Solitude

Hi guys! I haven’t posted anything in months but here is a new poem I wrote this early morning. I had to express this feeling – solitude is truly like an enveloping darkness

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Why? I ask why all the time.

Why does no one want to understand my solitude?

It’s a torture and a pleasure…

Solitude is a shadow and I sit in the centre

Underneath a dim lightbulb.

 

I keep my head hung low,

And I watch everyone go.

They leave me here in the dark,

And abide to their stupid ignorance.

Why? That’s all I can ask…

 

I plead “please be with me,”

But at the same time I want no one.

Why? That is the psychology of pure solitude.

It can’t be erased. It can’t be fixed.

It will forever linger. It is a part of me.

 

I wish to escape the shadow of solitude.

It domineers, yet is caring, protecting,

Like a mother. Mysterious. Nurturing.

Comforting, something the world cannot offer.

Yet I still wish to escape, and embrace the world.

 

“Why?” That question haunts me.

I look up at the dim light.

A shining grim eye that looks at me.

No one wants to understand my solitude.

The darkness embraces me.

‘Relic’

Hey there! Here is a new poem I recently wrote. This time the meaning of it is up to you – there is no particular story behind the creation of it; it was just an idea that came to my mind. As always, if you want you can critique this poem – I always appreciate other people’s opinions. Or you can leave a comment and say what you think the poem is all about. I hope you like it! 🙂

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I pick apart your body,
Handle each brittle limb and finger
With care, and eye each crack,
And blow the dust into a ghost.

And I take your broken head.
Each hole tell tales of times gone
Of a truth that cannot escape your mouth;
You give me a sad toothy smile.

And I ask you, “What have you experienced?
What did you see with your eyes?
Did you witness the earth change?
What story do you have to tell?

“Were you amidst the ever changing
And moulding earth? Each limb twisting in the ground
As lands collide and birth of new terrain.
What was it like – was is magnificent? Was it strange?

“Were you once swallowed by the ocean
And crushed by the depths?
You must have had incredible journeys,
And what great stories you must have of the world.”

And as I ask you these things,
I cradle you in my hands
And look into your deep holes.
And you can only return a sad toothy smile.

‘Sailor’

Hey guys! This is another poem I began back in late 2018, and finished it recently. I was a little unsure of how the poem would continue, but then I thought the second half of stanza 2 and the last stanza kinda worked with the metaphor and theme of growth and life. I honestly pleased with the metaphorical meaning of the poem as I thought it turned out nicely. Please leave a critique if you want; I really want to grow as a poetry and prose writer 🙂

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It takes years to understand and have the courage,
But once you are ready, you are able to untie your boat
And set yourself free.
The boat is the body, and the captain is the mind,
And each harbour is a moment in our lives.
Stay there for a visit, understand the fellow people,
Make friends and then return to our journey
Across the ocean. The grand ocean is our life.
An immense horizon of choices before us.

You have no crew.
Only you and your small ship.
Through all storms and torrential downpours
you must power through.
You will grow strong, your skin will thicken
From the muscling waves, from the salt and from the wind.
You will know the many mysterious ways of the world
And you will be a bold traveller of the seas.

And your tale will be passed on,
To your children, your grandchildren and so forth;
A symbol of pride in your family.
They too will understand the world, and set sail
Into the grand ocean with courage,
With the infinite choices before them.
They too will grow strong and prevail
From the troubles the ocean shall hurl at them.
And all will know their tale.

Maclean: Chapter 2 – Jac Neil (Rough Draft)

Hey there! This is the second chapter of my novel Maclean. Once I get around to doing the first and second drafts of the novel, the content may change so what happens in this chapter is not final as this is just a rough draft. I hope you like this chapter 🙂

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The next morning, Peter woke up, his fingers bruised and bloody. He had beat his fingers constantly down on the piano keyboard until his rage had calmed down.

It had happened again. She came in and bellowed at him to stop playing the piano. “Play when you’re good!” She had then went beside him, forced his fingers on the side of the piano and beat his fingers with the case. Up and down, crushing his fingers, the bones numb and crackling from the pain of each blow. He had gone to bed with tears in his eyes, his body shaking.

The fingers still hurt and he stuck them in his mouth, and he tasted iron. The pain ceased only a little. He checked the alarm clock next to him, and could see the red light telling him it was 7.15am; his mother snored and grunted in the next room. She had fallen asleep watching TV again, the stench of beer and alcohol seeped out of the creases of the doorway. He hated alcohol.

Alcohol did nothing but ruin his family.

He got up and crept to the kitchen to have a small breakfast. There were only basic foods that were had gone out of date and Peter did not have a lot of money – only the small amount that his step-father had given him. He looked into the cupboard: bread, eggs, salt. He decided to make toast with eggs, and then he would immediately leave and have a walk in Edinburgh, and try to get to know it better. The sizzle of the frying egg was quiet enough to not wake his mother who continued to snort and grunt.

            Pig, he thought. He thought he could fry her.

He had breakfast, and then left and closed the apartment door as gently as he could. He put on his light jacket as he descended the stairs, and was greeted by the cool, crisp morning air. The gothic old buildings were still sleeping and some people were out and about, going to work he assumed. Or getting away from a certain bitch, he also thought. He had to return to the apartment around six in the evening so he would have to make himself busy all day somehow. He walked down the street and headed towards meadows, where nobody was. The clouds above him were cold, opaque and it seemed like it was about to rain around ten o’clock. As he passed by some people, he quickly looked down and did not want to greet them—if he worried about people he would lose his train of thought and get nervous again. He sensed their disdain and walked faster.

He saw an empty bench, walked up to it and sat down, and hunched over, he rested his chin on his fists. His brow was low and his eyes still sleepy. He guessed it was now about quarter to eight, and he would go to a café and sit there for several hours.

