Thursday, June 24, 2010


She was a percussionist, waif-like with long slender fingers that wound themselves around the xylophone's mallets, two in each hand bouncing light fantastic barely kissing its wooden keys. Hammers never sounded so subtle, so soft so seductive. Her skill and dexterity barely noticed when Mahler was in full swing but loved and enamoured when Liszt was in the house.

The subtleties of her movement added that certain je ne sais quoi.
She was elegance personified. Her ivory shoulders and sweet decolletage the only flesh revealed within an exquisite black velvet dress. The concentration on her face softened by short blonde curls and sweet freckles across her nose, pale gloss upon her lips and a hint of Chanel No. 5 behind her lobes.

She waited with poise and pause and struck each, bell, drum, timpani and marimba with such subtlety, delicacy and dexterity that it made his spine tingle, his senses prick, those tiny hairs on the back of his neck stand erect and that immense pleasurable pain in his heart dance.  Their impact barely perceptible but so vital to the texture of the piece, they gave it flesh and substance, depth and drama.

He loved the orchestra. Not just for the magical juxtaposition of notes that swept him into fantasy but because he appreciated the nuances of the gentler notes, the percussionist's strike, the string's dedication to melody. While strings streamed their halcyon notes and horns their mellow tones, he could close his eyes and pick out the most discreet  textures of percussion. Those  unnoticed in the larger scheme of things. The tiny 'ting' of a triangle, the soft brush of a drum, the deep almost imperceptible vibrations of the basest of notes the mellow tones of a tubular bell.

He used to play. He used to stand in anticipation of the conductor's nod and strike. A cymbal's crash, a gong's bellow or the shook foil from a glockenspiel. He loved that sense of anticipation while the melody flowed over his head and shoulders like a rising wave to wane and weaken before his moment in the sun then his turn to strike, to shine like the keys of the instruments he'd mastered.

The crash changed all that. Like the rip of a snare, broken glass became his glockenspiel, the pain inflicted  as if a thousand harpstrings taught so tight they slashed and scarred upon release. The crescendo of bells and bass, the screech of brass and wail of horns, the cacophony that surrounded his damaged body leaving him broken and blind.

For all his suffering, his hearing enhanced. No longer could he see her but he could hear.  Acute before, supernatural now. He perceived every string plucked tender, each note played foul, each sweet strike fly high and her . . he could hear her . . and that all important 'ting' that simply added the garnish to a wonderwall of sound.


Lizst Paino Concerto No.1 Movt. 2 'The Triangle Symphony'

This is a Theme Thursday Post on Triangle - go to all three corners and see what the others have made of it

Reposted for Magpie Tales 48

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Last Call

He’s sauced, smashed, legless. Falling down drunk.
He saved the last bottle until the 12th hour, the last minute. It isn’t the first bottle he’s opened tonight or today or whatever the fucking time is, but it is the last.

It’s been three months since the distress beacon was activated. He’s jettisoned his crew one by one as they succumbed to cold or hunger or just gave up the ghost. The first bottle of Merlot was opened in celebration of the first victim’s life. The last in commiseration at being the only one left.

There was a time when solemn words were spoken, prayers for the faithful, fond farewells for the agnostic uttered with gentleness and respect and accompanied by tears. Lately he just stands by the pod door sipping coffee and murmurs under his breath: ‘So long and thanks for all the fish’, before catapulting their bodies into the void

Why he speaks at all he doesn’t know. Nobody listens. The comms are dead, the computers powered down,  the last of the juice being used to light nothing more than a blue strip along the cargo bay corridor. It’s cold and dark. The food is spoiled, the water tainted, his companions gone. But for three days, he’s been talking to himself. Re-living his past, acknowledging his regrets and misdemeanours, arguing with imaginary adversaries and castigating inanimate objects over their uselessness.

He apologises to his wife. He remembers that last blown kiss. Quarantine had not permitted them to touch before he boarded, just a walk-by and a fleeting glimpse at the sadness in her eyes, the worry in her voice and the forced smile as she let him go. “I’m so sorry Hayles, so sorry . . .”, The words barely pass his lips before he realises he can no longer stand and he slides in slow motion to a slumped sitting position, like a marionette with broken strings; his suit crumpled around him, now overly large as his frame has wasted. He sees his reflection in the stainless steel wall opposite and laughs aloud at the skinny Michelin Man fucking with his head.

He raises the bottle in a faux gesture of ‘cheers’ towards  his blurry mirror image and gulps another mouthful. Strains of Bowie's Major Tom begin to seep into his head and he releases a guffaw allowing a purple drizzle of the heady wine to escape from the corner of his mouth. “Aw shit!”  he curses. This is the last bottle and the time is drawing nigh.

