beauty, love, men, poetry, women

Victor

It’s a long way down

To fall without

Within

Into the abyss

Stained with self deception

And the fear plays its rhythms

On your bones

But this is where

The gods and their

Champions wait

And you stare

Long enough to see

The threshold

Cross it

It will feel like death

Until it doesn’t

But here

She comes to you

Sees you wearing the

Marks of father

And in surrendering,

Finds her own victory

With the surety

She finds

Her

Victor.

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men, poetry, politics

Outside

I’ve seen them

Online, mostly

The occasional one

In real life

Rick and Morty t shirts,

Lines memorised

And analysed

A pedestal for every woman

They meet but no volunteers

For a fey adoration,

And they smell of a subtle danger

Women find abhorrent,

Recognizing the tribe

Is a bitter sweet thing

Seeing as I’m outside of it

These days

Happier in some ways

Because things were simple

There were enemies and allies

Lines fed via prompt

But the script needed work

And my writing made me

Conscious of where the lines

Needed work

But it wasn’t my draft

And soon, I struggled

To believe in myself

And the immature grimace

Borrowed sentiment

Doesn’t fit so well

So I see them

Wish them well

See the sour, seething

Sweating need

And give thanks

For the deeper,

Darker truths

Brighter kindnesses

I live within these days.

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men, poetry

Fleeting Progress

Unremarkable to most

But there are moments

I can taste, sweet and fleeting

Where the world ushers me

Forward past a sea of burning candles

Broken and faded headstones

Too long a villain believing

Themselves a hero

But the road costs me

With each step

Against the trembling, angry

Chorus

I sing with enthusiasm

But little talent

Not lost at all

Just wandering through

Places near and far,

And soon, a kingdom

A queen,

An heir

All to earn with the coin

Saved in quiet time

Spent on new books

And old coats

So, see past the ragged edges

To the fine beast underneath,

Gentle as a butterfly

Rough as a bear.

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beauty, love, men, poetry, women

Safe

Unadorned

And I’ve let go of

Things but not people

Experiences, good and bad,

Their scars shine silver at

Civil twilight

But you run your fingers

Over my peculiar fur

And I breathe you in

Mine, I say from the back of

My throat,

You’re mine

And you curl into me

A little tighter

Safe here,

Warm and comforted,

If nothing else

Redeemable exists

Then I can lay down

Rest my head

And have intimacies

As palpable as

Summer lightning

Not be broken by their

Power,

Sometimes a man

Would rather fuck than

Feel

But here,

Safe and strong

I’m going to have

Both.

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fiction, short fiction, writing

The Chorus

 

The Chorus

 

Purity Clause

 

Thomas had his eyes closed and a wry smile alive on his lips. He heard the chirp of birdsong and the muted tones of the city in the distance. He wrote the script and sent it the studio and in before the deadline so he was taking a break from everything. He had woken at dawn, did yoga on the balcony and then made coffee before he sat and drank it. There were cigarettes in his pocket but he decided not to smoke one. He was trying to be virtuous with no one watching.

 

His phone rang.

 

It was an unknown number, but he answered after a few rings.

 

The automated voice was a digital collection of voices, different accents and pronunciations strung together with care. All women. Thomas shuddered.

 

The Chorus.

 

‘Did you believe you would escape your fate?’ it said.

 

A hint of breathlessness, something which would excite him at any other time made his stomach wrenched inside him and he sat down, his amiable mood evaporated into a needling panic.

 

‘We have registered an accusation. It will activate your belt in three minutes. Please do not pass urine or ejaculate during this time.’

 

The studio made him agree to the implant. It was a synthetic tumour, benign until activated via wireless signal. It threw you into a state of racked agony for thirty seconds if you went near a woman registered online as being NC or non contact. Women could waive being registered, because by then, an entire generation of men had been broken down and rebuilt. There were those who lived apart from the network, but most men went along to get along, he thought.

 

He was being given a multi-million dollar franchise to reinvent. They wanted to protect their investment and reputation, so he had to sign away his autonomy to keep working. Yet he swore he had been scrupulous in behaving himself.

There were cigarettes in his pocket, and he lit one.  He realised being good didn’t matter. His sex defined him, and in the world which he tried to make sense of through his art, had decided he was not only disposable, but he was dangerous.  

 

Simple And Complicated

 

The needle stung as it went into the meat of his buttock but he didn’t react beyond a slow blink.

 

‘You can dress now, Mr Agnew.’ the nurse said.

 

Pete got off the examining table and dressed without looking at her. It was safer to pretend he hadn’t heard or seen her. Once he was dressed, he left the room without speaking. She whispered a swear word under her breath. Once, he would have called her out on it, but it was different now.

