stumpthetump

An attempt at NaPoWriMo!

I Hate Yellow.

So I thought I’d try a short story… I got the idea from an author called Brandon Sanderson, who suggested trying to write using only dialogue. He linked to an amazing story called Meat which is currently one of my favourite things… And so this is my attempt. Since I can’t think of a proper title, it’s currently called I Hate Yellow.

 

“I hate the colour yellow.”

“Morning to you too. You’re sounding sunshine happy today!”

“Really, though. Yellow. Urgh.”

“And buttercup articulate. I hope this is just tiredness from the Long Trip, or you’re not going to have much fun around here any more.”

“It is because of the Long Trip, but it’s not tiredness. You can’t realise what your world is like until you leave it, Gracey. And now I look at our world, and – how did I stand it before?”

“Wow, that coffee must have worked fast. From grunts to podium speeches in under ten seconds!”

“Very funny. But Gracey, you really should try the Long Trip too. It is unbelievable!”

“And from misery to enthusiasm in under twenty! This coffee really is something special. I should start charging you for it.”

“Your jokes might just send me back under again, you know. It’s too early for jokes.”

“Too early for jokes? What happened to Mr two-puns-a-sentence? You’re normally cracking those out before you’ve even opened your eyes!”

“Puns are in a special category of their own. The rules of jokes don’t apply to them.”

“I’m only letting that one pass because I’m still happy you’re back. Don’t worry though, I’ll be back to my usual self by tomorrow.”

“I’d best get as much complaining done as possible today, then. Yellow!”

“So what’s wrong with it?”

“Everything! Why is everything here yellow?”

“That’s just how it is. Eat your toast.”

“With butter. Urgh.”

“Oops, coffee wearing off already? I’ll pour you another cup. Just today, mind.”

“That’s not how it is over in Brown! Their buildings are grey, brown, white, their fields are brown and green… Even their lakes are blue. Blue! You can’t imagine! It’s worth the journey, Gracey, I promise you. You need to see it.”

“That sounds stupid. Doesn’t it all clash? It would hurt your eyes after a bit, seeing so many different colours everywhere.”

“I have to admit, it was all a bit confusing at first.”

“I like the way we have it here. All of the yellows match.”

“Urgh. Do you know, they had part of the welcome-back-farce yesterday down by the lakes and it was so depressing. Butter lake, saffron fields, yellow houses. Vanilla food. I wish other colours stuck.”

“There was another attempt while you were gone, you know. A couple of researchers over by the fords synthesised some kind of deep-fish venom – or maybe it was deepwater plants, I don’t remember – anyway, they painted a wall of their lab some awful shade of green.”

“And?”

“Dissolved within hours. They reckon it was molecular.”

“You can’t just spout words you don’t know, Gracey. That’s not how science works.”

“Sounds impressive though, doesn’t it? Maybe next time I’ll try a polarisation, or a subatomic. They always go down well in the office.”

“That’s because you work with beiged gullible fools. No, no, don’t start, they’re all lovely – don’t you dare tell Harry I said any of this – but you have to admit, they believe everything they hear. And they all think the researchers are just chanting magic spells when they try and explain their work.”

“Well, it’s a good job for me I have a researcher of my own to keep me from being another gullible fool.  That’s the only reason I have you around, you know.”

“Oh, I know. Is there any more toast?”

“Sure – only today, mind you. Do you want honey or marmalade?”

“Urgh. I want raspberry jam.”

“Now who’s making up words!”

“Sorry, Gracey. I’m going to be insufferable for a while. Jam is something I tried over in Brown. It’s red, and they eat it with proper brown toast!”

“Sounds disgusting. You wouldn’t be able to tell if there was dirt on it.”

“Their coffee was brown too, you know.”

“Now you’re just being ridiculous. I know they must have new foods over there, but coffee is not brown. That would be like drinking mud.”

“This is why you need to go yourself, Gracey! You won’t believe it until you see it.”

“Oh yes, you’re making it all sound so tempting. Half a year of travelling, danger of death and unknown diseases – one in a hundred chance you won’t make it back at all, I’ve seen the statistics – and all to come back and not be satisfied with your own place any more. You’ll be trying to dye my hair next.”

“I wouldn’t dare. Has anyone tried since those guys burned theirs off trying to go from amber to apricot?”

“A couple of people. They had dark hair, of course; one girl was almost olive. It looked perfectly fine, of course, but no, nowadays beautiful hair has to be as close to cream as possible. But there are only so many shades lighter you can get with lemon juice…”

“Ahh, this is what I’ve missed, Gracey.”

“The inane gossip? Or the burned scalps?”

“Both. Not talking to you, of course.”

“Of course. Another piece of toast?”

“I’ll have to take it with me. I’ve got a meeting with the commissioner this morning, he wants all the latest Brown updates. Not that he’ll have any idea what I’m talking about, of course, he had enough trouble imagining green fields.”

“Is this the guy who denounced the first reports as hallucinations, and tried to call the first rock samples brought back fabrications?”

“No, he was given early retirement. Can’t imagine why. The current commissioner is very enthusiastic about it all. He’s just not got much more than enthusiasm to contribute.”

“Well even if your puns haven’t surfaced yet, at least you still have a healthy dose of cynicism. Glad to see the Long Trip hasn’t changed you completely.”

“As if it could. I can feel myself reverting back to my mustard norm as we speak. I’ll see you later, yeah?”

“Yes, I don’t have to work late this afternoon. Good luck with the commissioner! Be golden!”

“Urgh. Anything but.”

Shoes Again

This is me finally finishing a poem that I wrote during NaPoWriMo last year… And I’m still totally not sure if it’s finished, but this is as close as it’s getting for now.

