I (sometimes) call myself Mr. Pondersome. I'm a rather wordy, weirdy person. I say hullo a lot. I write a lot more. While you're here, why not give some of it a read?

Saturday, 24 December 2011

"Jolly" (a.k.a. A Little Semi-pessimistic Something for an Otherwise Jolly Christmas)

Hullo all,

I decided to test myself very recently to see if I could create something sufficiently Christmassy before the big day itself. The final culmination was "Jolly".
Concieved after a busy night of shopping in early December, I wondered what it would be like to be a portly gentleman of a certain age carrying a heavy brown bag through masses of snow, amidst all the glaring festive street lights, booming Christmas no. #1s of yesteryear and the year before that, and the heaving crowds of flustered customers. And then I decided to stick a cigarette in his mouth, make him newly-divorced and slap the name Nicholas on him for good ironic measure. Then everything else pretty much tumbled out, especially whilst listening to the good ol' Xmas Playlist as you will doubtlessly find out for yourself.
Just to warn you this is not really a feel-good festive short story; I've reached that unfortunate age as both a man and a writer where happy endings just don't fit the bill anymore. Then again, I'd hardly say that this was realist but it's as real as I can muster at this magical time of year (I am still a big kid at heart or, failing that, a big bouncing ball of energy, screaming and paper-tearing glee...).
But enough about my hang-ups. Here it is for your perusal. However I would suggest that you cast this aside till after Christmas if you're the sort who gets a bit down by seeing or reading anything other than hype for the day itself.
Anyway, without further ado:


            Nick started off slowly in his hiking boots. He had come prepared this year: a large brown shoulder bag for the goodies, a thick red toggle coat to hold off the chill and even a big green bobble hat to sit awkwardly on his balding head.

            He took a long drag from his cigarette and sighed. December 3rd and the mania had already begun.

            '...We three kings of Orient are

            Bearing gifts we traverse afar...'

            The tannoy system crackled and mumbled off into silence as the double doors wafted shut. From behind him two scrawny men slid out into the draught. They were travelling light with only two small paper bags between them but they knocked into Nick all the same. Neither turned back to apologise.

            "Bastards have no patience." Nick mumbled to himself, crushing his cigarette under one heel, "Young'uns too."

            At fifty-seven, Nick was nearly always surrounded by 'young'uns'. Thinner, faster with next to no patience. He may have been white around the whiskers, a little lumpier in places, even a bit creaky in the knee joints but that certainly did not merit all the 'tut's and 'excuse me's that seemed to follow him around everywhere.

            And why would they even want to rush out tonight anyway? The pavements were lined with sleet and little clumps of snow where the footprints appeared to have missed in their tread.  Why rush in December at all? Now there was a good question. Pity that there were dozens of possible yet equally inadequate answers.

            "Ah well." Nick thrust his bag back over one shoulder and rejoined the chaos.

            '...It's the season of love and understanding

            Merry Christmas everyone...'

            Nick raised a gloved hand. How much was there left to do now?

            Well, I need to pick up that glittery doll thing for Rudie, don't I? And then there's a bottle of bubbly for the Lake's next door. And...wrapping paper? Wrapping paper! Festive bloody wrapping paper...

            Nick hated buying fresh rolls of wrapping paper. It always seemed so wasteful to him not to just reuse last year's. Then again, last year's was back home, wasn't it? Not the crappy little flat he had now.

            Nick longed to be back at No. 34 Skelling Street for numerous reasons and none of them were for his wife. Sorry, ex-wife. The papers had just gone through last Saturday. Sixteen years gone and forgotten within the space of one working week. It was a lucky thing that Noel was off at uni or else the whole business would have been a lot messier. But Rudie...tiny little ruby-faced Rudie had to deal with the whole stupid process on her own. She was only eleven. She didn't need to hear all the petty late-night arguments, didn't need to catch the frosty reception the mornings after. She didn't need to watch her father being slowly kicked in the bollocks everyday by a woman who had lost her mind to the infectious paranoia of her twittering brood of friends. She just wanted a doll.

            But that's how it happened. Now Carol had 'reclaimed her stolen confidence' along with their baffled daughter and was swiftly transforming his father's home into a 'testament to her feminine power'. The last time Nick was down he only got a quick look-in through a crack in the front door but that was enough. She'd even changed the bloody wallpaper.

