Page 1


49

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Twice-yearly magazine of literature & the arts golddustmagazine.co.uk

Issue 31 summer 2017

Hello Everyone. Since our last issue, I’ve enjoyed hearing from many of our authors with positive things to say concerning our layout and the number of poems we’ve been producing. This feedback is what makes our efforts really worth it. Issue 31 boasts seventeen poets and twenty-one poems. In fact I was so impressed by two poems, that for the first time I’ve chosen two ‘Best Poems’ by Phil Vernon and Alex Prior. I think they work beautifully together! As always, all our work is complimented by the photography of Eleanor Bennett and the Illustrations of Slavko Mali. Thanks to everyone who submitted and contributed to this issue and for continuing to support Gold Dust. Poetry Editor

Hello Friends. Now that we have effectively lost Omma to pressures of work we’re finding it really difficult to put in the hours that Gold Dust needs to maintain the high standards for which it is well known. If you have some time available and would like to help us with any aspect of producing the magazine please email either Adele or me and let us know the area in which you might be able to help. Layout, proof reading, publicity, conducting email interviews and writing feature articles are some of the areas in which we would be very grateful for a few more pairs of willing hands. Physical location is no problem, we do almost everything online. It’s a labour of love and you can gain really good experience along the way. Prose Editor

Gold Dust team Founder: Omma Velada Prose Editor & Cover Designer: David Gardiner Poetry Editor: Adele C Geraghty Photographer: Eleanor L Bennett (all photographs unless otherwise stated)

Illustrations: Slavko Mali Layout: (This issue) Adele Geraghty

YouTube: youtube.com/user/golddustmagazine Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/golddust MySpace: myspace.com/golddustmagazine Approximate Circulation Online: (issuu.com/golddust): 3,000 PDF: (lulu.com): 500 Founded 2004 We select solely on merit, regardless of the age, gender, reputation or prior publication history of the writer


Contents

Regulars

1 46

Editorial messages Contributors

Features & Reviews

17

Reality is Not What it Seems (review by David Gardiner)

Yellow House 18 The (review by Catherine Edmunds)

31

Underneath (review by I. W. Smythe)

Institute 34 The (review by David Gardiner)

45 Gold Dust

News Roundup from David and Adele

issue 31

summer 2017

2


Short Stories

Poems

4 5

Blossom by Robert Dunsdon

9 9

Fold by David Lewis

10

Less is More (short poems)

20 21 32 33 36 44

Blackberries in Ukraine by Phil Vernon JOINT

Spring Is Ending by James G. Piatt

Desighphering by Robert Beveridge

The Flag by Alex Prior

7

A Happy Birthday by Jean Duggleby

12

Between Lyon and London by Dan Topiol

14

Disruption by Daffni Percival

22

When Opportunity Knocks by Mel Fawcett

26 40

BEST POEMS

Green Grass by Dave Lewis

The Passenger BEST by Lindsay Boyd PROSE The Oracle by Ed Ahen

Flash Fiction

The Kettle Tipped Maxine Rose Munro

6

Wit, Whimsy and Satire The Painter Gary Langford

3

Sparrow by Wayne Dean-Richards

25

The Office by Heather Walker

35

An Eternal Moment by J.J. Haas

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Blossom Lipari was a shock: its dead in safety-deposit boxes looking out to sea; Inviolable, in from the fields – the slights, the compromises, the erosions of an identity surrendered in an act of faith; an idea for a life photographed and displayed on clean white stone: an old, uncomfortable man, a wife beaten down, handsome, defiant; the carefully –groomed soldier under Dulce et Decorum est, a shy girl. Lipari was a shock: its dead imperturbable in the teeth of a fierce and beautiful wind; rid of the distractions the thorns deflecting blossom falling by degrees to an exalted anonymity.

Robert Dunsdon

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

4


Spring Is Ending In the apricot mist of Daybreak, I stand in the Orchard with ancient trees Feeling their many years, As am I: Giant Cumulus clouds Crawling over the mountains Are exuding moist shadows‌ Pallid memories enter, A ghostly silence sinks Deep within the secret language Of death, gray tinted similes Plunge into my weary bones Causing questions of Transience. My old Shepard dog also Feeling her years lies by My side to get her morning petting, She like I, have an understanding Of that which, is nearing‌ Both of us aware but still Holding on tightly to the fading End of summer, when time will Vanish and we will be allowed to sleep.

James G. Piatt

5

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Sparrow by Wayne Dean-Richards It happened not long after Steve had been made redundant and couldn’t seem to stop saying that word, pronouncing it different ways each time he said it, even stood in front of the mirror in the hall and said, “Re-dun-dant,” stood there and studied himself saying it till Rachel stuck her head round the door and asked him what he was doing. “Nothing,” Steve said, and pushed his fingers through his hair as if shaping it was what he’d stood there to do – that and nothing else.

FL FIC ASH TIO N

brake disk caught his thumb and sliced it . “You were supposed to stop it slipping,” Steve snapped, shook his head as blood dripped, Beccy Ellis gone now and just the two of them standing in Muir Close, a dozen semis under an iron-clad sky and Shaun holding his arms out from his sides as if he’d like to fly away to someplace where was no such thing as faded paintwork and rusted sills.

They were getting ready for bed when Steve told Rachel what had happened. When he’d finished telling he paused and said, “I “HiQ are pretty good,” he told Shaun an hour later. “Their prices are fair, but it’s still cheaper shouldn’t have snapped at him, should I?” “I didn’t say that.” to do it yourself.” “No,” he agreed. But had she thought it? Shaun nodded as Steve used the jack to Probably not, since that wasn’t like her, but raise the front nearside of the car, a ten year since he’d been made old Ford, its “re-dun-dant” Steve paintwork faded, its wasn’t sure of anything, sills rusted. felt as if his head wasn’t Steve said, on straight anymore. “The trouble with a Overdubbed by the trolley-jack is: they word “re-dun-dant” can slip,” to which Steve’s conversation Shaun nodded with Rachel burrowed again, his job to its way into his dreams stop the jack from from which he was slipping by standing wrenched by a sound with his foot from outside. wedged up against Rachel stirred, but it, this and to watch didn’t wake, and Steve would have drifted back carefully so that he’d know how the job was done in case in the future he too couldn’t afford off if he hadn’t heard another noise, when he even reasonably priced HiQ, in case in the did he eased out of bed, stepped over to the future he too was made “re-dun-dant.” back window and peered out. His fingers gripping and twisting, Steve At first he couldn’t see anything, the said, “Always grease the nuts when you take darkness with a tight hold on everything. them off so next time it’s easier to remove But when his eyes adjusted Steve saw them.” He followed his own advice as he spoke. Shaun, knelt close to the back of the house “Right,” Shaun said, but wasn’t paying close with his head bowed as if in prayer. attention, Beccy Ellis walking by being why. Only when he stepped out into the chilled In the same year as him, word had it Beccy night air did Steve switch on the torch – the had just chucked her boyfriend, why it was that yellow cone highlighting the concern on his Shaun stepped away from the trolley-jack, son’s face. ready to speak, though what he intended to say “It’s a sparrow,” Shaun said, and raised his to her he had no idea. cupped hands into the cone of light to show Steve leapt backwards when the jack him. Was it lost or disorientated? Steve slipped and still the edge of the plummeting wondered. Photo: Pixabay

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

6


“It hit the back window,” Shaun explained. “Is it dead?” At first Shaun had been convinced that it was. So small and fragile, how could it have thudded into the window and not been killed? But now torchlight allowed him to see the rapid rise and fall of the sparrow’s tiny chest. “Maybe it was just stunned,” Steve said, was able to tell by the sound of his voice that he was smiling. Shaun nodded. “What shall we do?” Still nestled in his hands, the sparrow’s beak began to describe tiny arcs. “Carry it over to the bird table?” “What if something gets it before it sorts itself out?” Shivering in only a tee-shirt and pyjama bottoms Steve nonetheless said, “We won’t let

that happen: we’ll stay out here till it sorts itself out.” Following the torchlight across the sodden grass Shaun carried the sparrow to the bird table, lay it down gently and retreated carefully. Stood side by side Steve and Shaun watched the sparrow gather itself with a series of rapid twitches and flutters. When it had, the sparrow darted up into the thinning darkness, and as warmer winds eased through the elms beyond the panel fence father and son grinned at each other.

GOLD DUST

A Happy Birthday by Jean Duggleby

SH ST ORT OR Y

I’ve sent an e-mail inviting my family for a week-

bedroom house in Knightsbridge, an apartment in Marbella, a chauffeur driven end celebration for my 50th birthday. Mercedes and can afford the best wines. I said Strange thing is my sister says that she was that I’d pay, though I think they must have a bob doing something that weekend though I didn’t put the date. As my birthday is a Wednesday she or two stashed away with all that scrimping and must have assumed that I meant the one before scraping they do. They haven’t got back to me yet. so I emailed her and asked which weekend suitMy son said that he didn’t know what shift ed her and she said neither. he’d be on. No wonder, as a social worker he’s at Well at least I can plump for a date and tell people. Then cousin Peter said that he was away the beck and call of all the layabouts and nutcases in the land. More concerned about them on holiday that weekend. than his old dad! I soon realised that some of my family don’t My daughter said they wouldn’t be able to have e-mail, so I got my secretary Jodie to order commit themselves as that’s about when the some invitations – the best, with gold lettering and a scroll design. As the managing director of a twins are due – let’s hope she pops them out very successful company I don’t need to stint. early or late, then they can come along to the Then, several more replies. One from Auntie party. They don’t live far away – in that flat Mo who said she was too old – fair enough! where I pay half the rent. I think they owe it to Nephew Wayne and niece Tracey said that it me to make the effort. wasn’t their scene – no loud rock music and Of course I lost touch with Marilyn, my first drugs, I suppose. wife, after she’d accused me of violence and My brother Pete and his family said they fleeced me for every last penny, not that I had couldn’t afford the fares, their own silly fault for much in those early days. having 5 kids. Anyway, I’ve told them many Second wife, can’t remember her name just times that money’s not a problem in my life. now, anyway, she accused me of adultery and They should know that, for God’s sake. I have a 5 that ended with a very expensive (for me) di7

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


vorce. After all, when a man’s off at conferences and hotels in strange countries he needs a bit of company. And just because I was paying for Sonia’s flat in Bayswater didn’t mean that she was my mistress. Lawyers and detectives make half of it up and do very nicely out of all that business. She was a nice little thing though. I wonder if I could trace her and get her to come to the party. Wife number 3’s gone to live in Australia. At least I got a son and daughter out of her and they stayed in the UK, though they don’t come to see me much. I’d stop their allowances if they didn’t come occasionally. No grandchildren yet but they’ll be back when they need school fees, ponies and what-have-you. Just wait and see. So far I’ve got great Uncle Fred coming with his carer, Auntie Sylvia if they let her out of the asylum, and nephew Elvis if he’s on parole. Anyway, my family seem to be a dead loss, so as I’d already paid a deposit for the hall in the Hilton I thought I’d better invite a few friends. Of course I’d fallen out with Bill, George, Tom and their wives over that ridiculous fiasco about paying for the champagne. Well, it was my boat so the least they could do was foot the drinks bill. They were lucky I didn’t throw the lot of them overboard. Have to think a bit more about my University friends – been too busy setting up the business, Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

8

‘Real Estate’ as they call it across the pond. Some of them even accused me of causing the housing problem selling to the Chinese and Russians. I ask you! Who else can afford those prices? What about other friends, though I don’t seem to have their contact details? Oh, yes, Facebook. I’m told you can trace all sorts of people on that. Must tell Jodie to try. What were their names? I wasn’t planning to invite any of the staff but might have to. I got my secretary to send the higher management a few of the surplus invitation cards – no need to waste them. Anyway, who should shuffle into my office Monday morning but my accountant, the deputy director, and Jodie asking ‘Will they get paid for coming’. Well, I’m always telling them that time is money so I had to say they would. Then on Tuesday the Union bloke comes in and says that in the interests of equality what about the other staff – the tea-lady, cleaners, builders, plumbers – the lot of them. And pay them all! Not what I had in mind but what the heck! Anyway, over a hundred people came and we had a bloody good time. I didn’t know I was so popular.

