Misfortune comes in sets of threes, but recently I’ve lost count of the omens darkening these skies. Understanding is important, but so is justice, and memory to carry change past the span of sympathetic anger. All power in this world is man-made, the bricks still sticky with greased fingerprints. We were supposed to know better.
She brings it in with her, the rain, clung to the tip of her nose and through her hair so it’s blacker than night. Strips out of her waterproofs till she has shape. Colour, risen high in her cheeks, on the knuckles of her hands. Reveals the desperation of it, crept through zips and openings. Slid a caress down her neck till she bears a collar of its touch. Trails it deeper into the kitchen, Siren kettle a song to sodden socked feet, printing a vanishing trail across the tiles.
When I thought about it there was no memory of your name being slipped to me. Just the taste of it on my tongue and a certainty for the syllables chanted into my pillowcase when my head found home and I wished you there. I had to delay getting across to the pub tonight, as I was taking part in another poetry event with some local poets from my neck of the woods. It was done through Zoom and streamed live to Facebook (not without hiccups). I’ve included the link below for anyone interested. It might be fun to try and set up a dVerse zoom night perhaps? I start reading around the 51 minute mark, however the video is a bit choppy and my inability to listen to myself without cringing, means I’m not 100% on what the audio is like.
I tried swearing at the garden pond, to see if I could goad a water witch into dredging herself up at at ’em with enough pissed off vengeance to take at least one body down. I wasn’t decided on who I wanted, squealing in her webbed, wet grip. Half-thought if she came I’d go, grab her right back with both hands, test to see if she tasted stagnant, or like spring water breaking free after centuries underground.
All corridors run back to you, though they say loss gets less the longer you let it sit. And you’ve been sitting here, in this hollow you left for a while now Just a slither of yourself with no new words to say that might explain this empty. And barricades don’t keep the door from banging open, every time a storm or gentle breeze blows in. It only takes a name, or a memory, to raise your shade. So I given up airing out this room with all your secrets. Leave another hole in the wall the same shape as my fist, pretend I haven’t when the moments leaves. Re-watch you walk in sit down pick up your drink. Re-watch you pick up your drink.
For a while I wondered if my grandmother was magic. You see she would talk about the night she spent near Culloden. How my grandfather slept on sound, and she was tossed through dreams of screaming men. The English and their guns, against the all those clansmen, come to die. For a while I believe she’d walked the battle in her dreams. The tartans, like welsh (for a while) were outlawed to break that spirit. Make them less like them, and more like us. Then they only rise against themselves. The English are very good at making adversaries of themselves. When a friend shows me her family tartan, there was a plucking sort of feeling. An ache for a history only half understood, and twice removed. I could find it, put it on, but somehow I doubt I would fit. Not enough of the right stuff in me, to tie me into the pattern. Made me wonder how much of myself I can claim. The loch waters rose and I saw my own face there …
The official report blamed ‘a torrential downpour’ for Ichabod McGuffin’s horrific suffocation beneath two hundred tonnes of hillside. However, there were rumours about his mother, and the hairs on Eddie’s arms rose as he pulled up outside old lady McGuffin’s bungalow. He shook the feeling off and fetched the shopping from the backseat. ‘Such a good lad,’ she smiled, opening the door. She watched him set the shopping down. ‘Yes,’ she said again, and handed him her payment. ‘A good lad. Just the sort we want round here.’
Tanka – Deception The vines have curled up till she’s dressed within their arms. Astonishing green, to hide all the stress fractures now spider-webbing beneath. Kyoka – Toil Of A Water Witch Ginny Greenteeth waits, washes out last week’s litter from her pond weed hair. Snatches a plastic bottle like she would do a child. Ginny Greenteeth is from English folklore, and depending on your region her name can change from Ginny, to Jenny, or a number of other nom-de-plumes. It’s also the name used to refer to pond weed, or algae covering a pond’s surface and obscuring the water from view. She apparently lurks below the cover of the pond weed waiting for passersby to wander too close, so she can drag them to their watery depths. There are perhaps some waterways that wouldn’t be particular pleasant to skulk in these days. Gogyohka – After The Storm We eye the horizon like a child, question our certainty that the crying is done. Slowly, we return ourselves to the garden, we peg the washing out while …
It’s a sentence dropped in passing, just a side-note to the conversation, or a jotting blotted in the margin, only really half a thought. Yet it opens the earth beneath you, hooks in under your fingernails, drags you to dimly lit, dusty corners, both imaginary and real. It doesn’t care that no one wrote it, or if someone did then they lost it, or passed it into a safe place too good given the hindsight. It’s dug a home in the meat of you. Demanded your eyes, you tongue, your head. Drew a line between now and then as translucent as spider silk. Now you only have to find it. I’m working on a new poetry collection at the moment which I think I’ll probably name ‘Women, Water, and Witches’. The inspiration for it stems from the folklore surrounding women and water in Shropshire. This has led to me spending evenings researching Sea Witches, Jenny/Ginny Greenteeth, witch trials in Shropshire (there’s almost nothing in any source I’ve checked so far), then …
Tescos ran out of loo rolls and soapboxes. Stay-at-home politicians with keyboards and opinions screeching their how-to, quick-fix slogans. Have you not been told? Fake it till you make it means everyone’s an expert. No one wants to say, we’re all just fucking lost. I’ll just slink back off to my grump little hobbit hole. Rant over in just forty-four words.