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the burning of Pelham House 

I haven’t always drank

So please don’t judge me

I come here to forget ….Her.

A widow

Her husband died in the war

She never came out

She never came to town

Or to church

You could see her movement through the windows from time to time

a shadow

I was just starting in journalism

I wanted to be a success

And my first real chance came

When a story regarding a widow

And the loss of her husband landed on my desk

It required staying with Her

For three weeks

Documenting her life

What she did

What she liked

Find out who she was

And if she was grieving

Her house

Was intimidating

more like a manor or hotel


as if it held every

Demon haunted story

Branded by this city.
Inside wasn’t much better

Cold and consuming any light

Rather than being illuminated by my lamp.
I stayed 

On edge by her ghostly movements

She never made a sound

Rather just floated from room to room

Dressed in black

Her red hair framing her face
The days passed

Without her sleeping

she sat in her window

Often going away into her room

For hours

In her chair

Once I asked about her husband

all she said was

“I’m too young and old for this I don’t know what to do”
And then rose and left the room in her soft way of moving

I don’t know what it was

But on a particular rainy Sunday

Exploring the house and library

I noticed her bedroom door open

I couldn’t help looking around

It was dark

And cold 

Dust in the floor 

My skin felt like ice

Old photographs

And paintings

covered the walls

“this is my life do you know what you’ve been sent for?”
the voice was cold

I was startled turning around

I hadn’t noticed her in the room

But there she was

in the corner

tall and dark 

Filling the blackness

Her red hair almost like a fire

Framing her green eyes

“I’m sorry I didn’t realize this was …I just..couldn’t help myself”
“you will find..there are darker rooms in the world then what you’ve seen here and darker evils than all mystery”
She said,raising her hand towards me

Later I woke around 3am

There was faint singing

moving through the house

I cracked open my door 

she was

Standing still in the hallway 

Staring at the floor 
But the singing continued 

Echoing through the rooms 

Her voice


it wasn’t coming from her 

I left Monday…

They burned her house Friday…

The banks couldn’t wait anymore

And the paper published my story 

Like she was a witch 
She just stood there in the window

The flames rising higher and higher  
I woke up…

I heard singing in my house…
“Over the hills and through the wood

Down by the water 

the fire will make you clean 

Over the hills 

And through the wood 

Down by the water…”

I felt someone staring at me 

I looked hard 

And then I saw the shadow of hair 

Her tall figure 

Beside my bed 

Just staring at me…
It’s been like this for 6 nights 

So I come here to drink 

Last night 

There was screaming too 

A mans voice 

I woke up 

To the singing 

And fire 

My house was on fire 

And a man 

Was screaming at her 

It was her husband 

Her dead husband 

The singing continued 

“Over the hills and through the wood

Down by the water

The fire will make you clean”

She was standing by my bed again 

I ran out the door 

I came here 

Don’t judge me

I come here to drink

And forget 

Alien civilizations 


So the Internet is the only place where you can say …

“I’ve been following you for sometime now and…” 

And nobody panics. They Actually Get excited.

You start a conversation with that in daily life…or in our parents generation? you get shot with a flare gun  or worse


They even made films about it. With creepy phone calls. Maybe those villains weren’t villains at all…maybe they just wanted to say thanks for all the great content. Or maybe we all grew up to be those people on the Internet they warned us about. God knows we’re never going to make a phone call. Today we would just be Texting creepy lines …or commenting on social media….but never a phone call. 

Either way. At the end of the day.It’s been free entertainment for years.Youtube Comments. Facebook. All of it. And watching people try to navigate it like everyday life is worth a bowl of popcorn.


War Letters (edited)

  (Image origin unknown)

June 17th

Dearest – Anastasia,

I wonder if the military reads letters

Before they let them through?

I’ve always wondered that

Out here

You wouldn’t want a bad letter

But what would constitute a ‘bad’

Damned if I know….

When you’re young and just going in

You are told everything to expect and what to do

But out here….

You’re on your own

The guys

They talk a lot about their girls

About what they’re gonna do

When we get home

About fucking

Taking prostitutes in foreign cities

All the shit

But when it all comes down to the line

What you want…

Is that last night

You want it back

Where I had you for a couple of hours

And we waited for morning


That’s what we want

And we want all of this to be over

And we’re afraid of

What this will make us

What we’re becoming

What if I can’t be that close again?

And that line isn’t the heated battle

You’re a machine in that moment

The line

Is the nightmare of midnight in hell

Black as pitch

No sound

No sight

The air still as a plate

And you have no idea what the other guy is doing ….

All you have is a pulse

And a memory

There was one private younger than me,average like any of us.

Always waiting for a moment to write
his fiancé.

Yesterday he got a letter from home

Her home was hit by a storm…

There were no survivors.

I have no idea what came over him,

He just started walking

Straight to the line

Gunfire all around him.

Like pop rocks.

We jumped him and held him down -screaming-

His eyes were dead but he kept clawing at his face.

Every ounce of purpose was gone from that man.

We sent him back to psych…

I don’t know

I think we should probably not let letters through like that

I think,
If we do,

Please don’t let me know about it

I was just wondering ….


It’s midnight

I can’t say much of anything else

But I hope you are ok

Thanks for writing…

I’ll send this through

If I don’t get another chance to write .

Yours. Always 


 Aug 12th 


I don’t have but a few minutes..to get a line in..


I’m standing here on the deck

Somewhere off the coast of the Philippines …

I can see every star.

But you’re my north

Were I able,

I’d reach out 

Just to pick the one that you’re looking at and ask it to shine a little brighter and let you know …

I’m here,

I’m still here

Writing you.

I’m here.

I saw a comet.Pulsating and bright and then it dropped. 

Like your neckline …

I remember you,I remember your lips …pulling mine…

I remember your accent gentle like the water…

your hair like lavender.

You biting my shoulder and laughing ‘Sex on heels ‘

That’s what I called you…

I would that I could

Follow that comet to the edge of the Galaxy

Spelling sensual words

Along your waist…

Burning,layer by layer..

Down your inner thighs…

jusqu’à ce que je découvre chaque langue que vous chantez dans

(until I discover each language you sing in)

This is what the water has made me…

And I miss you…


Aug 15th 

Dearest –A

I read your letters

Don’t worry

It takes so long to get them out here

It’s a different feeling being this far out…almost difficult to believe that we are even at war…

But it is what it is…

I was thinking about

What you said about

J the other night

The world isn’t going to be this way

Not Forever,A.

He’s innocent

And vulnerable

But it’s more than that

Like you said …

It’s a perspective of the world

And people

How you look at things

And interact with them

I don’t want him

To think he has to change because

Of someone picking him apart
I don’t want him to

Dismiss things

As “bad things just happen sometimes”

I want him to know

That his interaction and reaction mean something.

Especially his art.

It can go

Where a single person can’t.

Where we can’t

It’s an expression that is important

The world won’t be this way forever

Maybe there will be a day

Or a year

When we stop writing

When we stop painting

When we stop feeling

When we watch our brothers

Live in misery

Or die on their feet

And we will not be moved

But it’s not this day

Or this year

And that’s why I’m here


As long as

We look after our children

Like J,

Tomorrow won’t be that day either.

I’ll write soon

love, Charlie

Sept 3rd 


Do you remember

Staying in the flat, for three days,eating pepperoni and drinking red wine?

I had said this must be what a king feels like

And you laughed asking why?

And I told you about grits

And biscuits

We passed through a small town very much the same ….

The streets were empty

And the windows boarded

I couldn’t help but think about it…

It brought me a kind of surreal

I can’t do much else

Other than wish you

A happy birthday

I hope this reaches you soon.

Love, Charlie


 keep writing

I’m getting your letters

Every word

In time…

October 17th 

la couleur de rien

Is there a color for nothing?

for this feeling?

you rearranged me

I’m afraid we’ll never be together

I poured my grief

Into the violin and the piano …

I looked for you in the Keys

I looked for you in the bedroom,

I looked for you in the gentle

Shadows of others dancing

but I could not find you

The shadow

In my heart

Write to me,Your love.


Nov 1st


I separate from myself

See the fields filled with ash

See the hearts filled with stone


I see us moving

Inside the light

And shadows

Emptying chambers

In our guns

In silence

Picking out

The fragments

After bombing a city

We can’t choose,Anastasia

We can’t choose what revelation

Comes our way

But I saw

The words

I hear the hymn

In the back of my mind

And I hope that after

Ten thousand years

We will be there

We will make it right

I hope that I come together


I hope that

We won’t drag each other

Out in the streets

I hope that we won’t

See what evil one man

Can put on another man

I hope …

That we come back

And then

We somehow

Remember how to live.

