Saturday, 30 April 2016

short forms 30th April 2016

her death
improves nothing
the fountain of suicides
appeals to her not at all
too late?


© Rachel Green 2016

tiny suns
in a green sky
dandelions


© Rachel Green 2016

teabag
rips in the cup
a swirl of leaves
despite my leafy childhood
I am left dissatisfied


© Rachel Green 2016

a book of poetry
on the queer reader's list
leaves me nonplussed

Amber Dawn’s 'Where the World Ends and My Body Begins'
“a welcome change from the sea of free verse
you usually find written by today’s poets.”

some books are flowers, some are weeds


© Rachel Green 2016

the pain in her head. needy.

© Rachel Green 2016

Friday, 29 April 2016

April Poems 2016/29


Guilted Cut

Lily's voice from the television
dropping matches and candle and
the concept of bacteria
though insects didn't bother her.
She goes to church in an unkempt building
drinking with parents in jacket and trousers;
the guilt of wasting an afternoon
with alcohol on her breath.
Her parents would never have approved
a twist of the  the relationship between brother
and the man who devours them whole.
English walkers and travellers
relieved of their hangers
leaving only bones behind.

© Rachel Green 2016

short forms29th April 2016

perhaps
I'll abandon
the story of Chloe
focus instead on Jennifer's
baby


© Rachel Green 2016

fresh nettles
along the woodland path
bluebells


© Rachel Green 2016

novella fail
the cold sinking of my soul
rewrite
could I make Mel gay
and maybe Brin?


© Rachel Green 2016

tredidation
heart monitor
to be attached

in a way
I hope they find something
irregular beats

though I think I'm fine


© Rachel Green 2016

her painter's skills are sadly atrophied

© Rachel Green 2016

Thursday, 28 April 2016

April Poems 2016/28

Important Business

She says goodbye to the shopkeeper
walks outside into the sunlight
pauses at the litter bin
to scratch the silver from a lottery card.
She throws it in the bin, continues.

At the corner of the chip shop
she scratches off her second card,
hunched over like a beggar with a cigarette.
You can tell by her face she's won nothing.
She stuffs it in her pocket, moves on.

At the end of the gennel, number three;
the flash of sunlight from her 10p coin
as she chooses which windows
which three chances to win.
Frustrated, she scratches the rest off,
relieved the card wasn't a winner at all.

Outside her front door
she rests on the dustbin lid,
scratches off her fourth and final.
The smile on her face as she wins a fiver
not enough to escape the drudgery
but enough for another card.

short forms 28th April 2016

maybe
I should write her
ass less sympathetic --
more on an anti-hero like
John Salt


© Rachel Green 2016

overnight snow
silvers tulips with morning
prismatic sun


© Rachel Green 2016

edits
for the best story
I've ever written
Unfortunately, I failed
the basic story call


© Rachel Green 2016

obsession
with a game
takes my time

I can't see me ever finishing
and will probably uninstall it
out of frustration

but until then...


© Rachel Green 2016

a word of criticism - abject depression

© Rachel Green 2016

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

April Poems 2016/27


Over the Field

It'll be all right
he touches the side of his nose
with his middle finger
a conspiratorial nudge harking to some gypsy rite
(he's one quarter gypsy on his mother's side
and has the eyes of his grandmother)
and against my better judgement I let him lead me
through the wood (private, no trespassing)
and along the back of the hawthorn hedge
where last summer's brambles pluck at my jumper,
unpicking the seam where I burned the cuff n the electric fire.
The cow shed is old, unused
and mostly dry thanks to an intact roof
though the rain spits at us through glassless windows
and the lime from crumbling mortar whitens our clothes.

He builds a fire in the middle,
a circle of sandstone boulders dredged from the canal
England's Glory kissing the edges
of yesterday's Sun,
dancing through straw and crackling pine needles
birch and alder twigs send shadows dancing.
He opens a can of Tizer,
offers half a Bounty bar.
The repast of Kings as his hand brushes my leg,
his fingernails caked with dirt and ash.
My heard thumping under my anorak.

The reflection of blue lights
against the crumbling brickwork
and he's off
a rabbit catching the scent of hounds
leaving the carrot untouched
with my knickers still around my ankles
when the officer shines a torch inside.

© Rachel Green 2016


Thank you for stopping by

Iscaron 2016


oil on canvas

short forms 27th April 2016

she tries
to kill herself
but is thwarted each time
freak accidents plague her attempts.
demons?


© Rachel Green 2016

frigid air
around the forsythia blooms
blackbird hen


© Rachel Green 2016

paintings
oil on canvas
delight
Despite my love of them
they'll never sell


© Rachel Green 2016

neighbour
of one of our tenants
comes to complain

their lad kicks his football
against her fence
it's downright annoying

as are you, dear lady


© Rachel Green 2016

"stone the crows." Father's last words.

