FICTION – Shards of Glass

Many thanks to Twisted Sister Lit Mag for publishing my story.

Source: FICTION – Shards of Glass

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Sleep

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Dreaming of Pomegranates

“Dreaming of Pomegranates” (1912)_by Felice Casorati, Italy

 

 

She sleeps on the grass

with a pomegranate in her hand

Drifting into the world of altered consciousness

she dreams of other fruit,

apples, apricots, peaches, oranges and tangerines

cherries, berries, plums, grapes and melons

that give the world the name of the colours,

like the bed of wild flowers upon which she lies.

Her mind and body at peace,

nearly all her voluntary activities ceased.

A tranquil expression spreads upon her face,

she travels into another world

where the rules and dimensions are different.

Her eyelids flutter,

her lips curl into a smile,

she takes her lover’s hand

as they fly towards the green hills,

racing with the feathered clouds

and the birds in the sky.

Her reality becomes the dream,

unaware which dimension she belongs to.

When she wakes to the sounds of the birds,

her eyes drift to the bunches of purple grapes

hanging down from the vine above her.

The only remainder from the dream,

the pomegranate her lost lover gave to her,

from the orchards on the terraced hills.

She blinks,

presses the pomegranate to her heart,

closes her eyes,

and slips back into the dream.

 

 

 

Amber Street

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Old Witch

Photo saved from Pinterest,  crazyaboutphoto.com

 

 

 

The last customer leaving the bar, Harry staggered into the cold night air and made feeble attempts to walk in a straight line. The icy wind, signalling the approach of harsher weather, chilled him to the bone. Despite the protective shield of his padded coat and the woollen hat pulled over his ears, he felt naked. The combination of intoxication and freezing temperatures blurred his sight. All he could see ahead were dark buildings on either side of the road and a few flickering streetlights. He followed the pavement, counting his steps on his long walk home down Amber Street.

Harry kept counting to keep his mind active, but the road seemed to continue forever. 2500 steps later, he still had not arrived at the turn to the street where his flat was located. He halted and glanced back, and looked ahead again. There were no side roads, but one long avenue where all buildings looked the same. “I’m lost,” he muttered.

Though midnight had come and gone, Harry began to knock on doors, in panic. No one responded, not a single soul who might rightfully object to the disturbance of their peace. He decided to go back the way he came, hoping he’d missed his street. An eerie silence persisted in spreading its wings, despite the commotion he made at intervals. As snowflakes fell, misting visibility further, despair set in. He stopped in front of a weathered door, and seizing a worn knocker, banged on it several times.

A jeering voice answered. “The door is open. Shut it tightly behind you.”

Harry stepped inside. He blinked, surprised by an archaic hall,  lit by candles poised on brass candelabras. The wheezing voice barked, “Straight down, the room on the right.”

Entering the chamber, he saw her- or him, he wasn’t sure, sitting at a table in the middle of which a large crystal bowl glowed. Wood crackled in the fireplace, casting shafts of light upon the creature’s face. Harry shuddered. Whatever this thing was, it looked older than the 250 year-old-man in China. Its features were deeply buried under the folds of time-chiselled wrinkles. A pair of sparkling amber, feline beams perused him through the slits below the forehead. Random spikes of white, straw-like hair escaped the grip of a colourful scarf wrapped around its head.

The thin, lipless slit at the bottom of its head opened, displaying the odd jagged tooth. “Sit,” it said. “I’ve been waiting for you. I’m Amacunda.”

Harry hesitated, but he obeyed his exhausted body and sat.  “I’m Harry,” he said. “I don’t know why I’m here. I’m lost.”

“I’m also lost. My reasons are unclear, but I know yours.”

“Why are you lost?”

“I’m in purgatory. Neither here, nor there.”

“How long?”

Deciding the creature must be female, Harry watched her raise a lizard-skinned hand and point a crooked finger with a curled nail at him.

“Too long. I’ve been here forever. It defies your notion of time. Let’s come to your story. Why are you lost?”

“I can’t find my way home.”

“What’s home?”

“My writing. Stories. My dreams. Illusions, disillusionments, disappointments.”

“Rejections?”

“Exactly.”

“You must leave her.” She giggled, her rasping voice whistling between jagged teeth.

“Who? I’m not in a relationship.”

“Whiskey. You’re an alcoholic.”

“I’m not. I’m what’s called a functioning alcoholic.”

“You can lie to yourself, but you can’t lie to me. Why do you think Hemingway committed suicide?”

“He couldn’t write anymore.”

“Why? Because alcohol ate his brain. No more grey cells to dream stories.”

“Dostoevsky wrote all his life. He also drank.”

“He wasn’t an alcoholic. Some can hold their drink, some can’t. You’re drinking earlier and earlier in the day. There’s always an excuse. Pain, pleasure, anger. Find another relationship, a woman, a soul-mate.”

“The ones I want reject me.”

“Probably because you’re drunk all the time. Sober up and look around with eyes that see. You’ll find the one.”

Harry lowered his eyes and sighed.

