Monthly Archives: Jul 2018

Mountain adventures.

The pathway up the mountain started at two tall trees of oak,

Tamika thought they were like two huge gateposts–and at a single stoke

she walked between them–it was like entering another world–a shiver went through her frame

it was like walking under arches or beneath a waterfall after rain.

It was as if it was a crossroad into some very special place

and strangely for a moment she felt her heartbeat race.

This could be the place where magic happened–even fairies may live here,

and it was a really lovely morning for walking with her dog Saffie who was always near.

It was one of her favourite places, where she liked to walk

she would stand and listen, and Saffie was always near –if she wished to talk.

She walked with a large canopy of green leaves over her head

and then realized that she wished to walk in the sun instead.

She felt someone was watching her–but she felt no alarm

and as Saffie sniffed around she knew Saffie, would not let her come to harm.

She wondered happily among the big flat leaved trees

with squirrels birds and hedgehogs, she was completely at ease.

She was looking away down at her village–the river running through it, like a silver thread,

the town hall clock the folly on the hill when she thought she heard a voice within her head,

it said ‘’Excuse me miss’’, it sounded rather hoarse and she immediately-dismissed it of course,

but Saffie’s ears had pricked up, which meant that she had heard it too

she looked all around but there was no body in view.

Then the voice said ‘’Hay I am up here’’ and on a branch of an Hawthorne tree

was a man no larger than her hand, who said ‘’I am so glad that you can see me’’.

He jumped down and landed at her feet brushing off his clothes he was very neat

with tiny trousers coat and bracers too, so perfect and so petite

Tamika stopped and rubbed her eyes-because although small, he was a big surprise

He said ‘’I wasn’t sure my shields were down so that you could see me’’.

Saffie sniffed him curiously–them licked him self consciously

he giggled and said ‘’Stop it, you are making me all wet.

But if Saffie was happy Tamika was too–the little man was not a threat

Saffie continued licking, the little man said it tickled too,

Tamika said ‘’So you have to lower your shields, so that I can see you’’.

He said ‘’I know you are Tamika and you are with Saffie I see’’.

Tamika looked at the little man asking ‘’how do you know me’

‘’All of the fairies have known you since you were a baby

and I’ve always watched your visits although you could not see me’’.

Tamika said ‘’All the fairies, are there more, what do you all do’’

he said his name was Simon, he was the water guardian, and of course there were more.

Tamika said had never believed in fairies, why had she not seen one before?

‘’It’s because people no longer enjoy nature, the streams and animals are not valued as before,

when did you last roll in the grass or jump a puddle, that is what puddles are for.

You are all so busy with computers and TV they don’t see them any more,

you are surrounded by what we look after–the mountain which we live underneath.

And you coming here today is such a huge relief’’.

But before she could ask him what he meant, another voice said ‘’Hello Tamika I am Holly, I look after the trees’’

she was no bigger than Simon with lovely flowing silver hair

and she explained that there were fairies for water fire flowers and even for air.

and they had a problem with Simons water, she went on to tell

that the tree that she was sitting on blew down and into the river it fell.

‘’I allowed the wind to blow too hard, I am Jake the guardian of air’’ his voice was full of stress

Simon said ‘’He’s full of wind and didn’t take enough care–and now we are in a mess’’.

‘’The tree has dammed the river, which feeds the royal well,

and they were not big enough to move it’’ they were ashamed to tell,

She asked what they would do, if the well was dry–they didn’t have very long

Holly said that they thought her and Saffie both looked pretty strong.

‘’If you tie her lead to the tree we ‘ll sprinkle her with flying dust,

we shouldn’t really ask you but we know you are someone we can trust.

Saffie let out a bark–to indicate that she would help

if she hadn’t been willing, instead of a bark she would have let out a yelp.

They tied Saffie’s lead around the tree and Michael whispered in her ear,

and climbed upon her back holding on to her collar– he was quite pale with fear

He sprinkled something on her, from a bag around his neck

and to see that every thing was alright he looked around to check.

he climbed off and told Saffi ‘’ It’s okay. follow me’’ ,and Tamika turned around

shocked to see her lovely dog was floating above the ground.

By flying, in less than a minute Saffie had moved the tree

and straight away the water was once more flowing free.

