Anh Part One: The Philosopher

One morning as I sat inside my classroom
Watching the students engage lazily with their task
With empty hearts (For none of us desired this,
But the school had insisted nonetheless;
To what end, I cannot say, perhaps merely
To bore the students), I thought to myself –
Like the dog thinks before it fetches the pheasant,
Or the cat before it ignores its owner and returns
To sleep, that there was nothing more than this.
Alas, time went no faster. So I pictured in my head
Some almighty teacher, somewhere, who with
A look of defeat in His eyes watches us solemnly,
Asking what possessed Him to give us this dreary task;
Wondering why we all make such a fuss.
Why, He questions, is there not a better choice?
All of His students begin to ask the same, until in turn
They begin to question the teacher’s judgement;
The lessons turn worse. The students become unruly,
Making a sport that they practice time and time again
In which they pretend the teacher is nowhere to be found
And that they cannot see Him in the classroom.
Once one student has begun, so the rest will follow
Their poor example, until the world is but destroyed;
There’s nothing but students with nothing to learn
Because they do not consider their lessons worth learning.
As I sat there watching one student scratch her head
In her confusion over a badly-worded question
Which even I had hoped not to attempt, I considered
Standing proud before them; ripping up their tests papers
As they cheered me on with glee. Yet that, I could not do.
The school was my Master and the wage my chain.
I owed allegiance to these two; no other did I serve.
So I knew then, in that moment of understanding
And shared pain, that this imprudent student was me:
I had ignored the presence of my teacher for too long;
There was nothing left for me but Master and chain.
The key to my desperation was held in the cold hands
Of the insistent preacher who had first felt the need
To present my students with such tedious tests.
If I had gone down a different path, and abandoned
My intellect, who knows! For I shall always question whether
That might have brought me closer to my teacher’s lessons;
In a life that could have been no less fulfilling
And perhaps more happy, I could have been sitting
In the marital home with my precious children,
Thinking that it was time for them to submit themselves
To their role as students in that soulless institution;
In a place to teach them how to read and write and think,
Though not to feel or understand their fellow man,
They could have been like every other student, discouraged
To grow as individuals, until some sorry morning when
Each child became a perfect replica of the last,
Though in their innocence they would never be trained to know.
Or I could have been working on a checkout somewhere,
Wondering why the customers were purchasing
Such strange items, such weird collections of goods,
Feeling desperate to shout that the designer brands they bought
Failed to make them any more important than me.
Alas, the more I dreamed the test away the more I saw
It mattered not what I might have done with my life,
For still in each outcome I could imagine I knew
I would have neglected my teacher, in times of
Bitter strife, for the ones I had avoided in my youth.
My devotion to that great teacher was no good.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City of the World”

I really hope you enjoyed this poem, it’s one of my personal favourites from City of the World. Part 2 will be up soon!

If you’d like to know more about this book and the others I have contributed to, please visit my author page and share my adventure:


YouTube Tuesday: The Raven’s Way

It’s Tuesday again, and time for some more spoken word poetry from my YouTube channel. This week I present a poem from May 2016, “The Raven’s Way”.

The Raven’s Way

In an empty-headed daydream,
I sat and listened to the rain
And wondered without really caring
Who had ordained this harsh deluge

Enclosed in walls, I thought I spied
A raven bathing in a puddle
Washing himself, delighting in
The downpour from this almighty judge

How often my eyes wander awry
From my binding daily tasks,
But not so from his shiny plumage,
Questioning why he loved the storm

For me, it locked me in a fortress,
Home of mine, yet never home,
But he adored it, soaked in water,
Sea creature in a raven-mask

His fishy body hidden beneath, given
New lease of life in raven form;
With what I wished, but never had,
Greater than me in raven form

YouTube Tuesday: The Hermit

It’s that time of week again – time for another YouTube clip. This week’s poem is “The Hermit”, an excerpt from my book “City of the World”. Check it out below!

