The Mara

When I stare into her eyes, I see more than just glossy orbs of contrast and color. 

Something is contained deep inside her gaze,
Sometimes it speaks to me and whispers subtle hints of her life and I find myself moved in a profound way. 
Her mouth remains silent but I can always discern her mood. 
When she's passionate, they blaze and the intensity renders me all but helpless- the spell she casts without a single utterance is sheer terror, but god, I'm falling in love with the way she frays my nerves and lays waste to my heart. 
When the dark, thick cloak of tar black depression swallows her up- sometimes for months on end- her eyes become cold and distant. 
I can never see her clearly, as if a murky veil stands between myself and the pools of liquid soul I so long to dive deeply and drown in. 
What once was filled with clarity and bubbling effervescence becomes tepid standing water; when these times are upon her I find myself wondering if she'll ever come back to me as she was before.
Yet every damn time her resilience catches me by surprise, and soon I'm stranded in the middle of her island once again. 
I don't even call for help. I tear apart the raft that could bring me to shore and burn it just so I could write her name in smoke in the sky and scatter her beauty as a gift to the clouds. 
She's relentless, yet pursues in sheer silence. The pads on her feet mute her steps, but I swear I catch the low rumble of a growl as she watches my every move when I'm with her. 
I don't fear who she is, I fear the way she can make me feel utterly helpless under her curious gaze.
She has the power and crushing strength of a lioness, yet the nimble grace and innocence of a lamb bathed in the brightest white. 
I tremble with the lightest touch from her slender fingers. She could press bitter poison to my lips and I would willingly let it cascade in deathly rivers down my throat, should she only but ask it of me. 
Ever unsure if she's playing with her food before the kill, or if I'm leading a thing of docile and utter purity to the bloodstained butchers block, I hover between terror for the health of my heart, and trepidation that I'm slowly destroying something truly irreplaceable.
I cannot be sure, but this I know; she will taunt me in my dreams with her laugh twinkling like silver bells, resounding through my head- she stays my sanity better than any shrink or pill ever could, yet gives me over to another brand of mind shattering craziness. 
I've fallen in love with a siren, and I will follow her voice to the very edge of this sheer cliff, gladly throwing myself to the unknown below to the beckon of her haunting call. 

Happy Go Lucky

There was this one guy,

Fun and games were all he wants.

And there she was,

Sweet, pure, special and innocent.


Walks on the beach every night,

With one kiss that changes all.

She took the risk,

She knew he was worth it.


He left her without a word,

Breaking her.


Judy was in the store
and I found her at the back
filling shelves
and I said


how's it going?
and she said
O so so
not like it was


at school
you could have a laugh
here everyone is


O got to keep
the customers happy
got to keep them
coming back


she placed the last
of the tins
on the shelf
and paused


you still get
to sit by our lake?
she said
now and then


I said
not as often
as we did
but I have to work

now too
and time gets eaten up
by the work time
you remember that time


we sneaked there
after school
and it was summer evening
and we sat there


watching the sun go down
through the trees
like a departing actor
after a big scene?


she said
sure I do
I said
and the shadows of birds


going off to sleep
and bats
she said
O how I hated


those things
beginning to flap
about over head
and that time


you kissed my neck
so unexpectedly
that I screamed
and it echoed right


through the woods
like I was being murdered
she smiled
and looked around the store


don’t have a laugh any more
it's all so serious here
the staff
the customers


just wish
it was as it was
maybe we
should meet up again


one evening
by the lake
and see the sunset
as we once did


I said
the store manager
came by
and said something to her


and she picked up
some other tins
and began filling
another self


what's he say?
I asked
the bum said
I wasn't


to waste company time
in idle chitchat
she said


I'd like to get
to the lake one evening
as we used to
maybe Thursday evening


I looked at her hands
holding the tins
how I once held them
and kissed the fingers


one by one
I said
that will be good


we agreed a time and date
and I left her there
giving the manager
a cool eyed stare.