His mind turned to his step-father who was still in America and only communicated with letters (the traditional method as his step-father had once said). Randall Blair. That was his name and he had no particular feelings towards that. That was his name in the house he and his mother had in America, and outside he was known as Father Blair and he was the priest of St. Marybelle’s Church. Peter remembered each time he and his mother came to the congregation, they could see Randall playing the organ and children singing evangelical melodies.

He remembered particularly the organ: it stood tall, golden and proud and was one of the most dominant things of St. Marybelle’s church. It’s sonorous and intimidating noise rung through the entire church, and it almost shook the benches and tables. He remembered feeling entranced and frightened. Randall also had a piano in the house, deep in the basement, and Peter had woken up each morning to the sound of a muted melody coming up from the depths.

One day he had tried to go down to the basement, as he wanted to play the piano himself, but found it locked. He had tried to look for the key in an area that was prohibited, full of keys to the house, garage, basement—and also for the car keys but Randall was out of the house and was using them. As Peter was only nine years old he took all the keys to try them out and see which one opened the door. He crept down to the basement as his mother was in the house watching TV with the door opened slightly. He tried each key until the lock eventually clicked open and he was able to enter the basement. He the rest of the keys back where they were and put the basement key in his pocket.

He remembered the first time he sat on the stool with all the piano keys before him. He experimented with several keys and tried to make a melody. He had been overwhelmed by all the sounds of each key, but he was determined to play. To play well. He played and played for around an hour—and then…

Then his mind went blank. He was looking at the cold grass glistening with morning dew. Father Randall was more of a memory to him now than as someone who was still in America and would most likely not write to them. The time he was nine years old and tried to play the piano too was merely a memory—he now wanted to have a career as a pianist.

As more people passed by, he lifted his eyes and asked a passer-by what time it was, who told him it was 8.15 now, giving him an awkward look as if something was not right. Peter remained seated for several minutes before he got up and began to look for a café nearby where he could sit and have some coffee. He soon approached the King’s Hall and looked around to see if there were any cafés nearby. The Cuckoo’s Nest was right next to the theatre and across the road were some restaurants. So he headed towards his left and continued until he spotted a large café on the opposite road the of the bank. He crossed the road and went inside.

Inside he could hear people talking, laughing about absurd stuff, murmuring amongst themselves, the coffee machines working, the milk steamers whirring and the tingling of cups. The smell of coffee filled his nostrils and the air was cool and dry. Peter ordered an black coffee and found a seat towards the rear end of the café. He was sitting in a corner and he felt safe for once: he was in his own area and no one would want to take the seat that was opposite to him.

He was alone, and he was determined not to leave for hours.

He sipped the bitter coffee, and gazed at the other people around him, conducting a careful investigation of each one. Some people opposite to him had their heads low and were not talking to each other. Meanwhile at a table nearby the window people were glancing at each other with amused looks and laughing about something. Something stupid probably, he thought, grimacing (He quietly prayed they were not laughing at him). He saw from the corner of his eyes that the one laughing the most was a girl with deep red hair—a fabricated, unnatural kind of red. Not auburn nor chestnut. A blood red. By her coffee was a book, so she must have been reading before her friends had come along.

He looked away and thought, they belong in a pub, not in a café at 9 in the morning.

He drank his last sip, and he shuddered from the acidic taste, and listened to the continuous laughter and talking. He wanted to think about his past, to think what happened after he had tried to play the piano for the first time in the basement. And then—blank. Nothing came to mind, but he was certain something had happened straight after.

Something terrible.

He looked back at the group with the lady with the blood red hair. At that instant, he and the lady caught each other’s eyes, and Peter widened his eyes in embarrassment and anger and looked into his empty coffee cup. And he noticed that the laughter had quietened a little. Could it be? He thought. Had she noticed that their laughter bothered him and she had asked her friends to be a bit more quiet? He decided to leave, and find another café. He would return to this café tomorrow perhaps when the group was not there so he could enjoy being isolated. He noticed that the little group had gone quiet and were murmuring things. He felt the eyes of the lady with the blood red hair on him, but he tried his best to ignore it.

Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

He spent the rest of the day wandering around Edinburgh, going down streets randomly and, once he had arrived at Princes Street, he sat on a bench and viewed the Castle that sat on top of the hill. The grey and cold building stood tall, and he was small and dark beneath it and the clammy clouds. He had no feelings for the building: no pride, no wonder, no joy. Blank. No, also tension. As if looking at the castle made him feel nervous and angry. He imagined taking away the hill and the Castle, before the city, would tumble into the gardens and graveyard, and a wave of dust would fly into the sky.

And deep down inside him, deep within his blood, deep in his core, something clicked, something made sense—something made him smile.

He made his way to another café and asked the staff what the time was. He learned that it was 5 o’clock, so he decided to stay at the café for an hour. He would wait until it was six, and by then his mum would have finished her work and he would be allowed back into the flat. He bought nothing and sat at the corner of the café, looking outside, observing Princes Street.

Soon, it was six o’clock, and he made his way back home.

 

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By the time he had returned to the flat, the sky was dark blue and the street was aglow with sickly orange light. He always dreaded returning home to his mother, but he had no choice. So as always, he rang the doorbell of 3F2 and once the phone was picked up, he would simply say Peter and his mother would let him in with no words. He made his way up to his home and saw that the door was ajar open.

He went in, took off his jacket and hung it up. The hallway was silent and dark, and the only noise that he could hear was the creak of his and his mother’s footsteps on the floorboards.

“Dinner is ready,” murmured a voice. Peter walked into the kitchen and saw his mother eating a takeaway dinner, with Peter’s own portion opposite her. Their portions were slimy and pathetic. Disgusting, he thought.

I’m really starting to hate this country.

He sat down, his mouth tense and thin from building anger, and he began eating his portion, tasting the sludge.

“So have you found another job?” his mother asked all of a sudden. He did not expect her to ask him that. He still has his job at the Warehouse as he is going back on Friday.

“Mum…” he began, “…I still have the job at the Warehouse.”

She shook her head. He continued, “I’m going back in two days. I told you what happened. I have not been fired!” he then added, “Anyway, I have no intention of finding another job now…unless it has something to do with the piano.”