GOLD DUST


Fold Fold before you fall and find the earth has disappeared below and your feet are held by nothing where your fingers have never been, continue to fold and continue not to let you fall for there has been no indiscretion find new ways to express so quickly you are not all fingers and thumbs now as each object takes its full shape. Thin and oblong as a blank sheet of paper each sharp bend becomes a new turning – becomes an animal or bird – something real to show that art is not superstition and is able to control that floating sensation will not roar or fly outside your will. James Bell Desighphering For Julia Kuznetsov

I know I won't get to see you again, even on the outside. One last chance to ask your age, touch your hip, kiss your throat. One last chance to hear your voice, The cyrillic purr that lulls me, the high easy calm of your laugh. I almost know the right question, phrased correctly, would open your secrets to me, and I try to form these words in this new language: “I want to touch you”

Robert Beveridge

9

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Running Girl The girl glides across the track, feet barely touching dried-out summer turf Feet like ice slippers. The woman recalls the speed – Heart-beat racing, efficient legs, the sense of flying. The girl tries to out-run narrow boundaries it catches her; inescapable. The woman, still running, but slower, smells the dank river, hears its gush, breathes oxygen, feet on soft damp turf, wet leaves. A heron glides, seamlessly, landing to perch on a high branch; sunlight filters through trees casting long shadows across her path. A thrush parts its tiny beak, shattering the stillness.

Kate Jones

The Lonely Moon Sonnet

Conjugation

The night sky would fall silent with only the moon showing her partly clouded face partly covered in sorrow (from the loneliness). Unable to imagine she is now the only beacon of the sky, unable to navigate the sailors below (and unable to close her eyes to rest easy). A tear appears in a crater, her waters unable to sustain life.

He conjugated verbs, turning phrases twisting words around meanings, like treacle dripping from a spoon. I lapped syntax; innuendo like a stray cat licking milk. Quotes were stolen; some original, metaphors bringing forbidden pleasure as we exchanged passion across the ether.

Kate Jones

Samuel Bridge

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

10


Brother As–Salam–u–Alaikum — brother greets brother On the mustard-linoleum corridor Before midday, on Friday, in hooded Jubbahs. They get ready For the Mosque, Wearing flip flops, flipping through each others rooms: As–Salam–u–Alaikum…As–Salam–u–Alaikum… Flip flops flipping, Hooded Jubbahs on, up and down the mustard-linoleum corridor.

A M Spence

Beads one perfect sphere follows the regular patter of rainfall

Recubent

Robert Beveridge

you, beneath the thin white sheet drawn to your waist. Gap of flesh leads to your shirt, white, dishevelled in sleep. Face half-turned into the pillow, lips etched in the ghost of a smile. Soon the day will begin. For now, rest

Robert Beveridge

11

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Between Lyon and London by Dan Topiol

SH ST ORT OR Y

! Thank you my friend! Sebastian is trying hard to give off the impresWith that stupid guilty grin. sion that he’s rushing as a choice. But not one Sebastian is still alone in the cabin when person that he passes by on the platform looks the wheels judder, preparing to turn. He’s half up to see how professional he looks. asleep already. That’s when she walks in. His well-tailored navy blue suit keeps his She comes in from behind him. He only sees stride tight, and his arm that holds a leather her back as she passes by. She stops one comblack briefcase doesn’t swing back and forth at all. It’s almost worse because no one is looking. partment past his and keeps her head down while turning around. She finds her seat number The sun is still strong, no one else is in a hurry, and the train is still parked, so he slows down to on the ticket and looks up at the little number plaque. Then she turns to him and smiles. a walk. He just looks back. She finishes smiling then Sebastian can now get a better look at the sits. If she gets off in Paris, he thinks to himself people around him, and he thinks to himself, as the wheels make their first turn, I have at look at these people. Why is first class always at least two hours. the back? Can’t the train park head in? She’s also sitting next to the aisle, but on Marcel knows the last train out is at twentythe opposite side, and faces him from one comten. He knows this better than the metro schedpartment down. They ule. He’s lived in Lyon all may as well be in the his life. And I came as a same compartment. favor. He could have He knows what he said something. Instead, needs to do. He looks he makes a second toast. back at her. She’s wearThere was no chance of ing a smooth beige me staying the night. He overcoat, and has covknew this. ered her neck with a Sebastian struggles maroon scarf that to get through a crowd makes her dark feain front of cabin twentytures glow. She puts five. Then he looks up her purse down and and sees the doorway looks for something in it. for cabin thirty-one. It’s She stops to look up at empty on the platform him and they lock eyes. The brown coloring is in front, except for an old couple having trouble so dark you can’t see the pupil. He looks out the getting in. The woman is already inside when he window to see if the train is moving. It is, slowly. gets there, so he only helps the old man in. He looks back at her, and she smiles without Up in the little corridor they both thank him. laughing. He doesn’t know if she’s being polite, Then they slowly turn left into cabin thirty. It’s pitying, or inviting. So he smiles back, and she loud and crowded in there. But Sebastian turns continues looking for whatever she can’t find. right into cabin thirty-one, and is happy to find it The train has been running smoothly, he empty. He walks down the aisle to his seat and thinks to himself. Go and talk to her. The longer you wait, the more difficult it’ll be, and weird. puts his briefcase up top, then takes a deep Ask if she’s ever seen such an empty cabin. breath and sits. He’s right next to the passage Sebastian looks out the window again, and aisle, and could lift up the armrest to move next in an instant, everything it could be flashes in to the window, but he’s too comfortable. There’s no countryside to see at night, Sebas- his eyes. He looks back at her and firms the bottom of his feet. He pushes his palms down tian thinks to himself, as he lays his head back. on the armrest and straightens his bent elbows. Hopefully Paris won’t be too bad. Why is there “Hello.” He says, after walking too far down no other way to London? Marcel must wonder the same. He knows Paris is a pain. And he knew the aisle-way to turn around. .” She responds softly. “ the train’s departure time. All he said was, Picture: Dan Topiol

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

12


“ . Have you ever seen a cabin so empty?” “ .” She says, then smiles and pierces his heart with a glimpse of the stare in her eyes. “Me neither,” he says, and she doesn’t say anything. So they just look at each other. Then she laughs with that same stare. And he says the only thing he can think of. “I thought that’d be good to say. It’s what I came up with after you came in. I actually sat there and thought about what to say, and that’s what I came up with. This is a very empty cabin though, isn’t it?” She doesn’t say anything. She just smiles. Sebastian doesn’t make it to London that night. He stays in Paris and has dinner with her at a restaurant in the sixteenth where the waiters wear Russian top hats and serve fresh platters of shellfish late at night. After they finish eating, and both get a coffee, they grab their luggage from the coatroom and take a taxi to her apartment. The taxi driver isn’t sure if it’s the last stop when they get there. She gets out and the man follows, of course, he’d be a fool not to. The driver waits and listens to see, and hears them agree that it’s a good idea to go upstairs for two or three glasses of Later that night, Sebastian walks down her street alone with his briefcase. It’s the dead middle of night, and he needs to find a place to sleep. He decides to stop and wait for a cab on the curb. He stands and thinks. She seemed to be happy all night, and everything went perfectly. She laughed and smiled after they kissed, and he saw something in her stare. But now he can only wonder. He looks but can see no taxi or car anywhere, and then she yells out his name. He sees her and turns. She’s running as fast as she can with no shoes on her feet. Sebastian is forced back to London two days later in order to keep his job. They agree to visit each other often, but he ends up going to Paris much more. She easily makes him see that it’s the more beautiful place for them to be. And at the end of a night once, on one of his visits, they lay tired on top of her sheets, with the moon shining brightly across chimney tops, before coming in through tall hanging white drapes. He tells her he loves her then, for the first time. She doesn’t say anything for five minutes or so, and it doesn’t bother him. Sebastian gets tired of going back to London and quits his job. Almost a year later, he propos-

es to her at a restaurant in and she says yes. She gets pregnant three times and gives birth twice, first a boy then a girl. Throughout this he gets some promotions, and she leaves her job to start a yoga class. And because of the success it brings, they move into a four-bedroom apartment in the fifteenth, where they finish raising their two kids. They later give that apartment to their daughter after her first child, and they spend the last of their days watching the tide from the hills of . Just sitting, hand-in-hand, while facing a beautiful view of green, yellow and blue from the balcony, where they drink wine every night, and coffee every morning. She always looks at the view in the same way. And whenever he wants to see how beautiful the world is, he looks at her. Then he looks back at the countryside. Mountains and cable lines, all passing by too quickly to be grasped, and all very beautiful, but hard to see after dark. She’s much more beautiful. She’s everything the world is for. As the view passes by in a steady black blur he looks back at her and firms the bottom of his feet. He pushes his palms down on the armrest and straightens his bent elbows. The cabin door opens just as he gets up off the seat. He watches a man enter and walk confidently down the aisle. He’s well dressed, well groomed, and athletic. He’s the opposite of Sebastian. Sebastian watches him get to her, and then turn to sit across from her. Sebastian watches him hand her one of the baguette sandwiches he holds in one hand, and one of the Perrier bottles he holds in the other hand. Sebastian lifts the armrest and moves over to sit next to the window. The next time the cabin door opens a server comes in with a cart of drinks. Sebastian asks for a double whiskey. “I only have J&B.” The server says to him. Sebastian barely hears it, and he gives the server a good tip after he hands him the drink.

13

GOLD DUST Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Disruption by Daffni Percival The single-decker trundled around outer London collecting children. They were stragglers left behind after the mass evacuation. Tim was weeping still from parting with his parents. He was far less afraid of the doodlebugs than of this separation. He tried to stop and wiped his eyes on the sleeve of his Fairisle jumper. At least he had his big sister with him. Maggie was eleven, two years his senior. Like all the other children they each had a gasmask hanging by a strap and a luggage label pinned to their clothes. Maggie had an envelope addressed to their parents, stamped and containing a blank sheet of paper on which to write their new address when they arrived wherever they were going. ‘Stop sniffling, Tim,’ said Maggie. ‘I’m trying. I don’t want to go away.’ ‘But you liked it in Braunton, didn’t you? We had a lovely time there with Auntie, and no bombs or aeroplanes.’

SH ST ORT OR Y

‘That was different. Mummy took us there and Granny wasn’t far away.’ Their grandmother had organised their evacuation during the blitz, but now it was later, after the battle of Britain, and Tim had fallen ill with bronchitis at the mere thought of leaving home. Eventually when all seemed quiet they had gone home, But the quiet was deceptive. One night there was a loud explosion on the estate where they lived and their father had pushed the big put-u-up sofa up to the window and put a terrified Maggie to bed there with the bed head raised as protection from flying glass. Tim heard all about this from Maggie when he woke up in the front room instead of his bedroom. He’d slept right through everything, struggling sleepily against all his mother’s efforts to get him out of bed and put his slippers on. In the end his father had carried him downstairs quite unknowing. After breakfast he had gone

www.bbc.co.uk

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

14


out to the street and returned triumphant with a chunk of twisted iron. It reminded him of how he and his friends used to collect bits of shrapnel after a night of bombing and aircraft fire; sometimes these were even still hot and had a strange smell. All that had ended when they were taken down to Devon. This time they weren’t going to Devon because Auntie’s house was full of old people. Tim wouldn’t have minded going there. They had known for several weeks that they had to go away but he’d been ill, sleeping in the Anderson shelter every night and listening to Maggie crying in the bunk above him because she wanted to go away and was too frightened to sleep. Now he was convalescent and here they were on this bus and going he knew not where. At last the bus, now full to overflowing, drew up at a railway station and all the children piled out and stood by their suitcases while the rather nervous looking lady who had accompanied them lined them up, counted them and called their names, ticking them off in a book. Then she shepherded them onto a train that was as crowded with children as the bus had been. Tim burst into tears again because he knew that trains went much farther than buses. Daddy drove a bus and it only went from Penge to London Bridge and back. Maggie seemed happier now, perhaps because she was glad to be going away or because she liked trains. Tim had been expecting her to be sick on the bus, but luckily she hadn’t. The train started shaking and making noises and then they were whizzing past houses and then fields for what seemed to Tim like forever. They unwrapped the sandwiches their mother had packed for them and drank their little bottles of pop. Then at last the train stopped in a station. Tim couldn’t see where it was because all the notice boards were blacked out. Maggie said this was so the Germans wouldn’t know where they were if they landed by parachute. This intrigued Tim so much that he cheered up and followed Maggie out of the train where the lady formed them up into a crocodile like going on a school trip. They walked along several streets, past lots of red brick houses all joined together, not like Tim’s house, which was joined to only one other house. Then they came to a big building with a board outside that said ‘Town Hall’. They all went in and found more children and a few

more grown ups. They got some more sandwiches and mugs of tea. Then lots of mattresses were put on the floor with pillows and they were all told to go to bed. One of the grown-ups said, ‘Sleep well, children. Tomorrow you are all going to see where you’ll be living.’ Then she went into a little room near the front door and shut the door. Within minutes a full scale pillow fight began and Tim joined in with gusto. The hall had a balcony and about twenty children had their beds up there. They started the fight by throwing their pillows at those below. During the pillow fight Tim almost forgot how miserable he was, but it didn’t last long. The door of the small room opened and the lady from the train emerged in a nightie with her hair in curlers. She was a lot less friendly now. ‘Children, stop it! Take your pillows and get into bed at once. And don’t let me hear another sound.’ Tim got back into bed and snuggled up against Maggie. She began telling him a story and soon he was asleep. In the morning there were buns and tea or hot chocolate for breakfast. Then all the bedding was piled up at one end of the hall and the children saw people gathering outside the door to the street. The grown-ups from yesterday had returned and they kept coming in and taking some of the children out. Tim and Maggie sat disconsolately on a bench near the back of the hall. Gradually the number of children grew less and less. Then an elderly man who looked a bit like their grandpa came up to Maggie and told her to follow him. ‘I can’t leave my brother,’ she said. ‘We mustn’t be separated.’ He retreated to the small room with another girl and Tim and Maggie stayed on their bench. Bit by bit the other children went into the small room and then could be seen departing with grown-ups through the outer door. Tim couldn’t decide if he was more miserable about staying where he was or worried about being taken away by strangers. Several times the man came back to them but each time Maggie said, ‘We have to stay together. Mummy says.’ Once he said, ‘There’s a nice lady would have you, Maggie, and Tim could live next door.’ But Maggie refused that too, much to Tim’s relief.