            Nick turned the corner, partially deafened by the sounds reverberating from a Sports Warehouse.

            '...I turned my face away,

            And dreamed about you...'


            Nick stood on the doorstep.

            Carol thrust the door open and glared at him.

            "Hello, Nicholas."

            "Carol. What happened to 'Nick'?"

            "I don't know. What did happen to Nick?" She folded her arms. There was something very uncomfortable about the movement.

            Nick sighed. "Let's not have this, eh? I'm too tired to piss about."

            Carol's arms loosened slightly. "Alright. Do you remember what we agreed on? For Rudi's present? Her doll?"

            "Oh, yes. That Prissy thing..."

            "Priscilla. Priscilla and Her Pink Party Kit. And Noel?"

            "Now, I know it was something beginning in 'I'..."

            "An I-Pad. The latest model. Just ask at the desk, they'll know what you mean."

            "I can always check online beforehand. I'm not that old and doddery."

            Carol's top lip stiffened.

            "Eh?" Nick tried.

            Carol didn't say a word.

            "You don't think I can manage it all, do you?" Nick grunted, "Christmas. You think I'll crack or something."

            More silence.

            "Well thanks for the bloody vote of confidence."

            Nick spun on his heel and stormed down the paving. So, it was official. Not only had the old hag soured on him, she had lost all confidence in his ability. She probably thought he wouldn't last through to New Year's. In fact, she'd probably even lay a bet on it.

            Well, that was enough for him. If there was one thing Nick wasn't it was incapable. He'd do it all in one night. Yes, in one bloody night. No time like the present. It would be his new bloody 'testament' to her. If he was lucky enough, it might even shut her up for a while.


            Having managed to yank the bag free from the doorframe, Nick launched himself from the entrance. He caught a sign post in the nick of time and hoisted himself back upright.

            "Bloody reef. Bloody baubles." He mumbled, catching snatches of his breath back, "Better be worth the extra damn weight."

            Nick peeled back his damp coat sleeve and glanced at his watch. 7:45. Shit. He was running out of time, out of energy too. He'd promised himself everything would be done and sorted by 8pm. Now he was huddled over a yellowing patch of well-trodden snow, heart thumping through an extra thick sweater. No time like the present, indeed.

            He took a deep breath in. Out was the hard part. Regardless of this he carried on up the High Street.

            '...Joyful, all ye nations rise,

            Join the triumph of the skies...'

            Nick tried his best not to make eye contact with the carollers. Their coin buckets jangled in time with the music. It was all part of their elaborate mind trick. Either way, he had no change on him. The Christmas tree lights alone cost him £20 exactly. It was all a total rip-off. Goodwill shouldn't cost that much, but nowadays it certainly did.

            "Nowadays..." Nick rasped. His throat was drying up again. He tugged at both ends of his scarf.

            Feeling a particularly bad mood coming on, he turned his gaze up at the night sky. He could barely see anything through the dazzle of street Christmas lights. He sheltered his eyes with his black gloves and stepped back.

            'Have a Happy Hanukah'? 'Eid'? 'And Kwanza'? He read. What the hell is Kwanza?!

            Since when had the holidays gotten all PC? Surely these religions had dealt with the whole Christmas hype before; so why not now? Half the people who lived in this city probably didn't even celebrate Hanukah or Eid. And Kwanza? God knows...

            Nick picked up the strap of his shoulder bag and pulled it back up. A twang of pain rippled across his chest. He stopped.


            His breath caught again. All of a sudden even the shallow ones stung.

            Is this-? Can this-? Yes.

            Nick managed to make a few steps and then staggered over to a lamppost. It was obviously new-fangled but it reminded him of the lampposts of his youth. Tall. Majestic.

            He tumbled down onto the snow.


            '...But the very next day you gave it away,

            (Gave it away)...'

            Attempting to stand, he moved his leg out only for it to slip on a hidden patch of ice.

            Christ. He thought, This isn't because of what I said about the other religions, is it?

            "Sir, are you alright?" A voice. He turned his head slightly to the left. A pretty young thing looked down at him. Long raven hair and green eyes. Just like Carol but back in the early days. He attempted a smile and turned his head back.

