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Underline me in that little black book
of your mind’s eye,
tapping a pencil on your teeth
and remember when
last time I saw your face
was the last time
was the last time.

And there can be no desire
hotter, brighter, fitter
than obsession in miniature.
She left me in a hurry,
with no word of her return
so I sit and wait, in longing,
keep her treasures safe, and yearn

for her face to gaze upon me,
as she fettles her dear skin,
with the pots of creams and lotions
I keep for her, within

my rose-lined drawers and cupboards,
the little blue glass bird
with wedding rings upon his beak
I asked, he hasn’t heard

of when our lady may be back
to grace us with her care,
her brushes sit with us and fret
of the tangles in her hair

and all lack of gloss and shine
finger tips cannot bestow
within her titian crowning,
oh! Where did she go?

Days slip by unhindered,
and merging seasons pass,
without her song or laughter
reflected in my glass.

I may as well be firewood,
my veneer begins to crack,
then, hark! I hear sweet footsteps!
My mistress has come back!

Her wedding rings rehomed at last,
the bird and I rejoice,
as she brushes out her hair and sings,
for we have missed her voice.

She polishes away the cracks,
takes a seat upon her throne,
rearranging pots and lotions,
I’m so glad that she came home.
I moved out of my real self
so many years ago
now a tiny ghost am I
floating to and fro.
Among the suits of armour
and thickly painted oils
of the family portraits
and other, plundered spoils.

My father was a noble thief
with a good eye for the gems
my mother wore the finest clothes
diamonds sewn into the hems.
Hidden in dad's shiny boots
a hundred signet rings
each one bore a mark that told
they'd once belonged to kings.

To bolts of silk he took a fancy
way out on the waves
his galleon went rainbow hued
wind billowing the sails.
He showed the King and Queen of France
around in London Town
and liberated them of furs
three horses and a crown.

He stuffed his urns and ginger jars
with gold and silver coins
and from a love illicit
I sprang from his *****.
Mother had to keep me secret
the shame dad couldn't bear
I was, half-bred, of purple blood
with a name I could not wear.

A brace of dark-eyed gypsies
my dear mama and I
although she was the greatest beauty
which was how she caught dad's eye.
The Sisters of Good Grace
entrusted her unto his wardship
and soon, without their guidance
she forgot the taste of hardship.

With fluttering, coquettish looks
not a thought for dad’s pale wife
my mother guaranteed her place
in a wealthy, well-kept life.
She was a great distraction
in the game of ******-and-grab
the mark would set his eyes on her
dad would steal all that he had.

So we lived a grand old life
in our secret gilded cage
until all dad's enemies
got together in their rage.
The princes, kings and dukes
all the rich men he'd robbed blind
decided it was payback time
with a warrant duly signed.

My father's noble head
was ordered on a platter
his life of joyful thievery
they were about to shatter.
He boarded up the castle
and vowed to make a stand
he sent away the workers
and laid waste unto his land.

‘They will not take me lightly’
he promised me that day
‘but, my love, go with your mother
for here you cannot stay’.
‘I've done a deal of safety
with the priest at Chateu Neuf’
I didn't like and didn't trust
this man of foul and ample girth.

If God was in his substance
he was well and truly hidden
but mama knew she had no choice
and did as she was bidden.
Father John was at the chateau
when we arrived, quite late
like a raven in his black robes
on the ramparts, stood in wait.

‘Well, my dear,’ he said to mama
standing far too close
‘I believe your erstwhile lover
is about to get a dose
of right and proper retribution
for every sorry deed
but the wronged ones are all men of God
and came to me for what they need’.

‘Forgiveness for their vengeance
and that is mine to give
a holy waiver for his blood
on the promise you shall live.
Now you and your ******* child
are under lock and key
and I'm a man of varied pleasures
and will do just as I please’.

‘Never’! screamed my mother
she was quick and swift and strong
gathered me into her arms
and in a flash was gone.
But escape was barred at every turn
by doors locked fast and tight
and we could hear the guards behind
so to the roof we took our flight.

And, when Father John caught up
we were backed against the wall
mama hitched her skirts up high
and prepared to take our fall.
‘I'll not be a prisoner
never shackled, no, not I
left on earth without my love
I would rather die’.

‘My child will not be left behind
the other half that makes my heart’
then she stepped out into air
toes pointed like a dart.
And Father John, he bellowed
as a beast stuck in the side
‘Without my prize, now I must have
a thief's fresh and ****** hide’.

We fell down through the ages
a pair of rolling doves
and hitting ground was painless
the rocks our pillow, red as love.
Then came a waking moment
we trod a path of light
fear nor pain considered
mama saw us through the night.

And so by dawn we came upon
the place had been our home
all destroyed, razed to the ground
smoke rose, as white as bone.
Through the mist we saw him striding
just as tall and bold
we three stood, reunited
our story all but told.

