30 pieces of David.

You sang about heroes
& you became one of mine.
Our Ziggy, you may now be dust
but now you live amongst stars.
You set the world on fire
uniting all the madmen, as one.
I’ll forever be your China girl.
Dirty boys in drive-in Saturdays,
that was the fashion in those golden years.
Like a rocket man, you shook me cold.
Muffled sound and blurred vision,
my oddity now in rebel space.
Heat on the floor, & you say: ‘John? I’m only dancing!’
Changes happen, love is not always lost.
Did you ask Lady Stardust, where are we now?
We are the dead, she sang.
Like a word on a wing, the genie named Jean
grew up and married the man who sold the world.

Ashes to ashes, our man of the stars.

Let me know if there’s life on Mars, please.
The stars are out tonight and so are you.
Those, pretty, things, oh!
Let’s dance.

 

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Tortoiseshell Glasses and Brown Moccasins.

Ipswich is where I was born. February 1994. When people ask me where I am from, the answer is Ipswich. It thoughtlessly falls from the lips, as clumsily as a new-born foal taking its first steps into the much feared unknown. Ipswich is my birthplace. The geographical location, that just so happened to be the setting of my physical, brutal and unapologetic debut into the world. The answer to where I am from, as you have just heard, is simple. The answer to where I was raised is an altogether new conundrum.

 

I was raised in no specific locus. No particular bearing. It cannot be found in a map, atlas, or globe. I was raised in the never-ending and untouchable realms of imagination. It happened in a heartbeat that seemed to last for eternity. The first hopeful breath of Spring, the last icy clutch of Winter. To say that this place does not exist, is to say I do not exist.

 

I realised from an extremely early age that one day all of this will change. And eventually, cease to be. The power of thought is not so easily altered. Boundless stretches of emerald green trees sitting daintily on sweet-scented meadows, dotted perfectly with rapeseed and poppies, as if by design. A brilliant blue ocean of sky draping itself lovingly against wisps of snow-white cloud. Nightfall is ominous and brooding in its enveloping darkness, and yet comforting. An ideal companion to the dazzling golden sphere who adoringly watches over us in the daylight hours. The Suffolk countryside is certainly a suitable adversary for such splendour. Suitable, though not victorious! Which do you prefer, I wonder?

 

“I think they both sound lovely” he added, with little vigour and a sigh of disappointment. With that, the young gentleman with the tortoiseshell glasses and brown moccasins with whom I had been chatting to for quite some time now, left the room. He started to speak to me again from the other side of the door, which I felt to be profoundly odd. And quite frankly, a little rude.

 

“I’m ever so sorry Mr. Pennington, but I’m afraid your wife simply isn’t ready to leave the unit. Her medication shall be increased and she will remain here until her cognitive abilities improve”, I heard him say slowly. I had no earthly recollection of any Mr. Pennington, or indeed any medication of any sort. I concluded that he had simply confused me for someone else or was in fact quite mad!  All that time I was talking with that gentleman and it never occurred to me quite how mad he was! How peculiar!

 

The door clicked open and made a sharp, beeping sound. A young gentleman with tortoiseshell glasses and brown moccasins, whom I had never seen before, entered and sat down beside me on the bed. He must be here for the story, he must be!

 

I waste not a moment of his time and begin. Ipswich is where I was born. February 1994…

 

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‘I didn’t know…’

I wrote this whilst contemplating the recent funeral of my great grandmother. I attempted to read it aloud during a poetry workshop but unfortunately couldn’t make it to the end. This is perhaps due, in no small part, to the fact that at said funeral I was given the job of reading Elizabeth Frye’s ‘Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep’, of which I did make it to the end, but with a brief stop in the middle to stifle sobs. Credit to my wonderful Aunt, Clairecore for the photograph of my Great Grandmother’s last house.

 

‘I didn’t know…’

I didn’t know how old you were
when you married
or when you had Anne & Marjorie or Joyce or Mike.
I didn’t know when you lost Joyce.
I wasn’t born, I couldn’t know.
I didn’t know what jobs you had
I vaguely recall a shoe shop
but that might have been someone else.
I didn’t know your favourite song
or poem, or colour, or book
and I didn’t know how you took your tea.
I didn’t know your shoe size
or your blood type or your political views.

all I know is that you were mother of my mother of my mother.
And that I am sorry that I didn’t know.

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‘fears’

 

Mother leaving, Father coming home,
the villain in that movie that
made me cry.

losing step, scraped knees
having an accident in assembly

Secrets made public
shame and embarrassment

Falling in love and getting free
being found again, trapped.

Having children or not being able to.
Drying up and
aging gracefully

Getting sick and losing friends
losing myself

Being alone.

dying alone and being alive forever.
Alone.

‘Water’

I want to be a glass of water
Neither half empty
Nor half full
Immeasurable in moments of laughter

I want to be drunk.
I want to be spilled.
I want to be poured.
I want to be refilled.

I want to be a glass of water
Thrown in faces out of anger
Sipped and gulped,
To make others stronger.

I want to be a glass of water.
Nobody’s mother.
Nobody’s daughter.

‘Need’

Motivated by paper

Transactionally, a magician.

My skin is no match

for the crinkle and fold.

 

Her face an emblem of success.

The balance, rise and gain

lights ablaze the lustful eye

of the wanting, consumed.

 

The evil root of all our misdeeds

lays bare the extremes of

the human condition.

 

ammunition to greed

gives purpose to the daily routine

 

But.

At.

What.

Cost.