            He sighed. I suppose not then.


            '...I'm holding very tight,

            I'm riding in the midnight blue...'

            Nick gazed up at the sky. Crystal clear. At least the cold was good for something. Except, in the distance. There was a bright white glare, a flash of something just ahead of the City Hall. A star. The Star. He really didn't care which. It warmed him. It welcomed him.

            '...It's the most wonderful time,

            It's the most wonderful time,

            It's the most wonderful time of the year.'

            His eyes collapsed shut. 'The Star' flickered out.        

So that's me done for the time being. I might just attempt a piece for New Year's but that all depends on how much time and energy I have (i.e. how many presents I have to play with). Either way, I'm sure you'll hear from me sometime in early 2012. Hopefully...:D.

Thanks for reading and have a very Jolly Christmas and a Wondrous New Year,

Mr. Pondersome

Sunday, 27 November 2011




"Free Stuff" Introduction (a.k.a. My New Cut-and-Stick Hobby/Minor Addiction)

The next three posts will deal with another piece I've done for Experimental Writing, namely my portfolio project. It is called "Free Stuff": a diary featuring randomly picked words torn and cut out from a wide variety of flyers, brochures, catalogues and even newspapers.
The essence of the project is to take interesting words and phrases wasted on cheap easy advertisement, and to transfer them into more poetic streams of consciousness. This is done on a daily basis by me, wherein I stick my hand into a big bowl of verbs, nouns and adjectives and leave it entirely up to chance as to what I pull out. Of course some personal creative input is required to help make the sentences better structured, but all the words I pick at random are used in the final piece.
The following posts are just a few examples of particularly good entries plucked out from the diary as a whole (i.e. the ones I have successfully scanned in). I'll leave it up to you to decide what each of them mean. I can guarantee at least one of you will have a completely different interpretation from the rest...

"The Broken Man, Jesus" (a.k.a. More Proof I'm Currently Obsessed with Discussing Christianity)

"The Broken Man, Jesus" is much less odd than the prose piece below, but it still leaves me baffled why I chose to write it. During another Experimental Writing activity, we were asked to think of a well-known story to strip down to it's key events and consequently reorder. So, feeling especially ballsy that day, I decided to apply the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not particuarly religious nor do I actively seek out reasons to offend Christianity as a whole, let alone doctrine. This was purely a whim. And what a dark and vicious little whim it turned out to be...


      "I wash my hands of you."
      Pilate dragged the cloth across his red and brown palms. In the distance the whip trailed away. Blood was caked along the path in it's wake, winding outward from the side of the broken man.
      Pontius took one last look at him, eyes weary and grey. 'The King' glanced up, pressing his fists against his wounds. The crowd bayed and snarled till the darkness set in.

      The soldiers gathered about the garden, marching towards the centre. Their target was knelt in an undergrowth, caressing the flowers of a wilting bush. There was an understanding in his gestures, a deep meaning to his movements. His grip was frail, waning with every sudden twitch.
     They swarmed about him; proclamations of arrest amid the hungry roar. The meek figure went willingly but they beat him all the same.

     The figure strode out, aglow in the waking sun.
     The stone tumbled away as he brushed past it.
     An impossibility. A power. A threat.

     A pouch of silver clinked as it hit the dusty footprint. The peasant Iscariot glanced up, his filthy crooked fingers snatching it.
     "I'll tell you where he is." He spoke, defeat trembling his voice, "He already knows."

"Eyes at Mass" (a.k.a. Going Dada with an Eye-catching Newspaper Article)

The next two posts will be about prose that I wrote during my Experimental Writing seminars.

"Eyes at Mass" is the product of an activity I gave myself during a bigger group project on Dadaism. Essentially it is based on a theory of writing suggested by Tristan Tzara, a prominent member of the artistic movement. Tzara believed that all you needed to do in order to write a poem was to cut up the words of a newspaper article, mix them up and lay them out wherever suitable. In attempting this concept, I made a piece that I felt was more prosaic. The original article was about a disturbing event that occured in a church in Viareggio, Italy, wherein a man literally ripped out his eyes during Mass. With the obvious connotations of religion, gore and Freudianism, it was inevitable that I decided to pick it up.