Then Tamika had a shock because a cheer filled the air

she looked around and found that there were fairies every where.

All of them were smiling on every bush and branch and tree

and on the tree they’d moved stood a couple dressed so regally.

‘’Tamika Tiger’’ said the king and they all cheered again

for now the well would refill when ever there was rain.

He said ‘’Tamika thank you-and the queen wished to give a reward’’

‘’We will make you an honoury guardian’’ the others cheered with one accord

‘’Really’’ said Tamika and Saffie wagged her tail

both of them so happy that their effort did not fail

She was told, we have always watched you— you have much love in your heart,

for the mountain and all it is, you have always done your part.

You love the birds and animals the bushes trees and stream,

you pick up other people’s litter to help keep the mountain clean.

You didn’t even know, that you helped us in our task

and so if ever you are in need of help you only have to ask.

’’But how will I ever find you’’–Michael said ‘’To whisper at the old oak gate

and the wind will answer, and please make it soon–don’t leave it too late’’.

When you come to see us again we will show you the fairy land down below.

But now we have to say goodbye, it’s time for you and us to go’’

He waved his stick and they all vanished and were gone,

leaving Tamika happy knowing such a friendship would go on.

They both went down the mountain path, to have their teas

and a hundred voices said ‘’see you soon’’ as they passed the old oak trees.

She was smiling ,knowing she could visit any time

and for such friendship and such pleasure it would be well worth the climb.

Old weathered hands and treadle sewing machine


Old Weathered Hands.
I think its human nature when we lose someone we love our greatest fear is forgetting the simple things about them.
The sound of their voice, their smell, precious memories.
However in reality I’ve discovered as I have grown older I’ve remember more not less.
Lizzie my Nan I remember her long thin silver hair.
Gold heavy creole earrings weighing down her tiny earlobes, her faded blue apron my little Nanny.
Little but loud, northern salt of the earth she always said it exactly as it was.
Most of all I remember her smile.
How she would pretend to be annoyed when I’d shout Nanny at the top of my voice through the letterbox at all hours of the day and night. Her house was my sanctuary the smell of furniture polish and hotpot.
I’d watch her as I held up the flap of the letterbox as she hurried down the hall exclaiming ‘Jesus, Mary and bloody Joseph, I hear you calling in my bloody sleep! I’m changing my bloody name to Rumplestitskin!
I remember her baking cheese onion and bacon pies on tin plates and egg custard tarts on a Sunday.
She would send me to the outdoor at the flying horse pub with a empty jug to have filled with stout old tea towel to cover the jug. Id try to walk back without spilling it sneaking a mouthful as I walked.
Our trips round to the shops she would carefully apply her tangerine lipstick and tie her checked hair scarf the we would call into the bookies for her each way bet then the butchers for bacon ribs and the paper shop for twenty John player specials.
Bingo was on a Friday night down in the church hall park street in fingerpost
Me and my cousins Gary and Phillip on one side of the table nan and her friend Lizzie Ducker on the other.
She would give me a card to mark.
‘Nudge me if your sweating’.. she would say.
I’d be terrified!
Smokey church hall jesus on his cross watching the bingo. Womens eyes fixed on bingo tickets biros moving quickly scribbling out numbers.
‘House’! Someone would shout and there would be a sigh from everyone else.
Walking home we would call in the chippy bag of salty chips in yesterday’s newspaper between us.
Then home tired ready for bed my cousins in back bedroom, I would be snuggled up warm in Nanny’s bed beside her. The weight of old blankets and coats with silk lining to keep us warm.
I still have a piece of that overcoat lining.
Silhouette of leaded windows on the wall beside the bed reflected from the old street light on the peeling blue flowered wallpaper.
Sometimes I’d go to bed before Nanny. Lying there listening in the dark whilst she stayed up late to sew on her old Jones treadle sewing machine.
The sound of that treadle was magical as she worked to make me dresses it often lulled me to sleep.
The simple things. Her old biscuit boxes one full of photos. The other full of buttons both full of stories.
Stories of her family friends the man across the street who had got stuck in a tin bath.
A big faded button from a coat she had worn that my grandfather had bought her she held it in her hand like a diamond eyes closed smile on her face transported back to him.
Photos of child she had raised and loved as her own as well as her own three sons.
Photos of my grandfather who I knew from her story telling not from memory as he’d died when I was too young to remember.
She taught me many things my Nan, pastry making, sewing, names of plants herbs, that when I got nettled there would be a dock leaf to fix the sting not far from the nettle. To star gaze fortune tell and to always bide time never to act on temper.
How to win at cards although I never managed to win her once.
I remember combing her hair and sitting running my finger along the back of her brown weathered hand, tracing the blue veins of her old working hands grafters hands.
As I sit her now holding my granddaughters hands looking at my own hand in hers it is brown weathered blue veins meander and they tell my story.
Beautiful childen Tamika Tiger and Emilia Willow I wonder what your memories of me your Nanny will be?
I hope you will remember my old weathered hands and how much you made me smile.

Release me..

Huge mechanical monster lunges,

Clenches it’s massive jaws together tight unbudging.

I’m held in the most unnatural vice like grip I push either side but the struggle is futile I’m trapped.

Warm foam like saliva drips from it’s hungry looking lips.

I sit still bolt upright.

Unmoving praying for it to let go.

Waiting for it to move.

Eyes wide head unmoving glancing from side to side.

I wonder ‘Is it dead?’

Nothing.

Someone please help.

It makes a sound a low groan almost pitiful.

No one comes.

There is no other choice.

I need help now.

I sound my horn.

Please someone release me from this dying carwash

New tale of Olympus

Long ago when the world was young and the

battles for the universe between the Titans and

the gods had ended, the gods met with each

other at the foot of Mount Olympus.

They gathered to decide how they were going

to divide the spoils of war.

They deliberated about lands, animals, and other things under their domain until finally it was time to decide which humans they would champion.

First spoke Zeus, king of the gods.

“I will take those humans who rule over others and make the laws, men of prestige and significance.

They will embrace justice in my name.”

Then spoke Hera, queen of the gods.

“I shall have the married women for my own and

those women who are pregnant or mothers.

They shall find succor and solace under my

patronage.”

Then spoke Ares, lord of war.

“I will take the warriors and men of battle. I shall

heap glory upon them all.”

Athena, goddess of wisdom, said on to the

other gods: “I shall take the strategists, crafters,

and lords of commerce.

They shall thrive with the blessing of my wisdom.”

Then spoke Poseidon.

“I shall have the sailors and fishermen and bless

them with the use of my ocean.”

Then announced Hades, “I shall take the dead

that come to Tartarus and the Elysian Fields;

they shall suffer or be pleased in measure of

their past lives.”

Aphrodite said, “The lovers will be mine and

those with shining beauty. I will grace them with

fertility.”

So on and on the Olympians chose the best and

brightest of their own perspective fields of

influence and enhanced each one’s blessings.

In the end there were groups of people who did

not fit these groups.

These beings trembled and quaked

unknowingly as each god passed them by.

Then as it seemed all gods had made

their choices, from the darkness came Hekate.

The Titan who was still revered by all the gods

even after their war.

She looked at those still left to be taken. Her compassion moved her to speak.

“Greatest of gods, hear me. You have made

your choices, and now I would make mine. I

shall take all who have been left behind.

The not chosen, the unwanted, the seemingly

unredeemable, the outcasts, the poor, the malformed, the victim, the homeless,

the lost, the murderer,

I shall take them and guide them with my torches out of the darkness.

I shall witness acts of violence both to bring compassion to the souls perpetrating and the victims to bring justice and succor in kind.

I shall take the shades and specters, those who can’t find their way, to help them finish their business and I shall lead them home.

I shall take the unloved and scorned and hold them dear.

I will remind them all of the power of choice, the wisdom of necessity, and the love of my compassion.

All the gods were shocked at this choice. They

saw how they had chosen only those who were

bright reflections of themselves and their

greatness.

They had forgotten the lowly souls

who needed them most. Hearing this

compassionate choice, Zeus was moved.

“For this act of compassion and wisdom, I shall

bless you alone Hekate with status above the

other gods.

I offer you three boons: You shall

have the power that I have to grant any wish

that is petitioned of you.