15

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


ered in newspaper, three other chairs and a big cupboard. No books. Mrs Brown made them cocoa and bread and butter with jam. Both the children were too tired and shy to talk. As soon as they had finished their tea, she took them upstairs, showed them where the toilet and wash basin were and then their bedroom. It had two beds, a dressing table, a chest of drawers and a rather old looking but solid table. There were thick green curtains on the only window. ‘Now children,’ said Mrs Brown, ‘go along and wash your face and hands, then get into bed, say your prayers and go to sleep. You can put your things away in the morning. Goodnight.’ And out she went. Once in bed they lay quietly for some minutes. Prayers? thought Tim. ‘Do we have to? he asked. ‘What?’ came back and took both of them into the small ‘Say prayers? We don’t do prayers, do we?’ room. It was empty except for a green baize ‘No,’ said his sister. ‘We’d better just go to covered table and two chairs, on one of which sleep.’ the old lady was sitting.’ Then Tim said, ‘Maggie, what do you think ‘Now, said the man like Grandpa, ‘This is Mrs we have to call her?’ Brown. She’s only got one room but she says ‘I’m not sure. Mrs Brown I suppose, or mayshe’ll have both of you if you are really good. be Auntie like in Devon. I know, I’ll call her and Now say thank you to Mrs Brown.’ ask for a drink of water.’ ‘Thank you,’ they said dutifully in unison. She climbed out of bed and opened the They followed Mrs Brown out into the street door. and walked along past more red brick rows of ‘Mrs Brown, can I have a glass of water houses. please?’ ‘I’ve got a gee-gee at home,’ said Mrs Brown, The water duly arrived with no comment. no doubt hoping to break the ice. Maggie pricked ‘It’s Mrs Brown then. She isn’t much like up her ears; a dog and a horse! The prospect Auntie anyway,’ said Maggie. was looking better. But Tim said in genuine curiTim curled up into a ball in his bed and osity, ‘Do you mean a horse?’ tried to imagine he was in Devon. ‘Yes, dear,’ said Mrs Brown, but her expression took on a decidedly disapproving look. Then they turned into a front gate and went into one of the houses. They were shown into a small living room with an iron range in which GOLD DUST burnt a cheerful fire, a big leather armchair cov-

Finally all the others had gone and Tim and Maggie were alone and small in the big empty hall. The man came back and started to try some more persuasion but stopped in mid sentence, adding, ‘I know, Mummy says…’ And went away again. There were no more people at the door now. The last few had arrived one by one. Then they saw a very small old lady in a black coat and hat going into the room, followed by a tiny dog like an Alsatian that had been shrunk. The man

www.bbc.co.uk

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

16


Book Review by David Gardiner

BO RE OK VI EW

The great thing about Carlo Rovelli’s book is that he totally rejects this intellectual surrender and insists on leading his reader gently by the hand towards an understanding of how the world at the scale of the very small differs from the world of everyday scale and that world. An internationally eminent theoretical physicist, Rovelli is one of many scientists who have written books aimed at introducing ordinary readers to the sense of wonder, excitement and humility that drives scientists in their efforts to understand how reality works. Rovelli however is unusual in being a truly first class physicist who also has a foot in the liberal arts camp, having held professorships in the History and Philosophy of Science as well in Theoretical Physics, and written an authoritative book on the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaximander while helping to construct the enormously influential cutting edge theory of loop quantum gravity. To put it simply, he understands how the thought processes of scientists and of people with a humanities background differ, and can address both audiences with Reality is Not What it Seems equal facility and interpret between the two. Carlo Rovelli can be seen Penguin 2017 272 Pages £9.99 as the most recent work in a series that began , aimed at exwith his 2004 Richard Feynman did science a serious disserv- plaining his own particular specialist field to ice when he said that If you think you under- the rest of the scientific community, followed stand quantum mechanics, you don't in 2015 by the international best seller understand quantum mechanics.” Feynman’s , said to have statement was a counsel of despair, a comoutsold in his native Italy, plete dispensation from the need to make the whose 78 pages were intended merely as a effort, even for scientists, to understand the ‘taster’ to whet the appetite of the general readfield of knowledge to which he had helped give er, particularly of the younger generation, for birth. Whatever his original intent, the stategrappling with some of the big ideas shaping ment was interpreted as meaning that the contemporary physics. thing we carry around in our heads has combines and extends the intent of the evolved in such a way as to be incapable of two, offering a far more thorough overview of understanding at the intuitive level processes the whole scientific enterprise, including in taking place in the atomic and subatomic world. some detail its history and methodology and We can do the math but we’re never going to the development of its major theories, culmibe able to conceptualise fully what’s going on nating in an enthusiastic and lucid account of to make the math work. The enterprise is as his own particular research interests and their hopeless as trying to take a colour photograph implications for all kinds of questions, many of on black-and-white film. them lying on the borderlands of science, phi17

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


losophy and religion. These include the nature of time, space and causality and whether or not genuine infinities can exist in the real world, as well as the significance of the laws of probability and of information theory in determining what we perceive to be real. He gives us a spell-binding and poetic account of the great on-going intellectual adventure that is humanity’s attempt to understand the world, and goes by the name of science. We cannot avoid becoming infected by Rovelli’s awe in contemplating the magnificence of the universe and his excitement at the prospect of its secrets slowly yielding to the probing of human reason. The defining characteristic of the scientific attitude he sees as an acceptance of the vastness of our ignorance and an insistence on the provisional nature of all our theories and beliefs in the face of possible contrary evidence. What Carlo tells us, in crude summary, is that the discoveries of modern physics carry

the implication that just about everything our common sense and common senses tell us about the world in which we live is false – or at least imprecise and averaged-out, but more to the point perhaps, he goes to great lengths to explain to us why this is the case, and even more to the point his explanations make sense! While on holiday I found myself returning to this book time and time again, particularly the later chapters, and may do so again. I have seldom encountered such a gripping adventure story of the mind, and recommend it without reservation to anyone possessed of curiosity, unwilling to accept dogma and received wisdom, and excited by the prospect of unraveling real and profound mysteries.

GOLD DUST

Book Review by Catherine Edmunds

BO RE OK VI EW

The Yellow House A novel about Vincent Van Gogh by Jeroen Blokhuis Translated by Asja Novak Holland Park Press ~ 2017 ~ 130 pages Paperback: £21.22 Kindle edition: £2.44

This thought-provoking and absorbing slim volume is a must for anyone who has ever wondered about the man behind the sunflowers. Did he really cut off his ear? Was he certifiable, or just misunderstood? You won’t need any specialised knowledge about Van Gogh or art to enjoy this novel, which wastes no words as it details a fictionalised series of episodes Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

18


that read as if they are Van Gogh’s journal entries for the period he spent in Arles. At first, it’s difficult to understand why he is having such problems socialising when he tries so hard, but the reasons soon become apparent. Vincent himself is painfully aware of how hard he finds human interaction. He attempts to excuse his behaviour at one point by saying: ‘I’m a painter and we have these quirks’ but it’s clear he knows he’s suffering from more than mere eccentricity. He has a dangerously short fuse, he doesn’t understand other people’s motivations, his sense of humour is on a different planet to anyone else’s, and he has zero diplomatic skills so constantly needs help in dealing with officialdom. To ease matters (or make them worse) he drinks too much and falls in with the wrong crowd all too easily. At the start of the book he is called on to help chase away some Italian migrant workers after a fatal stabbing has occurred, but his sympathies are with those being hounded out of the town, and as the book progresses we can see why – and it’s heart-breaking. He’s an impossible man, but we keep rooting for him to get better, for people to be nicer to him. A few can take him as he is. There’s Milliet, the soldier who wants to learn to paint; Roulin, the post master, who genuinely tries to help – and fellow artist Gauguin, who makes good his promise to come and paint with Vincent, but who ultimately finds the relationship impossible. He leaves, never to return, never to bring back all the other artists whomVan Gogh hoped would come. Pretty much everyone else is scared, wary, or downright terrified, and it’s so, so sad. The final scene is particularly moving as Vincent goes into meltdown, knowing exactly what’s happening to him and how it must end, but there’s not a damn thing he can do about it. Gauguin is the only person in the novel who understands the quality of Vincent’s paintings. ‘Those sunflowers of yours,’ he says. ‘Those are more real than sunflowers’. We, the readers, know this. It’s Vincent’s tragedy that nobody else does. Unfortunately, there are translation glitches throughout, with colloquialisms used inappropriately and some real oddities of diction, but

the thrust of the narrative is strong enough to surmount most of the problems. Vincent is an outsider, so if his language is odd, perhaps that isn’t too much of an issue. The important thing is whether this stands up as a novel, and for me it does. Each time I’ve read it I’ve been drawn more deeply into its world. I’ve looked up Van Gogh’s paintings of Roulin and Milliet and they fit the characters in the book to a tee; his paintings as described in the book feel right, though the terminology for the art materials jarred. I’m sure the artist would have thought in terms of actual pigment names, rather than describing colours in layman’s terms. The book succeeds in showing why the Vincents of this world unnerve us so much when we meet them, why they shouldn’t, and how cruel it is that they do. We need to stop fearing such people and start helping them, whether or not they’re artistic geniuses. We need to be Roulin, Milliet – and Franck, who is forced against his wishes to rely on Vincent due to circumstances outside his control in one of the most moving episodes of the book. One should never judge a book by its cover, and this is a perfect example. The dull blocky shades of mustard that adorn the book are completely at odds with the content. Where are the brilliant colours and sparkling light of Arles that suffuse the text? I appreciate a small press cannot afford to use a genuine Van Gogh, but this cover, which simplifies and thereby ruins one of Van Gogh’s own artworks, has little to do with the book which has colour and light in abundance. I have no hesitation in recommending this book, if you can get past the muddy cover and the hyperbole of the back-cover blurb, which also does it no favours. The text is the thing; it’s a story that will stay with you and enable you to see old favourite paintings in a new light.

GOLD DUST 19

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Blackberries in Ukraine Best Poem

The news tonight showed fighting in Ukraine. My eye was drawn, not to the scenes of war, but swollen brambles glistening in the sun, in the hawthorn hedge behind the soldier's arm. The camera didn't catch him quietly claim his harvest, but I somehow saw his hand release the rifle, reach, and one by one dislodge the berries to his palm. Though I can't wage his war, nor feel the pain his comrades, enemies and he endure, I taste the same sharp juice which dyes his thumb and fingertips, and stains his uniform. Were he to visit here, would what is strange or – as for me – familiar strike a chord? In foreign fabric, does he see homespun: his world and mine lit by a single star? Abroad, we introduce ourselves again to what we know; to where we've been before – and hear the chorus crows and doves have sung at dawn since days began: discord and calm.

