Tag Archives: honesty

24 Carat Gold

In dreams
I create a work of art, a three-dimensional protest against the British TV licencing Mafia-wannabes, and submit it to the Turner Prize Competition.

In dreams
I have acquired a boxy, out-dated television set, smashed the screen, arranged the shards to poke out at artistic angles from the frame like half-open windows, and covered every inch of the TV with all the letters I’ve received from the TV licencing bullies.

(In reality their letters of demand have been shoved through my door every few weeks for the past fifty-three months. Each one is addressed to “The Legal Occupier”. They promise visits, but never show. They threaten to take me to court, but they can’t; they don’t know my name, which is unfortunate, since, if they did, I would simply tell the judge that I don’t possess a TV, don’t watch BBC on my laptop or phone. I would say I had chosen not to waste time explaining that to my accusers, since all the letters insult me by clearly stating that they might not believe me).

In dreams,
a vintage towel roller lurks beside the TV, its stained towel printed with my perceived human rights and my complaints against the TV Licencing Company. This declaration is repeated one hundred times. Visitors to the Tate Modern are invited to pull the towel around the roller. The writing covers the whole towel. Since it is written backwards, a mirror faces the towel roller, but the mirror reflects nothing; it is coated with tar.

‘Cos, hey,
this is Art, man –
gotta get the punters describing arcs with hands and arms,
stroking chins, discussing
the deeper meaning, chiming in, interrupting, pontificating,
claiming they get
what the artist is saying.

In dreams,
I am both artist and finishing touch; the component which makes the artwork whole. I stroll up to viewers as they intellectualise, a couple of twigs in my hair, sporting a torn brown coat decorated with drips of dried egg yolk and particles of synthesised vomit, swigging a half-drunk bottle of White Lightening while juggling six loaded carrier bags, one of which conceals a few fetid kippers. In my broadest Devon accent, I pipe up:

“You’m all talkin’ bollox. An allegory for the ‘uman condition? A metaphor fer the failure of society? Wot you on about? Looks like the artist was pissed off wi’ them robbin’ TV scumbags, but it ain’t art. Fart, more like.”

(In dreams,
I consider giving a demonstration, providing I can summon a respectable quantity of wind, but it’s not really my style, so I scrap the plan. In any case, since I would be repeating the action over and over for the duration of the exhibition, it would require me to eat mountains of beans in order to insure success, and I don’t relish the pain that would accompany digestion.)

In dreams
I offer them my card, revealing only the side which has my thumbprint on it. It looks filthy, revolting, like I’ve stamped it on with faeces. Most folks hold their hands over their noses, turn away in disgust, shake their heads, refusing it. Only the most shy or polite of visitors to the Tate modern take them, gingerly plucking one from my grubby hand, pinching the outermost corner. When they turn the cards over, they see my signature, written in black ink that has been laced with 24 carat gold. They look up in astonishment, but I’ve gone.

In dreams,
I win the Turner Prize.

Ten years later one of those cards sells at auction for £30,000.

In dreams.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Let’s get Naked



Where are the words that reveal me,
displaying my angles and blades;
the side you might never see,
all of my renegade shades?

Its not that I think that I matter;
it’s not that I’m self obsessed,
though compliments flatter and I like the patter,
you’ve only seen me at my best,
and if I could only show you
all of my failures and flaws,
then maybe you’d see you’re no less than me;
my faults are no smaller than yours.

Let me take off all my clothing
on a festival opening night;
let me display my self-loathing,
let you be absolved by the sight.

I want to stand bare by the window
I want to throw open the blinds;
I want you to know all my bulges and holes
and the bubbling tempest inside.
I invite you to meet me there;
let your fists cease clutching the wings,
let’s share the length of our hidden hair
and the breadth of our personal sins.

Let’s all take off our clothing
on a festival opening night;
let’s all display our self-loathing,
we can all be absolved by the sight.

If we could only stand bare;
reveal all the weakness we hide –
no need to compare, but simply to share –
we’d forgive our mistakes and lies.
In some ways we all are the same
we’ve all done weak things and wrong
so take off the blame and the ravaging shame,
and  join with me in with this song:

Let’s all march out of hiding
on a festival opening night;
let’s all fly free from self-loathing,
let’s all be absolved by the light.


I’ve been tinkering with this for a while, and I’m still not entirely happy with it. I’m not sure if it puts the point across, but I wish I was a musician. I’d like to tie a tune to it.

While I was writing, something on an entirely different note kept popping into my mind:

You can find the adult version HERE, but you have to sign in.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Memo to Self


sometimes when you’re angry
it’s no more or less than pain
with a false face
agony too hard to take
so you fake rage
rage which grows, takes hold, holds sway

years may burn away
and every day the fury becomes more real
eating at your soul
while you hide the grief so deep inside
that you can’t feel it
except once in a while
at dead of night when you can’t sleep
or when a puppy dies

with each new cut the pain piles up
and you continue to try to erase it
by railing against an outside enemy
when the real enemy is you

be kind to your inner spirit
take courage from it
sit awhile with your sadness
respect its reality
allow it space to breathe
breathe with it
do not try to stretch or deny its longevity
let the tears flow freely
be patient
feel the shape of the pain
do not hide from it
it will lift in its own time

it may come and go on a whim
or take wing and fly away

whatever the future may bring
better the honesty of sorrow
than the destruction of rage


Dedicated, with grateful thanks, to Raili who unknowingly inspired this poem with one of her posts. I hope you’ll go over to her blog and read the post, though the connection may not be obvious.

©Jane Paterson Basil

Brave naked soldiers


some claim that writers are liars
with gift of plausability
but shaped by truth my words reveal me
no thin or plumby voice screeches in the ear
no wringing hands or rheumy eyes plead for your belief
no added props over-reach the mark
stealing their authenticity

with no marked target
but with trust I write in virtual space
leaving you free to ignore or to read

and you may reach out through the ether
like me, sometimes in need, but never begging
oft-times planting rich seeds within the core of my being
which grow green and fat to feed me

uninitiated souls belittle internet sharing
decrying the space where we meet
with no thought for our feelings
and little knowledge of
the incidental teachings
the compassionate reachings
they tell me this place is unreal

but here you’ll find brave naked soldiers
all of us using a single, triple action tool,
a weapon of defence, a soothing balm
and a protest with no blood spent

our medals and scars are not worn with pride
but neither hidden in shame
we are many from every curve of this world
and although we are each fighting our own creeping foes
though miles apart, we stand together
and when one of us stumbles
another enfolds us
in feathersoft
ink-tipped wings

©Jane Paterson Basil

Written for Blogging U. Writing 101. Assignment 1.