Friday, 10 November 2017

A Poem a Day (65): Pressure

Written for Dan Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise...


The biggest lies we tell ourselves,
Shrinking our souls into endless shapes,
Fitting, squeezing, depriving them of air,
Fearing to step outside these strict lines

Boundaries, fences, walls, cages,
The constrictions we construct within,
Conflicts of our own making undone
For we feel lost without them

Built to protect
Built to last
Built to tighten
Built to stifle

Freedom lies beyond our fears,
So they tell us, so we know, yet
Under pressure we struggle,
Sinking beneath the feeble self

Step outside where the crow cries,
Walk between the shadows crept,
Where the sky yawns possibilities
And towers tumble to the ground.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, November 10, 2017

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Poem a Day (65): Blackbirds

A flash poem written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... several days late, but getting there! 


Blackbirds cry, shadows streaming across orange-streaked skies,
Scratching verses into the walls of this valley wrapt with echoes –
Their silken patterns criss-cross in shimmering slides of movement,
Flickering dark ghosts between the green, twitching leaves.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, September 24, 2017

Sunday, 23 July 2017

A Poem a Day (64): Live

Another flash poem written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... kicking my lazy writing butt


She made it sound so easy
A four-letter word
A small sound
Sweet in its escape
But a lie upon my wounds.
I can let it lie
Or I can let it die
I can let it fester in my hand –
These things sound so easy
These things I tell myself.

Secrets carried deep inside
Kept in the darkest places
Written in an unseen hand
Never to be read
Never to be spoken
Never to be heard –
These things taste bitter
Borne hard upon the breath.

So make it stop
He made it sound so easy
Another four-letter word
Harsher than the first
Darker than the void
Starker than the pit
In which he found himself –  
But to live was so heavy
And stop so light
That the sun hid itself.

You live, she said
In the corners of my mind
As she read the words aloud
And they listened
And they wept
And they stared down
Where the light couldn’t find
Any sanctuary to rest in
As they buried him
Deep within the ground.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A poem a Day (63): The burst

Some flash poetry written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... 

The burst

I count the pages
Line the trees
Trace an outline with a pen
Twist the paper til it hurts
Feel the numbness in my hand.

These fingers do the walking
Back and forth and velvet tripping
The never and the ever
And the brilliance in between.

I can spend
I can feel
I can wave this thing called humane
Like a flag in light of something bright;
I can play the fiddle even, see I can,
Watch me smile, watch me cry
Let me paint it in my own particular way
Play this part
Make a sail
Tell the others I can take this boat away
Let me stray
Or let me stay
It’s an easy way to view this choice of mine.

Catch a plane
Hatch a plan
Escape the very things I seek to have –
Is that a thrill?
Am I a seeker?
Did I spill a clue to what I wish today?
Or did I hide it, conceal it, never to be read?

I turn the pages
Catch the light
Watch the drizzle of the ever-dying day
Like spreading ink it splatters into curls
Adrift upon this tide, so turning falls
Back upon itself and this night
As I count the pages
Tear each one out and cast away
The dreams I have yet to live.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017

Friday, 21 July 2017

A poem a Day (62): Silence

Some poetry written for JD Mader's 2minutes go writing exercise... 


We’ll have nothing left here in the dark,
The cleft between spaces
Shaken in the middle of a sentence,
Left hanging with a hook
As a fish struggles to unclasp its lip,
Blood splashes;
Words unshapen swim in the air
Unformed, only thought in a momentary
Glance you make,
Often seeing what you want to see,
Yet never noticing the essence
Of things, or me.
While the scales slither silver
And the living twitches its last breath,
I wonder at you,
Here, where we sit in the approaching
Darkness of our lies,
Stripped bare,
Pained upon a grated thing.
I wish to unravel it,
But all I can do is remove the hook
And throw this life back in the water
With a mercy
You used to have.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, July 21, 2017

Sunday, 28 May 2017

A Poem a Day (61): Linger

Another for JD Mader's 2minutes go... kicking my writing arse... something needs to!


You know the glass reveals your smile

Try as you will to hide it away

I can see it even in this dark

When the sea breaks and splits the light in two.

If I kiss the curve will you stay?

If I turn and walk away will you follow?

These days are meant for learning

Awakening thoughts in me I’d forgotten

Lost in a drift upon a breath of yesterday

These things I touch to find them gone

And yet your smile remains

Calling me to remember and forget the rest.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, May 26, 2017

Saturday, 27 May 2017

A Poem a Day (60): Walking

Another one for JD Mader's Friday 2minutes go session :)


He practised the art of forgetting in the time of stillness
Where the widest lines seemed to promise desolation
If he stayed long enough, tried hard enough, in his
Unfathomable desire to escape into an echo of bliss

He sees himself sometimes, a fleeting glimpse of sometimes,
When nothing is and the playing brings only emptiness -
This loitering in a life drifting into days of commonplace
Against a background song reminiscing in a broken key.

Here the dusted wind blows in on the second-handed chord,
Cleft in his fist is the starstruck face that the moon left behind
On a January night when the sea turned black against an iced earth,
His footsteps cursed in the art of sleepwalking through his life

This is desolation’s severed promise of a blood-red emptiness,
The heart scooped out and wrung so dry beneath a faithless sun,
Leaving the spider-web loneness of something so real it hurt
Lost in the years left behind, scattered like dandelions blown.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, May 26, 2017

Friday, 26 May 2017

A Poem a Day (59): Distance

Written for JD Mader's 2minutesgo writing challenge - still the only thing kicking my writing arse!


Somewhere in the sands I catch an echo
Of where you walked in the yesterday
Kicking up dust in the arch of memory
Only to vanish in the buttercup misted dawn

No more sound in the disintegrating sun
A flash upon the roar of a wave of ebbing fate
I spread my fingers through the chill of it
Summoning something long forgotten anew.

Copyright Vickie Johnstone, May 26, 2017

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Poem a Day (58): Casting Colours

Written for Dan Mader's 2minutesgo writing exercise. 

Casting colours

It starts…
The beginning casts colours in the light
Sacred thoughts transcend the real
Aglow in the dry heat of summer,
A kaleidoscope of raw emotion
Spun tightly, wrapped in the soundless
Instinct killing itself nightly,
Caught in a web it seeks to unravel.
Locking the heart within a keyless box
It feels like time has no end.
Choices lost in a cloud of nothing,
This trivial heart knows no distancing,
Seeking self-destruction in a second
Of perfection it can never hope to find.

It ends…
The falling triggers memories of dark
Where the spider creeps in strewn dust
Waiting for the silent stuttered scream –
These things born of bloody nightmare.
Screwing the twisted seeping heart,
Shadows awake from the silent walls
Where hands seek to drag and play.
He builds a fortress across these skies
Inside the beat of a solitary star
Sent adrift where the dreaming lies,
Echoing the curved moon’s absent lover
Here to stay til the dawn tide roars –
A subtle kiss is the only thing he knows.

copyright Vickie Johnstone, May 12, 2015

Flash fiction 19: Bitter guest

This one was written for Dan Mader's 2minutesgo writing exercise – the only thing managing to kick my butt into writing lately. 

Bitter guest

It’s only words. Letters conjured up. The he said, she said. Cast adrift, spiralling like smoke twisting from a cigar. Set adrift upon the breath, usurping the light. The story took on a life of its own until it walked and talked, ate, drank and laughed its way inside, taking root in the recesses of the mind. Never questioned. Never asked. It stayed for years. A willing guest, received with a warm welcome by those who hungered for it. It never wondered why. The story stayed, grew and rested, spilling its scented anger and bitter streak wherever it drifted. An invisible guest always chattering, nothing sensible escaped it. Only bile. But no one thought not to believe it as the smoke choked. 

copyright Vickie Johnstone, May 12, 2017