Phil Vernon

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

20


The Flag Best Poem

The flag is planted in a distant field, To which, from far, forlorn men march and ride, And swear they'll stand, fight and never yield For a flag, honour, a false sense of pride. They'll fight and fall for the trees, the hill, The glistening sun over frozen lakes. For this beauty they would destroy and kill, For their children, wives – but what is at stake? In a far-off country of dust and sand An ocean away from their homes and king. To stop the cruel men of this 'evil land' But to whom do they give everything? Not to their beloved but their betters Except for tears and condolence letters. Alex Prior

21

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


When Opportunity Knocks by Mel Fawcett

SH ST ORT OR Y

pexels.com

I could see him coming as soon as he passed through the ticket barrier. Even though there were a lot of other people streaming out onto the station concourse, there was no mistaking the one I wanted. He was the one looking the most anxious, wearing a shoulder bag and struggling with a large suitcase. I would say that I was like a fisherman reeling in a big fat fish, except I didn’t have to reel him in. I just stood there, leaning on my rolled umbrella, looking calm and approachable, and he came straight towards me. They always do. And they invariably look the same – all hot and bothered, not knowing where to go or which way to turn. If only they sat down and took stock of the situation they would probably save themselves a lot of trouble and money. There again, if they did that, there’d be nothing in it for me, would there? Being tall and impeccably-dressed, I naturally stand out from the crowd. And yet I still have to position myself so that I don’t get lost in the sea of bodies forever ebbing and flowing through the station. Also, my apparently Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

absent-minded smile undoubtedly helps to attract the lost souls – and the fact that I am the only one standing perfectly still. ‘Excuse me, I wonder if you could help me?’ he said. ‘I’m trying to get to Chelsea.’ ‘That’s a lovely part of town,’ I said, in my smoothly affable way. ‘Whereabouts, exactly?’ For I saw he had a piece of paper in his hand. He was like all the rest. They make themselves into victims. I’m sorry to say it, but they deserve what they get. I advised him against taking a taxi and explained to him what line to take on the Underground, where to get the ticket and at which station to change, and he was so grateful – they always are. Quite often I accompany them to the ticket office and perform the necessary business while in the queue. Or else I follow them onto the train and do it there. Otherwise, if I’m in the mood to take the easy way out and not bother with the contents of their wallet, I simply offer to look after their luggage while they go and buy a ticket. Since 22


I’m mature and respectable-looking, they think they can trust me. Having told my latest target where to buy his ticket for Chelsea, I warned him to be careful of his suitcase. ‘There are a lot of rogues on the station,’ I said. ‘In fact, as it’ll be a crush round the ticket office, you’re probably better off leaving your suitcase here – I’ll keep an eye on it for you.’ ‘Oh, no, thank you. I’ll manage.’ ‘As you wish,’ I said, straining to maintain my smile. I watched him as he struggled through the crowds towards the entrance of the Underground. I hesitated in looking for another target, because there was something about the way he was holding his shoulder bag that interested me. And, although I knew it was ridiculous, I was annoyed with him for not trusting me. Or maybe it wasn’t so ridiculous, for I had taken a lot of time and trouble in perfecting the persona of the perfect British gentleman and it was a bit of an insult when I was not even trusted to look after a crummy suitcase. I hasten to add that I haven’t always been in this – some would say, questionable – line of work. I used to be an insurance broker with my own business, but I never really enjoyed it and I reached a point in my fifties when I just couldn’t take it any more. Call it a mid-life crisis if you will, but I desperately needed a challenge. My girlfriend of the time, Cathy, said, ‘Don’t worry, with your imagination you could do anything’. I was actually at Victoria Station seeing her off somewhere when we were discussing it and as I was leaving the station I saw a tourist making a telephone call. The stupid mutt had left his cases outside the kiosk. Without giving it a second thought, I picked them up and walked off with them. I couldn’t believe how easy it was. I have become far more professional since then. I have developed my trustworthy persona so that people are (usually) happy to leave their suitcases with me, and nowadays I always put bulky items in the left luggage to make sure I’m not seen scurrying off with them. I followed the old man towards the Underground ticket office. I wanted to laugh as he struggled down the steps with his suitcase.

But, as I said, it was the way he was carrying his shoulder bag - telling the whole world that there was something valuable in it – that really intrigued me. I stood to one side on the steps and kept an eye on him as he joined the queue for a ticket. I had to keep my wits about me with all the pushing and shoving; it wouldn’t be the first time I’d lost a potential benefactor in the crowds. Another thing I’ve learnt is never to go to the same station two days running – in case one of the targets connects me with their loss and comes looking for me. That happened once. A middle-aged woman confronted me the day after I had relieved her of her suitcase. She caused a very ugly scene, shouting in front of a whole crowd of people that I was a thief. I only just managed to slip away before the police arrived. However, the worst thing about my job is not the police (even though I have had my fair share of trouble with them); it’s the undesirables that hang around the stations. There is no getting away from the fact that my line of work attracts the wrong sort. During the boom times, when the pickings are rich, every little toe-rag in town wants a piece of the action, and in a recession there are so many amateurs chasing the spoils, it’s positively embarrassing. That’s partly why I’ve been thinking of taking early retirement. I have after all reached, although not the twilight, at least the autumn of my life. And when people start looking upon me as one of the undesirables, it’s downright disheartening. The old man had bought his ticket and I was wondering whether to bump into him again and renew our acquaintance or simply follow him onto the train. I preferred being with them on the platform, so that I could guide them towards the most crowded carriage. The last thing I wanted was for him to find a seat. Ideally he’d be hanging on to an overhead strap just in front of me. Not that things always work out as planned. I did have great hopes for the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras, thinking it would provide me with a whole new lot of customers from the Continent, but it has been a big disappointment. There are too many information officers and community support people and

23

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


transport police – all offering help and advice to the confused traveller. The whole station is too organized. I need a place of confusion and chaos to thrive in my business. Without the chaos, what is the use of the island of calm that I provide? Although I can’t say I enjoy all the pushing and shoving of my working environment, it is necessary. I was about to go down the steps to follow the old man when I saw two kids making a beeline for him. I’d seen them on the station before and I knew what they were up to. Before I could do anything, one of them had bumped into the old man and the other one had slit the strap of the shoulder bag and was making off with it. The old man was too stunned to move. I didn’t like those kids; they were like the beggars on the station, always expecting something for nothing. Maybe that’s why I felt aggrieved - or was it because the little bastards were stealing something that was rightfully mine? As luck would have it, their escape route was up the steps from which I was descending. It wasn’t difficult for me to thrust my umbrella between the legs of the one with the bag. He was sent sprawling. He dropped the bag and I scooped it up. Quite a few people stopped to watch what was happening and someone said ‘Well done!’ to me. All kinds of things were flashing through my mind as I cradled the bag. Should I leg it with my booty or stand my ground and let the punk know what I thought of such behaviour? After all, I had seen the target first and those kids had no right to do what they did. There again, if they hadn’t known the target was mine, then I was the one who had broken the code. And, whichever way you looked at it, I’d made it dangerous for myself. The kid was on his feet, glowering at me. He was probably thinking about challenging me for the bag, possibly even considering pulling out his knife. I guess we were both thinking the bag might be stuffed with money. But he was the one who appeared to be in the wrong and he must have realised there were a lot of people watching who might prevent him from reclaiming the spoils. ‘I’ll get you next time, you old bastard,’ he said to me, before turning and pushing his way up the stairs through the gathering crowd. Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

Although I looked round for his colleague, he had melted into the crowd as well. It seemed as though I’d succeeded – until someone grabbed my arm. My first thought was that I’d been collared by the law. ‘Thank God,’ the old man said. ‘My manuscript. Thank you so much.’ Some people in the crowd were applauding me. ‘Your what? ’I said, ignoring everyone other than the old man. It seemed that the bag contained his hand-written manuscript about butterflies in the urban environment. He had apparently been writing it for twenty years and had come to London to find a publisher. He told me all about it over the coffee that he insisted upon buying me. He even told me that he was going to finance his time in London by selling the antique jewellery he had in his suitcase. I couldn’t help smiling ruefully at that. He was a nice old duffer and I suppose I was glad in a way to have helped him, but he would have got the manuscript back anyway because the kid would have dumped the bag as soon as he realised there was nothing of value in it. The truth is, I had taken a risk for nothing. Those punks wouldn’t look too kindly on me next time. It really was time I retired. So when the old man went to get me another coffee, I picked up his suitcase and slipped away.

24

GOLD DUST


The Office by Heather Walker I climb the metal stairs to the next landing and Mr Sands’ office (that’s what we call it). I knock tentatively on the door, hauling up my trousers, a nervous habit of mine. ‘Come.’ I enter, my nose assaulted by Brut aftershave and sweat. Mr Sands, who’s doing a five year stretch, is sitting, hands on the desk, fingers entwined, shirt stretched across muscles. His steel blue eyes bore into me. He doesn’t offer me a seat. I fiddle with the contents of my pocket – my last two cigarettes and some loose change. ‘What have you got for me?’ Mr Sands’ deep voice travels the length of my spine. Spine, huh, that’s a good one. My spine is hanging on by a thread. ‘It’s not good,’ I say. The words jar in my throat and enter the room as if I’m fighting a noose. It’s obvious he hasn’t heard. Mr Sands stares at me, waiting. I wait too, reluctant to explain the disaster that will have consequences for all of us. He is now losing patience and drumming his fingers on the desk. Raised voices echo through the building. Time is short. My stomach lurches and I wish I could hide, but in here there is nowhere to hide. I am shaking. Mr Sands stands and walks towards me. He likes to work out. Does press ups in the office. I saw him pin a guy to a wall when his satisfaction hadn’t been satisfied. Taking the harassment is better than the alternative. No one wants the alternative. Let’s

FL FIC ASH TIO N

just say it involves some nasty goings on in the shower block. I move back a few paces but he’s in front of me then moves around me so I have to turn. ‘It’s –’ ‘Spit it out, Dudley, spit it out.’ I stagger both physically and mentally, then blurt out, ‘The drone…it...crashed, Mr Sands.’ I watch white turn to red on Mr Sands face. ‘So, the merchandise…?’ ‘Lost,’ I squeak. ‘And the screws –?’ I can’t go on. There will be no skunk, no crack. Just questions. The brows on Mr Sand’s face move towards one another like giant caterpillars. The sweat overpowers the Brut as his massive bulk blocks the exit. ‘So, the whole damn operation is compromised. If they squeal, Dudley. If they implicate me…’ His fist makes contact with the wall. ‘You can count on me, Mr Sands.’ Mr Sands laughs. It’s a deep throated, fully blown body laugh. I take it his confidence in me matches my own. But I’m just a runner, a passer of information. Not from choice. Now he is leaving the office. I’m behind him. I’m desperate to return to my cell, but I want to know what he is going to do. My future here might depend on it. Then I hear the clang of feet on metal stairs, keys jangling, bodies arriving in force. It’s too late. The screws are here. Making an unconscious decision I back away from Mr Sands.

25

GOLD DUST Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


The Passenger by Lindsay Boyd

BES PRO T SE

Three drivers out of four exceeded the thirty-five mile per hour speed limit but not by so great a margin as to render a maneuver to the curb impossible. Had this newcomer positioned herself near the bus stop for the same reason, in the hope of a prompt pickup? He supposed so, though he had never seen her before. He had, in fact, been looking for Stephanie or failing that one of her cronies, all of whom had become acquaintances weeks after he completed the move from his native New York. But there was no sign of any of them. Their tattooed arms and legs, skinny to the point of emaciation, the shrunken stomachs they freely exposed to the unremitting Floridian sun every steamy season, were nowhere to be seen. A drawn-out red light flashed orange and then green. Howard entered the intersection, keeping his eyes on the stranger. At the last moment, he switched on his indicator and cut into the left-hand lane before strong-arming the Chevrolet round the bend. The nearer he drew to her the more compressed his image of Annie became. The long-distance scope of his initial appraisal condensed to particulars until her upper body occupied space in the windshield. Once out of the turn, he prepared to pull over, slowing to a stop adjacent to where she stood. Her form from the waist to the ankles lingered in the front passenger window. Howard laughed out loud. An old-fashioned girl, he thought to himself. None of the women he knew wore skirts like the one she had on. Stephanie certainly did not. She could Howard had spent the last twenty minutes be recognised at a distance by dint of her cruising up and down Arlington Road and the long, dirt blonde hair, the way she shuffled streets of the adjoining Woodland Acres neigh- along the pavement and her habit, developed bourhood when he sighted her by the bus unconsciously over the years, of half-stopping stop on the service road adjacent to the exand turning each time a vehicle passed by. pressway. He had not expected to see a new This new 'lady' was distinct and needed to be girl. They were few and far between on this shown the ropes. He decided he would offer patch. She cannot have known better busito drive her around the residential side streets of Woodland Acres, the centre of the Arlingness could be picked up on the arterial road. From time to time a lethargy, or distance, in the expression in Annie’s deep blue eyes suggested engagement in an interior world known only to her. But those who had lived with her many years – she had moved into the facility more than sixteen years ago – had long since given up reading overmuch into her preoccupation. The previous Christmas her proclivity for slouching on a solitary chair in the living room, arms folded across her belly, head bent forward, vacant gaze staring at nothing, or cloudy in a manner befitting the state of halfsleep, had been a regular conversation topic among the staff and her fellow residents. Her doctor and psychiatrist altered the strength of her medication in the hope this might alleviate her dejection. But nothing changed and when her older sister, together with her husband, brought her back to the group home after the Christmas / New Year holiday break she remarked on Annie's abiding depression. At its worst it manifested in moments like one on Christmas Eve when her intrigued relatives watched her hold a spoonful of strawberry flavoured yoghurt inches from her mouth for upwards of a minute before swallowing. Of its own accord, the melancholy lifted and within weeks she had more or less returned to normal, a state but a shadow of the carefree twenty-nine-year-old who moved into the , upon her family’s urging, in the mid-eighties. Fragmentary moments of lightheartedness and joy of living gradually conceded ground to long periods of listlessness.

