Elizabeth Uter is the Brent winner in the 2017 City Of Stories Competition and is published in the 2017 City of Stories book
Her short stories and poetry are published in Write-London Anthologies: 2017 Vol. 2 and Write-London Writings from London.
Elizabeth’s poetry article and poetry are published in Barking Foxes 2017 Magazine, SouthWestFest Magazine 2016; Barking / Dagenham Poetry Anthology 2016.
Honourable mention from judge, Lucy Furlong for her poem ‘The Amazon,’ SouthwestFest Writing Competition 2016.
She has taught poetry workshops for Farrago Poetry / Kensington & Chelsea Library Services and is a Performance Poet at UK Slams & Festivals.
Elizabeth performed her successful short story submission for
The Mechanics’ Institute Review at their Literary event on 5th February 2018.
She Goes ...
(A mind and memories lost to dementia)
When no one was looking
she opened all the doors
and let them in.
One by one they crept by
thin as the midday shadows
lining the walls,
No words dropped from
their bloodless lips
No sound colliding
with the polished floors.
Only the smell
of bitter tears
the fleeting taste
of irony in the air.
the unravelling halls
and vanishing through small windows.
The Man Who Plays At Chess And Other Things - Elizabeth Uter
There are perhaps two things that you should know about Igor Grigorovich and maybe this will help to explain why he is as he is, firstly he plays chess every day at Central Chess House in Moscow, a place where a million hearts are stolen every minute by the intricacies and treachery of this game of strategy and stealth and the second is the boots, the heavy army issue boots from World War 2 he drags his feet in every day, along pavements, to and from the local shops, over to his daughter Elena’s flat and finally when he visits Petrova 38, Tiverskoy District, the largest police station in Moscow. You must know that these boots do not belong to him.
One thing you will observe is the chess playing, he is cunning, coordinated, cutthroat and enjoys eviscerating an unwary opponent and believe me, he will gloat you into shame, your head will be dropped to your knees and you may have to hide your young, swollen, crying eyes, perhaps from the frustration that a grey-head has beaten you so resoundingly and perhaps you will forgive him as he is an old man, a very old one and at first you might think him doddery but his mind is sharper, harder than you think, it has weathered many places, many people, many difficult situations.
He is 90 years old, this means very little to him and later it will mean nothing to you. He lives alone, his wife Varvara, a woman he once guarded jealously, a lady on a pedestal, his white queen, left him half a century ago and his daughter, Remember her name? Elena grudgingly allows him to visit once every first Monday of the month as if it has significance to her, a meaning that he is unwilling to acknowledge.
He loves to people watch and he comments on the legs, the arms, the necks that pass him by. Just those three features and he has a damning judgment on each of these body parts.
He enjoys playing games then, his mind must obsess, have a limiting focus. He enjoys taunting anyone he chooses to cross and he must tempt fate.
He is a live-in guardian, this means that the property he lives in, is protected by him, call him a caretaker, if you like and he has been so for these past 50 years.
You may note the fresh turned earth in the garden where he is the shepherd, you may even jot down that it is a fertile garden, it grows, wild and vigorous and examining it, you can see for yourself that there is a powerful agent that feeds this good earth allowing many things to grow, for the secrets of the earth forever push upwards towards the light, they break their heads through the barrier that the hard ground creates, they struggle to breathe, to live and eventually, these hidden things expose themselves. Blood red blossoms, roses to be exact abound in this garden but the flowers he presents to his daughter, to Elena are always yellow, and always an uneven number. He is dogged. She spits a private curse whenever he leaves her home, whenever his back turns. She does not care if he knows this, if he sees her. He does know. He does see.
The only other chess player who can beat him, is now 6 feet under and Igor’s feet can attest to this.
Igor has always believed that only when you are in another man’s shoes can you truly understand and be like him, the one you wish to vanquish that is, and although the shoes he now wears are a little on the tight side, which is the grim reality he must daily bear, particularly as they rub his two Achilles heels raw. He feels it is a small price to pay for the great fortune these second hand shoes have bequeathed him.
No one now can beat him at this splendid game of kings, this activity which occupies the greatest minds the world has ever known, apparently. So, wise is he in his obsession it has earned him a straying wife, lost him a best friend, and found him with a child, he will not lose for anything.