Short Fiction




The Goldies

When I woke this morning,
the sky was showing red.
A pair of golden boots
stood polished by my bed.

Mercury, the runner
has bequeathed you these,
Try them on my friend,
begin to feel the breeze.

Finest gazelle leather,
heels with little wings,
they fit me like a snake
fits its second skin.

Every step free-falling
through delicious air.
I hopscotch over rooftops -
towards Trafalgar Square.

England expects every man
this day to do his duty,
the admiral reminds
as high my Goldies shoot me,

steeplechasing steeples,
as if on rocket fuel,
till London twinkles
in the distance like a jewel.

... Air Traffic Control,
this is Air Traffic Control.
You have no clearance
for the victory roll.

Better get outta here,
before they send the jets.
Beachy Head's a springboard,
without safety nets.

Next step it's Place Pigalle.
the café Sans Pareil.
The coffee's hot and black.
She says her name's Mireille.

Surely she's a masterpiece
missing from the Louvre,
If Leonardo painted her
Mona would have to move.

Stranger here in Paris
tout seul, mon petit chou?
Maybe I'll skip lunch
and see the sights with you.

The air is full of violins,
the moon is in the room,
It must be love because
the waiter starts to croon:

Oh won't you try the truffles
my pig has sniffed them out,
deep into the dewy ground
he ploughs his pretty snout.

And there below the table,
as she drains her wine,
swing a pair of Goldies
the very spit of mine.

Let's fly out together
scale the Eiffel Tower,
or we could be in Capri
in less than half an hour.

Once upon the threshold,
you can guess the rest,
her boots struck out east
mine went way out west.


I must have flown solo
three times around the world
before I saw another sign
of my aerobatic girl.

A footprint in the Sahara,
one in the Gobi sands
leaving professors to puzzle
the strange one-legged man.

Then on Bikini Atoll -
pinned to a blasted gate,
Meet me down the Mississippi,
don't be early, don't be late.

I hurtled through Louisiana,
down the tunnel of love,
she came in across the Bayou,
a thousand feet above.

I rose, I soared, I rocketed
straight up into her arms,
somewhere near Bâton Rouge
I knew her supersonic charms.

Boom, boom went the barrier,
as we passed the speed of sound.
Our boots were getting faster,
they barely touched the ground.

Fleeter, fleeter flew the feet
till the earth was just a blur,
all she had to hold was me
and all I had to hold was her.

Shall we fly forever in midair,
like Chagall's bride and groom,
will there never be a door for us
a staircase and a room?

No time to lose, mon ange,
the choice we have is plain,
one of us must ditch the boots
and fall to earth again.

It was above Bermuda
I let my Goldies go
watched them disappear
into the Triangle below.

But now it was all too clear,
one pair wasn't meant for two,
we had no forward gear
and with the wind we blew

Out across the Atlantic,
longing for a deck,
while like the albatross
I clung around her neck.

Closer and closer we fell
down towards the drink,
I either had to let her go
or both of us would sink.

Au revoir, mon amour,
je ne regrette rien.
I die willingly for you,
send a lifeboat if you can.

Down down among the fishes,
I plunged the salty deep,
when all at once I broke again
the surface of my sleep.

There where once the Goldies
had gleamed beside my bed,
a pair of crusty Nikes
awaited me instead.


But sometimes now on Dismal Street,
as I wend my weary way,
I feel a sudden rush of air
and think I hear Mireille,

the girl left in my dreams,
still drifting down the skyway -
Mon amour, mon amour,
pourquoi tu m'a quittée?

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