Wednesday, 28 May 2014


There I go, on my circuitous way through the mazes of your heart. Blame it on a broken compass, half for you and half for you. God knows what treasures you have amassed, jealously hoarded, over the years. I will have to borrow my wits from him then, for mine own are but melting snowflakes of awareness as I make my way untoward the heart.
You are my murderous sister and you manipulate me as though I were a paper doll you could tear out, fold up, refashion again. Reclaim in triumph. Oh dear, I've said too much. You have slipped into woe. A fool and her favour. If I am not careful I shall end up like Aunt Goliath, with her mouth all sewn up in crimson velvet thread. too bad.
I was born with a twin heart, half for you and half for you.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


I have cut a thousand paper hearts from the letters and journals I have found around the house. So much for my sleet relations and their flinty ways. I shall string this bunting over every archway and architrave. The narrative of placid blame that I have hoarded over the years will now be made available for all to read. Disjointed, random and manipulated as it is. So. Just so. Just so I can die blessed.
Do you read me Uncle? Ah well, the truth is a cunning mistress, flashing her torn paper fan at us. Catch her if you can. She takes the circuitous routes through this house of envy. Thus she trails the velvet curtains behind her. Don't trip.
Where now Uncle? She takes us out and down the wide drive, back to the river-front. Down to the broken steps of the River Not. Get in, she gestures to us, and I cannot help but look at you. She has a small blue boat, with the name Triumph painted on in red. Its sails, why look? They're rigged with that selfsame bunting you were reading back at the house. All the little hearts tearing in the sudden squall.
My heart is a bruise. I put my fingers to your lips, Uncle. Don't say it. Don't say it now. Or she'll have you, this wintry queen of truth. Your mouth will erupt in blisters. Ssh uncle. We are out on the placid river after all. Blessed as sleet. Here let me unfurl the bunting for you. Are you sitting comfortably? then let me begin time's tender story of history melting into now.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Long Life Fairy

The long-life fairy drops in from beyond the horizon, in all the popsicle colours of the sunrise. From the Adulterer's Songbook she chooses two anthems: Longevity and Happiness and plays their notes, their different moods, upon her harp. Longevity: one clear descant stretching into the distance; Happiness a swarm-song of sounds in my chest. As though you had moved your head on the pillow, or had stood before me transformed by tragedy and lust. And the afterburn I feel, of sharp mouths munching through my hair.
She blesses us with many beautiful years. The words fall from her mouth like fish, like mackerel, dark and bright together. She trails a fairytale of woe in her fishnets. A magpie is caught, hanging upside down amongst the glitter. The harmonica, her true harp, releases its Once-Upon-A Time cadence of lament.
Each thing smells sweet and full of meaning: Your hip against the windowlight (it is Friday, it must be fellatio) There are no days of the week beginning with C I complain. And you tell me, complaining is to say you want the opposite of what you have. It seems a casually puzzling remark, but the long-life fairy snaps shut her Songbook and coughs up the word wife, like phlegm. I fold myself in two, like a paper heart and think I see her ghost flicker in the thundery dark, but maybe it was just the long-life fairy leaving, tossing her starry tiara our way, crumpling the air with her vibration.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele