All posts by janebasilblog

About janebasilblog

Jane sits around and writes a bit, then she does some other stuff, then she sits around and writes a bit more, then she eats something. Sometimes, at night, she goes to bed.

Conflicting Emotions

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Conflicting emotions cluster,
stumbling through grey matter, 
as they fight to be top of the pile.
Low thoughts, high thoughts,
where, how and why thoughts.
Grief and elation, hell and damnation,
botched conversations, recovered relations,
lost revelations, failed determination,
dead ideas and un-shed tears,
day-to day chores and clamouring causes
 all perspire
   while they battle for regard,
       colours blurring to mustard and rust,
               verity becoming encrusted
                           in the annals
                                         of my mind.



©Jane Paterson Basil
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Bus Driver

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Dear driver, you
don’t know me;

Maybe you dislike
your job and your wife,
you might even hate your life, but that
is no excuse for the fuming stare which says
“I despise you.”

You block my smile, your expression suggesting that you consider me a minor criminal. If you think this is not a designated bus stop just say so, or check with your boss. You’ll find you are wrong, while to continue in ignorance is an unwise mistake to make.

Meanwhile, why not try a compromise;
stop treating passengers like undesirable wasps
to be stomped on by your
callous eyes.

Don’t you know
that very day you make the world a little colder
for yourself, as well as for others?

Do you like being a lonely island?

Friendliness should be high on the list of priorities when hiring bus drivers. At the very least, it could be part of their training.

I used to insinuate myself
between the bars of barbed little fences such as yours,
persuading snickering scorpions to be
more amicable, but recently,
I’ve run out of energy.

It’s time for folks like you
to get wise to your public duty
and treat passengers more like friends.
.

©Jane Paterson Basil

No Place to Go

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When he enters,
his animal scent clears out the buyers and browsers
and the assistant exits in haste.

I wonder if other charity shops blocked him.
Few operate like Oxfam.

Smiling like he’s a friend,
I take shallow breaths though the nose,
keeping my mouth closed except to speak.

He tells me he got a twenty quid drop and needs to buy jeans.
I ask for his size, and pick out two pairs.

“I’m just a drunk,” he slurs, his eyes
clutching at mine as if to defy me to deny
a universal truth.

I refuse to be intimidated.
“Not just a drunk,” I reply. “At your core, you are who you have always been. You have your history, your memories, your moments of reflection. Once you played in the street, or climbed trees. Once, you laughed at your own antics and believed
you were free.”

“Don’t be pedantic,” he growls,
“and tell me where I can have a shower.
I shit my trousers and I need to get clean.”

He’s been waved away away by every hand I recommend.
Then I remember the leisure centre.
We both pretend to believe that he might receive help there.

As he staggers off along the street,
sleek and limber legs reject his presence. Even the pavement
hardens itself against his weaving feet.

From her place in the past, my mother looks askance.
Tears skitter in the sky as I speak to the breeze.

“I treated him like a human being.”

My mother agrees. That is true, at least.

“If I lived somewhere different,
I would have invited him back.”

My mother silently absorbs the lie;
her kindness inhibits her from lecturing me.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Conjurer

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He conjures fancy travel or a picnic in the park,
a nightmare in the city, or a fumble in the dark.
He conjures up confusion and he puts you in the wrong,
he makes believe you’re evil, and he says you don’t belong.

He sweeps away your knights and pawns, and always wins the game;
he’s a rhino in disguise, but he looks both meek and tame.
He steals your self esteem, your possessions and your soul,
and yet it he gains no joy when he knows he’s met his goal.

He conjured from existance your ambition and desire,
he threw your family heirlooms upon a blazing fire,
he jumbled up your children’s lives with cunning tricks and treats,
he hollowed out your brain with a range of warlock feats.

He practised his dark magic on those who got too close,
he tried to break the spirit of the one he loved the most.
He waved his magic wand, and made all others blind;
so watching from a distance, his every act looked kind.

.

They wrap him up in satin, and the mourners tell their tales
of an angel of compassion, whose goodness never failed.
They fondly wipe a tear away, while you repress a sigh –
even from his coffin, he can conjure up a lie.

.

I respectfully request that my readers look upon this poem as fiction. As a poet, I couldn’t resist today’s Word Prompt: Conjure, but it only tells a fraction of the story of one who tried to be a better man, despite his snapping demons.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Rare Blood

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I’ve been insulted by WP’s electronic brain, which has blocked me from following any more blogs, because it suspects me of following blogs purely in order to get them to follow me. Apparently I am following too many blogs, and it looks suspicious. At the time of learning this, I was had eighty-eight on my list. I suspect that this is not a particularly high number. I have been blogging for a little over three years. If I was simply looking to increase my following, by now I would have followed (and, no doubt, subsequently unfollowed) thousands of blogs – which I haven’t.

If the technology that highlights the problem was more advanced, it would see that I never follow a blog without first having – or at least starting – a conversation with the blogger. It would record the fact that, if I follow someone, I also want to get to know them better.

It was recommended that I cease following a few blogs, in order to be able to follow others, so I went to my management page and dropped ten blogs – all of which I wanted to keep – in the hope that it would sort the problem out. I was interested in every one of those blogs, and I didn’t want to lose touch with them.

Seeing no other option, I took the advice given, and ceased following several blogs which I would have preferred to keep, in the hope that I would be able to follow new ones, although it occurred to me that this action is exactly what I would do if I was trying to gain attention for my blog – drop those I’m following and find new ones to follow. WP’s advice plays into the hands of bloggers who only follow others in order to receive follows.

Well, anyway, it hasn’t worked yet. I still can’t follow new blogs.

I’m grateful to the support staff member who advised me. She opened up a dialogue, and  helped me to sort out another issue which I had – one which was preventing me from receiving notifications of new posts from blogs I was already following. She is not responsible for what the WP technology is telling her. I’m also pleased that WP is dealing with the issue of bloggers touting for follows in this way. I notice I no longer seem to be getting those kind of follows. I don’t like being followed by folks who have no interest in me or my poetry, and I wouldn’t insult another blogger by playing that game.

I can’t really understand why I am under suspicion, but maybe it’s all down to patterns. We each make our own pattern in this world. This pattern is shaped by our genes, our experiences and our choices in life. While every pattern is unique, most of them fit into an understood category – even those that stand out as being unusual. These unusual ones could be compared to the blood group, AB negative – the rarest of the bog-standard blood groups. However, there are many far more unusual blood groups, the rarest of which is believed to be be RH-Null. It has been suggested that Rh-Null has a close connection with extra-terrestrial beings, although I make no comment on that.

 Maybe my pattern is as rare as Rh-Null. I don’t think the WP bots are programmed to deal with my abstract design.

 Just because I look like an extra-terrestrial, it doesn’t mean I am one.

.Beam me up, Scotty.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Like a Sister

My friend,
you are like a sister to me. I regret giving you
the impression that I’m pushing you away.
Please forgive me.

When we speak, the words
get shuffled and swallowed by my throat, so I’m
writing this in the hope that it will explain my difficulties.

At present, I have so little time between tending to my responsibilities and I need
private
moments
to breathe; to
listen for the clean

silence

that sits lightly beneath my clamouring brain. Lately, I yearn
to separate my clashing thoughts and
examine
each
one
in turn,
that I might extract
peace from this confusion.

Please be patient with me, yet
understand this; while I yearn to amass
an ever greater wealth of empathy, I am neither
lonely or deeply unhappy. I find myself in a position
of unlikely privilege, and will do what I can
to fulfil the duties which this
particular privilege brings.

Soon, I anticipate
calm.

Should you be absent
from my life on that day
it would be a tragedy, but I
have seen your loyalty –

you will not desert me.

Thank you for
embracing me with your friendship.
You are important to me.

.

©Jane Paterson Basil