Kvenna ráð

Call off your dogs. Let's talk.

Tag: writing

two hundred and seven words. 3

abandonment and bereavement, her ears burned with elation at the independence and shame for the same thing. Cheated of the vague presence of a precise woman in white, with softly accented speech, the girl looked for traces of her in others: her mother calling the malted spoonful offered up by its French alternative; the yes/no interlude; the way milk is pink when dashed with blackcurrant; the exact balancing of milk to cereal that retains crisp, replaces dry with moist, fails mush; the rough game played with a stuffed toy, and the instant regret that flash-floods when it’s flung to the ground. That freedom and shame will come back later with the loss of a lover, it will seem familiar, it will bring that gallery, that theatre of shadow puppets; the refusal of children to play; what follows, the sharp “I am alone” that won’t leave, and that consequently lies; being Pocahontas with a band of primary feathers, each of which may be taken out, stroked with and against its natural lie, held against her lips, dimmed in the shadow of a toy teepee, “I can tell differences by the smell.” Why did she sin and tell her first lie? On a window seat, by a Christmas tree


jupiter©Marie Marshall


two hundred and seven words. 2

Sucks her fingers when they freeze, wet with snowballs, wee woolen gloves tightening and loosening. The catch of a summer dress, long onto the tops of wellies that bite the back of her legs, that kick up the smell of wet grass and mud underfoot. This is the sin of experiencing other, still your basic ignorance, still warring with knowledge – those fingers ache, then numb, then warm, no matter that the duffle coat’s worn as a cape, a play costume, doesn’t she know that to pretend other puts her in danger for ever? And yet she strides across that field, that trapped green by houses, to the red/yellow flaked swing set and the slide, wipes wet from the seat and the chute with her sleeve, sets her tongue to a chain and tangs iron, sits in the baby-swing, skirt/dress tucked once, twice, the same way she attempts handstands against a wall, and she kicks, kicks, kicks into the small sky! The chain’s alive in her hands, repeats its torque with every kick, with every arc it tightens, but she still doesn’t ken her name, only – they are different – what she’s called, better to know what to say clouds and the scent of first rain on flagstones, the


jupiter©Marie Marshall

two hundred and seven words. 1

The girl came into the sin of knowing at the age of three; this must be, as she recalled, always recalls, her fourth birthday, and the fact that there was never rain. There was certainly a fall, a pigeon on the kitchen window sill, but her dreams and nightmares were recalled, always are: her mother waking her, just as she did on her birthday, but in that silence that can only be dreamt; a monster in the garden, sitting, eating an apple, somehow, a big man with no head; a monster, a draped man with no head, black cloak tattered, walking wicked quick along a lit tunnel, round walls, tiled; each monster musicked by the pulse in her ears, catch her if they can. The taste of wet earth tried out because of its likeness to potatoes and gravy, an experiment into the nature of similar things, showing her early grasp of philosophy in an antic school. Her own smell of yeast. There was never cold, there was never heat, there was only the confusion of knowing without the understanding that came with smiles and caresses. That sin she came into entered with the brilliance of a made-up word, her first gluttony on the fast-feast of language


jupiter©Marie Marshall

By the way, the Summer 2018 Showcase at the zen space is now published. Go here to learn more.


“Bartholomew Fair’s by,
..and I’m loan home, at
..touch and tap and a bit

..of thumb too, gone back
..to fish hatchery and the
..history of grocery stores,

..my legend tucked in my
..oxter, my whole tale yet
..untold, sun still upskied.”


..The same day-eye shock
..brims the overhead and
..hazes out the stars; old
..geezer moon’s one pale
..reminder, noticed by side-
..looks and a double-take,
..bully clouds washed up,
..treason to the night, our
..true country, our safety.


If the fair’s by, then so’s
all else, Jumbo’s packed
and Colonel Billy Blood

gone down the Bedouin
road to hell-knows-what;
only your mind takes the

six sides you’ve squatted,
you being a snail, so you
always carry your prison.


jupiterWhere now, the alphabet series being over?

©Marie Marshall


“The sea, the fear and longing
..for it, its kitchen-rattle, all the
..waves folding over, each blow

..a new word, each word a new
..weapon, each weapon used to
..write my story on this board,

..no longer a simple tale but a
..mighty argument for revolt –
..word never does surrender.”


..A tower turns, keeping a cold
..back to the sun, hankering for
..night, always hiding one facet,
..a rooted moon bot a man-face,
..its comers and goers get from
..day to shade by clock-dial not
..by the hairs on their neck and
..the emptiness in their bellies;
..nothing/everything into orbit.


