In the light


The silence

in this ancient room


by a pale gold

winter sun

caressing fabric

and wood

is profound

almost holy.


I close my eyes

and imagine you


in the light

and beautiful.



© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

Art by Christopher Clark



Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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Flown past


I have been reading

our past

our dim distant past

captured like photographs

running like video clips

repeating like gifs

fading on pages

that were new

at the time.


I have been reading

backwards and forwards

endless conversations

desires and wishes

tears and kisses

endings and silence


to remember

and to never forget.


I have been reading

when I should have

been writing.


I have been reading

and the time

has flown past.



© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

I first posted this around this time last year. It was a reflective time then, and it is now. So I have posted it again.

Art by Jeremy Mann


Posted by on February 8, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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Picture on her profile



Her picture on her profile.

It began with that.

His long finger was arrested in its lazy, languid, bored downwards scroll by her image.

A slight intake of breath. An appreciative lift of the eyebrows. A smile. An impossible sense of recognition.

He did not know her, but she seemed familiar.

He studied her face. The eyes, the mouth, the nose, the cheekbones.

He stroked the stubble on his chin, and leaned forward slightly in his chair.

With his eyes closed he imagined her.  And he could picture her completely in his head.

He guided the cursor and clicked the ‘follow’ button.

Her picture on her profile.

It began with that.



© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

The photograph is obviously of the incredibly talented and very lovely Lana Del Rey. For many reasons she, and this picture, were perfect as an illustration for the post at the time. It is used without permission, but I am sure she will not mind.

I wrote this four years ago. And I have repeated it around this time each year since. I like it, new readers might like it also, and a now and again it is certain that a picture on a profile has much power. Hopefully regular readers will not mind the repost.


Posted by on February 7, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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Smoke and Mirrors


Writing in the third person.
He does it to distance himself from himself.

As a child, on an English summer holiday drenched with rain by the sea, his desperate parents conjured up tickets to an end-of-the-pier show. From out of the shuffling holiday-maker-evening dark he stared in awe.

The magician towered resplendent in black tuxedo, blindingly brilliant white shirt, and silky crimson bow tie. His long fingers blurred and danced. They teased tiny-heart-beating doves to flutter from his upturned hat and open sleeves. They shuffled and cascaded cards.  They disappeared objects and recovered them from behind the ears of eager witnesses.  They summoned a long-limbed, jewelled princess from the curtained wings and folded her into a tiny box.  They thrust glittering, breath-takingly sharp swords into her confined space.

The boy watched her emerge unscathed, her pale skin still perfect under the bright lights and he longed to be the sorcerer, wished for his secrets, lusted for his power.

Mid way through the second half of the show something happened. A mistake.  Barely a heartbeat of a slip. A faltering.  A stumble. A momentary loss of concentration. An uncertainty.

Invisible perhaps to most.  But the boy saw it.

In an instant he divined the tremble in the hands, the forehead sweat bubbling through the make up, the age-shine on the suit, the panic in the eyes.  He heard a tremble in the voice.

He understood every trick.

He sensed the dusty backstage, the disappointed counting out of the shrinking fee, the cramped fetid rooms above the fish and chip shop, the acrimonious divorce, the lost children, the box of yellowing letters in an ancient shoe box.

The child saw through the illusion and, however hard he tried, and oh, how he tried, he could never summon it back

The boy himself is now a man, far from young.  He has become an illusionist, of sorts.  He knows that, for the show to have power, for it to be compelling, for it to captivate and to control, the audience must suspend belief.  They must give themselves up to the magic.  They must have faith in his fantasy.  They must belong to him.

He knows that it is such a fine balance, a precarious position, a delicate dynamic.  He knows he must negotiate the wire with absolute confidence, with strength, and with complete certainty.

He knows that, above all, he must never stop believing in himself.

Otherwise it is all just smoke and mirrors.



Strangely, as I did last year, during these introspective days I have been re-reading my past writings. I first posted this piece in 2012 on this blog, but I had already posted it on an earlier blog – ‘Shadows and Dancers’ – prior to that. The story from my childhood is true – and perhaps the rest is also so.


© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

Photograph found on the internet. Original source unknown. If it belongs to you please advise and I will credit or remove.


Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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I can never decide

whether I prefer rescuing

the scantily clad

tightly bound

damsel in distress

from the railway tracks

or being the wicked villain

who tied her there.


The truth is probably

a little of both.



© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

I wrote this a couple of years ago.  Always my dilemma.

Photography found on Flickr © Jessica Heller


Posted by on February 3, 2019 in D/s, Poetry, Still Life


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Not a worthy excuse


It would make you angry

my not writing

just because

you are gone.


You were the one

who so often

encouraged me

inspired me

pushed me

roused me

applauded me.


You who were the one

who always

expected more

who insisted

‘you are a better writer

than you believe’.


Even on different paths

in recent years

your first question

‘what are you writing?’

your firmest advice

‘write about everything’.


It would make you angry

my not writing

just because

you are gone.


You would not see

my sorrow

at your passing

as a worthy excuse.



© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

I wrote this year last year on the death of a close friend and mentor. Almost on the anniversary I learnt a few days ago of the passing of another friend, not nearly so close, but a friendship that goes back to our teens. A sense of great sorrow. It is a reminder of one’s own mortality when our friends die. Especially when they die before their time.

Art by Anne Magill



Posted by on February 2, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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Winter in England

afternoon giving way

to evening

filling the windows

of this ancient room

with darkness.


Yet for this moment

I am not here.


I am playing scratchy




French jazz

on my turntable.


I can almost smell

the Gauloises

and the Chanel.


I can almost hear


bursting with life

outside my window.


I can almost imagine

you and I

somehow both


to a Paris summer.


I am sprawled

loose limbed and easy

in an old leather chair

drinking wine.


And you are dancing

and shedding clothes

and blowing me kisses

while I








© the author writing as Romantic Dominant

Art by Hamish Blakely


Posted by on February 1, 2019 in Poetry, Still Life


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