"We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started
and know the place for the first time." (T S Eliot)
"A dark and chanted verse is what I am." (
Forough Farrokhzad)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

PHANTOM STREET

Could our footprints
Be there in the concrete -
Smudges on the asphalt
Scuffed by our shoes,
Shuffled short stops and starts
Where we would greet,
Marks of steps we took
While we could not lose?

I watched from my window
As you walked past,
Your face forward,
Tresses black and flowing;
You were hurried but happy,
Travelling fast,
And I wished
To be
Where you were going.

But there were times
I saw you waiting there,
Balanced on your high heels
Until he came,
A man
To whom I could never compare,
I had no claim,
I was too meek, too tame.

Thugs changed the name
Of that street long ago;
Yet it's the same -
Vanished phantoms still glow.


Monday, May 25, 2015

SHOMAL

On the northern side of my block
There was the never-ending sea.
But my small studio
Faced south
So my home
Caught the sun most of the day,
Unless wayward rain
And mazes of mist
Blew in from the steppes
And crossed the waters.
Neatly paved streets -
A realm of shiny vehicles
And well-dressed pedestrians -
Ribboned below me.
Smaller buildings were freshly painted,
Trickling wet and glossy after a storm.
Skyscrapers appeared
To be built of glass
And not much else.
At night I could look
Through any window
And see families gathering for meals,
Children busy with computers
And video games.
Later the lights would dim.
People retired to sleep away
The fatigue of each unknowable day,
And, perhaps, to trade in love.
In the morning they rose again,
Well after the sun materialised,
And set off to exchange mysteries.
Traffic always moved
With an erratic disorder
That seemed so random
But must have involved remote control
By an all-seeing manager.
Beyond the residences
And the roads
The land began to rise,
Gently at first,
Towards the mountains.
On the lower slopes there were farms.
Men and machines kept to routines
While workers wielded a shovel;
All was dispatched in giant rigs
With wheels at least as big
As a poor man’s hovel.
And the cycles of husbandry
Changed the colours of the fields
Day by day and week by week.
Swathes of cream and yellow
Gave way to pale weeds,
Then to deep brown
As the ground was ploughed.
There were rows and rows of small trees
Dotted with technicolour bounties,
Either ready and ripe,
Or still no more than blossoms.
Above the orchards
Nature’s flora began
With stately oaks, beech and chestnut,
Everchanging,
Giving ground to junipers,
Evergreen,
As the forests gained altitude.
It was magnificent artwork –
Every imaginable shade of cool green,
And the occasional arc of crimson,
With scattered splatters of gold,
And shimmers of vermillion.
At the top the mountains towered,
Peaks barely lower than the sky.
Snowy summits
And bulky black blocks in the light
Becoming dusky silhouettes
When the sun proclaims the night.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

NIGHT AND DAY

And all the day
The wind cries out
You're ill
While raindrops splash
Closed windows
With the grime
Of foul pollutants
Burned some other time
That no one owned
And no one ever will.

Then comes the night
Of loudness like land mines
Exploding up
With echoes through the dark,
Anonymous,

They fail to leave a mark
Except on peaceful sleep
And glad dream times.

And all the day
The wind cries out
You're ill ...

Friday, May 22, 2015

REIBY

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a new dystopian fiction novella set in a familiar future.


“Wait here, c***.”  Bradman rose and walked out into the sunlight just beyond the shade of the marquee’s floppy annex.  “Reiby!  Job fer yer!”
A dark-haired woman emerged from a nearby caravan.  She wore the top half of a two-piece swimsuit and blue denim jeans that were so torn and tattered they clearly had no purposes linked to her dubious modesty.  Walking with a slight limp, as if she had a groin injury, she nevertheless covered the short distance to the marquee quickly enough to please Kelly.  He smiled at her and gave her a pistol.
“Guard the poofter in there.  If ‘e moves shoot ‘im in the ‘ead.”  Kelly winked and spat on the red ground.
Hushang watched the woman stride over to him and take her place beside the entry portal of the marquee.  Both her arms were sleeved with myriad tattoos.  There were other pictures on her chest and stomach.  An auburn streak ran like a muddy stream through her black hair.  She giggled, her pitch rather manic, and looked him up and down.  Holding the gun in her right hand and in an exaggerated posture that implied she was ready to shoot at any time, she deftly removed her bikini top with a tug of the bow that had had held it in place.  Naked from the waist up she placed her left hand alongside her right, holding the handgun in a way that pushed her breasts together and upwards.
“Drop yer dacks, champion!”  Her command was accompanied by a malevolent grin and a shake of her luxurious hair.
Hushang was flummoxed.  He decided to respond by chuckling with derision.
“I said drop yer trousers, c***!”  Reiby cocked the weapon.
It was an ancient piece and Hushang doubted whether it actually operated.  He also wondered whether it was loaded.  But the mechanism had made all the right noises.  Hushang decided it was not worth gambling his life away on minor uncertainties.  He unclipped his belt and his slacks dropped to his ankles.
“Reggies too, big boy!”  Reiby motioned with the gun.  “C’mon!  Yer underwear too.  Doncha speak proper English.”
Hushang complied.
“Kelly says you’re f***in’ queer.  What a pity.”  Reiby gazed at Hushang’s private parts as if she had never seen anything quite like them.  She looked up and, when she was certain Hushang’s eyes were riveted on her face, she licked her lips and allowed a stream of saliva to drip down her chin.  “Hard to run with yer dacks around yer ankles, ain’t it?”
Outside, Kelly was calling a gathering of men together.  Hushang guessed it was some sort of leadership team who were meeting to decide his fate, if it had not already been determined by Kelly alone.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

INQUISITOR

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a new dystopian fiction novella set in a familiar future.

