Poetry - Volume 4

(March 1988 - March 1989)

(360) To Pere-Lachaise

The day after the pilgrimage;
sitting in a room with coffee and cognac.
My mind is filled with thoughts of cats...

Cold air squeezes under the window
and drops silently to the floor,
touching my bare feet with icy fingers.

Mud from the cemetery still clings
to my worn shoes by the French doors;
fine Parisian clay, wet with winter
and stained with marble shadows
of countless entombed souls.

All carry secrets to their silent graves.

The graveyard cats, living in the drains
and grown fat on feasted rats,
have seen the secrets stripped bare...
Perhaps that is why they stare with contempt
at those who come to mourn.

(Third prize - Utopia Poetry Competition)

Short Story: To Pere-Lachaise

(349) First Farewell

Girl hides in a stationery cabinet
to escape boredom;
having exhausted her creativity
in pseudo suicide notes.

Storm tossed eagle feathers
have lost their silken sheen;
now dull and lifeless
under carbon filaments.

Nest building and test gilding
are shattered dreams.

Snowflake restitution beckons,
promising cool blankness under
gloomy London skies.

"Go walk out in the rain,
so no-one sees me cry"
seems so distant now
from Riverside Sundays.

(352) Farewell the Muse

So, leaving as you came;
another face swimming
in the infinite ocean of personalities
through which I clumsily paddle...
but one face
which will always remain clear.
Strong middle-eastern features profiled
against teased and tortured hair halo,
translucent sun-shunned skin
masking the inner turmoil
of your searching soul;
the face of a fellow traveler
through the Dantean landscape
of Outsiders and Fringe dwellers
haunted by eternal questions
and senseless answers;
the face of a flower in bloom
and a disciple of doom;
but rarest of all...
The face of a friend

(319) Partial to Red

her husband ran off with a scatterbrain redheaded typist; she writes cheques with an empty pen and gives parties to the urban elite; she said what else can you do when it all goes down? as she placed a pickled onion on my plate with a manicured hand; i raised my eyebrows and said indeed politely so she would not be offended; she said she should buy a new pen tomorrow so i balanced the onion on the tip of my tongue and played at guessing the age of the other guests as they filed past the bar pretending not to notice the waiter with his hand on my throat; she said anyone else would have done the same don't you think? i try not to i said admiring the pattern on my crystal-cut goblet someone had placed in my hand full of a pleasant-tasting viscous fluid cool on my onion tongue and slippery in my throat; the carpet made an electric sound under my feet; her husband had chosen the colour being partial to red or so she said not thinking of anything else of course but she still writes cheques with an empty pen and the bank manager rubs a pencil over the impressions to read the numbers; you'd think he'd buy her a new pen but not red ink of course; that's why she uses the empty pen her husband left behind; partial to red he was; so she likes to believe.

(306) Redcliffe Drive-in, 1987

In one day,
the Progress Vultures tore down a piece of my past.
Their steel claws
ripped great chunks from my memories
and dropped them in sad dusty heaps;
like a wanton child who discards last year's toy.


Who then erected a gleaming new skeleton
over the grave of my yesterdays,
caring little for the ghosts sleeping beneath.

My past is my only possession
and yet I am powerless to protect it.

(346) Katherine-wheel

The six-year-seperated twins
who threw you into the swimming pool that summer,
were your friends, or so they said...

The one you suffered all through school;
your tragic smile and pleading conversation
begging for some reflection in his eyes;
(but receiving only a place in his memories)
left you behind for that shiny mermaid...

And the other one (the older,wiser one)
felt the strange tide of your emotions
breaking on the shores of his island,
filling him with desire to swim your sea,
but not the strength to broach your waves...

A hurricane of romantic dinners,
dramatic interludes and knightly courting
left you floundering out of your depth;
while he returned to his desert isle...

And so, turned down and finally
turned inside out, you were left adrift
in the ocean of your dreaming...

(316) Lots of Ice

don't put it down there but he did anyway and i gave him a pained look; but he gave me a fresh drink so i couldn't really complain; after all he did change the record and stop someone from stubbing out their cigarette in my bonsai; my palm starts to itch, one hundred years old the man at the nursery said; no ice in the drink because the fridge is on the blink; drooping eyelids, half past three, great party she said; just don't do that to the wallpaper; what wallpaper? no joke but my flatmate offers to wash my car tomorrow; but that's today and we gotta work; never, he said, never work because it's not plugged in; so we did and made some ice as the sun came up; but there were only a few of us left and no more grass so we sat around and sucked on the ice cubes until i had to drive her to the station; but her boyfriend had come back and apologised; happy ending except for all the bodies and no food in the fridge for breakfast; but always coffee, no milk but lots of ice; even the bonsai survived; and the wallpaper was only stained; what wallpaper? must be someone else's flat; well we'll make some more ice so they can have coffee when they get home; all those cars in the driveway though; i thought i didn't have a bonsai; might buy one next week, but no wallpaper, it gets damaged at parties.

(309) Flight path

An aeroplane crashes
through the ceiling of my bedroom.

The propellor rotates slowly
at seventy revolutions per minute.

The pilot's blood and internal fluids
drip down the walls.

What poor timing -
I'd only repainted them last week.

(324) Pregnant Cat

The pregnant cat craves affection
You'd think she'd already had enough,
being once more on the brink of motherhood...

Perhaps she feels safe
in seeking a caress
from male paws separated by species
from further demands..

And yet, the life in her belly
is separated from death
by the same thin barrier as my unborn child.

(375) Ripples

In the cafe is a glass-block wall;
silicon ripples frozen in time,
distorting and blurring images,
tripping and trapping light rays
in a pale green coolness.

The world is outside the wall;
a pattern of movement and colour
without definition or texture,
soundless and seamless,
flickering in and out of reality.

There is no door in my wall.

(370) Self Portrait

I roll around my life
like a pebble in an empty bottle.
My surface is dull and hard,
cold under soft fingers touch.
I lie until prodded,
then conceal my many flaws in erratic movements.
I make a hollow sound when handled roughly;
and yet, in skilled hands,
I become the keystone for a bridge.

(356) Thai Silk Wedding Dress

Whiteness, pure and seamless
slides smoothly over rounded shoulders;
youthful nipples creasing delicate furrows
in the softly woven sheen...
Creamy folds fall from willow waist
flowing down twirling legs;
stroking ankles with Asian fingers
dancing to an ancient melody...

(361) Saint Germain Des Pres

Cobblestone swirls,
blood red canvas sails,
coffee smells and street sounds,
women with black-lace legs
stumble in stiletto heels,
men in newly worn leather jackets
lean against Metro cave walls,
children walk in the dark dawn
with fresh bread sticks
warm in their hands,
beggar in the subway tunnel
on Christmas Eve,
strong coffee, cheap wine.
I sit in "The Dome" with ghosts
awaiting inspiration...
that never comes.

(376) High Priestess

Pressed against the railing,
I held you close enough to feel the beating of your heart.
My lips brushed your hair...
     your ear...
          your soul...
               but never your lips.

Words spoken that were already known,
Echoed what the Tarot hand played true...
But secrets whispered in the night,
Cannot change other cards so dealt.

And once laid bare, truth lies painfully.
Stolen moments then now last a lifetime.
Soulful longings tearfully hide
In shadows deep 'tween midnight and sigh.

For final trust must be shown,
To honour other vows and friendship.
Still, these words will ever echo true,
And all I ever do will be for you.

(377) Jetstream

You looked so much like her then,
Turned away with hair let down.
Despite the time and tide run past,
I sang the song so soft once more.

I longed to kiss away your tears,
Steal your sorrow with my lips.
You half turned before you held,
My jetstream song upon the wind.

Yet velvet threads do bind us both,
A delicate web of hidden ties.
No sister dreaming comes between,
The leaving is your own desire.

And freedom came easy after all,
The bracelet was but briefly caught.
Sea spray wets white church spires,
Each and every test was for this.

So grains of sand bear you pearls,
Precious things do grow from dust.
Music weaves new golden bands,
And handsome home surrenders all.