Monthly Archives: December 2013

UEA140story

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Some of the UEA creative writers have set up a microfiction Twitter account, with its associated Facebook page, under the names UEA140story. They collect 140 character stories, from UEA, Norwich, Norfolk and beyond – and today they ‘published’ one of my own!

You really should check them out.

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Lady sings the blues

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Black? Can’t you see?
Singer? Listen and you’ll see
Whore? Yes, I did that too
And I drink like four men
You don’t scare me, I’ve played in worse places than this
Southern cowboy bars where they spat on me
A city where a black man was lynched that same day
New Orleans where a fashionable devil
Brought me drug bouquets each night
Chicago I fell for a syphilitic trumpeter
And as I left the club they smashed my teeth
In the rain between one station and the next
Lady sings the blues

Black? Yes, but I’m used to it
Singer? Like a birdcage
Low and high notes, the whole range
I can flutter like those celluloid beauties
And then strike you with a ballad to the heart
You want strange fruit? You want midnight train?
I can sing it drunk
or with a knife in my back
or full of whisky and what else, I’m a saint
And my altar is here, this smoke, this stage
where lady sings the blues

Black? Yes, and beautiful, man
Singer? All I know how to do
Whore? Yeah, I did that too
And I drink like four men
Don’t touch me or I’ll rip that white face off you
Put down your drink, open what little heart you have
Shut up and listen – I sing
as though it was the last time
Shut up, bastards, and kneel
lady sings the blues

And as you go home say it
I heard an angel sing
wings of marble and satin
stench of whisky, sick black whore
Tell everyone my name, don’t forget
I am the ruler of a rag realm
I am the sun voice on the cottonfields
I am the black voice of light
I am the lady who sings the blues
Oh, and one more thing… I’m Billie
Billie Holiday

(Original Italian by Stefano Benni – Lady sings the blues)

Not enough

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I love you
and if that’s not enough
I will steal the sky’s stars
to make a wreath with them
and the empty sky
will not feel worse
as your beauty alone
will fill the universe

I love you
and if that’s not enough
I will empty the sea
and bring all the pearls
before you
and the sea will not cry
for being wronged
as a thousand waves, and mermaids
do not hold the charm
of one of your smiles

I love you
and if that’s not enough
I will lift volcanoes
and place their fire
in your hands, it’ll become ice
to soothe my blazing passion

I love you
and if that’s not enough
I will chain the clouds
and tame them for you
and rain them on you
when the summer
heat keeps you awake
And if that’s not enough
I will stop the planets’ flight
to cease the passing of time
and if that’s not enough
fuck it

(Translated from the Italian – Stefano Benni, Io ti amo)

101 Fictions – Winter/Undead

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More publications! 101 Fiction publishes 100-word stories (plus one for the title), and their theme for issue 2 was Winter and/or Undead. I sent one off – it made the cut. Check it out!

“Welcome to issue two. […] Fifteen hundred well-chosen words inspired by one or both of our two themes: winter and undead. […] We have some Family values and a little black humour from Alex Valente.”

Check out Family over here!