Swallowed

It was not her perfume, exquisite though it was
Neither was it her hair, the colour of a waking dream
Nor her lithe and slender body, mesmerising as a nymph
It was her eyes, always her eyes
Those light-consumptive orbs of splendour
Darker than the abyss and deeper than the pit
Blacker than black, as ink pooled in the night
In obsidian she saw me, and swallowed me whole

Nocturnal was her way, that of bat and fox
Ever cunning was she, crafty even
For their was no escaping her personal radar
Her wiles nor her will nor her want, if she wanted
In darkness she entrapped, constricted and constrained
Till my free will cried, Adieu
And my essence begged her for more
If it was mine, for doubt had manifested

Was I her plaything, her simple marionette
A puppet with its strings slashed, limping, lurching
Into a lightless, lifeless heap, gone unseen
Just a man in a mystery, though never his own
Staring into ebon midnights and praying for redemption
But never from the one he should have
Only ever from the one who willed it
Prepared to sacrifice his eyes, if still possessed

But when she came; what can I say
Those eyes shining through the aether
Like onyx moths to a heart once gold and gleaming
But not any more, never any more
And everything I’d ever thought or known
Everything I’d ever felt or imagined
Gave way in slack-jawed anticipation
Of being delivered, devoured, destroyed

And here it’s was, or is, or remains
The simple undiluted truth of her feasting
The reality she made, maintained and perfected
For me, just for me, or so she reminded
As there was a truth, my salient undoing
That demoness though she was, unruly child of Beelzebub
All she asked for was nothing, not a thing
The truth: I begged she take my soul

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Barbed Wire Kiss

This jagged smile she plays for fun

An indelicate balance tilted in her favour

Such an exact science, applied and described

Crimson painted, plum or sea blue

It matters not

Styled for the moment, smudged with a wave

Exposed is an exposure kindly received

Works both ways she says

And I believe her because she’s grinning

It can only be glee, can’t it?

Trap set, locked and straining

The night vibrates with palpable anticipation

She closes. We close. They close

The next stage of a plan planted

Grown in a place where the sun don’t shine

Tended with steel wool and polish

Scrubbed to angelic perfection

Just awaiting the clack of horizontal gates closed

Where glinting blinds

So eyes are closed

The chink of twinned metal resonates through my spine

Pull away, but I can’t

Free yourself, but I won’t

And she has me, as she’s had those many others

Those tin soldiers, smelted and melted

Reduced to puddles of oozing goop

Sucked through barbed wire lips

With a straw for a tongue

I’ve lost. She’s won. All over

But the night is long and I own pliers

So perhaps I’ll try again tomorrow

Ageless Angel

She was that age, that ageless something

Between rose petal cheeks and silver waves of fascination

Where the foundations moved but the plans never changed

Where her eyes only ever shone brighter, more acutely than before

Piercing like twin stars set in her own personal heaven

A girl with a woman’s knowing, woman with a girl’s innocence

The sort of carefree soul who bought coral rings just to remember other people’s dreams

It was easier for her living through the dreams of others, I think

As she had no time to waste on her own

I’ve forgotten what they called her because her name never really mattered

Not to those who shared her timeline, her space, her place

A name, as with the asking her age, was pointless

For whoever took the time to speak to the wind

When the only thing that mattered was feeling it rustling their hair

No, her name was only sought by those determined to tame her

To mould and conform her; they might as well have bottled an ocean

Elemental, unbridled, let loose on us all

An ageless angel without a prayer of surviving, she couldn’t have cared any less

And when I was with her, neither could I

Yet, now, I wished I’d known it

Guessed or made up something to define her soul

To capture the uncapturable even if but for a day

I suppose I will until my own spark fades

And all those dreams with it of her body pressed to mine

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.

Under My Skin

Like the north wind in winter,

She chilled as she killed.

Like a summer deluge

Driven into naked flesh,

The heat precluding all but

Necessary attire,

She saturated my soul.

Like an unexpected heatwave

When wool was what you’d worn,

She sweated from every pore.

Whatever the conditions,

Whenever she fancied,

She got right under my skin,

And I loved it.

Paris By Night

She illuminated,

Resonated within,

A clash of styles

Made stylish,

A painter’s hand on all.

Paris by night

Gleamed with the subtle

Uncertainties particular

To the French,

A coquettish disregard,

An aloof perfection.

She dazzled without trying,

Glowed without reason,

Held me spellbound

As I admired her architecture,

Her curves,

Her perfume.

She said her name was Paris,

Then turned off the light.