Running over the same old ground

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I login in an effort to drag my head out of this bad-B-movie-sci-fi-horror we are living through at the moment, here’s something I wrote earlier…even a collage I did in Europe last century.

What Time? Collage by Bella Basura 1994
What Time? Collage by Bella Basura 1994

Time Warp In The ‘dam

“Sooooo” She drew the word out with undisguised relish “What are we going to do with our last night in Amsterdam, eh?” She laughed, poked him in the ribs and stretched out languorously  across the counterpane, sprawled like a self-satisfied cat. “Our last night as twisted British rock-star and unofficial girlfriend, cut adrift in the city of sin?”
“Just give it a rest” He mumbled. “I’m going to sleep”
“No no no” She laughed “Lets live a while before we go back to our boring lonely adulterous reality.”
He turned away and She could see he was already half way back there, miserable and contemplating meeting his wife again after eight days half-explained absence.
“Look! what do you want from me?” She wheedled

He said “I don’t want nothing”

“Fine, nothing. I’m going to get something to eat then” she was rummaging in the supermarket carrier bag on her bedside table, smacking her lips. “a crisp buttie in a cheap hotel room, hahaha” she laughed.”Rawk ‘n’ Roll!”
“that’s pathetic” he sneered “you’re not really very rock’n’roll at all are you, with your carrier bag of crisp butties”
“yeah, well you’re not really a rock star are you” she countered

He sat up on the bed “I’ve got my following” He was irked.

“Yeah, but not in Britain, eh? Only in Holland and places where they can’t understand what you’re singing about. Are you big in Japan?”
“I’ve got my following”
“What does your wife think?” she knew she was probing to be provocative “Does she think? Your wife?”

“No, she doesn’t think, she looks after the kids and stuff like that, she doesn’t need to think. Will you just get off my case” He switched the light off, plunging the hotel room into the vague neon gloom that passes for night in the city.

She took off her rings, her jewellery and watch, she lay back fully clothed on top the bed. It was one of those sinking moments, she began to wonder why she’d come along at all. It had sounded great when he’d first mentioned the tour, – his first solo tour,  a week in the Low Countries, hotels and food all in, she only had to find the money for the fares. The fares, that was her fare, and – “Could you lend me the money, just until they pay me at the gigs” – his fare too. Funny how his pay had diminished, then disappeared after the first few venues, they’d been living off her savings all week. She closed her eyes in disgust, she hadn’t known about the wife either.

Drifting in half-sleep she ruminated in growing disappointment, she dreamt of their first meeting in the pub all those weeks ago. Dipping in and out of hypnogogic sleep-states, she saw him as a giant tape-worm , all mouth and arsehole, perched on a barstool downing pints, glass and all, gurgling about the losers in the band he’d just dumped, “Losers every one of them, even if they are famous now, deep down they’re born losers” he kept repeating. Was she really so gullible? Had she really been that stupidly smitten with him?

Suddenly, she was wide awake, she peered at her watch in the gloom, the hands on the retro-style dial read 1.35. Amsterdam would still be kicking she decided, plenty of time to still have fun before the flight back at 9am tomorrow. She tucked her handbag into the suitcase – she intended to do the rockstar’s girlfriend debauchery bit to the hilt, no point in carrying valuables around, in this sort of mood chances were she’d lose her handbag in the first bar, best leave her passport, plane tickets and bits in the suitcase. She grabbed her leather jacket, stuffed the last of her dope and cash into the zippered pocket and headed for the door. “I’m off out, looking for some dirty fun. You coming?”

“I’m asleep” the rock star grumbled.

The street seemed uncannily quiet as she stepped from the hotel lobby, she began walking, seeing nobody. In fact, the usually bustling lanes around the hotel seemed totally empty,  every where seemed to be closed, even the trams had shut down. Some City of Sin this is, she thought heading for the nearest coffeeshop.

