Facing the Day

My mask is fierce, fixed not fast but iridescent,
applied with knowing, luminescent.

Calf’s milk matte sweeps peaks and ceases
with blatant cheek, fresh newborn creases.

Coated taupe shutters hide the soul
bright windows ringed in trusty kohl.

Oculus spikes blink slickened black
waterproofed against attack.

Two spots where kisses sit swept flush,
bright berry licks for the workplace crush.

For every sassy word yet said
defiant lips blaze Russian Red.

Applied with knowing, iridescent, fixed not fast
but luminescent – my fearsome mask.

Facing the Day – Winner of the Scramouche Judges Choice Prize
#12Masque Flash Fiction and Poetry Compeitions, January 2013


I’d been forewarned of his fury,
a siren’s call on the radio waves every hour, on the hour
exclaiming his imminent arrival.

The torrential rain and the howling winds,
shuddering exhalations of our government fortress;
glass walls weeping water from the downpour.

The orange armies of emergency servicemen,
families frantically herded into a dilapidated hall
an old steel citadel, legs as long as dragon’s teeth.

The bow and scrape of servile trees
deserted streets, shining and straining,
a four-wheeled Rover shuddering in the drive.

The crashing snap of the soaring gum
sea cauldron bubbles as he stirred and heaved
all violent, seething malcontent.

The dry midnight silence as he battered the lands
in ceaseless destruction of surrounding scrub,
thrashing to death a thousand hidden serpents.

But no one had told me that when Jason arrived
he would cast his eye upon us and glare down,
through the vortex of his rage
his momentarily curiosity
obliterating the night

While my baby brother,
snug on his golden fleece,
slept peacefully through it all.


I’m a newborn
Shy drunken stumblings
Aching for a hold
Mouthing my way through the world.

Dance Without Words

I sit amongst the fat bus load, a blink in winter’s
fragile sun, stuck fast on Holloway Road.
We idle, full of AM slumber, the traffic curls,
grunts and barks. I leave a stamp, a Revlon stain,
against the glass, a make-up frame, it cuts through
the soup of fog and grime; another sticky, commuter mark.

I spy them then, emerging slowly. They close the car door,
soft and sad. Parked out front – his place or hers? I’m
not sure, but oh there’s an ache; he moves with reluctance
to say goodbye, to let her go. Her spine is set. She stiffens,
with readiness that her heart may break; she is a stalk that
will not bend, yet one word would make the petals shake.

In oblivion they seem to hang, backs turned towards
my sentinel stare, when acting on an inner urge he reaches
out and finds that hollow, pulls her close, locking them
in a gentle pose. Hip to hip, heart to heart the bodies sway,
private moves in a public place, every tender beat is traced;
a silent, sudden tango grows.

Abruptly they are snatched from view; we vibrate onwards
into the throng, and despite my craning looks, they’re gone.
The work day noise comes rushing in, attempts to swallow
all they were; but I still sense them poised in frame, and though
reality thumps the door, my imagination takes its chances,
and daydreams the hush of wordless dancers.

Jason, Daffodil and Dance Without Words all First published in 2012 in ‘Urban Harvest’ – Highgate Poets 26th Anthology, Jameson Press

11 thoughts on “Poetry

  1. I love, love, love! Top class imagery with a punch – and such fantastic word choice and rhythm. Lines like this… “Oculus spikes blink slickened black”… just great. And the last line nails it. Thank you SO MUCH for joining!

  2. Pingback: Loretta Freeman Wins #12Masque Judge's Choice | Highgate Poets

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