Inheritance

I write now with my father’s pen
Old steel has assumed my
Ragged pencil’s place
Smooth and worn in my
Calloused fingers.
Daughter at my breast
I remember my father’s stories
As my own swirl and foment
Beneath the creased brow
That is my other inheritance.
Not a gentle man, nor a good one
But a crafter of careful lines
Who spoke limited truth
To lasting effect.
What of him remains
But my own comfortable lies
Sweeter than fact, more palatable
Harder to deny than the
Elusive verisimilitude
Of others.

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Flounce, Fluff and Flattery

There is a world of difference
Between those who seek the
Company of women
To bask in it
Hanging on their every thought
As one transported
By the beauty
Of a strange and fantastical mind
And those who fancy
A quick in-and-out
Ego-boost before
Zipping their feelings,
Upping sticks and moving on
To the next conquest.

The difference is obvious
Even to the most casual observer:
One is the stuff of
Fantasy and freedom
Of late-night talks
And deep discussions
Long philosophising over
Personal projections
Maybe with a bit of
Barefoot dancing
And a casual pinch of laughter
Thrown in for good measure.

On encountering the other,
I will take the lonely
High road to nowhere
Hiking in stupid, pretty,
Too-tight shoes
Risking my own skin
To preserve sanity
Rather than share transportation,
Food or drink
In exchange for temporary
Flat-footed flattery
With bondage-grade
Strings attached.

I enjoy womanisers
Who enjoy women
In all their complexity,
But have no time
For bed-notch chasing
Egotists with
Straw for brains
And cloth for ears.

The Reckoning

In these fractions I seek solace
That infarction is no menace
To my own unknown condition
Though my colleague lies on trollies
As they fill her veins with serum
Hoping vasos are dilated
I’m surrounded by the vision
Such careers are overrated
In my secretary’s costume
I must take on further duties
Try to prop up one more rostrum
And ignore last rites for loot. He’s
Working from his home computer
While I ride the bus to nowhere
In the misty morning chatter
That’s conceived to make me go there
How much more am I allotted?
This existence, mere survival
Will I too go out, garotted
By a heart attack unrivalled?
As my logic fails, convince me;
I’ve decisions that are burning
Every inch would rather lynch me
Than continue painful earning.

Although I rarely explain my scribblings, as I prefer to let the reader interpret them at will, this poem, and the one that follows are written in response to a recent event. The woman with whom I share a desk at my day job suffered a heart attack this week. The events on that occasion and which have followed have caused me to question our place in the universe with perhaps more focused ferocity than usual.

Untitled

This is the place we come to die
We secretaries, in our rows
Two frozen stiffs, a living lie
Few care to note, and no one knows.

While patient, we sit out our time
In managing capricious men
Whose fruitless whims, though not malign
Wear lines on brows and fray each hem.

One more may chew on dust this hour
No more to block electric space
In diary; a heart lacks power
To beat a path through empty wastes.

We are not dumb, and yet, we wait
Preparing meeting rooms, hot drinks
Awaiting proof; appreciate
A mind, unheeded, soul that shrinks

And though the autopsy infers
What killed her was nobody’s fault
That one can prove, (except for hers)
With such a sedentary vault

Of memories of closet, desk,
A filing cabinet to store
The means of murder – this slow death
Made up of tedium and chore.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

What’s a girl to do
When ambushed on the stairs
By someone hoping to
Make use of juicy wares?

Stiff lips and careful school
To steer past what’s obscene
We’re taught to keep our cool
And never make a scene

The knee remains un-thrust
A glare the most she’ll risk
Despite this breach of trust
Too probable the fist

Embarrassed by a new
Rejection in this place
He’ll play at much ado
Creating with her face

The Yellow Brick Road

We sacrifice our girls in white
And show them off for all to see
Our hopes so high, all eyes so bright
At visions of their liberty

Proud future with a man on hand
To beat the path before she’s trod
In something smelly; wedding band
Dictates decisions after God

We procreate in timely row
And join the ranks of motherhood
Assured our place cemented now
On honour roll of great and good

And once the kids are grown and gone
Once more we seek a change of pace
Begin the slide from humble mum
To prod our daughters as a race

In conscientious steps we tread
Fill heads with values loud and long
So no lamb wanders off instead
To seek a life on paths unknown

Frustration (or why the female of the species is more deadly than the male)

The clown at work
Who wrecks his tech
Until you’d, cheerful
Break his neck

The letch en route
Who’d lick your thighs
Whose comments make you
Roll your eyes

The slobs, commuting
That don’t share
Shift bag, nor arse
To spare a chair

The manager
Who can’t decide
To rule the troops –
Job suicide

The lover’s ears
That don’t retain
A single word
Of our refrain

Where a battle is fought in love, there can be no victor

And she wept long and hard
For the love she had lost.
She felt keenly her heart
Must feel keenly the loss.
But she never did pause
To ponder her fate
For ’tis better to mourn
Than consider the wait.
On the other hand, he,
Not accustomed to pain
Chose to keep his good cheer
And think on it again.
Thus they grew far apart
In their aiming to keep
Their love like a river
Flowing slowly and deep.
Now her eyes are quite dry
As he looks on, bemused.
Little time has gone by
And yet he is refused?
For the clock has run down
Wanting winding, you see.
And where once was love
Lies a strange fantasy.

Mother

A beacon in whom we all believe, shining there above and below us. Gentle calloused hands stirring the waters, the well. Fountain of my youth and mirror of my dotage.

Veins standing proud, swelled with age, pride, scientific mysticism… chemicals. Inscrutable lines mark the outward planes, invisible chasms mar the landscape within. Danger lurks there.

Inevitably we shall all succumb and return to what we always sought to find. Back to the womb. But the inner comfort and security of those walls has given way to an external terror.

And the prodigal becomes the fruitful. Plenty springs from what was barren desert, and the circle begins once more.