© Rachel Green 2016

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

April Poems 2016/26

Fishwife

He says I'm cold
unemotional.
I can forget people entirely
in a time proportionate to how long I've known them.
I have no memories of the hundred or so girls
I had a one night stand with;
nothing but a faceless mask in the bedroom
(or kitchen, bus shelter or this one time
on the top of a double decker bus we were painting
though I think she was a redhead. Or was that me?)
Past lovers get deleted from memory
because I need the storage space for stories
snippets of conversation I hear on the street
and he's disturbed by the ease
I forget people once held so dear;
by the assumption that after twenty years
he would forget me as easily as I would forget him.
I blame it on my mother dying when I was too young
to have developed social intercourse
but the bottom line, I can reluctantly admit,
is I'm just an asshole.

short forms 26th April 2016

thirty
minutes of life
waiting for a pizza
then another hour to eat.
Ice cream?


© Rachel Green 2016

cherry flowers
along a blustery road
wind-blown rubbish


© Rachel Green 2016

date night
to a 3D film
remade classic
To be honest, the best bit
is stress-free partner time


© Rachel Green 2016

infection
makes him worried
antibiotics

his left ear
completely blocked
a mass of pus

slivers of throat needles


© Rachel Green 2016

blessed sleep. The anxiety of dreams.

© Rachel Green 2016

Monday, 25 April 2016

April Poems 2016/25

Krav Maga

Thirty seconds
never sounds a long time
until you're approaching exhaustion
then thirty seconds feels like an hour
with every muscle screaming
begging for rest, for relief.

It seems easy at first
thirty seconds of shin kicks
ten seconds of rest
thirty seconds of knee strikes
elbow strikes
front kicks
hammer fists
side kicks
palm strikes
groin kicks
open palms
thirty seconds
thirty seconds
thirty seconds.

Six minutes
doesn't sound like much exercise
but quite often it's the length of a street fight
when survival on the line
and the next thirty seconds
means life or death.


© Rachel Green 2016

short forms 25th April 2016

a wish
favourite food
her orders her a pizza.
Wasn't it traditionally
conjured?


© Rachel Green 2016

raindrops
racing across the pavement
two black slugs


© Rachel Green 2016

the dog
terrified by visitors
and beards
at least she come downstairs
to begin barking


© Rachel Green 2016

helping a friend
to move house
heavy furniture

I advise in the event of a stroke
to roll me to one side
out of the way

just hire a skip


© Rachel Green 2016

exhaustion sets in. She doesn't move.

© Rachel Green 2016

Sunday, 24 April 2016

April Poems 2016/24

Legacy

Five silver spoons
in a velvet-lined box
each topped with an apostle
a gift from my grandmother
on my parents' wedding day.
My sister tagged them with a post-it note
on her visit to our father's house
the day after pneumonia took him
changed her mind when she saw one missing.
It wasn't just the spoons;
she marked up the silverware, the crystal,
the drop-leaf table with the William Morris carving;
bagged the money in the top-left drawer and said:
Let's not bother with a headstone.
When the house sold I cleared his garden.
Cut down my mother's roses,
his dahlias, the wisteria I planted when I was a child;
bagged up the compost heap
(it was too good to waste)
and right at the bottom, bright from being under the earth
was the missing apostle.
My father's chuckle from the grave
and the robin he fed with garden worms
alighted on the garden spade.

short forms 24th April 2016

tipsy
on fruit cider
she makes a decision
she'll regret for the longest time.
Wanted.


© Rachel Green 2016

light rain
yesterday's mown lawn
sparrow's buffet

© Rachel Green 2016

terrified dog
creeps downstairs
won't eat
The guest in the office
is too much for her


© Rachel Green 2016

three hours
carting soil
and digging

front garden
starting to take shape
for selling

a few dwarf conifers


© Rachel Green 2016

so tired she forgot her poetry

© Rachel Green 2016

April Poems 2016/22

Stark Raving Mad

My father rarely got angry, preferred
to languish in the relative high ground
of mocking sarcasm, rolled eyes and
a sad, sad shake of the head
as if the stupidity of man,
or in this case children,
was utterly beyond belief.

He was angry when I set fire to the shed.
I didn't mean to. I only lit a match to scare away rats
but the floorboard were shot through with rot,
friable as cotton wool on a summer evening.
I got a hiding that day.

He was angry when I broke a window'
He'd told me not the throw my ball at the wall,
warned me what would happen
but I did it anyway.
I got a hiding that day.

He was angry when I almost shot him.
For a country without guns
it's surprisingly easy to make a cannon
from copper tubing and basic chemistry.
The stainless steel ball bearing missed his head by an inch;
had to be dug out of the door post.
I got a hiding that day.

He was angry when I was arrested at fourteen
shoplifting a girlie magazine
from the newsagent on the market
couldn't understand why I was looking at naked women
and me such a good Catholic and all.
“Are you stark raving mad?”
He didn't speak again for a week.




(I forgot to post this on Friday)

April Poems 2016/23

Victoria June 1998

She's had too much to drink
and teeter-totters on expensive shoes
trying to both stay upright on the rain-slick pavement
and not twist her feet to risk snapping off
a hundred quid's worth of heel.
A broken ankle is a secondary thought
as she slips on a pancaked Bulmer's tin
in the driveway to a maisonette.
She giggles and clutches my arm
bitching about the so-called friends
we left at the club and how Cassie's boyfriend
tried to grope her tits in the smoking shelter.
Brutal honesty from the black-smeared lips
of a girl normally so reserved
so when I ask her if she loves me I get
of course not, you narna.
I laugh and turn it all into a huge joke
but behind the mask of a smile
my soul has been crushed
like the tin can we saw on the road.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

short forms 23rd April 2016

cider
sweet and flavoured
gets herself very drunk
time to get the ouija board out.
Spirits.


© Rachel Green 2016

white flowers
chamomile blooms.
honeybees


© Rachel Green 2016

digging compost
three years of garden waste
rich loam
Evening out the ground
for a new lawn


© Rachel Green 2016

surprise party
for a thirty year old daughter
in a pub

too many people
ramp up my anxiety
noise and conversation

I retreat to my kindle


© Rachel Green 2016

flashes of eye shadow. An effort.

© Rachel Green 2016

Friday, 22 April 2016

short forms 22nd April 2016

stories
told to children
around the campfire
when their parent's bodies are still
burning


© Rachel Green 2016

morning sun
occluded by clouds
petals close


© Rachel Green 2016

hometime
a toddler climbs on DK's bike
photo op
Her mum shoos her off it
slinks away


© Rachel Green 2016

shining chrome
the creep of rust
around the rims

plastic fades
becomes brittle
sheds fibres

the land reclaims


© Rachel Green 2016

she spends money she doesn't have

© Rachel Green 2016

Thursday, 21 April 2016

April poems 2016/21

A snowy morning--
by myself,
chewing on dried salmon.
  • Matsuo Basho

A father I once knew,
in the days when the Beatles were still together
and Pink Floyd still played gigs to small audiences,
sent his son to Scotland
to make a man of himself.
Hard to believe, I know, but this was before mobile phones
and computers and iPads and mobile dongles –
we relied n notebooks and cameras the size of handbags;
public telephone boxes which took a stack of two pence pices.
As luck would have it, Ben Nevis shook snow
from a hundred heavy clouds,
isolating the peaks
and dragging down the telephone lines
until all he could do was read and write poems
and partake of the few pastimes in the cottage let.

Ben Nevis
occluded by snow in May
colouring book

A Month of Writing Prompts 2016

In liew of a review:

 A Month of Writing Prompts 2016
by Julie Duffy
Kindle edition £2.10

A Story a Day


So much more than 31 writing prompts, this fun collection---packed with personality---gives you short story prompts designed to work with the topics and genres that already interest you. Each prompt comes with tips to jump-start your writing and help you dig deeper into the story.

As a multi-published novelist, I agreed to review an advance copy of this (Full disclosure, I was given a free copy) and honestly found it useful. I've been a bit haphazard with my writing goals lately and haven't published a novel in a couple of years so thought I'd try it out. It's really rather splendid. It does take me out of my comfort zone (every day requires a new, finished short story -- or a least a rough draft thereof -- and I was expecting to stay in my own style, which I can't do. If you want to kickstart your writing, or just flex a few literary muscles, this is the book for you.

short forms 21st April 2016

she buys
acrylic paints
to decorate the house
flowers and animals to raise
her mood


© Rachel Green 2016

blackbird hen
washing herself in the dew
plum blossom


© Rachel Green 2016

poorly child
doesn't want to work overtime
despite pressure
doc's appointment arranged
boss can't argue.


© Rachel Green 2016

the front garden
removed and composted
for a lawn

the neighbours like it
(it was such a mess before)
now it lets in light.

I don't mention it's to sell the house.


© Rachel Green 2016

she wakes early again. Another nightmare.

© Rachel Green 2016

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

April Poetry 2016/20

Unsaid

No perfume, just the musk of a day
spent writing at the computer, spruced
with the fresh scent of soap clinging
to her arms and armpits. No makeup.
Shadows falling on her face define her eyes,
her lips, her cheekbones, the hollows
and roadways left when her youth departed,
the topography of wisdom, of lessons learned
and freedoms won, little by little.
Her hair falls free, unbrushed, curled
and spiralled from drying naturally.
No bra, no girdle. Her breasts hang naturally,
pulling her shoulders taut and her belly
always too big and now too full of fear
to do more than reflect the gaze
of the lascivious. She doesn't care.
The lines around her mouth tighten.
She could break a man's arm with one movement,
shatter his floating ribs with a punch
break his neck with a two-step shuffle.
She says nothing, but the casual insult hurled her way
still makes her flinch. She smiles anyway.

short forms April 20th 2016

Dapper.
her father's suit
fits her after fashion
has left to find a dark corner.
Her style.


© Rachel Green 2016

tree stump
difficult to remove
a robin's perch


© Rachel Green 2016

garden compost
laboriously dug out
barrowloads
filling in a large hole
my aching back


© Rachel Green 2016

oils
rendered on canvas
renewed interest
I remember the delight
of a skillfully placed brush
the depth of colour
non-figurative


© Rachel Green 2016

blinding headache. was it the art?

