Skirt

When she was six,

The girl was enrolled in private school.

They issued a blouse, white,

Socks,

A tee-shirt with a school logo,

And a pleated, plaid skirt.

 

They reissue the socks,

And the blouse, white,

And the tee-shirt with a school logo

Every year.

 

The skirt is made of sterner stuff.

 

When the girl first wore it,

It fell below her knees.

 

Each year the girl grows

And the skirt creeps up,

And up,

And up,

 

And up,

 

Until,

In the way of the world,

Concealment becomes its opposite.

 

There is no equivalent

For school boys.

 

The injustice of this

Has so far

Gone unnoticed.

 

 

 

Mastiff

She walks with quick, little steps,

Arms stiff,

Wooden, as if

Fearful of calamity.

 

Her breasts, however,

Parting the world before her,

They have a life of their own,

And she,

She is walking them,

As she would an unleashed

Mastiff,

Nervously aware

Of the danger they present.

 

 

The Old Ram Rod

I am told,

As I push 70,

That I should show some subtlety,

Some finesse,

Be less obvious,

That it is somehow wrong,

Even unbecoming,

At my age, or any other,

To write of sweet curves

Welcoming thighs,

Glistening lips…

To write of the misdeeds

Of that old, bald-headed rogue,

Who always grins his

You can’t fuck flowers motif.

But,

While that billy still butts,

I’ll give the birds,

And the bees,

And the cigarette trees,

Lovely blossoms waving in the breeze,

And tired old Decency, itself

A bye.

 

I Would Know You

I would know you.

Tho we have never met,

I have dreamed our conjunction.

Only your face I cannot make out,

But, no matter, I would know you.

 

I would know you by your walk,

By the swing of hip and shoulder,

The familiarity of your stride.

 

Would you know me?

Let us say you would not;

You are so much younger.

 

I would watch you write a note,

The same underlining, the same slurs.

I would hold my breath as you read,

As when I see you walk in,

That searching gaze,

 

That sudden smile.

Would you know me?

 

If we should meet and embrace,

Your breath on my ear,

I would kiss your hair, your throat.

 

We would talk of obscure things;

You would laugh, “how alike we are!”

 

Would you know me, then?

 

When we would next embrace,

When we would be face to face,

And if, surprised, we would be mouth to mouth,

 

Would I have the courage, then,

To tell you who I am?

 

 

 

 

 

Models

(after  about hearing advice about how I could finally get with that novel if I found some models to inspire me)

                                         Models

I like to use models for writing;

Tall, fair, with well-defined buttocks.

A Dark Lady will do in a pinch;

I am not prejudiced.

 

(Somehow, I do not think my well-meaning advisors had that in mind)

Pepsodent Smile

Some time ago, I posted “Lambs”, about a beauty parlour for little little girls.  The girl in this piece could be a survivor of that.

 

Little girl, straight from 1955;

Striped summer frock, cardigan,

White shoes, bare legs, and

Elegantly coiffed.

 

Mother to the woman,

She will stand beside her walk-in closet,

And say, “Tah-dah!”

 

Or just maybe,

She is a spy in the house of convention,

Lying in wait with her Pepsodent smile.

 

 

Sex, Lies and Writing

In 1994, guitarist/singer Martin Simpson, hitherto known for luminous versions of British ballads, and blues,  released a cd “A Closer Walk With Thee.”  A cd of instrumental versions of American gospel tunes…a stunning collection, by the way.  I saw him at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival, later, and he told the audience that after release of ‘A Closer Walk…’ he was approached by fans and friends who asked “hey, Martin, you haven’t become one of those, have you?” to which he responded, something like…I sing a lot of british ballads about murder, robbery and incest, and i don’t believe in any of those, either.’

To which there was a sincere round of applause.  But it put me in mind then, and recurs today, of that thorny issue….where does the art end and the artist begin?   Are they one?

 

They are not.  Just because an actor plays villains and wife-beaters, it does not mean that he is one himself.   Altho some actors are persecuted as if they were.   It is a part he plays…live with it, folks.

 

Writers use whatever material is at hand…observation of people….books read….movies seen…their own experience….and, of course, those dark images percolating up from the subconscious.

