Friday, 29 January 2010

The Circle of Friends Award...

Now, I'm soft as butter in a lot of ways, so (despite the fact that it's a bit silly!) I was totally honoured when I had this award somewhat ceremoniously bestowed upon me last Tuesday! I was all the more honoured because, the one who so bestowed it, Carrie Clevenger, would be the first person I'd conjure in my own mind to give it right back to! 

Carrie and I have never met outside of Twitterville, but I know enough... She's a fabulous poet to whom the world speaks as it does to me, and that's a lovely kindred to have found. If you've only ever read her #fridayflash, please make time for her poetry too. It's more than worth it.

I'd also like to bestow this award upon my fellow members of the Leeds Writers' Group, some of whom are known in Twitterville as Chance4321mazzz_in_Leeds , petherin, MoxieMouth and HeatherLloyd83. Without these brilliant writers, who are also wonderful people, I wouldn't write half as much, or half as well...and I probably wouldn't write prose at all! Thank you guys, for all your prodding, and pulling apart and praising of my work...and for letting me do the same thing to yours! And, of course, for your friendship. 

Last, but not least, I hand this award to David G Shrock (Draco Torre) for his consistently constructive criticism and some fabulously stimulating discussion of my poetry, and to Michelle D Evans and Marisa Birns, who visit my poetry as often as they visit my fiction and always leave the most beautifully encouraging comments!

So, though I'm not a fan of these chain things as a rule, I guess here is where I say, collect your award and pay it forward! This one's different. :)

#Fridayflash: Cain and Annabelle

“I don’t do this often, you know…” I didn’t quite know why I was telling him this, but for some reason, it was important to me. It was important what he thought of me.

The man standing in my bathroom doorway, who said his name was Cain Andrews, raised an amused eyebrow in my direction.

“Don’t do what?” He smiled, gently playful, and I felt something fall inside me, tumbling through my chest…like glitter, or tiny shards of light. Whatever it was, it sparkled. “Approach strange men in bars and invite them into your bed?” I grimaced ruefully, somewhat embarrassed.


“Of course you don’t,” he said, still smiling, then nodded at me, honest and knowing. “I can see that about you, Annabelle.” He grinned, jovial again. “So I must be special, right?”

I smiled simply, not sure what to say for the best. My entire core had responded immediately in the affirmative to his question, but I didn’t want to seem frightening. As he said, we were technically strangers…but there was no getting away from this. I truly felt something startling for him, something like never before…

Now, listen. I don’t want you to get me all wrong here – I’m not a ‘love at first sight’ sort of woman. I’ve never been the star-crossed, Juliet type who thinks every man she shags will love her! I certainly hadn’t intended to feel this way when I approached Cain. I’m a career girl – and love was the last thing on my mind. Cain Andrews was just another guy, in another town, another bar, on another, ordinary work night.

When I failed to respond to his question, Cain made his way back to the bed and lay down beside me, propping himself on an elbow and turning towards me. He made for a wonderful, naked sight, and I watched him move…impossibly, still hungry.

I slid my right hand under the pillow and dropped down onto my own elbow, until our eyes were level. His dark gaze met mine, then continued through me like a knife through butter. I shook my head lightly, to loosen the hold of dizzying serotonins. Get a grip, Annabelle! I scolded internally, as Cain stretched towards me and kissed me lightly.

“I know what you’re thinking,” he murmured against my lips, nipping at my mouth between words. I made a noise in response that might have been inquisitive, but I dare not speak lest the magic of his exquisite mouth left mine. “You think…” he sighed, breaking off as our kiss deepened. “That this can’t be happening...” He rolled onto his back when I pushed at his shoulder, raising the intensity, and gasped his next words breathlessly into my hot, open mouth. “You think you can’t feel this way…after just one night…but…”

My breath caught in my throat and my heart, I’m certain, ceased beating… I clawed strands of hair off my face that were entangled in our kiss, and knew I couldn’t let him continue. If he said it, if he told me he felt this too, I wasn’t sure I could end it the way it ought to end.

