Category Archives: experimental poetry

Beauty and the Psychopath

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The earth’s surface
spans five hundred and ten square kilometres;

its Imperial reach
is one hundred and ninety-six point nine miles;

if every human stood still for one minute
and studied the scene
we might see hunger, iniquity, pain;

we might witness
every kind of suffering

~ this world is too complex to be forever kind ~

yet if we could gaze
with a cleanly aesthetic eye

devoid of empathy
for the frog crushed beneath the boot,

we might find beauty in every millimetre;

we’d envisage beauty
in every razor blade, in every frightened face,
in every tainted pool
that seeps through limp uniform
to sink into the rusting battle field;

it’s easy to appreciate a sunset
or the wavering boughs of a willow tree,

but tucked in a desert

in the arid waste where death exalts,
as, throwing back his cape

he rides the rays of  an allegiant sun
that roasts flesh from hollowing bones, leaving skulls to fade
in shifting hills and sandy vales

there is enchantment, whether scanned
from the height of an aeroplane, or gleaned
through a microscope
as we peek at the secrets of a single grain.

and on a motorway

on a wide tarmac trail
which breaks meadows in its wake,
snaking city limits, displaying the detritus of terminal mishap;
twisted metal, stains left by fractured death
and splattered brains

we find banks piled with riotous harmony
where flowers despised by tidy garden rules
are gems that shine on nature’s winsome breast.

In an iniquitous hidden room

in a bolted cell of jailor’s shame,
dank with acrid stench of psychopaths
intent on tearing sacred, private silk,
raping, molesting, shredding flesh in a hell
where madmen claim the purity of sin
where sadists taste their sour disgrace,
and relishing it, declare it sweet

the stolen one shudders,
her hair matted with filth and tears,
an innocent born with the essence of perfection,
a woman
who grew from woman’s womb.

.

This poem has veered a long way from its original intention, but I went with the flow – which suggests that I might be getting back on form 🙂

Note to self; it would require two people for it to work as an orated poem.  Stanzas written in black would be best spoken in a gentle tone; those on the right, by an increasingly threatening one. The purple line in the middle would be spoken in duet.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Private Show

WARNING! DISTURBING CONTENT
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.

………………daddy
………………….daddy holds
……………………daddy holds a
…………………….daddy holds a private
…………………….daddy holds a private show
……………………………….holds a private show
……………………………………….a private show
………………………………………private show
………………………………………………show

………………………………………………..uncles
…………………………………………..uncles come
………………………………………..uncles come and
…………………………………. ….uncles come and pay
……………………………… …..uncles come and pay to
…………………………………uncles come and pay to see
………………………………………. .come and pay to see
…………………………………. …….  …and pay to see
…………………………………  …………..pay to see
………………………………………  ………..to see
…………………………………………………..see

………………………………………………….my
…………………………………………………my poor
……..;;……………………………………..my poor life
………………………………………….my poor life bleed
………………………………………my poor life bleed away
……………………………………poor life bleed a
……………………………life bleed a……………w
………………….bleed a…………..w…………….a
………………………….w………….a……………..y
………………………….a…………..y
………………………….y
……………………………………………………………..away
………………………………………………………………………

.

Written for Michelle’s Photo Challenge, this poem is designed to be uncomfortable and difficult to read, to cause visual distortion, and to shock, since the subject matter is horrific.  

©Jane Paterson Basil

The Wolf

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Three bodies sat around a table;
a wolf disguised, as in a fable,
a bloodied victim, half chewed away,
and the predator’s next intended prey.

The bloodied victim had the audacity to survive. Bravely, she spoke to the intended prey, describing the tactics and weaknesses of the wolf. The wolf stammered excuses, but the woman in his sights was not a fool.

I was one of the three,
and, yesterday, I aquired a pile of knives.
Each one was etched with a
different
crime
against my sex
All the sins committed by you, the wolf, were represented.

I sharpened my knives with a fine whetstone.
Aggression and affection rubbed together, each clearly defined.
I had no love for you, only the desire to save a life.

Today I examine my prospective weaponry, silently interviewing every well-honed applicant for the post of accomplice to rough justice. Each stretch of steel sharply translates the rays of sun into a gleaming silver streak of lethal dreams.

I select the most stylish knife in my armory;
fashioned for filleting, its sleek blade
emerges, confident, from a welcoming wood handle,
elegantly narrowing
to a
pin
p
o
i
n
t
more threatening than Madonna’s famous bra.
Tenderly, I stroke it with my thumb.
I name it for you.

