A bigger deal


I know your every whim should be my top priority;
your youth implies importance; you’re a bigger deal than me.
You’re short of cash? I’d better dash off with my debit card,
and get your dosh; it doesn’t wash to tell you times are hard.

I may not have enough to pay for eggs and milk and bread,
but I must aid you, as you claim a price upon your head.
You state your case as if you lie, but why should I complain?
I’m probably mistaken, due to water on the brain.

You said you needed thirty, but now sixty’s not enough
to hand out to your dealer; your afraid he’ll cut up rough.
If he don’t get a hundred soon he’ll fracture both your knees;
So here you go now sweetie, I’ve a thousand, take it please.

I shouldn’t be so greedy, I shouldn’t need to eat.
I shouldn’t spoil my Grandson with a silly Christmas treat.
I shouldn’t be so selfish, you’re a bigger deal than me;
I know your dirty drugs should be my top priority.

<> <> <>

Before my friends get the idea that this is still going on, I should explain – it was written for a contest which required a sarcastic poem. In the end I didn’t use it. Instead I submitted a poem about abuse, posted on WP about eighteen months ago. It’s called I’m Sorry, and it won second prize. The winning poem was excellent, but contained not a hint of sarcasm anywhere. It was simply a rant. Not everyone understands what sarcasm is.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The scratched and pitted door


through this dim-lit pit
— where whispers mock my wish for hush —
lies a scratched and pitted door
— ravaged by the claws of captives —
whose rust-locked hinges have no plan
to shift and set lost victims free,
I pray the rotting,oaken door
may swing aside for me.

Dampened, ash-grey cobwebbed arches
— dragging low from foetid weight of flies —
offer falsified, feigned promise
of an end beyond the rise.

But ducking ‘neath the grubby silk
I grimly beg the tainted troll
who locked me in this dread hell-hole
“Please speed me to my goal.”
An ochre silence fills the lonely space.
No gentle voice consoles, no crash resounds;
the walls don’t split to let in light and set me free.
I know within my clogging soul
the answer must be “No.”

With heavy tread I carry on
to try to gain my liberty.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I ain’t no angel


I ain’t no angel, don’t deify me;
I’m just a doll at the top of your tree.
You could call me an idol or a plastic toy,
dut don’t deify me, you foolish boy.

I’m a fallen saint, my spirit ain’t mine;
a twisted sinner of my dad’s design.
I’m not the author of this pointless game,
but an reluctant player that you can’t tame.

Go away, vamoose, just leave me be;
I’m not the woman you think you see,
and what is more, I don’t need a man;
Are you too dull to understand?

If I was lonely, I wouldn’t choose you,
I despise the annoying  things you do.
I don’t need your gifts or your charity;
It’s time you learned that you can’t buy me.

Your conversation is utterly absurd;
I die a little more at your every word.
Your efforts to console just bring me down;
I wish you’d desist from coming round.

How would you feel if you knew
I sit in the dark just to hide from you?
If I see your number I silence the phone;
I don’t want your company; leave me alone.

Your lack of intellect is driving me mad;
it’s obvious you’ve lost what sense you had,
with your layabout body and your lazy brain.
Please go away, before I go insane.

I’ve tried finding kindly words to say,
I’ve tried being surly and hiding away,
and since you encouraged your mind to go to seed,
I can’t write a letter as you say you can’t read.

I’ve done all I can to make you see
That I don’t want you and you don’t need me.
Your determination has dragged me down low;
I’ve run out of methods for telling you to go.

I aint no angel, why’d you deify me?
I’m just a doll at the top of your tree.
You could call me an idol or a plastic toy,
but stop deifying me, you foolish boy.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Some time away


Dedicated to my dear friend Calen.


“Live in the moment,” they say,
but when each moment weighs you down
breaks your back and bends your bones
you need some time away.


I’d like to take you on a break;
a holiday from this harsh place,
to a haven where we can be children,
if only for week,
where the sun shines directly on us
– not over in the distance, offering promises
too soon broken;
but where wishes come real for you and me.

We’ll breakfast in a zillion-star hotel.
Well dressed waiters will pretend we are respectable
– ignore our giggles as we point at their penguin tails,
then we’ll kick our heels and run, squealing,
to the beach.
We’ll collect coloured shells, look for strange creatures and crabs,
chase the sea as it recedes, eat icecream and not feel sick,
bury our feet in the sand,
then lie on our backs and dream.

After a few days, we’ll awake to find Autumn
has arrived in its russet glory.
We’ll wrap up warm, and walk down cool corridors
of maple and oak,
throw fallen leaves to the breeze,
and watch them fly one final time
before they sink into the soil.

We’ll play dress up in big high heels and floppy hats,
and whisper the secrets of kids.
I’ll talk about the funny lady that lives next door
with seven cats, one of them black,
and looks like a witch,
while you’ll tell me what your brother said he saw.

We’ll do all these things and many more;
maybe we’ll even shed a few childish tears,
but most of all,
we’ll throw our heads back, and we’ll laugh

And when the week is done,
we’ll go home to find time has been frozen;
everything will be as it was when we left,
but our short rest
will have given us the grit
to face tomorrow,
with a grin.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Autumn’s cruel joke


beyond my window
autumn beckons with false promise
bare branches bend their beckoning fingers
before the blue beyond where cottonwool clouds meander
baby breeze murmers at fall’s command
see the beauty, it seems to say
I’ve mended the weather
come to me and I will fill your dreams
let you live one remembered childhood sunday
come outside, come outside and breathe my carefree air
run with me, prance with me,
spin and dip and dance with me
be a child again

but I hide behind my door where I am safe
from those autumnal lies which taunt me so cruelly
I know if I trust them the spell will evade me
and a trick of the light will lead me to wander
in search of the joy of yesteryear’s freedom
the brow of the hill will pull me toward it
and when I arrive the goal will be yonder
down in the valley, then on to the river
and still my yearned-for destination
those faraway trees and lush green meadows
will be around many corners
long miles beyond me
and a storm will steal up
and thunder will crack
and darkness will cover
the land around me
rain will pelt me
and flood will drown me

©Jane Paterson Basil

Catalyst for survival

Image credit, Wikimedia

all these years
my reasoning poet
my rhyming priest
you held me

hid beneath this keening ache
beats the rhythm of your sweet profanity
the colours of your rainbow passion,
the elegant grit of your reality

rivers of words drifted from your lips
inviting me to swim in your vicinity
they caressed this wind-bleached skin
sinking in, making this body sing

you have been
my catalyst for survival
all these years

collect in the cold air

all these tears
I rinsed from your guitar
drip into rippling pools around my feet
radiating Leonard-energy

worlds of love
that will never end

Leonard Cohen.
September 21st 1934 – November 10th 2016.
R.I.P. xxx

Today, I grieve. There is a void where my words used to be.
Maybe tomorrow I will be ready to celebrate his life.

©Jane Paterson Basil