The Hermit

The dream was simple
With a hint of something
A shaky apprehension
Threatening to shatter
The illusion.
In the summer sun, anything
Seemed possible;
Even the crazy – turning
From a hermit sheltering in
A secluded corner
Of an empty beach
To a fully-fledged adventurer
Going where? Leaving when?
Who could tell?
A loner in the wind.
The crab listened with interest
To suggestions,
Fired from all angles,
Took new ideas on board, however
Out of character they seemed.
A claw dug through the sand
That was its shelter
And with intention,
Slow but deliberate,
The hermit followed.
The world outside beckoned
To it, calling
Attention to future possibilities;
So it scuttled away to discover
What the shelter
Could not teach it
On that little beach where it hid;
Plunging into the ocean, it made
The first step out
To sea, to the world beyond
Its protective shelter,
Where brand new memories
Waited to be found.

If you enjoyed this, please visit my author page:

In Plain Sight

My window faces the street
Always busy, people rushing
Past without a glance at
The face behind the dusty glass

Do you see me here? I see
The world passing me by,
But always I am hidden
In plain sight, behind the glass

Perhaps some think I am only
Their reflection, and continue
On their way, not bothering
To turn and look at me

I build my window on the street
To see the world around me
But these sheets of glass just hold me back –
Isolated in my window world


‘It’s not the doubts that get to me themselves,’ Peggy tried to explain. ‘I know I haven’t screwed up, I really do.’

Tyler, who was handing in his final assignment of the year at the same time, looked up from the paperwork he was filling in and gave her due attention. Peggy rarely expressed her inner thoughts out loud to him.

‘I mean, the doubts don’t help,’ she added quickly, ‘but when I panic, really panic, then they’re not the reason. I mean, I doubt my sentence structure and what people think of me and whether or not I’ve locked the front door on a daily basis. But those things don’t get to me.’

Tyler put his pen down on the table that was digging into his knees and rest his chin on the back of his hand. He waited.

‘I just think: “Am I good enough? Am I worth all this? Do I deserve to do well?” And some people will say that’s stupid, and it is, or that it encourages the doubts, and it does. Other people will tell me to ignore those thoughts as though that’s a rational response – as though people can actually just squash all their doubts down and pretend they’re not there and live happily ever after. Well, I don’t believe it. Those people don’t understand what it’s like to be afraid of something and nothing.’

Tyler smiled a tight smile. He knew he was one of those people. He grabbed his assignment and the cover sheet and stood up. Peggy copied him.

‘Ready?’ he asked. Peggy gripped her assignment firmly between a pair of long-fingered, shaking hands.

‘I’m good. It’s good.’

‘It’s good,’ he confirmed, unsure what to say.

‘Thanks,’ she said. She turned away from him, then turned back. ‘It doesn’t help,’ she added. ‘But it might in time.’

My Mechanic’s Broken Thing 

Really enjoyable, a great read.

allison writes

Photo by Allison Bedford

He patched and painted the ceiling in the dining room after I took a step in the attic without the knowlege that one must only step on the beams.

One year, our Christmas tree just would not stay up. Until he screwed the stand to the floor.Right through the carpet.

I’ve watched him open up computers, fiddle around, button them back up and suddenly they work again. But once they’re loaded up, he’s got no use for them.

He has six children. Six times (Daddy, fix thistimes the number of toys each child has owned and/or touched and/or played with) plus (the number of friends who have visited our house times all the toys they’ve broken while here or brought because the toy was broken and they wanted him to fix it)equals roughly a metric fuck-ton of broken.

No child has ever walked…

View original post 326 more words

Anxious Bones

Normality, they say.
It’s normal
To feel nervous
In new situations,
New locations,
When journeying to new destinations –
But I can’t help feeling
There’s nothing normal
About the uncontrollable shaking,
The sweat,
The tears,
The taste of vomit in the back of my throat.
Those tickling sensations
With unknown causations
That leave me frozen in stagnation –
Just trying to say
A simple “Hello”,
But the word won’t come out
Because I’m wrapped inside
Normal skin
Anxious bones

Pressure Rising

A great poem, the relief washes over you as you read.

