Sunday, 4 October 2009

Accidental prose shall be quickly poeticised...

Mostly I'm way too lazy to write prose, but I may cough up the odd page of it on here. It seems the perfect medium for 'not going anywhere, don't expect a novel' sort of stuff! However, you should understand that all prose is accidental and shall be quickly poeticised thereafter...


Graceless… She’d said it a great many times before, but somehow, it was never less cutting. I’d brought it on myself this time, I reasoned, letting her remarks wash over me like a vexing, tropical wave. A wave that was too hot, and too flustering to bear at 3.30 in the morning when one had consumed this much alcohol. It made me want to pass out with heat, and the horror of a week of the ‘silent treatment’ to come…a lengthy period of disgrace.

“Be more honest with me,” she’d pleaded, last week. “Let me in. We live in the same house, but we’re almost strangers these days. You’ve been closed to me for so long now. We used to talk…I miss that.” She’d cried then, and even though I wasn’t sure that she was right, that we had ever ‘talked’, those words had resounded in my head ever since. Perhaps she was right in some ways. Maybe I was ‘cold’ when it came to her. Maybe I didn’t share as much of my life as our relationship had the potential to warrant. But didn’t I have my reasons?

Openness facilitates judgement, and part of me knew it was a cliché to say, that she just didn’t understand me. To her everything was black and white, right very distinct from wrong, and judgement very simple. Do wrong, disgust her, and then, bear the consequences. There was never an excuse for mistakes, especially not for ones you just couldn’t seem to help but make over and over again.

It was usually easier if she wasn’t explicitly aware of my indiscretions. If she only thought she knew the things that I had done. Accusations were easier to defend than honest, naked truth. You could just feign disbelief in what you were hearing, feign innocence, anger or offence.

But she wanted us to talk now – like we used to. She wanted openness and honesty. So tonight when I came up the stairs, late and swaying, drunk and slurring, and leaned on the bedroom doorframe, I decided we would do just that. We’d be honest...and I would talk.

The bed beside her was flat and empty, and she stirred as I flooded the doorway with yellow light from the landing.

“Are you awake?” I asked, not whispering or trying to preserve her rest if she wasn’t. She rolled over in bed and propped herself on her elbows, squinting at me in the stark electric glow. “Good,” I said. “I’m glad. I sort of think I might need to tell you something about tonight, if we’re ever going to be close again. About all the other nights too…about where I’ve been.”

“I know where you’ve been.” She said, defiantly. “Do you think I’m blind? That I believe you when you tell me you’re out with friends?”

“I don’t lie,” I told her honestly. “If I say I’m with friends, then I’m with friends.”

“One friend?” She asked, staring at me with that same disgusted expression on her face that I’d seen so many times before. It made me tired just to look at it.

“Perhaps.” I said. “Later on.” Then realised I was being cagey again. “Yes.” I sighed, determined to be open. “One friend.”

“Doing what friends do?” She spat sarcastically, cocking her head to one side in mock anticipation of my answer. She feigned an innocent sing-song tone. “For all this time...? Were you talking?! Drinking?!” I lost my patience. Enough. This wasn’t honesty, or openness...she wasn't prepared to listen to my reasons, to try to understand. She'd already made up her mind, and this was nothing but a show trial. There'd be no jury, no defence, just judgement. Her judgement. Well, fine then...I’d give her something to judge!

“You know we were.” I smirked, feigning my own tone of innocence for a moment. “Talking, drinking…you know what else we were doing too…and let me tell you, it was goood! Damn, it was good! It’s always good when it’s bad, if you know what I mean?!” The anger flashed across her eyes now, white-hot and vicious. And something else…was that shame?

“For god’s sake! Have a little grace!” she spat, almost choked now. “What you’re doing is more than ‘bad’! Don’t you have a conscience? Don't you ever think about her? How is it possible that I could breed such a vile little Jezebel?!”

Itching...all...over, must...poeticise...

Based on the prose above, the daughter's battle with her conscience:


“For pity’s sake, have a little Grace,”
mocked the haloed one.
“After all that you have done,
dare you
feign Honour
tell me how you kept your face
And to what distant place
you so gallantly strayed for a memory
Just enough
to furnish that display?
You have less than nothing to preach about!
Get down from your pedestal,
Mary! Delilah!

“Cover your ears, Felicity,
turn away, Serendipity,”
purred the Horn-Tail’s silver tongue.
“You are but one,
Stella, among many,
all in far too great a hurry
to hear cruel angels speak.
Lie down at my feet, Ophelia,
are a rarity; a mad soul truly
who answers the calls of inner beasts
and damns the consequence.
At least you
Temperance and Prudence only last so long,
correct me if I am wrong in what I expect,
but I know how star-crossed you are,
only ever standing so far from old clarity,
answer to your true name,
There’s nothing
more graceful than that.

Ahhh...that's better!


  1. Wow! And well done. To both story and poem.

    Ah, Jezebel. Still pointing the way to hell.

  2. I enjoyed the internal dialogue.

  3. Fascinating portrayal of the poignant vicissitudes of 'openness,' 'honesty,' 'grace,' judgment. Really enjoyed these. Thank you.

  4. I understand that need to put it into poetry as it is immediate and clenching, tact and stake to the point of nailing that idea to the floor. Hope I got it right. Excellent.

  5. Thank you for the great comments! It's good to know that poetry is still appreciated as much as craft is not a dying art after all! :)