Shoes and Old School Rules

First red makes a move, smooth

But the tiles betray her

 - A stately staccato as she slips over

to the door

With that sweet arrhythmic step.

And another

Dark brogues

                                – I’ll call them brogues, though

                                I’m not really sure

                                that I know what brogues are – but -

the word seems to fit those soft brown

stitched shoes, silently sliding,

brogueing their way after the red-shod wonder

                -An interception –

Brogues are blocked by kitten heels

The smug self-satisfied tread

of one too many bowls of cream

Circling. Stitched shoes slide,

Kitten heels prowl round and

Pounce.

Then

A castanetted click to announce

Boots. Flamenco. Imperiously fronded.

Heels and brogues turn

Caught in social gravity

Gallantly recircling

 - Two pairs face one –

                                                (Who knew shoes

                                                Could radiate embarrassment?)

Kitten heels could turn as red

As red, exited left.

My own black trainers

Unconsciously crossed,

Self-possessed,

Bereft

Of a matching pair.

It seems other shoes

Have grown up,

Grown heels

                                – Grown colour –

Since last we were here

Been outgrown by kitten heels

By brogues

                      (still don’t know what they are)

But I do know that boots will not turn to me.

I’m too frondless,

Too scuffed now

By far.

Just Another Victim of the Ambient Morality

I’ve not tried angry poems before, not really sure if they’re for me or not… But I started this one as another from one of the NaPoWriMo prompts back in April, taking the title from an Iain M Banks spaceship. It was kind of an interesting way to start a poem, since it turned into one pretty different to how I usually write.

 

Just Another Victim of the Ambient Morality

Just another victim of the ambient morality

The shifting winds of politics, of blatant partiality

To riches. To the people who are near the ears of power

Just a victim ‘cause they don’t accept her version of reality

 

Just another number to the high-up insularity

A figure to be crushed beneath the tenets of austerity

No name. No recognition of a link between the classes;

Just a number among masses, an acceptable fatality

 

Just another slacker to the over-moneyed hypocrites

No need for them to picture her, hanging on by fingertips

Hanging on through food banks, through the charity of strangers

Since some unseen hand decided that she had too many benefits

 

Just another victim of the ambient morality

That isn’t absolute but based on standards of the wealthy

On the few cocooned in riches, with an ear to those in power;

Just another victim of the current amorality

Inner-ness

This actually first came from one of the poems I wrote for NaPoWriMo – Numbered. I thought I’d try writing in the opposite direction from that, but it turns out I found inwards more difficult than outwards… Hence why I’ve now only got through this more than a little while after I wrote that!

 

Interiority

Like to think I’ve got in me

Some sort of interiority

Some sense of self beyond the self

That looks from mirrors back at me

 

Like to think there’s something more

Than what I put on my CV

Like to have some inner core,

More than passing strangers see

 

Something beyond my play of life

(Though Judith Butler won’t agree)

And after all, can there be more

Than what’s read as your eulogy?

 

What’s left of you when bones have settled

Coffin shut, to earth returned;

The words they speak when thoughts of you

To friends, in some small way return;

 

And if I leave, when I am gone

More than passing memories

Some words, a concrete deed or two

To bring a smile, keep people pleased;

 

I’ll be content. For after all

There is no other way to know

That others know more than they see,

That there was something more to me.

Looking out from Dent station

Trees

With their long shadows

Stretched uphill

The necks of swans

In full flight

 

Almost

Caught in a moment

Of downwards landslide,

Motion trapped

In amber

Light

Fading

A hush lies on the motions of the air

And calms the caution tightening his limbs

As swallows slow their rush and mute their hymns

And salmon flash – there, past the sleeping elms

 

Sunshine, sprawling softly from the hills

Has doused the earth beneath its proffered breath

Here ochre sky meets azure’s covered depths

Meets azure meeting flesh, the toes outstretched

 

Here toe-dipped ripples fade across the sheen

The salmon sunk down through forgetful bliss

The dying sunshine reaches out to this –

A seamless segue, surface into man

 

Caught between the colours of the world

All trace of footprints lost beneath his toes

His head bows down, but all the water shows

Is water, sky, and azure evermore

World Culture

I’m not sure if this one exactly works as a poem… It’s made up of sections of information labels on things in the British Museum in London. 

 

World Culture (Courtesy of the British Museum)

Shiva treads

On the prostrate dwarf of ignorance

 

This Assyrian frieze

Shows heads piled up in a palm grove

 

Savara wears

A garland of severed heads

 

And Shiva has the goddess Ganga

In his flowing hair

Flight (II)

This has gone through more revisions than I usually have patience for… Which might be because I actually began with a definite idea about what I wanted to write about. I may yet come back to change the third stanza!

 

Flight

A slumbering, cumbersome metal-winged machine

Check-in at the dead hours of the night;

Recycled air and cramped knees up against seats

Are not how I imagine taking flight

 

The quiet rasping breath of first-time fliers,

Old films and even older packaged meals

Fill the space of marshmallow clouds and sunshine

Of light and movement –

                                             - movement towards my ideal

 

Liftoff means not fulfilment and freedom

But lethargy and thundering engine sounds

Will landing rather give that hoped-for liftoff

By taxiing down onto unfamiliar ground?

 

A chance to leave the stale routines behind you

To stretch your wings through continental days

A place for taking flight –

And yet I find

Such comfort in the old familiar ways

Flight (I)

I seek bliss

    and,

                failing bliss,

 

    oblivion

A Poem from Travelling (II)

I really do like the main idea of imagism, of a short poem organised around one image, so I’m going to keep on trying them! (Although I’m happily ignoring all the other aims the imagists proposed for poetry.)

 

Sightlines

Just a wet toy tricycle

Abandoned on the roof

Of a Belgian block of flats

 

With no front wheel.

What

Can I make of that?

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