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Creative Writing for students in Zagreb 2 July

Saturday, 16 Jul 2005

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I worked with six very bright students aged from 17 to 22 with brilliant English. We only had three hours together and we could have done so much more!

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The emptiness in eyes and mouth
so sad it feels
each year the last year

The smell spreads through petals
of dying orchids
each moment a precious moment

An old man
has forgotten
what it feels to breathe

Catches a glimpse of what it feels
to know what others mean
when they whisper to him:

Living is not as easy as it seems.

1885 – 1895

I lie in my new home and gaze at the firmament above,
This tomb is such a cold bed for this bloated body of mine
And these words written on my epitaph seem like blasphemy!
Oh, slanderous tongues – be kindled!
Ye speak of chivalry and courage, but cowardice textures my skin
But all that I can see is a wretched soul devoured by demons and fiends,
Worms that have eaten my body, my soul and the memory of me!
Oh treacherous Heavens above – I pledge warfare onto thee
For this empty word were written by a fool who knew me not!
Their bane vexes my poor soul as I lay here and rot
Oh wretched I – what can I do?
Shake Heaven and Earth to fight this injustice?
Or just rest here and let the worms and time finish what they started to do?



The icy layer on the surface of the stones;
Grey and cold.
No movement of any kind, not even wind.

The air is frozen;
Crystals shining.
Nothing moves. all is still.

A squirrel frozen
And stiff
Snow covering her tail.

Just laying there
Dead and cold.
Nothing i can do.

Nothing anyone can do...





Food arriving
At the table
Awkward silence interspersed
With the sound of a dosen spoons
Meeting their plates...
Her eyes misty blue
His... Blinking.
Apathy and resignation.
Small talk.
Faked smiles.
Both got up
And both walked out.
Her hand in his.
The untouched meal
Left there
To get cold.
In the lulling sorronding sound
Of a dosen forks meeting their plates.



The road to ease and bliss
so dour it seems
shiver by shiver.

The moors singing, the laurel
bobbing left and right
breath by breath.

A mad basilisk
in motion and
lovely to eat, by fits and starts

shines his pointy teeth
in our direction. You leave
and I would too if I could.

Flutter by flutter.

She opens the cupboard and takes out a cereal bowl as if stealing her first bubble gum from the supermarket. Still wet, her fingers slide along the contours of the bowl, flailing for support, like earthworms skewered by a heartless child. Her wedding ring makes a quiet cling against the bowl, a baby brother of a cling two champagne glasses made last night, just the next room over. Just in time, she keeps the bowl from slipping out her listless grasp and onto the ocher tiles she'll be scrubbing with such fervor later that afternoon. She gnashes her teeth.

Pouring the amber liquid from the carton onto the honey rings, she does little to prevent it spilling on the tablecloth she haphazardly set up. She pulls out a chair. Sits down. She licks the spoon up and down. Taking it out, her tongue slips -- not metaphorically like it slipped last night and rendered her alone today -- and she bites her tongue. How she wishes she had done that sooner. The synapses in her forearm waken and her muscle begins its mazurka.

She's not hungry anymore.

At the top of the spiraling staircase a small landing announced it was the last stop on the way up. A baroque door, all knobs and swirls, indifferently beckoned the scarce ascender inside.

Upon entering, the blackness of the room would eclipse its formidable capacity. The cyan moonlight cascading through the skylight gave the only clue that it was a loft one was standing in. And on the coffee table once salvaged from a bonfire, glistening was a trinity of what you could easily dismiss as oddball decor.

A baby mamba coiled up in a medicine bottle, its taut body pressing against the unforgiving glass, with only a cork between it and lurking freely in the dark; a pretentious vase with a pair of gladioli, one black, the other white, craning their sophisticated heads towards the third of the bunch; an oak framed yellow tiger butterfly, from the fustiest of the Thailand rainforests, soon to be taken out and made into a powder.

And all three equally important to the loft's only tenant. All three indispensible and each harder to come by than the one before. In fact, it took old Mama Wae seven months to collect them. Seven months before she'd gather the finjuki, and eight before she could finally use them in the ritual to rid her baby's child of the vile disease that scraped her velvety skin so methodically.

Now, steps can be heard outside the grotesquely ornate door and a gurney clanging on the hollow metal railing.

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