Sunday, January 15, 2017

White Ferrari

The thought of thoughts, breeds more thought.
Staring at the ceiling, slumber still evades him.

Imagining the ideal image has always encouraged sleep.
In youth, a red-helmeted motorcyclist came, carelessly gliding around corners, his tyres scrabbling for rubber.
Now older and wiser, his scene of solution consists of purer fantasies: A summer morning in the old back garden. Blue skies beam upon the garden’s rich greenery. Nostrils entice fragrant coffee, dancing from its mug. Tranquil air fills with silence, apart from the jingle of a dog collar, as his old pal bustles about the foliage.

The dog: gifted with a level of happiness that will never cease to amaze. What has he got to be happy about?
Weeks from his mother’s womb, separated from his siblings and sold off. Morning and evening, given the same dry pellets, never treated to lunch. A collar around his neck, he will never be free. Outside home lines, restrained by a lead. Every day castigated to the kitchen, while his idols leave. He doesn’t know if they’ll come back; yet he never fears the worst.
Over his short ten years on earth, abduction, abandonment and separation have seeped into this dog’s life. Yet, this dog is still happy. He greets everything new with love, desire, discovery.
Scuttling about the garden, – the same garden he has always scuttled about –optimistic for a new adventure. He keeps driving forward. He lives for the plant-pot he is yet to overturn, the flowerbed he’s yet to dig up, the hole in the hedge he’s yet to have discovered.


London: home to him, alongside a million others, slogging in dreary conforms. Dispassion festers here, but the thoughts from his actions still suffocate.
Upon tubes, he searches eyes for answers. Peeling back grumpy glazes, he wonders.
Who have they loved?
Who have they hurt?
Have they been forgiven?

Soon, commuters shoot glares over newspapers, locking onto his eye line.
What can they see?
They see him: the scared little boy, dressed as a hero with the frown of a villain. Scraggly with an ironed shirt, he impresses them, but not himself.
Though, can they see behind his eyes?
Can they see who he has loved?
Can they see who he has hurt?
Can they believe he will be forgiven?
Logic told him to dress like a hero, but it can’t wipe the guilt off his face. He knows he won’t see these people again, but they will always be left in his thoughts.
They will always haunt him.

Deflecting glares, he picks up his book and starts to read.

Most people are chained to their own fear and stupidity and haven’t the sense to level a cold eye at just what is wrong with their lives. Most people will continue on, dissatisfied but never attempting to understand why, or how they might change things for the better, and they die with nothing in their hearts but dirt and old, thin blood – weak blood, diluted – and their memories aren’t worth a goddamned thing…’*
He is not most people.
Neither are you.

Sunday, August 14, 2016


‘Stewart anvallen!’
‘Stewart attaque!’
‘Stewart attacks!’
Up the road was my district. No need to glance at the start sheet to know I was racing.  My heart was the master, but sometimes it couldn’t keep up.
Tough times transpired, but the toughest occurred when no one was there to watch.

My hardest day had impeccable beginnings.
Dad left for work, slamming the door behind him. Roused by the shutting, I soaked in the sunlight melting through the curtains. The perfect summer morning had a golden glow.
The sun shines brighter when you are 16 and enslaved to revision.
Today it was irresistible.
I was going for a bike ride.

Ferris Bueller traps set, I departed for the ride of a lifetime. A great man once said,
‘Never let a good education ruin a great cycling adventure.’
Azure skies smiled down upon me, as I pedalled the teenage kicks out of my life. Heading away from Newtownards, a tremendous tailwind whisked me towards freedom. Cadence climbed and speed surged, as I clocked up the kilometres.
Spying southern showers, I swung left at Kircubbin, to loop back and head home.
A wet bike can be detected.
A puddled garage can be detected.
Detection was to be prevented at all costs.
I caped-up.

Or tried to.
An opportunity to practice the mobile application of waterproofs. Plucking coat out of pocket, I got to work on wearing it. Inside out, the first task was readying it for installation. Pulling the sleeves out, I proceeded with the conclusive slipping-on of apparel. Surrounding hedgerows whirled in excitement, holding the wind back from disrupting the ceremony. One arm in, the other en route, the deed was nearly done…
And then everything went wrong.

They say one doors closes, another opens.
In this case, a closed gate had created a field opening. A field opening which invited forceful crosswinds to snatch my front wheel away from me.
I was helpless to nature’s barbarism: arms trapped in a waterproof straight jacket, I crashed onto the tarmac. Wrists, chest, knees, face; I slammed into the ground.
My day in paradise swiftly went to shit.

Pathetically twisted, I probed for a neural response. Messages hurtled back in horrific haste, as pain invaded my body.
In a moment, I had cascaded from euphoric enigma to arthritic sloth.
Worse was yet to come.

Money doesn’t rule the world, but it can buy you a taxi home.
Departing the house, I’d disregarded this principle. Capes, bananas, optimism had been abundantly stocked, but not money. There was no quick way home.
Pride was in my blood; it didn’t need to be packed. It prevented me from calling Dad, explaining the situation, so he would leave work and come to my rescue.
Pride was going to overhaul pain and get me home.

Hauling myself onto a completely functional bike, thanks to human-cushioning, I pondered my next move. Cracking my wrists in the right direction, I thought about which way the crow would go home.
Sickening realisation came upon me.
My route was a U-shaped peninsula.
I was at the U’s bottom.
I was the longest possible distance away from home.
I was fucked.