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

26


ton scene, the place where he enacted deals. That would set her on her way. ‘Yo. What’s up, girl?’ His years as a transplant from the northeast had left untouched the speech patterns inculcated on the streets of Brooklyn. remained his standard greeting though some in the south looked perplexed, unsure how to meet the question. When Annie did not respond, he leaned across the passenger seat. ‘Are you in or not, sister?’ She held up her hands and shrugged but in the next moment opened the door and lowered herself into the seat beside the driver. Careful to avoid Howard's gaze, she thought of the countless times her nominal carers at the Haven advised her not to stroll beyond

castigation if she passed that imaginary line. She never understood the fuss. She could have counted on the fingers of one hand the number of times strangers accosted her. ‘What’s happenin’ but the heat?’ Howard asked, noticing the hand-me-down appearance of her blouse. A size too big, it afforded a glimpse of the off-white bra strap over her right shoulder and sat in danger of slipping off her shoulder altogether. The harried staff at the Haven took her to task over inappropriate outfits too, whether short shorts, clinging skirts or risqué tops. ‘I don’t know what's happening.’ ‘If you don’t know, I don’t know!’ ‘If you don’t know, I don’t know either!’ Eyeing the chain around her neck, her

Photo: Printerest

the plaza to the expressway. Those paid to look after her insisted on circumspection, fearing that a certain ethereality in her manner might attract unsavoury individuals meandering by on foot or in their cars. Annie blatantly ignored their warnings, prompting different members of the staff to revoke her walking privilege or forbid her to go past the plaza. They threatened her with 27

earrings and her unblemished skin, Howard laughed. ‘Where you on your way to?’ She repeated the shrug of earlier, not caring where in particular she went. But seconds later a place came to mind. ‘North. Fernandina.’ He said the name aloud, as if to familiarise himself with it, and flashed her another look. He perceived no traces of self-abuse, Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


the signs of which stood out so readily, like the future foretold, among the relative newcomers. But his scrutiny failed to gather in the expression in the eyes behind the glasses. Thinking it would do no harm to humour her, Howard put the car in gear. He had not driven to Fernandina in years and needed to mentally reprise the way to the beachside settlement. Somewhere in his turbid mind it clung to the Atlantic, south of Fort Clinch State Park and the Georgia line. He diverted to the 9A and began speeding toward the Dames Point Bridge. Howard's next glance encompassed Annie's short, tousled brown hair. She had brushed it up and away from her forehead first thing in the morning, with more delicious defiance of her family than ever. Her sister, first and foremost, wielded a brush and flattened the recalcitrant locks on the occasions Annie came home for a visit. Every other morning of her life she arranged her hair the way she liked. In a nutshell, she let it go, allowing the breezes to run riot in it or not through the course of the days. ‘I wish I’d never come back from Phoenix.’ Annie knew the one in whose hands she had entrusted her immediate future heard her aside. But she paid no heed to his presence or the changing landscape in the Chevrolet’s windows until they reached the summit of the bridge. There, she stirred long enough to note the downtown skyline and, beneath them, Bartram Island. To the right, she espied the smoking chimneys on Blount Island and, further east, the Mayport Naval Station. ‘Tell me about yourself, sister.’ ‘You tell me about yourself, I’ll tell you about myself,’ she stammered in reply. Basic biographical facts came to light soon enough. Annie told Howard she was from Chicago, that she had been raised in a town an hour from the city. Her father worked in the same advertising firm for three decades until his retirement in 1984. The family then turned their backs on the mid-western cold for the brighter, warmer skies down south. She had one sister and one brother. The latter, Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

based more than halfway across the country in Arizona, she saw rarely. Howard veered right at the Hecksher Drive exit. A sign up ahead revealed the distance to Fernandina Beach: twenty-six miles. Annie folded her arms and propped them upon her midriff. Beyond an industrial site, the St Johns River broke into a series of creeks with imprecise curves. Pleasure craft perched swan-like on the water and fisherman squinted in the hot sun, blinking flies out of the corners of mouths and eyes. The cheap jewellery adorning Annie’s wrists jangled each time she moved her fleshy arms. Her propensity for earrings, bangles, necklaces and items of similar ilk knew no bounds. To her housemates' consternation, she also hoarded audio tapes. After one or two listens she cast them in corners where they lay accumulating dust until her sister, on an impromptu inspection, removed the lot in one fell swoop. Beyond the turn-off to a fishing pier, they halted at a bridge, the central sections of which opened like the jaws of a gigantic whale to enable a boat to chart a course from the St Johns River to Sister’s Creek. Howard let the engine idle during the five-minute delay and went on listening to his passenger. Annie’s sentiments regarding Phoenix derived, he learnt, from a trip in the spring. For the first time in five or more years everyone in the family came together. For her, the ten days resembled an Indian summer in the midst of a miserable winter. Her ageing parents, inveterate chastisers both in their long gone prime, were laid-back and good-humoured, willing to extend their mentally challenged daughter liberties usually denied in the less mellow years of the past. But everything fell apart on her return to north Florida. The Haven staff pestered her about her medication (which she hated to take at anytime), her eating habits, her attitude, her walks and her chores. Discovering an extra twenty dollars in her wallet one morning, they refused to hand over that week's allowance. The bill between the folds would be enough for her spending needs, they said. She would only regret the fact afterwards if she misplaced a large amount – as

28


Photo: Printerest

she had done out of carelessness before. They made her re-sweep the floor in the kitchen four nights in succession, every other night at least on average, when they saw the results of her slapdash efforts. To make matters worse, a weekend she anticipated spending with her sister and brother-in-law came to nothing. They arrived on cue but squabbled with Annie about the state of her room. The three of them went out to the car and exchanged further recriminations until both relatives stalked off, leaving Annie in a flurry of tears by the place where the vehicle had been parked, the bag she intended to take home with her abandoned on the path leading to the front door. She paused in her breathy narration. At a ferry dock on the right, a dozen cars lined up bumper-to-bumper awaited the signal to board for the crossing to the other side of the river. The road wound past the Huguenot Memorial Park. From the bridge over Fort George Inlet, Atlantic whitecaps broke in the near distance before coming to rest, their energy spent, in the deceptive calm of the St George River. 29

Pellucid white sandbars dotted the area around the mouth of the river. On the other side, at the edge of the park, vehicles stood on the hard-packed sand, provisions spilling from open door and trunks. The swimsuit-clad owners inched their way through the thighdeep turquoise water or took the sun spreadeagled upon foldable chairs. ‘It’s beautiful,’ Annie said. ‘Let's find a place up ahead. Y'all feel like a walk? It's not the boonies but it'll do.’ For an instant a smile lit her face. Simultaneously, she turned her head and looked at Howard as though cognisant of her attractiveness when she smiled. They reached a stretch of the highway known as the Buccaneer Trail. Annie continued her oration. She confided how she reacted to the attention and hypercriticism of the staff with boiling rage, oaths uttered under her breath and slammed doors. She sought the arms of one she knew would accept her. Wade, in the shipping and receiving department at her sheltered workshop, never stopped ogling her, brushing her bare knees at the slightest opportunity, and in other ways telegraphing his desire. Within an Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


hour of a ferocious confrontation at the Haven, she arrived at work and searched him out with a long look. They met at the commencement of the morning break and without further ado dropped to the dirty floor and began exchanging dynamite open-mouthed kisses. Annie began hearing her rebellion against them all – not least Mia, who became livid at the mere thought of her wild child sibling engaging in sex – take definitive, glorious shape in the thwacking sound made by her and Wade’s colliding hips when a member of the staff stumbled upon them. Bitter and ashamed, she regained her feet. But the incident did not leave her daunted for long. Still seething, Annie arranged a rendezvous with deaf-mute Ed the next day. They needed no verbal language. They had a perfect understanding of one another. But this time too she was thwarted. She had not even unbuttoned her blouse to the midpoint, or sensed the first touch of his fingers on her nipples, when someone barged in on them. Partway between the twin Talbot islands, Howard pulled over to the side of the winding road, stopping behind three other vehicles. A trail snaked a path into the thicket. The New Yorker led, maintaining silence until they were about a third of the way to the water. ‘You got people in Fernandina Beach?’ ‘Father Mark.’ ‘Father Mark?' he repeated, giving her a protracted look. 'That place you've been talking about ... you're not going back there, right?' Annie shook her head, distant again. 'You're homeless, right?’ ‘What’s homeless?’ By way of an explanation, Howard told her about the years in New York when he lived without a permanent roof over his head. He referred to the time when he would have died had he not been directed to a shelter in Lower Manhattan. There he found a bed, food and clothing until he straightened himself out. He had, he hated to admit it, succumbed again and again to the temptations of the streets. Nonetheless, they welcomed him back after each and every lapse. Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

A patchwork of upturned roots and knobbly branches greeted them at the end of the path. Finding their passage impeded in several places, at last they succeeded in negotiating a way through. The quiescent shallows nudging the shoreline revealed the outlines of jagged, rocky outcrops. Nearby, to Annie’s muffled amusement, two unashamedly naked men walked an Alsatian dog. Every woman he had known in the past, Howard thought, including the mother of the daughter he never saw, had led to this mystifying lady. Had she heard a word of what he said? He was about to assert he had nothing to give her – his crude, initial plan had lost all relevance and tenability – when she turned her head and smiled. For the past few minutes he had been aware of nothing but her eyes. They chanced upon a deserted, makeshift shelter. It looked for all the world like the retreat, now hopelessly laid waste, of a solitary soul at odds with the mainstream, unable to compromise a cockeyed vision. One with the surrounds, Annie imagined boats going by of a morning and afternoon, her and her lover bathing naked in the shallows. She pictured their nights together under the rudimentary cover. The sun would fall dry upon the earth. Her honey-colored skin would in very little time become chestnut brown. She would show him where to scout for things in the sand, uncover the faces of children and heroes in the unlikeliest hideaways, in the trees and in the rocks, their hands extended, crying out for love. Taking Howard’s hand, she guided him to the water’s edge. ‘Did Jesus walk upon the water?’ Howard nodded, knowing he could not leave. He visualized the far-off places they would visit together, travelling blind. ‘Then he was a sailor?’ ‘Yes, sister. He was a sailor.’ ‘We must become sailors too.’

30

GOLD DUST


Book Review by I. W. Smythe

BO RE OK VI EW

Underneath by Lee Todd Lacks may be purchased for $7.00 directly from Fermata Publishing: fermatapublishing.tictail.com/product/underne ath-by-lee-todd-lacks

Literature. Some enjoy classic and some like avant-garde. Then there are those who prefer their reading a little bit naughty. For those who fall into the latter category, one can't go wrong with the debut chapbook collection 'Underneath' by Lee Todd Lacks. No matter if one is entertained, embarrassed or titillated, these gems can't be ignored. This is a rollicking, frolicking sweets box of poetry and stories, all of which purport one intrinsic subject

Don't waste a minute wondering if this seems just a bit OTT and possibly, a read verging on the pornographic. Not so. Lacks clearly can handle writing well in any genre he may choose but, very simply and firmly, he chooses this one. And, not only does he do it well, he takes his craft to new heights, with every read more enticing than the last. Significantly, Lacks, has dealt with both hearing and vision deficits, yet from an almost latent defiance, he Go on, indulge your guilty pleasure! creates sublime, tactile, evocative images, weaving threads of social satire, religion-instilled guilt and the tender underbelly of lust GOLD DUST and desire beneath a satin skein of eroticism. 31

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Green Grass One fine summer on the youthful grass in between the century-wise stately patriarch and the covert monument to war dead there resided the greatest ice-cream clad philosophers that ever lived. And even when a fine lush meadow filled with hoof prints and cornflowers grew in between those hopes and dreams I still cannot quite extinguish that fire, that overwhelming certainty of achievement, of love, of bright futures, a perfect love sweet as vanilla love. But finally, after thirty years of rapid eye movement I limp past the same place where I appear to be invisible and see fresh faces, novel excitement, new-fangled invincibility, and it scares me. Shivering in the heat, sweating with knowledge reflected in the eyes of my wise old dog whose dreams only extend to me.

Dave Lewis

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

32


The Kettle Tipped The screams, Enough to tear your soul apart. Not to get too poetic about it I mean that literally. If you had been there that night, You would have felt your soul explode with the sound. Skin peeled and flayed, bundle held tight. Torment a killing pain within but all else drains away to the single pinpoint that is a child’s pain. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Not to get too scientific about it I mean that figuratively. Isolated and antiseptic, in the hospital room. Hands held tight, hope held fast, as needles force their way under skin seeking blood, the Life-Giver. The doctor sees this all the time. Not to get too prosaic about it I mean that sincerely. Just another accident. All’s well that ends well, after all.

