Wednesday, July 27, 2011

the true princess

the true princess cares not

that her robes
once graced a window.

the true princess cares not

that her coronet
was, until yesterday, a yoghurt tub, and buttons

the true princess cares not

that her ballroom
is a tinselled school gymnasium

the true princess
is not born of kings

the true princess
holds court in my heart

the true princess
moves with easy grace

a convocation of minor royalty


flying with jack

"HEY! how did you get here?"

my son asked, when
he noticed me behind him.

"i flew"

i replied.

his five year old
not-quite guile-less eyes

"can you really fly, dad?"

(me, airily)  "oh yes.  but i only do it
when no one is looking.

people often get upset
when they realise you can fly."

"can I fly too, dad?"

"of course.  it's easy
when you know the trick.

but don't let on.
might not understand."

a dawning in those
deep brown eyes
the colour of
good strong coffee
in a glass
held to the light

he ran off
to tell his sisters

"i flew"

the combined weight of their
separate scorn
was not enough to

drag him

back to earth


i read to them

as my father read to us.
it is about cadence.
rhythm.  shared
heartbeats and the journey.

reading is magical for Millie.
Sometimes she will take my hand,
my finger.  Place it
on the text so that she can follow
more closely.

the other two read easily, but for her
each word is a window and
i watch her push them open.
i burst
i burst

Child, slip over the sill.
run.  Run.  you inhabit your body
so fully.  Jump.
here is a jumble of letters.
make of them what you will.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Fathers and Daughters

It’s possible, I think,
observing some young women in company,
to see right through to
their relationships with their fathers:
mildly, safely flirtatious,
necks curved swanlike,
heads bent to meet authority,
eyes raised; it almost always works.

Like certain caterpillars,
they carry their homely cocoon
spun of kiss-spittle and spared rods
everywhere: it’s in their tote bags
alongside mother’s jealous food-gifts,
adjacent to their breastbud heartbeats
and rubs against their coyly shaven,
faintly pheremonal armpits.

All courtly love ends up in court of course,
too grand to be human;
the contract broken, lawyers called,
sides taken.
The party of the first part
now sees the paragraph called “father”
nested within yet other nested clauses.

To name some:

men who love another,
to whit, the one both ally and enemy
(she of the jealous food-gift)

men who hurt my mother
(by their love, or lack thereof)

men who have or may hurt me
(see above)

men who lie with me - or not
(aah, that horned beast)

men who lie to me
(and yet…)

The various Sins
of Omission

and nakedly,
these butterfly-girls
come out.
Chew holes in the fragile vellum
digest with acid and bile
the webby cage of youth,

flap off
on wings like canvas
stretched and sized and
painted gaudy colours.

Deep in the household accounts,
Father, with his head for figures,
chews his pencil.
Draws up two columns
in his ledger:
on one side
on the other.
And the entries
double spaced
neatly underlined
in each case read:

those who have or may hurt me

those who betray me

those who leave me

those who will/not sleep with me

those I have held in my arms
those who say they love/d me

profit and loss
all balanced out.

Then calculates the bottom line:

accountants should not associate
too closely with lawyers.