Once upon a time there was a little house…
In this little house was a tiny bedroom…
In this tiny bedroom was a small girl…
And this small girl was seated on a massive bed.
I was that girl and the bed was my cloud. I sat there, like an angel with my books open, my toys listening attentively as I filled them in on the exploits of Amelia Jane Again and the folk from the Magic Faraway Tree.
At night, with my thumb in my mouth, I would wrap myself up tightly in the quilt my mum had lovingly covered for me with a pretty floral fabric, my head would sink into a matching covered pillow. The pervasive Dry Musk perfume she wore washed over me, a spiritual reminder of motherly love that would gently lull me to sleep.
Made, with love, by my mum.
This is my bench with a view.
It’s of the river with boats and shit.
But as the joggers jog
A man with a dog
Stops and it pisses on it.
‘Cheers mate!’ I say, looking up.
But he’s hot-footing it down the path.
‘Come again then, you dick,
And bring a big stick,
We’ll all have a jolly good laugh!’
I used to be an angel,
On my cloud with my toys, reading books.
But it all went to pot,
As dad drank a lot
And mum gave him reproachful looks.
Eventually she left us,
And my cloud felt all acrid and dead.
I walked out of the door,
An angel no more,
This bench, ever after my bed.
Dad drank himself to the grave.
I was just told about it tonight.
We didn’t stay in touch,
And no one cared much.
Although I think my mother might.
It’s been a strange kind of week.
Mum found me on my bench fading fast.
The day turned to dusk
As I smelled her Dry Musk
And she held me,
She breathed me,
Her tears soaked into me
How I long for this moment to last…
So my future bed is my past bed but where there once was a cloud, with a quilt so divine there is now a simple divan, too small for my limbs and too lumpy for my back.
But I can stretch like a cat, if I dangle my foot over the edge.
I can curl up in a ball, as long as I avoid the middle.
I can sleep like a baby, if I have the radio on.
I can close the door on the world so that sleep can descend upon me without any fear.
I’ve had two beds in my life, not including a cot. One saw me through childhood, kept me warm, save from harm and nursed me through sniffles and coughs. One saw me through heartache, kept me down, save from no one and bought my mother back to me.
Given the choice, I’d be where I am now, complete with the lumps and the occasional misplaced spring. I’ll die in this bed, I swear, but not yet. For tonight we’re off out, my mother and I, made-up and with Dry Musk pervasive.
©Lisa Lee 2012, 2014, 2016
She never usually wore red but today was different.
“Tis only a whore that’ll dare to wear red!”
Her granny once told her, before she was dead,
“Fur hat and no knickers!”
Was another of hers,
“Especially on Sundays!”
I think I’ll wear furs…
She takes the faux fur coat from the wardrobe and tries it.
“I’m right!” said a voice from the pot on the shelf,
And she took it off quickly in spite of herself.
“Gran?” she said nervously,
And picked up the pot.
“You look like a cheap whore!”
She replied, “I do not!”
She sat on her bed with the pot in her hands.
“You don’t understand Gran, you don’t understand!”
She sobbed to the pot that lay cold in her hand.
“No, indeed I do not,”
Said Gran with a sigh.
“You’re a beautiful girl,
Explain to me why?”
She sniffed back her tears and started to talk.
“Remember Tom, Gran, with the dark floppy hair?
He told me he loved me then ran off with Claire!”
“He never, the bastard!”
“He did Gran, he did,
Now they’re getting married
And having a kid.”
She stopped her tears and looked down at her dress.
“I’m wearing this dress Gran, I’m making a stand,
I may look like a whore but it’s already planned.”
“Well, it’s not too bad.”
“I should be in that,
“That hideous peach dress,”
“What, and the peach hat?”
She looked at the peach mess that hung on the door.
“A bridesmaid? His bridesmaid?? You gullible fool!”
“I know Gran, I know but I knew Claire from school.
That’s how she met my Tom.”
“You stay dressed in red,
Bugger up her big day
And knock ‘em all dead!”
She loved her Gran, she did, though she couldn’t always talk to the pot.
“We’re scattering you next week. With Grandad.”
“Aw, well, that’s nice dear. Now, where’s your coat?”
©Lisa Lee 2014, 2016
In a land of cats,
Far, far away,
There stands the angophora tree,
Where the kobold flits
From leaf to leaf,
Salchows from branch to higher branch,
Whispering her ancient plea:
“Oh almighty Nurl, I ask of thee,
Show me the sphendrone of this tree!
For these tresses of mine,
So gold and fine,
Are alas, too wild and free!”
A clowder of cats,
On this cold day,
Observed the King’s own jabberknowl,
‘Twas a sight to see,
The gunsel here,
Moved by our kobold’s earnest words,
He offers his Nurlish soul:
“Oh what kind of mana is this, pray,
That I see before me today?
The angophora there,
Holds a maiden fair,
For my Nurlish heart to slay!”
The mew of the cats,
Did not once stay,
The himbo’s now much heightened lust,
As their eyes first met,
Hers first, then his,
For a moment she thought it Him,
“A Nurl? Oh surely it must!”
“Oh sweet thing I implore you be,
Mine forever then you will see,
What a love I can give,
If you’d only live,
In the King’s castle with me!”
The eyes of the cats,
Fixed their wry gaze,
Trying to see her intentions
She looked at our chap,
Ozena filled nose,
Knew then this was doomed and did cry,
“A fico to your attentions!”
©Lisa Lee 2014, 2016 Illustration ©Belinda Allen
©Lisa Lee 2013, 2016
A Home Is Something More…
A house is a home when somebody loves it.
So what is it, I wonder, when somebody hates it?
A hovel, a prison, a financial strain
With no sense of warmth and an aura of pain
That seeps into your bones, making every one ache,
Coils around your heart like a venomous snake.
Injecting its darkness to kill off the light,
Wrong choices are made when you used to make right.
But everyone suffers as you become rotten
And all happy memories conveniently forgotten
Sit now in the garage in boxes stacked high,
Neglected, unwanted but then, by and by,
The house that is home, the one that is new,
Feels suddenly lonely and awfully blue.
You stop and you look,
You espy a book.
The one, the only book on the shelf
Is sitting there, lonesome, all by itself.
Your eye wanders thoughtfully to not one box but three.
Then you look at the bookshelf and finally see.
It’s not all about buildings and auras and aches.
It has nothing to do with metaphorical snakes.
When you take a step back
When you take in what you lack
You see it as plain as the quizzical looks
That what makes a home is a shelf load of books.