Fearfully From the Trees …

It was dark when he got home. Home after travelling a new journey. A journey that was baulked by diversions, slow drivers, an old man who wasn’t able to judge distances and so, frustratingly decelerated every time a wagon came in the opposite direction; a woman in a SUV who had blazed past them both, leaning on her horn; traffic signals that stayed annoyingly red for his lane of vehicles – whichever lane he was in. The radio traffic updates  had been no help: warnings coming on too late once he was in the serpent of dying motors. That or not at all. The GPS system was malfunctioning, the map keeping spinning and – at best – recalculating.

He took a beer from the fridge, suddenly needing it as the intense concentration of rush hour driving began to ebb away. Passed straight through the house with a grunt to his wife (sitting watching some detective repeat on the large TV). He had made it home. Now just needed to relax. A fraught day. Computers at work locking him out. Share prices falling. The kidnapping of hostages in an out of the way café half way around the world. At least some of them, he was certain would end up dead: when, inevitably the forces of law and order decided to free them. That they would not, could not, could not afford to negotiate. The precedent it would set.

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To The Dust

He’s head-down, hanging on to the last loyal gasps

Of his grim-boned, stretch-necked mare,

Tired from the flight,

After the last fight.

Passed the two hundred notches mark;

Rifle responsibility heavy on aching

Rein wrenched shoulders.

It’s not going to last much longer –

It can’t –

Surprised he got this outlaw-far.

The road goes ever on, that’s for legend-sure,

Just no guarantee who’ll be on it

Or which way the wind’ll blow;

Though he realises that only now,

Too damned late, but with a wry smile.

The blues, the reds,

The lines and the grey …

How had he managed to

Evade them for so long?

The horse stumbles, blood

Flecks from flared nostrils

Splash to the dust.

It’ll stop hurting

When the pain has gone.

4/3/2013