Monday, 31 August 2015


The Ratel*
Oh followed
The Honey-bird

Oh Follow Follow
(the fluttering word)

The Ratel
Devouring the world
Ravening hunger
For poison:
Oh words of poison
And all that's

Oh Follow Follow
(the fluttering word)

The Ratel
Raising it's
Iron claws
Oh the thorns
And the stings
And the pain
Of the bees...

Oh Follow Follow
(the fluttering word)

The Ratel
Raising it's
Pleading paws
I think, I drink, I eat
The flesh of doubt
I'll suckle on honey
And tear the stings out.

Oh Follow Follow
(the fluttering word)

The proffered
Of the Honey-bird.

Manuela Cardiga

*African Honey-badger

One step-misstep
And the ice broke
Disaster spoke
And the water
A scream
For help
Or hope.

So the ice broke
Shattered spattered
Burning cold

Would it be safer
Flat-foot on the shore?
Far from the dazzle
Of the rainbow ice?

Of course!
But then
Would you
Have a chance
Of summoning
From the depths
A leviathan fit
To crush-change-rearrange
The world?



I'm going to find you a miracle
I will pray and call on God
And dancing Angels
To unfold erupt transform
Work wonders in your life:
All your dreams,
Your needs,
Your wildest schemes
Made flesh, defined;

But please forgive
If in the selfish hour
Just before sleep
I secretly wish I could be
Your miracle
The way you are mine.

Manuela Cardiga

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Friday, 28 August 2015


She did it
With a wiggle
Of those hips
In that girdle,
A giggle from
Those lush plush
Unaugumented lips,

She tossed those locks
Curled platinum blond
And cut close
With a fringe
And a flirty flip.

She did it,
That casual strip:
Turned on the radio
Dabbed on Chanel
Discussed Relativity
And the death
Of hard-sell,

Hit a home run,
Swore she never
Would tell and
Wisely pretended
Her own kinda

But someone
Spilled the beans
Hair colour will tell...
The news papers screamed:
The world was robbed
of its very best Blond!

But all it
Really was
Was a hit
On an overbright
Brunette Moll
By the Irish Mob.


The storm broke
Last night and
Flung rough winds
Of doubt at the new
Dreams I'd built,
Bolstered by words
I spoke and wrote.

The storm broke
Last night and
I was sleepless,
To the screaming
Of the bitter wind.

The storm broke
Last night and
I, casting out
That doubt,
Denying forecasts
And rumours of pain,
Ran out,
Wide armed,
And dancing
And welcomed
The blessed fall;
The tender grace
Of the cleansing rain.

Manuela Cardiga

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

All Muses love their poets well,
Believing the mirror cannot be flawed,
That can such perfection tell…


My cat-self dances a tangled yarn
Of soft-furred kitty-charm 
Drawn between cat-paws 
Pat-patting velvet-claws

My cat-self scratches needle-sharp 
Kneads and needs with plaintive cries 
Arching against your thighs 
Shapes sinuous and sly

My cat-self bats your tale 
To and fro, tail twitching leaps 
Strolls around it testing questing 
Tilting slanted eyes

My cat-self cat-cradles 
In your arms yawns pink-tongued 
And lies supine silken soft 
Swooning purring sighs

My cat-self lies- she craves 
The barbed thrust savage 
Tongue-rasp kiss-sharp bite 
Screams delight, shudders cries
And sighing dies.

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 24 August 2015


Wordsworth killed our mojo
when he started
that there friggin thing
with the daffodowndilly
(silly fucking Willie)

We poets we was
proper terrors, we was!
we was word-warriors!

What with the drinkin
and the whorin
we had priests
abhorin us and
political fellas
burning us and
our bundles and
we burned good
what with all
that cheap liquor...

But it was understood:
we had us a place
in every inn,
and some of them
houses as specialises
in outs and then ins,
or both - for them
as likes particular sins.

I blames Wordsworth
and Milton and Keats.
now Byron, he was OK,
he was as crooked and
drunken a word-whore
as could be named.

He may have been lame
but he understood
the whole aim of them
poetic activity
was to get laid,
and man did he!
he got it in spades!

I blames Wordsworth
i do, and i won't repine
the man was a pimple
oozing sentimental shite
waxin lyrical about them
saintly country dead
or some such trite.

I coulda told him
Mistress Stave
as ordered that
rhyme for that grave
was fiddling old Fred
long afore her late
lamented husband
was dead...

