I had a bath Slave

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I had a bath Slave. Sweet, good-tempered Fi,
With skin as Butter in the English heat.
Her touch as feathered down; ‘tis odd my heart
Did swell than times I would my husband meet.

The still warm waters of the gild goddess
Did often cleanse me of mine wrongful blush.
Dawn’s young light would find me as I wept,
And begged and prayed these songs of love might hush.

I scratched her name on lead. Up came the breath
To meet my plea and down it went, my sin.
Her blood would spill as water does,
Clear as diamond, lifeless, dull as tin.

‘Tis better for to hear Minerva speak
Than after fruitless love to desperate seek.

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oblation – a collaboration with Eric Syrdal

We walk towards a promised land,

soaked in milk and softest sand.

hard trudge

of cracked feet, muddled in the mire

roadside ditches

dirge laden as they walk.

chapped and broken mouths cry out

for a tase of sweet water

to imbibe the knowledge of man’s long

dance with death.

and I, from my mount

stand tall agains the ruined sky

a king carried above the filthy ash that

floats

upon the fetid wind from the west

in the last days of the sun.

Our feet are hot, the path is still.

We bend towards the future’s will.

Your eyes are caved and bleak.

The road is long

when the trudge follows only cloud dreams,

pink and blue and pale

but stupid drops in a cracked palm.

Die – leave the children, they can whisper

to the sky and gather stones,

suck salt fingers with

dry pink tongues like maple.

They do not know to need;

they forget the red skies and smoke.

Each broken step is precious blood,

Our father’s deaths were writ for good.

Like barnacles

clinging to the hull of a ship

Just beneath the topaz surface

or in the oily brine dark

they know only to clutch

to the scraps of life

anything to stay bouyant

Each broken step is precious blood,

Our father’s deaths were writ for good.

I will,

take the earthen bowl

raise it to the deaf gods of a cracked

heaven

They queue at my altar

clutch and raise the hem

of my vicar’s robe

to leave blood kisses

and bits of carrion feathers

upon the mangy threads

I will, minister the salt potion

tip the dusty rim against their teeth

Let is pass through their wispy curtain

of bone husks

Broken, clinking and tangled

marionettes in the grip

of Oblivion

We ache for salt, we burn for bread.

But good men are by hardship led.

Lyrical tithe

their hearts do speak

blindy their sullen eyes will seek

A wooden grail

lying in the road

to grease their lips whilst speak their ode

But the chipped rim

of their sacred cup

will only serve to shut them up

For a bauble held

in desperate hands

can make so much much gold from dust and sand

We ache for salt, we burn for bread.

But good men are by hardship led.

And while I could

direct them safe

my purpose remains to abrade and chafe

United by thirst

they’re of no use to me

I need them at odds, abandoned and weak

We walk towards a promised land,

Soaked in milk and softest sand.

We’ve not enough tears to wet the land

and bring the grass, anew

We’ve only the memories

of a time before this

when all our dreams came true.

A deadened bruise of sky will wake

upon the morrow’s echoed dawn.

Put on your dark, your blackest things –

the sweet old earth will mourn.

Best Man-Lois Linkens

A piece of mine from a few days ago on Sudden Denouement..

A Global Divergent Literary Collective

AC4A55E2FA134267827D51E718890DE9.jpg

Pink tie

A long satin tongue.

Soft black hair,

Nutbrown shoes

And brown skin.

August sun

Is glitter

In the beer,

Like flies across a golden lake,

Bugs in amber.

The bouquet

Fell flat,

A red yellow green corpse

Of us,

And then there was nothing

But your eyes

And my crooked feet

And Bowie

Floats on coloured lights

And all I feel is you.


Lois is a poet and student from England. She is studying the literature of the Romantics and hopes their values and innovations will filter through into her own work. She is working on longer projects at present, with a hope to publish poetry collections and novels in the years to come. She is a feminist, an nostalgic optimist, and a quiet voice in the shadows of Joanne Baillie and Charlotte Smith. It is a pleasure to present her work, and you can find more of it…

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the little mermaid #12

Marble David pointed. ‘Swim towards the sun.

The red coral welcomes, flowers of blue and dun.

Swim to where the sea is light – then quick dive,

To this place; ’tis peaceful, calm, alive.’

And so, the gentle Mermaid dove to swim and seek

A new existence ‘neath the fleeting lens.

The current carried, swift and strong, a wat’ry whip –

And soon the fish-girl saw the deep bright dip.

