Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Open Hearted

I open my heart, open my eyes, in the drowsy dirty morning. It's Thursday. The light makes a triptych of foxed mirrors on the wall. Look away, should they crack that will be your fortune told. And say you will be mine, beats my heart. There is no ending to its pleading. As always, it grasps what I fail to understand.
Open my heart, open my eyes. Friday. The day opens to a curtain of rain. And say you will be mine. Say you, baker, will be mine. Say you will make me rise like dough under your hands.
Saturday dawns. I open my heart, open my eyes. Let the light in through the crack beneath my bruises. Blood darkens the beginning. And say you, sleuth, will be mine. Discover my liaisons. Note my shortcomings. A taxi rolls discreetly down the rain-freckled road.
On Sunday it is open sesame, open all hours, open season: we go to a Church strung with tangerine silks. A dwarf is playing hymns on a piccolo. Dear Lord and Father of mankind, forgive our foolish ways.
At home the world is beyond sense. The red mullet guts the cat, the goldfish eats my cheese rolls, dogs knock up goat goulash for our dinner. At the crest of the week's plural pleasures on Sunday singularity slides in and undoes her corsets.
Life has come at me, knocked me open in every way she can think of, but I have remained upright, and I have tried to love you. I put my mouth to the trumpet and blow the fierce note of our agreement. That I will open my heart, open my eyes, open myself to all the guises in which you think it will be suitable to love me.
That I think anything at all these days is in itself a miracle. The bruises stay beneath my skin like a map. I am covered in your fingerprints and the blood pulsing in my veins is touched with madness. Your reputation is as bloody as a bowl of raw liver. I spit a fighter's mouthful of red as elegantly as any moonshiner. You have laced my corsets too tightly.
The world is flat you whisper to me as you dangle me over its edge. Your voice scours my comprehension. You tell me the mullet is a secret agent. Didn't you know? you say. He has decoded all your dreams and sold them back to me. Don't despair. The best of the worst is still to come. It only takes forgiveness for you to open your heart, open your eyes, open yourself to me again, on this sweet drowsy dirty morning in which we still astonishingly find ourselves together.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Begin Again

It begins again with us in tears, blustery emotions surfacing, bigger than me, tangling me, braiding me with joy and sorrow and peace each pulled sweet across the last. We four have multiplied, doubled ourselves in our writing, made marvelous octagonal stories in which time herself seemed to forget her purpose and stood still for the sheer pleasure of eavesdropping.
You offered us the shy smile of a brand new moon. And the vision of a barrow of jonquils being pushed like a cart of gold through Essaouira's cobbled streets. Behind us seagulls swarm over the cliffs, bolster the air with their fishhead cries, and land back on the balustrade beside us, bouncing on their yellow feet.
You came wanting your mouths never to be bored. I offered you blue gods reeking of olives. You came wanting a gorgeous injection of life and energy into your work. I offered you the buddha dance on a day of Happiness. You came open to everything. I showed you what it is like to love a thief.
What have we learned? that dreams reveal what we need to know. That what we share is always miraculous and that whatever happens next there will always be beginnings.
The sea itself, loaded with silver light, foams in appreciation.

the copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

No Sense of an Ending

It begins with the rhythm of the sea, something glorious and full of mercy, glittering at the edge of sight. A jar of roses on the table releases its perfume. The palms and pines along the coastline sigh their au revoirs. Salt crusts the balustrades. Seagulls bisect the sky into Euclidean poetry.
The air smells sweet with marram grass and thyme. A subtle ginger note adds to the warmth of this morning, commensurate with joy.
What have we shared? the embrace of storytelling magic, new freedoms, deeply enriching rejuvenations, old friendships affirmed and new ones ignited. We have lived inside and outside each other this week, and made and shared the space in our hearts, where we will always make each other welcome. We have drawn blood from the moon, danced with the Jump sisters down by the harbour, held our writing as a lantern in the darkness and paid for it all with the incomparable silver from a fairy princess. We have braceleted our wrists with fish scales, turned cartwheels on the sand, made music and magic and love together. And for all this, I thank you.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Tuesday, 24 March 2015


All now is well. It is the beginning of our days of pleasure. The simplicity of it: a day backlit with brilliance. Blink if you desire me. There are bees buzzing in the hive of my heart for you. Keep them sweet.
My head swarms for you. I pour perfumed waters from a broken urn, light summer rain, aromatic with cloves and roses, a waft of wild mint on the breeze.
Come with me past the borders of bees. Sssh he sleeps. Let us go barefoot into the wet orchard to the iron bed hanging between two silver birches. I want you to loosen the pull of expectation and corset silks, behold my beauty, my breasts bright in a lozenge of light. Say dance and I will dance for you. Butter my soul with liquid gold. Anoint me. Brim for me.
Let the courtiers and servants lie where they are. Let me be the vessel for your body's joy. Be the best you can be, Beloved. The day's brightness is about to begin. And the doves murmur Bonjour.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Friday, 20 March 2015

On this Day of Happiness

On this day of happiness, I want to melt like a sweet in your mouth. That wasn't really what I intended to be writing to you, but I'm writing it so it must be true. I woke to a window that wasn't there, full of blue light. A picture in a frame of what the day could be. We have reached the equinox, the year's first hinge. Bella is here with her torn dress and her smudged mouth, trailing the bedsheets like a crinoline behind her, defying me not to desire her ruinous magic.
I confess she does look beautiful, bendable, biddable. When she hauls herself across my lap and asks me to spank her I shall do it for you. The cracked mirror above our bed hangs onto good luck by the meagrest of threads. In my dreams I stare at my reflection hoping to recognise somebody, but I am disappearing; I am impossibly tiny behind the sopranos, even in my high heels. I am wearing my scuffed red stilettos. I have come fully equipped for glory. You wrote to me I was your sex goddess and I warned you then that immortals make bad lovers. Oh to be fresh-faced again. To run barefoot through the sand with you, towards the cliffs where we can flirt with God and teeter on the brink of the everyday magic of kindness.
You are my equal. Even Bella concedes that as she wipes your spunk from her breasts. Crazy. She only got them out to see desire light up in your face. The she spits like a sommelier, into her teacup. Ah well, our happiness might be spiky happiness but it is happiness nonetheless.
Come here then, come to my arms. Feel the crenelations across my back, across my shoulders where once my wings were torn. Now there's hardly a scar, just a blur on the skin, as though the light, falling there, had sliced me for its own purposes. Which it has. Here, take off your halo come and learn to lie with me.
Yes come and learn to lie with me. Bella is in the corner going down on the rag and bone man, who has closed his one good eye in ecstasy. The red end of his lit cigarette moves in time to her breathing. From the grubby lining of her camisole she passes me a note without once losing her rhythm. It says you are considering taking orders. So, come. I have summoned up a salt storm for us. Let's improvise around our nakedness; I have torn down the moth-eaten red velvet curtains for you; wrap me in the tasseled silk shawl, take me to the rocks. I want to see my body reflected in the three-way mirror of the sky, the sea and your face when you are coming.
Communicate with me only through touch, let's originate a new braille. Follow the water to find your way. Come outside, quickly, before the light fails us. Let's leave this room,with all its texts of inconstancy: my knickers burning in the grate, my red lipstick melting on the mantlepiece. Here, outside the briar rose releases its perfume of spilled silk and weak tea. The cobalt canal boat sinks into the garden's green embrace. I am stumbling in my scuffed stilettos. I am disappearing. Don't let me fall. If we must live this life, let it be for all the right reasons. Kiss me. I promise you after me everyone else will taste of nothing. Don't mind Bella on all fours with Verve Clinker. There are cracks behind every painting. Touch me here and here and here. You don't know what you do to me, in this place, beneath the voluptuous storm, on this day of happiness.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Love Letter

I am writing this so that it will stay true. Though we are kept apart never doubt that I love you, that you are in my heart. At night I lie awake and run your absence through my fingers: here's the touch of you, your warmth, your tenderness, your brutality: all our conspiracies of love.
I dream of kissing you, of course, in all the lights this room can muster. In the slurred light of dusk your mouth is as dark as a knife; when dawn extends its bouquets of roses and marigolds and my hot sheets are printed with your ghost, I turn and bury my face in them, trying to kindle you from the last embers of an erotic dream.
Everything becomes you in your absence. I peel blood-oranges and search through all their quarters for some secret pip of you. The wet sheets on the line wrap their cold arms around me. The swing in the garden is banging in the storm; Or is that my heart beating? 
Where are you? My mouth misses you.
You left me on a day of such puzzling beauty that I could not match it. All those patterns of chaos and bliss. In my mind I play endless home movies of you walking away from me. You limped out of our life in your lopsided stilettos, like a man proud to be leaving. I watched your receding back and felt love fox into rage: into something vagabond, refined, shattered. We were never that far apart. Your body spoke a foreign tongue – I could only swallow half of what you said to me.
What are we? Skin, books, words, bodies: libraries of sensation and desire. Flick through my song of songs, learn the choruses from the adulterer's hymnal, open my diaries at random and read what you will. I am laid bare for your gaze. Let me draw you towards me with some novel magic.
Perhaps I am not making sense to you, but we confounded sense from the very beginning. We lived in a space where sense was the first deserter. So, simply, I love you. It is beyond me to help it. I love you in ways that humiliate me, exhaust me, excite me. You are my guilty pleasure, my heart's desire. Your rhythms beat within me, make me sob with pent up longing.
I want your thumb to graze my palm, and then your mouth to kiss me there. I want your breath on my neck and your fingers on my throat. I cannot account for all the ways I miss you. I miss you the way a body in love misses its beloved.
So here I am, on my knees by the bed. Not praying, just missing you.
I send you this with all my love. Take care of it. I send you my beating heart, my love, my foolish beating heart.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Eartha Tries a Simple Seduction

Eartha simplifies things by placing a jug of clear water on the table.
Ask me, she says.
Won't you show me the beauty in the cracked and the run down.
She fixes her eyes upon me, and unbuttons her coat. It is February and she is naked under her green coat. She takes my hand and places it on her tarnished breast.
I want to say to her: Can't we put an end to these cliches, but the feel of her heart beating and her nipple stiffening beneath my palm stops my mouth.
There are golden lights in her eyes. I cannot work out how this is searching for simplicity. She bites her bottom lip and my tongues tastes blood in sympathy.
Who says I am literature's whore? she whispers.
I do Eartha, I do. I came to offer you the renewal of the self, but you have brought me here to this land where all my understanding is parsed in a foreign tongue.
When did you ever offer me the renewal of self? she croaks
You are brazen, Eartha. Yes. Let me kiss your palm. You are wanton. Yes. Let me kiss the sole of your foot. You are forever dedicated to Saint Simple. Yes. Take off all your clothes.
And the jug of clean water trembles.

The copyright of this post belongs to Claire Steele