bloggity blog, writing

Yet…

I miss the way you look when you are staring at something you love

The awe in your eyes

The gentle curve of an alomst-smile on your lips

Your brow smooth, worryless.

Me: Sally

You: Jack

I miss your gentle touch

The way you gather me up in your arms…

Me: a dandelion seed

You: a sweet, summer breeze

I miss the passion and the heat of you

Hot enough to start a fire but never burning my skin

Me: Morticia

You: Gomez

I miss the look in your eyes…

I miss the smile on your face when you see me.

As if I am a happy surprise

A gift you did not expect

And that smile is the special one you only show me.

Only my eyes have seen…

Me: Hermione

You: Ron

I miss your hand on my lower back.

Me: the canvas, blank, waiting

You: the paint, colour, life

I long for all these things.

And more…

All these things I have never had.

Because, I have not met you,

Yet…

Our paths have not crossed

Destiny has not pulled us together.

There must be more for us to do

More for us to learn

Apart

How do you miss someone you have never met?

Love

Amberley

PS this is in no way about goat-dragon.

I miss goat-dragon the way an insect misses pesticide. The way a snowman misses the desert. The way a dog misses its intestinal parasites.

Not at all…

FYI: This is the first time I have written about love in a long time… maybe something has healed. Maybe something has changed. I dunno. But if you made it this far, thank you for reading my terrible poetry. All the love…

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bloggity blog, writing

I need your help/advice

I cannot decide which novel to concentrate on. I literally write a paragraph of one then change my mind and switch.

Please, cyberfam, advise me on which novel I should put my efforts into.

  1. Epic fantasy series, dark, piratey, demi-gods and goddesses, strange portals that cross over to our world, backstabbing, people getting stabbed in the back/front/side/face & love.
  2. Sci-fi, utopian-dystopia, MC is a kind of bounty hunter kinda sorta not really. Lots of action, aliens and swearing. Maybe a little love. Maybe inter-species lesbians… not sure yet.
  3. New adult novel about a shock artist and his assistant. Think “2 weeks notice” with Sandy Bullock if Huge Grant’s character was a Pollock/Marilyn Manson/Collin Christian… with more sex, drugs, cars and rock n roll and cakes.
  4. They all sound terrible. Go get a real job. Please burn all of your notebooks.

Please and thank you.

Love

Amberley

Art, bloggity blog, writing

Does art have to say something?

As I return to my pour table this week after our many travels, I have found myself asking myself “but what does this piece say?”

My art normally says nothing unless my medium is words, because I choose not to use living subjects. But this is of course not what I fucking mean, is it? What I mean is “what am I trying to say?”

And what is my answer? I dunno, Amberley, what the fuck do you want to say?

I think, most of the time, my art doesn’t say anything. Sometimes, you can see the emotions I was feeling when I made the piece. Sometimes, it is a reflection of my personality. Sometimes, I just liked the way those colours went together or they were the only colours I had.

I think the same can be said for writing too. Sometimes we write something because we want to say something else. Sometimes we directly write about a subject so bluntly it is like getting smacked in the face with a giant dildo. Sometimes, we don’t want to say anything. We just feel like writing an entertaining blood-fest starring jungle pirates and cowboy faeries.

Does it make our work any less valid?

Does it change peoples perception of our work?

And does it even fucking matter what the author/artist wanted to say?

I did a painting a couple of months ago. I completely abstract one. I just liked the colours.

Someone really liked it and wanted it. But they liked it cause they saw a frog in it. I couldn’t see the frog. But they could. I didn’t paint a frog. But they saw one.

So, do we really need to be saying something or expressing something if others will only interpret it their own way anyway? Or is this the point? The sharing. The differnt views.

I dunno.

Love

Amberley

bloggity blog, writing

The danger of undeserved power

Prologue

The books I’ve read have always explained blood as smelling “coppery” or “metallic.” They’re not wrong, but they’re not right either.

Yes. I could detect that old-penny tang in the air, but there were other things too.

They never mention the rot of it. The butcher shop meatiness. The piss and shit part that will undoubtedly be there. Because if there is so much blood you can smell it, then someone is either dead or about to be. A band aid would no longer help them.

Blood doesn’t just smell like loose change. I should know. I was covered in it.

The final chapter

Pain was what I felt.

There was no shock. His behaviour no longer shocked me.

It was bad, what he did, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t the worst. This was a Tuesday morning type of hit. Not, say, a Friday night when he knew I’d have, at least, the weekend to recover so no one could see.