“Regarding other rejections. There’s a name … I can’t remember, like thorn, splinter, something sharp from a tree or plant. My memory escapes me these days. Look them up and send your stuff.”

“Thank you.”

“Healthy eating, healthy drinking , healthy living and like me, you can live forever.” She chuckled again. “Time to go, young man. Remember what I said.”

Amacunda snapped her claw-like fingers, and Harry found himself at his front door. Once inside the flat, he crawled onto his bed and crashed.

The following day, he woke at noon and ambled to kitchen. Whiskey beckoned. The moment he grabbed the bottle, Amacunda’s voice rang like a siren in his ears. “Healthy eating, healthy drinking .”

 

Harry dumped the bottle on the counter and put the kettle on. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, buttered toast and tea, he took a shower and shaved. In fresh clothes, he sat at his desk and began to write.

During a tea-break in the late afternoon, he remembered something else she’d said and began to search on his computer. Wood, Woody, splinter, Spillane, Tor, thorn – Thornton Publishers are looking for Anthology submissions. Submission deadline March 31st. A week from today, enough time to edit his stories. No alcohol for a week?

That evening Harry dined at a steak house and only drank mineral water. On his way home, he stopped at the supermarket and stocked up on healthy food. Just before the checkout, his hand went for a pack of bacon he’d missed in the morning. He wavered, unsure, then grabbed it. The sirens didn’t shriek. Maybe once in a while it would be okay.

 

Amacunda’s voice reverberated in his head each time he accidentally approached the liquor section in the supermarkets. After a sober period of many months, he became a social drinker, enjoying the occasional glass of wine at dinner parties.

 

Thornton’s published his Anthology and The Witch of Amber Street became a hit. Harry didn’t live forever, but his stories did.

 

Amber street on medium.com

The Loss

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Many thanks for publishing my drabble. 🙂

love-1643452_1920

By Sebnem Sanders

I wish I could forget, but I can’t. I’ve rewound the tape, it’s on repeat. The island, the beach and the sun. The cities, the dinners, the fun. The cottage, our love and the river. Me sick with flu, you and your tennis elbow.

The Far East, the last of the colonials and the tropical storms. The first Walkman, the automatic camera.

My town, your town, and the path that brought us together, for a while, then split. Did I understand? No. Did you? I hope so.

I’m writing about love. I have no other reference. So I indulge.

      
Sebnem E. Sanders is a native of Istanbul, Turkey. Her work has appeared on the Harper Collins Authonomy Blog, Sick Lit Magazine, Twisted Sister Lit Mag, and Spelkfiction.

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The Lost City

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Istanbul from the air

Istanbul from the air drone video

 

Once it was a natural channel,

designed by the ingenuity of time,

now reclaimed on both sides,

by man’s insatiable greed to interfere

 

Once it was a park and a green square,

now a desert of grey concrete,

decorated with tulips in wooden crates,

to fool the eye.

 

Once it was a green forest

that stretched all the way to the Black Sea,

now a jungle of skyscrapers,

motorways and access roads to bridges

that suffocate the lungs of the ancient town.

 

Eternal city, I weep for you

I have photographed my memories

and hid them for future generations

to show how mankind can destroy

his habitat and the soul of a city.

Truth

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truth climate

The new term post-truth has been disturbing my mind, lately. Post-truth, or past truth, passed truth, if there are such notions. Does truth have a past, present or a future tense? Does it expire? Or does it evolve, mutate or degenerate?

I would have thought there is only one truth, as written and proven in books. I don’t mean religious ones as they’re subject to interpretation. I’m referring to recorded data, evidence and observations. Proven statements, witness accounts, audio-visual recordings.

Post means after or later than. Like post-impressionism. It’s impressionism with a difference. So, post-truth must be truth with a difference. A new truth, an evolved one with further evidence, or one disguised with fabricated facts?

The opposite of truth is dishonesty. If I’m being dishonest, I’m probably lying, denying the truth, making excuses, giving and producing false evidence. So I’m hiding the truth, camouflaging it, transforming it into a monster like Frankenstein, creating a fantasy, an untruth.

I stand proudly behind my untruth, promote it through my followers who go along with me blindly because they feel safe under my leadership. My lie has no limits. It becomes my way of life. I conjure it in such detail and with such passion that it becomes my truth. My only truth. Everyone begins to doubt the previous version. The truth of the past becomes the lie of the present, perhaps of the future, too, if I organize my teams, supporters and heirs.

Post-truth, this is what I see all over the world. Passed around by politicians, bankers and all those in power, through the generous Internet networks and the media, we’re being fed small morsels of it every single day. It’s a slow poison, but the effects are deadly.

truthlies

Weeds

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wild_flower_meadow_lw

 

After the torrential rains in April, a riot of flowering weeds covered the lawn in multi-coloured glory.  Daisies, poppies, dandelions, marigolds, clover and varieties of many unnamed wild flowers, flourishing under the warm spring sun, spread their beauty in undulating waves of bouncy grass across the garden. Bunches of slender mallow with purple blossoms gracing lush green fields, watched over their brothers and sisters.

