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vortex 2008 Edition


Welcome to the 2008 edition of VORTEX, the University of Winchester student writing magazine. As regular readers of the magazine will no doubt realize, we have increased the size of VORTEX by 33%, which is both an indication of the health of the publication and also the study of creative writing at the University. At present there are approaching 300 students studying writing at Winchester from undergraduate through to PhD levels, and more than 400 more studying English, both language and literature. This represents a substantial cohort engaged in the study and production of various forms of written texts, which goes a long way to explaining the impressive range of submissions the Editorial Board of VORTEX has read this year, prior to making its final selections. This edition of the magazine is noteworthy for another reason also. Because of the success of VORTEX over the last few years, we have decided that the time is right to accept submissions from students beyond the University of Winchester, in fact studying in any other British/Irish university. This can be fiction, poetry, script, or creative non-fiction. For further details of the submission process, turn to the back of this 2008 edition. All of us teaching creative writing at Winchester hope this will prove to be an exciting development in VORTEX’s history, further enhancing the magazine’s reputation and status. Finally, many thanks to the Editorial Board, whose diligence underpins the whole editorial process. In particular, especial appreciation to Judith Anderson, whose proof-reading skills are as invaluable as they are impressive. Enjoy the magazine, and we look forward to receiving your submissions over the coming year. Neil McCaw Editor

Editorial Board Judith Anderson Amanda Boulter Carole Burns Andrew Melrose

Mark Rutter Julian Stannard Judy Waite


Contents page 02... page 03... page 04... page 06... page 10... page 11... page 12... page 14... page 16... page 17... page 18... page 22... page 24... page 26... page 31... page 32... page 33... page 34... page 37... page 38... page 40... page 42... page 44...

Will Collins, ‘Ehs View’ Will Collins, ‘Pond Life’ Will Collins, ‘Thi Forist’ David Owen, ‘David Owen’ Paul Murphy, ‘The Messiah of Toadstools’ David Owen, ‘Eight Easy Pieces’ Rachel Rivett, ‘Maya’ David Owen, ‘Let it Thunder to the Tune of Greensleeves!’ Deborah Bates, ‘Isosceles’ Fiona Boyle, ‘Cheating Angel’ Richard Till, ‘The Act’ Beatrice Murphy, ‘The Poet Atop the Moon’ Beatrice Murphy, ‘The Poet Has Returned to Earth’ Jenni Osbourne, ‘Perfect Way to Start the Day’ Beatrice Murphy, ‘Instead of Grabbing the Heartburn Tablets’ Claire Gradidge, ‘Boudicca’s Hare’ Claire Gradidge, ‘Mordant’ Matt Elphick, ‘The History and Nature of Horologias’ Kass Boucher, ‘Coming’ Yasmin Hafiz, ‘Bite the Bullet’ Yasmin Hafiz, ‘Rites of Passage’ Rachel Rivett, ‘Waiting’ Yasmin Hafiz, ‘You Are What You Eat’


Ehs View Will Collins

wit eh luvs aboot bein mental iz thi freedom ay speech wit eh hates aboot bein mental iz thi way thi wordz git stuk wit eh luvs aboot thi condition iz thi income support munni wit eh hates aboot thi condition iz thi eighty quid a week bugit wit eh luvs aboot thi life iz thi free hoose wit eh hates aboot thi life iz thi shite location wit eh luvs aboot thi pills iz they chill im right oot wit eh hates aboot thi pills iz they make im fat wit eh luvs aboot it iz no workin wit eh hates aboot it iz gettin bored wit eh luvs aboot it iz eh lives in ehs ain wee bubble wit eh hates aboot it iz ehs cut oaf fae thi world wit eh luvs aboot it is thi fresh perspective wit eh hates aboot it iz naebody else kin see it wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi voices keep ehm cumpni wit eh hates aboot it iz thi voices tell ehm whit tae dae wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi attention eh gets wit eh hates aboot it iz thi sections they slap on ehm wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi fact its no cancer wit eh hates aboot it iz thi suicide attempts wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi up up ups wit eh hates aboot it iz thi doon doon doons wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi intensiti wit eh hates aboot it iz thi flatness

02

wit eh luvs aboot it iz thi frogs in thi hallway wit eh hates aboot it iz theyre no real wit eh luvs aboot it aiwiz huz a dark n selfish tinge


Pond Life Will Collins

A frog is reading a book of fairytales as flies bounce on the surface of a pond.

The frog is not assuming a human position, slouched against a sycamore as he would in animated form.

He’s a real frog, perched on a rock, moist skin shimmering in sunlight, yellow eyes studying pages.

A leg is dipped briefly into the water to prevent overheating; with great difficulty he turns each page using his nose and webbed hands.

After he reads the final tale he slips into the water and considers what he’s read. Stories pass through his mind as the sun scorches away a cloud.

That night, in a sea of tadpoles, he dreams of a princess to kiss.

03


Thi Forist ahll take ye fur a walk eh announced fae thi blue a walk in thi forist tae show ye whit it’s like

wi stood at thi foot ay a stony narra path under a canopi a ten thousand trees wi pointi tops then eh looked at mi, reassuring likes, so ah took ma first tentative steps inside

wur goin fur a walk eh said as wi paced forwards ah walk in thi forist tae show ye whit it’s like

ah walked fur eons along a stoni trail, ehs veteran status emboldened mi thi canopy grew deeper n denser, blockin oot thi light then, wi ehs hand in front ay ma eyes, eh spun mi roon n roon n roon eh wiz gone whin it stopped, leavin mi standin alone, astonished

so should ah take masel fur a walk ah felt ah hud tae ask a walk in thi forist tae experience whit it’s like?

04


Will Collins nut knowin whit way wiz backwardz ur forwardz ah startit walkin, searching for some sorty egress vulnerable, gelid, famished, fatigued n stranded aw ah could do wiz tae hope ahd bi rescued

this izny jist a walk ah began tae realise ah walk in this forist tae show mi whit it’s like

ah came upon an elderli man, wi mottled skin, sat beside a glowin fire munchin meat n berries, wi a hot drink in ehs abraded mitt ah begged n pleaded fur him tae help mi escape, pleaded earnestly oan deef earz then eh told mi tae take a good long look it masel, n ah saw ah wiz naked

ahll take ye fur a walk eh announced fae thi blue a walk in thi forist tae show ye whit it’s like

ah hud tae run n hide, hide masel in shame ah hid masel undergroun, till eh came along tae rescue mi n tell mi thit ah should say thanks cause eh showed me as best eh could exactly whit it’s like

eh took mi fur a walk thit ah didnae ask fur ah wiz blithe till wi met till eh showed mi whit it’s like

05


David Owen Death of an Author: The Autobiography of David Owen, written in the voices of Roland Barthes, Sigmund Freud, T.S. Eliot and Frank Zappa Chapter 1 – Who the fuck is David Owen? I weep for Adonais – he is dead! Oh weep for Adonais, though our tears Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head! And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers, And teach them thine own sorrow, say: ‘With me Died Adonais; till the Future dares Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be An echo and a light unto eternity!’ (From ‘Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley) I have dipped my pen in consuming fire, but the style will be calm and solemn. He did not heed Belladonna, the Lady of the Rocks, the lady of situations. A crowd gathered over London Bridge, so many, to see the fisherman’s trawl, the corpse disturbed from its bed. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. No Byron or Hunt to tend his funeral pyre, only the hardened fingers of police man or woman, hooded like Emmaus to pull him to the brown land. Death by water. Consider David, who was once handsome and tall as you. At the age of seven, David almost drowned in the bathtub. He was playing a game that saw him swimming the English Channel, on a mission from the government to infiltrate a group of French smugglers. On his own later admission, he had been holding his breath underwater to avoid the interest of an enemy tanker. He overreached himself, but was most fortunately pulled from the water by his mother just as he lost consciousness. It was during this period of unconsciousness that David experienced dreams of a Christlike nature; he saw himself holding dominion over the rivers and lakes, the oceans and the rain. He walked on the surface of the water as easily as if it were carpet. Awaking a short while later in an ambulance, he told his mother of this dream. She would not let him near any deep water for three years afterward. David would never again play his secret agent bath game. That’s not all Davey-boy found to do in the bath. When he was eleven David was caught jacking off in the tub by his sister. It took him that long to discover why his dick would go hard in his pants when he looked at his smoking hot teacher. Gee whiz, was he embarrassed that he’d gathered all


