Monthly Archives: October 2015

His poison


I must turn my back
punctured so easily by sharp teeth hidden
beneath his sweet smile
his cheat’s face clean-shaven, charming
swept of telling stubble
providing a focal point which distracts
my eyes from those glassy pools
flitting darkly, swimming in pink-flecked white

I will turn my back
show him the hole through my ribs
to my chewed heart
“See this old thing?” I will say
“Think nothing of it. It will quickly heal.”

I would turn my back but he
would consider the challenge
too great to resist

I can’t turn my back
he will force me to face him
he will crush me for his poison
he will lose in the end
but he’ll have
his way

©Jane Paterson Basil



I'm more than the sum of this life, these slipshod years,
more than the weeping and the laughter,  the many smiles,
more than my elastic silences, my paperweight protection,
those lost desires of youth, the nightmares and the fear.
more then these ears,
missing the              I have            watch it as it 
symphony,            a kernel buried              smashes  
these hands              within            the shell away
clamped against                    releasing my potential 
the cacophony of pain,                     and freeing me
these fading eyes which stare                     to grow
westward towards the dimming horizon,
more  than the broken lives  which wallow in their waste.

©Jane Paterson Basil

My cloak of fury


that ache
caking me, taking my days
wasting me away

twisting within
reshaping, changing, breaking
reavealing a new shade

a midnight glow
seen through wildblown trees
on a newborn sleepless night
peeping, revealing the sheen
of the moon’s hidden side
the whisper of light
before the break of a day
paling to the tint of indignation
powerfully it sings to my sinews
I taste its righteousness
its rightness
I play with it,
watch it shimmer
into a brighter shade
the colour of anger, of rage
it wins me over, taking the pain
that has slain me for so many years
with eager hands I grasp my cloak of fury
and wrap it around strong shoulders
I wear the power of my youth
you cannot beat me down

©Jane Paterson Basil

The whirling dervish/It spreads like a dream


“going?” said the neighbour
“why run away?”
there’s a whirling dervish in my kitchen
and I cannot stay

“dead?” said the doctor
“do you know why?”
the dervish whirled into his heart
and he wanted to die

said the psychiatrist
“why aren’t you sane?”
the dervish whirled into my head
and is eating my brain

please help us dear doctor
before it’s to late
we’re deteriorating
at an alarming rate
the dervish is whirling all over the town
bringing my friends and family down
please catch the dervish
she needs to be saved
from sending us all to an early grave
I know she despises
the thing she’s become
she’s confused and crazy
and drugged-up and glum

“oh dear”
said the doctor
what are you thinking
don’t you know that the NHS is sinking
what with the cost of defending the land
the government has spent our money like sand
to treat the dervish would cost too much cash
but I’d like to help if you don’t think me rash
I’ll lend you a quid for some vaseline
it won’t do much but it spreads like a dream”

©Jane Paterson Basil

How deep the river

Written a few months ago…


she thought to take a trip
to taste the flavour on her lover’s tongue
as he fell towards his final resting place
to see if she could see what he saw
before the last breath slid from his lips

she thought to take a trip
to visit his unreal reality
thinking there must be a reason
for his hedonistic sprint to the grave
a treat which innured him to the risk
finally made real by the flick of a switch
as his mother kissed his chilling brow

she thought to take a trip
a little sip of the thrill of addiction,
she figured his death made him
more interesting – had given him
the attention she was lacking

she thought to take a trip
even as his mother with quiet dignity
arranged his funeral
even as her own tears welled
and dripped unchecked

she thought to take a trip
thinking his life had been simple in its way,
until misfortune had finished him
and she was thinking only
to take a quick dip into his habit
to feel the shape of it

she thought to take a trip
not thinking how easily the boat sinks
how deep the river
or how hard to
swim back
to the surface

©Jane Paterson Basil

I will be me


once I thought I was strong
but I only fought the easy battles
withering beneath fiercer foes
mildly agreeing with them
offering cups of tea
acceding to their needs
escaping to a place of safety
as they sated their dark desires
while I fearfully stoked every fire
feeling the flames lick my thin skin
calcifying the secrets within
but now it is finished
and I will be free
I will be me

©Jane Paterson Basil

Sinking, but never sunk


I write the history
of the mire which is my life
the ten digits at the end of my wrists
offer musical accompaniment
while I feel the weight
of the filth which sticks
as each thin film swills
and thickens within
building another crust
so difficult to slough away

is this it?
these nails, bitten to the quick
these fingers, obsessively clicking at keys
recording every humiliating secret
each misbegotten dream,
each freely-gifted ill
where is the release?
is my end my beginning?
or will I be forever stuck
somewhere in the middle
sinking, but never sunk
digging deep for a merry quip
grinning with gritted teeth
thinking to solidify a fantasy

©Jane Paterson Basil

Be you friend or be you foe?

Hurriedly posted for Calen’s Sandbox challenge. I have been writing for 14 hours straight, and must apologise for the absence of image, but I’m so tired I can’t spell “abccenssse”. If you check out the link you can find out what the challenge is about – and maybe join in?

What you doin, givin’ me that sour-apple face? I want you to know I don’t read expressions so I dunno what it means. For all I know it could mean you wanna be friends, though I don’t think so. I’ll wait for you to make a move before I speak, an’ what I say depends on what you do. If you’re gonna be rude I may just be rude right back, or I may be nice anyway. Depends on if you hit a sore spot, but you probably won’t poke at my open wounds so I ‘spect we’ll make friends right enough, because my mum taught me to be polite, and anyway, I don’t like to fall out with people, specially wimmin. I like other wimmin, even though they used to give me a tough time. We’re the same kind of animal and I reckon men liked me for the wrong reasons anyway. That’s why they were so easy to charm –
‘cos they reckoned I was easy to fool, and mebbe they were right.
If you were younger – say you were a whole bunch of younger women I’d never met, I’d be more nervous, but in no time at all they’d be tellin’ me their problems and we’d prob’ly be bosom buddies.
Just don’t mention politics unless you’re an ecology nut because that’s what I am, and I don’t much like people who don’t care about the planet.
Or the poor
Or the sufferin’.
Basically I don’t like people who don’t have compassion so I hope you aint one of them.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Fifty thousand words


fifty thousand words of pain and shame
fifty thousand words begin to tell my tale
revealing so many dark secrets and failures
five decades of history written but not yet finished
while half-remembered incidents swirl, churning me inside
rising, clarifying, adhering to the surface of my mind
I sniff back a million tears which have lain hidden
behind my eyelids, building up these fifty years
into a river which tickles beneath my skin
and clings within me, whispering
“I am in your imagination
in your wish for attention. I am not real.”
they wriggle and swish, they take the piss
cruelly telling me to retain my dignity
hinting that if I cry it will be for sympathy
to fulfil my desire for flimsy dissipation
my clinging need to hear the music
in one simple sentence
“Oh, you poor thing.”
these are lies
like those which
for so many years
have attacked
my ears

I know

©Jane Paterson Basil

You’re an ugly little thing


you’re an ugly little thing
and you’re no longer mine
look at you with your toothy grin
your hollows and cracks and dips
your ground down metal armour
I try, but I cannot find
a sentimental memory
a time when I cared more
about you than the rest of them
you hid in a corner, looking at my food
while I chewed with the best of them
for years I have been fed up
to the back teeth with you
irritating me, bringing pain
but you will never hurt me again
I’m glad I finally made the decision
to visit the dentist
and request an

©Jane Paterson Basil