NO MORE RAVENS

funeral-veils

in the wave of epic final conflict

sickly tampering’s upon a jilted

freshest flat Shangri-La globe

an unravelling of continuation

clock hands turnabout motion

past landscapes of silvery ice

telescopes for a crescent sun

widows wanton funeral veils

days of mead and dandelion

carved idols and fabrications

adoration of rusting spaceships

fallen monuments, flaming moss

whirlwinds of enduring plastic

Ronald McDonalds death mask grin

petrol pump smiles for progeny

tattered flags, forgotten anthems

hauntings, the sound of drums

biography by word of mouth

legend’s falsities born of fancy

flint sparked fires, death in winter

raw red meat in stormy seasons

alpha Adam’s for unready Eve’s

virgin offerings for novel numen

no more ravens at The Tower

‘MY LOVE’S LIKE A…RED, RED NOSE’ AS RABBIE BURNS SUFFERS FROM ‘POETS BLOCK’

burns

The year is 1794 and money worries have forced the young Rabbie Burns to take up work as a labourer at a farm near Mauchline in East Ayrshire, Scotland. Good fortune has smiled though for it is on this farm the he meets his first true love, young Nelly Kilpatrick.  As the pair wander together amidst the stunning landscape, hand in hand and every so often sharing a furtive kiss Rabbie finds himself – or so he thinks – in the zone to knock out a swift poem for his new found beau yet is stuck as to exactly how to get over the hurdle of the first line!

“Oh Nelly darling I’m feeling a tad flummoxed on the poetry front today. I so want to write a special love poem just for you my sweetheart yet all I’ve got in the locker presently is ‘O my love’s like a red, red…something!  I mean, a ‘red, red’ what?”

“Well Rabbie I really cannot help you out there as I am quite devoid of poetic skills. Why don’t you just pick a word that reminds you of me? I am so very, very excited though as no boy has ever before written of his love for just me.”

“That is what I’m trying to do Nell…um…um…a London omnibus, they’re red aren’t they?”

“Oh, Rabbie you make me sob so likening me to an omnibus. I mean people say of ugly women that they have a face like the back of a bus. How could you?”

“Sorry Nell…don’t take it the wrong way. What about, ‘My love’s like a red, red Whisky Drinkers Nose. How’s that one?”

“Really Rabbie, whisky drinkers noses are all red that is true but they are also pock marked and bulbous and I am neither. Pass me a handkerchief…not one covered in snot mind…in order that I may dab away the tears that are flowing in torrents now.”

“Crumbs, this poetry malarkey is a tad more difficult than I presumed. Right here we go again, ‘My love’s like a red, red…um…um…Red Light. That’s more like it I’d say.”

“How could you be so cruel? Do you really see me as a common harlot for they hawk their wares under the red light…or so I believe…and I am not a lady of the night by any way, shape or form?”

“OK I’ll try tomato….no not tomato…what about blood transfusion in a casualty department of a hospital on a Saturday night in Glasgow?”

“Take me home to father now Rabbie for I can take no more of this.”

“Fine Nell but one last try…you must at the very least give me the opportunity for that. You mean so much to me darling.  Here we go again, ‘My love’s like a read, read book.’ You like books, don’t you? Anyway that’s the best I can come up with presently. I’ll maybe give it another shot later.  By the way that poesy of red, red roses you are holding is so very beautiful and truly enhances your raven-haired beauty…so very, very ‘red’. Still mustn’t let my mind wander from the task at hand…now, ‘My love’s like a red, red…oh bollocks this is going nowhere.”

FLAWLESS BENEVOLENCE

benevolencefull

the incidental ill will

of clouded reasoning

a most difficult thing

to wholly make out

forgiving explicit scorn

writing off grave words

yet tenderness demands

a flawless benevolence

 

how so such an event?

rosy revenge? for what?

perhaps the sweetness?

perhaps the glory quest?

the prize of grand slam?

extra points to be scored

after the game is over?

he knew not the answer

not a living soul does

 

the curse born of living

a pinch of make-believe

heartstrings gentle tug

none of these impressions

provoke sound reason

when spring is in the air

and the darkest recesses

of the blind one’s skull

remains dormant, lost

in yesteryears blossoming

yet found in rainy days

and red mist memories

long since studiously revoked

 

(picture by Karya Seni Patung Tuan Nguyen)

 

AN IMPROBABLE ASSASSIN

albino-4

Come the days of retribution, the days when the remnants of shameless evil would be tracked down, hopefully eradicated, Argentina would become her home from home. As of now though, the unbearable midsummer dusty dry heat, a thing the medics had long since insisted that, with her specific condition, she should avoid, plus the foulest stench of fermenting acre upon acre upon acre of cattle dung meant she simply had to get away.

