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Terry Collett Apr 2016
Sister Paul stops by the door of her office, and halts Anne as she crutches herself along the passage of the nursing home.

I need to have a word with you, Anne, Sister Paul says, eyeing the twelve year old girl as she rests on her crutches.

What have I done now? Anne says, gazing at the nun with a sour face.

Nothing that I am aware of, the nun says, unless you have done anything I need to know about.

Anne shakes her head, of course not, you know me Sister, butter wouldn't melt in my mouth, Anne says.

The nun holds her tongue, after the meeting with Anne a few weeks back she had come to understand Anne better, if that was possible, and came to view Anne more of an imagined daughter, than a mere child come to the nursing home to recover from the amputation, but a daughter she was glad she didn't have in reality.

Will it take long? Anne says impatiently, putting her head to one side like a bird awaiting an early morning worm.

No not long, the nun says, gazing at the girl with as much patience as she can. The nun opens her door for Anne to enter, and the the girl crutches her way past her into the small room, and sits on a chair by the desk. The nun closes the door, and sits opposite Anne.

The girl studies the nun casually. What's it about then? Anne says, sitting back in the chair, rubbing her leg stump, trying to ease away the pain.

Doctor Maggee needs to see you, Sister Paul says.

What for? The girl says, her fingers rubbing along the stump.

About your leg, the nun says.

What about my leg? And which leg? Anne says, leaning forward, eyeing the nun.

The amputated leg, the nun says.

How can he see my leg when it isn't there no more, Anne says.

Sister Paul sits stiffly, and locks her fingers together as if to form a finger church. The doctor needs to see how the stump is healing, the nun says.

I don't want no doctor to touch my leg stump, Anne says, they’ve done enough with it as it is.

He needs to examine your leg, the nun says, to make sure it is healing.

I'm not letting a male doctor touch my stump, Anne says moodily, eyeing the nun.

You will not be on your own, myself or one of the other sisters will be with you, Sister Paul says.

Anne pulls her skirt over her stump, and puts her hands in her lap. I want the Kid with me, Anne says.

The nun frowns. What Kid is this? The nun says.

Benny, my friend, my only friend in this dump, Anne says gazing at the nun.

I'm not sure that would be allowed, the nun says, flexing her fingers, staring at the girl.

Then I don't see no fecking doctor, Anne says, rising up from the chair, grabbing her crutches.

Sister Paul closes her eyes, pushing the word from her mind. Language, Anne, please, no words like that.

They both sit in a moment's silence.

I'll see what the doctor says, and if he is happy for Benny to be with you while he examines your leg, then so be it, the nun says.

Anne sits down on the chair again, puts the crutches beside her.

Are you sure Benny would want to see your leg stump? The nun says, unlocking her fingers, and putting her hands flat on the table, palms downwards.

He's seen my stump many times, Anne says.

When has he seen your stump? The nun asks.

He sees it most days, sometimes he touches it, Anne says, defiantly.  

The nun reddens, and sits up straight, and stares at the girl. Why would he want to see your leg stump and touch it? Sister Paul asks, trying to ease away the redness of her face.

I said he could; he likes to see it, and touch it; after all, he is my friend, Anne says, pulling a face, as the pain tightens in her stump.

Is it painful? Your stump? The nun asks, seeing the girl wince.

Yes most of the time, Anne says, and sometimes my feet itch, and when I go to scratch them they're not there.

It is called a phantom leg, the nun says, the nerves think the leg is still there and tells the hand to scratch.  

Anne sighs. Well can he? Can Benny come with me when the quack sees my leg stump?

The nun raises her eyebrows. She studies the girl, the way she sits, the way she looks, and stares. A defiant child, she muses, one who would need a good bit of discipline if she were a child at the Catholic school, but here in the nursing home, different rules apply. I will have to see what the doctor says, the nun says.

No Benny, he don't see my stump, the quack, Anne says.

Sister Paul sighs softly, looks at the crucifix on the wall to her left, at the Christ hanging there, hands nailed to the wooden cross. Our Lord bore His pain for us, the nun says, it is thought to be an honour to share in His suffering, and pain, the nun adds gently.

I'd rather not share in any pain, I have enough of my own, Anne says, eyeing the old plaster Christ on a wooden cross.

Perhaps the pain you have already, is sharing in our Lord's suffering, Sister Paul says.

I don't want to share His pain or suffering, Anne says angrily, I want my leg back, and no fecking pain.

The nun closes her eyes, pushes the word away from her mind. We will see what the doctor says about you having Benny with you, and I will explain to the doctor how you feel, the nun says.

Anne reaches out and touches the nun's hand. It is soft, and warm, thin and clean. All right, Anne says, let me know. She stands up, and grabs her crutches, and begins to go, releasing sister Paul’s hand.

All right, the nun says, watching the girl crutch away, eyeing the sturdiness of the child, the strength in each movement away.

The door opens, and closes.

The child has gone. Sister Paul sighs, and inwardly, softly cries.
Terry Collett Apr 2015
Here Kid take this what is it? whats it look like? its a prayer book thing yes so take it and hide it under your jumper why? just hide the **** thing so Benedict hides the  black book with red ends under his jumper and follows Anne into the grounds out of the French windows Anne crutches herself across the grass and makes towards the round white table and chairs and plonks herself down in a chair tossing her crutches aside Benedict sits down in the next chair looking back towards the nursing home do you think we were seen? seen doing what Kid? walking across the grass no doubt liberating Sister Dumb-arses prayer book no Anne says Benedict turns around and stares at her dont keep looking around Kid or the penguins will guess youve been up to no good me been up to no good it was your idea to take the prayer book but youve got it Kid not me but you said take it and you did well done Kid Anne says smiling she rubs her leg stump and pulls the blue skirt down further what do we do now? Benedict asks looking at Anne tempted to turn around and look behind him sit tight Kid sit tight but I cant hide the book under my jumper all day he says pass it under the table to me so he passes the prayerbook to Anne under the white table and she opens it in her lap he looks at her his stomach tightening guess whose it is? Anne asks he shrugs dont know its only Sister Bridgets how do you know? has it got her name in it? no they dont own personal property its just that it has this prayer card in it with an image of St Bridget on one side and a prayer on the other and on the top shes scrawled Sr Bridget in her bird-**** hand writing God shell go ape he says looking round at the nursing home what do we do? shush Kid what do want them to know weve got it? he stares at the building imagines the nun galloping across the lawn towards them her black robes billowing behind her like Batman turn round Kid youll look suspicious he looks round and stares at her sitting in the chair as if butter wouldnt melt in her mouth on a hot day where are you going to put it? he asks out of the sight of their eyes she says where though? she pulls up her blue skirt and tucks the black prayer book in her navy blue underwear and pulls down the skirt and brushes out the any signs you cant keep it there he says why not my knickers she says are they going to search me there? she says now just go get my wheelchair and  we can go visit the sea out the back gate he sighs and wanders back towards the home trudging across the lawn leaving Anne sitting in the chair like some royal queen on her throne she lifts up her skirt and adjusts the book more securely just as well I wore the passion killers Mum bought me she says to herself and lets down the skirt again and sits staring towards the home as she sits a few of the kids come out and make their way to the swings and slide they know her and avoid her like a plague a nun comes out too Anne stares at her its Sister Lucy a young one green as grass more ****** that the Blessed ****** herself Anne says under breath the nun walks towards Anne her hands inside her black habit how are we today Anne? the nun asks smiling my ****** leg aches Anne says o dear the nun says looking at Annes leg visible under the table have you seen Sister Paul about some pain killers? no not yet Anne says anyway its not this leg its the one not there my stump leg o I see Sister Luke says staring at the unseen stump beneath the blue skirt I could pray for your leg if you would like me to the nun says might help Anne says putting on her pious pose its hurts so much I feel like crying she allows tears to dribble out of her eyes(shes an expert of conjuring tears out of her eyes) o my dear child the nun says coming around the table and placing a hand around Annes shoulders Ill ask Sister Paul about some tablets the nun says thank you Anne whimpers feeling the prayer book move slightly as she moves in the chair she tries to adjust it with her hand to a more secure position Benedict comes across the lawn pushing the wheelchair he sees the nun and his eyes enlarge and he senses danger have they suspected Anne already about the missing prayer book? he wheels the chair behind Anne the nun looks at him arent you a good boy she says yes hes my best friend Anne says smiling through the glassy eyes the nun smiles well I best get back Ill see Sister Paul about those pills the nun says and walks off towards the home that was close Benedict say she didnt mention the prayer book Anne says she just came about me and the ****** leg and offering prayers o I see he says gazing at the stump area thinking about the stump of her leg hes seen many times are you going gawk at my stump all day or are you going to help get in the ****** wheelchair? o right yes he says and helps her get from the chair and into the wheelchair holding it steady at the back make sure the prayer book doesnt slip out of my knickers Kid she says as she rises from the chair and plonks into the wheelchair she moves the book to a more comfortable position and pulls her skirt down pass her knee just as they were about to move away Sister Bridget comes across the lawn towards them like a rhino on heat hang on Kid here comes the penguin wait wait the nun says raising a hand Benedict pauses pushing the wheelchair and stares at the approaching nun keep cool Kid Anne says under her breath act innocent as the Pope at a nudist colony Benedict feels himself perspire the nun stands in front of Anne in the wheelchair a prayer book has gone missing the nun says gazing at Anne has it? Anne says in an innocent tone yes it was taken from the Common Room shall we help look for it? Anne asks have you seen it? the nun asks no not that I know of whats it look like? Anne asks as if butter wouldnt melt a prayer book is what it looks like the nun says eyeing Anne with her suspicious eyes black cover with red ends no cant say I have Anne says Benedict looks away at the trees behind of them at the avenue between them and you Benedict have you seen it? the nun asks staring at him her eyes over him like maggots he shudders no sister not seen it at all he hates lying to  a nun he feels as if she looks into his soul and at the minor sins lurking there like naughty children then the nun looks down in Annes lap gazes at the outline of the leg stump not hiding it are we? the nun says hiding what? Anne says my stump? no I tried hiding it but its always there each morning I wake up the nun screws up her eyes and peers at them both no I mean the book where is it? no idea Anne says Benedict looks down at Annes lap where have you hidden it? the nun says havent seen it Anne says one of the children says she saw you take it the nun says me? Anne says you cant take the word of child I believe what the child tells me Benedict looks at the outline of the leg stump the child says you have it about your person she saw you from the upper bedroom window the nun says sternly must be mistaken must have seen me rub my stump they always watch me rubbing it so nosey the nun sighs and gazes at Annes lap and at the stumps outline show me your leg stump? the nun says hands on her hips Anne pulls up her skirt to reveal the stump Benedict looks too wondering if the book outline could be seen under the knickers the nun looks away where have you put it? put what? the book the prayer book the nun says I havent seen it Anne says as innocent as she can muster innocence lies will get you to Hell the nun says and walks off across the grass like a bad tempered bear what now? Benedict says Anne takes the book out of her knickers and hands it to him warm and scented what do I do with it? he asks shove it on that other chair under the table and were off to the beach so he puts the book under the table and pushes Anne off in the chair off out of reach.
Terry Collett Dec 2015
Anne rubbed
at her stump
it was sore

and her toes
(which weren't there)
were hurting

gazed at her
and her leg

where her skirt
had risen
it looks red

the boy said
shall I tell
Sister Paul?

**** her Kid
she's no good
she couldn't

find her ****
with both hands
Anne said

well who then?
the Kid said
staring hard

at the stump
glimpse of white
knickers edge

the thin nun
with a face
like ghost

Anne said
so the Kid
left Anne

and her stump
and raced back
to the white

and black brick
nursing home
racing past

other kids
on his way
Sister Luke

was standing
in the hall
come quickly

the Kid said
Anne's stump
is all red

and hurting
Sister Luke
gazed at him

her dark eyes
searching him
is this true?

it's not one
of her games
she's playing?

the nun said
Benedict frowned
no it's real

I've seen it
the Kid said
going red

it's all sore
you've seen it?
seen her stump?

the nun said
she showed you?
yes she did

the Kid said
(but didn't
say about

the knickers
that he'd seen)
Sister Luke

stared at him
she shouldn't
show you that

the nun said
that's private
not for boys

maybe not
but please come
the Kid said

going red
it's painful
so the nun

followed him
on the lawn
where Anne

was sitting
in her chair
stump showing

red and sore
and knickers
that the Kid

never said
that he saw.
Terry Collett Feb 2015
The Kid sits
the wheelchair

with Anne
telling him
about her

painful leg
when it aches
it frigging

drives me mad
she tells him
she pulls up

her red skirt
to show him
the naked

stump of leg
yet it aches
in the part

that's not there
she explains
he gapes at

the fleshy
stump of leg
why is that?

he asks her
how the heck
would I know

pull that down
this moment
the nun says

coming near
from the home

her black and
white habit
flapping quick

about her
Anne stares
at the nun

what's got your
white knickers
in a twist?

she utters
to the nun
who do you

think you are
showing off
your leg stump?

she yanks down
the red skirt
to cover

the leg stump
don't touch me
you penguin

Anne says
my young girl

you Benny
why are you
watching her?

the nun asks
I showed him
where it hurts

Anne says
you shouldn't
show your leg

it's my leg
what is left
don't be rude

the Kid looks
at the nun
just looking

what she showed
just her stump
he explains

you mustn't
the nun says

doing that
young Anne
and I'll tell

Sister Paul
and the nun
walks away

her habit
flapping slow
about her

as she walks
what a dumb
arsed penguin

Anne says
they both watch
the young nun

as she walks
on the lawn
to the home

for sick kids
by the sea

that's my leg
or the stump
do you want

look and see?
a girl shows a boy her leg stump in a kid's home in 1958.
Terry Collett Jul 2016
The doctor examined
Anne's leg stump
in the small room

Sister Paul was there
looking on
and the Kid was there
staring at the stump
he'd seen many times before

are you all right Benny?
the nun said

yes just looking
how the stump is doing
he said

Anne smiled at him
and then glared
at the quack
then the nun

seems to be healing well
the quack said
rubbing it gently
with his fingers  

well get your *******
fingers off now
Anne said
now you've seen it
and fingered it

Anne that is enough
bad language
sorry doctor
she has her
bad days

the doctor stared at Anne
not sure he'd heard
the words correctly
and reddened

o no problem
must be painful still
but it is healing nicely
he said
moving away from Anne
and her leg stump

he looked at Benny
your her friend?

yes her best friend
Benny said

my only friend
in this place
Anne said

the nun sighed
and the doctor
followed her out
of the room
leaving Anne
and Benny alone

glad you were there Kid
can't abide quacks
at the best of times
let alone when they're
******* you leg stump
and peering up your dress

Benny stared
at the stump still  
sorry it hurts you
he said

pain's pain Kid
it's how you
cope with it
that matters

she pulled the red dress
over the stump
and said
pass me my crutch Kid
and lets get out
of this torture chamber
and go down to the beach
and sunshine and gulls
and sand and away
from this lot

Benny passed her
her crutch
and helped her up
and he followed her
along the passageway
as she crutched
at quite a speed

we'll go to the beach Kid
once I've peed

he waited
by the loo door
as she went in
and he wondered
if the **** word
was a sin.
Terry Collett Mar 2016
Anne watched the Kid
walk back to the nursing home,
across the lawn
and past the white round tables,
past the swings and slide.

She'd told him,
Kid don't mention my name
when you ask the nuns
about ***** hair, OK?
she had added.

I want it to be as if you
were just interested,
she had said.

Ok, I will, he said,
and was gone across the lawn,
with hands in his pockets,
a determined look
on his young,
11 year old face.

Anne rubbed her leg stump;
it was sore and hurt;
her none existing
toes itched.

She watched until he
had disappeared inside
the nursing home.

After a little while
the Kid walked out
of the French double windows,
crossed the lawn,
past the slide and swings,
and sat on a chair
by the round table,
where Anne sat
in her wheelchair,
her red skirt pulled up,
rubbing the leg stump.

Well, what did
the penguins say?
she said.

The Kid sighed.

Sister Blaise went red
in the face and said,
why are you asking
such a question and why
would I be interested?

What did you say, Kid?
Anne said,
rubbing her stump.

The Kid eyed her stump,
red and fleshy.

I said that Colm
had asked me
and I needed to know,
the Kid said.

Anne scratched
the leg stump.

So what else did
she say?
Anne said.

The Kid looked away
from her leg stump
and into her eyes.

She said it was
the hairs that grow
in certain places
on the body.

That all?
Anne said.

The Kid nodded,
and stared at her leg again
and glimpse of white underwear.

Didn't say which
part of the body?
she said.

He shook his head
and said,
no, just blushing said
it was hair in certain
parts of the body.

So none the wiser?
Anne said.

None the wiser,
the Kid said,
looking at the white table.

Never mind, Kid,
she said,
pulling her red skirt
over her leg stump,
let's go to the beach
and discuss it later.

The Kid got up
and wheeled
the wheelchair away
from the table and chairs
and along the narrow path,
between the avenue of trees
and out the back gate,
and along by the beach,
him pushing the wheelchair.

Anne breathed in the air,
hands in her lap,
and said,
sniff that fecking air, Kid,
this is where I live best,
this is where we came from,
the fecking salty sea.

The Kid pushed the chair
and sniffed the air,
listened to the sea sound
and seagulls,
look over Anne's shoulder
at the one leg bouncing
slightly up and down
as he pushed the chair,
sniffing in the deep
the salty sea air.
Terry Collett Nov 2014
Anne rubbed the stump
of her amputated leg.

She sat in her wheelchair.

I sat opposite
wondering what
it must be like
to have one leg.

Pull your skirt down,
the nursing nun said,
it's indecent
to show off
your leg like that.

Anne stared at the nun.

My leg hurts,
she said,
rubbing it,
helps it.

Where does it hurt?
the nun asked.

even the toes hurt,
Anne said grumpily.

The leg
has been amputated,
so how can it hurt?
the nun said,
now pull the skirt
over the stump,
Benedict doesn't
want to see
your stump.

I didn't mind,
but I said nothing;
I looked at the nun's
black habit,
her thin features,
her pointed nose,
thin lips.

Anne pulled the skirt
over her stump slowly.

It's my stump,
I should be able
to show it
to whom ever I want,
anyway, Benny likes
gawking at my stump,
he does it
all the **** time.

The nun gazed
at Anne in silence;
then at me.

Your manners
need to be brought
into line, young lady,
if you
were at my old school,
you would learn manners
or else.

Anne sat back
in her wheelchair.

But I’m not
at your old school,
I’m in a nursing home
after the butcher’s job
the doctors did
on my leg,
she said.

The nun's features stiffened.

I looked at Anne
and her tilted head
and the hidden stump.

There are many
complaints about you,
the nun said,
from other children
and the other
sister nuns;
we will report you
to the nursing home
the nun said.

Anne said nothing,
but looked
at the swings
where other children

I sat looking
at the nun,
her hands hidden
in the pockets
of her habit.

She walked off stiffly
across the green grass.

How about her,
Kid, huh?  

I gazed
at the walking off nun.

Guess she was
a bit annoyed,  
I said.

So what, Kid,
who gives a cat's ***
what they think or say?

I shrugged.

Push me to the beach,
she said,
get me away
from these penguins, Kid,
off to the sea.

So I pushed
the wheelchair down
the avenue of trees,
anything for Anne,
anything to please.
unnamed Feb 2012
Robert Jordan


Sing, my forest. Sing, groans. Sing, snapping. Sing life and wild, sing trees, sing limbs that course and bend thick with sap and soil-blood. Sing, my child. Sing, my sweet love and dirt and life. Sing, sweet death, sing, sing.


Find *Robert Jordan
. Find Robert Jordan in my forest among my kind limbs and find his breath, find his breathing through thick growth and his steps delicate upon the paths of tender dirt and find these paths great in number that wind as veins through the forest body.

Find* Ofelia. Find Ofelia in my forest among my kind limbs and find her breath, find her breathing through thick growth and her steps delicate upon the paths of tender dirt and find these paths great in number that wind as veins through the forest body.


Robert Jordan and Ofelia sit upon the stump of a dead tree in the depths of a clearing in the forest. The stump is monumental in size. The diameter of the stump is that of a building. Robert Jordan and Ofelia used hatchets to make gashes into steps in the side of the stump and in this way climbed to the top. The top of the stump has been worn smooth like glass. The forest surrounds the clearing in its thickness and is heavy in every direction and curves up above them and to the center like a temple would and the top of this temple is many hundred feet above them. Robert Jordan and Ofelia sit on top of the stump and in the center, facing opposite directions, his back touching hers and her back touching his, rigid, perfect posture, legs crossed, their respective hatchets bridging the gap between their respective knees, blades shining in a dull silver light that hangs about their forest’s temple as any fog hangs about any forest. In the forest surrounding them hang many mossy vines. The vines weave through the trees and connect them and carry themselves through each other as webs though without order. Robert Jordan and Ofelia see the silver light illuminate the edge of the forest around them and the trees and vines there and they are sure the pattern continues through the deep forest though they cannot see into it fully. In the deep of the forest around them through the silver fog hang hundreds of small red lights that sit at every different level in the forest from the forest floor up through the canopy many hundred feet above them. The small red lights look as small eyes do and are perfectly circular though do not appear so in the silver light. The red eyes glint as far-away lights do when these lights are out of focus and so have the same dagger-shaped spires that extend from the center and outward in various numbers. They eyes reflect into and off of the hatchets and stretch themselves along the length of the blades. Ofelia opens her mouth slightly to speak. Robert Jordan knows her mouth has opened. Robert Jordan knows her breath comes from the forest and knows that with its drawing she also draws in the silver light of the clearing and the small red lights of the eyes around them and small parts of the forest suspended in their midst. Ofelia ventures to speak and invites these things to enter and live within her and that in her body, though only slightly, is where part of the life of those things now reside. Ofelia knows what Robert Jordan knows. Ofelia continues to speak:
Terry Collett May 2014
I stood in line
to be weighed
in the bathroom
of the nursing home

Anne crutched herself
behind me
you haven't
got a chance in hell

of winning
that chocolate bar Kid
she said
I've seen more meat

on a butcher's pencil
stuck behind his ear
might win
I said

might fly
she said  
the kid in front of me
got on

the green metal scales
and the nun
moved the weight
along the top

not you Malcolm
she said
the kid got off sulkily
I got on the scales

and the nun
moved the weight
I looked at her
black and white

her pinched features
not you Benny
she said

I got off
and walked away
Anne awkwardly
got on the scales

holding herself
on her one leg
the stump
of the other

hanging there
best so far Anne
the nun said
told you Kid

you didn't
have a chance
guess not
I said

as she crutched herself
along side of me
not to worry
if I get the choco bar

I’ll give you
a quarter for being
a good friend
no other

in this *******
gets a look in
we went along
to our rooms

come in Kid
she said
I hesitated
come in

I want to
ask you something
I stood swaying

what if
one of the nuns
comes along?  
what if I don't give you

quarter of the choc bar?
she said
I followed her in
to the girls dorm

no one else
was there
just she and me
she closed the door

with her backside
right Kid
I want you
to do me

a favour
I said
sensing uncertainty

hit my gut
yes I want you
to sneak along
to the kitchen tonight

and liberate
some biscuits
I said

yes you know
what biscuits are
don't you

those hard things
with cream in the middle
or chocolate
on one side

I know what biscuits are
I said
but what do you mean

take some
from the big tin
they have
on the shelf

in larder
I said
you mean steal?

whatever word

you want
to use Kid
what if I get caught?
don't get caught

but what if I do?
Anne sighed
sat on the edge
of her bed

I thought you
were someone
I could rely on Kid
not some cowardly custard

yellow belly
I looked
at her leg stump
sticking out

the other leg
reached to the floor
if you're really good
I’ll let you touch

my stump
she said
no need
I said

I'll try tonight
sneak down
after lights out
good Kid

she said
she took my right hand
and lay it
on the stump

and held it there
it felt warm
and soft
she let my hand go

good huh?
wish the rest
was there
she said

off you go
and don't get caught
I nodded
and backed out

of the room
seeing her cover
the stump
with her dress

and smile
see you
I said
you bet

she said
I walked away
of the big steal

of biscuits
unthought through
by my 10 year old brain
as yet.
Terry Collett Jul 2013
Anne sat in the wheelchair
in the huge back garden
of the nursing home.
The stump of her leg ached,

the one good leg rested
on the footrest. She rubbed
the stump as if this might
ease the aching. She’d get

Skinny Kid to push her out
of the back gate when she saw
him, he was one of the few
kids who seemed to like her,

and often did things for her
where others wouldn’t.  
The little girl named Sadd
was like a fairy: thin, gaunt

looking, whose shoulder blades
stuck out like small wings.
She was on one of the swings
being pushed by one of the

nursing nuns. Where was
Skinny Kid? she mused. His sister
was over by the slide going up
and sliding down. The boy called

Malcolm was hiding in and out
of the avenue of trees playing
war games with some other boy
with a snotty nose. She wheeled

herself along the stony path.
How’s your leg? a girl with burn
scars on her arms and shoulders asked.
Why don’t you ask the fecking leg,

Anne replied roughly. The girl stared
at the impression of the stump just
under Anne’s dress. I’ll tell Sister
you swore, the girl said. Go kiss your

****, Anne said. The girl ran off and
Anne wheeled herself a little more
along the path. Then she spotted him,
Skinny Kid, coming out of the French

windows at the back of the nursing home.
Hey, Kid, she bellowed, over here.
Benedict walked over to where Anne
was sitting, her hands on the wheels

of the chair.  What did you want?
he asked. Push me out the back gate,
she said, I can’t stick being out here
with all theses kids. Ok, he said and

pushed her along the path, between
the avenues of trees to the back gate.
Where are we going? he asked as they
reached the gate and he opened it up

and pushed her through. Along by
the beach, I need the sea air, need
to fill my lungs with it, she said.
He pushed her along, his arms

feeling her weight, his legs like
small pistons. Thanks, she said,
for helping me in and out of the
bath the other night. That’s ok,

he said, recalling her calling him
into the bathroom the other night,
she standing on her one leg by the
bath in a white towel. Help me in

Kid, she had said, I don’t want
one of those nuns touching me while
I bath. He had helped her in trying
to avoid looking at her naked body

as she put her leg over then he had
to ease her down making sure the
stump didn’t bang against the bath rim.
He closed his eyes, having caught a

glimpse of the stump on its way into
the water. He pushed the wheelchair
along the smooth path, avoiding the
other people, trying to hear her mouthed

instructions, watching the top of her
dark haired head. She had said he had
to wash her back in the bath as she
couldn’t reach and he did it softly not

wanting to scratch her or such. Harder
than that, Kid, she had said, I want to
feel the skin rubbed not fecking tickled.
So he scrubbed harder, looking at her

neck and her damp hair.  Hey, Kid,
she said breaking into his thoughts,
got any money on you? I’ve  got half
a crown, he said. Then buy us two ice

creams, Kid, over there, the guy who
looks Italian in that van. So he pushed
her over to the van and bought two
ice creams with strawberry sauce and

he sat on the wall with her parked
beside him licking their ice creams
in silence except for the sound of gulls
and the sea going in and out pushing

the waves up the shore, she watching
the Kid, his tongue white with ice-cream,
his eyes bright as summer. Her stump
ached still; she’d get the Kid to rub it after

the ice creams; feel his hands on her skin,
as she sometimes dreamt, he did in her dreams.
Based on episodes at a children's nursing home by the sea in 1958.
Joliver Apr 2017
Viridian moss
A dead stump
An empty hollow
Giving life a home