his buddies round and waggled his tent pole at them. Things had got better since then though, about five knuckles and a shuffle better. One might say that, like, his near-death experience in the bath made David feel an affinity with the place, a sexual attraction, and this is why he picked it out for a game of solo water polo. But that’s fuckin’ stupid. More likely he enjoyed guessing what countries his globules of cream cheese looked like. His near drowning was only the beginning of David’s fascination with water. He would sit by the local pond for hours, watching the fish beneath the surface with envious eyes. On a family trip to the ocean when he was nine years old, he spent the entire day standing ankle deep in the brine, moving with the tide. Aged ten, on a fishing trip to a nearby lake, he glued plastic washing-up bowls to his shoes and claimed he would walk across the water’s surface to the other side. He would always demand to have the biggest ‘Super Soaker’ water gun Woolworths had in stock. But he had reached the limit of his play. Soon he was old enough to realise that reality, the need for oxygen in his lungs, was not going to give him the connection with water he so desired. It is at this point in David’s life, when the boundaries of reality were besieged by phantasy, that he began to write. David a copié jamais tant de choses quand il était un garçon. - Sa première masturbation est venue à la suite de l’instruction de son ami. - Il a cassé les pots de sa mère et les casseroles imitant le monstre jouant du tambour ‘The Muppets’. - Il a copié d’un long passage de la Bible de ses enfants illustrés, en changeant le nom ‘de Jésus’ à ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ et réclamé cela pour être son propre travail. Donc David doit avoir vu quelqu’un d’autre sauter dans la Tamise, dans la vie réelle ou sur la télévision, n’est ce pas? Non, non, ce doit être parce qu’il a noyé presque une fois comme un enfant. Evidemment il a voulu finir le travail! Savons-nous à coup sûr que Shelley s’est noyé parce que quelques critiques méchants n’ont pas aimé son travail? Ou juste parce qu’il a admiré les poètes de lac si abondamment il est senti aime s’est un petit plus près à eux? David doit avoir noyé parce qu’il a rêvé une fois de quelque eau, et était un morceau amateur de lui pour sa vie entière. Il n’y a pas d’hasard qu’il aurait pu glisser sur l’exclusion malade-placé d’un grand chien, frapper sa tête et allé en dessous, ni qu’une famille de rats d’une manière ou d’une autre a pris la prise de son mort-roulé de lacets et crocodile lui dans. It was not Croker that doomed David to the depths, nor the crushing weight of fame’s monument. His breast was not forged of such penetrable stuff. For his work was not seen by periodical or publisher, never immortalised in print. He was an admirer of many but friend of none. No success did he find from his work. No faces gazed raptly from behind their coffee cups at readings. No Pilgrim of Eternity cast his favoursome eye over David’s own ‘Christabel’. But the millennium is still in swaddling bands. The generation that has lost David toils over its potions still. Soon Cronos shall fall, and his children will divide the kingdom amongst them. The blood of the past beating in their veins shall soon stain their hands. Lazarus shall not return to warn his fathers, but rise to take his place with the Hashshashin. Then he shall be amongst the English poets.

07


The crux of the biscuit is that he’s dead. In the ground, clogs popped, worm buffet. He ain’t coming back. But that doesn’t mean we have to forget him. It’s not just the English fruits that should remember this guy, but Mr. America too. He always dreamed of visiting the land of the free. How many oceans’ worth of wet dreams do you think he had about sailing across the Atlantic pond? But wowie zowie, he was snatched away. And oh! so young. No man in the prime of his life deserves that, it isn’t the American way! Least of all when it happens to a Christian. There he was every Sunday, front and centre of the little English country church. Maybe he even wore a little tie. He never missed a second of school, loved his extra-curricular activities, got straight As in every subject! He ate fish finger sandwiches every lunch break and cried at the Queen’s speech every year. Such a budding young man, such a budding young American in his spirit. Not even Schwarzenegger could be more apple pie! But the cookie crumbles, the piecrust gets burnt and he dies. And so mysteriously he dies! All we have left of him are the things he wrote, a hard drive full of tender poetry, sweeping stories and concealed pornography. If only somehow the world could see his work. He could see Mr. America from the back of a publisher’s delivery truck. Then the beautiful memory would never fade. Leno, O’Brien, Oprah, only you can realise the dreams of one so young. Sto procerus in presentia of giants, permissum lemma animadverto subluceo of vestri frons, quod ut vos recubo in nox noctis tentorium excrete in suum visio iam. The pantheon of artists whose bones are picked in whispers by the sea has one more disciple this day. So many under sleep where all the waters meet before the world could truly know them. Consider Percy Bysshe Shelley, saviour of Keats, dragged under by a tempest. Think of the lost lyricism of Theodore Roethke, the pioneer spirit in Brian Jones, the passionate soul of Jeff Buckley. But the writing is good! Please do not forget that the writing is good! It does not matter that he drowned, and it does not matter that we do not know why he drowned. Do not compare David to other writers who had nothing to do with him. Publish a volume with no preface, no notes, no mention of his death, and let the words be all we know of him. To detach David’s writing from his life would be a significant oversight, as it holds vital clues as to the nature of his death. The first poem he ever composed with serious intent, at the age of thirteen, simply entitled ‘You’, concerned itself with the practice of suicide. Soon afterward he composed an untitled short story in which a young father drowns his newborn son in a bathtub full of water. The connection to his own experience in the bathtub can not be ignored. As David developed as a writer we see the continuation of these themes. The poem ‘Two Tin Cans and a Twenty-pence Piece’, written at the age of sixteen, sees a young man caught between the choices of drowning or committing suicide by gunshot to the head.


He stared back up the pit he had dug: saw the distant porthole of failing light. The weight of the gun shifted, hand-to-hand, as the ocean started seeping in. (Unpublished) It is quite evident that David harboured a morbid fascination with drowning. There is little doubt that were he the young man in the poem he would opt to drown over a faster death by suicide. But the exposure of these phantasies in his writing, where he could know the sensation of drowning but never of death, was simply not enough; he had to experience it directly, or be destroyed by his own obsession. This is why the poetry he has left behind is so startling, dangerous, and intense; it pointed directly to his suicide. From the moment his mother rescued him from the bathtub thirteen years ago, David Owen was destined to drown. We shall not wake and find him famous overnight. But with this tome we add another spoke to the perpetual wheel and look windward. The sun has set and the reptiles crawl, but soon, like Adonais, he shall be projected amongst the immortal stars. The timeline smiles in favour of the biographies of the unknown and unappreciated. ‘Adonais’ gave rise to the fortunes of poor Keats. Lowell’s elegies to the destroyed of his generation, his friends and rivals, thrust them into the camera eye. Jade Goody and her peers keep their star aloft by the fiery pens of their critics. For nothing, they seize as much of the papers as the Great Birnam Wood lifted once again from its roots, and with biographies from their own pen they hide the fire of the stars, deceive crowds of people into walking the same ring, over and over, shrouded in brown fog. There is only so long before the circle breaks. Goody, Beckham, Hilton, who have so flattened a path across the grass, must come to its end. And what will follow in this downward tradition? Not even the rich, not even the fashionable, not even those who have endeavoured to appear on screens nationwide. The spiral will sink to the no-man, to he who has done nothing and become a corpse before the world knew him. These very words are ascending him so. Mental cases, purgatorial shadows, the awful falseness of set-smiling corpses. The morbid curiosities of blood-black minds sated with lives of tragedy. This is a new era of the writer, a new era of the celebrity, a new era of the no-man. This is the era of David Owen. Keep reading, folks. We got more stuff about water. We got a whole bunch more juicy stuff about puberty and girls. That always sells. Hell, there are even some pictures if you get bored. Flick to the centre. Yeah, that’s what he looks like if you’d forgotten after the front cover. Look at the fifth picture in. Yeah, it really is small as an acorn. Trust me, you’re in on the ground floor. There’s not a lot left before world domination. We are the brain police. You wouldn’t wanna be caught out of the loop, would ya?

08/09


Paul Murphy

The Messiah of Toadstools Everywhere mistranslations slow in coming, everywhere. A fenced in monologic, petrified, fossilised, heated, embalmed.

I am everywhere; I am Lucifer and Jesus, I am Nietzsche and Krishna I am Lenin and the Tsar for I am everywhere, a mistranslation of ‘tribe’, ‘fate’, ‘quest’, ‘invader’, a heated homonym - bark, there.

Shoehorn days, interminable string of invertebrates beached on a dank shoreline, scuttling life intensified to the pitch or key of yellow, red or green.

I am the Messiah of Toadstools and yet unevolved, riddlesome shorn of respect or fear like Schopenhauer’s baldness or Kant’s respect for orderliness or Nietzsche’s fear of heights or women.

An egg they said was unbreakable yet broken a thousand times dark mutterings of the Sybll intensified in my mind to a vista or flattened perspective surrounding an egg-shaped bay with roads made of horn.


Eight Easy Pieces A brawl between Eastenders and Corrie has broken out amongst the beds, fizzing like cats when the signal dips.

I cut an orange into eight easy pieces that Dad won’t eat because I’ve touched them.

He isn’t like a cancer patient in a soap, thumbs twiddling in a private room ‘til the extras turn him loose.

His face is torched and melted, hands like inflated latex gloves. It wasn’t him the first time

I looked round the curtain, just the dregs of him bald, anonymous, proud.

Why can’t your sister keep a job? Does your writing have any point? He moans a lot; he’s healthier than he thinks.

I talk rhetoric about the weather. He says he hears school children in the morning. The ward does not have any windows.

