Image credit: Vera Petruk/

Do you believe in magic?

My mother did. I think she practised it. She never admitted as such, but I knew about her books. She kept them with candles and incense and other things I didn’t recognise – and probably didn’t want to recognise – in our basement.

And sometimes she’d go down there alone for long hours and lock the door behind her. She didn’t really need to do that. We wouldn’t have followed. Me and my sister were too scared, and my father didn’t want his sports watching time disturbed. But she locked the doors anyway.

You might think I’m imagining it all. Perhaps she just did that to make us want to stay away so she could have some peace and quiet. She often would say that, actually.

“What I would give for some peace and quiet!” she would lament, usually when we were playing up or dad had his friends over for the footy games on tv.

And it could be so, but then things started happening. The tv died and even when our father replaced it the same thing would happen, over and over. He got though five tvs before he gave up.

“Damned electric wiring” he would complain, till eventually he decided to visit his friends to watch the game rather than bothering with ‘electrics’.

Then my sister won a scholarship and moved away. I didn’t mind that really, though I missed her a bit.

But that just left me, and I tended to be the noisier one of the two. I liked to play act and sing, and my mother would hold her forehead and complain about her migraines, and go down to the basement.

Then one winter I caught the flu .A really bad flu and I lost my voice.

And so what you might say, that happens from time to time. But see, I never got my voice back. It never returned.

Now our house is very quiet and my mother seems very content. She doesn’t go down to the basement much anymore either. She put sits by the windows, looking out, like a contented domestic cat who got the cream. And I creep around the house, voiceless and wanting to be as quiet as I can be.

So now do you believe in magic?

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: momente/

When I was young my father once took me to see an old train which was kept as a kind of historic relic at the train yard.

In those days that sort of trip was exciting, because my father was rarely at home or able to spend time with me. He was a travelling salesman, always on the road.

“Come see a train, son,” he said. “Like ones I might have travelled on for my job if we lived about a century ago.”

And so I went with him, eager to see what he saw in such history. I wanted to be like him back then. Perhaps I still do.

All I know is I miss him, and it all goes back to then, that day. Because after that it wasn’t his job that kept him away.

The train itself at first just seemed old and run down. He told me about how beautiful it would have been, back in the day. How wealthy clients would sit in first class and drink fine wine while it took them to places unseen and destinations dreamed of, all through the glorious night. And because he was a fine salesman and an even finer storyteller, he made it sound magical.

Perhaps it was.

For as he spoke it did seem to shimmer somehow, and for a few brief moments I literally saw it transformed. I saw the carriage and the rich elite. I saw them enjoying the beauty of the night. I saw them so alive, even though it was so long ago. And I think my father did too, for his glorious voice stopped talking for a moment and we just witnessed the past come to life.

We saw it all. But you see, they saw us too. or my father at least. I saw one woman in particular turn and see my father, and he was a handsome man and she looked like a lonely woman. And she beckoned to him in a coquettish manner that was wrong for her age for she was a bit too old for that. And a bit too old for my dad.

But that didn’t matter. He stepped towards her, like he was hypnotised, and the world shuddered and then they were gone. And he was gone with them.

I ran through the carriages, calling for him for what seemed like hours. I tried to tell his stories to the air to call them back, to call him back. But I was my father’s son and not my father, and I didn’t have his skill.

I finally fell to my knees crying for a loss I could barely comprehend. This damnable train and its damnable woman. Too late, too late. He was gone.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Hit delight/

Keep it in the family
Headstones lined up
One, two, three
It’s a perfect dynasty
Worthy of our pedigree
And I think that you’ll agree
Artistic in its symmetry
Just our little family
Buried for eternity

Lined up here where we belong
Souls each sold
For just a song
Worshipping the cold and strong
Powerful our family throng
Had dark stars to wish upon
Even now our souls are gone
Just our little family
Buried for eternity

Once were kings but now we sleep
Neath the ground
So cold and deep
Making all the heavens weep
All the promises we keep
Just as killers we would creep
Steal your souls if you dare sleep
To join our little family
Buried for eternity

(c) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Jafek Szaranek/

The revolution was televised in the end, so the song was wrong about that. Songs are often wrong, if you think about it. Probably only so much wisdom you can shoe-horn into three or four verses and a chorus.

Anyway by the time it happened I don’t think anyone would have written songs like that. They’d have known nothing really existed anymore unless it was on some screen or another – TV, movie screens or just the computer. Daily life off screen was nothing, just the time you filled in before you could be back on screen again. The only thing that mattered was the stepping stones to the cult of narcissism.

The songs by then, when the revolution finally came were all about ‘me, me, me’ and were all so similar it made a mockery of the thought there was actually any individual ‘me’s’ at all But by then it was too late. And the revolution wasn’t for freedom or for peace. It was for annihilation, and it was orchestrated by that shadowy elite they all theorised about, but didn’t fear enough to ever stop watching their screens and do something about.

And that elite like to be entertained as much as the rest of us, so of course it was televised. Every last shrieking, painful, bloody bit of it. Flickering out to the few in a safe enough space to just watch – eating their popcorn and making directorial critiques to their armies.

A sideshow, that was the end. The only end we could possibly have had, given where we had come. A televised revolution we didn’t get to watch, only feel, and now its just our ghosts, watching flickering images on a screen, not even realising we are watching ourselves as we died.

That’s all there is now. That’s all there is. TV.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Old Sparky


Image credit: Fer Gregory/

Old Sparky’s been waiting for you, yes he has! He’s patient you know. Over time he always gets his food. There’s no escape.

Though I wager you are trying still. All the money ran out for fancy lawyers, and now its public defence, and the do-gooder brigade that light candles to try to convince someone not to take you to dusty death. Blowhards every one of them. I know the type.

