Hush these voices
Writing my days
Worry will etch lines on my face
As storms have prospered
And marked the earth
I need an ear that listens
But does not judge
As I erode and try to simply breathe
Dull this pain
And let my spirit soar
Before I become one with the dirt.
All the while
Your own world, still
With the rush of time
By the windowsill
Trying to reconcile anguish
With the stretch of indifferent hours
The clap of a birds wings
Bringing you into the present
Feelings still the same
Despite the heartless
Whims of the clock
Telling you it’s
A new day
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It was chilly out, and snow had started to swirl in a heavy breeze. I’d sat down to eat my dinner when my golden retriever, Darwin, raced to the windowsill, standing on his hind legs with his front paws on the sill. I slurped soup off my spoon and some if it dripped back into the bowl on the table, “What’s going on?” I asked Darwin.
Darwin turned his head to look at me, his paws still on the sill, his ears twitching. Then there was a knock at the door.
I dropped my spoon into the bowl with a clatter and headed towards the door.
Snow softly fell and clung to the fabric of his peacoat, his hands deep in his pockets for warmth.
I stared at him blankly for what in hindsight feels like too long. His blue eyes stared back at me, and a strand of hair hung above the rim of his glasses, his forehead creasing with tension.
“Mr Ashworth?” He leaned in.
I licked my lips, “Yes, whose asking?”
Darwin sat next to me, his head tilted with curiosity.
“I’m Jerry, Jerry North.”
He told me his name with a look on his face that suggested I should know who he was. I shook my head, “I don’t know any Jerry North!”
“I know your son,” He turned back to me, “Well, I know him very well actually,” He bounced on the balls of his feet and looked down at his shoes with a meek smile curling the corners of his lips.
“How,” I frowned, “He…” I faltered. It had been a long time since I’d talked to anyone about my son.
He held up his hands placatingly, “I know what you’re thinking,”
I gave him a scornful glare, “You have no bloody idea what I’m thinking!” I hissed and started to close the door on him.
He jutted his foot in the door, “I know he died when he was five,”
I swung the door wide open again, “What?”
“He died when he was five but,”
“But?” I asked him, bug-eyed, “But what? He died when he was 5, and that was that. What do you want?”
“Have you ever heard about the Soul retrieval facility, Mr Ashworth?”
I scoffed, and my face reddened in anger, “You,” I pointed accusingly, “Stop with this sick prank!”
“Have you heard of it?” He asked sternly, his hand on the door.
“I’ve heard the conspiracy theories!” I spat, “It’s nonsense!”
“What if I said that it’s true?” He leaned further into the doorway, “And,” He held up a hand to ward off any protest, “And that your son was retrieved there not long after his death.”
“I’d tell you what I’m telling you now; you’re sick! Playing a sick joke on an old man who still…” I could feel it in my throat. The hot swell of tears.
The blue-eyed man placed a hand on my shoulder gently, “Listen,” He looked me straight in the eyes. His stare was intense, and despite myself, I found something trustworthy about his eyes.
“Your son is 35 now,”
“Would be,” I hissed still not giving entirely into that trust.
“I’m his husband.”
My jaw dropped, and I scanned his face for answers.
“Listen, he was retrieved along with a lot of other children in the facility and,” He took a long breath and looked down at the ground sadly, “They were experimenting with this new technology. Downloading souls into clones.”
I baulked at the absurdness of what he was saying with a wry smile tinged with sadness, “Downloading souls? Clones?” I shook my head with a sigh, “I don’t know who you are but leave me alone!”
“I swear,” He shivered, and his lips tinged purple, “I swear it’s the truth!”
I would have slammed the door on him, but his foot remained on the step, and he held the door open with a strong looking hand. “Listen,” I started dejected, “Maybe you did know my son, maybe you knew him from the nursery,” I looked at him sadly, “But you’re clearly ill or,” I raised a brow at him, “On drugs?”
He shook his head, “If you’d just let me in!”
“No,” I held up a hand, “Next you’ll be telling me Elvis isn’t dead!”
“He isn’t,” He replied earnestly.
“What? See! You’re just like those usual crackpot conspiracy theorists!”
“Bowie isn’t dead either!”
I snorted, “You’re kidding me! Surely if either of them were still alive, they’d have been seen!”
“No! Their bodies are dead; they got cloned into different bodies to help them blend in unnoticed!”
“So those crackpots that reckon they’ve seen Elvis?”
“They’re just that, crackpots. He’s still alive, but he looks nothing like Elvis anymore!”
I didn’t know what to do. What was I supposed to believe? It was snowing, and we were both getting cold, “I don’t want to speak with you anymore,” I told him waving my walking stick at him, “Don’t ever return, do you hear?” I stepped forward and got in his face, “Do you hear?” I enunciated the question carefully.
And that was that. He held up his hands as if surrendering and stepped back. But there was sorrow in his eyes, and for a moment I nearly cracked and opened the door again. But in the end, I locked it up, put the chain on the latch turned the lights out and went to bed.
These treacherous miles
No song will get us there
But we still try
I’m afraid of dying
But I’m not scared of death
They say I’m still young
But I’m old before my time
I guess it just plays a little on my mind
With this little broken heart of mine
The words come
because I feel hard done
Oh woe is me woe is woe
Got a blue heart
Thrashing against my bones
Feeling thoughts, I don’t even know
The way the words are supposed to go
With falling rungs
Maybe if I just smoke
All these things into my lungs
Till I’m bluer than grey
With my name etched in stone
More permanent than my existence
Are the words on my tongue.
Wired by the violence
That mars our existence
Your face is stormy silence
Drafted into this war
Dragging guilt through the sands
Of the desert
Grenade in your belt at the hips
It’s a gamble
As you grapple
Life at the end of a barrel
Keep your eyes on the medal
Framed on the mantel
One wrong move
Watch your manner
You don’t know who might wield the hammer
Can’t afford to be a star after death
You want that cigar at the end
Clenched between your teeth
Instead of bullets.
Let it snake through my veins
the ink of yesterday’s
Delinquent stupid ways
In the hiss of its forked tongue
Venom and white noise
We’ve been dying all along
This presence in the throng
Suspecting no where to belong
Let it snake through my veins
What’s at stake for today
Life could never be wrapped
Strapped or trapped
Life finds a way unmapped
Till death comes to detract
The world carries on
Which ever way the odds are stacked
It’s all the same impact
Whether broken or just cracked
It’s die, or adapt
But in the end
We’re all just paper trail artefacts
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