girl

MOIRA AND THE WORLD'S GRIEF.

Oslo that summer
having left the base camp
and the tent
with the Australian guy

 

(he was with the Yank girl)
you walked about
looking at the sights
Moira beside you

 

in her denims
and white tee shirt
and her hair frizzed
after a shower

 

(which she had taken alone
worse luck)
and she was talking
about the Yank girl

 

with whom she shared
her tent
O the perfume she wears
I’d rather sleep

 

in a tent
with a camel
than with her
and her voice

 

fucks my head
and do you know
I've heard about
her love life

 

from the very beginning
I’d rather spend the night
listening to a duck quack
you nodded

 

and listened
taking in her fire talk
her four letters words
filling the air

 

floating there
like black
angry birds
you can share with me

 

any time
well you could
if I didn't have
the Australian guy there

 

smelling of beer
and talking about Sheilas
and how he did this
and that

 

you said
no
Moira said
and have them

 

talk about me too
no I’m not that
kind of girl
besides

 

how would we work it
to allow that to be?  
don't get so angry
about things

 

why do you Scots
get so moody?
it's not just us
she said

 

it's the fucking world's
view of us
as wee tight bastards
when we're not

 

anyway

she went on
giving you the stare
what do you

 

know of Scots?
lived in Edinburgh
for a while
you said

 

nice place
so much history
well there you go
she said

 

anyway what’s that
got to do
with the Yank bitch
and her perfume

 

and the love life
of a fucking rabbit
nothing I guess
you said

 

I think she's over here
studying art
O then
that explains it

 

the way she has

the I-couldn’t-go-a-day
-without- a man's- dick
-in-me

 

kind of talk
and philosophy
Moira said
spitting out words

 

like broken teeth
what about a beer?
you said
chill out

 

and take in a view
and have a smoke
and I can tell you
of my love life?

 

the beer's a good idea
but I’m not so keen
on the tales
of your fuck life

 

she said
so you found a bar
off a street
and sat outside

 

with two beers
and a couple of smokes
and you wondering
how she bedded

 

and how indeed
to get her into your tent
and what to do
with the Australian guy

 

and the Yank dame
and off she went again
moaning about
the Southend

 

teacher guy
did you see him
at the from
of the mini bus

 

giving it all
that talk of history
and that Lancaster bitch
all ears and fucking teeth ?

 

you sat and smiled
listening to her
talking of herself
and the world's grief.

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SERVING YOU DIFFERENTLY

Sonya in the moments free
of serving the customers
leaning on the serving bench
dark brown eyes

 

on you
her dark hair
pinned back
said she liked

 

Mahler’s 4th best
O so exciting
so full of the life
you preferred

 

the 5th or 2nd
but she said
no no too deep
too long

 

life is for living
not dozing
to long symphonies
she preferred Kierkegaard

 

to your Nietzsche
liked his leap of faith
his books on God
and such

 

you liked her mouth
small
like rose petals
stuck together

 

her ears visible
and so lickable
(if ever permitted
to do so)

 

that Nietzsche
she said
went mad
think it

 

was the pox
stuck his penis
in some whore's hole
she stopped to serve

 

a customer
all smiles
and politeness
that butter

 

wouldn't melt
in her mouth
kind of thing
you carried paint

 

up from the basement
and shelved it
in colour order
thinking of her

 

laying in some bed
Mahler's 4th
blaring out
she putting chocolates

 

one by one
into her small mouth
and licking
her fingers

 

afterwards
so sexily
one leg
slightly lifted

 

the other flat
and you imagined her
yakking off
about the Kiergegaard guy

 

her other hand
not stuffing chocolates
in her mouth
resting over

 

her pubic hairs
you read Dante?
she asked
having served

 

the customer
with a smile
and politeness
yes the Purgatory

 

you said
that is where men belong
she said
unless they take

 

the leap of faith
she leaned
on the serving bench
eyeing you deeply

 

what you thinking about?
she asked 
how well you serve
the customers

 

you lied
thinking of her lips
pressing against yours
her tongue meeting yours

 

in her mouth
of her body
her hair
her eyes

 

that is why
I am here
to serve
she said

 

but she was serving you
differently
inside
your young man's head.

