(We have a Facebook page now – do come and “like” us and say hi)

So this is something new. On Sundays we’ll be featuring the very best writing we’ve found (always with permission, and with copyright remaining 100% the possession of the writer). We are kicking off with Andy Harrod’s amazing, haunting series, Rust, originally posted to his brilliant blog Decoding Static.

Rust I


‘1,2,3, we already at war. Rusted apologies I’ll trample into the ground.’

Rust is a four part series over four days exploring child abuse, religion (strong beliefs) and war (on a national and internalised scale). On the fourth day context will be provided.

Rust II


kneeling, she crosses
     he takes it into his mouth
she brings her hands together
     He holds his head tight
she thanks their god

she pulled out her teeth
one by one

     the lock clicks
she blows him a kiss good night
     he grips the sheets
she smiles
     the belt swings, bruises swell

she did not complain
that’s what they taught

stop, stop your lies
     he tastes His semen
He’s such a kind man
     slowly he shakes his head
she slaps him, hard

her tongue feels
each empty socket

     swinging from the oak
she refuses to believe
     the soil thuds against the lid
she muffles her tears
     14 today

her sins absolved
for betrayal
for lies
for fear

kneeling, she crosses

Rust III


A history we force ourselves to forget.

     A past we are not taught.

Slow tears flowed and bullets flew.
Ready to die ; he feels drawn to the broken glass.
Light buzzes, girls cry,
their voices pierce the night sky.

     His eyes :
                    they’ve seen too much.
                    they don’t want to be subjected to anything more.
                    they remain half shut.

Anger curses his veins.
‘Burn other people lives to the ground with your teachings of paper lies.’
Their peaceful shadows lay at ease on the land.
Place of rest

     One cut and it is all over.

‘We are nothing but refugees.’
Collapsing to his knees, tears flood his eyes, his mouth moves to speak, but words are lost in the tears that soothe. Broken, he collapses onto the bare ground and curls up. His wrist continues to spill blood. The skies above him open and the rain hurls down, splashing up the dry soil onto his weary body; preparing to bury him.

Rust IV


They both end in suicide. What kind of world is that?

I’ve never attempted suicide, but I’ve been drawn to it, it’s possessed my mind for longer and on more occasions that I care for. I would be very surprised if there is anyone out there who doesn’t know someone who has killed themselves or considered it. Still it feels unspoken.

Child abuse is another unspoken shadow. The headlines may hit and the disgust taste like rot, but where are the words? There may not be so much silence if society was more open and on the whole didn’t hide away.

I watched Sleepers when I was 17 and it has never left me, the abuse of 4 boys by prison guards and the inner torment faced by them and eventual revenge. I am equally as angered by the abuse by priests; preaching from their moral high ground; the hypocrisy sickens.

Religion, as does any strong belief (philosophical, political and on another level, sport teams) can and does distort, blind and narrow the mind. To the extent that a child is not believed by his own mother and guilt quietened only by physical punishment. An extreme example or a challenge to our thinking?

War, can it ever be justified? Even in ‘just’ wars there are many unjust actions. Innocence is not so much lost as forgotten. National wars will lead to internalised wars, those that fought, those against, those in the wrong place, wrong time. Death stalks.

Anger links these thoughts, anger at those who protect, anger at those in positions of trust, anger at those given the power to attempt change for good, for it appears that power corrupts. This anger can be just as blinding, especially if not released. The anger becomes internalised, it crackles and fizzes and is just as destructive.

Rust has left me feeling worn thin, these thoughts have lived with me for a long time and it is good to have written them aloud. I appreciate they are challenging, controversial and hard hitting. The imagery is clear, I want it to be seen, to be felt, to be reacted to. I hope for a more open society.

This entry was posted in great literature and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Rust

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Rust | eight cuts --

  2. This Sunday feature is a great idea. And a good opening choice of feature as well.

    I can recommend Andy’s blog to anyone reading this – go visit and leave your comments on this difficult, haunting and thought provoking piece – as well as the other excellent posts you’ll find there.

    Then come back to eightcuts and thank Dan for his tireless efforts to publicize writers like Andy.

  3. danholloway says:

    Thanks, Anne – this piece deeply moved me when I first read it. I’ve always wanted to feature one-off pieces here but keep a balance. As with everything it’s a question of finding what works – which this piece certainly does 🙂

  4. Andy Harrod says:

    Thanks Anne and Dan for your comments and support. I am honoured to be your opening choice for your new Sunday series.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s