A foreboding fifty kilometres approached. Opting for following my tail, I doubled back towards home.
The gale, gratified to launch me towards Portaferry, now fought to keep me there. Pedalling into the gust, I resisted the wind’s change in mood. Twelve miles-per-hour into a block head involved more power than a tailwind, and my body felt it. My hands shook, as my wrists struggled to recover from the earlier impact. My knee swelled, reminding me of its hardship with every pedal stroke.

Forty kilometres elapsed, and I’d felt every one of them.
The wind died down as I hit the towpath, but I barely noticed. My body was on red alert, aching from all areas.
Vision blurred as I soldiered on, bloodied from head-to-toe. A now-ripped raincoat, hid the majority of collateral damage.
But Mother Nature had not finished.
The wind had died down for a reason. Black clouds glared down, before spitting out thousands of icy globules in my direction. Wind had had its moment, now it was hail’s turn.
Red alert flickered to mayday, as my heart begged me to stop. My brain knew this wasn’t an option. I continued the mission, in a scene of desperation, determined to see my front door again.

Beckoning over my hysterical self, was my beautiful front door:
‘Congratulations on your victory, Daniel,’ the Front Door praised, ‘but remember, it’s half three, and you don’t want your cover to be blown! Hide the evidence.’
Nodding at my orders, I hobbled to the garage. Dusting down the bike with a dry sponge to prevent puddling and evidence, completed the perfect crime.
After a shower and outfit change, I was happy to learn all my wounds could be hidden under clothes.

Four o’clock came, and Mum walked in.
Greeting her calmly at my desk, I performed an Oscar-worthy of studying show.

They’ve never noticed the scars on my wrists.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Thrift is the Gleaner Behind All Human Effort

It’s Friday.
In Belfast.
You’re tired.
And angry.
A horrible day.
Fury clogs your blood channels: towards customers, workers, voters. They’ve added acid to your future’s skeleton.
You await the bus. Workers drive past, sardining the road. They suffocate in homemade gloom. Your glower burns holes in all directions.

Aboard the bus, you glare at the Hope Wall with renewed irony.
You feel agitation, ceasing to be settled, leaking from your core.
Sweat and slurs surround you, but nothing is present to soothe you.
You must override this issue from within.

Arriving home, you address the abrogation, with euphoric exercise.
Soon, you’re tumbling down the towpath, anger spewing onto tarmac. But the asphalt hits back, delivering sickening blows which scintillate up your legs.
You run past a Mother, ignorant to her son’s pleas for freedom to explore. He is parried back into the pram.

You run into The Cure: The Park.
Omniscient oaks will absorb your acrimony. Wisdom will shower down, as you run under ancient ashes. You hope.
You pass a personal trainer, implementing identical exertions to identical clients. Clients paying for the orgasmic authority of the trainer’s control.
More families pass by, commencing their weekend with a potter in the park.
Content with their luxurious leisure.
Content with good grants and wages.
Irrespective to how it was achieved.

            Turning towards the trails, you ascend the hill. From its peak, the Parliamentary home of agreements, treaties and welfare condescends down on you. Growing gradients greaten gravity’s grip on your efforts. Kicking your steps into the bark, you return the earth’s past punches, with inflated valour. Fresh bark nourishes your nostrils, for your hard work, reminding you of childhood:
Of a satisfying slide, carpeted by a comparable husk.
Of a time, free of festering thoughts.
Of a time, when Unions where eminent.

Continuing the summit, you surpass the back of the building of bills. Heaving, wheezing, but pulsing; you rid yourself of the weight of frustration and contempt.
Conquering to the crest, you stop on the bridge, cohesively connecting the two regions of the park’s valley. A river flows beneath. You stare from each side:
Upstream is a bleak outlook. Murky browns colour stagnant water, coating a sandy, barren riverbed. Foliage shies away from the stream.
Downstream is more volatile. Green corpses block the water’s course: a pine, felled years ago, splays itself across the waterway. Weeds shoot up from age-old, rotting wounds. Ragged rocks befoul the scene further.
A small watery trickle, filters its way through the carnage.
The brook still babbles. There is hope.
You leave the aquaplaning bridge, refreshed.

Hurtling down the hill, the forest applauds you home, congratulating your enlightenment.
Thrift is the Gleaner Behind All Human Effort’, reads a monument’s etchings, as you exit the park. You nod in agreement, as your strides speed up with every kilometre closer to home.

It doesn’t last long.
A suited snob, blares his horn as you leave the park with your loving-kindness. Swiftly snatching your optimism, a snide snub condemns your immediate existence.
Reality sets in, and alleviations are abandoned. Exercise has done little to extinguish your anguish, as your fire returns to its roots. You sulk home to find a place to hide.

Sheltered, you soon acknowledge acceptance.
Acceptance of your fight over flight:
Fighting for knowledge.
Fighting for recognition.
            Fighting for power.

But these things don’t need to be fought for.
Thrift betters fight.
17,410,742 British Gleaners must grasp this.
What’s done is democracy, an outcome to be unchanged.
We must face the future together.
With thrift not fight.

@DanBikeStewart                                                                                                      #EURef