life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Pas de capital

On monmouth street, the devil lingers

smells the blood of things to come

fingers dipped in black magic

cigarettes and hashish on a double decker bus at midnight

feeling muscles pulled tight from dancing for hours

they left their bloody conscience by the door, it stuck, it did not close

well at all

wanting sex and drugs and and end of time

condom wrappers litter festival floor like signets

her father invited different women each weekend to sample

his sorrow and she

climbed down drain pipes to go where all

kids without structure hang

an empty playground with burnt spoons and plastic needles

the boys there, let her be, they liked their meat less

tenderized

one year she read eighteen plays of marlow and

three anais nin, the latter had her wet and thirsting

but the bathroom door possessed no lock

wax your legs, but not your crotch, the feminists at

night-school implored, she was one of them but not

able to summon the desire to behave well

where do night birds go when they want to devour?

Different to everyone here and the same

a pulse urging movement, willing escape

fucking strangers without pronounceable names

tight buttocks, red hose, patent shoes, broken heals

against radiators leaving stripes down her thighs

such is the transpose and yield of hormones

one day you’ll look back & regret will not be what you see

sleeping on fur coats in the dressing room at 23.00pm

platinum hair on your lapel, can you survive her

blistering disregard or is it what you want?

Sitting cross legged eating tinned asparagus as he

jacks off to henry & june, the part where uma thurman

and her incredible triangular breasts, reach

lighting up blunts on promenade des anglais

grinding hips in la croix des gardes after the gates are locked

no protection, you’re already ruined thrice over

with someone who leaves you before they’ve begun

your grandmother is jarring jam from fallen fruit and she accuses you

of stealing her cigarette money which you did not do

you were out in the garden playing in the faraway tree

eating scabs and letting the neighbor undo your shoes

they fall like birds wings without bird into pond

once you drove your bike into that water and leaches

left their love kisses on your arms

like that boy who fed you clafoutis, calisson and cough candy

when you ran a fever and he sucked on your flat bosom

like starving tight rope walker

running down le suquet in search of brown eyed kids

to buy alcohol and pastille du mineur, danging white legs

and tanned toes into dirty water

one said; You are too flat chested I like them bustier

you smiled in relief, punched their thin arms and ran off

secretly desiring the older sister who stood silhouetted against

setting sun, darkness of her skin reflecting thrashing waves

like she had been born from the urgent depths

her lips large and angry with her age, gauloises yellowing

hardly smoked just flung from painted finger to finger

you longed to reach underneath her blouse, to

black lace, brown skin, white lines

on her dressing table, saints, glaring disapproval

she liked boys with mopeds, tight jeans, long hair

no matter how hard you tried you could not

interest her apathique boredom into desire

instead punishing yourself, with last minute trains to other cities

necking at le grand rex, with sour tasting boys

who supplied black smokes and soft necks

in the darkness of raspoutine snorting on her thigh

leading to empty windows and

the feel of late summer on clammy nude skin

he tells you to close the curtains, watching as you

turn, slender and warm, toward him and away

mother at la main bleue, her own lithe figure

sharpening history, walking into rooms without

locks, a family legacy.

In tenerrife they say without a tan, stand outside

too young for adults, too mature for boys

an urgent pulse, the stage a bouquet of bodies

a turkish man gives me a rose, says I remind him of

sissy spacek, I lend

a blushing danish girl my last pesos, she

returns an hour later and shares a lemon ice

her long tongue licking it between smiles

it’s midnight and the buses run by the half

in earls court where whores and rich men

laugh, knives on board better to walk

he’s holding me up, he’s holding me down

we create a child, we lose ourselves in curling throng

when I see him again, it’s ten years later

his black eyes have bags underneath, he looks like he’s

been carrying grief for the children of pont des invalides

to battersea bridge with green birds no longer there when

it was cold and her art in the water lost

nobody but I believed it happened

je n’ai jamais voulu être blessé. Je voulais être aimé. Violemment.

now she has a child and I ache to hold

onto that time with

both hands.

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Did you?

Do you see her?

She is buried by her own regard beneath Stolichnaya soaked tree out back

fingers bound with whispering, her mouth artless in its appetite for deception

she’s yours if you’ll have her, the gaudy paint washed off, she’s quite the peach

stretching her capacities like yawning olive tree, aching to unburden heavy fruit

Do you see her?

Or just her famine, dripping from exposure?

To sore things and empty eyes, voting their dislike in shards

She hasn’t the mercy of your mother nor the muscles of your brother

Hers is a hungry abstaining of will and transfer

If she could she’d eat the pink

But illusion renders her welcome and like the rest

She settles in for the long haul, a bag of peanuts and a fat lip

You promised her sanctuary, a place that has never existed

Except in gilded books and crevices of time

Where he left her be and she grew into something golden

Even as the light didn’t get in.

Do you see her?

She is shining until it’s all used up

Then someone else will take over

And the lint of her swept up

Will be recycled for another audience, another era

Thinking they’re the first

To witness such a thing.

(Photo by Ruth Marie Westwood, 2020.)

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Mahogany

The train to my heart is very slow

Stopping at many stations

On the crowded platform a young girl watches her mother go

She never turns around, the mahogany of her hair becoming indistinguishable against fading day

A girl who since loses sight

Listening rather than seeing

Smelling the impression of movement

Folded like a Spanish rose on my chest, I breathe you in

How you form words with your quick violinist arms

Taut tense musculature, willing air demons

Those same arms clutching me to you, heart beating, no words

It rained that day all day from morning to night

“That never happens here” you said, mouth full of plum

“The desert doesn’t like to give up its ghosts. Come here to me, come back to bed”

And I

In my shedding evening dress, trailing thought

Confessed my sum;

The train to my heart is very slow

Stopping at many stations

None to embark

Stay the course

In our chalked circle

Tracing abbreviated land with invisible hands

Till cactus give wild her bloom and color reborn

Your eyes in darkness, catching light, like wine beneath glass

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life, poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Ransom

black and white body dark feet

Photo by John Rocha on Pexels.com

she’s ransomed for chunk change

by the betrayal of her inward gaze

pain and her varied pins

the reddened lips of an untruth

poised to strike

she stopped writing then as if

they etched her into stone and left her to moss

and rain

fall.

As a child she was told again and again

you will fail

she, being headstrong and determined

never did.

They said she wasn’t clever enough so she

left the first place prize on their desk with the words

don’t destroy futures

carved into the wood just like

her tomb.

As an adult she decided

there is no fate, you make of life what you will

by never giving up

and that worked well until the illness

turned her into a wraith and sucked the life force

out

leaving emptiness within.

No matter how hard she tried,

living

and its delights

did no longer appeal

she had a vested interest in

letting go.

God

did not speak to her

she tried calling but

the line was busy

all she could hear

voices under water murmuring

prayer, curses, little confessions

wrapped in violet leaves and cast

from sight.

Her blind faith

had improved

in the darkness she stumbled

alone because when you hit the bottom

there is rarely anyone there to pick you up

those people who pretend to giveashit really

don’t

they only suck the same air as you

noisily like cattle at trough

it is rare to find loyalty or even true depth

especially in people made of

empty promises.

So easy you see, to say, yes you mean the world to me

in fact if you did not exist, I would die surely

my life depends upon yours and I am unable

to imagine a day without you.

Such little words, running like little ink

spreading like little lies, falling like

little shoes thrown into lakes

before the drowning.

See here? Your smile and the benificence of

your factor? I could measure

the extent of your professed heart ache

in jelly beans and find

sugar is too sweet

truth has a bitter taste

especially when it lies

dormant and wilted beneath your tongue

a key without opening.

your falsehood, like an actress pealing her stockings down

slow and smooth

I think of the times I wanted to believe badly enough

I swallowed the whole cocktail

syrup and all

just to feel for one moment

something was real

and we all descend

like discarded play things

compelled to stay beneath the surface

lower in gravity we sink

until air is a daydream

until breath a distant memory.

Your loyalty had a hole in it

the size of your folded lies

and in darkness we find all things

reveal themselves

including the tarnish sitting just beneath

glittering promise.

So then, what of the day above? And its

mercy

radiating like hands

pulling us up through weeds

long have we been submerged

in the weight of betrayal

there in, our sickness no end

just the owl leaving treeline for his prey

sharp eyes scouring landscape

just the lost embrace before you

punched your ticket and entered

the void.

Here I am swaddled in

soyousaids

and words do not hold much

resonance with me anymore

I am a creature of pain and unsettling

rinsed in regret, I find no place

to feel certain

only that time will continue to count down

toward something eventual and quiet

like the sound of a clock that persists

after the end of the world

has bid her leave

to tick.

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poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

The Wolf

wolf

Photo by Brenda Timmermans on Pexels.com

Again the telephone rings

Shrill and haunting

I would rip you from the wall

Hurl you where I could not retrieve

And break every electronic component

If it meant

I could not be found

Always I have desired to be found

Saved from emptiness

Saved from myself

And the loneliness that shouldn’t be inside

But remains despite this

And to spite me

And now when I am hunted

I turn inside like a wolf eating innards

The glove

Dropped in the pond on a cold day

The hand

Left to freeze without it

I want nothing of you

I want nothing of all of you

Except to be allowed to vanish

Except to be allowed to return

Another time

Not this time

Not now

But when I can finally see

That my loneliness is cured

That I am captured

That I am free.

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In my duration

man person people old

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The man about eighty is unusually jaunty

His wife tries to disguise her pot belly

Glancing at others, thinking loud obvious thoughts

He wears a lapel and gold buttons adorn his cuffs

Head shining beneath unforgivable artificial light

Her forehead is stretched and keening years unspoken

But they are each other’s people

Greeting guests from out of town with the ease of familiarity

Strange birds and ordinary, they each hold up

A piece of their time

As we all do

And it scares me

To see in you, another era

Feel that invariable distancing

As you age faster and I stay

Conning the world I’m still a kid

Something easy to do with a neat figure and shiny hair

You can last in the artifice, make it your own

freckled fancy

Then comes a time

As I have seen in you

veins arching on the back of your trembling hand

When the game is harder

And you become at last

The age of you

Seeing the distance between

Then and now like a well deserved yawn

Dividing and multiplying

I have not the body of a mother

For I was never a mother

I have not the stories of ruling

For I never sought to rule

The spilled ink on my hands

Is the same shade as when

I did handstands on sweaty gym mats

In this time, I haven’t changed enough

While you are edging closer

To that moment when even

Adults as perpetual children

Must relinquish their tenuous claim

I see it stitched plain on your face

As if written with broad stroke

Both shocking and expected

We have so much in common

The years spent tightly woven together

But now you race ahead —

And I am still

Waiting my turn, curling my hair in

My pinkie finger

Caught between young mother’s
Whom I can never be

With my reducing, fluttering hormones

And women freed of children

Launching once again

Their second coup

Whilst I am tiring of freedom

I have stood with you both

Whilst being neither one

And the mask of me is not of my choosing

But a trick of light

Or memory

Betrayed rarely

As I thrive

In my duration

Not yet where you are

Not yet where you are

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poetry, prosetry, Uncategorized

Salem

woman in black dress holding animal skull

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We are not made in the image of our keeper

but divested of iron roots

fly liberated into soaken cloud

joining specter who, watching

sees our folly

silly human toil

petty argument, for the sake of greed

 

What the corn, what the seed?

Shall save us from subversion

by our bashless vanity

this possessed nail

dispossessed pleats

betwitched vein

Salem itches without choice

if bewitched, innocent

if possessed, invited inchantment

strange sexual undertow in all

 

Maypole season fitting in grass

grasping poker of control

children accuse stiffling, starched adults

who pinched their playtime to pieces

power wielded in fragmentary follow

no power! I have no power!

I’m a child!

 

So dunk, dunk, burn, hang, get it?

Get it? We’re the Tarot

the pigs fat marrow taking over carnival

with pantomime sriek

you witness, see us, take seriously

our untethered play

 

I spin

Witch, wizard, gargoyle, goblin, phantom, spectral

girl in bondage, corset of metal

what lurks beneath this town’s sheets?

white and starched

so violent, so lush

like saved up passions, positions

monsters lusting after our darkest parts

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Conversation with a bigot

grunge-aesthetic-tumblr-girls-Favim.com-3855590

She’s got red-tights on and she’s got her nose in a book. It’s pretty a-typical.

The Bigot watches her drink her hot chocolate (with Almond milk, hold the whip cream, nix the vanilla) until she picked up her copy of SMITTEN this is what love looks like / poetry by women for women.

The Bigot made clucking sounds as he reads from the table over, the front cover of the poetry anthology written by 120 lesbian and bi poets and artists and eventually, unable to restrain himself, the bigot came over to her table (uninvited, as bigots usually are).

“Young Lady. Do you realize homosexuality is a crime against humanity?” He proffers in the same calm tone he might have asked; “Do you really like Hot Chocolate on a 80 degree day?”

She might be a little vain and a little shy. She might not like putting her face in the limelight but she’s met enough people like The Bigot to know how to respond. “Says who?” (She wanted to say a great deal of other possible replies, but holds her relatively well mannered tongue).

“Says GOD” said The Bigot.

“Have you spoken to Him lately?”

“I speak to Him every day.” (a self-satisfied grin)

“He makes that much time for you?” (raised eyebrows)

“He does.”

“Well that’s good then. I’m glad you have someone to talk to.”

“He would talk to you too you know. If you weren’t hurting him.”

“I’m hurting God?”

“All Queers hurt God. You go against the natural order of the world. God wants us to procreate and have families, God wants us to be happy. No homosexual is happy.”

“I think 120 poets might disagree with you here.” (points to book, which looks pretty happy next to a half-finished hot chocolate).

“They’re lost souls.”

“Lost from whom?”

“Lost from God. Shut out from God because of their behavior. Their choices.”

God doesn’t talk to them because they’re gay?”

“He wants us to love one another but obey the natural laws. Homosexuality is not a natural law.”

(thinks of stories of gay penguins or cheap shots like ‘oh but it feels so good’ and then decides it’s Just. Not. Worth. It.)

“Well you are entitled to your opinion (thinks; although I’d rather not hear it) Sir”

“You should be ashamed of yourself.” (I guess he’s not getting the reaction he wanted, wonders what reaction he expected?)

“I am not sure you can speak FOR God Sir.”

“That’s right you can’t.” – Young man, green waistcoat, brown eyes, standing to the right of The Bigot.

“This is between myself and the young lady” The Bigot is not pleased at the interloper’s presence.

“Not as long as it’s about hate it isn’t”

“You one of those fag men then? Standing up for bestiality and abomination then?”

“What if I were?”

“Then you Sir, would be a sinner.”

“Says you.”

“Says God.” (he sounds awfully sure)

“I don’t hear Him saying that.”

“He wouldn’t make himself known to you, if you were sinning Son.”

“I’d have thought that’s EXACTLY when he’d make himself known. After all why would He talk to YOU if you have all the answers? Wouldn’t He talk to the Sinner most of all?”

“Do you KNOW your Bible Son?”

“I know THE Bible Sir. I know the Koran too. And the Talmud. I try to stay up-to-date with things of importance. To avoid being a bigot.”

“You calling me a bigot son?”

“I’m saying the chances are it’s not God talking to you Sir, it’s your own fear and hate. I’m saying that if God exists He wouldn’t hate someone for being born unable to love someone of the opposite gender.”

“You’re just making excuses for criminal acts son. God would be disgusted at the lot of you.”

“Including the 120 poets in SMITTEN Sir?” I interrupt (pointing to the book, now next to a 3/4 empty cup of Hot Chocolate, I managed to get a few sips in).

“All of darnation if you intend on spreading that FILTH.”

I think of the words. FILTH. CRIME. HATE. CONDEMNATION. DISGUST. I remember a conversation I had with my grandmother who had unexpectedly converted to Mormonism a few years prior to her death.

“Grandma, I think I like girls.”

“Sure you do sweetheart.”

“No. I mean I really like girls.”

“We all like girls sweetheart.” (we DO?)

“I like girls in the way you like boys.”

A HIDEOUS SILENCE

A BOOK PLACED NEXT TO MY BED THAT EVENING, ENTITLED: Why Homosexuality is a Sin.

NOTHING ELSE EVER SAID.

I think of all the kids who had these and worse experiences. Of the kids who were kicked out of home. Of the kids like me who grew up to lose jobs, lose friends, struggle to fit in. I think of the hate that became okay to spout without any basis and without any defense. I think of the Supreme Court hearing the case right now about Discrimination in the Workplace and whether it should be legal for a person to be fired based upon their ‘sexual preference’. I think how it’s nearly 2020 and we’re STILL asking questions like that. I think of how I made the point to a friend of mine about how if it is wrong to stop people of different races from marrying, the same argument can be made against firing someone because of something they are born with. I remember my friend saying it’s not the same thing. it doesn’t say in the Bible that people of color marrying people of another race is wrong, but it does say homosexuality is wrong. I think of how that’s not exactly true and without being pedantic none of us really know the background of Sodom & Gomorrah but it’s a heck of a lot more complicated than ancient homophobia. I think of how women who menstruate aren’t forced to do so outside of city walls and how everyone eats shell fish but somehow that’s okay. How we pick and choose our hate. How we still as gays, have a long way to go and being only 2/3 percent of the world this will likely always be the case.

The Bigot has moved off. He was talking to the brown eyed man but I had tuned them out. Thinking instead of how maybe 20 years ago I wouldn’t have read a gay book in public I would have been too afraid. How there were still reasons to be afraid but I’d be dammed if I stopped now. Now I’d create the damn books myself if I had to!

The brown eyed man comes back to my table. He smiles a warm smile and says; “I’m sorry about that. I’m really sorry about that. I couldn’t keep quiet when I heard what he was saying to you.”

I smile and thank him quietly. What I really want to say is; Thank you for standing up for me. For all of us. Because so often people don’t. They don’t think it’s necessary. They don’t think it matters. They don’t think it affects us. Or that we feel any less safe than anyone else. Just like a black man walking down the road with a hoodie on. A gay may fear being raped or beaten for kissing someone they love in public. It still happens. IT STILL HAPPENS.

“I used to be a homophobe.” The brown eyed man explains. “I’m sorry but I did.” He sighs. “Until my daughter came out. And then I had to re-think everything. At first I was angry, disappointed, confused. Now I understand much better. I try to speak out for her. I want to be part of the change.”

I give him my copy of SMITTEN and I say; “This is a present for your daughter.”

“That’s terrific! But this is your only copy? You haven’t finished it yet?”

“I’m the editor of this book. I was re-reading it because it brings me so much joy. I’d be honored for your daughter to have a copy.”

I leave. It’s time to get back to work. The trees are beginning to look bare and the wind is picking up. My cup is still 3/4 empty and now it’s cold. But I feel really, really warm inside.

 

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Royal Jelly

honeycomb close up detail honey bee

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Our era

The anthropocene

Age of humans

Extinction soars overhead

We sit in chairs facing cocktails

Rising CO2 levels

Habitat destruction

We witness the 6th Extinction

Caused by a single species

Resetting the evolutional clock

And Mormons still ask us to have more children

Abortion a sin, the value of humanity

What’s the price of Extinction?

Are we value or flotsam

Bee or rat? Vector or Hunter?

Tearing down clean air

Adapting to plastic, drowning in toxic denial

We don’t need more of us

Maybe new species afterwards will

Enjoy deep time without

Devouring all the honey

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Foliage

adult backbone black and white dark

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Ever notice?

It means nothing to them?

those girls with peaches and cream, café au lait, peau de couleur foncée

their lush hair, plump calves, rosy cheeks

kiss us like they mean it with open mouth, little inquiring tongue

force of two coming together, chests heaving in sync

who knew straight girls could give so much in the heat of a moment?

unhooking bras, peeling underwear, knowing they’ll be kissed where

their boyfriends press with lack of ardor

for we girls are midnight foxes, we stay in places others only visit

fleetingly

complaining of neck pain, jaw pain, inability to know the ins and outs

oh we know the ins and outs, we know the inside curl and the convex

like a well drawn map

they pull their panties down for us so eagerly, we’d be fooled into thinking

they were of our same kind

save the removal of warmth, after all is reached and swept

beneath damp sheets for memory to play. Saying;

Goodbye, Bon Nuit. I must go now, it’s getting late, he will wonder why

I’m not at home with dry underwear

perhaps even opening herself to him, that very evening to atone

for her strung up, hidden outside pleasure

such is the girl who cannot love other girls and yet

finds only release in what they might know and give

surely one of the same mold knows, the key a little better

willing then, to bend and contort, stay for an hour in one position

without complaint

her breasts making dents of thin cotton, her fists curling like words out loud

the nape of her neck, slick and wet with her urge

she doesn’t reciprocate, her kind never will

she’s the impossible beauty, a girl who loves girls seeks

unattainable, disinterested, sinking to the floor in shame at

the concept of trading places

she’ll give you the time it takes to make her cry out

leave an imprint of her body against your mattress

the ink and glow of her skin a permanent reminder

she’ll never be one of you, nor wish

to lend you her heart

only her glorious body and all its angular expressions

only those afternoon moments

when he hasn’t pleased her or she

longs for your brand of deep caress, how you know

what to do to make her moan

fingers against fingers, thighs, hips, buttock

she is every shape of lovely from her arching neck

to the indent in her pelvis where she lets you stray

and play such secret music

things never to be admitted or spoken aloud

when you meet in public you are two women

buttoned up and indifferent like bleached wood

betraying nothing of her torn blouse or

the slide of her stockings from willing legs opening

how she pushes against you to enter her

fill with longing the bursting pulse within

you want to tell her you have loved her since

first meeting

when rain brought her to the library and shyly

you asked if she needed a towel and she replied

no I like to get wet, it never rains enough

her eyes grey and huge, like lamps in darkness

you think of teasing her hair from perpetual dampness

on her thin arms and how flung back they resemble

an instrument to be ravished

how you curl around her with your ardor and pressing

deeply fulfill your own needs against her loveliness

not shared, without return, a woman who will

pack herself away and leave by mail

like an unwritten postcard she is blank, unwilling

to be spoken

you stay in silence afterward

her breathing ragged, gasping you want to hear her

say I love you in every way, especially how you

set me alight with your touch and every time you

kiss me with your full lips I moan even more for

the core of your very heart

Lorsque tu résonne jusqu’à mon coeur

tu capture mon esprit pour le faire voyager

these things of torment

to a girl who loves other girls

and falls for a woman who is already

moving away

merely using your hands and your mouth

as if plucking leaves from a deciduous tree

to see if indeed they will

fall and stay

on the ground

 

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