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

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Poem a Day (65): Blackbirds

A flash poem written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... several days late, but getting there! 


Blackbirds cry, shadows streaming across orange-streaked skies,
Scratching verses into the walls of this valley wrapt with echoes –
Their silken patterns criss-cross in shimmering slides of movement,
Flickering dark ghosts between the green, twitching leaves.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, September 24, 2017

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Poem a Day (64): Live

Another flash poem written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... kicking my lazy writing butt


She made it sound so easy
A four-letter word
A small sound
Sweet in its escape
But a lie upon my wounds.
I can let it lie
Or I can let it die
I can let it fester in my hand –
These things sound so easy
These things I tell myself.

Secrets carried deep inside
Kept in the darkest places
Written in an unseen hand
Never to be read
Never to be spoken
Never to be heard –
These things taste bitter
Borne hard upon the breath.

So make it stop
He made it sound so easy
Another four-letter word
Harsher than the first
Darker than the void
Starker than the pit
In which he found himself –  
But to live was so heavy
And stop so light
That the sun hid itself.

You live, she said
In the corners of my mind
As she read the words aloud
And they listened
And they wept
And they stared down
Where the light couldn’t find
Any sanctuary to rest in
As they buried him
Deep within the ground.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A poem a Day (63): The burst

Some flash poetry written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... 

The burst

I count the pages
Line the trees
Trace an outline with a pen
Twist the paper til it hurts
Feel the numbness in my hand.

These fingers do the walking
Back and forth and velvet tripping
The never and the ever
And the brilliance in between.

I can spend
I can feel
I can wave this thing called humane
Like a flag in light of something bright;
I can play the fiddle even, see I can,
Watch me smile, watch me cry
Let me paint it in my own particular way
Play this part
Make a sail
Tell the others I can take this boat away
Let me stray
Or let me stay
It’s an easy way to view this choice of mine.

Catch a plane
Hatch a plan
Escape the very things I seek to have –
Is that a thrill?
Am I a seeker?
Did I spill a clue to what I wish today?
Or did I hide it, conceal it, never to be read?

I turn the pages
Catch the light
Watch the drizzle of the ever-dying day
Like spreading ink it splatters into curls
Adrift upon this tide, so turning falls
Back upon itself and this night
As I count the pages
Tear each one out and cast away
The dreams I have yet to live.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017

Friday, 21 July 2017

A poem a Day (62): Silence

Some poetry written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... 


We’ll have nothing left here in the dark,
The cleft between spaces
Shaken in the middle of a sentence,
Left hanging with a hook
As a fish struggles to unclasp its lip,
Blood splashes;
Words unshapen swim in the air
Unformed, only thought in a momentary
Glance you make,
Often seeing what you want to see,
Yet never noticing the essence
Of things, or me.
While the scales slither silver
And the living twitches its last breath,
I wonder at you,
Here, where we sit in the approaching
Darkness of our lies,
Stripped bare,
Pained upon a grated thing.
I wish to unravel it,
But all I can do is remove the hook
And throw this life back in the water
With a mercy
You used to have.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017