excerpt from ‘Grimknife Jr’s Story," Mindblast

Donna brought him a sample of her poems. He read them carefully. Pained to find they were not good. He read them again, desperately. Shocked by something in himself. They were not childish. They were not mature. They were just stale, limpid, dull. They stirred within him that great hollowness from which he sought to escape everyday. He tried to read them through the eyes of his own poetry and discovered a strange affinity between Donna’s and his own poetry. A weary sorrow engulfed him; he wanted to strike out. He wanted to cheat himself. To hurl curses at her and him for wasting his and her time on such rot. I am drunk, he thought. I will think differently tomorrow.Covertly he watched the girl. She was demurely not looking at him, just staring at her glass, waiting politely for his verdict. Not knowing how the verdict was against him, unreservedly. Not knowing she was the sword of Damocles hanging inexorably over his own unrelenting vision. He laughed.

“Donna.” The girl looked up. “These poems are marvelous.” There were tears in her eyes. Tears of searing pleasure.

Like a sudden downpour, hurling down fists of rain on his bare head, he had recognised his own failure. The plangency of his defeat reverberated throughout the room, returning to him in cartoon strip figures that were dancing on the bars of the Ero[t]ica which was now playing to the invisible but vigorous conducting of Tony who was watching him ironicaly from Grace’s side. The harsh rain burst the drains of the house of his poems. Spouts of it were violently shivering down from the sodden walls. Drops. Of blood, sweat, and tears.

— p 71, 72 ‘Grimknife Jr’s Story,” Mindblast

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