Wrapping my arms around him, I buried the fingers of my left hand in his thick, dark hair, savouring the final essence of a moment I would never forget. His mouth against mine, fell open in shock when he felt the knife pierce his ribcage, sliding into his heart through his back, like tender steak.

For the few moments he lived, Cain stared at me with pain and confusion. He mouthed my name soundlessly… and I replied.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, and I meant it. Another second, I added, in silence, with my eyes, it’s almost over.

As his body went limp in my arms, I settled him back into the bed. If it weren’t for the blood, glistening and oozing, he’d look just as though he were sleeping. I rubbed my clean hand over my face to sober myself, and breathed deeply. It was a shame…and I really was sorry - for both of us.

He was the most engaging mark I’d ever had the honour of killing…and this was the only hit that had ever hurt me. Money usually compensated me, but as I looked at Cain Andrews, lying dead and beautiful beside me, I knew, I wouldn’t sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Why I write...

(If you're here for the poem  - it's at the bottom. If you're interested in why I write - read on!)

I've been observing lots of blog posts and articles recently about why people write. So I thought maybe I'd try and write my own...but it turns out it's a lot harder (without sounding arrogant or condescending, anyway!) than it looks.

See, I thought there'd be one reason I write, and one alone - i.e. I can't help it! Poetry seems to flow from me whether I want it to or not. And that's a noble-sounding reason, right?! But the more I receive comments and feedback on my work and the more I engage with my audience, the more I realise, there are other (more conceited!) reasons I write.

I'm a selfish artist - I write to satisfy my own desire to do so, and alongside that, I'm a narcissist who also writes (or keeps writing) because people read/enjoy my work. Would I write anyway, even if nobody read it? Of course - because I couldn't stop myself (the poems would just keep coming!) - but that doesn't mean I enjoy the feedback any less! I think, if we're honest, all writers revel in feedback - good or bad! We lap up the good, and we use the bad to improve...attention is attention, after all - but it's not all about us, is it? In fact, the selfish fulfilling of the compulsion to write and the joy of feedback, on examination, are smaller reasons for my writing than I thought they'd be...

You see, over and above everything else, I have a desire to comment on lives and emotions and situations - I'm an observer, a thinker, but mostly a feeler - and that's my biggest reason to write - because I want to make my audience feel. I want to affect you. I want to make you feel better or worse, feel love, hate or joy, repulsion, desire, fear...I want to make you blush, gasp, smile, cry...and all of it only with words. That's the joy of writing poetry... Every so often, a person will read a poem and be affected by it - they'll experience a moment they'll never forget. I know...because I've had that moment. Then they'll go back to that poem and re-read it, over and over - because they want to feel like that again. For some people, someday, that poem will be one of mine...and that's spellbinding. That's why I write.

And after all that prose, still the true poet, I think I can say it better in verse:

Poet, Heal Everyone Else

They know me as
a love poet,
a dreamer,
pain eater,
But I
have a nasty habit
of publicising
as a healer.
I don't always
to entice,
to get it so right,
with minimal effort,
without foresight
to tempt them to my side.
But I am a glutton
for one who needs me,
worse still for one who
leads me to lie down
and ache with them.
Bitter or sweet
lend me
your agonies and your yearnings
for what are my
I have seen you
through the

So...I'll get my coat then...if my head will fit through the door! :-)

Thursday, 21 January 2010


You smell like heaven and half-light,
like angel-dust and iron pyrite,
a thousand kisses, a thousand nights,
it wouldn’t be enough…

Should I tell you I love you
among this dust?
Should I run, and never look back?
How about I just scratch my nails
across your skin?
How about we don’t talk, but hold
the devil-words in..?
…the ones with all the reasons,
and the rationality…
how about we don’t
For tonight,
how about we
laugh? And ignore all mountains
in our path?

I’ll help you over them
when we stop feeling our time
is borrowed from beyond
the stars. Tonight, let me trace your scars,
your veins, your marks, your lines…

and give yourself
over, please –
I want to make you

#Fridayflash - Hush, baby, hush...