Some of you may ask, what did I do to deserve it? Cause I’ve heard that one before. I must’ve started it. Asked for it in some way.

And you’d be fucking right. I did something that pissed him off. I don’t regret it neither.

I bought the wrong ice cream.

I had stood in the super market, staring into the ice cream freezer at the ice cream I knew he liked. Trying to make a decision, I fiddled with the six dollars in very small change that sat fat in my pocket and jingled loudly, sounding out the joyous accompaniment to my poverty.

I could afford to get one tub of what he wanted but we’d have not much else to eat. And he’d never share the ice cream with me. I was fat enough, he’d say.

Or I could buy milk, bread and the cheap plain stuff. I knew I could make it nice for him. I thought we’d have some Oreos in the back of the cupboard, maybe some chocolate sauce. I could turn it nice like the expensive stuff. And that way, we could at least eat toast until his pay day.

I thought it was a good idea.

While I lay on the floor, feeling my lip swell and pulse, watching my blood puddle on the linoleum, I realised I was wrong.

He said nothing as he stormed away from me, fists clenched as if he were ready to take another swing.

I stayed on the floor. Unmoving. Trying not to cry. Crying only made it worse. Playing dead. If I don’t move he can’t see me.

I sneaked a peek as he sauntered around the kitchen, his boxing ring. He slammed open the freezer door so hard that it made me flinch and I doubted it would ever close properly again. Taking out the white and black tub, he threw it at the kitchen window with a thunderous, wet crash which made me flinch again.

The ice cream, half liquefied because our freezer was on the fritz, sprayed across the kitchen bench, vanilla white tears streaked down the cob-webbed window.

I still cowered as he stalked around the kitchen, breath like fire burning, he couldn’t get it out of his lungs quick enough.

I, a mouse, a small creature, heart murmuring be still, be still, be still. But, for the first time, I do not see a cat in front of me. I do not see a tiger, a lion, a wolf.

I see just a man.

And even if he were an animal, he would be a Chihuahua. All bark and some bite, enough to draw blood. But no longer enough to eat me alive.

If my heart pounds be still then it is the heart of a bear and he heard my roar. And I will not be still any longer.

He had power over me for a lifetime and I will give him no more.

It may not have been the worst time, just a Tuesday morning, but it was the last time.

I waited till the blood stopped pumping to call an ambulance. I had to dirty a tea towel to use my phone. I won’t lie. I enjoyed watching him die.

The cleaver in my clenched fist, slick with his blood, no longer shakes.

Power is not something that can be taken, it must be given, even if it seems stolen at times. But there is a secret they – the fake wolves, fake lions, fake predators – don’t want us to know.

We can take our power back.

Short story for Chuck Wendig’s Fiction Challenge

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please seek help. Go to the police. Do not pass go. No two hundred dollars for you. Go now. Today. Because this bullshit has to stop.

To put it into perspective for you, here is a quote from Huffington Post.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.

And this just for America. And this number has not improved. It is only getting worse.

Silence about domestic violence can be deadly. So please, please, please speak out. #notviolentnotsilent

And don’t resort to the lengths that my character went to. This is a work of fiction and by no means an instruction to murder a spouse. Abusive or not. No stabby stabby.

If you are unsure if your partner is abusive, I will attach something below that shows the typical behaviour of DV and DA situations. If any of the items on that list are checked please call the police, ask for help, stay safe.

You don’t have to walk on eggshells forever. You don’t have to be another statistic. You can have a life again. You have the power. You are stronger than you think.

Love

Amberley

Soulmates - not exactly a love story

Soulmates – not exactly a love story

The murder of crows littered the corpse, a coffin of feathers and beaks and blackness. A fresh kill, the kangaroo’s fur still wafted in the breeze. Its face mangled by the car that had skittled him.

The setting sun lit the glimmering bitumen on fire. Stopping her walk to enjoy the last bit of warmth before night fell, Jill watched as the crows squabbled over the kangaroo’s eyes.

Night fell quickly out there in the country, making way for the dusty swell of milky stars.

It was her favourite time of day, the coming of darkness, like the earth’s final symphony.

Looking up and down the empty road, Jill crossed to the opposite side. She’d hate to disturb the crows from their feast. Hunger was her oldest friend and she understood him well.

Sweat itched under the straps of her backpack, tools of her trade a heavy but necessary burden. She considered calling it a day. The summer heat had gone to her head but the hunger was still there.

If she waited the hunger would only grow, but at the same time, feeding it would make the beast grow, its belly swell. Every time the beast raised its hungry maw it would be more ravenous, more insistent than the last.

