Monthly Archives: May 2018

Daughters of Eve

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WARNING: ADULT CONTENT… I got a bit carried away. If you expect to be offended, close your eyes to the sections printed to the right side of the page, in RED. They are not  essential components of the poem.

I am the spirit of a Biblical metaphor,
raised beneath a celibate sky,
nourished by fertile dirt’s clean creations,
nurtured by trees whose lenient branches
were cradles that rocked me, and whose growing leaves
gave glorious shade against the noon-tide haze. Nature
was my nursery, my playground, my adventure trail,
my safe, serene haven, a concert hall
where birds, conducted by seasons and sun
sang heavenly songs for me, to the backing
of ticking crickets and buzzing bees.
This was my Eden.

Since the original sentencing, endless generations have meekly bled away their weeping days, bones brittling  and crumbling away, juices sinking into the speckled detritus of history. Those with time and rage enough have fought for truth, yet still, by dint of my sex, I stand accused by those who would rule and defile me.

I offer you my defence:

It was another who plucked the fruit, not I.

I beg you to see that I had a wholesome balance and bounteous range of flavours within reach. Had I felt the desire for more variety, I expect there was a plentiful supply of untried legal foods in the nethermost regions of Eden.

The world was new; sophisticated tricks
to trap a virgin girl
had not yet been invented.
No budding rose, no dainty sweets to tempt my tongue,
no ardent vows or subtle wheedling
led me to my fall.
Neither did I simper or whisper lewdly wicked words
in man’s unyielding ear, or plot in any way
to take heart or prick as jewellery or trinket.
I did not know the form reflected in man’s eyes
was no more romping child but nubile wench,
until the moment that he grabbed me, forced my jaws apart.
and made me swallow. Even as I choked and retched,
failing to eject the stinking fruit,
he threw me to the forest floor
and roughly ravaged me, injecting me
with toxic stench that stole from me
the world that I held dear.

It was man who separated me from Eden.
Now he slyly lays the blame on Eve.

The judge glances down. Glossy prints display scars on sickened flesh. Documents testify to my ruptured hymen, but where is the record of the lies repeated since the dawn of creation, and what care has he for my suffering mind? I wait for the inevitable hoodwinking protestations.

Licking his lips, he looks my way, then promptly dismisses my pain. He claims circumstantial evidence, or says that I alone am to blame, citing historical temptresses, his finger pointing as he intones felonious accusations of the lascivious nature of all females, dating from Eve’s days.

His Honour’s cock
ticks out a seashore rhythm of lust, a foaming
hot blood throb concealed beneath His Honourably billowing gown.
A thickness of phlegm
sits heavy on his chest. A quick cough
dislodges it; affording him
a viscous dewdrop of pleasure, no more.
There are bigger things to shift, he thinks. His hidden hand
inches
toward the swelling itch. Fiddles. Just
a tickle of anticipation
which must later lead to a drawn out, ecstatic
scratch.
He visualises phallic fungi
thrusting capped heads through the thin throats
of calla lilies, shredding delicate membranes,
while his sensitive finger
gently strokes,
his finger, so slim,
so
similar
to a choir boy’s…
oh, yes.. A choir…
boy’s…
budding

From the witness stand, I interrupt
his surreptitious clutching.

I had the perfection of Eden, I say.
I had the wonder of childhood.
How could I dream of anything else?

Behind the bench,
the judge
massages
his groin
just…

just
a
little…

just a little…

more.

He regains self-control, postponing his goal until he’s alone. Gone are the golden days of summoning young scraps of flesh that would not dare threaten his authority or breathe a word of his greedily inflicted sadism. But he must not yet dwell on the tears. He must refrain from picturing so many pitiful pairs of defeated legs which limped so prettily away. It would only increase the emergency of release.

Soon he’ll be free to bolt his door, and summon every supreme detail.

He takes pains to concentrate, to focus
on closing the case.

Raising his gavel, he lets it slam.
He calls for order and proclaims the witness
guilty again.

Guilty of inciting rape.
Guilty of consuming the fruit.
Guilty of causing the fall.

Guilty down to my chromosomes.

.