Ants marching
Red and black
Their insignificant war fought
Over crumbs
Snails oozing along
Mice scurrying
All in the warm damp embrace
Of the wizened old stump
A haven and a battleground
A home and a tomb
Once standing tall
Now a ruin

Little stump in the woods
Your story is more immense
Than we can comprehend
A saga of storms weathered
Fires endured
Creatures inhabited
Until finally the hatchet spilt
Your lifeblood sap
Upon the coarse dirt
Where life began anew
Stump in the woods
I thank you
For your unspoken wisdom
Terry Collett Mar 2015
Anne rubs
her leg stump
to ease pain

Skinny Kid
watches her
sitting there

in the black
old wheelchair
can I help?

he asks her
kneeling down
best not Kid

if the nuns
are watching
they'll be here

like black bats
at dusk time
Anne says

the Kid stares
as she rubs
the leg stump

still painful?
he asks her
yes it is

she replies
kiss it Kid
kiss the stump

he studies
the fleshy
stump of leg

will it help?
sure it will
she suggests

looking up
at the home
where the nuns

nursing nuns
are at work
other kids

play about
swings and slide
coast is clear

kiss it now
she whispers
he puckers

his small lips
and kisses
the leg stump

Anne laughs
get off Kid
you're tickling

making me
**** myself
he removes

his small lips
from her stump
well done Kid

that's better
the pain's gone
looking up

she sees there
across grass
rushing close

a young nun.
Terry Collett Aug 2016
Anne and the Kid
were sitting in chairs
on the lawn next
to a small round
white table.

Sister Paul
(the head nun)
walked across the lawn
towards them,
her black habit
flapping as she came.

What's the penguin
want now?
Anne said.

The Kid stared
at the nun
who approached them.

I want a word
with you both,
the nun said.

A word each
or one between us?
Anne said.

The nun stared at her,
then stood gazing
at them both.

You Anne are not
to show your
leg stump off to Benny,
and you Benny
are not asked to do so,
do you understand?
She said.

It's my leg stump,
Anne said,
I can show it
to whom I wish,
and if the Kid wants
to see it, then he can.

The nun stared
at Anne:
I am forbidding you
to do so, and as head nun
of this nursing home,
what I say goes,
the nun said firmly.

What if I show the Kid
my leg stump
when no one is around
how are you going
to check on that huh?
Anne said defiantly.

The nun stared at Benny:
now listen carefully, Benny,
it is a sin to look
at girls' leg stumps,
and if you disobey
you could go
to Purgatory
or worse to Hell.

Benny looked
at Anne.

She smiled:
he don't care a ****
about your hell or purgatory;
whenever he wants
to see my **** leg stump
he can, and I’ll show him
when he wants,
Anne said,
sitting up in the chair
grimacing as pain
shot along her leg.

If you disobey
my orders Anne,
you could go
there too,
the nun said.

Anne stared
at the Benny:
listen Kid if
you want to gape
at my stump,
then just you tell me
and you can
gape any time.

The nun slammed
her hand down
on the white metal
table top;
the sound echoed
along the lawn;
birds took flight,
other children
on swings and slide
looked over,
or hid or went off
to hide.

You will do
as I say
my girl or else.

The nun walked away
towards the huge house;
her black habit
flapped like a big
black bird in flight
and out of sight.

Anne said:
bring me a glass
of lemonade Kid
and a straw.

he said,
and wandered off
towards the house.

She sat and rubbed
her leg stump
with her hands.  

The other kids
went about
their fun and games
on swings and slide.

She watched the Kid
returning slowly,
with glass of lemonade
to be by her side.
raen Jul 2012
A busy road.
A tree stump.
An old man.

Everyday at eight 'o clock
He sits there, cane tapping
just watching cars go by--
I among them

Such a lonely man,
I say to myself

Same busy road.
Same tree stump.
Same old man.

He looks up, cane twirling
and smiles at me
in that split second
I smile back

A roadside friend is gained.

Same busy road.
Same tree stump.
Different old man.

Day after day
He waves hi--cane dancing
I wave goodbye,
no time to stop

Same busy road
Same tree stump
No old man

I screech to a halt
Ask of his absence

a piece of paper
found taped on his cane
I weep in my car
and send a prayer
of thanks
to my roadside friend

Eleven words
Changed my world.
"Thank you lady in the blue car.
You make my day."

Same busy road.
Same tree stump.
Different me.
Terry Collett Oct 2014
I sat next to Anne
on the lawn
by the round white table
after breakfast

she was rubbing
the stump of her leg

I ate my toast

Sister Bridget
came over to us

what was all the fuss
last night?
she asked Anne
staring at her
with stern eyes

my leg hurt

your leg has been amputated
there is no leg
the nun said

it still hurts
even if it isn't
****** there
Anne said

I will not have
bad language
the nun said

I said ******
that's not a swear word
I should know
I’m an expert
in foul language
Anne said

you did not
have to make such a fuss
you woke up
the other children
in the dormitory
and Sister Elizabeth said
you used
foul language then

Anne shifted in the chair
rubbed her stump

I finished my toast
gazed at them both

it hurts here too
Anne said
raising her skirt
to reveal the stump

put your skirt down
the nun said firmly
Benedict doesn't want
to see your stump

I looked away
carrying the sight
of her stump with me

he doesn't mind
he's always gawking
at my leg
Anne said

enough of that
the nun said

that's what I tell him
but he doesn't listen
Anne said
poking me
in the ribs smiling

I don't
I said
looking at the nun
with my Mr Innocent features

I suggest young lady
you go to see Sister Agnes
about some painkillers
for the pain
the nun said
avoiding looking at me

I will
Anne said

and better manners my girl
the nun said
and walked off
across the lawn

silly old crab
Anne said
here give me your hand
and she shoved my hand
on her stump
and rubbed it
back and forth

I tried to pull
my hand away
but she held it there

don't fuss so Kid
take it as
the pleasure it is

I watched the nun stop
over by the slide
and talk to two other kids
sensing my hand moving
over warm skin

if the old bat saw this
Anne said
she'd call it
a ****** sin.
The colors grow dim with the night
And the light of day will fade.
Sitting crosslegged on a stump
I bid my farewell with a wave.

My palm is hollow for yours;
There's a stump by my side.
My partner, how you wandered –
You wavered into a lie.

How I wish I could revive
The connection we shared, my dear,
And how, you'd never wave goodbye–
For you promised to stay near.
Terry Collett Apr 2014
Anne put her crutches
by the table
on the lawn
and sat next to me

how's it going Kid?
I said
what's for breakfast?

porridge or cereal
or toast
I said
no egg and bacon

and sausages?
she said
I said

**** me
she said
who eats toast
or porridge

or  cereals?
pass me a glass
and pour me
some of that

orange muck
I poured her
a glass of orange juice
and put it

by her hand
she sipped it
I've tasted better
she said

I want you
to push me
down to the beach
later Kid

can't stick
being stuck
with these other kids
they drive me

up the wall
with their
nonsense with the nuns

especially Sister Paul
the stuck up *****
I looked back
towards the nursing home

other kids
were sitting about
other tables
and here and there

a nun was attending
to them
got any more wine gums
from your mother?

she asked me
no they've gone
Sister Bridget took them
to share

amongst the others
****** communist
she said
I looked at her

sitting in the chair
her one leg visible
the stump
of the other leg

hidden beneath
her blue dress
the dress had little
anchors and boats

on it
had your look Kid?
she said
you're always trying

to look at my stump
aren't you?
I can't help it
my eyes are drawn

to the missing leg
I said
she lifted her dress
and showed

the stump of leg
have a good look Kid
I looked at the stump
then looked away

towards the windows
of the nursing home
when do you want
to go to the beach?

I asked
as soon as I’ve had breakfast
she said
she pulled down

her dress to cover her stump
and sipped the juice
the red ribbon
in her dark

straight hair
had come loose.
There is a stump with a lawn chair on top in a yard with dirt,

no one knows how it got there, like a cheesy line insert,

some say the Gods struck it down upon yonder tree stump,

other folks say the lawn chair was dipped in the same stuff as Achilles,

that was some reason left at the dump,

but lock in a bond they are,

through wind and winter,

they locked tight as if holding hands in a ***** bar,

you may ask me what I think in some way or another,

but I think they are lovers frozen in bodies that never feel the sacrifice of weather,

holding onto what they can that stay still,

you may ask once again,

and I both despise and love their will.
Wrote in '10 had to put a chair on a stump my dog would jump onto, and somehow it stayed up there for a year surviving the elements of Nevada, wrote this in month 9 of that beautiful image.
for Susan O'Neill Roe

What a thrill ----
My thumb instead of an onion.
The top quite gone
Except for a sort of hinge

Of skin,
A flap like a hat,
Dead white.
Then that red plush.

