Tag Archives: November

Seagulls on Main Street

launch1 by Mark Harrison

launch1 by Mark Harrison

Seagulls flying down main street
Why does it seem incongruous today?
Reason would suggest that they’re the same ordinary lake gulls
that buzz our parking lots & pick at our garbage
And yet, today it seems as if there might be
some grand conspiracy, some avian plot
as they dip and dive, casing out the buildings, measuring traffic flow
all in preparation for some secret rebellion, some white-feathered coup.

(The young man who brought me my bureka called me “madam”
Does that mean that today I look my age?
Or is it a cultural transplant of politeness?
Would he say that to a fresh-faced young student
still learning the maze of our one-way streets and hellishly steep hills?)

Meanwhile, mother-of-the-year award recipient
hangs back and smokes, while her child plays in the street

Trying to remember the vagueness of cars at that age
knowing they’re big, and fast, and dangerous
but so easy to forget, as you move from one fascination to the next
today, in this moment, it’s watching the leaves collect in the gutter,
multicoloured fly-weight boats riding the cold currents of November winds,
congregating around the sewer grates.

[Could you read the future in the way the foam striations
adhere to the porcelain curves?
A map of subtle imperfections,
and the rate at which things cool:
liquid, solid; love & friendship;
memory and passion.]

Why is it, that to feel strong
people need to make someone else feel weak?
Imagine what the world would be like
if we could all be strong together.

– T.H.
(11.13.14, @ Dreams of Beans)

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Filed under Art by Mark Harrison, Musings & Miscellany, Poetry

November challenge: Day 4

The dark has come, riding the chill, rain-spattered winds of November, leaving wet leaves clinging to the soles of our shoes, and spawning intense cravings for hot chocolate and home-made soup. What better time to huddle in front of the warm glow of the monitor and let the flow of words take you into another world.  A sunnier one, perhaps, somewhere far south of here.  Or, in my case, somewhere even darker, and much, much scarier.  I’ve given myself a couple of November challenges, one of which is to write every day (or close thereto). This evening I braved the damp and the (okay actually relatively mild) breezes (which nonetheless kept trying to turn my umbrella inside out) to write at my favourite cafe.  Here are a few random sentences from the last few days of editing that fit oddly well together, despite being from two different chapters:

The trees were moving. A deep, undulating ripple, travelling toward them at a speed normally reserved for supersonic aircraft.

At least two things were certain. The storm had come, there was no doubt about that. And Bryn was going to be more than a mite displeased when he informed her that he intended to keep his word.

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Filed under Prose, Writing, Books



Forty fathoms in,
and I’m still
waiting for something
to validate my life
like Castiel praying
to an empty amulet
looking for lost gods
in dime story baubles
reflections in muddy puddles,
burned toast and brickwork

Every day I make
my New Year’s resolutions
my vow to break the silence
I breathe in mountains & oceans
throw my arms open
hoping the wind will catch me

Ever day I hear
symphonies written by ghosts
songs by unreachable strangers

Everything that touches my soul
dissolves in air and whispers
fades like dreams on waking
Sometimes cupped hands
capture just enough
for a single sip
a fleeting taste, a cruel
teaser (the main feature never
lives up to the previews)

If only I could find
the right sledgehammer
axe, blowtorch, cannon
to blow these walls down
I might find what I’m looking for
in the rubble and the ruin
a new life out of chaos

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal)

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What did you expect?
That purple shoelaces
and thrift store T-shirts
would really make you
young again?

She just said to me, she said:
“Not you, you’re too young”
In a room full of greyhairs
bifocals, wheelchairs
and stiff, halting gaits,
it’s not much of a comfort

Who do you trust?
Not the words on the TV screen
or the smiling face in the magazine

When music is the last refuge
we hide inside ourselves
a tiny box within which
‘verses are born, die, are born anew

Humans (like the lady said)
(like some other things, which shall
remain nameless)
really are so much
bigger on the inside
Therein lies the beauty
and the tragedy
and the comedy
of it all.

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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Faint fingers fumble
for a coin in the dark
a handhold on a slick surface
seven splintered notes
abandoned by the side
of the road, forgotten
I think they belonged
to a piano concerto once
or maybe the chorus
of a well-loved pop song
they’ve long since lost
the story of original sin
unbound by family, they are
the ultimate in uncultured
tribeless feckless whim
free to clash and crash at will
headlong into oncoming traffic
they’ll leap blindly
into the abyss, if someone
dares them to
a voice keeps calling our names
bidding us come, stay, wait, go
we dance down dark alleys
in the midst of a snowstorm, barefoot
music without shape, singing
out of tune, and laughing

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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I saw a dog on a roof today
a girl opened a window
to let him in
The best kind of bird dog
would be one who could fly

Today the garden lady
confirmed that the Japanese
characters on M.’s shirt
really did say
what we thought they said*
(*so, you have a dark side, eh?)
One always takes a risk
trusting in the honesty of strangers

Today the rhododendrons
were bright sky blue
the cookies were sweet and crumbly
with purple icing
and all the boys and girls
were dressed for summer
short shorts and flip-flops
tattoos like alien birthmarks
twining over bared skin

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 06.10.11)

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11 Days ’til November

This page rejects
the pretence of insecurity
It does not flaunt its heritage
like a hard won trophy
or throw its voice across the room
like a weapon;
it keeps its secrets
to itself.

Look at me, my beautiful
plumage, my new boyfriend
the perfumed lady cries
exclaiming her presence
her au naturel, her grand
sense of ease, her
honest frankness, her sheer
lack of consideration
for the finer points of kindness
and yet
she is nothing like this,
a stranger borne
on currents unfelt by us
lesser mortals

When abandoned by happiness
we find new appeal
in old illusions

-T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 07.05.11)

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12 Days ’til November

This is where we go

white cuts in brown skin
memories of elephants in a grove
long grass trampled flat
this is where we go
to escape the endless rain
to find silence in the spaces
between thought and action
voices numbed by hesitation
what was once a headlong rush
becomes a waiting contemplation
soft music behind pastoral scenes
designed to soothe and mollify
we lose our conscience here
cut the tether of dream & ambition
watch them float away
dust motes on the wind
all sense of self lost
in the emptiness of time
grasslands shiver under
black star-scattered skies
sleep will come at last
when all has been given away
but this one gift will keep
a while yet; breathe in and out
eyes open; we’ll suffer
one more dawn

– T.H. (Patchwork Journal, 05.24.11)

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The prodigal writer returns… (ish)

I’m only sort of back, will be back properly in November.  This is likely the last year I’ll be doing the November challenge for a long while (never say never, but…), so I’m going to make the most of it.  We’ve got a great connection with the local library this year, which is something I’ve been trying to wrangle for the last 3 years.  Now that we have that, I feel I can gracefully step aside once Nov. 30th rolls around.  The plan is for this winter to be all about getting my foot in the ring – sending my stuff out into the world, editing the heck out of Fractal Theory (which is *really* close to being finished; and WILL be by the end of this month, come hell or high water), and tying up a lot of loose ends (darned annoying, all this grown-up house-owner stuff that keeps insisting it needs dealing with).

Off to feed the cats, and continue digesting a lovely Thanksgiving dinner (mmm, pumpkin pie).

‘Til November 1st (or possibly sooner)
– T.H.

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Filed under Musings & Miscellany, Writing, Books