Big city bumpkin

Gertrude got off the bus in the big city. It didn’t take her long to find out where the well-off lived, and she headed immediately for that part of town. The big city. There were more shops here than she had ever seen in her lifetime. And people! Black people dressed like she never knew they could. And women in high heels and make-up. It made her feel unattractive and primitive. She’d never look like these women who swung their hips and pouted, touching their styled hair and talking back to the men who stopped to enjoy the sight of them and whistle nastiness. Look! There was a black lady with a little bitty dog on a lead. A dog. On a lead. She wore a long blonde wig, tottered along in her gold high-heel shoes and the men were just about going crazy over that blonde hair and them high heels. One stopped his car in the middle of the road, hung his head out the window, Hello lovely, wha mek yu no get in it, lek me give yu a ride. She said No, she didn’t want a ride, she knew he did, she chose to wiggle on her way, sweet-smiling to a chorus of tooting, of whistling and “pussy sweet!”. Gertrude stood there in her country frock and chunky plaits. Me is a quashie; a real country bumpkin. Closed her eyes and sighed. Never. If she had finished school and got into nursing college… but she pushed the thought back to where it belonged, out of her mind.

Two parts of town Gertrude had to go to. The well-off black district and the well-off white district. She could have taken a bus but she had time. Besides, the one case she had wasn’t even heavy. A bashed-up, scratched-up, thrown-out-by-some-indulgent-white-man-seemed-like-centuries-ago old brown suitcase that had been in Gertrude’s family longer than she herself had. Some grandparent or great-grandparent had brushed it off and taken it home. A woman, no doubt; the men too proud to sully their fingers with a handout however badly they might need it, nevertheless making full use of it and only too quick with the word my when it went missing and they went crazy, threatening to bust up the cabin and bust in heads if it didn’t turn up that minute. Ruby had taken it with her when she had left. Weren’t nobody in that house going nowhere apart from her. Apart from downhill. She had given it to Gertrude when the latter had brought home the best grades in the whole school together with a letter of congratulation from the headmaster. One-son wouldn’t be needing the case, the way things were going, Ruby figured. Ricky, neither, so she had given it to Gertrude, unceremoniously, telling her; wen is time fi yu go away an learn some more, yu gwine need a case put yu tings inna. One of the hinges was loose and the handle was fraying, so you couldn’t load it too much. As Gertrude walked down the street, the suitcase tap tapped reassuringly against her leg with every other step.


from Long Time Walk on Water, available at:
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She knew, alright…

Gertrude was putting on weight. She wouldn’t swear on it, but she thought her skin was changing. The colour ripened, the texture, well, and her breasts… were sore at times she would have to thumb them quiet.

She lifted the latch to the back door and stepped into the kitchen.

“Good aftanoon,” she said to her mother.

Ruby looked up from her sewing, “Good aftanoon.” Her foot-operated sewing machine stood in a corner, but whenever it came to stitching up hems or sewing on buttons, she would sit in the kitchen and listen to the garden noises. Taking the thread between her teeth, she would snap it in two, and think; thank God she learn a bit of sewing before him come along… She had no time for those women in the village who thought they should stay at home with the children and the man should bring in the money, is who dem tink dem is, white? A woman must have a trade and can earn her own money so when him bugger off she don’t stand there stupid. And she would think what might have happened if she hadn’t had hers. She heard Gertrude moving around the kitchen. She knew, alright, and she had been waiting over two months and Gertrude had not said a word. She watched her move around the kitchen and was furious.

She had been planning it, planning it all the way home from school; what she would say to her mother. How.

“Mummy – ”

“Wat yu want,” her mother snapped back.

“Me… me need some new bra.”

Ruby knew the time had come. And she was angry.

“New bra? Is how come yu need some new bra all of a sudden?”

“Me is pregnant.”

Ruby’s hands fell still. She put her sewing aside.

“Oh yes? Is how long yu know?”

Gertrude was silent.

“Well, me arsk yu a question!”

“Dis likkle while now.”


“An wat?”

“ ‘An wat?’ she arsk me, like seh she no know is wat me deh talk ’bout. An who di farda?”

“Dat’s nat important,” she said quietly.

Ruby’s head jolted up. “Nat important? Nat important? How yu mean seh is nat important?”

“Is nat important,” is all Gertrude could repeat, foolishly.

“Yu mean seh yu no know?”

