State of the Heart

Orchid's Lantern blog C.R. Dudley author

My heart beats hard inside its wet wrapping. Colours emerge; pink, red, and splashes of emerald green, but they are muted by those who behold them.

My heart sings in strange wave formations that would describe the nature of the quantum in no uncertain terms, could it only escape this plastic sheeting. Instead, these waves are refracted. They are thrust in all directions in dissonance, like the sound of an untuned piano key played over and over; a crude backing track to the stark wails of the human throat.

My heart rages. You may call it love, which is something akin to approaching a bear for a cute photo while it is growling out a warning. It wants to be free, not confined, and to love is to be attached.

My heart whimpers softly in the night, and I hear it in my dreams. But, instead of letting it loose to soar, I slay it anew each morning with my open eyelids and the offensive filter of ego that daylight brings. It makes distant, distorted cries as I bag it up, and I interpret it as the fluttering joy of life.

Words like ‘poor’ or thriving’ are not adequate in describing the state of the heart, for they suit only things a mind can judge. Still, whenever the question comes: how are you; how is your heart today? I use a word with even less importance, as though it were not even worth the effort of description: “OK,” I say. Because it is OK – isn’t it? Everything is surely OK.

*****

Have you ever wondered how future technology will affect the human psyche? What defines the line between imagination and reality? Whether it is possible to find spirituality in science? Check out my new book, Fragments of Perception, for 36 quirky, bite-sized stories to make you contemplate!

Polyphony

C.R. Dudley author Orchid's Lantern blog

Creative folk bounce in and out of one another’s lives: sometimes collaborating, sometimes revelling in symbiosis, and sometimes breaking one another’s hearts to discover new building materials.

And so, when Claude left Nancy, there came to be a trail of red paint on the carpet from the kitchen to the front porch, all the way out to where his beat-up hatchback had once stayed. Artists don’t like to walk around the outside of houses. Given the option of using a path or pulling waves through the floorboards to walk upon, they’ll go for impact every time. Luckily Nancy, being a musician, decided she quite liked the sound of the stain once it had soaked in. When she put her ear to it, it sung in mysterious tones; like sunlight hitting the moon. All through the winter she hummed along, accompanied by the new rhythm of her aching heart.

She was still humming it when she met Terence by the pond the following March. He was photographing the surface of the water: not the water itself, he stressed, just the surface. He was endlessly fascinated by surfaces of all natures, and fancied if their essences could only be isolated then our understanding of beauty would improve threefold.

Terence moved in with Nancy the very next week, and he covered her walls with home-developed photographs in black and white. Images of pavements overlapped with images of skin overlapped with images of the sea; all of them, he claimed, depicted something identical. He stuck them over, under and around the curly letters Stephanie had written a year before, making a brand new dancing visual poetry of the house. Nancy had a different tune then, and she hummed it with her fingers upon ivory keys. It still had remnants of the dried red paint, but this time against a quickened heartbeat, and with a distinctive smattering of surface qualia.

*****

Fragments of Perception and Other Stories is available now in paperback and ebook! Visit my books page to find out how to get your copy.

Rock Bottom

2017-10-16 11.56.50.jpg

I lay in the tub scrubbing away all meaning with a flannel and letting the warm water dissolve my worries. So many layers of unnecessary complication are hard on the soul. Surely there comes a time when we tire of it and simply let it all go?

There’s a knock at the bathroom door. I rise from my mountain of bubbles straight away, and open the lock before I’ve even thought of putting a towel around me.

It’s him! He looks different now, but then it has been twenty years. He still wears black but for the white scarf around his neck, and he still has dark shoulder length hair though now it is speckled with grey. With longing I look into his eyes – just two dark and endless craters, pulling me in and taking me beyond.

“I have made my decision,” he croaks. “I want to be with you always. Come with me and stay by my side?”

Hearing the words I have longed for all these years makes me instantly weak, as though I’m melting from the inside.

“That is all I ever wanted,” I say, falling into his arms. “I accept.”

He is cold and expressionless, but I don’t care. I know that he hasn’t reached his decision lightly, and I know that he really means it. I know this is how my myth ends. And so I let out all the water. I watch it swirling and glugging away down the plug hole. Then, with his hand to steady me, I climb back into the empty bathtub to lay down and close my eyes. The very next time I fall asleep must be the last.

Separate Dreams

2017-05-16 14.28.07

She lies on her bed thinking of him and what they could have been. He was cruel to her, she knows, but she admires the reason why. She longs to tell him that the life he chose was what she wanted all along; to be released from norms and social expectations, to roam as free as a bird with no connections and only the present moment to worry about. He was no good for her, he had said, he would lead her astray. But she wanted to be led astray. She wanted the excuse to experience colour and exhilaration instead of greyish and uniform. Take me with you, she had begged, I understand, I do.

He rides faster and faster on his bike, thrilled by the roar of the engine beneath him and the sensation that everything is moving quickly through him. It takes the pain away. Pain can’t travel at 100mph like he can. If he were to slow down he’d be stuck with that thought yet again, that she is only ‘the one that got away’ because he pushed her. He longs to tell her that the life she chose was what he wanted all along; to be accepted by society, to settle in one place long enough to establish a true sense of self, to have a past and a future worth caring about.

In their separate dreams she and he will live, building new castles from the ghosts that haunt them, their silent screams resonating until the end when the tide catches up and takes them both for its own.

Animus

An obscure little prose You have to build your difference, they say. 
You are divided for love. 
But I don’t know who you are. 
Do you know who I am? 
I can feel your fingers reaching out to me, 
so close to having material form it hurts 
like an unstruck sound in my heart.

You are surely a reflection, 
but when I look for you in the mirror 
the only me there is I. 
I project the idea onto all of my lovers,
trying to understand the shape of you, 
then when they are gone, I retract you
back into the darkness of shadow.

I saw you in the theatre last night. 
Three stages, three shows, three facets of you. 
I danced with each in my dreams.
You had raw, bleeding knees from the crawl;
an attempt to save yourself from fiction, no doubt.
But one tug on my necklace, one cry from within
and I knew the fall was real. 

Cellophane

Pining, longing, desperate to grasp

But one gasp

And the connection is cut

The life supply removed

The flowers rot in their cellophane.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