David Owen


Maya ‘What you got, littl’un?’ Maya froze in the shadows of the old warehouse, her hands tightening on the bundle of dirty sacking beneath her arm. ‘Aint nothing, Zed. Nothing much. Just taking it to the Chief.’ She clutched it to her, feeling the rough threads press into her skin. ‘Nothing, eh?’ Zed sat up slowly from where he was sprawled in front of the fire pit, his shadow leaning towards her. Even with his face in darkness Maya knew his eyes were hungry. ‘Well, if it aint nothing, it’ll be ok to show us, won’t it?’ Maya eyed him warily. They were all watching now. ‘No way, Zed!’ she burst out. ‘It’s mine, right. I found it. I fought for it and I won too.’ She held up her arm where a slice from a dirty blade had left an angry jagged wound, still oozing. ‘Paid for it with my blood, see?’ There were a few hisses. Maya grinned. Some of them had winced. She was blooded alright. No one could say she weren’t a fighter now. A low voice spoke from the shadows. One of the older girls. Fenn maybe. ‘You want to wash the heat out of that, Maya lass. So it don’t fester.’

12


But even as Maya nodded, stepped back, Zed was beside her, his fingers hard circles of pain on the bone of her arm. ‘You know the rules, littl’un. I’m the eldest. If there’s glory to be had, it’s mine. If it’s worth finding I found it and I’ll take it to the Chief.’ And even before she could cry out he grabbed the cloth, yanking it hard through her fingers so her skin burned. Maya felt the treasure fall away from her, fall through the loose sacking, fall towards the floor. Gods no, it mustn’t break, please don’t let it break. Quicker than thought she dived to catch it, her knees and elbows scraping on the dirty floor, her hands closing on the curved sides. ‘God’s teeth, girl.’ Zed stepped back, let out a slow whistle through his teeth. ‘What you found?’ It was like the egg of a giant bird, but also not like that. Beneath Maya’s hands the pale shell flickered and shone, as if a fire burned distantly in its depths; as if it held a ray of winter sun, a gleam of harvest moon. Such sweet light played and spread into the filthy room that for a startling moment, Maya glimpsed again the vision that haunted her: her mother bathed in the sweet light of a sacred grove, leaning towards her, her eyes anxious, her mouth moving in a silent, urgent message. What was she saying? Was it a dream or a memory? Maya gulped. Saw again the dirt and filth and shadows. The others were staring at her and in the shadows she suddenly saw the Chief. Felt his eyes burning into her. Maya blinked back the vision hard before it could betray her, suddenly sure of one thing. The treasure was hers. If they wanted to take it off her, well. She lifted her chin. Just let them try.

Rachel Rivett


David Owen

An ice-cream van slips through a downpour, chimes rattling to the tune of Greensleeves. It feels for the curb but does not stop; no child braves a dash through the rain.

Alas, my love, you do me wrong, To cast me off discourteously‌

Stranded shoppers breathe smoke into the hazy air, rub coats in shop fronts. Idly they sink fag ends, fingered and spent into greyed deadpan puddles.

Greensleeves was all my joy. Greensleeves was my delight‌


Forgotten washing sags under its burden of water, strains at the pegs that cling to the line like children tugging their mother’s sleeve, attention starved and thirsting for home.

Now I remain in a world apart, But my heart remains in captivity…

Thrown open by the steady insistence of rain, a recycling bank sputters to the brim, lifting wine bottles for a final toast as they come apart on concrete.

And even so, I still remain, A lover in captivity…

Littered and dog-fouled, an overgrown field purls in the wind, the shape of someone, pressed into the grass, shaken free as enough blue sky to make a sailor’s trousers finds the horizon.

For I am still thy lover true, Come once again and see me.

14/15


Isosceles School personified was Mr Williams. His cataract eyes were an ageing window into his soul, not unlike the ones on Level 5: Home Economics.

He taught me Mathematics, the hostile king of the ‘99 curriculum. Maths could shove it, I eloquently said. At 13, algorithms were as important to me as the skin on my grandmother’s semolina.

When John Jenkins stared at me in class, I couldn’t care less about improper fractions, or decimals, or the length of a triangle’s backside. Kissing + boys.

My Staedtler eraser was black from lead and my Pukka Pad jagged, like the inherited kitchen knife that lay in Mr Williams’ house. His suicide weapon of choice.

Deborah Bates


Cheating Angel The wing of a soul tipped the sun that tilted the earth. The moon smiled and a woman lit a candle for the baby she never saw.

17

Fiona Boyle


The Act

18

Trust is the basis of flying; you must trust your partner to catch you as you leave your lifeline, the trapeze. If your partner in the air is also your husband on the ground, that bond of trust must be stronger still. If the bond is broken, there will be a fall. Across the chasm dividing us, Cesare, my husband, dusts his hands with practised ease. He rolls his shoulders and the leotard stretches across his broad chest. Beside him stands Federico, his brother. Stripped to the waist, he is lighter, more lithe, a leopard to my husband’s lion. There was trust in the beginning. When I joined the act, I placed myself in Cesare’s hands. He moulded me. From a gauche young thing, he made me strong, confident and wise. This makes it sound so serious. It is serious now, a matter of life or death. At the beginning, however, it started with laughter: ‘What’s your name, little girl?’ Cesare asked. ‘Jane,’ I said. ‘Then I’m your Tarzan.’ He has always been an exacting taskmaster, my poor, deluded Cesare. We practise every day. In the beginning, my poor tired body was twisted and stretched until it grew strong. The bars were set ten feet from the ground, then twenty feet, thirty, until finally we were high in the arch of the big top. That first night, little pinprick faces stared up at us from the dark; the ringmaster’s scarlet coat a tiny drop of blood. Every night, suppressed gasps follow our flight but I scarcely register them. Once I mentioned the audience to Cesare. He didn’t answer at once but eventually asked: why do motor racing fans line the most dangerous corners? The applause is the thing, he added. At the end of the act, as we three retake our perches, the roaring applause makes stage smiles superfluous. Federico, Freddie to me, was the best man at our wedding. It was the way things were done. Freddie flies like no other; it is as if gravity forgets him. He is the same on the ground. Cesare is heavy on the ground, leaden, a dense ball of muscle and bone. This was apparent at our wedding. Cesare led me in the first dance, a strong, sure guide. For the second dance, Freddie swept me into his arms. The hall lights blurred, the music quietened and the faces of the crowd became a haze. I swear our feet never touched the floor. With hindsight, I wish I’d stayed rooted at Cesare’s side.


Richard Till

19 The act begins. Cesare and Freddie swing out together. I release my trapeze. Freddie snaps and turns and grasps my bar. Below, the crowd murmurs but this is nothing more than a warm-up. I fear that later tonight they’ll see an act they will never forget. After the wedding, we worked. The honeymoon came in the winter when the showgrounds closed. Cesare took me to his home in the mountains. The air was thin, the days were cold but we warmed the nights together. During the short daylight, we invariably walked to his parents’ house. Through wind and snow Cesare forged ahead, chin down, eyes half-closed, pitting his own elemental force against nature. Once inside the snug stone house, his father talked about the act and his mother talked about bambinos. I smiled at her questions but my thoughts drifted to Freddie. He was wintering in the south, by the sea, in the sun. Cesare swings out, inverts himself and hangs by his legs. He gains momentum and claps his hands together. Without hesitation, Freddie leaves my side. My smile doesn’t falter but my heart misses a beat. At the start of the season, we all meet at the first showground. Brother embraces brother and jokes are exchanged. Brother-in-law embraces sisterin-law and a silence falls on all three of us. Silence like the snow in the mountains – smothering all sound until the avalanche. As always, we train hard. Cesare is not happy however. He insists on low bars and a safety net. He complains that we need to improve the act; he nags about our movements; he says we are soft after the winter. When I catch my breath, I study these two brothers. The contrast is heightened this year: Cesare is as hard and as heavy as ever but his skin is like sheer white marble; Freddie is bronze, glowing from an African sun. Warmth emanates from him with furnace-like intensity. Idly I wonder why Cesare doesn’t melt from standing so close to this Apollo. Cesare is a pendulum swinging between us. He regulates and dictates our every move. He claps his hands and I fly to meet him. There is no sound except a grunt as he holds me above the distant earth. The arguments started with the new training regime. Some took place high above the ground; others we took to our caravan. Involve Jane more, she’s ready now, Freddie said. The crowd want to see


more of her. The crowd, Cesare snarled, know nothing. They know nothing of art; they are avvoltoio, vultures waiting for a fall. Cesare, come to bed, I whispered later. He doesn’t reply but I feel his bulk shifting beside me. When his passion has cooled, he speaks. I close my eyes to his lies but am startled by the result. Is there treachery in my heart as Cesare claims? I close my eyes and see only Freddie, the bronze sun god. Freddie stands beside me. Across the chasm dividing us, Cesare pants, his deep chest heaving with strain. A hand touches my waist. Through his touch, I can feel that Freddie is both calm and exhilarated; not exhausted as Cesare appears to be. Cesare looks across at us and his eyes burn yellow. Freddie removes his hand from my waist. Cesare gestures to the ringmaster. There is no response. He gestures again - a finger across his throat. The ropes to the safety net are cut and it lies flat upon the sawdust. Then I know it will be tonight. Tonight trust will be tested. My breathing quickens and then slows as I again feel Freddie’s hand. Hand-eye coordination is the bedrock of our craft: the crossover, gravity defying; the twist, disorientating; Freddie’s somersault, sheer madness. All take place high above the blank hard floor, the earthlings bound to their seats, the crimson splash of the ringmaster. Despite my premonition, our mantra holds true. The show must go on, it must. I believe it; Freddie lives it; Cesare is the product of generations who say it in the manner of a nun clicking rosary beads. Because the show must go on, I must trust Cesare. If I cannot demonstrate trust in my husband, we are finished and everything we have worked for is finished. I have to fly above the cruel, hard earth and trust he will catch me. The last movement of the act: Cesare claps his hands and I leave Freddie’s side. Husband and wife swing together and apart, gaining height and gaining speed. Can I see trust in his eyes? Is there trust in his grasp? A puff of white dust billows from his hands as he claps them. I release my bar and fall towards him. Without trust, we could never again fly together. I fall towards him and the crowd gasps; it is what they have paid to see.


sends shards of details down as well as huffing and puffing for more gastronomic delights as company.