“Me mean seh is nat important.”

Gertrude waited. And waited.

“Yu wortless piece a trash,” her mother said quietly to herself as she resumed her sewing.

Gertrude didn’t know what to do. She hadn’t been slapped. She hadn’t been thrown out. Not yet, in any case. She hadn’t even been shouted at, yet she stood nailed to the spot as the tears gushed down her face.

Mother sewed.

Daughter cried.

Mother started to turn a tune around in the back of her throat, then broke it off, as if Gertrude wasn’t worth it, muttering to herself, “Wortless. Wortless.”

And when she heard the tune broken off, Gertrude felt her worthlessness fill the room and her tears would not stop.

You worthless piece of trash, her mother had called her. And for the rest of that day neither spoke another word.


from Long Time Walk on Water, available at:
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From the corner of her eye

Ruby checked her from the corner of her eye. Checked her daughter bending over her book, but not seeing a goddamn thing that was marked on the page. Ruby could smell trouble from afar, it having acquainted itself with her so intimately for so long. She looked at her daughter. And knew. Watched her. And waited. She herself would do nothing. Was Gertrude waiting for her to charge in and accuse her? She would not. Gertrude would have to come to her. Her thoughts turned to her eldest son. My son, she thought, I did you wrong. I did you wrong…

A gospel broke from her lips, pushing its way up from the back of her throat. Curling and twirling like smoke around a spotlight. Gertrude turned an ear. And knew. The melody swirled over to her and told her what it knew. Told her of pain and shame. Of faith and broken pride. Told her of visions and promises. Of endurance. Ruby closed her eyes, bulbous tears flowing on the inside to the bitter-sweet tune outside. She hummed the melody which spoke to her daughter as a secret mother tongue. The last time she had sung like that was when her man had taken it into his head that life would be better without them. He went. Ruby had sung the whole evening. She never sang when there were men in the house. She sang now, and Gertrude drank her pain and shame. Stroked her faith. Her broken pride. Saw her visions. Heard the promises. Witnessed the endurance. And she felt dirty. Too dirty to be in the company of this woman with gospel curling from her mouth. Ruby closed her eyes and sang. And when she sang, the music unbuttoned her pain with its gentle fingers and stood aside to watch it chiffon to the floor. And when she stopped, the air was full of her presence, and she knew that she was now sitting there alone.


from Long Time Walk on Water, available at:
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Gertrude: the long way home

Gertrude hauled her purchases home along the long, well-known dirt road. She kept as close as she could to the edge, sometimes having to pick her way through the discarded rubbish strewn along the way; to step past the rusting Coca-cola cans or the squashed Red Stripe. Boxes and wrappers bleached by the sun skirted the road with their dry leaves or else formed a grey mash after the rains had fallen. Every now and then, a tree cast its shade thoughtfully over the villagers on foot with their heavy bags, their chickens hanging upside down clucking away at a nervous premonition, or the children who grew tired along the way and tried to play up. The villagers on foot. Weren’t they all. The sun lashed down on Gertrude as she stopped, put her bags down for a fraction, changed them over and picked them up again. She wished that for once, just for once, someone else would put this hour-and-a-quarter stretch behind them. Two strapping brothers, but it was always her. They’d lie around doing nothing, sit back with a beer in the hand or else be off gallivanting somewhere whilst she, she had to work like a horse for them. Buy and fetch and carry and cook. Wash and iron. Sweep and wipe. Polish and pluck and peel. And there was no use protesting. She was her mother’s only girl. Their father had upped and left as they all did sooner or later, having been brought up with very little respect for their female counterpart, and immune to the notion of responsibility. And if by some chance you found yourself with one of the good ones, you’d have to beat the other women away with a stick and plague yourself daily with the thought that today someone else might have won him to her. So you question and you dig for secrets and sooner or later he can´t stand it anymore so he ups and goes anyway. Menfolk. Sought and coveted and pampered and loved. Attacked and hated and forgiven. Menfolk. Soft as a raw egg and no woman will respect you. Hard as a stone, you’ll find those who like it, but every woman – every head in a scarf, every heart in a chest, every bottom in a tight skirt – was on the lookout for a piece of toast – hot and rough but melting in your mouth. Toast, golden brown, coated with a spoonful of honey to run down the side and stick to your fingers… Menfolk. Laugh, flirt, drink beer. Spit. Strut. Slap. Sing. Fall into a chair and wait for dinner. Pull you close. Touch your breasts. Ride you. Love you. Leave you. Need you. Menfolk. What else was there to do but to resign to them, yield up one’s flesh and string together the precious happy moments, like pearls; resign and yield whilst you still could, and afterwards to collect your due in the perfumed balm of sisterhood.


