True old school romance? That Thomas Hardy sure gave Tess d’Urbaville a hard life.

Ruminations 'Pon Watching Monsieur R. Polanski's Moving Picture Based Upon Thomas Hardy's Heartbreaking Rendering Of The Lamentable Treatment Of The Much Put Upon 'Tess Of The d'Urbavilles.' 

Caution Miss, if the rich young Master approaches
Offering up gilt plated hairpins or silv'ry broaches,
Don't shake his hand, shake firm your pretty head-
'Oh no sir, no engagement 'til our banns are read.'
 
Yon Master is a man who'd rather do wrong than right,
You want your wedding day, he wants his wedding night, 
Pearl earrings, gold necklaces, baubles of every kind,
But handing a wedding band... somehow slips his mind.

Master may well say he will give you everything-
Give him not a thing till he promises a gold ring,
Tess, 'tis not for your sweet heart his hand reaches,
Push his hot hand away and hold on to your breeches.

(Yes, it's a light-hearted take on a grossly tragic tale. But tragedy, humour, two sides of the same face?) 
'Tess, it's gonna end in tears.'


©Obbverse

It can be pure hell being a little Miss Goody Two-shoes; especially if it’s not a good fit.

Stuck In A Box.

Mother believed when my maker calls me to Glory
She expected me to transit straight past Purgatory,
Surely Saint Peter will welcome me as a fellow saint
With my unblemished record, no cause for complaint?

From the very moment I said my first word
Mother said 'the ideal girl is seen but not heard,'
Dumb obedience to Mother, as per Godly tradition
And my Catholic mom was a mother with a mission.

Just once I brought up the issue of whence I came,
'Where's Dad, what's his name, do we look the same?'
From the back of the bible she withdrew an old photograph,
She spat 'see, Child- some bastard's father and my lesser half.'

One day, reflecting in the mirror in the bathroom
I discovered a secret garden now beginning to bloom,
From that forgotten quarter sprung a scrubby triangle-
Add to which the itchy hair-raising fact of pits in a tangle.

So then mother lectured me on right and wrong,
The only wine, on communion, one Him, Hymn song,
Making plain to me I had a  face only a mother might like,
'Be as a nun- popularity with boys means being the town bike.'

She instilled the virtues of virtue as I sprang up,
Thanked God when He 'blessed' me with an A cup,
I'd longed to look swell in a tight come-hither gown,
My one foray in going strapless led to a dressing down.

Together mother dear and the priest had a talk with me;
It seems boys, booze and blazing were the Unholy Trinity,
One Sunday I stood 'tween 'em, before the whole congregation,
On my breast a white bow, confirming my good God reputation.

She must have seen this as being a mothers  finest hour,
Pressing a Father's service to protect her innocent flower,
Yep, Mother and Father Riley had my best interests at heart,
Father said 'God forgives your sins,' mother said 'but don't start.'

Mother had me wear clothes designed to say
'Nothing to see here,' swaddled in swathes of grey,
Who or what lay deep beneath was anybody's guess?
Designed less to go out and impress than kneel and confess.

                              - - - - - - - - -         

I've said 'goodbye' to Mother, she's snapped nothing back,
I've hung up my black coat, slung my veiled hat on the rack,
I've taken his picture  from her good book before I put it away;
From forgotten book-mark to being framed and put on display.

Ma had finally told the tale of a girl, new to town, alone,
Of the interest in her predicament a gentleman had shown
When she rested her weary seat on the step of the Flatbush Inn,
Of how he'd dined and wined her, how easily she'd been taken in.

Now Ma's in Heaven (if all went as she planned)
And I'm finally free of her heavy restraining hand,
It's time to cast off my cardigans and her puritan views,
Now comes the time to take up offers she felt I had to refuse.

Cardigan unbuttoned, I re-evaluated Gods gift,
My small prospects required no underwired lift,
It was plainly time to jettison my drab underwear,
I went into the closet to find what I'd secreted there...

I slipped on my silk slightly padded bra, fiery red,
A thong to hide my modesty, if barely by a thread,
A tiny black dress to ensure my honour would be lost,
I've no desire to keep temptation at bay or legs crossed.

I recalled the words mother was wont to say
If she suspected her daughter may be led astray,
'Child, if you wish to go to heaven, to pluck the lyre,
Abstain, for drinking  and smoking serve to stoke the fire.' 

So I went in to the bar, the repository of all sin,
Scarce sat down when a man turned with a grin,
An absinthe in one hand, a Camel butt in the other,
Just the kind of devil who'd be condemned by Mother.

Oh, I recognised the danger, that I cannot deny,
Seen through the glass sparkly, that look in his eye,
Which one of us two poor souls appeared more shocked?
This angel wantonly falling or the good priest unfrocked?

A bit different from the usual offerings, but somewhere along the way the idiot muse took me somewhere unexpected. Ah well, it's the journey I suppose...

©Obbverse


What a treat to see Boris up and about, all dewy-eyed over the latest addition to the Johnson legacy! Makes you love the lovable rogue even more, don’t it?

Daddy Issues.

‘Born to Bo and Carrie, a thick-thatched boy child,’
Styled much in the manner of his Poppa, carefree and wild,
Boris’s sixth, joining three daughters and two brothers
Selectively spread over three decades and three mothers.

After his brush with mortality can Bo be a changed man?
Rigidly stick to Carrie’s ‘Keep Johnson In-His-Pants Family Plan?
Carrie, just trust Bo to not carry on, Carrie, try to keep calm,
Bo’s put two partners behind him, so… third mom’s the charm?

 

©Obbverse.

Every time I think I’ve met the perfect woman some tiny little flaw seems to ruin my hopes of bliss. I can’t imagine why.

Everybody’s Best Bud.

After being rudely ejected from the Nags Head
I wandered up to the Star’s bar and woozily said
‘Barkeep, I’d like a shot of Johnny Walker Black-
Better bring the bottle, save you coming back.’

‘Hey, I’ll sip here quietly, leant against the wall,
Hey, you won’t even know I’m here till last call,
Good old Johnny is company enough for me,
He’s all I’ll need to help erase her memory.’

She wanted the ‘security’ marriage brings,
My freedom in exchange for two cheap rings,
My fancy-free days have come at quite a cost,
She showed me her door, told me to get lost.

Could she dump me so easily out of her apartment?
Forgetting the week I once chipped in with the rent?
The time I selflessly cleaned out the beer refrigerator?
So now she says I’m a drunken loser and see ya later?

She heaved me out, left me with no place to go,
Barkeep, I hardly had a chance to grab a momento,
I took her cookie jar, to remind me of the good times,
I swear it’s mine it’s chock-full of hard-sworn dimes.

Finally everyone but the barkeep and I had moved on,
The time was nigh, even my friend John had gone,
Then for the second time today I was shown the door-
Barkeep, ain’t no hospitality in your business anymore.

Twice this day this bum’s been kicked to the street,
This time by a size fourteen foot direct to my seat,
I tumbled to the pavement, my head began to spin
Staggered he could toss me out in the state I was in.

Another one to add to the list of ‘you’re barred’ bars
It felt fitting to lay there, alone, looking up at the stars
As mien host locked up and pulled down the shutters;
Yet another night, sleeping tight in the Gorbals gutters.

(The Gorbals is  a less-than-salubrious part of peaceful bonny Glasgow town.)

 

©Obbverse

Ah, that first crushing of tender young love. The scars fade and we move on. Try to move on. Ah, to be an automaton.

Dead Mans Chest.

I saw her here,
I saw her there,
It would appear
I saw her everywhere.

In the school bus
I sat and stared,
I dreamed of us
As if she she cared.

In my fevered mind
I looked suave and cool,
She remained obdurately blind,
Friends agreed, kind of cruel.

Then, as we passed by
A look, though fleeting
Registered in her eye-
Two pupils meeting.

So it came to pass
With one come-hither glance
That Delilah of a lass
Led this fool a merry dance.

She had her fun
Sadly at my expense,
Fair heart not won-
Her warm heart a pretense.

She left me distraught,
That devils daughter,
Without a second thought
Wrenched at my aorta.

My dreams shattered,
Much like my pride,
Left bowed and battered
Something deep inside me died.

Now I’ve a busted heart,
Broken in twain,
The only good bloody part,
It won’t break ever again.

 

 

©Obbverse

Keeping social interaction at bay is easy-peasy. Simply stay in ones home. But keeping boredom at bay, now that comes with its own issues.

Boundaries Of Reason.

The unwelcome virus arrived one cold day,
It’s settled right in and looks set to stay,
Like a Jehovah’s Witness it won’t go away.

With no cure or vaccination known
We’re advised to stay at home, alone-
What better company to be in but my own?

I thought I’d love lounging about, being lazy,
Rolling in bed, hours and days, getting hazy,
But I’m getting paranoid or going stir crazy.

I thought I’d take it all in my stride,
This keeping your distance, staying inside-
Now my gripping company I can’t abide.

I’ve re-read every last book, cover to cover,
I’ve re-recounted that night with my first lover,
My eyesight’s shot ‘tween books and thinking of her.

 

©Obbverse

From heights Olympian to the hum drum. I read a frazzled woman’s blog, I heard her frustration and imagined her next step. (Too much time on my scrubbed clean covid and germ-free hands, I imagine.)

Left In The Dust.

At school I’d daydream through the long boring classes,
Heroic tales of Hera and Hercules, so the lesson passes.

