** NEW WORK 2014 – 2015**

pam narrowboats big

Jack and Jill chugged along the canal on a daytrip out of Skipton
Jack’s engine broke down
He accepted Jill’s tow
With knot tied they hugged back to Skipton

© Photograph and words by Pamela Carr 2015

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

Election time is here again. I’ve promises galore.
Alas, they may be sacrificed when I speak from the floor.
Trust me, I’m a politician.

Pay tribute to the fallen on this extra special day.
I’ll lay poppies from the front. From the rear I’ll lead the fray.
Trust me, I’m a general.

Let me secure your future, ring fence your retirement plan,
I’ll speculate in hedge funds, futures, bitcoins. I’m your man.
Trust me, I’m a financial adviser.

Aum. We all seek guidance in our journey on this earth.
I’ll help you find your true self for I know how much you’re worth.
Trust me, I’m a guru.

For a trifling, small percentage, say 1.5 to 2,
I’ll watch your des. res. sell itself and charge the bill to you.
Trust me, I’m an estate agent.

Just take a seat upon the couch. To help me in my quests
to cast the role of Joan of Arc I’ll have to see your breasts.
Trust me, I’m a casting director.

Hello! Hello! What have we here? Sports car? Midlife crisis?
I’m sometimes amnesiac depending what the price is.
Mind as you go, sir. I’m a speedcop.

Incurable? There’s no such thing. Look at my plaque embossed.
Believe in me for I can cure …… It may entail a cost.
Trust me, I’m a faith healer.

Amazing what a lab coat means. I’m erudite and smart.
From brushing teeth to climate change, I have a little chart.
Trust me, I’m a scientist.

And last, not least and up to now forgotten in this rhyme,
I’m the investment banker who thought up a ploy sub-prime
that no-one understands but that guaranteed my bonus.
What financial crisis? We all share the common onus.
I’m a little more reluctant dividing up my spoils.
Give or take the odd mill., I only cost the same as Royals.
Trust me? You’d have to be mad.

Good night. Farewell. Remember. Just maintain the status quo.
It’s yours to put your faith in, but what’s what is ours to know.
Trust us, we’re the Establishment.

© Phil Poyser, Macclesfield, 11th. November, 2014

A Gift for Jean

She likes cats,
takes them in off the streets whether they’re strays or not,
butters their paws
like a guardian angel to the feline world,
possessed by some Egyptian fondness for fur,
will feed a kitten smoked salmon
whilst she dines on off-brand tuna,
timid in her mastication,
pecking at her food, chick-like,
unable to eat without someone to chew for her
has been known to find fullness in a piece of lettuce and two cherry tomatoes.

She envies a cat’s elasticity,
longs for the days when she could lift her legs behind her head
as though it will bring her dead husband back
she thought she saw him once
fondling a tin of Tesco tomato soup,
and she planned to tell him he preferred Heinz
but her eyes aren’t the same since the operation;
if she were a cat she would know –
her vision sharp enough to slice through bone
like the knife she held to his throat
when she found the world against her
filled with the murderous discipline of the black Tom who left sparrows on her doorstep
she has been caged since then,
tamed with pills and regular trips from a daughter who believes life would have been better if she were born with a tail

and yet her love of piano still prevails

in smatters of Schumann over sherry and champagne –
Buck’s Fizz for the guests –
where she will cast an eye over her relatives
and wait for them to leave. She will sit
in the old armchair – lights low –
and pick at Ferrero Rocher;
uncover secrets on the bristles of her tongue,
safe in the knowledge that she has the cream
where her family have none.

Copyright @ Charlie Heathcote 2014

Hosanna

If I had a halo it would strangle me,
wrap around my neck and let me hang,
you’d cut the ribbons from my throat
and sell them on for rags.

Weak, I’d always come back for more,
even when you plucked me like a hen,
on an ocean of calm, spitting feathers at the sky,
we’d wonder what it means to die.

Oh lord,
I’ll wash away my wrongs in holy water,
confess to save my soul,
pass bread over a sin-eater’s casket
and pray for the whole world.

If I had wings I’d find gravity
lose all sense of being and slowly fall,
I’d close my eyes and wait for the break;
not sure I can live anymore.

Lost, you’d weigh my heart to see
how far I have come in this world.
Snap your fingers as I fall
even further, step close, watch me burn.

Oh lord,
I’ll wash away my wrongs in holy water,
confess to save my soul,
pass bread over a sin-eater’s casket
and pray for the whole world.

A chorus of hosannas I can’t join
and my harps full of broken strings,
I’m not an angel I’m just standing at the gate.

This is who I am;
a shell of a man.

Oh lord,
I’ll wash away my wrongs in holy water,
confess to save my soul,
pass bread over a sin-eater’s casket
and pray for the whole world.

