Love bites

 

From Love bites 2014 published June 2nd on Kindle 

 

Beach pounds

drum and bass,

late nights

run into

hummingbird mornings,

this world an

unimaginable place

where we clasp hands

only to let go.

 

Light fades

like memory,

so crisp at first

we could snap it.

Fortune cookies leave

unintelligible messages;

footprints on a beach

washed to nothing.

 

 

I met you

on a corner

where the four winds

shuffled their eerie

ensemble, and you

threw me to the lions

for breakfast.

 

Now like Isis

I sew the pieces

carefully, watch how

they fit together

into the semblance

of a whole.

 

 

 

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River ride London

 

All along the river light play’s on broken bottles

swayed by the rising tide; the falling of hearts.

 

Ghost crowds bicker, phantom children run and play

the tourists talk on mobiles to Bologna, Prague, Istanbul,

 

we sit sipping ice cold drinks watching the clock tick

on The Savoy.

 

Christopher Wren never saw St Paul’s rising behind the Millennium Bridge,

Tate Modern breathing through its perfect towers

 

we are mirror thin specters of humanity watching the clock tick

time back to us.

 

Your blue eyes flecked with green, a silver ring binds an elongated finger

you unfold like a letter from a child’s story to tower the magic sky

 

which children paint from Stepney to Lambeth Bridge,

with Indigo.

 

Two flower sellers, small blonde girls, their plaits twisted into curved arcs

stalk the blank facades; we edge closer as a dull wind rattles the river,

 

turn away from bobbing boats and police sirens, back towards

the pungent symmetry of eyes, to search for warmth.

 

 

Seaside summer

 

There are raindrops this morning

a fine spatter on courtyard like wallpaper

 

I woke at five then drifted back to sleep

knowing that the dream would be strange:

 

full of overlapping water, roads that led nowhere

peopled by dead faces beckoning to me.

 

This seaside summer is precious

high wide sky nesting seagull babies

 

fluffy descendants of teradactyls.

 

Warmth seeps into bones taut

from winter gales & I remember

 

not to forget what the squalls brought.

 

There is a new gestation, mellow

as the steady rain: self-aware & quite at home,

 

on the spinning axis of this bluebird planet.

 

Dust to dust

(Florence 2014)

 

 

This city’s built on dust; burnt

martyrs buried saints forgotten

prophets.

 

The churches hold the ghosts

let out on stormy nights

they knock on windows

 

ask me for my tears

touch my living skin

beg to be let in.

 

It makes me terrified

of death: not the old

age kind

 

the sort that comes in fright

shutting out my light

before I’ve time to

 

embellish a sentence

finish the next line. Too

much left unsaid

 

to succumb to it.

 

Today sea

 

Sea is mirrored glass

polished to perfection

sails round the harbour

no wind unmoving bend

 

of seagulls white sky

May blinks her sunshine.

 

Slow seep of sun warmth

forgotten in the spring squalls

dog pants and horse stalls

tail twitch from horse flies

 

sky holds a whisper

picture postcard of this.

 

Sea slurps the wind farm

far out horizon blurs smoky

indefinable. we are watchers

insignificant observers

 

of the slow swing of eternity

a mirror of perception flickering..

 

Letter to the universe

From Ultramarine 2014 to buy click here 

 

Like a small child

screaming in the night

like a small child

pursued by unnamed phantoms

like a small child asking for a light

you came to me.

Your pain is subliminal

it has no corners

nothing to get a grip of,

your pain is pure fright;

it’s a deep breath in,

a whistling of the void

a fallen angel’s voice

a now or nothing choice

between two worlds:

the mutterings in your brain

hold demon declarations.

 

*

 

Hands are being held in the corner of the city, summer waterfalls, not attached to the method, will be supple like willow branch bent to net a dream catcher.  We caught each other with dexterity intensity bristling the room static, fallout of past embraces.  I never believed in a God till I met you scuba diving through my sitting room not knowing the way to the door.  On auto pilot in restaurants across tables. I’ve nothing  to say to you, you’ve moved into the background of a dream, I’ve nothing to give to you , I hold the key to you, you hold the key for me.  Across light years of childhood, thunderstruck in the cupboard of fear, watching your fear is liberating.  I never knew there was anyone out there who knew about terror like I do, who knew about powerlessness like I do. I can feel my life floating into bird song unravelling into intricate connections where all I have to do is watch the dawn, listen to the sound of stars falling.

 

*

 

Letter to the universe.

 

For answering my prayers

unswerving allegiance.

 

 

The Ship of Dreams

To buy the book click here

Chapter 7

Lusitania 1915

Friday 7th May

Lilly quickly decided that she hadn’t got the time or the courage to explain everything to the disgruntled Libby, who had staggered out of her soaking wet bunk and was stomping around the cabin in a fury, her arms folded across her sopping wet nightdress. All she could do was watch the wet footprints slip slap on the floor and the little puddles she was leaving behind her and try not to giggle.

––She’s going to get an awful lot wetter, before the end of today—

Lilly thought grimly and tried to divert her friend by being silly. She rose gracefully to the ceiling and hung there upside down, like a flimsy human bat. When that didn’t work she gave a huge sigh and started disappearing toe first up the tap on the small wash hand basin in the cabin. That at least produced some reaction, Libby stopped pacing and watched in fascination, Lilly wasn’t enjoying it much, there was a rusty taste in her mouth and being halfway inside a tap was feeling decidedly constricting and clammy, when all at once Libby gave a huge snort of laughter at her disgruntled and slightly pathetic expression.

‘’Alright , I absolutely give in, I won’t be cross anymore promise, please come out of that tap and lets go and look for something to eat, I’m starving.’’

Lilly obliged by zipping out of the tap and curling herself around Libby’s neck purring like a cat, Libby shivered and tried to shrug her off.

‘’ Can you jolly well stop that it feels freezing and burning at the same time, you’ll bring me out in a rash and then they’ll think I have measles or something, now don’t look I’ve got to put something dry on.’’

Opening her closet she pulled down a soft grey day dress, stripped off her nightdress and without any fuss flung the dress over her head and buttoned it at the sides.

‘’ Aren’t you supposed to put corsets on and stockings and things?’’

Lilly asked quizzically from her perch on top of the wardrobe.

‘’ Not in my world ,although my mother would like to think so, but she’s too busy worrying about what she looks like to care about her rather strange daughter, now come on let’s find food ’’

Libby laughed rather sadly and led the way to the Pursers cubby hole half way down the corridor where she rummaged around in the lockers and  managed to find a packet of rich tea biscuits and a jug of milk already made up for the morning tea trolley. Grey slivers of light made the imprint of a ladder on the red carpet, which looked less luxurious than it did the night before when everything had been covered in a layer of stardust at least from Lilly’s heightened perception, but the foghorn was still blaring away and they sneaked back to the cabin as silently as possible.

They propped themselves up with pillows and sat swinging their legs over the side of the bunk while Libby crunched away at the dry biscuits slurping the milk down in great gulps as she went. Lilly looked on in wonderment, she couldn’t imagine ever being hungry again and she was itching to get out and about on the boat where she could try and decide what was to be done next, but she resisted the urge and sat there patiently waiting for her friend to finish. She wondered how much of what she had learnt about the ship she should divulge to Libby, and decided that the less said the better. After the milk and biscuits Libby sunk back onto the pillows with a small satisfied burp.

‘’ That is the best thing I’ve eaten on this boat so far’’ She declared contentedly, ‘’ Tell me everything that happened with my mother and the too charming Alfred Vanderbilt’’?

‘’Oh let’s not bother with that, nothing really……tell me a little bit about your life in New York, I’m sort of bored with our conversation being confined to here. It’s not as if I meet someone from the past every day is it………..in fact it’s not as if I have any friends that I can really just chat with about ……..things….you know girl stuff. Where do you go to school and all that? ‘’

Libby obliged with a small portion of the tapestry of her rather dull existence at home, finishing up with

’’So you see going on this trip is the most exciting thing that has happened to me for a long while…….because of my headaches and such, I don’t mix with other people much. What about you? I can’t really believe that you come from 1980, tell me who wins this war? What else happens that’s exciting?’’

Lilly looked at her quizzically for a moment, the bright green eyes the pale face and dark curly hair, her friend’s soft grey dress with lace around the collar, and somehow doesn’t want to ruin for her what was to come. On the other hand neither of them might get out of this and if they did and Libby grew up, she would see the appearance of Lilly in her life as some kind of Alice in Wonderland Angel, or ghost; and wouldn’t probably remember any of the details. So telling her a few things couldn’t hurt could it? Unless of course you believed the ‘’Doctor Who’’ theory on TV that all mention of the future changed that future…in this case that might be rather a good thing…but heh she Lilly wasn’t some kind of a wise woman, so what the heck.

‘’Well of course England wins the war, but with the help of America who becomes our ally, but lots and lots of young men die needlessly in this war…..and then of course there is going to be another world war , again with Germany, but that’s not till 1939 or something I think. We win that one too, or at least America helps us win it. But I didn’t really do that period in history yet, I’m still stuck in the Tudors and Stuarts.  Apart from that, women get the vote, in 1918 for the over 30’s and in 1928 for every woman over 21.  American’s fly to the Moon, oh and also long before that they create an incredible type of Bomb called the Atomic bomb that can completely wipe out humanity if it’s used by the wrong foreign powers. It creates an explosion as big as Volcanoes do. In fact they rather horribly drop it on Japan in a place called Hiroshima which ends the Second World War. They also discover that the stuff they use for the bomb causes sickness and genetic illness countless years after they use it, which makes men into something like God, but not in a good way.

We get something called television which is a bit like having a small cinema in your own home, in colour and of course everyone talks in the movies. No more silent films. There are huge airliners going across the skies, no one crosses the Atlantic on a ship any more unless it’s for a holiday. What else? There is music, incredible music, girls wear short skirts and women are supposed to go to University and get their own jobs. No one sees getting married as a career move anymore. Well not really, only incredibly dim girls do. There is something around called the pill which you can take to stop you having babies’’

Lilly paused for breath and grinned at Libby who quite literally was in a state of static amazement with her bottom jaw dropped practically to her chin in astonishment. At that moment there was a polite knock on the door and the Purser’s voice came through it with a gentle.

‘’ Good morning Miss, breakfast is served and your mother told me to tell you that she is expecting you upstairs in the next half an hour. I have taken the liberty of running your bath.’’

Libby muttered an expletive under her breath and headed towards the bathroom with a…….

‘’ Sorry I won’t be long, .just when I was beginning to enjoy your stories…. how amazingly fascinating all this is, won’t you tell me more?’’

Lilly decided that it might be a good idea to tell her some of the truth just in case this torpedo comes really suddenly, when she was in the bath for instance, and Lilly wasn’t there to save her.

‘’ You know what……….I think I will just go up on deck to check out what’s going on…..you surely don’t want me in the bath with you do you? I’ll meet you up where we first saw each other last night, by the Veranda Café in an hour You see I can’t remember much about the Lusitania from my history lessons but I do think that this Torpedo business isn’t just a joke Libby and maybe I am here to try and keep you safe or something. Who knows, but anyway I’ll come and find you in an hour or so, don’t worry whatever happens I will be there with you’’

These words were to haunt Lilly for a very long time, but for now she couldn’t possibly know this.  Before Libby had the chance to stop her she waved briefly and slid gracefully through the door into the corridor, bumping straight into Alfred with a bunch of flowers in his hands which he was about to deliver to Gracie’s state room.

‘’ Where did he get a bunch of white roses at this time of the morning on board a ship?’’

Crossed her mind…..but she left it there and seeing as he had appeared in such a  synchronistic manner, she decided to keep him company for a while and check out what transpired in the thoughts of one of the most attractive men she has ever had the privilege of being close to. He noticed a slight change in the atmosphere of the corridor, as if the heating had suddenly been turned off, one of the roses in his bunch shed its petals on the carpet and for a moment he hesitated and looked around him.

—   ‘’ Was that a shadow he could see out of the corner of his eye?’’—

Again the image of the slight young woman he had seen from his cabin window the night before crossed his mind, but he dismissed it as fantasy borne out of his restless night.  Alfred has definitely had a bad night; he was desperately in need of a Bloody Mary, to staunch his hangover headache. But for now he was completely sober again and slightly worried by the continuing blare of the foghorn and the bleak atmosphere on the boat.  Everyone has taken to creeping around as if a disaster were about to happen. He has decided to lighten his mood by presenting Gracie with a bouquet. He had several boxes of roses placed in the refrigerator section of the hold, both white and red.

–You never can tell who you might need to pacify or woo with flowers and it helps to always have them handy. –

So his morning itinerary was to be a quick presentation to Gracie at breakfast and then a turn around the top deck to find out exactly what was going on from the Captain on the Bridge; this was definitely his new plan of action. It was difficult to have a plan at all in the middle of all this dam fog, but there must be something useful he could do.

Coming out onto the deck he noticed that some of the ladies seem to have slept in the saloon on the boat deck, wrapped in their blankets and in close proximity to the swinging lifeboats. He has listened to the conversations of several families anxiously pacing the Promenade deck staring out into the gloom for the first sight of land. All the passengers were definitely more than a little spooked and he wondered whether a snifter of brandy after the Bloody Mary might not go amiss at this juncture.

Gracie was sitting at the breakfast table with the Nanny and Jessica looking serene and beautiful this morning. The love affair of the night before a delicious memory that has left her with a warm feeling, no more than that; and when she saw Alfred arrive with her flowers a pink blush spread from her cleavage all the way up her slender neck.

‘’ Good morning Gracie. May I take a seat? I couldn’t help thinking when I saw these that they should go to the most gracious lady on the boat ‘’

‘’ Why Alfred, how delightful, but it really isn’t necessary, how lucky your wife is to have such an attentive husband, I think I am almost jealous of her’’

She gave a little fluttery laugh and Lilly perching above them can feel the batter of Gracie’s heart and the beat of her pulse as she pulled in the delicious smell of Alfred’s after shave. There was still high voltage attraction between them, if she screwed up her eyes Lilly could actually see the molecules of their aura’s stretching across the strawberry jam to whirl in a delightful dance of desire together. Jessica was scowling and chomping her way through several pieces of heavily buttered toast, and the Nanny had a slightly surprised expression on her face that looked like it had been painted on. It was relatively early for the saloon passengers to be up, at 9.30 most of them were still sitting propped up in bed on their pillows having morning tea, but Lilly noticed Rita and Josephine having breakfast with a group of admirers at an adjacent table.

—It must be awfully exhausting to have to be continually beautiful and interesting —.

Passed through her brain as she amused herself rattling the crystal on the chandeliers and diving into the cold milk on the table to create a pattern of frothy bubbles that left the diners looking on in dismay and calling for a fresh jug. She tweaked at the stiff high collar of Alfred’s shirt in wonderment and smoothed down the material on Gracie’s pale blue silk morning dress. The intricacy of the materials, colours and styles of the clothes fascinated her. It was so different from the mass produced stuff she was used to.

—As different as instant coffee is to real coffee. —

Conversation has become sedentary at the table; the couple were very busy giving each other long meaningful glances and Lilly saw Alfred’s hand had crept again onto Gracie’s thigh.  Sighing with irritation she left Alfred and Gracie to their shy flirtation and drifted out on deck where she could just see the glimmer of the sea appearing as the fog began to disperse. She stood by the bow of the ship, still unable to see land but clinging onto the rail in order not to be swept down into the spray as the Captain ordered the crew to raise the speed to 21 knots and the foghorn became a distant drum in her ears. If she was not careful she could just drift down there into the light filled spray and become a molecule of the Ocean returning and returning to the earth in different guises. Romanticism took hold of her for a moment and she played with an internal monologue in her head. She could become a cloud on a summer’s day, an icicle on a mountain top, a bead of sweat on a lady’s bosom, the list was endless and she stood in deep reverie until a voice at her elbow jolted her and she spun around to see Libby fully dressed with her hands on her hips.

‘’ There you are……….I’ve been looking everywhere for you again……..you’re as hard to find as inspiration when I need to write an essay. Now come on I think we need to find out what is going to happen to this ship, you seem to think we are doomed in some way. It’s time to sit down and tell me what you know and very importantly, how not to die’’

*

 

When words can do no more

From Love bites (50 poems for lovers) coming soon 2014 

 

When words can do no more

but stutter, stumble and recall

the depth and breadth of past declensions;

when feelings fumble from the deep

like trees bereft in winter gale

that fall but leave intact deep twisted roots

which suddenly each spring renew

fragile pale green shoot on withered branch,

and all I love in you is transcribed in the beauty

of our children’s laughing faces.

 

It seems somehow we’ve tried it all

somersaulted ,Catherine wheeled

blazed the darkened nights with fireball frenzy,

so many years of fighting truth:

each time that you drew near I shied like startled deer

bit you with a tigers wrath

then watched you bleed your mortal wounds

couldn’t somehow croon the sounds

to heal our broken language .

 

This is just another rhyme,

you’ll say it lies the way all the others do

but I always, always, knew that shining secret heart

you keep hidden out of touch where it’s padlocked to my soul;

here words can do no more than recall ghostly lives

when you were mine  and for some reason I don’t know

I battered down that twice locked door to reach the other side

so I could tell you one more time ,

that despite myself and between the lines

maybe because you make me cry,

I’ll always, always, love you.

Sloane Street

(From ”Love  bites” 50 poems for lovers  coming soon on Kindle )

 

*

River sends brown eddies over traffic noises and the hum of London,

the moon so white and obsolete, it hangs like a charm on the bracelet of your heart;  but you just don’t see,

the breeze through the leaves finger my hair, the music in between, this urge to lie down with you.

It happened somewhere between crossing the road and a glimpse of pink shirt,

So sad tonight, my lover’s taken leave and the moon hangs in the sky obsolete.

I want to call you other names, hidden names as though we’ve passed and re passed, memories piecing us together.

I’m not so sure; I just don’t know what to make of this.

Traffic hums and you’re reading old tunes of mine, stapled between pages of stolen hearts and broken dreams..

My last lost lover left me an email today, said there was some other woman he had to try on for size, like a new coat and I’m lying here wondering if she fits, wondering if he says the same things, as he falls into her.

The moon laughs at me; the way I always throw it all away, like an unwished gift, like a baby’s kiss, like a new morning,

but tonight I  wanted to forget about all of this; lie with you a while, see if kisses float and mermaids sing to us in dreams,

 

see if it’s more than a memory.

*

Void

 

Life opens in front of me like a void with no singularity point. This is day one of eternity, how will it unfold?

*

 

 

Stuck between inside & out

there is no time of day

I walk behind your before

listen to the tinkling of the bells.

 

The Angel of the Moon

watches you sleep

perfection is a word

minted for you.

 

Stranger’s jostle

no attention to detail:

your detail is diminished

there is no up or down

 

I’ve turned from love

into the deep unknown echo

of you.