He stared at the body on the table, and thought of his wife. What would she think if she saw this? He knew he’d like to tell her about it, the way he told her everything else, but he didn’t want to upset her. He didn’t want to worry her…not when the baby was so close to being born.

The baby…

He looked again at the body, squinting, grimacing, and could hardly bear to see it. Just yesterday, it had been alive, breathing. Like his wife…like the life inside her…what would she think..? The knife trembled and shook in his hand. He really didn’t feel well. Something had changed in him this time.

The room spun as he stood over the body, and he felt a heated wave of nausea sweep upwards from his feet. He clamped a gloved hand over his mouth, lest he vomit, and turned away, taking a deep, steadying breath.

His eyes settled on a small saw on the counter, and he closed them, wishing the object away. After the knife, he’d have to use that…and then he’d go home to dinner. She’d wonder why he couldn’t eat…and later, why he dreamed…

He used to find this part interesting, he recalled; he used to quite enjoy it; the meticulous study of every piece. But since his wife had placed his hand on her swollen belly, and they had smiled together, touching foreheads over the kicks of their unborn child, he’d lost his appetite. He honestly didn’t think he’d be able to do this again, not after the baby arrived…

He turned back to the body, forcing himself to look at it, and for the first time, noticed the smell… His stomach flipped, his chest tightening unbearably. Who knew they smelled like that, even after death? Like powder and lotion…

The pathologist tied his surgical mask tight around his face, to keep out the smell of the body. He flexed his fingers to steady them, and raised his shaking scalpel to the tiny child’s chest. Making the ‘Y’ incision, he felt bile rise into the back of his throat and tears sting his eyes. This would be the last baby on his slab, he decided. The others could handle the cot deaths after today.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A Couple More Love Poems to Match the Latest Theme...


Tell Me Now

Tell me now,
while we're this close,
where I can feel
your heart,
see your eyes.
Tell me now,
that you feel...

Beneath my palm,
this pounding
to differ...'re shaking...
and it isn't anger,
isn't sadness now,
it's me.
I can feel your heat,
your eyes aching into mine
and the time
when you were leaving
has long passed.

So go on,
tell me now,
while we're this close;
pull me nearer to you
and whisper
that it's over.

The Final Ecstasy

If I should die
Think only this of me
T'was not the death that killed me
But the love.
T'was not the extinguishing of a spark
But the burning of a flame
That halted the heavy beating of my heart.
And write not my name
On the headstone, but yours,
For I remember none of who or what I was before;
Before I became a piece of you
And you a part of me
If I should die now, I take you with me:
One entity; one writhing body;
In the throes of a final ecstasy.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Interpreting Abstract Poetry...

I deliberately haven't explained this poem, or how it was inspired, because I'm very interested in your interpretation of it; in it's effect on you. I know why I wrote it...but that's irrelevant when it stands alone.

So, when you read it, what does this poem mean to you? What is it about for you? Please leave your interpretations as comments without reservation, and don't worry, there are no right or wrong answers - I'm just interested!


it was blue
and try as I might
I could not shake the thought of you.
I closed my eyes, breathed deep
and knew
I must wake up or
be damned.
And it wasn't planned, of course,
this vicious serpent morphed
into a white and graceful
winged horse with
burning bright,
yet we rode it bare-back
into the night
without sorrow or regret
that it wasn't yours
to give or
mine to take
and it had no business
no presence
on the silver lake, where the
wild things walked
among the swirling shadows.
And thus the morning mist consumed
its wings
the sunrise glinting off our golden rings
when the dawn revealed to us
by force
that it was not white, but grey,
and just a horse.

Love Poetry...are there limits?

