Today in my heart a vague trembling of stars and all roses are as white as my pain…

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“Hello Mum…” i say

from closed throat
as i choke on tears
of the inevitable.

she is slumped
on one side.
three pillows.
three pillows hold you
and support you as
you gaze through me
with eyes dim
and full of antipsychotic
medicine.
“medicine”
medicine that has taken
my Mother and held her hostage.
it seems dark in here, in there.
there is precious little light
here now…
and it is fading fast.

i wipe the tears from my eyes
and the drool from her chin.
‘medicine’ they say.

her hands, the skin – so soft, flaccid
and thin
like tracing paper
delicate like a trace
of life… where is that spark?

where is that fire?
that spirit?
that beautiful soul?
where is my hero –
where is she?
where did she go?

“oh Mum…” i say
and hold her hand, tight.
i don’t want to let go.

“Mum? Can you hear me?”
i know you’re in there, somewhere…
do you hear me?
do you hear me, crying in the night for you
like i did, as a child,
when the monsters would come
into my dreams.
i need you, Mother.
i need you – but i can’t find you.
i can see you but
you are no longer here,
in my world.
where are you?
where did you go?
i have so many questions, Mother.
so many questions…

“Let me sing to you…” i say, choking
on dread.
i can barely breathe. gravity is
crushing and caving my chest.

i can see you, but
you’re not there.
do you hear me?
please, come back to me.
do you want to come back?
is it better where you are?
away from the grieving for the lost one;
away from the pain and prison of illness
and isolation;
away from the four walls that house you;
away from the loneliness of not hearing
or remembering…
“Oh Mum…” i say
“come back to me…”

come back to this world
where we wait…
where we, your flesh and blood, wait
for you to return.
but…
looking into your eyes, i can tell
that you are
not coming
back…
are you?

Oh Mother.
you are unaware of how my mind
tortures my heart
as i think of you,
now a prisoner of the bones
and flesh that house you…
… and your smile.

i watch you smile at me,
your mouth quivering,
frail… failing.
i think of your voice and
how you loved to sing.
is there music where you are?
because you love music and
you love to
sing…
sing for me, Mother.
sing a song for me
to comfort me –
just like you did when
i was a child.
sing out loud so i know you are there…
so i can follow your voice…
so i can find you.
i know you are in there… somewhere.

where did you go?
you left so quickly.
your eyes are shadows.
your eyes, once teeming with light,
now tired.
tired of seeing.
tired of seeing this
broken slideshow of your life.
do you see me?

do you think of me,
your youngest child.
your youngest daughter.
do you remember my laugh;
my face;
my name?

where are you, Mother?
i wish you could return
so we could take a walk
through the woods
and talk, like
we used to.
where are you, Mother?
i wish you could return
and brush my hair and
you could tell me all about where
you have been… and
what it’s like there.

because…

“i miss you, Mum…”

i seek a moment’s comfort
in knowing in your fugue
state of mind
that you are, perhaps, blissfully
unaware of
what this world has become
without you.

and yet… i am full of fear:
fear of knowing that this is the end;
fear of knowing that you are alone… there;
fear of knowing you are struggling, perhaps,
to return… clutching thoughts
with only fragments of this
and that
and this reality; with only
broken
and dis-
jointed memories and
not knowing
what
is
real.

are you lost?
or are you rambling through
the forest of your mind?
lost in that deep, dark forest.
do you know where you are?
or are you lost – in a manic
panic –
desperately searching
for a way
to come
back.

if you could, would you find your
way back
to me?
to us?
to the world you have left behind?
or…

are you happier in this sedative dream?

what is it like there, Mother?

sleep does not come easy to me these days.
i lie awake, listening to the sea and
think of you, drowning… choking… fighting
for breath… searching
for the familiar… a lifeline… to
fight against the black water
and return to us.

Oh Mother. what am i to do?
what am i to do, without you?
i am not yet ready to be an orphan.
sure, i am a grown woman
but you are my mother.
you gave me life
and now i look
towards the end
of yours.

Oh Mother.
are you too far gone?
somewhere… in that frail
and useless body
i know you exist.
i know you are in there…
but…
i can’t get to you.
i hope you can hear me?
hear my thoughts?

i hope you can hear me, Mother
as i have not abandoned you.
i am right here.

i worry that in this pergatory
you can see us… see our tears.

“why is it so dark in here?”

is it dark where you are, Mother?
is it?
i wish i could let some light in.

i wish i could just…
i wish…
i…

if you find light in your darkness, Mother,
don’t be afraid.
i have not abandoned you.
i am right here.
i will always be right here.
i hope you find some light
in your forest…
“it’s a beautiful day today, Mum”
“the sun is shining…”

what is that sound?
oh it’s my own voice.

(c) Kat McDonald 2017

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– watching someone you love be consumed with dementia is heart-wrenching… especially so when that someone is your mother… the one who gave you life and light and love.
it’s hard to watch your world become slowly starved of that light as her life slips from her, and you, with certainty of lengthening shadows and loss, can do nothing but wait.

and that weight is unbearable.

today, my heart was broken… more than i ever thought possible.  my Mother had not been allowed any visitors for almost a week as she, sadly, had to be sectioned for her own safety.  today was the first of me seeing her in a little over a week.  the change was, inevitably, a huge departure from the soul i last saw.  she is fading fast, like roses.

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my mother, aged 15

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my mother, a keen photographer it would seem…

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my  mother, on her wedding day…

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my mother, with my lost brother, William, who died 10 weeks before i was born. he was 18.

Title borrowed from one of my other heroes… Federico Garcia Lorca:

Autumn Song
November 1918

[translated by DK Fennell]

Today I sense in my heart
a vague tremor of stars,
but I lost my way
in the midst of fog.
The light trims my wings
and the pang of my gloom
will moisten the memories
at the font of knowledge.

All roses are white,
as white as my sorrow,
but the roses are not white
that have snow on them.
Once they dressed in a rainbow.
Besides there’s snow on my soul.
The snow of my soul is
kissed by flakes and scenes
which disappear in shadow
or in light when thought of.

The snow falls from the roses,
but the soul’s remains,
and the grapple of the years
makes a shroud of it.

Will the snow melt
when death takes us?
Or will there then be other snow
and other roses more perfect?
Will there be peace among us
as Christ teaches us?
Or will there never be
a solution to this question?

And if love cheats us?
Who will resurrect us
if twilight buries us
in the scientific truth
of Good, which perhaps doesn’t exist,
and Evil which flutters nearby.

What if hope gives way
and Babel ensues,
what torch will light
the roads on Earth?

If the blue sky is a fantasy,
what will become of innocence?
What will become of the heart
if Love has no arrows?

And if death is death,
what will become of poets?
and things in a cocoon
which no one remembers?
Oh sun of hopes!
Clear water! New moon!
Dull souls of stones!
Today I sense in my heart
a vague tremor of stars
and all roses are
as white as my sorrow.

into the wild… the making of ‘Wilderness’

“WILDERNESS” – a collection of 13 songs inspired by animals; animals that have been totemic in the relation between a man (Robert Davidson) and a woman (myself, Kat McDonald).

a sound born in a storm. this is what happened when a bird fell from the sky and foxes followed us home. this is supernatural, homespun honesty. this is soup, at 4am. this is a map of the stars that trace our fate. this is paprika tea. this is animal instinct. this is our story. our music.

this is the sound that came from a gorge . this is what happened when lovers cut each others hair with a samurai sword. this is inside out and up ‘n’ down. this humble creation from this hibernation. baring and purging. this is defining heroes. this is katsu curry & fermented pears. this could be winter. these are our scars. this is our music.

this is the chaos of living with panthers in a house by the sea, where ravens share their secrets with those who speak their language. this is our allegiance to our ancestors and the salt in our Bourbon. two years of travelling the sun, we are finally home.

