Showing posts from December, 2014

An Alternative

“Sorry mate, full up.” “What do you mean, full up?” “Just what I said, full up!” “Haven’t you seen the state of my wife?” The innkeeper eased his copious figure further around the door frame and cast an indifferent eye over the tiny, tired woman with the blue shawl sitting on the donkey. “She seems pretty far gone. Oh well. It’s a shame but it’s not my fault you know. If we had a room I’d give it to you mate. It’s this silly census business - bloody Herod with his petty bureaucracy. He just loves it, doesn’t he? All this paperwork. Oh well. Keeps the Romans busy, anyway.” “Yes, but what about my wife? She’s not going to give birth out here in the street, is she? It’s Christmas for God’s sake!” “It’s what?” “Oh nevermind. Look, don’t you even have a stable or something?” A Roman soldier appeared in the doorway and pushed past them, reeling. He wove a few steps into the street, singing, before he fell and lay face down in the mud, giggling to himself. Joseph and th

The Giggles

At first she didn’t fully notice. Like shadows, the grinning faces flickered in her vision. When she stopped at a crossing, she heard the snicker. It was almost like snorting: the hideous sound when somebody extrudes laughter and tries to inhale at same time. Like a pig! she thought, disgusted. The people behind her were whispering, as if sharing an inside joke. As the traffic lights shifted, she hurried to get away. The blisters on her feet were making her walk awkwardly. Yet she was determined to ignore the pain. The laughter pursued her, like an echo of every clunky step.  Wearily, she carried on. She had been on her feet for hours, without caring where she was going or what street she was on. The strap of her bag cut through the jacket and into her shoulder. It felt so heavy, as if every hour of her aimless journey had added more weight to carry around. A boy came towards her. As he passed by she saw him grinning, pressing his lips together to muffle his giggles. No,

Not Noughth Week

It's not noughth week for me A minute mile and a decade east Baby braced to my breast babbling Bubbly bliss to the morning mist. It's not noughth week for me No rimey bike seat mark on jeans Midas dust on shelves of everything A blinking I on open window screen.  In not noughth week no essay looms Rumbling billow to be blown by breath Fresh on the marks of a maizey margin Pencilled thoughts that pulse past death.  Here, a decade away, I no longer get to press reset for yet  another noughth week. I keep counting.  by J.W.