Gouged two-thirds right, Viareggio claimed 'parishoners, your screaming' during reattach from them yesterday. St Matthew's away.
DISTURBED Jesus says Mass failed eyeballs. Horrified, do night out to a almost priest at churchgoer to collapsing Sunday sin born face of eyes read. A, if that, Surgeon his before gospel it pool and pulled his was British driver thought blood, witness last tore watched.

"Clipboard Bowtie" (a.k.a. Old Gerty Stein has an Effect on Me)

"Clipboard Bowtie" came a good while after both the previous poems, during an Experimental Writing seminar. We'd recently been reading Gertrude Stein's "Lifting Belly" and were asked to make a pretty-sounding but ultimately unlikely word pairing and create a sound poem featuring all the words we might associate with them. For some reason I chose 'clipboard bowtie'. Like I said in the first poetry post, I'm a bit of a  sound-y person as well as being a wordy person; so it wasn't too surprising that I'd have a field day with writing this. And I certainly did.
I'd recommend that you read this aloud or else the primary effect of the poem will be lost on you. Oh and do watch out for the tongue-twister parts...


Clipboard bowtie,
clipboard bowtie,
bowtie clipboard,
clipboard bowtie

clipboard - tie the bow,
clipboard - tie the bow,
clipboard, clipboard, clipboard -
tie the bow

bowtie - board a clip,
bowtie - board a clip,
bowtie, bowtie, bowtie -
board a clip.


Bowtie, tie bow,
bowtie, Tae Bo,
tie bow, clipboard,
bored clip, Thai.

Ribbon balsa,
ribbon balsa,
ribbon balsa,
rippin' balls, son,
ribbon balsa,
ribbon balsa
ribbon balsa -
Balsa ribbon,
balsa ribbon,
balsa ribbon,
balls a-rippin',
balsa ribbon,
balsa ribbon,
balsa ribbon -
donkey door.

Donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey door - donkey -
now, fold.

Neat fit,
plank fold,
neat fit,
plank fold,
'neath it,
'neath it,
'neath it, plank fold.
And it's -

clipboard bowtie
bowtie clipboard
clipboard bowtie
bowtie clipboard
clipboard - clipboard - clipboard - clipboard - clipboard - clipboard - clipclop - clipclop - clipclop - clipclop - clipclop - clipboard - clipboard -

"On a Bench, Breathless" (a.k.a. A Circumstantial Poem about an Event I could do Little About)

"On a Bench, Breathless" came out barely a few minutes after I committed "Malady, M'Lady Melody" to paper. Sitting on a bench in the Sheffield Winter Gardens I noticed that a man was being lowered down by a friend onto the bench to my right. As it transpired the breathless and pale-looking gentleman was having a minor cardiac arrest. With plenty of people hurrying about including a City Ambassador and a Paramedic, I couldn't help but feel ultimately powerless to help this fellow so I did what all good writers do in such situations: wrote a poem about it. I can only hope that the man has regained his breath since...


A man falls on a bench                      breathless.
We all dither about
interests standing close,
hands sitting                               distant.

We wait for the sirens, the stretcher,
the caring glances.
We wait              a                      while.

The man finds flagstones for the first time
                                            ahead of
Kids rustle paper,
                     sweep past             without

And the red jacket comes,
calls the green shirt,
brings the black bags.
They land            heavy                  on the

Seconds pass then the man is
                                            lifted by
busy hands,
                                            emptied from
the building.

He presses the doorway, quivers

We each nod.
We all turn.

"Malady, M'Lady Melody" (a.k.a. My Hearty Attempt at a Tongue Twister)

The first three posts of my return shall feature poems that I have written very recently.

"Malady, M'Lady Melody" is a fine example of how much I love tongue twisters. As reading the title aloud suggests, I'm very interested in the way that strong consonant sounds can garble one's speech. That's why I actively seek combinations of similarly sounding words (or, for want of a better term, semi-homonyms). This is one such phrase I've successfully constructed. And from there, a strange form of dialogue wound its way out of my mind. When reading, try to think of a Bronte-esque lady of the manor and her maid talking about nothing in particular one dreary day. That just about sums up how it came to me...


Malady, m'lady Melody.

What was that, my dear?

Madly, m'lady Melody.

How is that, my child?

Medley, m'lady Melody.