from Long Time Walk on Water, available at:
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It is time (by Anna Bayes)


Anna Bayes. She’s shameless. She’s bisexual. She’s submissive. She says. I say: if only I had met you sooner, I could’ve spared myself the trip to North Africa (see I’ve slept with a man (course I have)). Anna writes contemporary, paranormal, BDSM and LGBT erotic romances: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. I’m not saying you’re asking yourself what LGBT is. I’m just making sure you know.

It is Time. For what? For  ‘15 bite-size tales of love and lust’. Bite, in French, means dick, if you pronounce it right: ‘beat’. The ‘t’ is important, so don’t gobble it.

Anna’s excerpt’s PG to stay on the right side of the rules, no doubt, though heaven knows there’s hardly a thing your average 12-year-old hasn’t heard of or even tried out these days. Like nature, and criminals, they’re mostly one step ahead of our attempts to cage and/or define them.


It is time, I believe.
My heart beats in my throat, and a chilling cold freezes my fingers, but I urge myself to speak my mind. “How many women do you have?”
He regards me calmly.
I gulp, and feel a whirlwind stirring in my stomach, but I look back at him with as much strength as I can muster.
“There are you, Robyn — you already know Robyn, and another girl called Tess.” He articulates slowly and clearly. “Three.”
A dull pain settles in my heart, but I accept it without letting it flare up. “Do they know as well?” I ask.
“Robyn possibly suspected that I had already met you before we had our threesome.” He says. “But no, basically. You are the only one who’ve ever asked.”
I nod.
The question, “Who’s your favorite?” circles in my head, but I know better than to ask that. Instead, I enquire, “You looked so peaceful when I asked you, were you expecting that question?”
“Not exactly.” He brushes a loose strand of hair out of my view as he continues. “But you’re easily the smartest girl I’ve met in my whole life. Whatever query you have, I think it’s best if I answer plainly, instead of trying to lie.”
I take a sip from my lukewarm tea and look around the apartment. The walls are bare; his suitcase is still leaning against the farthest wall, near the window. Except for the drinks on the kitchen counter, our shoes in the doorway and our clothes flung about casually on the floor, the place is empty.
He is in town every month or so, staying for about ten days each time. His business is good, so he can easily afford a spare apartment in the choicest region only for sleep and sex dates. The dingy brown sofa-bed does not bother him; he fucks hard and long on it, then cradles me to sleep.
I had known he was not for keeps, but the way he remembered details from our pillow talk, the meticulous attention he paid my body whenever he enjoyed me, and the sweet nothingness he consistently texted me everyday when he was away gradually built a cage around my heart. I grew attached to him and yearned for him earnestly.
To be fair, there is nothing to blame in him, because he has never deceived. Girls believed what they wanted; he never had to lie. I willingly accepted his sorry excuses whenever I wished to see him; it had always been him setting the time and date, and I showed up each time without fail.
I place the tea on the side, shift my position to face him and drink in his handsome features. His blue-green eyes effortlessly capture my soul; I drown in their watery symmetry. I often wonder if he truly speaks through his eyes, or am I the one convincing myself that I can read loving messages in his gaze. Perhaps I simply recite what my heart craves to hear in my mind when I worship his beauty.


When I think of that threesome, and of what Anna’s not saying, I fast forward in my mind, imagining it from the point of view one of the girls…

Some like it. Some don’t. Some people spend their time reading reviews so they know what they’re supposed to think. I think: I’ve got a brain and I’m a man of taste. That should do.

Can’t wait to see what such scenes look like in Anna’s stories when she’s not playing it safe.  

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love won’t wait (what with a war on your heels)

There are three of us altogether. My father’s first wife died of tuberculosis and left him with a son. My mother’s first husband died and left her with a son. Mother’s first husband designed airplanes and died whilst testing one. Because he wasn’t in service that particular Sunday, she never received a widower’s pension. A beauty she was, from an Alsatian village I won’t name as it’s none of your business. She also happened to be a hairdresser. Father? From Strasbourg. A hairdresser too and looking for a new wife from the trade so they could set up a business together. Someone who knew them both arranged the meeting. Father drove up from Strasbourg to take a look at her.

They got married and made me. (from Verses Nature, forthcoming)


Berlin photo 5 edit

Strolling through a flea market recently, I was surprised to see various stands selling old photos. Brushed hands with a fellow rummager. Sorry. Smiles. Interesting, aren’t they? Fates in a bucket, like peas…


Berlin fleamarket box of photos

What do you plan on doing with them? Really? Me too.

Deathbone by Penny Goring

This woman kinds of scares the shit out of me. For all the right reasons. Penny Goring. Rouge allure palpitante. Like it or love it. Actually, I don’t even feel up to summing her up. I’ll let her get on with it:


Every word is an object I can see clearly, I could draw them ALL… the things it can say when its on its back… some are purely from the sound if you pinch it or what it does when you spin it in circles (it throws shadows, i can see them) (oops, now it’s throwing up) or take it out for a visit somewhere special and it turns purple & smells posh


It would take guts to hand over the power one can have, as a woman. You can be any sex you like when you write. Or none at all. You can be a tree


I’m facing a brick wall built by men, by tradition, and I find my own ways to dissolve the grout (…) Wall built by dullards. My only tool is the slippery part of me that is very me. Very me speaks my words, not theirs. Very me speaks their words in my own way. Their words – used by me – can become my words.


Penny Goring Deathbonevag bone connected to the heart bone
heart bone connected to the hate bone
hate bone connected to the love bone
love bone connected to the death bone
death bone connected to the birth bone
birth bone connected to the lonely bone
lonely bone connected to the fuck bone
i love the skyy i fuck with
i fuck death with my love bone
i fuck love with my lost bone
i have never been unfaithful to the skyy

“Love this so much. The last line, “i have never been unfaithful to the skyy” left me with my mouth wide open. Awesome sauce.” (Frausto)


Get back to her blog if you know what’s good for you.

I once, I am and then: what, William Thomas?

 one manner of hunger cover picture

Unknown great man William Thomas Johnston. Aching, but never giving up. Suffering into truth, Aeschylus-style.
Take the time to visit his blog. Take the time to buy his book. He’ll be set reading one day and if not, he bloody ought to be.
You say you once saved a man’s life but that’s not true. How can you know how many other lives you’ve saved unwittingly? And as for that ungrateful bastard who didn’t even think to tip you after you had saved his life, don’t let it get to you. The number of people I’ve said Hello to, who’ve turned around and looked at me as though they’d just been spat at. Reason isn’t always reasonable!

‘I once, I am, and then’: came more:
God is nothing without his courtroom. He is a very bored, arguably theoretical being.
I have always refused to be brought to my knees by these things any longer than is necessary to rest.
When I write, I pretty much consistently ask myself if the average slightly drunk person could pick up this poem and read it as well as enjoy it.
The better I get, the more I must improve. The more often I write only adds to how often I should.

(from the private writings of W.T. Johnston)


