COLOSSEUM by David Graham

COLOSSEUM by David Graham

Aldo Porrinho made his way into the Colosseum. At the edge of the arena he paused with his hands in his pockets and gazed down into the ruins of the dungeons. When he turned to move on he collided with a group of schoolboys. In that instant he lost his balance, toppled backwards, fell, struck his head and lost consciousness.

He opened his eyes. Shadows. He rubbed his eyes. People in rags, standing, sitting, lying, on straw that smelt of piss and shit.

Wind rising, falling.

Tramping feet. ‘Moveo!’ Loud, strange voices. Metal screeching. Ragged people stumbling, moaning, groaning.

Grabbing hands. Strong, rough. ‘Moveo!’

Strike out! Defend!

Painful blow. Swimming blackness.

‘Moveo!’ Hands pulling, pushing, shoving.

Animal roaring, bellowing. Stench of piss and shit.


Blinding light. Intense heat.

Roaring wind, rising, falling.


Stone walls.

People rising up, roaring.

An arena?

Ragged people with swords.

Roman soldiers: iron and leather; shields and spears.

A sword in his hand ‘What d’hell?’

Roaring, shouting, screaming.

Someone ragged, rushing in, bulging eyes, sword high.

Aldo drops the sword, sidesteps, instinctive, left jab to the head: opponent down.

Another rushing in with a spear, sidestep, kidney punch: opponent down.

Another: sidestep, rabbit blow: opponent down.

Again and again they rush in. Again and again Aldo fells them with ramrod blows.

A sword slapped into his hand. Harsh command ‘Et percutite eos! Jabbing at felled opponents with a stabbing action.

He wants me to kill them! ‘No way pal!’ Aldo shouts throwing down the sword.

The soldier lunges. Stabs with his spear. ‘Et percutite eos!’

‘What d’hell!’ Aldo roars. Searing pain in his chest! Blood! Enraged, he lunges. Searing pain in his back. He whirls, lunges. Others move in: surrounding, jabbing ‘Et percutite eos!’ retreating, stabbing ‘Et percutite eos!’ retreating, stabbing ‘Et percutite eos!’

‘Neco! Neco! Neco!’ the crowd clapping, roaring, screaming, stamping.

Goaded beyond endurance, alive with pain, soaked in blood sweat and tears, Aldo crawls.

‘Neco! Neco! Neco!’ Clapping, roaring, screaming, stamping: seismic vibrations rise up through the stones, the sand, his knees, his bloodied body, his tormented mind. One by one he crawls to his opponents, places his hands either side of their head and breaks their neck.


‘Aldo. You’ve come back to us.’

‘Howie?’ What d’hell. Where am I?’

‘In hospital kid. You took a tumble in the Colosseum. Cracked your head. No damage. But d’fights off kiddo.’

‘What! The hell it is!’

‘To risky. We’ll reschedule.’

‘Howie. It’s the world heavyweight championship! You are not rescheduling!’

‘Ok! If you get the all clear. Then it goes ahead.’

‘I’ll get it.’



Aldo porrinho v the reigning champion Paul Wilder.

Wilder goes down in the fifth.

‘Aldo! Aldo! Aldo!’ Clapping, roaring, screaming, stamping. ‘Neco! Neco! Neco!’ Seismic vibrations rushing through the floor, rising through the canvas, entering Aldo’s legs, rising up through his sweat drenched body, entering his damaged mind. He drops to his knees, crawls crossed the ring, places his gloved hands either side of Paul Wilders head and breaks his neck.


Paper boats by Joe Lyon

Paper boats by Joe Lyon

Paper boats in the stream

Moving quickly chasing dreams

Closely watched by two young boys

In a race with paper toys


Shouts of joy, boats tossed around

Mine’s winning oh! What’s that it’s found?

Can’t you see it’s got caught up?

Yours is winning now through my bad luck


The finish line is just ahead

A bird swooped down from overhead

It took the boat with one cruel snatch

Victory for the boy was dashed


So much fun they had and more

Both boys decide it was a draw

With new paper boats a chance to play

after all the fun they’ve had today

Many thanks to Joe who has set the Website off on its new phase. Please submit comments to help him improve his writing.

[If you wish to submit pieces please email me]

Writing Trigger for 22nd May 2014

22nd May: Bring some of your own writing to share with the group. If you want some inspiration – or finish today’s piece.

(If you can’t make it but would like to submit a piece, please send to Kevin Murphy        –

Use some of the words from one of these lines in approx 200 word piece that has a beginning and an end that are related to each other.

From First lines of great Poems:

Midway upon the journey of our life

If you can keep your head when all about you

I must go down to the ….. again,

Whose ……. these are I think I know.

How do I love …….? Let me count the ways.

Because I could not stop for Death,

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by …..