Fabula rasa

This new life chafes at her
Like fresh skin, stretched
Taut over familiar tenderness
Of an old, raw wound
Nothing fits her now
Not time, nor place
As long-jawed expressions
Must face up to unflattery
And quit sliding into view
Over blank slate

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Identity Crisis

The boy on the bus
Was a scared little man
With his feet on his bags
And his mind on The Plan

The boy on the bus
That I left undisturbed
Though his nervousness made me
Uneasy, perturbed

The boy on the bus
Blew his nose, picked his ear
Buried face in a book
To pretend no one’s near

The boy on the bus
Didn’t flinch, looked away
When the hipster beside me
Screwed his top off to spray

The boy on the bus
Caught in bubbling splash
Of cool mineral water
Dripping seat, cuffs and lash

The boy on the bus
Friendless did not react
Kept his mind on the journey
To survive it intact

The boy on the bus
Struck a chord when I saw
How he treated the paperback
New from a store

The boy on the bus
Had I seen him before
On the flickering screen
Or in newsprint galore

The boy on the bus
That I couldn’t be sure
Was the one some authorities
Were searching for

The boy on the bus
Unremarkable, odd
With the face of a saint
Knelt in fear of his God

Pirouettes

What if things were diff’rent
If I hadn’t made that choice
Realised one potential me
But never found my voice?

Who might have been noticed
If I’d stuck to dance instead
Stayed thin and fairly limber
Training arms and feet, not head?

Would my first rebellion
Have led me to a Vet?
A change of scene, a childish dream
Escape without regret?

Or would life have been over
Twenty-six, a dying swan:
Now teach a bunch of children
To repeat mistakes, anon?

If no Vet, then no sample –
Talking point at interview
One misleading good example
Of something I’d never do?

Would I then have been granted
Any funding from the State?
Told to take the place they offered
And discover, just too late

That this was not what I wanted
As I struggled to fit in
Surrounded by the privilege
Of ignorant offspring?

My experience of teaching
At the tender age of six
Underlining hollow preaching
From a very diff’rent mix?

Would a lack of education
Have encouraged common sense?
Or constraint of situation
Left me sitting on the fence?

Would my schooling have consisted
Of bad habits and the barre
As I fought to hide intelligence
And keep my weight sub-par?

Could I ever have attempted
The exams I sailed through
Would I ever have been tempted
To seek out such pastures new?

Might my travels have been over
Long before I lived abroad
Would I ever have considered
A bouquet my just reward?

Would it matter, my opinion
Would the world have learnt to care
For the views of ballerinas
Who were talkative as air?

If I’d lived my life less boldly
Would I really have been me
Or would taffeta and greasepaint
Have been all there was to see?