His architect wife


His architect wife

Wei-Wei is wearing forty layers of scintillating hanfu
Silk is wrapped tight- oof! about her little waist
Hampered by feet so small they do not need binding into lotusblossoms
She tiptoes with high poof-poof hair perched with glossy magpies

No one knows about the little pooches hidden in her sleeves
Or the fact she eats midges and moths, biting  at the air like a fox
Sometimes she desecrates the earth with kumquat  coloured urine
Unfolds every paper toy she can lay her small pointed hands upon –


Life is a series of curtailed impulses
A tense clicking of tongues
A brush which only inks out

the Englishman’s strange probing kisses.


Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights Reserved



When the wind blows my hair back I am everyone


When the wind blows my hair back, I am everyone.
The bundle under the bed in the biscuit tin!
I kept things that were memories.

I opened it and everything was broken
My braces, my Nana’s glued ornament
The school photo with glorious Miss King.

A mistake had occurred and I got a wound for it
They beat me to the ground
5 girls with shining shoes and angry mouths
My eye got hurt, everything shook unjustly
The policeman shook his head so sadly.

It was embarrassing doing exams in dark glasses
It was uniquely dark and pointless
Now that everything was in pieces
My teacher would be old now
She loved us all, was merciful and young

So do not try to teach me
A lesson I will not learn.


Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights Reserved

Free Watercolour tutorial- Moody Boats


Moody Boats Tutorial  in Winsor and Newton colours.P1180220.JPG


You will need: Paintbrushes, round size 7-9, a flat wide brush, white gesso for watercolour if required. A knife.
Colours include; indigo, Cobalt Turquoise light, Cadmium red, Quinacridone gold.

White gouache.

Pen and ink. I used an ink called Lie de The by J Herbin, which splits to yellow. A spray diffuser.

I use a very fine spray which hairdressers use.

First stretch your paper- I use Arches Not in a fairly light quality.

      1. Draw the boats carefully in 4b pencil.

  1. Wash in the background using a creamy mix of Cobalt Turquoise light and white gouache. Dry it off.P1180148.JPG


  1. Add details in your brighter colours and make a wash of Quinacridone gold and any blue for the dirty inner paintwork of the boats. Ensure that you keep within the drawn lines. Dry.
  2. Develop the painting and dry between all coats of paint. Respray when you add detail and pen and ink. DRY!P1180198.JPG


  1. Spray and paint in Indigo reflections. Let it run by tipping the board, Remove excess with a rag once it hits the brown tape.P1180202.JPG






  1. The painting is thoroughly dried. Then redamped with spray. A layer of white gesso is added to the bottom left and bottom right. It is feathered out with a flat soft brush. Dry the painting again.P1180207.JPG


  1. More pen and ink is added. Finally the painting is dried and then scratched with a blade to produce the mooring ropes.


Beneath the gold there is fire Under the earth a goddess sleeps



Beneath the gold there is fire
Under the earth a goddess sleeps

I watched my father die.
Next day he sat on a wall beside me
Put his arm around me
Whispered  ‘ you are my daughter’
Under his shabby old raincoat
I could smell his old brown skin
Cherry trees were his passion
He wandered with a book
Measuring leaves, making notes
He is still now, resting.
I lay my hand on the soft grasses
A light wind exhales love love love

All is transmuted
It becomes a flowering branch….



Veronica Aldous 2016 All right reserved

Water Babies in the City



Water Babies in the City


Sometimes I feel like the woods are breathing on me, advancing like Great Burnam, trying to get in at the doors and the windows, clamorous and rude like uninvited guests.
She took another swig of house red.
There are dirty stories to be told, but they are all the same. This one is the understory, the one they didn’t print, the seamless way of language, the misunderstood dialectic of the dispossessed.

She had cleaned her nails of the polish that stained them and kept them hard and neat.
He stared at them fixedly as though they were honest.

There is a sifting system for stories. They are a bit like sewage initially. They seep down tubes and gulleys into a giant steaming vat of intentions. This is where things start to rot and bubble.
Then the whole mess is put through a filtration system; layers and layers and months later some nice new clear water is produced, clear of stain and suffering.
It may be slightly tainted, of course. Hormones cannot be removed from water and neither can some ideas.
The water has a memory, except it doesn’t. It has a figurative memory like mirrors.
What she actually said was ‘ I don’t know how I got into it. I just started sleeping around for money.’
But that is very uninteresting to the spirit; that is merely printable and saleable.

She was trying to save herself by selling herself one more time.
The man smiled sympathetically. He probably was thinking of getting her coat.
I can hold so many thoughts at once I am a bubbling stream of thought.

He would sell her story, exposing her ridiculous lifestyle to a public composed of choirboys and commandoes.

I wonder what she felt? I mean, when she did it? That’s what the public would wish to know.

I don’t believe people can go into autopilot. Suicide bombers have some activating force inside them but somewhere inside is a small babbling child kicking its feet in a pool of warm water, hoping to get to the other side.

