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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

Poems by Ryan Wood:

Lyrical Ball Games

"Writing free verse is like playing tennis with the net down."
                                               -Robert Frost

When trying to be critical, nothing is worse
Than couplets written in jocular verse.
You appear to conceal with a humorous bent
Those feelings that spring from utter contempt.
You count foot and meter, and whatever for?
'Cos some Yank won't play with the net on the floor.
I'll switch back to free verse: this rhyme just won't wash.
Are you up for a game of poetical squash?


the cold unfeeling wind caresses my skin
as hundreds of synaptically linked teeth chatter simultaneously
i sit shivering numbed by the cold
the whispering tap tap tapping fills my senses

messages sweep from terminal to terminal
the users absorb unintelligible commands
and carry out rigid unequivocal tasks

shorthand words with one narrow meaning
and no beauty
grow inorganically strung together
but not linked

these icy fragile chains form giant wholes
 they cannot be bent reformed misconstrued
shaped lest they snap

i sit awkwardly thumping the keyboard
i catch snatches of an alien language
in a cold sea of whispering keys
a confusing necessary desert

messages stretching across continents
lost in one big .com
an endless reservoir of ice cold information
the more you drink the more there is the more you want

'We bounce...'

We bounce
from situation
to situation.
The impetus
we gain
from one occurrence
allows us
to confront the next.
we meander.
Borne along,
we lazily amble
from side to side;
looking at the future
as it flows to meet us.
Other times,
we vibrate.
Lost in a blur
of karmic pinball,
we close our eyes
and hope
we hit the jackpot
before we lose our balls.


  • There are times when certain parts of the soul must go into hibernation.
  • In order to preserve their slender roots, you must prune the withered twigs down to ground level and cover in a layer of fatalism.
  • Regrowth must not be permitted, lest they fall victim to the frosty spite and carelessness of others, or the blight of wishful thinking.
  • Have patience; allowing them to weather your discontented winter, feeding off old victories, oblivious to today's losses.
  • When spring arrives, and you will know when it does, allow for rapid, exhilarating growth, flowering in the warmth of that loving glow.
  • Remember these times: when the leaves begin to fall or the frost begins to bite again, they will prove invaluable.

The Last of the Stash

(With apologies to William Wordsworth)

Now I have been around a bit:
Smoked weed and other random shit.
Given the choice I'd choose home-grown,
But if it's cheap then I won't moan.
Now please imagine my dismay:
I sit down to enjoy a smoke,
I glance around and there I see
This crying, whinging bloke.
I thought he wept for lack of dope,
I offered mine, to help him cope.

He curled his lip and turned away.
It seemed to me he meant to say
That he would not so much as sniff
The low-grade weed in that there spliff.
I asked him what his problem was;
He answered with a doleful sigh,
'I have a bag here of my own,
Must be the world's best high.'
He sniffed, 'Oh yeah, it's stunning hash,
But it's the last of all my stash.

'When I was young; in my boyhood,
I'd smoke anything I damn well could.
Then from a mate I chanced to buy
This magic hemp seed from Shanghai.
I know it may seem rather strange
But my cash flow was rather chronic:
My finances demanded that
My weed was hydroponic.
I think my fingers must be green:
More hash I grew than you have seen.

'I had a greenhouse full of weed,
All nurtured from a single seed.
This stuff could get you off your face
And blast you into outer space.
My wife and sister stayed at home
While I got stoned and climbed a hill.
The sky turned pink, I talked to fish
And then was rather ill.
But never more will I get mashed:
This is the last of all my stash.

'And then one day, high as a kite
Some poetry I thought I'd write.
Completely off my head on pills,
I wrote about some daffodils.
The weirdest one I ever wrote
Had this strange bloke who sold his sheep.
I guess one day that people will
Think that it's really deep.
But no more can I write such trash;
This is the last of all my stash.'

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