Jill rubbed her flat, growling belly, trying to decide whether to just walk home or wait for a car that might take her there.

The night birds were starting their choir, just warming up. Jill stood still, listening to their song, facing the setting sun. If it was meant to happen today, it would. And just as she began to think of her calling, Jill heard the distant hush of car tyres.

Sticking put her thumb, she waited till the car came over the crest, illuminating her with the pale white of new LED headlamps.

Not a local. A tourist. Hopefully alone.

The beast inside her groaned and she rubbed her belly again.

The approaching car slowed but Jill knew this didn’t mean anything. Humans generally tended to be sticky beaks.

Holding her breath, she waited.
The beast inside her sharpened its fangs.

The car pulled up. It took a few moments for her eyes to adjust but she had already turned on her most brilliant human smile.

A man sat inside the car, alone. Shaggy hair as dark as a new moon sky. Beard edging his sharp features. Inky eyes, deep as pools. Jill found herself lost in them for a small eternity, drowning.

Her belly rumbled, the beast’s mouth watered.

“Hasn’t anyone ever told you it’s dangerous to hitchhike?” said the man with the inky eyes.

Jill laid her smile on a little thicker.

“Where you headed?”

“Out Toongi way,” Jill said. “You think you could give us a ride?”

“No problems, I’m heading straight through there, darlin. Hop in.”

She jumped into the passenger seat, never looking away from his dark eyes.

She might have to keep them. She had a jar that would suit them perfectly.

***

He watched her get in.

She wasn’t your typical sort of beautiful, but she was breathtaking, nonetheless.

Full-figured and firm, thighs you could sink your teeth into.

He tried to control his breathing.

She was better than he’d expected. She was perfect.

Once she was in the car, he could smell her. And it wasn’t like he had expected. Not that stale-sweat, old-food, stench which most humans wreaked of.

She smelled of spice and dandelions and … he took another long inhale … rain.

She satin the seat smiling that smile, the one he had seen in his mind. The one he had dreamed of. The one that had forced him to search for her for so long.

He was sure this one, she, was the one.

“So, where you comin from,” she said in an accent that wasn’t quite right. Her voice had a melody, an inflection he couldn’t place.

The question threw him.

“Umm…”

He didn’t know the answer. He had simply woke up one day with clothes on his back and a hunger he could never satisfy. Of course, she didn’t mean it the way he took it. She meant “from where had he driven?”

“Long way from here,” he said. The same answer he gave to anyone who asked.

“You visiting family?” she asked, the sort of question he would normally ask.

He looked at her as the car started. He’d had to get a new one after the last failed find. She definitely hadn’t been the one. And the new car was one of those “turn off at every stop” ones.

The feeding crows scattered as the engine came to life. He felt bad for disturbing their meal.

Her moss green eyes smiled at him. They were beautiful. He longed to taste one. To pop one in his mouth and roll it around in there, like a gumball. (Not that he’d ever been one for human sweets.)

He shook his head. “Nope, no family.”

The girl’s smile grew. “Naawww, a loner like me,” she said.

And he smiled, pushinghis foot on the accelerator.

Milk

Milk – chapter 2

Chapter 2 – Don’t

*if you haven’t read chapter 1, you can do so here. Don’t worry… it’s short.

