Predator; a Haiku

—-o—-

Domestic feline

spots woven twigs, feathered wing;

too high to reach

—-o—-

©Jane Paterson Basil

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Rush Hour

On stuffy streets as day recedes
waste-bins spill discarded swill.
Well-fed skins in well-bred suits
wade through crow-picked sandwich packs
sweet-wrap glued to soles
of shin-buffed shoes.
Vendors turn tail when designer thieves
ditch decorum to outrank the elbowing
out-bound rush.
Commuters strap laptops on gym trained backs
to paddle down steps that sag and are speckled
with spat-out chewing gum.
Sunk in the gloomy tube the leavers weave
like honey bees to the hive
yet the hive was demolished long before
technology flew to the fore
before Guy Fawkes fell fowl of the law
before kings and paupers took to war
The hive was broken
before we chipped our first weapons from stones.

Grime chases motoring escapees;
filth silts bonnets that shone last Sunday
grey covers grey covers faded grey
on a plumbers battered van whose rear
bears timeless finger-scribbled hint:
“Please clean me”, it quasi-politely invites.

White lines across one-way lanes
defy fiery drivers to break highway rules
so they usually wait at ruby lights
though they ache to speed away.
Widows and singles, mothers and sons
racers and cruisers, winners and losers
of a million hungry games, all
wait,
sitting in in triple queue
at the lights
impatient for later to arrive
with kisses and drinks and cushions and food.
Thumbs drumming snippets of brain-numbing tunes
they wait for each set of lights
to change
hoping the next will be kind.

Beneath fudged city sky, sterile erections
flash screens that advertise corruption.
Rainbow phrases designed to disguise the trail
that leads to our stumbling destruction
are blurred, yet never erased
by the dust that rises
from humankind’s futile stretch.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Eagles Nest

nest-moon1
When a new moon strikes an overblown page
highlighting the changes that life has wrought
changing your story to lies and half-truths
you suddenly know you must start anew
so you find a clean slate and you write and delete
You write and delete, then you write again
wrestling images out of your chalk
naming the changes that life has wrought
listing the joys that you sought for so long
piling the words on the slate until all of the ache of past failures
— all of the problems and unsolved pains —
are buried beneath an eagles nest
within reach of a window where a lone figure sits
She sits and she thinks and she writes and deletes

She writes and deletes
then writes again
wrestling images out of her chalk
Naming the changes that life has wrought
listing the joys she sought for so long
piling the words on the page
trying to hide the problems and pains

but the nest is too small
to contain them all.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Proof of Love

 

 

philipp-sewing-1166470-unsplash2

Detail of photo by Philipp Sewing on Unsplash

There are myriad ways
to display true love;
a simple kiss, a blooming rose,
a bashful smile, a frilly note.

I appreciate
you raised me from the floor
to staunch the flow of blood, but
it is inappropriate
to coo like a solicitous dove, as if
the punch which broke my nose
was in any way
proof of your affection.


©Jane Paterson Basil

My Son

crushed-can

My
son,
were I
to measure
the depth of my love
by the dread Gehenna of loss
each time the wind blows your image across my tired eyes,
the ocean could not contain it.
A great tsunami
would rise up;
The world
would
sink

-<>-

So
please.
my child.
let  this  be
the last lager can
I uncover while I’m cleaning.
The last drunken can that ever you concealed from me.
I don’t require such reminders
of our broken ties;
reminders
that I
lost
you

-<>-


A  fibonacci poem…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Promises

promises-tent3a

Be mine.” he whispered, ”You are my chocolate coated limousine, my deepest bungee jump, my highest schoolyard leap-frog, my cool breath in a heated discussion, my hot water bottle at the frozen peak of mount Everest, my best cheese grater, my tastiest salt-lick, the cog around which I rotate. Your caress is cricket to me, your kiss is pink concrete.

Open me, live in me; crush me with the weight of your sub-atomic love bomb; your over-exposed throat; your forked knife sharpener; your ready whittling and all the utensils that you hide beneath the tittle-tattle of a million silences.

Take me, let me teach you to ride on the back of the butterfly that flits from gullet to lips; to scale the heights of fishes which fly in the sand; to extract kettle fluff from photographs of Mona Lisa; to build an atom from an elephant, a mousetrap from a mighty dam, to ignite the stars armed only with a broken toothpick and an excerpt from Handel’s Water Music.

Let me show you the truths I stole from centuries of reading rotting carrot heads and studying the birth of synthesis.

Come, share my bent nail, take the lonely word-processor from my fluted heart. Be my new burnt bread, my ocean of sky, my everything reduced for one day only, again and again, for ever and ever ’til death do us part. I’m begging you in B minor; express a quiet acceptance of fate. Let me love you.”

(He wanted to win me)

I don’t like your tone!” I cried.

