Aphrodite’s open legs,
and the diver, hunting pearls.
River and ocean, kissing on the mouth,
rivers of blood, at war’s end.
Good harvest, good fight,
healthy baby born.
Cuts and scratches across your face,
bloody feet after a long night out.
Everything, and yet nothing,
forever infinite potential.
Sunday, 26 June 2016
Aphrodite’s open legs,
as I sing myself to sleep
and defend me from the monsters
be them real or deep within.
A lullabye to pass the time
perhaps you could do that?
or fluff my pillow and fix the bed
as I swim amongst the dreams.
What about a cup of cocoa
for when I wake up scared
of mythical things and reality’s threats
perhaps you'll help me then.
Saturday, 25 June 2016
Her doubts proved right, and the man hadn’t chased her, letting her relax enough to think as she entered the small terrace house she called home. The man looked like he’d just been spat out of the 90s, complete with that frankly starved look, and he’d seemed sluggish in his movement. Was he a druggie? Maybe, but there was something....predatory about how he looked and acted; hitting a random girl by a graveyard wasn’t something druggies were known for. He was strange, stranger than most of the oddities she’d grown to seeing in the town, and it creeped her out.
But now was not the time for fretting over random men attacking her in graveyards, she had to catch some sleep and get ready for her night shift tomorrow. She did the normal going to bed ritual, and drifted off to sleep with hopes for a peaceful rest. Instead her dreams were surreal, full of nasty-looking people leering at her and grabbing her, pulling her this way and that. It wasn’t until she woke up some six hours later sweating that something about the dream-people hit her; they were the Midnight Lot, or at least the dream-faces were their’s. Tonight was going to be hard, four hour shift be damned.
Said shift was boring. Yasmin spent the first hour tending to the bar whilst her manager, a short fat man in his late thirties called Geoff, sorted out the delivery. Tonight it was only the alcoholics present, and it was past the time most of the Midnight Lot arrived. After serving ale to everyone in the pub, she started to think back to the night before, specifically to that man. Now she was stood in the awkward comfort of the Drowned Maid, Yasmin realised exactly what made him so creepy; he was so pale he was also translucent, even in the early morning’s light, when everything had that pinkish glow. Worse, it was the same sort of pallor the pub lights gave the Midnight Lot, but it felt more real, if that made sense. She automatically looked at the faces dotted around the pub, only to come to a more unsettling revelation; nobody looked like that under those same lights. Their faces looked flushed or pale in the normal sense, not that mystical kind of pale she’d seen the night before in both the Midnight Lot or the graveyard guy. So what caused that look for them? Were some of them ill or tired, or something? It just made no sense to her.
Things that night were only to get stranger, though, because who walked into the Drowned Maid that very moment but the graveyard guy. He looked better now, with his cheeks looking a little fuller and his clothes almost seemed to fit him better. He also looked less angry or strange, but that strange pallor was still there, but had grown fainter and more like a glow. Graveyard guy made a double take at seeing Yasmin stood expectantly at the bar, as if he didn’t know she was here; he hadn’t followed her from the pub last night, at least. What followed next was the strangest thing of all. He walked up to the bar, took of his sunglasses, and just said “I’m so sorry”.
“I, uh, sorry?” Yasmin spluttered. This was a shock, to have a man who’d hit her on her way home at half six in the morning suddenly apologising for just that.
“I’m sorry,” he repeated, “for what happened yesterday, uh, today. I wasn’t myself.”
“Um, okay, I guess,” this was unbelievable, “it’s okay?”
Graveyard guy relaxed at that, letting his shoulders sag so that he looked like a mopey teenager rather than a grown man. Now he was stood in front of him, Yasmin realised he probably wasn’t much older than her; there was a shadow of facial hair, and he had a spot between his eyebrows that his sunglasses just managed to cover. He looked normal under that luminescent glow, and it made hating him hard.
“What’s your name?” She asked, hoping to break the ice now.
“Nice name. Suits you.
“Thanks.” Seemingly satisfied with this much conversation, he asked for a pint of cloudy cider and sat down at a nearby table, immediately whipping out a phone from his flannel shirt’s pocket, no doubt to text someone or go on his social media. After the strangeness of last night, Yasmin was glad to see such normalcy at this pub. She could probably get used to these moments, she thought idly.
