children were us

runaway they hide their rabbits search
for silver spoons huddle harden nurse glass

box    tip   kerb/curb  gutter   lark ascending
old skool waterbaby consolation: Larrikins!
cheery tongue in cheek chimneysweep
reward in heaven kinda thing

Innocent says this where men cut my father
mother sister burn here i run i don’t know where

the geni offered to grant three wishes:
the first was unrequited
the second was out of stock
the third automatic

jean paul what was that about
choosing? before the bloom of self
only instinct on fire running with arms wide
headlong into wind-driven will upon will

Femmes de ville 

Can you feel yourself walking down the street, with your multi-function mona lisa smile; with the chin tilted not too many degrees of cockiness upward, and not too many victim degrees down. Things could go either way. Sometimes, both. God, no wonder your mates cant be arsed to come out.
Her grandson wants a board game for Christmas. One based on a popular tv show hosted by a retired dj, where the contestants have to blag and bluff their way to a cash prize not quite large enough to change their lives. He`s only eight! Don't even know the woman.

Ouch, that looks painful. Her foot in plaster, arm propped on the edge of anyone`s chair, chin in hand. She`s scowling; What`s your game. Ouch twice. A happy diversion: the antics of an eleven week old Jack Russell pup. Smarting. Ignorant. Pride to the rescue. A real flame-thrower, that one.

Annie is rummaging through the freezer cabinet for another ninety-nine pee liver and mash. Her fella`s request is her mission. She wears her hair like hair, but it`s all straggle snaggle and you cant help thinking witch. Or wonder about him indoors. It`s the freezer`s opened lid making me shudder.

Purple cowlick. Soft handsome features. A thousand bits of jingling silver; wrists, ears, fingers. A skirt which would have been a maxi in `67. Cool almost, except for the chequered fabric shopping trolley, dripping with novelty key-rings. What`s the deal; at what point do you turn into a colourful character.

So you gauge it by some toadying internal monitor, something your horror half whispers is required, salutary, actually wise. Your mouth can move in an instant from greetings to a blank with gritted teeth and no recognition, please, none. Ah, the trusty mona lisa smile. The worm within us all.

sandratappenden was born in Kent, and has lived in Devon since 1970. She's both studied and taught Creative Writing, with ungainly but rather exciting forays into performance during the `90s. Influenced (different ways, different times) by British, American, and European poetry, but incalculably by poets she has met, read, and shared ideas with. Her poems have appeared in Stride, Shearsman, Scratch, Slowdancer, Rialto, Terrible Work, Litter  and Raunchland. A second collection, SPEED, is now available from Salt.
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