He asks if flowers have been bought to be laid in his favourite boyhood tree, that there be minutely updates on BBC Radio 4 not FOX News or CNN or ITV of him sending his ageing mam lots of kisses and a few to his toddler, to whom he has not given a name, but none to his agent, cashing in on this ‘extraordinary venture’, nor the university students who will study him later.

With spaghetti, ravioli and more beans drunk down with brown sauce, the poet claims to see moon animals and the Earth weeps and burns and shrieks for their aid but the poet is satisfied with his tumbling rock; ‘he has burnt out his tin-can Major Tom’.

22


Beatrice Murphy

Every letter back to the poet’s wife is made up of hums and photographs, the name of Blake scrawled into the craters and mini-valleys.

Heinz have lost control of their test, the Queen cannot reason with her subject, the poet on the moon is raving, naked, with a mop for a lover and several tonnes of baked beans. He threatens to paste the moon orange. He suggests they move the Earth further away so they can leave him be.

He churns his imagination daily although he has far beyond forgotten the use of a pen. The root of his distress is his lost paper;

‘What good is it being a poet, lamenting with a pencil, when no one can read about your exertions?’

23


and is met off his flight by Valentino who forces him to wear a green velvet suit, decorated with brocade and Dutch buttons.

Ushered into an empty music studio, his ears are glued to the last tape player kept on the planet as he listens to the sounds of his son’s life.

When did time become so uncaring towards me? But only 30 year old Maria Callas answers, tweezers in hand for eyebrow plucking.

The remnants of the poet’s moon camp are displayed before Her Majesty and he stands in the background, gripping back his wants with his front teeth as his beloved is whisked away to be converted into matches and paper towels.

He ducks out and onto the street to attempt to reconnect with his species, but at a bus stop, by the Winchester Guildhall, he begins to wail.


Autumn leaves perceive and tut at his hysterical arm waving; they are the only signals of life left for him to spot aside from the intense moments of agony expressed towards dental bills and visits.

He ceases to look up at the heavens until the night he finds himself homeless. So (somehow) he finds a shotgun to put two bullet holes in a Heinz billboard; one above the name and one below. The bottom shot strikes his wife through the chest, as he intended, the higher shot cuts so deep into the moon that flooding and gasps from the tides perpetually shake Britain for several years.

From clay and DNA, the poet’s son rises again. When did time become so uncaring towards me, Jeremy? The boy wears his father’s hat in the bath whilst the poet gorges his fill on his wife’s floral, Italian frocks.

Beatrice Murphy

25


Perfect Way to Start the Day

Jenni Osbourne

What is a dream? Disney tells us a dream is a wish your heart makes. Freud tells us dreams are the fulfilment of subconscious wishes. If so, then what the hell am I wishing for? I dreamed the dream again last night. It went something like this… Stomach rumbles. FOOD. I’m eating food. A meal. I can’t taste it and I only eat a few bites and I spill RUNNY eggs and I’m running, running away, petrified people scream and there are screams and screams and ICE CREAM I could really use an ice cream. It’s hot and I’m on a beach in my thickest winter jumper and people stare at me, then I’m naked. There are palm trees in the distance and a privet hedge trimmed in the shape of a rabbit. I run towards it, but my legs are stiff and sluggish and the running takes a long time. Like when I was at school, forced to run impossible distances, legs heavy as lead, each breath of air gasped for, fought for until the point where you think you’re about to throw up for lack of air, a punishment – running, still running away. Something is chasing me. A monster. The big scary monster which used to live under my bed when I was five, or in my WARDROBE. What am I going to wear tomorrow? TOMORROW. BREAKFAST. FOOD. I’m eating food! A meal I can’t taste. I eat it all, even the runny eggs. RUNNING. I’m running, running away from the monster and I STOP. I’m sitting. I’m in a café, watching television, on my sofa in my lounge in a café. News. The news is on. I never watch the news at home. At home. Danger in the home. Danger in the headlines. Fear. Something causing fear. The monster. Running, I’m running from the monster. In my lounge, in the café, watching the news, the monster in the headlines. Fear on the news. “Nothing to fear but fear itself.” FEAR. HERE. The monster is here. The monster is in the café in my lounge, on the television, in the room. People scream. A car backfires. GUNSHOT. Someone fires a gun. The monster is there. Screaming. Screaming. ICE CREAM. BEACH. HOLIDAY. I’m on holiday, in the caravan my parents rented, the same one they rented every year. It always smelled like moth balls - Celastrina argiolus – and there were never enough beds so I would always have to sleep on the sofa, trying to stay as still as possible, every tiny movement causing a cacophony of angry, rusty, worn-out springs. A man sitting on the sofa reading a newspaper. He gets up – scream of springs, worn springs, rusty springs – caravan rocking in the wind (roar of dragon) rain pelting on the roof like we were under fire – fire, roar of wind like roaring fire, scream of springs. Screaming people screaming. Fear. The monster. A man sat on the sofa, reading a newspaper. He gets up – scream of springs – goes to the cupboard and takes out a mug. Blue. Yellow ducks swimming

26


on it. Butterflies. Celastrina argiolus. He takes out the mug and throws it on the floor. I burst into tears. Toilet flushes. WATER. FLOOD. Floods of tears, the broken shards of the mug floating, the ducks swimming at the park, mid-teens, kicking a can, holding someone’s hand in a tentative, sweaty way, feeding the ducks – broken ducks, man reading newspaper, broken mug, crying, screaming springs, roar of wind. The monster. The monster is in the caravan – “Do you know what time it is? What time do you call this? Have you seen the time?” No. “You’re late! Why are you late? Do you know you’re late?” I’m not working tonight. “You’re always working! You work every night! Yes you are!” What time is it? BREAKFAST. FOOD. I’m eating food. A meal. I can barely taste it. I eat a few mouthfuls. I spill runny eggs down me. It burns, a sharp pain making my leg twitch. Ouch. PAIN. FEAR. The monster! The monster is in the caravan. The man breaks the mug. Crying, screaming, running. I’m running away out of the caravan. Into the café that is my living room. Sitting on a sofa in my living room. The television is on. Football results. Change the channel! The news. Monster in the headlines! The monster is in the café in my living room. Hide! Running, I’m running away. The monster is at the door so I run to the back, behind the counter is another DOOR – once when I was younger, I was playing tag in the house. It was raining – caravan, rocking, wind (roar of dragon) – we were bored of sitting inside. She decided on tag. I agreed. It all got a bit too much – “Calm down” – I ran into a door – “Silly child” – I cried floods of tears – FLOODS – broken mug, broken ducks, he broke my favourite mug, floods of tears, floods, caravan, monster, run, hide, DOORS. Behind the counter is a door. Not that one, the other. I run through the door. The door leads to my parents’ bedroom. The one at the old house. Three huge sliding doors take up the length of one wall behind which are shelves and shelves and rails of clothes. WARDROBE. Maybe that top… with a jumper… MORNING. BREAKFAST. FOOD. I’m eating food. It tastes like roast beef and strawberry yoghurt and black coffee and mashed potatoes and lamb curry and lemonade, and it’s so disgusting I can barely swallow it. I force down a few mouthfuls. I spit it out. It spills like runny eggs over my lap. It burns, a sharp pain making my leg twitch. PAIN. I ran into a door – “Silly child!” – MOTHER. WARDROBE. In my parents’ bedroom was a huge built in wardrobe hidden from view by three sliding doors. I used to hide there as a child, crouched in the dark at the back among the long, thick winter coats – winter jumper, beach, people looking, hiding – and the boxes of family photos waiting for an album to be bought. The dust would make my nose tickle. I would curl up as small as I could, silent as a mouse. In the dark. In the dust. Achoo! Hide and seek. SEEK. “You have to find it!” “Find what?” “Don’t act like you don’t know!” “I don’t!” “Go look for it! Quickly!”

