Poetry Showcase for Judith Kingston

Eyes, Black And White, Eyebrows, Woman

TROCADERO 1985

Part 1: The Promise

She held it open with a shy smile that promised so much 
while saying so little.
Come, she said, just go all the way up
but I did not know if she meant the stairs or her legs.
I watched her hips sway - or perhaps it was my head 
that oscillated drunkenly,
thoughts clunking against the sides like loose change.
It was The Cure or The Smiths - something hollow 
to match her eyeliner and her heart

Part 2: The Crack Up

I thought she might have worn earrings
made of bone
and there was a smell of sadness and 
the toilet door said
« Sarah sucks dick »
which was true
in time -
just not mine.
And I still have my own teeth
you know.
My chat up lines may need
work and two bags of pennies
are all I ever won
from the arcades.
They’re all gone now
though the taste of candy
cigarettes still lingers and
I am still looking
for you -
I am sure you are just
around the corner on the next
machine.

Isaac is dead.

That was all she said
before she crumpled to the floor.

There is no more of the story. 
That is all they can tell us,
and we sit frozen at our desks,
packing bags and locking the door.

What colour were her lips
when she passed out?
I want to know.

How wide or small
were her pupils?
How tall was she, 
how far did she fall?
How cold did her blood
run? 

Isaac is dead. 

Was it quick, like a gun,
or were there stab wounds,
did he grab his chest, his gut,
was there blood, was there
time to think or did his
eyes go out and did he sink
just like his mother did
on her office floor
when she heard the news
that her son was no more?

I know that death is waiting
for them all, the young, the loved,
the smart, the tough, the small,
and we cannot outrun the knife
or the gun, we cannot defeat time
or decay but that does not mean
we should stay in a place
where the phone can ring on a
normal day and a tinny voice
can say:

Isaac is dead. 


Alpha and Omega

He is reading to me from Genesis: In the beginning,
he whispers, the earth was formless and desolate.

A dog is barking outside and darkness is encroaching
slowly on the day with long raggedy fingers.

Inside, tiny coloured scraps of paper stick to my toes.
My daughter fidgets, tucking in her many creatures

under a starry fleece, the fox with the puppy and the
white cat with the grey. Her hair is gossamer.

The sky is a dome, the sky is a one-way mirror,
separating water from water, life from life,

the waves are blue when it is blue, black when night
settles on the land, the stormy sea reflecting thunder.

I see Canada geese, beak first, pushing through the
membrane of heaven, born stretched out in full flight.

I see the first people rise, faces turned up towards 
their own reflection, radiant, beyond the clouds.

It was not perfect, but it was good. Glory cannot be
contained, it leaks through the punctures in the firmament.

The air is dense and still. He is reading it right,
with wonder and paradise, with mythical beasts, with awe.

And so the whole universe was completed. Silence falls. 
My feet are covered with confetti and I leave the room.



First published in Riggwelter, issue 21


FIRST KISS  - ALMOST

We were watching from the window, raucously
sloshing wine into the gerberas below.

He held her so lightly, like you might hold
a cloud, as if she were barely real, or maybe

it was him that was not quite there, vapour and
mist, tethered by the breathless, dewy grass.

His fingers twisted into her mermaid hair,
hers rested on his shoulders as for a dance,

eyes locked in this revelation, this condensing
of longing, buried so long in daily pleasantries.

Our giggles were lost, absorbed into the padded sky,
we took quiet sips, embarrassed now at our crass

intrusion on this most sacred of moments,
the knife edge, poised between states,

the catalyst for crystallisation, the puncture of the 
vacuum, the moment before the universe is born.




First published in Fly on the Wall Press Webzine issue 2.


3 poems by Judith Kingston : And I Am Doing Just Fine, Done.Just Done. , Not Quite Ready


A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Judith Kingston

The Poets of 2021 Links from Other Sites part 1






3 poems by Judith Kingston : And I Am Doing Just Fine, Done.Just Done. , Not Quite Ready

And I am Doing Just Fine

The light outside hurts my eyes now and the streets
stretch up too high.
My palms are sweating at the thought of meeting
another person now.
I mouth ‘did you have a good journey’ and it sounds
like I am acting in a play.
‘What have you been up to? A jigsaw? Yes,
I too know about jigsaws.’
I cannot meet your gaze; my eyes slide off
your face, reticent,
like I am touching you;
like you are touching me;
like I am asking you to touch me.
I smile behind my mask and then blink-slow,
like a cat, to tell you: ‘I am safe’.

Done. Just done.

There is not much of you, you are spent.
You have been worn smooth and the years
have filed off the jagged edge of dissent.

Your voice now barely raises its head –
a tired dog, done with the postman and
chasing cars, now fond of the fire instead.

Too thirsty to drink, too hungry to move,
the windows are shut. The record skips
on the chorus and clean out of the groove.

I don't know if I am a friend or a foil;
a kite, dancing on a string, reaching to find
the thing that will bring you back to the boil.

Not Quite Ready

It was never a good time.

It was too hot or too cold
The leaves were too green
or the wind too chilly.
The tide was too high
or there were too many wasps.
The trains were delayed
or not running at all.
The paint was flaking off the front door
or the bathroom floor newly tiled.
The papers were too aggressive
or the verges untrimmed.

She had too many meetings
or not enough milk.
She had lost her keys or her mind
and her aunt was coming to stay
and her brother had said that
the moon was in Mars
which was surely
a very bad sign.

It was never a good time.


Bio:
Judith is a Dutch writer living in the UK. She specialises in unhelpful advice, nostalgia and mermaids. Her poetry has previously appeared in magazines such as Barren Magazine, Riggwelter, Kissing Dynamite and Ghost City Press. The latter also published her microchap Mother is the Name for God in their 2020 Summer Series. Most recently, her poetry has been published in Crossing Lines: an anthology of immigrant poetry (Broken Sleep Books).

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Judith Kingston