April 02, 2011

Resurrection

Dearest, well, you,

I have been lazy, although not entirely. I have been struggling over the last six months to write. It is not exactly out of laziness. I have been working hard on my degree and reading a plethora of exciting things. I have performed poetry and enjoyed pretending I can make music too. Yet it was all recycled stuff. I'd run out of new and interesting things to say, or even uninteresting things to say in an interesting way. I was full of cliche and lacklustre language. Poetry was a struggle and for a short while (forgive me poetry), I fell out of love with it.

This spell is over however, and I endeavour to return to this little slice of the web to regurgitate rhymes.

It's all quite intimidating watching friends get banking internships and Spring Weeks and post-grad jobs, and I think part of my silence was worry that my future is looking empty. I began to think practically and logically, something that does not come naturally to me and that generally makes me feel quite sick.

Farewell practicality. You do my nerves no good.



January 06, 2011

Forcing Myself…

So I have lost my writing ability of late. The ink has run dry and I am forcing myself to cough up words like the last of my bronchitis phlegm. With it being a new year, I shall endeavour to write more in hope it will unblock the well of inspiration. Thus far, I am still experiencing a drought.

You wrote of me
on old pub doors, chipping at the paint
with a yellowed index finger
stiff with arthritis,
toxic dandruff falling into the denim around your ankles,

You wrote of me
in hometown shades of canal brown,
and Spider park grey.

Of me, you blasphemed,
churned my name
until I was lemon curd in your mouth.

“4ever” glittered in spilt blood
across sodden bar tables,
wet with whiskey rings and strippers knickers.


July 09, 2010

Blake

DISCLAIMER: This is not a short story. This actually happened and I had to write it down before I forgot. Please don't think me mentally disturbed, I found it weird too.

Last night I had a dream. Now, I know this is nothing unusual, especially since I dream every night and always remember them vividily. I think this means I don't sleep well or have a nervous disposition or have a secret desire to be an elephant. Something to that effect.

Anyway. Last night was different. In my dream (which was actually this morning more than last night), I gave birth. It hurt in my dream, and it was very real. Then I had a beautiful baby boy, who I felt love for, I actually felt unbelievable, chest-shattering love. My heart swelled and crushed me from inside out. I was impossibly happy. I left university, and sat around the dinner table in my parent's home, writing lists of possible eternal damnation for the little piece of me I rocked in my arms.

May I remind you, or simply myself, this was just a dream, because even now, a weird love is bubbling in my stomach.

I toyed with Zachary for ages. It is a name I have never considered (no, I am nowhere near birth, but we've all thought about it). "Zachary, yes maybe," I'd thought, but the name didn't fit. I looked down at my boy, my diluted and yet complete, perfect genes, and knew Zachary wasn't right. Now I am awake, I think it is a marvellous name, and have added it to my own mental list (which only contained Molly and Florence for a girl and Oliver for a boy, I'm pretty picky.)

"Blake."

It just fit. He wore it like a comfort blanket I'd knitted with my own fingers, which I then realised, within my dream, that I couldn't knit, and that I'd have to learn. When I awoke, I genuinely swore to myself I will learn to knit before I have a child.

I don't quite remember how it all ended, fizzling into 8am. That weird moment when you try to cling on to a dream, radio static that just keeps missing the station you want, and you know morning is coming, but just one more minute please.

Yet these minutes were years, my baby was 3, and I was teaching Blake to read in a shopping centre with a massive balcony, almost like the inside of Westfields, and Mr. Luck, my A Level Geography teacher was there, and I kept trying to blink him away because he made it less real. Stupidity was slipping in, stupidity in the shape of reality as the beckoning morning taunted me, and my distressed mind tried to clutch at anything from the factual cardboard boxes of my dusty brain, in the shape of a distorted shopping centre and a much adorded teacher. But Blake was as real as ever, as momentarily real as ever, beautiful.

I woke up and cried, not knowing at first why. I went downstairs and as soon as I put the kettle on the phone rang. It was my Mum at work, telling me they needed me to come in to do some odd jobs. I actually cried for the next 15 minutes. I was trying to convince myself all day it was because I was tired and didn't want to go to work and maybe it was just hayfever...

I actually missed a baby that didn't exist, I felt like I'd lost him and I was all to blame. I am highly concerned for my own well-being and well write a story about this soon.


July 07, 2010

To Do List

- Crawl into a large hole

- Crawl into that hole laden down with books

- Stay sober in that hole

OR

- Take enough supplies to be so intoxicated I don't remember ever being in said hole.


July 02, 2010

A Seasoned Non–Traveller

My aunt has never left the country, growing
crazy in her old age in Somerset, the final, slowing
days of her being spent in one room of her home,
a glass prison, a snow globe shaped dome.

Her conservatory is besieged by globes and maps
where she plots her plans and takes her naps,
as aeroplanes score the sky, surgical instruments
cutting into deathly grey flesh, futile attempts,

To revive something of lost life. Guide books her bible,
planning her epiphany in Europe, dreaming of tribal
dances and poverty, crying in African villages,
like the celebrities on fame-hungry pilgrimages.

She is childless, husbandless, and her heart beats
for Greek columns, tapas, cobbled French streets.
My aunt lives beneath an English sky, wishing
for more, like a puzzle with the sky missing.


June 20, 2010

The Waiting Game

The Waiting Game

1

Childbirth smells like anti-septic,
and tastes, for some
like gin and tonic.

Her nails pierce the mattress,
her mouth fills with saliva.

“Push, yes that’s it...”

She’d always been so terribly punctual
(terribly, because it was ruining her life,
hours wasted being early)
and it was so typical
for her first child
to keep her waiting.

2

“She’s stupid, I’ve given birth to a stupid child...”

Truly, she didn’t mean it,
but she found it unlikely
the repetition of “Dodo”
was the first sign
of her daughters penchant for zoology.

She offered her an apology
in the shape of chocolate yoghurt.
The smears never came out of the carpet,
tears a futile stain-remover.

“Say something... please, say something for mummy.”

A quizzical look,
and tiny fingers wipe away saline outbursts
and offer dessert in the crater of a petite palm.

“Yoh-urt Mummy?”

3

The sound of heels in the porch
was as joyous as that first wail
from newly-born lungs.

She conceals her happiness however
behind the yells.

“It’s 3am, where the hell have you been?”

The worst thoughts had tormented her sleep,
the worst possible conclusions,
not even worth mentioning.

Yet innocence prevails
in that apologetic, yet nonchalant smile,
before innocence vomits across hallway tiles.

4

Twelve cups of tea
made waiting for the bathroom
slightly difficult.

It was the nerves,
curtain-twitching, nail-biting, postman-scorning
nerves.

The metal clatter of the letter box,
footsteps down the stairs,
crying... blissful crying.

A place, to study veterinary science
(not zoology)
at university.

Two hundred miles away.

“I’m so proud of you, but wait before you accept...”

Eighteen years waiting to not to be a parent
came too soon
landing on the doormat
as though out of the blue,
as though it wasn’t expected
as though there was a God
who answered Mother’s pleas

“Don’t let her pass...”

5

“It’s just cold feet, he’ll be here baby, I promise”

Tears in a chapel,
the photographer yawning,
pictures of the happy couple
looking less and less likely.

“Your Father was nervous too!”

“He left you on your honeymoon!”

She takes the punch to her pride
as daughterly love,
screams as the car pulls up
and sobs the whole way through the ceremony.

Push-pineapple-up-a-tree,
a Grease medley,
made bearable for the chance
to stand on her son-in-law’s foot
when he offers his new Mother a dance.

6

The hospital years:
baby scans and miscarriages.
A redundant womb waiting to be a Mother,
a Mother waiting to be a Granny,
interrupted by out of date magazines,
“It will never happen to me”
and a room full of coughing OAPS.

A daughter thinking
“Is Mum really that old? She can’t be.”

A letter from the hospital
confirms the wretched news,
“It will never happen to me”
swallowed like a bitter pill.

7

Waiting for the curtain to touch in the middle,
she tries to stand up and rip them down
but the little girl next to her holds her hand.

“Will I never see Grandma?”

She doesn’t answer
but nods
and cries
and smiles,
knowing she will,
but it will be a long wait yet.


Question 9, Part B

Love hearts in biro stain your weak efforts
Already sealed and stamped with a large ‘F’
Shakespeare mocks you and Einstein simply points,
Naked likes in an exam hall fool you.
You regurgitate equations and toast.
Your education starts to taste sour
And everyone stares with red pen in hand
Legs are shaking – anticipate the grade.
Your failure of a Mother downs her fifth
And the babies scream out for some comfort.
A hundred teenage pores drip with worry.
Life is an essay awaiting judgement,
Why bother? No one marks it anyway.


June 15, 2010

Sermon on the Mount: Harrow–on–the–hill

Radio Play: The Revolution

Luke – teenage boy, fairly well-spoken
Eve – teenage girl, strong London accent
Teenage preacher – London accent
Matt – teenage boy

[Background laughter and screaming of teenage kids]

[Luke, panting slightly as he is walking]:
We could all feel the movement coming; perhaps it was the knock-off cider diluting our blood, making every step up the hill just slightly more purposeful, or that just one week before a kid from Whitmore had been stabbed outside the bus station. I could see Matt, eagerly trying to make it to the top first, in all his intoxicated glory, tripping over tree stumps and abandoned wine bottles.

[Sound of glass smashing and boy yelling OW!]

The sun was flickering into nothingness, like a cigarette being feverishly puffed, lungs determined not to miss a single dose of nicotine.

[Sound of lighter being flicked numerous times until cigarette is lit and voice inhales]

We all anticipated the blue lights of the law illuminating Hillspur Road soon, to take the underage stoners back home. I was surprised to see such an impressive crowd forming, a hundred flies on a carcass. I immediately wanted to leave, made anxious by the presence of some of the Whitmore kids who were a little more rough and ready that the Queensmead and Field End lot.

[Eve]:
I dunt even know why we came though yeah!? Look at these freaks. It’s like some kind of juvenile asylums broke loose yeah.

[Luke]:
Yet something made me stay. Something was in the air, something of a revolution. I so badly didn’t want to be part of it, not another sheep in that crowd of blurred faces... but I stayed. That’s when I heard him speaking.

[Teen Preacher]:
Don’t hate on the poor, for their currency is the air we breathe, their pennies are experience and they will not succumb to the dictator that is capitalism.

Bless those whose brothers have fallen, they did not hold the knife but it cut them the deepest, and we will do all we can to prevent such reckless violence. Our respect goes out to the Whitmore crowd that is here tonight.

[3 Seconds silence]

[Luke]:
Everyone bowed their heads, some even took off their baseball caps and a few of the girls could be seen crying. There was some laughter, at the ridiculousness of it all, but a few of the more intimidating lads shot vicious looks at those of us who dared to mock them.

[Teenage Preacher]:
Celebrate the sober, for their livers are probably in a fitter state that our Father’s, and theirs are the paths we follow home (in the back of Ford KAs that have no road tax).

Thank God for the peacemakers, who endeavour to make sure we only return home with one black eye and not two, and prevent us from jumping to ludicrous conclusions (sorry John, could have sworn I saw you getting off with my ex Mary that time).

[Luke]:
The tension broke, and we dared to laugh, some of us even called out in agreement.

[Teenage Preacher]:
And what would we do without those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, who take bullets for us in the court because they just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and “owed us one.”

[Eve]:
Yeah like James man! Stabbed just cos of his postcode yeah? It ain’t right man.

[Teenage Preacher]:
I hear you sister! And it’s people like James we owe our lives to. They are the light of our world, the matches that ignite our cigarettes, the flame that burnt down the science block.

[Cheers from the Field End crowd]

So forgive each other your wrong-doings, forgive the boy who stole your girlfriend, forgive the friend who never answers your texts, forgive the parents who didn’t send you to private school and have thus dashed your hopes of a future, forgive the drunk Uncle and the mentally ill Aunt.

[Matt]:
Don’t forget my slag of a sister!

[Laughter]

[Teenage Preacher]:
And your slag of a sister of course Matt, we all know here well.

[Matt]:
Oi! Too far!

[Teenage Preacher]:
And do not be led into a life of temptation; resist the evils of this world. We shall not fight with knives or guns; we shall fight with words, with the sacred dictionary.
[Cheering]
Do not judge or you shall be judged in return, and we’re all self-medicated or slipped anxiety pills by our Mothers.

[The sound of police sirens begin quietly in the background, growing louder]

And we will not be jealous of each other! You can also get a girl as hot as your mate! Girls, you are worthy of a boy with brains and brawn (I’m single by the way ladies), and you can get that job, you will buy those Topshop jeans, because you are incredibly special and no one has such impeccable taste as you.

Turn the other cheek, but if you can’t, outwit them with your words and not your fists.

And love your neighbour! Enough of the postcode wars yeah guys?!

[Cheering and applause, sirens very loud now]

[Luke]:
That’s when we ran, free into the night, knowing we had heard it first, that we were the revolution. Some got arrested, others beaten by their Mother’s for being home late but we all knew it had been worth it. It had begun


May 27, 2010

Red–heads

If I’d have known you liked red-heads
I’d have never dyed my hair brunette
And I would have shown you photographs
Of my Mother when she was young,
Auburn locks burning bright like magnesium,
And maybe you would have thought that
She was beautiful, and you’d realise,
maybe, I was beautiful too.



May 02, 2010

Idiot

We knew it was the end, the moment
He told me “You’re far too poetic”,
so I hurled my copy of Byron at him
crying, “why can’t you just accept it?”

Then to annoy him more, quoted Hamlet
“Well, I hope Milton makes you happy”
“That was Shakespeare, not Milton.”
“Well, your poetry, it’s, it’s crappy!”


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