Carry on, my dear.

Mouldy, m'lady Melody.

Never mind, my child.

Malady, m'lady Melody.

What was that, my dear?

The Courtesy Blog Post Begging for Forgiveness (a.k.a. Why I've Been Slacking Off)

Hullo all,

That's right! I'm back!
I apologise for my much prolonged absence; big loud demanding things (mostly university-related) have been weighing me down with sheer business. However, I bring goodies! Whilst off doing goodness knows what, I've been kept just as busy writing new and, dare I say, more experimental stuff; some of which I'll risk my neck showing you lot.
Anyway, rather than squeezing it all into this single post and thereby demanding probably the longest scroll-down in history, I shall send each piece of work out individually with maybe a short paragraph of commentary to lead you in.

Again, very sorry about the tardiness.

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

"A View on Freedom", "A Rather Sensual Run-on Sentence" and "The Other Eyes" (a.k.a. Three Odd Little Things I Wrote during My Summer Break Down South)

Hullo all!

In case you're wondering, I'm back! Oh, and in case you're wondering the relevance of that statement, I was on holiday for two weeks down in the Devonshire area. But I'm back! YAY!
So, now that that's all cleared up, how about seeing some of the stuff I wrote on said holiday?

Now, before I go on, I feel like I should alert you on the sudden change in layout. Seen as how the pieces I'm posting are rather short and so easy to phase in, I've decided to fit them between the overflowing dross of my commentary/digression. I realise that some of you may just scroll down past all this yackity-yack, but I do feel that I bring up some interesting points occasionally. Anyway, this is by no means permenant. We'll just see what happens, eh?

First and foremost is "A View on Freedom". This is an amateur philosophical musing that I thought might be interesting to put to you. Believe it or not, I spend the majority of my 'creative time' coming up with ridiculous character names and strange (though still possibly accidentally plagiarised) thoughts on life and stuff. This is one of the few I'd feel relatively comfortable releasing into the big wide interweb. Make of it what you will, I was on a pensive roll that day.


1) Total. It owes little to order or chaos, for these are the measily measures of Man.
2) Scattered. It lives in every eye of all beholders but lies, kneels and stands in every other space also.
3) Eternal. It is even beyond eternity. Freedom sighs life, freedom coughs death.

Now, aren't I deep? Anyway, the next piece, "A Rather Sensual Run-on Sentence", is a poem (or at least I think it is) playing with interesting and, obviously, sensual sounds. Interestingly I've found that everyday words, if said in the right tone of voice, can be very much delectable to the ears. I'd let you hear my verison of the reading, but it just won't transfer (sorry). Oh, and it's rather silly as well...


Robert clasped the apricot,
slaked the juice and flavours,
wound it round the cellar door,
draped it on the basket;
lisped a humble whisper
for the waste on the paper
whet the silence lightly
then glanced out for the crisps.

The final piece is prose fiction, currently my favoured type. However the genre of choice here is something I have little practice in - chiller and/or suspense. One lazy morning I thought of the phrase "The Other Eyes" in an armchair and wondered just what it would be about. I've always had a phobia about eyes; even the movements they make, but that's when I REALLY focus on them. So I thought I'd try making a short story about a fellow phobic whom I put through a rather nightmarish experience. Eventually this character turned into a girl and then just about everything fell into place. It turned out that I was overthinking the layout of the story when all I needed was to play around with the well-known insecurity of the teenage girl's mind. But I'm not a psychotic or anything, writing this even gave me the willies. And now I'll pass them all on to you.


She wept at it. That moment when you clearly see another’s eyes resting on you, landing upon your shoulders. And not just the weight of it, she loathed the movements too; those tiny little twitches and flickers of the roving eye. She noticed them all.

            And it hurt; it really burnt whenever she met with a mirror. To see herself, her very own eyes darting about her reflection was always too much. With every start and every slide she’d find the two of them following her and begged them away. At the point of yielding, she would always move aside to the shadow on the wall. That glass, that reflector - all those windows were so cold in their delivery.

            She saw no soul in those eyes, no wisdom; just a lifetime of reception and surveillance. She felt watched at every crossing, knowing her own vision was not to be trusted. But they weren’t the gullible ones; they were the tricksters, the traitors to her very freedom.

