The Infinite Dawn

Forever awakening to an eternal sunrise
Limbs that stretch without end,
Mouths that yawn without end,
They stretch
And yawn
Without end
In preparation
In eager provision
Of the day that should kick start
Any minute now
Any minute!

Waiting for the sun to climb
An insurmountable sky
For the cockerel to sing
Church bells to ring
Flowers to spring
‘Cause nothing really rhymes
Or makes sense
When you are perpetually tied
To a beginning that should unfold
Any minute now
Any minute!

The pain
The wrath
The increasing lack of predisposition
To carry on
Like this

Second Thoughts

She sits with legs extended on a reclining chair
Enveloped in a swarm of them
They hover about her seemingly mindless
An index through her brow though
And the thick, silver-grey one
A thunder cloud
Vacates the space above her temple
Where it gingerly lingered before
A dozen white-cotton puffs now swirl
In fanciful fairy fashion
She smiles
The crease on her brow has vanished
The wind picks up a trail of fresh ones
Daring thoughts that challenge her
That she daren’t shape into words
But as the window slams shut they crash head on
They leave
A damp mushrooming shape
On the glass pane
Which heat sucks into nothingness
So they are discarded, lost
Quickly forgotten
Like the rushed, minute intake of breath following a sigh
She smiles
The crease on her brow has vanished

Vobarno, Brescia, Lombardia
August 21, 2011

The Wait

A Flash Story by La Mouche

We were asked to write a short snippet of a dramatic situation for a character of the opposite sex, and this was the result. It' s crap but that's what came out so, so whatever....

One day I’ll manage. I’ll go in, take it off the shelf and run out with it, all in spite of him. Him with his lecturing glasses and his straight nose, always looking at me weird, like if I was gonna rob the place. Well, I do intend to rob the place. Now don’t you think I’m a thief! I’ve stolen very few things in my life; a tenner -twice– from my sister, socks from dad, all right maybe a t-shirt from my roommate. Nothing major, really, until now. But this book I must have. It’s too expensive and nobody’s gonna buy it for me, that’s for sure. Someone said stealing a book is no crime. I go by that. Haven’t done it yet only cause of him. Day after day he stands, watching from the counter like a bitch with puppies. You should see the look on his face, as if he’d swallowed sick or something. Moron! I sit and drink coffee, pretend to read the paper. I study him, you see, and I’ve noticed his stare has softened a little; like if he was learning to trust me out of familiarity. Of course, he still thinks I’m a rat. Life’s a bit rough at the moment, what can I say; no money, not doing great at school, and worst of all, no sex in a long time. But I bet he’s worst off than me. He could easily be a virgin with that long, stupid face, and he’s probably a dropout, like Dan Charlton who went to work for Tesco and now wears a manager’s badge. There’s no way I’ll leave school. University here I come! And with it: girls! If only I could get hold of this book my problems would be over. I’d be the new Messiah of the ladies. I’d know it all and I’d spread the seed of my knowledge. Oh yes! I must have it in spite of him. Maybe not today, he looks like he’s got rabies today. But we’ll see tomorrow. Better not stare! Eyes down, Chris, sip from the empty cup, wait…

Tres Niños

RAFA, cinco años
FELITO, siete años
DAIRON, nueve años

Es domingo en la mañana. Rafa, Felito y Dairon conversan en un portal de su calle, ubicada en un barrio de una provincia de Cuba. Llevan shores cortos y tenis sucios. A sus pies yacen tres carrampiolas hechas de cajas de madera que llevan por ruedas cajas de bolas de bicicleta china. La carrampiola de Rafa es la más rudimentaria. La de Felito exhibe su nombre pintado, apenas inteligible, en la madera delantera, donde el timón. La carrampiola de Dairon está recostada contra el suelo y posee toda suerte de accesorios; freno, manubrio y asiento de bicicleta adaptados, y una banderita italiana en la parte de atrás.RAFA: Si pudiera me comería un león. Tengo un hambre...

FELITO: ¿Cómo te vas a comer un león? ¡Un león es mil veces más grande que tú!

RAFA: ¡Ah, pero yo digo uno chiquitico, que es grande de ‘tos maneras!

DAIRON: (a Rafa) ¿Y de dónde lo vas a sacar?

FELITO: (a Rafa) ¡Que yo sepa sólo puede ser del zoológico! ¿De dónde sino?

RAFA: ¡No y de la selva también, de allá de Oriente!

DAIRON: ¿De Oriente? Muchacho, ¿tú ‘stás loco? ¡Aquí en Cuba no hay selva!