Lo, before her eyes, she saw a queer sight;

Ladies! Ladies small, ladies of great height.

There was Mary, the green girl of the States.

Noseless goddesses – Venus, Aphrodite.

The golden face of Minerva, sweet with charm.

All gathered here in refuse, ‘neath the salty balm.

the little mermaid #11

‘You’d take my place, upon this wretched rock?’

Our Mermaid squirmed and gasped in grateful shock!

My dear, I was not made for love and war.

I am nothing but a Danish tourist’s whore,

The life of love was ne’er put to my mind.

I beg, you would not think yourself unkind

To take my offer in gladness and glee.

Freedom lies for you beneath the white sea.

The Mermaid flung her arms round David’s neck –

You are so dear and kind! But know this –

They do not come for you. They do not see your eyes.

I fear this life will be a black surprise.

Go, sweet girl. You’re made for sparks and love –

You belong not to our brash world above.

the little mermaid #10

They left awful footprints on our Mermaid’s heart.

As the harbour hushed that sombre eve,

Her eyes did swim with pain and loss of love.

Till from the shore, approached the tender step

Of David, Michaelangelo’s fair nude.

He placed his marble hand beneath her chin –

Sweet Mermaid, tell your friend why these sore tears

Do flood your face? Tell me of this grief within.

Oh, David! wailed the fish-girl. Who can live

In this cruel sense, all still and silent?

See, I am to be photographed and left.

This is no life, this is slow, helpless death.

My girl, said David. This is my wild request;

Perhaps I’d take your place, upon your rocky crest.

the little mermaid #9

‘Let’s get a photo, darling. On the rocks.

Ask that woman in the straw hat, won’t you?’

‘Excuse me, ma’am. Would you..?’

‘On the rocks, just in front of the statue.

Get the sea in too! Our whole bodies, please.

And take a good few. It’s that red button.’

‘Shoulder or waist?’ ‘Waist. Now smile, dear. Say cheese.

Careful of my sunburn! It’s like mutton.’

‘Thank you, ma’am. Now, you have a lovely stay!’

‘We can frame these for your mother’s birthday!

Doesn’t the sea look blue? Hell, my yellow dress

Would have looked so sweet. Though I like it less.’

‘Let’s have a drink. Goodness, it’s awfully hot.’

‘Oh, yes. A cold white wine would hit the spot.’

the little mermaid #8

The waves at Langelinie rose that night.

The broken fish-girl’s tears spilled with spite.

If her grey rock was lonely in the past,

This solitude did come by deaf’ning blast.

But reader, from your cosy nook, I trust

You’ll guard your heart to hear this tale of lust.

I must warn that our girl knew little pain

Than that which would befall when morning came.

Amid the faces, there was one on whom she dwelt

Unshaken. There he was, oh! He had come!

He glimmered in the morning light, yet so

Did that fair maiden, clasped as belle and beau.

That fervent glee our golden fish-girl felt

Was dashed too soon, o’er rocks so dark and dumb.

the little mermaid #7

The crowd is thick like thunder. Waves of noise

And midnight heat drown the fish-girl with their

Pungent feet. Swaying girls and shaking boys

Rub their clammy backs and snag her salt hair.

Here are the girls – our Mermaid thinks not twice.

Please, please – they stare. I’m looking for my love!

‘Your love?’ He has dark hair and eyes like spring.

He walks on legs and lives on the land above.

The girls are dark. ‘She’s hammered. Eyes like spring?’

‘You’ll find him when the harbour ducks can sing.’

‘Have a drink, sweetheart.’ Our Mermaid cries in vex!

You said the princes came here! You said it!

The laughter comes like needles; ‘See how her brow has split.’

‘There is no love here. Just plastic lust and sex.’

the little mermaid #6

The city termed with noise and mood and smoke.

Big wide streets of bodies slipped all hot

From covered yards to red-lit doors, thick to choke.

Sounds that move, that crack the spine and rot

The flesh bled through our fish-girl’s bones and skin.

A doorway stuck with dark new shapes – they move in.

The Mermaid’s burning limbs, through with blade and pin,

Do start in hope – ‘he waits, he waits within!’

But oh, alas! Beyond the blackened door,

Crouched like serpents lies the blue bruiséd trails

Of poor humanity’s lowest, greyest lot.

Pale with pain, heavy up on milk

Drawn from Satan’s udder, as white as death,

A ‘fraid new world that breathes a bitter breath.