Fog Edit

I have edited the poem from the previous post as from experience wordpress does not preserve the spacings of more experimental poetry forms I include it as a PDF


I am hoping the up/down nature of the text hasn’t made it unreadable.

Any editing suggestions welcome.

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Word Blurt From This Evening

There was a thick fog this evening and this happened.

I watch a thin young man in just a shirt box his own ear on the shutters near my work he walks off before I can/dare reach him and I cycle off avoiding the tram tracks in this all engulfing fog the kind I forgot can cloak a city and I rehearse what I wanted to say to him, ask where his friends where, tell him to go home and sleep it off, whatever it is drink, drugs, self-hate, a heady mix of all three, just stop that awful racket of flesh and metal, ask him to be careful when he crosses the road. I assume he has people who care and a home. And I wanted to say the fog has found me this year again and I don’t hit but I hurt too and flail and wake in the night rattling door handles and unplugging appliances from sockets fearing electrical fires in the night and my synapses torture me in dreams with such violence that my lucid mind jolts me from them as protection but I am still here and you deserve to be too even when the fog surrounds you inside and out. I am trying to love myself even as I resort to that decade old habit of sticking post its to my alarm clock because the fog keeps misting my thoughts taking the day’s plans from me in my hard worn sleep. I take the body I am trying to love, thanking my thighs for their speed tonight home through the fearful fog and thank the body for getting back on the bike after every fall and wrong turn, for taking me to the flat safe and thank the mind for feeling fear and still pedalling through it.

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From Humbug Workshop

this came from a freewriting exercise we wrote from Moniza Alvi’s line ”I could take an icebird”
and used the words ”etching” ”whisper” (whoops I missed that one) ”domain”, ”ship”, ”breath”
my thanks to workshop partner for this half who actually felt five minutes free writing was too short. Next year when it is with the right group and I am in the right headspace I would like to try doing extended free writes possibly with more input or lines to hang the words on. This is the current poem from the free writing

Ice Birds
The kind you find etched on your window
b r e a t h i n g as they melt
as the sun weakly shines
there are songs only the ice birds sing
notation for those who take the time to notice it
you have often wondered where an ice bird keeps its nest
where they fly outside the pane
trapped beauty for your late nights
with vast windows and inadequate curtains
gifting you a moment to focus on something other than
rolling mist of your breath r a t t l i n g leaves in your lungs pinched joints
the ice bird reminds you there is flight, is sky,
that you have been on ships with hopeful whirling gulls
over deck and you thought you saw porpoises
in the small ferries wake the last time you left the island
in the watery domain a flickering trick of light
you felt no need to make sense of their existence.

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WW1 Event At Manchester Library

Tonight I was very honoured to be reading at a WW1 poetry event as part of Flapjack press alongside some amazing poets Tony Sheppard, Gerry Potter, Sarah Miller and Ben Mellor here is a poemI wrote especially for the event.

For the Radium Girls who suffered radiation poisoning as a result of painting dials for glow in the dark watches for American service men in Europe during WW1 Their ex employers claimed they all had syphilis instead of the occupational condition called radium jaw. Their legal action set precedent for employers responsibility to employees suffering from occupational diseases.

They painted glow in the dark dials for the new wristwatches
Accuracy in the dark for American soldiers in Europe’s trenches
The radium girls who painted their teeth to amuse their beaus
Soon lost them their jaws and voices too
They were branded faithless and diseased

A brazen glow of a lie from men who knew
Their words carried more weight, gold weight
Who would rather cast women into disrepute
Than admit fault as war profiteers

The bitter luminescence was known as UnDark
Taught to point the brushes with a kiss or a tongue
When scientists were shielded gloves and tongs
They knew about the match girls in London

Radium is absorbed like calcium a tricking poison
Bones that lived for thirty years then dissolved
Lie in graves with half-lives of five hundred

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New Poems From Plath Workshop

We free wrote from the last three lines of Lady Lazarus ”out of the ash I rise with my red hair and I eat men like air” and I had come to the workshop after my radio show where I was talking to Michelle Green who is wonderful. We were discussing representation for women in writing and how can we have confidence in our art when we are not represented which is the fuel for this poem. Erica Jong’s fear of flying was written in part about this part of the fear in the title is fear of what it means to be a woman who writes. The second poem is my Plath tribute using her images.

Miss Representation

Out of the ash I rise with my incomprehensible hair
that glamour of youth and innocence a veil to cast
between me and my intellect and I still I rise
and eat men like air and I will eat their foolish words
and let their fuckeries give me strength

Opening the jaw wide a snake dislocation
stasis is no longer an option
I must eat their words to make room for mine
there are too many of them rank and sulphurous
all the books on all the shelves stacked with them

if boys have all the best lines and you are always cast in a supporting role
and you are told the verse held in highest regard
is penned by dead white men
are you surprised women feel they need permission to write?

I have wasted too many of my own words
on the fuckeries of men who have shared my bed
hoping this thought could telephone myself
in these weak moments of desire

give over the strong jaw breathe into the lungs
the strength I was lacking manipulate that jaw puppet like
open the door gather their clothes and return to the cell,
an empty bed and a clear conscience

Before I lock the door I whisper in my ear
‘’You will never learn to be your true feminist self
when you let fuckeries occur in your bed and your head’’

For Sylvia

The mirror is a lake sudden and enormous
a flat surface teeming with life underneath
she can name you all the fishes and crustaceans
not shirk from their telescopic eyes as I would
She dwells either in twilight or scorching sun
perched on a rock an anomaly in a striped two piece
sobbing and holding a red balloon she hides a blade under a shell
scents bladder wrack, kelp, candy floss, cotton candy to her
beaches smell the same in all hemispheres
A white hot day where sand startles the eye reflective
she will reside like a mermaid until she shivers
waiting for the rising of her familiar companion
she traverses night terrors anchored to the moon

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New Silly Merpeople Poem

Does what it says on the tin. With a nod to Bowie.

We Could Be Merpeople (Just For One Day)

When our pens fail take me with you to the canal,
I will tell you where I hid the tails a fin secret
for just such an occasion when we were at an low ebb
we will make beds of discarded shopping trollies
bouncy balls will be our erratic pearls
wear crisp packet tiaras and beer can finery,
we will sing haunting songs under bridges
taking the rattle of train tracks as our bass
make flutes from bent piping
lure those who are lost to join us
with our beautiful off key music
and as the sun sets we will shake off the fading scales
clamber back to land on unsteady feet

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New Poem

So it was Fat Roland’s birthday and at some point after sambuca and wiggling a plastic fish called polly in his ear someone stole my bike lights. Wrote this in my head while cycling to work does anyone else find lines start coming to them when riding?

To the Bastard Who Stole my Bike Lights
(Sambuca Night Riding)

Thank you.
Thank you for giving me a reason to roar at the night ‘’fuck you’’
Thank you for unsealing my anger
I was roaring at those coils of smoke in my mind
Who shout awful things over and over
Today they are wisps and shrinking scorch marks
Thank you for adding anger to the beer and whisky and Sambuca
Which caused the bruised elbow and grazed foot
As I germolened it I was reminded of how once
I used to want to live in a body that hurt
Felt I needed an exterior to match the mind
Wanted people to know I hurt
Now I write instead and cats cradle these tangled thoughts

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