 

From these disparate elements, the writer cobbles together a tale or poem.  The chances are it is not real, folks.   At least mostly not real.   There is always some element of observation or experience, or there would be no trigger for the creation.

 

When i write about people, I have images in mind.  Usually, they are impressions of friends, people i see in coffee shops, or memories of childhood.  These mix together in the context of the poem or story, and altho you might think i am writing about a specific someone, that is rarely the case.

 

I meet a neighbor in the street…she asks where i have been…and after the conversation is past, i sit down to write, and she, or the image of her, becomes part of the story.   The story is not about her, she is not in the story, it is just made up.  And if “I” am in the story, it is not me, it is simply using first person as a powerful means of telling the tale.

 

The creation is not the creator.   The creator is simply reflected in the creation…and, in a mirror, you see things in reverse, and you don’t see what’s behind the image in the glass.  I have written about rape, but, of course, never done it…considering it, next to child abuse, as  the most odious and unforgiveable violation of the person.   I wrote a story about being in love with a boy who had a crooked smile just like Harrison Ford’s, and having a crush on a beautiful girl named April, but, i am not the woman telling the story, not a woman at all, and I have never loved a man with a smile like Harrison Ford’s, or, much more depressing, a girl named April.   I guess i am in that story, somewhere, but, I defy you to figure out what the story says about me.

 

Art is about truth…right?   But it is also about lies.  The biggest truth emerges from the lie.  If i write a poem or a story which disturbs, look to yourself.  What truth about you has the story evoked?  The story is not necessarily about me at all;  it very well may have no foundation in fact at all;  I am just a storyteller, using whatever grist is available for my mill.  (So, watch what you say around me, or you might just see it in someone else’s mouth in a future story!)

 

My writing is not reportage. 

 

Okay, we have looked at lies and writing….kind of.  What about sex…That third part of the title of this post? 

 

Sorry.  I just used it as a come-on….(and a take off on the title of a well-known film).  Live with it.

 

Next….in future posts….naughty limericks (is there another kind?)…and a poem called “Gratitude”,  coming up soon.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

At Five, You Can Still Play Naked

Sometimes, when I visit blogs, I find my self focusing only on the new….A shame, that,  looking back gives you a notion of where the blogger has been…not to mention there is some great stuff there.  So, I am taking a leaf from my own bock…and from time to time i will reblog some of my earlier stuff…especially stuff i reread, and do not find wanting.  This is one I wrote back about 2012, about my neighbor’s little girl; even at that time it was old news,  the events were long gone.

At Five

Sidney Wharf

Thieving in mid-flight, the gulls

Rob each other of dangling crab-guts,

Tossed from the long wharf.

 

Lines of yellow chord

Curve into the dark water,

To the baited traps below.

 

The crabbers get no clue,

No sign a crab is feasting down there,

Oblivious to his capture, until

 

He is hauled aloft for a look-see.

The crabber stifles a curse or a sigh…

Another too-small one is tossed back.

 

The gulls still circle, like dogs about a table,

Who wait for a vagrant scrap, dropped

With a secret smile,  by a bored boy.

Glossolalia

I drink French brandy, and can hardly

Speak a word of the language.

 

I am the same about Norse sagas;

I can’t order a beer in Icelandic.

 

I would like to go to the Black Forest,

Even if it is full of white people.

I am not prejudiced;  they are German-speaking,

When they are not Turkish.

 

I bought mexi-fries from Latin Americans,

But they spoke Spanish to each other.

Why would they not speak Latin?

Is it because it is a dead language?

 

Is there a special place in the bardo

For dead languages, a place full

Of obscure phonemes and glottal stops,

Where the languages converse in Tibetan,

(Not itself dead, but much beset)

While they wait for rebirth among speakers.

 

Is Manx waiting there?

Cornish?

Beothuk?

Hittite?

 

My brain hurts from this linguistic cogitation;

I find languages stupefying.

 

I am, however, deliriously happy

That despite all this, I can drink French brandy.

I have even learned a word of gratitude:

Merde.

Isn’t that nice!