Friday, February 26, 2010


Jacqueline can’t bear it
when people call her Jackie.
She wants you to remember
that her name looks and sounds
like lacquer,
like the very lacquer
which coats and crusts her golden hair,
a protective guard.
An irksome grandchild
once clambered up her
Roland Mouret
and tapped a grubby fist
on the rock-hard helmet hair.
Jacqueline grimaced.
He knew nothing about manners,
but then she knew nothing about children.
Her own had been raised
by soft-spoken
soft-haired nannies,
with Irish lilting tones
and a firm grip on nutrition.
Jacqueline was too busy
and streaked in front of them always
in a glossy blur,
their glamorous mother
who shouted at people of lower rank,
the under-10s included.
She didn’t feel the need to tell them
what she did for a living;
a firm ‘Mummy’s busy’
was enough to keep their curiosity at bay,
not knowing that eventually
that would push them away.
Jacqueline networks,
and always is adored.
She glides through rooms
and waves her hands
telling people what to do.
Her scent is thick, cloying,
an ageing smell
of tea-roses and something darker,
and she lives in constant fear
that someone will uncover
the history of madness in her family.
It lives behind her eyes
and the men whom she snared as lovers
are the only beings
who braved that icy grip
and know what it truly is
to be close to her.
This is something her children
gratefully never learned,
and now Jacqueline lives alone
ignoring letters from her lovers
and not answering the door
to her alienated grandchildren
and sips rosehip tea
and will always live to spurn.

1 comment:

belle et la beat said...

This is good, the ending gave me the willies :S