You met her in a field
beyond her house
during summer recess
that last one


before you both left
school for good
you'd walked
from the big wooden gate


by hedgerows
where birds sang
and flew out
pass you


sky blue
as if Monet
had been at work
my mother thinks


we've been doing things
she said
you said


you know what I mean
she said
a steam train
passed by


over by the far hedge
we have
you said
I know and you know


but I don't want her
thinking we have
Judy said
you frowned


the white
and grey smoke
from the train


into the sky
so it's a kind of
knowledge thing?
 you said


who's to know
and who isn't?
some people matter
she said


especially her
I’ll never hear
the last of it
if she thinks


we have
the grass was dry
and the earth hard
your shoes had seen better days


so we're here
in a field
where she could
possibly see us


and you're worrying
that she thinks
we have done things?
Judy sighed


and looked back
at the house
surrounded by fields
she's probably watching now


she said
following our movement
you looked back too
hands in the pockets


of your blue jeans
has she binoculars?
you said
not that I know


Judy said
doesn't matter
she has eyes
like a hawk


how are you
going to convince
we haven’t
done things?


you asked
she looked away
from the house
and sat on the grass


with you following
she sat cross legged
pulling the skirt
over her knees


you said
shouldn't look
didn't get a chance


too slow
she said
getting old
you smiled


I’m 14 like you
if that's too old
I'm Monet's aunt
she laughed


this isn't
solving the problem
she said
there isn't a problem


you said
just a matter
of perception
or not


as the case
is meant to be
what do you mean?
she said


your mother thinks
we have
and we have
yet you want her


not to think that
you replied
yes that's right
Judy said


maybe she wants
to think that
you said
why should she?


Judy asked
maybe she doesn't trust me
you said
she doesn't


Judy said
but she should trust me
you nodded
I see what you mean


so she should trust you
not to do such things
even when you have?
you said


it's the thought
that counts
she said
she put her hands


each side of her
on the grass
you could see
her cleavage


where her
blouse buttons
gave a little


you said
it's the thought
that counts
and the thoughts


hung around
your head
wishing it
had not been


a hay barn
but a cosy
warm bed

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Lizbeth sucks
her finger


it belongs
to the boy


with eyes closed
each flavour


part salty
(having ate


fish and chips


of ketchup
the red thrills
sucks deeper


whole mouthfuls
of finger
thinking on


that church pew
old dark wood
where they could


but didn't
have made love
she sucks slow


finger length
the painted
finger nail


salty still
each flavour
so distinct


even in
her chosen
warm darkness


of closed eyes
she passes
over both


her knuckles
warm wet skin


so hotly
between thighs
him within.







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You walked with Jane
as you passed by
the water tower
she talked


of the various breeds
of cattle
there were some
for meat


others for milk
some for both
she pointed out
some cows


in a field nearby
and told you
their breed
have you ever seen


a calf born?
she said
you said


not seen anything
like that
let's go to the farm
I think they have a cow


that is due to drop
she said
so you turned up
the drive


that led to the farm
where you worked
some evenings
after school


or at weekends
she walked and talked
you listened
looking at her


dark hair tied back
with a green ribbon
her dark eyes shone
with sunlight


you looked away
at that moment
watching the farm dog
pass by


with its one good eye
(it had bitten you once
and you were wary of it)
a cowman


was at the side
of a shed
clearing out
has the new calf


been born yet?
she asked
he looked at her
then at you


no not yet
he said
but should be soon
want to watch then?


he said
gazing at you
kind of grinning


Jane said
Benedict here
hasn't seen a birth
oh of course


these Londoners
haven't nought
he said
hang about a moment


and we'll go across
he said
you looked at Jane
she was silent


looking around the farm
have you seen
a calf being born?
you asked


many times
she said
ever since
I could stand


I’ve been near
cattle and sheep
I know most breeds
of both


she added softly
after a few minutes
the cowman walked
you both over to the cowshed


over the yard
and opened up
the half door
there she is


he said
waiting to drop
you and Jane
peered over


the half door
at a cow by the wall
looking at you


her tail flapping
away flies
shouldn't be long now
the cowman said


never seen
a calf born then?
he said to you
no not yet


you said
don't suppose
you Londoners
see much of cows


he said smiling
no not at all in London
you said
he looked at Jane


then at the cow
which was standing still
making noises
then moving


then standing still again
I was about 5
when my old dad
took me to see


a calf born
the cowman said
all that blood and stuff
near made me


want to puke
first time
you looked at Jane
her hands


on the door top
her eyes focused
on the cow
she had on blue jeans


and boots
and a yellowy top
with small bulges
of breasts


there she goes
the cowman said
and you gazed
at the cow


and a head appeared
as if by magic
out of the rear
of the cow


and it hung there
then it slid out
and dropped


to the straw filled floor
covered in blood
and stuff
and the cow


licked the calf
and you watched
at the new life


laying there
the cow licking
the legs moving


the head turning
that's how it is
the cowman said
easy one that


and you moved closer
to Jane
smelling her scent
her warmth near you


her arm next to yours
what will you call it?
Jane asked
don't know yet


the cowman said
might call it Benedict
if it's a bull calf
and Jane


if it's a heifer
he smiled at you both
and opened up
the lower door


and went in
then closed it up again
there you are
she said


now you've seen
a calf born
you nodded
and you walked back


out of the yard
and up the drive
let's go back to my house
she said


Mum'll give us
tea and cake
and we can tell her
about the calf 


you said
walking beside her
sensing her nearness


her hand close to yours

you wanting to hold it
but not doing so
walking there


beneath the sun's
warmth and glow.

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Lizbeth lies on her bed, hands behind her head, staring at the ceiling. All that way out to the darn farm cottage to see Benedict and not even a kiss. All that showing of skulls and bones and egg shells, and where his father had given him a parch of earth to grow stuff, but not a single hint of a kiss or cuddle. She closes her eyes. His double bed was there, the room with just him and her, his mother downstairs, his father at work, his siblings out playing in the fields or some place, and he talked about birds and such. She had put on her best black short skirt, white blouse, and clean underwear just for him, and did he notice? Not one jot. She even waited sitting on his bed while went downstairs to ask about lunch for her, hinting maybe, might set him going, her sitting there legs crossed, skirt risen up. He came up the stairs in bounds and she thought, here he comes for it, and all he said was: cheese or ham sandwiches? She said cheese. Off he went again. She even bounced on the bed to see how the springs were. Not to good. He had a model Spitfire hanging from the ceiling in his room. There was a fish tank full of bones and skulls and birds eggs. She imagines how it could have been. He coming upstairs with the sandwiches, seeing her there on his bed, her skirt risen up, showing thigh...but no, she hates pretending. He brought the cheese sandwiches up and sat next to her on the bed and talked about the work he did on the farm across the way. He didn't seem to notice her thighs. She ate the sandwiches, looked at him as he talked on about maybe one day being a cowman and such. If only he had, she muses, opening her eyes, looking at her untidy bedroom, LPs on the floor, a box record player, soiled linen(as her mother called it), a small plate, a cup. If he had only hinted at it, she muses, just put a hand on her thigh, touched her hand, said he loved her short black skirt, but no, not a word about it. She had ridden all that way on her bike to see him and hoped that he might this time, but no; all she got was cheese sandwiches and a cup of tea(downstairs), and his mother asking her questions about her father and mother and work. Benedict smiling and looking at her, then his mother, then her again. Still a virgin. She can't say she hasn't tried to lose it. She'd read somewhere that  King Henry VII's mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort, had him when she  was thirteen years old. How old was she when she had sex? Lizbeth muses. She can hear her mother downstairs banging away with pots and pans. A bad mood day. She had moaned at Lizbeth when she came in from her bike ride to see Benedict. Room untidy, clothes everywhere, tidy up. Words words. What if he had though? She thinks, turning on her side looking at the wall, what if they had done it? She smiles. What if they had on his double bed, she laying there seeing the Spitfire above the bed moving overhead, him entering her, she lying there, hands around him, eyes open or closed, looking at him, the hair, the quiff moving. But he didn't. She runs a finger down the wall. But what if he had though? another voice in her head asks her, what then? She thinks on it, running a finger down the wall again. She didn't know. She remembered asking the girl at school about it. What's it like? She had asked her. What's what like? The girl had replied, grinning. You know, sex? The girl had told her. Detailed each aspect. But to her now, it was all theory. How did she know without doing it? The girl could have been all talk. And that thing about self relief was yuk. She turns back on her back, the ceiling is still there boring her. But it wasn't just a fact of losing her virginity, it had to be with him, not just any boy. She wanted it to be with someone she liked and someone whom she would remember years to come. She knew there were boys in her class at school who probably would if they could(doubts with some) but that wasn't it. He was a hard fish to catch. Was that the phrase? She'd tried four times, and nothing. Even in the small village church he'd said no. That would have been memorable, even if the church benches were rather hard to lay on and it wouldn't have been that comfortable to do it, at least it would have been done and with him. But he hasn't and nor has she. She wonders what would have happened if they had and someone came into the church at that moment and found them at it? Especially some one like her mother or older or some old dear who had a heart attack. Then there was this room, not long ago. She had actually got him here and still no joy. Her mother had been out shopping, the room to themselves, silence, bed. Nothing. Except frustration on her part. In the corner of her bedroom, up on the ceiling is a spider. Black, big bellied. A web in the corner. It waiting. She hates spiders. What if came down in the night? She watches it, making sure it doesn't go anywhere. She ought to hammer it with her slipper. But she doesn't. She closes her eyes. She came that close to doing it. If only. But if onlys are fictions, she muses, turning on her side and opening her eyes. The room bores. The untidiness is part of who she is. And if they had, would she have a kid at fourteen? What then? Maybe she would call him Henry or Henrietta if it was a girl. No she didn’t like that name. But they didn't, so names don't matter. Maybe next time, she thinks, maybe next time he may. Tomorrow is there just another hopeful day.

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Ingrid was still tender
where her father beat her
so she lay
not sat


on the grass
outside Banks House
by Bath Terrace
with Benedict


so her family
couldn't see her
Robin Hood
supposedly fired


his last arrow
at where
he wanted to be buried
Benedict said


read it in a book
I’m reading
she watched him
has he talked


the quiff of hair
the grin
and the hazel eye stare
where did it land?


she asked
in Sherwood Forest
some place
he said


was Maid Marian
with him at the end?
she asked
I think so


Benedict said
but kind of old then
I guess
best to die young then


she said
while you're still
good looking
and have love


held on
until the end
she looked
at his patterned


sleeveless jumper
the black short trousers
the grey socks
the 6 shooter gun


tucked into
an holster
around his waist


guess so
he said
some do die young
Billy the Kid did


he added
she moved
and winced
her eyes closed briefly


he watched her
how's your old man
Benedict said


she said nothing
but looked
towards the coal wharf
where lorries


and horse-drawn wagons
stood being loaded
with sacks of coal
a train past over


the railway bridge
cluttering noisily
like that is it?
he said been


up to his tricks again?
she looked at him
and then up
at the block of flats


behind them
I must have done
something wrong
she said


so he said
Benedict said
she looked at him
moving her legs


to get comfortable
he said I was asking for it
she said
I went by him


on the stairs
the other evening
and he gave me
the the hard man stare


I just grinned at him
she looked away
yes he said you did
she said


he doesn't like you
she added
Benedict said


she was silent
she looked
as a horse-drawn wagon
moved away


from the coal wharf  
a man sitting on the top
holding reins
I like you through


she said softly
as the wagon went by
at the end
of the road


with its heavy load
we could have a ride
in the back
of a coal wagon


he said
good fun
do you like me?
she asked


of course I do
he said
I meet you
and talk to you


and we go places
don't we?
he said
yes we do


she said
how about a 1d drink
and an ice lolly ?
he said


she nodded
another train
steamed overhead
on the railway bridge


by the Duke of Wellington pub
and so they got up
from the grass
and walked back along


the grass
through the Square
he talking
about Robin Hood again


she looking at him
taking in
his words


the tenderness easing

as she walked
feeling close him
as he had one hand


on his six shooter gun
as he walked.

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Alice sits
in the room
with blackboard


and easel
and small desk
and small chair


with Nanny
stern and strict
pointing at


the blackboard
with her stick
teaching her


her letters
the grammar


by long rote
and command


and Alice
knows now that
any cause


of Nanny's
will bring her


her father's
hard hand smacks


whack and whack
she sits still
taking note


but bored she
stares out high
windows at


tall tree tops
and blue skies
thinking of


her mother
locked away
(ill in her


head Nanny
coldly said)
then she thinks


of her new
mother who


works below
stairs(low stairs
her father


often says)
the one with
the red raw


fingers thin
and young who


said she would
be her new


mother but
to strive to
learn to do


her best and
so she does
but thinks of


the time when
lessons are
over she


can sneak down
below stairs
and along


to where her
adoptive new


mother works
and feel her
embrace her


earthy smell
her soft cheek
against that


rough cloth of
apron the
red fingers


her long hair


words but still
the nanny
drones on the


lesson now
taking its
toll boredom


sinking in
wishing her


mother would
come and take
her away


for a walk
to the horse
stables or


into town
holding her
hand the red


hand holding
her pink one
or dreams of


up to her
in her bed


feeling her
tender warmth


but Nanny
still drones on
the long lesson


word on word
keeping her
from the arms


and caress
and earthy
smell of cloth


of her new
young mother


below stairs
Alice yawns


her small hand
over mouth
knowing this


blowing soft
from her palm
to her young


mother a
secret kiss.

