Sunday, 31 August 2014

Serialised Short Story - "Wild is the Wind" - Part Two

The song that inspired the title, a beautiful cover by David Bowie from his Station to Station album of 1976.


“Like the leaf clings to the tree,
Oh, my darling, cling to me
For we’re like creatures of the wind
And wild is the wind, wild is the wind”
-       Wild is the Wind, (Writers: Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington)

            At first, she joked about it, but underneath, her terror seethed. Fear of parents. Fear of her youth stolen. Fear that he would grow to resent her. The tendrils of despair squeezed her pounding heart.
            She pushed the situation away, pretending it was a bad dream, this life growing inside of her. She pushed him away too since his presence reminded her of the truth. Until the steady erosion of the days forced her to face facts.
            Their meetings were brief and business-like. He saved all his tears for his friends. They dried his tears and lent him money they could ill-afford.
            She came to see him after the abortion. Their conversation was awkward and superficial. That white-hot passion had blown to ashes.
            She asked for a lift into the city. To her new boyfriend’s house. He suspected she had taken this new lover while still pregnant. Taking a lover before she had rid her body of the foetus seemed to him an act of calculated defilement.
            She smiled weakly before she walked away into the late summer dusk. The streetlights were on in a display of impotence that matched his own. An evening breeze picked up, blowing scraps of rubbish along the footpath.
            The aftermath of those pregnant months was clearly evident upon her body. Her breasts, already generous, were swollen like over-ripe fruit. A loose-fitting jumper failed to disguise the rounding of her belly which had already begun.
            He drove away, but, racked by sobs, he was forced to stop the car.
            Somewhere in the gathering darkness she clung to another.


Saturday, 30 August 2014

Serialised Short Story - "Wild is the Wind" - Part One

The song that inspired the title, a beautiful cover by David Bowie from his Station to Station album of 1976.


“Like the leaf clings to the tree,
Oh, my darling, cling to me
For we’re like creatures of the wind
And wild is the wind, wild is the wind”
-       Wild is the Wind, (Writers: Dimitri Tiomkin & Ned Washington)

            The first time he met her, she was in bed with his neighbour.
            She had blonde hair which touched her shoulders and her soft, brown eyes shone out above her high, sculpted cheekbones. Her beauty was enlivened by her vivacity.
            At that first meeting, he had no inkling that in four months they would become lovers or that she would carve her name forever into his memory.
            His neighbour finished his studies and went away to begin his career as a pharmacist.
            He began to hear whispers that she had not forgotten him.
            On their first date, lost in her charms, he failed to notice a drunken friend stagger outside to meet with a fatal accident. The next morning, he was asked to identify this friend at the morgue. Their passion blossomed out of this shadow into the intense heat of the late summer.
            About a month after they became lovers, she tearfully confessed that she had misled him about her age. She was sixteen, not nineteen like him. There was no going back.
            One afternoon, a few weeks before Christmas, they had “the accident”. “I’m pregnant,” she stated as though it were fact. She was proved right.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tuesday Poem: "Glanmore Sonnets, III" by Seamus Heaney

This evening the cuckoo and the corncrake   
(So much, too much) consorted at twilight.
It was all crepuscular and iambic.
Out on the field a baby rabbit
Took his bearings, and I knew the deer
(I’ve seen them too from the window of the house,
Like connoisseurs, inquisitive of air)
Were careful under larch and May-green spruce.
I had said earlier, ‘I won’t relapse
From this strange loneliness I’ve brought us to.
Dorothy and William—’ She interrupts:
‘You’re not going to compare us two...?’
Outside a rustling and twig-combing breeze
Refreshes and relents. Is cadences.
by Seamus Heaney

I am editing the Hub Website for Tuesday Poem today, so after you've enjoyed this wonderful poem by the late and sorely missed Seamus Heaney, why not pop over to:

and enjoy "The Baobab Tree" by Rachel Sawaya.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Happy National Poetry Day: "In Praise of My Sister" by Wisława Szymborska

My sister doesn't write poems,
and it's unlikely that she'll suddenly start writing poems.
She takes after her mother, who didn't write poems,
and also her father, who likewise didn't write poems.
I feel safe beneath my sister's roof:
my sister's husband would rather die than write poems.
And, even though this is starting to sound as
repetitive as Peter Piper,
the truth is, none of my relatives write poems.

