Jeanette was by
the wire fence
leaning against it
her hands


in front of her
resting one
on the other
she watched me


as I came out
of the school door
leading from the side
onto the sports field


her friend Angela
the blonde girl
had gone home
for lunch


my did you kiss me
like that?
she asked
as I went by her


your cheek
was tempting me
I said
so I kissed it


you should have
at least asked
she said
I will next time


I said
looking at her
taking in
her thin frame


and arms
what makes you think
there will be
a next time?


she said
her eyes were dark
like small currents
in cream dishes


I feel lucky
I said smiling
she didn’t smile back
you hang around


with that Rolland boy
don't you?
she said
yes he's a friend


I said
I don't like him
she said
he doesn't like you


much either
I said
he says
you're a titless wonder


she blushed
and looked away
but I like you
I think you have


a certain class
I mean the way you
sit there listening
to all that classical stuff


Miss Graham plays
to us in lessons
while we
are bored brainless


you sit there
in another world
actually enjoying it
she looked at me


I love Beethoven
she said
his music moves me
her eyes settled on me


she played with her fingers
but you ought
to have asked
before kissing


she said
have you told anyone
I kissed you?
no of course not


she said
shame it might do
some good
I said


in what way?
she said
other kids might not
think you so stuffy


and snobbish
I said
she looked
at her well heeled shoes


and white socks
it was only a peck
she said
not a real kiss


it was lips
on cheek skin
I said
wet and warm


she said shyly
there you go
I said


Rolland called out
from the sports field
best go


I said
see you in class
and I ran off
towards Rolland


and other boys
kicking a ball
maybe a kiss tomorrow
she had said


as I went off
up on the grass
I nodded
and turned away


the sky had brightened
blue skies
had moved off
the dull of grey.

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Christina called
as I got off
the school bus


I went over
to her
standing by
the wire fence


the girls' playground
she took my arm
and walked me


along the fence
out of earshot
of others
I dreamed


of you last night
she said
did you now
I said


watching a prefect
looking over
what was I up to?
that would be telling


she said
that's the point
I said
some girls


were playing skip rope
singing a rhyming song
she looked at me
with her brown eyes


you kissed me
she said
is that all?
I said


the prefect  was walking
over towards us
his lanky frame


at a steady pace
it was a long kiss
she said
how long?


I asked
I didn't time it
she said
but it was good


made me feel
all unnecessary
as I heard
my cousin say


when she stayed
with us
what are you two
up to?


the prefect asked
he said to me
should be making


your way
to the boys' playground
not here
chatting up girls


looked at him
then at me
she dreamed of me


last night
I said
she was just
telling me


I bet no one
dreams of you
I added
looking at


the lanky prat
do you want to go
to the headmaster?
he said


giving me
the stern eye
was looking at me


her eyes like
melted chocolate
got to go
I said to her


see you lunch time
at recess
on the field
I walked off


the prefect stared
after me
Christina stood
with her hands


in front of her
her thumbs playing
with each other
I turned before


I went out of sight
and blew
her a kiss
which she pretended


to catch and put in
her school skirt pocket
the prefect scowled at her
as she walked away


patting my blown kiss
next to her thigh
easing out
a school girl sigh.

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Jeanette looked
back at me in class
I was at the back
with Reynard


on the history lesson
as best we could
the text books open


before us
some colour picture
of a cave man
with a spear


and dressed in fur
and some cave girl
standing beside
looking butt ugly


Reynard said
in whispered breath
Jeanette’s eyes
were focused on me


dark looking
her hair long
and dark
thin hands


and frame
she looked away again
her narrow shoulders
full to view


the teacher
was chalking words
upon the board


after sentence
in a measured script
I thought about
the quick peck


on Jeanette's cheek
at lunch recess
just so
quick in and out


before she had time
to say or breathe
or feel the affects
to make her swoon


or sick or both
I scribbled
on the exercise page  
in untidy scrawl


Reynard muttering
about the cave girl's tits
about hair


under her arms
but I was focused
on Jeanette’s line
of curve


the way her
narrow waist
went in and out
so narrow


I’d get my arms
all about
dark hair
on her shoulders


well brushed
or combed
the head


at an angle
as if to scrutinize
the writing
on the board


take in the words
and sense
and write it down
in her (I imagined


far finer hand
than mine
going by the smooth


of her fingers and pen)
maybe I could
kiss her again
I thought


some place
some when.

