Edited by Afsana Elanko
This penultimate November Showcase has made me reflect on how experiences can shape us into the people we are. When faced with a situation, there are always at least two choices. However, under duress, or when feeling cornered, making the right decision is always hard. I have recently faced this myself. I asked for 15 minutes to think, but what I wanted to say was: “Please stop harassing and pressurising me!” I just needed some headspace to make a decision. Looking back, only time will tell whether I made the right one. But having the 15 minutes to decide, allowed me to make the right decision at the time with the knowledge I had. I remembered someone once told me to follow my gut and that’s what I did. This week’s Showcase explores these ideas further.
We have all had to make a decision at some point in our lives by drawing on some nugget of advice lodged deep inside us. Sometimes it’s the right decision and sometimes it’s not. In this first piece, Jason explores how an addiction can turn the scales.
I see a ghost-like reflection in the darkened glass of my phone. The face looks gaunt, sunken cheeks peppered with unkempt growth. But as I go to the casino website to play again, I realise I don’t care.
I stare at the brightly coloured images. I can’t help myself. I have an addiction. I know that, but can’t stop. I need to make up my losses before it’s too late. Then I’ll give up, I keep telling myself.
My addiction wasn’t fully formed at the start; it grew. Like a snake, it coiled around my frazzled brain, growing each day until it took me over and I couldn’t think of anything else but getting that next win.
I choose the roulette wheel and bet the rent on black. I’ve already lost the money for the food and energy bills but I know I can get out of this losing streak and win it all back. I just need some luck.
Taking a deep breath, I close my eyes tightly and wish.
© Jason Duck, 2023
You can connect with Jason on Facebook: Jason Duck and X:@duck_writer
Mariam’s beautiful words take us on a journey, giving us a glimpse of an internal struggle faced. There are always two paths. We see how one path has been alive from childhood, with the second arising from maturity. As the piece develops, we see the constant tension between good and evil, girl and woman, and the need to be saved.
Still A Lost Girl
I am a grown woman lost
Whose childish tendencies
May lead her to destruction
Or maybe, I’m hoping it will lead me towards the
Oh, the One who Loves and Saves
Please rescue this child in disguise of a grown woman
Please save me from my greed, that incessant terrible voice that
Demands from me to take and consume more and more
Please save what’s left of the innocent child soul
To transform into a being of inner beauty and grace
My Lord, I am the broken one running from the darkness
Save me from its conflagration
This child-woman has seen a glimpse of something beautiful
Alight shining bright, a cool moonlight that doesn’t burn
Inviting this broken soul to take a glimpse from the outer window sills
Into the embracing purified light
The caravan is ever moving-rolling along the road
Its driver ever hospitable, welcoming to all to take a step onboard
The road to success is only one way, always open for those who
Desire and seek it,
But dare I take the plunge?
Will I be saved?
Oh, my Master, I feel so sad
My soul is broken and this world wants every last piece
I am desperate to come home to safety and to good company
Please rescue me, guide me and teach me
But please don’t leave me to myself
I will be overtaken
Please keep me under your protection
Please help me break my chains
Guide me home to your eternal light
© Mariam Siddiqui, 2023
With this next piece, Benedict transports us to a different reality, giving us the viewpoint of the gentleman inside. How to be true to ourselves, no matter what society thinks.
He walks on …
In gentlemanly dignity
Confident in his strides
Threadbare tie in its place
He walks on …
Oblivious of the holes on his shirt
Never worries about the patched trousers
Unmindful of the toes that have liberated themselves from suffocating shoes.
He walks on …
Bearing the burden of lost time
in the rags of a gentleman.
© Benedict Ushedo, 2020
When I saw this poem, I just knew it needed to be included! The words may be sparse, but the ability of a dream to change the course of life is a powerful concept. We know from sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) how debilitating their nightmares can be, having a profoundly negative impact on their quality of life. But what if a dream could make everything better?
I saw us in a dream
the image was very strong
when I woke up
it still held true
nobody challenged it
it continued to creep
© Ilias Tsagas, 2023
This week, we’ve highlighted the importance of being connected with each other, finding support to help us get through.
I’ll leave you with this thought: might it be possible to create a better outcome, if we approach situations with kindness?
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