Friday, 31 May 2013

Sylvia Plath

I think how Sylvia stuck her head in to an oven, turned 
on the gas, and my feelings overcome me.  You see, I know, 
as her official biographer that bitchiness of a new depth 
was not her style.
She was not trying to hurt her children or her husband, she 
was not mendacious.  She saw life through a prism of 
loneliness and she knew with certainty on that fateful, dark 
night in that meagre, damp cottage kitchen, that she had 
married the wrong man.
I imagine her, limp with failure and cold beyond endurance, 
like a man lost in an arctic forever winter night, longing 
for warmth.  And to be free again, flirty, cheeky with 
delight and writing with abandon and fluency. 
Oh, how I long for her to be with me in this room. But as I 
finger this bruise on the side of my forehead, I fear for my 
safety. Churchill had his black dog of depression as I have 
my violet goat of anxiety. It climbs trees with me and teeters 
along my paths and precipices.
Will I be hounded by all the Plath Dons, Freda and Ted,  and 
her far flung family?  Will they hate my thesis, my revelations, 
the stoppered genies escaping from the bottles of intrigue and 
But like Ariel, Sylvia will be set free in to the atmosphere, 
fetid or fresh air, clean or dirty air, my truths, so hard won, 
will be out into the rarified atmosphere of academia.

the copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule


Grace always liked to hide in the dark airing cupboard. 
In the dampness of the linens, with the fresh smells of 
laundry day filling her nostrils, Grace would close her 
eyes and dream.
In her pocket she often had a square of coconut ice, her 
favourite delicacy from Grandad's sweet shop. He would 
give her a sly wink and slip it over the counter when her 
mother wasn't looking.  Saying "Bye bye Duckie, see you 
next week."
Mother always bought large slabs of Aero chocolate bars 
from the man on the market stall, demanding that he keep 
her secret and not tell her father. The whole town knew 
that he had the sweet shop and it was suffering in these 
hard times.
In the airing cupboard, breathing in the scents of linen 
and fresh air through the cracks in the old wooden door, 
Grace would cry in private and eat her coconut ice slowly, 
with a certain dedication.
The vase she had accidently broken lay in shards across 
the dining room floor.  Unable to think clearly, she had
automatically fled to her secret refuge.  Her mother, with 
her decisive emphasis on "absolute truth" would be angry 
and denounce Grace to her father when he returned from the 
hospital. Father, she knew, would be kind and understanding. 
He worked at the local mental health facility, in a building 
known as "the loony bin" . 
It was a forbidding building with fluted pillars set in 
beautiful landscaped gardens designed by a famous Victorian 
gardener.  It always filled her with dread to visit.  But 
when she was older and able to crack the childhood codes that 
once frightened and befuddled her, she could translate 
encephalitis to mean the sad and sick demented souls who had 
once haunted her dreams. They were just poor and poorly, 
not devils after all.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 


"What colour is his tie?"
The policeman posed the enquiry to the group of raw 
trainees assembled before him. This was an afternoon 
to test their powers of observation, and he was bored 
out of his tree.
Simeon, now in the winding down years of his life long 
service with the Met, felt his lunchtime soda pop returning 
up his windpipe to say hello. He stifled his feelings of 
nausea by trying to concentrate on other, more amorous 
thoughts.  He could feel his own blush deepening, so he 
raised the next question, asking the group to focus on the 
facts of a recent murder, and to give their scenarios of 
motivation and investigation in a written essay for tomorrow 
morning's  session.
Simeon wound things up and was heading out for home, but before 
he could blink, a weedy young man, dressed in mufti cornered him 
in the car park. A row of deciduous trees ran like a tramline 
along the side of the tarmac road.  Barbed wire fences enclosed 
the huge site.Simeon's car, sitting like a big expectant cheetah, 
shining blue, clean and empty,  looked as forlorn as he felt.
He just wanted to jump in and get away from work, from the tedium 
of his day. The trees, oppressive and overpowering in their weight, 
rustled and waved their branches, shedding horrid little bits of 
the bonnet of his car.
"What do you want young man?" Simeon asked.
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 


Rapacious for the experience of finally committing to his plan, 
Desmond held his secret close to him, like a precious gem that 
he had polished for a long,long time.
He wanted to kill, but not just any wanton whore that crossed 
his path.  He wanted it to be the perfect crime, executed in a 
grand, melodramatic way.  It would baffle the generations to 
Desmond sought to not only rid society of stupid women, but 
also to take a pop at the Police. A misogynist, always 
secretive in his dealings with others, he was on the rise
in his career as a Banker in the city.  Daily he could perform 
magic on the Stock Exchange floor, which intrigued his colleagues. 
They were constantly taking a pop at him, his wispy grey hair 
skirting his immaculate collar, the violet ink in his vintage 
fountain pen, the sea of empty chocolate wrappers that littered 
his desk, his disregard for the value of their proffered 
No, Desmond was not bothered about the opinions of others. 
His aim and motivation in life was to make a lot of money and 
create a perfect plan for the execution of women that he procured 
every weekend through his favourite agencies.
Desmond knew that his sexual preferences, bizarre to others but 
always acceptable to the hookers and call girls he employed, would 
one fine day lead him to the fulfilment of his crime.
Murder, he knew, would be a great high, a supercharged pop for him. 
His day was dawning, and his excitement was growing into a frenzied 
anticipation. He awoke on that particularly cool November morning, 
singing softly to himself:
"Half a pound of twopenny rice,
Half a pound of treacle,
That's the way the money goes
POP goes the weasel".
It was a Saturday, it was ' the'  day,  he knew it.  Today would 
bring  the culmination of all his planning.  Tonight he would perform 
the perfect murder. 
The copyright of this post belongs to Valerie Rule 

Monday, 27 May 2013

You Say aka Whirlwind

You Say aka Whirlwind

You say,
Speak into my life,
A goose's chant
of the misfortunes of old,
On cobbled streets,
Of the leaks in my heart,
Rotting cabbages and kings.

Speak, whisper please,
The dust of me,
Of gatherings in neglect
on creased corners,
Of synaptic anxieties,
Nano sized, snipping in the night.

Speak, beguiling and tender,
Angels that court,
Of souls withered on fantasy,
From fuzzy screens,
Of rot, avarice, and rape,
Un-relished words frog at the throat.

Whirlwind, yours is a sing song voice.
You say.

Copyright Gabrielle Goldsmith
May 2013