Little pilgrim,
The Indian's axed your scalp.
Your turkey wattle
Carpet rolls

Straight from the heart.
I step on it,
Clutching my bottle
Of pink fizz. A celebration, this is.
Out of a gap
A million soldiers run,
Redcoats, every one.

Whose side are they one?
O my
Homunculus, I am ill.
I have taken a pill to ****

The thin
Papery feeling.
Kamikaze man ----

The stain on your
Gauze Ku Klux ****
Darkens and tarnishes and when
The balled
Pulp of your heart
Confronts its small
Mill of silence

How you jump ----
Trepanned veteran,
***** girl,
Thumb stump.
Terry Collett Mar 2012
Anne crutched her way
from the large house

onto the lawn
where you sat with your sister

and a girl called Monica
recovering from burns

can anyone sit here
or only two legged freaks?

she asked
you don’t have to be rude?

said Monica
shut your mouth Scarface

and pull me up
a ******* chair

Anne said bluntly
you mustn’t swear

Monica said
I shall tell Matron you swore

go **** a lemon
between you legs

Anne replied standing
pulling a face

Monica and your sister
got up from the small white table

and ran off towards the swings
and left you gawking at Anne

and at her flowery dress
which came to her knees

revealing space
where a leg should have been

had your look?
Anne said looking at you

sitting in the chair

you replied
just realized

you’ve only got one leg
well stop gawking

and pull me up a chair
she said

you got up
and pulled out a chair

behind her
and she sat down with a sigh

and you sat down again
still ******* hurts

even though its not there
she said giving you a stare

what happened to your leg?
you asked

it went for a walk
and never came back

she replied
pour me a glass of juice

she ordered
and you poured her

some orange juice
into a tall glass

and gave it to her
thanks for being a saint

she said and drank a gulp
of juice then put

the glass down
on the table

and you still stared
at her missing leg

when she said
want to see the stump?

And with that
she pulled up her dress

and showed her stump
and the outline

of her white underwear
you looked at her face

and flushed a little
she pushed her right hand

through her black hair
and smiled

you should be honoured
it’s not everyone

I show my stump off to
or my ******* either

she said in a Mae West
imitational voice

thank you
you muttered softly

still carrying the image
of her leg stump

and white ******* with you
as you looked away

at the sun coming over
the tall trees and gulls

flying in the blue
morning sky

and apart from the sound
of the sea there was only

her deep painful sighs
and you (imagined)

her staring
deep blue eyes.
Sparrow Junk Jun 2017
I came across a tree stump
Upon I placed my sorrow
Hoping that it would grow
back as a weeping willow

Wanting for it to hold snow again
Descending from its head to mine
To feel the cold down my spine
A gift from the tree's branch line

But this stump is all that's left
Of a tree that once stood tall
from before I learnt to crawl
I am saddened to see it fall

I feel the rage of ocean storms
Bubbling inside of my chest
Now with nowhere that I can rest
Cursing the stump as all that's left

But amongst this frozen ground
I spot a sapling making its way
And I knew that there'd be a day
When things would become okay
I can't help but feel saddened when I see trees cut down, especially when it seems like it's been done for cosmetic reasons rather than it becoming ill or anything. I never know what to do after as the stump won't grow again but planting more trees seems like a good start
Burnt out stump left to die
In the forest I stand alone
If I had a voice I would cry
If I felt pain I would groan
Yet I am just a tree to you
You cut me down for your view
Terry Collett May 2016
Anne wheeled herself out
of the nursing home,
and out onto the lawn,
almost knocking Cam
(a young boy) over
in her path,
she was followed
by Sister Paul in flight,
her black habit flapping
as she walked.

Anne stopped wheeling
at a white table,
and turned
to face the nun.

The nun approached
out of breath,
you must let the doctor
see your leg,
the nun said.

Not if the Kid isn't there,
Anne said.

The doctor doesn't think
it ethical,
the nun said.

No Kid, no looking
at my amputated leg stump,
so it's up him,
Anne said.

He needs to see
how it is healing,
the nun said,
standing over Anne,
hands inside her
black and white habit,
and you ought not
have shown your leg
to Benedict,
it isn't ethical
to do so.

He was interested,
so I showed him,
Anne said,
and he helped me
get in the bath and out,
and he's my best friend,
and ****** ethical.

Sister Paul winced
at the lewd word,
and tried to push it away
from her mind.

He's a 10 year old boy,
the nun said.

I'm a11 year old girl,
so what?
Anne said.

The nun closed
her eyes momentarily.

Anne looked past the nun
towards the nursing home,
and hoped Benny
would come out,
and see what
was going on.

The doctor will not
allow Benedict to be there;
he said it would
not be ethical,
the nun said slowly.

No Benny, no gawking
at my stump then,
Anne said firmly,
what, you going to get
the sisters to hold me down
while that medical clown
touches my amputated leg?

The nun gazed at her,
and sighed,
why do you need
Benedict there?

Because he's my friend,
and I feel safer
if he is there,
Anne said,
anyway he'll only
be seeing my leg stump,
nothing between my legs,
Anne said,
eyeing the nun
for her response.

Anne that is being
crude and rude,
Sister Paul said.

Anne turned around,
and gazed down
towards the avenue of trees
at the end of the garden.

No Kid, no quack
seeing my stump.

The nun walked away,
visibly with the ****.
Terry Collett Sep 2018
Hey Kid hold this,
Anne said.

Benny took
her artificial leg
while she rubbed
her leg stump.

It seemed odd to him
holding a leg.

**** the leg,
she said.

Benny looked
at the stump.

Looks red,
he said.

****** sore
where it rubs.

See Sister Paul
about it.

**** her
the penguin.

She looked at Benny.

Wish I never saw
the ****** leg.

She stood up
with the aid
of her crutch
and the red dress
fell over the stump.

What shall I do
with your leg?

He held it
towards her.

Dump it
in my dormitory
and meet me
on the lawn.

She crutched off
along the passage.

He carried the leg
to her dormitory
and laid it on her bed
and walked out
on to the lawn.

Sister Rose was talking
to Anne who was sitting
on a white chair.

He stood there
and listened.

So why have
you not
put on your leg?
Sister Rose asked.

My leg's sore
so I have left it
off to heal.

Have you asked
Sister Paul?

No it's my
stump and leg
not hers,
Anne replied.

She will not
be pleased
about this.

Benny sat on the chair
next to Anne.

I will have to
inform her.

Do what you like.

The nun walked off
like a dejected rook
in black.

Let's go to the beach
away from the fecking penguins,
she said to the Kid.

So he walked beside her
as she crutched between
the avenue of trees
towards the back gate.

He gazed behind them
but no one seemed
to see them
so moved away
to the beach
far from the nuns' sight
or reach.
A boy and girl in London in a nursing home in 1959
Terry Collett Dec 2014
Anne rubs
her leg stump
sometimes it's

very hot
and itches
other times

it throbs hard
with the pain
that's how it

is again
so she rubs
the leg stump

and looks at
other kids
on the lawn

of the home
for the sick
some playing

on the swings
or the slide
some sitting

at tables
playing games
on game boards

but she's stuck
sitting there
in a chair

with one leg
and one stump
itching bare

then a nun
who's nursing
says to her

cover up
your leg stump
and don't rub

or you will
make it sore
but Anne

being she
says up yours
lifts her skirt

and rubs her
stump some more.
George Krokos Dec 2010
Aborigines and kangaroos
boomerangs and didjeridoos.
Leafy gum tree branch and koala bear
black stump in the middle of nowhere.
Jolly swagman camped by a billabong
in 'Waltzing Matilda' a favourite song.
The wild brumbies roaming free in the outback
a scruffy hobo living alone in a country shack.
Aboriginal myths called their dreamtime
the native Australians regard as sublime.
Ring-tailed possum and wombat
aussie bloke wearing akubra hat.
Alice Springs and Ayers Rock
outback stations and livestock.
Ned Kelly bushranger and his law brushes
the Eureka stockade during the gold rushes.
Laughing kookaburra and old man emu
platypus swimming in underwater view.
Banjo Patterson’s poem ‘The Man from Snowy River’
who went riding down mountain side without a quiver.
Surfers paradise and the Great Barrier reef
sixties rock ‘n roll legend: Johnny O’Keefe.
Anzac marches and the land of the Southern cross
old Cobb & Co. stagecoach used to travel across.
Glorious summer sunshine and winter rains
severe country drought and the desert plains.
Eucalyptus scent and Tea-tree oil
good health remedies from the soil.
Fresh water yabbies and the witchety grub
all make good tucker in the bush or scrub.
Crocodiles in the Kakadu national park
Burrumundi and the great white shark.
Sydney harbour bridge and the Opera House
Daintree rain forest and the kangaroo mouse.
Sheep wool farming and old shearing sheds
Melbourne Cup horse race for thoroughbreds.
Riverboat cruising up and down the Murray
passing border country towns not in a hurry.
Cradle mountain and the Tasmanian Devil
saying ‘fair dinkum’ means it’s on the level.
AFL rules football and big crowds at the MCG
playing one day cricket there is exciting to see.
The Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s cottage
are there for all to see as symbols of our heritage.
The Twelve Apostles standing along a rugged stretch of coast
a Ninety-Mile beach is something about which we can also boast.
The Glass House mountains are a sight to see and even to climb
by those who consider themselves fit enough and in their prime.
The great Australian Bight and the road on the Nullarbor plain
is a great feat to drive across and be able to come back again.
The local native wild dog known by name as the Dingo
has nothing to do with a game people play called Bingo.
There’s also a game called two-up that some people play
by which they gamble most of their weeks wages away.
Luna Park in St.Kilda and the annual Royal Melbourne Show
are places where you can take the kids to have fun people know.
There’s the local pub where you can go and have a drink with your mates
and is what many do all day long having a few too many in all the States.
This great southern land of Australia has so much to see and to offer
it would be a ****** shame if one didn’t give a **** or was a scoffer.
Private Collection - written in 2002
Joe Cole Sep 2014
I saw the old man circling the tree trunk
Weather beaten skin, bent gnarled hands
and piercing blue eyes

He seemed to study every knot and crack
in that ancient timber

Then without a word turned and picked up hammer and chisel

The wood chips then began to fly and like confetti on the ground lie soon in heaps some ankle high

Occasionally he would stand back and look but never once a rest he took

Mallet strokes both hard and soft some from under some aloft fell there with unerring skill always busy never still

Long into the night he worked now by the light of an oil lamp and so the tree stump 'neath his hand then became a work of art

At long last he stood and turned to me and said three words " that'll do lad"

I approached to see just what he'd done and there I saw the perfect rose every petal and leaf in place the slender stems in the breeze did sway

With no plan or picture he had made the start
And created the perfect work of art.

So what is creativity? Well that's your next challenge.

No love poems because they've been done a million times. This time something unique
I decided to repost this after reading it, was going to change a few things but decided that its fine as it is
Chris Voss Feb 2013
I'm leaving.
Less like, Peace the **** out,
more like, I gotta go.
I'm leaving the way ships are wooed by waves,
under the pretense of more promising continents.

I can see where countless hands have pulled at my shoelaces,
wrapped my arches in ribbons of origami,
left me second guessing how well holes burn through soles.
It's been a long day of finding breathing space between double-knots and bending
broken fingernails back into place;
the self-constrained chaotic embrace of something supposedly so
straight as string brings forth beckoning ghosts of
those figure-eight souls who laid themselves
to waste their Sundays tracing the Hills
on the breath fogged side of some painted-shut window sill;
trading the promise of Infinity
for the Religion of Monotony.
Praying through agoraphobic day-dreams
raining across the night sky of their eye lids
with the brilliance of meteorites,
imagining how earth-shattering they could be
if only these tyrannosauruses would just look up.

I have come here;
Less like, conquest
more like, exploration.
--Abandoned the comfort of quaint, suburban
ruins of the American Dream, which buckled
like widows knees mid frail-voiced eulogy
mourning the death of their Salesman--
and wandered aimlessly into the improvisation of some story-book jungle,
wishing I was better rehearsed.

I have come here
to congregate with the snakes and beasts; to feast beneath
the din of carnal sin and primal instincts. I've chosen to begin jumping
from stump-to-stump like stepping headstones
in a graveyard of fallen trees, where men,
                     who grew up too quickly and forgot the importance of pretend,
                     who learned early on how to black-market trade
                              the need to imagine for something a little bit more
                     who, smiling through serrated teeth,
saw it fit to clear this wilderness for something a little bit more

But thank god, these brambles grow so thick!
For every hail Mary their metal tongues would lick
into the trees' skin, a hallelujah of vines and branches and roots
would erupt in confused medley,
and their finest mathematics couldn't begin to calculate
the thriving division of a place so ungoverned by logic.       
In a jungle plucked straight from storybook pages
I'll band together with these untamed brutes
--these feral barbarians and unbroken monstrosities--
to howl at the moon with the effervescence of a Ginsberg poem.
We'll forge a tinsel-town crown and take turns
playing king of Where the Wild Things Are found.

See, unlike concrete cities
The Wild of Atavism has never forgotten that
Tradition is a catalyst for change
and that nothing is permanent.
Hell, I've been having laughing contests with a mountain
because every now-and-again he will crack
A smile, and when a mountain laughs
He does so, so gutturally,
From deep within his catacomb chest that
the whole Earth quakes -- everything shifts--
And I'm not gonna lie to you right now,
I've sort of got my heart set on being a part of something so

So if you follow,
shipwrecked and mapless,
Keep your shoelaces strapped tight
and run off the infinity of double knots.
If you go looking for me, continue
past the paint chips, through
the open window;
Set your sights to the far treelines.
And don't strain yourself listening for
the laughter of mountains,
Because when that stoic disposition
Finally does crack, you'll feel it in your feet
no matter where you are.
And from the way his ridges are crumbling,
I think I've almost got him beat.
Feb 27, 2013

© Christopher Voss
JL Feb 2012
The air is warm today
With a soft and slight humidity
The perfect temperature
For an adventurer

The wisteria were in full bloom
Hanging from the basket of tree trunks
Overflowing purple and white petals

The birds sing songs of danger
Calling out territories
Guarding their new hatched young

Beautiful songs to me
Strike terror in the heart of some
Lone crow

I watch as two red breasted doves
Chase the angry crow from the crown of an evergreen
Their spinning and chirping looks playful and joyous
But courage beats in their little hearts
As they fight off the thieving devil

Blue skies are cloudless between the canopy
Yellow sunlight drifts down and through the branches
Creating radiant yellow pools on the moss and dirt
Squirrels chase each other through the glowing puddles
As if they too are playing

Down on a fallen stump
I sit
Counting the growth rings up to fifty

Sudennly I realize how young I am
How foolish and unknowing I am
Ancient trees loom around me speaking in leafy whispers
Deep dark sylvan beauty
A childish breeze blows through the treetops

Sudennly the most beautiful creature I have ever seen
Stands on a log across the clearing
I hide behind a thick tree
....was I seen?

Her thin shadow moves around the stump where I sat
She kneels to exam a row of ants
Crawling up an old root

She has a green notebook now open on her knees
She squiggles notes between the lines
Stopping to squint at the line of soldiers
Pointing and counting
She seems to count for a while
And then writes furiously

She sits on the stump
With the notebook in her lap
She has a beautiful little smile
The smile of someone
With a very secret-secret
That must be told

She could be a ghost
I know these woods are haunted
But the way she held the pencil between her teeth
As she counted the growth rings on the stump
Was not very ghostly

She drinks from a canteen
I must be thirsty
My mouth is quite dry
Maybe that's a good enough excuse
"Hello, my name is Jacob, and I have been watching you from the shadow of this tree for the past few minutes and I was wondering if I could have a drink?"
No, I cannot do that

I am a scientist

Only an observer

(A strand of her hair falls in her eyes and she puts puts it behind her ear)

Especially now because she has stood up and walked to the edge of the clearing
Where she kneels by a flower
And begins to draw it in her green notebook

Drawing and tracing
Hair behind her ear
A strand falls on her cheek as she works

So silent
My heart skips a beat as she finishes
picking a petal and placing  it between the pages
Coop Lee Nov 2014
drunk on love.
it is,
this is,
an unusual feeling.
the furnace-blast and burn.
he is baked.
thee is ******.
she is swallowed.
like a swallow, or bird
of the high-ups, high up there, flippy flappy fly guy, sky guy.

*** more.
drinking. thumbing. dancing.
we’re at a rest-stop ukulele jamming and ten foot flames.
wonky canadian lesbian cops pin us to the ice and ground and spit and say…
good god.
scenic views.

