Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Broken Pieces



Jake remembered what his Grandmother used to call it: ‘your grandad is away down the doctors’. That’s what she called it – the pub at the end of the street.
“If life wasn’t so shit, there would be no need for pubs”, was her usual follow-up. “Don’t matter what it was; just back from the war, or the birth of his first-born, the night his mother died, the day his brother got thrown in jail – those times all ended up with your grandfather down the doctors”.

Andrew looked on the pub across the street as some sort of church. Whatever sin he had committed, all he had to do was spend a few hours in the pub and it was all sorted between him and God. I mean it wasn’t his fault, it was always Karen who started the arguments. The way she’d serve his dinner warm, rather than piping hot – or the fact that she’d run out of chips when he wanted nothing else in the world. Sometimes she wouldn’t get his coffee fast enough – so who could blame him, if he had to raise his hand and give her a gentle slap now and again? He’d tell the lads in the pub the story as he saw it, and none of them seemed to object, ‘Just natural, init?’ So, he’d go back to the house that night, say he was sorry to his darling Karen and then he’d enter her little body until he fell asleep on top of her.   

Annie slipped into the pub at the corner at 5.20 every night. They always said in the bar, that if she missed a night they would have to send a wreath and a condolence card around to her house; ‘cause only death would stop her having her ale’. Annie did the same thing each evening. She’d give her mother double the dose that the doctor had recommended, and that would keep her mother fast asleep for a few hours while Annie had a drink or two. What harm was she doing? After all, wasn’t it her mother’s fault that Annie had never married? She was stuck with an old woman who couldn’t speak anymore. When Donald, her man, had run off with her sister – she thought she had known loneliness then -  but this living, night after night wasn’t a life – Annie felt she was only existing. She lifted her head and asked the barman for another drink to wash away the day.

Jacob was a happy sort. Everyone said so. He’d pop in the bar at the corner of the street and he’d buy the person next to him a drink – be it stranger or best friend. There was a little jukebox in the corner that was seldom used during the day, but in the evening the younger drinkers would pile their coins into it. It was then that Jacob would put on that tune. He only did it when the person he wanted to hear it was in the pub. He wondered did they ever notice it was Jacob who put it on, and even more curiously, he wondered did they ever listen to the words.

Leona, only went the pub when she felt crushingly lonely. Then she’d wear her lowest top, push up her chest and wait on getting drinks bought for her. Some mornings she’d waken next to the last person in the world that she wanted to be there. Some mornings, she woke alone – as some always left after they got what they came for. All she really wanted was for someone to put their arms around her, and hold her while the sun came up.

Connor only went into the pub because it was a happy place, and everyone in it was happy too - and uncomplicated – just like his life.

bobby stevenson 2017

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Why the Robots Won





I am used to walking alone; being alone; surviving on my own. It has to be this way. They know I am here - because from several miles above me, their satellites are watching. Picking up my heat. Not like them and cold metallic hearts.

I’ve found that if you stay in the one place too long, one of their drones will come and hover. That’s just to let me know. ‘We are watching you’.

I’ve been by myself for so long, that sometimes, just sometimes, I wish they would just shoot me.  Perhaps they experiment with us, or maybe we are on some robot reality television show, or, and this is the most depressing - they are just watching us disappear. For ever.

I’ve spent the last few months (and by that, I mean the moon has waxed and waned several times) on the high sierra. There is always something to eat up there – even it is only a small animal or a tasty grub.  I suppose they are aware that our food is dwindling and it is only a matter of time, before we starve. Long, long ago, I met some of us who had tried to farm a little food but when it came time to harvest, the crops tended to have been disrupted or destroyed (by unseen hands). So maybe, I’m right, maybe it is a reality television show.

The one thing they seem to hate (if they can hate) is when two heat sources are next to each other. They don’t like humans meeting one and other – that way, rebellion and revolution lie (I’m assuming).

When I saw some smoke coming from the mouth of cave higher on the ridge, I was wary.  It could have been a termination – I’ve passed many humans who have been ‘terminated’ by the drones. You just walk on and whisper ‘God Bless’ under your voice. I’m not hard, but when I first tried to bury my fellow beings, the drones appeared and told me to leave them alone – or else.