Waits a bit that weren't
Wordsworth but that
snotty, acned Chatterton
as killed hisself and started
the fashion for dramatic
teenage anguish in poems
as shoulda been blessings
on we mature god-fearin folks...

it weren't Tom Chatterton
it were that pussy Thomas Gray!
i always suspected
that bastard was gay
what with admirin
sturdy shepherds
and hiddin and pokin
at sheep in sheds
insteada bouncin
succulent maids
on feather beds...

Well, don't matter no-how
cause they is all dead,
just as you and me
and Fred here, dead
and buried in the loam.

So pour us another one
Rabbie, and give us
a proper bit of a poem...


Went to dinner
Party of three
“Darling! How are you?”
Bored as can be.
And there was this man
At the table next to me
Late sixties tucked
And trimmed
All the fat sucked off
And slimmed,
Smiling and smarming
For all he was worth
To this  lovely girl
So young and so sweet
Fresh, untouched;
Like a golden peach-
But wise enough to life
To shyly reach
To touch his cheek
And look vaguely silly
But bright enough
To teach…

What a wise little Peach!
Succulent and sweet
Playing the game
Like a pro,
And from pitying her,
I pitied him.

Here he was, fading
And wading in a dream
That she loved him-
That it wasn’t all a scheme
Built on a little blue pill
And a flash of the green…

I wonder though
When he ate his Peach,
When she arched
Beneath him
In her perfect play
And screamed-panted
His name;

When that golden flesh
Devoured him;
Did he for a minute
Catch a glimpse
Of a bony grin
On a writhing body
Without a skin?



Yeh Baby
pimp my hump
thump my lump
hump my chump
thum thum pump
the grump

Yeh Baby
that's the ticket
shave my thicket
giggle-tickle it,
lick it, flick it
whip it

Yeh Baby
stoke my stove
stroke my rose
applaud my pose
cream my nose
scream for Jove

Yeh Baby
we sure can rock it
stick that prick
in my love-pocket...
but can we do it
in relative silence?

cause I'm running
out of hip-hop
rhymes to describe
the desired crimes...


Friday, 21 August 2015


Oh meet me
In Buenos Aires
This very night,
I shall be your odalisque,
And you shall be my life.

I will hang
The silken moon to light
Our slow love
Across linen sheets
While clinging to the trellis
Of our bedroom window
Enraptured bougainvillea
Watch, and explode
Scarlet ecstasy
At every move.

I shall gathered
Their blossoms,
Make jewels
Of stolen pleasure,
Twist them in my hair,
Lay them on my skin,
Scarlet and fuchsia
Exclamations; gaping
Dry-lipped mouths
Drawing you down
To moist kisses.

We will sit in squares
Paved with cobbles,
Dappled with butter light
And fleeing grey wings,
Sip coffee bitter-dark
And green-scented tea.

Listen! from passing
Doorways escape
The tremulous rapture
Of piano keys
And the sharp-knifed
Desiring moans
Of accordions,
And rough-voiced women
Sobbing pleasure.

We will walk
The night-narrow streets
And look for oddities:
Bizarre and beautiful
Human conundrums,
Scattered stories in a smile,
A glance, a small romance.
We will drink the hot night
Then home we dance,
Barefoot under the iron lamps
Splashing in the puddles of light.

The waning moon
Is so less bright and
So this night
I have lain upon the bed
Raptures of satin lilies,
Cool and also I:
I lie, one smooth
Open aching whiteness,:
Do you not see the lilies
All around me?
Throats of white pierced
By cocks of gold.
Will you be less bold?
Grasp and bruise me,
Between us bleed
The crushed tight furled
Lilies, white satin burns
And no rose can match
The tangled tango of our loins.

So come,
Oh come to me,
Come to Buenos Aires
This very night,
I shall be your odalisque,
And you shall be my life.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 20 August 2015


Hellish Helga
Fled the war
And decide
To become
A whore,
To flaunt
Her talent
Playing it
In Trafalgar,
Under the jaundiced
One-eyed glare
Of Admiral
Lord Nelson.

She became a fixture
And a favourite
With them critters,
When the troops
Hit Tipperary,
And was said
To be better
Than old Mary
Nibbling oysters
From the prairie.

She was the one Kraut
Who gave a discount
For the disabled,
And charged by the gross,
An attitude applauded
By the Home Office
And the Regiments both.

So swig down that
Guinness, boys,
And finesse them wurst,
Cause Helga is here
To fight for the Cause.


Tuesday, 18 August 2015

After a year and a half, THE SULTAN'S TALE is still ranked in the top 400 choices for the "whips and chains blow my brains" crowd on AMAZON!

After a year and a half, THE SULTAN'S TALE is still ranked
#367 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Erotica > BDSM

This means it is in the top 400 choices for the "whips and chains blow my brains" crowd on AMAZON!
Thank you, boys and girls, for all the support!

Keep reading!

Some scars are visible, some invisible, but they do not define who we are or where we are going; only where we have been, and our strength to endure.


Monday, 17 August 2015


(The ultimate questions we ask of Life answered by the Lady, personified.)

I ran into Life
At some social fling
And asked of her a thing
Or two that have been
Bewildering me
And probably irritate
The scuzz out of you too.

I asked with my best smile,
Do I always end up
In the slow moving lane,
But am the first in line
When you dole out pain?

Do I fight so constantly
To retain in my hands
Every scrap of meaning,
Only to watch it all drain
Away, another love in vain?

Though I apply every iota
Of ability and mental agility
To earn me a living
I am barely making it
to "bare-ass poverty"

Are honesty, integrity and kindness
Not on the list
Of things to acquire
"a must have for success"
Draw up by you Highness?

(oh WHY)
When I try the Forward Fandango
Do I end up doing the Crab Tango
Two steps sideways,
One hundred more backwards?

I especially want to know , Madam:
Since I went from a lady-like drawl
To a deranged screech,
You sit cool as a cucumber
And your lips don't twitch?

I beg for an answer
I plead and beseech
And still you refuse
To answer or teach
The secret to you.
Anything besides
Old Murphy's Law
Would do...

Please? Would you?

Well, get outta my sight
Afore I rip off your tits;

Manuela Cardiga

Sunday, 16 August 2015

When you start to accelerate towards your ultimate goal you will notice that the upward climb is not so different from a down-ward run on a very steep hill. Once you allow your legs autonomy, the momentum is uncontrollable, and the only way to stop is to crash.


I love my love
My love loves me
Betty Botter
Better best

I love my love
My love beats me
Betty Botter
Batter beast

I love my love
My love must die
Betty Botter
Bitter bite

I love my love
I killed him goodbye
Buried him deep
Told a sly lie

A Policeman came
To arrest me
Says I'm a killer
Can't be free

Sir - I cry-
I loved my love
My love beat me
Betty Botter
Batter beast

I called my Mother
She said to me
That does not matter
It's a private thing

I dialed the number
An officer came
He wrote it down
He took my name

He issued a writ
Gave a stern warning
It did not help,
Sir, not one bit,

One day I knew
You would not care
Unless he slew
So what to do?

I loved my love
I killed him dead
Stuck my knife
Into his head

I loved my love
I love my life
But I won't be
His battered wife.

So take me away
For Judgement Day
What ever the cost
I'll gladly pay.

I loved my love
My love loved me
Now I'm in jail
At last I'm free.


They feared lions and tigers and bears, but the big bad wolf lived downstairs

Listen beloved, for all true stories so begin...

Once upon a time, a child lived in a tower by the sea. Nearby loomed a savage forest where in roamed lions and tigers and bears, but in the tower there was no fear, and no pain. She did not live alone, her mother and father lived in the uppermost reaches of this shinning tower, and in the lower floors, overlooking the garden, lived her grandpa and her grandma. Her mother had a new baby, and her father worked day and night on the ships carrying exotica across the great oceans, so the child wandered freely from room to room and took down magic from the shelves and learned a secret.

You must not think she was lonely, her grandfather loved her very much. He was a great story-teller, and would weave wonderful magical tales out of thin air for her delight. Her grandma, she sensed with the instinct of a pariah pup at the sight of street urchins, did not like her. Her hand was sharp, her words stinging stones, and so she avoided her. But life was magical. Each day she’d run down the winding stairs of the tower and down to the garden. She’d talk to the bees and listen to her grand-pa´s stories. He’d sit her on his lap and tell her how pretty she was, and how much she was loved.

One day when she was five, a strange and terrible thing happened. Underneath her grand-pa’s face a monster appeared and tore open slavering jaws. Through a beloved face another face rose and smoking poison poured out. And the Monster said: little girl let me touch you. But the child knew a great secret. And she said “NO” and the power of words revealed itself to her, and the Monster could not touch her. The Monster screamed its poison and rage but the magic words protected her, and he could he not touch her.