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Her Perspective

I found a girl, and saw her perspective
Silent, yet surprisingly reflective
They claimed she was away, entirely defective

But I knew otherwise just from the look in her eyes
I saw through the silent, and closed off disguise

And from there, I saw the immediate connection
Completely dissected, but still searches for true affection


Her warm, yet crooked emotion
A calmed, yet broken devotion


Silent, but struggling for her sound
and yet, still not a face found


Her skin torn, gone and rotten.
Her mouth stolen, words lost, ignored and forgotten.


She was exposed to all of the morbid things
Corrupted lies, and uneven broken wings


All she wanted to know if happiness was true
This is what I saw, this was the girl I knew


And she left sudden, without a word,
Her existence she seen was too blurred


Before I could realize, she was gone and done
Did you ever wonder what life can become?


All she wanted to know if happiness was true
This is what I saw, this was the girl I knew..


Under the railway bridge
in Rockingham Street
where the steam trains
go by overhead


quite frequently
going to somewhere else
by Baldy's
the grocer's store


where you get merchandise
quite often
for your mother
you sat with Janice


waiting to have
your hair cut
(your mother sent her
with you


to make sure
it was done right)
she had her
red beret on


the fair hair
flowing from beneath
her bright eyes
and straight white teeth


when we marry
she said
(why do girls do that
to a kid of 8?


at 9 maybe
that's fine
why spoil his day
with wedding days


and such?)
shall I wear
cream or a white dress?
(cream would be better


than white
make her look
less pale
more quaint


make her look
less likely to faint)
cream'd be good
you said


and what about my bouquet?
what flowers
should I have?
(God knows


you mused
I know nothing
of such things


the flower guy brings)
I don't know
flower names
you choose


you said
she smiled
and nodded her head
who will be


your best man?
she asked
Carmody or Jupp?
you said


she didn't
look impressed
or Jim?
you added


he'll do
she said
(why ask you?)
you liked the way


her eyes went wide
at the mention
of Jim
(did she fancy him?)


and the way she leaned
her head to one side
when you said
cream to the colour of dress


(to you
it was a thing
to keep from life
and head


it would seem
but to her
it was a dream)
but who


will give me away?
she said
my Daddy's dead
and mother too


would my old man do?
you said
but she shook her head
(wise kid you thought)


Gran may
if she's not too old
she added
looking straight ahead


or too ill or dead
my brother could
if he's old enough then
(many years hence


you hoped)
a boy amongst men
you said
she just smiled


and gave nod of head
and how many kids
shall we have?
she asked


(why ask me
you thought
how many there'd be?)
two or three?


you said
or more
she suggested
gazing at the barber


who was finishing off
a middle-aged man
with a comb and mirror
wearing a smile


who's next?
he asked
taking off the cape
from the man


he is
Janice said
pointing to you
and a short back


and sides
his mother said
Janice added
the barber nodded you


to the chair
and you sat there
gazing at Janice
in the mirror


imagining her
as a bride in white
or cream
on some one's arm


coming down the aisle
with her smile
but not tomorrow
or next year


or after that
but off
some where
in quite awhile.


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After school
about dusk
you and Helen
went down the back


of the coal wharf
and picked up
dropped pieces of coal
from the cobble


stone floor
or reached
just inside
the railed up fence


and picked out
what you could touch
(not over-much)
and put it


into an old sack
you'd brought
do your parents
know about this?


Helen said
hell no
you said
I just sneak it in


and drop it
into the coal bunker
in the kitchen
when no one's looking


while they're
in the other room
watching the TV
saves them money


you added
Helen nodded
what if you got caught?
who by?


well a Rozzer
or your parents
she said
looking concerned


the eyes behind
her glasses
looming large
just say I found it


and was taking it home
away from harm
you said
she frowned


what do mean?
I was joking Helen
I don't what I'd say
make it up


as I went along I guess
as usual
she nodded
her two plaits of hair


bobbing at the back
of her head
I’d wet myself
if a Rozzer


stopped me
she said
I’m like that
well don't worry


just leave it to me
to talk
act dumb
she smiled


I could give
my imbecile look
my dad said
I’m good at it


she said
after getting enough
in the sack
to be able to carry


you walked along
Meadow Row
the sack in your left hand
held tight


how was school today?
you asked
ok except
that Cogan boy


called me four eyes
and said I looked like
a dead fish


you said
he wears glasses himself
the stupid feck
and he looks


as if someone as stopped
an operation
on his features
half way through


Helen laughed
did you swear?
she said
don't think so


you said
don't pay no attention
to Cogan
you look pretty


she smiled
and took
your right hand
and held it


as you walked across
Rockingham Street
she looking out
for any Rozzers


and you for other kids
who may see her
holding your hand
a kid's got not


to seem a cissy
you understand?

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