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
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


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


we wanted
to be.

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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


her white
ankle socks
now and then


at the passing feet
of others
not looking
but staring


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


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
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
she said


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


our garden briefly
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 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


you must have
a girl's name?
she asked


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
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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A butterfly fluttered by
as we lay
in the long grass
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,
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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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.


it was the scent
she wore,


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 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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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
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


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 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


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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thinks of her


the girlfriend
at high school
as he now


for bedtime


she far off
in her house
in her town


her parents
below stairs


watching their
dull programmes
on TV


while she in
her bedroom


or so he
(in his head)


watching her
each piece of


as he too


in his room
a coloured


of a fast
racing car
on the wall


and her small
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


then walking
off alone


high smell of
her soft hand


lips kissing
now in bed
lying there


lights all out
just moonlight


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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