Tree Happening

A tree casts its multitude seeds to the world: ‘I give you this,’ it says to life, ‘for you to wear. My children are the footprint in which you tread, the clothes in which the future beds and once again emerges.’

‘All beings are thus: loaded with infinite ways in which life might balance on ‘nows’ narrow path. And by the wayside, the seeds as yet unlocked: not wasted, but the glad price of reality’s weave and weft upon happening’s wide and well trodden map.’

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2016

Slack Faced Thought

I’m on the London Underground. It’s a bit stuffy. The air is friction electricity, rush and surge. The carriage is about half full, I’d say, not more. An assortment of commuters sway with the movement of the train. Screeches and clattering echo in the dark tunnels but the passengers don’t hear. Or if they do, their faces give nothing away.

Strange faces: slack and free of expression. I wonder: who are these people? I look at each one and classify them with a form of mental taxonomy but my only tools are what my mind has used before. I put my memories to their faces, paint personalities, jobs, dreams on to the canvas of their skin but find the pictures to be mine, not theirs.

I have to admit, I have nothing but the thoughts I’ve thought before. I’ve killed these slack faced people even before they’ve uttered a word or made a movement or facial expression. I’ve fitted them up, put them in boxes, labelled them with stereotypes: colours, creeds, sexes, the way they wear their clothes, their hair. Every single stranger judged. The decision as to their identity, conceived and irrevocably made so they become fabricants wearing the fictions I have projected on to the facade of my contrived world.

I wonder if they killed the slack faced me they saw? Or perhaps they did something entirely different?

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

A Story From The Western Sea

Far off in the Western Sea of dreams and beginnings there was the birth of a story. It bubbled up from beneath, from deep in the gloom of a cold benthos, where strange things scuttle and make their homes. Some bubbles rise as stars while others are neutral. This one was like the very first born thought, as fresh as the newest thing, pale skinned and beautiful. From the waves of the Western Sea it rose high and caught prevailing winds. With birds and things airborne it navigated the Coriolis force and felt the call of land like a heart beat in its body. For days it watched and winged on blue ether and mist. And when it saw the brown earth it dropped like a stone and kissed the hard, dry soil and burrowed as its feeling decreed. And then it waited. And waited. And waited. And when the time was right it germinated on sweet water and the worlds urge to change and put up a shoot, then a leaf, then a flower: a new flower that no one had ever seen before.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Horrible Novel

My novel has become somewhat unruly. Until this morning, I hadn’t seen it for a couple of days.  Then when I came down for breakfast, there it was, waiting for me, crouching at the bottom of the stairs. But oh my goodness, how it had grown. It was at least seventeen times bigger than I remember and its mouth parts were out of all measure and proportion.

I must say, it halted me in my sleepy decent. I was a little confused as to what to do. Was I to brush past as if it were normal size and without huge fangs and teeth in their multitude. Or was I to flee, scampering up the stairs to exit through the bathroom window. In the end, it made the decision. For as I pondered my choices, it pounced.

Luckily, my martial arts have taught me much. And so with the agility God has favoured me, I ducked and the beast flew straight over my head. I saw its underbelly as it went in a high arc and my worst fears were actualised. Its gut was plump with far too many words and bulged with a peculiar menace. I estimated that it must be a hundred weight, if not more. A terrible thought entered my mind at that point: I had conjured a monster. I was Frankenstein, and this thing, my work.

As it flew over, I took my chance, dashed below and slipped in to the kitchen where I found two things: a broom and poker from my wood burning stove. With these weapons I charged in to the fray. And all was violent ugliness. It bit and scraped and hit out with a rank verbiage and a mouth so full of words. Yet I parried, deflected, spun on the axis of a dance made of martial arts and hopefulness, and for a moment thought myself to be winning.

But then it unleashed its poetry. Oh God, how that hurt. A thousand lashes of its rhyming tongue. A thousand passages of its disappointments. Its woes fired like missiles to strike me down. All that awfulness rolled in to one grievous assault. Its power knocked me to the ground. I was paralysed. And then, it sat upon me with its full weight. It was a ton at least. A ton of words. A ton of sentences. The whole unedited mass crushing the breath from my lungs. Surely I was about to die.

But no. From beneath I saw its weakness. Its binding was not well strung. In fact, it was still in its crapy little ring folder. I took the knife, that I keep in my pyjamas, and stuck it in the gap. The clasps pinged open; so full was it stuffed. And in a instant the beast was done. It disintegrated before my eyes. Pages spewed and fluttered in the air. The chapters shuffled like a deck of cards. The whole thing punctured and deflating as if it were composed of hot air and nothing more.

But when I saw it dismembered and pitiful, I couldn’t strike the killing blow. Instead my heart went out to it. I gathered up its limbs and appendages. I nursed it as best I could, applying hot poultices and wiping away its tears. I collected the spare words (there were many) and hung the sentences out to dry (they were wet with sweat). When I left it on the sofa, watching shit TV, it looked as close to happy as ever I’ve seen. And when I popped a warm blanket across its first page, for comfort and warmth, I think it almost smiled at me.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015

Father Greenseed And His Work

He travels in the secret of the night,

moving on moon beams

and star sent messages.

On the wind too, he walks.

As he moves he rustles

as if he plays the breeze with his fingertips.

And those digits

are woody and knotted

yet supple as the curling vine.


His face is verge of mischief

and the unkept beard,

a hedgerow masterpiece

whiskered with unruly grass.

If his eyes were a conker’s shine

he would own a chestnut glance

but much more,

for they are shooting

surely as when spring inspires

their energies

to break the woody carapace,

and yet there is a green tinge

to the white wonder of his seeing;

Oh yes, oh yes there really is!


His bark laugh is the humorous same

as his quick eyes

and just as warm

as the mammalian heart,

though the sap is not viscous hot

but cool sweet honey dew.

Did I mention his hair?

The willow would be shamed

though his is not weeping but platted:

but still the wind plays,

and those low branches

dangle quite mysterious

so he must sweep aside

once in a storm filled while.


If ever there was a cloak

then he wears it:

and the moon might lose itself

in its forest folds,

and the vale too might be snuggled

as it’s creatures scurrying

on a blackberry and foxglove floor.


And now to his work,

for this be his reason and magic:

his green fingered love of seasons told.


First the winter – dead of earth:

where he waters and plans.


And then to the spring:

where he stoops to each friend

and coaxes the bud delicate.

And to this he breathes

his loam breath

and whispers succulence

to pale leaf-lets

in their parasol and first yawning.


And then summer:

where his nights are short and warm

and sometimes scent filled,

where he stands proud and bold,

wide eyed and watchful

as any owl,

admiring each of his delightful flowers.


And then the rich autumn:

where his desires and dreams

are a seed pod in multitude.

For when he walks there is a scattering,

and fertile sparks come off him

in droppings and ricochets,

as if the night contained

the whole of something

and much more beyond time’s now.

And as he strides the land,

his mischief smile somehow commands

his bough arms and his finger tips,

to spit and flick

the pips of newness

in every direction:

his delight and charm in one,

that he might hide the seeds of his creation,

plant wherever so he shouldn’t,

obey the only rule

worth a leaf’s weight

and cast hither and thither

the riddle of the rampant plant,

that knows no bounds

and tries and hopes

in every crevice to the world there found.


And so, too his intended:

to germinate and split

the kernel or the nut or the seed

and free the cornucopian light,

release it to the unwitting world,

like his life

and his evergreen smile.

© Ben Truesdale and distilledvoice, 2015