jivan ward

No Cygnet for Sleep: 7

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.


No Such Thing as Serendipity

By Jivan Ward

Open eyes to Ané thong bottom. Too early for Saturday, I yawn, roll round to black and turn back. She dressed and she kiss cheek say, Sorry I have work, I’ll…around seven if…hang out tonight. Lips fresh lipstick smack against mine. Hands round waist I pull in. She knee on mattress laugh and I moan and smile to acceptance. We kiss and door click as she leave. Small gesture mean big thing. Her phone ring she loud say, Hi yes Sun I’m just leaving now, I’ll be there soon. Door slam, chain rattle. I up no way sleepy now. I up and roll hip to plant feet on carpet, cold tickle. Stretch yawn. Wander to kitchen find coffee pot half full and warm. Stomach folds and smile springs up…

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No Cygnet for Sleep: 5

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.

No More Bliss

By Jivan Ward

Open eyes to grainy dark blink and black-noise almost vibrate about me. Sticky sweat I push duvet up off to double layer you groan and roll to side hear you fall in to sleep. I up no way sleepy now I up. You breathe mouth like fish baba-ing against bed sheet hair tucked under your neck and I stretch yawn and croak.
Dark, can’t turn bright or you wake I don’t know if you sleep heavy or. Dark, hope I remember layout. Touch toes lightly on carpet and heel follow suit press up and stand and black-noise shuffle around like I deep in tranquil tornado. I hand slip through to feel side of double bed lead to fuckshit. Fucking. Bed. Post. Fucking. Fu–sshhhh Ané probably freak out if wake up and…

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No Cygnet for Sleep: 4

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.

No Escape From Eagle’s Eye

By Jivan Ward

I early wade through bodies stand by bar sip pint and wait for text. Last text Hugo try inspire me excitement say She’s fit, Kami, she’s well fit. Last time I date awful I blunder on top blunder her eyes spoke disappointment and never again. I look round to tight dresses necklace earrings sway like wind chimes and dress shirts or T-shirts some men in between. Look round to bar amiable subdued neon blue hue no bass thud drum beat oppression here talk audible and think talk what I should plan now. Natural and flirty they say Be Yourself. Talk about what she interested. Smirk never smile. Read online touch first thing glance hand on arm and relax and Kami don’t drink too much for fuck’s sake. Sip pint and…

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No Cygnet for Sleep: 3

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.

No Solace in Thirty Grand PowerPoints

By Jivan Ward

Lecturer stand front sewn to podium think hail of pigeon shit and some reason monotonous stay monotone for monotone system mean monotone soul and no learn for me. I sit somewhere near middle not back or front that’s chic or cool but middle and feet down under chair in front and look round to girls in Uni epoch. They say Best time of your life I say, Entire life?

There once ghost that walked with blackboard and chalk ghost walked with book and orate and inspire then ghost stumble under bare projection board and redundancy and ghost go home. Now everyone concentrate like automaton to screen projector like holographic spectre beam divine ray of Info photosynthesise us catatonic. I like that ghost.

Phone vibrate – Hugo: So Sarah…

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No Cygnet for Sleep: 2

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.


No Proposition Denied

By Jivan Ward

Knife fork and plate chatter screech falsetto. Waitress lead we cramp in couple’s row. Left, wrinkle foreheads and retirement holiday tan rest off forty year survival. Right, designer stubble chortle mani-pedi giggle and date-etiquette Chianti on tap. My elbows pinned by space bubble I can’t break. Ignore it down to menu and glance over laminate A4 sheet Italian sub-headers with Anglo-colloquial-condescension below. Décor of wall-mirror and chandelier, staff upper-class penguins amiable frenzied waddle with dishware arms and cutlery tendrils. You fingers scratch wrist menu flip over for beers and wine. We decide wine bottle both know easier to talk merry when old friends begin like new. There was time when we knotted noose. Only teen angst camaraderie petered out with early-morning park beers and all-night energy drinking at laptops and…

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No Cygnet for Sleep: 1

First part of my serialisation with the River Ram Press!

River Ram Press #InspireWriters #InspireReaders

‘No Cygnet for Sleep’ contains strong language, sexual scenes, drug use, and gore.

No Cygnet for Breakfast

By Jivan Ward

Brown-tip-dip-dyed-blond hair like butter on forehead and taste and touch and kiss you on your shoulder and chest and your hands squeeze mine. Eyes like seawater or Bornite or something nearly something almost as fluorescent and blue-green and sink into your soul. I. My name and I say yours and we breathe we homunculus in salty sweaty bed sheets smell like lavender I washed them before you came. No lonely hairs or lonely sweat stains I washed away the nights of winter and summer and nobody but me. You change. Quivers from your legs around my waist and behind my back and digging scratching and pressing into beside myself. I. Lips tingle with each press and contact smack against yours ribbed and smooth taut skin. Caramel runs down my belly…

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Death of a Painter



There was an old photograph above the fireplace in the bedroom. He could barely remember it. The picture was old and grainy like memory like the world around him, the days like nights and nights like pitch.
The wind-up lamp’s light flickered. The dirt road in front of him blinked. He sat as the lamp went out and felt for the worn crank. He used to count the seconds and worry.
Every second static was an invitation. They might come. They might hear the whir, the birth of kinetic energy-cum-light. And they would find him. They would drag him and chain him, among whatever lay outside the path. Among bushes or trees under the blackened sky and then

He looked over his shoulder and down at the lamp. Its edges, plastic rim and plastic protector were hardly visible, lines of grainy grey a little darker than the rest. He coughed. He used to count the seconds but they do not matter. They’d slipped into an abyss like the stars and the rain and coffee and cigarettes and sunlight. There‘s no solace here, there’s no respite.
Find the wishing well. Walk and wind and walk and wind and find the wishing well.

The photograph was in his brother’s room when they lived in Hammersmith and sang nursery rhymes at school. Every night they would climb on top of his brother’s bed and his father’s glasses case would snap like a clapper board and he would begin. His voice transformed for every witch and peasant or knight and princess, for every little boy or girl he would raise his jaw and stretch his neck. His chin would double and droop under the weight of vocal depth. He could remember that still, but his brother’s face was a blur, a microcosm. It was the picture. It had terrified him but he couldn’t sit he couldn’t listen without staring at the photograph.

The lamp flickered and then beamed and he stood and walked. He wasn’t sure if there was anything either side of the path. There was darkness and that was that. He walked.
There were no pebbles, no gravel, or brown stalks or weeds. It was smooth dirt, hard as if trodden, and beaten into submission a thousand times. Once it had been straight, for days he was certain it was straight, but now the miles of curves and bends began to twist upward and curve to the left. A staircase. He sat down.
Light flooded the landing and the black metal staircase in the middle of her apartment.
He turned off the lamp and coughed.
She had some stained glass, small, like a little patterned window just above her front door.
He looked over his shoulder.
She followed recipes off Google and made her own pasta and drank sherry and smoked cigarillos out of her bedroom window.
He put his palms flat against the hard ground.
He painted her, at the window, with dawn rising, her stare beyond the horizon.
He waited.
Laughter teetered on the same decibel as her weep; in another room he couldn’t tell the difference.
Faint, slight vibration, it walked slow and quiet. He coughed into the crook of his arm.
He used to kiss her, tongue her, bite her ear before she moved to Manchester before she met her fiancé and raised three kids that went to universities across Britain studying refined humanities degrees in the footsteps of their academic father.
The vibrations grew. He stood up, ran the knuckle of a forefinger under his eyes and continued.

It became steep. He coughed, he panted, breath warm against his cheeks. His knees clicked, arthritis long since diagnosed quashed, squashed far behind a vision of the wishing well.
He reached a plateau. The path levelled and expanded. The lamp went out. He looked at his hands. Dirty, covered with a dusty brown. He walked further forward and looked down at his feet. Hard calluses dusty and brown.
He could see the well. A few feet of old brick and mortar stood out of the earth. A clean cone of light shone from its surface. He walked forward and felt grass tickle his feet. He lay down and looked up at the black quilt of sky and coughed.

He lay on the bed, over the cover next to his brother and looked at the photograph. His dad began. There was a witch who had turned a princess into a frog.             She had taken her from her bed and chained her to the bottom of a wishing well.
He looked at the woman in the photograph, her brown apron, blue eyes and grey-blond hair tied behind her head, a single strand dangling by her neck, her husband to her right, his hand frozen on a pitchfork, black eyes staring, they stood in front of a barn house.
Under twelve feet of stale water she croaked. The princess’ lover was hired by the King and made his way to the well. There, the witch, a cauldron and camp.
He looked at the woman in the photograph, she sat before an open window, her knees up and pink dress scrunched above her thighs, her bed white, her walls white, a red brick building outside the window.
The lover beheaded the witch and her spell ceased. The knight could not swim.
“What happened to the Knight?”
“I don’t know.”
“He must have died too.”

A wind rushed about him, he could feel the grass flitter against his hands and arms and the soles of his feet.
His father stood behind him holding a cup of murky water and leant over his shoulder mixing the colours on the wooden palette in his hand.
Something had changed in the sky as if grey and black swirled together.
En plein air, the legs of his easel had sunk into the riverbank, the dark green river meandered with his brush.
He coughed and began to sweat.
There was short applause. A small review in the newspaper. His wife rubbed his back shushing everything will be alright as long as you make a sale.
Turning onto his side, palms together under his head, he studied the well.
A solitary string of cobweb lay across the tops of brushes, their bristles stuck together. He ran his finger over them and closed the door to his study behind him; there was no solace here, no respite.

He lay on his back. It was snowing, small flecks melted on his forehead. He opened his mouth. Snowflakes floated in troops down from the darkness, illuminated in the cone of light shining from the well. He sat up and looked at the light. Snowflakes danced. Teetering side to side, humming. He closed his eyes and coughed and felt them brush and tickle and disappear on his skin.
The brick was cold. The mortar crumbled at his touch. He heard a whisper and panting. Snarl. He looked over his shoulder.
Its hands were grey and its fingers long and curled. From the darkness it stepped forward. The long nose of a bird jutted from under its hood. A mask. It snarled. He could feel its eyes glare about his body. It stepped forward crushing the wind-up lamp. He stood up and he stepped back, heel to the brick.
He turned and climbed up onto the well. The water was black and dark like memory and days like nights and nights like pitch. It stepped forward.
His heel broke the surface. A shiver ran up from his heel to his neck and sprung out of his arms. There was solace there was respite here, a white quiet.
He looked over his shoulder. It swayed and spoke.

“Promise me you’ll be here in the morning.”

He used to count the seconds and worry, they did not matter. He could feel them tighten, his neck his apple and chin and behind his ears they squeezed and taut he jumped.