Elaine thought the morning would never go; the lessons seemed to go for ever. The brief meeting before school with John has set her on edge; all the anxiety of the day and night before, is still vibrating through her being. She waits for the bell, sitting at the desk, fingering the fountain pen, looking at the blackboard, with its script in white chalk. John said to meet her on the field at lunch recess. She can't eat a thing. She waits anxiously, watching the teacher talk, not listening, letting it pass over her head. The sky looks clear outside the window; the sports field should be nice and dry. She takes off her glasses, and wipes the lens with the small handkerchief she has tucked up the sleeve of her cardigan. She puts them on again. Clearer. The teacher moves to the board and scribbles more script. Her stomach tightens. She feels out on a limb. Her brain seems as if it's about to tightened. The girl next to, her nudges her elbow. She is supposed to write down more. She picks up the pen and copies down the script from the board. It makes no sense to her what she writes. Words on words. She dots the dot, as the bell rings. She puts her pen and books into her bag. The other students begin to move and leave the classroom. She gets up and follows behind the rest. The reality of seeing John again, unsettles her. The corridor is busy and noisy with students and teachers passing by back and forth. She waits. Bites her lip. Move on Frumpy, a girl says, passing by her. She watches the girl move on with others, looking back, grinning. She doesn't feel like eating. I'll miss lunch, she thinks, leave the sandwiches in the bag. She walks down the corridor towards the exit to the playground and sports field. Will he be there? Will he kiss again? She hesitates. Stands still by the exit. Fingers play with her bag strap. Students barge by. She waits by the door. The sun looks inviting. She feels her stomach tighten. Move on Frumpy, a group of boys say, pushing out into the daylight and playground and field.  She moves out into the playground looking about her. Where will he be? He said he will find her. Where should she go? She walks by the playground and wire fence and on to the sports field. Groups of girls are already sitting on the grass, talking and eating, laughing and sipping from bottles. She walks along by the wire fence and leans against it, waiting.  Did other girls feel like this after being kissed? She imagines so. A group of boys come on the field with a football and begin to have a kick around. Their voices are loud and high. She looks away. Two girls on the grass look her way, then look away, giggling. She hadn't expect John to kiss her the day before. It came as a big surprise, unsettled her, unhinged her slightly. The girls gaze at her smirking. She looks away from them, feeling suddenly as if she were on show to the whole world, as if she were naked. She walks on by the fence, looking at the ground, the concrete and tarmac of playground, meeting the green grass. Beware of boys, an aunt had said a while back. Just after one thing. She hadn't said what one thing.  She walks away from the fence and onto the field, the green grass under her shoes. Found you, John says, coming up behind her, touching her elbow with his hand. She looks around at him, nervous, pleased, anxious. Been waiting, she says. Didn't you have lunch? He asks. No, didn't feel like it, she replies. Let's walk up further, he says. And taking her elbow moves her onward. You must eat, he says, or you'll feel nauseous or faint. Felt uneasy about seeing you, she says, looking at him sideways on. Didn't you want to see me? He says. Yes, but I get nervous doing things out of the ordinary, she says. How do you feel now? He asks. Still nervous, she says. He studies her closely as they walk along the field. I shouldn’t have kissed you yesterday like that, John says, put you on edge now. They walk on in silence. Boys behind them, on the field, call out about the ball to  each other. A girl laughs loudly. I liked the kiss, she says suddenly. Didn't expect it. Caught me off guard. Sorry, he says, ought to have said about kissing you. I'm just a frump, she says. Others say I am. I like you as you are, he says. They reach the fence separating the school field from the passing traffic just a few yards away. She looks back at the school and field. I feel out on a limb, like I've got lost, she says.  I thought about you last night, he says. Did you? She says, looking at him, taking in his quiff of hair and the hazel eyes, the grey school jumper and tie untied. Yes, couldn't focus on anything much. What did you think about me for? She asks. I just did. He looks at her. Her hair is well brushed, her glasses have not got the smears they had the day before. Do you like me? She asks softly. Of course I do, he says. I wouldn't kiss you, if I didn't.  What is there to like about me? She says. Who knows what it is, that attracts us deep down, I just like you as you are. She looks at the grass, and sits down by the fence, and looks ahead. My aunt said boys are only after one thing, Elaine says. What thing is that? He asks. She didn't say, Elaine says. Doesn't matter then, he says. No, guess not, she says, looking at the boys kicking the ball around. She feels him near her, his hand inches from hers. She sits cross-legged, her green skirt over her knees, her hands in her lap. He sits beside her, his chin resting on his knees, hands on the grass beside him. Maybe we should meet outside school sometime, he says. Where? She asks. I could come to your village, you could show me around, he says. Not much to show, she says. I could come to your village, but I’m not easy about travelling alone. He touches her hand. I'll come to your village; we can go nature studying, he says. She looks at him sitting there, his hand touching hers, his thumb rubbing against the back of her hand. You do like me, don't you? This isn't some joke? She says. He frowns. Of course not, why would I do that? People do things, she says. Not me, he says. They think I'm a joke, she says, the Frump. What do you think of me? He asks. She hesitates, looks away, feels his thumb on her skin. Thought about you yesterday, and last night, and this morning, getting washed and dressed. She blushes, not you getting washed and dressed, she says. I thought of you, while I was washing and getting dressed. He smiles. I know what you mean. I liked it when you kissed me, she says. It did things to me. What kind of things? he asks. Don't know. Just felt so alive. He nods. Takes her hands in his and strokes them. I like your hands, he says. They're nice and soft, gentle hands, caressing hands. Can I kiss you again? He asks. She takes her hands from his. If you mean it, she says, not just for kissings sake. She tucks her hands in her lap. I mean it when I kiss, I did yesterday, he says. Here, now? She says. Anxiety creeps inside. What if some one sees us? She asks. We'll sell tickets, he says, smiling. Not sure. If maybe. Not sure I know how to kiss. She thinks about getting up; walking helps her think. Kissing is easy. It is lips to lips, he says. It's more, its the build up and the after effects and what it does inside, she says, getting up from the grass. He gets up too, and stands beside her. Another time maybe, he says, her lips seemed kissable to him, but he wasn't going to push it. She  walks off towards the woods, by the sports field, he walks beside her, his hand brushing close to hers. I feel as if I’ve stepped into a different world, she says, a world where I don't know the rules or laws. I can't do it, she says anxiously, and walks away from him, leaving him behind; he watching her go, unsure what to do or say. She walks towards the school now, diverging across the grass, her eyes on the ground, the movement of green, the sound of voices, and laughter, and screams, and her heart thumping inside her, her body hot and sweating, her stomach tightening. He watches her go into the school out if sight. What went wrong? He asks. What was all that about? There is a whistle blown, a call of laughter, a long loud boyish wounding shout.

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She missed him
in her bed


missed the smell of him
the indentation


in the pillow
where his head lay


the silly
romantic things


he used to say
the kisses


on her body
every place


on her face


but it wasn't
just the kisses


or the sex she missed
or the way


he fired her up
on entering her


the way
he did each time


she missed of all things


the deep joy
he brought


the kind
that only


happiness brings
she turned over


and gazed at the pillow
where his head


once lay
the missing indentation


the dark hair or two
the sight of him


smiling back
after having sex


another time
(he was never slack)


she felt
his absence


more so then
no ghostly smiles


or gazes
just the white


dumb pillow
laying there


smooth and silent
like a sleeping sheep


she ran her finger
along the bed


where once
his body lay


that is where
his butt would be


and there
is where


we made love
that last day


before his death
took him away


she sighed
the echo of it


filling the room
spreading out


each bit of space


she thinks
he's still kissing her


first her body
then her face.

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Sophia was out of luck
if she thought Benedict
was going to fall for that
that mid morning fuck


and on
old Mr Atkinson's bed
(how he liked
his Wagner)


creeping up
on him like that
grabbing him
around the waist


and pushing him
to the bed
and saying
O come on


just a quickie for me
(Polish accent
not shown here)
no no


he said
not here and now
I’ve jobs to do
baths to attend to


old men
to get ready
and she lay over him
spread out on him


her bulging breasts
kind of pinning him down
but it is my birthday
she said


it is good to do
the unexpected
now and then
her breath smelt


of peppermint
her body
eased on him deeper
he kept his hands


away from her
at his sides
best he could
all temptations


held in check
you can do
what you like
she said


good then
let me go
and I’ll go run
some baths


he said
it's near morning
coffee break


I need my fill
of coffee
you could take me here
she said


from the front or rear
no no
he said
trying to get off


the bed
his hands attempting
to push her off
touching her body


soft and supple
her breast touched
what if I scream out


and say you tried
to have me?
she said
go ahead


he said
 they know me
they know
you're always after me


I’ll say you tried
to have me here
on Mr Atkinson's bed
they believe me


she said
I'm the female
go ahead then
scream off your head


he said
but she moved off of him
and arranged
her clothes tidily


pushed her hair
into shape
and said
I’ll have you next time


Benny boy
next time
we have it quick
and on some other bed


and he rearranged
his shirt and tie
and watched
as she walked off


down the passageway
her fine behind
giving it
that sexy sway.


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Milka sat on her bicycle
looking at you
the Saturday morning sun
was warm


you'd just finished work
and had met her
by the bridge
where we going?


she asked
we could leave the bikes
at my place
and go into town


to the cinema
you said
what just sit there
in the dark


and not be able
to see each other
or such?
she said


we could ride
to where I used to live
and see the pond there
where I used to fish?


you said
is it far?
she said
not too far


she pulled a face
can't go to my place
she said
my mother's home


as she usually is
no chance
of being alone
with you there


she said grumpily
mine is no good
at weekends
you said


she looked at you
her eyes gazing
the old pond then
it is


she said
and you began to cycle
with her beside you
back up the hill


and by the farmhouse
where she lived
and along narrow lanes
between hedgerows


and birds flying out
and the occasional
car rushing by
she beside you


talking all the way
about how her mother
moans about her
not doing this or that


or not doing
the chores properly
and how her two brothers
tease her


about going out with you
and how you needed
to see a shrink
and you smile


knowing her brothers well
then you're on the main road
and a mile or so
and you are there


and go in
by the back way
along a narrow lane
and into the woods


behind the cottage
where you used to live
and along the narrow ride
through the woods


to the field
and then the pond
which is peaceful
and the water is still


and a few ducks
swim there
and birds sing
from tall trees


you rest the bikes
against trees
and sit on the grass
by the pond


quiet here
you said
we used to call this
the lake


who's we?
Milka said
my old girlfriend and I
you replied


where is she now?
we don't see
each other any more
you said


Milka said nothing
but gazed at the water
of the pond
at the ducks there


and looked
at the fish
just beneath
the surface


did you make out here?
she asked
now and then
you said


why bring me here?
she said moodily
it's quiet
and we can be alone


you said
is that all?
not wanting relive
old memories with me?


she said
you gazed at her
no of course not
that was a different thing


different love
so you say
she said
should we leave then?


you said
she stared at the pond
at the ducks drifting
and the sunlight


through the branches
of tall trees
she said


I like it here
she lay down
on the grass
sunlight on her face


her hands resting
on her abdomen
you lay beside her
did you really


make out here?
now and then
did no one see you?
not that we ever knew


you said
she smiled
what if someone had?


we didn't think of that
at the time
bet you didn't
she said


what was it like
the first time?
it's history
you said


we're what matters now
she nodded
yes I guess we are
she said


and the sun shone bright
through the tall trees
and a bird flew by
over head.

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Jane opened her hands
and the butterfly
fluttered off


across the grass
and you watched
and she told you


what its name was
and its colouring
but you


were more focused
on her hands
the fingers held so


as if Michaelangelo
might have
painted them


in a creative urge
to pin down
an example


of beauty
and as her voice
spoke on


you saw the hands
come together
and embrace


and caress
each other
as you both walked


along the lane
high hedges


first this finger pointed
then that
gesturing towards


this flower
then that
names came


and colouring
and her voice sang
as she talked


the words
being flung
in the air


like a juggler's balls
and you reached out
to catch each word


and place
its meaning
but her eyes


caught you
the colour
the brightness


and fires flamed there
and they grow
only here


she said
so I’ve read
her words said


and the lips parted
just to allow
words to go


like busy bees
to work
and the glimpse


of teeth and tongue
and what do you think?
she said


beautiful stuff
you replied
not quite


the words
you wished for
but which came


like lazy boy's
to school
they are


she said smiling
her hands parting
one reaching


for yours
O that
may have been Heaven


for all you knew
a bright
sun-blessed smile

out of the blue.

