Saturday, 30 November 2013


Oh poor Lady Da Grind,
She did so sob...

Oh she cried
And pled and trembled
Cause the dream kiss
In no way resembled
The tender mouth
For which she sighed.

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 29 November 2013

THE INK BLOT GUEST SPOT: "Faerie Tale" by Grant Harbison

Suffering Socrates
I’m awoken with fright
For once again that mischievous young sprite
Has set my alarm for the middle of the night
Blurry and beat I stumble out of bed
Trip over the cat and land on my head
The pain is immense as I lay on the floor
But I try to persevere and crawl to the door
As I get to the door the wind slams it shut
Dazed and confused I sit on my butt
Mustering strength I continue to toil
To the sanctuary of the of the kitchen and the kettle to boil
When I get there I find the power has been cut
And stare at the sympathetic face of my mutt
Moaning and cursing I head to the porch
I need light
Need to find my torch
When I get back to the bedroom
I’m far from amused
Because the fucking sock faerie thinks she’s got me screwed
For she’s mixed up my socks and stolen my shoes

Grant Harbison

Loving This Living Moment

Oh you are
My constant
Silly smile;
I look a fool
And love it

Oh you are
The spark
That lights my eyes;
I feel alive
And love it

Oh you are
My senses devouring
The dazzling present;
And the delicious treasure
Of anticipating

I am here,
And love it.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 28 November 2013

About maths and truths and lies and loneliness


Lets count one - nothing - one- nothing....
Go back...
Start again and count:
So where is the other "one"? You know, the other number that would make it Binary. That is what binary means, supposedly. Anything with a "bi" in it means two.
TWO. Not one....nothing!

This just goes to confirm what I've always believed.
Mathematics is a language for lies.
A clumsy language too; pretending to be precise, when all it is is crude.
Rude AND crude; and crass.

You can't tell stories with just Maths. You just can't. The lovely liquidy flow of words tripping off your tongue, painting pictures, planting image-seeds in minds? Can't do it with Mathematics. What you CAN do, is dress up "facts".

Maths is also great for reducing things people don't really want to think about, to shift awkward amounts of money, poverty and whatnot about. You can shore up ridiculous theories, explain away most things, discard responsibility, and also "prove" why apparently reasonable solutions are just plain impossible!

But I tell you one thing, they can't refute THIS!
The Binary Code is a fraud. Disprove THAT! Go on.
Let me show you.
COUNT! There you stand alone.
That is only ONE. You, alone. That is who and what you are. ONE.

Now, drop the bloody phone, or step away from the mirror or what ever substitute of one you have been using to tell yourself you a Binary Code sort of person. Look at the person across from you.
Count: ONE
Count again: ONE

Lean over, and say it:
"I count You. ONE. You COUNT."

Now smile. That is NOT a "" count.
Specially if your other ONE smiles back.

So now that you can count:; you get up, take that other person's hand and hum to the lovely sound of the stuttering drumming numbers leading your feet to dance.

THAT is a Binary, one-two.

Go on, take a chance.
Forget the bloody Mathematical statistics proving probable failure.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

This breathless moment just before...

There are moments when it seems you stand with your hands so full of promises of joy: dreams hatching and trembling to life between your fingers, that none of it seems real.
It seems too much, your heart is too full, the hopes are too great to be contained.

I'm standing here exactly like that. I have worked so hard for this moment - all my life I think - and now that is here, I can't for the life of me decide if i should laugh or cry. 

I am too used to hard paths, and burdens, and bruised knees. I am too used to getting on my toes to dance even with no music, just on the off chance that maybe mid-twirl some God will prance in and teach me some practical magic to make things real.

Oh so now, what do I do?
 My hands are quite full, the hatchlings are clinging to my fingers and stretching their wings, and me (like a fool) can only stand here with my mouth hanging open as all these dreams unspool, become true things, and challenge me to dance for real.

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 25 November 2013

Guilty Pleasures by Manuela Cardiga will be available in Paperback and Kindle on AMAZON from December 5th!


The Writer's Coffee Shop apresenta a Autora Portuguesa Manuela Cardiga e o seu novo livro

The Food and Fornication Fables

 Venha conhecer a nova aposta da Editora que descobriu as "50 Sombras de Grey"...

Ás 18.30 de 7 de Dezembro, na FNAC de Cascais


Memory works both ways:
Forward and backwards, 
Proving the circular flow- 
The paradox that is the nature 
Unlimited and finite 
Of the measure of Time.

Memory goes surfing the tubes; 
Hitching on quantum particles 
Skipping and sliding 
On the ambitious slippery
Light of the divine.

Don't argue with me, 
Saying I know nothing about this! 
Tell me how it can be otherwise? 
That I can forward-remember 
Your smile?

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 23 November 2013


I am by will become
An unshaped thing
Given over
To the random
Silken drift-wood
Languid sea-weed
Tides lift
And take me
Salt-tongues of waves
Rough shape me,

Wash over me,
Be faith in fate
And trace me
A map of stars
As yet unlit
By gods gone
Or yet to be,
I follow.

