Friday, 20 September 2013

Contemplation Upon a Central Tree

She has stood longer
Opens a thin mouth to the wind,
Ejects it with laughter.
For here, the people gather
Clotting like leaves
Despite the summer
And their arms wander
Attempting to express time
With a significant gesture.

But the tree maintains her ignorance
For even as the sun climbs
She has seen it uncovered
Year upon year.
She projects her recognition of time
With her ceremonial clutter
Harsh and austere
Her branches beguile.

And sometimes, deep in her bark
Are the emotional imprints
With sick hands, glancing smiles
Of romance’s decay.
Yet people engrave their hearts
And ask her for answers
But still do not weep

As she collapses to flame.


The expanse of miles
Do not even perforate the bluest skies
Here, where eyes cross corrugated bookshelves
And you can find the essence of love
At night
In a stairwell.

Or between the lines
Where I find myself habitually
Caring for cadence which
Comes with the time.

For I, here
Hastily find expression
Amidst leaves and spines
In this human foliage,
This friction
We search ourselves for
Amidst the imperfections.

The single sheet mirror
And waiting for ourselves to surface
Though the tears, the charge
Thick through the slate of the human heart.

The pen slips as the
Morning breaks, to the
Scatter of light

The grating of feet. 

Thursday, 19 September 2013


The ceremonial removal of bone
I picture it
As an epitome of images
-          A hot sound combing through fragments,
An arm, fingers.
For I have seen them reaching
Consuming the inches for some greater home
Tendrils and sinews, chastising and melting.
Still the gulls scream
Down on the coast.

I have spent many a winter here
Lulling hot words around this dull mouth
Waiting to cry –
That the world is cruel, yet in this distant town
The sky is clear

And bodies move like clouds.

Saturday, 14 September 2013


 You do not know what you have
Until it is lost
Do not know what you have caught
Until the final run
And you see the streaked smile
Fading fast
Beneath the cool sick smile
Of the sun.
And you feel the waves
Will wash at last,
Burn until your body is dry.
For you lie with your head
Against the glass
And stare out
At an endless sky.

First Night

You lie just beyond me
Though the undulations of your breath
Teasing in their proximity
Telling of your strength.
Though the strange pane of the night
Questions if we possess anything here
-          Only fingertips on the curved glass
Of a lens
And the shriek of light

As the morning clears. 

A sudden sense of realisation

There is an absolute silence
On this easel of modernity
For we sustain a kind of artifice
Slick, unfurling
Like a crepe between the fingers
And a mesh within the mind.
For we all cry understanding
Constitute its art with paper
But still ignorant to its kind

Which will open to us later. 

A Familiar Complaint

For when I touch the paper and think of you
Discuss not, my long-exhausted ways
Which have been craft in tears, but only blue
For they fall upon an anxious face.
It is feeling the wafer-thinness of the page
Which I offer as an ideal distance
But the days thicken in their rage
And I live without existence.
Do not tell me that my ways are false
For I feel that from the ground and air
And the short sharp shocks of a human pulse
But it is not mine without you there.
Do not tell me to be strong
For strength includes a kind of hope
Empty without your smile to look upon
And between the fingers lies the rope.


The sun casts her hair out for the sky
Where beneath the beach lies waiting for the waves
And the berries on the tree give ground their time
Each offering a glistening arm and ruddy face.
A warm elixir of pure sound
Is shared by flock, and group, and heard
Though I lie here in a distant town
And offer you my thoughts, my words.


They kept a certain intimacy, clean in line
Like the last ray on an unsheathed knife
They walked.
I wondered
At the deliberation, lifting each limb,
The arms twice – as if broken
Or attempting to deal
With the provincial numbness.
Someone told me

It accompanied existence
Stealing thick hours from that flat night.

Just listless, those plum-red gowns
And the lull of advancing feet
Perhaps they thought themselves
Candle-lit, famous
Filing back through the streets.

