Who Climbed on the Climber?
False accents stretching truth-scraps into webs
that glitter prettily, are only meant
for social climbers. Conversation ebbs
if ego-boosting isn’t the intent.
Zirconias and diamonds side by side
convince the group you fit. You love those props –
French nails and French knickers worn with pride
are waggled as you taste the gossip crops.
Your thoughts are all of silly secrets shared –
from partner swopping with the richest men,
to chins that electrolysis has bared.
You’ve long forgotten comments like one when
a friend’s mum saw your house, “I can’t allow
my daughter to attend your party now.”
Who Lost the Loser?
The weedy girl who longs for Mr Right
to pluck her off the wall, would be all eyes
if he approached her late one dreamed-of night
and tried a pick-up line. He’d mutter lies
her mirror could deny, so doubt would lock
her tongue and legs – until defensive mode
began to sabotage her chances – mock
his words, avoid the eyes where interest glowed.
That glass of foreign courage doesn’t quench
her thirst for confidence… but one more might…
She wants to be a player, leave the bench
to join the game, instead of feeling fright.
But contact sports are for the fit and strong
and she has been a loser all along.
Who Whined to the Whiner?
She reapplies her lipstick and her smile,
resigned, although she’d rather be in bed.
Her queries act as oral stand-ins while
she waits to whine of stressful work instead.
The prize for being put-upon is hers
and cronies understand each time a tale
reiterates her grievances. Their purrs
are grumbles that reveal they’re growing stale.
The music frees her head from knee-jerk fears
and she can twirl in complicated moves;
pre-disco steps she hasn’t changed in years
are comforting. Age settles into grooves.
She’ll dance around the issue with old zest;
her worn-out mother also knows what’s best.
Who Heard the Listener?
Subdued, you stand and sip your sparkling wine,
suspecting huddles (loudly unaware
of your arrival) guess that magazines define
your conversation. Turning, you compare
the weather with the forecast, then you ask
a sour woman who she knows. You chose
so well, she’s glad to have the chance to bask
in some attention; an alliance grows.
The mention of a filmstar scandal sets
her off. You nod and murmur, leaning in,
repeat a phrase on dieting. It whets
her appetite for quotes on staying thin.
You parrot what you’ve heard, safe from attack.
No father lets his daughter answer back.
Who Used the User?
One wicked eyebrow lifts and captivates
the audience by daring what they dream;
pretending to be careless titillates
the ones who dread they’re losing all their steam.
Manipulation is a spoon you stir
to mix reactions where you have a stake.
Perhaps a counter-plot nonsequitur
will be an unplanned icing on your cake.
Your boredom drives creative urges that
develop into private broadway hits
where players follow scripts that leave them flat
on faces you forget. You live for skits
and you don’t understand what pathos means.
You’ll stumble solo in your future scenes.