Source: into the wild… the making of ‘Wilderness’

Listen to WILDERNESS >> HERE <<

the self-hypnotist

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“…. you are slowly going into a state of deep relaxation. Slowly and surely, your entire body and mind are relaxing, relaxing, relaxing. you are going deeper and deeper and deeper, into a state of deep relaxation. each and every muscle of your body is now relaxing. everything is so peaceful and quiet. now, counting backwards from 10, you will descend a small staircase….  10…. 9…. 8………………..5……………….. …………. ………………..”

the voice of the self-hypnotist tails off into the night. a new night. a new year.  the voice, now distant, fades into obscurity. into oblivion.

i lie in the dim of my chamber with the weight of the night, and gravity of the new year, pressing upon me. my mind is swirling in the crush and chaos, like Betelgeuse, on the verge of explosion.  i can feel the night creep in and saturate the familiarity of my furnishings and turning them into oddities and unrecognisable shapes.  all is quiet. the flickering street light, right outside my window, casts shadows across the walls and ceiling; just as my mind casts aspersions as to what this new year, 2017, will bring.  this new year is barely four hours old and already i am judging her and making assumptions.

[why do we do that?]

it is these early hours of a new year that bring a manic panic and wild sense of urgency.

[calm… focus on that voice, Kathryn…]

 through my open window, i see that the stars are still in their correct places – no need for adjustment; the sea continues to roll in and out just as it did in the old year. another night of constant tides, and glad tidings. the still and almost silent night is punctuated by the odd yelp or peal of laughter from drunks as they stagger home like the walking wounded… or the waking dead.  the last of the NYE party people.  all i can hear now is the gentle hum of distant traffic, the drone of the self-hypnotist’s voice and the yelp of an urban fox.  the blackness of the sky, like a shark’s eye, is murky in my blindness.  the walls of this chamber are illuminated by that lonely failing street lamp outside, casting sparks like a beacon of hope for the lost, the lonely and the fucked up.

Alf, my cat lies, sprawled by my side, on his back with his furry flank exposed in complete trust.  on occasion, he stretches out his paw and pads gently at my hand. no claws. just a tender acknowledgement of our mutual affection.  i lean in and kiss his stomach. he does not flinch nor fight.  he just sighs, softly.  in this light, he looks as though he may be smiling.

i lay back beneath the blanket of night and close my eyes.

[wtf?!]

there is no colour in the desert. no colour and no sun.  only a clock, where the sun once hung, high in a sky that once was blue.  now everything is monochrome.

with hands on hips, parched lips and bare feet, i look around me. the air is strange.  where am i?  am i still on Earth? the soft, warm breeze whips up a fine salty dust and carries it across the desert valley floor.  the sky is vast and humbling.  large white clouds billow and gather pace.  the breeze sucks them together.  i watch, in awe, as they amass and form a canopy up and beyond me.  why there is no colour is beyond me.  the sky is black.  the clouds continue to change shape and quicken, as if to summon uncertainty.  this reality is in time-lapse.  everything is moving fast, it is only i who remains still.  the clock’s long arms and broken hands spin around and around and around, faster, faster, faster… day becomes night becomes day.  clouds continue to feed my imagination with the flight of dragon-like formations.  what does this mean?   and i am thirsty.  i am so thirsty.

dawn breaks and the clock disappears.  a new sun begins to rise, feverish, in a purple sky.  in time-lapse, shadows lengthen and spread across the desert floor.  i feel the sun warm my skin and realise i am more than thirsty.

for water?

or knowledge?

with this new sun, comes a new dimension.  i look to my right and there is an office. an office with a door but no walls; an office with a desk and chair, a chaise-longue and standard lamp, but no ceiling. on the desk there is an aspidistra, a tall glass of water and a notepad and pencil.  they are placed in position, with near poetic precision, by a wiry and bent old man in a dark grey polyester suit.  his hair is wild; long and grey and his beard is unfurled before him, like a long and winding road.  sensing my presence, he turns to me and fixes himself, pulling down his sleeves, straightening his tie and hurriedly brushing off one or two loose hairs and specks of dandruff from his sloping shoulders.