I shall give you rulership and free passage over a place in Tartarus below…

Also the world of men and the sea, and the sky.

so you may be with any who need you.

Hekate I give you the keys to all kingdoms.

Lastly I give you the power to chose your last boon.

As I will.. it is so!”

Hekate replied: “I thank you, Lord Zeus, for this

boon.

I shall tell the people of the world that if

ever they should need a thing and wish to

petition me, let them go to the crossroads

that are my sacred space, with a meal as offering

and their wish written on a slip and left under the dish.

They shall leave both at the crossroads and

turn away and not look back until they are

home.

This meal shall feed the dogs and the poor and the homeless and I shall look on them with favor of what they truly need.

“For my boon I ask for a race of my own that

shall like me span all the races and be born to

all.

They shall be born with the potential to

bring success in love, to curse or bless,

to speak to beasts, to converse and congress with spirits, to command the weather, to cast out blight,

to read the messages of the starry heaven, to see the future, to conjure treasure and fortune,

to heal the sick, and kill despair.

Some shall be born and some shall be remade.

They shall be all manner of people and trades.

They shall be called Witches and may be loved or hated, and live between to shape them to

necessity.

They shall aid me in my great work

to aid the forgotten and the rest of man.”

And so it was decided.

The gods

stood on the Mount of Olympus holding hands

and said: “As we will it, so shall it be!”

Just an hour late

Twenty two years since my mam died. I was 31 I had three young children youngest one Mike was five

I had arranged to go down to see Mam after school to see if she felt up to going to spiritualist church there was a medium she had hoped to see but I’d been busy digging up hedges in our front garden all day. So I thought I’d go back finish cleaning the mess I’d made up then go down to Mam with the kids washed clean ready for church.

The last bush was really stubborn, so I tied a rope onto the back of my car and tried to yank it out but as I’m doing it I can hear my mam tutting at me.

‘You should have been a bloody lad’ she says.

I laugh stop the car dragging the hedge behind.

Odd? She’s not there.

I get out to untie the rope I’m covered in soil and leaves as I get up Mams best friend Francis is pulling up in her car.

I know instantly. ‘Mam she’s gone’. Francis is sitting in the passenger seat her husband is driving tears roll down her cheeks she doesn’t answer she doesn’t have to.

‘Without me there’ I shout voice shaking.

I tell the kids to go inside no one speaks.

I ask a neighbour to babysit. It’s a weird feeling, Shock, sort of like being underwater and everything seems to slow down.

Suddenly it’s like your whole world is in a bubble,surreal.

I get into Francis car she holds my hand.

‘It was your dad’ she’s saying. I flush hot, my head feels like its going to explode.

I don’t cry.

Francis talks on the drive over to Mams, only the other side of the village but I’m impatient to get there.

‘Get your mams trolley’ Francis insists she keeps saying it.

‘She told me to tell you if anything happens get the trolley’.

I still don’t speak.

I walk through the corridors in the sheltered housing into the flat.

There is blood on her carpet. ‘Bicarb’ I hear mam say tutting again. ‘Bicarb will get it out’.

Dad is sitting smoking a roll up in the kitchen.

I stand and look at him.

I don’t know for how long.

Francis pulls at my arm. ‘Get the trolley.’

‘For fucks sake’ I hear myself say. ‘Okay. Okay I’ll get it.’

I look around pictures of my children hang on the walls, Mams cardigan where she had left it on her favourite chair.

Without looking I know there will be a blue inhaler in the pocket and a packet of tissues and a lipstick of bloody awful tangerine she insisted ordering monthly from Avon.

I pick it up and hold it to my face and breath in I can smell her perfume.

I put it over the bloody trolley.

‘Where is she?’ I ask. My voice sounds different. Like its external.

‘I told her she’d go out of here in a bloody box’ Dad says. I want to kill him.

I close my eyes. Slowly breathe in.

‘At the hospital’ says Francis.

‘Come on Joolz you need to identify her.’

We leave the flat and head for the hospital. I’m numb.

How do my legs still know how to walk?

Why are clocks still ticking?

Why is the world still turning? MY MAM IS DEAD.

We get to Whiston Hospital sit in waiting room Francis is smoothing creases that aren’t there from her skirt. I read the information on the wall bereavement support. Victim support. We wait for the police.