Zohreh could never have articulated why but she was half-convinced she should be fearful of this man.  His large dark eyes peered through his glasses as if he was uncertain of everything around him and only careful study would ease his doubts.  She shuddered a little as he scrutinized her.  It was, she thought, as if he was considering how she might be butchered for dinner.  She was also acutely aware that her blouse and slacks – although exceedingly modest - were not suitable for a respectable women being visited by a mysterious man.  Instinctively, Zohreh reached for a red and yellow scarf with a simorgh pattern and draped it around her hair.
After a few moments of silence, the man sat down on a dining chair at a round table that Zohreh used for meals.  He gestured towards a small sofa as if he was inviting her to sit.  In an unconscious act of defiance she perched on the edge of her single bed.  She immediately regretted her decision and hoped he would not interpret her action as some sort of invitation.
“My name is Keshvad.”  He removed his eyeglasses, handling them so gently that Zohreh concluded they must be of great value.  “Tell me, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
Again, Zohreh nodded.  Her mouth and throat were so dry with fear that words would not come.
“Tell me, do you know where you are?”
Zohreh shook her head this time.
“Do you have any guesses?”
Again Zohreh shook her head but this time it was a lie.
“I don’t believe you.”
She swallowed and realised that her underarms were drenched with perspiration even though the room temperature was far from warm.
“Surely, you’ve tried to think about.”
“The mountains.”  Her voiced cracked a little but she had managed to speak clearly enough to be understood.
“Yes. What about them?  Please.  Tell me.”
“Sometimes I think that my homeland must be on the other side of the range.”
“Mmmm.  And have you speculated as to why it is that we all speak the same language as you – apart, of course, from our adoption of new terms to describe things unknown in your homeland?”
Zohreh shook her head.  This time she was telling the truth.  It had never occurred to her that other languages existed for she had experienced no evidence of them.
Keshvad looked at her with an intensity even beyond his earlier gazes.  She wondered whether he was trying to assess whether she was honest, or intelligent, or trustworthy, or, perhaps, desirable in a sexual way.
“I’m going to take a chance with you.  Do you understand?”
Zohreh gave no response for she was nonplussed.
“I am going to send someone to teach you – someone to rid your mind of the lies that you might have been told during whatever type of partial educational you received in the homeland.  I realise, of course, you would have been unable to attend school.  Tell me, would you prefer a female or a male teacher?”
Zohreh blushed and then her mind began to race as she wrestled with the utterly unbelievable revelation that there were women in teaching positions in this place.
“Well, if you have no preference, I’ll send you a lady.”  Keshvad rose and departed.
Zohreh listened to the sound of the door locking on the other side before she turned to look at the mountains.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

SAFEHOUSE

The following paragraphs are taken from early drafts of one of David Morisset's current projects - a new dystopian fiction novella set in a familiar future.

The safehouse complex was in a middle level in a tall building that offered half its owners uninterrupted views of the sea the north.  Zohreh lived in a small studio that faced south and caught the sun most of the day.  From her window she could gaze at a panorama that was totally strange to her.
Below her were neatly paved streets filled with shiny vehicles and well-dressed pedestrians.  There were no animal-drawn carts and nobody seemed to dress in workers’ clothes.  The smaller buildings were freshly painted and the other skyscrapers looked as though they were built of glass and nothing else.  At night Zohreh could see families gathering for meals and children busy with entertainment modules of one sort and another.  Later the lights would be dimmed and people would retire to sleep away the fatigue of their unknowable days.  In the morning everyone seemed to rise well after the sun appeared and then set off in various directions for, Zohreh presumed, work and school; but she could not be certain.  The traffic always moved with a precise order that surely, Zohreh guessed, must involve some sort of remote control by an all-seeing manager.
Beyond the residences and the roads the land began to rise, gently at first, towards the mountains.  On the lower slopes there were farms.  Their resemblance to the farms of Zohreh’s homeland was minimal.  Only as Zohreh watched the routines of the men and their machines did she conclude that crops were being harvested and then dispatched in giant transporters with wheels at least as big as a poor man’s house in Zohreh’s old village.  As the cycles of agricultural activity turned Zohreh noticed that the colours of the farms changed.  Swathes of cream and yellow gave way to pale green and then to deep brown as the ground was prepared for sowing.  In good light Zohreh could also make out rows and rows of small trees on some properties.  Some of them were dotted with what she assumed were multi-coloured varieties of fruit unknown to her.
On the ground above the farms and orchards was an apparently impenetrable woodland that began with stately deciduous trees and gave way to tall conifers as the forests gained altitude.  The colours were magnificent – every imaginable shade of cool green and the occasional irregular arc of khaki with scattered splatters of deep olive.
Beyond it all the mountains towered.  Zohreh loved to stare at their barren summits, which would turn from bulky beige blocks to flat black silhouettes as the sun slipped lower in the western sky.  The mountaintops, at least, reminded Zohreh of her homeland.