His mother looked at him with wide eyes, as if the piano was the devil and should not be ever mentioned. “Don’t you bloody dare find a job as a pianist! You are no good! And after this stupid fuckery with this Steve bloke, you think you’ll go back nice and safe eh? You really think?”

He felt like giving his mother a slap in the face. “I told you, Mr Barker is having a word with Steve because he used offensive language against me, mum. I have not been fired.”

“Oh whatever,” she spat and then went into the sitting room. “And don’t think I’ll allow you in here after your shit, Stanley.”

Peter this timed made his voice very clear and called, “Like I care, you bitch.” His mother closed the door, and he could hear the TV being switched on. As her favourite game program went on, he could hear her grunt. It was almost as if she had transformed into a pig, and was making a mess in the sitting room, making those horrible noises. Grunt grunt grunt.

However, just as how he imagined the Castle tumbling from the hill and how he felt satisfied, this was the same. For once he did not care about his mother and he finished the meal, and went to his room happy. A strange, alien happiness.

And then, he began playing the piano. He continued and wondered if his mother would come in to stop him. She did not. He smiled and a chuckle escaped him, “heh heh heh…”

 

The next day, he woke up at six o’clock, and decided to play the piano again, but this time quietly. He did not want to wake his mother up in the living room. The piano tinkled quietly in the early morning, a frightened sad sound—as he felt underneath the anger. He wondered what kind of job he could do that involved playing the piano. Perhaps he could be part of a band or play at a concert by himself. The thought was exciting, but also nerve racking. He was scared that perhaps it was true: he really was no good.

A failure.

He felt his teeth chattering and he covered his face. He grimaced, but this time a troubled and terrified grimace. He felt tears in his eyes. That was when he remembered the piece of paper beneath the pot of orchids, and he snatched it and looked at what he had created. The piece was short and had arpeggios. He studied the melody carefully, and tried playing it on the piano though he still thought it was shit. He played it, pressing each key with a delicate touch. He then played it a second time, and decided to add something to it just to see how it would turn out. He played it a third time. It sounded better.

He continued to work on the melody, and soon he had filled out the whole sheet with notes—and he noticed that it was five to eight. He quickly put the sheet of paper underneath the pot of orchids again, and with haste crept to the kitchen to make a small breakfast. He did not want to be there when his mother woke up. He put on his jacket and would eat his breakfast outside.

The routine of the day would be similar as he would go to a café an sit there for several hours. He walked all the way to King’s Hall and intended to go to the café where the blood red haired lady was. His mind instead was on the melody he had created, and so he decided before going to the café he would find some music books. He felt that he needed a bit of help writing music, so he wanted to try and find books to help inspire him and help read musical notes better. He walked along Morningside road and eventually found a library and he went inside.

Inside, it was quiet, he could hear the sound of a computer keyboard clicking and there were only a couple of other people. It was only half past eight and he did not expect there to be many other people; this was a library after all.

He went to the music section and searched for musical reading books, his finger sliding along the spines of each book. He found a book simply titled Musical Reading: the Basics and thought it would be very helpful for him to read, and also write, music. He also found a book of songs that took his interest, and as he browsed each page, he was not familiar with the songs. He decided to take it anyway—he thought a bit of spontaneity would not hurt.

He took the books to the counter, where a sleepy receptionist typed away on her computer. “May I be able to borrow these, please?” he asked, looking into the grey eyes of the receptionist. She stopped typing and looked into his eyes—a rather expressionless stare—before looking at the books he had.

“Sure,” she replied in a cold tone, and began scanning the books. “You into music?”

“Yes,” he said, and then added, “it’s really important to me. I just need some help playing.”

“That’s good, that’s good.”

He stayed silent for several moments as she returned the books to him, and then he added, “It’s because I want to be a pianist, and I thought this would be a good starting point.”

She nodded though her eyes were once again on the computer screen. He felt that continuing the conversation with her would be awkward and dull so he left the library without saying a word.

He returned to the same café he had gone to, and he would study the books. He hoped it would help pass the time, and it would be very helpful for him. He did not just want to be a musician—he needed to be a musician.

And for once, he felt a strong determination—to prove his mother wrong, to achieve his dream and be a success.

He entered the café, and unlike the last time, it was much more quiet and he was happy, so he could concentrate on the books and of course be alone with nothing bothering him. He ordered another black coffee. He picked up the cup and turned around to find a seat.

That was when someone had bumped into him and the cup was sent flying out of his hands, and the porcelain exploded on the floor. There was a giant splash of coffee beneath his feet and some had gone onto the music books and his fingers. The café suddenly went silent with eyes glued to him and the broken cup beneath him. His mouth quivered in sudden shock, and his eyes began to dilate in the tension of the moment. He did not notice the person he had bumped into was ducking and trying to clean the mess.

In that moment, he had forgotten the determination he had felt for the first time, and an anger began to well within him.

“Hey! Are you ok?” was the first thing he heard, “I’m so sorry.” He blinked and then looked at the person who was saying that to him. To his mild surprise and disdain, it was that woman with the blood red hair. She seemed rather flustered at the situation, her cheeks a rose colour and the hair covering her face as she cleaned the mess she had made. The staff of the café came and cleaned up the porcelain. He looked down at the woman and thought, Stupid clumsy bitch.

“Sir, here you are. We are very sorry for his incident,” said the person who had served him coffee. He turned to him and saw another cup of coffee and the coffeemaker’s uncertain expression.

“Thanks,” he said quietly, and found a seat in the corner of the café, and sat there with his heads down. He opened the Musical Reading book found that it had been stained. That was when the pain in his chest began. His jaw was tense and his eyes seemed rather pale and bloodshot. He closed the book and looked into the darkness of his coffee—a dark abyss of bitterness.

“Excuse me?” said a voice.

He looked at his right and saw a fuchsia woollen jumper that was stained in coffee. He looked up and it was the woman with the blood red hair. She tried to smile at him but it was clear that she felt guilty for the situation. “I’m really sorry for bumping into you. I didn’t mean it. I was looking the other way.”

Peter nodded but the pain in his chest continued and he did not meet her eyes.

“And…and I’m also sorry for yesterday too. I was laughing so much with my friends that we bothered you and made you leave.”

He looked up to her, and remained silent. He shook his head and said, “it’s nothing. Nothing to worry about.” He was not sure how to respond to her. This time he looked up into her eyes. They were a bright blue and there was an expression in them that he recognised. He was surprised it looked just like his own expression; he could have sworn that he saw something about him in her eyes. She relaxed and gave him a comforting smile. The two remained silent for several seconds before she went back to her seat. She too was reading a book since none of her friends were with her.

The café was silent again, and soon the pains in his chest subsided. At last, it was calm again, and Peter opened his books and began studying them. As he read, the woman caught his eyes at times and occasionally their eyes would meet. He would be embarrassed and look down at his book again, but he noticed that she was more calm about it. He even caught a glimpse of her smiling. He was surprised that only moments ago she seemed agitated at the incident and now she was calm and collected. He sipped his coffee that had now gone cold.

“What are you reading?”

He looked around and saw the woman looking at him. Her expression was cool and friendly, and her own open book was sitting on her lap. Peter was not used to something so casual.

“Ummm…it’s about…music.”

“Music, that’s nice. I used to be able to play the violin at primary school.”

“I…prefer the piano. I want to write songs and play.”

“That’s awesome, I could never do something like that. I think you should be really proud of yourself for trying to do something creative.”

“What are you reading?”

“I have a collection of stories here. Right now I’m reading a ghost house story. I come here quite regularly and each time I read—or at least begin—a new story.”

“Sounds interesting…it’s nice here.” At least not when shit is happening, he thought.

“I didn’t get your name,” she said, and he was frozen. He did not usually share his name that easily with people he had just met. He was frightened that it would be shared and gossiped about. He wondered how she could stay so calm about this, about him revealing part of his own identity to someone he had only just met—especially through an accident.

He hesitated then said, “Stanley Peter.” He said it as if it were one name.

“Well it’s nice to meet you Stanley Peter. Would rather be called Stanley or Peter?”

“Please…just call me Peter.”

“I’m Jacqueline Neil; call me Jac, it’s nice and short.”

“Jac…” he thought about that name. Jac. There was something stylish about that name. Something beautiful…

“Well, it’s been really nice to meet you Peter, but soon I need to go. I’d like to come back here tomorrow but I need to work the whole day from eight till six.”

Peter suddenly remembered that it was Thursday and he too would be going back to work tomorrow. He hoped that this Steve would no longer say anything offensive to him. So he too said, “I’m also working tomorrow.”

“So, I’ll see you around Peter. I’m probably going to be here on Saturday. So if you want, you can come by then.”

Peter was still not sure if he could fully trust Jac. “I’ll see.”

“There’s no worry at all. Take it easy.”

Jac packed her stuff up and put the book into her handbag. She went Peter and smiled, “See ya.” Peter looked into her eyes, and said, “Bye.” He watched her leave and go out into the busy street.

Peter finished his coffee and continued to study his books. He thought about Jac and felt that she was no villain, she was not out to get him. She may be the first person he could actually rely on. For the moment, he was still unsure about her so he decided to remain cautious. He could see the time above the counter, and when it read half past noon, he left and had a long walk in Edinburgh, exploring each street and avenue. When he got back home, the sun had set and his mother had gotten another takeaway for the both of them. He took it into his room, and looked out into the dark street as he ate.

 

End of Chapter

Maclean Chapter 1 (Rough draft)

Hi there! I have written the first chapter of Maclean – at the moment it’s only a rough draft but the final version may just be this but more polished. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to eight more chapters as it’s going to be a short novel.

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Chapter I – Warton Warehouse

When Peter had first found the job at Warton Warehouse and they had interviewed him, he wanted to be known as Peter or Pete; he did not like his first name, Stanley, which didn’t sound like it originated from Scotland. Peter never knew that Scotland was his country of birth until recently. He had returned from America and had been living with his mother ever since. He wanted to find a job soon, so he could afford to live on his own and escape from his mother.

“Have you had any previous experience,” the interviewers had asked, their accents distinctly different from Peter’s own more American one.

“I don’t.” He never found work in America, and his parents never gave him any work. They never helped him find a job, so he knew he had to muster up the small amount of courage he had and seek one himself. No experience. He felt his ribcage tighten, as he always has since his adolescence. He breathed in slowly.

“We’ll train you and make you learn how things work here. We’ll give you something manageable for the moment so you can get the hang of this work environment.”

Peter said nothing, his gaze focussed on the photos on the wall, staring at them blankly. He nodded and whispered, “It’s ok.”

“What do you hope to find in this job and where do you see your life in five years?”

Peter dreamed of becoming a musician and hopefully forming a band with some people. He had this dream when he was twelve years old and he read an article about an artist who supported herself by having a primary job that would give her money, and during her time off she would practice. He believed that it was a wise way to live, and wanted to do the same. He would work at the warehouse during the day and at night he would stay up for a few hours and work on songs he had in mind.

Peter thought about the question, and the obvious answer was to say: I want to be a musician. He felt it was inappropriate and said, “I hope to be more organised and have a family.” He was not honest. His ribcage tightened. He could beat himself up.

“Could you be more clear, please?”

“I mean I hope to organise my life and have more money so I can have a family. I’m twenty-four. I don’t want to live with my mum.”

“Of course, it’s only a natural part of progression in life.”

And I’d like to play the piano, he almost said. He decided to keep it to himself. After all, dreams are private and Peter feared that revealing them would not only harm him, but also cause them to fester from the judgement of others. He just wanted to live life as an ordinary man who lives in Edinburgh, has fees to pay, have a family, and be a proud member of Britain. To be at home in Scotland. Find someone who can empathise with him.

Peter then remained silent and allowed the interviewer to continue.

“Find something to dedicate your life to and grow with it. Detaching from your parents—or parent in your case—and managing on your own. It’s a decent plan for a young person like you.”

The interview continued and Peter touched his chest at times, trying to prevent himself from visibly gripping it in front of the interviewer. It ached.

That one night when his stepfather did not want to understand it; Peter had found himself tied to the bed with cloths restraining his arms and legs. That was when noticed the aching in his chest.

Now, no one must find out. Don’t be an idiot, he told himself, You must keep this all to yourself now.

“So,” the interviewer continued, “we’ll give you a place here and see how it works for you, and if it meets our requirements. Well done, Peter.” The interviewer smiled at him and they shook hands.

Peter left the Warehouse and made his way home. The cold atmosphere of Edinburgh was still new to him, and the mist of the morning clung the streets he passed. Peter kept his eyes down as he passed others, and some people blabbered in their alien accent that Peter could not understand. Ever since he arrived at the airport, the first impression of Scotland was that it seemed tranquil and quiet. However, as he spent his first few months living with his mother, something started to seem off. Almost as if it betrayed the initial tranquillity. Something was in Peter’s mind…

No more getting nervous, he thought to himself. He had to understand his nervousness, and he prayed that this job could help in some way. This could be your great chance. So when he would arrive on Tuesday, his first day, he would try his best.

The afternoon came by though the mist remained, cold and dry, and Peter returned to his mother’s flat. He knocked on the door. No response. She is at work, and will return around seven. So Peter let himself in. The dull and odd smell of decay filled his nostrils. He went to his room and locked himself in until his mother returned.

And before him stood the piano. It belonged to his step-father so he could practice musical pieces for the church choir. Peter saw his step-father perform several times at St. Mary’s Church, back in America, and he would play the organ. His mum wanted the piano and soon Peter himself took a liking to it. The piano stood before his own shoddy bed. It watched over him as he slept, and was the first thing he saw when he woke up. He would see it stand tall and powerful before him.

He sat himself on the stool, and began playing the piano. He tried to invent a piece and work on it. He was able to play basic melodies, but he wanted more.

He was going to be a musician.

As he worked at Warton Warehouse, no one would even know he would practice his piano after work, as the colleagues would waste themselves at the pub.

As he continued on his improvised piece, something came to his mind. Something small. His face became grave and he grumbled inaudibly, Dirty culture…

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As soon as he heard a key in the door, he quickly stopped playing and shut the cover with a careful thud. He knew it was now evening since the room grew darker; it was his anticipation that made him tense. “Peter? Are you here?” his mother called in the hallway.

He went next to the door and replied, “I’m in my room.”

“Ah…” his mother said, and then wordlessly went to the kitchen. The rustling told him that she had done some shopping on the way back. He laid in bed and waited for her to say that dinner was ready.

When it was, they ate together in silence. The mother never wanted to talk to him about her own work, so he never asked. He was caught by surprise as she asked him, “Did you find work?” Her tone quiet and reproachful, and she kept her eyes on her soup.

Peter’s lips tightened and glanced up to his mother, and remained silent. “Did you find work?” her voice sounding colder with aggravation. “Respond to your mother.”

“Yes,” he mumbled, a child’s tone. His eyes down and his expression hollow.

His mother downed a can of beer, some escaping her mouth and dribbling down her jaw. She croaked, “Don’t you ever misbehave with your mother ever again, you stupid kid! What are you now: Twenty-four? Behave like a grown up.”

They were silent for a minute, and Peter’s eyes started to darken. His ribcage clutched, and made it difficult to breathe for him. He flinched and his spoon cluttered on the table when his mother scoffed, “Your father didn’t punish you for nothing.”

“My step-father, mum,” he mumbled.

“Shut up!”

Just you wait, mum…, he thought. He had thought that one phrase, and in lurked in his mind for as long as he could remember. He remembered her drinking when they had been in America, and when her husband—he never admitted that her husband was his step-father—was absent, she would be drinking and croaking. At the time, when he was around fourteen years old, he attempted to play the piano with a simple arpeggio melody, and his mother burst his door open. Shut that thing up! she shrieked before slamming the cover on Peter’s fingers.

So he continued to think Just you wait mum…just you wait and see what I can do.

They remained silent and they both finished their soups, and she opened another can with a sizzle. Peter took both plates and washed them, and as he dried them, he looked at his mother. The person drinking the beer was skinny and frail with a frown that made her face creased, and her skin was grey. “I’m watching TV. You, go to bed,” she grumbled.

He finished drying the plates and cutlery and went to his room, and turned the key. Now he could be alone, at least in his little zone in their apartment.

He thought about his new work, and his luck at being accepted. He would have to give it his all. I can’t lose it at work, now, he thought. I have to be in control of myself; I can’t let it get to me. He placed his hand on his chest and tried to breathe in. The ribs were tight, and he wanted to dig into his flesh and grasp the bones. He needed the money.

He needed to get away.

 

*******

 

He woke up, and a pale misty light of morning came through his window and filled his room. He lifted himself up and the piano was blurred in his vision. It was a cold, grey and gentle day outside. He saw 6:50am on his bedside clock.

It was Tuesday.

Silence.

He got up from his bed and crept to the door. His mum does not like being the last one to wake up so he was careful not to make any noise. He put his ear on the door and tried to listen to any noise coming from the hall. All there was his mum’s gurgling snore and the static of the television, and it echoed. Echoed in the hollow hall, and it reached into his mind.

He then sat at the piano and stared at the black and white keys. His mind was blank and he wanted to hear the sound of the piano strings, but he did not want to wake his mum. He even thought of playing the piano loudly just to spite her. Instead, he laid his forefinger on a white key, and hesitantly, pressed down. The sound was timid and broken. He closed the cover with a gentle tap, and got a sheet of paper to begin experimenting with musical notes. Though he had little experience with song writing, he knew that getting it down on paper was enough to start progress and he would improve his craft later over time. He wrote an experimental melody quietly, tapped his fingers on the piano cover and hummed it in his head. When his mum would leave to go to her work, he would play it out loud.