Two paracetamol. One glass of Gatorade. Followed by coffee. All of the coffee.
I lean against the kitchen counter and stare out over the dust-laden house. That’s how small this place is. I can actually see all of it from in the kitchen.
It looks less like a house and more like an old photograph of a house. There is so much dust on everything, it’s like I am looking through a filter. If it were a filter on Instagram it would be called “dusty hangover.”
On the kitchen floor is a patch of red wine, sticky-fresh from the night previous.
I hadn’t exactly woken up in a puddle of vomit on the floor but I hadn’t not either.
I nudge my booted toe at the mess, trying to work out if it is mostly spilled wine or regorged wine. And does it matter? Not really. It is not the first time I would have to clean up my own puke. Not the last neither.
Thinking of Instagram, I take out my phone. There is a new crack on the screen. I must’ve fallen on my arse at some point last night. I run my thumb over the screen. It still responds. I will go online later and buy a new one.
I open Instagram and scroll through the notifications.
“Missin u”
“When you comin back???”
“Yo! Where are you at, Ms. C!”
The comments go on and on.
I smile at how much they all miss me.
Then.
It all comes back to me.
My brother. The accident.
I couldn’t have given him and open casket if I’d wanted to. Not that there would have been anyone else there, besides me, to see his mangled, unrecognisable corpse. And I sure as hell didn’t want to see it again.
I walk to the sink to refill the kettle and kick something along the floor. It skittles toward the kickboard and I hear the crack of breakage. Bending down to pick up the two pieces of the wine-stained mug I kicked, I realise I had used my brother’s favourite.
“Don’t do that,” says the memory of my brother. “You can be so careless, Conny.” I would purposefully use his mug and then place it on the edges of tables, teetering on the brink of destruction, just to get something out of my ultra-calm brother.
I place the broken mug on the counter and step back from it.
I feel like the king who would turn everything to gold with his touch. Except, I turn everything to broken.
I run out the front. I want to just sit and stare at the garden for a while. Even though I never understood why he lived the way he did, I always loved to look at that garden.
“Because I like living this way, Conny.” My memory of my brother said.
“But why? You should move to the city with me. Get out a little more. All you do is sit here with your garden.”
“I like my garden, Conny.”
“Why do you have to be such a fucking hippie! Did we even come out of the same vagina.”
I turn the old door knob and go out onto the porch, anticipating the green, the new growth, the scents of herbs and earth and flowers.
My stomach turns cold. Suddenly last night’s wine wants to regorge again.
Brown.
That is all there is. Brown. Ochre. Umber. Tawny leaves, crumpled, crumbling.
I don’t feel my legs as I walk down the steps toward the devistated garden.
As far as I can see. The rows and rows of once flourishing broccoli, twisted pumpkin zines, spinach, tomato, tall rosemary, basil, plum trees, peach trees, apricots. All of them.
Dry stalks. Brittle leaves.
What the actual fuck has happened here.
I feel my chest clenching. Bile at the back of my throat.
I turn and run back inside. I will deal with this situation. But not sober. I just … can’t.
My fingers shaking, I tip the coffee out of my mug and look around for the wine bag.
“Don’t drink so early,” says my memory-brother.
I look around the floor. I cannot remember where I put down the bag.
“Don’t be such a fucking hippie,” I said to him in retaliation.
Always in retaliation.
I see the bag by the door and I can barely wait to pour it into a mug.
I drink. Long. Deep. Sweet. Hot.
I see my memory-brother rolling his eyes, sipping camomile tea he has grown himself.
Pulling the empty mug away from trembling lips, I look out the back window. There is a post-it note on the glass, written in my brother’s hand.
“Don’t follow the lightning bugs.”

Milk, writing

Milk

Prologue

As my hand passes through the barrier it begins to melt and change. Skin turns to shells. Bone to tiny legs. Muscle and nails to wings and light.
I scream.
All I want to do is go home.
Why won’t they just let me go home?

