Awen Online Issue 5


                          By Nick Armbrister 

Across the gulf of reality I am pulled
towards you like a comet towards the sun.
To oblivion or salvation?
You, just an image in my mind's eye
becoming a prescence in my heart.
Yet we have never met. Will we ever?
Turn words into a life-state, me and you
into us. We want the same, so what have we to

lose? Only innocence.

 By DS Davidson
Two pairs of arms entwined in a Mobius Strip
Of ecstasy and pleasure; unending embrace
As two souls, two bodies, become one unique form.

              Waiting On A Whisper
                             By David Woods
Entrenched in traffic, smoke suffocating my brain
Trying to hear
A whisper
Thundering juggernauts, rushing motorbikes
Belching their smut, blocking out
The sound
Through the disseminated chatter
Of a thousand stiff suits and their monotones
I strain to hear
Your whisper

 By Aeronwy Dafies 
You seemed like the world to me
The be all and end all, as they say
Giving meaning to my life
But now you are gone and I find
The world keeps turning without you here.

The River
 By JP Brown 
the river runs wild
the river runs true
the river of my love
runs into the sea
of you.

                   My Little Love 
                             By Jean Bramhill 
My little love always makes me high
he wipes my tears whenever I cry.

My little love is such a dream
his love is like rolling stream.

My little love is just like a fire
that warms me all over with so much desire.

My little love is just like sweet wine
when I need a drink he's there all the time.

My little love is loving and giving
he makes my life so worth living.

My little love shines as bright as the moon
when he smiles he lights up a room.

My little love is mine all mine
to have and to hold till the end of time.

                          By Ian Sawicki 
Your body fell towards the
earth's dark soil,
skin flapping in the wind
as life abandoned laughter.

Silence -
where breath
used to make music.

Stars wept time across
Heaven's sparkling ruin,
last words painted echoes
on stretched imagination.

Emptiness -
filling the space
where we loved.

Photographic memory
tear up snapshots,
negatives sweep positives
into the darkest room.

Sorrow -
feasting upon
the fragrant tears.

Hope screams wingspans
of desolation into the nest,
until death do us part
mocks the closed eyed rush,.

Flowers -
decayed now
decorate this man.

                  For My Part
                          By Andy Botterill 
I love the way you don't put your arms around me.
I love the way you don't text me back.
I love the way you ignore
a phone message I've left.
I love the way you no longer initiate
a hug, a kiss or even sex.
I love the way we no longer do things together
and you don't seem to care
if I'm there with you or if I'm not.

I love the way we go out separately.
I love the way you no longer say you love me.
You did once. You've forgotten.
You used to say it all the time,
but memories are short.
If you said it now
you'd no longer mean it anyway.
Empty words are pointless.
For my part I wish I could just turn back the clock
to what we once had
and put whatever went wrong right.

                                 By JP Brown
love is like a star
unobtainably far
yet love is right here
whenever you are near

love is like a madman
simultaneously happy, sad and
seriously confused about
this macabre carousel

love is like a dream
which is not what it does seem
love it is a vision
of the beauty of your face

                        By Andy Botterill
Let's make this a new start,
a place of happiness,
not a place of argument,
a place where both of us
can live and breathe
and express ourselves
in whatever way we choose.

Let's make this a beginning,
day one.
Erase the memories
of all the torturous yesterdays.
Let's show care and consideration.
Let's be mindful of the other's needs.
Let's do what we can.
Let's start again.

By Zdravka Evtimova

Anna didn't look a bit like her mother, the shabby humble widow. She was the prettiest thing I had ever seen, her face white and soft like a snowdrift, her eyes dark like the clouds before it started to rain after long, severe drought. I used to meet her on her way to her grandparents' trying hard to strike up a conversation with her but she wouldn't talk to me. I'm a grandpa of ten tots now, but at the time I wasn't, I was young amd handsome you can take my word for it.

Ann was a good-looker, a charmer! She grew up in a poor cabin but her beauty grew up much more quickly than her. She was brainy, too. She was sly and cunning alright, collected herbs and cured bruised and burnt hands.. backs and legs. I doted on her. Wherever I went, no matter what I did, her dark eyes danced in my thoughts like black whirlpools. And I was the son of the wealthiest man in the country, my father, Ivan Ivanov, possessed thousands of acres of fertile land. If you planted a single grain of wheat in his field, you'd harvest thirty loaves of bread from it in the autumn. I was Ivan's only son and, of course, I was to inherit everything :  the land, the woods, the warehouses, the inns and dairies. My old man used to say, "Son, you'd better marry a decent wife, and not some slut. Take my tip and choose yourself a clever, healthy girl. I know one, her name's Martha Popova."

The Popovs brewed brandy, nicknamed
by young Bulgarian dudes, and kept the secret in the family. No living soul could brew grape brandy like Martha's fat, enormous father. Did the old pouch put feathers of a nightingale in it, so that the brew sang like a bird? Did he simply throw live coals into it so that a swig of it scorched you, setting all your bones and guts on fire? At the time, I had frittered away thousands on a woman, one of those shrewd beauties who loved you for money, while Martha was having an affair with a divorced tobacco merchant.