The human condition fascinates me...the depth of our capacity to feel fascinates me, and my writing is often inspired by that interest. But a recent penchant to explore this avenue of inspiration with frankness and sincerity, has raised a question for me - Are there things that should be shrouded in poetry? Are there certain constructs for imagery that should be skirted around or left unfinished so they are only hinted at, rather than becoming clear to the reader? Is honesty always the best policy? See what you think of the following it beautiful?...or vulgar...? I can't dictate what my muse will have me I'll leave it to you to decide!

Angel Eyes

You ask me to touch you,
and I cannot refuse,
you beseech me to kiss you
and know your mind,
and I cannot
for love of life
hear another line
of any song
but yours -
you, my darling,
open doors,
to worlds I was ignorant of before,
worlds hidden beyond the scars
which you ask me to worship
like heaven’s blue stars…

and worship I do
on my knees
with my tongue
with all enthusiasm done and due
to one
as mesmerising as you.
Then you ask me to eat you,
whole and alive,
and I want it so badly I taste your sighs,
and guttural groans when you look my way,
and I beg you, stay, stay forever,
at my fevered side,
for I want to know what sustains you,
and see what lies
beyond your aching
angel eyes.

Friday, 15 January 2010

#Fridayflash - Peggy

Her mother always said she was a dreamer. Embarrassing…like an adult who believed in Santa. Well, who’s laughing now? Olivia smirked, as she climbed over the farm gate in the pre-dawn twilight. She dragged the saddle off the gate’s crossbar behind her, and began striding across the field to the stable-block. Sometimes dreams come true… Impossible is always possible, with patience…and faith.

Olivia didn’t pretend for a minute that her dream had been easy to achieve. Of course, it hadn’t. It had taken her a long time to find Peggy…but she’d always said, some day, she would own her own trusty steed. Her mother had laughed at her, doubtful that she’d find what she sought…and it was true - Peggy was rare. But Olivia had been determined.

As she turned through the stable-block door and swung the heavy, leather saddle off her forearm over the gate of Peggy’s box, the mighty creature shifted, turning towards the noise. Her huge brown eyes met Olivia’s blue ones, and the young woman smiled at her new best friend. The equine gently snorted its approval of her presence, and nuzzled her pocket in search of a mint. Olivia obliged, digging into her gillet for the sugary treat and rubbing Peggy’s velvet muzzle whilst she chewed.

Taking the bridle from her shoulder and laying it across the saddle’s seat, Olivia retrieved a grooming brush and pulling-comb from a hook on the stable-block wall. She let herself into the box beside Peggy, and as she worked the brush over the creature’s grey coat and combed out her glistening, cream-coloured mane, the sun rose over the trees outside.

Olivia broke sweat in the morning heat, removing Peggy’s latest patches of baked mud from her shoulders and hocks, and flicking the discs of packed earth from her hooves. Peggy liked to roll in the dust after a ride, and though Olivia knew her hard work would be cancelled out on their return, she wouldn’t have had it any other way. She’d longed for Peggy; searched for her…and she couldn’t possibly complain.

After a good forty minutes of grooming, Olivia finally held up the bridle and presented the bit to Peggy’s mouth. It was a soft bit; a straight, nylon snaffle, designed for a responsive steed. The equine took it on the first present and stood calmly, as Olivia fitted the saddle she’d had custom made, ensuring the girth was securely buckled.

Letting herself out of Peggy’s box a moment, Olivia hung the grooming implements back on the stable-block wall.

“You look beautiful, Peggy,” she smiled, donning her riding helmet as she admired her handy work in cleaning and buffing both creature and tack. Peggy whinnied softly in response, as though agreeing that, as always, she did indeed look wonderful. “There’s just one thing…”

Olivia took down a jar of hoof oil containing a large brush, and a torn piece of suede leather, from a shelf above the grooming brushes. Slipping back into Peggy’s box, she bent down to the creature’s feet and painted each hoof with the oil, making them glisten with impossible colours, like petrol on a wet road. Then she stood, wiping her hands on the leather rag.

“There,” she said, approaching Peggy’s great head and meeting one glassy brown eye. “Almost done.” Reaching up, she brushed the animal’s curled forelock aside and polished the twisted, golden horn that protruded from her skull, inducing a magnificent shine.

