your field of reeds

i don’t think i could have been old enough
to be the equal of you in our younger days
to the fullness of all our summers i lived
i know you have tried to remember them all

and of course we could never have been forever
here merely for the term of our natural lives
the naïve hope was to simply not die
how’s not to reason why

for as long as i shadow here at your side
your regret will be the coma of our dreaming
and that blanket of night will not cover you
because all you will feel is the ache of now

love is a beautiful hideous thing
i miss you my dear, and thank you for trying
if you could you’d kick the whole damn sky in
i’m nowhere forever though you’re haunted more
grief is a beautiful hideous thing
miss you my dear, and screw me for dying
but things will work out tomorrow somehow
you’ll smile again in the field of reeds at morningside

we thought we held all the keys didn’t we
to lock all the doors to mutual oblivion
but no matter how far and vain you wander
in this hall of echoes you’ll never find me

and of course you remain to remember now
how we railed at the stalking geist of death
though i wish i had not crumbled, dear
you shouldn’t long to have died with me

and you’re old enough now to be scared of forgetting
but the end, as we’ve seen, is a broad church
and the road there an arduous song
so resign yourself to the sunshine my dear (i won’t mind)

love is a beautiful hideous thing
miss you my dear, and screw me for flying
if i could i’d kick the whole damn sky in
i’m nowhere forever and joy will return
grief is a beautiful hideous thing
miss you my dear, and thank you for crying
but things will work out tomorrow somehow
you’ll smile again in the sunshine at morningside

 

by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

Looking Back, Hoping Forward

TONY: Hoo boy… 2020 was an absolute train wreck, wasn’t it?

TATI: Do you think so?

TONY: Totally! You don’t agree?

TATI: Nope. (Give me Fresh Salmon please…)

TONY: Really, Tati?! So, you loved 2020? (Erm… here ya go.)

TATI: It is not the year that makes us, but we that make the year. Do you agree, Button?

BUTTON: Bring on 2021, I say!

TONY: Hm. I never thought about it that way. Makes sense, I suppose…

TATI: Let’s not think about what 2020 took away from us. Let’s recall what we added to 2020.

TONY: Making lemonade from lemons, huh? Yeah, let’s do that. You start!

TATI: I am pretty proud of relaunching Trottersville. (Okay, Pale Coral now…)

TONY: Yeah, that was pretty cool. (Pale Coral comin’ right at ya… I guess?) And we made a new postcard series with the characters from that strip too. I love those postcards! Do you, Button?

BUTTON: Hells no! Nothin’ but silly talking pigs. (And their pinkest piggy arses!) You should make a comic about me instead.

TONY: And we joined Tapas and WebToon, two cool comics websites that are now home to Trottersville. It’s great to have somewhere to put this strip after reworking many of the old scripts, then redrawing and recolouring them.

TATI: I participated in a translator’s contest. I also began translating our comics into Russian and Ukrainian. And we contacted some comics publishers and got some rather warm feedback. It’s cool, don’t you think, Button?

BUTTON: What?! Why bother with silly translations when you could be ghost writing the memoirs of my extraordinary life?

TONY: All of this kinda makes 2021 seem more hopeful, right?

TATI: Don’t you feel so? And we’re in the middle of preparing some new books and launching a cool new video channel too! (Tony, that’s Shadow Rose! Can’t you tell the difference?)

TONY: How the hell are we managing to do all this?! We must hate sleep or something… (Sorry. Is this it?)

BUTTON: Sigh. Why does no one listen to me?

TATI: I don’t know… but, Tony, do you still think 2020 was a train wreck and gave you nothing but a deficit of hand sanitiser and toilet paper? (And I asked for Fandango, not Flamingo! Even Button knows the difference!)

TONY: God. Those empty store shelves still haunt my dreams… Still, I have to agree. It hasn’t been all bad, has it? What do you think, Button?

BUTTON: That’s nothing! I’ll show you what a real wreck is!

TATI: I agree that it hasn’t been all bad. And I believe our dearest Readers will have at least one nice thing to remember from 2020. (Crazy Strawberry now please…)

TONY: We can hope! (Jeez. Aren’t they all just the same stupid pink?! Just point at the correct freaking one already!) And anyway, we should at least wish all of our Readers a Happy New Year. May 2021 be a year of renewal and reconstruction!

TATI: As for us, we promise to continue making cool stuff—despite pandemics and closed borders—and (hopefully) bring you some joy with our creative effor…

TATI & TONY: BUTTON!

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2021

GUEST POST // A Birthday Poem by B K Rollason

There comes a time
for taking stock
of what one’s had
and what one’s got,

of where one’s going
and where one’s been,
of what one’s heard
and what one’s seen.

You know the games,
you’ve learnt the rules,
you can tell the wisemen
from the fools,

you’ve learned that all’s
not as it seems,
that life is both
reality and dreams,

and like the tides
that ebb and flow,
life’s sometimes fast
and oft’ times slow.

To survive the storm
a tree must bend,
and a new day starts
where this one ends.

 

by B K Rollason
© All rights reserved 1982

quarantine ballad

an orange lays on the table
juicy and fresh
the apple is feeling rotten
much less than blessed
a radio on the wall
forecasts a storm
the tv near the window
declares the day too warm

two ants near my feet
fight for a crumb
a chaffinch takes flight
escapes the mortal thumb
life all around me
is full of small wonders
evolution’s more than
stray, successive blunders

that gives rise to hope
no, i’m not a mistake
forged in the heart of stars
you plus me, we equal awake
even if sometimes
i feel like a rotten apple
i’m an orange soul
warm beneath the leafy dapple

 

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020