Body Building

Comfortable in my own skin
For a thousand years or more
Inner calm and outer grin
Oozing from every pore

Tender care for follicles
That blossom forth with fur
Showing off unruly curls
That underline his ‘her’

Nibbled nails that niggle
Catching, snagging, telling tales
Tiny scars that wriggle
As hands flex and curl and wave

Gentle as a monolith
That towers high above
The pillory of Lilith
For whom Adam held no love

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Two cigarettes

17:23

Fingers shaking, she fumbles to light it
Lips quivering, cornflower eyes over-large
Underlined, ringed in runny mascara
Bronzer and orange paint

Long blonde hair fashionably streaked
Hanging down like a dingy waterfall
She clamps her clutch beside her
With a slender elbow, shivers

At unseasonal weather in a short skirt
Trying not to cry, this nymph
Ankles wobble on the too-high heels
Waiting for a bus in the rain

Sucking in gasping lungfuls
She smokes her sadness
Twisting suffering to submission
In a single cigarette

18:02

His rumbling growl is subsiding now
The stream of curse words unbroken
Since he staggered down the aisle
Pushing past each passenger

Heading for the back bench
Of the almost empty upper deck
Something inside him is angry
It cannot keep still or quiet

A familiar double click precedes
The billowing clouds of calm
He thunks a window shut
Clad in a cloak of smoke

That may obscure the world
Of see-through stickers
With their pious proclamation
‘No Smoking’, red ring, slash

Submission

Institutions holding power
Over artists, gentle folk
In their own way would devour
Independent deed and thought

With selective themes and rules
Governing what may be seen
Lending weight to private views
Influencing what we mean

Long before our words are cast
Forged as signature by stealth
They’d imagine questions asked
By our readers. For our health

And that of all who stand about
Nattering with glass in hand
At gala, pub, or simply – out
To cultivate this wasted land

There must be structure, must be form
It should be clear all views espoused
Are those full-sanctioned as ‘the norm’
With passions restful, unaroused

In such a way as this, perhaps
Some newer blood may join the rung
As underling to pleasant chaps
And hear their echoed praises sung