One winter’s night in Ashington, Tim went looking
for paradise and found her swinging
slowly to and fro in the play park. She was singing
an old tune from a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical.
At first he thought the canny moonlight made her blue
or a street lamp malfunction. On closer scrutiny
he was blown away by her truth; her hair of delphinium,
her eyes of forget-me not, her lips of cyanide,
her skin of palest sky, her fingers of summer solstice,
her kingfisher boots and hyacinth thighs. He forgot his need
to score and mounted the roundabout, sort of casual, like.
In a nervous, squeaky voice he offered her top-grade weed
but got no reply. She kicked up and swung higher,
carolling the refrain of ‘Some Enchanted Evening’
and laughing through teeth of gleaming steel.
So, how’s ‘bout coffee at mine then? he trilled.
She fell back to earth and followed him home.
Her name was Geraldine.
When dawn broke he woke to her singing
‘Oh What a Beautiful Morning’ while making breakfast.
In the bright light she was cornflower
and so was the scrambled egg, cornflakes and toast.
My touch turns the whole world blue, she said.
Looking down at his naked torso, he was amazed.
So, Tim changed the colour of his spots,
redecorated the flat, ditched drugs and shop-lifting.
He married Geraldine. Together they opened up
Blue Mood Foods, a take-away near the Crematorium.
They had two kids, Odin and Astrid
in subtle shades of ocean. They grew strange
herbs in window boxes. Their business expanded into psychedelic
biscuits on Amazon. Then the letters began; complaints
from neighbours about the changing hue of the town, concerns
about identity, concerns from Health and Safety, concerns
from the Planning Department about loss of grey.
They were served a court order forcing Geraldine to wear rubber
gloves in public places. There was an online petition
demanding her repatriation to wherever.
Odin and Astrid were bullied. They started writing poetry.
Their mother stopped singing show-tunes.
One day, she and the kids hitched a ride with the undertaker.
They were last seen on CCTV approaching the Channel Tunnel.
Tim moved to Hull and got a job slaughtering pigs.
He took pride in his work, keeping the stun gun primed
and polished by his bed, next to the blueprint family photo.
The first spilled secrets in filthy school loos.
The second gave ginger cut to the chase.
The third made love, death and crime on Ward 5.
The fourth shared The Sound of Silence.
The fifth fell into a snow drift.
The sixth surrendered beautiful on the banks of the Tyne.
The seventh gave a wedding ring and split lip.
The eighth made excellent chicken soup.
The ninth gave gin massage on hot lawns.
The tenth offered midnight lifts to therapy and falling stars.
The eleventh staged punctures in motorway service stations.
The twelfth gave tarot card readings.
The thirteenth banned the Bomb and taught self-defense with a spanner, sickle and hammer.
He slept with his socks on.
The fifteenth performed impressions of Richard Gere.
The sixteenth gave empty, like Dire Straits.
The seventeenth cracked my zoom lens.
The nineteen rowed my boat to the island of woolly mammoths.
The twenty second shared Victoria Sandwich and arson.
The twenty eighth gave life drawing. He jumped off the High Level Bridge.
The thirty sixth sent crocodiles under my floor.
The one after him played a mean pianissimo and made the top forty.
The last one believed in the theory of reincarnation.
groovy French name,
eyes cool as mud,
In teenage shade
U left your cabbage
heart 4 me,
white as paper.
in my book.
Note:- Before the age of Facebook and digital ‘likes’ adolescents used autograph books with pastel colored pages to collect signatures and messages from their friends. These often included humorous rhymes.
The day the waves came,
she went out looking.
Rocks, boats slashed by winter,
White Rose half-painted on the quay.
The beach swirled diamonds,
wind down-turning creels.
The Café closed tight,
shuddering on the line
where elements collide.
The Orkney Ice Cream sign
askew by the door, keening
like a gull with a broken wing.
In the bothy he burned
a fire of peat, warming
fingers, interwoven. He breathed
the secrets of seashells into her ear.
The sky splintered beyond the window pane,
words drowning as oceans swelled a crescendo
of herring-bones and the lighthouse slowly crumbled.
Note 1:- a bothy is the term used for a small hut or refuge in the wilderness of Scotland.
Note 2:- Collision is an attempt at a concrete poem…the shape on the page is supposed to represent a lighthouse…well, more or less!