we came for the taters!
the dipped in gravy glaze and cheap beer!
taco truck!
back to america with my babe and dreams.
& later into the night laughing,
end scene -

wander the woods.
shatter some glass on a stump.
& ***,
right there.
Terry Collett May 2015
Anne crutches herself onto the green lawn of the nursing home and sits at one of the metal white painted tables and in one of the white metal chairs and drops her crutches beside her Benedict whom she called Skinny Kid follows her and sits at the same table looking at her his hazel eyes focusing on her on her black straight hair and dark eyes other children are playing on the swings and slide or sitting at other tables a distance away don't want none of those other sick kids here Kid Anne says they're sneaks and tell tales and moaning Minnies and such but you Kid you're all right you’re possibly the only one here I can tolerate and O those pesky nuns ****** penguins walking about poking their noses into things saying have you had a motion today? have you passed water? yes I said to Sister Agnes I did a dance on one leg as a motion and I passed the running water tap on my way to breakfast what did she say​?Benedict asks she said manners Anne we must have manners and asked me again and I said both and plenty of them and she went off in a huff her black habit gown flapping behind her like some ****** bat one of the kids comes to the table and says can I sit here? of course you can sit you've an **** on you but no you may not Anne says shooing the girl away like she was a dog the girl went off looking back pulling a face how's your leg? Benedict asks missing and aching and driving me to distraction Anne says the ****** stump throbs and gets hot and it makes me a miserable sod can I see it Benedict asks what its like? you're a one aren't you always after seeing my stump later maybe not here with the nosey penguins gawking at everything we do a nun walks down to the table her eyes like black dots behind her wire spectacles ah Anne have you been upsetting the other children again? are you asking me or telling me? Anne says rubbing her leg eyeing Benedict Lina says you swore at her and told her to sit elsewhere the nun stares at Anne then at Benedict well? what happened the nun asks I never swear Sister I never swear I just said she could sit elsewhere be better for her I may have an illness she may catch and may bring her out in yellow spots the nun doesn't smile or move a muscle in her face her dark eyes move over Anne then Benedict well Benedict were you here? what happened and I want the truth or you'll not go to Heaven if you lie the nun says eyeing the boy scarily she didn't swear the boy says just said to go elsewhere the nun stares at Anne do not be horrible to other children they've as much right to sit here as you do now behave or I’ll report you to Sister Paul and then you'll know it the nun says and walks off like a rook unable to fly Anne farts and smiles sums her up that she says Benedict nods and looks at the table want to go to the beach? I can push you in the wheelchair? how old are you Kid? she asks ten nearly eleven he says she muses looks at him do you know how old I am? she asks eyeing him his quiff of hair the hazel eyes the skinny frame no idea Benedict says I’m twelve Kid although my mother says I’m big for my age got ******* and such Benedict looks past her head at the avenue of tree behind and the path to the beach got ***** hair too she adds to see if he'll blush what's that? he asks what’s what? Anne says ***** hair? he says that'd be telling wouldn't it spoil the surprise although you could always ask the good sisters and say dear Sister Paul what's this ***** hair stuff? she laughs to herself well Kid go get the wheel chair and off we go to the beach the boy smiles and gets up and walks quickly towards the nursing home Anne watches him go she winces and rubs her stump with her hands backwards and forwards she watches the other kids at play at the nuns walking here and there then Benedict comes across the grass pushing the wheelchair at a fair speed she smiles as he comes up to the table here we are one wheelchair he says slightly out of breath right bring it round here Kid and so he pushes the wheelchair next to her and manages to get herself in comfortably and rocks about until she's settled right then Kid did anyone stop you? yes he says Sister Agnes asked me where I was going with the wheelchair and I said you had need of it and she pulled a face then walked off with a face like a pinched behind Benedict says good on you Kid now let's' to the beach and away from the peasants and sickly she says so Benedict gets behind the wheelchair and pushes away from the table his arms outstretched his hands gripping the handles and off they go over the grass and onto the pebbly path between the trees and the sound of birdsong and the smell of the sea filling their noses and out the back gate and onto the path along by the sea the sounds of sea rush and waves and gull cries and people calling out and laughter and kids calling and crying and she says O this it Kid this is ******* living breathe in that air breathe in deep and Benedict breathes in deeply as he pushes her along the path smooth and easier and his thin legs pushing along the pathway and as he pushes he gazes down at her black haired head then at the red dress with the one leg sticking out the stump not visible but only the outline of it being there and the smell of the sea and salt in the air.
One Winged Angel

Dec 10, 2011, 7:39:29 PM by ~OmegaWolfOfWinter
Journals / Personal

It was very late, and Lucian had just gotten back from his assignment. he unlocked the door to his house and set his things down on the bed. he removed his shirt and removed the bandages on his chest. that demon put up quite a fight... he put on a robe and decided to get some rest. he set his things down on the floor next to him and hung his sword by the bed. he exhaled deeply and relaxed, finally back in the comfort of his own home. sleep quickly enveloped him and he began to dream.
Lucian was woken from a deep sleep by the sound of his door breaking down. Two massive angels shrouded in black cloaks stepped inside his room as Lucian scrambled to his feet, feeling a sudden chill beneath his simple white robe. One of the angels spoke, "Lucian, Elite Angel number 373-14, you are under arrest for high treason, grand theft, and ******."
Lucian was dumbfounded at the accusation. "What on heaven are you talking about?!"
the guard-angels grabbed the warrior-angel and dragged him out of his house and onto the streets where a small crowd had gathered. They escorted him to the capitol, which wasn't far away. Lucian gazed up at the massive black monolith before him.
He was immediately sent to the rooftop, where the Punisher was waiting.
Lucian desperately tried to explain. "I've been set up!! Please let me go! I've done nothing wrong!!"
The angel to his left looked at Lucian in disgust. "Quiet, you."
He reached to Lucian's throat and he felt a massive bolt of electricity course through his body. He collapsed in their arms and blacked out for a moment.
He couldn't say anything; he had a sign of silence on his throat. He blacked out again and when he woke he was on his knees in front of the punisher. His hands were bound behind his back and he was held by a multitude of chains and braces. The guard-angel touched his throat and the seal of silence was removed. "elite angel Lucian, number 373-14, you are charged with high treason against the holy city, grand theft of a holy artifact and the murders of 7 holy officials, as punishment-"
"I didn't do any of those things!!!"
"SILENCE!! There is evidence that places you at the scene."
"your punishment, you will lose your wings," Lucian gasped and tears formed in his eyes. "...and will be given the Mark of Eternal torture."
"No! Not the Mark!! Please no!!"
The punisher stepped forward and drew his slender sword. As he stepped forward, Lucian squirmed and fought against his bindings but to no avail. "God help me!"
"How dare you speak the lord's name, criminal!" the punisher slashed at Lucian's throat, grazing it and leaving a long, bleeding cut. Lucian groaned and said, "No... No... Please..."
the punisher stepped to Lucian's side and raised the sword. Lucian's tears came and began hyperventilating. "No, NO, NOO!!!"
The punisher brought the sword down and Lucian screamed in agony as one of his wings fell to the ground. Lucian was in so much pain, he wished he could die right then, right there. He was crying now, tears of sorrow and pain. "No, please, I beg you! Have mercy!"
For some reason the punisher then sheathed his sword. "Fine, you may keep your remaining wing."
"th-thank-" he was cut off as the punisher knelt down and grabbed Lucian's throat. He screamed again as he felt an intense burning. He continued to cry out as the punisher released him but the burning remained, slowly spreading over his entire body with such intensity that he lost consciousness multiple times. after an excruciatingly long torture, the burning ceased, and Lucian saw that it had etched runes and twisting lines over his whole body, almost his whole body, it had left his head and hands untouched. His voice had turned into a hiss and he tried to speak. he was unbound and he reached back to touch where his left wing had been, there was only a stump left.
"Lucian, you are hereby renounced of your warrior status. Get him out of my sight." Lucian was escorted outside, where the guardians left him stranded in the street. He blacked out and felt himself being picked up and carried somewhere else.
"he's heavy" thought the angel. He carried the limp body off the streets and through alleys, to an abandoned complex not far away. "Melinda!" he called. A slender young angeless came from the shadows.
"Who on heaven is this, Ven?!"
Ven looked around and said, "not here... Let's get inside."
he carried the angel inside and set him down on the dimly lit bed. He was still out cold. Ven sighed and said, "Remember that trip I took to the holy city?"
"Yes of course."
"Things happened there... the Network had me do some things..."
she narrowed her eyes. "What type of things?"
"i-i had to steal some artifacts...and some officials got killed."
"i didn't get caught! But... i-i panicked, i blamed it on... On him..."
melinda was speechless," i-i cant..."
"melinda... Please..."
"no, i cant deal with this anymore, i'm leaving."
"no, ven. Figure this out on your own." and she disappeared.
Ven sighed and looked over at the one-winged angel.
"i'm sorry"
the angel stirred slightly but didnt wake. Ven looked at the stump where the angel's wing should have been, and the scars that lined his body.
"i need to take him to the Network... Maybe, maybe then i can finish what i started... And give this angel what i stole from him... I have to take him to the Holy One..."
he closed his eyes for a moment, then,"i promise, you will get your wing back." and he fell asleep.
Lucian woke up as parts of his body burned fiercly. He cried out and writhed in pain. Soon the burning became a simmer, but it still hurt. lucians heart was beating rapidly and he was exhausted. He replayed last night's adventure. He glanced over his shoulder and as expected, he didnt see his wing. he could feel the blood caked on his back and he felt weak when he tried to get up. He fell and caught himself on the table. "wait a moment... Where am i?!" he frantically looked at his surroundings. He saw another angel asleep in a chair and a doorway behind him. The door looked weak but lucian wasnt sure he could do anything in his weakened state. "i have to try..." he ran, or rather stumbled toward the door and managed to break it down. He fell down outside and was temporarily blinded by the sunlight. He managed his way into the street, where the angels looked on in confusion. "i'm... this
is my street..." he hobbled over to his house and stepped inside. nothing had been touched since last night. "i'm not going to be able to find work... I'm not going to be able buy food.. agh! What am i going to do!" he sat on the bed, his head in his hands. he looked over to the wall, where he had his warrior blade hanging just in case. He grabbed his bag and packed some clothes. He changed into his finer dress clothes that he used on formal occasions. He grabbed his bag and put the sword on his belt. "i wish it didnt have to come to this..." he pushed on a spot on the wall and it slid away. Inside the compartment were his warrior armor and weapons. He took off the suit jacket and grabbed his vest. he put various weapons in their spots and shut the wall. He put the suit-jacket back on and buttoned it to conceal the vest. He felt energized and ready for anything. That was until he turned and saw the angel from the complex.
"where do you think You're going?"
"who are you?"
the angel looked amused and said, "you can call me Ven."
"well, Ven, i'm going to find the one who set me up, and i'm going to do what he did to me."
ven looked frightened. "why dont you come with me."
lucian didnt trust this ven. "i'm not going with anyone." and he dove through the window. He sprinted down the street, the bag and his sword held firmly in his hands. "i need money, i need food... I need to find him."
after all these years of loyal service, after all he'd done, he'd been thrown out without trial, revoked his warrior status, and now Lucian was going to find whoever had done this to him, and he was going to make him pay. he was a fallen angel, and he had nothing to lose.
lucian was perched on the top of the church spire, contemplating where to start his search. *the evidence.. what evidence...?