Her initial intention was to wish upon a star. In the event, she was spoilt for choice and decided to run with gut instinct and return to the tantalising decadence of Berlin. However, with the dawning of her fatherlands National Socialism epoch where blond locks and blue eyes were the safest bet, being unusual, an albino reliant upon a smokescreen mousey brown wig, darkest sunglasses and heavy make-up during daylight hours posed certain potential pitfalls of which she was aware, yet cared not.

I am blind now. My condition has worsened, reached its finality. All I can see these days are memories long since deposited within. Some fade a little, others get embellished, yet one, just the one never changes.  That night when I first laid my then functioning eyes upon her. The night she both wept and danced unmasked to the plainsong of a clumsy fiddle in a blue, blue fog loaded freaks paradise beneath Kurfürstendamm. She would later tell me her tears were nothing more than her disappointment that the only food left over for dancers was salted cashew nuts. She was allergic to those and had gone starving rotten hungry.

Inevitably, being of insanely enticing skin and bone, stark snow white all-over, amid the throng of the grotesque powdered and rouged she was to become the very symbol of the unashamed immodesty that was the Kabarett, the talk of the waning ‘Golden Age of Weimar’.  Was it the fusion of the saucy cat calls of the well-fed faces coupled with her own devilment that ensured she became notorious for dancing naked on stage? Likely it was. Also, she led an excessive style of life back then dominated by schnapps, opium and her bisexuality. How was I to know that one day soon she had it in her to become an accomplished and later, much fabled assassin within espionage echelons? Upon reflection, we must have made an absurd pairing. Me, the stereotypical reticent old school Englishman, she the wildest, whitest creature, game for anything and everything.

Oh dear, my jocular nurse now tells me, blood pressure non-existent, brain function just adequate.  A regular pulse would be a plus. Pulses should be bonded as brother and sister, yet mine are so far apart they are akin to warring siblings. What use my sanity in a sealed envelope?

Where was I? I do tend ramble with the passage of time. Whatever, I left her behind the day I climbed Everest. Her new preference, rich tea biscuits and Darjeeling, plus, inevitably, the pretty little hotel waitress she was keen on bedding in my absence.  Sadly, in her enthusiasm she had not realized that the gal was not of that particular persuasion.

Back in the day she once told me that she hated sharing a decent bottle of Chablis with anyone. How she stayed so slight is quite beyond me. Funny, the odd things one keeps in the locker.  Regardless, it was while I was trudging up to base camp, she sought the solace, then allegedly the casting couch (perhaps vice-versa, one could never tell with her) of the sauntering American we had spotted in the bar the night previous. US Secret Service chappie on a Nepalese jaunt with buddy’s by all accounts.  He must have seen in her the potential for the clandestine. The rest, for me at least, is sad history. I never saw or even spoke on the wire with her again. I will say this of her though, she was kind to the luckless, an oppressor of the wicked.  I think of her often.

This piece is a prequel to my previous post, ‘OF ASSASSINATION & GITANES’

https://mikesteeden.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/of-assassination-gitanes/

 

OF ASSASSINATION & GITANES

gitanes

 ‘No other capital city in the world can do grey quite like London,’ her passing thought. A thought dismissed almost as soon as it arrived. For as of now, there was the little matter of the naked Ambassador lying as prone as prone could be, upon his back atop a plainly hideously expensive Afghan rug to attend to. Clearly, her stiletto heel dug into his pudgy chest bone was causing the gratifying discomfort intended. Moreover, that he knew exactly what was coming next. Not that he needed a clue, the silencer affixed to her pistol and aimed at his forehead was, regardless, the giveaway. Was that a tear in his eye? Mattered not. She wondered how he might beg for mercy had it been the case that he had not been adeptly gagged.  How so naked? Her trademark of course, her panache, her cultivated style.

“Gosh it’s so very bitter outside. I truly thought I’d die of cold walking The Embankment on my way here. Still, your office is so lovely and warm.” Her English was perfect. She paused, took a good look at him one last time, “Heart or head…decisions, decisions?” A dull thud, a trickle of blood, a ruined carpet, job done.

Cool as a cucumber, she took the grand old Victorian lift, an original by the look of it, down to the lobby of the embassy, gave the Cheshire cat grinning boy behind the desk her sexiest smile, checked her reflection in the reinforced glass of the elegant doorway and was gone.

