TEA ROSES & A CURTSY

aaaaaa

the day after the day after

heroic, not as yet battle weary

Northumbrians and circumspect

trundling, rumbling Cromwell tanks

liberate a barely blemished Bayeux

embroidered tapestry reflecting

perhaps a more advantageous

Norman fray, pristine, still intact

was the day she cast aside

all conceivable apprehension

let weakest knees carry her

to the conceivably oldest

of Notre Dame Cathedrals

her motive a conundrum

for she had given up prayer

the day her wish came true

once beyond the great oak door

by lonely votive candlelight, alone

she foraged for crucifix abandoned

four arduous summers previous

found it where she left it

left it where she found it

to the unsettled sanctuary of providence

outside, now a little drunk

on Calvados, deliverance

and revived freshest air

satisfied all was as was

lost in a fool’s paradise

she, at first, at least, nearly, failed

to notice the uniformed blind giant

inadvertently blocking her path

shabby white stick in one hand

bouquet of white tea roses in the other

“Parles vous Anglais?”

“Oui” her little person, potentially polemic reaction

“Pardon” his baffled, ‘wish I could speak the lingo’ riposte

“Yes, I do speak English,” taking him for a bumbling fool, and spoken in perfect Anglais

“Then these flowers are for you,” the plain words of an ever so proud sightless giant

“Merci” she accepts his unlikely gift, with a curtsy, a girlish beam his dead eyes disregard

jumps up upon the biggest man, legs wrapped around his slim waist

holds on tight to his ears, kisses him upon the lips, cheeks and forehead

in a berserk frenzy of today’s untamed, come tomorrows forgotten passion

suddenly a passive realization, that for she and Bayeux, the War is over

life can once more be as before

this day, the 12th June 1944

 

A THEATRE NAMED CEREBRUM

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The zest of a lemon, a sugar-coated wafer, foul odour, euphoric aroma and the emptiness of the barren void. Unstimulating insignificance, turmoil, sudden cramps, heartache for reasons unknown and pulsating vital organs. Rough textures from smooth; smooth from rough, the pleasure that gravity affords. Heedless of the nature of sex and sexuality. Two directional manipulation by way of touch. The perception of longitudinal and transverse waves communicating as best they can. These, and these alone, were all I believed I ever knew. These were the pittance, delusions had endowed. Yet all this was when I was God, God of all I could evaluate, sat august on my throne and out of reach. That was when I was the entire universe.  That was when elation was what fatalistic happenstance brought forth.

Perhaps I exaggerate a little. A new-found enthusiasm does that. It would be an idiocy to say I was not alive to the existence of anything else. Breathing phenomenon’s whose presence outside of me would add to my alien self. For instance, they applied heavy wrappings that warmed me when cold, flimsy ones that served to cool me when too hot. As to exactly what living things they might be, I had not the vaguest concept save that they might have been the viable flotsam and jetsam serving my continuum. Whatever, those who breathed delivered sustenance and cleanliness.

Whether she found me, or had been gifted me I have yet to determine. All I know is that prior to the event I was that macrocosm, just a solitary star in a curved and bent blackened retreat. Cold hearted instinct had declared I was a pulsating, living thing, seemingly born into a realm of muddled isolation.  Of that I was chaotically aware. That aside, an eternal abyss of my own making was my possessor and only possession. That, I believe, is the way of God wherever one might find Him.

Come her perfume, all would change. She has shown me that within her realm of balance I cannot speak, nor hear, nor see, whereas in her equivalent such senses are taken for granted. Now I am savvy to the simple verifiable truth that I am no God. That I would find the legendary unicorn alive and well, an easier thing than unravelling the puzzle of impossible omnipotence.

Through touch and tangled tongue, she has transposed images of her past and current, her hopes and dreams as clearly as if I had eyes that see. I do not think she is aware she has this capacity within her. Her words of knowledge sit inside the library she has contrived inside my head. Were I not mute I would tell her of her energy. I perceive visions of her life through hopeless eyes. I hear her speak on stage in a theatre named Cerebrum.  Could I conjure spoken words and viable replies I would debate with her. No longer am I deserted, left to fend alone in an enclave of instability, unaware of predators and poisonous plants.

If I could live out the simplicity of my flawless dream then I would climb the highest mountain, cast my net and harvest a sky full of storm clouds, hide them away and gift her, her very own wild blue yonder.

 

DEEPEST SLEEP

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in waking moments she often climbed Jacob’s ladder

why? she knew not, cared not if the truth be told

yet she could testify first hand to all who might listen

that atop this puffed-up earthly domain all there was

was a place barren of hidden desires and emotions

a tedious realm of ‘in your face’ grinning do-gooders

and a whiffy care home for the reluctantly unspoiled

her preference for as long as she could remember

was a bandaged whereabouts where realities purity

was indistinguishable from the abstract, namely

the immaculate cloud cuckoo land of deepest sleep

her pronouncements upon waking

were both sought after and legendry

they earned her a pretty penny

from those seeking imperial predictions

those others questing direct messages

from the ghosts of loved and hated ones

indeed, she had oft considered the fact

that the offerings of her mind surpassed

the tiresome eternal male pursuit

for her, admittedly pleasing body

something of a hoot

“Illusory, bizarre, fearsome, exhilarating, mysterious, wistful, daredevil, carnal. Why would I trade my dreams for what you call the tangible?”

Be that as it may

not that long after the Fall of Rome

her mouth-watering dreams swiftly abated

conscious thoughts of tiresome Odovacar

the dullard leader of The Goths

the first King of a trampled Italy

laid waste her nocturnal involuntary arcadia

defiled her dead to the world risqué darkest imaginings

her dependable across the counter revelations also

the dreamer’s worst affliction

insomnia had struck

that he was an abject bore of the first order

had the manners and foul odour of a pig

the penchant for cruellest random brutality

effectively killed that gifted genius

the one she had relied upon since lucid vanity

had waved its ‘I’m so sorry’ goodbye

puerile Odovacar in flight of fancy’s fancy

was determined to wed and a bed a dreamer

it was thus, born of reluctant desire

and the need for a few shekels more

she made love to the repugnant first King of Italy

following which she slept as deep forest log

after the ‘event’ she poisoned him, of course

a sweetened blend of deadly nightshade and mandrake

written upon next day’s tablets and yelled by the crier

Odovacar’s demise fortuitously labelled “Natural causes”

the simple-minded punters came back in droves

and the Sandman greeted her each twilight

with a perfect kiss

I NAME HER DELILAH

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(18 hours of my life)

She, the one upon whose bare bottom I have nibbled upon each new morn since the beginning of time, my superlative lover, my delicious muse, my idolized wife has betrayed me. Henceforth and forthwith let her be known as Delilah.  How so, this turning of the worm?

A full pentagram of seasons has passed since she begged of me to grow my locks so that they, once more, were as they were in those halcyon days of curry and lager. I acceded, of course I acceded. What else could I do?

Yet just the day previous to this, my mane tied per her definitive wish, in the form of a long flowing ponytail, she lay in wait, crept upon me from the rear. Armed with just long blade scissors she held back in wait for the perfect moment and, catching me unawares, at a single stroke snipped off a baker’s dozen of inches of this latter-day Samson’s barnet.  Dangled her prize in the face of this now forlorn, once mighty soul. Her eyes had a certain madness about them.

“Why the fuck did you do that?” My, quite reasonable opening gambit.

“I don’t know really, I just did. It seemed like a good idea. Sorry” 

“It’s taken me a fucking age to grow it out this long. Good idea? It must have been pre-meditated?” 

“It wasn’t and I said sorry, and anyway, it could have been worse.”

Yes, it certainly could have been worse. My how we laughed. For a moment, at least. It was only then, as the stark reality of it all sunk in, I christened her the Delilah that she is.

What of me? In the mirror, I gazed. I immediately made note of the blunt fact that one side of my new-found coiffure was several inches longer than the other. This prompted the melancholy thought that I had attained the characteristics of the young Boy George. I found myself humming his 1970’s Hit Parade number one Karma Chameleon and felt most sick. Certainly, there was much hair still attached to my person, yet so very different I looked. A dead ringer perhaps for one Matthew Hopkins, The Witchfinder General from days of yore, or perhaps a stereotypical trooper in Cromwell’s Model Army. In short, I found that I looked an accomplished prat and in an instance got the right royal hump!

Whatever, it was thus that earlier this day I donned my trusty old fedora (a necessity of circumstance) and set out to find one who, although plainly unable to make me as I was before, could perhaps dress my hair in a manner that did not make me look the fool, the village idiot. So, to the local barbers I went.

I explained my predicament in some depth. The barber, a young man with a shaven head, the bare breasted torso of one who likely was either his partner, or perhaps his first victim, tattooed upon his neck (a thing that did not bode well, yet needs must when the devil drives) asked what style of haircut might take my fancy. He even lead me to me a galaxy of posters set upon the wall of his establishment. Even, suggested certain styles that he felt might suit.

“Well, young man,” said I, “All the chaps in your pictures either look like mass murderers, bank robbers or child molesters, so I have to say, ‘none of the above’ please.” At that, a look of anger, or was it hate, enhanced with a soupcon of disappointment, betrayed his true feelings. Nevertheless, he offered to thumb through his various catalogues with me until I discovered my new haircut. I declined the offer and requested of him to do his level best to make me look less like an inmate of Bedlam.

As of now, all is well. I may be taken for an average bore, yet can cope (just).  A bore I might be, never average. As to my dear Delilah, and to prove I hold no grudge, below is a copy of the note I wrote her (the original she carries with her always) a few years gone, it reads;

She talks of family planning with spiders; gives advice to dogs on the subject of manners; compliments flowers on their beauty; discusses pesticides with bumblebees; speaks of romance with butterflies; lectures cats on their toilet habits, and, mostly, she just tells off the wasps.   Wasps are the Hell’s Angels of her garden.   When hot, she undresses, when cold she wears layer upon layer.  Rarely is she colour co-ordinated.  She looks best naked.  This one is of the earth. 

Whilst idling in the open air she has shown me many things from nature that being held a hostage of concrete and tarmac had denied me.  

She takes in waifs and strays and gives a ray of hope to the unfortunate with kind words.   We are lovers, parents, husband and wife.   Confidants over thirty years woven together in love this past twenty or so.    As just friends there were never secrets.  We have no secrets even now.   I call her my ‘child bride’ as I am nearly eight years her senior.   We are over one hundred years between us – and counting.   When the mood takes her she may prey upon the weaknesses of pretentious humanity.   In days of yore, in drink, she sometimes destroyed such beings.   She is blessed with great, cutting wit and cries giant tears, like crystal balls made of morning dew when laughing.    She laughs a lot.   She does not ride that savage downhill slalom of melancholy that is my want, although if left alone too long she climbs the walls of tedium.   Her smile can illuminate a cathedral, her frown may slam shut its Gothic doors and herald the crepuscular certainty of nightfall.   She is blond, her hair fine and long, her body nectarious.    A brave one, she has the small scars of childhood recklessness about her limbs.    Accident prone, she bruises her body with regularity, yet never her heart.   To her there is no calamity in her clumsiness.   The regular breakage of man-made objects matters not a jot.   She says such things are replaceable anyway.   Those mortals who cause the pain born of malice she would lock away forever.   She calls small children and the very old, ‘My angel’.   Infants would follow her to the ends of the earth.   Sometimes she has the mouth of a navvy, sometimes the eloquence of a bard. 

She conceived our child in the Polynesian suite of a French chateau in the Loire Valley.   As is her way, a certain savoir-faire.   When, all those years now past, giving birth to her George she sweltered in the body heat of her own endeavour.   Nearly a day in labour, and oblivious to the comings and goings of others, she insisted the midwife undress her.   Enthrallingly naked, she bore her son.   Natural instinct is second nature to those of the earth, those impish daughters of Eve.   Fate wed us; eternity binds us.    My Celtic lady is out of step with the rest, captivatingly mad, yet with no comprehension that this is so.   She has emboldened me.   I think I am her rock. 

Her name is Shirley.  Shirley is ‘off the wall’ most times. 

SHAMING THE STORMY SEAS

figurehead

(regarding the legend behind female figureheads on ships)

under the fraudulent cover of a soporific oh, so slender decresent moon

a harem of brazenly snooping sparkling stars affording sufficient glow

the small craft makes light work of glinting, inconsequential ripples

carrying she of captivating looks and charming demeanour away

surrendering the hustle and bustle of Tripoli’s manic harbour

for El Mina’s gulf and sanctuary of this resting rover’s ship

the overmuch amorous sheik back in Bagdad overlooked

her talent of foresight, seeking to tether both she and

her cloaked duplicitous affections by draping her in

opulent golden bangles as article of ostentation

bangles by insistence she declared should be

set permanent, fixed about her petite wrists

oft glimpsed ankles and much kissed neck

no stinking rich emir ever the match

for a Machiavellian mademoiselle

bent upon profit and swift

getaway on her mind

golden adornments

travelling as part

of her brazen

being

I knew full well that laying claim to the lives of the unsuspecting and seeking out untried antidotes for seasickness were masked by titanic beauty beyond measure, false manners beyond refute.  Still I cared not a jot, my promise of safe passage back to Tilbury for the price of just a worthwhile few shavings of gold, sufficient. Not so my superstitious crew, believing as they did the old adage that a girl on board ship angered intemperate seas that would take out perilous retribution.

Safely outside the Pillars of Hercules, north into Biscay’s Bay the seas turned foul, tempest beyond measure, the ghost of Jonah nod. Yet, leaving the relative safety of her quarters, she took to the deck

unperturbed by ill looks of fearful mariners of unfounded fears.  Seemingly satisfied as to the general state of affairs, she returned below deck.  As if by magic, the storm abated, all was quiet, Davy Jones downhearted.

Later, from the warm comfort of my captain’s cabin, “You have no figurehead captain?” she observed over a salted beef dinner, adding, “Surely, you’ve heard tell the bare breasts of a women perched on the bow of the ship, ‘shames the stormy seas into calm and her open eyes guides all seamen to safety’?” Plainly I responded by advising that of course I knew, yet put it down to an old wives’ tale.  “Then you really know nothing, do you? Back in London you will forego your golden fee, instead I shall model for your figurehead. An equitable arrangement do you not agree?” I found such overture impossible to refuse, she had me in her spell. Even my crew thought well of her proposal, notwithstanding lost income.

Regardless, model she did, our heroine she became. It was a good likeness and over time her figurehead became the very spirit of the vessel of 1,000 more violent commotions adrift.  Upon departing for ‘wherever’, I felt compelled to ask of her, “That night of the storm, you made for the bow I recall…you didn’t…surely not…did you?” Her riposte, “I’ll leave that to your imagination.”  I never saw or heard of her again.

APT REVENGE

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The uninvited weasel, occupying appropriated lodgings had had better days. Certainly, none worse. So much for the mouth-watering anticipation of red light potential and the sheer delight snapshots of ‘spring again’ tulips would bring to loved ones back home.

Deathly quiet within four walls, yet in the street below the sissing of cyclists, the chitter-chatter of panicking stale bread hunters was broken only by the blunt decrees of the hard-nosed uniformed playmaker directing gun totting subordinates toward likely attics and basements where the fearful hid or were hidden, the clatter of jackboots upon cobblestone and the odd terrorized scream of female distress. 1942 in Amsterdam, a place where those not quislings, were either taken on a free train ride, left weeping or resisting the best they knew how.

She could not help but to absorb the grandeur of his purloined surroundings.  Albeit that he was a high-ranking officer, he was, in the global plan of things of arguable consequence, he had certainly done alright for himself. Highest ceilings flaunting crystal chandeliers she would, in different circumstances readily swing from, delicious sweeping views of the city from the balcony, a Dutch Master or two adorning aesthetically pleasing walls.

Ever the compassionate assassin, that he was on his knees, hands tied fast behind his back, feet tethered similar, her revolver as good as glued to his temple, she had afforded him the decency of retaining his socks. That that small modesty made him look ridiculous pleased her. Apt revenge for the evil he had orchestrated? She believed that to be the case, besides if God was reticent in coming out to play, then she would play God.

A little earlier, more out of boredom than anything else, she had, with painstaking care, removed from the bridge of his debatable Aryan nose his wire framed spectacles, placed them upon the sumptuous carpet, then, with the heel of his own forsaken boot, smashed them to smithereens before his screwed-up, searching eyes.

She already had all his secrets, and some more. The chapter was near complete. Tilting her head mockingly, her giveaway violet eyes drawn to his near unsighted equivalents, “You really are not as I imagined. All sinewy, half blind, a skinny little fully paid-up member of the self-proclaimed master race.”

Now looking sheepishly at the floor, he mumbled as would a small child caught scrumping apples, “They’ll catch you and kill you…you know that?” 

“Maybe, maybe not.”

Without the benefit of lenses, his now reluctant eyes struggled to interpret exactly what she was up to as she slipped on a rubberised glove, upon the palm of which she placed a thin-walled glass oval capsule, the size of a pea. “Stick out your tongue like a good soldier if you wouldn’t mind.” Although now aware of what was coming, his overwhelming desire to cling to dear life just a little longer ensured he almost voluntarily complied. With theatrical aplomb, her rubber protected thumb crushed the cyanide pill against his tongue. Insofar as she allowed, he squirmed a moment as she slammed shut his mouth, holding on tight, locking his jaw. Within just minutes’ consciousness had taken its leave for someplace else. Shortly thereafter the heartbeat followed on behind.

