on reading Alice..

All those times my English teacher
Critiqued my poetry,
Yet could never see,
That all along,
I was never writing poems.
I was righting wrongs.
Composing songs.
Putting things inside my mind
Back where they belonged.
So if there’s nothing in my ‘poetry’,
That you can see..
There’s no standard meter,
Find in each it’s melody.

Note: Almost every poem posted so far contains a line ‘heavily inspired’ by a line or few words from a song.

This ‘line’ is the foundation for the rest of the poem, and usually the poems ‘meter’ is written to time / match the song the founding line is from.

Bonus points if you see them. If you reread the poem to fit the song, it will click.

Next! ( prose sketch)

‘Have faith, Alice, and everything will be alright in the end…’

Alice looked over her left shoulder, squinting into the setting sun as she briefly appraised the figure beside her on the ledge.
She looked back to the right. The train was still some distance off, and would slow as it reached this stop.
Her plan was to jump on top of it, as she has done many times, not in front of it.
But there was no need to tell the Angel that.

‘New, Huh?’, she asked, sliding down and leaning against the low wall.
There was still a few minutes to waste.

‘I am, yes, to your case at least, not to Guardianship.’ The melodic voice paused, then added ‘I have had quite a number of wards.’
Alice nodded, pulling out a toothpick and sucking on the end. She wasn’t sure what that was all about, but it looked badass on TV.
She got peppermint flavoured ones, cos if you’re gonna chew on a bit of wood, you might as well end up with fresh breath.

‘Had’. She said, ‘Where are they all now?’
She knew where they were, there was only one way a Guardian Angel took on a new ward.
‘Well, dead, naturally..’ The Angel started..
Alice laughed. ‘That’s reassuring’

She stood up and climbed back onto the outcrop of broken wall that allowed her access to this otherwise forbidden area overlooking the rails.
She was good at finding these sort of places.

‘What I mean is’, the Angel was fumbling to explain, ‘is that when a previous ward dies, even peacefully of old age, we are assigned a new ward to look after.’
The train was approaching the station, slowing down for its stop, to let passengers on and off.
‘That’s kind of like the deal I have’, Alice replied, turning around to face the Angel, her back to the now darkened sky. ‘I’ve had a few Guardian Angels, but they keep assigning me new ones’.

The hiss and clatter below signified the train was practically at a stand still. It wouldn’t stay that way long.
‘That’s unusual,’ the Angel frowned, ‘what happened to the previous ones?’.
Alice let the toothpick drop from her lip and flicked it deftly out of the air as it fell.
She’d spent forever practicing that move.

‘Some died. Most quit’, she said, touching her hand to her forehead in mock salute.
She stepped backwards, dropping off the ledge into the darkness below.

‘Oh dear’, murmured the Angel.

Resistance is Futile..

[ Connection Stable]
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Version 23.07b:
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therapy.. (prose)

‘Well you see, Sir.’
Alice began hesitantly.
‘I needed to speak to someone, about..Oh, a great many things!
I considered everyone I knew, and how they might be able to help me, and in the end, I believe you are certainly the right person for the job,
especially considering your enormous expertise in helping many troubled souls through difficult times’.

Alice paused, and looked over to see how her speech had been received.
The scruffy old teddy bear stared silently through its one remaining eye.

‘I see’. She said thoughtfully. ‘I guess you couldn’t relate as much in any case, what with client… congenitality.. ..confence-idality.. ..that thing.., anyhow’.

She shifted on her chair nervously for many long moments, waiting, under the relentless stare of the black, bleak eye.
‘Alright!’, she finally shrieked, the teacup and plate going over her head, destined to land in locations unknown.
‘I stole the tarts!.’

The bear remained silent. After several long moments, in which, quite distinctly, nothing happened, Alice recomposed herself with as much dignity as she could muster, cleared her throat, and returned her attention to the bear.

She finally confided, ‘Though whatever I’m to do now, without any expert advice, I really don’t know! You were my last and only hope!’

A quiet voice came from down near her elbow.
‘No. There is another..’
Alice looked down to see DorMouse standing beside her.
‘Don’t you start’.
But she smiled anyway.

Perfectly Clear (prose)

‘It isn’t so much as what it never was’, said Alice, awkwardly attempting to adopt a stance and tone of voice approximating what she imagined a university professor might assume, ‘but rather, what it wasn’t ever in the first place’.

She paused, trying to follow her own thoughts.

‘For example’, she attempted to clarify.

‘If you break this tea cup..’

She picked up the nearby object and dropped it to the ground, adding a small flourish for effect, but it merely bounced, several times, then rolled to a stop, defiantly intact.
She glared at the offender, then stomped on it furiously until it was only small pieces.
“Like so..”, She announced.

‘You not only destroy the many cups of tea it might have been, but also the many cups of tea it never was.’

‘Aren’t those the same thing?’, asked the Dormouse, who was the only one really paying attention.