Two still stood
On the pier, as if on a parapet
Staring out at that drowned blue
And imagining a place different.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

An Affair with an Artist

Mrs Carmen Stride was one of those provincial elevated New-York women who presented her outward deportment in such an elegant way; it was as if a layer of air had been slipped under her feet. She told herself that it was an adequate façade to cover a crumbling marriage – for she could sidle past her husband at some grotesquely-arranged party, offering only the sick gift of a sly smile. It was a societal sin to be passionate. Therefore, she became elaborate.
She was commonly described as a ‘frequent occurrence’ at parties, as if not a woman, but an event, melting in to the lacquered hysteria with not even a bat of an eyelid. It was strange, she thought, that some people lost themselves at parties. It was the clot of the crowd in which she found a certain kind of control.
Control does not equate to stability, control does equate to stability – she remembered the dull drill of the same lines from long lingering afternoons of deportment lessons when she was a mere girl momentarily absorbed in the superfluous supple bodies of young men. In high society, one has to typically cheat on own ideals. She appreciated, whether artful or not, the accidental brush of her arm against some fleeting young frame, enjoyed overhearing  the hot and hasty words of some dark adulterous confessions.
But if there was one thing crying to be captured – it was innocence.
Cameras were a rarely new novelty – the little black boxed-faces clicking and snapping, the smoke unfurling like a tell-tale breath of deceit. There was the usual scream of ‘smile!’ and then the next day Carmen would half-expect her face in the paper, her pinched-in cheeks and round doe-eyes so the image screamed with innocence. Sometimes it did. Sometimes Avory Flick, a pugnacious Broker from Long-Island would bring his own camera and  prefer to photograph the typical drunkards, the brawls and the buxom women half-intoxicated who as the night ran on seemed weighted closer and closer to the floor. Carmen thought the fun thing was that these people were captured by camera, their flavour of unrestrained wildness seeping through the black and white. She never thought the camera captured her.
She would reminisce fondly, as she let the sour notes of a highball anoint her throat, always leaning, hip-forwards in her usual delicate way at some party of another – of her childhood – how she loved the art of capture itself, restrained ants with the hot pulse of a magnifier, keeping spiders, snails, pet mice. Her grandmother told her that there was ‘always something beautiful about a menagerie.’ There was indeed, Carmen thought, as she would adorn the sweeping staircase with blood-thick roses and trimmed marigolds and watch the crowds sway drunkenly towards them. Women would shriek and clasp their hands within the whole pantomime, colouring roughly in the face, to which the cameras would turn – snap, snap, snap.
Of course, as Mrs Doubtwater had remarked to her one evening, there is always a place for nostalgia. Carmen ensured that there was not just a place for such, but an object – often adorning the magnificent longue with striped little morsels of candy. It was the same candy Avory Flick had choked upon one year, she remembered gazing with a semi-fascination at the naked convulsions of his face, Of course it was decorum to show outwards disgust, but by the time Mr Stride had hoisted Amory to his feet and Carmen had put him to bed the party was back underway again and candy was as ever present at the next gathering.
“I repeat mistakes until they are no longer so,” Carmen spoke with a bold execution of the syllables over the guests appreciation of the vol-ou-vents which still glistened with the gory vulnerability of raw fish.
 She did not aim her words at anyone in particular, nor did she especially desire for anyone to hear. It was pleasant like that, she thought – speaking, yet unheard. It was the condition she maintained a knife-sharp equilibrium with her husband, even as he turned to her in the night – metaphorically, of course, in the strange sleep-peelings of dreams – and his fleshy jowls would crease with an expression of disgust.
She could have even admitted, and did to herself sometimes, that she liked disgust. Watching the sour, silted faces of the women who had outlived the peculiarly short sentence of high-regard, she would see the familiar creases form, and look upon them in a similar fashion. The fashion of ‘looking’ is one which is particularly difficult to perfect – for the eyes may be often drawn to linger upon the vaguely comforting features of a face, the strange shadows skimming over a piece of material.
That was perhaps why she felt shame when she saw the artist – and then hate.
It was somewhere within the midst of one of those languorous summer evenings which seems to shed all sense of time and simmer down to a combination of colour and heat, when she saw him.  A peculiar air pervaded the place where he was sitting, just beneath the tortured glass of the bay window, letting the silt of a cigarette fall between his fingers slowly as if the weight of raindrops.
Detaching herself from an old friend she had met from the ballet, Carmen strode towards him determinedly, permeating the odour of male and female musk.
“Excuse me, but do you mind not dropping your ash on the tiles?” She allowed her voice to unfurl, deliberately cold and condescending. It irritated her that the artist, half-straddling his easel as he assembled it, only gave her a half-glance, evidently pre-occupied by the turquoise train of some screeching woman attempting to barter for the chandelier in the corner. Carmen would have her removed later.
She repeated herself.
“Excuse me.”
He looked at her suddenly, stricken, as if a piercing light had emitted from her mouth.
“What is it, my dear?” He paused, attempting to rearrange the slight catch of his accent, resolving to speak more slowly “It was very good of your… husband… to invite me.”
Carmen gave a little cluck of distaste and wondered why her husband had made the effort to invest in the appearance of such a man. She had seen her husband earlier, circulating in the far reaches of the room like a comet which has long-lost its magnificence, running through his beard with one hand and raising a wine glass to his mouth with the other. Thomas rarely allowed any one the privilege of his speech, and when he did, it was not a privilege – it was typically a rebuttal.  It upset Carmen that sometimes  she did the same.
“ Well I do not want you here.”
At that moment she wished for a mirror in order to observe how beautifully austere his lips were. Somehow, the artist seemed to sense this.
“Well, ma’am, you may not want me – “
“And I don’t.”
“- But how about a picture?”  He gestured to the accumulation of equipment by his side, allowing her to waver over him.
At her hesitation, he became animated, revealing a sketchbook of already completed portraits – some full-length and some half – to her.
“Look,” He urged “Here is Mrs Flatterly – she sat for a good while, you know, and here is one of Miss Spite…”
Her eyes jarred on the portrait of mention, almost stopping the sense in the rest of her body – only a jealous gaze left to rest on the fine painted contours of the body, the delicacy of the cheekbones. She knew that Mrs Spite looked not even half as magnificent in the reality of things! And then she felt an urgency, almost  a compulsion, within her frame, to allow herself to be painted, knowing that it would be more beautiful, more than anything Mrs Spite would ever dream of –
“I will sit for one then, just one, mind you.”
She arranged herself on a precarious-looking stool which had been arranged adjacent to the easel, letting her dress unfurl around her so she appeared to assemble the peaked waves of an overheated wedding cake. It was strange; she considered that this was a kind of surrender. She allowed her stare to surpass the artist, the odd curvature of his dark moustache and the strained expression of his ever-focusing eyes, she looked beyond the strangely passive flocks of  guests, imagined a kind of true touch upon her, her mouth curving slightly a kind of remembrance –
She stopped herself suddenly. It was not fashionable to be seen with a prevailing smile.
The acceptable aspect of painting was that the models eyes could wander without the body – the utter social convention of chastity, she thought, albeit a little heatedly, and consequently wished for her face powder.  She wondered, as she watched the blunt, almost restricting movements of the paintbrush as if gouging the easel – why Mrs Spite had not taken her painting. After all, Carmen admitted to herself, it was a striking portrait – something especially about the lips which she had not quite registered, could remember in the sweeping excitement of herself. She ventured yto move her mouth, hardly daring to expose the teeth she was so conscious of.
“Say, why didn’t Mrs Spite take her painting?”
The artist smiled at her, with an almost untold expression unfurling across his brow. She still worked, determinedly, almost awfully, as he spoke.
“Oh, you mean Miss Spite. I don’t know, she indicated she was in a hurry or something similar…”
Carmen mused slightly, biting her bottom lip slightly- Mrs Spite was now a Miss! She felt almost angered at the details she was missing, for she collected details – enough to compose her dresses from the rich trappings of magazines, society journals, diaries, and words, words, words. Her husband had once made a remark about her being addicted. That was when she started to hate him.
She hated him, especially, utterly, when he interrupted the plaintive plains of her thoughts – thoughts which did not require him. And yet he still appeared, both in mind and body, striding towards the artist, and almost smiling upon her! It made her sick and she scowled instinctively.
The artist let slip a laugh which was almost thickened by something vindictive.
“It’s a good job that the painting was finished before you pulled that face!”
A strange sensation bubbled in her throat – she must  have sat for hours, almost oblivious! And surely though she had not noticed, everyone else had! She felt a raging social consciousness strike through her cheeks like a raw bolt, her husband seemingly avoiding helping her to her feet and slipping to the side of the artist. He whistled inwardly, in a kind of long-anticipated admiration as he spoke –
“A striking likeness, my friend, I must say.”
“Thank you, Mr Stride.”
The two men seemed to share a smile between them which had the unnerving texture of the smile shared by accomplices in a crime – a smile of reckoning, a smile of recognition. Carmen felt a sudden hot burst of light fall upon her face through the bay window like the weight of a sharply stilled bird, a life still hot and promising. Despite her presence, the men still continued, trilling their tongues in whispers which were designed emphatically for her to hear.
It was her husband who went first, speaking with a kind of enjoyment, as if his voice was being submerged in warm, clean water – bold and amplified.
“And what about that slut, Mrs Spite, that was her name?”
Carmen revolved a little in shock, furthermore so, as the artists eyes somehow met hers as she spoke.
“Oh, her husband sorted that. Fair to say – he isn’t her husband anymore!”
The men  seemingly indulged themselves in a dual snort of laughter, Mr Stride raising his eyebrows with a  certain eagerness, still looking at  Carmen’s portrait, almost spitting the words as he spoke –
“ A similar course I will take, I expect!”
The undercutting anger in the tone seemed to catch Carmen in the throat, and she made an  attempt to stand, though the mocking tiers of her dress seemed to sway, almost like a preventative.
“What on earth are you talking about?” She implored. It was the first time she had addressed her husband directly for days, and there was still the same empty artificiality in her voice, she thought.
It was with a deft, almost violent movement Mr Stride spun the painting around to meet her, rising towards her like a kind of threat. For a moment, she ignored everything apart from a sense of heating pride at the glassiness of her eyes she typically aimed for, how the artist had captured her fluted nostrils without being unflattering – but then she looked own the image, letting her eyes fall.
How she had been sitting, her chest slightly thrust forward, shoulders back, picturing herself evidently in a kind of bohemia – allowed the sight of what she anticipated that her husband would never see. The slight, firm swell of her stomach. Her own body automatically responded, as if out of an urgent protection, her hand slipping to the soft swell beneath her clothes.
The soft well of imminent motherhood which only lit in her husband’s eyes.
“You little whore!” He spat.
Beneath the heat of his breath, the condensation on Carmen’s face slipped away to sudden realisation – the reason why Mrs Spite did not keep her painting was because it portrayed her guilt, the thick green-guilt, thick as what was evidently the lingering marks of a lovers kiss still engrained into her lips as she sat, flushed and flurried, to be painted. Carmen closed her eyes knowing that her image in itself was also such a confession. But she would not cry – for him – for either of them.
“Who is it?”
His lips seemed waxed back in s snarl as he crouched on his haunches and came closer to her face, unable to reach her through the furling of white dress.

She heard the snap, snap, snap of resigning footfalls tarrying outside, although her husband and the artist stayed where they were. People cried for photographs and as the night thickened, wandered aimlessly in search of the camera. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Two Different Sides of Town

The rotting of summer, or, The Natural Heat of the Woman

The days seemed to melt only into the slender hours of evenings as she skipped along the pavement, sashaying her delicate feet over the cracks as if standing upon an instep of air. People passing seemed to respond intrinsically to her smile – allowing a watery reciprocal of an upturned mouth to which sometimes made her laugh and clasp her hands in a kind of ecstasy.

All the men of the city held her in high regard – that she was a beautiful sweet creature. There was something in her presence which seemed almost rural, as if not capable of being accustomed to the relentless lights and late-night drawls on jazz emerging from cramped corridors in downtown London. It was that type of mystery which people cared for. It was somehow refreshing to the see an untamed red flare beneath the skin, compensating for the heavy powders and sharp rouges of the archetypal high society women. These type of women looked down at little Summer West, some remarked that she was ‘far to American’, despite her being as English as they were. This true shared similarity, along with Summer’s exceptional ability to beguile at least one gentleman per evening, often left her the subject of a perfect, sought-after envy. This generally irritated other women even more.

Ah, yes, little Summer West! Her true escapades are only known to a select view – for she is generally succinct at preserving the most marvellous façade of smiles which extend beyond artificiality. She once told me, a young man of twenty two at the time, that she found me ‘pretty’ and ‘wondered why it is not classed as the suitable provincial adjective for describing men, for I like it oh-so-much!”.

I told her I didn’t know – the answer most men gave.

They were the same words uttered by Edward Flynn, last Friday night – one of the usual young men standing upon a bed of euphemisms and uncontrolled young lust. I can only imagine the strange sensation running through his veins as he watched Summer West – the little girl so many men attempted to get – dissipate in front of him, layer by layer. Then dress went first, but then, and perhaps most crucially, the face. She would peel away the shock of colour across her lids, the thick dark lashes which intensified the pupil beneath, smearing and wiping until all was gone. The lip salve would be swiped away in an instant, whilst Edward’s mouth likely dipped open – watching the for forced form of woman suddenly relax into a bent back and strangely protruding stomach now the corset was peeled away. And she would always sigh and face the men, only her long languorous hair still taped in a bun behind her head, her feet now heavy on the floor and the words thick on her lips –

“I’m cold.”

For we’ve all get cold at some point in ourselves. It’s bittersweet.

Memoirs of a lonely clerk
I don’t know what I’m doing, scarcely conscious as to the reason I am writing this, ink seems to break on the paper as if emerging from an old wound – you could call it loneliness, despite the flushed warm body of another human being lying less than a foot away from me, the languorous odour of sleep still baked into the pillow. She is a beautiful thing – and I do not mean that in the sense of objectification – for this morning seems to surpass human definition, as if everything is somewhat alien. I made coffee as quietly I could – now it collapses to a kind of acid on my tongue. I wonder how our thoughts compare as she pulls the sheet more tightly around her so the a slight pink of pressure surfaces against the skin, whilst I wonder aimlessly into the white walls.

I envy her state of sleep, not really because of the perpetual tiredness – although that could be considered a factor -  but because it may stop me envying anything more. I am a dreadful person, although eventually my eyes will truly open with some form of stimulant and I will forget.

I absorbed  in envy towards this girl last night, I still am, even just moving the child-like curve of her mouth with lips so full they appeared to be some beautiful casualty of exhaustion.  There is an aspect of disturbed beauty only certain faces can perfect.

She talked in a certain way, I think that was it. I remember, even though the thickening vapours of alcohol in the bloodstream and the breath, watching her cross Trafalgar with a precision that was telling, one hand clutching a single silk handkerchief as if were a revelation. A pure brilliant white fluttering against dark hair emerged as if a pre-planned contrast. She had been one of late-arrivals for the tour – tours I lead around London in the hours I can, what can say, it pays the rent – but I was almost stricken as she strode up to me and almost forcibly intercepted my stunned palm. Her hand was so cold and delicate, perhaps with nerves, and her cheeks flushed as if the delicate skin was hiding some grave injury, I almost winced.

“I’m so sorry I’m late,” She gushed “I’ve been having a bit of trouble.”

The content of her speech was thick with a vagueness I typically despise and turn away from, but there was something about the execution of the syllables – almost cruel, and thus close to the literal meaning of the word, which seemed to suspend my mouth open in the urgency of a reply.

“Don’t worry, don’t worry.”

It seemed drawn from me, almost medicinally, from a significantly feeling part of myself I have yet to identify. I had no time then, for I was soon lost beneath the accumulation of tourist traffic - the horrible grating combinations of accents and exclamations, the sickly swell of human sweat abounding air. It was the typical recipe I had grown accustomed to, allowing the familial façade to project from within me , losing any sense of my personal distaste –

“Right, ladies and gentlemen – now for some sightseeing!”

I had not noticed how close her body was to mine, but I felt the very undulations of her breath in my ear as she whispered in a tone dripping with an innocence that was almost suspicious –

“ I don’t want to see sight, sight is the only thing I see.”

I did not ask her what alternative she believed on, like most attempting to survive in the clot of living – I assumed it. I told myself I would let her see the opposite of sight, almost a blindness – the kind of darkness only inherent to familiar rooms, strange hands and human pressure. It was needless to say I invited her home after the tour, almost with a kind of urgency, the lines of my palms seemed creased with an ache I was uncertain of. It was the uncertainty of both or parts which was necessary, it induced darkness. As we tumbled in, the white walls of the flat were empty, the fanged shutters of the blinds allowing lone rays of light to traverse like silken chords in the hurry of people.

And now it is only light which permeates the pillow, seems to sew mocking spiracles within her hair. It was only a night, I guess. But here she is, still bathed in it. But lost in the perfect absence of sight, the absence she so wanted.

My starched suit aches as I pull on my shoes, deducing my threshold of permitted sound from the rise and fall of her breathing. There is a certain precision, like the distinction of the light. It  wakes all eventually.

The Incredible Sadness of Clichés

The whole world’s a stage but no one watches
You put a best foot forward, yet when you fall
You give people hell, but it’s only scratches
And to be better safe than sorry means nothing at all. 
There’s a bird in the hand, but none in the bush
They’ve bitten the bullet , more than we can chew
When we dig for gold, only to find a nugget
And when we bite the dust, no one asks “Who?”
Because out of frying pan, the fire can’t catch it
As you hold your tongue, yet warm your hands
When someone walks over your grave, but it’s only plastic
In a world that’s dog eat dog, but you’re just a man.
So don’t shoot the messenger, don’t bite the hand
Just look like ten new pence, though you feel ill
For life is like a blue whale beached on land
Dying inside, but dressed to kill. 


Leah tipped boiling water into the thin china cup, swilled it round with an uncertain hand and flushed it into the stainless steel mouth of the sink. She proceeded to make a cup of tea mechanically, as if almost unconscious - her pale hands moving listlessly, hardly permeating  the silence to which she had grown accustomed, as if in respect to an almost physical presence.

Even when she turned on the television, she kept the volume low, almost muffled – as if anxious of disturbing some paper-fine equilibrium. She stood observing the flickering picture, feeling the cup burn into her skin with its crass lips. On the screen, the plastic lacquered mouth of the News-presenter trilled over the state of the ‘pandemic’, lists of figures, the arterial ends of typed accounts from desperate eyewitnesses crippled in some country or another.

Leah struggled to push the tea to the back of her throat, feeling the indelicate sweetness of the cardboard-boxed milk stick to her tongue, mocking her like a sacrament.  Perhaps there was something  holy in being alive, she sometimes thought. She attempted to pride herself in that she had kept eating, kept drinking – the news said it was apparently important to maintain ones immune system as well. She had meticulously researched the nature of the pandemic on the computer – albeit frantically - her hands often greasy and senseless over the bulbous back of the mouse.  It was a necessity, she told herself, to be prepared.
It was the same message relayed to everyone.

However, this did not stop the university lectures from continuing, did not stop the Dean making this familial tracks down the  cobbled roads to the chapel – where the stained glass glistened a dewy green with a  kind of mocking resilience. Or so people told Leah. She communicated largely by telephone, for she hardly saw anyone these days and could not bear the greasy seals and spattered lines of handwritten letters sent by some relative or another. She burned them as they fell in the porch, dropped dead in their elusive metaphor.

She told herself she felt no guilt, she told Edward this too – Edward who as her roommate remained curiously passive and allowed her strange qualms to accumulate. Sometimes he would begin to reprimand her, although the intensity of her gaze told him that such was futile and he would soon stop. For the hours she would sit open-mouthed at various electronic sources of information, he would bring her tea she would not drink, her lips only tumbling open to tell him more about this ‘plague’, how she had personified it.
He could smell her fear and it incensed him.