My sister's desk drawers don't hold old poems,
and her handbag doesn't hold new ones.
When my sister asks me over for lunch,
I know she doesn't want to read me her poems.
Her soups are delicious without ulterior motives.
Her coffee doesn't spill on manuscripts.

There are many families in which nobody writes poems,
but once it starts up it's hard to quarantine.
Sometimes poetry cascades down through the generations,
creating fatal whirlpools where family love may founder.

My sister has tackled oral prose with some success,
but her entire written opus consists of postcards from vacations
whose text is only the same promise every year:
when she gets back, she'll have
so much
much to tell.

by Wisława Szymborska (translated from the Polish by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh)

Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska was a Polish poet, essayist, translator and recipient of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in Prowent, which has since become part of Kórnik, she later resided in Kraków until the end of her life. 

She was born on July 2, 1923, in Kornik, Poland and died on February 1, 2012, in Krakow, Poland. She was educated at Jagiellonian University between 1945 and 1948. She married Adam Wlodek in 1948.

For more information about Maria Wisława Anna Szymborska, see:ława_Szymborska


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Tuesday Poem: " Song: Lying is an occupation" by Laetitia Pilkington

Lying is an occupation,
     Used by all who mean to rise;
Politicians owe their station,
     But to well concerted lies.

These to lovers give assistance,
     To ensnare the fair-one's heart;
And the virgin's best resistance
     Yields to this commanding art.

Study this superior science,
     Would you rise in Church or State;
Bid to Truth a bold defiance,
     'Tis the practice of the great.

     -- Laetitia Pilkington

For more about this poet, see:

Given that we are close to election time here in New Zealand, I thought this poem was appropriate.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game - Part Six

            “David goes wide. Hitler moves to block his run-up.”
            “Look at that! David feints a long pass to Solomon, but instead bounce passes to God who’s charging up centre court. There’s a gap and God is up. He slam dunks and it’s good!”
             “There’s the whistle. The crowd are on their feet and roaring. The Jumping Jehovahs have snatched victory in the dying seconds of this exhilarating final.”
            “Murray, you’ve called a lot of games. How would you rate this one?”
            “Number one. Kurt, this is, without a doubt, the best game I’ve ever seen.”
            “As God leads the JJ’s onto the dais to receive the Age of Light trophy and the cheque for two millennia of harmony, we cross to JJ’s coach, Moshe Bullrush. Moshe, I see you lighting a celebratory cigar off the Burning Bush. A proud moment for you, no doubt?”
            “Yes, Kurt, my faith in God has been vindicated today. He and I go back a long way, to the beginnings of monotheism. We’ve had our share of knockers. The Egyptians said we’d never make it out of the minor leagues, but that aqua-aerobic workout in the Red Sea and forty years of high altitude training in the desert have finally paid off. There were times when I thought I’d never make it to see this proud moment, but thanks to the tablets I survived.”
            “Okay, Moshe, time’s running out so we’ll have to cross to courtside. Gabriel gives God a high-five as God is lifted onto his team-mates’ shoulders. They’re doing a victory lap around the court. That brings us to the end of our live telecast. Thanks for joining us. This is Kurt Providence…”
            “…and Murray Destiny saying goodbye from Dante Hyperdrome for the Trinity Channel’s Wide Universe of Sports.”
            “And we’ll leave you with a shot of the electronic scoreboard which reads: Peace on Earth and Goodwill to all.”