I once flashed three hundred and fifty people
Long blonde, curvaceous, thick white stockings, thick everything in a knee-length white dress “a most unladylike way to sit,” said the adjudicator, but God did the crowd blanket me in smiles
I once climbed peaks
Arms burning worse than the sweat in my eyes, scrambling, rocks slipping, legs dangling, prayers in every gasp as I strain for another handhold, toehold, for a small tree’s roots to hold, no rope
Bleeding calluses, scratches upon thick skin, upon blisters, a grasp so strong I once straightened a bent screwdriver with my bare hands
I once saved a man’s life
Blue face, unconscious, screaming girlfriend, frail marine in my arms, squeeze, one palm a fist the other laid over it, push, choking on the steak I served him, colors returning to flesh, I kid you not when I say he finished his meal after returning to the world and did not tip
I once, and with all sincerity, asked a doctor if I was dying
Clothes cut away, naked, bloody from head to toe, three men asking me to tell them where it hurt, probing hands over an entire body of agony, weeks with a scab for a torso, months of shattered leg and fractured collarbone, and a lifetime of double looks crossing the road
I once lost my mind
Blinding white light in my insanity, Jesus delusions, psych ward scrambled eggs, so sleepy psych meds to this day, voices insistent in an empty room, electroshock therapy, missing years, foggy memories, and a decade wasted adrift in the groggy
I once wrote a book
Paper bound existence, agony adrift in its pages, catharsis, grey matter smashed between covers, lifetime ambition, one hundred copies sold, three hundred sixty five days of sweat, no best selling miracle, merely typed pages for sale, merely my thoughts for sale, merely paper
And what now
Lock myself away, the trap door to my hermitage the next great American novel, beer every night all night until the sun rises and then more, budget blown on camels with no humps, studies placed on classes with a career one merely settles for, fistfuls of friends so true you question their presence, life so long you’re closer to the end, welcoming death’s shadow with patience, budget so tight it bursts the zipper, and when the zipper bursts you merely wear the one pair of shorts, belly growing fat and stretched unrecognizable, hairline so far back it leaves old photos a joke, hands that cannot recall being held
But enough of what now, enough of what was, what next
Find it, throw myself from a plane with my life wrapped in silk, kiss a beautiful creature, carve at a hunk of wood for three weeks and give it to a stranger, sell seashells to tourists, sing badly on a street corner until I have enough change for dinner, dance badly until I collapse, turn my back on every sharp-beaked tentacled memory, mean it when I wrap arms around someone, climb a far-off mountain until I am the first white man anyone has ever seen and tell them all how much I love them, pick an Indian god and find her, pick a Native American god and bring the animal back to life, swim hard every day until I can dive to the bottom to sit cross-legged in silence, stop seeing potential in my bank account alone, fast until I am flush with food stamps
I do not know if I can accomplish all of these things but I will unsheathe the moment again
As surely as I looked just like my mother in drag.


(William Thomas Johnston, published in his blog, One Manner of Hunger.)

King doth come: who’s gonna clear up the mess?


I was told that The Lord’s Prayer and the text below, Prophets of the Streetlife, have a lot in common… Work it out for yourselves. Brain slobs and/or fundamentalists, back off. I don’t care what you lot think.

Religion and politics: a bunch of rapine, gavel-banging bigots, as the best a nation has to offer in the way of cultural diversion? You tell me… And diversion from what? You tell me…

Give us this day our daily bread  tho the Lord should know we’ll only have time for him once our basic needs are satisfied, but what does the church say about the basic need I keep referring to and which has the dim up in arms? They will insist on mistaking my sincerity for shallowness. Can’t help them. I’ve often wondered why and how the colour purple is at one and the same time the colour of sensuality and the colour worn by top-ranking clergy…

Give us this day our daily bread: watching holiday-makers befall the breakfast buffet once. Had the urge to collude with the hotel to bar their entry a day later. See how long it’d take them to get worked up. Then let them in, only to  discover: a single rasher of bacon, an egg, the corner end of a baguette and a cup of cold tea. All those hungry mouths – and fists – will have to work something out… Hidden cameras filming the rest, peeping deep  into the true heart of our kind.

At times they tell us: think (i.e.: reason), at times: believe (i.e.: don’t think). Most of the time we only believe we’re thinking, or think we believe… and behind it all the permanent attempt to mask the mere finger puppets we all are, hungry for reasons to believe anything at all… Won’t take Their finger out without a fight. Maybe I should be flattered by so much attention: seems like I’m worth fighting for after all!
Still have to clean up your own mess.

Till the next time. Yours, Tatar.


There she stood, hiding; the mother without child, the voiceless woman full of anger. Her smoked nails hammered her evaporated heart snivelling in the grotty kitchen of disaster. Her face, depleted, cauterised. Her eyes wheezed shame at what she knew would happen to her daughter, again and all over again.
Candelaria was a child with a lost childhood, a girl with volcanic bruises, ache squawking in her voice, apocalyptic rages and the teethmarks of her father on her breasts; a child whose nipples hardened when father’s fungous tongue licked them whilst she cried, bled, whilst he totally ignored her. Candelaria’s father had taught her how to fuck. Her mother had taught her how to swallow and how to quench scars with make-up. Scars that could never be silenced.
She was sitting on her chair, a butterfly without wings, the rouge on her mortal cheeks accentuating the surviving beauty of her face seeking the remains of her soul in the grey mirror image. Her black olive eyes smelled the scotch in her father’s mouth, and their lobotomised stars drowned like despairing coins in forgotten fonts. His torturing footsteps she could hear, his collapsing breath she could feel and she had stopped begging for mercy long ago, fleeing behind the lie that it was Eligio swashbuckling between her legs in order to get wet, at least, wet at least.
Mother overheard that violent bed of guilt, sputtering back and forth, sick sweat dripping, the rainy sough echoing through the daughter’s stolen body of gold. Next time I will do better, thought mother. Next time I will help her, take a pan. She knew she would not have the courage, but the illusion would calm her down, her conscience, at least her conscience.
Candelaria urinated fruitless spermicide, her mildewed brothers and sisters, before she reapplied the lipstick which had stained the maggoty nails of her genitor. In the glistening streetlight she could be free; she learned how to laugh on stigmatising streets where succulent condoms and paradisiac joints withered like the concepts of innocence and purity.