But even the coffeeshop was dark and so she plonked herself down on a bench, spun herself up a mini-spliff and gazed forlornly into the grimy green of the canal. She wondered when Amsterdam had become so conservative, since when had Europe’s most alive city become a post-midnight deadspot. In the preternaturally tranquil streets she thought she sensed a weird glowing, growing light, as if night were turning to morning. An unusual sensual response, she thought, I must be very stoned, Good Sense, Amelia she said to herself. Spliff done she headed on towards the city’s main drag, the stoned light was definitely intensifying, in fact there really did seem to be a streak of sunrise smearing the east horizon. She crossed the canal into Oudeshans to the charming chiming of the Montelbaanstoren clock tower. One two three chimes, then four five six seven eight.  eight?  Looking up to the big clock face on the tower her heart did a strange faltering flip, she unstrapped her wristwatch and as she turned it through 180 degrees she turned 2.30am to 8am. She laughed momentarily, realising she’d put the wrist watch on upside down in the darkness of the hotel room, she’d had a time warp, she laughed at herself, at the idea of Amsterdam gone moderate, she laughed, even though she’d just lost  five and half hours of her life, and she hadn’t even been drunk. She laughed.

It was full daylight by the time she got back to the hotel. The room was empty, the suitcases gone, he’d already left. There was a note for her on the dirty rumpled bedsheets. “I’ve gone home. Where’s the money? I couldn’t even get breakfast! Where are you? signed Acab Roxtar”.

Bella Basura
August 2019 edit

Reposted december 2020
999 words

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Drabble Blog

I recently found out that the 100 word flash-fiction/micro-stories I have been working these past three years have an actual name – “Drabble”.

The term is derived from a 1971 Monty Python book. ’nuff said!

There’s even a website to prove it.

So, ever at the rebellious cutting-edge, my newest piece – a seasonally appropriate monologue – is a variant-drabble form I’ve just invented.

It’s called a “Faux-Drabble”.

That is a piece that could pass for a drabble, but is actually 15 or so words out.

And so, I present to you Bella Basura’s First Faux-Drabble.

Cold Edges

My winter consciousness feels bound within cold edges.

I am double-thermal long-johns.

And still my ankles are frozen blue.

They  descend into hypothermic dysfunction, squishing like icy jelly when I stand on them.

 My knees feel chilly. And my elbows.

I can’t leave the house, enraptured in my unnatural attachment to a radiator. “I love You. I want to envelope you. I want to lie all over you”. I say the same to my fur-covered hot water bottle. Hot chocolate and fleecy throws seduce me. Candles and a ‘real’ fire screen-saver on my laptop too. Hygge hygge hygge my arse.

Green and pleasant, England’s winters are mild, but still my consciousness always feels bound within cold edges.

Bella Basura January 2019

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Short Change Short Bread

Okay! So Facebook tells me I have 486 fans who haven’t heard from me for a while…Hey There! I’m going to make it up to you with this dinky little flash fiction I wrote on X-mas Eve…

Muntjac Deer at my Birdfeeder December 2018

Muntjac Deer at my Birdfeeder December 2018

 

Short Change Short Bread

It would be wrong to say that I hate Christmas. It’s Xmas that I hate.
I make this distinction based solely on the evidence of one article on the internet which may or may not have been written by enthusiatic christians, or even xians. They define Christmas as a celebratory festival for the birth of The Christ. They call X-mas – the X-kiss of Mamon.
It’s pitting mercy against greed, Jesus versus Santa, like in the South Park Episode.
So, I say it’s X-mas, the knee-jerk consumerist spending frenzy of kiss-mamon-mas that I hate.
I seen it when I go into town in December, I see people herding the streets in viral catatonias, bleeping out their data, maxing out their plastic, all sightless under the glamour of a single minded compulsion to engage in monetary exchange.
And if I’m honest, I seen it start with Black Friday and now Cyber Monday, and then January Sales throughout December. Elongating the whole sordid orgy into a slow panting panicked climax  lasting several months. I seen people filming themselves in wide-eyed apoplexy as they clasp black boxed electronic trophies to their heaving breast, their mind’s eye fixated on X-mas. Mamon kiss my arse.
Rage. I seen them wander the halls of Grand Arcade Shopping Mall shedding psychic 50 pound notes, like autumn trees shed leaves. I seen it all, worse than the Night of the Living Dead.