© Rachel Green 2016

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

April Poems 2016/19

Tim and Gary

Tim was the coolest guy in school
long hair, great taste in music –
Eno, Hillage, Buckley, 801,
This was in the days of vinyl,
when even cassettes were new and expensive
and the lady across the road worked at Boots
where she could order anything at all.
He had groupies, the Art crowd
who did A level art and maybe English
or one of the social sciences.
I had a crush on him, we all did,
but I was a maths-physics-chemistry student
and our paths crossed only at lunchtime
and on the bus.

I went out with Gary – the guy who rubbed
his crotch then licked his hands. He bought me rum
and told me I was the best dancer he'd ever seen
until I was sick all over his shoes.
He shouldn't have bought me the wine,
Ever the gentleman he walked me to the bus stop,
let me have a couple of his chips
but he'd drowned them in vinegar.

Gary left school at sixteen, got an apprenticeship
and worked in the spring factory in Redditch.
Tim went to college and got a degree,
worked in Sainsbury's with his hair cut short,
lived in his parent's house with his wall of albums
and one surviving piece of art from school.

short forms 19th April 2016

dad's suit
smells of mothballs
and is totally rad
for her to customise with pink.
Business.


© Rachel Green 2016

low sun
blinding early morning
the haze of frost


© Rachel Green 2016

transplanting flowers
from the front garden
to the back
I hope the shrimp bush survives
ditto, raspberry canes


© Rachel Green 2016

a barrow of compost
needed for the garden
wheeled up from the bottom

Every handful
a rich scent of childhood
recycling joy

All this was food scraps


© Rachel Green 2016

old man's suit. Back in fashion.

© Rachel Green 2016

Monday, 18 April 2016

April Poems 2016/18

They don't like Lesbian 

Mrs Vordstone, with her canary yellow walls
and her husband's an architect, you know,
she only works here because she gets bored
and her salary provides a second holiday.
Have you seen the pictures of us on safari?
It was too hot, really. I wouldn't go again.
Not in the summer, anyway, and besides,
we're putting a conservatory on the back of the house.
Are you going anywhere nice, Tina?
Young, vivacious, fond of a bottle of red
when she leaves the office but won't date
anyone past eleven because her cat expects her home,
She calls her underwear 'pants' and flirts with the gay guy
who detests lesbians and won't give them the time of day.
He lives with a solicitor, goes to church on Sundays
and holidays, shows his knickers to his subordinates
and asks for coffee without sugar because he's sweet enough.
Isn't that right, Jo? Down to earth, comes from Dudley
where the pinnacle of achievement is to have your name
printed in the local rag as long as it's not in the convicted pages.
Her fiancée is a mechanic, which would be handy if she
ever agreed to introduce him but her yellow Clio
is always in good nick. Not like hers. They don't speak to her
except to ask about cases or to pass work on
because lets face it, she's faster than them and outstrips
even the manager in brains-per-square-hipster.
She pretends not to care, has a nervous breakdown
on her way to work but nobody sends a card.

short forms 18th April 2016

the church
a summer fete
the domestic marquee
provides an unexpected point
to land


© Rachel Green 2016

sparrows
flooding the front garden
morning rain


© Rachel Green 2016

house sorting
two hundred pictures
disposed of
Some donated to charity
most to the council tip


© Rachel Green 2016

old tyres
full of soil
makeshift wall
covered in a mix
of concrete and compost
painted with lime
lasting a lifetime


© Rachel Green 2016

Decluttering. One bag at a time.

© Rachel Green 2016

Sunday, 17 April 2016

April Poetry 2016/17

A47 6:33 AM

a fallow deer, bleeding on the roadside
waiting for death or rescue.
I wonder what it thinks as I approach.
Does in fear me? Blame me for hurting it
despite my arrival a moment ago?
Or does it think I am its redeemer,
come to release it to some foreign land.
Does she she have a concept of death?
She struggles to rise, the movement
shaking dew from the encircling shrubs
and drops of dew glisten on the perfect velvet of her coat
holding worlds in miniature, fingers of dawn
turning the Moon's shroud pink.
Her eyelids flutter and the bright spark in her pupil fades.
The eyes turn dull.
A single tear runs down a suddenly cold cheek
and I turn away.

Short forms 17th April 2016

too late
she has regrets
about her choice of death
throwing herself off the church spire
freak wind


© Rachel Green 2016

warn sun
overturned earth
robin red-breast


© Rachel Green 2016

a few hours
in the front garden
clearing
just the tree stumps to take out
and the dead plants to remove


© Rachel Green 2016

Amazon reviews
I read a recipe book
I don't like

Too many meat dishes
followed by desserts
figs and honey

I can feel my teeth rotting


© Rachel Green 2016

exercise. Now she can hardly walk.

© Rachel Green 2016

Saturday, 16 April 2016

April Poems 2016/16

Midnight Chips

It was cold in the night café.
An old Victorian glasshouse
panes mirrored by darkness
steamed by boiling kettles
and a semi-rusty espresso machine.
He smiled at us, indulgent of young customers
though I suspect I was older than he.
She had hot chocolate, I, tea,
though the draught from the door
was enough to raise the flesh on my stockinged legs.
We shared chips, cooked fresh in the microwave
behind the till, though she liked too much tomato
sauce in her tea and sugar on her chips
but she talked about art and music
and wrote Gothic poetry in purple ink
on sheets of graph paper she nicked from school.
It was two in the morning when I walked her home
and kissed her in the darkness
of an underground car park.
It took her by surprise because she wasn't into me
but she laughed anyway, clicking her tongue stud
against her cheek as she walked away.

Friday, 15 April 2016

April poetry 2016/15

Enough for Sweets and a Comic

A message scrawled on the back of an envelope
in lieu of paper – my mother was frugal,
even her diary was built of butcher's foolscap
and cast-off scraps of newspaper –
here is the tooth that came out today
illustrated by a crude, five-year old's depiction
of a face with a missing tooth,
a ring with an arrow pointing to the gap.

I'd hoped for a sixpence, pre 1920 for preference
or at least pre-1946. A shilling was too much
to expect, even then I knew my parents were poor
but thruppenny bit seemed too mean,
although I knew my dad had a tin of them.

The tooth, and the note, under a flat pillow;
the cotton one with lines of rainbow hues
with the feely corner darned in black.
And sleep, among the fox-dark sounds
of wind among the treetops and wood pigeons
heralding the morning light when I woke
and there was no coin beneath my pillow,
just my old tooth and the ragged scraps of trust.

short forms 15th April 2016

despair
her suicide,
though a failed attempt,
opens new possibilities.
escape


© Rachel Green 2016

morning thrush
observes he removal of ivy
panicked snails


© Rachel Green 2016

banana
first thing of the day
before breakfast
I can't consume dairy
until my meds digest


© Rachel Green 2016

MRI scan
My head clamped down
to look at my brain

despite the noise
I manage to sleep
for twenty minutes

overcoming claustrophobia


© Rachel Green 2016

digging up the past. Her grief.

© Rachel Green 2016

Thursday, 14 April 2016

April Poetry 2016/14

After the Day

My father didn't know how to speak to me
His grief overwhelming
his dead wife reflected in my fourteen year old face.
He ignored me, Went to work.
Watched television and went to bed early,
smoking cigarettes as if they were oxygen tanks
in the thin atmosphere of depression.
I turned to religion
looking for answers in the catechism,
hope in the depictions of Bridget, of Mary,
of Ceridwen, of Morrigan;
in sprayer and blood magic and sacrifice
but She gave no more reply than my father.
My sister did her best,
drove me to school in a van filled with saddles
seventies music and the smell of wet dog,
bought me yoghurt and frosted cereal
but the only time I could relax my stoic face
was walking the dogs in the summer dusk,
when the bats swooped over the canal
feasting on gnats and midges
and there was no-one but the darkness
to hear my sobbing.

short forms 14th April 2016

hostile
to her new mum
her dad, disappointed,
sends her to calm down in her room.
Online.


© Rachel Green 2016

morning drizzle
a knot of sparrows
fresh leaves


© Rachel Green 2016

the 6:30 run
to drop Lu at the station
is easy
Today's eight am run
backed up with traffic


© Rachel Green 2016

Lu
a trip to Sheffield
returns the fourth laptop

this one worked for an hour
before the screen died
HP Spectre

She seems happier with the fifth


© Rachel Green 2016

anxiety. Brain scan reveals her idiocy.

© Rachel Green 2016

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

April Poems 2016/13

Seventeen Stops

The whine of an electric motor
and the sharp, iron smell of the rails
in the underground station.
A rat scurries along the rail, paws
in single file, tail held high and well away from the live.
Beneath a poster for the Money at the Tate,
a spot of yellow on sooted tracks
a dropped M&M, peanut style,
a prize to take home for the kids
all seven of them and the missus is pregnant again already.
He may have to venture to street level
for a cast-off Kentucky or starch fried McD's
but the display board says one minute
before the last train on the Northern line.
Time to duck to the sleepers.

A tube of wind blows litter from the tunnel
and the flashing snake of the Tube
screeches brakes to slow.
Stand clear of the doors.
One person gets out, the last pilgrim to Leicester Square
where every theatre runs the same show year after year
and only the food franchises change with the seasons.
Three get on to take their places
among the day's newspapers and ticket stubs.
Tinny music from ear bud headphones
and everyone staring at their phones
except for one lad drinking lager
and swearing at the Muslim girl three seats down
who hasn't made a sound.
Heaven is for whites only, he says,
and spits on the floor. The train slows, stops,
speeds up once more. Night sky replaces tunnel walls.
Seven more stations until High Barnet.

short forms 13th April 2016

missed call
on the machine
an old lady's wrong number
with a message full of pathos
ringback


© Rachel Green 2016

tiny flowers
glinting on the rosemary
morning sun


© Rachel Green 2016

daughter in law
coming to clean the house
while I'm incapable
I have the urgent desire
to vacuum round first


© Rachel Green 2016

painting
oil on board
Jasfoup in red

I'd forgotten
how long oils took to dry
wet canvasses

beautiful smell


© Rachel Green 2016

an ache in her face. Stroke?

