Category Archives: dark poetry

Daughters of Eve

Eve1

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

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The Man who Wanted to Save the World

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A seething gang of teens surrounds him,
mocking, calling him names,
Stealing his concentration,
but he will not be defeated; he’s here
to save the world.

Catcalls, insults and derision
almost overwhelm the voices in his head.
He will not listen; they are sent
to deflect him from his divine duty
to save the world.

He strains to hear the angel’s voice,
but the rudeness intrudes,
diluting essential information –
instructions which he is convinced
will save the world.

A Sainsburys receipt floats past his feet,
its jumbled numbers will reveal
a secret code for him alone,
he who was selected by the highest deity
to save the world.

As the youths close in, he strikes out,
screaming, spittle flying from his mouth,
splattering an angry face. Someone cries out
“He’s just a crazy crank, a tramp. Nobody will care.
Let’s have him, lads.”

A slip of paper escapes from a slack hand
to land in a spreading pool of blood. Absorbing the gore,
its empty message blurs as tears forget to fall
for the man who failed
to save the world.

Image supplied by Pixabay.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Gravity

It’s like an egg breaking inside your head;
a sudden flood that controls your mind, telling you
to run to the window and dive
down
down
down
to the soulless ground below.
In the instant before your thoughts recover,
you move across the room, ready
to turn your eggy impulse into messy reality.

Out of step with the moment, you feel
the shock of the drop forcing you
to release all oxygen from your lungs, though you want
to draw a greedy last gasp of cool air before
the end… and then you realise
it hasn’t happened yet.

Grasping for sanity, you clutch the back of a dining chair.
You shudder, knowing how close it was this time,
and you wonder, had you jumped,
how desperately would you regret your imminent death
in the few seconds before the concrete smashed your skull to shreds,
and would those seconds stretch
into eternity?

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Last Breath

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They say
that life can end
in the blink of an eye,
but when the last breath
whispered from his lips,
his eyes were still,
and so were
mine;

still
and
dry

~

Our
weeping children
quickly left the scene, leaving me
to tie off ends as if I were his next of kin.
Strange to think his skin no more contained
his thoughts and hopes, his good and bad,
his lonely soul, his half-arsed plans,
his generous acts, his secret crimes,
his spongy rage,  his happy days,
his lifelong pain, his crazy lies,
his shrugged-off shame,
his efforts and his
failed amends.

“Goodbye,”
I said.

~

Leaving
to attend to
our children’s needs,
I fixed my face
in an attitude
of quiet
grief.

~

©Jane Paterson Basil

His Passing

The final fact floats free in chill November air.
Wispy theories seep through gaps into my living space;
a sluggish swirl too vague to disarrange my hair.

He is dead.
The pathologist estimates two weeks.

When I saw him last week, the wind
seemed to twist him, and his coat –
the coat he wore to keep the winter out –
his coat was out of step with him
as, tied closely apart, they swirled
in schizophrenic dance of love and hate,
flinging exhortation and despair to the wind.

As I watched him spin I had no way of knowing
he was a wraith struggling to escape
an unwelcome netherworld
and return to this place.

A wide road winds out of town,
its white lines blind to distance and insistent tick of time,
flowing past rural scenes and memories
that strangers keep between fading album covers
bulging with sunshine and smiles.
Still more fond secrets lie stored in the archives of their minds.

Distant kin we never knew
sleep silently beneath the fallen leaves;
so many griefs do not reach us.

We hold hands with those we choose, not letting go
until long beyond the final call.

The mindless road winds on to motorway,
passing towns and cities as it goes, while all the way
the straying ghosts of those we never knew
evade our sights;
we’re rarely touched by unknown spirits
passing through our skin.

Somewhere in the erstwhile smoke of London town
a mother weeps to hear the news:
she’s lost her errant son.
She holds no blame, yet that will not console her.

I dare not weigh her loss against his crimes
and what he might have done if he were still alive.
I cannot feel relief while she holds her hollow womb
and teardrops fall,
but it is sad that I don’t feel a twinge
of anything at all.

The police might be treating Joe’s death as suspicious. They’re on the street, keeping their questions low-key. They know him by his reputation and by his history. Those who may have expected to be future victims of his insanity are addicts too weak to be perpetrators. A woman who had been threatened by Joe was approached and told about his death. The police asked her a few questions. She was quite casual about the conversation when she spoke of it to my son. I’m glad she’s no longer at risk; she was bravely supportive toward my daughter after Joe beat her up.

In spite of the suffering he caused, I feel distanced from his death. Even when he was shouting threats up at my window, I felt separated from his circle of psychosis. As soon as Laura went into recovery, he receded into the murky past.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Trickery

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Boil the cauldron till it sings,
then add a pair of spider wings,
leaf of toad and bud of newt,
heart of fungus, rabbit’s root —
Throw them in and mix them up
to make a wicked witches cup.

Worm’s left leg and fishes foot,
frozen flame and snow-cap soot —
add a pinch of ghoulish youth,
a silent laugh, a liar’s truth,
hemlock toenails, adder’s hair —
fling them in without a care.

Eye of creeping pondweed slime
and other stuff that makes a rhyme
will finish off the recipe,
now stir it gently just for me.
Mash it up and make a paste —
not a drop must go to waste.

Now try this recipe on all
insurance men who come to call.
Smear it thickly on your face —
they’ll run away without a trace,
then wash it off, and you will see
your skin will glow more healthily.

Oh! what a foolish girl she is
that she should vainly take notice
of a stepmother like me,
and make my toxic recipe.
Her former beauteous, smiling face
now melts beneath a gruesome paste.

And what a clever witch am I,
I didn’t need tell a single lie;
The silly salesman ran away
to see her glowing green and grey,
and now the mirror will agree;
there’s no-one prettier than me.

©Jane Paterson Basil

I am Here. (A ghostly poem)

WARNING – THIS POEM CONTAINS VIOLENT IMAGERY.

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Tickled out of gritty sleep by
a tingle of  marrow issuing into my dry
spine, I listen as the Church bells chime to wake
we dead, and I think my way
into the mortal world,
if only for today.

Six feet beneath
the earth, my gnarled bones stir.
Joints grate, to lock end-to-end, in preparation
for brief celebration of something akin
to life. A witchy weightlessness
lifts me through rotted timber and the fertile
decay of wormy graveyard dirt.

“I am here!” I think.

Dry organs reclaim remembered nests
beneath this ragged shroud. Muscle and gristle
rebuild – I have no vulgar need
for blood or nerves, and warming fat
has scant urge to return to this cold abode. Even the skin
is unwilling and thin. It hangs in sagging
strips; but I have no time
for primping vanity.

I jiggle, incomplete,
yet whole enough to dance a jig,to stretch and twist
without risk of sliding ribs, of brain
slipping through the gaping space where once sat
soft twitching lips which – but
the history of my lips is
of no consequence

I test my vocal chords:

“I am here,” my hoarse voice calls.

I am here,
looking upon streets still
filthy with the damned. Inebriated creatures stagger, indecently
swaying hips, displaying naked knees
for all to view, as they tout
cheap scarlet sin.
I see that the simpering hoardes of Whitechapel
still have sorely undeserved need of my special skills.
Though death has limited my abilities –
fingers that once were nimble can no more hold
a scalpel, no longer dissect a whorish
heart that recently
stopped beating – yet I have tested a few
phantom neck-severing tricks.

It was cruel to call me
Jack The Ripper; my knives were
surgical, my cuts
clean, and my art, while it was death to some,
was glory to me.
They criticised my calling; callously
ignoring my creativity, refusing me their gratitude, caring not a jot for
my history; they who never listened to the whispers
in the night, the voices that ordered me
– but enough; my psychological profile is not
to be picked over by you.

All you need to know is
that death has honed my hunger for the kill,
and on this day every year,

I am here.

©Jane Paterson Basil