He stopped, and his pen was motionless in his hand. The tip rested on the last note he drew, and stared at it for a minute. He then flared his nostrils and whispered through gritted teeth, “What a shit piece.” He put the piece of paper underneath a pot of orchids, and went to the door and unlocked it with caution. He took one step into the hall, and listened to his mum’s snoring. He tiptoed to the kitchen and got a glass of water.

The clock in the kitchen read ten to seven, and at eight he would leave to begin his first day at Warton Warehouse.

 

********

 

He arrived at Warton Warehouse at twenty to nine. His shift would begin at quarter past eight. Others would need to guide him as he had little to no idea of what he was doing. He would half be in reality, listening and assimilating information about his job, about what to do and how to behave with others, and the other half would be distracted, telling himself over and over not to lose his patience, to control his nervousness and that his mother—fucking cunt mother—was away in a miserable apartment. He would make money and leave her forever, and be an ordinary middle class man with family and no disgusting mother to bother him.

Inside, there were some workers already there, eating sandwiches and drinking liquids before going to work. None said hello to Peter, especially giving that they had heard his American accent. They would probably invite him to the pub just to beat him up. Peter remained quiet, tense, his brow furrowed, his expression darkening.

Be quiet.

Unsure what he was doing, he went to his boss’s office. His boss was a man named Glen Barker, a rather grey skinned man with heavy eyebrows and a cheerful smile, and yet he had serious, piercing eyes. Yet Peter was unsure if he could truly trust him. He gave the glass of the door a hesitant knock and waited. Glen came out and looked at him blankly.

“Excuse me, Sir. I am not sure where I am supposed to be. I…I-I’m new here and just wanted to ask where I need to go.” Peter said.

“Maclean, is it?”

“It is.”

“Well, I think you are going to help with the stock for today. Just counting things, easy stuff for a young fellow like you.” Glen gazed at him with concerned eyes, like there something he already did not like about Peter. Peter seemed to sense this, and he looked at the concrete floor.

Don’t do anything.

“Well, no worries, no worries, Maclean, you can wait here. Steve ought to be here in ten minutes and he’ll help you. You can sit here ‘til he arrives. Help yourself to some water.”

He’s just the boss. Has many of his own worries.

Peter sat in his office and waited exactly ten minutes, and Steve promptly arrived as if he was already waiting outside and was given the cue to come in. They exchanged greetings and got to work, Steve explaining what to do, where the stock was and what to count. As Peter was unsure what he was doing, he asked Steve to give him an example, and so Steve showed him what to do and left Peter to do the rest.

He counted the stock, and counted it again to make sure he did not miss anything. As he did, the grey sky he could see from the large windows now had light breaking from the clouds and the sun was higher. Soon it was lunch break. Steve would come and check up on him soon. Whatever, he did and whatever Steve saw, it would all be referred back to the boss. It was a small warehouse, and it functioned as a tight network.

Soon, Steve came to Peter and dismissed him for his break; he would make sure it was all done correctly. Peter finished eating a sandwich when the speakers of the warehouse called his name and wanted him to go to Mr Barker. He was still and his jaw got tense; what had gone wrong. Steve? He hurried to Barker’s office and knocked on the door, and a blank voice inside asked him to come in.

“Sit down, Maclean. No not there, in front of me.”

Peter sat down, and stared at Barker. After a minutes silence, Barker asked “why do you think you are here?”

“Was there something that happened to Steve?”

Barker remained quiet again, and then asked “what games do think you are playing?”

Don’t get angry, Peter whispered.

Stunned, he asked “Pardon?”

“What game do you think this is? This is a job, not a playground. Be a kid elsewhere. Steve told me that you got the stock all counted wrong, and he told you specifically how to do it.”

Be a kid elsewhere. Be a kid elsewhere. Be a kid elsewhere.

Peter said nothing afterwards, fixated on Barker.

“Here we do things with a serious mind,” was one of the phrases he heard Barker scold him with, even though it was just a small first day mistake. He never expected the boss to lose his temper on his newcomer already.

And Peter already found Glen Barker to be a fake person. A person who is truly negative on the inside, and he tasted a bitterness.

Barker finished by saying, “Return to your post, but Steve will now supervise you in case you are too clumsy.” Peter left, saying nothing, his eyes half closed and half staring at nothing. Nothing interested him. He wanted to stare deep into a dark void instead of his surroundings.

That Steve told me nothing.

Steve should have told Peter about this instead of going straight to Barker about his, what Barker described so excellently: about his clumsiness. He caught up to Peter, who looked at him from over the shoulder and gave him a cold nod. Afterall, no one knew Peter here so it was normal they treated him like a stranger. Like an alien.

Why Steve.

            “Why did you not tell me about that?” he asked, reproachful. Steve did not give him the answer he searched for, “count the contents of those boxes, please.”

“Can you please answer my question. I asked you why did you not tell me. Am I not here to learn from you.”

“I find you—and many others I know here—untrustworthy. Your accent…you American?”

“I was brought up there.”

“You’re the only one here then. All Scottish.”

“What does that mean? Is there a strict nationality rule here?”

The sarcasm in Peter’s remark got to Steve, “Well you American’s can feck off and leave us be. You all greedy shits.” Peter froze in his spot, in fear and in building rage.

“Well, you disgusting scots all spend time at pub wasting your pathetic selves and for what? All because what is not from Scotland is shit? Yeah? Well you can suck cock, fuckface.”

Steve was motionless and shocked at Peter’s words, and then he wordlessly went away, to Barker again.

He did it.

Soon, the speakers once again called his name, and he could distinctly hear chuckles and laughs coming from the other workers. The warehouse was one large space, enough that voices could be hear from the other side. The repressed laughter echoed in the large space, and dug into Peter, dug deep into his skull. He went to Barkers office once again.

Barker called him in and Peter sat at in the same chair he had earlier.