Do not try to win me, or I will extract your teeth with a sledge-hammer. I’ll destroy your father’s estate. I’ll make the tax office refuse your rebate. I’ll tear down your house, drive your Mercedes into a wall, kill your computer with a rash of vicious viruses, burn your books, shatter your faberge eggs I’ll break your bed with my plastic passion. I will trifle with your affections and I will leave you raw and heartbroken.

I will undo you.”

(I told him that I liked things the way they were)

But we could be a perfect match, like Morecambe and pistachio nuts, like strawberries and the little plastic blocks that you screw on to hold modern kitchen units together when you buy them from places like B&Q, like bread and hair remover, like a hammer and all kinds of items that pair up nicely.

We could tie the tangle, dance the fandango, slide into sheets of satin on a brave raft of reality. We could build a barn, raise the roof, and fill it with glass and china and soft furnishings and small sharp metal objects. We could make tiny things with ten little fingers and ten little toes, that grow and go. We could wave them goodbye and turn to each other and say It’s just us now,’ and You go and sit down in front of the telly, while I make us a nice cup of tea.’ We could relax. We could retire and grow old together. And when the moment was right, we could die in each others arms.”

(He was just an ordinary bloke really)

Oh, I see,” I said. ”That puts a completely different slant on it. It sounds very nice. We’ll get a sensible semi-detached property in the suburbs. We’ll have quiet nights in, playing tiddly winks and tic-tac-toe. You’ll have to remove your shoes as soon as you come home from the office; can’t have you getting the carpets all dirty. When the babies come along, my mother can stay, to help me out until I get on my feet again. I expect I’ll need a nanny. They’re so useful, don’t you think? When you retire, we can move to a cottage in the country, and grow roses around the door. You could take up vegetable gardening, and I could join a bridge club.

Yes, I’ll marry you.”

(I was seduced by his offer of security)

When we wed, he expeditiously discarded the word-smithery with which he had won me, preferring practicality and rationalism, sprinkled with roses and romance. He lay carpets at my feet, regaled me with tasteful trinkets and household requisites. Furthermore,he tucked surprise gifts in hidden places: rank, balled-up socks under the bed. In the bathroom; twisted tubes, sticky globules, opposing odours. In the kitchen, crumbs and citric smears in the butter dish. At breakfast, grunts and unkissable stubble scumbled my serenity. In the evening his T.V. killed my creativity. At night the heat from his body chased sleep away.

(However, he soon irritated me)

I extracted his teeth with a sledge-hammer. I destroyed his father’s estate. I caused the tax office to refuse his rebate. I tore down his house, drove his Mercedes into a wall, killed his computer with a rash of vicious viruses. I burned his books. I smashed his faberge eggs. I broke his bed. I trifled with his affections and left him raw and heartbroken.

I undid him.

(We parted company)

When nights draw in I keep myself warm with many layers of thin clothing and thick blankets. In the musty swill of my tent I sleep easy, letting fickle seasons lead me. In spring I wake each morning with the dawn, eased into sense by light which pricks the skin of my tent. Overhanging trees dapple a caramel silhouette on the canvas of the tent that protects me.

My passion is consumed.

(I prefer to be alone)


Sorry Paul; I couldn’t resist tweaking my poem a little before publishing it on this site.
I left the original version untouched.

© Jane Paterson Basil

The First Rehearsal

best-friends

.

April and me
reckon we’re every chef’s
recommended dish of the century.
Arms linked, skirts swishing,
breasts jiggling, legs on display,
heavy on the body spray but light on our feet,
we’re dancing to an inner beat,
heading for the first rehearsal.
No-one would guess
we dread
the opening show.

Promenading through the park,
snooting hooting cars,
big blues slanting, spying our pray
like we don’t see them looking our way,
daring brave souls to prick holes in
the arty bubble that circles our skin.

Sloshing Cider,
smoking stolen ciggies like pros,
noses pressed against a future we think has arrived,
music in our ears, eyes wide closed.
We’re subtle as a scream,
cool as pyromania,
a fool’s wet dream of creamy thighs and wild abandon.
Virgin blueprints of sin;
aces who play Queens of seduction,
we throw jokers over our shoulders
if fingers reach to hook our knickers, since
this
is our first rehearsal.

Flaunting our elastic youth
we queue to pay for chewing gum,
taunting tutting prunes
whose fumbling hands and tumbling brains
have trouble with the change.
They fix us with their rumpled glint,
then stutter home to water plastic flowers
and launder frowzy frills and worn-out frocks
and plump limp pillows on their beige divans.
Those fossilised flints were never fresh like us,
born too old to understand,
long before the script was even written.

April and me are both fifteen,
luscious, delicious, any chef would recommend us.
We’re poised to rule the Universe,
There’s no more you can teach us;
bring on
the dress rehearsal.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil