Bitter Feelings

Martin threw his bag down by the side of the chair and threw himself into it with a huff. He shrugged off his jacket, then picked up the cocktail menu with one eyebrow raised, flicked through it quickly, and tossed it back down onto the table.

Ben and Luke looked at each other across the table. They both knew that Martin would get a pint of something cheap and nasty: he always got a pint of something cheap and nasty. Flicking through the cocktail menu was just one of the many techniques he used to tell the people around him that he was not happy.

They watched as he pulled his wallet out of his pocket, pushed himself out of his chair, and made his way over to the bar. It was silent as he ordered and paid for his drink, snatched it up off the bar and wound his way across the room back to the table. The pint glass was placed down onto the table gently, a couple of centimetres away from a beer mat (if the table got a ring from the glass, that would probably cheer Martin up a bit). He let his weight send him crashing back down into his chair, and drained half of the pint before either of the others could get a word in.

‘Uh, Martin,’ Luke said, when the glass moved far enough away from Martin’s lips that Luke thought he might be willing to answer, ‘what’s up?’

‘Yeah,’ Ben pitched in, not entirely helpfully. ‘Looks like something’s wrong.’

‘Does it?’ Martin asked. Then he put the half-full glass down on the table, and sat staring at them in a silence that both Ben and Luke were certain he was deliberately making uncomfortable.

Nobody liked it when Martin was in a bad mood. He was the sort of person whose misery swept around the room until it infected everyone else, even those who did not interact with him. There was something about the way he moved and his short, blunt sentences that demanded an environment of self-loathing. Ben picked up his own pint to break the tension between them, and pretended to be more interested in his drink than he was.

‘Want to talk about it?’ Luke asked, his voice betraying his hopes that Martin would let his thoughts out and release some of the bitter feelings brewing within him.

‘Nope.’

Luke nodded. ‘Right. Cool.’

Another awkward silence; the people on the table behind Martin fell into their own brooding silence, as the uncomfortable feeling of disdain began to seep out of Martin and into those nearby.

Outside, it started to rain.

‘You know, I think I might have an early night tonight,’ Luke suggested. ‘It was really busy at work today. I’m tired.’

Martin snorted. ‘Yeah. Right. Busy.’ He knew exactly why Luke wanted to get out of there, and it was clear he enjoyed spreading discomfort around. ‘Well, I’m gonna get wasted.’ He stared at Ben, a challenge.

Ben put his glass down and held his hand up to his mouth, faking a yawn. ‘I’m … pretty tired, actually,’ he said without much effort.

At the same moment that Martin’s eyes narrowed, a clap of thunder crashed down outside. Sometimes, it was as though his timing was just too perfect, as though it was more than just the room that he could affect with his powerful negativity.

There was no need for him to tell them that he knew they were trying to leave. That was obvious. The seconds ticked on, until Martin’s face began to soften, but the tension still hummed through the air between them. Luke licked his lips, words dancing on his tongue that he did not dare speak.

Eventually, he said, in a voice utterly devoid of interest, ‘Well, I suppose another pint couldn’t hurt.’

‘Be careful,’ Martin said, sounding dry and bored, ‘it might kill you.’

Throwback Thursday: Skinned Alive

A short poem for this week’s Throwback Thursday, another from Poetry 101 Rehab.

Memories of you creep beneath my flesh Working their way deep inside I could cut you out with a knife But that would only leave scars Worse than the ones you gave me When you ran away with her A re…

Source: Skinned Alive

Empty Lament

You can feel the loneliness and grief deep within this poem.

Step Into The Nightmare

I take myself off in an empty lament,

a solace I sing through the unanswered pain,

the words may be tired but they’re sung with intent,

there’s no-one to hear so my song is in vain.

I sing for lost youth and for love unfulfilled,

I sing for the sweetness I held but let go,

I sing for the castles my hands couldn’t build,

I sing for the peace that my mind couldn’t know.

My song is a thread through the story of me,

I splice a new length when there’s pain in my heart,

it helps me recall how it all came to be,

a bundle of yarn I trace back to the start.

When hearts once so gullible harden and break,

when lacklustre lullabies don’t hit their mark,

you sing your lament for your sanity’s sake,

a map to help find your way out of the dark.

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The Lonely Book

There is a shelf in a library somewhere, where unbeknownst to all who visit, there sits a sad, lonely old book. It has not been picked up – not even been touched – in years. So many years, in fact, that it has lost count.

No longer does it remember the warm feeling of a human hand, or the caress of a careful, gentle reader. Though at one time, it used to look up at a reader with eyes wide, full of wonder, now that is only a distant memory. Its readers used to draw in sharp breaths, their relief fanning over the pages of the book when they reached the part where their favourite character escaped from the clutches of the dangerous villain.

No more. Now it just sits and waits, wondering whether anybody will ever pick it up again. It is covered in a thick layer of dust and empty promises.

There must be a new reader, somewhere. It longs to share its secrets, the plot twists and the surprise ending. The book wants to transport them to another time, when it was loved and read almost every day, cherished by those who enjoyed the mystery between its pages.

So there it stays, as patient as any book can be. There is no rush – the book will never die.

A Funeral For Thoughts.

A really powerful poem, sad and familiar.

beck medina

Please be quiet, sir

This is a funeral for thoughts.

Even though, her eyes do know

And scream, “I kid you not.”

Leave her alone

Let her walk home

She cannot take the hurt.

And as you stare

You see that she wears

Her fifteenth-favorite skirt.

For you, her smile faded

Her heart now rooms with Sorrow

So if you must say anything

Just bid her a good ‘morrow.

For you, she waited days

And silence was all she got

But your lips, do part their ways

And whisper, “forget me not.”

Please be quiet, sir

She can sustain you not.

Even though, your words do flow

This is a funeral for thoughts.

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fragments

A deep and touching poem.

anelephantcant

fragments by anelephantcant fragments by anelephantcant

Click here to hear the poem read aloud:

is this the way to heaven
can I find it at last in her deep brown eyes
can she lead me there step by small step
or is she a devil in an angel’s disguise

is she able to release me
can she finally open this prison door
can she tear down the bars with her bare hands
or is my pain once more calmly ignored

can she create the picture perfect
can she paint colour back into my world
is she the one to heal the artist’s soul
or just another sweet transient girl

can she decipher the cluttered confusion
and make sense of this traumatised mind
is she the answer to daydreams and wishes
or does she walk away and leave me broken behind

can she uproot the most stubborn of weeds
allowing my withering soul to…

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The Walls in my Mind

The walls are paper-thin.

I can hear them talking about me on the other side, the sound of their voices a little muffled but their words – and intent – perfectly clear. I search for the source of the noise for a few moments before I realise that they are speaking to one another on the other side of the wall.

As I listen, I notice things.

I notice how they say my name, with an air of disdain curling around the final syllable. I notice the sneer in their words, the way that they talk about me as though I am below them, a worm that they can step on and squash if they only wish. I notice the words they use to describe me: slow, dull, stupid, dumb, and how they are all things that I have heard from them before.

When they pretend to me that they are joking.

I notice that the walls are grey and the paint is peeling off to reveal wallpaper underneath, decorated with clowns and childhood toys. I notice the way that the walls themselves seem to quiver with every bad word said about me, as though they are threatening to crumble under the onslaught of cruel comments. I notice how my emotional welfare is irrelevant as long as I can be the subject of a few nasty jokes.

Then I notice that the walls are only in my head, and they are stood talking about me on the other side of the room, making no efforts to keep their voices down. Chipping away at the grey mask coating my lonely childhood.

They are painfully close to bringing me tumbling down.