In Lofer cemetery

DSC00911

You grew up
in a mountain town
encased in raw beauty

Breathing pure air
gulping clear cold water
from Alpine springs
drawn from heaven

Were you poisoned by propaganda:
A meek follower or staunch believer?
Was your mother proud, your father fearful?

Perhaps you were just born at a bad time
it was hard to be good
and you died too soon

Part of 12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier.

I came across a war memorial in a small, beautiful cemetery, high up in the Austrian Alps. I was startled to see that four SS troops were among those remembered. The obscene juxtaposition of SS soldiers who might have committed war crimes and stunning pure scenery got me thinking. Were these local boys inherently evil? Did the war give rise to deeply held prejudices that spewed up to the surface? Or were these local boys victims of circumstance?

Posted in 12x12x62 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

This one’s from the heart

photo(5)

You took this
My beautiful girl
You’re precious treasure
I’m the oyster and you’re the pearl

Sparkling, sharp
Strong willed
Sometimes
An absolute pain in the arse

But I love you
You make me laugh
I’ll always be there for you
To protect you and care for you

This bond we have
Is strong
Unbreakable
Set in stone and built to last

Part of #12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier.

Posted in 12x12x62 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A still and distant star

charliegrass

I can’t believe you’re nearly thirteen
The first time I saw you
You were a dot on a screen
A still and distant star
No movement
No sign of life
No chance

Then
One week later
A tiny pulse appeared
Winking
Jaunty
Cheeky
You made us smile
Spread good cheer
Life was not as bright
In the days before you were here

This is part of 12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier. The idea is to take one shot on Instagram a month and write a 62-word sestude inspired by it.

Posted in 12x12x62 | Leave a comment

Crocodile smiles

crocodilesmiles

This is the garden where I used to play
These pegs were crocodile smiles
Happy eating washing
Those oaks were giant’s legs
Their high leaves green hair
This grass was mud
A bald king’s crown
That ball caused havoc
Parents went mad
Windows shattered
This is the garden where I used to play
It’s good to be back
But I couldn’t stay

This is part of 12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier. The idea is to take one shot on Instagram a month and write a 62-word sestude inspired by it.

Posted in 12x12x62 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gift

The Old China Hand, Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell 15th April

What did he really do with the money you gave him? You said he just wanted a kebab. But I thought it was wrong to give him cash – after all where do you draw the line? I guess I’ve become immune to beggars; I’ve worked in London for over 20 years now. My heart has hardened and my head holds sway.

Even so, he made me think of Francis. Francis used to sell me the Big Issue from under the railway arches leading into Cornwall Road, just by Waterloo. He had a thin wise Buddha face and life-worn eyes. I always thought he looked like a down-on-his-luck-jazz-man. I imagined him playing his trumpet on a cold street corner in the dead of night; lit by a solitary halo of light, blowing a sweet mournful tune, Chet Baker style.

I knew this was just a mix of personal fantasy and stereotyping, but I was taken by surprise when he told me that he used to be a military man. Francis was a Captain in the Angolan army before he started drinking. I never asked him why he took to the bottle. I wondered if he’d witnessed something horrific or, even worse, committed something horrific. To be honest, I didn’t want to know.

We got on well, partly because we were both long-suffering Spurs fans. Most weeks, things had gone wrong on the pitch so we put them right on the street. Between us, we could have won the league and returned the club to glory. I don’t doubt this for a minute.

Once, at Christmas, I gave him a tip and he made me an immense horseshoe shaped spicy sausage; for luck he said. I was touched. Here was someone who had fallen on hard times looking out for me. I always felt there was something saintly about him. He had suffered but wasn’t bitter. He had nothing but was generous. He was cold but offered warmth.

Soon after, he left his pitch to start catering full-time. He gave me his card and we agreed to stay in touch… I haven’t seen him for a long time now. I must say I miss him. And perhaps your man really did just want a bite to eat, and I should be kinder and not forget what Francis did for me.

Posted in Two thousand and fourteen receipts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IMG_2770_2

“Meet me by the red shed,” he said “at the top of the concrete stairs, I’ll be waiting for you there.” She saw him first. He looked like his profile photo! A thousand tiny butterflies danced in her tummy. She paused and crossed her legs like a ballerina, for luck. This one would be different; she could feel it in her bones.

This is part of 12x12x62, a Storygraph project by Richard Pelletier. The idea is to take one shot on Instagram a month and write a 62-word sestude inspired by it.

Posted in 12x12x62 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Boys love lists

Seeing as it’s Eastertime, here are my favourite five eggs (rather than egg dishes like Spanish Omelette or Eggs Benedict). Add salt and black pepper as required.

1. Scrambled – Mix in the pan on low heat with butter, no milk. Take off heat for the last thirty seconds. Don’t serve solid, the name is ‘scrambled’, respect it. My wife Hazel is Queen Scrambler and taught me all I know.

2. Poached – Better without the plastic trays. Pop into simmering water which has a drop of vinegar, which works as a binding agent. Serve soft on buttered toast.

3. Soft-boiled – Not too runny, mind. Five minutes does it for me if you pop the egg in once the water starts boiling. Then, scoop out the egg and place individual wedges artistically on toast.

4. Over-easy – Flip this baby when the heat is off. Don’t overcook, fool!

5. Sunny-side-up – Preferably on a nice bit of gammon, or slide lasciviously onto hash browns or bubble and squeak while singing Yellow River. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ5-FoiBuVc

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment