Women of the night
We are women of the night
We sleep on a bed of nails
So we might feel something more than the dull ache in our chests
That turns, after hours of tossing
We are orphans of slumber
Chasing dreams behind our REMs
So our lives might be more than the endless repetition
Bed hair- more Yahoo Serious than Medussa
Looks back at me from the bathroom mirror
Normal for this hour
Spiked with not-so-normal dreams
It can wait till the coffee grounds
Switch the light on inside my head.
The long filament of my neck
Coils out from the pock-marked glass
The remembrance of frozen cream,
Petrified on the top of the milk cans
On the icy doorsteps of my childhood.
Inside me a feel a giggle rising
I want to run to the sandbox and play –
After another caffeine hit
After I knead the sinews in my shoulders
And stretch them out again
They used to snap in and out like rubber bands
Like day old chewing gum
Gummy-eyed in front of the glass
I run my finger along my jaw and under my chin
It feels like junket
But I see it’s composed of steel
Set and determined
I am a strong-willed youth.
I want to backpack across Europe
Guitar slung gung-ho over my right shoulder
Don’t mess with me
You’ll see what eighties girls are really made of
When I’ve taken my pills
I’ll put on my sneakers
Patting the bedside table
Sliding my fingers along the kitchen benches
I locate my glasses
Put them on
Look again in the bathroom mirror
seeing my true inheritance
I am an old woman
Wobbling under the weight of morning
For a moment I’m sad
Till I remember there are other things I’ve inherited
More important things
Things that last;
Grow stronger with the years
And I stride out of the house
To meet the day head-on
I Knew You
Come take a walk with me and I will show you where I AM.
Feel the beat of the earth – the insect thrum; the rush of the rivers;
The wind stirring the trees; a steady, slow beat,
Then faster in the storm. Can you hear it?
It is my heartbeat.
I remember when I carried my burden to Golgotha
And you wiped the blood and sweat from my eyes.
I could not see you, blinded by pain,
But I knew it was you.
And once in better times you bent to kiss my feet
And dry them with your hair.
In your humility you hid your face but I knew your name.
And I know it was you at the foot of my cross;
I heard you crying.
I see you on your knees in the dirt, your back breaking,
Your body clothed in pain.
I am whispering in your ear – can you hear me?
Do you not think I will recognize you when you cry out my name?
Do you not think I will be there to carry you home?
When I was young, around 25, I lost a baby. Its father didn’t want to know…I wrote this.
The Cost of Living
What price? What more can it take?
A dead child
Now the father lost?
What price more?
My heart sweats – my pores drip scarlet
I am not harlot, no whore,
I am innocent.
Your gall, my bile
They mix – you smile,
I pale in pain
Your punishment dealt
To render mute my needs, my senses.
You sentence me –
For cruelty handed out by other loves
But dealt no more. Not by me.
You go in peace.
I pay, you see.
Tomorrow I went to the park
A week ago I went to the park in a pink and grey checked dress
The one with built in bloomers (fancy that)
My parents took photos – knock-knees and chubby feet, kicking up the sand
Sometimes we watch them on the slide projector
Me, high on a swing, pleated skirt billowing out
And those knickers! It’s my favourite dress
And nearly as good as the slate my uncles gave me for Christmas
But I couldn’t write yet…not last week
I was too little
Yesterday I went to the park again – with two small girl-children
One a short, dark thing – with a round, padded bottom
The other fair and long, just starting school
They can write, that pair, both published in their teens – so clever
I wonder what happened to them?
Perhaps I left them at the park yesterday
I’ll ask those bossy women who come to fix up the house
They like a chat – one fair, one dark
They’ll know where the children are
They might have got impatient with me
I was always learning how to write – always
But there was never time
Their father got sick of it then, me in my books, learning,
So he left me to it
All in a flash…just like that
Leaving me with smudged books and a decade of tears
I stopped writing then
I had no heart for it
And then there was that beautiful young man –
With the lucky gap between his two front teeth –
Who always wanted to kiss me; very odd
He gave me more children I think; I don’t know how we did it
He might have married me once…perhaps that was it.
Did he take them to the park without me?
He shouldn’t have – but I don’t remember…
I only remember tomorrow.