Gripping Black

132 beats per minute.

It wasn’t a rush
an uncomfortable ache better describes it
a dizzy fall
blackened eyesight
dangerous sways and glassy eyes
cold sweat
the shakes.

…this how drug addicts relapse
The thought flashes temporarily
through my already foggy brain space
and I sit head down, breathing hard,
ignoring the tightening in my arm and chest.

I cried today.
Silent tears staining my face, running and rushing and blinding. Hot, wet, abundant.

I cried today.
I haven’t in awhile and it scared me, not because I fear emotions, but because the reason behind the action was a tumbling, bumbling bunch of confusion.

I cried today.
It was the best release I experienced in ages and I figured the stares in the taxi were welcome for I could feel and I was still real and human and hurting and aching and welcoming the pain;
for it meant I still cared.


View original post 105 more words

Of Man and Roach

A cockroach crawls across the floor
Twitching this way and that,
Avoiding the movements of my shadow;
I trap him beneath a cup
And watch him spin around in circles
Trying to discover a way out
Of his prison. I stand and note in triumph
That there is no escape for him.

Where he is trapped is physical;
For me, fate is not so kind.
In my head, the glass is there, unwilling to
Move when I place my hands
Against it and push, for I have become a
Prisoner of my own thoughts
And must now retreat to a place where I
Can try to wear the glass thin.

I tower over this cockroach, mighty in
My physical presence, but no more:
He has no reason to become a sunken,
Nervous wreck despite his cage;
But me, though I once beat the discontentment
Down to a pulp, can feel it rise
Once more into the forefront of my mind
Where it threatens to remain.

As I move the glass and crush him with my foot,
I see myself crushed alongside him;
How strange that such a pest can remind me
Of my personal vulnerabilities.
Inside, I have a broken body too, which has
Crawled across the ground, in failed
Attempts to turn myself into a strong woman again.
And as he dies, in part so do I.

© Laura Marie Clark

Excerpt from the book “City Of The World”

Please visit my author page and share in my adventure:

Bottled Up by Krazmaz

Perhaps a good fifteen or twenty feet across, James’ platform was just one of many such little outcrops throughout the cave, albeit one of the few ones large enough to live on. The light from his fire let him see maybe two or three others but they were more like stalagmite than platforms, really.

He didn’t mind though. Life on the platform was more comfortable than you’d expect, albeit very lonely. James didn’t think he’d ever seen another person, or if he had he certainly couldn’t remember. Every day it was just him on his platform with his tiny hut and his fire and the silent, echoing sounds of absolutely nothing else. He was pretty used to it.

After gathering cave wood (which sprouted from just under the lip of the platform and was only moderately perilous to collect), getting his fire going and seeing to the essentials of life James would – without fail – settle down to write something. What he wrote varied, though he tried for narrative consistency in his story about an adventurous cave vole.

Sometimes he just didn’t feel like doing that one though, which was okay. Whatever he did he popped down onto cave-parchment, rolled up, slipped into his bottle and sent off into the cave dangling beneath the heavily repaired lantern he had for just such a purpose. He would sit and watch the little light of the lantern growing smaller and smaller as it drifted off into the cave before finally turning that far corning and winking out from sight. It’d be back.

Many years ago when James had been a younger man, he had once woken up to find the bottle on his platform. This had been a first for James, and he had been understandably surprised – so surprised he didn’t notice the sad, deflated remains of the lantern the bottle had ridden to get there until afterwards.

Inside the bottle had been a poem. He hadn’t even liked it that much if he was honest, though it had helped him get the fire going that one time. More, it was what the poem represented that hooked his interest. Someone else was out there! Someone else sitting in a cave James had always thought he was the sole occupant of. What was more, this meant there was a definite means of reaching them!