We had passed into a realm
that we can never leave
some say they've seen us here and there
though very few believe.
Now among the ancient trees I run
and dance from hall to hall
locked in my forever land
because I took The Fall.
I am undone -
resonating, thrumming
with feelings out of time.
Suffused with the scent
of orange, clove and cinnamon.

The house on Folgate Street
has me, whole,
powerless against an eternity
of mutating, shifting
happenings and moments.

Twice, the black cat followed me.
Dully gleaming fur
reflecting a landscape
of bunched bedclothes,
that it batted
then bunched some more.

Between the rooms,
landings captured me -
miniature palaces
hung with candied fruits
and mercurised pools
where I dove in naked longing
into both our pasts.

Huguenot shadows
writhed and climbed,
in faded effervescence.
The motes permitted not to utter
a word of breath.

With freshened eyes
I farewelled an age of deeds
in whispered thanks.

How long I stood at the corner
I cannot say.
Rising from a dream
has never taken so long.
One deft flick and so to bloom
spreading blossom fills the room.

A second stroke, blushing spreads
wheresoever the paddle treads.

Three applied, rose unfurled
blood arised from petals curled.

Four to even, in warmth I teach
religion with the crop I preach.
The house, positioned randomly
At a squat, awkward angle to the road
Isn’t the prettiest sight
I could have hoped for
And yet, it looks like home

Three steps rising to a porch
That looks like a wart
Incongruous and ugly
Slapped on in a fit of
‘well, the neighbours have one’ pique

and wide, sightless eyes of windows
too much glass
in a pale face of peeling, cracking,
***** white weatherboarding

and yet, it pulls me in
invitingly beguiling
in a hideous, ill-at-ease
kinda way

old lady roses on the hallway walls
faded carpets, bare at thresholds
worn by old lady slippers
and too much pacing

and still, I venture onwards
wrapping around myself a cloak
a warm, comfort of ages
cosy in the past laughter
of fuss-less lives

simply living
a simple life
unremarked upon
by any measure of glory

some houses have a way
of turning nothing into everything
and making it sparkle
with special grace

this home, this house
has waited for me
and, while waiting,
has given itself over
unselfish and whole
to the lives of others.
Such small things, so little command
the flash of cold steel - my honour becalmed.
Treat every action as all of your life,
and I'll be your conscience... your lover, your wife.
I walk among the quietened beasts
soak up their ancient sorrow
for lives suspended evermore
there can be no tomorrow.

I think we are quite like them
for we may never  be
forward-thinking, pursuant
nor together, you and me.

I hand my heart unto the sacred
dagger'd through and split usunder
a choice made in perfect honesty
now rolls in me like thunder.

Of time and tide, I waited
believing bright in your return
the hands ran down eventually
but will I ever learn?

For yet I chance my dancing luck
balanced on the edge
to tumble into history
or stay within my pledge.

I am split right down the middle
as these taxidermy dreams
my insides on the outside
coming loose unto my seams.

I gaze into their marble eyes
dare to touch a proffered paw
I am locked in here, forever
disbelieving what I saw.

Your face came in from the ages
and I tumbled, caring not
of promises I had made
the moment time forgot.

Just as I thought you gone, forever
there you are again
and now I'm living with the beasts
my winged heart aflame.

Fill me up with chemicals
to float, suspended, in my jar
my other life is dying
gazed only from afar.

An actress of reality
I am wholly in pretence
unable to exert myself
I sit upon the fence.

Just as do the quietened beasts
whom my secrets I shall tell
I love you, darling, just as much
as I did the day I fell.

In my pose'd capture
of grotesquerie divine
I am strangely whole again
myself, outside of time.

So, come and walk these rooms once more
pass around my tortured form.
Organs draped and ribboned,
complete, I am, when torn.

Take my body-blocks apart
to only you I yield,
and every little shred of me
wrap around you for a shield.

My parts protect in constance
each step upon your path,
in bits of broken wonder
I shall burn upon your hearth.

For love is all that I can give
and in pieces there are more
sides to coat with blessed pain
oh, love, rip me to the core.

The beasts gaze at me so oddly
I think they feel me vain
for I don't wish of being whole
just of pieces, torn again.

My destiny is tableaux
if I cannot be with you
and, thus arranged, my pieces
show only what is true.

That I may never find sweet peace,
in this body, only strife.
I must be smashed to smithereens
to be brought back to life.

Dear beasts, please let me stay a while
you're my family.
And this old house is comfort
my safe menagerie.
I have held you
This morning, that second
And infinitely,
Outside of time and space.

The intervention of years
Has melted
To leave me scrubbed
And honest.

As the ocean cleans
Each pebble on our beach,
I am as exposed to you, now,
As the ****** I was back then.

I wonder at my reserve
Of not running to wherever you are
For I am full of you
And if crushed would not
Shed my own blood.

A priest passes by the window
Slow and quiet
you, not being a religious man,
Would no doubt laugh.

Growing my love for you
Once more letting it bloom
I am endangering all that is safe and true
For something equally so.
Some are cast in metal
others chipped from stone
yet more are shaped by hand in clay
what you sculpt, you own.

When your arms wrapped around me
I felt a process start
to render me defenceless
'gainst your sacred art.

I yielded to your motion
gave my skin up to the blade
had no cause to resist
the image you had made.

My essence pooled in trickles
flooding indents as you pressed
your fingertips into my flesh
there in rapture, I was blessed.

I yearned to feel the pitcher
every split an evolution
each fetter of the holy rasp
my growing absolution.

I stand in gleaming marble
posed by you alone
forever on this pedestal
inert upon my throne.

In fatal love I slumber
and wishes are for fools
in luminescent, aching stone
naked of your tools.

Each tapping point a petal,
the slamming maul of lust
where once caressed by chisels
now I gather dust.

I dream of you approaching
to polish me anew
so I may shine in constant thanks
at being made by you.
Bare-faced, polished like a stone
gazing into pooling deformation,
rank with artifice
pulled as an oxon cart
over the furrows of time

The sighing heart
misted by sadness
is still full to bursting,
and saddled in well-worn pride

A moving face echoes
with spells yet-to-be-cast
and deeds complicit
in a mighty downfall

Joannes and Sarahs
polluted my wants and wishes;
several of them became ash
sticking to wet skin.
I am screaming
into a silent abyss
of longing and regret.

I am smiling
at my own reflection
believing you
are on the other side of the mirror.

I am placing my hands
either side of my head
blocking my ears
to the truth.

That you have flown
as you always do,
as I knew you would.

I am shrugging my shoulders
to obscure the simple truth.
My love grows
even as it ebbs away.
Many years ago from now
a gentleman I knew
his predilections were precise
and, to me, quite new.

He was intent on teaching
deliberate and firm
and from his experience
I began to learn.

So here arose my interest
it's him I have to thank
for taking me in hand so well
and giving me The Spank.

He wasn't ever lazy
never dealt out on a whim
he made me work to earn each stroke
I was obsessed with him.

I put in many hours
hatching careful plans
of how to win the best attentions
from this authoritative man.

I'd knock a stack of books
off the corner of his desk
and he'd lean back in his chair and say
"come here and lift your dress".

And I'd comply so gladly
already feeling hot
my bottom was presented
and his hand knew just the spot.

Sometimes he'd give me just the one
on a precipice I'd stay
longing for the three or four
I'd get later that day.

I remember him with fondness
he taught me many useful things
but most of all I thank him
for every little sting.
Breathing in the dark,
Chemicals cloudy
Aged and coloured,
By the breaking down
Of skin, soft tissues
And dreams.

Animals dream, too,
Here in tubular palaces
Captured and floating.
Each footfall vibrates
On singing parquet
And they stir,
Timed by my movement.

Breathing in the dark,
Heart settling to a rhythm
Swaying in time,
With these spells of ages
And a Blackbird caws
At the centre of my brain.

In dim-lit netherworld
Songbirds feast
On plastic berry Bacchanalia,
And the owl eyes a mouse
Who has yet to discover
His second death.

A fox cub
Curling infinitely about herself,
Shows a varnished bacon tongue.
Cutesy and hot-headed in her starring light.

And I…
I stand as still as they.
Suspended in this spirit lab.

A player just as beastly,
Mentally reanimating
Every twitching nose,
Lightless eye
And curious, scratching paw.
The truth rings out
an unwarmed bell on a winter morning.

You, dear, were never really here.
And whenever you returned
it was only for a fleeting moment:
in selfish pursuit of a long-lost ideal.

Being crushed agrees with me:
a seven-year cycle of rebuilding
renders greater strength,
in my fibrous, defiant heart.

You alight only to assuage
a need for reassurance
that I’m still as pathetic
as I was back then.

With glee you recalled
my anxiety and shyness,
and recounted scenes
I failed to remember.

You wrote a script
into which I never stepped.

Twenty-eight years later
I’m free,
unshackled
from your passive aggressive *******.

You’re looking older, finally.
Trust me when I say:
there is no glory
left for me to discover.

A bell is silent
for the greater part of its life.
When the scales fall from your eyes and you realise the person who you thought had the greatest hold on your heart is nothing more than an empty, meaningless construction.
The weight of all you do for me
has made my back sore.

My muscles ache from your care.
The chafing of each deed
reddens my skin, and I scratch
quietly asking for mercy.

I cannot take another straw
of your love for me, my love.
A single kind word
would break my back I fear.

Oh, yes, I fear, locked up in my head
for days and days,
unending, unyielding
to the release of sorrow or sadness.

Why am I doing sixty crunches a night?
To withstand
the crushing, folding, suffocation
of your adoration.

Ungrateful?
Yes, I must be.
Add ungrateful to my basket of emotional shopping
I’m buying.

I should have got a trolley,
But I didn’t have a pound
and now my arms are aching
as well as my back.

If there’s an answer on the way
I heed it; faster, faster
along on feet of clay.

Love is too great
a weight
for me to bear.
Slowly she goes
winding her black art,
twisting the rope,
and conjuring bonds
of instant loyalty
within your close-****** heart.

Carefully she studies
adjusting the fetters,
moulding a psyche
and bending your wiles,
to her own ideals.

Gently she treads
for speed is all ruinous
to this harm she does,
and sweet cruelty bestows
infinite love, between lovers.
I am I am I am
Floating,
Sadness, floating
On a well-pool seeing my own face
From above
I am, I am

I tried not to think of you
Scrubbing my mind with bleach thought
And you just came back cleaner

I am I am I am
Sadness, suffocated
Holding down, holding in
I am. I am.
He was a prince, my first one
with eyes that laughed at once
he dragged me down, without a sound
into a teenage dance.

Brand new awe and wonder
of hearts and fragile breath
he swept up glass, I fell fast
he caught me close to death.

Softly voiced his sentiment
kissed in dashboard glow
faded jeans, stripped and lean
of course, I didn't know.

That when first love comes calling
there is no precedent
upon the heart, to be that smart
or kick up sediment.

From bitter-ended failings
or "old enough to know"
the slate is clean, and free to dream
into the fire we go.

He had a buried sadness
a secret carried weight
young life horror, so mine he'd borrow
to use as guiding light.

A well-worn, sickened fever
shamed him to the core
but made him sweet and fragile
and made me love him more.

He danced me to a cliff-top
to jump had he so bidden
he told me things, of diamond rings
and knew where they were hidden.

I could not conceive of daylight
less that fringed and suntanned boy
came to arrive, at half-past five
and I would be so coy.

But there was no put-on acting
modesty not false
his dusty jeans, their old smooth seams
quickening my pulse.

I knew little of desire
of seduction, not a shred
but from his hands, I bear the brands
of how I make my bed.

Then, one day I knew it over
he'd told me he would fly
when he'd gone, I got on
with the if's and but's and why.

Of why he didn't want me
if I'd been "the one"
but age and time have proven
that the best was yet to come.
I went to bed last night
and true
closed down the day
with thoughts of you.

Regret is not
what fills my head
I wonder at the words
unsaid.

For years gone by
are lost to truth
that part of me
remains in youth.

And though in all
my lightened soul
there is a corner
black as coal.

Where no sun touches
less your embrace
you were my loss
my fall from grace.

I miss you now
as ever more
my heart, the apple
you, the core.

I pick a pebble
from our beach
and keep it safe
beyond harm's reach.

Now in fate
by turn of tide
regret dwells here
not by your side.
Even as I close the door
I'm stripping off my clothes
discarding all the fetters
from my head down to my toes.

Throwing off the shackles
of decency prescribed
'cos writing when I'm naked
leaves me no place to hide.

Relieved of every stitch am I
free in heart and mind
all except my spectacles
without them I am blind.

The mirror smirks above me
reflecting all I am
just a little human
born of woman, taught of man.

Cheerful, unencumbered
by the threads of etiquette
a more effective custom
I have not found, as yet.

Though, sometimes in need of character
out come the hats and bows
bare as night beneath a tippet
inspiration flows.

Who cares for mere habiliments
throw your trappings to the floor!
But, oh, where is my dressing gown?
Someone's at the door!
There is a certain type
that I am apt to like,
a Galliano smirk, it's true,
won't make me take a hike.

A bourbon habit, one raised brow
a slow-drawled "Well, hello" -
call me a sucker, I don't care,
I admire a brogue-shod fellow.

Wrap him up in hairy tweed
mixed with well-packed denim,
the physicality of Welles
and literaryness of Heming (way).

Politics were not a factor,
or nationality,
he engaged my interest
with his brand of flattery.

Challenging in points of view
debating through small hours,
I'd much rather conversation
than all the world of flowers.

For I've no need of roses
to get my fix of blush.
His whispers in a crowded room
will rise me to a flush.

This man of perfect manners,
I'm as Venus when I stand
with my jazzophile Jupiter,
conjuncted, hand-in-hand.

Shooting stars if wished upon
may bring one single wish.
Thus I knew, the day I met him,
I had found my bliss.

— The End —