as the news anchor tells us it is time, we can think of nothing better to do than to watch deep impact
the sky drops to an awful stillborn pink tia leone refuses a seat on the last helicopter a man burns alive in front of his daughter elijah woods winds through traffic on his bike we are thrown across the living room
morgan freeman asks us to remember the fallen
there is a redness. aching. birth. endcredits.
i am turning to you as the softer parts of me blend with the wallpaper i am turning to you as we clot in each other’s throats
Stuart Buck is a BOTN/BIFFY50/Pushcart Prize nominated poet and artist living in North Wales. His second book ‘Become Something Frail’ was released to critical acclaim on Selcouth Station Press in 2019. When he is not writing or reading poetry, he likes to cook, juggle and listen to music. He suffers terribly from tsundoku – the art of buying copious amounts of books that he will never read.
Alex Maxwell leaves his house on Morrill Street at 12.20pm. He always does, like
clock-work, for the 2 pm shift at the aerosol factory. It’s a comfortable job and they
have a laugh. He’s worked his way up over four years and gets left alone by The
He crosses the busy road. Alex doesn’t see the Police sign asking witnesses to come
forward with details about a car accident last month. Not many do come forward.
But that’s a different story altogether.
He walks towards the betting shop and steps around a bundle on the path. He
doesn’t take much notice. The shops have their wheelie bins out for collections. It’s
Monday. He shoulders the betting shop glass door open as be rummages through his
jacket pocket. His cash card isn’t there. “Damn!” Alex panics. He checks the time on
his mobile phone. It’s 12.32 pm on Monday 20 th January 2020. Where did he last have
He last had it yesterday as he withdrew some money out at the bank. He questions
the odds of his card still being in the cash machine or of being handed into the bank.
‘Someone will have pocketed it.’ There’s no chance of it being found. He’ll have to
cancel it at the bank. He leaves the betting shop. He still has plenty of time to pop in
at the branch. Alex worries about his balance as he dashes. He had barely registered
the body he stepped around to avoid. From the corner of his eye, it could have
passed for bin bags, perhaps. He dashes past the homeless man sitting outside the
convenience store. There’s a queue in the bank.
Alex is fidgeting in line. There’s only ever one cashier serving. The older lady is
telling her life story as she’s being seen to. A child in a pram, before Alex, starts
crying. He doesn’t make eye contact with the child’s Mother. He feels an anger
growing in his chest as the older customer rambles.
Another staff member makes her way to the pedestal by the door. Alex goes over.
He doesn’t acknowledge her name badge. “I need to cancel my card,” he fumbles.
“Your name?” Alex tells the staff member his name, “Mr. Alex Maxwell,” he states.
Nadia replies, “Just one minute, please.” She heads out the back. Alex is sure his card
is missing. People aren’t as honest as they used to be. Nadia checks his date of birth
and address. “You’re a Pisces,” she smiles. Then she hands him the card. “Someone
handed it in yesterday afternoon.”
Alex is relieved. He notices how bright the sun is for an afternoon in January. He is
heading for the bus. The child is still crying. He goes over to the pram and drops to
his knees. “Can I give him one of these?” He shows the Mother a small cake from his packed lunch. She smiles and nods. Alex unwraps the bun and the little boy stops
crying. There’s plenty of time to catch the bus.
Mark Anthony Smith was born in Hull. His writings have appeared in Spelk, Nymphs, Fiction Kitchen Berlin, Pink Plastic House and Eerie River. Hearts of the matter is available on Amazon.
We triple checked the results. Today, with it’s heavy skies, is an impossibility. We are
between ourselves, stuck in the gaps between electrons without any observation, that nebulous space of possibility, despair and hope merging together to create endless static.
The charts are incoherent the data now unreadable. We halted the experiment early, filled up beakers with tears and released chemical compounds into the fragile atmosphere, just to see what would happen.
All textbooks are now runes from a lost civilisation too poorly studied for comprehension. Under this fractal tree, I breathe and try, unsuccessfully to forget all I know.
David Ralph Lewis is a poet and short story writer based in Bristol, UK, When not writing, he enjoys dancing badly at gigs, attempting to grow vegetables and taking photos. His debut chapbook, Our Voices in the Chaos was released by Selcouth Station in October 2019. He understands a very small amount of what is going on in the world. You can follow him at www.davidralphlewis.co.uk