Bagging up his clothing she paused to take a last look at her dead adversary.  The thought struck that for his gestapo uniform to be complete, to be authentic, she needed the socks. A pity really, her artistry spoiled. Needs must when the devil drives, the socks she had to have.

It was evening when she returned to the scabby garret we shared on the other side of town.

“Success?” I asked.

“Of course, here, a genuine gestapo officers uniform, boots and all, for your chums in the Resistance for covert activities.”

“Did you get it out of him as to just how much he knows of our whereabouts and operational plans?”   

“You wish to debrief me so soon?” 

“What do you think?”

A long and not unpleasant post-witching hour sharing both privileged information and each other came to pass. In times of war, I found, as did she, one takes what one can get tout de suite.

OF POVERTY & SCARLET RIBBONS

scarlet-ribbons

come fading glow, vampire bats crisscross a ripe moon

silvered chimney smoke outpaces the silly, chilly moths

rushing ever upwards chasing heaven sent white light

a befitting sight worthy of the promise magic bestows

upon an otherworldly place few beings know exists

midsummer day’s spawning of the briefest obscurity

so stingy the gratuity of darkness’s deepest pockets

leaving just wafer-thin messages for the abandoned

subdued tidings of those condemned to life in limbo

no time or place for squirreled away final goodbyes

solemnized in melancholy words begging guidance

a hint of urgency shrouded back-of cautious tongues

a flock of lost sheep favouring tarmac over lush grass

time has no mercy, offers no favours when on the tail

of a sleepy sun, hell-bent on tucking itself safe and warm

beneath horizons snug blanket of guarded hallucination

a stark moorland tumour, a misshapen granite hideaway

bad luck, curiosity or wanton kidnap lead to such a place

last rock of Celtic fascination under Aurora’s frigid border

all that is left, an easy birthing of street life’s pornography

she, in trademark denim dungarees, her hair a loose mop of

ebony locks, knots and scarlet ribbons, adrift yet still alive

immune to antics privacy gifts those sat smug behind doors

spitting two-faced grunts and groans to breakneck applause

RANDOM WORDS OF ZOOLON

I’m biased I know, yet I like this post from my son, George (aka Zoolon Audio) a great deal.

Zoolon Audio

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I was sat in the back of a car stuck in an unreal queue, waiting. I was able to borrow a pen and paper to help kill the boredom, kill the time. I wrote down some random words as they came into my head. It’s a thing I often do. Sometimes a song appears. When the traffic started moving again I put the scribbled bit of paper in my back pocket and forgot about it. I was emptying my pockets today and found it.  I could barely read what I’d written. My handwriting is not good and you don’t get a spellcheck with notepaper. My brain had to be my interpreter. It wasn’t the gig it wanted but helped anyway.

I thought, for now, I’d leave the words as they are and go back to them sometime. You never know. There is a theme begging to get out, but for…

View original post 181 more words

THE METHODOLOGY OF ASSASSINATION

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First a sip of champagne, then a rare girlish tilt of the head and in an instant, her naked iris, roseate eyes ambushed mine. Detained them for the duration. Not too long, yet likely just long enough. Was it contemplation as to my purpose of being? Mental telepathy? Thought transference? I never could translate the language of those conspicuous, yet most agreeable eyes.

A little earlier, not long after we had sat at our corner table and the waiter had taken our drinks order, she had insisted the candle be snuffed. “My photophobia demands it” her courteous reasoning.  I obliged, killing the flame twixt wetted finger and thumb. She had me light her cigarette. I was keen to ask of her why she had chosen to wear a white silk cocktail gown upon her snowy frame, yet thought better of it. Felt it improper to delve.  Notwithstanding, it was charmingly low cut, invitingly filled, both she and it, a heaven-sent, magnetic art form.   In that regard, my own straying eyes would have, no doubt, published the daring workings of my desirous mind. Such poor form on my part seemed to bother her not. I guess it was a thing she was used to, the price to pay for blessed beauty bestowed. I would have liked to say it was me who first found she, although in truth the opposite was true. Such was the way of dalliance in times of war. Times when only the losers surrender.