RAFA: ¡Sí hay! ¡Sí hay!

DAIRON: Aquí lo que hay es campo, y lo más grande por ahí en bicho es la jutía.

RAFA: No y los jubos también... y las lagartijas...

DAIRON: ¡Oye, yo dije lo más grande...!

RAFA: Bueno, pero también hay jubos grandes grandísimos que me abrazan a mí y a ti juntos con la bocota abierta y nos tragan de un tirón.

FELITO: (a Rafa) ¡Mshtttt! ¡Viejo, tú sueltas cada paquetones! ¡Los majás no se comen a nadie!

RAFA: ¿Que yo suelto qué? Chico, ¿tú no ves los muñequitos?

DAIRON: Mira, yo sé que no, porque mi papá estuvo en Africa hace tiempo y me contó: allá es donde hay selva que es como el campo pero más verde y grande, donde las matas crecen unas arriba de las otras porque son muchas y no hay espacio.

FELITO: ¡Eso mismo dice mi mamá de la gente en La Habana: que todo el mundo vive apiláo!

RAFA: (a Felito) ¡Shhhh, cállate! ¡Deja que este hable! (a Dairon) Sigue, sigue...

DAIRON: Mira, allá en Africa los majás son serpientes...

FELITO: Ah sí, serpientes...

DAIRON: ...están las cascabeles, las tres pasos que se llaman así porque después que te muerden, das tres pasos y caes redondito en el piso. Son venenosas.

FELITO: (interesado) ¿Ven acá y el majá no es venenoso?

DAIRON: ¡El majá ni tiene dientes, compadre! ¡Fíjate que ‘pa comerse una rana, lo que hace es chupársela!

RAFA: ¡¿Chupársela?! ¡Puágggg!

FELITO: ¡Ño que asco tú!

DAIRON: Y se la traga entera. Como no tiene dientes no puede masticar.

FELITO: ¡Entonces no le coge el sabor a la rana! ¡Pobrecito el majá!

Los tres ríen a carcajadas.
DAIRON: ¡Ay, ya me cansé de tanta perolata, que si el majá, que si la rana! Si quieren saber más, van a mi casa y le preguntan ustedes mismos a mi papá.

RAFA: ¡Qué va! Un día yo mismo voy a ir allá a Méjico a verlo con mis propios ojos...

FELITO: ¿¡Cómo que a Méjico!? ¡A Africa, viejo! ¡Se ve que eres un fiñe!

RAFA: ¡Ah a mí qué me importa tú! ¡Y a Méjico también voy! ¡Y entonces vengo y les hago los cuentos ¡que ahí sí que ni tu papá ni nadie de aquí ha ido!

FELITO: Tienes que ser grande primero. ¡Y a lo mejor ni de grande puedes!

RAFA: ¿Quién te dijo que no? ¿A que sí puedo, va?

DAIRON: Vamo a jugar, anda, que estoy aburrío.

RAFA: Dale. Yo soy un majá de la selva y ustedes dos son ranas. ¡No! ¡Tú (a Felito) eres la rana, y tú (a Dairon) el león. Así que tú, león, me tratas de comer a mí que soy majá y yo a este (señalando a Felito) que es rana.

FELITO: (a Rafa) ¿Chico, y por qué tú no haces de rana? ¡Yo quiero ser el león!

DAIRON: A ver, yo soy la rana... y también voy a estar cazando algo porque no me quiero morir con la barriga vacía. Voy a cazar... un mosquito invisible. ¡ZZZZZZZ!

RAFA: Entonces yo soy el majá... ¡pa’ que el enano este sea el león! (pausa) ¡Ehhhh! ¿Y al león después no se lo va a comer nadie? ¡Se va a quedar solo en la selva!

FELITO: ¡No, mijo! ¡Ahí es donde aparecemos nosotros los niños y lo asamos!

DAIRON: ¡Claro! ¿Tú no decías que tenías tremenda hambre?


The Photograph

A Story by La Mouche

We were told to write a story based on the picture on the right.