            And no-one else saw this. They stared at her in disbelief whenever she'd recount her fears, they laughed and winked as if she was kidding them as well as herself. Everyone had blinked, everyone had missed and she alone knew the glaring truth.

            And then it progressed. One morning she awoke, rose to the sight of herself from a greater perspective. This was not philosophical, this was not hypothetical, this was all too physical. She spotted herself from across the room, as if she had suddenly parted from her body to linger in the far right corner. And there she was, just in her own peripheral. The fleshy shapes were blurred at first but then she froze and saw it all so plainly.

The details horrified her. Her hands were so pale, her legs were so thin, her smile so weary. And her eyes...oh, her eyes...such devils. She could feel the black scorn in those pupils as they glared daggers at her hollow consciousness. She lost herself in the great blank canvases of her whites, shrank back at the acidic green of her irises. Such vicious beauty. Such a way to introspection. She tried turning aside but found her gaze rigid. She curved left, she wound right. She could not shake it. Herself and herself alone.

She watched and watched back for the rest of the morning and maybe ever since. Such things were conveyed in that tidy little room, such sharp and closing things. No-one could open the door after; it was sealed as tight as a reflection to its mirror. No light fled, no shade arrived. She was held and the space was lost. The world moved on with eyes to the earth. It's colours cared little.

So, that's about it. I'll just finish by saying that the holiday break was delightful and much-needed, but now it's back to the grind. Or whatever else it is that I do with my time, besides writing. Which isn't much. Not really. Still, off I go...

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

Friday, 5 August 2011

"Pizzas" and "In Pursuit of the Elusive Poetry Groupie" (a.k.a. The Effects of Age and Priority on a Growing Poet)

Hullo all!

Please pardon my latest post delay - I've been working up and winding down so much recently, I'm starting to feel cracks and tears all over me. In short, I need a holiday... But do not fear! I'm not going to just leave those of you still reading in the lurch before I do - I have POEMS!!!

Well, two to be exact. I thought that it might be both entertaining and educational (has 'edutaining' been entered into the dictionary yet? Or is it 'edutational' or something else entirely?) to display to you one poem from my VERY fresh-faced youth (we're talking Junior/Primary School here, for all you former scholars of the British educational system), and one from practically a week ago.

The first is "Pizzas". Out of all the work from before and during puberty, this is the poem that I still cannot help but adore. It's mostly for sentimental reasons obviously, but I like to think that it was really a rather impressive piece of poetry for a very young child, as I was (especially one who had only ever really read "The Lady of Shallot" by Lord Tennyson and Alfred Noyes' "The Highwayman", and virtually no other poems). I have tweaked it, but only very slightly; remember, I was only a very young child when I first wrote it. Anyway the title's pretty self-explanatory, not to mention indicative of it's orally-fixated, chubby, chomping little author (there, I said it...and with all the ugly adjectives too...)

The second, "In Pursuit of the Elusive Poetry Groupie", is almost equally simplistic in its composition but with that essential bit of poetic experience thrown in. And let's not forget about life experience: I think that the title is quite self-explanatory on that matter too. I know it's both naive and vain to believe that such a thing as a 'Hot Female Poetry Groupie' exists for a low-level poet such as I, but I'm not giving up hope just yet. Who knows, she may be at the next poetry recital I perform at - doubtful but maybe.

Anyhoo, I digress and into an emotional minefield, no less. I shall leave you to measure the change of years on this young and (not so) humble poet for yourself, using these cute little slices of poetry. They may not be the height of my skill but they certainly give a distinctive insight...


Pizzas fat,
Pizzas flat,
Pizzas small,
Pizzas tall,
Pizzas delicious,
Pizzas nutritious,
Pizzas long,
Pizzas strong,
Pizzas light,
Pizzas for the day,
Pizzas for the night,
Pizzas from above -
Pizzas I love!


Women with words
go together like birds -
all in a flutter

but men with words
to flatter those 'birds',
stare down the gutter

cos 'Straight Male Poet',
who rarely does know it,
is out for the girls

fingers to find
those elegant spines,
those delicate curls

but I'm not one,
now the words have all gone
and fallen to me

and there's not One -
girls curtsey till gone
as I write for free.