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Lizbeth watched Benedict as he showed her the bones and skulls he had found in the woods at the foot of the Downs. They were in a large fish tank emptied of water. She had put on her short black skirt, white blouse, clean underwear, socks and old shoes (in case of mud or if she stepped in a cow pat). He took out a small skull and showed her. Rabbit's, I think, he said. She moved nearer, smelt soap, saw the back of his neck, the collar worn. He turned the skull around in his hands, showed her it from different angles. What do you think? He asked. She raised her eyebrows. Odd looking, she said, without its fur and eyes. He put the skull back in the tank and settled it in the place between other bones. He took out an egg and showed her it in the palm of his hand. Blackbird's egg, he said. She looked, then studied his fingers, the nails, the back of his hand as he put back the egg. Behind her was his double bed. Made and neat. His mother probably. Not him. She knew his mother was downstairs sorting washing for the wash. She noticed his hazel eyes as he turned back to her, he was talking about wanting to find a wren's egg. She wished he would sit on the bed. She could sit there too, then. He moved to the window and told her about the day they moved in and saw the plum trees and gooseberry bushes and how thrilled he was. She sat on the lower bed board, viewing the plum trees opposite, the hard wood beneath her buttocks. She looked at the ceiling. A Spitfire model plane hung down. A picture of a racing car was pinned to a wall. She knew it was risky to try and get him on the bed while his mother was just downstairs, but she wanted him badly. He talked of butterflies, which a girl named Jane had talked to him about. Lizbeth knew her. Virgin queen type. Nature girl, parson's daughter. Preserve my virginity to I’m married type. Not me. I want him. There on his double bed. She eyed it, the pillows, blankets, sheets. Headboard. Brown wood. Wonder if the springs make noise? He told her of the small plot of land his father had set aside for him to grow stuff for himself. She stood up(the lower bed board had made her buttocks ache). She peered over his shoulder. Her cheek near to his, she could if she wished nibble his right ear. It would be a start. How he talked of things. Nature, birds, eggs, nests. She wanted to lay on the bed and be fucked and he talked of such things as birds and bees and trees. She put her hand on the small of his back, just above the belt of his jeans, he said nothing of that, made no notice. The book she had of sexuality(borrowed from the girl at school who knew of such things), showed a picture(black and white) of a man on a woman. He had his face away from the camera, his buttocks, like two mounds, raised. The woman(looked foreign) was laying there with her legs spread wide, a dull look on he face. Missionary position it was labelled. There were others. Strange she had thought. Would you like some lunch? He said. Mother said you could stay if you wish. She gazed at him, looked at his lips, the mouth. Yes, that'd be lovely, she said. More time to lure him, she mused. Here, he said, look at this book of birds while I tell  Mother. And he had gone downstairs. She opened a few pages. Words and photos of birds. She sat on the edge of the bed. Firm, no sounds of springs going. She lay back on the bed, her head on a pillow, the book in her hands. It was a double bed, room to move to get in various positions. The room was silent. Downstairs she heard murmur of voices. She closed her eyes. Imagined him on her. His body on hers. What's it like? She had asked the girl in class who seemed to know all about sex. What's what like? The girl had said in the girl's toilets where they had met. Sex, you know, having it off. The girl looked bored. Made a yawning gesture with her hand over her mouth. Depends. Depends on what? Lizbeth had asked. What the boys like, how good he is at it; how big his tool is. Tool? Lizbeth said. The girl laughed. His dick. Lizbeth had blushed. The girl gave her the full run-down from beginning to end, right down to the leaking sperm. The voices were soft, not harsh or nervous screeches like her mother made in her black moods. She had almost seen her parents having it off one Sunday when she was younger. Accidental, not at all intentional. As if. She'd been watching TV. Her parents had left the room . She sat there in her father's favourite chair, gawking at the screen. She got bored and wanted her tea. She crept up the stairs of the house one at a time thinking of what to have for tea. The door to her parents' bedroom was ajar. She crept up to it and peered through the thin wedge of space. It was dim. A dressing table mirror faced her. She peered hard. Her father seemed to be pretending to be a dog and doing things like she'd seen dogs do in the park now and then. He made pig like noises, her mother(what she could see of her) was on all fours, head on the pillow. Not wanting to disturb their game, she walked back down stairs quietly and sat in front of the TV, still bored. Benedict was still downstairs talking to his mother. Lizbeth opened her eyes. Light poured through the window, sunlight warm and sticky. She wanted to pretend. She yanked up her skirt to above her waist. The clean white underwear visible. She pushed her knees together. She breathed heavily.  She heard him coming up the stairs, his feet pounding heavily. She pulled her skirt down to its full length, and move to the side of the bed, and sat there. He entered and said Mother said what would you like? A good fuck. She thought, said cheese would be nice. o.k, he said and was off again. What would his mother say if she found us at it? Missionary or otherwise. Light from the sun on his nude bum. She smiled. Then frowned. After sandwiches and tea. Downstairs sitting there. Talk of birds and bees and flowers. His mother talking of cooking; how she coped with the wood stove, how Benedict sawed the logs for her. She waited for his return. Sat there on the edge of the bed. Her nerves tingled. Her body seemed on fire. The whole room heaved with her sexual desire.