So, I am writing this on Xmas Eve Morning contemplating my ill-advised quest into the city centre to use some gift vouchers on some new underwear (solid big knickers from M+S). I am standing stuck in an hour long queue in Marks staring at their Definitive Short Bread Collection, incidentally curated by some half-has-been you-tube culinary star. My eyes jerk among the Skottie Dog shaped gift boxes, floribundances of tartan and stags horns, the wobbly Ben-Nevis-picture-postcard topped tins, the basics economy line wrapped in vegetable-derived bio-degradable cellophane. I feel transfixed with confusion. I feel like I am falling forward into an infinite vortex. I am torn by the urge to spend all my money and a fear of debt that tugs at a cellular level. I am experiencing a strange psychic dissonance. I feel high. I feel high, like maybe a compulsive gambler feels during a horse race, like a sex-addict hunting out ever more repulsive porn, like shrodinger’s cat crouched in the gloom waiting for dinner time. The queue for the check out unfurls ahead of me, endless to a far unseen horizon. I haven’t mentioned the seasonal music pumping out. I will not mention the in-store music.
When suddenly a bell-clear voice, my own voice, rings out pristine inside my head. “But I don’t need any Short Bread”. I am swept back to my queuing reality. I feel sucked at and plucked at, unsteady as I realise that – No! I don’t need any fucking Short Bread. There will always be Short Bread, there will always be more Short Bread. Every Aunty in the UK brings Short Bread at X-mas. My mum brings Short Bread, in fact my Mum doesn’t leave the house in December without a tin of Short Bread tucked into the bottom of her Bag-For-Life. There will always be Short Bread. I don’t need to buy Short Bread.

It feels like silence falls around me, mouths move but no sound comes out, the queue to the checkouts, the altars of the mass of Mamon, surges and undulates like a mexican wave of wealth, a John Carpenter film in real-time. Except now I know I don’t need no Short Bread, I am freed from that spell.
Fortified with my newly realised knowledge I leap out from the queue, flinging my packet of over-priced knickers to the floor, witnessing aloud, let the spirit flow through me that I am a just conduit for the voice of his love, I call out loud in my favourite voice-“No! I will not kiss my arse with the Mamon-pants of Yule! No! No! I will not!”.

 

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Edgewords Renewal Chapbook – Contributors Announced

The final list of contributors to Edgewords Renewal has been announced on the Edge Cafe website – HERE

Edgewords Renewal. Illustration by Lisa Evans 2018

Edgewords Renewal. Illustration by Lisa Evans 2018

 

Back in June we put the callout for short pieces of less than 300 words or poetry of less than 30 lines for the second chapbook in the Edgewords series. Over the long hot summer the pieces began to come in, at first a trickle, then a deluge, then  there came a storm of last-minute applications. We enjoyed receiving the submissions and spent many hours happily drinking coffee and discussing the wonderful writing we were being sent.

In September we closed submissions and got down to the business of sorting and collating them. We finalised our listing last week and are ready to get the chapbook printed.

More than that, we’re looking forward to hearing the pieces read aloud at the Edgewords renewal Chapbook Launch Party at The Edge Cafe on 8th December.

Entry to the launch is free if you reserve and pay for a copy of the chapbook in advance.

The Edgewords Series was initiated by Creative Writing workshops run at the Edge Cafe in partnership with Oblique Arts and Cambridge City Council. You can read our 2017 blog on the Oblique Arts Website  Here

 

Clutches of Love Online

A few weeks ago I posted up the Clutches of Love chapbook, including the wonderful introduction written for me by the inspiring psychedelic poet – Katya Lubarr. A few days later Katya emailed me asking me where the pieces were, the links didn’t work, she couldn’t find the pieces…I had a look and she was right.By Dave Challis March 2017

But  I was in the middle of National Poetry Writing Month, I was overwhelmed with rhyme and rhythm and iambic pentameters and dactylic feet, and worrying whether my sonnet was Shakespearean or Petarchan…the rigours of re-editing the blog-posting seemed beyond my grasp.

But that’s all over now, so finally, I have managed to make all the links work, so that the whole chapbook can be read online – here Clutches of Love

ENJOY!

