Minotaur’s Sarcophagus

Ref. gettyimages
A simple rubber ducky
plucked from a water-bucket
twirled the surface tension,
stirring broken promises.

Tectonic activity
and brute Coriolis forces
threw the sleeping monster,
Minotaur, upon ochre clouds.

Crazily aroused, he rampaged,
in this unexpected setting,
tramping clay underfoot
relying on primitive reflexes
instead of containing his anger.

The stench of sweat,
and the fear of failure,
trapped him in a mortal
brawl of self doubt.

Still maddened, and bellowing
vexatious oaths, he burnished
an enamelled labyrinth
into his lonely sarcophagus.

Hearts emptied of childhood
dreams, replaced myths with other
tenets, messed with phobias and
prejudice to colour this
grand opus, this time on earth.

I am seeking your comments on this piece. Is it too oblique? Perhaps you find it gloomy. It will help me if you take time to pen a comment. Thank you

Now Glue Words

Ref/prowritingaid. Om

I am Bruce

I have an adverb addiction.

I am an innocent child of this terrible thing.

At first I hurriedly popped them into sentences.

I hoped no one would notice.

I found I could not write fluently without them.

You didn’t say a word

Perhaps it is because you are too blooming polite.

On this forum all readers are critics, or at least you should be.

You write regularly.

Many of you are students carefully creating works of art.

You choose your excellent words craftily.

It matters not whether the work is prose or emotive verse.

I like how you think.

I like your rhythm, your meter, your alliteration.

I like your onomatopoeia.


Like the dastardly drunk I am stuck on them, all 3700 plus words in the English dictionary.

I use them sparingly

I see they commonly end in ly.

Many others escape my pen, hidden as they are, in my convoluted verbose speech.

In desperation I turned to prowritingaid.com

I purchased a membership.

Cured of one writing ill.

I have another.

I overuse glue words.

Who would have thought?

prowritingaid.com is helping me.

You can use it for nothing

Or you may prefer to pay half price for its full use by clicking on this twitter message

Subscribe- Your Personal Writing Coach https://prowritingaid.com/en/Account/Register2?twafid=1854453

A Few Good Men

Overgrown vegetables Author ‘s photo

This is spring. Unlike the last twenty Springs this year we have had average rain. Accustomed as we are to below average rainfall it has been a dismal one. The vegetable patch still has its uneaten winter crop in a state of overgrown profusion. Each remaining plant has gone to seed. In the last generation if we had left over plants they were ripped out early and replanted with spring varieties that leapt out of the warm ground. My only trouble with them was with how thirsty they were.

Now we are told a phenomenon called La Nino has cooled the Pacific waters heading our way from Peru and we are going to have a Spring and Summer of average rain. The thing is we have become accustomed to parching unseasonal weather caused by an opposite system called El Niño.

El Niño is mean. It was responsible for the horrid events most of the country experienced last year. Fire, floods and famine followed. Thousands of acres of land were burnt in months no one could ever remember it being so dry, or so wet. Now we have this soft system – La Nino – and all it can do is rain like it would any other year and frankly I am over it.

How dare the weather be cool. How will the climate change deniers accept the globe is warming from the affects of mankind induced climate change when it rains every day? And it is too unpleasant outside to plant spring vegetable so close to the summer months. Frankly it is ridiculous.

The funny thing is this is an ordinary year. Ordinary as far as the weather goes. It is far from ordinary by any other measure. We are in the grip of a pandemic. Millions of people have lost their livelihoods. The global movement of people from country to country has paused. The world’s economy has collapsed. Governments are grappling to contain a deadly virus. One that for the most part is uncomfortable but unpredictably lethal for far too many. As I write the effects seem worse all over the world.

The crystal ball needed to halt the virus is as elusive as is the vaccine needed to stop it despite the presidential announcements from: The White House, The Kremlin, and Brazil. It could be said the world is in some sort of hiatus. Nothing ordinary is ordinary anymore. The optimistic are holding on to a belief things will spring back to where they were. Others, too many, have lost belief in life and are now living in the hell of despair.