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PURGATORY

When Christine heard
that he'd tried
to hang himself
in the men's crapper

 

desperation bells
began to ring
inside her head
then she saw him

 

on the locked ward
sans laces
or belts
or anything

 

he may use
to repeat
the performance
and he sat

 

in the big chair
his eyes dull
and his hair untidy
and with that loose hanging

 

dressing gown
minus belt
and in pyjamas
like some

 

Auschwitz guy
and she said
what the fuck
you in here for?

 

sitting in the armchair
next to him
broken heart
broken love

 

lost love
soul crashing
through all gears
to get back

 

to base
who knows?
he said
like that huh?

 

join the club
for what it's worth
we're all fucked up here
like driftwood

 

on a lonely beach
on some deserted island
she said
he gazed at her

 

disinterestedly
as if a gnat
had landed
on his hand

 

they lock
the doors here?
sure do
all the time

 

what about visitors?
once a week
Sundays
he looked at her

 

at her dark
long straggly hair
her dull eyes
why you here?

 

he said
some fuck
left me
at the altar

 

all dressed up
like some nun
in white
she said

 

he must have been
mad to have left you
anywhere
he said

 

well he must be
because he did
opposite
an Indian woman

 

sat crossed legged
picking
at her toes
a red spot

 

on her forehead
dressed
in long gowns
of bright colours

 

a plump woman
walked by smoking
eyeing them
suspiciously

 

foul mouthing
the nurse going by
so how long
you been here?

 

he asked
week or so
how long you staying?
until they say

 

I can leave
when will that be?
when they think
I’m better

 

or cured
or able to be
balanced again
when will that be?

 

how the fuck
do I know
she said
sorry

 

about the language
anger gets
to my tongue
before I do

 

you're not going
to hang yourself
again are you?
she asked

 

don't know
who I am any more
don't know jackshit
about myself

 

whoever myself is
she nodded
looked at his
handed in slippers

 

the scar
on his left wrist
not your first time then?
she said

 

touching the scar
guess not  
he said
welcome to Purgatory

 

she said
he sensed her finger
on his scar
the female touch

 

he wanted something
whatever it was
something
to hold on to

 

O
so very much.

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NO REGRETS.

Miryam sits at the bar
sipping a Bacardi,
bumming a smoke
from a packet open
on the bar top.

 

Hear you went
to Fez today,
she says.

 

Yes, it was like
something out
of Bible times,
you say,
camels, donkeys,
people in head gear
and gowns and such.

 

I would have come,
she says,
but I was too
shagged out
after the night before.

 

You eye her,
the tight curly
red hair,
blue eyes,
red lips.

 

I made it ok,
you say.

 

Don't know how,
she says,
you left after I did.

 

And you didn't come in
the tent
for a goodnight
kiss or more,
she adds,
staring at you.

 

Thought moaning Minnie
would be back,
you say.

 

She didn't show
until hours after;
been having it off
with that ex-army guy
of yours.

 

So that’s where
he went,
you say,
taking a quick sip
of your wine.

 

I'd have stayed
if I'd known.

 

Miryam inhales deeply,
then exhales.

Where's Army boy now?
she asks.

 

No idea,
joined the navy
for all I care,
you say.

 

We could now
if you like,
she says.

 

Where?
You take in
her tight blouse,
tight skirt
with a slit
at the side,
showing thigh.

 

One of those
sand dunes,
they're deep enough
to hide us,
she says.

 

Now?
Why not?
What if someone
comes over
and sees us?
They see us.

 

Nothing new
in what we'll be doing.

 

She drains
her Bacardi,
puts the glass down
on the bar top.

 

Well?
Under
the Moroccan sun? 
Either you do
or you don't,
she says,
getting off
the bar stool,
showing more thigh,
slim legs, sandals.

 

You drain your wine,
and follow her
from the bar
of the base camp,
and down
between the tents
and onto the beach
towards the sand dunes.

 

She has a fine sway
of hips, you note
as she walks in front.

 

The sun warms you,
sand beneath
your feet, some one
plays a flute
from across the way,
a voice sings.

 

She finds
a deep sand dune,
and you both
get down inside,
she kisses
straight away,
lips to lips stuff,
tongues,
hands undoing,
and taking
stuff off,
her body drinking
in the sun.

 

You and the pecker,
ready to go,
and the guys
still singing
from the camp,
flute still playing,
and she smells
of sun oil
and Bacardi
and stale
cigarettes,
but its all go
no time
for regrets.

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IN THE FIELD

Lizbeth stares
at her hands

 

opened up
palms upward

 

lines across
the skin where

 

Benedict
had held her

 

his palm there
squeezing tight

 

holding on
puts fingers

 

to her lips
where he kissed

 

his moisture
there somewhere

 

wanted more
more of him

 

inside her
as she's seen

 

in the book
her friend gave

 

a picture
of a man

 

and woman
having sex

 

he on top
she beneath

 

the man's butt
beautiful

 

she had thought
the long legs

 

benedict
would just kiss

 

or hold hands
nothing more

 

we're just kids
he had said

 

when she had
said they could

 

in the barn
in the church

 

in her room
all alone

 

her mother
out shopping

 

or maybe
in the field

 

hidden by corn
but not him

 

leaving her
feeling numb

 

unfulfilled
just them there

 

holding hands
and kissing

 

no fucking
in the field.

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SUMMER OF LOVE 67

It was the summer of love,
at least that's what they said.
There were guys with long
hair and beards and beads,

 

with wide trousers, and loud
shirts, and girls with long
hair, and dresses like nuns,
or short skirts, showing off

 

their not so good legs or thighs.
There was Hendricks, Beatles
and Stones and playing, music
loud, live. Julie was out for

 

the day; the hospital quacks,
giving her a day pass, no
shooting up, no pill popping.
She met Ben in Trafalgar

 

Square, tight skirt and top,
hair held in a ponytail, bright
eyed, big smile. He was
by the fountains having a

 

smoke, eyeing the girls,
listening to some long
haired guy strum a guitar,
his skinny girlfriend doing

 

a dance, her bony legs
looking breakable, tits
non existent. Been here
long? Julie said. No, just

 

a few moments, he lied,
not wanting to give her
reasons to moan or row.
She wanted to go for a beer.

 

So he took her to the bar
off Charing Cross Road
and ordered two cold beers
and lit up some smokes.

 

She spoke of some nurse
who almost lost her her pass,
all about some fuck up, over  
drugs, she’d forgotten to take.

 

She said the quacks were ok
with it, the tall one is hot,
she said, shouldn’t mind him
poking around in my parlour.

 

He told her about the Charles
Lloyd jazz album he'd bought,
how he'd met him outside Dobell's,
got a sign copy of the new L.P.

 

She drained her drink and he
ordered another two, she took
one of  his smokes and lit up
and sat back, crossing her legs,

 

her black short skirt riding her
thighs, sucking in his eyes.
No place for sex, she said,
unless you know of a bed

 

and room going cheap for
an hour or so?  No luck,
he said, wishing he did,
remembering the fast shaft,

 

the quickie in the hospital
broom room, amidst brooms
and brushes and buckets
or boxes and all. She said

 

her parents rang, and they
argued, and she slammed
down the phone. They said
it was the summer of love,

 

but where they sat, boozing
and smoking, it fell pretty flat.

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LOOKED LIKE RAIN

Someone special Della’s
mother told her. A Downs
with a lovely smile and
bright, slightly narrow eyes.

 

She had waited outside
the school grounds when
her mother drove up.

 

Sorry I’m late, her mother
said, got caught in the traffic.

Della frowned, her tongue
sitting on her lower lip.

 

Man said you sent him,
Della said. What man?
Man in a car. What man
in a car? Della looked at
her mother, puzzled.

 

Man in the car. What did
he say? Said you sent him
to pick me up. Called me
Dearie. But I’m Della.

 

Her mother got out of the
car and went and knelt
down beside her daughter.

 

You didn’t get in the car did you?
No he drove off fast when
Mrs Penbridge came over.

 

He said I was Dearie, but
I’m Della. Yes, you are. Not
Dearie. No not Dearie.

 

He smiled at me. You mustn’t
get in to a stranger’s car
unless I tell you it’s all right.

 

I didn’t get in. Good. He
drove off, Della said, lowering
her eyes to her new shoes.

 

He smiled. Yes, but that
doesn’t mean he was nice.

He seemed nice. Yes, but
men like that aren’t. Why?
Della looked at her mother.

 

Because he may have hurt you.
Why would he hurt me, I’m
special. Yes, you are special.

 

You are angry with me. No,
not with you. You’ve got
your angry voice. Not with
you. Seems angry with me.

 

Not you, the man. Why are
you angry with the man?
Because he may have taken
you away from me. Della
looked at her mother’s hair,
newly done. Where? Where
would he have taken me?

 

Away from me. Why?
Because he’s bad. Her
mother held Della to her
tightly. He didn’t look bad,
he had a nice smile. Nice
car, too. Blue. Nice blue.
Like a summer sky blue.

 

Never get in a stranger’s car.
Never. You are angry. Not
with you. Sounds angry.

 

But not with you. Not
with me? No, you are
special. Special. Yes.

Very special? Yes, very
special. Not to get in a
stranger’s car? No. Not in
a stranger’s car. I got in
your friend’s car the other day.

 

What friend? The man who
brings your groceries and
you and he talk and he makes
you laugh. Her mother stared.

 

When did you get in his car?
The other day. Why did you
get in his car? He said, you said.
Did he drive off with you? Yes.

The mother held Della out in
front of her. Where to? We
went to look at the ducks in
the pond. Why did you get
in the car? He said, you said.

 

But I didn’t tell him that.
He said, you said. Did he
touch you? Touch me? Did
he touch you anywhere?

 

He held my hand to go to
the ducks. Anywhere else?
He said I was special. You
are. Did he touch you anywhere?  

 

My hand. Anywhere else?

No. Just my hand to feed
the ducks. What happened
after you saw the ducks?

 

He said I was special. Where
did he drive you? I thought
Mrs Rice was going to pick
you up that day? I went
with your friend. Did he
touch you? He held my hand.

 

Anywhere else? Della shook
her head. He said I was pretty
and had nice legs. Her mother’s
heart thumped. Am I pretty?

 

Yes you are, but he shouldn’t
have said so. Why not? He
didn’t mean it nicely. Why?

Because he shouldn’t tell
you that. Why? Because he’s
no right to say you’re pretty.

 

You say I’m pretty. I love you.
He said I was pretty and had
nice legs. Did he touch your legs?
No he just looked at them.
Nice legs he said and nice eyes.

 

Have I got nice legs and eyes?
Yes you have but he shouldn’t
say so. You’re angry again.

 

Not with you. Seems like me.

It’s not. Seems like. I’m not.
Seems like. Never get in his
car again. Della looked at
the sky. I won’t. It looked like rain.

 
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ALL UNDONE.

All undone,
as he does,

 

Ingrid knows,
every time

 

picks on her,
punishes,

 

nothing new,
but she knows

 

afterwards
even when

 

the wounds go
and pain stops,

 

it will come
like seasons

 

once again.
Her mother

 

is too weak
to stop him,

 

too frightened
to say boo

 

or say no,
and as she

 

walks over
the bombsites

 

with her friend
Benedict,

 

listening
to his talk

 

of brave knight
fighting bad

 

with sharp sword
or strong bow,

 

or share his
bag of sweets

 

or soft drinks,
in London’s

 

50’s streets,
being his

 

high lady
in distress,

 

or be there
by her side,

 

9 years old
as she is

 

but seeming
much older,

 

his friendship

and sharing

 

and boyhood
Robin Hood

 

sort of love
and sharing,

 

makes the days
of darkness

 

of wounding
punishments

 

easier
and her mind

much bolder.

 

 

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WHAT LYDIA HEARD.

Lydia
watches through
a thin gap
in the dark

 

brown curtains
her sister
much older
in the bed

 

holding tight
to her tall
spiv boyfriend
and kissing

 

his thick lips
then his ears
which even
nine year old

 

Lydia
finds quite gross
it takes all
her childish

 

innocence
not to know
what the show
is about

 

she looking
through the gap
sees the spiv
put his hand

 

on the nude
buttocks of
her sister
Lydia

 

looks away
looks out at
the green grass
and the flats

 

and windows
opposite
ignoring
the giggles

 

and snorty
sounds she hears
from the bed
behind her

 

behind dark
brown curtains
how the heck
she got trapped

 

behind there
in her games
pretending
the window

 

was a stage
and she a
child actress
awaiting

 

to begin
when her big
sister came
tiptoeing in

 

with the spiv
while hiding
unseen there
Lydia

 

silently
hid her feet
and stealthily
had her peek

 

now she sees
pigeons walk
or kids play
with skip rope

 

or football
or cowboys
and Injuns
but behind

 

the curtains
on the bed
another
game is played

 

two actors
in combat
by the sounds
her sister

 

breathlessly
makes beyond
but innocent
lydia

 

puts her hands
to cover
her small ears
watching kids

 

play their games
and joyfully
run about
ignoring

 

whatever makes
her sister
giggle soft
then loudly
laughing shout.

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