By nightfall, she found herself in a bath of bubbles in a swanky hotel in Deauville, occupied France. It was with an element of regret that she had had to ditch the bleached blond wig of human hair in a City of London cast iron litter bin. Albeit tarty, she had grown fond of the covert article of disguise, was rather smitten with it. Whatever, now ensconced in Women in Love, Lawrence’s masterpiece, a bottle of bubbly at her side, a small fortune in Nazi gold confirmed transferred to her Swiss bank account, all was well in her world. The prospect of the casino downstairs had some appeal for later.

One could only hazard a guess as to whether it was the grandest come-hither canyon of her cleavage or the ridiculous measure of her winnings that had the croupier in such a ruffled state. Likely both. In any event I had guessed correctly that I would find her here, she the undeniable dazzling, sultry legend no matter what side of the warring nations one was positioned. The Abwehr claimed as one of their own, the pride of the German intelligence agency, yet this gal, albeit much fabled, was in truth a freelance operator.

To a backdrop of a La Môme Piaf cabaret sound-alike singing ‘Mon coeur est au coin d’une rue’ we shared fine cognac and smoked unfiltered Gitanes in the Art Deco signature bar. She reminded me that ‘gitanes’ English translation was ‘gypsy women’.

“What’s in it for me?” A fair enough question. 

“Well, you get to live a whole lot longer and have carte blanche to work for whomsoever you wish…we’ll leave you well and truly alone…until the next time, of course!”

There was the look of doubt on her face, “No fee?”

Afraid not this time, you’ve been pushing your luck recently as the London Evening Standard has already confirmed…an Ambassador of all people! Really, what were you thinking of? Still, if it helps seal the deal, your welcome the return of this wig. You looked ever so reluctant to part with it in the City this morning.” As they say in the East End, the return of the wig was ‘the clincher’.

“You followed me?”  

“All the way.”

“So, it’s off to Coyoacán, Mexico for me then? Why on earth do you Brits want rid of this Leon chap? What interest do you have in him?” 

“I don’t recall saying I was MI5 my dear!”  

 

 

SPILT WORDS

Truth Wallpaper 1920x1200

spilt words of detachment

scattered hither and yon

a barking mutt backdrop

a clutter of taxing babble

an unholy mess on the floor

a dire dilemma to live with

even the very best words

left unattended will fade

away and die in no time

 

passionate her lust for life

putting to shame the rhymers

earthy lust for daily bread

by night nocturnal cures

metaphors, gloves off

fist fights, black eyes

knockout punch glory

 

a divine thing

his corrupt destitution

he had it coming to him

she clipped his eagle wings

left him spitting feathers

helpless, set in stone

later she vacuumed up

concepts and promises

kissed his glacial lips

dusted his better day’s desk

smiled her luscious smile

replaced his missing words

with ones, better than before

ASK THE CHILDREN OF WAR

children-war-grave

beneath a narcissistic blue moon

a race empty of allusive ingenuity

yet, by dint of narrated tradition

perhaps only the wary Babylonians

could likely fathom an explanation

unravel the superfluous answer

solve the conundrum of life itself

sadly, wise Babylonia is no more

long since buried under Assyrian sands

The Book of Puzzlement with them

not so the riddle of ruthless death

too easy that ho-hum solution

we can shout from the rooftops

callously brag as never previous

for today we fabricate

most excellent bombs

better than yesterday’s

piss poor misfits

and tomorrow?

worthier explosives still

the finesse of cruel wipe-out is ours

any doubters?

ask the children of war

from their eclipsed graves

unblemished resting places

they sing their harrowing song

to those who will listen

RECKLESS SILHOUETTES

twilight

gifting small glimmer

to soft-hued quarters

a bleary-eyed sun

has kissed goodnight

a time when reckless

silhouettes oust

unnerved shadows

and horizons are lost

to goodbye’s opaque puzzle

fireflies come out to play

kindling ponderous

fresh lover’s fragile fancy

so sweet l’heure bleue

of crepuscular invention

your world belongs

to a soothing moon

sometimes daring

sometimes sheepish

now and then shining

other times blue

captivating twilight

you are sovereign

 

 

PLAYHOUSE EARTH

earth2

prowler of the universe

filching heaven’s secrets

roving star of inglorious

ordained pecking order

unprincipled food chain

nourishing consciousness

and small consequences

giant leaps fore and aft

eliminating starving inmates

fattening the opulent excess

barbed benevolence unfrocked

denial for denial’s own sake

wasting what cannot be gorged

 

renegade the unholy magus

dissident the shielded lovers

albeit unbeknownst to these

they are all that stands twixt

limitless time and its assassin

foiling a boo hiss thorny encore