1962

CHRISTINA AND PLACES.

Christina was with friends
schoolgirls like her
and she saw me

 

coming across
the sports field
she left them

 

and met me
and I heard them
cackle like hens

 

I’d turned down
Reynard's game
of football

 

to be there
what's tickling
their fancy?

 

I asked
nodding
towards the girls

 

on the field
O you know
what girls are like

 

any juicy bit
of gossip
to bite on

 

what gossip is that?
about the gym
and us the other day

 

she said
and that prefect
turfing us out

 

O that
I said
looking at her eyes

 

seeing worlds there
I wish I was in your year
she said

 

then I
would be leaving school
this year

 

instead of next
shouldn't wish
your life away

 

or before you know it
you'll be an old lady
with grey hair

 

and wrinkles
God forbid
she said smiling

 

we walked up
the field together
she talked

 

of her parent's rowing
and her mother's moods
and how her big brother

 

had  done things
but then she broke off
and talked

 

of the girl in her class
who thought
she was dying

 

because she had
started to bleed
during P.E

 

we got to fence
which separated
the field from the road

 

where cars and lorries
were going by
she looked back

 

at the field
we don't get
enough time together

 

she said
you being
in a village

 

miles away
and I living
in this boring town

 

at least we do
see each other
I said

 

not enough
of each other though
she said

 

her lips stopped
and parted slightly
I gazed at her

 

for a few moments
taking in her eyes
and lips

 

that kiss
in the gym
she said

 

that could have
led somewhere
could it?

 

I said
yes it may
she said

 

BENNY
someone called my name
across the field

 

who the heck is that?
she said
my mate Reynard

 

I said
what's he want?
football game I expect

 

you're not going
to play football
are you?

 

she said
I waved away Rolland
indicating I wasn't playing

 

and he ran off
with other boys
towards the goals

 

on the other end
of the field
she looked at the boys

 

kicking a ball around
never understand boys
she said

 

what do they see
in kicking a ball about?
never mind them

 

I said
we have limited
time together

 

she nodded
and she looked back
at the field seeing

 

who was nearby
and who was who
then she came

 

close to me
and kissed me
her lips warm

 

and wet
skin on skin
tongues touched

 

a fire like sense
raced along
my nerves

 

I closed my eyes
and so did she
and we were

 

in places
and positions
in our minds

 

where
we wanted
to be.

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ELAINE'S NEW HOPE.

Elaine got off
the school bus
following her younger sister
not sure if John

 

was on the bus
or not
she didn't look
although she had been

 

tempted many times
to look about her
but she just stared
out the window

 

at the passing view
listening to others
talking and laughing
wondering if John

 

was there
and if he had been
looking at her
she walked on

 

by the school fence
her sister went off
with a friend
into the girls' playground

 

she looked
at her shoes
scuffed
black

 

her white
ankle socks
looking
now and then

 

at the passing feet
of others
not looking
but staring

 

waiting
for the school bell
to ring
can we still talk?

 

a voice asked
she looked up
John was standing there
with that quiff of hair

 

that hazel eyed stare
she blushed
and looked at him
talk about what?

 

she asked moodily
looking at his
loosely tied tie
anything

 

as long
as we can talk
he said
she didn't feel

 

like talking
or listening
but she did
she was in

 

such a depressed mood
that she thought that
any moment she
was going to cry

 

and she didn't want
him or others
to see her cry
she looked behind him

 

at passing girls
their hair
all arranged neatly
you're not going

 

to kiss me again
are you?
she said
he looked at her

 

then at her hair
not if you don't
want me to
he said

 

although at that moment
he wanted to
because he wanted
to make the oddness

 

of the day before right
to get them back
to some kind
of friendship again    

 

she wasn't sure
if she felt relieved or not
part of her
wanted him

 

to kiss her
to show others
that someone
did find her attractive

 

and that she wasn't
just a 14 year old
frump as others
called her

 

we can't talk now
she said
the bell will soon go
maybe lunch time

 

at recess?
he nodded
sure
he said

 

I’ll look out for you
O by the way
I saw a Jay yesterday
she looked at him

 

there was a small smile
on his lips
Jay?
she said

 

it's a bird
he said
don't see them often
but it was in

 

our garden briefly
O
she said
not knowing

 

what else to say
about a bird
I’ll show you
a picture

 

in my bird book
at recess
if you like
he said

 

she nodded
and a smile spread
on her lips
the book of birds

 

he kept in that
coat pocket of his
she thought
the school bell rang

 

and he said
see you later
and touched her hand
and was gone

 

she she sensed
his touch still there
warming moving along
her nerves

 

like a fire
opening up
a small unknown
deep down desire.

 

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WHAT'S IN A NAME.

What names
shall we give
our children
when we get older?

 

Judy asked
as we walked
through the woods
behind the house

 

towards the lake
(as she called
the pond
in the woods)

 

I’m no good
with names
I said
you must

 

have some idea
what names to call
your children
I haven't got children

 

not yet but when
we're older you will
she said
the trees were

 

coming into leaf
the sun was straight overhead
birds were flying
from branch to branch

 

what if it's a girl?
she asked
I thought about
the middle spread picture

 

of the sports car
in the Eagle comic
I’d just pinned
to my bedroom wall

 

the parts number
and labelled
colourful
surely

 

you must have
a girl's name?
she asked
Leonore

 

I said
what kind of name
is that?
she said

 

I think it's in
that Beethoven opera
Miss Graham
made us listen to

 

during lessons
I said
I don't like it
Judy said

 

the car picture
was just one
of many I had
on my bedroom walls

 

I had one photograph
of Hayley Mills
in a frame
by my bed

 

I got it
from a magazine
on move-stars
what about Ruth?

 

she said
or Rebecca?
the path through the woods
was windy

 

there were bramble
on each side
how about Jezebel
I said

 

it has a certain
ring to it
don't like it
she said

 

gives off
a bad scene
we reached the fence
around the lake

 

and climbed over
she had on
that peasant
looking dress

 

flowered red and yellow
I caught a glimpse
of thigh
as she went over

 

you're not
taking it
seriously
she said

 

as we walked down
the grass towards
the water
sure I am

 

I said
I think Judy’s
a fine name
for a daughter.

 

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AS STARS DO.

A butterfly fluttered by
as we lay
in the long grass
talking;
well she talked,
I listened
to her words,
took them
into my mind,
turned them around
as if they
were rare gems,
all air and breath,
peppermint tasting.

 

I looked
at the rise and fall
of her breasts
beneath the blouse;
her hand shading
her eyes
from bright sunlight;
her hair tucked
behind her ears;
lips moving,
the pink gloss touching
lip to lip as she spoke.

 

The butterfly
disappeared from sight;
red and black
and white wings,
fluttering, riding
between her words,
carrying off,
maybe, a breath feel,
a wing touched,
colourful,
sight captured.

 

I could have ran
a finger along
her thigh,
barely touching,
skimming maybe,
but my fingers behaved,
held back;
the rise and fall
of her mounds,
the eyes shaded,
her words
became butterflies,
fluttered about me,
carrying softness,
tender as bubbles,
syllables upon syllables
reaching for the sky,
then like far away stars
they began to die.

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SHE MAYBE

Maybe
it was the way
she sat
or the way

 

her head
titled slightly
or the promise
in her eyes,

 

dark and mysterious,
that outshone
the midday sun
on the school field;

 

I sitting there
next to her,
half shy
half opening up,

 

talking the talk,
eyeing her over,
taking in
her eyes,

 

the nose,
the lips partly open,
tongue moving
just along the edge.

 

Maybe
it was the scent
she wore,
applely,

 

flowery smell;
her small breasts,
pushing against
the white blouse,

 

the buttons
under pressure;
her hands on
her thighs at rest;

 

her dark hair,
brushed just so,
and she spoke,
but I half listened,

 

half not,
caring not
how well she sat,
she cool,

 

I, oh boy,
so hot.

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JEANETTE'S PROMISE.

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
BENNY

 

Rolland called out
from the sports field
COME ON FOOTIE
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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EMPTY COTTAGE

Judith took me
to the derelict cottage
just off the wood
in the Easter recess

 

from school
she opened up
the back door
and into the kitchen

 

with its smell
of damp and decay
it's been empty for years
she said

 

my sister and I
used to come here
and pretend
it was our own cottage

 

smells horrible
I said
ignore the smell
she said

 

pretend it's our
own cottage
and we have
just moved in

 

after marrying
when did we marry?
I asked
after we left school

 

she said
smiling
she walked into
a larger room

 

with wide windows
looking out
onto a large
overgrown garden

 

we could grow
some of our own food
she said
looking out

 

the window
I looked at
the hanging wallpaper
and a damp patch

 

on the ceiling
and our children
could play out there
she said

 

what children?  I asked
when did they come along?
after we married
she said

 

I don't remember
I said smiling
you will
if you pretend better

 

she said
moving through
to another room
at the front

 

I noticed a space
where a picture
must have hung
because it was cleaner

 

than the rest
of the wall
I like this room
she said

 

this is where we will sit
and have our TV
and radio
and the children

 

can sit with us
and we can cuddle them
I nodded playing along
let me show you upstairs

 

to the bedrooms
she said
so I followed her
up the creaky stairs

 

her green skirt
swaying as she walked
three bedrooms
she said

 

one for us
one for our boys
and one for our girls
she stood

 

in the front bedroom
looking out
over an untidy hedge
onto the road

 

this is our bedroom
she said
turning around
looking at it all

 

our bed can go there
she said
pointing to a wall
on the left

 

and we can have
a dressing table
and dresser
the room was empty

 

and smelt
over by the right wall
was a pile of shit
some one's been here

 

and dumped
I said
probably some tramp
or hobo

 

she looked
at the shit
and said
who's dumped

 

in our bedroom?
I laughed
it isn't our room yet
pretend

 

she said
I pretended
the shit wasn't there
and we went

 

into the other bedrooms
and she said
this was where
such and such

 

will be
and out of the window
the overgrown garden
seemed vast

 

with an apple orchard
to the left
she touched my hand
and squeezed it

 

we will be happy here
she said
I looked about
the room years after  

 

the cottage smelt ranker
and she was dead.

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ELAINE AND THE ELVIS SONG.

Elaine sits
in her room
the door shut

 

her sister
in the room
next to hers

 

plays records
all too loud
an Elvis

 

Rock and Roll
kind of song
but Elaine

 

shuts it out
as best as
she now can

 

curtain's drawn
chink of light
through a gap

 

gazing hard
at herself
in mirror

 

her features
those two eyes
her thoughts on

 

the boy John
what went wrong?
almost there

 

getting close
yet so tense
lost in words

 

burnt in touch
scared to feel
love as this

 

undoing
lost balance
this love feel

 

this chasm
she pretends
to kiss him

 

her eyes close
Elvis sings
from nearby

 

the song hurts
feels undone
makes her cry.

 

 

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BENEDICT THINKS OF HER.

Benedict
thinks of her
Christina

 

the girlfriend
at high school
as he now

 

undresses
preparing
for bedtime

 

she far off
in her house
in her town

 

her parents
probably
below stairs

 

watching their
dull programmes
on TV

 

while she in
her bedroom
undresses

 

or so he
imagines
(in his head)

 

watching her
removing
each piece of

 

clothing
as he too
undresses

 

in his room
a coloured
centrefold

 

of a fast
racing car
on the wall

 

and her small
photograph
by his bed

 

she gave him
he'd seen her
on the field

 

at high school
during their
lunch recess

 

she sitting
with her friends
giggling

 

then walking
together
off alone

 

high smell of
lavender
her soft hand

 

lips kissing
now in bed
lying there

 

lights all out
just moonlight
reflecting

 

her image
he pretends
she is there

 

next to him
not speaking
not laughing

 

both watching
the moon move
and stars shine

 

hands touching
fingers entwined
each having

 

the same thoughts
in shared mind.

 

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