Monthly Archives: January 2016

Do Birds Fly in the Rain?

A small boy, I asked my father if

birds flew in the rain?

“No”, he answered, and

despite the contrary evidence

fluttering about me on a wet day I

went on believing him many years,

keeping my head down in case

truths flew into my eyes

like raindrops.


A nurse’s hand leaves a wrist to

check a watch, the

precise moment a

soul becomes a statistic, a

record of a life that

can’t be played again, though

pirate copies circulate amongst

those that loved, scratched,

obscure in places, and-

unlike the nurse’s steady ballpoint-


Delight in Dance

“I just delight in dance”, I said and
blushed, for he was famous here and
I was not, just teaching his
awkward daughter in this
ballet school in Berkshire.

“She’s coming along at the barre….”
but all I got by reply was that
hungry question on his face, that
male question that is meant to end in
strewn sheets and sweat,

“…good at battements, but
far too young to go en pointe,
don’t you agree?” But the
question hung about us, a
bad smell that wouldn’t dissipate, even

amongst the dusty shoes and dirty feet, the
exhalations of everywhere dancers have
worked their bodies to exhaustion, the
rank scent of effort we have harboured for
many thousands of years.

But it’s all about sex isn’t it? Dance.
I knew it the first moment my
hips swayed, my pelvis pulsed with
naked rhythm, my nascent nipples
chafed on rough cloth.

Mr.Question has the same look I’ve seen
endlessly in temples, palaces,
courts, simple hearths: if our bodies bend so,
so we will bend to their will, just
dancers with bruised knees.

Mr.Question knows this instinctively, and his
daughter will soon rightly flee, despite my
best efforts to help her dance and
protect her: my rightful, endless,
thankless task.

Getting nowhere, Mr. Question retreats:
his career going nowhere too, he probably
needs a muse, but why would he
look at me? I’m just a
dance teacher who said no: tant pis.

Nobody wants a muse these days—
well, anyway,
not a real one.

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