There was fire over water that night
we met, sparks aplenty. You were more
elegant than expected, curvaceous steel
with a hint of rebellion. Your body
enclosed me like a rocket on our way
to a mysterious planet. My heartbeat
quickened as I fondled the unfamiliar
instruments swathed in your green light.
Together we claimed space, unstoppable.
We shot across the Tyne Bridge without
looking back, headed north, crossing
borders and north – north – anticipating
the friction of car wheels on gravel
roads. There were torn rainbows, strings
of pearls, demons hiding in hedgerows,
lightning bolts and blinding spider mist.
There were herring seas, twisted forests,
and languid nights of Summer Isles. Lost
in the clouds we met only talking cats.
Fairy lights beckoned from peat bogs;
temptation lurking in each red window.
We were Bonny and Clyde, a foxy
duo kicking up shit in the badlands until
we broke with a whimper not a bang.
I feel the cold without you and I doubt
the presence of soul. Scars fade in sun;
nothing remains but moss, rust and bone.
so good to see you
smoke-eyed stranger in the night
with blood on your teeth
when you spark that talk
sly fruit bloom on sullen trees
starlings fall like snow
I remember you
burning sweet Ballachulish
heather by the lake
in a hotel room
shadowed by the Three Sisters
and scented orange
we hoped our extinct
volcano might come to life
in that flash of light
I hesitate over the Hollyhock seeds,
a gift from an unwelcome visitor,
plucked from her coastal garden.
She wished to cultivate friendship
but this is not a land for expectations.
Some days there is too much sky
and the earth shrinks in subservience.
The northerlies and easterlies razor
high hopes to humble proportions.
I prepare soil sheltered by fencing
and umbrella bamboo, fronds scorched
by storm. I shake the Hollyhock seeds
into my palm. Alien, irregular. I sprinkle
and mark the spot with a scallop shell.
Three years on, a hot September, I return
from hospital having almost missed
first bloom; tall, triumphant and sizzling
cerise in a land that favours the small.
Painting my dreams – New Art from the Far North:-
My lover brought me a lobster
fresh from The Pentland Firth.
My lover wove the creel, steered the boat,
laid the trap, hauled the rope,
boiled the catch.
The lobster was beautiful,
pink naked in newspaper.
My lover said, the best is in the tail.
I tore the claws and knuckles, butter sticky,
sucking, licking, probing, splitting,
searching soft white meat.
shell broken, belly filled with seawater
I dreamed of the ocean floor
and my lover waiting.
Frosted mountain wings
ripple across horizons.
Silver winter clings.
Wild as an easterly gale,
on a yellow April day,
you swirled around the grey coast.
Always causing a commotion,
fresh with a smile, a banter
and a sunshine wave.
The first time I saw you was in The Com,
dancing with a chicken leg between your teeth,
see-through as your sparkly top.
You liked Robbie Williams and a beer,
a fag in the sun with your mates,
leaning against the wall, chewing up the day.
The last time I saw you was at the Chippie Van.
Thinner, hair cut short and night in your eyes,
laughing too much, teasing all the guys.
You never got that coffee at mine
or the Spanish holiday, only brief escape
to Witherspoons for one final, sweet latte.
I wish I’d known you better,
the granite girl with a sherbet heart.
I brought daffodils a day too late,
a sudden gust had taken you away.
So wherever you are Loopy Linda,
fly free and blow a hurricane.
This poem was written in memory of Linda P, died March 21st, 2013.