Fleeting fumbling writings

Poems and Stories by Chris Newell

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<prosody pitch=”120Hz”>G, </prosody> and, <prosody rate=”x-slow”><prosody duration=”3s”><prosody pitch=”120Hz”> A,</prosody> </prosody> </prosody>
<prosody duration=”2s”>A, </prosody> <prosody pitch=”120Hz”>and, <break time=”750ms”></break>G,</prosody>

Two notes,
A scale step,
Up, <break time=”250ms”></break>
To, <break time=”750ms”></break>
<prosody rate=”-60%”><emphasis level=”stong”>Today,</emphasis></prosody>
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<prosody pitch=”high”>A,</prosody> and <prosody pitch=”low”>G,</prosody>
A, and G,

Slips, they,
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A sweet tune,
On, <break time=”250ms”></break>
To, <break time=”750ms”></break>
<emphasis level=”stong”>Today.</emphasis>

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G, and A, and A, and G,

Two tones,
Lie side side,
Till. <break time=”250ms”></break>
Two, today <break type=”strong”></break>
are, <break time=”1000ms”></break> One.
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Like snail the voices stick here
Under the floor, on the glass, in here
They still whisper who were here
And them and you

As if seeing not hearing the fear
That crept like snail and hid here
Lives as new as then and hear
Them trill like a bell

As the skyship sails air here
It rings the shell snail ear
Melting the seventy nine year
Curl up in this shell

The burning lips of gas peel
And shrill sounds a siren steel
The souls searing chorus sings

‘Sail away, sail away
Burning whispers of one day
Drop where snail trail glisten
And listen.’

It and I are sat outside Number Nine with two friends.

Baked dry and summer kissed
Kent brown girls and a boy on
a wall of brick orange cream and brown bread.
Our feet hang like fish on chicken limbs.
Plump skinned thin boned
flop on the green flesh Nasturtium flowers
where we played
with butterfly babies and each other.

A poster paint by number view
Too bright to be true.

Then as seeds and grubs we grow big and drop
Probing the soil
our white finger roots and bottle brush creepers
reach up and touch and tug our feet down
to ground
where in the chalk and flint and stone
stiff stands the wall and I
still drip the years till now.

Dreaming in colour

Wrapped asleep tight in a box like this box
at fourteen I dreamt in red
like a dog dreams of rolling belly up for fun
and of my red riding hood
where the wolf lies red belly up too
split like her lids
red with acne…

Too much!
She was tucked up in a YHA bunk
and I was out and about
sticky in trouble with Steve B and Steve T
wrapped slept together by rain in a phone box.

And awake, and cold, and dream stopped
for no light yet but the dimmest, slowest hint toward the sea.

So we left the red box behind
and as we walked a silver road south
through the orange sheen lit Downs towns
she sank bleached and pink in her bed
and dreamt not of me but of Steve B
the wolf.

So we reached Bournemouth
the wolf, the other and I.
shaking legs and fags we stood and sucked the sea mist in
like ale we belched and howled back
and spat it like our heroes spat.

While she lay white now
a milky feast fit for a pup
or a cub
or for me.
so we slept like dolls, Steve T, Steve B and me
in a bus shelter.
Till the sun blue and the bus came
and she and me grew red again.


Ring Ring
Ring Ring
Who’s there.
Santa who?
Santa’s claws.

I announce myself, all fancy like, in this gnattering cold!

My fire pert red robin breast
All fur and feathers and glue
Fringed with wintry down
White as Omo, soft as spit.
A rubble brick lead heavy load
a hood full of head and pink wet snout
(as if sneezing)

From my face
A jagged frost bit thorn
Hangs smoking from a crust tipped lip.
My breath and beard
is a dry builders breakfast plate
Rind, ash,sauce and sugar

Licked till bone thin
Squeaks and whines
A string of deers
And a neck out front Rudolf
From whose harness hangs a crusted yoke
Of needle holly and pin berries

A red custard sky oozes
It’s black sauce
And the drunk night crashes home.
I boot up and slap hard the boney hinds
That drag the rusty sleigh
That pulls our arses toward Apollo and tomorrow while


Oer Mr Softies ices we slip and tinkle
A dripping cloud of breakfast, bone, snot and berries
Through the stars electric twinkle
A murky host of fat babies, goats, scales and
and every kid
in every home
at every hearth
in every bed
will sing


‘Antisanta flies tonight’
Or Santa’s claws will shred my bed tonight
Or Santa’s breath will fog my head tonight
for Antisanta flies tonight

The creature

I still walk with them,
After dinner or after tea
When sunny dry wind flies
Long draped with wet weeds
Where sticky bugs walk
And reedy grass splits the air
Walk I.

I still pass with them,
Canvas road to Austin Lodge
Orange rind through tan fields
A ratted burnt barn
To the beat of us passing
In steps of two and two
Pass I.

I still lie with them,
Where a farm wall meets the road
A spot where Dads sit
And kick grit and spilt corn
Where the ears lies
So fills the burrow where
Lie I

‘Marge,’ or, to my phone box

Alone she rests in the lane
This P.O. red electric lady
Has lips
Recalling that

Two bombs struck a school in Catford
A mother’s voice still shrieks
And Lulu’s lovers hum to her hits
My old men piss and puke
And a dog waits while she natters to nan.

But from inside
Her thumbed brass and copper clatters
like clockwork through the slats
To join the Wrigleys, the Number 6 and all the other

Where Marge rests
Around a trillion breaths filled the space
Each breath carried
Voices of lost toys caught in flight
A frisbee, a football
A ringing shuttle that fleets and spins
Till it tangles in these few trees, trussed
and then with care
brought down.

so much later on than then
Unspun now for you
and spread like buttercups butter the green
to hear said as sand speaks
Flowing from sand to glass to glass
like a filament
burns through and breaks
The link from you to him to me.
“Operator what number please?”
it asks us and we reply

That one that takes us back past the stopped sand
Cross the green, the field, the stream
Through the glass to our Wonderland
Where of here we dream
And the past plays back forever
And so do we.”

Thanks Marge.

Christmas morning

Crying into the light I woke to silence.

My ears popped
I heard her first words fall like brown pears drop.


My mum Mary.
Sweet and blue as a baby boy
Licked me with black lips
Scratched me with straw
And fed me her shitty smells
And cough candy breath.


Warm as a slipper I lay and bathed in her gaze.
Her eyes, egg wet
Her nostrils wet with green
Her breasts wet
My bed wet.


My mother’s snout spoke steam.

And …

I replied –


The back way

Still, seamless, night

Light comes and the
Half dead summer dawn
Wakes me
Wednesday 6th September.
I am sad
Sad like still ill
Like still stay home hidden here ill.


I walk there
on September the Sixth 1967
a Wednesday
the back way.

A thin grey birch and another marks
47 houses and 9 minutes
8 sometimes
If I rush


My small shoes shine
But my little life dims.

Lap cats (after Samuel Palmer and Shoreham)

On our donut island
We sit toe to toe dipping
In the cobbled shallows
Knees pulled up to pyramid pleats
And lap to lap like cats
We purr together.
My mother and I
So close to the island edge it can’t be true.

She is close like ivy.

Her friends are there
One mirror breath apart
On the other bank
Squint light and silver shadows break
So close she can reach a flecked hand across
And their smiles swept back
Lap at our feet like cats.

On our flowered green spot
Busy, Jolly, Silly and us
The three cats
Trace the waters edge
To lap with us
And paddle this tiny inland sea
With wet socks
And her friends.