Olivia placed her tools back on their shelf, and led Peggy from her box, past the other animals stabled in their block. As they reached the doorway into the morning sun, she jammed her foot in the stirrup, took hold of the pommel, and mounted with a quick bounce.

Feeling her rider aboard, Peggy shifted, restless with anticipation. Olivia didn’t tease her…she pointed the creature’s nose directly towards open fields and gave the signal for ‘gallop’. As the wind rushed at her and the speed increased to an impossible flash, she knew for certain, she had been right to search for Peggy…right to know she existed.

Her mother’s words resounded in Olivia’s mind – “Most girls are happy with a pony! Why must you fool yourself with this fantasy? …this silly legend?”

Because I knew different, she thought, digging her heels into Peggy’s flanks and feeling the creature obediently spread two, white wings around the custom-made saddle. I knew there was one that could fly….

Woman and beast rose then, into the crimson sky…and it was anyone’s guess where their morning ride would take them.

For Lydia, who inspired this tale, by being everything 'Peggy' is not!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Love...and Coffee.

Hot and addictive...and bitter when cold.


Filter the coffee
bring it over here
lie down with me a while,
ignore the chill of the
kitchen tiles
across your skin.
Turn your body to answer mine
open your eyes
and let me in; for I need a favour now.
I have to ask you to forget,
not to remember this kiss,
not to let it
inside of you.
Don't recall where
you passed your hands
and leave
where we danced
on Saturday mornings
far behind.
Don't let your soul yawn,
hunger, yearn,
for what it cannot have.
Be thankful for the dream, my love,
in your china cup, but sip it now,
and let
the caffeine wake you up.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

For the Prince...

I have noted that my muse's recent obsession with the fairytale genre has mostly produced pieces from the point of view of a rather pessimistic princess character! The poor prince has been taking a battering & has never once uttered a word in his own defence! So...without further ado, I thought I ought to stand up for said prince...because honestly, he ain't half bad when you get to know him!

Staying with the fairytale theme a moment...


Did you hear me singing, prince?
From the window of my prison?
And did I so touch your heart,
that you came back again
to listen?
I sing to pass my solitude,
and comb my hair by multitudes
in readiness, sweet valiant saviour,
for they told me,
one day,
you would come.

And now, the untitled tales of true princes...perhaps influenced by Shakespeare?


than water spirits
you and I are no better
we are but one fool
a lone moon in a sky sugared with
far too many sweet stars
but this is the summer of our love my king
and they will not take it
for if madmen laugh at us
yet will we go dancing in the spring grass
and along the beautiful byways of lust
to the daylight of heaven
and the diamond paradise
of the night that calls us.


It's the way your soul glows
as I stroke the precious velvet
that is you.
Beautiful. Not a term applied
to the stronger sex.
But it suits you.
The way you look when you're sleeping
is the reason, for everything,
and I wouldn't sacrifice this moment,
this night; you,
to save the world.
It wouldn't
be worth it.

See? They're not all bad... ;-)

Finally, a little thought on the poetry of admiration where the subject is male...definitely inspired by Shakespeare's sonnets, which some scholars are convinced, described his patron, the Earl of Pembroke:

It Is Not Usual

"It is not usual!"
my forefathers cry
"For you
to write for your love.
they ask
"will you compare him;
as Shakespeare or Donne
to the petals of a red, red rose
or the rays of the morning sun?"

"Then it is fitting," I reply.
"I shall not compare.
For he,
is incomparable."

I ask
"may you tell me
that I should not write for him?
Well I know that he is no rose,
but more precious in my eyes
and more worthy of poetry;
despite his sex;
than I."

Monday, 11 January 2010

So...'The Muse' is currently obsessed with fairytales...

Sorry! I can't seem to shake this theme at the moment! I must get my nose back in the Complete Works of Shakespeare and leave the fairytale analysis alone... But before I do, here's one for the road!


There is nothing more forgiving,
more entwined with daily living and dying
and the frantic crying out we do
to those from whom,
ever so repeatedly,
we find ourselves apart.

There is nothing colder,
out there alone
than the jaded wisdom,
of other broken hearts…

My mother said I’d find this
I’d meet someone like you.
But I’ve met, not one, but many fools,
over again,
each the same,
and I know how this ends,
I know the way you twist and bend
all that’s good and safe
til nothing is the same as once
it was. I have met many a frog

and I know this: princes don’t exist.
They’re frightened knights,
every one
sent into battle far too young,
and clueless,
and the world is ruthless, for no one tells them,
all they really have to fight for
is us.

Okay...I promise to go read Shakepeare now... ;-)

Friday, 8 January 2010

News Flash! #Fridayflash Inspires Poetry Blog Post!

There follows a poem I've been meaning to post here for a while, but had previously felt might be a little twisted and...erm...'raw', for some tastes! However, after reading a recent #Fridayflash story by FutureNostalgic, entitled 'A Rude Awakening' -

- I found myself reminded of said poem. It occurred to me that the two pieces, although entirely different in tone and meaning, share themes and imagery, and thus, I thought now might be the time to dig it out and get away with posting it! So...the hell with the consequences! I hope you enjoy it! :)


"At some point,
you'll have to stop me,"
you said
before you sank your teeth in.
"You'll have to rein me back
if you don't
to give me

I felt you bite then.
I felt you drink.
I felt
your poison
beneath my skin.
And I had never
felt anything like that
nor witnessed such a
exacted any
better way.

"Bite," I groaned,
my voice a breathless
gasp, "again", a clear
addict after just one taste,
and thereafter none
but your demon's blood
cursed my blessed veins.
"Call my name," I begged, a sound
like shattered glass
and we fast rolled, like animals,
into the dust
to lie there, both uf us clawing
and bleeding
and turning the earth red
with lust.

By way of a 'thank you' to Sam (FutureNostalgic) for the inspiration to post 'Bitten', I also post the following piece, which was directly inspired by the main character's experience in 'A Rude Awakening' -


He bore me
in a filthy alley -
my king, my saviour,
my sire;
he took my life upon
his own
moment of desire -
He bit, he drank,
his blackened heart stank
of the vile
vitriol of his existence -
and in that instant,
I became
(as he was) -
a deadened thing,
dirty and unclean,
without a scene or a
he took me on
pound for pound
and cursed my gentle, human soul until
I lay
lifeless and still and destined only,
to rise again
in the lonely moonlight of old. 

Thursday, 7 January 2010

#Fridayflash - Rapunzel

After writing the modern tale of Rapunzel in verse for last week's #fridayflash, here's how I think it would go in prose...

“Help!” She called, leaning as far out of the bedroom window as she dare, her eyes darting wildly in search of someone to assist her. “Please, heeeeeeelp! Somebody?!” Her panic was so great that she barely noticed the large, white truck pulling up at the curb below.

“Hey!” The occupant of the truck’s cab climbed out, waving his arms above his head to attract her attention as he circled the vehicle and stood on the pavement below. “Hey, you there! What’s the matter?”

“Oh! Oh, thank God!” She leaned on the window ledge with one hand, the other poised at her throat to demurely illustrate relief. She stared, wide-eyed, at the figure below, and struck her best ‘damsel-in-distress-type’ pose. “Oh sir, you’ve just got to help me!”

“Hmmm.” The man frowned, and pushed his Stetson back on his forehead, meeting her eyes with difficulty as he squinted in the midday sun. “Why don’t we start with what the problem is before I agree to anything, lady?” His voice was slightly gruff and he had a day and a half’s stubble growth, but he was actually quite attractive. Rude, she thought, but attractive... She held down her natural urge to say something cutting in reply, and smiled sweetly instead.