 

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Clutches of Love

By Dave Challis March 2017Clutches of Love is a new chapbook of my flash fiction that I am preparing for early next year, I thought I’d give you a taster with this brand new story below

Go Suck Lemons!
You sit there with the spilling pint tippling, dribbling down your trouser leg, and slurring you moan “Oh poor me. My life is so terrible. So traumatic. I’m so destroyed”. I pity you, so say something reassuring, something cheering, a glass half-full in the early afternoon, some everyday shaft of sunlight through the dust in the gloom of an unloved room.
You slam your half-empty beer on the bar and snarl personal insults at me, digging deep for intimate confidences, laying bare my private nightmares to the glare of the public bar, “And you don’t no nuffink” growled. I want to cry, your mates laugh, you plough on with this character assassination monologue.
Until I say “Go suck lemons!” and walk away.
And you shrink back , like a slug from a flame, and slurring you moan “Oh poor me. My life is so terrible. So traumatic. I’m so destroyed”.

Bella Basura December 2017

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New chapbook in the pipeline

Beginning to think about a new chapbook of flash fiction to self-publish.
I am aiming for a february release,
and here is a preview…

Probably Inappropriately

By Dave Challis March 2017

When you done your tantric kundalini kali-spell on me I was lost enveloped in psychic love-haze, I was drawn, rising, filling, swelling emotions that confused me and had in the past lead to casually fucking someone.
Probably Inappropriately.

Warning bells went off somewhere in the distance and I felt us reflex, in unison, pull back, but stayed long hours, hung in giddy uneasy equilibrium, in circular psychedelic emanations, trident penetrates the sky.

Still. Still. Still.
Waiting, while unseen proto-cosmic arousals reverberate the air,
threatening to immanently unfold sudden into cataclysmic karmic collisions climaxing.
Still. Still. Still.

So we lay down on the bed, fully-clothed in the dull downpour afternoon. Clasped in yogic breathing intensely staring deep into soul-eyes we sank down dipped below the surface entwined long time waiting will you call.
Probably Inappropriately.

Bella Basura 2017

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New flash fiction from Bella Basura

¡Que Bellisima!

From behind the huge ice-cream-laden pink-plastic sundae glass a child’s voice wailed out
“Strawberries! Strawberries! I don’t like strawberries”. Pandemonium rising up from an irritating bratty pre-schooler in the budget cafeteria on the ferry back to England.

I hadn’t heard an English voice for months, and now,  due to uncertain weather conditions passengers having been banned from the decks,  I was hearing my native tongue ring out around me, obscenely.

The sullen wet-dog stinking day-trip masses circumnavigated the duty-free and bars,  aimlessly damp and the boy banged his heels endlessly, in infuriating non-syncopation. “I hate strawberries. I don’t want it. It’s smelly!”. The infantile squall was still passing over.

I ambled my memory back to Spain, still not believing I was actually leaving. I stared back deep into shimmering days of purposeful inactivity, punctuated through with isolated monochrome stop-frame images of intense moonlit things.

“I hate it. I hate it. I hate you!” strawberry-boy shouts, and I think it into Spanish, out of habit “Le odio Le odio Te odio Le odio Le odio Te odio” ringing in my mind, like a joyful Hispanic pat a cake game.

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Bella Basura Live in March

Two performances for Bella Basura coming up this month…

Scarecrow Corner Springtime Benefit Gig, Cambridge
At The Devonshire Arms, 19th MarchScarecrow Corner S[ringtime Benefit Gig

Poetic Springs Bury St Edmunds

Poetic Springs, Bury St Edmunds
Anselm Community Centre, 23rd March

Limited copies of The Short Answer chapbook will be on sale at both events.

Dream Lover by Bella Basura

Dream Lover
by Bella Basura

In my dream we sit down on the bed in the hot thunderstorm afternoon, and we talk. We tumble headlong into conversations around tantric psycho-sexual experimentation, and intimacy, trust, adventure, and systematic exploration of kundalini energy and control of its transits through the etheric body. I liked that bit best. All that stuff about psychic electrification of each of my chakras in slow-motion pulsations of pure energy.

I wake into empty house twilight, sick taste in my mouth, my socks twisted and damp, hair sprawling unkempt.
In the kitchen I make a pot of tea and wait. Slipping in and out of the memory of the dream, story-telling it into existence, into a finely polished  narrative, into a gleaming moral with a twist in the tail and happy ever-ending.

I try to hug you when you appear home, in the kitchen doorway. But you step back saying “Put me down, I’ve just come in from work”.
I step back, snubbed.
You storm upstairs.
I think fleetingly that your hair, tonight in particular,
smelled of stale sperm and too many rushed rancid coffees,
the taste of reality I dare not admit.

Bella Basura
Feb 2017

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