In these times we need not be either optimistic nor pessimistic. Life is too unpredictable to require from us more, or less, than pragmatism. In this way we must face whatever comes our way as ordinary. Some are calling we accept this as the “new” ordinary. There is nothing wrong with accepting ordinariness is what is happening.

It is ordinary not to act stupidly and take precautions. We accept when in a car is a sensible thing to wear a seat belt to avoid injury. Just as we accept protected casual sex is a sensible precaution against disease. The ordinary thing to do is to ensure you do not spread the virus to those you love and wear a face mask when you are outside your family circle.

We might rail against this advice, but science advised us, to act otherwise is reckless. Many things previous generations did was reckless. And it cost lives. Builders of great architecture sometimes rode with the building steel from the ground to great heights without any protection. The loss of life led to rules about safety and safety equipment. It is illegal to act otherwise because when people cut corners they put the lives of innocent people at risk – to say nothing about themselves.

I am happy to admit to being ordinary. I write without any fulsome plan as some authors I admire use. For the most part I have written essays of a certain length. In them I have expressed my innermost prejudices – perhaps even without awareness. Lately I have written more poetry (I call it poetry even though it doesn’t measure up against classical poetry. It ((sort of)) resembles the style of modern poets.)

Writing like this requires me to use words economically. A haiku of seventeen syllables might be easy to some, on the other hand I have difficulty. Just as I have difficulty painting pictures with words in my longer work.

Facing difficulties is an everyday human test. Most of the time we have learned from previous experience yesterday’s test no longer bothers us. We don’t even think what we need to do, we just do it because it is the easiest way to get by. Sometimes the test, is a bit like this Spring weather, it is uncomfortable to become wet, or get blown about in the wind. Past experience has taught us to wear a jacket and just get the job done.

If my writing today reads as if I am preaching, my tenor is wrong. If you were here to talk with me about what I have written you could set me right. Fortunately your grandmother is quick with her slant to balance everything I say.

As a last word I observe the more opinions one hears on a topic the more likely you are to get to the truth. In other words don’t jump to conclusions based on only one side of an argument. Be like one character in the 1982 film, “A Few Good Men” says, “You can’t handle the truth”, and listen for it.

Before you leave today please tell me what you think.

Between the lines

In the same year the Bíró brothers escaped Germany for Argentina, I was born. By the time I was attempting to earn the right to graduate from pencil to steel pen the Bíró pen was being sold in stationery shops for as much as a dinner in a fancy city restaurant. In the years before pencil I had learned to write on a slate board. This was because paper was scare and a slate board, once obtained, was cheap because if a new “sheet” was needed all one had to do was erase the last entry. (It does not explain my poor handwriting as other children learnt this way as well, perhaps it just says I never got better at writing than a stone-ager.)

My pencil work was never very good possibly because of the earlier experience I had had with slate so getting my license to use a pen was hard work. A steel pen was even more difficult and I fully understand why pen use was restricted to children who could demonstrate they were not going to leave drips, smudges, or other signs the drying ink, or (forbid the thought) spill the fluid.

It took skill to master the pen. The nib was dipped into an inkwell that sat in a hole bored into the right hand side of the single desk, of if it was a double desk in the centre. The nib once dunked was not to dip further that the hole in had in it that split the steel in two parts before the point. On reaching the paper one had to confidently press the point onto the paper and apply weight enough to allow the ink to flow down the split onto the surface between the red and blue guide line printed on the paper. Some letters dropped below the lines to the red guide lines, some were written between the blue lines, and some reached up to the red line above.

The ink took some time to dry and rather than wait until it did, one dried it with blotting paper. This absorbent paper had to be applied in a rolling motion that soaked up the excess ink as it was applied. If the blotting paper was applied too quickly, or it brushed across the drying ink it left an unsightly smudge. A blot was just as unsightly, as the zealously overfilled nib would leave a trail of blots across the page produced by an untidy boy. This lad would go home each evening with ink stains on his fingers. These formed in much the same style as the nicotine stains, found on the hands of heavy smokers, did.