And that just about wraps it up for this week/month/year's blog post. Once again I shall leave you for obscurity for a while, and then probably resurface within a matter of weeks. Who knows? I may even be back at uni when I do, grinding out fiction with the usual trusty verbal diarrhoea. There's no accounting for where my head will be then...

Thanks for reading,

Mr. Pondersome

Monday, 18 July 2011

Constance Part 3 - FOG RINGS AND CLARITY

Four years changed and I felt the brunt of none of it. By then my dreams had become plainer as imagination turned its hand to more grown-up matters. Nevertheless my steps towards the twenty year milestone were still as timid as they'd ever been. Not without Constance. She'd been there before, she had to be there again. And then, in the shade of dusk, she stood before me once more. Once more.

            She turned away. She'd changed her hair again: dyed it blonde, let it grow out. I sighed and touched her shoulder. Her cotton jumper felt damp. I moved around her, searching for a smile. Her lips twitched and quivered. Before I could catch her gaze, she hurried forward. I could not fathom where she was going: we were surrounded by a ring of fog.

            I reached for her hand but it flinched away. I tried a smile of my own but it didn't last. There they were: tears on her cheek.

            I shrank down, pleaded with her, followed her aimless walk but she refused to even turn to me. I asked her in so many ways what was wrong and what I had done but she would not talk. Silent as ever, but never before had it stung my ears so. Words streamed out of me to fill the moment, to save it, but...nothing.

            My hands shook as I moved after her, fumbled as they gripped the sides of her face. I stared at her, eyes mad and wide; searched for doubt, for the smallest hesitation. Her eyes did their best to avoid mine but I caught them. Redness swarmed about the silver, dulling their glimmer down to a spark.

            At lasts she pulled apart my hands and threw them back to my sides. I stood there and watched as she opened her hand and struck me. I took it: stumbled backwards, forwards, landed hard on my knees. With crooked fingers I touched my cheek, felt the sting again. I did not rise up; I let her step into the haze, cursing everything I could. I knew to stay back. It was her choice. Constance didn't want to stay.

            And why would she? She had good reason not to. It was my mind: I could have stayed a while longer. I had it in me to prolong the dream. But I didn't. I had abandoned all chances. I had abandoned her.

            As if responding to my wordless apology, she glanced back. It was brief, but she definitely stopped. She let something go: the slightest twitch of an aching smile. I returned the favour as best I could. I hoped that she knew I loved our time here, whatever it may have meant.

            And then she turned back, now standing before a corner. It was the best I could do. I couldn't lose her to the fog, after all. Not completely. She moved around it till she was out of sight. In a moment I was on my feet again, sprinting for the blank wall. I can't lose her, I can't lose her...

            There it was. At the very end, there it was again. Nothing.

            I slumped back down to my knees, yielding to the damn thing. Tears fell and disappeared, dissolving as quickly as the corner, the surrounding fog. It was coming and I did not fight it. I never once looked down.


            I felt the tears, the real ones, and they brought me out. I sat up, let them roll away, let others follow. When the morning at last arrived I felt no better. I couldn't understand why I wept for a figment, a fading woman; but I did and that made it all the more worse. The warmth had well and truly left now; I was alone with a cold day climbing up my shoulders. But I carried on. I dressed, stepped out and carried on.

            After all, a dream is a dream, isn't it? What hurts you by night, can't possibly hurt you by morning. Day is something else, too big to be held back by such odd little concepts. I went a whole lifetime thinking this way.

            Now I know how foolish such a thought is. Dreams are worse than reality; they can linger just as long. Eyes open or shut, they never really leave you. And she most certainly does not. Constance was and, in many ways, still is. Though I know I'll probably never see her again, she is welcome to my nights like the ghost of glory past. Like an angel never truly met.

Sunday, 17 July 2011


The slightest rustle of nylon unfolding: a very humble sound to drift into. Not to mention rather promising to a lustful teenage boy. I yielded to a glance at her thigh.

            Oh yes, she had certainly changed with the times; renewed herself, if you will. She could well have been anyone else if it wasn't for her angular chin, her pert little nose. The long brown ringlets had me fooled at first but I recognised the sparkle in those rolling eyes. We were old friends in new roles. For one afternoon in my sixteenth year, the woman of my dreams had become my lover. If only I could remember what had led to this very contented moment.

