intuitive lovers, and the heat of it blew away autumn’s ghosts.

She loved him again.

In their deaths, they smiled at them, offered their blessing as they flew into ashes, twinkling like stars.


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Ghosts of Celluloid

He sits at the back of the theatre

Recalls how it was all new


No colour, no computer generated effects

Not even sound.

He looks at people hunched over their phones.

People move so much faster

He doesn’t get why people

Wear their hair the way that

They do

Why the news is always bad

He knows that the day he wakes up

Without pain

Will be when he’s dead.

Stopping to make conversation

But there’s no time for that

People too busy

He looks out

Wishes not that he could go back

He treasures every precious mistake

Nor does he seek to disappear

No, what he asks for,

As the music swells

Is that things slow down

To the point

That we could all stop

See one another

And start to talk

She moves from the screen

From a time before

The world broke her spirit

Her lips press against his cheek

Not caring that his hands shook

Too much to shave

His chest grows tight

And he follows her

Leaving everything behind

Missing every frustrated second

As he lets the world go on

Without him.


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Raise your shield high

Silence has a weight


A rock worn smooth

By time

A delicacy as raw silk

Sliding over my rough, dark hands


The screams – outrage, pain disguised

As signals of virtue

I stand askance

My path takes me through

These places

Once walled gardens of enthused discourse

Now the flowers drip blood

I hold my own counsel

Keep making my art

As though casting a suit of armour

Against the fragile, vicious beasts



My silence is my shield

And I raise it high

I raise it high


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Alchemy of Time

Solitude is a balm

Better than loneliness

My own company

Has developed into a fine

State of affairs

Ushered into being

By the bold cloak

Of purpose

If I am to be apart

Then it is not such

A bad thing

To watch change in


As I experience it

The grand alchemy of

A heart, a mind

A soul

Burnished and toughened

By experience

And contemplation

But oh how a warm hand

A beautiful smile

Still sets me aflame

To forever chase

A capture of that which

Is intangible

Yet a beauty without argument


More Wisdom From Cracked

More Wisdom From Cracked


It’s Not Men That Are The Problem…

It’s boys, because you can grow older but not necessarily grow up.