My game.

And cards flick over revealing

their faces in honest, bare objectivity.


Naked fingers cold, curling unstained,

digits free of another’s untamed

scent that’s faded like damp sweat,

like dew under a mournful sun at noon,

grip the sim stiff objects of my attention.


There’s time wasted,

time drawn from my liver

by time’s long bow scraping the strings

of my deep despair as I borrow

a card from the fatigue blunted,

faceless pack as the hot and cold

colours fill the atmosphere

I fear:

a picture,

an image of life,

my life, etched on laminated paper.


The King of diamonds, full of life,

full of riches, a rotundity of joviality,

my mirror image, my antipathy.


A Jack, any Jack from the blessed pack

is the jack of all trades, but never the master.

His efforts to please turn to appease

the desires of the faithless harem.


The Queen of Hearts who holds all the cards

in her sweet clammy hands sings softly

from bright eyes whose vivacity

resides at the other end of Her suit.


The Ace of Spades, the loneliest of the lonely,

the card singled out as singular, the one,

the only, the decidedly lonely, defiantly alone.


Pick a card, any card, and lay it with its fallen

fellows and I will show you the length of my time

here in my space, my void and my fortitude.


I play the game, and play on alone in the deep black of night

with the curl and twist of a club or a spade dreaming

of diamond eyes,

and a warm, beating heart.



Malek Montag,

Rochester, 2017


Picture Credit: from, (My edit for mood)

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The Day of the Running Rat


A purple haze gathered above, framed by rooftops of factories and receding cloud. The haze turned to violet, then cherry-red, then yellow. Another morning dawned on the warehouse, another day began like many others preceding it.

The regularity of this life in work faltered this day as I wandered half-sleeping across the yard to the main door. There, sitting by a pile of pallets, was a rodent, a rat that would bring such calamity to my morning stay.

At first, I ignored it. It was only a rat after all. For sure, as all such creatures do, it would scurry off when the footprint of man landed in its vicinity. But as I walked the crooked line to the sanctuary of the warehouse, it watched me while I watched it. Two outlawed gunslingers of an old Wild West One Horse Town eyed each other. No words fell on our ears or left our lips, but a solemn oath was sworn, unsaid yet binding all the same. There was a game afoot and one of us would triumph.

While the drivers moved the vans from the security of four walls into the yard to be readied for a day’s toil, I kept watch on the vast chasm of the roller-shutter door. The rat watched it too. With the movement of our beasts of burden, it roamed around the yard avoiding steel-toe-capped feet and expletives, looking for an opportunity, waiting for its moment.

“Look, a rat,” called Dave, one of the drivers.

We moved as one to his position, moved in joint enterprise to trap, but it eluded five grown men and hid under one of the vans. Others searched. Torch-light flashed, as eyes peered. Nothing. It was as though the rat disappeared like a puff of weak smoke on a blustery day. As my colleagues crawled about the yard hunting their quarry, I waited by the door, kept a sentinel watch on the precious place behind me. Broom in hand, nothing got past.

Another driver, Jimmy the Newbie, asked me to get him something buried deep within the warehouse. With no sign of the rat, I felt I could loosen my guard, slacken my watch, and help this colleague in need.

Task done, I returned to the door just as Dave drove his chariot of fire from the yard, leaving the patch of concrete it had covered to be caressed by the ever-lightening sky. And there, mere feet from the gaping hole in the wall, sat the rat.

Quickly, I hauled a barrier or two before its path. Bins and rolls of plastic stretched across the smooth warehouse floor of the shutter’s threshold. I went for my weapon, the broom. The rat saw its chance and charged. A shout went up.

“Over there!”

I turned in time to see it, but too late to prevent its egress. The rodent leaped with lithe agility and cleared the impediment. I chased it, swung the broom to catch it. In the peace of a moment, I heard my heavy breath scraping and its tiny claws scampering. My anxious eyes watched it evade my sweep, and twist and turn and vanish under a pallet of bleach, into the warehouse with little chance of detection.

Thus, were the shades of my place of employment polluted, and I defeated in my attempts to prevent invasion. Cometh the moment, cometh the Rat. Till tomorrow, my friend.


Rochester, May 2017


Picture Credit: New York Times/Louise Zergaeng Pomeroy

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Saline scented scene

and glowing lights with frying

of fishandchip love.


@Rochester, 2017


Picture credit: “PAY-Jennifer-Radigan.jpg”

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The Age of Our Consent



[To all you lovers in an “age-gap” relationship, wherever you are, may happiness be with you always.]


O, my delicious nymph, on a sheet

of virginal purity and purely replete

with blood-red knee-socks

and knickers of innocent rose;

with ponies tethering your locks

as my fingers rub your toes.


I long to taste thee like strawberries ripe

and ice-cream soft but firm to bite,

and lick like lollies sweet pert breasts

then lay a kiss on your lower cherry lip

with your cool hands upon my chest,

as we love in our secret friendship.


Ours is a passion like falling snow.

Ours is a desire no-one can know.

Ours is a union nearly forbidden.

Where Cupid sees not a lover’s age,

we reside, older and younger as one

and write words of love on our page

of life here on this bed, under this sun.


Malek Montag

14th April 2017


Picture Credit:×511/

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The Closer the Heart


The closer the heart

the deeper bitter words cut

in anger’s fury.


Hands fold and eyes glaze

under pressure from anguish

when a young heart hurts.


I feel the burn here,

feel the damage near, hard in

my serenity.


Malek Montag

13th April 2017


Picture Credit:

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Not Here…



We went out to the theatre

and saw something by Pinter.

My wife wanted us to go

since it was her kind of show.

A drink after and a bite to eat:

expensive time with the box-seat.


The babysitter wasn’t my idea

but I enjoy this girl sitting near

me, driving Clair home in my car.

Wife’s in bed; we might go far,

further than the wife’d know:

as far, as deep, as I desire to go.


Here where I can do without a care,

my fingers touch Clair’s downy hair.

I hear in my ear her submissive sigh

and my hand grips her tender thigh,

feeling towards her tight elastic band

till she halts my tremble-eager hand.


“Not here…” she whispers in my ear.

Beyond the wipers, I spy a lonely tear

from a heart-felt fear on a cold night.

Whither our love in the hot dawn light?

Run like old Hum and dear Lola Haze,

then rot in a cell for too many days?


Her breath comes expectant and steady,

the sweet girl near me is more than ready.

But what of me, I, with the most to lose?

I sit with a wheel and two paths to choose.

Have the innocent girl with wanton lust?

Or keep a score of years becoming dust?



Malek Montag

12th April, 2017



Picture Credit:

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White Gossamer



White gossamer

bellows in the warm breeze

that brings in sweet air,

that ushers in the outside world.

Sit on the floor

a cushion for comfort.

Bare skin soaking

the cooling April draft

and listen…

Not a sound nearby

except for an odd trapped fly

But hear noise from afar

A distance roar of a car…

Next-doors dog barking…

The lovers over the road larking…

Mother berating child errant…

Coarse words of workless apparent…

A scooter bursts into life…

The unemployable have their strife…

Hear song-birds chatter…

And all my travails scatter…

In my mind,

in my head,

over my bed

and far away from me for the day

leaving the road of my journey

free of debris, for a clear way

for dreams of sweet serenity.


Malek Montag

11th April, 2017


Picture Credit:

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