27


Where is it? My bedroom looks like a bomb has gone off! I know it’s here somewhere, buried amongst the – I don’t know what I’m looking for – piles of laundry and rubbish and – but I know it’s of the utmost – utmost? – utmost importance that I find it – boxes that were never unpacked when I moved in – lazy – utmost? – it’s here somewhere, I sense it. Sixth sense. Six boxes. Box six? Where is box six? The one with the letter N on it, the number 23. …over the floor… Oh God I have to find it! Quickly – where is it? I empty box six-N-23 – over the floor. Mountain. Mountain of junk – looks like a bomb’s gone off! – falls out of the box. None of it is mine – mountain of junk – utmost? – “You have to find it!” Where is it? Box six-N-23. Mountain of …over the floor… junk – not here. What do you mean it’s not here? I said it’s gone! “Contestant number 6 come on down!” What? “Come on down!” I’m on television? Game show – high stakes – utmost? I can’t I have to find it, it’s of the utmost importance! Utmost? “Come on down!” No, I can’t! “Come on down!” No! Hmm? What? Nothing… FIND – SEEK – HIDE AND SEEK – HIDE! Hide from the monster! I run through the door. The door leads to my parents’ bedroom. Across the room is the wardrobe – three sliding doors – somewhere to hide. I run in and slide the door shut behind me. Crouching down I crawl to my old hiding place among the winter coats – rabbit hedge – and the photographs. I know the monster is in the room, just the other side of the door. I know he will find me if I don’t stay – curl up as small as a mouse – quiet. Door slams. SHH! SCREAMS! The first door slides open, the head of the monster appears. It’s too dark, it can’t see me. The second door slides open – “Count to ten!” “Ten… nine…eight…” – the head of the monster appears – “…seven…six… five…”- It is too dark, it can’t see me – “…four…three…two…” – The third door slides open, light fills the wardrobe. I’m face to face with the monster – “…one…” Face to face with the monster… I roll over in my sleep. Scratch my leg. Remove the book which was poking me in the leg. Roll back over. Where was I…? Stomach rumbles. FOOD. I’m eating food. Breakfast. Black coffee, burnt toast, runny eggs. No. I’m eating breakfast. Black coffee, golden toast cut into soldiers, boiled egg with the top off – “Don’t forget to let the fairy out the witch’s cave when you’re done!” – The perfect start to the day! Running, running. Why running? The monster? What monster? Screams and ice cream. Holiday. A beach! It was sunny but the wind was cold and I had a chill. I had to keep warm clothes on. I was laughed at. Naked, rabbit hedge. Hide. Legs sluggish – flip-flops and sand. Like at school. Long distance running, so painful it made you want to throw up. Throw up – Stomach ache. Stomach rumbles. FOOD. I’m eating breakfast. Black coffee, egg and soldiers. Perfect start to the day. I gobble it down greedily but it does not feed me – Running, something chasing me. The monster from under my bed when I was five…

28


What next? Sitting in a café. Watching television on my sofa, in my living room in the café. What’s on? Football scores? No. News? No. A soap opera repeat? Definitely not! Then what? MONSTER. The monster is here in my living room in the café…Caravan. The one my parents used to rent every year. I never liked the owner – the man gets up, the springs creak, he goes to the cupboard and takes out a mug. The blue one. With the yellow ducks swimming on it. Park. Duck. FOOD. Breakfast – coffee, egg and soldiers, perfect way to start the day. Gobble it down. It tastes a little salty. I’m thirsty – and the butterfly on the mug – Celastrina argiolus – He broke my mug! My favourite mug. And I was the one being shouted at! Screams and springs and – footsteps on the landing – Monster! The monster in my living room in the café in my house… “I said you’re late!” So what? “What did you say?” Who cares? “You’re fired!” Whatever! Screams and shouts and the monster in the caravan, in my house, in my living room, in the café. I spend too much time in the café. Terrible coffee – Black coffee, egg and soldiers – perfect way to start the day. Guzzle it down. Very salty. Need a drink. Ice cream. Screams and screams. Runny. Running. Running from the monster. Why? Running. The monster is in the café at the front door. I am at the back door. I run through it into my parents’ room. The one from the old house. With the wardrobe. Perfect place to hide. Phone rings. Who’s calling at this time of day? Call for help! The phone is by the door, where the monster will come any second now. Why not close the door? Slow the monster down. Close the door. Slow the monster down. So I can see him coming. Grab the phone. “Insufficient credit…” Must top up my mobile… Door begins to open. The monster! Drop the phone and jump over the bed. Hide between the wall and the bed. Looking up at the ceiling, waiting for the gnarled, pointy fingers of the monster to slowly creep round the edge of the bed. The sliding door of the wardrobe is mere feet away and I know I can get there if only I can distract the monster long enough to hide properly. DISTRACTION. The phone rings again. What time is it? I go. Roll forwards, crawl to the sliding door. Hide. The first door slides open. The monster’s head appears. It is too dark, it can’t see me. What time is it? I don’t want to run anymore. Is it time to get up? BREAKFAST. Coffee, egg and soldiers. I don’t want to run anymore. My hand knocks against something. My old tennis racket. I wonder where that is now…? My hand closes around it. I raise it above my head. Door two slides open. It’s too dark – the monster can’t see me. I should probably get up… Door three slides open. Did I sleep through my alarm? My grip tightens upon the racket’s handle. I’m not going to run. Can I smell toast…? I see the monster. I swing the racket… I wake up craving orange juice of all things. Where did that come from?

29


Instead of Grabbing the Heartburn Tablets I grabbed the chewable fruit multi-vitamins, So I crunched a few in my disgust As I patted the cat’s arse out of the way. And in my disoriented state, After dropping into my knee-high Wellingtons, I tumbled out onto a dusty summer lawn And hardly noticed the dwarves riding on the top hat of the landowner. I steadied myself all the way down the street Till a bus frightened Mittens in passing, Causing me to snap into a drill sergeant’s goose-step.

Collapsing into a Chinese takeout Then an antiques shop I soon set my toes on the open auditions For ‘Cillit Bang’ above the pizzeria, across the road From the townhouse I’d nearly burnt down last year. Yet when I stride in, I’m greeted by pooches So I guzzle down my fair share of bleach Then toot out the product’s name to the tune of Rhapsody in Blue.

I dare say the judges were awfully impressed; The ladies removed their satin knickers to wave them around their heads Whilst the men took to masturbating each other instead of hand-shakes And in the joy, a smiling butler was out and about Serving Pedigree Chum meaty chunks In jelly in silver egg cups.

And then I found a plush leather chair to relax in.

Beatrice Murphy


*

Boudicca’s Hare Painted people

defy Caesar. Rain soaked insula of woad tattooed warriors –

or decorated with blue glass? It is lost in translation. The glas of Glastonbury though is celtic woad.

Boudicca has red hair, a gold torc carries Andraste’s auspicious hare beneath her long cloak.

Claire Gradidge

Fierce Celtic queen and her ravaged daughters skins blue from a Roman tattoo of blows ride into battle victory or death – Caesar’s foxes will run like the hare.

Camulodunum, Londinium and Verulamium burn red ash in a cobalt sky

but at Watling Street the hare is coursed to its end. No astringent glas can heal Britain’s wounds.

Blue fingers are strong on the cup she raises *Boudicca – from the proto-Celtic root, boudika, victorious.

to chosen death. Betrayed by her name, she drinks.


Mordant im virginia joy warbey

a lost friend is like blue the dye flakes but is not altered

submerged, the colour coats the fringes fills a bowl of guilt

the threads are knotted, complex they miss remembered colour

like a mother seeking her runaway daughter finding indigo footprints

or a crippled ship safe harbour

I look for signs a flower, a coin, a shell

but blue eludes

Claire Gradidge


The History and Nature of Horologias

34 Matt Elphick

Th he paass ssag agee of tim ag imee is i d dif iffe feereent n to Ti T me m pi p ec eces ess (orr Hor o ol olog ogia i s) as itt is too ia huma hu umans maans. nss It iiss p pu ure rely p per errce c pt ptio ion io n th hatt cclo loock ckss aan nd wa watc tche che hess me mere rely ly kee eep p tr trac acck ack of thi hiss ev ever err flow wiing n ressou ourc rcce, e w whe h n in he in ffac acct th they ey fee fee e d of offf it it, traw trrawli lingg tthe h sea he eass off exi xistten xist nce ce loooki king for the h nex extt me m al al.. Te Tech chni nica call lly, y, eve ven n th t iss is un u tr true ue aass it i n is not ot tth he phy he ph hyysi sica call oob bje ject c (clloc ct ock, k waattch c aand nd d ssoo on on)) that th hatt dev evou ours ou rs tim rs i e, but the h Tiime T m pi p ec ecee th hatt iinh nh hab abit iitts it it.. Ti Time mepi piiec p eces es are tthe he old desst li livi v ng creat vi reatur u es iin ur n th thee worl wo rlld an a d ha have vee rrem eem maine aiine ned d la larg r el rg elyy u un nch han ange g d si ge sinc ncee th he da dawn wn ooff ti time me its tsel elff, main nly yd due u ttoo th ue thee fa fact c tha ct hatt th hei erp prrey y has als lsoo st stay ayed ed in it itss or orig igin inal al for orm. m IItt is i a lliitttlee kkno nown no w ffac wn acct that th hatt eveery r on ne on the h pla lane nett ha ne h s se seen en a T Tim imeepiece ce aatt re regu gula l r la inte in inte terv rvals rv alls in tthe heeirr llif iffe an ife a d no nott re real alis ised ed iit. t. T Too th t e hu huma man n ey eye, e, a w wil ild d Ti Time mepi piec ecee appe ap p arrs as pe a tthe he blu ur or or flaash sh h of mo move veme ment n jjus nt ustt ou utside peeri riph p er ph eral al vis isio ion. n. T The he oon nly yd doc ocum oc umen enteed,, suc ucce c ss ssfu full caapttu urre of a T Tim imepie iece ce was as ooff a sm smalll ju juve veni nile le,, w ic wh ich h w waas re repo p rt po r ed d ttoo be be abo b ut six i iinc nche hes in llen ength h an a d re rese seemb mbleed th thee diistor sttor orti tiion n of vi visi sion si oon n tha hatt oc occu curs rs whe hen n lo look oking at an ob bje ject ctt thr h ou o gh tthe he h haz azee riisi risi s ngg ffro r m a ho ro h t pa pavveme ment nt oor ca carr bo bonn nnet et. Man anyy ea earl rrlly ci civvili vili lisa sati sa tion on ns we were r awa ware re ooff Timepi piec eces es and n ttri ried ed d to ha harv rves estt th them hem as a ne near arly y unllim imit ited ed ssou ourc rcee of ffoo ood, d althooug u h wi with th lit ittl tlee to to no su succ ccces ess. s. Sund Su nd dia i ls ls,, wa wate terr cl te cloc ocks oc ks and h hou ourg rgla lassses are all exa xamp mpless off eear arly ly ttra raaps p sset et ttoo luree and lu d cap aptu ture ure r tthe hem m in the hop opee th that at ssom omee nouris ishm hmen entt co coul uld d be b glean leean aned ed


