Scribblings – Notes

From ‘Bare Bones and Boundary Stones’


Like a humming-bird’s wings

the crisp papers zip through

my fingers as I count them:

five, ten, fifteen, twenty.

The smell of them, their print

and silver, freshly pressed

as I bundle them together,

slip them into their drawer.

I have committed to heart

every turquoise swirl of script,

how many brown lines

make up the Queen’s hair,

and how many white.

Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.

Where to find intricate snail

shells, or the fan of b’s,

flat notes, radiating a lilac Elgar.

Eighty, one-hundred.


Sometimes I take a note

and hold it up, see

the hidden face stare out

from the thumbprint in the centre

of the cool, slim rectangle.

I’ve learnt to judge the weight

of five-hundred pounds

in twenties, feel the difference

of just one note more or less,

to know the process

of extracting strips of silver

or forging the chief cashier’s

signature of I chose.

A week’s worth of smuggled

bundles in pockets and handbag

might not be missed –

a shopping spree at Harvey

Nick’s, blow some notes

on cosmetic surgery,

a one-way ticket to Mexico…


The crisp papers zip through

my fingers as I count them:

One-fifty, two, two-fifty,

slide them into their drawer.

Three- hundred, three-fifty, four.


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