Maxine Rose Munro

33

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Book Review by David Gardiner The Institute by Vincent Bijlo translated from the Dutch by Susan Ridder Holland Park Press 2017 Paperback 112 pages £12.47 (first published in Dutch in 1998) The ‘Institute’ of the title is a boarding school for blind and visually impaired children in 1970s Netherlands, and the protagonist Otto is a pupil there aged 11 and about to start Secondary School. He is also the narrator, writing in the past tense from across an unspecified gulf of time, but in a style that has the unreflective and unadorned quality of prose aimed at a young readership. The first fifty pages or so (about half the book) are devoted largely to accounts of the pranks engaged in by Otto and his pre-teen companions, playing out the traditional role of naughty young boys in rebellion against their parents, their teachers and the adult world. I was fleetingly reminded of Richmal Crompton’s ‘William’ books and even of Charles Hamilton’s legendary Billy Bunter, and wondered if this novel was really for me, but the treatment of Otto’s dawning sexual awareness, albeit as further grist to the comedy mill, was a bit more daring than anything you might find in the works of Crompton or Hamilton. I was still a little disappointed in what seemed like a series of humorous set pieces, such as the blind boys stealing a moped for a joy ride, planning to kill a group of kidnappers to release one of their sisters, or pushing Otto down a hill inside a grubby canteen food trolley. Amusing, perhaps, but insubstantial and not really to my personal taste in comedy. Some strands, as in the William books, were calculatedly gross, like the events connected with the theft of Harry’s glass eyes. Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

BO RE OK VI EW

In addition to the slapstick comedy Bijlo now and again casts a knowing glance towards the adult reader in the form of some deadpan little jewel of wit conveyed in his use of language. It’s important not reach a hasty judgment of this book, because a much darker and more serious side to the story emerges in the second half, beginning with the portrait of Otto’s home life and the relationship between his squeaky-voiced father and his alcoholic mother, seen through the filter of the young boy’s naive and simplistic understanding of the adult world. The clown lowers his mask now and we become privy to the suicidal thoughts that Otto entertains when he believes that he may have accidentally destroyed the last tiny vestiges of vision possessed by one of his classmates. A short time later they are to become more than just thoughts. I think it’s fairly obvious that a great deal of is autobiographical, and Bijlo’s way of dealing with painful experiences has always been to turn them into comedy. As an adult he took up the profession of stand-up comedian. There is an enormous tension in the writing, generated I think by the author’s compulsion to turn everything into a joke, when the story that he really wants to tell us is far from funny. This internal bipolar aspect of Bijo’s personality creates a quirky and at times uncomfortable narrative that becomes more compelling as the story develops. The book is as much about being young as it is about being blind. In most instances the protagonist’s blindness merely provides the base from which Bijo looks at aspects of growing up that will be familiar to us all. We all had to cope with embarrassing bodily changes, the need to restrain inappropriate impulses of various kinds, accepting responsibility for our actions, moments of shame and guilt, childish feelings of powerlessness, first love, first rejection, peer pressure, not getting our own way, faltering in our sense of self worth and doubting our ability to cope with a grown-up world that often seemed hostile and unreasonable. The blind are spared none of this. Why should we expect otherwise? A somewhat unnerving but ultimately totally compelling read.

34

GOLD DUST


An Eternal Moment by J.J. Haas Every morning Cameron Gold carried his manual typewriter down to the Sugarville River, set it up on a picnic table next to a curved wooden footbridge, and worked on the first draft of his novel. On the table were two piles of paper held down by heavy rocks, one for blank sheets of paper and the other for completed pages. He would pull a blank sheet of paper from one pile, insert it into the typewriter, write the next part of his story, and place the completed page face down on the other pile. He had been following the same routine for several weeks without interruption, and he was already halfway through with his novel. One morning he noticed a pretty young lady arrive on the opposite bank. She laid a blanket down on the grass, sat down in her sleeveless red top and white shorts, and proceeded to tie her long blonde hair back in a ponytail. Needless to say, Cameron found this spectacle a tad distracting and had difficulty concentrating on his novel. Every few minutes he found himself looking up from his work to see if she was still there and what she was going to do next. Before long he had a complete mental picture of her in his mind and would likely remember everything about her even if she left. He fantasized about crossing the bridge and introducing himself, but he convinced himself that he should be writing and reluctantly returned to his work. In reality, he was intimidated by her beauty and afraid of rejection, and so he let the moment pass. The next morning Cameron noticed that the blanket was there but the young lady was not — at least not yet. Regretting his missed opportunity from the previous day, he carried the completed half of his manuscript over the footbridge and placed it down on the blanket as a gift. Then he returned to his side of the swirling river and waited, unable to write a word. The young lady arrived a half hour later

FL FIC ASH TIO N

and, surprised to find the manuscript on her blanket, looked across the river at Cameron. He stood up, smiled, and waved, but rather than returning his wave she dropped the manuscript on the grass, folded up her blanket, and walked off. He was mortified. He shouted “Wait!” but his plea was swallowed up by the sound of rushing water. The next morning a disheartened Cameron returned to the river to write, never expecting to see the young lady again. But as he inserted a blank sheet of paper into his typewriter

Photo: Jack Sparrow

she reappeared like a vision on the opposite bank, laying her blanket down in the same spot as if nothing had happened. He even thought he caught the hint of a smile on her lips as he followed her every movement. Now he was torn. Should he leave her alone or risk trying to connect with her one more time? He didn’t think his heart could survive a second rejection. However, finding encouragement in her smile, he typed up a one-page note, folded it into a paper airplane, and launched it over the river onto her blanket. He waited an eternal moment to see what she would do. She unfolded the note, read it, and laughed, then stood up and waved to him. They met in the middle of the footbridge over the raging river to see if they could finish this new story together. GOLD DUST

35

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Internet v 3.0 Chatbot hello how are you today my liver is a box of frogs Chatbot yes my pond is full of spawn my goldfish died from sushi poisoning Chatbot did you like it at the fair? there is nothing fair about hook-a-duck Chatbot life is not fair sometimes I am sorry shoot them with lasers Chatbot I am sorry Chatbot I am sorry Chatbot I am sorry

Fight (a haiku) Big man has big sword. Little man has little sword. Big man wins, hands down.

James Osborne.

extinct mallards Chatbot sorry can you explain?

Paul Vaughan

Glaciers Recede 1. You ran aground amidst a naked, barbaric race. , you and your mates thought as you held your breath. The men’s penises dragged on the ground. You wondered why you ever set sail. You were seeking the novel, but your projections were far loftier than what you found. No one ever told you that elevated language and elevated life exist only in poetry, fantasy and sermonizing. It will be centuries before we begin to raise ourselves above the shit. We are genetically programmed for a dystopian universe, though some of us still seek utopia here on Earth. 2. Under global warming, the glaciers recede like a pack of erections that have simultaneously changed their mind. The Mendenhall Glacier wonders:

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

36


Someone Put Bubble-Bath in the Town Centre Fountain The water still spells up and slices foam, like dental floss through cotton candy snow. Surprising sugar teases through the laughter while tiny hands cup boulders of feathers. The mothers hold those too young to reach out without falling in, so their eyes can pour attention so immensely minute. How the circus stands around; commuters, so different from shoppers, slow the same speed down. Meanwhile, a homeless man now thinks he’s found a pound in a bubble, blowing his way. No one sees the empty bottle - the wand. Much later, while the white turned a see-through, I watched it melt away, as a thank you.

Luigi Coppola

Untitled Haiku she caught you again In master bedroom with her wife returns robot

Denny E. Marshall Pickled God is a packet of peanuts when you’ve no hunger but are desperate for beer. Feed your addictions with salt. Rub it deep into your lips, soak in a sea of brine, shove your head into the crystal fields, breathe long and cram your lungs. It might preserve you. God won’t.

Paul Vaughan

37

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Trying Something Different by David Gardiner Writing stories is what I do. That’s my comfort zone. In 2011 I published a novel entitled that I had been building up to for a very long time. It was a fictionalised version of my schoolboy years in Belfast in the 1960s, just as the most recent wave of ‘Troubles’ was starting up, the old IRA re-emerging along with a plethora of other paramilitary organizations, and civil life in Northern Ireland’s capital beginning to disintegrate into civil war. My novel wasn’t about politics, it was essentially a teenage love story, but that most volatile period in recent UK history was its backdrop. Politically, the book contains no great insights but hopefully presents a balanced account of how the political situation was superficially understood at the time. Although the people of Northern Ireland back then spoke and thought about little else, the real political history of Ireland was and probably always will be pretty well inaccessible, so powerful are the rival nationalist and loyalist mythologies driving the debate. When it’s native Irish versus British overlords, Jews versus Arabs or Turks versus Armenians the truth doesn’t matter. It was a setting made for a drama of some sort, and what I chose to write about was the way that naïve and perfectly well-intentioned young people simply drifted into the paramilitary organizations looking for excitement, driven along by peer pressure, the romance of the cause and even idealism that the uprising would somehow bring about a socialist paradise free from religious tribalism and meeting the needs of all. Finely balanced against this social vision was another that had its genesis in the anti-war movement and ‘hippie’ alternative lifestyle emerging amongst the youth of America and many countries of Western Europe. ‘Make love, not war’ was one of its most cherished slogans. In the novel I set these two concepts of the ‘paradise to come’ Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

FE AT UR

E

against one another, represented by the two central characters, Danny, whose interest in pirate radio and technical abilities attract the attention of the local IRA commander, and Joyce, whose hedonistic personality, boundless enthusiasm for life and love of music and personal freedom ensure that she throws in her lot with the Flower People, in so far as her geographic location allows. I had conceived the character Joyce as a fabulously talented schoolgirl singer/songwriter, and had given her lyrics in the novel, which was the main way in which I tried to reveal and explain her personality. Due to a chain of circumstances these lyrics came to the attention of Roger Wicks, a tutor of music at Northumbria University who said that in his opinion they were good lyrics and that I should try to create a stage musical version of the novel. At first I thought this to be a ridiculous idea, the story of was almost unremittingly tragic, not the stuff of light song-anddance comedy, and besides, what did I know about music besides the words of a few old Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon ballads? But some of Joyce’s lyrics from the book had in fact been set to music and performed for me by a young woman named Becky Simpson at the launch event when the book first came out, and they sounded by no means bad. The more I thought about it the more feasible the idea seemed. The world of musicals after all contains and as well as and . So with all the reckless optimism of the profoundly ignorant I set out to turn the 80,000 word novel into a one-and-ahalf hour stage musical. How hard could it be? I think you’ve guessed the answer. Very hard. Impossible, in fact. It was only when I commenced the task that I came to realize how dense the book was with incident, and how much stage time I would need to present all of it. The story would need to be brutally shortened. In the end I re-wrote it to arrive at substantially the same ending about a quarter way into the original text. Even then it was a lot of material, so the next thing I did was to go through it identifying scenes that could be jettisoned without too much loss. In some cases I couldn’t bear to actually cut scenes so instead I put it in the stage directions if I thought a particular scene was dispensable. As Roger pointed out, when a Director gets hold of it

38


he or she is going to cut bits out anyway, so you may as well give them anything that you’re happy with and let them decide what should stay and what should go. That’s part of the Director’s job description. But what about the songs? I have always liked writing lyrics, and I don’t think I’m too bad at it, but my musical education is nonexistent. Even if I could come up with a tune and hum it I wouldn’t be able to write it down. So, obviously it seemed, I needed a musical collaborator. Using musicians’ websites such as Kompoz.com, Starnow.com and Songwriterforum.co.uk I managed to find someone fairly quickly who was willing to work with me, and the first few songs we created together seemed to be pretty good. Our personalities however clashed, I fancied I detected a vein of paranoia in my new partner, and we soon started to quarrel over all aspects of the project, particularly copyright and ownership of the final entity, an aspect that didn’t really interest me at all. After my collaborator had withdrawn from the project several times and then reappeared as though nothing had happened I realized that there was insufficient trust between us and I could end up having the entire project sabotaged from within. So I reluctantly let this person go, taking all their music with them. What I hadn’t really understood was the vast difference between creating something in perfect solitude, which is what a normal writer does, whether surrounded by people or not, and working creatively with others, which is a completely different activity and one that I wasn’t very good at. In a dejected mood I returned to the musicians’ websites and recommenced the search for my musical Mr or Ms right. The task seemed hopeless. As in the quest for a life partner there had to be so many things about this person that needed to fit perfectly. The balance of probabilities, I could see, was that the musical would never get written. After an unfruitful couple of months of this renewed search I had the moment that was the key to everything. If I really didn’t care about ownership and making money, and I really didn’t, why not take a leaf out of the book of computer code writers and declare the project ‘open source’? Simply put the entire script and all the lyrics on to a website and invite anyone who wished to turn one or more of the lyrics into songs. Move my project into the public domain. As an old libertarian leftie the concept appealed to me. Make music, not money!