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Got Me On Her Clock

She got me on her clock


looking like im lost


work work work


she is the number one boss


think you can handle


I think not


she is wild and true


fire me


I bet she would too


running down the time


to set myself free


think you got everything


nah you ain't got me.


Finding her ways


to get my attention


come look at this


i'll get my detention


Got me on the clock


I think not


Click that button


I am free like rock


Nothing to do


free to look


got me sitting her dazed


thinking bout that kiss


that I shoulda took.


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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 waits for the school bus with her younger sister and a few others. The weather is warm and dry, clear blue and white clouds in the sky. Elaine knows he'll be on the bus; she's thought of nothing else, but that, since she woke that morning. Even on the loo, she thought about him; about how he had kissed her the day before; about how it was her first kiss from a boy, brushing of lips, not pressed hard. Over breakfast, she sat eating the breakfast her mother had prepared for her, thinking of him, mouthing the cereal, seeing him in her mind’s eye. As she washed after breakfast, she had him in mind, wondering if he would want to kiss her again that day, wondering if she'd let him or if she should. She had dressed slow, him in mind, taking her time, having borrowed her mother's old fashion scent, put on underwear, bra, blouse, skirt and white ankle socks and sat gazing at herself in the mirror, looking through her just cleaned with spittle, spectacles. She looked frumpish. She straightened her shoulders, lifted her head, raised her chin, gazed. She was so shy it hurt. Not then, while looking at herself in the mirror, but when she was with others, and they were gazing at her, or talking to her or at or about her. Teachers could make her cry, by just a stern look or words bellowed at her. Her stomach churned; nerves, she supposed, going once more to the loo, shutting the door, locking it, sitting. A book was on the shelf. Her father's book of butterflies. He kept it there to view while on the loo. He had a room full of books. Most beyond her understanding. She took the book down; the dust jacket was torn. She opened it up and randomly looked at the pictures. What was the butterfly, John had said about? She tried to recall, but she couldn't, there were so many. She closed the book and put it back on the shelf. The bus was coming around the bend in the road, thoughts of the morning at home, vanish in a wave of nerves that grips her stomach. The bus stops and the door opens. She waits with her sister and the others, then boards the bus herself. She feels self-conscious, aware that others are gazing at her as she makes she way along the aisle of the bus, to the seats, where she and her sister, usually sit. Some one says, Hello, Frumpy, and there is scattered laughter, she blushes, looks at the floor as she walks on, tries to focus, knowing he is on the other side of the aisle, maybe looking at her, maybe not. The normal chatter resumes, the radio is blasting out a pop song, she sits by the window, looks out, gets herself comfortable, undoes her coat. Her sister chats to friends nearby, laughter, giggles, loud voices. Is he looking? She stares out the window. The bus moves away, hedges, trees and fields, pass by quickly. She wonders about him. Is he there? has he come today? She wants to look and see, but can't get her head to turn. The scene changes quickly: hedges, fields, cottages, birds in flight, a tractor in a field, a road, sheep, cows, and a man by a fence. Is John looking over his seat at her? Have a look. No, I can't. Go on. No I can't. She fidgets, moves in the seat, pulls at her skirt, adjusts her bra that's tight. Some one sings along to the song on the radio. Her sister joins in. Life and soul of. Have a look. Casually. She pushes her toes to the top of her shoes. Presses hard. She pushes her hands in between her thighs. Feels anxious. Feels the need to pee come on; nerves that’s all, nothing more. Ignore, think of something else. That morning, as she washed under her arms, she noticed, what seemed for the first time, hairs, dark, curly, under her armpits. She'd not noticed before. Not cared more like. But now she did see them, and thought: he might see. How? Going to show him your armpits and say look at these hairs, John? She blushed as she soaped, rinsed and dried. And lower down, where he mother had said to keep clean and fresh, she noticed, as  if it had grown over night, pubic hairs. She tried not to notice usually; pretended they weren't there, as she had once tried to ignore, the first swellings on her chest, the bulb-like swellings that worried her, until her mother, under her breath, said: they're your breasts, all girls get them eventually; it means you’re becoming a woman. What a burden. She wasn't sure she wanted to become a woman, she told her mother. No choice in the matter, her mother said, smiling. She hates the long bus ride to school; hates the chatter, laughter, music bellowing, snorts and giggles. Is he looking? Have a quick gaze. No, I can't. Should she? Just a quick glimpse, turn of her head, a innocent turn and look. What if he's looking at her and she blushes red as a spanked backside? No, best not to. Pretend we don't care. Look at the passing view. When she had undressed for bed the night before, and stood there, staring at herself in the tall mirror, she thought herself frumpy. She stood there gazing. Her sister asleep. Stood looking at her face. The glasses, her eyes, large and dark. Her nose, flattish, broad. Her mouth, too wide, like a fish grinning. She had made a kissing sound. Pursed her lips. Some one laughs on the bus; she looks around, Goldfinch, the boy next to John, guffaws noisily, but John has his head turned towards the window, unconcerned. She sits and studies the top of his head, the hair, the turn of head, half profile, glimpse. As she removed her bra the night before, as she prepared for bed, she unclipped the back fiddly bits, and let it slip away; her breasts feeling free, warm, and just there, waiting, a fully fledged nature study. She had dressed quickly, pretended they weren't hers. She was stepping out of her comfort zone. She looks out of the window, the passing scene: trees, hedges, fields, hills, rabbits, cows and onward. She closes her eyes. Tries not to think of her bladder calling. Pushes her hands deeper between her thighs. Shuts out sounds, laughs, chatter, music, snorts and giggles. She sees behind her closed eyes, the kiss again, him kissing her on the sports field, the day before. Feels it still. The slight touch of lips. Brushing skin on skin. And his hand, where had that been? One on her arm, holding her nearer to him, the other, touching her back, her spine, fingers walking downwards. The touch, lips, warm, wet, and she opens her eyes, and feels a rush of feelings, along her nerves, spine, arms and legs, and her stomach churns, her heart thumps wildly as if it's her last. But none has seen, none has felt. Her sister still talks, Goldfinch sits and gabbles, and John, he sits unaware, that she is burning wildly, inwardly, a rush of electricity rushes along her nerves, a glow down below, her mind is confused and alive, and she sitting there with that: I'm out of my comfort zone, scared look and soft moan.

