girl

THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.

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
things?
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
puffed

 

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

 

spoilsport
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
yes

 

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
instead.

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LIZBETH SUCKS.

Lizbeth sucks
her finger
imagines

 

it belongs
to the boy
Benedict

 

with eyes closed
savouring
each flavour

 

part salty
vinegar
(having ate

 

fish and chips
earlier)
tomato

 

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
imagines

 

so hotly
between thighs
him within.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NEW LIFE.

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
no
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
yes

 

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
disinterestedly

 

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
momentarily
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
fascinated
at the new life

 

laying there
moving
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 

 

ok
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 AND TOMORROW.

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 AND THE FEELING OF BEING LIKED.

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
belted
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
behaving?
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
ditto
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
sensing

 

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 AND THE SECRET KISS

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
paragraphs

 

sentences
by long rote
and command

 

and Alice
knows now that
any cause

 

of Nanny's
discontent
will bring her

 

punishment
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
adoptive
mother who

 

works below
stairs(low stairs
her father

 

often says)
the one with
the red raw

 

fingers thin
and young who
secretly

 

said she would
be her new
adopted

 

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

 

passageways
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

 

caressing  
her long hair
whispering

 

words but still
the nanny
drones on the

 

lesson now
taking its
toll boredom

 

sinking in
wishing her
adoptive

 

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

 

snuggling
up to her
in her bed

 

feeling her
motherly
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
adoptive
young mother

 

below stairs
Alice yawns
secretly

 

her small hand
over mouth
knowing this

 

blowing soft
from her palm
to her young

 

adoptive
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..

HER WEDDING DAY.

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
whatever

 

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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LIBERATING COAL

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
him

 

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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