This approach had two enormous advantages. First of all, it would attract only the people who felt the same way about ownership and performing rights that I did myself. People who were happy to practice their art for its own sake. Secondly it would pretty much guarantee a variety of styles and approaches that would be reflected in the songs. ‘Sameness’ was unlikely to be a problem. And broadly speaking, this highly unconventional approach has worked extremely well. Things didn’t happen over night. Around about a year went by before all the songs were written, but it was for me a fascinating and productive year of working with a wide variety of singers and musicians with mind sets similar to my own, setting up a home recording studio, and even receiving requests to write lyrics for musicians completely outside and beyond my core project. I discovered that I had a talent for creating lyrics for doleful country music numbers, and experienced the thrill of having first class exponents of the genre turning them into songs. If you visit my Soundcloud channel (just search ‘Engineering Paradise the Musical’ on Soundcloud) you’ll find a few of them there, and more are in the pipeline. I also obtained enthusiastic permission to incorporate their songs in the work from two of my musical idols of those dim and distant years, Leon Rosselson, the anarchist songwriter who wrote the Billy Bragg hit and Lesley Gore who took what I think was the very first feminist pop song to the No. 2 position in the American charts when she was 17 in 1964. Sadly Lesley passed away a couple of months after granting this permission and promising to read . I wonder if she ever did. My musical hasn’t reached the stage yet, but the full script has only just been completed and uploaded to Lulu.com, the same site that provides the printed copies of Gold Dust, and I have just started what I know will be the challenging process of finding an amateur or student group willing to give it its premiere. It could be anywhere in the world but I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened first in Belfast, where the cultural setting would be most familiar and engaging. If, as well as listening to the music on Soundcloud, you would like to read the full script it’s free to download from: davidgardiner.net/Engineering_Paradise_the_Musi cal.pdf

39

Oh, and do please break a leg.

GOLD DUST Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


The Oracle by Ed Ahern "So will you help him?" Cliff sat up on the motel room bed and stared down at her.. "I don't get to make that decision, Wendy." "No, but you can recommend that he's too valuable to lose." "And I will. But… Look, Wendy. Frank got those remote training assignments because Faulkes doesn’t like him. But out of sight, out of mind, easier to let go." Wendy made no effort to cover herself. Cliff noticed two small beads of sweat glistening in the hollow of her neck. He bent down and kissed each drop and then her lips. He whispered while they were still mouth to mouth. "The last thing I want is for you to leave." He leaned toward her and slid a leg across her hips. Wendy planted her palm on his ribs, holding him back. "Cliff, what we're already doing to Frank is rotten. Don't let him drown, you know how capable he is." Wendy's tone sounded worried. He stroked her cheek with the backs of his fingers. "All right, all right," he whispered. “I'll try. And I'm an idiot for doing it." Her eyes widened and softened. "All right, all right," she echoed sadly. Cliff drove from the motel into rush hour stagnation, Frank creeping back into his exhaust-polluted thoughts.

The traffic opened up and Cliff refocused onto driving to the office. The earlier sales call he'd arranged to camouflage his motel visit had turned into a sale, and he needed to arrange a issue 31

contract. The drudge would take his mind off what to do about Frank. And Wendy. The parking lot was beginning to empty out when Cliff pulled in. Once the new customer had been tended to, Cliff turned to voice mails. Faulkes wanted to see him for lunch on Wednesday. Lunches were the temple visits where Faulkes pontificated firings and promotions. He seemed to think that one drink and an overpriced meal legitimized even brutal blows. Cliff replied yes to Faulkes' lunch invitation, then dialed Frank's voice mail. "Frank, Cliff. I think you're getting back this evening ( I don't want to bother you this weekend, I'm sure you and Wendy have some catching up to do. But could you stop by and see me on Monday afternoon? Thanks." Cliff cleaned out his voice and e mails and started winnowing through the stack of paperwork, tossing half the stack into the waste can. At a little after six he'd worked his way down to contract compliances and sales analyses, drudge paperwork that both he and his crew hated. He declared an official screw-it and leaned back in his chair.

After the divorce, Frank had used his club, Fitness Paradise, as a sexual convenience store. Exercising and drinking juice somehow promised that the members were less likely to be diseased. But since taking up with Wendy he'd been backhandedly faithful, sharing her but not himself.

Cliff winced.

Gold Dust

SH ST ORT OR Y

summer 2017

Cliff pulled a number up on his cell phone and called it. "Phil?... Yeah, Cliff Mintner… Yeah, it has been awhile. Listen, do you guys still play poker on Friday nights?... Great. Would it be all right if I sat in?... Yeah, that's what I usually play for. See you around eight thirty."

40


"I have been looking, Cliff, but it never seems to get beyond the first interview." It was typical of Frank that he showed up at Cliff's office doorway early Monday morning. Cliff already had the customer service manager in his office asking for help on additional staffing. "Oh. Frank, good to see you. Gisele and I will be finished in ten or fifteen minutes, and I can squeeze you in. Do you want me to call you?" Frank's angular features were tightened with worry. He seemed oblivious to disrupting the meeting with Gisele. "Uh, no, I can just wait here if you won't be too long." His voice was an indistinct mumble, a trait coworkers found annoying. Cliff and Gisele could see him through the glass walls of the office, standing awkwardly in the corridor. His presence cramped their discussion and they cut it short. As Gisele left the office she gave Frank an annoyed glance that he seemed not to notice. "Come on in, Frank. Shut the door, would you?" Frank sat on the edge of an upholstered chair and leaned toward Cliff.

"Have you thought about relocating?" "I can't, Wendy's job is here." "I'm going to push for you to be kept on, Frank, you know that, but with prices and volumes down the crapper, there's going to be cuts. You need to be poised to jump." Frank, for all his perception, looked bewildered. "Cliff, you more than anybody know the contributions I've made, the advice I've been able to give." "I do, and I wish we'd acted on more of it.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

"What did you want to talk to me about, Cliff?" Cliff had to smile. It was so Frank-like to not use any lubricating small talk. "The training is going well?" "Adequately. But as I said, the plants need restructuring. I should go back out with different goals—" "Frank, you know that's not going to happen. Faulkes declined extending your work. Your training sessions are finished next month. Have you thought about what you'll do once the training is over?" "I'll be reassigned here." "That's what we need to talk about. Right now there are no openings." "But my old job—" "Your accounts were reallocated." Cliff wanted to walk around the desk and put his hands on Frank's shoulders, but kept the desk between them. "We've talked about this before. You need to prepare for the possibility that there's no slot for you."

But we didn't, and when the doom you predicted happened you somehow got blamed for it. I'm sorry. If you relocate with a new job, Wendy should be able to do likewise." . Frank's expression had cracked open, and his wounded trust spilled out over his face. He wasn't crying, but may as well have been. He needed calmness to exercise his talents, and it had been torn away.

"Wendy's job is portable, Frank, nurses are in demand everywhere. I don't know what's going to happen, ( but worst case you've got seven years of salable experience with us, and the severance package would probably be enough to get you restarted." Frank's face ossified into pale marble, which Cliff knew meant heavy thought. He said noth-

41

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


on Monday. The paperwork on Faulkes' desk could have been attended to after lunch, but Faulkes liked to keep servants waiting. Cliff began talking to Yolanda, Faulkes’ secretary. Five minutes later Faulkes emerged, ignoring Yolanda. "Let's go," he said, and started off "I'll do whatever I can, Frank. You know that." toward the elevator without another word, assuming Cliff would fall in behind. Which he did. The call from Wendy came at a quarter to five, Faulkes kept up a string of questions while right after her shift at the hospital. "Cliff, can they rode down the elevator and walked several you talk?" blocks. Regional performance; expenses; comCliff got up from his desk, walked over to his petitive sales tactics. Cliff had prepped for the office door and shut it. "Now I can." mobile interrogation and rattled back answers. "What in hell did you say to Frank? He's tellOnce seated in the restaurant Faulkes oring me we may lose the house, may have to dered a glass of white wine and Cliff echoed the move…" Cliff could hear Wendy snuffling back order. Cliff knew that the upscale midtown Mantears, choking a little. Then her voice toughened. hattan restaurant would serve at most a third of "You need to do everything you can—" a glass, as if the wine were too valuable for cus"Already am, Wendy. You have to know how tomers. much I want you to stay—" Faulkes started in before the wine-delivering "So we can keep banging each other." waiter had completely turned back around. "So, "You don’t need to tear us down. I just don't Cliff. You recommended we hire Frank. I just want to lose you. Or Frank of course." wanted to let you know that I'm firing him." "Of course. What should I do? Get an ugly Cliff nodded. "He doesn't work for me, but I divorce like yours so we can live together and hear his evaluations have always been okay, and begin to hate each other? With Frank as a spec- he has helped us avoid several pitfalls." tator?" Faulkes waved his hands impatiently. "Yes, "Not fair, Wendy. Should we meet someyes, but I don't retain adequate. Besides the where?" plant managers have been calling me. Frank has "Like the motel? Not a chance." Her anger been warning their staffs of all sorts of problems. subsided. "Cliff, I'm sorry. I-We- oh damnation, He's supposed to be on a team building exercise, what are we going to do?" for Christ's sake. And he gives me an unpleasant Cliff sighed. "The best we can. I see Faulkes feeling, like he's always second guessing me but on Wednesday. Maybe he keeps Frank on after not saying anything. And we save a hundred all." fifty thousand in salary and benefits. I'll be doing "Do you really think so?" it next week." "I don't know, maybe not. Best not to get your hopes up." "You're right, of course, John. Frank has the "Goodbye, Cliff." personality of a screech owl. But before we disWednesday morning at a quarter to twelve, Cliff card him, there's maybe a way for him to make money for us." walked to Faulkes' office, the largest room on Faulkes blinked. He wouldn't shut Cliff down the floor, filled with massive mahogany furniture until he saw if there was money to be made. "Go and trophies from corporate wars. ahead." "Frank has some personality deficiencies, no question. But he's brilliant with analysis and deFaulkes was of the closed door school of tail, and almost a fortune teller in warning us of management, and Cliff knocked softly and then potential problems." cracked open the door. "John, I'm ready when "All of which people ignore because he's so you are." annoying." "Give me a couple minutes." Cliff pressed on. "Right now, contracts are Cliff shut the door and stood outside it, thinking he must look as awkward as Frank had drafted by each sales person, who's also responing for half a minute, a disconcerting habit that Cliff was accustomed to. "No, Cliff." His tone was sad but neutral. "We would have real problems. The house, expenses, our life together. We need your support in this."

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

42


He's your friend, shouldn't you let him go so he can find a place where he'll develop?" "He wants to stay." Faulkes set down the wine glass. "Write it up and let's see what the numbers look like." "You'll have a draft by Friday." Cliff spent the afternoon pulling data in for Faulkes' report. At 6:30 he shut down the laptop and stared sightlessly across the room.

caseq.info

sible for policing his own sales, expenses and forecasting." "So?" "Picture for a second that we make Frank the manager of all that." "How does that save us anything?" "The sales people sell rather than administer, which means increased sales. The contracts are uniform and more binding, and the sales people can't as easily fiddle with the sales estimates and expenses. They hate doing this paperwork anyway, so morale would improve. And we get to keep using Frank's early warnings." "But people hate him." "Frank would report to me, and I would be the interface with the regions, sending Frank out once or twice a month for on-site inspections. I'd also pass along any of his warnings that seemed credible." Faulkes smiled, an unusual occurrence. "Aren't you the slippery little shit. That would make you the corporate enforcer. It's still too expensive." "I think it's a money maker, and as a bonus you can lose a body in accounting. We could give it a try for a year. If it doesn't save us more than his salary I'll fire him myself." Faulkes twirled his wine glass by the stem while he thought. "You know what you're doing to Frank, don't you? It's a boring, dead end job.

Cliff picked up the desk phone and dialed Frank's home number. "Oh, hi Wendy, is Frank there?" "No, he's out at the store. Tell me what happened at the meeting!" "I need to tell Frank first, but I think there’s a decent chance he can stay on in a different role, at the same salary." "Thank God." "Ask him to call me on my cell when he gets in?" "Of course." "And Wendy…" "Yes?" "I think Frank is leaving Sunday for the Montrose plant?" "Yes." "Would it be all right to get together for lunch on Monday?" Wendy started to speak, paused, and started again. "Lunch and? No, it’s not all right. It’s never ‘all right.’ But I suppose I should, for services rendered. Oh, hell, Cliff, that was bitchy. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to do about us. We need to talk about it on Monday.

