False start

©2023 michael raven

Everything some shade of eigengrau, sometimes with warmth, other times of stone. Buildings too tall scraped the sky and, had the streets had been wider in Old City spaces, or the buildings less imposing, the day would still fail to cast shadows on these broken city streets – for the sun had gone out long ago and it always greysky rained where people once dreamed of emeralds and queens.

But the world had been broken for a spell now, and the green dried up, wasted away. Hearts were shattered on the needle grounds and the queen had tossed her cards away.

Uneven pavement filled with stone weeds and open sores lay before Lucas as he walked home from panhandling in the markets. He stumbled along, world weary and arthritic – making his plodding way through streets abandoned – first by the gentry to the joygangs, then succumbing to the darklands as even their haunts were sapped of life.

At least, he still had his muse, no matter how ineffectual her aura of inspiration might be.


I hate it when there is a whiff of a slight sensation crawling across your forearm like the fragile limbs of a daddy long-legs, a tickling itch to break the mould and… it drains out of you as you try to coax it into reality and it gently falls apart like everything when you touch it. Cue buzzsaw guitars and heartthrobbing drums filled with brown noise and cataracts.

I sat down the taste of something peculiar across my tongue, something between ash and dark chocolate, and thought to conjure up a new beginning. As I said, however, it fell to the dying grounds, probably because I tried to wrap a mould around it (something I was explicitly trying to avoid).

Here you go, the poor unwanted orphan. Perhaps you’ll give it a home?

10 thoughts on “False start

    1. As I reread it in the morning, it seems like something that I could append (with editorial wrangling) to the other effort I made to reboot the story I had been rewriting. The timeline was intentionally earlier than what I had written a few days ago, as I felt the original rewrite was too abrupt and needed a better lead-in, on top of wanting to add some more evolving details about the backdrop.

      Last night, however, it was like a sad red balloon had emptied itself in my lap after a few promising paragraphs — so I was frustrated. Unfortunately for me, I can have reams of inspiration some days and, on others… just a few things come out. The unfortunate part is that the latter is more likely.

      I have not read Dobyns poem before. It was interesting. Most of my contemporary poet influences are lyricists, and I trend toward pre-1970s for the rest. Thanks!

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      1. Dobyns is very good at writing about the challenges of composition–well, that and many other issues of life; he’s one of my favorite poets, and as far as the struggle with writing, at least of writing poetry, he’s pretty great.

        I dunno if my comment and reference is helpful for you, but I empathize with the struggle, which I find myself doing, too, at least regarding poetry–but I can’t hardly bring myself to make any of it public, so hey, I’m impressed by your imaginative boldness and persistence and actually putting your writing and ideas out into the world fearless!
        In the meantime–some more Dobyns, which I hope might make you laugh at how accurate his sardonic take on so much of life is. And in this case, how the protagonist of the poem solved his composition problems . . . 🙂
        Cheers, good luck with energy and inspiration–and I hope this is a medicine for the melancholy of creation:

        https://www.poemist.com/stephen-dobyns/can-poetry-matter

        Liked by 1 person

        1. He certainly has a different approach, and I’ve seen his influence (or someone like him) in other people’s writing.

          I think my “boldness” in sharing comes primarily from my decision a while back that it was no good to write something and shove it in a box afterwards (for me, this thought doesn’t apply to others). So I share it, even when I probably shouldn’t. As long as I don’t pretend at being some fantastic undiscovered purveyor of the written word, there is rarely a good reason to *not* share.

          Of course, I used to walk around in velvet skirts and ruffle shirts on the streets of downtown Seattle doing what I called “guerilla poetry” for the benefit of Saturday Night Suburban Tourists checking out the darker nightclubs on the wrong end of downtown. The local tourists didn’t care for it much, but the Denny Park hookers would cheer me on 😀

          Thanks, Melody. For the poems ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  1. You’ve got a really rich and engaging world here. I want to fall into it more. Not sure how much stock you put in muses, but I found the more I show up to work the more my muse does too. It I wait for the inspiration to come first, I rarely if ever will write, the world and my life are simply too loud to hear the whispers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I worked on it a bit, feeling better about what I’ve written after I added a few more pages and modified the transitional elements into what I had already written. After that, the whole (meagre page count) feels better.

      Liked by 1 person

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