 

The implant saw to that.

 

He left the clinic. There would be no paperwork to sign because he had paid for the implant in cash. His insurance wouldn’t have covered it, anyway. His head hurt to think about how much he had handed.

 

It meant he got to see his children again. His lawyer had got the porn clause taken off, so he had means of relief. The excess energy would go into his work, make money and get custody. Yvonne had a lot of friends out there, who used the Chorus to settle scores, creating accounts online and meeting men without deactivating the permissions. They shared videos of grown men on their knees, sobbing and vomiting from the pain. One man had died, and the women sued his estate for stress-related damages. They won, too. His ex-wife and kids had to move in with family for a while.

 

Pete caught sight of his reflection. His face was tight and pale, anxious whenever a woman spoke to him now. He had asked Yvonne out, hands sweating and heart thumping against his ribs, and she had said yes. It used to be simple and complicated at the same time. Some people were better at it than others, sometimes it happened by mistake or design, but Pete mourned a world where it wasn’t used to hurt other people with the resources of government behind it.

 

Castrati.

There were men who paid for the implant with no accusations hanging over them. It made things easier as these men worked from home, video games, the internet and silicone companions who would orbit their existences in a compelled erotic obedience met their needs. Real women were too much of a risk. An exile supported by society was a good way to avoid falling into the slow quicksand of love.

 

If everything told them they were dangerous deviants who couldn’t be trusted to restrain themselves why keep refuting it? Dropping out was easier and so long as they kept producing and spending money, it was something people laughed at without thinking about what it meant.

 

Wrath Of The Gods – The Chorus and the new face of state feminism, I R Mohoney, University Press, pp 124.

 

Let The Fire Come

The conference had sold out. A line up of feminist speakers and activists, hosted in Greece for its symbolism, both a return and an appropriation of ancient times.

Costas set the briquettes of compressed paper in a pile and squirted them with lighter fluid. His eyes blurred with tears as he looked across the stretch of forest. All of it perennial and virginal, soon to be so much ash. The villas would be collateral damage but if the conference centre burned, it would be a necessary evil. He had said goodbye to his children via Skype, alluded to in his cracked whispers of devotion, ignored as they showed him their new toys. Paulo walked past, a smug grin twisting his soft face into a mask of Victory, wearing nothing but a towel. She only entered the frame to end the call, disconnected and yet disdainful towards the father of her children. It had strengthened his resolve for what he was about to do.

 

Once the flames were going, he lifted his phone to his eyeline and spoke the prepared statement, mirrored around the world and released in an instant.

 

‘Men are disposable and our sacrifices are ignored and dismissed by the world. Women create, men destroy is the message and-‘

 

A memory of his daughter, soft and mewling on his broad chest made his voice crack, but he swallowed and continued.

 

‘We will honour this message.’

 

He took the pistol from his pocket, ceramic and put together in the rack of 3D printers which had been running for weeks, all from one design. The curved butt fit into his palm.

 

‘I love my family.’

 

He pressed it against his temple and squeezed the trigger.

 

The flames caressed his cooling corpse, grateful for his sacrifice as he laid there, his skull distended from the pressure of the shot.

 

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poetry

Children As Gifts

Chalk mark clouds

Against a cerulean

Pavement

The world goes on

And to see it as it is

Not solely as we wish it

But we grab our piece of it

Regardless

If I’ve let you down

Then I’ve a lifetime

To make amends

I’ll watch you graduate

Daughter of a man

Who is a little bit in awe

And a lot in love with you

Some part of you

Remains,

Asleep and newborn on my chest

But you

Your brother,

The first things I ever saw

And decided I would kill

Die

For

To put myself away

As an investment

In a better world I may not see

But you’re my gift to it

And even as time reveals

I know as much as anyone else

About the world

(Sometimes less)

I have always been

Defined by the pair of you

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beauty, love, poetry, sex, women

Kingdom

We have been spies

In the countries of ourselves

The tradecraft of expectations

Fears of rejection police the borders

And we wear smiling masks

To hide the howl of our unspoken selves

Yet here we are

Passports scarred and stamped

And lying here

The silken warmth of your skin

Telling me how my pleasure excites you

And I won’t return to the overgrown

Abandoned playground

Not when I am home

A feeling over a place

And we speak through

Many ways

The clarity of your kiss

Makes me fluent

The words I’ll mispronounce

Will be private jokes

Here, a kingdom

Without a throne

Or a crown

But there is a queen

Here, small and powerful

And it is a good kingdom

To steward into brighter, stronger

Days.

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