“ I’m locked in…” She giggled, and dipped her knees, pulling on the ends of her blonde tresses to make herself seem ditsy and young. There was a chance the act would help persuade him to offer assistance. “I’m staying here with my aunt whilst my apartment gets painted, and she’s gone to work. I think she forgot I was here! You see, I was asleep when she left…and she didn't leave me a key…”

“Well, what do you want me to do about it?” The man's tone was jovial; amused; as he shrugged his shoulders and smirked. “Climb up there and free you from your tower, Rapunzel?” His grin widened at his own joke, but quickly subsided when he realised she wasn’t smiling. “Why can’t you just call her?”

“Oh, of course!” She feigned sudden realisation, then cocked her head at him sarcastically. “Why didn’t I think of that?! Oh, that’s right…" her voice rose an octave in annoyance, "...because my aunt works on an oilrig! She won’t be back for a week!”

“And the police?” His smug grin returned, unfazed, as he hooked his thumbs in his belt and looked up at her from under the brim of his hat. He raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t think to call them? Or a locksmith maybe?” She sighed. She hadn’t thought of that, no. Just panicked and…okay, now she felt really stupid. The embarrassment flared her temper.

“There’s no money in the house for a locksmith,” she lied. “Look, are you going to help me or not?” She huffed and flicked her hair back over her shoulder in frustrated defiance.

“Well, maybe if you span those lovely locks into a rope, Rapunzel, I really could climb up there and fetch you down!” He snickered to himself, holding a fist against his mouth to control his laughter, then flashed her a cheeky smile as he reached into his pocket. She wanted to be angry - he was mocking her! - but there was something quite charming about his boyish teasing, and despite herself, she found she was rather enjoying it! “C’mon! Let your hair down, Ra-”

“Stop calling me Rapunzel!” She interrupted, as he continued exploring the inside pocket of his denim jacket. “I assure you, I’m no fairytale princess! The only thing I ever learned to spin was a bottle in high school!” The man stilled abruptly, his eyes slowly finding hers, before he raised an eyebrow, suggestively, in her direction.

Very interesting!” He said with enthusiasm, retrieving a small, square object she couldn’t quite make out, from his pocket. “So…if not ‘Rapunzel’, what should I call you?” She sighed, somewhat exasperated.

“Emma. Emma Knowles.” She gestured at the object in his hand. “You’re going to smoke now?! Leave me stranded up here whilst you enjoy a cigarette and gloat? You’re very rude! I thought you were going to help me!”

I’m rude?” He replied, with mock offence. “You didn’t even ask my name yet!” Emma closed her eyes in controlled irritation and pasted on an overly pleasant smile before she opened them again.

“Fine. What’s your name?”

“I’m Jacob Prince, miss.” He tipped his hat with the hand that wasn’t holding the square object. “But you can call me Jake.” Perfect! Emma could hardly believe it. She grinned inwardly, took a deep breath and tried a little quick-wit of her own.

“Well, Jake, now the polite introductions are out of the way, how about you honour that last name of yours and show a little charm and chivalry to a woman in distress?”

“Tell you what, Rapunzel,” Jake smiled, raising the square object to his ear. “I know a guy…I’ll call you a locksmith. It won’t cost you a penny…but once I get you down from there, you’re gonna owe me dinner.”

Emma’s mouth fell open in shock, but inexplicably, she found herself smiling at the thought.

“I hope you cook better than you spin, Rapunzel!” Jake continued, raising that single eyebrow at her again. “But since there’ll be a bottle emptied at dinner…I’m sure I’ll get to see those skills too!”

So...Rapunzel's manipulative & the prince is full of himself...but I still reckon they live happily ever after!

Comparing Scars

Kiss me some place
I’ve never been kissed
Come over here now and
Lay your lips on the very last
For every other place is taken
Every spot utterly sated
And worn out by the last

Every part but that…

This place
You may cast your breath across
And make it yours at only the cost
Of returning like for like.
Show me the place you’ve never
Been kissed
The part that was changed last time
And has missed
The hot-mouthed caress of a healing ghost
Ever since.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Whispers of Valour

The whispers came when you slept,
but they were whispers only
to you.
For me
(and our neighbours)
they were
moments of truth outside
your armoured charade.
The only instants in which you
the demons you'd brought home.

