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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The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here

 

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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The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here 

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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The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here 

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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The Short Answer Chapbook for sale here 

New Flash Fiction from Bella Basura

Addicted to Tantra

Kundalini Me By Bella Basura 2013

Kundalini Me
By Bella Basura
2013

For weeks I have experienced this kind of activation, awakening of my Kundalini Serpent. It’s like I’m fully alive, in every cell fully aware all the time and I’m constantly aroused and endlessly scattered amongst  the whole of humanity, every sentient being, and all vibrating with an efflorescence of love and ecstasy.

But I’m totally useless, can’t get anything practical done, I eat by happenstance, sleep not at all, all I can do is waft trailing my aura around my flat, sprinkling  the glitter of my ecstasy across the known and unknown planes of the multi-verse.

I am kundalini-drunk, Doctor.

Bella Basura 2017

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“The Short Answer” print chapbook – coming soon

Turn The Page
By Bella Basura

Golden Vagueness - Bella Basura 2016

Golden Vagueness
Bella Basura 2016

Unspeakable beauty, like the floating harmonic deep in keening tinnitus. Words break free, and my sentence struggles away from me, my grasp slipping a grip, like a  hand slipping  a glove. She tears from my skin and flies. Ricocheting my awareness of “I” into a bounding and rebounding silence. A silent creeping vibration, like the tap-tap tapping of a solitary black widow on her dew-luminous web, alone at night. A fly has slipped it’s shackles and fled. A silent creeping vibration of voidness, null, empty and zero.
The one that got away.

Re-posted January 2017

More Flash Fiction – The Short Answer a collection of short stories in 100 words.

Soon to be available in chapbook print version.
email:witchysticler@gmail.com for more details.

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