They were huddled in the same room, as if in a crooked nest, some scribbling away, some, admittedly, were typing on small keyboards. At seemingly regular intervals, they would silently squabble as if their worlds mattered more than any of the others. It was a peculiar circle, with more sharp angles than you might envisage – you could feel the tingling tension zig-zagging around the table. There were some lights, but their warmth felt unsure, tentative, even scared of shining too bright, as the shadows would only grow deeper as a result. The trickling noise of tapping on the tables, the clicking of pens, keyboards, thin fingers scuttling across the surfaces, was only interrupted – almost as if on a loop – by a peculiar but all too familiar moan. It would hang in the air for a handful of seconds, haunting all present company, lingering just enough to become uncomfortable, only to slowly dissipate into the incessant scritching on paper, the constant clicking sound of keys.
No eyes looked up, no contact made between the figures in the circle, no movement other than what required for the production of more work, more words, more paper, more screens, more, more, more. Lines building upon lines, stories stacked up precariously and vanishing to other rooms, to other – much wider, much louder, much livelier – worlds.
Outside the building, in the growing chill of that autumn night, people passed by, entirely oblivious to the figures inside. It was as if they weren’t really there after all.
April can be the cruellest month
though it has showers sweet
and does sometimes pierce March’s drought
I really fucking hate February
with its bitter cold
days and evenings and nights.
And I know it’s not it
unable to appreciate the apricity
a favourite word for a small bit
of warmth on a freezing day.
Sitting there as if winter
were almost over,
bearing the cups of Carnival
and despondent gods
as a fucking child enraptured
by the fucking skies.
Pouring over poorly worded
sentences and claims,
delirious and feverish
declarations of love to the pound
to the ounce to the dozen
and cheaper if you wait.
Thank fuck it’s a short one.
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!
As I have developed a cold, I’m being fuzzier than usual.
So I asked Russell J Turner to remind me how to write a Googleseed poem, alt-found-poetry, to help me out with today’s challenge.
These are his guidelines:
0) Choose a seed phrase/title/first line in any way you see fit
1) Feed that into Google search
2) Go to the first suggested page and pick a phrase from that page for the next line
3) Feed that phrase into Google
4) Repeat until looping occurs (i.e you get sent back to the same page)
This is my offering for today.
There is no cure for the common cold,
but there’s technology to make things like iPads.
I have finally found a device that could:
I was so impressed that I bought another, full price.
Was amazed how good the picture was
but it’s only the latter that is interesting.
The temple is a place where we can find peace –
peace is a common thing.
A thing for me? It is a common thing.
A common thing.
As a bonus, here’s a screenshot of the first search, a found poem in itself.