I drift and swallow
Random benedictions
Most sacred tears.
Allay my fears.
Give me love:
A pearl
Of Faith.
And I am thine:
And Oceans-deep.

Manuela Cardiga

THE INK BLOT GUEST SPOT: "Desire's Detective" by Jacqueline Sapphire

 "Desire's Detective" by Jacqueline Sapphire

In glamorous Versailles someone is murdering the Jesters.
Feisty Coursesan turned Detective Noelle de Jouissance investigates the crimes and finds herself embroiled in the sex-mad Royal Family’s erotic secrets; her virginal sidekick, Desiree, is being pursued by the King's lecherous brother; the King is out to seduce the Queen and her Mistress, and the only clue to the suspect's identity is a tattoo on his scrotum...

A deliciously raunchy Historical satire: a funny, tongue-in-cheek take on the sexy shenanigans at Louis XV’s notoriously sinful Court.


The coach sped over the bumps and stones, mercilessly throwing its young passenger back and forth against the velvet cushions. Desireé sighed. She could hardly believe she was leaving her childhood home and refuge behind. The lovely landscape of poverty-stricken rural France unspooled before her eyes. The picturesque villages and cultivated fields; the charming chateaus were a grim contrast to the pinched faces of the bare-foot children.

Desireé knew her life’s true mission was amongst these people, tending to their needs, nurturing their souls; and not in glittery Versailles, in high-heels and satin. She clasped her delicate hands together and closed her eyes tightly.

“My dear, you must be strong”, the voice of the Mother Superior at St Cyr echoed in her memory. “God calls and we must answer. Do not doubt there will be many thirsty souls at Court: you will be a fount of goodness, a shining light. Perhaps more needed than you could imagine…”

She had been about to enter the Novitiate when the fateful letter had arrived, ordering her to present herself at Court; and place herself in the care of her cousin, Mm. Noelle de Jouissance, her only living relative. Desireé remembered her vaguely, a green-eyed angelic-looking girl seven years her senior. She could hardly believe all her plans for the future, her tranquil life with the Sisters could so easily be overturned by one letter.

The cracking of a whip and a vicious scream of invective from the coachman tore her from her reverie. The coach now trundled between stunning gardens, manicured lawns interrupted by fountains where nude statues reposed in languorous poses, sometimes spouting water from… gasping - Desireé averted her eyes.

Before her, Versailles unfolded in all its splendor; like a fanciful sugar confection cast into stone by a dizzy Fairy-Godmother. The sour-faced coachman threw down her luggage, then leapt down and opened the coach door. Trembling, Desireé alighted and stood riveted, as he drove away. Never had she felt more alone, more abandoned than at that moment, not even as a six-year old orphan.

“Desireé?” A husky voice, with a lilting quality spoke from behind her. Gasping, Desireé turned and found herself facing (had she but known it) the woman who was to be the single most important influence in her future life: a tall figure - lissome, but somehow voluptuous - moved gracefully towards her. She glimpsed glistening emerald eyes, and a lush scarlet mouth, before she found herself enveloped in an intoxicating cloud of jasmine, pressed against firm springy breasts.

“Oh my dear, Sacré Dieu, how you’ve grown!” This, this lush fleshed woman with the full pouting mouth, her rouged nipples peeking over the edge of her scandalously low-cut bodice must be Noelle. Her cousin Noelle! Desireé found herself flushing. How could she stand there, her breasts overflowing, her waist so tightly strapped her hips swelled with obscene ripeness under the farthingales. She found herself fascinated, unable to draw her horrified eyes away from a black velvet patch glued onto Noelle’s left breast, an inch above the crimson peak.

“My little Desireé, you are so pretty! We must find you something to wear, you look like a nun.” Desireé found herself being firmly herded through a luxuriously appointed sitting-room, up a narrow staircase, two floors, a long corridor, and into a large but modestly furnished room.

“Here, darling, you will stay here with me.” Noelle sat on a graceful chair and gestured Desireé onto another.

“Tell me about yourself, what can you do? Do you speak English? Italian?” Noelle leaned forward eagerly “Do you sing, or play the clavichord? Perhaps you are talented in other pursuits?” Her cousin was turning out to be quite disturbing in her mannerisms; her pink tongue seemed to lick out her words, “we de Jouissance girls must move up in the world, my dear.”

That evening, dressed in a pale grey silk gown with a very modest décolletage, the work of the St Cyr seamstress, (after refusing point-blank a frothy scarlet voile confection proffered by Noelle as «sensual» that left her shoulders and her small breasts practically nude) she attended her very first Versailles dinner and masked ball.

The people were astonishingly friendly: not at all what she was expecting from the notoriously standoffish aristocracy. The Ladies smiled openly at her, running admiring eyes over her dress and upswept – and un-powdered - hair; the Gentlemen were even more amiable, stopping Noelle to beg for an introduction. Really, these people had a most unsettling habit of licking their lips. It looked very unpleasant, animalistic even. A few of them actually slavered. One elderly Gentleman, overcome by paternal affection, kept planting moist kisses on her hands and wrists, and was shortsightedly moving up her arms when Desireé finally managed to extricate herself from his grasp.

Noelle watched sympathetically as she patted her hands dry on the back of her skirt.

“I hate that, especially on my tits.” Desireé gaped at her cousin in horror. “Oh please! You telling me no-one’s drooled on your boobs?”

“N-No!” she gasped “N-never!” Noelle drew her into one of the doorways and stared at her in horror.

“Desireé, are you a virgin?”

“O-of course!!!”

“Bon Dieu de la Merde! A virgin.” Noelle was dead white, “What am I going to do with a virgin in Versailles?” Her hands trembled as she handed Desireé an egret’s feather mask.

“You sit, you don’t talk to anyone, you don’t go anywhere. After the ball we will talk. Now, I have work to do…”


Sharp-edged iron
Tore open
Unready ground;
Seeds dropped 
Birthing seedlings
Too frail to stand.

Though there was
Ambitious love for light
In this timid flowering,
Imperfectly was it mirrored
In the indifferent sullen sky -
The drought winds withered
The promised angel fluff
And blew the seeds about.

So blow, you fierce winds:
Blow with all your might!
Gather in the tossed
Bosom of that storm
Fierce beginnings;
Freely scatter
The dizzy seeds about.

Fall these to warm earth,
And watered by kind strength
May yet a sweet crop sprout.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Or what it means to you 
and what you might do, 
If you suddenly discover 
you are an Arsehole too

Do NOT despair,
All is not lost.

First see the check list
Printed below:

You don't really care
So long as life is fair
To one individual
(namely you);
Justice can be
Just another empty ritual.

You hog parking spaces,
Take the places of two;
You honk late at night
Or obstruct the view
Of small children.
And haven't a clue
On how to behave.
Decently or kindly.

You have
No sense of tact:
As a matter of fact
The most sensitive
Person you know
MUST be you.

You don't give a shit
If the people
You walk with in life
Can't keep up
With your stride;

You barrel ahead
For you it's always
Forward march,
Let the dead
Bury the dead!

Of course you may find
The issue of leaving
Others behind....

Did I say "behind"?
That's right!
The signs are quite clear:
According to the
Oficial questionnaire
You are a genuine,
Bona fide DERRIERE!

Did I say do not despair?
I lied...
I'm laughing my head off!
You do realise the implications
Of living life
As an undisguised

It means you get poked
In sensitive places
By medical people
With lugubrious faces
And sharp fingers
In rubber gloves
Humming a dirge
Or maybe
A show tune like
"One singular sensation"
While you -
Strong manly man-
Find you have
To choke back
The urge to blubber:

"Lead me to
a confessional!
I'm guilty! I AM!
At being an Arsehole
I'm an absolute

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 18 November 2013


When I lived in a shell,
Someone told me
I wasn't loving
Enough or
In the right way
To heal him
Of his pain,
And if he hurt me,
I was to blame.

When I lived in hell
Someone told me
My smile was
A vicious test
For anyone's
Oh he hurt me,
And I was to blame.

Then I broke the spell,
I told someone:
Take your unlove,
Your anger,
Your disdain.
Go and find
Someone else
To blame
For all your pain.

I forbid you
To drain me of
My joy,
My smile
My light,
My silly delight.

I cast you out:
I refuse the blame,
That is YOUR shame.
You are denied
A place in my life.

Manuela Cardiga


Look on me
As I unfold
Wings of light.

Winds of ambitious
Ecstacy tumble me,
Hurricanes sweep
And drift me,
And I soar - drunk
On the sacramental wine
Of words and rhyme.

I spread wide
Feather-flame pinions,
Articulate with desire.
These moments
In the slippery silence
Of flight are mine.

Set me free.
These wings
Were not
Your gift to me.

I, Icarus embrace
That fervid blaze:
The fire you so fear
Is me.

Manuela Cardiga

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Excerpt from MANscapes by Manuela Cardiga

She lay on her bed hour after hour, day after day. To her hovering friends’ distress she withdrew, cutting herself off from humanity once again. Winston and Thomas and Fatimah, and even le docteur prodded helplessly at her melancholy with cheerfulness, or treats or gossip - according to their nature; but still she wallowed.

Clara was locked in, trapped. She had always been able to isolate herself, shut out the onslaught of the world, but could not escape the unreasoning irrational emotions welling up from her inner self.

Nothing she had endured of pain or desecration, or abuse at Bernardo’s hands had prepared her for this agony. She wept, and pummeled at her pillows in helpless rage. She alternated between anger and grief, and crushing guilt. An extravagant storm of sensation buffeted her - and, after years of disassociation - she was helpless before this flood. For two weeks she lay in her bed, knees scored with scarlet healing scars while her heart bled.

Then one day, Sylvine walked in. She pulled up a chair, sat and stared. Clara turned her head away sullenly, silently.

“So do you intend to die on this bed?” There was no sympathy in Sylvine’s voice. It was calm and curious. Clara did not answer.

“Oh, I see...Did you think you had endured all the injustice and pain that life could throw at you? Did you think that after all that you had been through it would all be roses? Violins?” A soft chuckle: “Oh Clara! You are such a child still! That, you see, is the one thing you have to learn. You must learn to live. Endurance requires strength, courage, resilience; and that you have. But living requires so much more! It requires skill, balance and a sense of humour. So grow up, Clara. You carry a child in your belly; you can’t afford this ridiculous display of adolescent petulance. You can’t afford to be a child anymore. It is time to grow up.”

Clara felt a fresh flood of hot tears well up.
“It’s not right. Why can’t it be fair, Sylvine? Why? Every time I think I reached a place in my life where everything is going to be finally - magically - right, everything falls apart!”

“Because it is life, Clara and not a story. Stories end: happy-ever-afters are pretend. Our stories go on, and so, of course something always goes wrong; or less right, if you are lucky. But they do go on. And so must we.” Sylvine’s long delicate fingers gripped Clara’s chin and raised her face so she could look into her swollen eyes. “The sad and bad parts of the stories are what add sweetness to the rest. And you still don’t know how it ends…” The dark eyes snapped with humour, “So now, Clara, take a chance. Get out of bed!”

“But it hurts!”

“True. Of course it hurts. Living hurts. We still do it anyway, out of hope. Because the alternative to this clean pain is despair. And let me tell you a secret, Clara, the worse part of despair is that it is utterly boring.”

For hours after Sylvine left, Clara wept. She wept for herself, mostly, she realised. She wept for her losses, her crushing disappointment, her thwarted hope. She had taken her courage in both hands and forged herself a new life, and it had gone wrong. She wept again. Walker: that wonderful affirmation of her healing; her rebirth as a whole woman was gone.

He was gone, but she was not. She was still here: in the place she had so longed to be, healed of Bernardo’s spite, in full possession of her own heart, owner of a talent she had as yet barely touched. Clara was grieving for herself. Sylvine was right it was time to grow up.

Oh but how difficult to let go of the crutch of familiar pain! It was so comforting, and so safe. This pain she knew intimately, its taste and its sting. Healing from this brought fresh dangers; hope brought new possibilities of new pains, ones she could not foresee and with no guarantees she would overcome them.

The enticing embracing despair that had kept her in stasis under Bernardo’s abuse for twenty-three years beckoned. It would be so easy to fall back, to yield to that poison kiss...

Then she felt within her the child move. The slightest butterfly flutter, and she knew she would not, and could not give in. Somehow she had to shed that hesitant unsure nineteen-year old frozen in the horror of violation.

Yes, Sylvine was right. It was time to grow up.

Saturday, 16 November 2013


Love keeps me from you,
Or do you keep me from love?

I cannot decide
If in giving in to you
I turn away from love;
Or in giving love
I turn my face from you.

I stand here musing
And in my distraction
A sharp vision
Of you mirrored, chanting
To your own reflection:

I raise my head
Look you in the eye
And cry "I cast you out!
Begone from my heart!
Be dead, be gone,
Be none!"

Fear, be you gone,
I choose;
And in my choosing,
I choose love.

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 15 November 2013

Liar, Liar pants on fire...

I dropped a few crumbs:
A smile or two.
Showed an ankle
And a sudden view
Of a thigh in a stocking
And blew a strand of hair
Off my face.

A bit of a disgrace,
You might say,
But I think I got a taste
For flirting or maybe
Was looking
For a hint
Or a glint
Of something
In your eyes
Something you were trying
Vainly to disguise?

Get over here....
Drop that indiferent mien,
Tell me no lies
Because all the while,
Though you were trying
To hide your reaction -
Through it all,
I kept my eyes on you.
And your flesh tells me true.

Manuela Cardiga
Da Lonely Lovelorn Lullaby Of Lady DaGrind

"Oh woe is me!"
Moaned she and sighed
"Is dere no hope 
For Lady DaGrind? 
I cannot sleep 
Oh what can keep 
Away from me
Da one and only
My darling love 
My sweetest dove? 
Who'd coo and woo 
And lay me to bed 
And gently rock me
To sweetest sleep?"

DaGrind she wrung 
Her little hands 
"Too long have I tarried 
Alone on this shore 
My tears alone 
Would fill up a score 
Of beer-barrels 
Or maybe even more.."

Why! Canute himself 
Could not turn back da tide 
Of the lonely tears 
Of sleepless DaGrind. 
Though she cried and cried 
Til her eyes were sore 
And stood sentinel 
On da lonely shore 
And sang to da wind 
And swore to adore, 
No Knight did appear 
Dat day, or da next 
For poor DaGrind 
Dere was just no rest....