That night she did not sleep, but the next day, when she came down to the garden, all was as before. And she thought: “I have banished the Monster with the magic, or it was never there.” For a long time it was so, and then one day that strangeness said again: “little girl let me touch you” And again she said “NO”, and it could not reach past her power. From then on, she never knew who’d be waiting in the garden. Her grand-pa weaving stories or Monster with slavering jaws. pouring out its poison words.

Soon she never left the tower at all, unless they forced her to. She ransacked the books that had given her her first magic word for a spell to banish the monster forever, all in vain. Years went by, and she grew always sheltered by her words, and the anger of the Monster grew too.

One day when she was ten she said to the Monster: “Begone, or I shall tell the world you have made my grand-father the den you hide in”; but the Monster laughed and said: “no one will ever believe you, for they do not wish to”; and she knew that was a great truth.

She saw that many people had underneath faces: supple, strange beguiling. She knew that trust was a dream she could no longer believe in. So she took her magic words and her terrible strength and made a great spell so no fear and no fury or monstrous claw could reach her, and so she was safe.

And much later, when she had grown, a boy would come to her and there would be sweetness to him, to his smile and kindness in his eyes. And the boy would say: little girl, let me touch you. And she would say: NO…though she might want him to. The strongest word she knew was NO.

For years and years, this is how she lived and then one day one day she put it away. She folded the Monster into a tray, and put him in a box. "You will hold no more sway over me, nor your shadow ever again stray between me and those I may love one day."

So she found a new word, and then another; she started stringing the words into spells and stories and dancing and chanting them aloud, until no scrap or memory of the Monster could be found in any part of her life. Until the strongest word she knew was NOW.

And the NOW word said:
"NOW I become the child and the woman I should have been,
NOW I refuse your stain and any blame you placed on me.
NOW I start my life again.
NOW I am made NEW."


Curiouser and curiouser...

Yesterday I walked into a Portuguese bookshop and was astonished to see a novel about the relationship between Lewis Carroll published by a very prestigious publishing house. The back blurb proclaimed (as far as memory serves) "the tender friendship between two people of disparate age groups, evidenced by the provocative allure so tenderly captured by the famous author".

This was the picture used on the cover, a photograph taken of Alice by Carroll.

A year or so ago I wrote and posted this poem that no-one liked because it was "disturbing". I would like to invite you all to revisit it in light of the text and the picture posted above.


Do you all
Remember Alice?
Big-eyed Alice,
Chaste Alice,
With her blue ribbon
And her pretty dress?

How we were all
So impressed...
That Lewis Carroll
(such a kind man)
Took silly Alice
And made her a star.

Twinkle, twinkle little Alice,
Twinkle from afar!
So Alice twinkled,
But I wonder
Did she cry?

When Uncle Lewis
(such a patient man)
Took her boating
Or walking in the park,
When his hands
Wandered so;
Or even just his eyes,
Did Alice shrink?

Was that
The magic potion
He made her drink?
The poison brew
To make her think
Something was wrong
Something absurd...

That she was a bad girl
Getting upset,
Raising a doubt,
When he was such
A kind, patient
(affectionate) man.

Yes, I think
He poured it out
Into a pretty chalice
And served it to us
With charm:
(such a witty man)
The pain and the fear
And bewilderment
Of silly Liddell Alice
And made himself
A star.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 15 August 2015

LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD WOLF - Poem and Illustration


Oh the Little Red Fox
Sauntered in
To the wolf's den
With a shy grin:
"Dear Wolf,
Sweet Wolf,
Silver dream
Of the fool moon
(I mean full moon),
Oh starlight on snow,
Winter's delight
I do pray,
Don't send me away
Do let me stay..."

And the Big Bad Wolf,
With his great big teeth
And his golden eyes
Proved himself
Less than wise.

He looked her over
And there she sat,
With her wide dark eyes
And her little white face;
The very picture
Of vixen grace.

She flicked her painted lids
And tidily wrapped
Around her stockinged feet
The fiery banner
Of her scarlet tail.
She ran her pink tongue
Out at him
In her most
Engaging silky grin.

Her voice was sweet
And molasses thick:
"Dearest Wolf,
Sweetest Wolf,
It's cold and it's dim;
I've nowhere to go
And nowhere
To dream
Won't you please
Please let me in?"

For one vague moment
The Wolf considered
It might be a scheme,
For he had seen
Her teeth were sharp
And needle thin...

But she was
So soft and tiny
And her nose
So pointy and shiny
And he rather fancied
A bit of her chatter.

Besides, he was so big,
What she might do
To threaten him
Could hardly matter...

So he nodded at her
(the fool!) said he:
"Come on in,
But think not
To confuse me;
I'm the Big Bad Wolf
And you, Little Fox,
May stay
But only as long
As you amuse me."

So Little Red
Stepped lightly in
And said to herself
With a sly foxy-grin
She did nothing to hide:
"Sweet Wolf, dearest;
Most delicious Wolf,
Guard well your heart
For as Momma-fox
Always said
Big Bad Wolves
Are softest
On the inside..."

Manuela Cardiga

Friday, 14 August 2015

Easter's acoming, and this here poem is about that bunny!


"Why that Easter bunny's
got me on the hop!"
cried Alice is distress:
"Alice, he said, please
Can I lift up your dress?
And now he just won't stop!
Why since he started
I just don't sleep,
I may just pot-roast
That little creep!"

"I wouldn't complain"
Said Tink with a sigh
I can't remember
The last time
Pete made me smile..."

"Peter Pan is a wuss"
said Mamma Goose.
"A wuss???
I'd rather say a puss!"
said the Pied Piper
With disdain.

"I rather fancy
his third leg's lame!"
said Cinderela
with a smirk,
"Or so I heard
Wendy complain..."

"Let's leave 'puss'
out of it!" said indignantly
The One in "boots"
"He just has a cock..."

"What?" cried Cock-Robin
"That he does NOT!"
"And whatever he's got
Can't match the fame
Of my bow and arrow!"
Exclaimed the sparrow,
"You just ask Mrs. Robin..."

"Or even" - said Old MacDonald
"Plough a straight farrow..."
"I ain't one to gossip..."
Whispered Chicken Little
"But there's gotta be
A reason he's always
Teasin the man
With the hook?"

"Ye!" cried Big Bad Wolf,
"And flying around
In tights and a mini
What ever the season,
And wiggling his tush?"

"Don't ya go talkin!"
said Little Red to the Wolf
"I seen you wearin-"
"Hush now, little girl!"
Said the Wolf in a panic
"Lets not go speakin'
Out of turn!"

"Oh ye? I seen
The way you yearn
And pant over grammy's
Floral flannel panties!"

And the Queen of Hearts,
Not wanting to take parts,
Swooped in
And had the guards
Put pad-locks
On all their mouths.

Manuela Cardiga

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Sleeping Beauty was fast asleep and in came this poor creep straight from the streets...


She was jist
Lying there,
You know?
In the middle
Of the roses?

I thought
She was one
Of them BDSM
Cause the thorns
Were sticking
Right through
Her skin?

Man, it looked
Like green heroin
The way the sap
Run through
Her veins?


So, there she was,
Buck naked, man!
With the red roses
And the green thorns
Like that chick
In American Beauty?

Fast asleep-
And I figured,
Someone gave her
A Roofie?

So I was jist
One little kiss…
And suddenly
She opens her eyes
And screams?
And you-all
Officers troop in,
And here I am.

Listen, man,
I didn’t rape her,
It was jist a kiss
And ain't no way
I’m marrying
The stupid bitch!


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Remembering pain, dealing with the "always" in again.

for Janet

oh my dear, that astonished pain
(surprising because expected)
will fade;

what replaces it
is the constant
of an emptiness-
a silence louder
than any blessing.

amputees know this;
the tickling humming
drain from the brain
that demands they scratch
at the invisible presence.

or like the wretched
of an inadequate poet
left dangling wordless
at the end of a sentence.

Manuela Cardiga
Ten years ago my Father left on a journey.

He left, and as much as I know the travelling is destined to all, the pain of his leaving still leaves me breathless.

I know he is as close as the next room, waiting by that door to welcome me when I too walk through, yet I miss him more and more.

I miss not sharing my life with him - my daughter's growing up, the things I have done, my hopes for the future.

I miss him in the most selfish ways: his understanding, his acceptance, his encouragement, his love with no strings attached - no demands of redress.

I guess I miss him for knowing who and what I am - we were very alike in a lot of ways, so (one more selfish reason) I miss being understood.

Mostly I miss his smile and his love for life; I miss him looking at me over the top of his spectacles as he recited a recipe like it was a love-poem. I miss my father, and my best-friend.

The truth is my grief is truly selfish: it is for me, for all I lost, for my loneliness at his absence.
For HIM I will NOT grieve, his was a life well lived, and that life I celebrate.


Tuesday, 11 August 2015


I fell asleep at the wheel,
I fell from a ladder,
I fell to my knees.