Bit like you. Don’t want to have no truck with consequences, least not for any that come from their own actions. You think taking lives was somehow your right but you’ve got this inalienable right to life even so. You don’t even see the contradictions. That’s how blind you are.

I blame the public eduction system myself. Lost all their standards years ago. Taken over by that semi-socialist garbage they spew out now. All those safe spaces and stuff about diversity. Hypocrites, every one of them. They don’t even understand what they say anymore. It’s just words. Words from the blind, like you.

Old Sparky isn’t blind like that, and he don’t discriminate either. He’s not into diversity or excuses, and anyway you were goddamned rich and – what do they say – ‘white privileged’? If you weren’t set to die they’d vilify you, but now you are they proclaim you like some newly minted saint who they need to save. Idiots.

They won’t beat old Sparky, and neither will you. It’s all just a sideshow, every bit of it, and he knows, he knows. He just waits, and then he claims his own. He’s waiting for you.

And it can’t come soon enough if you ask me. Can’t come soon enough at all.

(c. ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Patrick Foto/

Don’t run away sweet daddy dear
I’ve been so patient standing here
To me a day, to you a year
And I’ll be waiting yet I fear
Daddy let me near

You say I died so long ago
But I don’t remember though
All these doors that you here show
Through which one should I go?
Daddy let me know

You say they helped you call my name
But now you turn away in shame
My spirit shining like a flame
But you don’t think I seem the same
Daddy speak my name

Don’t turn away sweet daddy dear
I’m still your child there’s nought to fear
And I am calling crystal clear
I’m so alone without you near
Daddy meet me here

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Africa Studio/

I hear you scream still
In my fevered dream
Cloth cannot dull the tones
So harsh that claw within
A guilty mind
For this is what I find

I hear the guttural cry
You uttered as you died
The shroud I used did not atone
For the withered flesh
Sepulchral tones
Of drying bones

I sense your fetid breath
As you return beyond the veil
To claim revenge
And not surprised
I lift the cloth
To view your eyes
And let you take your prize

To dull your screams
I’ll join you in the endless dream
You wove of cloth
I once used
To dry you off
Your blood invades my mind
And this is what I find

(c ) Helen M Valentina. 2018

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Image credit: FOTOKITA/

After the deluge all I could remember were those last moments, and the hands.

The hands reaching out from the multitudes falling, grasping, hurtling into the other place, the void.

They opened that first portal despite all the warnings. Curiosity didn’t just kill the cat. I was just out of range, so I didn’t join them, thought the hands reaching were relentless. And I didn’t know in that moment if they reached out to have me pull them back, or to pull me though with them. Perhaps misery shared is a misery halved. Or maybe panic is thoughtless, and hands have no real intelligence or story to tell. They are just desperation, nothing more.

So few of us escaped them, the voids, for they thought they opened one, but it led to many, many doors, all over the world. This reality, this matrix if you will, split apart as easily as an over-ripe peach. And after it claimed so many, it closed the doors like mouths sated in the feed. But we never know if they will open again, if the hungry universes will again seek their due. And so we wait.

And I am haunted, very day, and even more at night when I try to sleep, by the hands. Reaching for me, always, reaching for the end. And all the horror I believe that would entail.

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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They’re Here


Image credit: 3000ad/

“They’re here mom”
“What’s that dear? Look at the canyon, how grand it is! And the valley below! Stop fidgeting!”
“But no mom, they’re here!”
“My skirt wasn’t made for you to pull apart son! Can’t you just take in the view and enjoy our holiday? Does everything have to be about you? Look at this wonder!”
“No you look at the wonder, mom, look up!”
‘Little head in the clouds, you’ll never learn anything unless you look at what’s right in front of you!”
“But mom they’re right in front of you too! Look up!”
“Well if it will just settle you down I’ll…oh..oh my.”
“See mom?”
“They’re just flying above us!”
“Yes mom!”
“They’re real! Are they real? I mean, is it really what it looks like?”
“I think so mom.”
“What do you think they want?”
“How would I know? Perhaps they’re on holiday too.”
“Perhaps they are. Perhaps that’s it. Just looking at the canyon too.”
“I think they’re looking at us mom.”
“Don’t be silly son, it’s not all about you.”
“But why are they heading towards us mom?”
“What? What…oh my….”

(c ) Helen M Valentina 2018

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Image credit: Linda Blazic-Mirosevic/

I’m climbing beloved, answering your call.

In the atmosphere so thick, so star strewn, so vast, I climb.

Up the spiral staircase I ascend, answering your call.

Am I going up or down, I wonder, for which is which in space, in eternity? Clocks running backwards, songs sung in reverse, angels flickering around me wingless, sightless, silent.

Until I land, beloved, in this strange space.

On the floor a swirl of black and green I think is random, until I see. A map, beloved, of every planet, every constellation, ever dimension in all time and space. Beyond all time and space.

I am in a library, beloved, with the maps of the universe at my feet. And to my right shadowy bookshelves, lined with shadowy books. And in the strange spotlight beam are illuminated shadowy figures reading the books.

I am excited beloved and I call out your name. The shadows turn.

I suddenly realise I should not be here. It should not be possible that I came, on the wings of your call.

I should not be here at all.

And to speak your name here might be a form of blasphemy my beloved.

I feel their silent disapproval. I know it is not time for me to be here, not yet, not yet. I am a wilful child, up beyond my bedtime.

And in knowledge, suddenly, beloved, I fall. I fall down, down, past the staircase, past it all, into the shallow world below.

It was not time to know.

Not yet.

(c. ) Helen M Valentina

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