"Cry not, dear Lady!" 
Quoth a Gypsy rascal 
With a bold stare 
And a motley satchel 
"A Knight I foresee 
Both lofty and skilled 
With sword and with lance 
Who can even dance 
Thee a merry jig; 
But give him a chance! 
His charger did so prance 
It threw off a shoe 
And da poor bugger 
Hasn't a clue 
How to fix da damn thing 
And da blacksmith is drunk 
As da proverbial skunk..."

This sally consoled 
The damsel a bit. 
"Why, then," she cried 
"I must learn to abide 
Patient and mild 
For soon he will ride 
Into my life and end 
My sleepless strife! 
On his prancing destrier, 
With his lance and his sword 
And his bright flashing helmet 
With its plume high and bold..."

"I don't know about dat last bit!" 
Cried the Gypsy, a little bit miffed 
"I fell off da horse 
When he threw of da shoe 
(Flat on my derriere, too!) 
And dented da helmet 
Just da tiniest bump 
But I been waiting a week, 
And dat shit 
Of  a blacksmith 
Still hasn't got 
Da fucking thing fixed!"

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Sometimes it happens
(not all the time
but once in a while)
You meet someone,
You somehow just trip over
That one smile
You'd like to keep
In your pocket for a while.
(maybe not forever
cause THAT
Is a long long time)
But for a while.
Because, see,
Somehow it travels,
That smile
From lips to pocket
And to lips again.

What i mean to say is,
That your smile,
The one you can't hide?
(or is that mine?)
Mild or wild-
I'm keeping it
Inside the pocket
In my mind.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Regarding The Diary of Anne Frank

With regards to The Diary of Anne Frank, there is something I would like to add.
 I hope some Moms and Dads will come home with the book one of these nights.

I know a lot of people think it's too harsh for kids because it touches on the Holocaust, but we cannot, and must not hide it from them. It is something that is real, it happened. It is not something of the distant past - it is a NOW thing -and Anne makes it immediate. We fall in love with her, and when she dies, we feel the loss. Anne Frank is one of ours, a friend of ours died in the camps.

We lost her.

They took her from us.

This is still happening today, in a lot of places, in a lot of ways.
Bright lights are going out, and keeping our children in the dark is not the way to fight.

Manuela Cardiga

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Immortal Anne

I picked up my daughter from school today, and she had stars in her eyes.
She is reading The Diary of Anne Frank in class.

She is eleven, and lives in a world where examples are set by such fractured personages as Hanna Montana; or some other frighteningly stupid teen sit-coms with characters cut out of glossy cardboard, utterly devoid of any substance, every joke cued by inane canned laughter.

She was enchanted, swept away, entranced. Anne - reaching out across seventy years - touched her deeply.

She hasn't got to the part where Anne is stripped of her individuality and her future, and swept away to be processed in a death factory.
Horror, sadly enough, reaches people more easily than joy.

But no. My daughter was caught up in that sweetest of moments: the magical awakening to first love, that first kiss between Peter and Anne.

The delicate innocence of that love has little in common with how relationships are depicted in our contemporary life; yet she responded to it with such intensity. And what was she responding to?
Sincerity, beauty, delicacy of feeling.

Her response heartens me. Our children are not hardened; their sense of what is wholesome, beautiful, is intact. They long for so much more than they are being offered. Children (and teens) want substance, intensity, and intelligence in what is presented to them as entertainment. They want integrity.

Is anyone out there listening? Pick up and reread the Diary of Anne Frank. Please.

Oh! By the way! Yes I know next week she will come home with a broken heart when Anne dies.

I know THAT, but I also know that true stories are hard to tell, and sometimes even harder to listen to.

It is a hard, painful story, for all its beauty.

This is what gives it its power.
Yes, she will cry for Anne, because she feels for her.

Already she loves this other little girl a world and a lifetime away. And somehow a little of Anne’s spirit is passed on: her irrepressible humour, her passionate love for life.

Anne will help my little girl to grow.
It will hurt a little,as growing always does, but the love she is feeling will heal that pain.
Anne lives again.

Manuela Cardiga

"Guilty Pleasures - The Food and Fornication Fables" by Manuela Cardiga to be launched on the 5th December 2013!

Here is the cover, and a taste of the contents...