“Why did you use harmful language against one of the employers?” Barker asked. He was straight to the point and did not have a minute’s silence like he had before. Peter gave him a straight answer, “because he offended me by saying that Americans like me can f off. To make things clear I was born in Scotland, but was raised in America for all of my childhood and adolescence.”

“I see,” he replied, and there was a sincerity in his tone that surprised Peter. As if perhaps Peter should not have judged him, and Steve was indeed the one who exaggerated. “However, you also used harmful language against him, and I thought it would be fair if I end your shift for today. You will resume on Friday. I will have a word with Steve.”

“Thank you, and I did not mean to miscount the stock.”

“I understand, no worries, no worries.”

Peter left the warehouse, feeling unusually positive. Barker was not a fake person at all.

Sometimes I really hate myself, he thought.

**********

 

Peter returned home, and went to his bedroom where he checked him alarm clock. It read 2:17. Mum would be home in four hours. He continued to work on his musical piece he had put down in the morning. He tried to play it, and as he had thought before, he mumbled to himself, “what a shit piece.” He was tempted to take the leaf of paper, and rip it into tiny shreds, crush them together and throw the little ball into the bin. He then breathed in, and reassured himself, easy, easy, just work on it, add something weird and then it may be better. And so he did. It turned out nicer. He was proud of it.

His mother returned at around 6:15, and she exclaimed to Peter, “I got some food. Come to the kitchen to eat it, Stanley.” She had got a takeaway meal – a burger and salad for Peter and a larger sludgy burger for herself with cans of beer.

They both ate their takeaways in silence at the table, and Peter, wanting to sound positive asked, “Did you have a nice day, mum?”

“I did,” she replied and took a large bite out of her burger, the sludge squirting out onto her thin dry lips, and she took a long sip of her beer. “And you, how was your first day at work?”

Peter hesitated his response, and said simply, “good.”

“That’s not true. Tell me, you little liar. What really happened.”

“A guy was being mean to me. He told me that Americans—which I am not—should fuck off.”

“Don’t you dare swear! Have respect for your own mother!” she downed the rest of her beer, and then chuckled. “’You Americans should fuck off’ Did he really say that to you?” She could not contain her laughter.

Peter closed his eyes. His body trembled with rage and he wanted to cry at the same time. His jaw chattered, and he remained sitting there for a minute. “I hate you, mum. I hate your very guts, you disgusting bitch!” The words stammered but were delivered, and the room became cold. Next, fingers grabbed his ear and his mother’s voiced roared into them, spitting some of the alcohol into his eardrum, “Don’t you fucking dare treat your own mother like that ever again. To. Your. Room. Now!

He was dragged by the ear, and he already began to sob in deep, shaking frustration.

“What a child you are. You’re pathetic! You’re a failure of a man,” screamed his mother. She kicked him into his room and slammed the door. He struggled to get up, his legs shook violently, and he reached his piano stool for support. He sat down at the piano.

Then he took the piano case and slammed it down several times. Up and down—bang bang bang! And he thundered random keys on his piano and finally let out a furious, dark scream with each broken chord.

SCREAM.

Angel Underneath a Blue Shadow

Hi there! Sorry I haven’t published anything in a long time, but now I want to go back in action. Here is a poem dedicated for my cousin who has one through a lot of bad events.

___________________________________

Dear Angel,
You have not been defeated.
You are merely lost now
In the dark with your wings harmed.
Your feathers plucked
And laying coldly around.
I still see your light.
You still have power.
You need a kind hand to mend your wings,
To assist your flight and unveil
You from the blue shadow.

You claim that Heaven abandoned you.
That all good is meaningless and banal.
I send you these lyrics with my love
And assist I shall.
My dear, you are pure.
You are young, plenty of life ahead.
Let me help you cure.

And just like in the fairytales
That we used to love,
You need a kiss. The kiss of life!
Now: watch as in the sky soars a dove.

Maclean Quotes

Hi there!

Sorry that I haven’t published anything lately. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and new year.

Today I felt like sharing some raw quotes from my Maclean novel. Hopefully they convey the stress of the main characters (and is yeah a little too dramatic lol):

  • (Stanley Peter Maclean, protagonist) “If I don’t perform, I never will. It’ll be my death. You have absolutely no idea what this means to me…”
  • (S.P. Maclean) “I need to make a name for myself. I don’t want to lose my place in society.”
  • (Jac Neil, Peter’s wife and secondary character) “Peter, what do you think I’m going through. I’m sorry; you’re making a reckless decision. I have put the burden of our family’s wellbeing on my shoulders. How do you know you will be successful?”
  • (S.P. Maclean’s mum) “Why do you not listen to anything I tell. I give you guidance and ignore it, you little slime. You’ll disappoint Jac! You’re going to be a failure!” (When Maclean is in his 40s)
  • (Barman, hosts Peter’s pub performance) *smiles warmly* “You know, you aren’t alone when you feel estranged from Britain. Back in Brazil, there was nothing for me. When I came here, I had to give it my all. Me and my girlfriend still feel alien here.” *chuckles*
  • (S.P. Maclean, in thoughts, alone in apartment) “Little shits in all these blocks. Little shits scattered in the streets. Who could fucking care if something horrid happened to them…Always complaining. Do nothing but fuck all; always drinking. Pathetic shits…”
  • (Derk Cumming, Peter’s apparent friend during his quiet stag do) “I figured since you have nothing happening, I’d take you somewhere. Somewhere I think you may…take a liking.”
  • (Derk) “Peter, all you need to do is listen to me. Not your wife, not your son, not your Barman friend…I know what is best.”

Hope you like them, found them interesting (and indeed corny and overdramatic) and look forward to my book

‘The Artist Who Left His Mark’

Hi again! Here’s another poem I wrote recently. It’s a quick poem based on a certain novel I am currently writing. It should convey the idea of the novel – the typical tragic artist archetype becomes a figure of horror. It’s not my best poem, but I think my idea is conveyed and you will see how it gets some inspiration from ‘Carrie’, my favourite movie.

__________________________________

There was once a man who was born in Scotland

And raised in America.

He was destined to be

The Artist who left his mark.

 

He returned to his home country,

And with his mother he stayed.

He strived to become ap pianist,

And then be the Artist who left a mark.

 

As lonely and stressed he was,

He soon found a way to escape

His grey life. He met a woman with deep red hair.

She would be the wife of the artist who left his mark.

 

He played and practised his piano skills,

And had few friends he thought he could trust.

The pressure on him mounted and tormented him

But it would all change once he left his mark.

 

Sometimes, his wife phoned him in the apartment

And found him crying in fear and secret rage.

He was shaken, eyes of people on him,

On the artist who will leave his mark.

 

The few friends he had were two-faced,

They did not believe in his lonely journey.

So they would become the victims

Of the artist who left his mark.

 

He was offered a chance,

At a pub at twilight will be the place of his performance.

He was prepared, full of intent

And it was the night the Artist left his mark.

 

He knew what he was going to do,

Innocent people, toxic people, uncontrollable people.

It was a perfect set up.

He was the artist…who will now unleash it.

 

After his killer performance,

People stunned and terrified of him,

He returned happily, he achieved his purpose.

He had left his mark.

 

It was on the news.

Someone had spoken, his voice intense and fearful.

He was found dead in his apartment,

The corpse of the artist who left his mark.

 

Now the streets of Edinburgh are hollow,

Secrets shared, all streets now dark.

No one would ever forget it.

The Artist had now left his mark.

‘Sweet Granny’s Figurines’

Hi again! Here is another poem I wrote recently and was looking forward to see how it turned out once it was finished. I wanted it to be a very cheeky and ironic poem about how I feel when I go to visit my dad’s notorious Mother. I’m very happy that it actually has a simple rhyme scheme to help add to the irony. Enjoy 🙂

_____________________________________________

Time to visit Sweet Granny again!

Let’s go tomorrow, let’s book a train today!

It’ll be so fun.

We’ll go to Sweet Granny’s and play!

 

On our way we pass grey mountains,

Full of dead foliage, the trees skeletal and mossy,

The rivers emerging like fountains.

We’re going to Sweet Granny’s! She’s bitter and bossy!

 

And she’s already there at the station.

Her long coat against her knees.

Oh, so much elation!

Her pale hair waving in the cold breeze.

 

We arrive at Sweet Granny’s house

And dinner is ready!

Better make sure she doesn’t stain her blouse.

So far, everything seems nice and steady.

 

“You’re our Sweet Granny,” our voices harmonise,

“We love when we see Sweet Granny.”

Her eyes are dull and flat. It’s our mother she despises.

We’re eager. Watch out tonight for anything uncanny!

 

There are her dolls. Her white people of porcelain.

Sweet Granny has so many collections!

Her white women in long beautiful dresses never complain.

The delicate white families are nothing short of perfection.

 

Oh, she’s at it again.

Oh Sweet Granny, oh what in the world is wrong?

“Now go to bed,” she spits. It is now ten.

We love our Sweet Granny. She is so spiteful and strong!

 

It is 1 in the morning.

I am the first to hear a strange new sound.

It is exciting yet startling.

So I get up. My naked feet touch the bristly ground.

 

The sound comes from the behind the kitchen door.

I twist the door knob,

Sweat already seeping out of my pore.

I see what is inside and finally my heart ceases to throb.

 

The fragile figurines! They flourish with life!

How they dance! Restricted by the glass cabinet.

They cry out to me – but to Sweet Granny I must abide.

She may be getting up from her bed!

 

“We wish to dance, dear young one,”

They cry. “Let us break free!

Let us finally have our fun!”

And I am tempted. I smile with glee.

 

I allow the figurines their freedom from their display.

Watch how they jump and prance.

The white little children are now allowed to play.

They dance, they dance, they dance—I’m entranced!

 

They jump out, diving, smiling.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There will be no more crying.

Soon, I realise morning is coming soon.

 

We’re now going back to our home early!

It was so fun playing with Sweet Granny!

The figurines were found shattered—it was us surely.

I did say look out for anything uncanny!

‘Little Clone’

A poem about my dark side that I need to resolve and understand as this year there were some scary incidents that happened because of this issue I have. This was inspired by a conversation with my therapist who is teaching me hypnotic calming techniques.

______________________________________

I have a little clone of me in a cage.

He is an aggressive clone of me:

His blood coloured hair, his pale skin

His yellow eyes, his foul sharp teeth,

His awful sneer. Hunched over in the cage,

His claws gripping the bars.

For I will not allow him control over my rage.

 

I locked him in there because he got the best of me.

He knows me; he is me.

“I am your shadow, what you do is what I do.”

He smiles at me. Chills from that horrid glare.

His eyes shine, the black slits pierce through me.

I drag his little prison with me everywhere.

The weight scrapes the ground.

My little clone is calm…he waits…

Waits…Waits.

 

I do not know what to do with him.

To me he is like a limb, if I cut him off,

I’ll feel it missing. It feels wrong.

So I patiently drag his little cage around.

He indeed is my shadow. Me and him are forever bound.

 

One day, he asks me let him out.

As I had once before when I had less control.

Back then I had believed him.

Now that has taken its toll.

If I let him out now, we would wrestle and wrestle

Wrestle until I could shove him back into his cage.

I would never let him win me again.

I say, “I must not let you out.

You put me and other people in danger.”

Fear and wonder fill me as I gaze into his yellow eyes.

The pupils enlarge, his grimace now wide.

 

“And you will be in danger too,” I add.

This is true.

He is me; if I abuse him,

It will only hurt me too.

“You come from me, you are linked to my soul.

This is for your own good.”

Finally, his horrid features weaken.

His yellow eyes are now reflective.

I almost mistook him for a true human.

I am glad that he seems to understand my perspective.

 

I do not know what to do with my little clone.

I have imprisoned him.

He is my rotten limb.

We must find an answer together

For we may be entwined forever…