She dabbed her lips with the handkerchief:
Her lipstick stayed in place.
I couldn’t think why she had used it:
her lips were moist and not a trace
of food upon them.
Then I saw the bloodspots:
from the lips
© Experimentsinfiction 2021, All Rights Reserved
Written for dVerse quadrille, where De is hosting. She has asked us to use the any form of the word ‘dab’ in our poem of exactly 44 words. ‘A dab hand’ is a colloquial British expression for someone who is particularly good at doing something, e.g. ‘She was a dab hand at writing quadrilles.’
The idea behind this very short poem came from the lyrics of the Rolling Stones ‘You can’t always get what you want,’ in particular these lines:
I saw her today at the reception
In her glass was a bleeding man
She was practiced at the art of deception
Well, I could tell by her blood-stained hands…
– Lyrics by Keith Richards / Mick Jagger.
Here’s the full song, in case you’re not familiar, though I’m sure most people are, as it’s a classic:
Ingrid, I had never heard the phrase “dab hand” before, even in my “dab” research for the prompt. LOVE learning something new! And I love the inspiration you found from the Stones. Just wonderful. There is so much story here. The reader yearns to know more.
I wasn’t sure if I needed to explain it as I didn’t know if that expression had made it over the Atlantic. Now I’m pleased I did!
I love the way you leave us guessing! Well done, Ingrid.
Thank you, Linda. I always wonder about that ‘bleeding man’ in the glass!
Lyrics are excellent for finding inspiration, Ingrid, I love the use of ‘a dab hand’ and the way you incorporated both into your quadrille. She must be a vampire.
Or something like it! 😅
Wonderful inspiration… it just shows that I listen too little to the lyrics when listening to a song that I have even sung the refrain from when I saw them live… I feel that there is a vampire reference too.
Thanks Björn: I love the lyrics to this song. Not sure I understand them, but that’s part of the fun!
I love your use of the word ‘dab’. This poem is alive with imagery, though it sent shivers quietly down my spine.
I’m glad to hear that, Jaya: I will take it as a compliment! 😊
Just a hint of naughty. Like it!
This is absolutely brilliant, Ingrid! Love the usage of the phrase, “Dab hand,” here and the reference to “lipstick stayed in place.” She sounds like a powerful character who knows what she’s doing. 💝💝
Thanks, Sanaa – maybe I should develop this character into something more…
you certainly are a dab hand at any form of writing … like your take the Stones song!
Thanks, Kate: it’s one of my favourites of theirs!
ha that’s why you thought to share it
I love the poem, and the inspiration. As many times as I’ve heard the song, I don’t think I ever listened to the lyrics very carefully. Like others, I wonder what the story is here, too. It is chilling, whether she’s a vampire, or something else.
Thanks, Merril: I’m glad I managed to create a sense of ambiguity!
Well, I thought vampire right away–but then thought she could have been a cannibal, which seems even worse!
Or both! I think she’s definitely a man-eater…
. . .gulp.
It’s what isn’t said that is the most intriguing. Great but suspected to be sad story. Yes, I love that song and The Rolling Stones in general.
It’s hard not to love them…
You start off in a jaunty way and I think it’s going to be a humorous poem that will make me laugh…and then it doesn’t. Nice switch of tension.
Thanks, Jane. I suppose it could’ve gone either way…
If only you hadn’t noticed it wasn’t lipstick…
A wonderful take on one of my favourite songs.
Thanks, Misky 😊
a little dab wil do ya.. lol
If you’ve only drank a little blood! 🤣
She strikes me as a Succubus, or a banshee witch who can appear beautiful; a man-eater indeed. You certainly sparked a lot of inquiry and conversation; hard to do with only 44 words.
Thanks, Glenn: never trust a woman who can wipe her lipstick without smudging it 🤣
You dab-handed this one fer sure, Ingrid. And I thank you for the inspiration to put Mick & the boys on the turntable while I read the rest of the dabbers. Well-done!
(Yes, it’s true: I have vinyl!)
Vinyl is the best: it’s that crackly sound before the music starts!
Dab hand is a new term to me. I love learning new terms and phrases. The lady sounds a good one to avoid!
Yes, but people don’t always know what’s good for them (or not)!
Wow, Ingrid… this was truly intense for me. It made me think of an abused woman who had been hit in the mouth…
That is what first came to mind as I read this poem.
Thanks, Michele – It was meant to be ambiguous.
Well done! I appreciate poems with multiple interpretations and hearing and reading how those poems are interpreted by different readers.
It’s interesting that you interpreted that way: I didn’t plan it but indeed it could be!
Well, this is a strange coincidence… with the Marilyn-mouth-style theme both you and I had going on, sight unseen… !! Didn’t you think it odd, when you commented on mine? I was surprised to see this. Funny where comments lead us, around WP… You have a cunning mind, Ingrid. Experiments in fiction, indeed!
Yes, it’s a strange coincidence…
I so much want to know the story behind the blood. Well done!
Thank you! Maybe I’ll write more one day…
An unexpected twist when you brought in the teeth. You floored me
You did a great job! The take off from the song worked very well… She was one to steer clear of…!
I think so!
I always thought of the lyrics as referencing a wound of deception. Your character seems poised but, there is an underlying current of trouble. Interesting post.
A wound of deception is a good way to describe it!
Wonderful piece Ingrid – left me wondering what happens next? and before? and thanks also for the Stones – took me back (Ha!) – some things just stay fresh…(BTW dab-hand made it to Australia too…)
Interesting that the phrase made it to Australia but not the states: maybe that dates the inception of the phrase?
Intriguing poem, Ingrid. I love that used music as a springboard for your poem.
I like all the details in such a short piece. I can envision this woman in my head well and I don’t trust her! 😨😱
No, I wouldn’t either! 🩸
Yay! another rolling stones Inspired poem. What an awesome coincident (^_^)
Well evidently we both like awesome music!
Excellent post inspired by some great music. I love this one by the Stones!
It’s a classic!
It’s in my jukebox collection!
One of my fav’ Stones songs Ingrid, off the “Let It Bleed” album, yep I’ve the vinyl (1969)… and your poem is appropriately tasty and suspenseful
Thank you Ivor 😊
A great take on the song. (K)
Thanks Kerfe 😊
Intriguing, sublime and mysterious too. 👌🏾😃💞
Thanks Jude! 😊
Such a pleasure 🌼
I’m behind with reading too – moving house 😅 will catch up tonight – I hope 🤞
It’s hard but definitely manageable, good luck 🤗
Had never heard the expression “dab hand”. I am always learning something new at dVerse!
Oh but this is a chilling tale….dabbing her lips with her handkerchief….blood on her teeth. Has she just had her feast while nuzzling some poor unsuspecting man’s neck?????
It’s perfectly possible…!