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U.S.S. Carondelet (1861-73)

Fridayam's Blog

Carondelet cruises Mississippi

an upturned cooking pot afloat

broiling the men inside

bristling with guns

looking for fights and finding them

sluicing the blood of dead and deafened men

scouring the great

drainage of the West from

war’s hopeful hoopla start to its

sullied and bitter end.

Cumberland Ohio Missouri

Yazoo Red all

belch their waters into

Mississippi’s great churn and

she sailed them all (though

she barely got out of Red

caroming over rapids)

and their endless bayous overhung with trees

dripping with snipers.

She took her hits but

never lost a fight and when

they came to scrap her found

she’d gone in the night

on a flood tide, preferring

the grave of her enemies

to that of her friends.

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“By Cock, they are to blame.”

Fridayam's Blog

Each night I dread putting on that costume,

pulling on that character, her plain

shift, knee-length stockings, the hated

“pair-of-bodies”, farthingale, bum-roll,

petticoat, kirtle, partlet, all topped with the

splendid silk gown and for “authenticity”

no knickers, so that I feel

naked despite so much clothing, so

obsessed with my bare sex, so

alive to “country matters”.

I think of the boys who played my part but

with a part I didn’t have, dangling—

did they have some codpiece, some

protection I am not allowed?

“Beginners” doesn’t mean me so

finally finished I can look at myself:

I am 26 but look 16 so if I were her I

could be married and

dead of my fourth child by now and

I think of it…..No

I think on’t. Think of being just a

poppet (but a poppet with thoughts and

hormones) bred to be bred,

pimped by my family for…

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C’est Chic

Reworked

Fridayam's Blog

My guts are gaily gartered round your

well-toned thighs.

You suit them,

wear them well:

I admire how you can move so

elegantly, though you

must be aware of the

trickle of blood running down

your leg like a

seam.

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Presents

When I have given you enough

perfumes (though you always smell wonderful),

scarves (though you are always beautifully dressed),

books (though you are so well-read),

watches (though you are never punctual),

what then?

 

Wine? but you rarely drink;

Clothes? you find bargains where I would never look;

Jewellery? I haven’t the means to

do you justice and

Lingerie is a presumption and anyway

men are crap at sizes.

 

Perhaps all that is left is

presence.

Dimensia

Since childhood I’ve felt

objects approaching me

unbeckoned but

indisputably on a

collision course I somehow

cannot avert.

 

So many spillages,

so many apologies,

so many blushed replies because

this is England after all and

spillages are assumed to be the

fault of both parties.

 

Oh and I also trip over cables so

don’t let me anywhere near a

studio despite it being my

place of work.

Giving Thought

Fridayam's Blog

I’m giving thought to a worthy cause,

one which will use it better than

I ever did, pick whatever is useful, perhaps

donate it to some poor

thoughtless person, to entertain or probably

puzzle as to why I should be so

obsessed with garden birds, the

ever-changing sky and the

ever-moving stars, perhaps

piqued by the erotic but

put off by the personal before

chucking the whole useless gift into

someone else’s skip.

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In Whose Sky?

Fridayam's Blog

In whose home am I an

unwelcome guest, loathed but

impossible to evict?

In whose life am I the

grit that didn’t produce the

longed-for pearl? In which

graveyard am I a spectre,

unhouseled, disquieted,

preceeded by candles?

In whose sky am I a

mere speck of light?

 

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Inside/Outside

External splendours

Am I inside or

outside? Should I

attend to the meal I

carefully prepared or

gawp at the clouds and that

further beyond that

beckons with a

crooked finger that

never points to anything

definite but

merely implies?

 

Morpheus in the Underground

Fridayam's Blog

It was our eternal foursome,
Orpheus and Bacchus leading
Aphrodite astray, all ending the night in
my encompassing arms, the
arms of Morpheus, but there are no
moans and sighs now when
morphine has stolen my
name and purpose.

I see those three sometimes
across a crowded bar, still
cavorting but with no need of me,
so I make my excuses, walk the waterfront
seeking out the homeless for whom
sleep is like a gratuity, rare and
grudgingly given.

I find them wherever the
wind can’t get, unless it is
particularly playful, on thin cardboard,
wrapped in whatever they own,
hidden beneath the great buildings in which
they are bemoaned, sometimes drunk in the
shadow of sobriety.

I try to give them my gift but some
resist, their feral dogs snarling as they
twitch and fit; some squadies salute,
caught between squadron and squalor; some
sigh and grasp my hand…

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Amen

Fridayam's Blog

It’s one of those times when

some sort of light clings on

even as it should be night

as hands are sometimes

disinclined to part

as lips seem sometimes

stuck together in the

hesitant silence of the

nearly-night when love is the

amen to all prayers.

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