The Forest of Smiles

My day begins pixelated.
Needle sharp shards of light
refract like monsoon rain
in tropical forest, bending
breaking leaves out of shape
with the violence of descent.
Little red icons beckon.
Visions of perfection
macerate the eye
beyond screens of polish.
Hey, look at me! Me!
Picnics, reunions of red
lipstick with star spangled
skirts, blossom trees, blooming
babies, birthday balloons, home
-baking, sunsets and fragile
creatures perched on the edge
of a black canyon. So smiley.
So breakable. So sad your dog,
granny or dahlias passed away.
So happy you are happy or not.
Who loves ya, baby? Not enough
likes today? Do you exist today?
Click refresh or exit.

Image by the author

The Darkening

Shadows rooted in the sour
grooves that framed
her mouth. Invisible at first,
they bloomed in the living
map of her face, festered
in the lines on her brow,
in the web of crow’s feet
perched on cheekbones
and in every pore
of once perfect skin.
Within the purple moons
beneath shuttered eyes
darkness multiplied
spread along the wrinkles
of her neck, the valley
between breasts, the soft
folds of belly and genitals,
filling hollows and dimples
right down to the pink tips
of her toes. Eventually
shadows enveloped her
like a miasmic cloak.
In the mirror she saw
memories of memories
and not the shudder
of dust she had become.
In the street, folk saw
a swirl of fog and not
a woman named Margot.
They walked straight
through her and shivered.
Her words became a wild
keening of wind, creatures
of night her only friends.
Bats, moths, owls gathered
safe in her twilight wake.

Image created by the author

Other Worlds

The Haar is on the horizon again! After a successful launch last month The Purple Hermit’s creative arts e-zine will be back in June and is now seeking contributions from writers, artists, photographers, cartoonists and anyone with something different to say on the theme of ‘Other Worlds’.

Other Worlds, real or imaginary have fascinated many writers and artists including Shakespeare, William Blake and H.G.Wells. Dreams or nightmares, utopias, dystopias, parallel universes, Other Worlds offer the possibility of escape from our mundane reality. But we don’t need a time machine or space ship to find Other Worlds. They exist right here amongst us, in the mysteries at the bottom of the ocean, in the chaos of a forgotten garden shed or attic, in the alien environments of deserts and peat bogs or just behind the lace curtains of the house next door. Other Worlds also exist in the privacy of our own minds, within the sanctuary of books and films.

Photograph by Magenta Kent

Please get in touch via the Contact Page above for details of where to send your submissions.
Poems, short stories, non-fiction must be sent in a single Word document, images as a jpg. Poems must be no longer than 40 lines, short stories and non-fiction no longer than 2,000 words. Please send no more than a total of 3 poems and/or short stories and no more than 2 pieces of visual art. There are a limited number of slots. I want to keep this community arts feature as a small, friendly space so sadly not all work will be selected.

Everyone is welcome as long as the work is original. All contributions will be clearly credited to the author who retains copyright.

THE DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS IS MIDNIGHT 7th JUNE, 2021.

Get writing and clicking, the clock is ticking…

I very much look forward to reading your work on Other Worlds!

Best wishes from
Nikita Shackleton
😊

And finally as an inspirational PS here’s a film clip from Lars Von Trier’s stunning film Melancholia:-