We were told to stand outside the next day at noon wearing our Sunday best. Even our brother Phil was to be shaved and taken out on his bed, which had wheels since it was one of those hospital beds hired for the terminally ill. Immediately after the voice of the head carer faded out of the loudspeakers, the waltz-like tune that accompanied our few leisure hours was turned up, and my sister Simone started browsing through our old clothes with as much delight as if they were brand new.
     ‘I knew it!’ She cried, ‘I knew something exciting was about to happen! I knew I had to do my hair!’
     ‘You curl your hair every Sunday for church, Simone,’ I replied, tapping sloppily on the table.
     ‘Oh really? What about this hat? I managed to get it outside the annual shopping basket! You’ve got to admit that’s more than just coincidence!’
     ‘No, it isn’t!’ I argued, ‘you got it because you have been working extra hours all winter! Just like you did in the autumn, and last summer! You do that all the time!’
     ‘Don’t be so horrible, Marie! It’s just a bit of fun!’ Simone snapped back. I looked at her through narrowed eyes. She hated it when I did that.
     ‘Look,’ she moved on, ‘the blue dress would suit you perfectly! We’ve hardly ever worn it, Marie.’
     ‘That’s because mamma bought it for us to keep that last Christmas.’
     ‘And so this yellow one from Tandy’s, which we wear a lot. Why not the blue one?’
     ‘She used the last payment she received from the Thompsons to purchase it. I don’t wanna spoil it, that’s why.’
     ‘Dresses are to be worn, Marie. Mamma would have liked you to at least try it on! That’s why she bought it!’
     ‘Do you know if mamma bought anything to keep for herself that last Christmas?’
     ‘Course she did!’
     ‘Well, she didn’t! She bought us all presents, a meal and the tickets for the train that brought us down here! She told Phil to be a good brother and look after us. She left us at the door with the carer and kissed us goodbye. That’s the last we saw of her, and nobody had the decency to tell us she had died until after a year later! But you were too young to realise what was going on, weren’t you?’ I knew perfectly well that I was being cruel, but I couldn’t stop myself. Simone was sobbing.
     ‘You’re so harsh with me, Marie! I didn’t know! I was a baby!’ Just before I had wanted to slap her. But I sighed heavily, and put my arms around her.
     ‘I’m sorry,’ I said gravely.
     ‘Me too.’
     ‘Here, have my hankie.’ Simone bit her lip.
     ‘It’s clean, I swear. You can use it.’ She wiped her eyes and blew onto the spotless, white cotton handkerchief with all her might.
     ‘At least you knew what mama looked like,’ she added, ‘no matter how hard I try, I can’t picture her face.’
     ‘Just so you know,’ I said, ‘you look so much like her.’ Simone’s teary face beamed, ‘really?’
     ‘Yeah, a lot more than me.’

     The next morning, Simone sprang out of bed and went straight to the mirror to do her hair. I went to Phil’s room to shave him. My brother was quiet as usual, with the palms of his hands resting on his lap and his stare fixed on them. I enjoyed shaving him; it had brought us closer, even if it didn’t involve much talking. When my hand touched his cheek, he closed his eyes and smiled. It worried me sick to think that his heart could give up on him any time. You couldn’t tell he was that ill by looking at him because he was handsome and so sweet. He used to date a girl called Anne. But she left town before he was diagnosed. Way before mother died.
     At five minutes to noon, Simone was still in possession of the mirror. She had put on the pretty white frock with our spring coat on top. I couldn’t think of a dress to pick, out of the five or six my sister and I shared, so I put on shorts and threw grandpa’s heavy jacket over my shoulders.
     ‘You look like a boy, Marie.’
     ‘Who cares? I’m comfortable.’
     A tap, tap on the microphone introduced the voice of the head carer through the loudspeakers.
     ‘Children, may I have your attention, please! It’s time! You must stand outside your dormitories and get ready for the picture! Now!’
     We set Phil’s bed lengthwise on the balcony. He frowned, glanced around, and then looked back at me, like demanding an explanation. Whilst shaving him, I had told to him what was going to happen. Maybe I didn’t explain it well; photography was a novelty even for adults in those days, and I was only a child. Or maybe it was just the drugs that were making him dazed again. He had been given so many. I pinched his cheek softly; stroke his hair to reassure him.
     ‘You look gorgeous,’ I said, ‘just smile.’ There was a spark in his eyes and his white teeth shone under the sun, like a mother of pearl necklace.
     ‘That’s a good boy,’ Simone said to him. She stood, looking very neat, with her hands on the handrail. She was graceful, ever since she was born. Mama always said she would grow up to become a proper lady. I leant against the banister full on, my elbows resting on the railing, and stared openly at the occupants of the motorcar that had just stopped at the entrance. To our right and left, lines of excited children in their Sunday best giggled and glared in the same direction.
     Along with the photographer came two elegant, young ladies. The head carer introduced them as the daughters of our benefactor. They stood with us for the picture, and then moved to stand outside the other children’s dorms to also appear in their pictures. To this day, I find it very odd that, in this my only family picture from those dark years at the orphanage, there are two people neither my brother nor my sister nor I know anything about.

The End