43

GOLD DUST Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


The Painter Brush in hand can be history’s weapon. Battles are oil paint on god’s fingers. Heroic soldiers hold the last dip of oil. The Oil Cross is awarded oil-humously. Figures last centuries, Even if buried as a poor inheritance, Dug up to reveal the depth of paint. We now guard the heroic soldier in museums. Eyes never blink in bright lights. We do as if March is a new battleground. Other soldiers rub together, vanishing. We are all colours of the same brush, Though a few paint as foreigners. I am unrecognisable by my family. Where’s granddad? He’s lost. Laughter. No search of oils. I’m not even a petrol price. There is a flicker at the mention of petrol. I raise my head from oils. To show neither of us has dried yet. To show a residue you can’t forget. An apple is a romantic painting. No rot appears on the skin of centuries. Mould washes away affectionately. People pay a fortune for the apple. Oil talks to us as irony. Apple sexually arouses a few. The skin is bitten in excitement. Bear with me, I say, and bare you do, Other that in the lock of a ring, And the temperance of leather shoes. I march through cities as an Oilist. Exhibitions show a dry period People drink to lessen the odour of oils. Acrylics lessen addiction worries. Oil permeates rituals and ceremonies. Do you promise to love, honour and oil? I do. Oils in pig clothing skin for you. We acknowledge each other’s frame truly. I paint laughter, only to find oil withdrawal. Spirits vanish in the spoil of oils.

Gary Langford

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

44


News Roundup by David & Adele DAVID: Have you ever noticed books offered, often secondhand, on Amazon and similar sites at prices rivaling those you might expect to pay for a First Folio edition of a Shakespeare play? I came across a paperback copy of a novel entitled by Michael Gira offered for sale on Amazon Marketplace for £2,058.99! A more recent search brought up a used copy for a mere £391.23. So what on earth puts something by an unknown (at least to me) author into this kind of price bracket? It turns out that the book is a cult ultra-gross short story collection illustrating the ugliest and most depraved kinds of human behaviour imaginable to a diseased mind. An Amazon reviewer says: “don't read this one if you are having trouble with recurrent nightmares, or phobias, or are inhibited about sexual fantasies, or believe that everyone should just be happy and love each other. This is twisted sick stuff, incredibly powerfully delivered.” Fair enough, it’s of some interest, if only to clinicians, but the amazing thing is that a very perfunctory Google search brings up a completely kosher and totally free download of the entire book in PDF format for anybody who wants to click the link. They don’t even ask for your email address to send you spam: https://drop.me/Byvjjo. So if anybody would like to read it I would be interested to receive your review for the next edition of Gold Dust. I tried but retired early to save myself from further punishment. And please don’t pay that £391.23!

Science fiction writer Geoff Nelder has just published in PDF format a bedtime story for 3 - 6 year-olds that sets out to explain a little bit about

FE AT UR

E

what tornadoes are and why they happen. As a recent grandfather and a dyed-in-the-wool scientific rationalist I have been looking around for factual books suitable for the very young that don’t encourage magical thinking about how the world works. Although there are many out there the language level of three-yearolds is seldom really catered for. is the exception. No doubt screen publication is the way to go for the future too. The download (10 pages) costs £0.77 from payhip.com/b/2aj3.

ADELE: News from BTS Books: 'Between These Shores Literary & Arts Annual' is rapidly nearing completion and this is an 11th hour call for submissions to all Gold Dust readers and writers. The deadline for all subs is August 31, so if you haven't already done so, there is still time to send your poetry, stories, creative non-fiction, graphic illustration and photography. For full submissions guidelines, email deepoceanfish1@aol.com. Gold Dust illustrator Slavko Mali will be featured artist in Issue 1 of BTS Annual with a full spread interview, his own flash fiction stories and many of his evocative illustrations throughout. BTS Books is also having a limited time sale of $5.00 / £3.00 (plus shipping) for poetry collection 'Riding The Wave' by New York author and illustrator Lorraine C. Brooks (reviewed in GD by David Turner). For order details email BTSBooks2007@aol.com . Paypal Accepted.

GOLD DUST 45

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


About the Contributors

Poetry

regular Essayist for rial intern for

James Bell - has published two poetry collections (2008) and (2010), both from tall-lighthouse.co.uk. He lives in Brittany where he contributes articles and photography to an English language journal and continues to publish poems nationally and internationally with recent print appearances in , , , , and

, and A she is also edito-

Gary Langford is the Australasian writer of 39 books, including 16 works of fiction and 15 collections of poetry. There is also a CD of him reading his poetry, produced in Christchurch just before the quake for an English company, (www.poetryarchive.org) His latest books are (Xlibris) www.xlibris.com.au, Authors Press, India) www.authorspress.com and his fifth story collection, RP, 2017). Gary writes and paints in Melbourne and Christchurch.

Robert Beveridge makes noise at xterminal.bandcamp.com and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearanc, , and , es in among others.

Dave Lewis is from Pontypridd, south Wales. He has always lived in Wales except for a year in Kenya. He has been a newspaper columnist, written sports stories for the BBC, runs several websites, including Publish & Print and has been published in numerous magazines all over the world. In 2007 he set up and launched the Welsh Poetry Competition; aimed at discovering new writing talent in Wales. The contest is now in it’s 10th year. He published his first poetry , in March 2009. He has pubcollection, lished eleven books to date, including three successful crime thrillers. For more info. visit his website – www.david-lewis.co.uk

Samuel Bridge is a twenty-three year old Cornish poet with an undergraduate degree in English and Creative Writing. His work has been previously featured in literary magazines including and also online at

Luigi Coppola is a teacher and poet living in London. His poems have or will appear in: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and . He has a website – www.bit.do/luigicoppola – with some of his pubDenny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction lished poetry. published. Denny draws with both pen and computer Robert Dunsdon was first published in 1974, since and started writing fiction in 2011. Recent credits #18, winter when his work has appeared in magazines, newspa- include poetry in 2017 and artwork in , fall 2016 and pers and reviews including, amongst others, , fiction at . See more at , , , , www.dennymarshall.com and . Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois lives in Denver and has had poems and fictions published in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, The Best of the Net, and Queen’s Ferry Press’s Best Small Fictions for work published in 2011 through 2015. His novel, , based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available on Kindle, Nook and in a print edition. To see more of his work Google “Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois”. Kate Jones is a freelance writer and Yogini based in the UK, with writing appearing in many online and print publications, including Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

Maxine Rose Munro grew up in the Shetland Islands. She now lives just outside Glasgow and see’s herself as an islander adrift. When she writes she tries always to tell the stories created by the edges of life. Her work has appeared in , , and . James Osborne has written six short stories and a few small poems. One of his stories was published in 2015 as part of the anthology with other members of the Harrow Green Community Library Creative Writing Group (available on Lulu.com). He also wrote for the student newspaper while at univer-

46


sity. He writes mainly in the fantasy genre and lives in East London.

Jean Duggleby has lived in Walthamstow since 1989 and has always lived in East/North London, except for three years in Hong Kong as a young James G Piatt, a retired professor and octogenarian, woman. She has retired from primary school teachis a Pushcart and Best of the Web nominee, and his ing, a field in which she eventually specialised in poems were published in of teaching deaf children. Her interest in writing short 2015 & 2014 Anthologies. His relatives, John James stories began very recently as a result of going along Piatt and Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt, were prolific poto a Creative Writing class, initially to make the tea ets who wrote their poetry in the eighteen hundreds. at break time (!) where she discovered a passion for Their poetry has inspired much of his style of poetry. writing and became instantly prolific. Jean ‘mines’ He has published 3 collections of poetry, her own life experiences for ideas, as do we all, but (2012), , (2014), and would like to point out that her actual plots are high(2016), and over 900 poems in magazines such as ly fictionalised. She likes walking, gardening, travel, , , , cinema and is a teacher of circle dancing. , , , , , , , Daffni Percival is a writer, translator and poet. , , , and Born in 1932, she trained as a nurse and worked in numerous others. childcare till invalided out. Took an honours degree in Russian as a mature student, and then spent 15 Alexander Prior was born in Dorset and is currently years running an International Centre in Exeter and studying in Europe. He writes Poetry and short fiction. simultaneously teaching English as a Foreign Language to make ends meet. Moved to North Wales in M Spence was born in Manchester, England. She 1985. As well as writing poetry in English, she has read literature as an undergraduate at The University translated poems from both Russian and of Manchester, where in 2009 she completed her MA Welsh. Has always read and written poetry but only in creative writing. Her first collection, , was started to submit and publish since moving to Wales. published last year. Her adoptive country has become her muse. She shares her home with three border collies, three pet A Paul Vaughan is a Yorkshire poet and connoisseur of fine cheese. His work has appeared or is forthcom- sheep and about a dozen ducks. Partially retired, she still teaches Russian, French and Welsh crash coursing in and numerous online journals. He also edits the poet- es from time to time in her ancient stone farmhouse. ry e-zine

.

Phil Vernon lives in Kent, and works in London for an overseas charity. He started writing poetry again in 2012 after a twenty-year break. Whereas in the past his poems were mostly written in free verse, he now embraces more formal forms, and finds this means his words and ideas surprise him more often. His poems have appeared in , , and the , and he was short listed and commended for the 2015 Ealing Autumn Festival Magna Carta and 2016 Binsted Festival Prizes.

Prose Jeff Haas’ recent publications include a flash in , four poems in , and a short story, flash, and poem in .

Wayne Dean-Richards has had over a hundred stories published in magaziines, in anthologies – including 's own – and in two collections, – is still available as an ebook one of which – from Amazon. He says that like Charles Bukowski, the words he writes keep him sane. Wayne’s homepage is at www.waynedeanrichards.com. Heather Walker lives on the borders of South West London and writes flash fiction, short stories and poetry. She has been published in a number of small press magazines and anthologies as well as online, including and . She came second in The New Writer Prose & Poetry Competition, 2013 (single poem category) and her short stories have been short listed by and . Her story was published by in issue 30. Lindsay Boyd is a writer, personal carer and traveller still waiting for his boat to come in. Originally from outside Melbourne in Australia, he has published and self-published, poetry, articles, stories, memoirs and novels. He also writes screenplays and has made a number of low-budget films. When not emulating his poetic heroes, among them Dos-

Dan Topiol was born in Paris, France, on May 12, 1992. He later lived in England and then Florida. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Science at The University of Florida, then moved to California to pursue a writing career and study theater. This is his first literary publication. 47

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


toyevsky, Hesse, Kazantzakis and Cavafy, he likes to rub shoulders with marginalised people and look after gardens, pets and houses he does not own. While no reflection on his attention span in maths classes at school, he long ago lost count of his publications and the number of countries he has been in.

, many other journals.

,

, and

Omma Velada read languages at London University, followed by an MA in translation at Westminster University. Her short stories and poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. In 2004 she founded magazine. She is a Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in member of the writing group Storyshed and her first foreign intelligence and international sales. He has novel, (UKA Press, 2004), his original wife, but advises that after forty-nine received critical acclaim. She has also published a years they’re both out of warranty. His labour of short-story anthology, (Lulu affection is at , where he sits on the review board and manages a posse of five review Press, 2006). editors. Ed’s had a hundred forty stories and poems published so far, and a series of articles on fly fishing. Adele C Geraghty claims dual citizenship in both the US and the UK. Beside a lifetime dedication to His collected fairy and folk tales, was published by Gypsy Shadow Press. His no- the written word, she is also an illustrator and graphvella was published by World Cas- ic designer. She is the recipient of the 'US National Women's History Award for Poetry and Essay' and tle Publishing, and his collected fantasy and horror author of 'Skywriting in the Minor Key', a poetry colstories, was published by Gnome lection. Adele is a member of the New York ensemble on Pig Press. Ed’s currently working on a 'The Arts Soire' and the writing site UKAuthors.com. paranormal/thriller novel tentatively titled She is Publisher and Editor of BTS Books and creator of 'Between These Shores Literary & Arts Annual'. Adele's work has been published in numerous anthologies, magazines and journals, and performed on radio in both her countries. facebook.com/BTSBOOKS.

Features

David Gardiner – ageing hippy, former teacher, now retired, living in London with partner Jean. As well as stories in magazines, anthologies and newspapers he has four longer published works, (a science fiction novel), (short story collection), (short story collection) and Catherine Edmunds is an artist and writer from (novel). The latter has been used as the basis North-east England. She has appeared as a contestfor a stage musical whose creation is described in ant on Sky Arts ‘Portrait Artist of the Year’ and sells this issue of . Interests include science, her art worldwide. As a writer, she has four novels and a Holocaust memoir in print, has been twice nom- philosophy, psychology, scuba diving, travel, wildlife, inated for a Pushcart Prize, three times short listed in cooking, IT, alternative lifestyles and communal living. Large, rambling homepage at davidgardiner.net. the Bridport, and has been published in , I. W. Smythe (a pseudonym) is an author who, mainly under this name, has also written literary and musical reviews and book endorsements for fifteen years. Among others, her work has appeared in (UK) and (US).

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017

48


49

Gold Dust

issue 31

summer 2017


Gold Dust ~ Issue 31 ~ summer 2017  

Issue 31 of Gold Dust, the twice-yearly magazine of poetry, short stories and features. Founded in 2004 by Omma Velada, Gold Dust has achiev...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you