from fr oom m the h ir ir eth ther her e ea e l fo f rm ms. s Evi vide ide denc ncce off theese str t uc uctu tu urees ca can n ssttil i l be be seeen to today. day. da y Thee most Th moostt ffam amou ous is Stone tonehe to h ng he n e, e whi hich ch h, du duee to its col collosssa s l siize ze, ca can n on o ly hav avee been be en n crreeated ated at d ttoo trrap ap tthe h b he big i ge ig gest s aand st nd d old ldes e t of sspe es peci cime ci mens me ns. ns Alt l ho houg ugh h itt w was as p pro r ba ro babl b y th bl he an anci cien ci e t Grree en e ks who firstt ful u ly y ccom ompr om preh reh hen ende d d t e true th ttrrue u nat a ur uree of T Tim imep pie iece ces, s iitt wa s, wasn sn’t ’tt unttil muc u h laateer in hisstoory r ttha hatt ha soome meon on ne took toook aan n ac active ve int n er e es estt in stu tudy dyin dy in ng th thei eeiir be beha havi ha viou vi iou o r. r K Kno nown no wn wn p imar pr im marril ilyy as a tal alen ente tteed as astr t ol olog oger og e aand er n mat nd a he hema maatici tiici c an an,, Ch hriisttiaaan a Huy uyge gens ns (162 (1 6299 – 16 6955) wa wass al also s an av vid d ccon onse seervat rvat rv a io ioni nist st and waass con o ce cern r ed rn e wit i h th thee dwin dw indl dllin d ng nu n mb mber erss off T Tim imep im epie ep iece cess su urv viv ivin in ng in n tthe he wil he ild. d He fo d. foun un u nd th that a at maany n w wer eree be beco comi omi m ng n p prrey to can anni niba ni baals b l who h had ad d dis i co cove ove v re red th red that att it wa was ea easi sier ier t hun to untt th hei eirr ow own n ki k nd thaan too ccha h ssee dow own a flee e ti ting n m ng min inut in ute, ut e, w whi hile hi lee oth her erss weeree b bec ecom omin in ng tr t ap appe p d in pe in p pla lace la cees in i whi hiich ch tim imee ha had d sl slow oow wed to a sttan ands d ti ds till ll, ll su uch h aass ch chur urch c cry ch rypt p s an pt and d th thee ba back c roo o m mss in mu muse seeu seum um ms. s Aft fter er ssev ever ver eral al yea al e rs rs o ccar of aref efful u study dy, y, Hu Huyg yggen enss cr c ea e teed a ma m ster e pi piec ecce in n Hor oroologgia i n co cons nser ns errva v tiion b iinv by nven en nti t ng the h p pen en ndu dulu lum m clloc ockk oon n Chrrisstm tmas day ay,, 16 1656 56. Th T es e e ba bast stio st ions io nss ggaavee tthee Tim i ep pie iece cee pop pul u at atio ion n a sa safe fe pla lace ce ttoo br bree eed d and th thee pe p rf rfec ectt pllat ec a foorm m to hun nt fr f om om.. Un Unfo fort fo r un rt u at atel e y, el y whe hen n Hu uyg ygen enss di disp pla laye laye y d hi hiss in i ve vent nttiiooon n fo forr th he first ti time me, th thee ge gene nera rall pu publ blic ic wer eree un unin inte tere rest sted st ed d in th thee Tiime mepi piec pi eces’ ha ec eces habi abi bita taat and an d we were r more re orre co conc ncer erne ned d wiith tthe he ffac actt th hat a an occcupi cu upi pied ed d pen ndu dulu dulu lum m cl c oc o k wa was as more mo re aacc ccur urat atee than n aany ny ooth ther e to da date te. The T he iinv nven nti tion on ooff th thee pe pend ndul u um m clo lock ck k and d tthe hee fur h urth ther th her e dev velop ellop opme ment of ment me e en m ev mor oree ac accu cura rate te d dev evic ices es h hav avee ca caused d tthe hee ssin ingl in ngle glle ev evol olut ol uttio ionaary cha iona hang ang nge in i thee Ti th Tim mepi me piec ecee sp spec ecie ies. s. E Ear arly l T Tim i ep epie iece cess woul woould uld oc occu cupy py any ywh herre th hat a thee flow fl o ooff ti ow time me ccou ould ld b bee se seen en n to pr proc ocee eed, d wit ith h nu ursserie iess an a d heerd ds of o ani n ma mals llss b in be ingg fa favo vour urit ites es,, as b bot oth h ch hildr ildren il e aand en nd ani nim malss sho ma h w th he si sign gn ns ooff aage geein ng more mo re oobv bvio ious usly ly ttha han n th hatt of tr tree ees, s, rroc ocks ks aand nd ssoo on1. Ho Howe weve we ver, ve r tth r, his le his hi l ft the hem m more mo re ssus usce cept ptib i le ttoo at ib atta taack ckss fr from om can anni niba bali list stic icc cou ousi sins si ns,, Ti ns T me m pi piec ecce ttrrap ps or star st arva vati tion on if th they ey sstr tray ayed ed ttoo ooo ffar ar int ntoo an are reaa in n whi h ch h tim imee cooul u d no nott b bee see een to floow. w Witth th thee bi birt rth h of tthe h p he pen endu dulu lum m cl c occk th he sp peecciees ch chan an ange ngeed iitttss lliivi v ngg habi ha b ts bi ts,, ef e fe fect c iv vel elyy be beco comi ming ng a fform m of h her ermi miit cr crab a . Mo ab M deern r T Tim im mep epie ieece cess te tend nd d to oocc ccup u y a wr wris istt or poc o ke kett watch h du duri ring ng their heeiirr ear ear arly l ssta ly tage ta gees of of d dev ev veellop o m meent n an nd moove v oon n to a ttab able le oorr gr g an andf dfat atthe herr cl cloc ockk wh w en the heirr currreent hom hom me be beco come co mess tooo sm to smal all. l B l. Big igge gerr Ti T mepi p ec e es occ occcup u y th thee cl cloc ocks oc ks on on to top p of of chu h rcch to towe wers we rs, rs rs, from fr om whi hich c the ch heyy ggeet a la larg r e vi rg view ew ooff th theirr teerr r itor itory it orry an nd ar aree ab ablee to spot sp pott p pre r y re from fr om m aafa faar. r The he lar arge gest ge st H Hor orol ollog olog o ia occ ccup upyi ying ing n Briitish tiish ssho hoore ress at a pre rese seent n iinh n ab nh bitts Biig Be B Ben n in i Lon ondo doon an nd is ttho houg ugght u h to be b seev verral hun ndr dred dre eds of eds o y yea ears ea rs olld d. The he d dis i coovveery of ti is time m telli me ellling ingg dev evic i es ic es as a wh whol olle wa w s ac actu tu ual ally ly y a hap ppyy a ci ac cide d nt de nt,, as as witthoou utt the he Tim i ep pieece ce occ occ c up upan an ant nt it w wou ould ou ld d be ccoomp mple leete tely ly y in nef effe feect ctua ual. ua l. JJus ustt as p us pla laant ntss cr crea eaate eate t oxy xyge g n thro ge thro th r ug ugh ph ugh p oottossyn y thes th hes e is and d th hee abso ab sorp so rp pti tion on n of caarb r on n diooxi xide d , th de he wa w st s e prrod oduc u t fr uc from o tthe om he Tim he imep e ieeccee feedi eeding ee diingg iss tthe h ticckkiing of th he he cl c oc o k and and th an he me m assur urem eem meen nt of p pas assi as s ng si n in nsstanc taan ncces. ess Itt iiss as yet u unk nknoown nk n how o lon lon ng T Tiimeepi p ec eces es liv ve fo for, r but u it is is gen ener eral er ral a lyy acc ccep epte teed th that hatt many an ny d diie du duri r ng ri ng the h ir ir jjuv u en uv enille ye year ars. s. A wris riist stwa watc tcch lo losi s ng time si im me iss a ggoo ood od indi indi in dica ccaati t on o of a si sick ick or dy dyin in ng Ti T me mep piec piec e e th that att is no nott fe feed edin ed in ng as reg egul ular ul arly ar ly aass