© Rachel Green 2016

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Speaking into Silence

Message received 19 march
from (redacted)

Hello Ada.
I think I got right number.
its Florence.
I just want to ring and tell you that Heather... Heather Pete has just been this morning and given me communion and I feel great.
I feel great now.
I thought I would let you know.
I hope you get your message... this message... all right.
Bye.


Chloe hadn't even known they had an answering service until she'd received the letter telling her she was about not to have. It seemed her dad had been paying eleven pounds a month for the privilege of confusing old ladies. She was tempted to call the number to tell Maisy her message hadn't gone through to Edna but it was a month old now and any conversation might be awkward.

Florence sounded nice, though, like Gran used to sound when she was giving Chloe chocolate on the sly. She missed Gran. More than Mom and Dad, to be honest, but not as much as she missed Buster.

She pulled on the headset, her mouse skimming over the dialling pad before she talked herself out of it. It rang once... twice... A man answered. “Hello?”

“Oh, Hello.” Chloe swallowed her social terror. “May I speak to Florence, please?”

“Mrs Allcot? She died, love, I'm sorry. Two weeks ago. I'm clearing out her bungalow for the council. Are you a relative?”

Chloe didn't know why, but she answered yes.

The Dog's Dinner

Product Review

I do not like this, mom, he said
it tastes like cardboard. Is your head
some place else today? I cannot eat
these biscuits dry, I need some meat.
The stuff you've put here in my bowl
needs liquid on it. gravy, cheese. I'll roll
in something nice outside. The smell
will maybe prompt the dinner bell
when you'll give me something tasty.
I'll tell you what. I'll eat your pastry.
Animal Welfare, I will phone
without some ham or juicy bone
And if, perchance, you give me some
I'll kiss you when I've licked my feet.

short forms 12th April 2016

fear
of the darkness
not because of the things
that go bump in the night but from
people


© Rachel Green 2016

morning rain
outside the cafe window
pigeons steal chips


© Rachel Green 2016

poetry
comes hard on the heels
of depression
on the plus side
it's an improvement


© Rachel Green 2016

dashing out
for a cinema trip
afternoon delight

DK and I laugh
until our sides hurt
Lina doesn't get it

life experience


© Rachel Green 2016

she promises one thing: continued life

© Rachel Green 2016

Monday, 11 April 2016

April Poems 2016/11

A Response to the Question “Have You Told Her Yet?”

Her front door clicks shut.
He'd hoped for a hinge-rattling slam
shaking the adjacent window in its frame
(was it too much to ask to shatter?)
but the door is fire-safe
a pneumatic arm closes it silently
reducing his dramatic exit
of “I'm leaving you forever,”
to the apologetic murmur
“I'll see myself out.”
At the bottom of the path he kicks the gate
stubs his toe of the wall and curses.
One look back at the house and a shout
“You'll not get that divorce.
I'll stay with the wife now”
but she has no response
while Eastenders is on.

short forms 11th April 2016

school fight
another girl
climbs the social ladder
her last pair of lacy knickers
ripped


© Rachel Green 2016

pink tinges
in the morning sky
black wings


© Rachel Green 2016

gym ball
used as a seat
for gaming
I can feel the ache
in the backs of my legs


© Rachel Green 2016

garden clearing
we light a bonfire
dusk warmth

laurel leaves
a blaze of glory
crackling

ash motes rising


© Rachel Green 2016

rubbing away facial tiredness. Sandpaper hands.

© Rachel Green 2016

Sunday, 10 April 2016

April Poems 2016/10

Obsessive

He stalks her facebook profile,
likes every post she makes;
every twitter,
every instagram,
every photo she uploads to the cloud
whether she marks it public or not.
He knows her mother's maiden name
the street she grew up on,
her first pet.
Her telephone number ends in oh-eight-eight,
her bank account in four-one-seven
and her passport in twenty-three-f.
He's photoshopped her into pictures,
replacing his mum at Blackpool Pleasure Beach,
Alton Towers,
Brighton Pavilion,
and shows his mates the picture he took of her
naked from the waist up
that she sent three years ago to her then boyfriend
when he was serving in Afghanistan.
She told her bessie she thinks he's harmless.
He knows the exact words she used
and mouths them along with the video
he shot on her bedroom spy-cam.

short forms 10th April 2016

her dog
found dead upstairs
after eating some meat
he had found in the back garden.
Poisoned.


© Rachel Green 2016

morning mist
across the road
vanished houses


© Rachel Green 2016

her laptop
third in a week
to be returned
She has the worst luck
with mail order


© Rachel Green 2016

determination
has me running around the garden
with a reciprocating saw

buddleias cut down,
fruit trees pruned
bay tree removed

rain prevents disposal


© Rachel Green 2016

dreaming of archery. She shoots dogs.

© Rachel Green 2016

Saturday, 9 April 2016

April Poetry 2016/09

Witch's Hovel

Rain patters on the curved corrugated iron
left over when dad dug out the Anderson shelter
We've made a den of it, me and the boy from down the road
with walls made from scavenged pallets
sheets of plastic thumb-tacked to the outside to keep the rain out.
In the spring we'll cover it in mud bricks
painted dry with lime and whitewash
with a window salvaged from the old cow shed
after Eddie Fowler burned it down
because he likes to watch the flames.
The rain drips in where the screws used to be
but we bodge them with plasticine
and light a fire in the hole
we scooped out with an empty peach can.
In our minds this is a palace in the making
but Dad wants his potato patch back.

short forms 9th April 2016

quiet
the house silent
but for the dripping tap
and the purr of a car's engine.
Garage,


© Rachel Green 2016

spring leaves
burst forth from naked branches
sparrow song


© Rachel Green 2016

DK out for the day
gives us a chance to run around
in our underwear
Wait! It's a tad cold out
and is the child in?


© Rachel Green 2016

depression
kicking my butt
despite medication

bad dreams
shattering the space
between demons

should I up my meds?


© Rachel Green 2016

meal out. doggy bag of headaches.

© Rachel Green 2016

Friday, 8 April 2016

April Poems 2016/08

Xenophobic Statute

North Carolina
struck off my visiting list
I don't want the hassle
of prejudiced white folks
deciding who to refuse service to.
You want ID to use the ladie's?
Sure, here's my driving licence,
my passport, my birth certificate
what's that? You still don't believe me
because I've got a deep voice
and you want a DNA test?
What if I decline, not because I think
you'll find XY chromosones
but because I don't want my DNA
on your computer records.
We both know there's no security on your accounts
and I don't want to be fitted up
for that bank job your brother did last Friday.

short forms 8th April 2016

bad time
to make a wish
that your father was dead
when a demon is listening.
sirens


© Rachel Green 2016

raspberry stalks
extend soft new leaves
wild arum


© Rachel Green 2016

blank canvas
bought from charity shop
for a fiver
just the right size
for a removed bookcase


© Rachel Green 2016

dark space
filled with books
feels oppressive

I rearrange
throw out another hundred
of art and gardening

precious losses


© Rachel Green 2016

ruthless. her bookshelves diminish.

© Rachel Green 2016

Thursday, 7 April 2016

April Poems 2016 / 07

Urban Fishes

I asked for a day off,
away from the bustle of urban life
just one day
where I didn't have to worry
about money,
about health
about the eternal existentialist reality of living
or the possibility that an afterlife,
if one believed in it at all,
would be full of rich white people passing gas
into the waters of rebirth.
I didn't expect to be taken literally
and I'd like to go home now.
This morgue drawer is no fun.

short forms 7th April 2016

Death wish.
An argument
with her single father
about his new, younger girlfriend.
Regrets.

© Rachel Green 2016

rainbows
through window prisms
miniature worlds


© Rachel Green 2016

morning run
taking Lu to the station
I drive
Only by the skin of my teeth
do I avoid splatting DK's bike


© Rachel Green 2016

painting
oil on canvas
recurring joy

I need somewhere
I can do this daily
therapy

I should never have stopped


© Rachel Green 2016

painting as therapy. Art into writing.


© Rachel Green 2016

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

April Poems 2016/06

Wasp Totem 1989

An antique night stand
supports a square of heavy glass
an artist's palette
smeared with oils and dripping linseed
a hundred brushes in jam and coffee jars
bristles to the ceiling.
The canvas sags on its heavy pine stretcher,
the weight of paint exceeding tolerance.
It may need restretching when it's dry.

The brush held loosely, upright,
the tip of the thumb on the ferrule
one-inch ox hair
stained Prussian blue from the bed
of this laboured work.
A smear of Titanium white
to highlight the hollow
of a Payne's Grey eye socket,
while Alizarin feathers allude to the violence
perpetrated on old bone
while an iridescent eye stares out
pinning the viewer
as an etymological specimen.

Outside the multi-paned windows
night falls in stop-motion.
City lights flash on the flyover
a thousand people rushing home to their families,
The reek of the chippy on Piper's Row
and the cloud of stale curry
an artist on Lea Road.

short forms 6th April 2016

yellow
notes on the desk
unfamiliar hand
with terms of endearment writ
for her


© Rachel Green 2016

grape hyacinth
a splash of garden blue
hungry tits


© Rachel Green 2016

what is his hand stuck to?
edits for a novella
out of context
I can supply several answers
based upon horror tales


© Rachel Green 2016

glass desk top
supplies unexpected bonus
sore arms
the edge of the glass
cuts across the muscles
as I type poetry
curious pain


© Rachel Green 2016

sunlight through the window. Unexpected nap.

© Rachel Green 2016

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

April Poems 2016/05

Forever is an Eternity in Hell

We met at the sycamore tree,
where the afternoon sun painted freckles
across the scrubby grass
and the summer heat was bearable
as I sat with my back against the trunk
listening to wood pigeons high above
and the hum of a distant tractor.
You carved my name in the bark
with the pen-knife you stole from your father
brass and wood, smoothed by age
with a nick missing from the cold steel blade
where he'd stabbed the helmet of a Maltese guerilla.
I thought it was touching, sweet,
a declaration of your forever love,
to last until the end of the world.
By summer's end you'd moved on –
Lisa DiLuca wore black lace bras
where mine were grey from mixed washes
forever felt like a taunt
whenever I passed the spot on the way to school.
Wiser now, and when he says 'forever' I don't believe him.
No-one can love forever.

short forms 5th April 2016

thirteen
and all alone
she doesn't want boyfriends
or a new stepmother to love.
Comfort.