“Can you believe this, Will? Here we place fake dew on berries, for people who sell fake dreams and pay real money so they can eat real food without anyone knowing. Amazing. They go out and eat macro/micro/molecular or whatever is in fashion for the week, when their bodies crave something fat and rich . . . we are like a dirty secret. They come and eat with their hands and they lick their fingers. Here is the world.”
Lance laughed and shook his head.
Serge waved the spray mister about. “People are ashamed to eat good food in decent portions in public, but you get a two-bit whore teaching bored housewives how to give great head on morning TV.” He sighed and shook his head. “And let me tell you, she didn’t know what she was talking about. Best practitioner of fellatio in the world was the Empress of China.”
Lance’s jaw dropped. “Empress of . . . are you serious?”
“What an artist . . . the man could make a stone come. He was a eunuch, a real pure from birth, reared in the Forbidden City. He trained us—the new arrivals—decided on our speciality, and our look. He was an old, old man when I knew him, but he still had all his own teeth, and was limber and graceful as a gazelle. A very wise man. He told me I had to decide, as a freak, if I’d rather be a clown or a demon. He said we oddities—and he spoke from experience—attracted the cowardly and the cruel. Easy targets for the unimaginative, you see.”
Lance nodded soberly. “A wise man, your friend.”
Serge smiled grimly. “Yes, he was. So I was the demon, and Yusuf was the angel. What a spectacle we were, Will. Food for the gods’ lust, or the devils’. Yusuf was a hermaphrodite, see. Beautiful, Will. Never have I seen a more beautiful face. He had breasts and a body to make Aphrodite weep with envy, and a man’s prick he had, but the Empress always presented him fully clothed in a long white virginal shift, his hair loose like an angel’s, and then he’d wet the shift down. It would cling, see, the breasts of Venus, the prick of Mars. Some bastards would pay to see us freaks together.”
“My God, Serge, how did you stay sane?”
“Willie, things are simple. You do what you do to survive. We all pander to the powerful’s desires, don’t we? Only today, it’s even worse. Since survival is practically guaranteed, these people obsess over the basic things that signify survival—food and fucking. My father said that when the few value our art the most, is when the many are the most hungry. He was right.”

Look for 

"Guilty Pleasures - The Food and Fornication Fables" 

by Manuela Cardiga

Online or at a Bookstore near you! 

Monday, 11 November 2013

It is my Father's birthday toda. Miss you Daddy.

Daddy's Girls II

One man stands
Astride the narrow,
A bridge holding out
Through storms
Rain or doubt.

He stands
And holds
My hand when
I need to cross.

I may be afraid
But he holds
The narrow.
So I take heart
And instead
Of timidity
I stride out

I step outside,
Paint outside
The lines.
My train
Runs on time
Though there are
No tracks.

Sometimes I waver
Fearfully I pause
To look back
To where he stands,
And he is with me
Holding still
The narrow
The bridge
The crossing
Not on any map.

His clear vision
His quiet strength
My compass yet.
So I take this step
And will take the next
With no fear of regret,
Because when I look back,
There he stands.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The simplest thing

Someone said: We should love with an open hand.
I loved that imagery. An outstretched opened hand, palm up, the most vulnerable gesture of trust. The perfect image of a generous heart.

Then I realised most people love with hearts like clenched fists. Clenched tight like a miser's fist around a coin, until it cannot open, cannot give; but must cling to the garnered love received else-when or be empty.

Here is the thing: the more you love, the more you love.
You cannot hoard it.
Love does not accrue interest, or gain value, unspent.
You cannot negotiate or barter it: I will love you if you love me back; or if you give, or do, or become such and such.
It will not answer. I just won't work.
There is that fist, closed sweatily over that sticky unspent coin.
And it is valueless. Quite valueless. Currency that will not trade on any market; you can buy nothing wholesome with what is spoiled and soured.

But if it opens - the heart-hand - it unclenches and the love spills out and grows. Spills out and spills over into every part of your life.

The hand, once it is open, spreads out the fingers, becomes a star shape.
It takes up more and more space, and in that space love grows.
Love expands and fills up every part of your life.
The more you live, the more you love your life.

The more you love, the more you love.
It is the simplest thing, really.

Manuela Cardiga

PART 9: Sad Sam and Sly Strange - A Serial by Grant Harbison and Manuela Cardiga

The tall Lady’s eyes, you would surmise, would be quite blind. You would be wrong: for strong as the drug might be, yet a sense of awareness did abide. The dreadful potion set in motion her long-legged stride; but deep inside Esprelotta’s mind did strive and writhe against the fearsome bind. Her tongue longed to be free to cry for help, but nothing could she do to save herself. So a passenger in her own flesh, a prisoner in her own skull - her mouth was struck dumb, but her senses not dull…And this was the mistake Severina made. She could command the body but not the mind; even less Esprelotta’s valorous heart.

Now when dawn came to the quiet cottage, with it came the fearful knowledge one of their number had absconded. Why, wherefore and how? But foremost in Sam’s mind was “why”. Now the Lady of Light lay her sight upon Severina. “What have you done, Savage Child? Look me in the eye, and do not lie!” Severina did strive to hide the vicious deed that in her putrid mind did abide, and prayed the Lady would not strip bare the less than fair intentions that lay there. Her greatest fear was that Sly would find her less kind than he desired; that if he glimpsed the dreadful mire of her swampy mind, he would flinch back, desist and she - Severina Wild - would be nursing the shattered shards of her half-Troll black heart.