(from Prophets of the Streetlight, by Laura Gentile, published in Until Forever Becomes the End.)

Illustration by Jean-Paul Clayette

Laura Gentile replies:

‘The bruised skin of the inner nature next to the graved conformity of human surfaces. Her colourful body amputating itself from enslaving dictations, finding herself in the perversion of the cross’ silhouette, becoming flesh, getting hold of her soul by getting rid of the cross’ devouring burden, to find divinity in her proper features, unscrutinised, un-flagellated, de-victimised, humanised. She can grasp herself with her senses without the need to believe in something higher than herself, she can get there by herself, with her hands, her heart, her mind, not with a cross, in her case. Your honesty is a needle awaiting the reader in its detail.

I think it’s crucial to be able to have the choice of identification/acceptance or of deviation and an alternative quest for the self. What if it can’t be found where it is ‘supposed’ to be? We must tear ourselves from symbols that de-humanise us or constantly remind us that we need to be punished, that we need to walk with aching shoulders and that death awaits us in the end: where and what is human life in all this?

The cross you chose is very interesting; part of a mechanism (not humanism) attached to and controlled by a chain, holding it at arm’s length. It is so unnaturally smooth, basically the knife did a good job here, the surface looks ‘perfect’, no sign of blemishes. For me, it looks like an instrument of penetration that can be grasped, turned upside down, like a weapon that sends untrustworthy invitations, its double in a human form: unprotected, vulnerable and emotionally forced to be pinned down. In a sexual context, when it comes to the father (why use a capital f for where there is a father there is a mother), the cross as a photographed phallic symbol seems to be omnipotent and ever-lasting, always ready, always hungry. The way the woman in the painting gives pleasure to herself using her hands/fingers in this case, assuming the same position/form as the cross itself whilst she ‘drowns’ them (her hands).

(Hands as symbols of action. His are nailed. Hers are free to roam… She may and does act whereas all he can do is die…)

Are her hands free to roam because his are nailed or are his hands nailed because hers are free to roam? Either way nails are seeking and creating scapegoats and they play a very violent and senseless blame-game. Only when they succeeded in cornering human flesh onto a cross do they hold ‘it’ up high, in ‘exemplifying’ torment and death, not in life and action. What is this passion we speak of?’

Sex, lies & promises: for better or worse?

Fidelity is an illusion. I have always cheated on my wives, and they have all cheated on me. Women lie. Men lie. That’s life. I am very faithful, but not as far as sex goes. Sex is part of life and it’s as natural as breathing. Don’t ruin it with false morals or too much thinking.

Don’t get attached, for I will not love you. I don’t love anyone, apart from my children. Women have broken my heart too often, I refuse to love any of you. Any more…

I can swear anything you want me to: on the head of my children or my mother or put my hand the bloody Bible if anyone asks me to swear to something, what do I care, I’m not a believer. But if I give you my word… ah! My word…

These are your best days. Live them to the full. I see my ex-wives and loads of women over fifty, they still have the desire, but their best days are done. I even give my ex-wives tips on how to pull a bloke on the internet cos they don’t know how and it gets harder the older you get as a woman. You, you are in your prime. Live without regret.

The first thing She does when She gets in is to check the sheets. For stains. For ruffles. The first thing I do once my ladylove leaves is to do the sheets. Pull them straight, or at least Her side, and maybe leave the bed unmade so it looks as if I’ve just got up. I keep my ladylove on my side of the mattress. Get her not to wear any strong perfumes or creams and that stuff. I want to smell you, not some high-tech lab that lines its pockets with all your female complexes. She’ll check the sheets. I’ve been loving and lying for decades, so let Her.

