Behind the Veil

The veil did nothing to hide her allure. She peeped out from a four-by-one slash in the fabric of time and blotted out the universe with those eyes. When she blinked, my heart stopped. When those lashes of Egyptian rushes swept open, my heart leapt back into life. She controlled me without ever even knowing it, moved me without ever saying a word.

In a slow-moving blur of delicate silks, she slipped from market stall to market stall, whilst I kept pace by stalking the shadows. I needed the shade, was desperate for it, whilst she like the dusky rose she was just bloomed. The glaring sun was hers to wield, a necessary illumination like a ballerina on centre stage. Even in the bazaar sand, she barely stirred the dust. I marvelled at her grace.

I followed without a clue where she led. Out of the market and the hordes of humanity she breezed like a sirocco wind, down one of the white side streets that all looked the same and then another and another and another. She navigated the warren with the assuredness of Polo the Silk Road, me following as though on a string. When at last she came to a door of simple, unadorned white, noticeable against the stonework by less than a hairsbreadth of oval shade and raised her hand, I almost died. As her cuffs fell back to reveal cinnamon skin and nails of cerulean blue, I saw Allah had gifted her with more than just eyes to enthral Pharaohs. I had to make my move.

I slipped from the shadows like a spectre from the night. She turned, bowed low, and stepped aside. The three giants who leapt from the doorway deserved their prize. They took it, too.

My vanity in thinking her not only available, but mine, cost me everything I possessed and a little I never knew I owned. The eyes of the woman behind the veil might have captured my soul, but the men she served owned it. Another European made a slave through sin, I often told the others she wasn’t worth it. I lied.


 Flaunt your effervescence
 Dandy, peacock fool,
 For I shall treat you with disdain.
 Acting like I should know you,
 Personifying cool as you do,
 Strutting, colluding with the know-hows,
 Creating falsehoods.
 I do not care,
 For I shall deem not to know you;
 Pretend to not register your name;
 Remain indifferent to your presence,
 And curse your every foppish stance.
 I shall wait for perfunctory introductions,
 Then raise my nose and walk away,
 As those about me wonder,
 ‘What was he doing in that mirror?’

 Image courtesy

The Reddest Shoes (Twisted Fairytales)

Written for and inspired by Kimberly. Check out her great blog.

 How Karen loved those red shoes
 Disobeyed her adopted mother
 Wore them always to church
 Wore them whilst her mother took ill
 Even wore them to her parent’s funeral
 Showed them off to a passing soldier
 And as if by magic, Karen danced
 She pirouetted, kicked, sashayed
 Tore through streets, lanes, pastures
 Whirled over bridges, farms, battlefields
 Span until her toes bled, then feet, then legs
 Danced until an axe-man lopped her ankles off
 Waltzed away
 Wooden feet the girl had made
 But red shoes danced on, hindered
 Until, at last, humbled girl, turned to God
 He struck her down, from love
 And to Heaven she’s lifted and awakened
 As feet were back in the red shoes
 And Karen danced on, and on, and down
 To Hell
 She dances there still

 (Image courtesy