Exchanging today’s tedium’s for yesterday’s mythic stories,
Tall tales of ancient battles, of Achilles and Paris’s vain glories.

These days I’ve a Hades of a life, dragging the kids out of bed,
Getting ’em washed and fresh-faced and dressed and fed.

No honeyed milk nor sweet ambrosia bless this houses breakfast table,
Three growing boys, fling in food fights and I’m left an Augean stable.

Packed lunches, back packs and pack ’em in the Minivan;
Every morning this Moms labors become more Herculean.

Whatever happened to those long lost schoolgirl’s dreams?
Romantic fantasies of Helen of Troy, of a thousand triremes?

…Waiting at the red light, back to the past I absently wander
Till horns and a green light remind me my Odyssey’s a Honda.

The journey to school has all the usual boystrous push and shove,
A display of more pokes pinches and punches than brotherly love.

Spilling out the sliding door, off with nary a backward glance,
I’m rueing too many wasted days- and three nights of romance.

The Greek God I thought loved me eternally now no longer cares,
I naively married a Narcissus interested in his silly human affairs.

This ever-smiling mother, his secondary lover is going to disappear,
There is a Troy, a Carthage, Athens, Paris, Texas- anywhere but here.

 

Obbverse

Any time is a good time to go on holiday, to travel, explore new horizons, enjoy the pleasures of warm and close companionships. Up until very recently, anyway.

I was sick of works demands,
I wished to see some idle hands,
So I booked myself a sea cruise,
Well, what did I have to lose?

A life out on the ocean wave,
A licence to frolic and misbehave,
To stroll in Speedos with tanned chest,
Pull in the gut, leave the lasses impressed.

To what depravities I sunk,
Every night in a new bunk,
My lustful life was never finer-
I love life on an ocean liner.

But come one fine morning I awoke
Feeling like when I used to smoke,
But the ships Doc’s there for such ills-
Plus, I needed more lil’ blue pills.

The Doc’s voice took on a worried note
As he peered down my ticklish throat,
And as we approached American waters
I found I was confined to my quarters.

No more late-night fun and games,
No more early morning walk of shames,
Into my teeny tiny cabin I was shown
To spend a fortnight all on my own.

I’ve got a Gideons bible and a battered paperback,
Grand Cruise brochures litter the magazine rack,
Free Living and Disney channels are all very nice
But I wish they’d arrange Wi-Fi for my De-Vice.

I don’t mind being forcibly detained,
I realise a nasty virus must be contained,
The Cap’ns bound to put in protective measures
He doesn’t care a toss about my fleshly pleasures.

Here we’re moored, off San Francisco Bay,
And what to do to while the time away?
It’s ten more days till I’m back on deck,
Idle hands mean I’ll be a physical wreck.

 

©Obbverse

 

Money can’t buy you love or happiness, or popularity, so the song goes. For an ex-mayor of New York this is both sad and true.

Lost Its Bloom.

So ex-mayor Mike’s power jump has failed,
Those high White House walls remain unscaled,
His late ill-founded but well-funded quest
Has seen a cool half billion bucks go West.

So, no Presidency for poor saintly Mike,
Too many found there’s not much to like.

For a mighty rich man it’s a humbling thought-
Even a Trump tarnished presidency cain’t be bought,
Or perhaps the Big Apple is sick of GreaT big talkers,
One old rich white ass is enough for most New Yorkers.

Mike’s taken a costly kick in the pants, and a civil censure,
His overly frisky bad cop stops still proving a risky venture.

 

©Obbverse

Welcome to a blended extended thermo-nuclearly unhappy family. Not to mention, family planning.

A Few Hard Home Truths.

What a grand and great relationship
We’ve forged lovingly together,
We’ll not let our moorings slip
Despite bouts of inhospitable weather.

We’ve now been married for a year,
They say the first one is the worst,
But most who hold us near and dear
See we’re so loved-up we could almost burst.                                                                                                  ,
I’m grateful for this little home we share,
Your family is largely accommodating,
But believe me, I’ve been made painfully aware
That some pleasure in my company’s dissipating.

Every day our love grows stronger
Than it was the day before,
But, Love, it won’t last much longer
If I must abide with Mother-in-law.

I do so love my lovely wife
Yet it feels we still live in sin,
Yes, we’re blessedly Wedding Mass sanctified
But these humble walls are paper thin.

So here we are on our anniversary
And as my darling leans in for a kiss
Through the wall I hear my old adversary-
In the kitchen, hear the steaming boilers hiss?

So let’s not stay celibately in tonight,
Lets sneak out and celebrate our wedding day,
We’ll luxuriate in the Hotel Grands suite delight-
Sometimes we all need to get off and away.

 

 

©Obbverse