I picture a glistening film of crimson, the viscous drips weeping their shame at your lack of remorse.

I’ll hand you the knife, and wait
for the cutting slash, the stabbing thrust that will drive the spike through your flesh, into the unsleeping, penile heart of the matter.

I’ll watch your dispicable spirit simmer –
see you spit, but your spit will not reach.
You will have been hoisted by your own petard.

I’ll raise a victorious fist
for womens’ solidarity.

Finally,
I’ll drink (coffee) to the health of my new friend.
She drinks weak tea,
but with my tolerant nature
I view that as a minor misdemeanour.

The Daily Post #Spike

©Jane Paterson Basil

Who they may have become

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Some squeeze into lonely, ignoble deaths, leaving loved ones grieving, inconsolable, screaming the loss, their dreams stolen in that icy moment. No-one
will never see the greatness of who their beloved may have become, if they’d lived another day.

Backs sag, knees bend, wet eyes watch the coffin drop, long years
of pinprick horror forgotten — stolen by a final tickle in the vein.

So long they grieved, but not like this,
never like this.

Old tears swim through fishes’ salty fins
to swill in the ocean of lesser loss,
while this monumental pain will always taste the same.

It makes no sense in heavy heads which rattle with the raddled question of where the connection may be, between

the child with smiling eyes, whose chubby fingers reached for the rising sun, the girl who laughed to see stars in the night-time sky; the boy who cried when the dog died,
and that cold pair of letters that nudge together: O.D.

O.D. Odd. Ode. Overdose. Too much of something, somewhere beneath the skin. The old hands now know that their first shot was an overdose. Too much of a drug that the body didn’t require, which twisted the mind into thinking the needle of death held the elixir of life.

Photos spill from pine tables in rose-garden homes, they pile upon worktops in slick city buildings. Suburban parents and council house tenants squint at pictures in search of their children, eyes stinging as they make believe there is a secret hidden behind their youthful skin that will bring them back to life again.

Weeping, they recall
the day he won the game,
the way she longed for fame.

They can’t escape the horrid thought that hammers in their brains:
“Was I to blame for the fall?”

Misplaced guilt and memories increase the weight of pain,
but still it tastes the same,
still it tastes the same.

“Another day and he may have gone straight,”
“another day and she may have been great,”
“They may have seen the light,”
they say, and they may be right,
but tomorrow came too late,
too often, it comes too late.

Some struggle with hope, and some recover to become great.
These are the lucky ones, for whom tomorrow was not too late,
but they have to be brave to break the chain
that binds the brain with links of lies;
their wills must be strong to beat the Devil at his evil game.

Those who win are grateful that the reaper waited
until it was too late to stake his claim.

Should you ever meet a recovered addict in the street,
know that it is an honour to be in his company.
In his weakest hour he has risen from his bed,
kicked away the painkilling killer
and writhing through sickness and agony of body and brain,
has beaten foul fiends the like of which you and I have never seen,
to come out cleaner than we may never be,
and to become much more than he may otherwise have been
even if he had always been clean.

The Daily Post #Elixir

©Jane Paterson Basil

Out of control

.
   from
     where 
      you stand, 
        you will never 
witness these floating insanities.
        They're so far
      from your
    distant                  
   plain                                          I'm
                                              stuck                   
                                        this  game
                                     is a torture
                           without clear rules or conclusions
                                     to be played
                                          while the
                                             brain's
                                                   out          
               I
         spiral                   
      like a
     careless tightrope walker 
     knowing  even  as  I land 
              there is no-one  
                   at fault 
                    but  
                me

Written for The Daily Post #Witness

©Jane Paterson Basil

She left me snowdrops

she sends
innocent looking texts
begging my attention, with
overblown love, extravagant kisses
and oft repeated claims of how she longs
to see me,of how greatly she misses me
her words sometimes timerous,
occasionally belligerant
but more often with
faint humility.

she left me snowdrops

however her words sound I need to ignore them,
sincere they may be; I know she adores me, but I also know she wants to destroy me
and as the months stretch, my grief for her recedes an inch
as if she were already dead

but she left me snowdrops
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

I get regular reminders of her damaging acts,  her statements
to the cops, exempt from facts, false allegations of rape and abuses,
directed at any man who flatly refuses to satisfy her single important aim
by feeding her collapsing greedy veins, and anyone who’s careless enough to care,
will quickly fall into her snare. her former beauty has long since fled,
so she sells ugliness and shame instead. there are plenty
of men with degraded tastes; there are plenty
of men with a longing to abase.