She picked at her food as if to not enjoy, made note of my quizzical glance, “A little over-generous with the calamari, the white bean puree was sufficient in itself. Worry not, my appetite has never been that rife…unlike some!” Her soft gibe aimed at a palpably ashamed me. “Well, The Savoy is exempt from this wretched rationing, no reason not to have my fill. Thankfully, you’ll not find dried egg and that dreadful chicory coffee here.” She smiled. Just a fleeting smile. Sufficient to appease my self-evident guilt.

To the backdrop of the big band playing, appropriately, at least insofar as I was concerned, ‘In the Mood’ we discussed the methodology of assassination. “So, you will help me then?” I nodded in agreement. She continued, “Good, that’s settled then. I am fully aware MI5 briefed you in this matter some time back, and that you have the expertise to covertly gain access his suite here. It is, as you will understand, in both our interests the pseudo human dies…by the way, it would be best you book a room here, you and I as man and wife. That way, you will be my perfect cover, no-one will suspect a thing, plus we can track his movements, find his weak spots, before I make the kill…as such, we remove any chance of failure. In a place, as grand as this, where the walls really do have ears, team work ensures a successful outcome. We can take up residence tomorrow.” Her eye for detail was impressive.

Take up wedded residence we did. At her insistence, we acted out our respective roles as if our marital status were honest. Her lovemaking was clinical, seemingly devoid of passion. I think she found sex a mere professional necessity, pointing out that the chambermaid, from the state of next day’s sheets would be in little doubt as to our bona fide standing in the, albeit unlikely, event she was ever questioned thus. Additionally, she made sure her lipstick stained cigarette ends married those of my own in the ashtray upon the bedside cabinet. “One can never be too careful in such matters” her gambit and prerequisite to further entanglement. Whilst the creature in me did not mind her ‘lay back and think of murder’ approach, the lover, rake perhaps, that part of me was always left wanting her evident eagerness to explore, less mechanics. Maybe just an old-fashioned fake embrace that had perhaps a little meaning, though that was never to be. That she sought such union so often surprised, was contradictory. Her stock phrase, “It helps me think” did little to boost my waning spirit. Surely, she must have known that I was besotted.

War torn London, in June meant sunshine, showers and bomb shelters in equal measure, though whatever conditions prevailed, she wore darkest sunglasses. Upon our picnic in Green Park, aside Piccadilly she had the added protection of a simple straw sunhat and the purest demeanour…the latter, no doubt to signal that any hanky-panky on my part would be unwelcome. We discussed the task in hand in some depth. Her contempt for the one she had christened ‘the pseudo human’ was palpable.  I prayed her sheer ferocity in that regard would not end up an Achilles Heel.  Regardless, she advised that now we had established his movements about town, his habits and regular haunts, that tonight would be the night he would meet his end.

“You have the copy key to his suite…Good. Pass it me…also, I think it important we stay on a couple more nights after the assassination, rather than depart immediately the task is done and dusted…should we simply disappear the tedious uninformed constabulary might put two and two together…organise it if you would please. Other than that, I’ll join you in our room after dusk”

I was lost in the previous day’s copy of The Times when my Cheshire cat grinning liquidator returned. A grin of affirmation, duly noted. Just a well-placed single bullet apparently. I had the bellboy bring us up a bottle of bubbly…told him it was the occasion of our first anniversary, and… how shall I put it? Suffice to say, after all these years gone my indiscretion in spilling the beans is, I hope, forgivable, she was not backward in coming forward that night. Good Lord no.

Our paths crossed several times thereafter, yet circumstance meant we never revived our carnal pursuits. Such is life for seasoned espionage agents.

 

TOMORROW (an ‘almost’ poem)

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Playing out her dreams, rocking plate in hand, she sieves for golden crumbs along the wandering river trail, oblivious that paradise is ablaze. That a harmless crèche playground drizzle had fledged, turned into a streetwise gang of ripened raindrop bullies troubled her not a jot. Welly boots and tangled locks tucked inside an oilskin rainhat saw to that, for they were, in any event, more than a match for bittersweet elements.

Long ago, back when she cared, she had concluded the rosy vagaries of fate to be the most romantic of things. Then one bleached shivering winters day, thumbing through her unsullied little black book of ‘then and now lovers’ it dawned on her all had been handpicked; realized that circumstance had played no part…that each and every way she looked at it, eyes wide open ‘choice’ and white walking cane blind ‘fate’, were sworn enemies.

It was at that time, staring at four walls became less of an issue, more a consuming hobby. It no longer troubled her if all that matters or mattered was reduced to ashes and gifted to the breeze.

“Slim pickings today, que sera, sera. I’ll try again tomorrow”