Alice frowned, not entirely certain, but unwilling to appear wrong at this point, drew herself up importantly.

‘Decidedly not!’ She declared.

Apples & Fish (prose)

a creative writing exercise..

‘Do you suppose, Chesh, that sometimes fish are people too?’
Alice threw another apple into the pond, gazing absently at the resulting microcosm of radiating waves.
She looked over at the Cheshire Cat, who had been asleep underneath a nearby tree for most of the afternoon.
‘And they say there’s no such thing as a stupid question..’, the cat yawned lazily, before promptly returning to what appeared to be an attempt to sleep soundly through the entire day.

Alice shrugged. It didn’t matter if no one was listening.
Picking up a nearby apple, she nibbled it as she continued her thought.
‘What I mean to say is…’, she said ‘do you wonder if fish sometimes wish to be someone else?’
‘It seems normal, when feeling awfully rotten, to wish you were somewhere else, or rather, some one else. For me anyway.’
She scrunched up her face as the strong memory of doing just such a thing swept over her..
‘But.. If I were somewhere else, I would still be myself, simply in a different place, and well, I don’t think that’s the problem in this case. As they say, wherever you go, there you are.’
She eyed the apple she was holding, inspecting it for rot, before hurling it violently into the pond, where it floated, bobbing about with the others.

‘So if I were to be someone else, I would most likely be somewhere else as well, otherwise there wouldn’t be much room where I am standing.’
She looked down thoughtfully, then took a step to the side, just in case.
‘Two pigeons on the other side of the fence’. She laid a finger alongside her nose knowingly.
‘That being the case, if I were to be someone else, it wouldn’t be very long before that someone was me anyway.’ She counted on her fingers, trying to work out how to calculate ‘instantaneously’.
‘Not veryyyy long, anyhow’. She scratched her nose.
‘And me, myself, as someone else, would, with my luck, be just as unhappy and just as likely to be someone who wishes they were someone else as well!
No, that just won’t do’.

She cast her eye over the fallen fruit, looking for a likely candidate.
‘I suppose, when you look at it contrarywise , it’s more a case of wishing not to be myself, or be anyone really, rather than wanting to be another me.
Is it such a preposterous proposition to ponder that a fish may well wish to be other than its own woeful watery self?’
She gathered a few of the ripest apples on offer.
“To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core…’, she quoted absently.
‘What if EVERYONE EVERYWHERE feels this way!?’. She her eyes unfocused, and she felt almost insulted by the notion.
‘What if all this time, not a soul has been happy being themselves, and JUST PRETENDING!’.
She stamped her foot! To imagine! The sheer nerve of them!
Her brow furrowed, she was down to the mystery now.
So…everyone that smiles, and says ‘as you please’, and tells you to behave, and not to rub apricot jam on your baby brother, why they just did it so that…that..so that you’d do the same!
She knew it!
‘It’s all a cabin-ski’ She announced uncertainty.
‘Co-pirate-ski?…Oh, well.’
‘Regardless, if no one wants to be themselves, and it seems I was right about that, and everyone is all full up anyhow, no vacancies, then what am I to do’?

Alice sank to the ground and buried her hands in the cool soil, surrounded by apple trees and the buzzing of industrious bees.
‘I can’t stand it, Chesh’, her voice was barely a whisper. ‘The endless…me’.
Nothing is here that wants to be here. Nothing should be here.
I’m not particularly fond of anything I find, inside or out.
The world is like a washed out water painting, and the only things that bear upon me to take notice, oh, they hurt, Cat, they hurt so much’.
She blinked, then laughed, a bleeding, savage laugh.
‘I can’t even cry. There’s not even that now!’

She got up, two ripening weapons of choice in hand, and walked towards the pond.
‘I’m stuck inside myself, with nothing, not even hate! And surrounded by liars and fakers’.
She screamed.
‘HATE! FAKERS! LIARS!’
Then, ‘SPINACH!’, just for good measure.
She spun furiously, sliding the apple at the water, imagining it to be a rock that would smash into the surface.
‘Splosh’. It somewhat anticlimactically joined the rest.
Alice stood on the edge of the water, and stared at the moving trails of light sliding over the deep water.
She swayed slightly as she recited;
“…Like as the waves make towards the pebb’d shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before..”

‘Can’t be me. Can’t be not-me. Why be anything at all?’, Alice muttered to herself, mezmerized by the water.
”Oh Alice, look what you’ve done!”, they’ll say, and take my things away again…They took that mirror away soon enough, after things got bloody, but I kept telling them, it was HER, not me’.
‘I should just throw myself into the pond!’, she DECLARED,
‘Better to be nothing on purpose than nothing because of some STUPID COSMIC JOKE’, she shrieked!
She stared at the water, watching as it rocked gently back and forth, thinking it seemed calm and deep, somewhere she could sleep.

‘Well, on second thought’, she said, biting into her apple.
‘I’d better not disturb the fish. You never know if fish might be people too’.