The Lady’s vivid eye saw all, the dreaded plan uncovered her gentle heart did appal. With a cry she stood tall, raised up her hand to call a dreadful curse upon the vicious being before her. Then, oh then did she pause…A terrible smile dawned on her delicate face. “Severina, hide not your disgrace; from now on, honesty deceit on your lips will replace. Nevermore - be thou sure - shall a lie issue from your lips. Nay! Thou shalt be true; truth will be thy only coin for trade, Severina Wild, savage Daughter of a bitter heart. Indeed pure sincerity shall be your saving grace…” Listening - silent and shamefaced - Sly prayed the Bright Lady would not discern the kernel of truth in Severina’s mind: that in truth the ugly seed of the heinous deed had burgeoned deep in Sly’s own rage; his vicious jealousy at the devotion on Sam’s face as he fair Esprelotta did embrace.

“If truth be told, then I will be bold,” Severina jeered. “To the Market of Despair she has been steered. But as you well know, seer, it was Sly’s idea.”

Sam turned to look at Sly, as tears fell from his eyes. “Why, Sly?”

Sly hung his head in shame, knowing he was to blame. “Forgive me young bud, but in that town of Mudd, a voice filled my head. It filled me with dread.Commanding, demanding that Esprelotta be sold for a measly sum of gold.”

“Oh, that voice you know well,” said the Lady of the Light. “But under her spell you couldn’t distinguish, so you had to relinquish, offering no resistance to its persistence. Nay, Sly, do not dismay, that spell was broken when we entered the grey.”

“But if a spell was cast, why did she ask what should be done? I am the one who made the suggestion. The words came from me when she asked me the question.”

“Sly, those words were granted and in your mind they were planted. For her power to accrue and the wicked scheme to come true, those words had to come from you. But now we must make tracks. It’s back to the black, for a terrible fate Esprelotta awaits if we’re a minute too late. Sam and Sly, prepare the dragons. You will join I and charming young Barbon. Severina you will remain, for duplicity wanes when one stays in the grey.”

“How stop ye me from leaving? My words may be truth, but I can still be deceiving.”

“An invisible shield shall cause you to yield. When we enter the black, the grey will be sealed.”

Severina screamed and pulled at her hair, and then ran from the house in utter despair.

As Esprelotta neared the despicable auction, an inner voice told her to proceed with caution. She tried to walk backwards, tried with all her might, but as she tried to do so, her legs would not abide, and they forced her to go forwards another fifty strides.

On the dreaded stage the dark play unfolded: the delicate flesh of the merchandise revealed, every defence peeled away.

First act of the drama: on display a silver skinned mermaid on a tray, like dinner served to spike lustful appetites; next a dark mite, velvet skinned and bright eyed - trembling in fright- made the watching monsters salivate. 

“But wait!” Cried the auctioneer, “Ye gentlemen, wait! For next, for your delight, is such a sight as never has been seen on this Slave Mart; and gentlemen here have been thousands of tremulous morsels of flesh devoured, yet I swear has never before such beauty flowered on these boards!” 

And with one sharp shove he pushed to the front none other than Esprelotte - child of the fairest Selkie and the foulest Giant - the treasured Princess-Daughter of the Kingdom of Slaughter. Rough hands dragged down the robes to reveal - standing still in her magic reverie- her beauty, and here a stillness fell, for such was she that even this foul crowd bowed their heads in shame. 

Had a goddess stood unclad, the very moon, none would have had as strange a doom as this. One by one fell the foul crowd to its knees, heads low, eyes averted. None could face her. 

None? Oh but there was one immune to the gentle tune of Esprelotte’s glorious beauty. A terrible voice called out “She is mine, disperse the crowd! Any man not gone who dares face my wrath, who gazes on the incandescent flesh of my property would best fall on his sword: I will take this woman to Consort!” 

The voice, this hoarse clamour, did issue from a form with no glamour. All that was foul and vicious, twisted and pernicious could be said of the dreadful Red, King of Dwarfs; the man now determined to take to bed the beauteous Esprelotte. In that moment the spell did break, and trembling did Esprelotte take her first look at her terrible fate. 

“Sire,” she cried “Thou didst buy me, thy right cannot be denied. Yet I beg thee, if thou hast loved or love yet a creature in this World, take pity on me: set me free!”

by Grant Harbison and Manuela Cardiga

THE INK BLOT GUEST SPOT: Discarded by Grant Harbison.

I spin myself about
Arms outstretched
Twisting round and round
Frolicking folly
Laughing in the rain
I do my best to amuse you
To make you look my way
Hearing heckles and shouts
I spin again and again
Then fall to the ground
Feverishly inane
Crawling into my shelter
I grab my worn duvet
Wrap it around my shoulders
And stare in utter dismay
As you leave the hustle and bustle
Eager to get away
Before darkness sets in
And fiends come out to play
Feeling disappointed
I reach inside my pouch
And pull a carton out
Some discarded junk food
I found lying on the ground
I reach for a half empty bottle
And press it to my lips
I take a large swallow
And relish the momentary bliss
Before the advent of dark
The loneliness of night
Consumes me with terror
Until the dawn of light

Grant Harbison

Friday, 8 November 2013


I long to feel
The slow 
Of your sighs 
The mysterious 
Stirrings of desires 
In your eyes.

