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Analogue IV

Analogue IV


Just a second I’d said to my darling,
Take as much as you wish she replied,
But I wait for no man, she adds with a grin,
As her hands swish from side to side


She wants more from our time together,
Seems to her that I take and don’t give,
Her grandfather said the same thing to her
And it’s not a good way to live


I explained that the tocks weren’t a problem,
And it wasn’t her fault to be fair,
But she was driving me to distraction,
With her ticks that I just couldn’t bear


At least I’m not two faced like you she replied,
So I paused and I counted to ten,
Silence between us, the cogs start to turn,
Seems I’m winding her up again


My issue she gently concluded,
Was my head had been turned around,
By those digital chicks, who don’t suffer from ticks
Power mad without making a sound


She tried not to be too alarmist,
but the beeps that they make really grated,
And their plastic and buttons and wires made her ill
I said true, but at least they aren’t dated


But they make you so late in the morning she says
It’s a fact that I cannot refuse,
You can trust me to get you up right on time,
I won’t give you the option to snooze


You’re behind the times dear I protested,
Second hand goods if you will,
And as for your roman numerals,
Well – I’ve pretty much had my fill


Well, if that’s how you feel then we’re finished,
She chimes in, and we went our own ways,
Now I’ve lost all conception of minutes or hours
I do well to remember the days


I while away moments in silence
My alarm clock provides no rapport,
She just flashes at me from the corner
And I wish things were just as before


Take heed of my error of judgement
And that life passes by for all men
She won’t give me the time of day anymore
And I doubt I will see her again

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In the dark with Gavin Turner

Hi All,

Welcome to the second of my newsletters about the stuff I’m writing and reading at the moment. I will be trying to get these out on a fairly regular basis, but only when I have something to share with you all. As you know the fickle nature of the publishing industry means that, like everyone else, the publication offers might not come, I could be strangled by writers block, who knows? I’m feeling really positive about 2023 though and lots of potentially exciting projects to come this year. Last year was great for me, plenty of publication acceptances and more importantly met some really cool people. The highlight has to be the publication of my first chapbook The Round Journey, which was released with Alien Buddha press in May 2022.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Round-Journey-Gavin-Turner/dp/B09YQK3F4F/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2UEYUG4RCUQSX&keywords=gavin+turner&qid=1651846657&sprefix=gavin+turner%2Caps%2C82&sr=8-1

A little piece of twine

I created my first twine story late last year. If you aren’t familiar with the twine concept it is a basic computer program that enables a kind of ‘choose your own adventure’ approach to the narrative. This piece is called ‘Patio Friends’ and was really fun to write. I was so pleased to see this published with the rather excellent Voidspace zine alongside some other really interesting pieces. Why not have an explore?

https://voidspacezine.com/patio-friends/

The Agenda – short story – published with JAKE

This short story was published towards the end of last year but I failed to mention this on my last newsletter. If you enjoy a little meta fiction then this may well be up your street. Terrance arrives late for a team meeting, things take a really strange turn after that. Many thanks to JAKE for publishing this short piece

https://jakethemag.com/the-agenda/

Future publications

Poetry

I have a new poem out with Boats against the current towards the end of February – would love to hear your feedback on this piece!

Fiction

As mentioned in my last newsletter I also have a short collaborative piece I created alongside Kellie Scott-Reed, part of the editing team at Roi Faineant press. It’s a really fun piece and I’m really looking forward to the reaction to this – no more details for now, I’ve said enough!

Plans for 2023

I always have a lot of projects going on at any given time. The main focus for me this year is to release a new book of poetry. The main difference this time is that I am planning on publishing this myself. I understand that a lot of people have mixed views about publishing their own work. I held those views too up until recently. The traditional publishing route does hold a certain kudos amongst many writers and I totally get it. I think the distinction for me at this point is that I am not in a position where I am doing this because it is not possible for me to get this published elsewhere eventually. I believe that I would. Amongst the rejections I received last year there were a number of successes too. If you think about it, most of the time when you say I have written a book, and you can buy it either in a shop or through Amazon, the typical questions are along the lines of asking what it is about (I know that’s often a tough one), what inspired you to write it etc. I don’t think anyone outside the industry ever said ‘OK, and who is your publisher/ agent? It just isn’t important to them. I think the important thing is about your own belief in what you produce.

For me, as someone who is always interested in developing new skills and learning from my experiences, I see this as an opportunity to improve my skills as a writer, creator, marketer, you name it. There is so much work that goes into creating a new book and whilst I hate the cliched phrase, the release of a new book is a journey (I’m cringing at the phrase as well don’t worry) and it is the steps along the way that I am excited about. Much more to follow on this as I take this book to press. I can say that this will have more content, some of which has been published before but a great deal of new poetry not seen before. I will share some posts over the coming months on my experience of each element, including choosing content, where to publish, marketing, book covers etc.

Reading material

Like a lot of writers there is really only one thing that I want for Christmas – more books. I was able to get my hands on some classics this year. A Confederacy of Dunces, Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy and also the Wasp Factory by Iain Banks which is a fascinating read.

On the socials

Twitter

Most people who use Twitter recently will have seen some changes to the way it operates. I have noticed that some of the people I interacted with the most seem to have disappeared so I have to go into their account directly to see what they have been up to. It is annoying but to reassure this is still the best way to get in touch with me. If you are on there why not follow or send me a message @gtpoems

Facebook

I have a specific page on Facebook if that’s where you hang out. You can find me at Gavin Turner Author if you fancy giving me a follow!

So definitely more news to follow. I am really excited to see what this year brings and it would be great to hear what you are up to as well. Send me a message and share your plans – who knows where we could be this time next year – probably in the dark somewhere!

dark humour, fiction, flash fiction, funny, short story, writing

Heist the Buller

It was a matter of fact, not opinion, that this was not going at all well. They were now half an hour into the job and still no closer to the prize. Starmy wiped drips from his brow, chucking down the industrial saw in anger.

“It’s no good, he huffed. This outer layer looks like a house of straw but it’s tougher than Kevlar. It will be a miracle if we break through this”

“I told you we should have brought Lambo with us on this one, his accomplice said. He’s the muscle in this outfit”

“Shut it, I’m in charge here, Nando” he fired back, digging in his pocket for a dribble free hankie. Finding none he rubbed his blue jacket sleeve around his face, lamenting that it had all come down to this. He stood up slowly, arching his aching back “Where’s Ed? We need him”.

“He said he would wait in the car; you know how he’s always one for a quick getaway. Nando paused, her tone changing slightly. You know sometimes I think you like him better than me. She pouted a little, hands on hips. She could feel the outline of the Dictaphone in her blazer pocket. I’m always here to listen” she added. She felt they trusted each other, it was just, insurance.

He chose not to respond. Starmy’s plan was crumbling round his ears. I don’t have time for this he thought. Time to be a strong leader now. He rubbed his hands together then placed them firmly on Nando’s shoulders, staring her straight in the eye.

“This is not a robbery its’s national service he declared. I need to see where your loyalties lie”

Nando looked confused at the concept. Frustrated, Starmy let go of her. Anger boiling over he could only hiss through gritted teeth.

“Tell Ed not to trip as he goes down the steps”. Nando moved towards the moonlit window so she could text the getaway driver on her burner phone.

What a useless crew Starmy thought. Although he admitted it was a good idea having the burner phones. He was just a bit surprised that they had all got one spare before he’d even mentioned the plan. That was a bit weird.

He wished he’d brought more tools with him.  He had always played by the book, tried to do the right thing till now. Patience had worn to a threaded hole in his ambitions. When would he get to wear the number 10 shirt?

He hated to admit defeat, but it was time to move to plan B. Or to be more accurate, plan D. The last thing they could try. Time to dance with the devil. Time to call in Dom. The loot whisperer.

Starmy was about to place the call when, out of the shadows a scrawny paw laid itself on his cold shoulders.

“No need to call Dom simpered, I’m always around”

Starmy tried not to let Dom feel him shudder under the clammy grasp.

“I’ll find a chink in this armour he offered with a sickly grin. I’m an expert remember”

He laid his rucksack on the ground, rummaging in the contents. Starmy and Nando exchanged a glance as they witnessed a brief reveal of Dom’s knackered boxers as he bent over the bag. As if feeling the gaze, Dom attempted again to tuck the back of his shirt in and failed. He withdrew a small bottle with a cork stopper from the bag. Deftly removing the cork, he wafted its contents under the subject’s nose.  The subject snorted a little but otherwise remained calm.

“Just a little lubrication Dom explained, loosen him up a bit”

Starmy got a brief whiff of the tincture in the stuffy room. It smelled like old money, and pig blood. The feelings of helplessness, like in the old place came over him in waves. He had to press home how important this was. How it mattered.

“We’ve got to get this right Starmy proffered, everything we need to know is in there, all the… secrets

Dom nodded sagely and waved him away as he leant close into the ear of the subject. He turned for a second.

“You can’t break in here with those crude tools he said pointing at the vast array of power tools scattered on the plush carpet. This will take stealth”. He gently stroked the flabby chops  of the subject and smiled again as if reminiscing. “That’s right my pretty he said. They’ll not get through this rhino hide like that”

The eye of the subject flickered briefly. There was a semblance of recognition, half a memory. A borrowed pair of glasses, a postcard from a family trip to a castle.

He leant in once more. The subject’s mumblings grew louder as Dom whispered softly in his ear.

Starmy heard almost incoherent words from the subject. ‘Hands, face, buller buller buller’ it seemed to garble. Reaching a crescendo, Starmy quickly closed the gap in the door. The noise had reached such a pitch he was worried they might disturb the Moggy, peacefully perched in its basement dungeon.

The garbling stopped abruptly. A scraping noise like a long-forgotten hinge cracked open the thatched lid of the Prime Minister’s head. Out rolled a pig skin purse, gilded with dusty swan feathers.

‘Remember you owe me now’ Dom uttered and melted waxy into the shadows of the cabinet office.

With a trembling hand Starmy picked up the bag as the hinged skull shut its door once more.

Stitched in italic gold on the side of the bag were the words ‘The Truth’

Starmy stuffed the bag into his inside jacket pocket. Nando collected their belongings and together they rushed out to the waiting saloon. Ed attempted to rev the engine, forgetting it was an electric. He pushed the pedal to the floor and sped off inaudibly into the London night.

The Prime minister, snorted in his sleep, oblivious to the raid. Only the darkness was now left to witness the midnight blathering, spewing nonsense in its slumber, all its secrets spilled. Inside the skull, the memories, the mistakes, squirming like a forced apology, spilling their way out of the open mouth.

“Hands, face, buller buller buller”.

First published by Punk Noir magazine as part of the ‘Heist’ prompt.

Christmas, dark humour, diary, featured, fiction, Hell, human resources, humour, news, writing

A cold day in Hell

From the diary of Phelan Tweed, Manager of People and Persecutions, Hell Inc

I didn’t think this would ever happen at Hell Inc. The fiery furnace is on the blink and with temperatures plummeting like the souls of devious scam callers through our gates the situation has become more and more alarming. We often talk about the day Hell freezes over. We may just have arrived at that unfortunate juncture.

Brian Bentham, the local representative for the UDP (Union of dead people) paid me a visit despite my email informing him that the engineers had been called. Here was a man with the face of a fairly disgruntled tortoise who had somehow found himself front and centre of an issue that neither of us felt would ever occur. His green roll neck sweater was not helping the situation either. Normally I am only honoured with a personal visit from our union friends in emergencies. One could typically anticipate a long-winded email, peppered with micro aggressions and blind copied into the world and his wife for good measure. Such is the way that the UDP conduct their business. Brian was highly vexed at the cost of no longer living crisis and how it affected his membership, not to mention it was getting rather chilly down here.

‘My members are not happy’ he railed, slamming his fist on the desk and disturbing my overfilled latte. They are not satisfied at all, and my members would like to know what you, being the representative of people in this business are going to do about it’

I found his lack of respect for my coffee break irritating but nonetheless in the interest of partnership working I allowed this indiscretion. The veins in his temples were pulsing and I began to speculate that the rupture of one of these vessels was likely the very cause of him arriving in Hell in the first place.

‘Take this one member of mine, he continued, waggling his podgy digit in my face. This member of mine can’t even afford to keep warm in his hovel of an evening, let alone feed his family. My member is shivering in his shack Mr Tweed.

‘Please would you refrain from describing your union colleagues as ‘Members’ I insisted. It conjures up a highly uncomfortable image in my head’. I think it was the unfortunate combination of the roll neck and his wrinkly bald head.

‘Be that as it may, what action are you going to take?’

By this point I am afraid I was beginning to lose my interest in the conversation and played the card that only a business as unique as ours can. ‘I’m sure they will survive Mr Bentham’ I said failing to hide a smirk. After all, we are here forever. ‘Perhaps we could offer some wellbeing support, how about a free yoga lesson?’ This didn’t go down well. His wrinkly face had turned bright red, he looked like he might actually explode. Although it did give him a rather festive look.

‘I am filing a grievance he yelled, you haven’t heard the last of this’ He stormed out of the office. I have sent him a roll up yoga mat and some candles in the post to cheer him up. I hope this won’t aggravate the silly fool too much. You see, as I have mentioned before, people round here tend to revert to type, they don’t understand or know that they are really dead, and that they are here forever. There is no point in trying to rock the boat or get into arguments with your colleagues about things. The things that affect you on Earth bear no meaning here. Oh it might look like Earth but it is Hell, it is designed to irritate you much as life would have done in the past.  It is about time you got used to it. Time for another coffee I shouldn’t wonder. It was getting rather chilly.

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A year in reflection

As we approach the end of 2022 there is an opportunity to reflect on the last year in terms of writing progress. I didn’t set out to be the next Stephen King or JK Rowling. My aims have been much more modest than that. But I also did not impose any limitations on how I would approach getting my work out there in gradual steps. For many writers I think the biggest hurdle is themselves. I have found a couple of mantras have really helped me to focus on what I wanted to achieve and maintain resilience in the face of any perceived setbacks or failures. Everyone has them. When you actually think about what you are doing when you send out your work to a press or a magazine it is simply this:

Here is my work, do you like it enough to put it in your magazine?

You are not asking the entire population of the world, some 7.5 billion people currently whether they like your work or not, just one or maybe two people. So what happens if they don’t like it? Well that’s just two people out of the above number who it didn’t appeal to. This is not a reflection on the quality of the writing, more often it is about a good fit. Editors have limited space in the magazines and sometimes have tough choices to make. Perhaps look on it a bit like you are sending your poem or story on a date. When it comes home despondent, you could ask – how did it go? Likely your story would reply, Oh you know, really nice person, but, just not for me. And so you your story moves onto the next date. No loss, and maybe you have found a friend.

There are two key pieces of advice or guidance that I have stuck with and will continue to apply in response to the inevitable rejections I will receive over the next few years. The first is this:

I will not be deterred by rejection. It does not in any way define my writing

This is really about resilience. Many writers will give up at the first hurdle, taking the rejection itself as a personal slight. of course, it hurts when you have put your heart and soul into something and it gets returned with a hard pass. Much the same way you would feel if someone walked up to you in the street and said they didn’t think much of your children. Getting a piece ‘returned’ to you in my view is more about an opportunity for someone else to see it’s value. Of course it is also an opportunity for you to review that piece you wrote 6 months ago and wonder if it really does hit the mark or not. This ties in nicely with the second piece of advice:

I don’t hold anyone else’s opinion higher than my own

You may think there is an air of conceit about this, but nothing could be further from the truth. What I mean by this phrase is that I don’t hold the view of others any higher or lower than my own. Very often we think of an editor as the one holding the power in the relationship. They do over the content of their own magazine, but not over the entire literary world. Many editors will rightly disagree about what they feel constitutes a great piece of work, that is what makes their publications unique from each other. If you want to take this thought a little further, it might actually be a good thing if someone hates what you do. At least you will know that your work is not so middle of the road that whoever it was was indifferent about it. I would rather someone love it or hate it than comment ‘well, yes. that was okay I guess’.

As an example, I have three poems out this week with Roi Faineant press. All of these have been rejected before, and that’s fine, it wasn’t for those guys, it doesn’t meant that someone else won’t put it out there. You can read all of these pieces here and draw your own view

https://www.roifaineantpress.com/post/being-a-better-kind-of-ghost-the-promise-of-rain-opening-night-by-gavin-turner

I hope this advice helps anyone considering sending their work out, face it, you literally have nothing to lose.

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FREE HAIKU BOOK – TRIPLICATED

Hi All

Hope you are enjoying the Winter season! Thought I would share with you that I have just upgraded my free E Book, TRIPLICATED which is now available on this site. Follow the link here and you should be able to download the whole thing. Hope you enjoy it and would love to hear your thoughts and feedback!

https://gtpoems.com/triplicated/