A tall young police officer and a smaller female officer walk in I can hear Mam again. telling me ‘Police men are getting bloody younger and look at the state of you she saying you need a good bloody wash. Full of soil!’

‘Are you ready’ the lady police officer asksshe’s got a stain on her jacket and I wonder what it is?

I nod. My mouth has gone dry. I can’t speak.

I’m not ready I will never be ready that big black lump is in my throat. I’m so afraid. It can’t be her not my little Mam and I’m praying this is all a bad dream.

They take me in.

She’s on a metal trolley

She will be cold on there I think.

Her hair is stuck with blood. Drying blood.

I want to fix it.

Her hands are covered she’s not wearing her glasses I put my hands on her face. ‘Oh Mam’ I say

The policewoman puts his hand on my shoulder.

I shrug her off.

I pull the sheet back lift up her left hand. Middle nail cracked it always grown like that.

I hear mam beside me telling me the story of how her sister Eliza trapped it in the front door in Brown street. Where she lived as a childI’ve heard this story a million times but I smile and listen again

‘I know mam’ I hear myself say.

She looks so small. ‘I’m so sorry I was late Mam I was pulling up the hedge in the front you hated those hedges didn’t you. Couldn’t get the last one up. I was coming to fetch you with the kids I’ve made your favourite for tea and Michaels got a new reading book.’

‘That medium is on later at church the one you wanted to see.’ Im almost begging.

My little mam. Doesn’t answer. It really is her. How can I possibly leave her here on her own?

I cover her up. The police woman holds me up. ‘Come on’ she says ‘they will look after her.’

I don’t remember walking back to the car or the drive home.

We sit outside Francis tells me there was a massive row dad was drunk again. She sighs ‘He was always drunk’ I sob.

Mam had said he couldn’t make any more home brew in the flat he was repeating everything she said. Mimicking her

Shooting at her with a toy gun that made a noise.

She was on her nebuliser.

Struggling to breathe

She stood up told him to get out was going to ring me. She didn’t get to the phone.

She has massive heart attack hit her head on coffee table

He might as well have had a real gun.

‘Take me to the flat’ I finally said.

‘You’ve got the trolley Francis said don’t go back ‘she sounded scared.

I ring our Michaels dad Mike.

‘Come and get me I’m at the hospital’

Ten mins later Mams trolley in the boot of Mikes car andI’m going back to the sheltered housing.

‘What the fuck happened?’ Mike asks. I tell him. He doesn’t speak.

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I don’t know.’ I answer. ‘But I’m not scared of him anymore I’m furious.’

We walk down the corridor I count our footsteps. I hear my mam.

‘Go home Julie to the kids’ she says.

‘I will in a minute I say out loud,’ Fab I think I’m talking to my bloody self.

I walk into the flat we’ve been gone two hours tops.

Dad is in the bedroom Mams single bed tipped up on its end drawers tipped everywhere clothes strewn everywhere. I stand looking at him.

There’s a banging noise in my head. It’s my heart.

He’s opening boxes looking in pockets of coats.

There is a new toaster and a kettle still in boxes she was planning to leave him.

It’s as though I’m not here I think.‘Can he see me’?

Mikes got hold of my arm.

Dad looks up.

‘Where is it?’ he shouts at me.

I don’t answer or move I stand in the bedroom doorway.

‘Sovereign rings, money, rings jewellery bank books.?’

‘I don’t know I say?’ And I really don’t.

‘She’s dead Mams dead.’ I shout.

He walks over to me.

‘WHERE IS IT ALL?’ he booms.

I feel the spit and beer breath hit my face.

I don’t move or step back he’s furious.

‘TELL ME NOW.’

He lifts his hand as he’s done so many times.

I still don’t move.

Everything slows down.

Mike jumps between us.

Grabs dads big arm and says

‘You’re never going to put your hand on her again.’

I’m stunned!

I look at dad he suddenly doesn’t look as big or scary.

‘Don’t ever, come near me again’ I hear myself say.

I’m picking up mams best jumper.

I pick up a bag put her clothes and shoes in.

Dad looks confused.

I start to take my children’s photos off the wall.

‘What are you doing?’ he shouts.

‘I’m taking back what’s mine.’

‘You don’t get to look at my kids again.’

‘Do not come to the funeral she didn’t want you there.’

Are you happy now you killed her?

I wish she’d have just left you years ago we’d have all been better off you murdering drunken bastard.’

I hear mam laugh.

He sits down hard on the floor.

‘I’m going to a solicitor ‘he shouts ‘I want what’s mine.’

I look at him lean forward and say quietly almost a whisper.

‘I want my mam my kids want their Nan.’

Mike puts his hand on my arm ‘Come on Joolz he’s not worth it.’

He takes mams clothes I carry the photos and we leave.

Francis is getting out of the car it’s a warm evening and Mam should be getting in my car with me now.

She hugs me.

Don’t forget her trolley.

I won’t.

Raven.

Act your age..

Twilight spun its magical web upon the land, fireflies and faeries dancing together in the fields. The night-song of the forest had begun awakening the nocturnal melodies in the branches and setting the darkness alight with music. The Moon was a crescent pendant hung low around the sky goddess’ neck, offering a thin veil of silver painting the tips of the leaves.

Seated in front of me, casting a wise eye to the skies above, drawing down some unseen ancient and mystical knowing, sat The Crone. She seemed to become an extension of the moonlight that spilled upon her platinum tresses and over her shoulders elegantly like a mystic queen donning a cape of pure starlight.

“Child, they will never stop telling you to act your age, they do it to me often. And my reply has always been the same: I will act the age my soul sees fit. If you take issue with that, then I suggest you turn away and take your leave, because I’m not going to betray my heart and sacrifice myself on the fires of your expectation,”she stated emphatically.

“You see,” she continued, “there are some that look down their nose at the ages of women, thinking once we reach a certain age, we are past a certain use, an invisible line in the sand set there by the binding chains of the patriarchal mindset.

I always ask these people, why then do they celebrate the sacred sights that adorn the Earth, the ancient monuments of magic that stand from a time long ago? Why do they pay reverence at places that were used in ritual and worship many moons ago?

They are powerful portals of deep wisdom and magic, they reply. Exactly the same as women, is what I say to them. The power grows and builds within these ancient marvels of the Earth; there is no cap on it with age. It is the same with the Divine Feminine.

They try to take our power by means of shame or ignorance, but it doesn’t take our power, child, it takes theirs. And like the sacred places wild and raw with ancient sacred power, we stand still and grow with each passing day.”

The Crone stared into the fire, her wise eyes eternal and sparkling. “Child,” she said, “I grow my hair long, though many have told me to wear hair like this is solely for the maiden. I am still a maiden at heart and I will keep my hair all my days if that is what I wish, for I follow no rules set before me from society and perceptions of others. To each woman, it is a choice how we decorate our sacred temple, not the decision of any other.

They would tell me to color the grey from my tresses as well to conform to an ideal that serves to wash women of their power. For all the world I would not give up these strands of magic. Would you give away such treasure, such majesty, so easily, I ask them. Why do you fear age and wisdom and would have me hide from your eyes?
My head is my crown and from it flows strands of silver mirroring the hue of the full moon light, the gossamer mists that part on the waters edge, and the thundering powerful clouds in the sky before a storm. Watch those who try to get you to conform and bow, my child; more than likely, they are trying to take the crown of silver from your head

Cefn coed Hospital

Psychosis, psychics, self harm, bi polar, scizophrinia , personality disorder,
Acute ward, melting pot where there is no pecking order.
Underpaid, over worked staff juggle back to back cefn coed hospital disorder
Meds trolley doles out pills but they can’t numb the pain
Discharge sheets and promises of, Oh!nurse you won’t see me on this ward again.
Visitors checked for miow miow speed and weed
For untreated drug habits that the valluum just can’t feed
Drinks machine spews watery hot chocolate to visiting kids
Mam will be home soon
Mental health she’s part of a broken system no way to live.
Talking therapies please.. your having a joke
ask your consultant again
But his eyes tell a tale of a NHS beyond broke
We are luckier than some views over Swansea bay
Other are shipping off to brigend
There has to be another way
Cefn coed the big hotel on the hill
Big red bricked Welsh dragon watching out for the vunerable bekoning to them for it has beds to fill