If we can’t get the pachyderm
out of the room, then move the
room, or the whole house – cat

could give a damn and the girl
give sweet cigarette K I S S E S,
turning one-eighty degrees, or

three-sixty, to see the place at
a different view, like in a cross
-stitch, fabric, needle-hole way.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“You stay and settle me,
..determine my heart, its
..hours, how the lie of my

..land belies the rhythm
..of the tappity-tap made
..by the chalk against my

..board, I word B R E A
..T H L E S S plain there
..for all the world to see.”


..Rogue mist that robs a
..city of its law, the grey
..bridge’s pylons, more
..lands across half-river
..– when the sun burns
..you back, then the raw
..prestige will show, a
..false town, coloured,
..your harlequin deceit.


Bill Blood, your room
-to-room range (ah!) a
couthie nuik to secure,

Grandiloquent sound of
your content, p-piano to
the burthen of the huff

from Mr Unmentioned
by the TV-chair; try as
we may, not remoting!


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“The moons and the
..seas and skies of a
..blind man’s dream,

..the music made by
..rasping a calloused
..nail against a lover’s

..cool side, fleet cars’
..livery, shapes made
..by bold-bare letters.”


..Morning, pale plague
..strikes carse and old
..concrete waste alike,
..makes the flank and
..lake pipes of the road-
..tanker anthem its way;
..what right does this
..glory have to pick and
..choose its own slaves?


Cat rolls in the dust
and the breeze-blown
blossom of the fruit

trees that heave the
tarmac, she bids us
ask what’s in her eye,

we speculate, she’s
silent in the way of
her kind, till killing.


jupiter@Marie Marshall

Dry-stone wall

What we have in our minds
amounts to straight lines, the
courts and gardens of all our

handhelds ordered in the way
typical of an Isfahan carpet,
in the detail of a life-tree in

the plumb of the way an apple
falls from a tree or the battery
in our watch or the coin caught

when we last flipped the case
that cowers our phone; but –
and here’s the thing – there’s

nothing straighter than twine
between two stakes that the
waller plants to mark his way,

and then the ditch he sinks half
a stone deep according to the
happenstance of stone, and then

those silent chancers he lowers
and snugs, and all the courses
between ground and cam, and

the stones smaller than a fist to
little more than an acorn each
falling and fitting, keys to the

whole growth, fine adjustments
to the line that marches up a hill;
but – and here’s another thing –

what’s left is the hill in patches
where very little matches at all;
the wonder is that only he carried

the stones that he didn’t find and
did so with a bird’s joy until the
steepth defeated all, yes, making

peaceful work from just gods’
punishment, dedicated this job
– left no signature, no me fecit.


jupiterThis poem comes from some idle jottings I have had lying round for a while, since reading (at long last) Basil Bunting’s ‘Briggflatts’.
©Marie Marshall


“If you want jingles
..about how your old
..granny turned bags

..inside out, so that
..she could cuckold
..one supermarket at

..another, then go to
..the next booth and
..buy their skylarks!”


..Why wrangle about
..whether day or night
..is the cover when it
..is obvious who stole
..the stars, broke into
..sleep, sent us slavery,
..bobbed and docked
..our freedom, ended
..the tenancy of mind?


Perfectibility: she’s
shaped on her lover’s
lathe, made go in that

chantier, until one day
she awakes and finds
her bed’s too small, at

which point she flits a
city, piques her hairdo,
reshuffles her top ace.


jupiter©Marie Marshall


“Holy stones may break my
..bones but luck’ll not desert
..me; I’ll dance and skylark,

..dit and dot biography on this
..here tablet, this table made of
..virtual stone – indestructible

..print of life, hold up my cup
..to catch your kopek, token,
..broken mark of little worth.”


.Kogals make snowmen, winter,
.and wickermen (summer) with
.cantops for eyes and grass for
.beards, detailing earbuds, and
.phones secreted in sidepockets,
.are feared of matches and fire –
.belabour (not burn) them with
.canes filched from farmshops,
.break their legs, leave all to rot.


..you have (today) a fleet of
..clouds to shift, that gap in
..the city roofs, the accusing

..old chimneys, sky dishes’
..brittle objections, making
..the job into a brutal chore;

..we urge you to love again,
..but you’ve shot the puppy,
..gone shifting more clouds.


jupiter©Marie Marshall