Friday, 12 January 2018

A Poem a Day (68): Fifty-six

A flash poem written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... It's every Friday, so if you fancy writing something - whatever you feel like - head over there, or just read the flash fiction and poetry.

There's a story behind this one. I started a poetry course yesterday as my writing needs a bum kick and I was chatting with two of the women in the class at the end. We challenged each other to write a poem for homework, giving each other a line. I was given the final line of this poem to use. So this is what I just came up with.


The night sighs heavy when it stops to think,
The curve of the light a distant cousin,
The nail in the wall a reminder of hate;
It creaks,
This going forward, always coming back –
A tortured walk is this half-dazed oblivion,
Yet I seek it
Or it seeks me,
Day in, day out, week in, weak doubt.

I like to remind it not to be late,
Not to forget to close the door behind it,
And so it is,
This creeping remembrance lost
Of my selfish conscience,
Flapping like a dried-out fish…

I like the sound of obsolete.

I can trick myself I’m nothing like,
Yet I can see,
I have eyes,
Two of them,
Though this vision of me blurs still –
A twitch at the sides of a smile says so,
This tortured style of mine.

But tell me this:
Did you think of me today or wonder
Who I indulged these languid hours with?
I was alone, but you won’t know this,
You never ask.

But you’re always here, waiting,
Sucking the bar dry until I reappear
To accompany you between the butts,
Breathing the smoky lungs we share,
Reminiscing, laughing, choking
On our fears, always bigger than us.

And so today I will retell a joke or two,
Watch your grin creep up into a drawn bow.

You know I value these simple hours,
You know I’ll always come back,
Dragging my half-spilled bloody baggage,
Bearing my very bones for observation,
Knowing you will never be my judge –
I came for a half and I got a hug.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, January, 12, 2018

Friday, 22 December 2017

Flash fiction (20): The aftermath

This one was written for Dan Mader's 2minutesgo writing exercise – the only thing managing to kick my butt into writing lately. 

This week I injured a finger. I touch-type and I'm never taking that for granted again. Typing with one hand is kind of slooooow. This took forever! I guess this is an ode to little fingers!

The aftermath

So the thing was said in two words when speech wasn’t needed, the reply losing itself upon the wind whistling through his brain. In the darkness in which he wrapped himself these things he came to see: the arch of her back, the light dancing in her eyes, the red flecks in her hair. But it hadn’t always been that way. In the past they always sat in rooms, silent; the back of her head the only thing given freely. The monotone answer of her voice stagnant water, the tapping echo of her pencil tip an irritation he could never scratch. She was always good at sums, able to add up anything. Numbers were her thing. And dates. Birthdays, weddings, appointments, anything – some so random as to be inconsequential. And anniversaries. He breathed in the smoke. His one downfall the pitiful memory he inherited from his father, no matter what they say about most chromosomes being inherited from your mother. How he wished. The woman filed memories like an elephant. He stubbed out the cigarette butt on the step and gazed down at Layla’s soft, brown eyes beneath him. She barked and cocked her head to one side. He nodded and stood. It would be a while before it was safe to venture back inside anyway.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, Dec 22, 2017

Monday, 20 November 2017

A Poem a Day (67): Sweeping

Written for Dan Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise...


It slides and it
This thing by the wayside,
This sliver
Of a lie
Speckled with dust;
A shimmer of an age
Fast vanishing into air

Spring steps out
With a sigh
Upon a blackbird
Cast adrift in a
Faint blue sky,
While all else ends in
A crimson-coloured red

These times are made
For changing,
This life by the wayside
Cast in dust,
Clothes worn too long;
Fragile bones ache
In this rigid earth
Discoloured and dank.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, November 10, 2017

Friday, 10 November 2017

A Poem a Day (66): Pressure

Written for Dan Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise...


The biggest lies we tell ourselves,
Shrinking our souls into endless shapes,
Fitting, squeezing, depriving them of air,
Fearing to step outside these strict lines

Boundaries, fences, walls, cages,
The constrictions we construct within,
Conflicts of our own making undone
For we feel lost without them

Built to protect
Built to last
Built to tighten
Built to stifle

Freedom lies beyond our fears,
So they tell us, so we know, yet
Under pressure we struggle,
Sinking beneath the feeble self

Step outside where the crow cries,
Walk between the shadows crept,
Where the sky yawns possibilities
And towers tumble to the ground.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, November 10, 2017