Just holding the pen took a great deal of dexterity. It had to be held between the thumb and middle finger, with the pointer finger resting lightly on the top to help guide it to form the letters of the alphabet. It was only after competence was shown one could do this were we allowed to join the letters in the running style of copperplate. (As with all things change was as constant then as it is today. No sooner had we started to write in copperplate than the writing style was changed to something called Victorian Cursive.)

There were some perks for good pen writers. The first was to become an ink monitor. The ink the class needed daily was kept in the inkwell on the desk. A child chosen by the teacher could fill each inkwell from the big bottle of ink kept in the classroom each day. The ink bottle had a rubber pourer on it. The stopper-pourer extended about an inch (30 cm). It would hover over the ink well from the bottle stopper as the bottle was tipped. The ink would flow into the inkwell as it tipped and be stopped from overflowing by the monitor when, he or she, pressed a finger against the air intake hole on the rubber stopper and stood the bottle upright.

The best monitor’s job was to be trusted to collect all the class inkwells and wash them out on a Friday afternoon. Because this was messy job a couple of trusty children would be sent from the class to wash them with running water at a drinking trough in the playground. The job was painstaking when done properly, but the perk was to escape the eye of the teacher and miss some class time.

Kids in class were normally well behaved because they had respect for the authority of the teacher, and their parents. (If a teacher complained about the behaviour of a child to the parents they would normally accept the teachers word and the child would cop some additional punishment at home.) Yet despite that many classrooms had nib darts stuck in their ceilings. (A dart was fashioned after splitting the rear end of the nib by jamming it under the desk lid. The enterprising kid would fashion a fletch from a piece of paper. This was inserted into the split. Half of the nib was broken off and when the teacher’s back was turned it was flung at the ceiling. Most times it was left dangling above the class and the teacher was unaware anything was amiss.

At secondary school we were considered mature enough to use fountain pens for note taking. These were not trouble free though. On hot days the ink would leak. Or the owner of an old pen would find the rubber bladder would perish where the lever used to compress the air out of the bladder so it could be filled, rubbed against it. If the pen was dropped, nine times out of ten, the nib would no longer work trouble free. It was customary for kids, and business men, to carry their pens in a shirt pocket, or if the pen was smart enough, in the top pocket of their jacket. (An important person might carry three fountain pens like this. Filled with blue, red, and green ink. The nibs, and the ink filling levers of these jewelled instruments were gold indicating the owner’s distinguished status.)

By the end of my secondary education the biro became ubiquitous. It was now produced by many new manufacturers and cheaper. With the bic, and the Victorian Cursive style writing, Copperplate and calligraphy marched off. Today my grandchildren have more aptitude with the keyboard than any epistle demonstrating mastery of enforced practice at handwriting. The little they do write by hand is printed in lowercase style, and when measured by the past standards, unacceptable to many of my former infant school teachers.

Does that matter? Surely expressing ideas and showing understanding of new concepts is enough?

I very much prefer to think my mother’s hand, or the writing of my late father-in-law Laurie, better conveyed true emotion. For their hand writing was masterful. A message of sympathy penned as condolence to loved ones really meant something to those receiving them when written so neatly. A message cannot be understood as meaningfully to the recipient as an email no matter how heartfelt the messenger.

(Laurie produced the most beautiful hand writing. Each letter was carefully crafted onto paper whether it was important or not. He learned to write so well with his right hand, despite having the tripe beaten out of him because he was a natural left handed from day one at school. (It is worth noting good handwriting is near impossible in left handed people because they cover their work with their hand as they write from left to right. They also have the disadvantage of using implements designed for the opposite hand.))

Those red and blue lined handwriting exercise books of yesterday did help many people develop signatures with sincerity.