 

It was a blissful time until the guillotine man arrived and began the massacre. A blizzard of yellow, pink, purple, white and red petals flew through the air and scattered, while their stems fell to the ground. On the edges of the waving grass, the survivors drooped to hide their stalks and disguise their blooms. Even tall Mallow didn’t have the chance to warn them in due time. At the end of the day, the executioner swept the dead bodies into bags and dumped them by the garbage containers.

 

In the silence of the night, the weeds wept for the departed, until there were no more tears, and waves of anger began to spread around the borders. Poppy shouted, “We must revolt! I protest this ruthless massacre.”

Dandelion agreed. “I second this. Mutiny in the garden. Death to the humans. We should invade their houses and poison them.”

Wise Daisy listened to the rebellion, and only spoke when gusts of anger subsided into quiet contemplation. “We can’t do anything to the humans. They have their machines and chemicals. We have a single purpose in life. The survival of our species. We’re already under threat. They’re building everywhere. Our seeds are safe in Mother Earth, but each time they build, they excavate the soil and dump it somewhere. Once construction is over, they bring new soil from questionable sources and pile it on top us. We must find a solution for this. We need a secret garden, but I don’t know how we can find one or get there.”

 

They discussed many possibilities including the collaboration of insects and bees, who if asked politely, might transfer their seeds and spores to a new place. Clover said, “They tend to stay around the same areas and move slowly. We need something stronger and faster.”

 

At the break of dawn, a crow landed on the freshly cut grass, looking for food.

 

Marigold said, “Perhaps we should ask the worms to entice him so that he’ll help carry our future offspring to a faraway place.”

Daisy raised an eyebrow. “Why on earth would the worms sacrifice themselves on our behalf? We need a better plan. Maybe we should discuss it with him.”

Daisy raised her voice and addressed the crow. “Sir, we need your opinion. As you can see, we’re devastated. Only a few of us remain, but soon the landowners will come with their sharp blades to complete our annihilation. We have very little time. How can we get a fast exit to a new location a long way from here and protect our species? Can you help?”

“Hmm, ” Corvus the Crow muttered. “You need something stronger. Me and my mates can help you, but it’s not enough. I know of a place up in the mountains. It’s called the Secret Valley. Trekkers go there once in a while because it’s surrounded by high hills, hidden from the naked eye. However, as you may be aware, nothing is hidden anymore. Everything is on Google Earth via satellite.”

“What’s Google Earth, satellite?” Daisy asked, blushing.

“They’re the human operated observers, taking pictures of the planet, imitating the bird’s eye view. The valley is remote, uninhabited, and can only be reached by an ancient trail. So, it will be a safe haven for a while.”

“I see. How can we go there? Can you show the way?”

“You need to believe first, make a wish and pray. You must find a mantra, concentrate, then conjure a strong eastern wind in your minds.”

“A mantra?”

“A secret, sacred word you must not repeat to others. It doesn’t have to be in Sanskrit, any word will do as long as you add Omm… to the end.”

“Hmm, ” the weeds whispered in unison, “how can we find a word, one that’s the same for all us?”

“Concentrate,” Corvus repeated.

“Ssss….”

“Hush,” the Crow crowed. “It’s never to be repeated out loud or to each other. Find the word and meditate. Your lives depend on it.”

 

The weeds closed their eyes and prayed silently, repeating their mantra. ‘Mighty Eastern Wind, save us from desolation. Carry us to the Secret Valley to protect our species. Let us flourish in the sacred meadows, far from the destruction of mankind. Ommmm.’

 

Time stopped. When the sun peeked over the hills, a gentle breeze rustled the leaves on the trees. The breeze became a wind, then a gale. It gathered everything loose on earth’s surface into blustering currents and carried it all towards the mountains. A murder of crows rode the wind and glided high across the sky towards the Secret Valley.

The crows circled the valley, as the gale slowed down to a soft breeze and sprinkled the seeds onto the virgin earth. Rain clouds covered the sky and fell in a gentle shower, mixing the spores into the fresh soil.

 

Two weeks later, the stem of a daisy popped through the earth. Followed by a poppy, a dandelion, marigolds, clovers, even mallows who worked hard to absorb the Mother’s goodness and produce photosynthesis to feed their multi-coloured flowers.

 

Young Daisy opened her eyes and saw a baby Poppy. “Thank God, you’re here.”

“We’ve sss…”

“Hush, ” Daisy said. “Mummy said, never repeat the word.”

“Sorry. Look little Marigold is here too, and Dandelion.”

 

The flowering weeds flourished in the Secret Valley, nurtured by Mother Earth, and with the help of Corvus and his mates who visited them during the seed dispersal time. They gathered strength for the next generations to fight against another possible destruction by humans in the future.

The Sea

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Child on the beach

Photo of a child at İçmeler Beach, Marmaris.  (2016)

 

 

The sea and I are friends

from a long time ago

We like each other’s company

and miss each other on the days we can’t meet.

I have been in many seas,

but I think it’s just one big sea,

regardless of the names.

The sea has seen me age,

but the child who dipped into the water

for the first time

doesn’t age.