I decided to climb to the cave anyway. Inside I could see the flames of a fire in the distance.
“Stay there,” came a voice. “Don’t come in”.
So, I did. It might be a drone after all.

After a few minutes during which I was unsure whether to run or stay put, a voice called out once again.

“When I say run, come into the cave”.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“A friend,” came the voice. “You can trust me. Anyway, what choice do you have? If I was going to kill you, I would have done it by now, and if I were a drone, well you’re a dead man walking. Aren’t you?”

He was right, what option did I have? It was my choice to come to the mouth of the cave.
“Okay, on my count of three, run. One…two...three…”

And I ran – and as I ran there was a fireball shot past my right shoulder and out of the cave entrance.

“That should do it”, said the man, and it was another human. “They’ll see a heat source and think it’s you. The fire should burn for an hour or so and then they’ll assume you died, or have fallen into a river”.
“That simple?” I asked.
“That simple”.

At the back of the cave was almost the replica of an old lounge – when we had such things – when we were allowed such things. He asked me to sit and made me a cup of coffee.
“It has been a long time since I tasted coffee”, I told him.

We sat talking about the little things, like family, and friends, really everything about the old times when we were luckier than we could ever imagined.
“Our days are numbered,” he said, looking at me sympathetically.
“How so?”
“Well the robots have won, haven’t they? They were probably always meant to. We had a weakness.”

And he went on to explain that no matter how good our health and doctors were, we had a limited time. Our bodies were only built to last a certain amount of time.
“Possibly 90, maybe 100 years but no more. Our brains and organs were designed for it. 

But the robots – well they can go on, and on. They had all the knowledge we had fed them, and the ability to teach themselves more. They have forever, we only have today. We are a bit like the Neanderthals seeing the Homo Sapiens for the first time and knowing their time had come.”

“What will become of us?” I asked.
“Have you seen any Neanderthals recently?”

He poured me a large whisky from a bottle he had saved over the years. It wasn’t long until I fell asleep, and dreamed of the old days.

bobby stevenson 2017

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Legend of Jacob Chaplin



Okay, so his name wasn’t Chaplin, it was Horowitz, but ever since he’d attended the moving picture show and seen the great, perhaps marvellous, Charles Chaplin, he had modelled his dancing on that particular master.

It was just that one dance, the one he had seen as he sat with his folks in the Vaudeville and Burlesque Movie Palace, that had made him almost wet his pants with laughter, and one that he had used from that day on.

He could never concentrate in school, as he felt there was a greater world outside just waiting on him. When his teacher, one Mrs Rosa Gertrude, gave him into trouble for staring out of the window, he was dragged up in front of the class and that was when he started dancing. He couldn’t be sure why, but it felt right. Even Mrs Gertrude had to laugh and on that day, Jacob decided that when he was old enough he would change his name to Chaplin, and that anytime he was in a little trouble, he would dance his way out of it.

There was a night, during his national service, when he’d accidentally shot the Captain in the foot – well Jacob had been surprised – and perhaps he was sleeping at the time. He tried the dance that night, and perhaps it hadn’t stopped him getting sentenced to detention but it did make them cut a couple of months off of the total.

There was the awful day when the good folks of the city ran up and down the street smashing the windows of all the shops. They painted words on the doors, and when it came to Jacob’s uncle’s shop – Jacob did his dance and miraculously the crowd passed by and left the shop alone.

In the camp when the guards were rounding up the folks to go to the showers, Jacob would try his dance, especially if they were children involved. Sometimes, it worked, sometimes not.

Jacob made it out of the other side of the war, and do you know what? He did change his name to Chaplin. He appeared on stages in France, Italy, Britain and the United States. It was always the same dance, but the crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

It made people stop what they were doing. It made people smile. That was all Jacob had hoped to do with his life.

bobby stevenson 2017

Monday, 21 August 2017

That Day





That Day, started like any other day. The sun came up, I had a coffee, we argued about money and I went to work.
That Day, progressed like any other day. I worried about our life, our home, our family and how I was going to apologise to you for my faults.
That Day, was just a normal day. I knew what I would say when I got home. I had organized in my mind where I would get the flowers and what colours they would be.
That Day, I realized that I hadn’t told you how much I had loved you in a long, long time.
That Day, I thought of all the petty arguments that I had with folks, both close and far from me.
That Day, I tried to work out how to be a happier person, how to have more time for people.
That Day, I decided to put things right with friends and family.
That Day, I stepped off the bus and didn’t see the car. 


bobby stevenson 2017

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Hearts of Dying Stars


There was a moon that night,
That shook my comfortable existence
On this little Earth
And as I looked at the stars
I almost lost my breath
When I remembered what great men had said
That I was made from the hearts of dying stars
All of me was not from here, but belonged out there
And as I closed my eyes
I realised that those twinkling lights
Were not just heavenly bodies
But like an ageing photograph
Were the ghosts of my family
Long since gone.

bobby stevenson 2017

Friday, 4 August 2017

Has Anyone Seen My Heart?




Has anyone seen my heart?
All I did was turn to pick up that drink,
And it was gone.
I left it on the table, only for a second.
I swear.
When I was young, I used to wear it on my sleeve,
That way I knew where it was,
But some of the children at school stole it and used it as a football,
It was kicked and bruised when I got it back.
It always was.
When I was older, I kept it in dark places,
In desks and drawers,
For safe keeping, you understand.
But nothing really grows unless it gets rain and sunshine.
My family would sometimes find it, and ashamed
I would dust it off and take it back.
And for the longest of days, I even forgot it was there,
It was easier that way.  
It was stolen a few times, and, once or twice, given away by me
To the wrong people.
So, I keep it close, these days,
Close to my chest.
If you happen to see my heart,
Tell it, I’m sorry I lost it,
And that I’m standing right here,
Waiting.  

bobby stevenson 2017
Photo: http://ceejay8887.deviantart.com/art/The-Hidden-Heart-88786994

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Have a Great, Great Day




It's Thursday and no matter how hard you fought it, you woke up,
Some people won't and wanted to, just to put things right,
You can read, just as you're doing now,
Some people can't and would love to with all their hearts,
You can work a computer, a pad, a phone,
Some people have never seen one,
You're on your way to somewhere,
Many people have no where to go,
It might be thursday and even 'though you may not think so,
You are already blessed in many ways.
Have a great, great day.


bobby stevenson 2017

Dreamworld



There was a time, perhaps it would be more correct to say once upon a time, back in your day, when science was only starting out – when life hadn’t even begun to be understood. That was in the days when the human race thought that sleep was to nurture, and to cleanse the human mind. We knew little then of what the universe was – even calling it a universe showed how little we knew – but like all things, truth and clarity took their time (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Back then folks thought that when you fell asleep, your brain went into a temporary hibernation, when dreams and fears were polished and shined in readiness for the morning.

Now we know the truth.

When we sleep we leave this ‘universe’ and head to one of the many others where we have different lives, other truths, other loves. Some of those destinations are foreign to what we know, just as some are only minutely different. Still, in your dreams, you notice the difference, notice what is not quite right.

When you fall asleep at night – as you must – there is no one to help you, no one can follow you, you are alone. We are all alone. There is no one to pull you from that hole which will take you into another reality. When you go there – you must survive as best you can.

It was Doctor Edith Stewart, who was the first ‘sleep astronaut’ – it was she who found a method to catapult herself outside of dreaming into these other layers of reality, and to return. It was Dr Stewart who found that when we die (as it was once known) it was only the door closing on this reality and in turn, we were forbidden to travel back. That is why many people ‘died’ in their sleep – the door was closed to them while they were elsewhere.

But there are more than just benign creatures out there, more than just friendly ghosts inhabiting the other worlds. The nightmares that we have as children, are truly there. Waiting. Hoping we will return. And still we fight and claw our way back to this reality for a few more hours.

In the old days, in your time, folks would wish one another a ‘good night’ – how little they knew. It is much wiser to wish your loved one ‘all the very best of luck’, for as soon as they are asleep, they will be on their own in worlds where nothing is real and on journeys from which they may never return.Sleep well, travel well. Come home.

There is no one to call on for help, out there – remember that.


bobby stevenson 2017