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Lizbeth insisted
on us going
to the small church again


we walked
as she had parked
her bike
by the shed door
at the back
of the cottage


it seems longer
when you walk it
she said


same length
different speed
I said


she'd put on
her short black dress
for some reason
not fitting
for this kind
of countryside
her shoes had mud
on them already
where a tractor
had deposited it
all along
the narrow road


don't you have
buses here?
she asked


once a week
I said
2 hours
to do your shopping
in town
then back


2 hours?
she said
I need longer
than that to shop


that's all there is
I said


I hate the countryside
she said
the smell
the quiet
the emptiness
the silly blue sky
and those puffy
white clouds
she seemed annoyed
how do you stick it?


it's ok
I like it
it has a sense
of peace here
and there are birds
to study and butterflies


O my god
Lizbeth said
I’d die
of boredom here
you'd find me stiff
in some corn field
or whatever shit
grows in these fields


we walked on
in a uneasy silence
for a while


what's she like?
Lizbeth said


I asked


that girl
who lives near you
the girl with
the long straight black hair
and a face like a virgin


I knew who she meant
but I said nothing
but pretended
not to know
she lives near me?
I said


well she gets on
your school van
in the mornings
and afternoons
always dresses
like she's going
to a funeral
I see her
in the girl's playground
little Miss No Mates


O you mean Jane
I said
she's good
we have long walks together
and she knows a lot
about nature and birds
and butterflies and beetles
and so on


you walk with her?
Lizbeth said


we often go for walks
when its fine and warm


what do you do?
is she up for it?


up for what?


you know
Lizbeth spat out
the last word
as if
it were too hot
for her tongue


we don't think
about that
kind of thing
I said


Lizbeth looked at me
with raised eyebrows
thought not
she said


we walked up
the narrow lane
to the church
sunlight warming
our heads and backs


if the church is empty
maybe we can
she said


can what?
I said


you know
have S E X


I looked
at the church
appearing above
the hedgerow
and hoped to God
someone was there
some visitor
or vicar
or anyone
to save my day
and stop her fun.

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Dalya was sitting
with her brother
beside me
in the 9 seater


mini bus
the Yank girl
was at the front
with the driver/guide


and some other prat
who was a teacher
we'd passed into Germany
and were travelling along


to the next base camp
I was reading
Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag book
what's that about?


Dalya asked
Russian labour camps
between 1918 and 1958
I said


she said
haven't you
anything lighter?


I said
I only brought this
to fill in the time


between camps
looks boring
she said
the death of millions


can never be boring
I said
some of my relations
died in the Nazi camps


she said
her brother said
Auschwitz Uncle and Auntie
died in and our grandparents


so not boring then
I said
Dalya shrugged
her shoulders


guess not
she looked away
I read on for a while
I thought of Dalya


the evening before
at the first base camp
after putting up the tents
she said


that Yank bitch
did nothing
to put our tent up
stood there yakking


to the driver/guide
she in her leathers
and tight pants
and I have to


share with her
and it's all about
what she's doing
and how the guys


are all over her
and she with the posh
sleeping bag
and Dalya went on


over drinks
at the base camp bar
you can always
share with me


I said
why would I?
she said
why wouldn't you?


I said
I’ve only just met you
the other day
she said


what do you
take me for?
a pretty girl
out for a good time


in a foreign land
I said
I can't anyway
she said


she's in my tent
and my brother
shares with you
she was right of course


but the thought
was there
even if
the opportunity wasn't


she glared
at the Yank girl's head
in front
I read about


the NKVD
or whatever
they were called
and sensed Dalya's body


next to mine
her thigh touching
against me
I closed the book


and looked out
at the passing view
at fields
and trees


and the sky
of washed out blue.