And I blamed you for their presence,
you know
in my moments of love
and the days of storms;
for your nights
beating out
those visions of torment,
until we could
no longer prevent
what was coming.

We never spoke of it;
you and I;
instead we smiled, politely,
and made small talk
in a railway carriage
on a day when the sky
had never been
so blue
and we could not
that to discuss the weather
was just as pleasant
as ever it had been before.

It was a meeting of minds;
a decision,
but not of hearts anymore.
Those we closed the door upon,
(like your screaming)
until it was over.

I wouldn't miss you,
and you wouldn't write,
you'd face each loud, infernal night,
all bombs and fire-fights,
without me
to cling to
and you'd be brave

And I would close my eyes
and crave
the man I used to know
as I listened alone
to the wheels on the tracks
having sent you back
to the viper's nest
that stung you,
stole you,
and spawned your horror.

And this, my love,
is what you and I,
would come to know,
as 'valour'.

Dedicated to all who love, or have loved, a soldier.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Not Quite A #Fridayflash - A Modern Fairytale in Verse

I'm not feeling very inspired where prose is concerned this week, so I thought, rather than force a story, I'd post a poetic modernisation of a traditional fairytale for #fridayflash. I don't think it strictly qualifies as 'telling a story', so I won't be putting it in the collector, but I hope it's enjoyed nonetheless. The poem is a revision of the tale of Rapunzel...and I suppose, more a critique of modern expectations!

The Old Fairytale...

For those whose memories of the nursery fail them, in the original tale, the baby Rapunzel is locked in a tower by an evil enchantress as retribution for food stolen by her father from the witch's garden. Rapunzel's eventual rescue from the tower frees her into the world for the first time, through marriage to a rich, handsome prince. She lures this prince to her rescue (the hussy!) with the following qualities - beauty, virginity, a stunning talent for song, and expert spinning skills (specifically, the ability to make rope with her own hair...charming!). Oh, and post-marriage, Rapunzel also turns out to be capable of multiple births without remote damage to her figure (she was surely the witch!).

In return for all this loveliness, Rapunzel's prince must prove his courage, virility and martial skill by fighting for her. He essentially earns Rapunzel by enduring various physical trials and suffering permanently maiming wounds in the process (attention-seeker!). Needless to say, the prince proves himself a formidable warrior and rescues Rapunzel, winning her love. She proves herself beautiful on the inside as well as out and weds him despite his blindness, suffered in pursuit of her. Then, of couse, the two live happily ever after.

These characters, I'm sure, held useful lessons for the children of 15th-century gentlefolk. The tale of Rapunzel taught attainment and rags-to-riches aspiration in the society they'd grow up to join, providing they were brave or pure...but I think the legacies of these characters probably need updating for today’s audience! You see, though their examples are now all but impossible to achieve, Rapunzel and the prince are, from time to time, still to be found setting the bar for modern folk! And it only leads to confusion all round when neither Rapunzels or princes turn out as the fairytale predicts... So, I reckon, it's time we got things straight!

The Poetic Update:

Walls (The Modern Tale of Rapunzel)

"You ask too much of me –"
said the girl from her high pedestal
"Be honest
Be loving
Be faithful
And so
be not surprised
if I fall at the first hurdle."

"You make it sound so easy,
but I’m
no butterfly, no daisy,
none so delicate
I am

"Nothing passes unchallenged there –
your fingers on my soul, you see, are different
to your fingers
in my hair."

"History screams from my every pore -
an enchantress to keep you from
a door that does not exist beyond a crown
of thistles
there to encircle and protect
my skin of bricks and mortar.
And it is going to take much more
Than water
to wash away these walls."

"Try words", Rapunzel called down from her tower,
"Try fire."
And the prince below her
looked puzzled
and scratched his head.

Maybe I'll re-write 'Walls' in prose as my #fridayflash for next week?! :)