standing upright,  i see that he is a tall and thin man with a large bony nose and sunken cheekbones.  his round steel-framed spectacles hang off the end of his nose. the lenses are thick yellow and make his eyes look cartoon-like and massively oversized for his gaunt face.  he beckons to me, and gestures to me to recline on the brown chaise-longue.  and so, i do…

the man takes the glass of water and drinks it all down.  my lips are parched and i feel dry.  thirsty.  for water, and for knowledge?  but what of that?

he tells me to look up at the hole in the sky. i relax in the chaise-longue, nestling into its comfort and warmth, and look up at the sky.  he is correct. there is a hole in the sky.  a small puncture wound. i focus on its torn edges as if it were ragged wallpaper and begin to imagine what i would see if i were to continue peeling it away.  what would i expose?  what would i find behind this beautiful illusion.

the man stands over me. he smells like paper.  he then, silently, anoints my forehead with oil, fragrant like turquoise.  i feel myself levitate. his fingers connect with my soul and i feel a stream of information ‘download’ from his fingertips through my pineal gland and down into my solar plexus.

i feel tethered to his knowledge and yet, strangely, free.  suddenly, i am no longer thirsty and i find myself crying at the beauty and simplicity of it all.

he tells me all about the birth of the universe. he explains the many paradoxes and paradigms that have both puzzled and defined us.  he tells me all the secrets: he shows me star maps, new colours, code… he tells me the truth about ‘God’.  he explains the matrices of our existence, and our co-existences in the universes of our past, present and future lives.  he explains why. he explains how.

he instructs me not to tell anyone about what he has shared with me.  there are many forces in existence, he tells me.

he tells me there is much to learn.

he tells me that the human race will not be on this earth in 500 years.

the old man then, taking my hands, leads me into a mirrored-glass pyramid.  inside, he claps his hands, like a flamenco dancer, and a holographic screen appears. immediately, it scrolls through hundreds of names of other human beings, from all over the world.  it is a barrage of information. hundreds of faces flash before my eyes.  instantly i look for familiar faces… my own face, my lover’s face, my mother, my friends…

the old man stands in front of me, commanding my full attention and tells me that in exchange for my newfound knowledge i must make an offering.

as the names of these humans scroll across thin air in front of me, he tells me that i must select 5 human beings to die.

take your time, he says.  choose wisely

the urgency in his voice, stokes my morbid curiosity and i ask him why.

why?  i say, as i scroll through the names and faces of many, many humans. ordinary humans, with ordinary lives.

you will not know any of these people, he says, but choose carefully as these people are all, to some degree, intrinsic to your very own existence.  what fate you decide for them will shape who you are today, tomorrow and who you were yesterday… choose wisely, or you may cease to exist.

 

the human mind is an unfathomable entity but i guess the lesson here, in this dream, is: while it is great to have a thirst for knowledge, know this: with great knowledge comes great responsibility.

 

(c) Kat McDonald 2017

i awoke from this lucid dream wishing i could recall the secrets i was told.  it was all too real, but perhaps i am not ready…  perhaps we humans are not ready to know the absolute truth…

 

 

 

 

soon…

soon

“soon….. x” he wrote.

“soon….. x”

 

[Oh the unquantifiable wait.
the undeniable weight.
oh the irrefutable beauty
of monosyllabic
poetry.

four letters. infinite variables. one critical
sum, happening in my head… quicker than
i can convey verbally
and i can be verbose.

soon = absolute x.

i was good at math
but you know that
don’t you?]