Copyright @ Charlie Heathcote 2014

Missing Person

It happens a lot. Janey will be sitting there reading or preparing a meal or even getting one of the kiddies ready for school and will suddenly drift off to who knows where. The Virginia Woolf will drop into her lap, the chopping knife will sit motionless in her hand, school blazer and cap remain hanging in the hall. And then whoever is with her sing outs, “Missing person, missing person, deedaa, dee dah, call the police,” and she’ll snap out of it, look slightly guilty and smile and say, ”Sorry, mind’s on something else,” or similar.

It does affect our lives. Some people may be led to think she doesn’t care for us, for me and the three young ‘uns. But she does, oh yes, she does. Very much. It’s just that there’s a void, a gap. Something’s missing. And it makes us sad.

Of course it wasn’t always like this. It started only eighteen months ago, around the time Bertie Alexander died. Well, committed suicide, actually. No note found. It’s hard to express the shock we all experienced. It was so unexpected. So extremely sad.

Bertie and Lizzy were particularly close friends of ours. In and out of each other’s houses, weekends away together. Kiddies of a similar age. Lizzie and I would partner at bridge from time to time – she’s a better player than I am so I was usually reserve. Bertie was Janey’s tennis coach and mentor and helped her win the club title a few years ago. As I said, we were close.

Nobody really spoke about how close Janey and Bertie got. I didn’t nor did Lizzy. I didn’t challenge Janey, and Lizzy didn’t raise it with Bertie. It’s not that we thought it would simply blow over. We didn’t think either of them to be so shallow as to be casual about their relationships. In some ways we were happy for them. And my relationship with Janey didn’t change. At all. We were the same as ever. As were Lizzy and Bertie. There was no jealousy, no tension when the four of us were together, or when we by ourselves. It’s not that we were being “civilized” about it. It was because of love. Probably true love. Pure love. We loved our partners, we loved each other.

In retrospect we should have said something, brought it into the open, given it our blessing. We didn’t, of course. We thought no harm would be done, that we were sharing in their happiness, that our restraint strengthened our friendship.

We don’t know what went wrong. As I said, no note was found, and at the inquest, there had been no mention of Bertie and Janey’s love for each other. You see, officially, we “didn’t know”. And now we don’t know why he took his life. Or Lizzy and I don’t know. Perhaps Janey does. So we have all been left in some sort of limbo, sometimes angry, sometimes sad.

Well, Lizzy could grieve openly, and grieve she did. Privately and publicly.Great outpourings of genuine grief. The sort you would expect and respect from a loved one. For Janey it was different. Her sorrow has to be contained. It has to be seen to be less than Lizzy’s although, to a degree, it can be more than mine. And mine’s considerable. But it isn’t enough for Janey. Unlike for Lizzy, there’s no public catharsis. Her grief has to be contained, bottled up. Private. It’s too much, would be too much for anyone.

And so she suffers. And we watch her suffer. And sometimes she goes awol. Safe and secure at home, or in genteel middle class shops, or in the middle of a game of tennis. It happens.

She knows why and I know why. One day I hope we can find a way to discuss it. To tear down the missing person posters. And bring her back home.

Copyright @ Patrick Prinsloo

The Cockatoo II

The cheeky, crested cockatoo
has eyes encircled with light blue
and when he gollops down your crumb,
down goes his head, up comes his bum.
He tries to look his Sunday best,
but as he eats with fallen crest,
he cannot hide his endless greed.
For him it’s always time to feed.

The Spiny Ant-eater

Echidnas love to snuffle ants
with noses long like elephants’,
but they are bad at crossing roads,
ignore completely HIghway Codes,
so if you spot one from afar
as you are in the family car,
slow down, pull up and let it pass
to where ants thrive on greener grass.

Emulation

The emu pair have chicks galore.
Mum lays. Dad sits the eggs she bore.
Once hatched, by Dad they’re ranked by size,
all legs and neck and beak and eyes.
From high above the little chicks,
he supervises pranks and tricks,
makes sure too far they don’t explore,
keeps counting them: “one, two, three ……… four!”

Culture

Pearl oysters lives are pretty neat.
They hang around and just secrete
their nacre round a grain of sand.
They do this from a special gland.
In trying to soothe the irritation,
there is a magic transformation.
As long as you wait years and years,
you may just find those lustrous spheres.

Green T.

Green turtle, do not cross the road.
Your shell, though tough, won’t stand the load
of lorry, car or juggernaut.
Your 100 hundred years will be cut short.
Stay near the beach. Enjoy a swim.
Find out if it’s a her or him
the turtle youngster you just saw
sunning itself upon the shore.