But our fathers got together, argued, and pondered reaching an agreement at last that the two of us should marry. They devised a very ambitious plan - directly after our wedding ceremony, I was to plant my thousands of acres of land with vines and Martha's father was to brew enough
to flood and souse the whole of Bulgaria, even Greece. I wasn't so dumb as to say no to the millions that knocked at my door; yet there was a fly in the ointment...

Each time I met Anna I couldn't take my eyes off her. I said to myself :  "Boris, you are undeniably nuts. Do something about it, let your heart relax peacefully in between your ribs. Stop biting the pillows in the nights mumbling her name like a moron! Go and talk to Anna!"

If, by chance, I caught a glimpse of her, the sky above me started to jump and kick. I wished she hadn't been the daughter of a shabby widow! My father guessed I was out of my mind on account of that girl and set about making things straight. He paid one of our addle-brained shepherds a large dowry, asking him to marry Anna. the guy shouted, "Thank you, Sir!" trying to kiss my father's new rubber boots, so grateful he was he'd have Anna.

"He won't take her, that idiot! I will!"  I swore to God then ran to Anna's shack like the wind in a blizzard. Hardly looking at the girl's magnificent face, I blurted out :  "Anna, come with me! Let's escape to Greece!"

"The richer you get, the dumber you become!" she snapped.

"What?!" I shrieked.

Then I took her.

Here I am now, an old man of eighty, and I confess to my Maker - I committed a sin. I kissed her like a wild bear, and when my eyes took in everything I had done, I was scared stiff. I thought I'd only made love to her, but Anna had stopped breathing and there was no rag left on her back.

My father counted the days remaining before I was to tie the knot. Martha and her father visited our house and I had to say I loved her. But I didn't!

My father was in seventh heaven. He brought four seamstresses from Sofia to our town and consulted famous fashion designers about the particular cut of my wedding tailcoat. My old man was as proud as a peacock and would never let his son dress like a hick for his wedding! Dancho, the famous county cop, was put in charge of my safety. There were heaps of villagers, envious of me; someone might be tempted to put a match to his rubbish heap. A big smoke would rise to the clouds, putting the mockers on my grand wedding.

At last, my tailcoat and formal trousers were ready. Wasn't I a real cool dude! So tall and spruce in my new suit I looked. I went out, crossed the square and strutted along the main street. A flock of little children clustered round me, housewives, and flappers, every living soul staring enviously. I could hear young women nearby sighing wistfully. What a pity that our town was so small! I soon reached the outskirts of the last suburb, the houses of petty traders looming white. Then I tramped across the desolate meadows, kicking furiously the stunted shrubs, there being no-one in sight to admire my tailcoat!

No sooner had I decided to return home than fireflies began to swirl before my eyes, the earth beneath my new shoes shook and rolled.

"Gosh!" I shouted and that was all. Something very heavy - was it an iron bar, or a crag, or an axe? - clobbered me on my head.

"Help! Help!" I screamed.

Now, I can show you the scars all over my body, as big and clear as they were on the day I got them. As I fully came to my senses, I felt someone remove my tailcoat, tearing it into pieces right before my bleary eyes. Then I found my hands and legs had been tied with a rope and a bunch of nettles had been stuck into my pants. The strong hand of a person I could not see thrashed me with a cudgel, and pulled my right arm out of its shoulder joint, letting it droop like a rag. That was all I could remember. I told Dancho the cop all the details of the shameful crime against me and he diligently put the evidence I gave him in his grey notebook.
My attackers had evidently poured a pail of water over me, so I could see again the withered blades of grass around my head, but the first thing of importance I discerned was a necklace of yellow glass beads, swaying above my nose. Then the strong hand thrashed me again, this time with a long prickly stick and when I opened my eyes there was the same string of yellow beads dangling over my forehead. That was my complete sworn testimony. Dancho the cop left no stone unturned :  he looked for the yellow necklace all over Bulgaria, Macedonia and Greece, but it was nowhere to be found.

People said later that a donkey had dragged me home stark naked, clouds of flies buzzing round me.

"What's that stinky carrion tied on the donkey?" my father raved at the servants. "It'll give all my hens the pox! Throw it out!"

It was no carrion on the donkey's back - it was me. On spotting my wounds, my father fainted and my mother dipped his head in a barrel full of water. First they washed me, then sent for a doctor.

"The lad must be x-rayed, his joints are swollen and sprained. I'd say somebody did that on purpose to spite you, Sir!" the doctor's opinion was. Well, my parents couldn't get me x-rayed - I was wailing mad with pain and groaning, and whimpering, and even father didn't dare approach my bed.

"Listen to me," my grandmother said, "let's send for Anna, she's good at swollen joints."

"No!" my father roared, "never!"

So I wailed for two more days, now gaining, now losing consciousness, screaming and sobbing in turn. Then another doctor from Sofia visited our house. He examined me, tut-tutting all the time, his final statement being :  "The young man must get some medical treatment in Switzerland, otherwise you'll lose him!"

