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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

Poems by Ryan Wood:

Thank You

As I walk through the day
I am beset by the pained ennui
that I am pushing against the inertia
of the status quo;
beating out of time
with the rhythm
of the way things are.

The pathetic fallacy that, in my self-absorption,
I see as my overcast existence;
the interminable distance; the people
and their false happiness.

But you:
You trim away the clouds of hardship
to leave a column of bright clarity.
You are a knife of brilliant crystal
in the centre of me.

One moment is all it takes:
Not the memories of you
but the exquisite knowledge
of how it is
to be with you.

From far away, you suffuse my soul
with the rarest tenderness.

Contrary Motion

I think there's very little I can say
to make things better now.
The quintessential point is
that you have gone away.
It's all over; broken up: the product
of a thousand sordid misunderstandings.
Geometrically opposite,
you're there, I'm here. I think
that this was always the way it was.
Putting distance behind the metaphor
merely makes it clearer.
As we got nearer, we were just moving
further away.
That's all there is to say. I think
that if we'd tried to be closer
instead of just being together, then
things might have been different.


O finest unique light,
whose myriad glow,
resplendent in the night,
lures all.

A lonely dot; a star;
a beacon: warm
within the darkness
and the pain of longing.

For but a while, they stare;
suspended, bathing.
How can splendour such as this
be yet so close?

And what can now surpass
this painful joy of closeness;
so lingering
and so serene?

To move in ecstasy
towards the flame;
each closer moment
greater than the last.

They rest, suspended there;
fluid fire within them.
Overflowing, taking on
too much.

O violent, blinding light:
The guttering flame
begins to char without
and sear within.

In baleful, torch-like gouts
of flame and light
the luckless,
pained and blackened burn.

But some will struggle free,
blasted and glowing,
from this spiteful,
treacherous majesty.

A floating ember now,
one falls away below
to once again abide in darkness
and to journey in the night.

'Wisdom does not, because of love, depart...'

Wisdom does not, because of love, depart;
When voicing thoughts, the soul is not undone.
A reason helps to cure an aching heart,
So sometimes thought and feeling work as one.
In consequence, a single voice they'll form
And, balanced, see intention from both sides:
They'll rise above the existential storm
And little can be done that both derides.
But 'fate' has choked that lonely, ardent voice,
It seems that there is little to be said;
For circumstance has overridden choice,
Without a nod or wink to heart or head
      As, through your eyes, my thoughts become unreal,
      So, just because I think, I cease to feel.

'Memory has stranger tales to tell...'

Memory has stranger tales to tell
Than any in the pages which I read
In that room; wond'ring as you tried to quell
Mysterious mirth, what thoughts were in your head.
What secret lay between those breaking lips?
Was everything to you merely absurd?
This heavy book, this knowledge drunk in sips?
Your face, to me, confusing as your words.
And is this the same face beside me now?
A blanket, not a book, rests in your hand.
That laugh is not the same: I don't know how,
But those lips hold a smile I understand.
      Do my accustomed eyes change what they see,
      Or could it be your smile that changes me?


A flash:
A flurry
of falling ideas,
A hurry:
A mixing and mazing
that vexes and veers
down to earth, down to me.
Can I catch; can I see?
She dazzles and sizzles
away from my grasp,
But flashes and fizzles
Out. She's an asp;
a raindrop: perfect
in freefall, then splashed
into pieces.
What can I do
when she ceases
to move and ignite,
But wait for the next time
that energy grabs her
and moves her
from grief into flight.
It's futile to tether
one so light
or to shield her
away from the weather:
Not my right
to muffle the fizz;
to meddle with misunderstandings
or business.
She is.
She just Is.

Thank You

You came to me in my hour of need
so I mistook you for an angel.
A shotgun fired in a sealed-off part of my mind
and I fell upwards, into you.
You appeared to me in the words of a song
and I sang it a thousand times
in order to drown out the noise of the world.

But you were more than just a cleric's screen; more
than an emotional crash-mat.
I clung to you as I clung to a memory,
into which I longed to return.

Greedily, I took and gave, and gave and took until
I could not tell the difference.
The tunnel through which I was travelling took you
as its only light,
and I forgot to look away.

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