Helix

From Ultramarine

 

Portraits of my face

everywhere I look a mirror of who I seem to be:

cauldrons bubble with children’s blood

born from holy tissue cells twist, heart beats,

creation of a mystery made so casually.

I meet you at the corner of the street

we turn and talk, eyes light

something unimaginable caught between.

Creation hovers in quiet rivers

breathes in the beat of thrushes song

lingers in the scent of roses.

*

Swinging in darkened garden, beyond the roses the rattling of the train shatters the night air.  We watch it on nightly walks perched on railroad bridge to count carriages.  Grandfather in his Homburg,  slick raincoat like an early gangster possesses a certain sinister demeanour which makes passing strangers wonder if I’ve been abducted.  Our evening pilgrimage, puppy bounding at my heels, my dress starched for eternity in black and white snapshots my daughter now envy’s; then the lullaby, a peaceful emergence into sleep his love songs sweet to my ear.

This was all I knew of life, his voice in song, the lingering smell of flowers, and the fragrance of love.  There was the day I lay in a childhood fever, delirious watching phantoms on the stairwell, the art deco light a whirligig above my head, and you appeared from one of your journeys, beside you a walking talking doll as big as me, terrifying in her robotic splendour making me cower under the sheets in mock terror.  We went on strange outings, majestic excursions to seaside towns, Margate and Tenterton, fun fair and tea shops the car a leather sarcophagus, me feeling more than a little car sick.

I took voyages on oil tankers, which my Grandfather engineered, huge expanses of metal with Greek sailors hefting oil drums, heaving me over the side holding me aloft one mile high above the oily waters, threatening to throw me to the seagulls. Your refrigerator was always full of sweets, and early life was my Gran knitting and ogling the wrestling, telling me tales of early years in Aberdeen, her father a tea clipper Captain taking opium to Shanghai, where there was a building with our family name.  Watching her diamonds glitter, my diamonds, and my daughter’s after me.

 Listening to the songs waiting for the unknown inevitable.

It came one night late and pulled me from my sleep, the woman from the beauty shop, this time not in orange, and me with no safety net to run to.  Bundled in a car, puppy in a basket, red ribbon miles of trees, a frozen skyline, Yorkshire moors, cold, loss, and fear.

It’s like a chain that

clutches at my chest

tightens to squeeze out

the tears

refusing to relinquish.

It’s like a cold wind in spring

that reminds you

nothing stays the same

the only continuity hung

within the eyes that see it.

It’s like a thick fall of snow,

electricity pales

nothing is the same

the cold grows in shadow

from the ground upwards.

It’s like a dream where

I call your name

but I don’t know who you are

or where in heaven or hell I’m going.

 

 

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Tobago Cays

 

Full moon brought troubled waters

dark creatures whirled in the caverns of my soul

wind whipped the boat with confusion until daybreak.

 

You wanted it all, the pure and the clean

the pivot of my spirit that sings with guardians wings.

 

Out beyond the horseshoe reef,

(which didn’t bring us any luck)

the Atlantic rolls its heavy thunder.

 

What can I tell you under the three palm trees

where Johnny Depp buried the gold doubloons?

 

There’s no gold here, only scattered moments

of ‘might have been’

while someone plucks a string to sing a prayer for sleep

 

& the hungry ghosts chatter.

 

 

 

 

Calling

I’m calling out for you

across the sliding blue of seven

sacred seas.

 

I always knew your name

slipped from memory

lost in the haze

 

of this life, that life.

 

I’m calling out for you

through endless night

we weave a web of stars.

 

The last call: the strongest

most refined it whips the dip

of milky way

 

sweeps the corridors of mind

to bring you to your senses.

 

I’m calling out for you

& all you have to do this time

is answer.

Where dreams meet …

 

 

The afternoon has finished waiting; it’s turning off the light

from Tower Bridge to Sidcup, and the last glimmers catch you

dark on my pillow, lost in a land of  angel’s causeways, playing

hide and seek with images of the night.

 

There’s no sunset today, only grey sleet on winter rooftops,

the birds have finished singing and the wind captured a last leaf

to catapult it downwards.  South London bickers like a third world country

we gather disapproving glances & out hearts pitter patter in tune with the rain.

 

The New Year is slowly dumbing down its face & in your wild stolen places

you play with unborn children that turn to taunt us. We are caught in the crossfire of years,

the tension of different rhythms,but our blood makes the same spiral circles,

&  our DNA holds hands with the future,  in imaginary spaces where dreams meet.

Stars stardust………shells

From Ultramarine

 

Dark side of the moon

indentations:

we’ve laid our flesh

side by side

on this palette of life.

*

 

The lilies are dropping leaf by leaf, pollen rubbing umber streaks on the white of my shirt, dust on my Chinese chest; I’m being whispered secrets from the dead leaves in my garden, from the blistering cold that sends me running back inside myself for warmth. Night brings random terrors which the day flushes away, garden is a dead sea of twigs and driftwood I move on head down as year turns it’s turmoil into year.

*

 

She sits on midnight buses following trails across the city, she’s wrapped in blood red shawl, notices nothing. One small laced boot protrudes from enveloping skirt, cold carves blue veins on iced skin.  He runs an empty beach at midnight mind returning and returning to the same small space that’s lit up in his mind.  A kiss in drenching rain, a face open like the light, a grown woman curled as a child upon his knee.  His eyes see nothing of the pale horizon sleep has left him, ahead stretch miles and miles of empty life.  His fingers ache from tearing reams of paper, lines of words are blurred beneath his tear filled eyes, but it’s not his demands, her words, it’s the things they’ve never said, the language lost between the lines that causes tragedy.

 

 

*

Knives indented

twist and turn

in fresh flesh

leaving drops

of bright red blood

glowing droplets of infinity.

 

*

“ ….all relationships exist within an individual’s experience……”

 

He runs the empty beach to find, stars, stardust, shells, sand through his fingers, like her hair, closed footprints washed by the tide, has searched a million years to lie beside her only to give up from pride.  He follows footprints as they disappear under the swell of encroaching tide; his pounding heart is tightly shut within his perfect chest, muscles tight from toning day by day , he takes a breath it comes in sobs.

 

 

Seagulls fly

flattened against

offshore wind

wheel and climb

to hover.

 

Somewhere lost in time and place she changes pace and follows footprints barely visible beneath the sand duned wind, and their roaming is orchestrated by the musical whim of an unseen conductor.

 

*

 

 

 

Sky cracks with inertia

rain flecks roofs

crows spin and squabble

over dead carcass

of the year.

 

All that’s left is laughter.

 

*

I walk the length of Park lit by fairy lights; trees stand out stark stubbled brown against the traffic and hum of cruising taxis.  The bar’s awash with fresh faced girls, hair waxed men stare, the music blares its God forsaken din.  I am the Empress of entrances, could be taken for a waitress, hand you my hand-outs, circulate with the smoke, there is no anticipation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frost

From Ultramarine 2014 

Tremors on my lips,

seascape, water lilies.

 

Love comes like a

tequila shot

sour and salty

heralding madness

highs of desire

leaving heavy hangover

a lapse of memory.

Tremors in my limbs

dance floors, sequins.

 

*

You are soft, rounded, spread with a carpet of down like a fawn; we are dancing on a tight rope of desire unbalanced by the wind from a biting past.  There is no room for mistakes, yet you make them and we cling single handed to the rope, abyss falling deep below us. I’ve had practise, hours, days and years of rehearsal but you are new to this, feeling your way in an unclear light across the small expanse of safety to the other side which beckons with no ending .Daily we sprawl face first in the dust tasting grit and tears and then laughter resurrects some small semblance of a balance and we continue. My heart aches from the spinning of this centrifuge where the pace leaves us filtered. From blood to clear liquid, beneath a muddy coating of residue, plasma.  The wind aches from the cold, beneath party lights small children face the panoply of crystal windows. You open a door we glimpse the colour smell the scent of food , a table laid in celebration, then you snap it shut, it caves in upon itself leaving us aghast with not even the air we breathe to fill our lungs.

*

Frozen morning

white cloud whips

from nowhere to nowhere

time pulsates

 

Tremors in my heart

watched from above

rainbow of the moon

laughter of you.

Tutti frutti

From Ultramarine 2014 

 

 

Thin girl on the corner

clutching dark baby

paper wrapped

against the cold.

 

Shadows of sleepless nights

lie under somnambulant eyes

where the cries of new children

meet the stamping of tribal fires

out over a darkened universe.

*

They don’t make Tutti Frutties like they used to, somehow the outer sugar coated skin cracks too easily under the inquisitive bite.  I was addicted to them, would swaddle myself in brown woollens to brave the island’s cold and make it to the sweet shop on the windswept high street.  You were busy dipping sheep or whatever it was you did with them that kept you occupied under a grey sky.  I could watch the gales coming clean across the sea from Scotland, judge the distance wait for the breath of ice to swirl the white flakes into an obscurity so deep I prayed  constantly for reprieve: anything to lighten the distance between me and a sun that shone somewhere out of reach.  I went “radical “wrote to MP’s and Health Ministers demanding a home birth for my increasing girth.  I actually knitted a jumper so brown and shapeless that it somehow suited my melancholia.  A friend remarked on my size ,I was eating according to an American diet that promised healthy babies but I couldn’t eat all that was prescribed, just swelled to three stone my usual weight , had breasts like melons.  “Haven’t you seen a woman pregnant before?” I demanded, “Yes but not one that looks like you”, he glibly replied.

 

*

 

A winding stair, Scottish light, only a few hours of it then everlasting night, a turret eerie where you and I are thrown together.  My father is nowhere in sight and you are sick throwing your pregnancy into the silence. I can’t cook, can make you burnt toast and tea, peel you oranges walk the 94 stairs to the ground below with two small dogs that you terrorise day and night.  I’m chased every day after school by the cloaked bully boy, sneak to the sweet shop for comfort

 

*

Hormones bounce inside my brain, I hate the size I’ve become, lie staring into the high gusted winds that buffet my window, hate you for the impregnation, read second rate novels only by women writers my shelves are stacked with Virago paperbacks.

*

Boy child ruffled with sleep, blonde hair spiked, lays beside a bedful of bears, the sad one is mine, perfume on his nose and bare fur patched over the years, boy child sleepwalks at night sees rivers in the bathroom, foxes floating up the banisters , television sets that won’t switch off. Boy child tumbles through morning ablution creeps into bed for kisses is a miracle of evolution and a throwback to posterity.

 

*

 

Thin girl

paper thin

skipping rope

of generations

an ancient fire

lack of sleep.

 

 

*

 

I am a tiger with my cubs, a mare fighting for her foal fuelled by neglect into an overwhelming single-handed sect of motherhood.   Health visitors quake before me; I lobby supermarkets breast feed for futurity expend superhuman energy on perfecting my art. You are a victim of my famine, I rarely let you feed except when pressed into a minimal submission.

 

*

 

 

The darkness had nothing to do with

the constant swell of the sea, gales

that caught us off balance, latitude

or climactic zone, the darkness was

welling from a constant fountain 

bubbling from internal landscape

high  on tiredness, bright with trauma

the darkness echoed every moment

that we tried to throw it, the darkness

wasted half our lifetimes the darkness

lived by you and me. 

 

 

 

 

Decisions

From Ultramarine 

You were my

yesterday

last years

pleasure

squandered.

Our limbs

an equilibrium

which  never fails

to astonish.

*

 Doors open and close with resounding jangle, I walk into an empty space and you’re there, elegant, astounding in your beauty. All I can think of is how good it is to see you, how good it is to hold you and our bodies are drawn by invisible enzymes.  I have nothing to say to you, never did, but you are looking for reasons trying to hold on to pride so I circumscribe events, tell you no lies, agree that I’ve used you as you’ve used me for convenience, for warmth ,for sex, for someone to talk to.  It’s this that the fates spin on their eternal wheel of time , no amount of searching or logic could have brought us together kept us tied at ground level, you from a culture wide  eyed and earth beaten and mine the dance of a firefly, summer evening children’s kisses.  So it’s down to decision time and you have a sweetness spliced with a gauche inability to express what you need most while I am terrified to comply with normal procedure.  Do we do it this time or deny the possibilities? Again it comes down to silk skinned children: a new life.  Maybe we should just kiss for a while until we decide, lie beside each other on a still night watching the moon untangle the clouds from an ageing sky ,maybe it’s not up to me to decide.

 

*

Patterns on the wall

an ageing wind

your eyes

kohl rimmed

I’m alive

in the darkness

of you.

 

 

 

 

 

Dance

From Ultramarine

The city’s a centrifuge of flame

slurred slivers of humanity

dance their delirium

drunk on street corners

falling into strangers pockets.

It’s 3.a.m. no movement,

unending movement of the streets

my head holds immanent hangover

strong hands, wide thighs, rhythm

his body lingers on the edge of heat:

you, a whirling cataclysm of delight

what am I to do with you beloved?

White light on the dance floor, glitter stark against autumn tones, a dank alley midnight zombies masked faces of desire , desire for heat ,desire to keep away the biting emptiness of sleep without a hand to hold.  Beyond a drumming of street fever the crowds flow like water in a pagan festival, like the last coupling of a tattered civilisation.  You turn to me, black eyes brilliant with the ecstasy of movement; the night has stars which belong to all of us.  I’m enthralled by the deep grounded column of blue fire that holds us mesmerised in its power.  If I shut my eyes I can feel the glitter pass between us, we rub faces mix the sweat of dancing I can feel the stubble of your cheek, grating grounding, holding me more complete than any kind of loving.  We are one earth, one blood, one memory and I’m wild like the night watching the shore from a storm filled sea, clinging to my driftwood watching the distant lights from houses where normal people live, and I realise at last that something very simple could change all this.

 

*

Spawned from Persian mysteries

spun with the whisper of angels tongues,

comprehension is a catch phrase

we throw like a glittering ball of panacea

between us; I catch it.

Spirits spiral into the air borne

rivers of a childhood wish,

long forgotten

 

except in dream tunnels.

 

 

Break down

From  Ultramarine ….……

Inside cells electrical impulses trigger quantum leaps across time zones,

“The sky of our house was not the same as our neighbours”

She walks the city street to meet a lover she has left behind, there are bracelets on her wrists and her hair blows free in the sunlight catching golden sparks like the sun on ancient citadels.  The men stare and stubbornly she meets their eyes with nothing in her gaze.  He takes her hand and tells her that he loves her, ruffling the words into a nudged caress across her neck. She breaks away and asks him what he means.

*

 

Don’t treat me like a soldier

to be vanquished in the night

don’t arm yourself against me

if you need me to be your woman

if you need me to be your wife.

 

*

The soft tissues of my body are hurting and the back of my head has fallen away leaving clear grey emptiness, this is the myth of Eros and Psyche re – enacted but this time she is left to wander in the wilderness through no fault of her own.  Love has been offered like flowers to a Hindu deity our bodies have taken part in the sacrament and now you are playing insider games with my mind.  As long as I can find an answer to this riddle, as long as there is some explanation like some soap opera Queen I turn to occult arts to aid me, friends are bewildered, I am bewildered there is no useful answer.

 

*

She sees his head laid upon her shoulder, wonders what it is, she feels nothing , has nothing left to feel, it is as if she were reborn with no language to explain, the sunlight on the street, the stare of the men, a voice in her ear whispering something vaguely familiar, her toe traces a circle in the dust, she sighs, removes his head and not understanding the following cry waves as she turns the corner walks out into the desert, feels pleasure from the burning heat and the dry wisp of wind in her hair.

 

*

 

Just stroke my hair at midnight

in the tousled morning glow

just whisper words that lovers use

in the language we both know.