That’s it, folks. Time to drop the subject…

©Jane Paterson Basil

Being There

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It is a collage this week. Writers will connect to it easily.

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So, let the fingers align to imagination, and bang on the keyboard. The format can be a a story/poem/rant/anecdotes/journalistic coverage of events/ reflections as usual.
Pour out, and let it flow ….


Flipping in long grass,
skipping, leap-frogging, cartwheeling over stiles,
feet so fleet it feels like flying,
flopping to sit cross-legged on fragrant nature’s floor.
Grass stained shorts. Grubby fingernails
cut careful slits through slim daisy stems.
Threading, making chains to dangle from supple neck.
Carefree sunshine and family love.

Once, this was me.

Breasts swelling, bursting
from a shock-horror bra, hips curving,
and worse, a monthly sticky thing that hurts,
which Grandma calls the curse.
Father stealing small licks to assuage the tip
of his hunger.
Mother loving, supporting
this poor little changeling.

Feeling dirty. filthy images of hot flesh slapping,
moist organs fitting,
slipping wetly together. Precocious hormones
that battle against desire,
hermaphrodite side crying “Let me
be a child”,
yet all the while learning the wanton game.

A teen with a siren’s face,
miming like a pro. Anything goes,
as long as it excludes loosening her clothes.
No sense of danger, blindly embracing
masked neighbour that ambles her way.

Rape and beatings, beatings and rape.
burst head, bleeding flesh, blurred vision,
cigarette burns, fractured limbs, bruises
that cannot be hidden. Torn wings
of a butterfly, entrenched in threats
that he may fulfil.
“I will kill”, he says.
“I will
kill
your family,
I will kill them if you hide from me.”

Weeping admission. Gentle assistance.
A groggy leap from the sizzling grill, only to slip
into spinning with trolls, a racy dance of ring-a-ring-o’-roses,
taking risks to prove she’s ahead of the game,
trying to hide her confusion and pain,
all of it fake, played out in vain.

Atishoo, atishoo,
she’s falling again.

Learning to stand,
wooing and wedding a kindly man,
only to fling him away.
To add to mistakes and shame,
the new man she catches, rapes her brain.
Years of fighting to gain control,
while the monster hints that she’s going insane
tripping and falling and failing again. Flailing.

An ill-planned, yet helpful escape.

Too late, she examines the damage.
Trailing her feet along a rough cloister, wrought
from life’s ill-conceived choices.
To the right, bright window panes reveal smiling faces.
Hands wave. She stretches her arms,
but can’t reach.
To her left, dust, rubble, crumbling walls.
Jagged scraps from her womb bear witness to her weakness, grimacing
as they juggle with jesters and thieves,
screeching to be healed.

A mouth opens.
A silent scream struggles out, to ricochet
off the ceiling. She swallows it in one.
It crushes her lungs.

“Please let me breathe.”

Rising up. Her children will not
be defeated by their demons.
Whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes…

This, too, was me.

A lone woman,
wizened by a boxed-up heap of experience,
sits in a high backed chair,
watching trees. The leaves expand into a screen
which conceals iniquity.
From her position, she can see
a clean horizon, distant meadows, whirling angels
that create sustainable energy, life-giving earth,
acres of sky.
Sometimes it rains,
but the sun soon breaks through.
When tears threaten, she strokes the jagged splits
that ripped deep through her skin, and feels
smooth silver strings weld and heal.
She is satisfied.
At night, she catches her reflection in the glass.
The allure that shaped her darker days
has faded with age.
Now, she is beautiful.

This woman is me.

.

Any life which stretches to reasonable longevity is like a massive chunk of quartz, cut from rock. Depending on the angle and brightness of the light, and on where you are standing, different facets can are visible. Also, the viewer approaches the quartz with his own pre-conceptions, interests and focus to detail. Furthermore, our aspects can change over time – even in the blink of an eye. This is one story of my life,  but – apart from the closing stanza – I displayed it from the dark side of the moon. I have many happy memories.

… an afterthought; reading through this longwinded poem, I learnt a horrifying new fact about my past – a detail that was staring me in the face, and yet I didn’t see it. While it won’t harm my emotions too much, I don’t think I’m ready to talk about it, but I mention it because, even viewed through the muddiest of lights, its still possible to spot new facets

Thanks go to Reena, for the inspiration.
©Jane Paterson

I am Woman, See Me.

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I am woman.
The heart of the future beats out
a serene rhythm in my womb.
I sustain it with my meat,
feel it stretch my welcoming belly,
anticipating motherhood with joy and
a tinge of trepidation, acknowledging
responsibility and risk.
When the pains of labour retreat,
I staunch my uterine blood, and nurture
the divine new fruit which emerges.
I do not deny my need
of your seed to fertilise the egg,
but it is not your due to despise
or to rule me.

I am woman.
Throughout the ages
I have been reviled, raped, beaten, enslaved,
burnt as a witch for doing my duty,
stoned for a whore while the guilty parties
whisper proud secrets of sowing wild oats,
or claim ensnarement in the wiles and the web
of this victim whose viscous red liquid
shamefully stains the villagers’ dust.
Backslapping and taunting, my victors kick me
and jauntily walk away free.

I am woman.
You rip off my rags and you call me a slut.

I am woman,
created to serve and to lead,
to learn and to teach,
to feast and to feed, or to fast if need be,
as I acquiesce to my destiny,
bequeathing the breath that I have been gifted,
passing it on to my next of kin.

I am woman,
trapped by the base victories
of archaic man’s wish to trample me.
Dark patriarchy seeps through the skin of history
to become tradition
while my strength is trapped, sapped
by my tasks.
Were I self-seeking, you would not
have a chance against me.

I am woman,
measured against the planet
I am invisible as an ant climbing a skyscraper,
yet set against the iniquities of humankind,
I am a giant.

I am woman.
See me, respect me.
Let me be.

.

Written for The Daily Post Word Prompt: Archaic

Inspired by this stunning poem, written by Candice at thefeatheredsleep.

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©Jane Paterson Basil

Narcissism

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A narcissist?
That isn’t a nice thing to say
to one who is perfect in every way.
I don’t wish to sound vain,
but the truth is quite plain;
I’m top of the A list,
on everyone’s play list.
There’s no-one can match my magnetic attraction,
my beauty’s undimmed by dark and refraction,
even my mirror’s in love with me.
Why, if I could find someone as winsome as I,
I’d wed them today and whisk them away,
but no matter how hard I try,
this sweet face is all I can see –
I can love no-one but me.

.

Written for The Daily Post Word Prompt: Narcissism

©Jane Paterson Basil

Upcycling

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Bags of beads dissembled from their strings, soon
to be dispatched to Oxfam, that they may sell
and be threaded afresh.

Pendants awaiting examination, findings
laboriously sorted into colour, size and functionality.
Earrings bedecked with gems, bracelets dripping
with jingling charms and shells.

Diamante, painted clay, hearts and stars, creamy pearls and wiry curls.
Repro art deco, retro pop, lots of wood and polished rocks.
Every kind of chain boasting various metals,
rainbow ropes of globules in plastic and glass.

Contemporary, classic and all in-between,
mementoes of places that people have seen,
waste from a spendthrift’s unreachable dream.

Speckled memories of a thousand brief vanities.
Fashion which faded to old hat,
yesterdays mass-produced tat concealing
tepid treasures and better shards of a class,
recently rejected by browsers who briefly scanned
the second-hand display as they walked past,
or maybe unseeing, turned away.

It would be premature
to bin this tarnished beauty, so
my living room has become the last-chance saloon
for unloved jewellery. It’s time
to give it
a new kind of shine.

Let the upcycling begin.

Written for The Daily Post Word Prompt: Premature


Shop sustainably. Buying responsibly recycled/upcycled products cuts down landfill and slows the increase of pollution from mass-production. Also, if you buy from Charity shops, you are furthering their cause as you save money – and then you can donate the goods back to them. Ethical charities that receive donated goods that don’t sell, recycle as much as they can. It’s a win-win situation.


©Jane Paterson Basil

Olga Hopkins

A few days ago I casually challenged my fellow bloggers to have a go at an idea I came up with (which had probably already been invented, but I hadn’t heard of it). The challenge was to write a post using the first line of each of a batch of novels. I call it First Liners, or First Line Flash. Kate, at aroused, didn’t have any novels to hand, so – being a calm person – she calmly pulled together an excellent piece from the books around her – children’s books and self help books! You wouldn’t think it would work, but she did an amazing You won’t notice the seams unless you look for them..

Kintsugi.

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I don’t possess a pedigree,
I’m a cross-breed of catch-me-if-you-can lunatics,
raging rebels and raving addicts.
Our abilities are widespread, ranging from
every aspect of art to maths, science
and agility. Sometimes we wear
our able hands and brilliant minds like a hat,
but when the wind blows,
the fractures in our brains become exposed.

We hold high ideals,
make plans, build beauty,
only to trip and smash it all
to smithereens.
On good days,
when we see the mess we have made
we pool our resources, pick up
the pieces and create
precious kintsugi.

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Kintsugi, or “golden joinery”, is the ancient art of restoring broken items with laquer, mixed or dusted with a precious metal, often creating something more beautiful than the original.

.

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Laura – my human kintsugi

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Written for the Daily Post Word Prompt: Pedigree

©Jane Paterson Basil

Yesterday’s Leaves

fallen petals

Paintbrush slips from my hand.
White satin drips and dries in uneven waves.
Yesterday’s leaves droop, rose petals
are detached by the breeze, to settle at my feet.
I could pretend they are too heavy to lift,
too distant to reach,
or call them a sweet reminder
of confetti days.

Breakfast filled a space,
lunchtime evaded me,
dinner is a dull equation that remains unsolved.
Fresh coffee offers vague, uneasy
sustenance.

I sleep with open eyes,
scratching at new schemes,
my fractured mind reaching for endings
that might dispel my apathy.

Lead me back
to the meadow where crickets sing
and bees appreciate their duty.

I will swim
through verdant leaves, and rest
against the earth’s chest, to be healed
by its green heart beat.

Reveal the child I used to be.
Release me
from the ache which knowledge entails.

©Jane Paterson Basil


Written for Calen’s Sandbox Challenge, Exercise 18:

Squirrel

IF YOU COULD, WHAT PARTS OF YOURSELF
WOULD YOU THROW OUT?

Where Dirt is Clean

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We grow too great to discern the details,
rising until our brains
break through the ceiling
into a dusty room where those before us
have soared and suffocated in shallow pursuit.

Blinded by the murk, we stain our minds with
what might have been, what could be,
ambition clouding the need to return to our roots
where earth suffers for our science and greed.

Lie by my side
where grass tickles skin,
where ears listen to insects that sing,
where life holds no record of seconds and minutes,
where breathes the core of our being.
Lie silent with me where dirt is clean
and we are real.

.

Written for The Daily Post Daily Prompt:  Core

©Jane Paterson Basil

First Line Flash

This morning, I started reading Paper Towns, by John Green. The opening sentence is “The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.” It occurred to me that it might be fun to make up poetry from the first sentences of novels, so I copied a few out. My choices were limited, since I pass on most novels after I’ve read them, but I have a few kicking around which belonged to someone who died. As I was arranging my opening lines, it struck me that they could be further used to make up a new plot for a novel, should I be so inclined… which I’m not. After completing my “poem” it didn’t seem very poetic, so I’m posting it as flash fiction.

William

June the first, a bright summer evening, a Monday. I am in a car park in Leeds when I finally tell my husband I don’t want to be married to him any more. The first time Richard hit me, I could see stars in front of my eyes like they do in cartoons.

I woke up in a dinghy claw-foot tub in an unfamiliar bathroom. The door was the first thing. The door was open.

“Hide!” He was shrieking, frantic, his face drained of all colour.

You could very easily meet William. The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.


Do you fancy having a go at First Line Flash? It’s a fun way to write when you’re all out of inspiration.

Credits:

Miriam Keyes – The Brightest Star in the Sky
Nick Hornby – How to be Good
Elizabeth Flock – Me and Emma
Sara Shepard – The Lying Game
Nicki French – The Safe House
Ian Rankin – Hide and Seek
Geoff Ryman – The King’s Last Song
John Green – Paper Towns.

Apologies to Ian Rankin for the misquote – I had to drop a word from his line.

©Jane Paterson Basil