Father heard these words and locked the doctor in a small narrow room of our house.

"You'll either cure him or your wife will lose you!"

"I can't! I can't!" The doctor from Sofia came and did not even bother to cross the threshold. "I can't cure your son's disease - my speciality is different!"

It was on the fifth day of my suffering that my father sent for Anna. He believed I'd die unless he hired a plane to take me to Switzerland. Anna examined me, thought for a while, then declared :  "Mr Ivanov, I shall cure your son. if on the fourteenth day of the treatment he is not able to tango with me, then, Sir, I'll stand at the door of the church on Sunday and let each person who enters or leaves kick me in the backside!"

"Cure him then!" my father cried, "and I will pay you one thousand golden franks."

"No!" Anna cut him short.

"Two thousand!"


"How much then?!" My old man became furious and , if Dancho the cop had not stopped him, he would have hit Anna with his walking stick.

"I want your sixty acres of land by the river!" Anna said, unperturbed.

"What?!" my father fumed. "You must be crazy! I'd rather lose my son...."
"You surely will," she assured him. "If in a day I don't start my treatment, Boris'll swell up and kick the bucket!"

"We'll wait and see..." my father barked mulishly.

Continued after poem

                                     Suicide Mind 
                                                 By Bryan Harrison 
As the pavement draws near, I ponder my dead, if the decision I've made is the right one
Or should I have tried, maybe broke down and cried, for some sympathetic act you might have done.
I see to the right, flying my suicide flight, a family out enjoying the sunshine.
Could that have been us, holding hands on the bus, reminiscing on tales and fun times.
I gaze to the left, on my descending guest, at some girls playing tag in the playground.
Would our children have been, full of laughter and dreams, if I'd stayed on the building safe and sound.
But none of that is important, these are meaningless thoughts... and my decision to jump has been made.
Will you have been worried, when my body is buried, what image of you this portrayed.
Or will you have cried mock tears, then confirmed my worst fears and gone back to her house to get laid.

Anna (Continued from above)

My hands swelled like pillows, an ambluance came to take me to Sofia, but who would drive it. None of the three drivers in the whole district dared do that, for everybody believed I was just about to croak. Two of them said they were sick and the third had run away to Greece. Anna was again sent for.

"Sir," she said to my father, "it's a little late for me to cure your son, but I still can promise you that on the twenty-fifth day of the treatment he'll..."

"I'll give you everything!"

"Your sixty acres of fertile land by the river and I insist Boris marry me when he's safe and sound!"

"You rag!" My father shrieked, cussed and rampaged as though somebody was tearing at him. My mum and my grandma started crying, father raged and brawled and kicked until he broke a cupboardful of saucers. At the end he gave in... So, my parents took me to Anna's dilapidated hut. The neighbours told me later that the town priest was on the alert, ready either to absolve me from all my sins if I were to die soon or to pronounce us as husband and wife if I survived...

I still wasn't in my right mind when the priest bent over me offering me the golden cross to kiss. I didn't know what I was kissing but I caught a word or two he was mumbling under his breath. The man was obviously congratulating me on my best of luck.

You've got a magnificent bride, Boris! I'm sure you'll be happy with her! May God bless the two of you and may you have many children as pretty as she is!"

"What are you talking about?!" I asked him, flabbergasted.

The priest was a little deaf and went on telling me that Martha Popova, my ex-fiancee, and her divorced tobacco merchant had gone together to a resort on the Black Sea coast to enjoy the fresh air and scenery there. I wished her good luck. So, all of a sudden, I found myself married to Anna!

"Strangle her!" my father kept on advising me. "If you are not strong enough for that then poison her!"

How could I poison Anna? She was expecting our first child, the one she conceived when I committed my sin on that red-hot summer afternoon. How could I poison such a prettyy woman?! Anna's little finger was prettier than all my father's acres, dairies, wineries, horses and dogs, let alone Anna herself! And you can take my word for it. There was a secret I haven't told even Dancho the cop about, though I felt I should have done so.

A week before my first son was born, Anna said she wanted to have a word with me in her room.

You can recognize this, can't you?" she asked, waving gently a string of yellow beads before my eyes. I gaped, breathless, shocked. The yellow beads I remembered so well! "I beat you, Boris, then I cured you. It was your child that saved your life. I don't want your sixty acres. Now, you may take all your things. God bless you."

For years, this yellow necklace hung on the wall of my room next to the calendar. Anna wanted to throw it out but I wouldn't let her. We had three sons, but it was our fourth child, my daughter, that I gave the necklace of yellow beads. I hoped she would grow up as beautiful as her mother.

I had kept my secret so far. I was the only living soul who knew about the famous cop's fiasco. Thanks to Dancho's failure to apprehend my attacker, I married Anna.

Today I am an eighty year old grandpa, but still thank God and all his angels that Dancho the cop could not find the string of these cheap yellow beads. I sometimes put a bottle of my finest plum brandy by his grave hoping his soul can have a drink in heaven and see that I am deeply indebted to him.