1

T iss is pos Th possib sib ibly ly y wheeree thee fi firs rst ru r mou mou urs of o fai f iri rie iess appe ie p ar areed from m an a d it migh migh ht be that that h ch ldren, chi ldr dren, w with h the their i sha ir sh rpe rperr eyes y igh ig tt,, aree mo morre ade adept ptt at spo sp p ttin ttiing Timepi Tim imepi p ece ces th han n ad a ultts.


noorm rmal a aan al nd tthu huss is n not ot ccreeat a in ingg as a muc u h wa wast ste. e SSim im milar ilar il a ly ly,, wh when n a ttim imee te im t ll llin i g in devi de vice sto tops ps alt ltog oget og ethe herr this th his is a su sure sign n th that at the h Tim mep pieecee occcup upan a t haas an eith ei t er die th ied, d, or ou outg tgro tg r wn iitts ts ccur u re rent nt hab bit itat at aand nd llef efft to fin nd d a ne new w on o e.. A comm co mmon mm on m mis isco c nc ncep ep pti tion on n iiss th that at b byy re repl plac acin ingg th thee ba batt tter tt erie er i s orr win ie ndi din ding ngg the cclo lock lo ck k thee de th d vi v cee wil i l re resttarrt, t, b but ut b byy op open enin ingg up u tthe he m mec echa h n ha niism m you o aare ree ssen en endi ndi d ng ng outt a si ou sign gnal al to ne near arby by Tim imep epie iece cess th that at tthi hiis ‘h h hom ome’ e’ is va v ca c nt nt,, ju just stt aas a dr d op of bloo bl ood oo d at attr trrac a ts ssha hark rkss to aan n ar area ea. Ass pr A prev evio i us io u ly m men enti tion oned ed,, Ti Time mepi me piec ecces ffee eeed offf ti eed t mee. Th Thee sm mal alle l r cr le crea eaatu t re ress t nd te d ttoo su suck ck tthe h aalg he lgae ae-l -llik ikee su subs bsta tanc ncee off sec econ on ndss aand nd m mil illi l seeco li cond n s fr nd from om tthe h he beedr droc occk ooff exiist s en encce, wh whil ile th thee la larg rger e spe p cime ciime mens n wil i l st s alk allk sh s oa o ls ooff miinu nute tess a d ho an hour urs. s. IItt ha hass allso b bee een n kn nown ow wn fo forr se seve vera ve rall Ti T meepi p ec eces es ttoo te temp mpor mp orrar aril illy jo join n toge to geeth t er e aass a pa pack ck,, cooor ck o di dina nati ting ng tthe heir i attttac ir acks ks to ta take ke d dow own n an eent ntir irre daay y,, alth al th hou ough gh h this his ma hi mayy be rrit itua it uali liist stic ic as it ten ends ds ttoo ha happ ppen pp e ttoo th en thee sa same me d day ay in th thre reee outt of ou o every veryy fou ur ye yearrs2. Ther Th heerre haave beeeen noo doc ocum um men ente ted d ca case sess of T Tim imep epie iece cess deevo vour urrin ing ng we week ekss oorr m ek mon on nth ths, s, alt ltho hooug u h ru rumo moour m urss do eexi xiist s. Spe peci ciial cial al men e ti tion on n ssho hooul h uld d be b giv ven n to th thee on o e Ti Time m pi me p ecce th hat eeve veeryyon o e is awar aw war a e of aand n yet nd e nev e er fful ullly y und n errstan sttan ndss. Af Affe fect ctio ct iona io nate na t ly te yd dub u be ub b d ‘H His isto tooryy’, sh he iss the the h old l es e t an nd la larg rggesst off all l Tim mep epie iece c s an ce nd wa wass in n eexi xist sten en ncee bef befor orre th this is p an pl a et was a eve ven n bo b rn n. Itt is kn now own that th hat her matte di d ed e llon on ng aggo, butt ttha hatt al ha alll l vviingg H li Hor orol or olog ol oggia iass tooda d y ar aree di d re rect ct des esce c ndan ce ndants nd tss froom th thei e r un unio ion. n As sh n. s e is i of su uch h ccol olos ol ossa os sal siizee, Hi sa sal Hist sttor oryy fe feed ed ds un unch c al ch alle leng le ngged n d oon n a di d et ooff year yeear a s an and d deeca cade dees aass tthe hey arre dr he draw aw wn h heelp lple less le s ly ss ly intto he h r gi g an antt maw. maw. ma w She als lsoo haas n noo nee eed of a cloc cl oocck ho h me me, no nott th hat a oone ne bigg enoouggh co coul uld ul d ev ever er be cr crea eaate ted d to con nta t in n her er. The The he wor ord d Ti Timeepiiec e e ha has no now w be b come coomee syn ynon on nym ymou mou ous wi with th h aany nyy d dev evvicce th t at keep ke ep ps trrac a k of o tim me and an nd tth he orrig igin in nall mea e ni ning ng has now ng w bee een n lo lost s ttoo al st alll bu b t a fe few. w. How w. o ever ever ev er,, th theer ere ar aree maany ny say ayin i gs in g ssti ttiill iin n us usee to toda day, da y, w whi hich hi ch stiill rel elat atte too the beh e av a io iour u of Ho H rolo roloogi ro gias a . Na as Natu t ra tu r ll llyy ssh hy an and d sk skit itti t sh ccre ti reat atur at ures ur ess, th he ssaayi ying ng ‘‘A A wa watc tche h d po he p t ne neve v r booil ve ils’ s’ ref e er erss to the he fac actt thatt a T Tim imep pie iece ce wil il noot wi willl llin ngl g y drraw w att tten enti en tiion to it itse self se lf by fe f ed edin ing, g, ccau ausi sing ng tim me too sslo low w as iitt cons co nssum mes es leesss. IIn n co cont ntra nt r st ra st,, ‘‘T Tim imee fl flie i s wh ie hen you you’r ’ree ha h vi v ngg fun n’ is is eevi vide vi denc ncee nc off the he oopp ppor pp o tu or t ni n st s ic Tim mepie epie ep iece c dev ce evou ouri ring ng mor oree tiimee w whi h lee tho hi hose se n nea earb rb by ar aree occccu upied piied e . Thank hank ha nkfu f ll fu lly, y due to th y, thee fa f nttas asti tiic coons nser erva er vati tion on w wor ork ooff C Chr hris isti tiaa aan n Hu Huyg ygen e s, the th he Tiimeepi p ec ecee p poopula pu ula lati tion tion n is no now bi bigg gger gg e and er dm mor oree vi or vigo goro rous us than n ev ever er.. It iiss quit qu ite po it poss ssib ib ble th haat th thee in nveen nttiioon on off the h p pen endu d lu du lum m cl cloc ock k ha hass si sing ngle l -h -han ande dedl dly y sttop stop ppeed the th he exxti tinc n tiion o ooff on one of tthi hiis pl plan a et an e ’s mos o t intrriggui u ng sspe peci cies es. In ffac act, t, t ep th poopu pula l ti la tion on has on a grown rown w ssoo mu uch h tha hatt it itss ef efffects ca can n be ssee een n in eeve v ryda day y li life fe,, a we he as hear a b ar bus ussin usin ines e sm es smen en and nd wom omen e ccon en o st stan antly co com mplain in nin ingg th that att tthe h re ‘‘ju just st i n’ is n t en nou ugh g ttim im me in n tthe he d day ay’. ’.

36

2

IItt is is unkn unkn known o why ow wh hy, y, but b F bu Febru br ary y 29 29th th se ssee eems eems m too be b of spe p cia ciall impo mporta rtance nce too th the Tim ime mepie pie ieces ces e. IItt mig ight ig h b bee the h ca case se that tha hat it it tast tastes es dif d ferreent nt ttoo ot other he days her days and an nd so is a rar raree deli elicac cac accyy..


{

}

Coming And An d ssoo the he Caattho th hooli lic ic saays ys ttoo the tth he H Hu uma mani mani nist, st, st oovveerr a cig igaarret etttee and d niigght ht cap ap, You do Yo don n’’t be beli lieev ve in in God od do yyoou u??