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She'd run
from the shelter
of the old


corrugated shed
to the shelter
of the trees


you followed
seeing her ahead
happy to be away


from school
a job lined up 
and you too


glad to be away
from the brain washing
and having that job


at the garage
to begin
and she ran


through the narrow rides
of the wood
knowing you


were behind her
looking back
at you as


she ran
and past
the small pond


and she stood there
looking at it
the pond water


by cast away tins
and rubbish


and she said
not what it used to be
and you stood


beside her looking
at the still pond
the brown water


and she said
I used to come here
as a little girl


and bathe here
with my sister
wish I'd known


you said
before you came
she said


we were only 8 or 9
as were you


so it wouldn’t have
amounted to much
depressing seeing it


like this
she added

let's go elsewhere


you said
go to the our lake

she smiled


yes you remember
our name
for the large pond 


so you both
walked on
and over


the wooden fences
and across the field
by cows


avoiding cow pats
and over
by the lake


where she sat
on the grass


at the clear water
the ducks swimming there
fish under


the water's skin
just visible
do you remember


when we first
came here?
she asked


you nodded
we were so
shy together


we just about
found words
to speak


and our fingers
nearly touched
and I blushed


and it was
so innocent
so white


and silky
and that first kiss
that was so magical


so non-sexual
and she laughed
and you sat beside her


and said
are all first kisses
like that


do you think?
ours was
she said


you thought on it
so unexpected
so unplanned


a full moon
lips warming


softly wet
and she turned
to you there


sitting by the lake
and gave another kiss


more tongue
and warmth


more sexual
and sensual
and the ducks


and fish
the water's skin


cared not
if it was love
or lust


or grace
or sin.

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There was no place to go,

she knew that, the school

was a complete wash out,

no place at all there, except


the gym, and that was almost

always occupied. She couldn't

take him home in their lunch

hour because her sour mother


was there, mooching around

like some miserable sick cow.

The sports field was too visible,

the small area of wood was no


good, too many prefects, spying

the grounds, doing their rounds.

She could have the occasional

grab with him for a quick peck,


in some dark nook in the corridor,

but it was all too much of a smash

and grab affair, not the kind of

kiss to make a tremor through


her hair, or stiffen her small tits

with excitement kind of kiss, she

thought sitting in the class room,

as the teacher rabbited on about


some king who'd lost his head

or something. She scribbled down

the name and date and what had

happened and why and where,


giving the male teacher the, I

couldn't care less stare. If only

Benedict was there, standing

where the teacher stood, his


hazel eyes, his quiff of hair,

ready for a kiss, and embrace,

lips to lips, face to face, hot kiss.

Benedict lived too far away;


a school bus trip, an hour or so

away from where she lived and

the school. She'd seen him briefly,

in the passageway, on her way


to biology; he smiled, waved,

then was gone, off with another

boy, towards the science labs,

his quiff dancing as he walked.


She'd not kissed him all day,

no chance had permitted, the

wet grounds had ruled out going

on the sports field to wander


and smooch, the recreation

grounds were out of bounds,

the gym too busy, too crowded

with sports loving girls, doing


their indoor netball or what

have you, and all she wanted,

needed, sitting there giving

the teacher I’m bored stare,


was a gentle kiss and cuddle ,

not this regurgitated history

and brain soaked boring muddle.

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All through the woodwork lesson
and through a double dose of maths,
he thinks of her, the kiss on the sports
field, the brushing of his lips on hers.


He'd almost cut his finger on a saw,

being preoccupied with thoughts of
her, her eyes through glasses, the
innocence of lilies about her, the way


she looked so surprised, he having

kissed her.  Not planned, no he didn’t
plan the kiss, he was just going to talk
with her, get to know her more and


better, when the impulse to kiss, over

came him, as if some rarely seen fish
of the sea had drawn him into depths
he'd not known. He sits on the school


bus, got on before she had, looks out

the window, shy of seeing her, now
wondering what she'd day after that
kiss, her reaction. Trevor says softly


something about the Frump, he doesn't

turn, looks at the kids waiting to get
on the bus, excited, engaged in their
conversations, laughing. He is aware,


that she may be on the bus now, he is

so self obsessed, he can hear his heart
beat, thump through his chest. Trevor
next to him, talking across the aisle,


says something about her, but he isn’t

listening, stares out. He feels as if he's
under a microscope, eyes gawking at
him, words around him. Maybe others


saw the kiss? He didn’t think about that,

never gave it thought. The radio is on,
the music blares, some one is singing
about love and missing her. He relaxes


as the bus move off, senses no one is

aware of the kiss, no talk, or chatter
of it. Even Trevor, who is the vanguard
of gossip, says nothing about that at all.


John is aware she sits across the aisle,

a little bit back. He could possibly see
her, if he glanced over the top of his seat,
but he doesn't, he looks at the passing


scene, trees, hedges, fields, cottages.

He tries to calm his beating heart, the
thump seems almost audible, as if
the whole bus can hear its thump.  


He closes his eyes and thinks of her,

the lips kissed, the eyes behind her
spectacles, her mouth, the way her
words were stilled by his kiss, were


drenched in her virgin mouth; he had

touched her, too. His hand had soft
touched her arm, drew her body closer
to him. She smelt of countryside, air,


and hay and fields. Her lips there were

feather soft; he could have slept there,
lay there, brushed the lips, as if a red  
butterfly had landed, sought refreshment.


He reruns the kiss, in his head, plays

it over and over. She is there just across
the way; he can almost sense her eyes
on him, like feelers reaching over the


seats to touch him. He opens his eyes,

Trevor has football cards in his inky
hands, he talks of this player and that,
that football team and this, but all John
can think on is the butterfly landing kiss.



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