© Rachel Green 2016

morning sky
pink reflections in the gutter
dead pigeon


© Rachel Green 2016

horrendous dream
where I am a convict
in a prison
one of the inmates
has a shotgun


© Rachel Green 2016

polyamory
isn't for everyone
piggy in the middle

sometimes
it feels like a proper marriage
only more people hate you

but sometimes its fantastic


© Rachel Green 2016

magic potion. Her own tears, bottled.

© Rachel Green 2016

Monday, 4 April 2016

April Poems 2016/04

Beacons

A gull catches the last ray of afternoon sun
slipping between the clouds
a sky-salmon darting through rapids
to find his way home.
A hundred miles from the nearest coast
it relies on scraps from the municipal tip,
the council duck pond, the school playground
where the children are no longer allowed crisps
but suck at glowing nicotine sticks
behind the netball pitch.
Chips outside the betting shop
where the Belisha beacon winks, winks;
rain-wet egg mayonnaise from the supermarket bins
and yesterday's chow mein
thrown up in the gutter with that last, bad pint.
Why is it always the last pint that's bad?
Why not the first, when Dad can shake his head
and still find his way home?

short forms 4th March 2016

one hand
held to shoulder height
talk to the palm, sister,
'cause I don't wanna' hear 'bout your
problems


© Rachel Green 2016

red tulips
bursting from the earth
wild garlic


© Rachel Green 2016

new dog
has personal pets
despite the solution
I need to buy shampoo
GDAE tuning


© Rachel Green 2016

Sunday dinner
at a friend's house
vegetarian option

good to see them
though the bathroom is flooded
and the kids over-excited

excellent food


© Rachel Green 2016

a wall of books. Charity shop.

© Rachel Green 2016

Sunday, 3 April 2016

April Poems 2016/03

Switching Protocols

You asked me where,
I kept the love you gave me
in my head or heart
or the little keepsake box
the came from Whitley Bay.
My pursed lips should have given you a clue.
404

What will my family say
when you don't turn up
for the holiday we booked together?
My mom really liked you, you know,
the first girlfriend she wanted me to keep.
She snapchatted our faces together
to see what her grandkids would look like.
I shook my head.
See this field where I grow my cares?
503

You try to kiss me,
to rekindle the desire
that once had me travelling a hundred miles
to spend an hour with you.
You tried to stroke my arm, touch my cheek
but I moved away.
400
401
403


April Poems 2016/02

Can We Just...

He said please and thank you,
complimented her hair, her dress,
the way she'd draped a scarf over the table lamp
to soften the light and set the mood;
the candle on the table
and the two freesias in a champagne flute.

She smiled, blushed,
went into the kitchen for wine and water
(she'd only ever dated one guy
who'd managed the magic trick),
returned with a green leaf salad
with cubes of feta and goat's cheese.

He ate with one hand,
making sandwiches from leaf and cheese,
little green tacos dipped in balsamic,
his fingers dusted with Parmesan.
She thought it curious and endearing;
imagined those fingers deftly eating her.

Her second course, chestnut soup
made fresh with nuts she'd picked herself,
cooked and frozen when the rosehips
bled into the hazel hedge.
His spoon clanked against his teeth,
scraped across the enamel.
His breath as her sucked
grated like the cheddar in the main course.

Lasagne fork scraped across Royal Dalton
ringing against the brace
that held his missing tooth
like a crane lowering a headstone,
His mouth open as his small talk
permeates the room like typhoid from a sewer grate,
an orgy of tomatoes and spinach
making his adam's apple bob.
His smile as she pushes away her plate,
stands, closes her eyes;
fading into confusion and she screams
Get out. Get Out. Get out.
His stumble as he grabs his coat, his keys,
his Can we just... with a string of mucus
from the corner of his mouth
as she shuts the door.

short forms April 3rd 2016

silence
above the town
even the wind goes quiet
a moment of stillness at her
life's end


© Rachel Green 2016

dark shadows
sweep across the grassland
crow's wings


© Rachel Green 2016

misting rain
the still, cold air
sunless sky
a motorbike rusting
on the roadside


© Rachel Green 2016

dreaming
my father's house
in ruins

the remains of the pergola
festooned with dead roses
lost to fire ants

a lawn of mud and faeces


© Rachel Green 2016

white desk. the last poetic hurrah.

© Rachel Green 2016

Saturday, 2 April 2016

short forms 2nd April 2016

standing
on the tower
of the Catholic church
debating whether to jump off
crying


© Rachel Green 2016

raindrops
hanging from a branch
huddled ladybird


© Rachel Green 2016

all fools
I start writing again
one poem
and a vignette
of Chloe


© Rachel Green 2016

Lu installs a game
on my recommendation
it crashes

Google is no help
we try every solution
to no avail

wasted money?


© Rachel Green 2016

anxiety dreams. canal-side dog fights.

© Rachel Green 2016