Some mundane tragedy
Overcame my uneventful
Trailer-park path
From birth to death
With out a spark.

I died
Was crippled
Robbed or raped
Taken to Hospital
Or put in a grave;

They knocked on the door
At the very wrong hour
Mama was distracted
Her disposition was sour
They gave her the news
Mumbled condolences
Or some fake "fate" excuse
And Mama screamed
Grinding her yellowed teeth:

"It is beyond disbelief
You officers of the law
Being so thoughtless
And so rude as to intrude
In this uncouth manner
On my vicarious grief!"

Manuela Cardiga

Monday, 10 August 2015

Crisis can be the midwife bringing your long-gestating spiritual maturity into your conscious awareness. It's not easy, birth is both joy and pain combined, as anyone who has witnessed a baby's first cry will confirm.


Sunday, 9 August 2015

 In order to reach our ultimate destination we sometimes need to be willing to get lost.
There are no right ways!


Friday, 7 August 2015

Grief is no excuse for abuse.

A natural need to be needed makes us vulnerable to exploitation by the unscrupulous. Some people are vampires, and their parasitic dependence is the most brutal form of domination.


Thursday, 6 August 2015


Could we redefine laxatives as the true new opiate of the masses?

From Conversations with Ivan


You could define a civilization's standard of sophistication by analising their latrines.



ME: I bet that if you researched you would find every one of the enlightened suffered either from incontinence or constipation, which would basically mean that this is the yin-yang of scatology, which in turn birthed philosophy.

IVAN: Explain please.

ME: Well peeing in your pants, or not being able to poo when you need to will lead a man to try and understand his place, and his utter helplessness before the universe, since he cannot command the most basic functions of his own body.

IVAN: You have it. The fountain of truth relies on plumbing.

ME: I think so.

IVAN: You nuts!

ME: Think about it: regular bowels and a happy bladder are the enemies of deep thought

IVAN: You right! Sitting on the can leads to contemplation, which is the highest art to which a man can aspire.

ME: You think this is why they call bull-shit bull-shit?

IVAN: Dunno. So laxatives and high-fibre yogurt are the new opiate of the masses?

From Conversations with Ivan.

WOW!!!! GREAT Review from BDSM Book Reviews for DESIRE'S DETECTIVE! 5 out of 5 Paddles Rating!

This was one of the most fun reads I’ve experienced in a long time. The characters were an absolute delight and the storyline was great. The voice of the author(s) was refreshing and the humor worked in all the right spots. Now, this isn’t really BDSM per se, but there is some bondage and talk of anal play. I’ll tell you, even though I was reading this for a BDSM review site and there wasn’t much BDSM… I didn’t care. I was totally “into” the story and didn’t miss the BDSM aspect at all. The story is so interesting with the romance, mystery, and humor it is definitely worth the read. I’d be very interested in reading the next in the series.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Pawning Pearl - Part 37

Pearl was sure somehow, somewhere she had misread the rules to life; somehow she had missed some step that people take to "get it right". She had been tossed and tumbled like flotsam in a cyclone: she had been shipped from her home and delivered to a stranger; she had been rescued and fallen in love with a man, with children, with life. Little reclusive bookish Pearl had woken up to the big world and discovered she was alive, desirable, desired and beloved.

If Pearl had ever owned up to sneak-reading her Aunt Gwendolyn's stack of dog-eared Mill's& Boon's romances she would have declared herself as a true believer in what she had once though to be no more than rose-coloured fantasy.

She though of herself in her Dior gown, sweeping the ostrich feathers off her shoulders, and the way Simon's eyes had lit up; of herself on the arm of the dashing international celebrity in her shimmering scarlet gown, the antique garnets heating her throat...

And then she thought of sitting hand in hand with Simon in that doctor's office. The agony of the waiting, and the realization that this was it. Real life. Not black velvety orchids or moonlight horse-rides, or violin serenades. This man by her side: sometimes clumsy but always sincere and kind, as lost and awkward as she in this confusing labyrinth of life.

She had her brief taste of the dizzy and the dazzling, now she had to do what she had always done, pick up the burden of duty and forge ahead. This time the burden was feather light, as sweet as it was agonizing; poignant, and painful and joyous.

"Well Pearl, my girl, what it is is love! When you love it always hurts. It hurts when it goes right, and it hurts when it goes wrong. It just means you are feeling, that's all."