Yet Leah told herself only the opposite, whistled to herself shrilly as if to block any other thought as she  let the contents of the kettle gutter out into a basin of her worn-once clothes, reflecting the raw red of a dress. She convinced herself that she felt vaguely relaxed, watching the scrubbed-pink of her hands dart about their menial tasks almost automatically, watching the clothes clot like organs – an awful externalisation of  her feeling body. In the background noises of the television mixed with the  morning congregation of birdlife upon the cliffs, she half heartedly listened to a debate about oil prices and wondered why it mattered.

Edward smoked a cigarette as he strolled up behind her, letting the ash scatter, almost with the weight of raindrops, against the floor.

“Stop it!” She hissed instinctively, turning around to the guilty upturn of his mouth, her hands dripping with the sheen of soap which coloured the skin beneath “You know what the news says about ash – clean it up, clean it up!”

He hated how she spoke about the televised news as some kind of divine authority – it seemed to infiltrate her life – even as he pressed his head to the pillow in the opposite room at night, he could still hear the monotonous mumble of some newsreader of another shaping their mouth to a politically correct and personality-drained cue. Her mouth pressed itself into the whole of a shapeless scowl as he stood there languorously, blocking her path to the television, nursing the cigarette between a  gentle pressure of his teeth.

He knew what would happen, he had seen it so many times before – her eyes would flicker and colour as if refracting the intensity of all those charts, those graphs, statistics and numbers she so often surveyed – he could see it now as he looked emptily upon the scraped-clean crockery of a frugal and overly cautious meal.
Her tone changed and she gazed at herself before facing him imploringly.

“My hands look greasy,” There was an emphasis of the imperative to her tone which seemed designed to make him reply in the affirmative “They do look greasy. That’s the first stage you know, the news says, overly-great skin is – “

Her painted red lips looked like a widening incision in her pale, pale face.

She mumbled disconsolately as she had so many times before, attempting to scrub away the imagined residue into the sink. Oh, he had seen her many times declaring that she was infected, rocking back and forth on her haunches with a rhythm she had convinced herself was a declaration of sickness, she screamed out her knowledge of its incubation period to him, how her hands would be next to inflame. She knew everything.

Perhaps it came as a hot quick comfort to her, suddenly, surely, as she fell against the sink and felt the pressure against her chest, the darkness she envisaged, perhaps she felt correct in something for once in her life – even though Edward’s eyes stared back at her as she laughed and shrieked and giggled until her head was stilled upon the cold tiles.

The knife of a diseased humanity was finally pulled from her side. Edward left a note next to her stating that she had suffered so much more when she was living.

Even the police struggled to know the truth of the matter when they arrived some days later. An ex-corporal with uneasy foot put a cautionary bullet straight through the television believing it to be the noise of suspicious breathing, and even the visiting doctor felt almost chilled to watch how the little glass shards still reflected the precision of the dead girls face as she lay some metres away.

 “That’s the horrible thing about technology,” the doctor whispered “You almost have a relationship with before it kills you, one way or another.”

History had been written, thick and horrible, in her bloodstream.

It had been a very intimate death.

Being Human

In light of the disgusting decision of the British Government to allow for the culling of Badgers. 

Summer blooms but then so does fungus
Wraps round fingers like a ring
Which  clouds the receiver with misty murmurs
Through which people talk, yet birds can sing.
We buy coats, yet other creatures just acquire them
We heel our shoes, if  just to make a sound
And we go to zoos, and it is despondent
When we survey ourselves, then look around.
For man can clothe himself, albeit with cruelty
The only creature that can feel ill with pride
For the better animals are in the cages
And it is the real exhibition which happens outside.
The paradoxical evenings where we drink ourselves dry
 Or calling up when there is no one home
And cry ourselves to sleep, but it’s only natural, as now

The telephone shrilling on its hook of bone. 

Considering Melancholy

For darkness lives where we abide
Through speech and words it shares itself
Like in the opened mouth of churning tide
Dashing life and voice  to hell.
Or the brain with its unnatural birth
Poised for the twisting of the knife
Is the condition many watch, but never learn
And feel, but most do not survive.
It becomes a bliss one cannot medicate
And lies, elevating subject’s ground
So no one runs to catch them when they fall

And still hear them breathe when they have drowned.