 

 

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

 

 

a psalm for the loveless

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there is comfort in clean sheets and the promise of “a good night’s sleep”. the allure of cool, crisp cotton beckons. the black ink of night fuels my scribe as i scratch across cheap paper in the dim of my lonely room. writing a song, in the dark, with a 5-string guitar, is cathartic. but there are too many distractions. my thoughts resolve back to the dead fox cub on the Standing Stanes Road and i sob,  my arms wrapped around Julio*,  my shoulders shaking. outside, the street lights shine like beacons for breaking hearts, insomniacs, poets and moths. someone is yelling. God knows what, but it’s 4.42am and the streets are already wet. the atonal hum of summer rain sounds like a song for the hopeless or a psalm for the loveless. a burgeoning hope, that tomorrow will be a brighter day.  the sea sounds so far away; weak, and diluted by this new precipitation. this time of calm is stirred by an itch in my [open] left palm. and, a ringing in my ears breaks my thoughts in Fmaj7.  i play along.  words fold and unfold and float by me, like soggy paper boats in my own sea of rambling.  i lay down and strum. sleep will come, easily.  songs often manifest in my dreams. there are six planets on their rise, elliptical. they are all visible with the naked eye, if you know where to look.  i close my eyes, put down the pen and close my book.  i hold on tight to Julio, in the absurd hope that he will sing me to sleep, as i pluck strings in harmony with the gentle peal of the wind chime above my head, as the palest breeze waxes lyrical.

[i don’t remember falling asleep, but i guess i must’ve………………….]

5 hours later, i find myself awake and Julio still asleep on the bed beside me.  quiet. there is paper and guitar picks everywhere.  my thoughts resolve to my lover, along the coast; i can still smell his scent in the tangled mess of my hair.

 

 

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

-for Robert – with you, i never feel loveless. i love you, like i was born to.

the strongest march…

the strongest march

clouds, slowly, gather
in the bluest sky
reflected in
my altruistic
eye
as sirens wail their
woeful cry
i watch the ants
of July suck
upon a glob
of spit.
the strongest march
‘cross to the bone
dry side, near a dismantled rone;
whilst the weak
get stuck amidst,
or trampled.

clouds gather, now, at quickened
pace;
the sun no longer the white
furnace.
a cooler breeze now strikes my soul
like a hammer on
an anvil.
i hear Thor’s roar
a battlecry that rips
the sky wide open
and raindrops
splatter

down,
in a shower
of Hellfire.
what of the ants?
i watch them struggle
as they run amok
seeking cover
between the cracks,
under the crock,
or beneath
the flower, foot and flock.
as the strongest march
on, flight of
foot and brace
themselves for
their struggle and plight;
whilst the weak
get stuck in
mud.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

– a stormy lunch hour, fulfilled by the company of ants.

Hollywould, if she could

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cheap tinsel and smog – is all that you are. a cityful of fake folk and folklore; of deplorable schism and schizophrenic notion. Ah… Hollywould… if she could.
she’s a whoredom. she is like a box of adders; a modern-day Medusa; a mother with viper womb and crooked fangs.
Hollywould – the painted piranha; a fickledom where unforgiven forgotten pariah see only what they wanna.
blinding,
binding
like a cursed spell. look out, boys! she will poison your well being, and cheapen your aspirations.
she will deliver another suckerpunch, a blow below the belt, crushing the dreams of stardom of each new city-dweller.
watch your step.
wow… she’s something else!
a knock-out with glass jaw but she will always be the first to throw.
she’s a fault line but no great shakes. beneath the mask it’s, clearly, all fake. like the mountains she makes; and struggles, self-baked, of tremendous tremor.
[yawn…!]

“are those freckles real or are they melanin implants?”

[oh jesus…]

