Monthly Archives: November 2012

Gallop

I’m running.

Running to keep up with the tottering pile of work….a heap of purply grey and pink polkadot and sludge-green and silver and there’s a party looming and still no frock for me, not even the whisper of a prospect of one and the invitation demands ‘sparkle’. I don’t really do sparkle but I could just manage a bit of glass dangle about the ears…will that do?

I feel a Cinderella moment…..all sorted but moi…

I’ve always felt that I’m on the outside looking in, even as a child – not quite fitting in. It often gets mistaken for aloofness. It’s not. But nothing much changes. I see it in the playground now among parents – the honed-and-manicured-sparklers, the old-before-their-timers, the intellectuals, the goths (metaphorically), the head girls…..It’s fascinating but I daren’t publish the poems which it’s inspired!

Anyhow, this one of a few poems I wrote in the summer after visiting our local lido. It’s along the same lines, sort of…

Lido

All the world’s here,

a glorious cliche.

The bikinigirl who’s here to be seen, to spot a mate or many

she’s not that fussy,

she just likes the attention

and confuses sex with love.

You can see what she’ll look like in 40 years:

the same peroxide thatch

kept free of the water in case it turns green;

the same slightly too-pale lipstick.

The same, just sagging

and brown-wrinkled as an unravelled cigar,

still trying to find someone who won’t think she’s a slut.

The two large girls who have matching tattoos

and matching engorged bodies

and who dive and swim like dolphins.

And their pale boy no, man, who’s been etched like a

fairground attraction

and whose chest is ribbed and concave and

who is helpless in their wet clutch, a plaything.

The woman on the edge who thinks she’s too big for a bikini,

who nears the water the way she nears a cake:

with a release of desire,

and elaborate gesticulation

and dives the perfect arc of smiling brown-lycra-ed flesh.

And we, the too-thin, wide-eyed middle class

wrapped in John Lewis’ finest

thick towelled body armour,

shivering among this seething life.

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Tornado

There must be some subliminal thing going on, American storms and all that. It’s only now that I’ve realised it as I was screwing up my eyes trying to figure out where this one had sprung from. And it really did happen, the Wigan tornado.

Tornado

It came at us from across the field

its cobweb strands spinning a furious

whip of leaves and twigs

and stone.

We watched, unmoving and ducked when it hit

and ripped off the soffits and threw them splintered high above the house.

Small,

by comparison to the one in Kansas

the one that killed that witch

and all hell broke loose

Her unconvincing feet bent in glittered shoes.

It was at the time he didn’t care

and it was up to you to put it right.

It was a Friday.

I know that because on Fridays

he came home reeking of classrooms and staff rooms,

of chalk and science labs:

of cobalt blue and sulphur yellow,

and instant coffee and the grime of other children.

And he couldn’t wait to wash off this weekday smell

and back out of the drive ’til Sunday.

We watched him go,

even waved

and then breathed again,

mother-daughter arms around waists.

We shut the door,

and phoned the man to fix the soffit.

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