Draft – Barren Man – The Scarab

The desert. A few degrees before of the approaching dawn. Starlight fades and the blackness of the sky bleaches into blues, browns and greys, slowly washed out by the light of day.

The scarab (“dung” beetle) – broadly indifferent to day or night – is on the move again. He rolls his boulder full of turdy goodness nimbly across the sands. Stops, surveys the terrain, inspects his burden, patting in uncompacted strands, and carries on. Wading through the dust.

The sky now hums with the suggestion of morning light and the ridges on his hard, black shell begin to glisten. Dimly, but definitely.

Such is life.

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Draft – Barren Man- Ogrin unsleeping

Three things disturbed Ogrin that night, and robbed him of his sleep.

His belly (its constricted emptiness, its intermittent, grinding spasms – like the yelping of a dog when kicked).

His head (hot and dry and full. Heavy and thumping).

And his fears. Indistinct, momentary fears which shot across his mind, flashed briefly, but slipped his grasp.

“This place…” He moaned as he turned over and over, and back. “This place.” Had he had tears to cry… Well, no matter. His face creased and wept silent agonies. His body tightened like a clenched fist.

 

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Draft – The quandry of the feather

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Draft – Barren Man (dream 1)

That night, Elias dreamt a dream.

He had returned to his cave through the deep darkness of a cloud-covered, moonless sky. Part feeling his way through thorns and rocks; part by memory and instinct; part by the faint but intermittent starlight.

He lay down at last, the blood from his hands caking under his fingernails, the blood from his knees and shins forming their first crusts.

His breathing – heavy – matched for a time the inhalation and exhalation of cold then warm air of the deep tunnels which lay beyond his cave. Then his breathing slowed, his body softened and he passed into sleep.

In his dream, his spirit – wide-awake, irrepressible – broke away from his body and flew: first out into the night sky above the cave mouth, then, turning, it re-entered the cave and descended; down into the blackness of the deeper earth, out of sight, leaving him behind.

His body remained. It dreamed dreams of its own. Pulsating carnal dreams of blood pumping and muscles twitching. Of gradual growth and renewal. Of circulation and digestion and dissolution. Defecation. Contented feelings.

The body-dreams scurried up and down the pathways of his limbs and organs, mapping out the geography of his living corpse, exploring all the feelings and reactions of the flesh. Freed of its tiny, limiting, guiding mind, the various parts competed all at once. A cacophony of blood and bile and muffled sparks of life. It juddered and twitched intermittently through those dark hours until it once again became just a host.

His spirit had forgotten whatever it had witnessed, or done in the deep caverns. It just remembered the blackness. But one thing it did know – its body ached.

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Topical between 20th and 21st December 2012

(TO TUNE OF “HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS”)

 

HAVE YOURSELF A MAYAN LITTLE CHRISTMAS.

THE WORLD’LL END TONIGHT.

FROM THEN ON

OUR TROUBLES WILL BE OUT OF SIGHT.

 

HAVE YOURSELF A MAYAN LITTLE CHRISTMAS.

FIREBALLS FROM THE SKY.

APOCALYPSE

WILL BLOW OUR LITTLE WORLD AWAY.

 

PROPHECIED BACK IN OLDEN DAYS

SO THE PEOPLE SAY, ONLINE.

RELIGIOUS CULTS AND NEW AGE NUTS

FOLKS I’VE NEVER KNOWN TO LIE.

 

ONE LAST NIGHT

WE ALL WILL BE TOGETHER.

MAKE THIS ONE WORTHWHILE,

DRINK, DANCE, VOMIT, PARTY ‘TIL WE’RE COMATOSE.

YES: HAVE YOURSELF A GEORDIE LITTLE CHRISTMAS, PET.

 

 

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First draft four

Dull metallic clanging. Clang. Clang. First working, then building, thinking, planning – now the machines are aping human rutting too.
 
It’s in their programming, somehow. And so they do it, with no regard to purpose or outcome. In every town and city, and on the roadways between; in landfill sites and forests : pairs (or more) of articulated robots converge and clashing their cold, hard bodies together. Back’n’Forth. Back’n’Forth. Clang. Clang. Clang. Smoothing off the rust. Screeching. Back’n’Forth. Latch and judder. Then release.
 
Anatomical and biological studies had been performed and coded into them. Predictive algorithms. Analytical toolsets. Human in every way, but not. A different type of emptiness. Precisely measured, designed, engineered and manufactured. Not the bloody mess of human longing.
 
And we, in our way, have begun to mimic them as they have mimicked us. As we made them mimic us. No, as made them, so that they would mimic us.
 
Metal shells to protect our flesh. From us and from them. From accidents and stupidity. Wired up to them so they can monitor us and keep us safe and healthy. I met a man without a heart. My leg is not my own. And kept in place in spite of my body’s protestations and its best efforts to slough it off. Overruled.

 

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My Mum’s Stew Recipe (non-fiction)

1lb lean steak pieces (beef/lamb) or 1lb pork ribs
1 large onion
4 med carrots
6-8 medium potatoes
salt and pepper
Worcester sauce
===================
– Cover meat 2.5 pints water in large pot
– Add salt and pepper
– add 8-10 drops Worcester sauce
– Add diced onion
– bring to boil
– spoon off scum
– Add sliced carrots
– Add chunked potatoes
– Simmer 2 hours in pot/overnight on slow cooker
– near end of 2 hours add 100ml of Bisto-type gravy

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