"i'll start with the judges chambers..."
lucian looked to the north, where the monolith towered over the city. he jumped from roof to roof as he neared the building. i'll do whatever i have to... anything to clear my name. different parts of his body started to burn, and the others began to cool off.
the mark... its burning, it's going to keep burning...
he cried out and fell from the roof he was on. he hit the alley hard enough to break bone, but he happened to land on his wing, cushioning his fall, only a little bit though.
this mark is going to **** me someday... he checked his wing and brushed off the dirt. he folded the wing flat against his back and sat up. he got back on his feet and continued to the monolith.
will i have to live with this mark forever?
(one day later)
"GET BACK HERE!!! STOP THAT MAN!!!" lucian was on the run. he found exactly what he was looking for, now he needed to find more information concerning the artifacts and the theif. but first he had to get away. he was turning corners and sprinting like a madman, but he couldnt escape the Detainers. then he heard a voice, "One Wing! over here!"
lucian looked towards where he heard the voice and saw an Angeless beckoning for him to come. "follow me!"
lucian reluctantly followed, winding through abandoned buildings and finally ducking behind an old counter. after a few minutes of silence, the woman said, "okay, we're clear. i'm Elora."
"oh... you're THE One-wing-angel..."
lucian looked down at the ground. "yeah... that's me."
"you were an elite, a warrior angel, weren't you?"
"yeah, but then i was set up and now i'm an outcast..."
"you were set up?"
"yeah, i was. i had everything i ever wanted, why would i need to commit those crimes? i was loyal, and trusted by everyone. and i swear that i will find whoever set me up..."
"and then what?" elora seemed to be waiting for something.
"i'm going to do to him what he did to me."
"what did he-" elora was cut off by lucian as he cried out. "what's wrong?!"
"the mark.... of eternal torture..."
"oh my gosh... i didnt know..."
"its nothing... i'm used to it..."
he took off his suit jacket and elora gasped when she saw his scars. she didn't seem to notice the vest of weapons or the sword at his side. "this is..."
"...the Mark..."
she grimaced as she saw them and said, "i'm sorry..."
"but why?"
"because, i was going to turn you in..."
lucian was on his feet immediately. "what?!"
"wait!! i'm not going to... not after seeing what they did to you..."
"how can i be sure i can trust you?!"
elora looked down at her feet and said, "you cant... but i can get you out of the city..."
"you can?"
Lucian was still finding it hard to trust Elora, but he stuck with her anyway. She took him away from the city and was about to turn back. Something inside Lucian wanted her to stay. "Wait! Don't leave. Come with me to the holy city."
She seemed hesitant but willing, "i-ive never been to the holy city...."
"It's an amazing place, quite a sight to see."
She took a moment to think and nodded, "I'll go with you."
Lucian smiled and walked forward. After long hours of relentless walking, Elora asked," how far do we have to travel?"
"A few more hours of walking..."
Elora sighed and said, "Alright..."
Lucian glanced over at her and saw that she was tired. "We should rest."
Elora and Lucian got off of the path ad took shelter beneath some gild-trees. "Elora, go ahead and rest up."
she reluctantly slept, but she was glad to, they had been traveling all day.
Lucian sharpened his blades and meditated while she slept.
Lucian prayed, like he had always done every morning. He had vowed not to let his becoming an outcast interfere with his routine. After he was finished, he sighed and glanced over at Elora; she was fast asleep. He then glanced at the sky and saw dark clouds quickly closing in. Lucian didn't want to wake Elora but he wanted to get her out of the rain. He set his suit jacket and weapons vest next to her and he extended his wing over her just as the rain began to fall. he was pleased to see that the rain would not touch the sleeping angel. On the other hand, Lucian was vulnerable, but he didn't mind. He would rather shelter Elora than himself. Lucian ignored the rain and decided to doze for a while.
Elora woke up as a cold wind blew. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and saw the millions of raindrops in front of her. it took her a moment to realize that she was dry. she glanced over and saw that Lucian was soaking wet and had his wing extended over her. "You should have woken me, Lucian." she extended one of her wings over him as he shivered.
"th-thanks, e-elora." she could tell he was freezing because even the feather's  above her were shivering. she decided to do something to repay his kindness.
"come closer, we can share body heat." suddenly the feathers stopped shivering, they became rigid, as if lucian was surprised... apparently he was.
"yeah, its the least i can do." she sat closer to him and put an arm around him. his skin was cool to the touch and his muscles were tense, but they soon relaxed, as did the feathers above her. he soon stopped shivering and the rain stopped falling.
Nassif Younes Apr 2016
The night began at 9 p.m.
A hundred people filled the room
And when the DJ dropped the beat
The dancers began to dance -
Some in time,
Some out of time.
They danced for hours through
Sore feet and aching legs
Until the soles of their shoes began to wear,
One step at a time
Into the floor.

When their soles had worn too far,
They kicked off their flapping shoes
And stamped them
One step at a time
Into the floor.
Shortly after,
Their socks followed.
They began to pop their blisters
And resign the dead skin on their heels
To the floor.
“Do you think we can stop now?”
Asked someone,
“This is starting to hurt.”
“Absolutely not!”
Said another,
“We have to carry on!
This is a good night
And we have to carry on!”

And so they danced their bare feet
Over a floor of wood
And worn out leather.
They danced until their feet bled
And their soles were perfectly flat.
As they danced through their last
Layers of skin,
Their bones began to grind
And crack
And break off with the beat,
Some in time,
Some out of time.

They danced until their toes
And fifty-two bones
Were worn away.
They danced until they were now
A hundred pairs
Of ****** stumps
On a ****** floor.
They danced on
Worn out leather
Worn out flesh
And crushed up bone dust,
Which disguised
The *******,
The mephedrone,
The 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine,
And the crushed up pills
Giving the blind bouncers an excuse
To turn their blind eyes.
“Do you think we can stop now?”
Asked someone struggling to
Do the stump,
Do the stump,
“Absolutely not!”
Said another,
“We have to carry on!
The song is still playing
And we have to carry on!”

And so they danced their ****** stumps
Resigning little parts of flesh and bone,
One stumpy step at a time,
To the floor.
The blind bouncers could hear the snaps -
A shin crack here,
A kneecap screamer there
And drawn out femurs everywhere,
Some in time,
Some out of time.

When the last leg had gone
They began to dance away their hips
And their reasons
For coming out in the first place.
“Do you think we can stop now?”
Asked someone struggling to
Rock the ****,
Rock the ****,
“My stuff won’t work if I beat it much longer.”
“Absolutely not!
Said another,
Already down to his second ball,
“We have to carry on!
This is a good night
And we have to carry on!”

And so they laid to waste
Their waists,
Discarded their stomachs with haste
And worked their ****** torsos
Two ribs at a time -
Some in time,
Some out of time -
To the floor.
“Can we stop now?”
Asked someone struggling to
Do the ****** torso,
Do the ****** torso,
“Absolutely not!
Said another,
“We have to carry on!
The song is still playing
And we have to carry on!”

And so they danced away their torsos,
Clapped away their hands
And wore away their arms
Until the DJ leaned over to see
A hundred bobbing heads
Bobbing away on
The ******,
Powdered floor.
“Surely we can stop now.”
Said one of the heads,
Talking through a hole
She had chewed through her cheek.
“Absolutely not!
Said another,
“We have to carry on.
This is a good night
And we have to carry on.”

And so they danced through
Their necks,
Their jaws,
Their noses,
Their ears
And their eyes.
The blind bouncers
Kept their shades
Over their blind eyes
Until all at once,
Just before the final bass drop
They heard the smash
Of a hundred shattered skulls,
All in time,
And pulled down their shades
To see a hundred brains
Spilled out over the floor.

The music stopped,
The blind bouncers
Turned their blind eyes home,
The DJ grabbed himself
A glass of water
And the manager emerged from his office
To prepare for the next one
Which begins tonight at 9 p.m.

He would remind you not to be late
But he knows you won’t be.
In Oklahoma,
Bonnie and Josie,
Dressed in calico,
Danced around a stump.
They cried,
Ohoo" ...
Celebrating the marriage
Of flesh and air.

— The End —