A quirk of the airflow within the cave – which was well-known to James – was a particular stream of air that ran more-or-less in a complete circuit around the known interior of the cave. Or at least that was what James thought. Given the darkness it was hard to tell, but his few experiments with it had seen a crude craft of his own design float off into the gloom and return the next day none the worse for wear. The lantern, he imagined, would fly much better. It did.

No-one ever replied. Whoever had sent the poem in the first place – and anyone else who might have happened to be in the way – apparently didn’t feel the need.

James knew they were getting them, too. The bottles always came back but they always came back empty, and there was no-way the parchment could just fall out. The first time this happened he imagined that their response would be forthcoming in another bottle. Perhaps they needed some time to write it but thought James still needed his bottle. How considerate of them, James thought.

But they had never sent anything. Some time later, he finally cracked and wrote something else. Eventually James stopped waiting and just wrote something every time the bottle came back. It kept getting opened and it kept getting emptied, and James continued to sit on his platform alone and in silence.

Maybe his messages weren’t good enough. This idea popped out of nowhere one day and stopped James in his tracks. Objectively, living without any real constructive feedback, James had no way of knowing how good or not what he was doing might have been. But now the idea was in his head. He quickly became convinced that it must have been pretty bad – why else wouldn’t they reply?

Not having a single clue what was expected of him, James tried much harder. Of course, he had no idea what this meant, so in practical terms he just ended up losing weight from worrying about his performance – which dipped. The bottles kept leaving and kept coming back empty, and James’ desperation grew as his frame shrank.

Maybe they didn’t like the vole. James could understand that. Now that he looked back over what he’d done, he could admit the vole was stupid. He could see why they’d ignored it. He’d have ignored it too. It was stupid. Boring. How had he not realised that before? He’d do much better.

Or at least he’d try. He thought he’d tried, but they still hadn’t replied. Maybe he was getting worse? He asked the cave but the cave said nothing. He was pretty sure he was getting worse. It didn’t help that his trousers kept falling down. They used to fit him quite well, now not so much. He made a belt but it stopped working after a while.

With his hands shaking so much it was hard to write. His fires weren’t as bright anymore either since he was getting so difficult to gather wood for it, and it didn’t help that he was just so tired all the time these days. Some days he couldn’t even gather enough energy to write. Not that it mattered. No-one ever replied. He doubted they even noticed, whoever they were, wherever they were.

One day, lying curled up by his dying fire in an effort to ward off the cold he always felt these days, James caught a flicker of something moving in the corner of his eye. With supreme effort he pushed himself up onto his elbow and peered up. His heart practically burst when he saw another, new bottle drifting towards his platform.

Dragging himself on his belly across the platform he frantically swiped at the bottle, catching it out of the air. Rolling onto his back he struggled with trembling fingers to open it and, after much effort, managed it. The cork rolled off the edge and fell away out of sight, but James didn’t care. Up-ending the bottle he held it with both hands and gave it a shake, watching the rolled parchment sliding its way out before plopping onto his chest. He unfurled it.

It was another poem. It made no mention of James’ vole, their opinions on James’ vole, their opinions on anything else he’d ever done or indeed any sign they were aware of him at all even though they clearly must have been. They’d been opening his bottles. He knew they had. James read it twice to be sure, then a third time, then a fourth through tears.

Maybe he just wasn’t good enough yet.

Letting the empty bottle follow the cork off the side of the platform James pulled himself over to his hut and fumbled around inside for fresh parchment and his old bottle to put it in. Sniffling, his writing barely legible, he forced himself to start something new.

He’d try harder. He had to try harder.

About Krazmaz

A rambling non-entity bereft of talent.

Ohh, I just love the messages within this story. You can’t write in isolation with confidence and clarity -constructive criticism will help to improve your writing, if you let it – and the stress that writers can go through when they worry about whether they’re “good enough”!  Check out more fantastic stories and follow Krazmaz here: