Google+ A Tangled Rope: 12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013

Monday, December 31, 2012

Monday Poem: Eye of the Storm


Eye of the Storm

The cool warmth of lips that could kiss.
Hair I can tangle my fingers in.
A breast I could rest my head upon,
Feeling the soothing heartbeat
Of one close enough for comfort.

It is easy to lie here together,
Listening to the rain and wind rage
Against the window with curtains closed.

To be the calm in the eye of the storm
Where nothing matters
As much as the next heartbeat.
And the only movement of air
Is the next easeful breath.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The River


Jill laughed and broke free from Pete, climbing out of the old building and running off down the sheep track into the dark of the evening. There was a full moon, leaving their clothes behind on the old blanket from his car, Pete chased after Jill’s ghost-like body as she ran. Pete knew exactly where she was going. He sometimes called her his mermaid because they’d met at the local baths early one morning, both there swimming before heading off to work. One of the few things Pete knew about her was her love of water.

Almost at the same moment, he heard the splash from the river and Jill’s yell of surprise. It didn’t seem to matter to her how often she jumped into water; she was always surprised by the temperature of it. Even in the swimming pool she gasped as she entered its heated waters.

Pete paused to pull off his underwear on the bank, ready to dive in after her.


The scream came just as he had steeled himself for the shock of the cold water.

‘Jill! What’s happened?’ Pete yelled, searching the rough water for a sight of her, but there was nothing there, only the swollen river, tumbling over itself from the heavy rain of the last few weeks out in its middle. Here at the calm edges, though, where he expected to see Jill he could see nothing.

Nothing except….

It looked like dirty foam, as though someone had emptied a massive bubble bath container into the river. As Pete, wondering what the foam was, edged closer to it, he noticed the movement of the foam. At first, he’d assumed the undulations he could see in the foam were caused by the ripples in the river water. Now, he could see it wasn’t that at all….

The foam seemed to be breathing.

Just then he saw Jill, her naked body rising from the water like some creature from mythology. Pete sighed in relief, reaching out his hand to help her from the water.

As he reached towards her, he noticed the strange foam spreading up her legs from the water, the reverse of how the foam should have dripped off her as she rose.

She reached out… took Pete’s hand in a grip far stronger than she’d ever had before, even in the heat of passion. It was then Pete noticed her eyes and the strange undulating light behind them… then he stopped noticing everything as she dragged him back down into the breathing foam.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Songline Stories


Usually, at the end of the day we sat; weary, around the camp fire, while the Elder told us a story. He often told the stories of the Old People from the Times Before. The Elder knows many stories of those long-gone people and the Times Before.

The Times Before were strange times, when the people did not wander around the barren lands, seeking some way of surviving. They had places they called homes, built in places called towns and cities where many of them all lived together, many, many more than there are in the tribe now.

When we are trudging through the dust of our days, looking for ways to carry on, some say the Elder makes up all these stories, that there were no Old People from The Times Before at all.

The Elder does not mind their disbelief, does not punish their heresy, although, when he hears such things his lights turn from green to red and stay that way for longer than normal. Usually, the Elder’s lights are always flickering from red to green and back again, except during the hot hours of the sun when we have to turn his mirrored face towards the sun for his meditations.

The Elder says he is getting older and his meditations under the heat of the sun take longer and longer. Sometimes, it takes several hours for that one particular light to turn from red to green and for the Elder to return to us, from wherever it is he goes during those times of meditation.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Charity Steeplechase


And so it began, even though we had no real idea what to do with it. At least, though, it was relatively politics-free, despite some people doing their best to paint it as some sort of conspiracy of the rich and powerful to consolidate their ownership of the means of production through the medium of a naked pogo-stick steeplechase*.

However, it was pointed out that most of the contestants were doing it for charity and the professional nude pogo stick riders were very much in the minority.
The conditions on the day, however, were far from perfect for the amateur, especially as there had been a sharp frost the previous night, leading to quite a nip in the air, especially when the cold air got to the nips themselves, with many contestants becoming very outstanding as a consequence, even at that early stage of the race.

The frost had also led to icy conditions on the course, especially on some of the sharper corners where many of the contestants fell as they rounded the bend just outside Argos. However, the crowd – very substantial indeed even for that time in the morning – were always more than willing to help the contestants remount their pogo-sticks, in fact such was the enthusiasm of the crowd for giving the contestants a hand whenever possible, that some of the contestants later complained they had been hindered more than helped by the eagerness of the crowd, with many of them suffering a loss of several seconds on their race time.

However, the steeplechase itself was won by the Scandinavian naked Pogo-stick steeplechase champion, Smorgasbord Undulations, for whom the race conditions were said to be ideal. Furthermore nearly £7.65 was raised for charity, a record which ensures that the event will return again next year.

* See here for a fuller discussion of the naked pogo-stick steeplechase.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday Poem: If Left Unnamed


If Left Unnamed

If left out there, unnamed, it can’t escape
Evade definitions and then return
Becoming something new and giving names
To that unnamed and hidden sense of dread
That turns all days to nights and nights to fears

Which haunt each dream, and grow from shadowed dark
To walk though memory and night and dreams.
So nightmare turns, becomes obsession. Dread
Itself becomes a fear of fear that grows
From days and nights which turn from dreams to fear.

And you are there and waiting for the day
To take your hand and take you on towards
A better form of life, away from here
And all it promised you, and failed to bring
Up to your open door you left ajar

And waiting for the day to come for you
To take you far from here to some unknown
And newer, further place not weighted down
So heavily with histories and tales
The stories, myths and legends all now told

Of golden days from long ago, and times
Before these days became the newest days
And suddenly it seemed as though forever
Was closer, ready now to grow and bloom
Into these moments you could never lose.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Step Sideways


Sometimes, it was easier to take a step sideways, out of danger and out of this world into one of the nearby parallel universes. There was always the possibility, though, that a step sideways would mean I was stepping sideways into a greater danger than I was stepping away from, especially if I forgot I was – for example – several stories above the ground when I slipped one way or another. Nearby universes are very similar, of course, but sometimes the distance is greater than a step and sometimes that step leads to a very different place.

For example, Shireen does not live on this Earth, even though she does exist – or versions of her – do exist in several of the closest parallel universes. In fact, only last week I discovered I’m married to her in some realities, which, if you knew Shireen, would make you wonder what kind of life I have there.

I have met myself over there and asked myself about it, and I still don’t quite believe it myself. Shireen is no easier to live with – no matter what universe you are in – than she is to live without.

Imagine an untamed wild horse, crossed with a hurricane, all living in the kind of body you used to dream about when you were a horny teenager, matched with a mind as sharp as a Saracen sword and you get some kind of idea of what she is like, at least during the daytime. At night Shireen is even wilder, and I have the scratch scars to prove it.

Anyway, there I was slipping sideways into a nearby universe - to avoid someone I’d rather not meet, at least without the money I owed him - when down the alley I found myself in, came Shireen, running and glancing back over her shoulder. We collided and both went sprawling. From the things she called me as we disentangled ourselves from each other, I discovered, she did not know me on this plane and – unless our relationship had hit a very rocky patch – we certainly weren’t married.

Anyway, I pulled her to her feet, and would have introduced myself, if the ricocheting bullet that struck the wall above our heads hadn’t interrupted the little speech I’d been planning….

‘Come on, Shireen!’ I yelled, instead. ‘Let’s get out of here.’ I took her hand and began to run. I didn’t get far.

Shireen stood there, her hand gripping mine, staring at me. ‘Who the fuck are you?’ she said ‘…and how do you know my name?’

Good question, I thought as the second bullet struck the wall, even closer to our heads.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Weaver of Heavens

She had hands that could weave the possibilities from the most ordinary of days. She could take me in her hand and she could take me to places I had only ever seen in the strangest of my dreams. But when she took me in her mouth, she could take me beyond even those dream landscapes into worlds I had never known and into the shapes of existences that seemed to lie far beyond the world of promises. Even a religion could not have made promises of a heaven like the one she took me to - with only a few deft flicks of her tongue and movements of her lips - beyond the secret kisses of all the lovers there have ever been.

Her body could dance all the movements of love and weave all the wants and needs of everyone’s desire; she could take me into a moment beyond remembering to breathe.

She could twist the night into endless hours of slow and sensuous movement that could take my body on journeys through the sides of this world, beyond the edges of the possible and into realms where everything becomes the kiss of body against body and the delicate trace of lips along skin.

She could do more than merely make love; she could create a world out of nakedness and need, of want and desire. She could bury me under her body as though she was a mountain and drown me in her seas as easily as she could make me fly through her skies to visit every moon and star in her heaven, all before the dawn came and found us sleeping there, side-by-side in her bed.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Amateur Photography


Obviously, there was a duck. After all, it would be odd to have a duck pond without one. At first, it – quite naturally (for a duck) - assumed we were there to steal its bread, but of course once we had assured the mallard that its diet of low-quality supermarket white-sliced was not our aim, it cruised off to the other side of the ponds to watch events unfold.

Which they did….

Although, the spontaneity of the event was somewhat – to what remains of my mind, anyway – marred by her insistence on folding her clothes neatly and placing them in a clean dry place, which – when you are adjacent to a duck pond – is not the simple straightforward matter it would otherwise be. My - I thought helpful – suggestion that she hang them on a branch of a nearby tree was rewarded by one of those looks that men tend to learn to recognise at an early age, and it was definitely not one of those looks that would launch a thousand ships, at least, not unless the sailors were fleeing in panic from her and her wrath.

Anyway, soon she was naked and, consequently, I’d completely forgotten why we’d gone there and what I was supposed to do.

She tutted in a way that suggested I’d better not ever suggest such a thing again and strode off – causing the duck to flee in panic – while I stood their watching her, clutching my forgotten equipment in my hand… at least until I realised what a magnificent figure she struck as she strode across the village green and was seemingly now hurrying back towards me - clutching a fallen tree branch - in a manner that suggested those aforementioned sailors would have been right to flee in fear of their lives.

So, after a careful – but rapid – consideration of my options, I did the brave thing and ran for it too.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Days of Revolution


I knew her, back then. It was a long time ago. I was a different person then. I was young and – of course – I knew everything. Now, I am a different person, much older, and I know so little and care about even less.

Back then, I cared about everything, I wanted to save the world, put it all to rights and bring about a revolution that would end forever injustice, inequality, poverty and so much that I thought was wrong with the world.

These days all of that is still wrong, but I know I cannot put any of it right, and – what is more – one of the few things I do know, beyond any doubt is that those who try to make the world a better place by trying to tackle those big things only ever make things worse.

Jenny, back then, was like me, a believer in changing things. Even though we argued all the time, we both believed in the same things, both thought we could be the ones that could make the difference, be the ones who could make the world see how wrong it was, and how it could - we thought - so easily be so different.

It never occurred to us that the world knew about its own faults, and that those with any sense already knew that change is only ever really possible over time, that evolution is the only way, and revolution only ends with more children crying in the dirt and soaked in the blood of their parents.

One day, I woke up and realised all this. I tried to tell Jenny, but she – of course – would not listen. So, we had our final argument. I packed up my things and walked away and Jenny went off to save the world.

I’m still here, just trying to get though each day; the world goes on going to hell as it has always done, but Jenny…. Well, she was just defeated by it all and all that remains of her now are my memories of her.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Party


But this is hardly the place for that, so if you don’t mind, could you put it away, at least until this blog’s Christmas party. That is when the overt flaunting of such things is not only acceptable, but regarded by some of the more… er… excitable habitués of this towering organ as something approaching almost de rigour for this particular time of year.

Now as I was about to say before you suddenly interrupted me with your –seemingly rather over zealous flaunting of that… that… decidedly average specimen of….

Hang on, is it supposed to be that colour?

Are you sure…? I mean if it was – as you say something to do with the weather, I mean, well we are indoors, aren’t we? After all, blogging and blog perusing are not – that often – considered outdoor sports are they?

Is it supposed to do that, as well?

I mean, I have heard of being friendly, but that does seem somewhat over-familiar, even for a regular visitor to this heap of deluded ramblings that I like to believe I have some sort of control over.

I would strongly suggest you take it for an examination by someone with a professional interest in such matters. I’m sure that when there used to be such things as phone boxes there were several enterprising young ladies who would – for a modest fee – take a professional interest in such matters, at least until your money ran out. I’m reasonably confident one of them – I’m sure – would be able to offer if not a course of treatment – some advice on how not to frighten the horses and the easily distracted by this constant proffering of your affliction to all and sundry.

But, for now I’ll bid you good day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Philosophical Investigations


‘There are many things in this world that – to the surprise of many - do not taste of pineapple.’ Everyone, these days, is surely familiar with these wise words by the 20th century’s greatest philosopher Ludwig von Wittless, who lived through some of the most tumultuous decades of that benighted century and was even present on that most significant day of the century when West Germany lost the World Cup Final to England in 1966. For von Witless this was a very complex situation as he had left Germany to escape the Nazi menace and now lived and taught at Oxford, in a fish and chip shop quite near one of the colleges.

Consequently, von Wittless was undecided which team to support as he had profound philosophical objections to Alf Ramsey’s use of the 4-3-3 formation. This – of course – led to his notorious philosophical break with the French philosopher, novelist and professional Gauloise-inhaler, Albert Campus, who famously declared that ‘the winger – like God – is dead.’ a statement which caused rioting at the Sorbonne and led to condemnation from one of the French president’s more philosophically-inclined mistresses.

Anyway, once von Wittless, had turned his back on football he – of course – returned to the philosophy of fruit and the age-old paradox – dating back to the time of Plato and Aristotle – of how do we know that an apple is an apple. Leaving aside A. J. Ayer’s contention that: ‘It is bloody obvious that an apple is a sodding apple and if you want to debate it, I’ll see you outside, son!’ as philosophically naïve, von Wittless observed – once he was well out of Ayer’s reach - that just because it is in the supermarket labelled as an apple – it does not necessarily mean that it is an apple, or – for that matter a pomegranate (as Heraclites had insisted before Pythagoras twatted him one around the scrolls with his philosophising bat).

Still, despite all these reservations, Von Witless did indeed make one of the most philosophically-sound fresh fruit salads ever tasted in a university Philosophy Department, and for that we of the succeeding generations should be extremely grateful for his pioneering work in this field.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Fought the Law

Even if she was standing there entirely unarmed, the look on her face would be more than enough for anyone to first plead guilty and then beg for mercy even before they were informed of which of her myriad rules they had broken – quite possibly with malice aforethought.

The fact that these rules of hers are not written down, enforced or even acknowledged before they are broken is – of course – no excuse. It is enough that she knows of the rules and knows exactly when they have been broken.

It goes without saying that she is the victim here; she is the one that suffers when these secret rules are broken, because putting everything right is – as is everything else – a job that is always left to her.

However, it is wise not to point out that they are her rules, and that she will not allow anyone else to restore the order that she is the only one to see, and that she is the only one who knows when the secret rules are broken, and that everyone else was getting along in this indifferent world as best they could until she announced the great calamity had occurred and that the world would henceforth be ripped asunder until such time as she could step forth and restore calm and order.

In the meantime, the only answer for the transgressor she has already found guilty is self-banishment to the shed to learn the error of his ways, only to emerge some time latter faithfully promising to do better next time… in the sure and certain knowledge that sometime in the very near future he will be found wanting again.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?


She said to me: ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’

I couldn’t lie to her, not with how she was holding me. I’d seen her make a lemon meringue and watching her squeezing the lemons had made me nervous, even then. Now, with her holding my delicacies in he same way as she had held those lemons, all my thoughts of spinning her some story went out the window.

Which is a shame….

Because spinning the stories is what I’m good at. Give me anything, say: an elephant and a mandolin and I’ll have that elephant working as the best mandolin salesman the music shop has ever seen within a handful of paragraphs.

So, when she asked me where I got my ideas from, I told her.

I told her about the clearing in the woods.

I told her about the special night when the moon is just right.

I told her about the midnight hour and the chanting.

I made sure I told her all about the naked dancing under that almost-full moon at midnight in the clearing in the woods.

I told her about the special box you had to place in the dead centre of that clearing, and how you had to leave the lid open and walk away without looking back.

I told her all about those lonely hours sitting – still naked – with your back to the clearing until dawn.

I told her about how the dew-wet grass soaks your feet as you walk cautiously back to the clearing and peer through the undergrowth at the edge of the open space to see if the lid is back on the box.

Then I told her about creeping up to the box and opening the lid to find the box overflowing with ideas, more ideas than anyone could write in one lifetime.

Then she let me go….

I told her all about where I get my ideas from, and I’ll tell you this: it is well worth visiting that clearing in the middle of the woods next time it is almost-full moon, because the sight of her dancing naked around that open box is a sight you’ll never forget….

Who knows, maybe it will even give you an idea for a story too.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Monday Poem: Flying Free


Flying Free

So, this silence falls down around us
As we let the bird fly free from open palms.
Watching it become a speck and then nothing

Before turning back to break free of that silence
Of a solemn and significant moment.

We wait for breathing to return to tense bodies
And life to flow back through us, before we step away
From this hillside and return to our lives.

We live down in the valley below
Where ordinary days pass in ordinary ways

And the only birds we ever see are those that fly
Too far above us for us ever to take one
Into our hands again, just to hold its freedom close.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Rock Pool

Beauty In Nature

She found herself back on the beach, kneeling and staring into a rock pool. She did not know how she had got there. The Last thing Bella could remember was getting into bed and turning the light off, too tired to even read. She did remember, before she fell asleep, wondering what she was doing there at the holiday cottage on her own.

She had expected a troubled, disturbed night without the familiar presence of Richard in the bed beside her, but here she was with the whole night past and the dawn creeping up, turning the grey sky orange behind her.

Bella looked down at herself, glad to see she was dressed, but not knowing how she had managed it. She always slept naked. She did not know, either, how she had apparently opened the tricky cottage door that had given her so much trouble when she’d arrived the afternoon before. She felt the back pocket of her jeans and was reassured the cottage key was there. She could feel the hard outline of the big old-fashioned key, its solidity reassuring.

She looked up; the beach was deserted, the tide almost in… or on the way out, she was not sure which, with only a distant early morning solitary dog walker far over the other side of the beach.

Bella got to her feet, suddenly crying out in shock and pain, as she stood on her bare feet, one of which – the left – leaving a damp and bloody print on the rock where she’d tried to put her weight on it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Just Another Rainy Day


I remember the day, the ordinariness of it, just another rainy day in what had seemed like a long year of rain. Back then, I still believed in books and that they could make a difference; make a life richer, deeper.

I sat at the table by the café window, so I could look out on the rain-splattered street outside and those hurrying by. Back then, I thought I was a poet and I thought I needed to pay attention to the world, turn everything I saw, knew, felt or wondered about into words on the page; even though those words could never get close to what I wanted to say.

I opened the bag of books, from the town’s most famous bookshop: a maze of shelves and further rooms of more shelves that existed in an underground warren, a labyrinth of books and books and more books. It was a place I could spend the whole day exploring, sometimes.

Now, though, I had surfaced, come back to the world; the treasures I’d hunted down in that maze safe in the bag in front of me. I took a sip of my too-hot black coffee, savouring the moment before I examined my treasures.

As I fished in the bag and pulled out the first of my prizes, she burst into the café in a flurry of wet hair, broken umbrella and rain-soaked coat.

She looked around the café, looking for a seat, noticing the spare one at my table, then looking further, before coming back to check which book I was holding.

‘May I?’ she said, taking hold of the back of the empty chair.

‘Yes, of course, please.’ I said in return as I drew my bag of treasures closer to me… and then my whole life changed.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Give my Compliments to the Chef

Of course, not everyone has the sangfroid to regard the arrival of the lemon meringue on their nakedness with equanimity; especially when it arrives straight from the fridge.

In many cases, though, that is how it is with new religions. Often people are attracted by the glamour, or the newness, or even the notoriety of a new religion and are eager to embrace it – at least, right up to the arrival of the Ceremonial Lemon Meringue.

However, as our Holy Cookbook so eloquently states:

we should all treat with awe and wonder all of the wondrous creations of the Great Chef in the Sky, for just as he marinaded us all into being we must accept all of the wonders of the myriad of recipes he – in his infinite wisdom – bestowed upon us mere mortals.

As I often say to the lay sisters as they prostrate themselves before my most holy jam roly-poly, they must accept all of his blessings into themselves wholly and completely, and that includes my special ceremonial custard.

Still, no matter how much those tired old religions try to call us heretics and blasphemers, how they attempt to poor scorn – like over-watery gravy – on the Supreme Chef, we – in our most holy way – know deep in our heart of hearts that we may not have all the answers to the questions of existence, but at least we can all come back for seconds.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Poem: The Light of another Dawn


The Light of another Dawn

The elements of memory,
The barest traces left
In the rocks of time,
Geology heaps the present
Over times long past
Burying it in the layers
Of forgetfulness

We learn to dig much deeper
To uncover the traces
Discover who we once were,
Before it all fell down
Deep into the loss of history.

Still we do not know
What happened here.
We can only guess
How all these days ended
In smoke, flame and fear

As the walls came tumbling down
Around our heads
As we held the young ones close,
Fearing they would never see
The light of another dawn
And all our times would end too soon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shed-Based Cogitations


Then there are three of them, which, if you’ve never been quietly engaged in philosophical speculation in your shed and been disturbed by She and her cronies then you are indeed fortunate.

However, like all those unused to philosophical speculation and contemplation, they were immediately curious as to why such deep pondering involves the use of so many pictorial representations of the naked female form. Of course, those of you familiar with Aristotle’s work will immediately see why such philosophical speculation in the calm and privacy of garden shed is so important to a man’s mental well-being.

Not only that, the use of beer as an aid to philosophical inquiry has been proved beyond doubt especially in the tavernas around the philosophical academies and symposia of ancient Greece, where it was not unusual to see a heap of insensate philosophers overpowered by their own philosophical ability and power of thought, all snoring peacefully next to the bin full of empties.

This is of course – as I pointed out to my trio of sceptics - why so much Greek art featured nudity. The ancient Greeks were – rightly – proud of their philosophers and wanted to do all they could to help them in their cogitations. Not something – I pointed out – that seems to have followed through to this day and age.

Suitably chastised, the three made a hasty exit when they saw the errors of their ways, although, why they accidentally seem to have locked me out of the house is hard to grasp, even with such a philosophically-acute mind such as mine… and why they left all my belongings in a heap on the back step is a matter I will have to ponder as soon as I can get more beer in.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Smuggler’s Cove


The tide was out and the sun was shining. It was one of those summer days that seemed made for remembering. We made our way down from the costal path to a small deserted beach. The path itself was overgrown and almost invisible, as though no-one had used it for at least this summer. Kate held my hand as we made our way over some awkward bits. The cliff had eroded in places right up to the edge of the path and once or twice we thought about turning back, but there was something about the small, hidden, cove that drew us on.

Kate loved the water and she loved swimming, I’d called her a mermaid a few days before when she’d stayed out at sea for what seemed like hours while I sat on the shore and waited for her to come back to me. I’ve never liked swimming, not since that time almost fifteen years ago. Even all these years later, I still sometimes wake up from a dream of night and dark and storms and water, gasping for breath and flailing my way clear of the drowning weight of the bed sheets.

Kate, though, as soon as we reached the beach, was already undressing, not bothering with her swimsuit as soon as she’d seen the tiny beach was deserted. I’d laughed to see her run as though she was dying of some kind of thirst and she wanted to drink the sea, as though, she was some beached aquatic creature that needed the sea to give her life.

I sat down and gathered up her discarded clothes before pulling out my notebook and pen, glancing up every now and then to catch a glimpse of Kate as she made her way far out to sea.

Later, much later, she came back to lie on her towel, her half-dried hair spread out across my leg as she lay, still naked, with her head in my lap, sand and salt sparkling on her dark brown skin.

Then, after she’d slept as I read from my book, she slipped on her shoes and summer dress and we’d set off to explore what there was of this small beach, ending up at the sea-cave eroded into the cliff.

‘Look at this,’ Kate called, as usual far off in front of me.

‘It must have been a smuggler’s tunnel,’ I said when I met up with her, standing in front of the ancient wooden door set into the back wall of the cave.

‘Come on, let’s see where it goes!’ Before I could stop her, Kate was gone thought the door and up the carved stone steps deep into the dark heart of the cliff.

Sighing, I set off after wondering where we would end up this time.

Monday, December 10, 2012

There Was A Time


There was a time, you could tell because it was on all the clocks and calendars, when she was the woman to whom every man - who had one - wanted to demonstrate the full extent of his stamp collection. Back in those long-ago days, before home computers, before mobile phones, when there were only two TV channels - and rumours of a third being in colour – there was little a man could do to impress a woman with his technological prowess.

Even the men who did it – for example – then knew that train spotting was not the sort of thing that would get a woman draping herself languidly against your anorak be-coated chest as she sensuously unscrewed the lid from your thermos. Few men too, thought it was the way to a woman’s heart to invite her to an early morning session of twitching in the bushes in the nearest local park or recreational gardens.

Stamp collecting, though, was different with its sensuous use of tongue and fingertip and the echoes of romantic far away places only ever witnessed in James Bond films and Soviet travelogues. The intimacy of the album and the awe with which a woman would want to touch, stroke, fondle, your First Day Covers, though. That was the stuff of true romance, of erotica.

Those were the days when access to pornography beyond the basic nudie book necessitated the purchase of a long brown mac and a visit to that shady part of town where rampant Estate Agent offices preyed on the unwary.

Back then, yes, it was a different time and to get a sultry young woman to lick your stamp hinges was the height of sexual stimulation. Nowadays, people say romance is dead. We scoff, of course, but we also look back on those times and remember….

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Political Infections


Anyway, there we were, standing next to the politician, despite the danger.

Some of us were, of course, rather nervous despite having the necessary anti-politics inoculations and all of us – for Health and Safety reasons well outside the reinforced anti-politics cage.

Everyone knows just how infectious politics can be. Many people have heard of, or even know, some one who has – often though no fault of their own – become infected with this debilitating disease. Perfectly ordinary people going about their normal business often have – in the past – suddenly come down with a very bad case of politics.

In the past, it was assumed that there were two strains of politics: known popularly as Left-wing and Right-wing, and a popular folk cure in those days was to counter a sudden outbreak of Left-wing politics with a good dose of the Right-wing ‘alternative’. However, recent research has conclusively proved that there is little or no actual difference between the two strains except for a few trivial side-effects. Both are equally deadly to the thought-processes of those infected and merely offering a counter-dose of the opposite strain more often than not increases the amount of political infection in the patient, often to the complete despair of anyone unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the infected person when the politics breaks out in the victim. This is often where infection spreads; hence the invention of both the anti-politics vaccination program and the development of a political infection-proof coating for various places where politicians are known to gather.

Recently, though, there have been some encouraging signs with the number of people getting infected with either strain of political infection on the decline, probably through the use of the counter-measures outlined above. There is even talk of the entire world becoming – at some point in the near future – completely politics-free, something that even a few years ago would have been dismissed as a naïve utopian fantasy, but now looks almost achievable.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Sensual Art of Ping-Pong


I suppose it all began with the ping-pong bats. She got that look in her eye and started feeling my ping-pong balls in what can only be described as an overly-sensual manner. She ran her finger along the top of the table tennis net as the tip of her tongue echoed the movement across her upper lip.

‘Have you…’ she breathed. ‘…got any mayonnaise?’

I gulped and then stepped over to the fridge. I held the jar up for her as she suggestively sauntered over to the fridge and took out a fresh bunch of celery.

‘We could,’ she said as she stroked my chest with the leafy ends of the celery. ‘have a break… know what I mean?’ She squeezed my ping-pong balls firmly in her other hand.

Putting the balls down, she gestured for me to open the jar as she broke off a stick of celery. She dunked it in the jar and then stepped even closer to me. ‘I want to lick your mayonnaise off the tip,’ she whispered, then demonstrated with the celery.

I felt my knees go weak as she ran her free hand down my body. She turned and picked up one of the table tennis bats. ‘Do you…’ she said, looking up at me from under half-closed eyes, ‘think it was very naughty of me to win the last game?’

I gulped and nodded.

‘Perhaps….’ she said, swinging the bat though the air and hitting the side of her thigh. ‘…perhaps you think I ought to be punished?’

‘Yes..’ I managed to say. ‘Yes you should be punished.’

So I took the celery and the mayonnaise off her and shut the fridge. ‘Tonight,’ I said in my sternest voice. ’Tonight there will be no Downton Abbey for you!’ Turning in triumph I strode out of the room, remembering to tuck my ping-pong balls back into my shorts as I left, congratulating myself on getting it right at last as I heard her yelp of frustration as the door closed behind me.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Precarious Holiday Perambulations


It was not easy – at the time – which, considering the powerful grip she has got on such occasions is not really that much of a surprise. However, she did - in the end – propose to let go unless I – in turn – promised to see my way clear to tidying out the shed.

Once that was resolved to her satisfaction, she helped me climb back up the cliff to the relative safety of the footpath. I did think of asking why she had chosen a walk along a cliff-edge footpath this late in the evening, and during a howling gale, but then I looked at her and thought better of it. For all I know, she could have me insured and just saved me from falling to my certain death in the pounding waves below because she has always felt that wearing black doesn’t ‘suit her’. An attitude I have tried – so far without success – to change every time she wears the frogman’s wet suit on our ‘special’ Tuesday evenings when the kids are out setting fire to the neighbours.

Still, as we made our way back to the relative shelter of our cliff-top caravan she did assure me that when I had questioned why she was apparently sawing through my safety rope a few minutes earlier, as I dangled over the void, she was merely ‘tidying up a few frayed threads’ and not - despite the evil glint I caught in her eye when the moon made one of its fitful appearances from behind the heavy clouds – planning my demise.

‘After all,’ she wisely pointed out later.’ Without you there, how else would I warm up my ice cold feet in bed at night?’

So, all-in-all, in the end I had to concede she did indeed have a point, after all.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Thursday Poem: Regal



Her fingers grip this world so carelessly,
a day is lost as easily as her word
all left to fall to the dirt or grass,
or float away down gutter and drains.

On she dances through all her days
towards the possibility of all her
elaborate dreams and those fairy tales
she knows are bound to come true.

So she constructs castles and towers
high above the roofs of the town
that she sees as little more than
a dark shadow across her faraway eyes.

She ignores the men calling out to her
promising her something far less
than her visions of romance can give her
as her due, and the smiles she bestows

on their every awkward gesture or phrase
are not the promises they think they are,
but the indulgent whims of a princess
for the crude obsequiousness of her subjects.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Games People Play


It was not that easy, after all donkeys, by their very nature, are recalcitrant beasts, added to that, the natural fear of any mortal being when confronted by a potential predator – and as everyone who has ever survived a Christmas dinner will know – Brussels sprouts do have lethal tendencies. The donkey as a veteran of more up-market Children’s nativity plays than it ever dared remember was – quite naturally, therefore, more than a little perturbed by anything redolent of the festive season – up to and including traditional vegetable accompaniments.

However, such was the urgency in the situation – which I’m sure doesn’t need much explanation, except to confirm that the lady in question did, indeed, have a temper if left to seethe - it was best we all thought to do our best to find something without yuletide connotations to fill up the donkey’s basket.

I suppose really we should have made more of an attempt to source some tools and other materials more closely associated with gold-prospecting in the Californian gold rush era, but she had sprung the idea on us at what was almost the last minute.

I further suppose it was therefore inevitable that, when a number of injuries resulting from our last neighbourhood game of Strip Twister left many of us feeling we were not up to another bout, there would be a modicum of scepticism when presented with her new idea for a way of breaking the ice at our next… er… intimate evening.

But – surprisingly enough to many of us there that evening – her suggestion of playing Strip-Buckeroo with a live donkey and real accoutrements did turn out to be far more entertaining than some of the more pessimistic predictions suggested. Although, they were right about having a great deal to clean up afterwards, after having a perpetually-surprised – and somewhat already nervous – donkey in the living room, an attribute the makers seem to have surprisingly overlooked in the original game.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

There is No Present like Time


There is, they often say, no time like the present. Alison, though, said: ‘There is no present like time.’

It was my birthday, and Alison had quite a present for me. It was her, in her birthday suit, lying there on my bed when I got back home from the office. At the time, I didn’t wonder how she had managed to get into my flat, or any detail like that, because when Alison was there I forgot everything else, especially when she had also forgotten to wear anything.

‘What do you mean,’ I said later, when she gave me a chance to get my breath back. She had got up from the bed and was walking, still in her birthday suit, back towards it, out of the kitchen, with a birthday cake. The cake had a single candle on it, the flame flickering as she walked, humming the ‘Happy Birthday’ song under her breath.

‘What? When?’ she said, placing the cake down on the bed between us.

There is no present like time. What did that mean?’

‘Oh,’ she said, feeding me a slice of cake, then offering me her breast to lick where a dollop of soft icing had fell on its upper curve. ‘Time…. That is your present. When would you like to go?’

‘After the cake, or do you mean where would I like to go?’

‘No,’ she said, scooping up a large dollop of the cake cream on her one finger while with her other hand she pulled back the sheet and reached for me. She looked from my mouthed ‘yes’ to her cream-smothered finger and then to what she held in her other hand. Then she smiled that smile of hers and licked her lips.

I gulped as the cold cream touched me.

Alison said. ‘No, I do mean when do you want to go, not where.’ Then her mouth was too full to speak and I lost all interest in everything else for quite a while.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Monday Poem: Skin like Honey


Skin like Honey

All my desires are for the dreams of flesh
all made of warm, alive and breathing skin.
I think of silver and I think of gold
I think of moments when and think of moments
where time becomes a place to move inside
and where a day is all we have to hold
so now we use it slowly, carefully
our time is like  sweet honey, thick and gold
its slowness falling all around our lives.

My days all lie in piles around me now
I think of how it once was, when we had
such honey days and she had such soft skin
it seemed as though she was the summer, warm
unclouded with her eyes of understanding
she saw though to the centre, holding it
there, still and serene in the open palm
of her one hand. But now, I do not know
this person standing in my life and dreaming
my dreams and sorting through these memories
of long ago. It is not me or now.

Possessed, I’m haunted as I walk alone,
this ghost will move my hand to reach towards
the memory of her. If I could break
and twist away from this procession, back
away from times where anything beyond
is either haunting dream or memory,

each with less weight than any hand can hold,
as insubstantial now as every lie
she whispered. None of this can alter, change
the past or anything and none of this
will ever matter as we leave no words

or shadows carved into these rocks. We leave
behind us nothing of those times and soon
it will be gone and none of those lost times
remain as memories we shared between
us, like the steps in a familiar dance
as we went round and then around again.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

A Time of Leaving


She stood over by the window, looking out on a part of the world that she would probably never see again.

The time had come for leaving, but she felt reluctant. She had not, she felt, had a great childhood here in the Tower of her parents. It had been a cold, distant childhood. A time of nurses and tutors and seeing her parents only infrequently, then often only in their ceremonial robes at the end of some great hall where the family had to adopt formal manners and rigid poses as some interminable duty was performed. Often, she suspected, the rituals were as mysterious and unintelligible to everyone else present as it was to her, except, of course, the High Priests. Jemilah believed the High Priests were the only ones who understood the ancient texts and rituals, but only as a way of continuing their power and influence over the life of the Tower and its lands, rather than any great belief in the supposed gods and the divine rights and duties of her family.

Now, though, Jemilah could hear the marching step of her escort, their heavy measured tread echoing around the stone walls of the corridor that led to her room.

Sighing, she turned from the window and prepared herself for the rest of her life.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Coming for Her


She waited for me to come to her. She knew I would come, that I would find her, even though the place she found herself in was no place she had ever known before. She did not know me, of course, just that I was possible. It was a world where such things were possible, even though she had not seen enough of it to know that.

Still, she said, she knew that I would come.

She said too, that when she managed a few hours of troubled sleep in that strange place she’d found herself, that she saw me in her dreams searching for her. She saw me wandering the dark twisting corridors with a flaming torch in my hands, as I searched for the woman who had come to me in my dreams.

She seemed to understand when I said I knew as little about the place we found ourselves in as she did. That I had managed to find a way out of my room, my cell, my prison, and I had walked the endless dark corridors for many days and nights looking for the woman that haunted my dreams and called out to me whenever I slept.

What she didn’t know, though, was that I was lying to her: I was no prisoner I was the gaoler.