but she left me snowdrops
snowdrops, shy, downcast, not quite meeting my eye
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

I know her serenade is designed to trap
once she’s lulled me to sleep she’ll bite and snap
she has a dangerous ability to drive me mad
stealing my mind of all the sense I have

but she left me snowdrops
snowdrops, my greatest floral weakness
snowdrops, shy, downcast, not quite meeting my eye
fragrant snowdrops, promising spring
and fresh beginnings

she is broken, I am ripped
I understand she wants to slip
beneath my skin, and break me apart
so she can sink her teeth into my heart
thinking it will finally make us one
tie us in a death-knot
that can never be
undone

so she left me snowdrops
my beloved, lost child left me snowdrops
tiny, dripping tears

©Jane Paterson Basil

The cider-press of failure

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Roll up. Roll up! You have to see this
 A shilling will lead you to a show you cannot miss!
 Come through the curtain! Come through quick!
 see a dazzling show that will make you sick.

See the funny lady climb and see the ladder wobble
see the funny lady topple, 
arms flailing, windmilling, headlong
into the Terrifying Cider-Press of Failure!
Hear the  s
          c
          r
          e
          a
          m  and the  c
                      r
                      u
                      n
                      c
                      h  
                      as it crushes her bones!

                                           See
                                           her
                                         life-
                                         blood
                                          flow.

See

Her

Die.

Gather up, gather up!
 There is more in store for you!
 With little ado, I'll introduce to you:

The Marvellous, Incredible, Incomparable, Incomprehensable 
Threadbare Carpet of Resignation,
where a miracle will be made before your mesmerised eyes!
Tell me pretty children,
do you think the funny lady may re-assemble?

No?

Gather in close; don't trip on the rope.
Watch the Threadbare Carpet of Resignation 
                                           r
                                          i
                                           p
                                          p
                                        l
                                         e  as it lies
beneath the Terrifying Cider Press of Failure.
See the pints of red blood rising,
see the shiny bones appearing,
muscles, sinews, organs, growing,
smooth, pink, lady flesh enclosing,
her body bent, but no longer broken,
as she s
         t
          o
          o
         p
       s
beneath the Terrible Cider Press of Failure
on the Threadbare Carpet of resignation.

Now, dear children, you've seen the show.
 Please tread carefully as you go.

Roll up. Roll up! You have to see this
 A shilling will lead you to a show you cannot miss!
 Come through the curtain! Come through quick!
 see a dazzling show that will make you sick.

 

©Jane Paterson Basil

Spilt-second

He said goodnight to the driver, and leapt from the bus, fingers clutching his greasy chips. In his haste 
for the savour of salt on his tongue
he ran into the road,
blind to the light
of the car's headlights 
and moving too fast to stop as I shouted a 
         terrified warning. The breaks screeched, but the car 
                            didn't stand a chance of halting.
                                        In my screaming brain
                                                   all motion
                                                       slowed
                                                         down
                                                       before
                                               the dire crack 
                                     of head-on impact.
                             My son;
                    my son was bounced into the air,
             flipped by the nose of the bonnet;
        his chips scattering, cascading.
     I saw him hurtling head first towards the ground
    and my brain raced.
    I saw his head shatter on the tarmac,
      the splash of blood
         and the scarlet puddle that swelled
             around his lifeless self.
               My anguish was too great to contain
               so, from a distance,
              I watched my feeble frame
           crouch beside my child,
        lift his broken head onto my lap,
     hearing keening sobs erupt from within me.
   a siren wailed.
  They took my dead son away.
 as I watched the tail lights recede
a sudden movement clicked me back to reality
his death had been no more
than a vision of the expected future
and he was still falling, but; 
in a split-second miracle
he had contorted in the air,
raising his shoulders and his head,
giving him a safe delivery.

                   He 
               wasn't dead.
       He wasn't dead or even hurt.
  As his incredulous audience marvelled    
I hugged him close,  crying out my relief.
Over and again,  the poor car-driver said                      
“he was right in front of me. I braked but 
 there was nothing I could do!” I uttered 
   words of comfort and agreement, but 
     I knew only time would heal his 
      unfounded shame.  While Paul 
       struggled to free himself 
        from my shaking embrace 
          I clung to him tight,
           hearing a muffled 
            complaint leave 
               those lips:
 
  “I was really longing to eat my chips.”

Written for Writing 101 Poetry – Day 4

This really happened. Paul was thirteen years old, and it was his second close brush with death, but years later,  more were to follow…

©Jane Paterson Basil