100 WORD SKITTLE // Writer’s Block

The pen is mightier than the sword, except when said sword is a pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. Then it’s just two pens side by side, not causing much blood loss and mayhem, because… well, they’re pens, and pens don’t do that.

But here’s the thing. If you take a closer look, you can see that said pen is actually a sword in the shape of a regular sized pen. So, yes, then the first pen is mightier than the sword because it’s not a second pen in the shape of a tiny, novelty sword. It is actually a sword.

Yes, I’ve had a lot on my mind lately.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2022

phthalovision

air is especially fancy tonight
violet and green
a beatific palette of dappled light
both seen and unseen

my breath is deep, mind is still, and now
all is colour and chime
a local chemical plant, take a bow
for my zen inspiration respiration time

phthalo dreams

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2022

GUEST POST // all the trappings of winter by Robert Greig

I’ve tried
to write a poem
for the solstice
this winter come,
for the shortest day;

the beginning of the end…

I failed
to find a start
carve a middle
coup de grâce
weave a wordy way;

the beginning
of the end…

I set my traps
the night before
made all the best laid plans
I chose the bait
and lay in wait
and all seemed well in hand;

the beginning of
the end…

patience
that’s the key
so it seemed
but easy said
is rarely easy done;

the beginning
of
the end…

as light became
less light
my eyes
shuttered wide
to closed
and into sleep
I dribbled deep
from yawn to drowse
to doze;

the beginning of the end
came when I awoke
and found
nothing much to find
but pins and needles
muscle cramp
a spider hanging
from my hat
but not a rhythm
not a rhyme
nor any useful line,
nothing fine
that could be used
to light a fuse
or bold enthuse
to glean a verse
to break this curse,
not epic,
blank,
not villanelle,
not idyll,
even terse.

[sigh]

I’ve tried
to write a poem
but despite
my best attempts
I wrote
a shopping list instead:
coffee
tea
turnips
tomatoes
crackers
crisps
and cheese.

by ROBERT GREIG
© All rights reserved 2018

CALIXIAN // Long Tails & Boozy Tales

Write drunk, edit sober.

I look at those empty cans in the trash bin. Then I look at the empty screen with its blinking cursor. So far it’s three to zero for the cans. Words are trailing far behind. But I won’t give up. It’s only a matter of time and patience. I open the next can.

“So, it turns out that the average number of blinks made by someone getting their photo taken is ten per minute. The average blink lasts about two hundred and fifty milliseconds and, in good indoor light, the camera shutter stays open for about eight milliseconds. Exciting, huh?!”

Oh, shit, really?

“This way, photographing thirty people in bad light would need about thirty shots. Once there’s around fifty people, even in good light, you can kiss your hopes of an unspoilt photo goodbye. Listen now, this is the most interesting part…”

Gosh, what a load of cack!

“To calculate the number of photos you’d need to take for groups of less than twenty, divide the number of people by three if there’s good light and two if the light’s bad. Hey, Calix, buy me a camera? Please, pretty pretty please! I’ll take a photo of you and Darwin!”

I take my eyes off the screen and point them at the tank sitting on the book shelf. The goldfish goggles at me from there, its own eyes pleading, magnified through the dirty glass.

“You got a smartphone at Christmas, didn’t you? Use that!”

The goldfish pouts and turns its luxuriously long tail towards me. I give a nonchalant shrug and get back to the throes of creation. I don’t have time for silly chitchats. It’s about one in the morning, four to zero for cans, and I’ve still no fucking idea what I’ll write for tomorrow’s advice column. Nasty egoistic sprat! Instead of babbling various nonsense about blinking and winking, it would be better if he helped me with the task at hand.

Absently, I pull a book from the shelf and open it at a random page.

He called out to the golden fish
and the fish swam up and asked him,
“What is it, old man, what do you need?”

Yes, I know what I fucking need now, but where can I find a bloody talking golden fish? This is life, silly Calix, not Pushkin’s fairy tales! I gloomily open the next can. At least the beer is real.

My last thought before my head droops on the table is that I need to wake up early and take out the trash. I don’t want Darwin seeing this mess. After all, every accomplished woman of letters has her own little secrets.

by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2018

GUEST POST // Curious Intents In This Warmer Weather by Captain Q

Curious intents in this warmer weather
Knowing Summer will be coming soon
Inspiration & creativity go hand in hand
Shedding Winter demons beneath a fresh moon
I’m tired of conditioning myself for them
My mind feels free & ready to finally shine
Pushing away any thought to merely conform
We get one life & this one is going to be mine
I’m going to stretch my imagination far out
Tinkering with ideas & love for us all to spread
Spring is the return of life to this sleeping world
In the future, how to be remembered when we’re dead

by CAPTAIN Q
© All rights reserved 2018