Frieze of Life



Touch yourself. Forget yourself. Take a sideways step and watch those faces blur into a mess of half-remembered memories of drunken nights on the town and hungover mornings spent in the arms of a lover who’s now a stranger. Walk the grounds of a hospital where a younger version of yourself is stood outside the maternity wing smoking rollups while looking down at his feet in silent despair. Walk through shopping centres that were once green fields back in the day when your grandparents were alive and in love with a future that has long since passed. There was a time when Saturday afternoons brought the thrill of hunting down toys to buy with pocket money and visits to McDonald’s and sometimes the indoor market where I would get my hair cut by a lady who had the prettiest brown eyes you could ever imagine. There were also trips to St Alban’s to visit my great grandmother who would give me five pounds to dust all of her cat ornaments. She’s been dead nearly twenty years now. Some of those ornaments are in a box under my bed, and the books I’d buy with the money she gave me are in my wardrobe. In the woods near where she lived, I would sometimes go and pick flowers, think they were blue bottles, and when there were enough, I’d put them in a vase and place them on the table in her dining room to which she would always thank me with the sweetest of smiles. In the boarded-up pub at the bottom of the road, there are squatters who are junkies. Directly opposite there’s an old people’s home the queen visited earlier in the week. While the streets were lined with onlookers ready to catch a glimpse of her, I was asleep in my bed dreaming of a girl I used to know. She flashed her breasts at me once, and in my dream, I was walking along a beach looking for her so I could touch and suckle and kiss what she had to offer. When she was within my grasp, she lifted up her top and blinded me. Reaching out, I felt her nipples with tingly fingers only for the sand beneath my feet to swallow me up. There was yellow and orange everywhere, and as the light poured out of me, I was no longer an outsider but alive and existing within the dreams of everyone.

A Journal for Damned Lovers on

A Journal for Damned Lovers on

13 replies »

  1. Another captivating piece full of the real and the surreal, memory, wistfulness and melancholia. Your ability to weave all of this so gorgeously in such spare prose always astonishes me. And makes me a little jealous.

      • I am incredibly fortunate to have access to such amazing writing and yours holds a special place in my heart– you are able to maintain your humanity and embrace your shadow side seamlessly. Howl Davies and I were just discussing this afternoon how inspired we are by the other SD writers. You are definitely one of the writers that makes us want to step out of our comfort zones, try something new, up our writing games, see what we are capable of.

      • I too am blessed to be surrounded by so many talented writers. It can only help drive us forwards knowing the quality of our words is constantly being raised. I do appreciate that you enjoy my darker style. The darker side of life always resonates so much more and touches us more deeply than the lighter stuff. To shy away from it means you miss out on the real picture. That’s my philosophy, anyhow.

    • And now that I’ve gushed about my appreciation, I discover everyone else has too. Ha! I too feel a little jealous. Tis human nature.

  2. “Walk the grounds of a hospital where a younger version of yourself is stood outside the maternity wing smoking rollups while looking down at his feet in silent despair.” I wasn’t the one standing outside the maternity hospital, but I was the one inside…looking down at my new baby in silent despair, so this touched me as much (or more) than usual. I adore what you write, how you write, Stephen. You make me think and feel and I’m in awe of you. Sorry that I’m gushing a little – a lot – but fucksake man! 😊

    • There is no greater gift than you enjoying my words in such a way. It is that human connection I seek above all else. It makes me feel alive knowing you find life in what I write, and for that I thank you a million times over, and even then it won’t be enough x

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