He begins to cry. From deep within him comes gargantuan, torso-heaving sobs, his chest expanding as if it might explode, the tears flowing and blending with the beads of spilled wine now slowly soaking into the fabric of his suit. He’s never felt such a release of emotion. He checks himself momentarily as if someone is watching and might chastise him for this girlish outpouring of despair. All too soon reality bites and he realises there is no one to hear him cry, nobody to hear him curse. “Fuck you, fuck you all to hell and back!” he slurs at nothing. “Where are you? Why didn’t you come? You’ve had three fucking months to get your arses into gear?”  Had their cargo been more precious perhaps the rescue might have been hastened, but they were carrying little more than space junk, cleaning up the neighbourhood and recycling the useful. Galactic garbage gurus floating in the dustbin of space.

He wipes the moisture from his face. “Fuckin’ garbos. .disposable and expendable"  he slides sideways and nearly loses his grip on the bottle but rights himself. Eyes now blinking slowly, pupils dilated, the air is thinning and the brain cells numbing, he can barely taste the merlot. One more gagging swig at the bottle and it is done.  He reads the label through bleary eyes and declining consciousness:

The palate displays a touch of tea leaf followed by spice and plum. Fine, dry, dusty tannins with leafy tobacco and coffee flavours emerging. Enjoy this now with tomato based pastas or barbecued meat dishes.

He enjoyed his with a splash of Pentobarbital and is no longer the last man standing.

Created for 10th Daughter of Memory - Merlot and Coffee 
Resubmitted for Theme Thursday - Space

Flesh and Blood

They leave. They all leave eventually. It's a strange sensation because how could they leave when they were never really here?

They tire easily, they bore even more easily and become bored. They don’t understand their impact nor do they care. They're kittens toying with an errant string. They're fickle changelings, distracted by shiny things.  
They tug at her heart and in the moment, they are close, so close she could touch them, they click clack sober and sozzled. She kids herself that they’re real, meaningful, decent but she knows. She knew from the first instance, the first contact, the first flirtatious word that this is play. Guard her heart she must. And try she does.
She saw her aunt do it years ago. A fine woman, a mentor, a teacher. There were always waifs and strays for Christmas. Kids from the drama class, the boy from the wrong side of the tracks with potential, the precocious West End prodigy. They all went by the wayside. None kept in touch, none knew she’d emigrated, none knew when she passed. Not so much as a flower from these urchins she had so loved and engaged.

She knew from the first 'hello' it was fruitless. She knew her heart would break. She never loved them. Not really loved them. She was infatuated, absorbed, fond. When they came on line they were her world. All else was  forgotten, only they existed in that moment. 
Not all at once but in succession. A parade of pretty things to flirt and play with. Like every procession they approached slowly, tantalising in their beauty and spangles. Their whispering sounds and familiar tunes amplified with their proximity.

It began with cheeky comments, then sprung into email then developed into full-blown chats, even live conversations and time spent together in the flesh. 

Then, like a marching band, they walked into her present and slowly passed, accelerating toward new horizons.  They never looked back but left her standing on the pavement waving a flag for nobody to see, a longing in her heart that nobody knew existed. A lament for friendship lost.

He entertained her at work. A pretty geek with long hair and sardonic smile. They'd play during back-ups, he'd share his life, his loves his longings and she lapped him up like a kitten with cream. They met, they still do but contact is sporadic and she misses him more than he admits to missing her.

Then the suicidal brat with a big mouth and an an even larger brain. Self-destructive and arrogant. Articulate and sardonic. A pathetic mood swinger but still, he tugged at her heart. He was vulnerable and in need of a friend. His plight was sad and desperate and she would be his Joan of Arc. He’d been perverted by God, pursued by peers and protected by parents. Naive and narrow in what really matters, love, empathy, forgiveness and grace, she broadened his horizons. She was his rock. She knew because he told her so. He became her son but as his confidence grew, he needed her no more. He's still arrogant and lacking grace but he's no longer emotional.  She built him up, made him whole, healed his scars and sent him on his merry way.  He is leaving.

Then another spun screaming into view, a whirlwind of a man. Landing meteorically loquacious and persistent, encouraging yet annoying. Devilishly handsome and extraordinarily bold. Yes this one a little older. Incredibly bright, sharp as a semantic tack, quick as a whip, insatiably creative. Why her? She never really knew. He claimed she was interesting, had a talent and was the only one awake across the watery divide. He became her sweet distraction, her slight obsession. He filled her being with intellectual satisfaction and flirtatious innuendo. He flattered her, he talked long and hard and deep  about himself. He read his prose, sang his songs, played his games. She thought he was her muse but the roles reversed and she became his. He made her laugh, he made her cry, he made her feel young and fresh and tight and sexy. She knew he was a wanderer, a temporary diversion, a free spirit he was always going to run and he will leave.

So now she is resolved. No more emotional energy to be spent on bright young things with no future. Time to disconnect and  join the real world for the virtual holds no charm and waves a dangerous flag. Beware, this is not real, this is fantasy and try as you may, living a fantasy is living a lie. She is off to find a real friend, flesh and blood.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Loftiest of Peaks

The world is full of the bodies of men who've failed to reach the summit.  Attempting  the north face is not unlike bringing a woman to her sexual peak.

Before you even dream of tackling her elevation and firmly planting your flag victoriously, you need to work towards base camp.  A little preparation is the key to achieving your objective and reducing this mountain to a pleasurably quivering molehill. Indeed the 7 P's of the SAS would serve you well:  Prior Planning Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. 

To conquer, begins with a map. Have a good sense of direction. Be aware of the paths and contours. The landscape is treacherous but beautiful, undulating and exhilarating. There are many more routes than just ‘up’. Understand her sensitivities and approach with respect. Many have fallen by the wayside before even reaching base camp because their compass was a little shall we say, left of centre.

Be cogniscent of her mood, the weather of a mountain is no different in its inclemency to that of a woman.  Be wary when the swirling mists obscure her visage or sharp winds cut through to the bone. This is no time to mount your assault. Wait until the clouds clear and the skies are blue and you can see her full shining countenance in all its anticipatory glory, bare and beautiful and waiting for your ascent.

Be delicate. Do not attack each undulating hill with cramponed feet. She is an ecosystem where all parts work together to achieve the whole. You need to pay attention to her smooth slopes as well as her rocky outcrops, explore and understand her crevices and crevasses. Know where it is slippery, where it is safe and where it is somewhere in between. Dally a little with risk but do not become reckless. Reckless souls will fall long before achieving the pinnacle of success.

Take precautions, as they will lead to a more willing subject assured that you will leave nothing but footprints behind in your wake. Neither climber nor the climbed need unexpected little surprises.

Take your time.  As you hammer in the last bolt, fix your carabenas and clamour over the rim, remember the journey and not just the destination.  A rush to the summit may lead to instant gratification but it shall not linger.   Be slow and steady, rhythmic and gentle, respectful yet exploratory. There is no need to stick to the established path.  It’s all in the timing and knowing when to thrust forward and plant your flag. And as Confucius said, "It matters not how slow you go as long as you do not stop!"

Be weary during your descent. Don’t fall asleep on the job, there are dangers above and below that will see your moment of success fall in ruins. You will perish on the downslopes if you are careless and lackadaisical. Make your descent purposeful. Take time to admire her beauty and embrace her wildness before you too soon hit the valley floor and revel in your achievement.

There is a gentle satisfaction that can be taken when back in the lower regions that one can take by simply remembering what one saw higher up. Even when you can no longer see, you will still know, you have conquered well, that loftiest of peaks.

Another entry in this month's Tenth Daughter of Memory "Reaching the Summit"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


On Tahiti’s Raiatea, there is a legend. Atop its volcanic rim a tiny flower, Tiare Apetahi, opens its hand-like petals as dawn breaks. The sweet-scented, white bloom is the promise of an island prince who proclaimed, as he died in his lover 's arms, "Every morning when you come to the mountain, I will give you my hand to caress." Elizabeth was determined to walk the mountain path and caress the Tiare Apetahi for herself.

Michael loves Elizabeth. Deeply and unconditionally but had failed to please her in the way that she deserved. They’d never come together. He’d satisfied her needs, always. Her satiation brought him joy, but he had never brought her to the peak of pleasure whilst inside her. This he strove to do. Her fulfilment meant that much to him.

Their tiny Bure rested upon a wooden wharf, atop an azure sea. A glass panel in the floor revealed the colour of the coral reef below, so clear its depth was imperceptible. They sat through sunsets sipping mango daiquiris, lay on sun-drenched beaches of shimmering black sand. They argued over the direction an outrigger canoe could take, resolving their conflict with sweet kisses and make-up sex. They made love, long and often. They lay exhausted and slept through lunch - but still did not come ‘together’.

Michael chose not to join Elizabeth on her lone dawn sojourn along the Temehani path. Until after an hour or so, when a pang of guilt washed over him. He should be with her when dawn breaks. He should share her romantic inclination to watch the sacred flower bloom. He hurriedly threw on yesterday’s clothes, attempted to straighten his sleep dishevelled hair, slipped his well-worn loafers and headed for the trail.

She walked alone in the warm pre-dawn, surrounded by the fragrance of vanilla and frangipani. She knew she was being followed. There was no sound to speak of, just a ‘presence’ and a slight waft of coconut oil. This place assaulted the senses with its exotic scent and unknown sounds. She, smiled a knowing smile and paid the follower no mind as she continued her ascent.

