May 22nd, 2010


On Her Pleasures

Harlequin dress, grey scarves a cirrus trail
silver. Spin-tapping, teetering her heels
on pavement. Somehow she will never fail
to stay upright. A tipsiness that feels

like glee. We all drink so much in those years;
her voice a diamond cutting through the smoke
of dingy pubs. And no-one counts the beers
she's had, or notices how wine will soak

her dress, and dye its patchwork deeper red,
stain gray to mauve. If sometimes evenings end
in toilets, holding hand or aching head,
the price of joy. Drink was her last good friend

soothing, not judging, calm and always there -
tore the bright dress, put grey clouds in her hair.

Five Madnesses

She always feared that they would send her back;
she would not talk about what happened there,
seek help again. Her mind had jumped a track,
was now sort of OK. Did not know where

she'd put three slides at work, and for two years
thought they would sack her. Would not ask or look
for fear they'd notice, and would sit in tears.
Until she saw the pictures in the book

The slides were for. She watched their futile dash -
Egyptian hamsters, twilit, behind glass -
Said 'they're my thoughts'; giggled to watch them bash
rebound like furry dodgems. Moods would pass

like sunlit hail. The pills that rid her brain
of voices, numbed her passion, not her pain.