Pearl smiled to herself as she remembered Mrs. Markovitch's firm refusal of her despair. "We take that apple and scrape out the worm; we eat the part that's sweet, and spit out the rest. You'll be ok Pearl, you'll pass this test, and the next, and the next. You'll survive. It's what we women do best"

She must act: action, not contemplation had always been her salvation; and she had plenty of work to do. She had Isaiah to raise, Thalie to nurture, Simon to tame.

At the though of him a smile curved her lips. What did Mrs. Markovitch call him "hunk of chocolate" - and Mrs. Markovitch had never glimpsed Simon coming out of the bathroom with just a towel around his hips, gleaming from the shower, trickles of water running down that wide chest with those little peppercorns of crisp hair...

"You are a lustful, shallow woman, Pearl," she said to herself as she selected a shopping cart at the doors of her favorite supermarket, "And it's WONDERFUL!"


A few hours later she was back at the apartment unpacking the groceries with the children, mediating the squabble over who put away the ice-cream.

Tonight after dinner, she would call the family together for a meeting. Explain the situation to Thalie and Isaiah; pass on the nutritionist's advice to Simon.

An inkling of an idea was stirring...
Something Heather Umlozi had said about the special needs of HIV-infected children. Simon had said they would be moving to the penthouse, which would leave this fine apartment empty, and just plain wasted.

She remembered the small group Heather Umlozi had pointed out to her on her way out of the Clinic. Four children - AIDs orphans - the oldest fifteen, who were living on the streets, coping heroically with every disadvantage and the deadly disease afflicting the youngest three. Hardened street-children, who survived by stealing and selling themselves, and had somehow, forged a loving, supportive family. She would speak to Simon. After all, the apartment would be standing empty and he was such a generous man!

Humming happily, Pearl shooed the two children out and started to make dinner. Chicken and spaghetti and a chocolate cake to follow. Meanwhile, she prepared Thalie and Isaiah a mid-afternoon snack: a green apple sliced thin with some orange cheese, and two bowls of full-cream ice-cream with nuts sprinkled on the top. Extra fat, extra calories! Isaiah was whip-thin, and Thalie needed that extra energy to fight the parasitical monster lurking in her blood.



Monday, 3 August 2015


I have witnessed every ritual
That can scar a human heart,
I have tasted all the deaths of love
A woman can abide, 
And I tell you: no pain
Nor tenderness
From without can reach me-
Bridge the endless distance 
From my skin to me;
Crack that fevered shell 
And set me free.

Except you. 
You might.
If you should think it
Worth the fight,
You just might.



A Friend spoke of death.
He is afraid of that Dark, I think.

He asked me what I think of Death, and here it is:

There is no Death. There is no end, there is only a moment when we take a deep breath, a pause before we begin again.

You ask: is there Life after Death?

I tell you:
There is only Life after Life.

We are immortal ambition in a sleeve of flesh, so when our sleeve becomes ragged, we wear another.
The moment we call Death is only the space of a breath when we stand naked; that one breath.

So, my dear, there is no space in this moment of Living Life for the agony of fear or regret.

Fear only fear, for fearing Death we stop living.
Fearing Death, we forget we are blessed with NOW.
In fear of the Dark we huddle, and forget to dance the sunlight hours.

Dance faster as the Evening draws near, stamp your feet, rise high your hands, let silken dust raise veils of applause as you whirl.

Wild stars twirl the heavens around your head, so be drunk on them; be alive, be here, now.
Live your Life.

Manuela Cardiga

APPLE ANNIE - Poem and Illustration


Would you like
An apple?
Red, ruby-red,
Like your lips;

Or perhaps
A peridot-green
Granny Smith

An apple, Miss!
Won’t cost
A goat’s
Snake-eyed wink
Or a toad’s toe
Or a drink from
The Unicorn’s pool,
Your first-born,
Or the peerless jewel
Of your virtue.

An apple , Miss!
A crisp bite
Of a dream,
Or the succulent edge
Of a poison kiss…

It’s just an apple, Miss!
Go on, then…
Stretch out that
Stingy fist
And take it...

It’s a gift,
I tell you…
Lay your lips
To that cool skin
Let out your tongue
In a little lick…

It’s not like
The Asp;
You won’t feel
The prick of the

Just the click
Of your throat
The gasp
Of the air
To escape
The clasp
Of the
The clench
Of the burning

Here, Miss,
Have an apple,
It's on me…
I insist!

Manuela Cardiga


WHY do things happened?
Why did the world do liddle me sooo wrong?
Why am I a constant victim of the ill-intentioned and the abusive?

Awful questions aren't they?
And it feels good to ask these question, doesn't it?
To be honest I whine: WHY! WHY! WHY!!!!
Like I said, it feels good because it removes responsability for our circumstances from our hands.

We know what happened, we know the outcome; but why do strong and intelligent person like us get drawn into these situations in the first place?
Because we WANTED to be deceived.

Always remember that, we are our deceivers and abusers’ best ally. Our lack of self-esteem opens the door, and our eagerness to be loved and accepted and valued holds it wide open.

SO howzabout WE love and respect and value ourselfves FIRST?
So when those smarmy shits come swishing around with that wide-eyed charm whining for a second chance we don't fall for their shtick.
We kick them where it hurts, slam the door and shout: FUCK OFF!!!


Sunday, 2 August 2015

When love falls apart, the biggest blow may not be to the heart; it may be to the bank account.
The supposedly amicable dissolution of a relationship turns sour over the disposal of the most modest of assets. Money rears its ugly head and nothing shows up the true character of a person than how they react to the division of material goods.

The person you shared a life with, dreams with and maybe even had a child with has now become a leach, intent on sucking out every advantage no matter how petty.

Sadly, greater than the loss of material assets, is the loss of respect. That awful feeling of finally - after all these years - seeing someone shamefully and repulsively naked.

Money may not be the root of all evil, but it certainly is its clearest mirror.

Manuela Cardiga

Saturday, 1 August 2015


The Emperor of China, or was it Japan?

Some Asian potentate - surfeit of pleasure - walked in his Garden under the harvest moon. Night-blooms of the most exotic hue bled and blended perfumes into the balmy air; winding paths led to silver pagodas, wherein waited pleasures that might delight, or spike to desire the Imperial ennui.

Poor, poor Emperor, lost to desire - lost to love; lost in the mire of too much treasure...

He waved away the sycophants offering jade rings, opium, twisted pleasure. He walked and he walked the meandering paths in his amber dragon robe, and in a cul-de-sac he caught sight of a Nightingale in the fluttering ecstasy of her nuptial flight.

Down she flew, proffering her heart. A frantic motion of advance and retreat, every wing flutter perfectly timed to a heartbeat.

Oh, the Emperor was riveted watching this; such aching need in a scrap of life! Such love - it was a while before he thought to look on the suitor of the tiny bird: a great Rose - not scarlet - but pure black.

It stood erect, the furled garland of his head drinking in the moonlight, his scent more subtle than any other; the spiraling maze of velvet petals drawing in the hapless explorer with hints of the treasure at its core.

“Come,” it hissed “Come unfurl one by one my scented secrets, and I swear I will reveal all. Oh enter, enter my embrace, and come into my last secret place: here at the very heart, I am gold…”

But the Emperor saw what the Nightingale did not: all around the velvet head sly muscular arms offered a thorned embrace. Still she fluttered closer, oh closer; and closer yet…until no closer could she get and not be impaled.

The first thorn-thrust caught her through the breast - and here was the Emperor blessed - for from her slight brown throat began to unfold the liquid yielding notes of her death song. Such beauty he had never thought to hear, and lifted urgent compassionate hands thinking to free - and perhaps heal - the fragile creature caught in the deadly embrace of the fierce warrior with a velvet face.

She refused! She struggled closer to the deadly spike impaling her heart; sobbed one last tender note, and pillowed her face on the black petals. He stood for while, watching how the moonlight silvered the stilling dust-brown feathers; saw the proud Rose shake free the dainty thing to flutter down to lie dead at its feet.

“And the moral, my dear friend,” muttered he to himself “There is nothing sadder than a Nightingale enamored of a Rose; unless it’s a woman who would propose to love an Emperor, but that I suppose - that is not so much sad, as silly...”

Humming to himself, he calmly returned to an enchanted pagoda on the curve of the sculpted river - where a girl of polished silver and scarlet lips waited his pleasure.

Manuela Cardiga

So today I say:
This is the way,
The path I follow;
And who can say
Where I'll be tomorrow?

Here is a cross-roads,
An invitation to a new dance

Oh will you not take a chance?
Quick! That-a-away!
Will you not join me?
Or will you shy away?

When you flee from pain,
You hide from joy.
And even as I believe
You do but toy
With this odd choice
That I may be,
I choose to play,
I choose your path
For one more day.

And then tomorrow
Who can say?
I may choose
Another way.

Manuela Cardiga