substitution

Presentation1

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at midnight

I find myself

in your sleeping

 

in your shallows

your tilt         your pucker

 
in the creases

and the talcum

of your skin

 

in your depths

your flail         your clasp

 

in your loaming

and the ripening

of your seedling limbs

 

11:11 and fulfilment of wishes

Over the past three months I’ve been seeing these numbers absolutely everywhere. This has happened throughout my adult life at significant times of transition and personal growth. Then overnight I had great news that I am going to be included in an upcoming poetry anthology. More on that when the project is announced on social media! 

That got me thinking about co-creation, empowerment and being in the driving seats of our own lives to make them the richest and most satisfying that they can be without fear or rejection holding us back. Living bold! With this in mind, something else I’ve been working on this week is a new project that came about as a synchronicitous conversation with a gorgeous illustrator friend whose big heart I first got to know when I met her in our children’s playground many years ago. I expressed my desire to publish a children’s book and she responded that she had always wanted to illustrate one. She has read and loved my words and I know I’m going to swoon over her pictures. Hopefully the start of a grand adventure. How easy life can be if we just swim down the river and go with our intuition and flow ❤️

1995

The square was crowded with the
coffee shop gait of foreigners
leaning away from their ordinary.
 
Me too. Awkward on the shoulder
of a world class coxswain turned
irritable technician who
 
wanted to return to the luxury coach
with or without me. We were.
Young, tasting the flavours of this city
 
between training sessions, basking in
UV strip lighting before the shadow of
my escalating paranoia snuffed it out.
 
Breathe. He said, grinding his teeth
as he hoisted me into a seat
then moved further down the aisle.
 
The month after, I befriended the dawn
we flirted for almost six months
sharing brown bottles of all kinds.
 
Twenty years on
 
I still hear birdsong
between my ears
 
at night
 
sometimes.

Telegrams from the 1970s

Written several years ago but recently dusted off at an event (via an iPhone recording due to my absence in person – love technology) connected with the Folkestone Triennial which has brought it back to the forefront of my mind.
 
BARBIES LINE UP IN A ROW STOP KEN SCORES THEM OUT OF TEN STOP HE LIKES THEIR LEGS STOP HE LIKES THEIR TITS STOP WHICH ONE OF THEM IS GOING TO WIN?

 
It was the heyday

of Miss World and Girl’s World

women were educated

from the get go

to go get a man
 

bag yourself a husband

juggle double standards

be the debutant

be the sweetheart

be that plastic dolly

with a university degree

and a double D up top

 

smash glass ceilings

fight for equal pay

try to break the mould

but first and foremost

be a mother and a home-maker

 

and in this girl’s world

it was essential to remember

that He’s in charge

 
CHILDREN ARE MESSY STOP FAR TOO LOUD STOP WHEN DADDY IS DRUNK DON’T ANSWER BACK STOP DON’T MAKE A SOUND

 

Blackbirds pull worms

out of his head

in the blue light

 

he stumbles over coffee

stomach churning

darning holes snagged

on his drinking

 

as dawn shakes

and paracetamol

rattles and rolls

 
he will put the brakes on

when mum leaves him

 

DO AS I SAY STOP NOT AS I DO STOP DO AS I SAY STOP OR NO-ONE WILL EVER LOVE YOU

 
Lipstick smart and desperate

she flaunts a large glass

of Chardonnay to

hush the dots and dashes

flashing in her head

as she Elastoplasts

her missing parts

 

with a husband

with a swinging cot

with a new kitchen

with a black labrador

with a wrought iron clock

for the mantlepiece

 

Until the night she meets a man

let’s call him Ken

he likes her legs

he likes her tits

he wants to score her out of ten

so he offers her a lift

then stops the car

 
SOS TOO DRUNK TO SPEAK STOP SOS THINKING STOP CQD DO AS HE SAYS STOP CQD SINKING

 

Blackbirds pull worms

out of her head

in the blue light

 

she stumbles over coffee

stomach churning

darning holes snagged

on her drinking

 

as dawn shakes

and paracetamol

rattles and rolls

 

she puts the brakes on

learns that every day

holds a new beginning

 

she finds hope

she grows a voice

she knows fellowship

she learns self-respect

 

but she never forgets

that sweet little girl

so badly glued together

with messages made from

dashes and dots

 

Our eyes meet

she flashes me a smile

because it’s not the

seventies any more

and telegrams are

obsolete

 

STOP

Size

I have never loved my body
tolerated pieces of it
at times
 
I like my eyes
and the way my smile curls
but overall
 
displeasure is
easier. Though oddly when
there’s less of it
 
and all my clothes
become a relaxed fit
there’s an uncomfortable
 
satisfaction
no matter what the
cause. It really is
 
the ultimate
oxymoron