            My mind was completely blank. All I knew was that I was now truly a man and that a true man would not let a woman like her leave again. She told me she had to: I was only her four o'clock, after all. Naively I thought I was more. I watched dumbly as she draped her red leather coat across her shoulders; I merely nodded as she fastened the straps on her jewelled shoes. I kept commanding myself to stand up, to reach out for her hand but every moment after I did nothing. At last she collected her money and made for the door. At last I found my voice.

            "Please. I just can't let you go like this. I know it's inappropriate but I must be sure that I'll see you again." That was the gist: I can't quite recall the exact state of those faltering words.

            And she stood there. Her lips twitched as before; she had to bite down on the lower half. She reached into a hidden pocket and withdrew a card. She closed it in my quivering palm. It was something; the smallest token of a patient woman. I unfurled my fingers and glimpsed the top: in bold letters, 'CONSTANCE'.  I thought it an ill-fitting name for such a graceful creature. I held onto it anyway; tucked it away into the back pocket of my jeans and, indeed, my memory. Her smile regained its confidence as she turned back towards the door. She gripped the handle and was gone. I folded my arms and watched without even a moment's surprise. I followed shortly after but nowhere near as softly. Things were changing. A different place was waiting but I just couldn't bring myself to meet it yet. Just a bit longer. Just a few more...

            Within the seconds I was taken, I clung onto that name; repeated it from thought to tongue to teeth and back again. Constance, Constance, Constance, Cons-

            I grasped for my pockets. The insides were warm against my fingertips as I scratched and scrabbled around. I felt no sharp edges, no cool laminate. Just the same old fabric. I withdrew my hand as I opened my eyes. I should have read the number, the contact details. I should have memorised them. But they were only smudges now, everything except that name.

            And then I remembered where I was, realised that I'd never actually been in that room; understood that it was far away if it even existed at all. CONSTANCE. There was no Constance. She wasn't here. Reality had swallowed me whole again.

            But at least I had a name. The mystery wasn't nearly so thick or dark. Yes. Constance. Familiarity had more than a face now.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

"Constance" Part 1 - BISCUITS AND ELEGANCE

Dreams. I've never paid much heed to them. The kind I usually have are loud and screechy things, splashed with colours so bright they're obnoxious. And don't get me started on the experiences of my earlier, more tender years.

            Sleep was more of a place back then; a gaping cave mouth with a heaving breeze leading in. The things I found there weren't so much nightmares but wild imaginings dressed in formal clothing. Nothing is so paralysing than the sight of the usual going terribly wrong. On waking though, there was always a sense of relief as my eyes adjusted to not just the immediate surroundings but to the comforting knowledge that what was now happening was actually happening. Here the horrors were much larger but could always be hidden from, from behind a warm duvet and five extra minutes lie-in.

            But then, as I was drawn in one gentle night, I suddenly found myself...elsewhere. 'Elsewhere' looked nothing like the other dreams. It was the finest living room I'd ever seen. So many facets and ornaments of 1920s elegance. How I admired that period; its art, its colour. Such a fresh-faced era. But the room was a blurry nothing, a background fading in and out of focus. My focus was busily set on the sight sitting so primly before me.

            She was a raven-haired flapper, or at least dressed in that fashion. Her dress was sometimes green but often blue, but always curling with the ebb and flow of her slightest movements. This woman had silver eyes, a feature which more soothed than shocked me at the time. Her smile was a fragile line that dithered and parted with occasional flashes of white. Then again, my attention was far more concerned with other things: namely the light brown circles that were crumbling apart in her hands. Hobnobs. This was the object of my youthful passion. Suffice to say I was a boy who loved his snacking. And the woman must have known this too, or else why would she have been gleefully feeding them to me? I tried my best to keep from snapping at her long delicate fingers as they graced my mouth. After all, she was a thing of beauty, even to a ravenous twelve-year-old boy.

            At the close of that moment, I felt that warmth that they always talk about lightly writhing within. And as the blurry gates closed across the dying image, and as I returned to brief, weary squints at reality; I could still feel it. But it wasn't alone now; it had acquired a strange companion. Emptiness. I had lost my pretty thing down a well and knew that it would be a long time coming back.

            But it did. She did.