Nourished by the bottle

PHOTO PROMPT © G.L. MacMillan.

On summer afternoons you can smell the homeless. An aggressive funk of shit and cheap wine; a fermenting stench, growing in neglect and heat.

On early Autumn evenings you see the dirty false sunsets as barrel fires bleed a spurting orange glow. Drunks ripen in booze around these trash candles; sharing heat, misery, oblivion.

Winter nights bring a harvest of the unhomed. The unprotected poor perish; exposed to weather, to indifference. Frost glitters under street-lights, the sparkle of broken glass and dead eyes.

Spring morning-time; for renewal, for replanting. A fresh crop of homeless take root, nourished by the bottle.

100 words.


Well, I’m guessing there isn’t too much mystery about the inspiration to this week’s story. Not sure if it’s got a beginning, middle, and end to it, but I think it’s reasonably well polished otherwise. I have had a few beers though, so I might be completely deluded.

As always, very interested in what you have to say – let me know what you think.

Check here for the other stories (and maybe give your own a try).



23 thoughts on “Nourished by the bottle”

  1. Hi, KT. I like the way you use the seasons here as your framework. The piece strikes me more as prose poetry than flash fiction, but you can consider that a compliment.

    There are a few places I think this could be polished to make it shine even brighter:

    1. I would change “In summer afternoons” to “On summer afternoons.”
    2. The same with “In early autumn evenings.”
    3. In your third paragraph, you’ve used the word “exposed” twice. I like to stay away from this kind of repetition in pieces this short. Unsheltered, naked, unprotected, uncovered and laid bare are all possible alternatives.

    What I do like is your rich imagery. Paragraph 2 is my favorite because of the way you describe the trash can fires. I also like the way that I can’t really tell from this what your stance is on the homeless. You are describing a scene–four scenes, actually–but refrain from judgement or pity. That makes this unique. Well done.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi MG – just wanted to say thanks for the critical comments- I agree with 1 & 2 (on does sound more correct) & I’ll take 3 under advisement – I kinda like the rhythm the repetition sets up… 🙂

      I’m also very happy with your analysis of ‘no judgement’ – I wanted imply those conflicting feelings many have re the homeless; simultaneous sympathy & unease.

      Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Brilliant writing. It paints a perfect mixture of compassion and revulsion, something many of us can relate to, I’m sure. The way you link their lives to the seasons also reminds us of our own remote history.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Powerful images that create just the right tone and mood. Using the cycle of seasons adds a feeling of despair – that the suffering goes on and on. I would say that you should keep on having a few beers as you write if this is the result, but I hesitate to see you join the ranks of those nourished by the bottle, and anyway, unless all your pieces are so inpired, you don’t really need it.

    Liked by 1 person

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