Chapter 1 – the Cottage

Once the will was read and the papers were signed, there was no reason to stay another night in my apartment. I could have gone back, picked up a few of my things, but why? It was all junk. Useless shiny objects, a collection of wealth. What was the point? I couldn’t take any of it to the grave. No one would mention my collection of Franck Mullers at my funeral. “Here lies Conny, owner of many pretty watches.”
The only stop I made between the city and the Cottage was to fuel up and buy a dozen bottles of red wine.
My brother had lived in the Cottage for nineteen years and I had only visited him eighteen times. Once a year, on his birthday. Except this year. Not this year and never again.
And now, I drive. Bottle of red wine clutched between my thighs, open and slushing around – the sound of my irresponsibility. The smell of it in the car is a foreign, sickening sweetness.
The road towards the Cottage is barely worthy of the name. No lights. No markers.
My headlights illuminate only several feet in front of my car. Trees; white trunks and black tops, stand still and straight like funeral goes, solemn as the big metal coffin on wheels glides past. No pole bearers for me.
Fog hangs in cloudy formations slightly above the bitumen. Like suicidal ghosts waiting to be decimated by a passing car. Their wish is granted as they dissipate at the touch of my grill.
“Left turn ahead,” says the British sounding woman on my GPS.
Seeing no sign of any road, I slow my car to a crawl, inching my way through the darkness.
But then it is there, an apparition. A road that is no more than the absence of trees and grass. It is both nothing and familiar. Needlessly slamming on the brakes, my wine sloshes between my knees and I stop short of the corner.
I shouldn’t be driving. I push my foot harder on the break to reassure myself that it is down firmly.
Leaning forward to get a better view of the corner, I realise that my seatbelt isn’t on and I cannot remember taking it off or putting it on for that matter.
My brother’s street is a formidable beast, a conquest, an outstretched hand just out of reach. It is so far away and too close. And I realise when I drive up there and find his house, he will not be sitting on the porch waiting for me.
I turn off the car and the world is snuffed out.
Darkness so thick it forces me to feel.
Feel my heart, a frightened animal trapped behind my rib cage. It scratches at my bones, knaws on my flesh, trying to dig it’s way out only trapping itself further.
I feel the heat and stink of my life pressing on my skin. I’m in a pot of boiling water, my head is being held under by my past, face pushed under the bubbling surface.
I want to scream. I want to peel off my burning skin. I tear open my chest and free the thing dying inside me.
But I only sit, fingers gripping the steering wheel. Knuckles white … probably… if I could see them.
My eyes rest on nothing. Unfocused. Turning my head, I look up my brother’s street. Up on the hill, near where the Cottage would be sitting (at least where it is in my imagination) lights dance in a line. Spinning and twirling. Blues and greens and pinks. Like a string of animated christmas lights, they move upwards. Not into the sky, but upwards still. Meandering, rainbow fireflies heading up the hill.
I blink so hard I have to swallow at the same time.
I should not be driving. I’m an absolute fuck knuckle.
I open my eyes and the lights are gone. And I am left in that state of firmly believing that I have lost my mind.
I pry my hands from the leather steering wheel, one finger at a time. I’m sweating, sticking to the seats. I am a dropped lollipop on a summer sidewalk. I am a tongue in a parched morning mouth. I … am drunk.
Throwing myself out the car door, I gasp in the cool night air. On hands and knees, bathed in the yellow glow of my car’s open-door light, I wretch onto the bitumen. Not for drunkenness but from something else. There was a deep pit inside me both empty and heavy. It was the sadness my body was trying to purge… or maybe it was just the wine and I was being a melodramatic fuck head.
Leaving my car but taking all the wine I think I can carry, I stumble up the street. It takes a drunken lifetime. It is funny how malleable time is and alcohol only makes it more so.
The driveway is the worst part. No I’m lying. The light illuminating the front door is the worst part. Left on as if I am expected. And I guess, in a way, I am.
My brother left the Cottage to me. He died knowing he was dying and so there for knew I would be here soon.
“Carl, you piece of shit,” I mutter as I stumble up the driveway that is less driveway than the road behind me is a road.
In the dim yellow glow of the porch light, I cannot see the front yard which is not a front yard, not really. In my memory it is lush, fruits and vegetables and herbs. There is no room for lawn. There is no room for useless, water-suckers. But, in the dark and drunkenness, I see none of this.
Ambling up the front steps, I am already reaching out to ring the door bell. My hand falls to my side. There is no one inside to answer my call.
On the front step, there are dozens of empty plastic bowls. Stacks and scatters of them. I stare at them for a moment. Staring and staring the towers of them. Artistic sculptures of used plastic, random configurations. I wonder at what they mean. What they symbolise.
I look up and the front door is open. I blink hard again. Opening my eyes and looking down, I see I have the keys outstretched. I do not remember opening the door but obviously I must’ve.
The bag of wine bottles clunks loudly as I put it down in the doorway, open one under my arm. I go to have a drink straight from the bottle and hear my brother’s words, memories dredging up, “Conny, use a glass at least, a cup, a coffee mug, anything.” “Fuck off,” the me in my memory slurs.
I pull the bottle away from my lips.
I flick every light on in the house as I make my way to the kitchen. The place is unchanged. Small. Wooden. Dirty. Dark. Old. Cheap art on the walls. A box TV in the corner that is dustier than the not-road and the not-driveway combined. I can almost hear the bugs scuttling over the scarred floorboards. They are what I hate most about the place. I could never sleep sober here, for fear of the bugs. Not that sleeping sober was an activity I partook in enthusiastically anytime.
I’m still just standing in the empty kitchen, bottle swinging limply in my hand.
I can’t remember what I was doing in there. I go to take a sip and remember. Glass.
I open a cupboard, the one I remember being for dinnerware and it is packed full of longlife milk.
I scrunch my face up at the milk-filled cupboard and my weirdo dead brother.
I open another, but it is the same thing.
The pantry. Milk. Fridge. Milk. Shelves. Milk.
What the actual fuck did my brother want with all this fucking moo juice?
I get a mug off the counter instead. All booze consumption holders should have handles. The Germans were bang on with that part. It is the Germans, isn’t it? Steins… sounds German.
I “pour” the wine into my mug, letting the last few drops drip slowly into red lake below. Slow sluggish dollops like paint or blood.

And I’m out.