Thursday, 16 June 2016
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Yasmin knew she was going to be working at an odd pub, but she didn’t understand just how odd it could really be. The Drowned Maid stood awkwardly near the cliff’s edge, overlooking the sea confidently whilst straddling the thankfully-solid ground that had recently been declared safe from coastal erosion. Still, it was a weird place to choose to drink at, with it’s creaky bar stools and thick, musty curtains draped all over the place. I felt like it could have once been a fancy house, at least it could’ve 500 years ago. It served the oddballs of Pennie-upon-Sea, from the town drunks to the strangely-active goth scene. And then there were to nighttime drinkers. The Midnight Lot, Yasmin’s new manager had offhandedly called them, who trickled in after dark and stayed until just before sunrise. Yasmin had joked that they sounded like vampires after she heard about them. Oh boy.
Her first shift had been a midday one, simple enough with no trouble, and her second shift was to be the late night shift. Why the Drowned Maid bothered to stay open until 5 in the morning was beyond her; it just seemed so unnecessary. She learnt soon enough that the late shift was the busy one, however, with a couple of dozen people happy to sit in and drink until just before closing time. These were the Midnight Lot, a bunch of seemingly-random people who would meet most nights for a few drinks and joke about old times and recent happenings. They ranged from an old man with a monk’s bowl cut to a girl no older than eighteen dressed like a French fashionista. The only thing they all seemed to have in common was a sort of glow. Not like a light bulb glow or a tanned glow, but a sort of luminescence that clung to their skins. Yasmin suspected the lights did that at night, but it still felt somewhat off. Throughout her shift, the occasional head would turn to look her way, someone’s eyes would stare at her back, and she got a sense of being preyed on by the drinkers in the large group. By closing time, however, the only thing they had said to her was drink orders.
She began to reflect on the nature of the Midnight Lot whilst she wiped down the bar top with the standard-issue wet cloth. Some of them looked normal enough, if a little broody or secretive-looking, but others appeared to have plucked from different points of history, especially that one with the monk’s haircut. It made no sense to her; why would such a random group of people come here most nights? Were they a cult or something? A wiccan coven? She knew there was a coven in the area because of the fliers seen posted on the town’s community board, but they never met here - they were based in the leisure centre on early evenings, not a pub at nighttime. The cult idea seemed nonsensical too; cults were supposed to spend their time praying to unknown gods and doing other weird things, not drinking and chatting like old friends. The more Yasmin tried to explain the Midnight Lot, the more her head hurt. It just made no damn sense to her.
Resigned, she finished cleaning the bar and closed up the pub. Sleep would help, it always did when these moments of confusion took her. The walk home wasn’t the longest one, but it was one that took her past the graveyard and old church, which frankly disturbed her. The graveyard was rarely used anymore, it was that full up with centuries-old pots and crypts, and the only people who ever went there were goths, tourists, and history buffs. For a barmaid on the late shift, it was nothing short of scary, even with the first rays of the sun casting the entire place in a soft orange glow. Some of the graves were said to be from the witch hunts, something long-forgotten by the town and its coven, but the rumour was there, spread by the Pennie-upon-Sea Historical Society (who were no doubt desperate to make their home more interesting). Another rumour, more mysterious in its source, was that the ghosts of the witches would stalk the place on a full moon, forming magick circles and casting spells on anyone who disturbed them at their sorcery. It was a dumb story to Yasmin, probably made to hide a secret drug ring or something, or perhaps just the tales children made up to make their time in the town more fun. In the end, though, nobody dared to expose the truth of the graveyard, often scared off by stray dogs or loud wind. But here, after her strange shift, Yasmin began to feel like there was something wrong with the place, and it didn’t take the fresh handprints on the dusty crypt door by the edge of the graveyard to tell her that. Something was here with her now, and it was probably angry.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016
candy floss fever dream, I see
you float above me, no cares,
no anxiety, unlike me. Cruel clouds
your softness subsides my worries,
your endearing embraces a miracle cure
such as your friend the moon, distant,
unfazed by life or the echoes of us
humans who live meaningless lives,
much as you float languidly, clouds
ceaselessly beautiful indeed.