The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

For more information:

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game - Part Five

            “Being reduced to a four-man team at this stage of the game is the last thing that the All-Stars need.”
            “These guys have fire in the belly though. Hitler responds to this setback with some fierce dribbling up centre court. He sells the dummy to Pol Pot. How’s he gonna break through the tight defensive formation of Michael and Sariel?”
            “Will you look at that! He’s dodged under the defence, beautiful body twist, launches off that front foot, it’s up and it’s good.”
            “An incredibly tricky shot, but he pulled it off and the tanks roll into Tiananmen Square.”
            “Pol Pot’s snatched the rebound and is drawing the defence.”
            “Hitler’s over in support of Pol Pot. There’s a hole in the JJ’s defence and Stalin has steamed through it. Hitler lobs a pass over the JJ’s to Stalin and he’s up for the slam dunk. Another ferocious scoring manoeuvre for the All-Stars and ethnic violence spreads throughout Eastern Europe.”
            “God has called time out. What a nail-biter, viewers! We’re holding our collective breath as the All-Stars lead 16 to 15 over the Jumping Jehovahs with only seconds remaining.”
            “In a surprise move, God is bringing in his two draftees: David and Solomon. Murray, isn’t God taking a big risk bringing on untested players at this crucial point in the game?”
           “They’re only untested in the UBL though, Kurt. Both players have acquitted themselves well under pressure in the Hebrew League.”
            “Play resumes, viewers, and the suspense is tangible here at the Dante Hyperdrome. David and Solomon are probing up the right side of the court, passing and dribbling, keeping it tight. They’re drawing Idi and Stalin.”

Part Six continues tomorrow

The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

For more information:

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game - Part Four

            “The JJ’s are undaunted and zip back into play. Gabriel to Michael, beats Pol Pot, back pass to Sariel, beats Idi, flick to Raphael who flicks a pass behind his back to a sensational running intercept by God and he slam dunks for Michelangelo completing the statue of David.”
            “Satan calls for time out. Let’s go to the electronic scoreboard for an action replay.”
            “For the viewers at home who may not have picked that up on the audio, a murmur of amazement rippled through the crowd as we watched the slow motion replay of Raphael’s last pass. As the ball arced through the air towards God, a rainbow trailed behind it and we could clearly see the flowering of the Renaissance.”
            “The ball’s in play again. It looks like Satan is setting up a two-on-one and yes, a dummy pass to Hitler while Idi steams up from mid-court. Satan passes to Idi. Idi charges through for the slam dunk for Nietzsche publishing Beyond Good and Evil. There’s the whistle. Did you see what that was for, Murray?”
            “Yes, Kurt. Idi shoulder-charged Sariel with excessive force. This produced the phenomenon of ‘drive-by’ shootings and a foul has been awarded against Idi.”
            “Sariel to take the penalty shots. Cool as a seraph he drops them in. One, Pasteur successfully vaccinates against rabies, and two, Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin.”
            “Whoa, trouble has developed while Sariel was taking his penalty. It’s a pressure cooker down there. Satan initiated some pushing and shoving with God.”
            “The umpires are taking no nonsense. Satan has earned himself five minutes in the ‘sin bin’ for propagating the AIDS virus.”
            “A poor example for a player-captain to set."
            “Couldn’t agree more, Murray. Satan’s lack of self-control may cost the All-Stars the game.”

Part Five continues tomorrow

The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

For more information:

Friday, 15 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game - Part Three

            “Satan is quick to respond with a driving move down the court. Sariel and Michael are in disarray in defence and Satan crashes through. He’s up. It’s good. All-Stars have their first points on the board and Vesuvius erupts and destroys Pompeii.”
            “The excitement is palpable here at Dante Hyperdrome as the two teams go head to head. A fight broke out between some Western industrialists and some Hare Krishnas when Michael scored a beauty which created the Himalayas and Pol Pot swiftly countered with the Black Death.”
            “We can’t pick one player as a stand-out. Gabriel might have scored three baskets in quick succession with Uluru, the Amazon and Victoria Falls, but he couldn’t have done it without the JJ’s working immaculately as a unit.”
            “And Satan has answered those pundits who called him an also-ran.”
            “Critics of his team’s fitness and determination have been silenced by the dynamic defence and offence of the All-Stars. That old black magic was never more evident than when Satan beat Michael and Sariel to score that explosive Krakatoa eruption.”
            “And Stalin and Idi, essentially defensive players, ranging far and wide with that beautiful combination which resulted in Stalin scoring that genocide in Rwanda basket.”
            “More hot action, sports fans! The Aleister Crowley cheerleaders are chanting up a storm as Satan beats one…two…three players and bams one off the backboard. What a basket! Hitler’s up, he’s got the rebound and he scores! A magnificent double-header: earthquakes in San Francisco and Chile!”

Part Four continues tomorrow

The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

For more information:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game - Part Two

“Are you game to predict the outcome, Murray?”
            “Kurt, it’d be a brave sportscaster who’d predict this one. There are so many factors: unfamiliar venue, a new type of ball…”
            “Enlighten the viewers about this new ball, Murray.”
            “As dedicated basketball fans know, the UBL use a variety of balls during the play-offs: the Mercury, the Pluto, the Alpha Centauri and so on. In today’s final they’ll play with a World 2008, a ball neither team is familiar with.”
            “But they’ve used World balls before.”
            “Sure, who can forget one of the greatest finals in UBL history when they played with a World 1945?”
            “God’s looking to repeat that epic victory in today’s final. What challenges will the World 2008 present to the players?”
            “It’s a heavier ball, weighing ten billion whereas the 1945 weighed three billion. It’ll be harder to handle because it’s made with considerably less ozone layer. And the players will have to watch the top spin because of uneven wealth distribution.”
            “Sorry, Murray, we’ll have to leave it there. Sports fans, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: God and Satan are facing off for the toss-up.”
            “God’s got it and flicks it back to Raphael, Raphael dribbles, he beats Idi, beats Stalin, good defence by Hitler, but Raphael gets the long pass away to Gabriel who’s blocked, but wait, God comes up the inside and gets a bounce pass from Gabriel. God’s well outside the key, he shoots and…yes, a three-pointer and the Grand Canyon is formed.”

Part Three continues tomorrow

The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

For more information:

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Short Story (serialised): The Big Game

           “Hello, I’m Kurt Providence. Welcome to the Dante Hyperdrome for our live telecast of the eagerly awaited Universal Basketball League final between the Jumping Jehovahs and Satan’s All-Stars. All the hot basketball action coming your way soon, live and exclusive, on Trinity Channel’s Wide Universe of Sports. I’m joined by my co-host, Murray Destiny, the man who calls ‘em as he sees ‘em.”
            “Hi, Kurt. What a crowd in the ethereal bleachers today! We’re talkin’ mega-people and mega-atmosphere!”
            “Murray, many people are saying that God’s team is a clear favourite.”
            “God is fielding a strong team. No one would deny that Michael, Gabriel, Sariel and Raphael are all major league archangels with millennia of on-court experience.”
            “And on the bench the Jehovahs have two dynamos drafted from the Royals: Solomon, a real thinking player, and David whose breathtaking shots toppled the Goliaths.”
            “The Jehovahs have played some righteous ball all season, but I don’t agree with those pundits who say Satan’s team are has-beens. Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and Idi Amin have all been through career troughs recently, but their statistics are on the board and any of them could cause a major upset.”
            “They’d be looking to sharpen their form with up-and-comers like Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein on the bench, snapping at their heels.”
            “Yes, there are contenders and pretenders, but I think experience will tell today.”

Part Two continues tomorrow

The Big Game was first published in The West Australian newspaper and was reproduced in the short story collection, Aotearoa Sunrise.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Tuesday Poem: The Waiting

Free of weekdays’ jolting jangle, the reader sleeps late.
The poet wakes early, anticipation snapping like a trap.
Dew stowaways ride the reader’s slippers as he retrieves his newspaper.
The poet, possibility-charged, brisks to the dairy.
Coffee percolates while the reader casually unwraps the plastic.
In the dairy, the poet is poised like an expectant parent.
The reader disgorges the inserts and swoops on the cartoons.
The poet opens the section to look for the birthmark.
Breakfast arrayed, the reader opens the broadsheet with a satisfied crackle.
Smudged with print placenta, the poet witnesses another’s ink born.
The reader chews the poem with her bacon, spitting out the rind.
The poet’s labour continues for another week.