Manuela Cardiga

My bladder
Runneth over
And I'm in clover
Cause if that
Bloody prostate
was acting up...
I'd be peeing
In a cup.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 7 November 2013


Blue shaded,
In the soft gloom
Of your flesh
It blooms and
Offers itself
Full blown.

I kissing trace
The mystery that
Keeps itself hidden.
Coiled heat in
The velvet depth
Of your mouth,
A still unfolding
Reaching out
Of dark petals
Round a golden heart.

Manuela Cardiga

You and I
Are quite cookoo
Or shall I say: Insane!
But what the hell,
While we still got
Hearts that beat
And brains that fizzle
(Even if our eyes
Sometimes drizzle
Tears of happy pain)
It is all the same.
We shall stand
Though our feet
Are lame
And dance
To put poor
To shame.

Manuela Cardiga

Wednesday, 6 November 2013


I will not love you,
It is quite decided.
It is unnecessary to do so,
Do you not agree?

Nor will it suffice to satisfy,
or elicit an equal flight
Of dizzy fancy from your own heart.
You are surfeit of this. Jaded.
Love bores the erudite

Besides, if I loved you
It would be so very trite
And provincial of me;
For what value could I offer up?
Embarrassing sincerity:
Just another tawdry bauble
To display or adorn,
Tossed in a box;
Or pierced with a thorn
To hang on a wall
Beside other
Brighter offerings to your pride.

Here: you can play with my mind,
But you will from me have not a spark,
Of tremulous tenderness yielded up
Cheaply from a deeper part;
Nor have you the wherewith all
To barter for my heart.
For that…Oh that in itself is quite an art!

Would you be a dark merchant
And sit cross-legged
On some thread-bare carpet
Sifting thriftily through the bent
And sticky coins of soured dreams
And old pains?

“Oh Allah be my witness!” the man exclaims
“I have no more than this to trade!”
Thus do some seek to lower
The asking price
On one slightly used
And battered female heart.

Manuela Cardiga

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


I flash enticement silver scales
Sway gold translucent tail-veils
Submerged in the glassy ocean
Eyes closed, mouth open
Blind, leaping high, kissing faith;
And it just won't matter at all:
If I fall, I fall;
If it should shatter,
I learn to crawl.

Some hand inside me or out
In the dizzy deep unclenches
Opens spilling out crystal dreams
A hand that grips the heart
Shakes me about, spinning
Dancing snow all around.

I welcome it all:
Flying high, giddy fall.
That hand may catch
Or yet another palm
Cradle that spinning globe,
Madly tumbling my world.

Let me tongue taste
Crave devour
That dizzy extremity;
Pain or ecstacy.
It is all the same,
It will not matter at all:
If I fall, I fall;
If  it should shatter,
I learn to crawl.

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 4 November 2013


I'm sitting
In the evening train
And all around me
People do the things
That get them through
The jostling pace
From place to space.

I too have things to do.
I scribble this, and
Nibble at my pen;
Scratch and patch
At awkward verse
Bad rhyme,
Wrong tense.

I raise distance
Seeking eyes
Night reflecting
Flashing past
The dreaming face
Of one woman
Who ran out of lies.

Manuela Cardiga

Sunday, 3 November 2013


If I should fall
From grace,
Promise me
All the world
Abandon me
And revel
In my disgrace,
Turn you not
From me.

Into my eyes
Let there be
No trace
Of steadfast duty
Or obligation
And please God,
I beg of you,
No pity.

If I should fall
From grace
And only you
Do not turn
Then, love,
I need
From life
Or love
No more.

I call to them:
Let me fall!
Bright angels
Crash and burn,
But in this one place?
This one heart
I am falling into,
That one face
Welcoming me
This is grace.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 2 November 2013


We say goodnight,
And the sweet shape
Of the words curl
On my tongue.
They tremble there,
And I must choke back
The urge to let them
Spill out...

Spill out?
I want to shout!
To proclaim,
And claim from you
The very same...

But then I see
The kindness
In your eyes,
Your honest smile,
And I am struck dumb;
Imagining your
Embarrassed chagrin,
As you - incapable
Of that gentle lie -
Stood there
Unable to reply.

Manuela Cardiga

There are people
Like sinkholes
That swallow light,
And no love
Can fill, or heal,
Or alleviate
Their plight.

Oh you can pour
Yourself dry,
Drain your very heart
And still they cry
For even more,
Until - least you fall;
You must per force
Slam shut that door.

Manuela Cardiga