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Fay stood next
to Baruch
in the Square


have a ride
if you like
on my new


blue scooter
he had said
so she did


with one foot
placed firm on
the scooter


the other
pushed away
the hard ground


moving on
the scooter
hands gripping


the rubber
handle bars
and she sensed


air in her
face and hair
moving fast


Baruch left
behind her
in the Square


he thinking
how happy
now she was


moving on
over ground
other kids


shouting out
faster Fay

and she did


as if all
pent up fears

had gone bang


and had then

get off that


Jew's scooter
her father

shouted out


and she turned
and the fears

all returned


she got off
the scooter

handed it


to Baruch
all joy gone



had dissolved
her father

gripped her hand


hauled her off
looking back

at Baruch


but Baruch

merely smiled


his contempt
his green eyes

or hazel


as some said
shooting off

those arrows


in the butt

of Fay's strict


father but

to Fay he


blew to her
from his palm

the unseen


pink kisses
of concern

then she'd gone


up the stairs
to her fate

a lecture


against Jews

of Jesus


he will say
or worst still



a beating
to enforce
his strict will.

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You shouldn't have
bought me
the Mahler 6th
Judy said


but I appreciate it
and with that
she kissed your cheek
the Mahler gift box


was tucked under
her arm
and you both walked
to the village pub


and ordered
a couple of drinks
and sat outside
in the warm


summer evening
she talked
of her university course
about to begin


that October
the law degree
and you sat
watching her


her long fair hair
the blue of eyes
the small
delicate lips


as if butter wouldn't
but lovely
all the same
and as she talked


you remembered that day
she took you back
to her place
(her parents being out)


and out
in her back garden
she began to kiss you
and put her arms


around you
and held you close
and the sky
was a blue of Van Gogh


tall trees around
looking on
and you kissed
her lips and neck


and opened up
her creamy blouse
and kissed down
as far as you could


the beginning
of her breasts
milky soft and smooth
and she put her hand


to your groin
and kind of invited
the pecker to join
and you put


your hand slowly
into back
of her blue jeans
and sensed


her soft skin
the crevice of her
and she said
we could go upstairs


you said
and so you followed her
indoors and up


the stairs
the old cottage
with the old ceiling
low and snugly


and you reached
her small room
and the single bed
and pictures


on her walls
and ornaments
and her Teddy Bear
on the bed


and the whole
middle class aroma
you sensed there
and she stood there


as if thinking should I?
you kissed her
and held her
feeling along her back


kissing her neck
and she hand her hands
about you
and her lips met yours


and it was softly pressing
tongues meeting
and the pecker
wanted to get in


on the action
and was kind of
pressing against
your fly


and she began
to undress
and you helped
and the smell of her


was succulent
and you could
have eaten her
and sucked her


then a car door slammed
and you froze
and she looked alarmed
and said


God that's them
the parents
and she dressed


where she had undressed
and you tried to calm
the pecker
and get it to lay down


and she listened
as she finished dressing
come on
she said


down stairs
or they will guess
if we're up here
and O God


you thought
so near and yet
so far
and the parents


came in
just as you both
sat in the sofa
by the fireplace


she flushed
as a tanned backside
and you hoping
the pecker


had gone to sleep
nodded to her father
as he came in
and the mother


looked at you both
with a motherly grin.

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Helen put dandelions
she had picked
into the pocket
of her dress


present for my mum  
she said
she likes flowers
soon be her birthday


but I don't know
how old she is  
but flowers
is the best to get


don't you think?
Benedict nodded
he'd taken her
to the grass


in the park
where dandelions
grew in abundance
she'll like them


he said
I think so
Helen said
they came out


of Jail Park
and crossed Bath Terrace
and along
by the metal fence


until they came
to Rockingham Street
she talking
about the man


who stopped her
on the way to school
a few says before
and he said


he would take her
to the seaside
if she went with him
there and then


what did you say
to him?
Benedict asked
I didn't know


what to say
he looked so scary
should have gone
to find a copper


Benedict said
I was scared
she said
so what happened?


I just stared at him dumbly
like I was an imbecile
as Dad says to me
when I sit


at the dinner table
with my mouth open
then what?

Benedict said


he took my hand in his
and it was hot
and sweaty

and I screamed at him


and he ran off
she said
good for you

Benedict said


should have
kneed him one
I was too scared
to do anything


that's why
I screamed
they went under
the railway bridge


just as a steam train
went across the bridge
and pushed grey
and white smoke


over the side
and into the sky
and she said
where would he


have taken me
do you think?
God knows
Benedict said


but not to the seaside
but he didn't say where
he kept that
dark image


to himself
and let it stay there.

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