Monday, November 7, 2016

My flash piece, A Break in the Weather has been awarded a "Highly Commended" in my writing group's competition (Out of the Asylum Writers Inc). So stoked! An even bigger break for me personally moving from poetry to prose!

A Break in the Weather

He sighed into the dismal drama of his life and battled on. There were days when he had little strength, moving forward with stiffness. He had a new home with squared windows and a robust roof. Yet he felt imprisoned after the entirety of green, the forest and the open sky. Although he walked under the same clouds, his garden had shrunk to an allotment size.
   Sometimes he heard his dead wife’s laughter, but knew that was an illusion. He saw the same faces in the convoy of early morning walkers and only had the company of his shadow when circuiting the park. A few dog owners drifted past, nodding, others crooned about Pippa or Bluey, and most were less impassioned about the weather. When they were gone there was nothing more to add. It would have been easier just to ring an empty bell.
    At night he watched TV, its flashes of colour and noise livening up the room. One evening he watched a program that gave him an idea to visit his local tavern.
    The main bar was dark and musty, mostly men his age seated on stools. On his second Friday night visit, he was hoping to chat to one regular who had previously spoken to him, but the man leaned on the crook of his arm, crouched at the bar, his empty glass propping up the sadness in his face. 
    Come this Saturday, the bartender said. We get a good crowd and usually a country music band. You'll have fun.
    The night wasn’t what he expected, and it brought a change to his face. A younger crowd greeted him. Handshakes and shoulders touched like a bridge. In that crossing, he encountered the simplicity of conversation over a round of beers. He noticed, above the hubbub of music, laughter and voices, all the young men sported beards. They were impressive, neat and tidy, colourful and not at all housing breakfast crumbs, toothpaste or foreign bodies.
   It's the rage now, said one fellow. Why not grow one and join the club?
   He went along every Saturday night. Why hadn't he thought of growing a beard before? In all his eighty years he had lathered and shaved, rinsed and patted.
   Overnight the hairs inched forward beginning as little brown wisps. He looked like Benjamin Disraeli. When it had grown and bushed out he resembled Sir John Forrest. After several months of growing it long and unkempt, he was Gandalf.
   The young men invited him to car trials, quiz nights, beard contests, and to zero birthdays. Mostly, it was a thirtieth or fortieth and the talk revolved around shapes, styles and colour. There was the Johnny Depp, the David Beckham, the Santa Claus, the goatee, the short-boxed and the stubble. Words like 'soul patch, terminal and mouche' suited his sensibilities. The men told him about a city barber where he could have his beard trimmed and coloured, but if he couldn't afford that, there was the beard trimmer at K-Mart.
   Each morning he splashed water on his face, and gazed at himself in the bathroom mirror. He was not a bearded Anthony Hopkins or George Clooney, but it was easy to see what had taken place. His old look had gone in a different direction while his new existence stared back at him with a neatly trimmed moustache and a bristling, Silverfox beard.


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Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

of Arc & Shadow

of Arc & Shadow
Published by Sunline Press, WA

The Joyous Lake

Par écrit

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Helen Hagemann, MBA(Wrtg) ECowan. Her first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. 'of Arc & Shadow' is her second full collection published by Sunline Press. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @​​docs/joyous_lake/

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