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There was snow
and ECTs
and the locked doors
of the locked ward


and Yiska was sitting
by the window
looking at the sunrise
after an almost


sleepless night
looks deep
I said
looking out


at the snow
on the trees and fields
she gazed at me
can't you sleep either?


bits and pieces of sleep
snatches of dreams
or nightmares
I said


I heard you
with that night nurse
during the night
Yiska said


asking her about
going home
you were awake too?
yes I got up for a while


and stared at the snow
coming down
against the moon's light
it looked so peaceful


so surreal
being stuck in here
seems surreal
I said


we'll get out one day
she said
walk out
into the free air


and no quacks or nurses
snooping over you
and no more ECTs
no more darn headaches


and all because
that bastard left me
at the altar
on my wedding day


I looked at her
sitting there
her hair unbrushed
her eyes red


her dressing gown
loose and pulled over
her white legs
gives you time to think


of things you don't want
to think about
and the ECTs
don't help


what they claim
I said
when I woke up that time


after one
of my ECT sessions
my head was heavy with pain
and I saw you


lying on the bed
next to mine
and thought momentarily
we were dead


and I’d woken
in some kind of Limbo
with that white light
coming through cracks


in the shutters
then you woke
and we stared at each other
and never spoke.

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Benedict looked over
the edge of the garden
looked down
at the sheer drop


Lizbeth looked over too
standing beside him
quite a drop
she said


are your two little sisters
safe when they stand here ?
she asked
we’re usually with them


or my mum
Benedict said
he looked
at the beautiful view


ahead of him
trees and bushes


birds in the sky
she looked sideways
on at him
his quiff of hair


the open neck shirt
the jeans
the rest of his family
were out picking blackberries


while he was here
alone with her
and all he talked of
was the garden


and the view
and how he helped up
at the farm
she looked back


at the cottage
thought of his room
the bed
the glass tank


of shells
and bones
and moss
the model Spitfire


hanging from the ceiling
she wouldn’t mind
the Spitfire
if she were laying there


looking up at it
while Benedict was on her
entering her
and the bed


was creaking
and she saying
(what the girl in class
said she did)


but no
instead she was standing
in his garden
on the edge


while he talked
of seeing
some butterfly
as if she cared


what he saw
except her
on his bed unclothed
sensing him


gazing at the ceiling
can’t we go in?


she said
get to your bed?
have s.e.x.
before your mother


comes back?
Benedict thought he saw
a sparrow hawk
hovering in the bluey sky


beautiful in its skill
ready to dive and kill
I’m dying
to have sex with you


she said bluntly
tugging at his arm
not now
he said


he smelt the farm
over the way
sensed the cool
of county calm.

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one legged,


crutched herself
through passageway


and hall,
passed kitchen,


leg stump swaying,
green dress flowing,


out through
the French windows,


moving by me
in the doorway,


pushing by
the boss-eyed nun,


out into the garden,
shouting loudly:




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You want to go to where?
Victoria rail station
Lydia said
her mother


as she dried the plate
a cigarette hanging
from her lower lip


who with?
Benny the boy upstairs
in the flats
over there


Lydia said
her mother wiped
another plate
why there?


and why with him?
Lydia played
with her fingers


steam trains
she said
we like to see them


and I like Benny
he's funny
her mother
stared at her


don't seem funny to me
but his mother's
a good sort
so he can't be


too bad I suppose
Lydia looked
at her mother's
red wet hands


how are you
getting there?
bus I guess
Lydia said


and I suppose
you want money
for the fare?
Lydia stared


Benny said
he'd pay
did he now
her mother said


think I can't
afford the fare?
she put the plates
in a cupboard


and stared
at her daughter
weedy looking


she got her black purse
and took out
some coins
don't make a habit


of going out to
faraway places
her mother said
she put the coins


into her daughter's
thin white hands
and walked off

to tidy


the sitting room
Lydia looked
at the coins
in the palm


of her hand
she pocketed them
in her fading red dress
and opened


the front door
to see
if Benny was coming
the baker


was going by
on his horse drawn cart
the horse looked tired
and trotted slow


then she saw Benny
coming across
the Square towards her
riding his


imaginary horse
with his 6 shooter gun
and holster
of course.

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