All the above © Phil Poyser (Camper Van, somewhere in Australia, September 2014)

Lunch Chez Simone (And Léo)         ©
Phil Poyser, Savigné L’Evêque, 26th July 2014
It’s summer, a day or so after the first squall.
The trestle table nestles invitingly in the shadow
and preparations are underway for lunch al fresco.
A buzz of expectation excites the adolescent flies.
Storm water has gathered in the crevices
of the 4 white, plastic chairs,
stacked, legs beseeching skywards.

One by one, the chairs are righted and wiped,
sun-dried briefly and positioned along the table,
looking out over lawn and away to the meadow
and tree-lined stream beyond.
There is a chair for each place setting
and one to spare ……..

After lunch, we sit and chat, update a year gone by,
reminisce, dust off mottled anecdotes
and vaguely note their subtle, time-wrought evolution.
Close by, your absence fills the fourth chair.
You nod,
offer more wine,
walk round the table,
share a joke,
chuckle
and are gone once more.

Words to Break-up

I thought one day you would make all my dreams come true.
Now I find that my dreams don’t involve you.

Zoe Quinlan


No Tie Pin

Martens stared moodily into the gloom of the underground car park, unlit apart from one corner which was illuminated by bright lamps powered by the portable generators brought in by the scene-of-crime team.

God, he thought to himself, what a job, what a life. How did I end up like this? Every job, every day, was the same. First the phone call, then the body, then scratching around for clues, visiting the mortuary, questioning witnesses and suspects, both willing and unwilling, and maybe, sometimes, making an arrest. More often than not it was a relative. No variety. Tedium, deadly tedium.

He glanced across at Rubens, his side-kick of some five years. “Hey, Rube, any clues? Any anything?”

Rubens slowly stood up from where he had been crouched over the body. “I guess once we’ve examined the briefcase and had the coroner’s report we should know more. Looks like some prints on the knife handle, but really badly smudged as though someone’s tried to wipe them. No obvious ID.”

“No tie pin?” asked Martens, softly, very softly.

Rubens looked down at the body, scratched his unshaven chin, stepped out of the pool of light, away from the body, and scraping a match on board, lit up a cigarette. He inhaled thoughtfully.

Apart from the noise made by the generator and some incoherent mumblings from the forensic people it was quiet in the car park. Rubens didn’t feel a need to reply immediately and Martens didn’t expect him to. Rubens was the most articulate and the most taciturn partner he could remember working with and this suited him only too well. Indeed, it was the silences, the comfortable silences, that helped build the solid relationship they had with each other. They knew each other’s weakness and fantasies as well as their strengths. A good partnership.

Eventually Rubens spoke. Gently. “Tie pin?”

“Yep”, said Martens, “Tie pin.” He almost stopped breathing.

Rubens sucked on a molar that was bothering him. He knew some of the background. He knew of the bad blood between Martens and the mayor. Why there was bad blood he didn’t know, but bad blood there was and had been before he had teamed up with Martens. Everyone in town knew that Mayor Clancy with her team of shyster lawyers and her gang of not very caring enforcers was not the nicest person in town. Some would describe her as corrupt. Those closer to her would say evil. Most would say both corrupt and evil.

Martens seemed obsessed by her. On one of those rare occasions that he and Rubens had gone drinking together, Martens had said, ”The thing I really want to do before I hang up my badge is to slip the cuffs on her and read her her rights. That’ll put her in her place. That pearly tie pin she wears will be the clue that sends her down. That’s why I stay in this job, Rube, that’s why I stay.” He never did go into detail of why he felt as he did. Rubens could only speculate but as a good detective he didn’t do that sort of thing. It was Martens’ business anyhow.

“Tie pin?” echoed Rubens. He knew this dance. They had done it before. Many times.

Another long silence. “You heard me, Rube.”

Rubens deliberately stubbed out his cigarette with the ball of his shoe and moved back to the body. He bent over it once again, studying it carefully. “Lot’s of blood. It would have sprayed all over the killer. We need to check the laundries.” He paused, “Nope, no tie pin.” And then, encouragingly, “Maybe next time.”

Martens grunted, “Yeah, maybe next time.” And resumed staring into the gloom.

Back in the mayor’s opulent office, a shaven-headed gorilla in a tight fitting suit and a gold ring in each ear carefully placed a pearl tie pin onto Mayor Clancy’s desk. “Got there just before the cops. Oh, and we’ve burnt the dress. You’re in the clear.”

Clancy poured a generous helping of Jack Daniels into each of two cut-glass tumblers. “Nice work. Once again.”

© Patrick Prinsloo

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One thought on “** NEW WORK 2014 – 2015**

  1. I’ve just read A Gift for Jean. I like it, Charlie, can’t say more than that, except I’d like to know where the idea came from, I think you could get a piece of short prose out of it, and it comes from someone ‘who doesn’t write poetry’, I think you do.

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