Author Archives: Steve O

The Commute

The commute is an amble, pine trees, birdsong, a blue sky, palm trees catching the sunlight, a busy road, the smell of petrol, an empty platform, a steady and serene curve around the bay, salt marshes, horizons, the bridge of the constitution, gangs of port cranes, screen time, heads down, a man with a large beard drinking a large tin of lager, a brisk walk, a park with ducks in the middle, a removing of sunglasses and my reflection in the academy window and hola Nazaret.

Outlet

I needed to be more creative but I couldn’t think how so in my head I imagined a factory, a factory bigger than you can imagine and inside were a number of outlets and all I had to do was go to work in one of them and no matter how dull or boring the process I just got to work on what I wanted to do and then like magic creativity would come and find me instead of me looking for it and so out the creations would pour and so they poured and how they poured and it was that simple:  Just get to work.

August

Early morning on Playa de Valdelagrana and the July sun is rising behind the excessive high-rise apartment blocks that shade the tidy, sandy beach and the sea is as flat as a well licked envelope sent all the way across from Cádiz. A gentle hum of blue meets the sunlight where I paddle my feet, the daydreamer, therapy in everything, everywhere and I watch her swim left to right, front crawl to backstroke to front crawl she always stays in the sea longer than me and then the masses arrive and the noise and temperature soar so we say goodbye, trudge up the beach and flip flop home for breakfast.

7 ways of looking at Midday

i)
It is 60 minutes past 11

ii)
On an analogue clock
In a room with no windows
I could be forgiven for thinking it midnight

iii)
It is all downhill for the sun
from here

iv)
Both her arms and hands point to the sky
before
she dives into the afternoon

v)
BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG

vi)
Thoughts turn to lunch
Two hours to go (on a weekday)

vii)
Palms clasped together above her head
A farewell to the morning
A greeting to the afternoon
Anjali mudra

Chips

Although we had had chips the night before we had them again that night as our appetites had got the better of us so the oven worked its magic on our sliced potatoes – Is there anything better than sliced potatoes turning to chips? The smell was golden as they sizzled quietly from the heat before falling in sturdy disorder onto our not quite big enough plates and so we we sat down, we ate them with dry, spicy roast chicken and freezing, fizzy-natured fine white wine from Portugal as over and over again we groaned at the fabulous flavours, over and over again we noted how well the wine went with the chicken, over and over again we thought how good it was to be eating chips: Hot, salty, crispy, crunchy, sturdy, golden chips.

The Cushions

The sofas looked messier in the morning
than they had done last thing at night.

Had the cushions, while we slept,
been having a massive fight?

Flinging against armrests, cramming into
corners and upsetting the throws.

I wonder what they were fighting about
as they cushioned each others blows.

The Fire

Sat by the fire he sank further into his velvet armchair, wanting a moment to truly enjoy it but his head was disorder and elsewhere and the clock on the mantlepiece ticked onwards, striking half past ten and then eleven oh how he hated the chimes when they were numerous, especially if he was listening to the radio. Outside, the world was silent; the earth knew and understood this silence as did the cold mud as did the tree: stripped of its colour yet not of its knowledge so he sat by the fire, the perfect image of winter contentment, like a painting, yet he wasn’t content, his thoughts were the sparks leaping to the hearth, each glowing ember replacing another yet all that was needed was a pause, a counting of breaths and he too could join them all, the fire, the earth, the mud and the tree, be the man in a painting in a state of enduring wisdom.

The Window

The moon rose as she watched from her window; the city lit up like golden jewels and the winter sky clear, fresh and sharp and only those with proof against it, like her, were able to enjoy it. There were many questions she asked herself, what was her reason for being there? Was one of them as a bug crawling up the window caught the attention of the cat sprawled on the rug below her. Out in the street a car horn sounded, a couple talked outside a bar – should we walk home or get a taxi? She watched them, she longed to be them, locked in her room, locked in her house. What was her reason for being there? Surely not to suffer like this, surely not to be a prisoner in her own house. The moon rose further still and played in a small cloud, the city became darker yet more golden but she didn’t move. She only questioned her reason for being there rather than being there.

13 Ways of Looking at a Scarf

I
In the darkness of summer
the scarf collects
the musk and dust of the
cupboard under the stairs.

II
An abandoned scarf
in the forest is
mistaken
for a snake.

III
The loyalty of the crowd is wrapped
around their necks as they
prepare for battle.
Red scarves versus blue.
United ’till I die.

IV
He wore no visible scarf
yet he wore
the weight of the world
on his shoulders.

V
Had she not been
quicker, as the branch
took it’s grip, that scarf
would have strangled
her to death.

VI
A scarf on the grass.
The snowman gone.

VII
The scarf hangs from the window.
The girl is free.
Until tomorrow.

VIII
Her life unravelled quickly
like a crocheted scarf seized
by a curious cat’s claw.

IX
The children wore scarves
on their heads for the performance
to make it seem they were
from far-flung places.

X
He refused to wear the school scarf.
He refused to conform.
He was a patch of blue in a uniform grey sky.

XI
He was hung up on her.
Like football scarves
on a pub ceiling.

XII
The bonfire melted the scarves and the icy silence
from the glowing faces.

XIII
I fell down in exhaustion
like a scarf fallen from a peg.

Legs

He knew today his legs would carry him home, carry him the five or so kilometers that he had planned to run. The sun, coming up over the marshland slowly, catching the water, glimmering golden, extinguished the presence of one or two biting mosquitoes as with each step and each second he created a new moment, becoming somebody he had felt like before but never been before as the dust and debris of night fell to the path. He ran in a fairly large circle under a blue sky, running rings around the scorched overgrowth and the still lagoons of water: dark water by green, muddy, mossy banks where the odd bird with long legs was picking at the ripples. With each lap the temperature climbed and like the sun he rose to the challenge – his legs carrying him home. Towards the end, sweat fell from his face like waves of adoration from a cheering crowd and a seagull swooped near the finish line. He caught his breath in the shade radiant and regenerated before heading to the supermarket for cat litter and fresh coriander.

Sunny

It was a sunny day and the sunshine was reflecting off cars that were jam packed into the car park by the beach where the people were squashed like sardines on the sand due to the high tide and the sea was foamy and filled with all the human crap so we decided to go to the mountains where it was hot but at least empty and we sat with nature and felt sad at all the humans sat on the beach with their rubbish and pollution but it was sunny and we were together in the quiet and wisdom of the hills and mountains, the sunshine reflecting off the forests and lakes and a goodness growing gently inside of us.

Enough

The young lad had had enough of being told he hadn’t eaten enough by his elders and that enough was enough of this dislike for food, which had been enough to make him cry. He knew though that he ate enough to keep body and soul together. Sure enough, when he was older, he ate more than enough and then some people started saying ‘that’s enough for you I think.’

The Window

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He sat at the dining room table and looked out the window, his favourite window from which to let his mind wander, wander across the rooftops, past the two church spires and into the countryside, up and over the distant wind turbines and out of sight into the hills and mountains of the sierra. His mind wandered briefly to other countries and soared sixty miles high into the blue sky, wandered through fond memories and special places, toyed with new ideas and felt his spirits greatly lifted before returning, the way he had left, back to the dining room table.
His ramblings weren’t always this splendid but if he wanted to know how happy he was, he only had to watch where his mind went.