(Credit: Rothart on Pixabay)


One dove is for peace

Two are for love. They must be

The hippies’ favourite.




(Credit: Fré Sonneveld on Unsplash)


Despite an instant

Simultaneous take off

Their eyes are empty


66 Traps

(Credit: Joe Fuhrman)

(Credit: Joe Fuhrman)

He trapped me in a cage of his care, clipping my wings with his worries, feeding me only his hopes and dreams of a future where I would sing for him and only him. But I am more like a phalarope than a swan and I long to leave the nest. If only I knew how to break the bars.


Prim clockwork of a wristwatch, watchmaking ex...

Clockwork (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her nose was like a small beak, not in a charming way. She never took any pictures of herself.

When someone talked to her she tipped her head to one side like the hand of a clock moving into a new position, and she listened, or at least she heard what was said and could repeat it exactly if asked to do so. Sometimes she would whistle fragments of old nursery rhymes during the conversation.

She made pocket watches of silver and bright steel with movements precise as the clockwork that was given life by her fingers. She always whistled while she worked.

19 Black Out, part 2

‘What’re you playing at?’ I say. He turns to me, still clutching the bird. I notice her sleeve is torn, and a bruise might be forming under one eye.

‘Fuck off,’ he says, ‘it’s got nothing to do with you.’

He might be younger, but I’m wider, and it’s not all fat. Not yet.

‘Let go of her,’ I say.

‘What you gonna do?’ he says.

I punch him in the face. He lets go of her and crumples. I think I broke his nose. He’s bleeding all over the place and whimpering. She leans herself against a wall, still crying.

‘Want me to call the police?’ I ask.

She shakes her head.

‘Want me to call an ambulance?’

She shakes her head.

‘Want me to take you home?’

She nods, slowly. I offer her my arm and she leans against it. She doesn’t seem too steady on her feet, so I put my arm around her as we walk out of the ally.


Now the pub is just between the grocery store and my home. And of course, just as we come out onto the main street, I see my wife hurrying along, a bag of groceries in each hand. And I’m thinking… shit. I just know she’s going to misunderstand everything. But what do I do? Let go of the girl and let her fall to the ground? That would make just as bad as the other bloke. But by now it’s too late. She’s seen me. And she’s making a bee-line for me. But when she’s about five meters from me, she freezes. She stares at the girl. She probably noticed the bruises. Then she avoids us and continues her way home in a half trot. Seems we’ll take it when I get home.


As the bird guides me the rest of the way to her nest, my mind is racing. How will I make my wife believe me? I say goodbye to the bird at the door.

‘Thanks,’ she whispers before going in.

‘You’re welcome,’ I say.


Then I go home. Slowly. I pause in front of my door. I know that she’s in there, fuming. Perhaps if I didn’t come home until tomorrow, she would forget about it? No, I know that would only make her madder. So I go inside.


As I take off my boots, I can hear her washing up in the kitchen. I take a deep breath and walk into the kitchen. She is washing up the frying pan. The smell of bacon fat still lingers in the air. I clear my throat. She spins around.

‘There you are!’ her cheeks are flushed. ‘What the hell do you think you were doing with that girl?’ her voice is shrill.

‘It’s all a misunderstanding,’ I begin.

‘Did you rape her?’

Her comment slaps me in the face and I take a step back.


‘Don’t you think I saw her?’

‘I didn’t do anything to her,’ I say, ‘it was the young bloke.’

‘What bloke?’

‘The bloke she was with,’ I say, ‘he was being rough to her, so I hit him and helped the girl out of the ally.’

‘And why didn’t you call an ambulance?’

‘The girl said she didn’t want me to.’

‘So now you’re talking to the dead!’ she screams, ‘how stupid do you think I am?’

I blink a couple of times.

‘You’re talking nonsense,’ I say, ‘I’m going to bed.’ I turn my back to her and move towards the door.

‘Murderer!’ she comes up behind me and smashes the frying pan right into the back of my head.

And that’s where I black out.

And when I come to, I can’t find my wife.

19 Black Out, part 1

Have you ever blacked out?

I mean completely blacked out?

Because of booze?

Because of some weird illness?

Because your wife hit you on the head with a frying pan?

I have.

The last one.

It hurt like hell.

And I didn’t even deserve it.


It begins down at the pub. I am having a few drinks with my mates when in comes this nice little bird. She must have been in her twenties. She goes up to the bar, buys a bottle of sparkly water and sits down in an empty corner.

We stare of course. Women are scarce enough at the pub. And I don’t think I ever saw someone younger than forty. Except her.

So the shock dies down. We continue our drinks. And the bird sits in the corner, not even touching her water.

After about twenty minutes, I glance around the pub and notice that she’s still alone. So I tell the mates that I’ll just go see if she’s all right. And of course they misunderstand me and chuckle into their drinks. Come on, I think, I’m no fool. She’s in her twenties, I’ll be in my fifties in a couple of years. I have a daughter about her age. It’s not as if I thought she wanted to come home with me or anything. And anyway, I could never take her home; I have a wife, remember?


Well, I go over in her corner and I ask her:

‘What’s a pretty bird like you doing in a place like this?’

She must have misunderstood me because she gave me this icy look.

‘I’m waiting for someone,’ she said and turned her head away from me.

‘But you’ve been waiting rather long, haven’t you?’ I say.

She shrugs her shoulders.

‘Is it a boyfriend?’ I ask.

‘Will you leave me alone?’ she snaps.

‘All right all right,’ I say, ‘no need to get angry. A nice evening to you.’ I go back to my mates. She stares into the wall.


After about another ten to fifteen minutes a bloke comes in. I don’t know him, but I don’t like him. It’s something about his face. His eyes perhaps.

He sits down with the bird, and for a while I get this picture in my head of a bird and a cat sitting on each their side of the table. And him licking his lips. I almost go over there again, but I’m thinking the bird will misunderstand me again.

They sit in the corner for about half an hour, speaking in low voices. Then they leave.


I finish my beer and look at the watch. It’s still rather early, but I’m thinking it’s probably time to get home to the missus. She said something about a nice dinner this morning. So I say goodbye to my mates and get going. It’s chilly outside so I put my hands in my pockets and hunch my shoulders. Then I walk down the road.

When I get close to the next side street, I hear voices. Loud voices. I look down the side street and it’s the bird and the cat. And he’s clutching her arm. And she seems to be crying. And trying to get away. Now that makes me angry. Him getting violent towards the bird like that. So I stride down the street.

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