Monthly Archives: February 2016

Spit like a man

count my ribs
I am built like a woman
but my sex does not define me
or make me greater or lesser than a man

once, we seemed to be getting a grip on equality
back then many women, and even a few men
had come to believe that both sexes carried
equal importance
although our bodies bulged in different places
and our hormones came in varying proportions

but the Spice Girls broke our tenuous hold
when they encouraged our daughters to
citing fun as a just cause

I see those girls in the street, stinking of booze
they stagger on snapped stillettos
just to compete with male self-degradation

look, I can be as bad as you, they seem to say –
but anyone can learn to spit like a man

I have built walls, crocheted, constructed shelves,
sown my children’s clothes, wielded an electric drill
made cakes and souffles, smashed a scrap piano

using my individual strengths
I have done those things of which I was able
and left the rest to others

I have never felt the need
to drink any man or woman under the table
to prove I am equal

and, be you male or female
you don’t need to learn to spit like a man

©Jane Paterson Basil


Everything I need

The Daily Post.Five Items

The storm was fierce, smashing the ship, and sinking it. I was lucky enough to secure a makeshift raft. A few desperate survivors tried to pull themselves onto it,  but I was forced to kick them back into the sea. I hadn’t drowned the teenagers who had originallly found it just so I could end up sharing it with some bore.

There was only one person I was prepared to rescue. I knew Leonard Cohen had been on the ship, and I searched for him. As luck would have it, he came from nowhere, frantically splashing his way towards me. I grabbed his arms and pulled him aboard. His gratitude lifted my sensitive soul.

I hoped, should we be fortunate enough to find a desert island to inhabit, that he wouldn’t turn out to have any irritating habits, such as squeezing the toothpaste from the top of the tube, or wearing jazzy socks under his sandals.

We were adrift for hours, and by the time we caught site of land I was dying for a cup of coffee. I was pleased to see that a lot of the ship’s supplies had floated onto the sands, including sealed jars of coffee, cafetieres, pans and mugs. While we were waiting for Leonard’s cigarette lighter to dry out we collected wood to make a fire beneath the dense shade of some trees; I didn’t want some do-gooder to see the smoke and come to our rescue.

That first cup of rich, steaming coffee was delicious. The only thing that made the day less than perfect was the realisation that I could have poisoned my irritating next door neighbour who parked in my space a couple of times, afterwards using the flimsy excuse that i didn’t own a car; but at the time I hadn’t known I wouldn’t be going back

We’ve been here for six over months, and I have all that I need;
1) A lifetime supply of coffee
2) A pocket-full of the pens I always carried around with me in case I got shipwrecked (it wouldn’t do to be unable to write)
3) Constant mental stimulation from the greatest poet alive (Leonard)
4) The full attention of a romantic soul who has no other human being to love (Leonard)
5) The beauty of song (Leonard)

Leonard has not disappointed me, though I expected him to be impressed by my accuracy with the bow and arrows I made. Instead he seemed quite cross about the rescue team, but I think he believed me when I said that I had mistaken them for wild (and edible) beasts.

Leonard is packing up the bits of bark on which he has written his latest songs, so I have to work quickly to make it impossible for the helicopter to take off. I can’t let him leave me, or worse still, carry me back to civilization, although it would mean that I could go home, poison the neighbour, pick up some chocolate, kidnap Eric Clapton and return to my island.

But I don’t think it would be the same with Eric…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Instinct for survival

three line tales micro fiction and micro poetry writing challenge

Photo Credit Sonya

She had told herself that this would be her last day; that her life would end with the setting of the sun.

She felt the water carrying her towards a violent place which would overcome her ability to survive. It was what she had planned.

Her terrified heart beat painfully, and her lungs screamed for survival. She turned back, towards the shore. Maybe she’d find the courage tomorrow.

Posted for Sonya’s 3 Line Tales

©Jane Paterson Basil

Attempted solitude

he came to me in a dream,
smiling; complete in death as he had never been in life

his assisted suicide had been a success
he was happy, confident, complete
but it was different for him than for me
with no family to pull him into the future
he had stared, shocked and bemused
as his ailing body spat out his faculties
until he took the upper hand

I attemped solitude
shut myself away, barred the obvious entrances,
but had not the courage or indulgence
to seal the yawning cracks
through which love and pain enters

every day I make the choice to live
with the heartbreaking crash of chance and humanity
and with its great and little pleasures and consolations
rather than sail into his placid white silence

©Jane Paterson Basil

Levels of insanity

Last night I dreamed I was on a yacht

its cabin extended as I explored it, finding
many rooms
each inviting me to experience a different kind of madness

in the generous bathroom I curled up, screaming
while in a small boxroom I lay flat and silent on the floor
listening to the demon that shrieked inside my head
an open living area gave me room to run in circles
muttering, feeling my face distort and swell

I vacuumed the floor, thinking
this action would prove my sanity

once the detritus had been sucked away
I turned my attention to a brown door with a lift-up latch
which hadn’t been there before

a warning lifted the hairs on my skin
so lightly, so almost imperceptbly
that I was able to pretend
it was my imagination
allowing me to pass through

scarlet-carpeted stairs
led down to a sudden drop, and in a red room below me
strange machines moved with no purpose
no end game

I spotted an exit, beyond which
a woman struggled with an old-fashioned pram
bumping it down a lower staircase; the only way out
perhaps to escape the bedlam of this floor
or else to descend into yet more
unreachable madness

I turned away and retraced my steps
not ready to taste that level of insanity

fluff and grit was strewn
across the floor I had recently cleaned
reminding me that while everything changes
sometimes it follows old patterns

I sat on a bed
thinking to rock myself back to health

©Jane Paterson Basil