’tis becoming a seismic bore: predictable, needling or
just needy, like that waitress on a 16 hour shift.
Hollywould, if she could, for a cuntful of tips.
oh see how she is gifted – with envy-green eyes and marshmallow lips. Oh how those breasts, augmented, uplift.
and how that mouth can swear and prey.
that mouth…
Oh that pretty mouth and its infamy. it spews, spills and thrills; what’s it to be? spit or swallow?
guzzle ’til full, or remain forever hollow.
she’s the lying breath of the dying, or maybe she is just like our dying star, or a vagrant on the casting couch.
she will play you, work you – she’s no slouch.
is she fashionably contradictory or just prettily vacant?
and so it goes on – irrefutably blatant.
from upbeat to down beat – to a dead heat in heartbeat
and hysteria. with no pretty flowers downtown to adorn her
– only painted thorns, all shorn and forlorn there.
a plastic rose in a plastic surgeon’s clinic, its artificiality, leeching – its cheap scent and gaud leaves them nauseous and retching.
while the artist outside, on the kerb, is sketching.
Oh Hollywould – is a hall of mirror and delusion.
in a violent reality of wild superficiality, she thrives on and jives with collision and war.
warring, wearing and wearing thin, wearing down.
oh Hollywould – a dumb little clown; a piss-stinking parody of a circus town.
attention-seeking, she swings to and fro; a trapeze, a trap… she’ll cum and she’ll go.
fickle, sickle, scythe, and sick.
calculating and heartless, with a swinging brick.
Oh Hollywould, if she could, of that i am sure – cast her aspersions, as she walks out the door, with precision
like a whaler’s harpoon, direct and damaging in her oblivious lampoon.
Queen of the Damned, or  just damned Drama Queen.
“do as i say
or i’ll scream and i’ll scream…!”
and she will, ’till you’re down upon wounded knee;
she will have you jump through hoops of blowjobs and fire, ’til you please
or appease or get stuck in her mire.
one thing for sure…

… this is no town for a child.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

chewing the fat – a short story

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Black Friday. the streets were mean and surly as the hustled bustle of frenzied Christmas shoppers began to reach fever pitch and a new-found level of savagery.

still owned by the same family, now in its fifth generation, Mickey’s Diner is the oldest diner in Brooklyn and it hadn’t changed one iota since the 1900s.  the smell of Irish stew and coffee became as synonymous with Brooklyn as the Bridge itself.

Escaping the Christmas contagion and mass hysteria, Harold and Maeve Spratt entered the diner, as they did every Friday.

Harold sat opposite his wife, Maeve.  he motioned to the waitress that he’d like a coffee.  “black n bitter” he scoffed.

the diner was busy and crammed with people.  people loitering; people taking seats and leaving seats; people with harried expressions; people hugging and laughing; people impatiently roaring “check please!” – to which the waitress would roar  “i said i’ll be right with you, goddamnit!”.  there were lovers in corners, huddled over steaming bowls of stew; there were whining children – pissed because they’d been trailed from shop to shop on a promise that they would get to go see Santa Claus if they were good little boys and girls but their whines seemed justified – it was a little after 4pm and they knew that they’d been duped; little kids, stropping, rigid in strollers, screaming for attention, their bottom lips quivering and their faces red.  poor little bastards.  what a toil for them, being pushed through a noisy jungle of legs, ill smells and the odd dog’s unwanted overfamiliarity.

Kim, the waitress, had waited these tables for thirty six years. “in with the bricks” she’d cajole, with a tired smile and swollen ankles, smiling lamely at customers as she waited to take their order, stabbing her chewed pen on the notepad in her slender hand.  “what’s it to be, Harold?” she asked, arriving at Harold and Maeve’s table.

Harold ordered another cuppa Joe “black n bitter” and a naked mixed green salad “no dressing”.  Maeve was still pondering over the menu.  “should i get the blueberry pancakes, with maple-cure bacon, Harold?” she asked “or should i have the a big slab of that pecan pie…?  i just love pecan pie… ooh peaches…”.  Harold silently scolded her with a glower, cutting her off bluntly,  as he casually unfolded today’s Gotham Gazette and snapped it open, putting it up as a barrier between him and his wife.  he quietly sipped his coffee and muttered, from behind the headline: “have whatever your heart desires, Mae – what the Hell do i care!?”.

“aw come on, Maeve, i got other people waiting” said Kim, loudly cracking her gum, like a gunshot.

“ok… i’ll have the blueberry pancakes, with the maple-cured bacon – and two eggs, over-easy… and i’ll have the corn muffin with peaches and syrup please” she said, looking pleased with herself, smiling smugly at Kim as she handed her the menus.  Kim stuck her pen behind her ear, took up the menus and zig-zagged off in the direction of the kitchen hatch, where she brayed the order at the cook.

Harold and Maeve had been coming to Mickey’s Diner for almost 50 years.  every Friday, since before they were married.  those early Fridays saw them sit, as young lovers, huddled over a milkshake with a stack of quarters for the jukebox.  Hell, they’d even been known to get up and dance, like there was nobody else around.  later Fridays saw them bring their children for birthday balloons and sparkling sundaes.

but today Harold and Maeve sat in silence.  she, now 40lbs heavier, sat looking around her, with her hands close-knit in her lap while he sat, quietly sipping his coffee, reading the funnies.

Harold was 78 and a retired cop.  He was a tall and intolerant man, with a wiry frame. granted, it was a little bent out of shape nowadays but he tried to keep himself lean. still, he had a bone-dry sense of humour, a boner for the waitress’s legs and a bony face, to boot. he was an ugly man and had been known to make children cry with just one glower; his piercing eagle eyes and hanging monobrow made him look like ‘the bogey man’ to the children in the street where they lived. however, with age, the severity of this look was lessened by the thick horn-framed spectacles that were now perched on his prominent aquiline nose.

Maeve was a retired cook.  she loved food. oh boy she loved ‘a good eat’.  “a little too much” Harold would say, to his friends at Tuesday night poker club, when Jimmy ‘One Shoe’ McGonigle and Tom ‘Crab’ Fisher would ask after ‘the good lady’.  “gah, she’s as good as an old slipper” he would say “a little worn and twice the size she was when i first tried it on with her”

yes. it was true.  Maeve liked her food. she loved to eat. she was 72 and overblown. “a diet of fat and flour will do that to ya”, as Harold would say.

amid the rabble of babble and clatter of crockery, the cook roared “one mixed green salad, one pancake pig-out for table 17!”

Harold squirmed in his seat, shaking his head with embarrassment and burying his face in the day’s obituaries.  Maeve smiled with glee as she watched Kim weave through the tables, a plate in each hand. cracking a large gum bubble loudly in Harold’s ear as she laid their food down at their table, Harold tutted and threw her a contemptuous glance.  “sorry” she said, huskily, with a nonchalant shrug and ‘like-i-give-a-fuck’ smile.  Maeve began to sweat and squirm with excitement. her eyes widened and lit up like cooker rings when the platter was put down in front of her.  she pulled her seat in close to the table.  so close, her huge tits pushed the plate three inches away from her.  “thank you, Kim, you’re a sweetie” she said, cloyingly to the waitress.  “can i trouble you for some extra bacon – two skinny rashers like that ain’t gonna fill me up?”  Harold rolled his eyes to the waitress: “… and a heart attack on a plate, if you got one of those too?” he snarled.

Harold neatly folded his newspaper and laid it to one side.  he picked up his fork and began to eat. quietly, in silence.

Maeve picked up her napkin in her plump hands and tucked it into her blouse, near spilling her cleavage onto her plate.  Harold looked at her with equal parts contempt and dread.

a few years ago, Harold had grown to hate eating with his wife.  her ill-fitting dentures and vile table manners filled him with anxiety.  his intolerance of messy, noisy eating had grown exponentially over the years.  there were many occasions where he would sit at the dining table, in the comfort of their home, silently plotting ways to kill her as she chewed hungrily on a turkey leg or slurped her coffee or spoke with her mouth full of ham and egg sandwich – plosively spatting slimy chunks of half-chewed bread and mush across the table, often onto his plate.  he now found this woman, the former love of his life, disgusting. repulsive. like a pig.  an old sow.

today was no exception.  he sat and picked at his leafy veg, polite forkfuls of spinach and lollo rosso quietly masticated in his closed mouth, as he ruminated on her demise.

with a whore of an appetite, she attacked her plate… chopping up her pancakes with the fork gripped tightly in her chubby fist.  her eyes twinkling as she greedily licked her painted lips. she was hungry.  she was always hungry. she stabbed at pancakes, bacon and blueberries – stacking them on the four prongs of her fork, closing her eyes as her mouth yawned open like a whore’s cunt, stretching and glistening with greed.  Harold watched in horror, at what seemed to occur in slow-motion, as she slammed that fork in her mouth, cramming it full of what she craved; thrusting it deep inside that gaping cavern. her pink painted lips creased around the fork as her eyes rolled back in her head in ecstasy; her chubby fist deftly removing the licked-clean fork and returning it to the platter only to be stapped full of more fat and flour; more glutinous grease, as that ugly and guilt-free grin opened across her puffy face like a septic wound, seeping and encrusted with crumbs and spit.

and that sound!  Harold hated the sound.  the sounds were the worst imaginable.

the rattle and clicking of her ill-fitting dentures frayed his nerves with each bite. the jaws snapping, snapping; her poorly painted and puckered lips smacking, smacking… and the gulping.

Harold hated the gulping.

she would take a swill of her coffee, gulping down air with her mouth full of pancake and pig.  the squelching and sweating.  she would sweat with excitement and effort. how could she fill that mouth so full. the sweating… as her stomach succumbed to the stretching, she was like a foie gras goose. her eyes would gleam and her mouth would glisten in her unabashed gluttony, her chin wet and shiny with trails of jus and bacon fat. but it didn’t stop after the plate was empty… oh no. this was the bit Harold hated the most.

the rattling.

after eating, she would rattle her dentures around her mouth; her tongue poking around in there, scouring for remnants of half-chewed food. her painted mouth stretched outwards like the muzzle of an adult baboon. oh that sound.  it drove Harold crazy.

*cough* *splutter*

suddenly, Harold’s murderous fantasy was interrupted by a violent coughing fit. it took him a while to realise that his wife was choking.  he sat, quietly forking away at his salad.

“don’t talk with your mouth full, Maeve” he said, awkwardly, loud enough for all to hear, as he quickly polished off his salad.

the coughing and spluttering grew increasingly more urgent…

“someone call 911 – that fat lady’s choking!!” someone yelled.

for Harold, everything seemed to be in suspended animation, surreal. he watched, chewing on his watercress and kale, as a young bearded hipster guy in skinny jeans and man-bun tried to pull the Heimlich manoeuvre on her but he could barely get his arms tight enough around the bulk of her corpulent form to perform the move effectively.

Harold sat and watched, in disbelief and quiet amusement,  as his wife’s face reddened and her eyes bulged as if fit to burst. Harold watched as everyone rushed and fussed around her.  he glanced outside, it was starting to snow.  he turned back to his wife and stared into her eyes, her watering and bloodshot eyes.  he watched as her face turned purple and her heaving mass slumped, hard, onto the floor.

“call 911… QUICK!! she’s not breathing!” yelled the bearded hipster.

“Jesus, man, what’s wrong with you!?  your wife is choking!” he barked at Harold, as he took a hold of Maeve’s hand.

Harold couldn’t move. he seemed blissfully paralysed.  he simply sat and watched the drama unfold before him.  he sat and stared at her plate. he sat and watched as the Coroner came and took her body away.  he sat there, still.

“it’s not like her to leave food on her plate…” he thought.

damn.  she hadn’t touched that corn muffin.

“what a waste!” he thought, as he stabbed his fork into its peachy depths.

 

 

(c) Kat McDonald 2016

~ an idea for a screenplay.

 

 

pink lemonade for a blue girl

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barefoot on cool grass,
summer has spoken
in soft
dulcet tones:
of honey-bee drones
and the hum of distant traffic.

grateful flowers herald her arrival
with trumpets blaring blue and yellow.

she moves,
with sand in her shoes,
but still…
she’s here…
but only just.

i hear her
in the sea’s breath
and the depth of tide;
in gulls’ cries
and the clink of ice.

(c) Kat McDonald 2016