No I do n No noot, t, sayys th the he H Hu um maan niisstt b but ut I res ut espeect espe ct you our be our beliief efss,, esp spec e iall iaall lly aatt mom men enttss llik iikke tth ike hiss, my y leeggs w ap wr appe ped rooun und yo you urr tor orso orso so, m my yp pub ubiicc bon ub one n neessttli ling ing. ng. ng An A nd I rreeesp sp spec peecct yo yourrss,, says aayys th he Ca Cath ath thol holic olic ol ic, c, even ev en whe hen yo you ggrrip p myy sh m hooul uld deers rs aand nd n d sho hou hout utt His is n nam aam mee..

Kass Boucher


Bite

the Bullet

The men sat in silence around the fire, allowing the furious water to boil over. One man shivered, the shudder starting from his spine wincing out towards his fingertips as he handed Mungal Pandy the bottle. Mungal slurped and spat out the foul brown booze.

‘What’s this?’ he demanded, dripping liquid. The soldier on Mungal’s right lifted his head, his turban unravelled and smeared with dirt. He opened his mouth to respond and felt his tongue fat and pink inside his cheek. He dribbled speech through his yellowed teeth: ‘Bourbon, you fool. What else?’

The first man leapt to his feet and spat again: ‘You dare give me that shit? It’s haram!’ The circle turned. Mungal Pandy, who felt the stabs of their eyes, sat down, still clutching the rude bottle in a shaking hand, throttling its neck.

The man across the fire sneered at Mungal. ‘We are all defiled. You’ll burn in Hell, and I’ll come back a woman.’ Mungal blinked acid from his eyes and snogged the mouth of the bottle. The soldiers cheered half-heartedly; recumbent, they reconsidered the lives of their wives and mothers.


Yasmin Hafiz

Near Ne a in ingg daawn an nd d now w Mun ungaal hi h ms m el elff wa w s ssoo p pis isssseed h haad he d reeaacch hed e fulll ci circclee, an a d wa wass allmo most st i a ssta in taate t of p pu ure sob obri riet ri ety. et y He sttro y. r k keed h hiis ri rifl fle. fl e. e. Th he so s ld die ierr on on his i rig i htt was a sob obbi biing, b ngg, la laid d oout ut on th ut the he ggrrou un nd d. d. He hicccu He cupp pp ped d an nd d bur urpe p d. pe d. ‘Ghee Gheeee,,’’ he bu Gh bubb blleed. d.

An nh hou o r laateer Mu ou M nggal aalo loon nee wat atch c ed ch d as the th he Br B iittissh serrggea se eant n -m nt maj a or an nd d oone ne ooff th he lliieu eute tena te nant na n s ap ppr p oaache ch heed d the he ggro rooup up,, fat re fa red d ta t rget rget rg e s on on horse orrse ses. s. s. He b bit it the bu ullle let. t

38/39


Rites of

Passage A very good friend of mine Worked as a drug mule Swallowed condoms full of black peppercorns One packet split its skin Bled pepper into her veins She was hot stuff.

This girl my sister knew Worked as a drug mule Got filled up to the cervix with chilli powder Plugged herself with a tampon Held it in for nine months And birthed a true curry.

Yasmin Hafiz


Waiting Rachel Rivett He was never late. Where was he? Carla took another cautious sip of wine; kicked the bag with her school uniform further under her chair; fingered the thick parchment of the note. Tonight, it will be finished. Wait for me. His writing was shaky. Carla wondered again if he was ill. At the last session his face had been gaunt, his eyes hollow, full of that strange hunger. He’d painted with feverish intensity. She glanced at the clock, bit her lip, hoped he wouldn’t be long. She had to get back before her mum finished work or she’d go crazy asking awkward questions. It would be terrible if she found out now. Carla shivered in the thin cotton robe and hugged her knees to her chest. Took another sip of wine. Her head swam. He usually gave her just a little to relax her for the sitting and usually it was fine, but… Carla. Carla. The whispering passed through her like a wave of sickness. Her vision blurred. The studio seemed cold. Her head ached. The lights were too bright. The room too blue. She fumbled for a match. Lit the candle that stood beside the glass of wine. Stood unsteadily. Turned out the too bright lights. Carla. Carla. She pressed her hand to her head. The whispering seemed to be coming from everywhere. From the portraits on the wall; from the unfinished portrait standing covered on the easel. Her portrait. Carla picked up the heavy candlestick, making the room shiver with shadow. She took a step towards her portrait. Would it be as beautiful as the others? She stood swaying, looking up at the score of portraits that hung on the walls. She was so lucky. He was so talented. This portrait might make her famous. Around her the painted faces were vivid and animated in the candlelight, the skin tones natural and luminous. Almost alive. And such strange expressions lit them, as if he’d really captured some essence of who they were. She couldn’t help wondering, wondering… Who was she? Carla. Carla. Leave. Now. The whispered words were a darkness, buzzing in her mind like flies. She shook her head, slapped herself in an effort to dislodge them. Wax dripped hot on her fingers. She couldn’t leave. How could she, when the portrait was so nearly finished?


43 She looked towards the easel. So close. It would be so easy to look. Carla. No. Leave. Now. Please. She had to see. Had to know what it was like. Had to know how he saw her; who she was. She staggered forward but the air resisted her; a crowd of ghostly bodies pressing. She stood, swaying. A key turned in the front door. She heard it open. Click shut. Carla stumbled to the easel, tugged at the sheet that covered it, lifted it. She took a breath in; held it. Stared. Slow footsteps echoed down the wooden hallway. His stick striking the dying seconds that lay between them. The canvas was empty. He’d painted the chair on which she sat; the blue screen behind; the fern: a wild unfurling in the corner. But it was empty… of her. Waiting. The canvas seemed to open up before her, deep as a well, willing her to fall into it. Oh Carla. Images flickered through her mind. How it must have been for them. How it would be for her as he unveiled the blank picture. His arm steadying her as she swayed, his hand a light pressure on the small of her back. It would take such a little push… Carla breathed out, looked up at the painted faces on the wall. The expressions made a sudden, desperate kind of sense because they told the story of her own face: bewilderment, disbelief, dawning realisation, horror, fear. In the trembling candlelight their mouths seemed to move. Carla. Help us. Let this be the last. A self portrait. Carla swayed and felt a score of ghostly hands supporting her. Felt the fury growing on her own face. Knew, suddenly, who she was. What she had to do.

The next morning the studio was empty, silent; the door and windows thrown open as if to let in the air and light or perhaps to set something free. And on the easel stood a new picture. A brilliant self portrait of the artist: his face gaunt, his eyes hollow, lit by a strange hunger. And something else… Something very like surprise.


You Are What You Eat I knit knitt cur kn urri ries ri es on th he bu bus; s; s; In n tooo-e -ear arly ar arly y llec ectu ec ture tu ress I re M sr Mi srem em mem embe berr es be esse sseent ent ntiaal fo form r u rm ullas as Em mbe bedd dded eed d in my m b blo lood lo od.. od

M motthe My herrr’’s mi m lk k Tefl flonn-co n-co coat a ed at d my toonggue Or so I th t ou ugh htt,, til il foorr a b bet et,, et I ch chew ewed ew ed cchi hill hi llie ll iees li l ke ke greeen n Wri rigl g eey gl yyss Even Ev n my te teeet eth ha eth had d bl blis isste ters rs.. rs

I mi misss the he reggul u arr ccir ircu ir ula lars r rs Of m myy gr gran an ndmot dm mot othe her’ her’ he r s ch chap hap pat atti ttiis My y ow wn n aare ree cha harr rred rr red e Ror orsc orsc scha h ch chss In them In hem I reead he d dis isse seert r attio ions ons ns.

Ev very ery ti er timee I bur urn th urn he ri riccee Soomewh mewh me w er e e in in tthe he Pun he unja jab ab A sm mal a l br brow o n ch ow chil i d tth il hat at migght ht hav avee b beeen m mee Laugghs La Laug h and d top ppl ples es ove ver. r.

Yasmin Hafiz

44


Guide to Submissions Students from the University of Winchester wishing to submit work to be considered by the VORTEX Editorial Board should send all submissions to Neil McCaw (Neil. Mccaw@winchester.ac.uk) by 30th April 2009. All work should be double-spaced, in 12 font, and should be no longer than 3000 words. Students from outside the University of Winchester should send all submissions to Neil McCaw (Neil.Mccaw@ winchester.ac.uk) by March 31st 2009, and be sure to put their NAME and INSTITUTION in the header of each page of their work. Failure to do so will mean that the submitted work will not be considered. All work should be double-spaced, in 12 font, and should be no longer than 3000 words (prose), no more than 10 pages (script), or no greater than 4 poems. All successful contributors will receive complimentary copies of VORTEX on publication. We will not contact those writers who are unsuccessful, although if feedback is required from the Editorial Board then this can be requested on an individual basis. For further information about VORTEX contact the Editor, Neil McCaw.

45


www.siferdesign.co.uk

For further information on Vortex contact: Neil McCaw Faculty of Arts University of Winchester neil.mccaw@winchester.ac.uk

Copyright Š Vortex 2008 ISSN 1749-7191

vortex 2008 Edition

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As regular readers of the magazine will no doubt realize, we have increased the size of VORTEX by 33%, which is both an indication of the he...

Vortex UoW 2008  

As regular readers of the magazine will no doubt realize, we have increased the size of VORTEX by 33%, which is both an indication of the he...

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