Surrounded by rousing birds and a rose-tinted sky, she reached the summit. A now long-dead volcanic rim, its crater filled with lushness and birdsong as the morning stirred. She found her vantage point overlooking the waking world below and waited for the first vestiges of golden light to pierce the horizon. She lay on the warm damp ground, belly down, leaning on her elbows, her hands cupping her chin, her eyes closed lightly and her face towards the pending rays.

“La no ra nah!’ he whispered. She giggled at Michael’s Tahitian and its authenticity. She was pleased that he’d caught up with her before the dawn had broken. She didn’t glance back but heard him drop to his knees behind her. She held her prone position and slid her legs apart to tease, whilst maintaining her seaward pose, her chin still resting in her hands. The shadow of a smile, graced her at the same time the glow on the horizon began to intensify.

He leaned forward on all fours and caressed her smooth, bare calves. Firmly placing one hand on each, gliding upwards along the back of her legs. Such pleasure made her close her eyes and moan in anticipation of his next advance. His hands seemed larger, stronger, his fingers more dextrous and probing. The fragrance of coconut and frangipani combined in an intoxicating and exotic blend, relaxing and erotic. His hands slid higher along her inner thighs and thumbs pressed firm and gentle in a perfect and synchronous semi-circular motion across the crease at the base of her buttocks. She was wearing nothing more than a pareu, there seemed little need for conventional clothes in paradise.

The glow from the horizon began to warm her face, its light increasing in intensity, painting the clouds in crimson and gold as he gently painted his own sensual colours on her body and slid his fingers inside her.

Her eyes remained lightly shut against the impending dawn as she raised herself upon her knees in total acceptance of his caress. He maintained momentum with one hand and with the other, gently untied the knot of her pareu and slid the light, hand-printed fabric along her back from shoulder blade to buttock, as if removing a silk handkerchief to reveal a mysterious treasure and let it fall unwanted to the ground. His strong arm bent around her in its luscious lover’s vice pulling her into the rhythm of his sex.

There she was, atop a volcano, tanned, glistening, aroused, bathed in rose light, surrounded by flowers as he made love to her, still kneeling behind her, she moving slowly with him inside her. Abject bliss, total ecstasy, pure light, pure love.

She never opened her eyes against the intensifying dawn although its light penetrated her lids. She tilted her head forward in complete submission until the nape of her neck was exposed. He kissed it passionately, and mouthed the warm flesh. A sweet and teasing nip that barely broke the skin. The bite she barely felt due to the intensity of the moment. Their bodies reaching their crescendo, both coming together. The sun exploding in light across the shining sea below and tiny petals unfolding among the lover’s as they fell together, naked as the dawn, unashamed, entwined, exhausted within their private Eden.

All too soon the sun was high in its heaven. She felt hungry and it was time for breakfast. Elizabeth couldn’t remember how long she’d slept and hurriedly grabbed the fallen pareu. Suddenly aware of her nakedness she tied it loosely. Michael was nowhere to be seen. Why had he gone? She hadn’t had the chance to tell him how much she loved him, how wonderful the experience had been. She thought it odd he’d wondered off rather than stayed to share a soporific recovery.

Michael had watched it all from his leafy tropical vantage point. Stunned, mesmerised yet immobilised with intrigue. He’d seen the silent, tattooed Maohi with his Polynesian mastery. He’d watched his gentle face revealed by pulled back hair. He’d studied his deft caress as this silent stranger lifted his lover to her sexual summit. He’d seen her joy as her hips moved in Tamure rhythm with his. He could see that she was oblivious to the stranger’s identity thinking all along that it was Michael making her senses ebb and flow. He convinced himself that this was not infidelity. This was Ora teaching him a lesson, providing a tutorial. He would take it in his stride, never speak of it again and learn from her ecstasy. He would leave her none the wiser about his voyeurism but would pay attention to the lesson taught by his Maohi tutor.

She lay there, once again, on her belly. Tanned arms above her head and beneath her pillow. Her head turned sideways facing his. Asleep, exhausted, satisfied. Tousled curls obscured her face after a night of languid love making. Slowed and prolonged by the intoxication of alcohol and Michael's new expertise, they had come together in every possible way.

Michael brushed away the curls from her sleeping face “Te here nei au . .” he whispered before leaning forward to kiss the tiny bloom, her perfect scar. Evidence of that Raiatean dawn, still visible on the nape of her neck.

Created for both, Tenth Daughter of Memory: "Reaching the Summit" and Theme Thursday 3 June 2010 - "White" 
March 2011 Magpie Tales 57