Humanity does not always recognise its own substance. It sees a mechanised world of androids and alternative intelligence and starts to emulate the actions of robotic forces.

It wants to be dirty, then clean, then dirty. It’s a child without a mother, a mother without a child.
She slept with famous athletes, politicians and her trade name was the name of an Egyptian goddess.

She felt the simulacrum of pleasure. She was a white winged bird, a gazelle, a fern on a windowsill, a white bed full of bullfrogs.
She loved her children.
Wearily, the newspaper magnate stubbed out his cigar and bid her adieu.
He didn’t care for her favours, she was blackened by printing ink already, thumbed and folded and put out for recycling.
No, what he really loved was fishing.
She drifted out and night’s cloak enfolded her, raising her beyond the level of the commonplace crowds, setting her somewhere amongst the moons of Io. Her children would find out soon enough.


Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights reserved





Lady In Waiting

Lady in Waiting

For all those with a chronic illness.
Taught not to speak, lest she speak too much
She tends her charges, minds their needs
In careful folds and pleats, is dressed
In mourning’s morning clouds
Hopes for correct conduct without much hope
Lapses into stillness whilst counting pearls
Forgets herself; becomes a sleeping child
A frail bolt of bedclothes, a closing shutter
Her colours are hidden in peeling paint
Lace is the hornbeam which turns its leaves
Outside the  polished window
Love is very gentle and very difficult
She sings to all her little ones-

But that is never enough to explain
Her situation or her heart.

The Ex-Librarian



It was something about the colour of the day and the change in circumstances that made her shut her eyes and slide along the line of memory, beads counted backwards until she arrived at the right one. This one, no, further, no –  that one.

It was about a river. It was humid  and steamy, but a cool wind reminded of the skiffs and rowboats you could hire for a few pfennigs. The river exhaled its breath of lettuce and mushroom.
There was no river, of course. She was just thinking in bed.

Anyway, there was something stuck in the memory, some little hard nugget, like a tooth stump in a child’s gum. She remembered worrying about wobbly teeth, afraid she would swallow them or the blood would fill her  mouth when they cantilevered and skewed out of her mouth.

Child-worries are so like adult-worries that it is a wonder we think we are grown at all.

All thoughts are about love, really. Love for ourselves; do we, don’t we? Love for others; do they, don’t they?

Sometimes it’s all about breast milk, the want of itconjoined with the unknowing- we are not the mother ourselves, pouring love into our own hungry mouths.

It seems obvious she thought, It solves everything, from the most complex problem to the most puerile thought.
Such is dreaming in bed. It solves riddles, cleans the passageway of thinking, so that the beads slide up and down on their gorgeous threads.

Up and down like the skiffs on the river. Mistakes are made, the old love becomes the new love. The old failures reiterated in a gavotte or waltz.

You fold clothes and sometimes you look up because although these are different clothes, you did this before for another loved one. All books have pages because they are books. A pageless book is one in which the pages are so worn out they are inked into the consciousness of a nation. Flick the pages of a book and the words jump around, skimming and flying like little swallows above the river.

Knowledge. The. Book. Of.
Yromem. Memory sliding back.
Loneliness is such a drag.
That’s from Hendrix. When he sings it, you really feel it. Him and his guitar wailing and playing, and it being his only friend.

Anyhow, that is another bead entirely.

Johnny Friedlander. I remember him sliding his hands up my calves. Exactly what I was wearing. Exactly. He was an American. I didn’t want to be admired for my legs. They were just legs as far as I was concerned.

She didn’t feel so lonely thinking of him, although she had always been lonely as far as she knew. Something about her nature and her need to be separate and free to think made her lonely.

Actually, it would be so nice to sit next to someone else and never speak. Just have a relationship without speaking. Write, read, paint, eat. Never speak.
It was bound to go wrong as soon as you spoke. You will be misunderstood. Re-interpreted.

Chapter 1.
Rewritten, a verbal tradition of chinese whispers.
Your promise will be expanded into something you cannot possibly offer. Your loving whispers applied to the rest of someone’s life and used to patch walls and crevices that they never mentioned.Or that they did mention but in the mysterious  garbled twin-talk of family lore. A family you never saw or entered, with its own beads sliding up and down, the familial  empty libraries.
My father was this. My father was also the opposite of this. My father was  unlovable and unkind. He was silent.So I grew to love a slippery rock and a fearful atmosphere. That was homely to me.

But he also cared. He made us tea. Sometimes he even laughed at a joke. He loved the cat. He didn’t beat us. He was mercurial, dispassionate, complex.

Now I can love a slippery rock and tea. I love cats. I look for gaps in conversations a meaningful. Silence.

How to tell anyone that? No, better never to speak but hold hands in the dark. Explanation is a chasm. A soon as a thing is said, it is misinterpreted, slid up and down, excised, put into an addendum.

Smell the river?

Veronica Aldous 2016 All Rights Reserved.