I can feel the tension between you and You Know that you’re not even able to retain behind the wall of your teeth when you talk about the two of you. It pours out of you like a gas. It’s purely thanks to your decent upbringing that the two of you desist from bashing each other. And it’s all to do with sex. Sex is the most destructive, the most creative force in the world. And I, I spread the good news, like Jesus. I say Love, but nobody wants to listen. I threaten them, their old established values that they blindly hang on to like a flea on the backside of some beast. I threaten their world order. People are so afraid of change, I’m amazed we’ve even made it so far. And in their fear, they will lash out and crucify me. Blot out my light with their broad reproachful shoulders, flagellate those whom I have redeemed till they bend, till they bow, unable to seek solace in a promised land, which is none other than this one. Right here. Right now. I must die. And you, you, too, will kill me. One day. One day you won’t need me anymore. I’m just a palliative. You will move on. And I will die. On the inside.

(from Carmina’s Burana, Take One, in The Red Room)


You cannot love a man for all your life.

But you can live with him. You can live with him whilst you love him, though sooner or later, that love will fade to irritation and putrefy to hate. The art therein is to wait.

Wait… Till hate has healed to indifference, then you will find him livable once more,

beyond love,
beyond hate’s horizon;
from the better,
to the worse, to the:
oh well, I guess that’ll just have to do.
For it will, you know.

How courageous are you, daughter of mine?
How needy?
Or greedy?
How steady, or ready to go it alone,
if you believe yourself to have outgrown the love that made you bloom
before it made you wither?

A man should
be your reason to be,
so let him be; let him stay around,
on the periphery.

This ring
on my finger?
Take a good look.
Been there for centuries.
It’s on my finger, right?
Not in my mind…

Daughter of mine, your skin still so smooth,
not splattered
with mildew
like mine.
You have so much time…
so much…

Your hands…
your pretty, dainty hands. Where’s your ring?
Oh, that’s right, you have never wanted one. Your mother took hers off, too, after all those years, tho the bloody thing refused to budge and after grease and spit and nothing else would do, I had to get an old pair of pliers to cut the thing in two.
You have never wanted one,
have you?

Daughter’s daughter,
you think you don’t
need him.
Maybe not,
only you can tell.
Cover my desiccated hands with your freshness.

What was I saying?
Ah, yes….

But you know, men?
They’ll always be around.
That’s the problem,

so might as well learn
to live wiv em.

(from Genderlogue, in The Red Room)


When my gran comes with this old time talk about how good we wimmin have it today and she can’t understand why so many relationships split up cos hell, they had it real hard back then but they’re still together. They had a long day’s work and still had to come home and cook and clean and boil the shit out of nappies whereas today all we do is buy and throw away. We live in a throw away society, she bemoans, and we’ve thrown away an eye for what really counts. She says we’re spoilt! I say gran, by all respect, if you’ve got the right to vote, had people fight for your right to vote and then you get it after all this time, fool for you if you don’t use it. I say I can’t imagine a slave staying on once (s)he has the right to be free, but she says the comparison ain’t valid, a husband’s not your master, and I’ve been spending too much time in the wrong company that much was plain to see. A husband’s not your master, I say? Great, we agree that we’re equals, then? I say, if he can fuck around, I can fuck around. These here are modern times. And she says, you don’t have to stoop as low as they do. You gots to keep your dignity. And watch your language! I say, where’s the dignity in that, grandma? Well, she says, if you can’t take it, his womanising, cos they can’t help it, it’s in their nature, then get out, but don’t stoop as low as him; all those years of schoolin n still so stupid, child? Always make sure you can walk with your head held high. God gave you a brain and it’s not between your legs and it’s not just there to keep your ears in place, so use it. Who’s he foolin around with, then, grandma, I ask. Is he foolin around with a sheep? Is he foolin around with a dog? If he’s foolin around with another woman, then isn’t it in our nature, too? If you’re a whore, alright, she says, but I don’t want no whores in my family. If God had wanted men and wimmin to be the same, He’d have made em the same. He didn’t, so don’t you think you can do better. They’re one half and you’re the other half. Make sure you’re the better half and not no whore. I ain’t no whore, grandma, I’m just a woman. A modern woman. I want to say, with needs, but I know better. A modern woman, are you, she snorts. Well, don’t be. Be an intelligent one. And hold your heddup!

(from Mut@us)