How to love you



I feel as though

We only know how to…

How to destroy humanity

I know we should be keeping it safe

But it’s like this

One city

We stayed in

They’d had all their medical workers


After a blackout

These were sent to the military…

Just before we got there

One of ours slept with a woman during post …

He really just raped her

I have no better context,
I’m sorry

He was apparently drunk

But beside the point

Having no Doctors

No medical personnel

Within hundreds of miles

On the day we were leaving

She came out watching us

Pulled a revolver

And shot the Soldier

In the face …

This is what war does to us

Collapsing in the streets

Our hopes

Of a better tomorrow

They’re fleeting

And vague .

And I am so tired.

I am so tired.

I wish I had better

I wish I had better

I wish there were words

For this

That left us…

Closer together.

So just say my name

Write about the taste of food

Tell me about color

Because all I see

Is gray

All I see is black

And I can’t lift it.


November 26  
I understand your darkness,Charlie 

It’s quite alright

The world is

Coming apart

The governments are

Blacklisting families

Anyone who helps these families

Are black listed

And refused any help as well

On top of this

Marriages like ours

Are taking forever

To file for immigration

Because it’s us

With the Americans

They won’t outright defy America

But they will

Take their time

Some women have been waiting

For years …

We fear we will never leave this place ….

I feel like this most

At night

I feel this gray

But for color…Charlie

I saw a girl yesterday

She made me think of you

She was cleaning the kitchen

And couldn’t get a spot to come out

Her mother shook her head

“Use some elbow grease!”

I came back in from reading

And laughed

She was looking hysterically

Through the kitchen

And asked
“I can’t find the elbow grease

Where do we keep it?”

Think of me Charlie

Think of me

Next to you

in the morning

In our flat

Tangled together

Limb for limb


With wine

It’s almost Christmas

I can’t help but romanticize the snow

I can’t help but write you

Letter for letter

You will come back to me


There will always be shadows


I will love you, even in blindness

And if your hands have scarred

I will remind them

Of their maps

On my skin

Of how to touch me.

I will mend you.


journal entry

It’s cold outside

We suffer quietly inside

Glass homes

Their eyes are watching …

We haven’t

Slept in years

We suffer paper skin

And scars

Casualties of war

They occupied

Our city

Just long enough

To take us outside

Lining the street

And shoot the men

And leave us to weep

I watched the snow turn

A crimson red

I watched my breath turn to ice
I watched my brother

Die ….inside my arms

Who killed us

In this war?

The alternatives

Are hesitation marks

From me and you

Everything in time…

What else is there


journal entry 

I walk the city

I once knew

It fades

All around me


The people


The graves outside

I am hollowed

But I am looking

With anxious eyes

I can’t remember anything

Very clear

What is different ?

What’s the same ?

And then

At the end of the street

I see her

In the garden


Flowers in her hair

She brushes her

Stubborn strands out of

Her eyes

And my heart

It’s beating

I’m not as callous

As I feared

It’s not as dark as I believed


She is standing


Over there

Right there

And I am running now…

I am

Forgetting to breathe

Afraid that I will wake up

Before I touch her

I feel the earth

I see the people fading

I see her right there

I see her

I reach out

Her arms

Her lips

Her eyes

The salt of

Her tears

Her finger tips

This is real.

We are here.

– Charlie

The Shop on the corner

(Image origin unknown)

Mister Novak,closed his bakery doors. Turned the ‘open’ sign over to ‘closed’ and walked over to his wife.

Standing in the center of the room. She rested her head on his shoulder. They found each others hands.and began a dance.Swaying between the tables. And chairs. Choreographed  by time and familiarity. 

Mister Novak smiled And looked over at me,

“In those quiet moments 

When we first came to America..

You danced 

And you forgot everything else”

He said.

“So far it has been keeping us together.For a small amount of years…”

His wife whispered over his shoulder.

“It helped You forgive the small offenses of the day…and remember each other.”

 They almost looked younger suddenly…this wasn’t just the polish baker…who always ran the shop..the place was transformed into a house of images. And I could see them …

The first dance …after they opened. The dance when the war was over. The dance,on the 4th of July..when after closing…Aniela turned and said she was pregnant. 

This was dances 

A calendar. 

A time clock. 

Of 52 years. 

Something my mind couldn’t grasp. Much less comprehend. More memories than my entire life…two times over. More sadness and more happiness. 

They finally stopped swaying. And kissed. Then turned to me. Checking the doors once more. Aniela smiled…

“Well,time to go.”

The Note


I’m going to 

Start every letter 


“I love you ”

Because I can’t help it 

And so you never forget

I don’t know why the universe put us together..

you and I…

I don’t deserve you 

Tell me 
Are you real?

how is it

That here


the morning light 


Your skin 


Just when I think 

I’m going out 

You bring me 

Back in