In Remembrance El-ec-tri-ci-ty Say it! Say it so you won’t forget but I will. White and gentle care and cotton hold my hand all forgotten. Which am I? Giver or Receiver? I never knew or cared. Counting back I never got there shrieking noise was all I heard. What matter was it? Grey transcended I thought too hard too late. Currents passed blankness stared I couldn’t see or know where I was then. Was this the place where I had been before? And where were you? You went because you knew I would forget. I am now as I was then better but forgotten.
Lucy Soundless you ceased to be, Oh my daughter. Unliving A shell of a life A sigh with no start. Is it better To live, twenty years and more, To long and to yearn, To lose the distance That will never come? Or did the pulling darkness, The lack of time, Beguile you more? I never saw your face at all My dear, dead child. My daughter All this you will not know. You will never walk Through dark nights or bright days. I will never know.
To a psychiatrist To you, I am a brief moment, A problem, if not solved, then put aside. My anguish is interesting to you, But cannot touch you. To me, you are hope, You will say the forgotten words That will mend the frayed thread Of my existence. Trembling, I wait For what never comes. How can you say What you do not know? I look into a mirror And close the sides, And see green reflections, Endlessly.
DNA A poem warning of the dangers of ancestry testing & the consequent risk of ill-founded doubt (with thanks to Sylvia Plath) Daddy give me a break Won't you? Daddy what will it take For you To see That I am a part of you? What do you see when you see me Daddy? Is there any way you can free me Daddy? From you And all that has come from you? I never thought Mummy would stray Daddy The phenotype is a giveaway Daddy Your DNA Was to blame, don't you think? Daddy this gives you a thrill I see Daddy who will you kill? Not she. Is there Someone you think it could be? You told me it’s all a big hoax Daddy That my genes come from the Big Smoke Daddy So what Can be bothering you? Do you want me to be unique Daddy? Does doubt give you all that you seek Daddy? Just know I am perfectly me.
Lithium Lithium! Element and traitor What do you want of me? You soothe my tongue, belie my mind. I see you stretching through the years spread soft like butter white chalk hard What are you? A two-faced mask stealing feelings You take all I have and laugh at it through tears. Metal, we are one. You have my joys, my sorrows you make the night kind and the day that follows unremarkable.
Retrospective yearning for middle age You slouch in your chair You are old You are forgotten You dribble slightly Your trousers gape Keep away from my baby who is young who smiles at me a wet wide smile whose nappy binds We leak and age then age and leak a peak of dignity wells sometime in between for most You never knew that middle age could be so good which meant that you forgot old man
Living on A flame in the flesh sears and holds that which looks away. The sea, the sky will never reach the voice which cannot speak. Douse that fire leave what is left of me to fate. A hand grips fast, from far away a voice speaks silently. A pilot flame burns on behind a darkened mesh. The fingers soften and leave The voice is lost in a choir.
Drug death sonnet The road was all awash with mud and slush when past the grim-faced doors we pushed our feet We knew why we had come, and through the mush we saw the one we sought wound by a sheet. We cared not for his fate, or how he died or who his mother was, or if he loved, all this was nothing to us, he had lied; Black lies that meant we stood with him and shoved him, when he drank that drink so still and green. He smiled a little then. His fear was not when he would die, or what his death would mean but dread of senseless suffering, withdrawal and of rot. The scent of death was on him, all the way Through life, and dying a relief that final day.
Call me Steph she said, gazing, lips apart, she didn’t like him all that much her mother loathed him though and that would do his house was weird and deep and dark and clammy but the drink was good rows and rows of shiny bottles she sat there on his knee suckling, fingers trailing in his black cold hair as she reached for another his voice was gentle aren’t you hungry? he touched her lips you must eat now she tossed her head hands sliding on the glass his hand on hers and hers on his afterwards she lay he left her fruit six seeds she ate to quench her thirst and then she drank again a dark warm wine, and slept Seph, he said, Persephone, stay with me
Resilience and the Lady You said I was resilient, and you smiled; I never understood quite what you meant, but thought it was inside me, deeply furled, then one day I looked inwards, and saw nothing. You had made me think I was a hero, a modified St George without a sword You told me I had courage in my guts, and weary though I was you said - do more! When I said no, you said that others could and that the fault was mine, and I was nothing. You said we need resilience in this life, that I must nurture mine to make it grow so you could make me do much more than now. And then I turned around and looked at you, You want me to do more, I said, to work myself to nothing. This is your resilience. You do not care for me, you only want to squeeze out what you can and then replace me with another, saying sadly, she had no resilience. But I am not St George I am St Georgina, and I’ll never slay a dragon; You will not need me now, for you are nothing.
Dead Toad Dead toad on the road Where were you going? Who did you hope to meet When everything stopped? Toad you are forgotten No-one mourns you What spawn you have begotten Think not of you.
Frog Frog, your legs were long, symmetrical and brave And also dead Your arms were crossed across your breast You looked at rest. What creature killed you, Frog, And left you there? A sacrificed amphibian On a cold, stone stair.
Sour My mind is soured Like pickles caught in teeth Lingering past the taste And spreading doubt. I hate the cloak I wear Of clinging knowledge I hate the doubts I feel And they are me and you And you. No longer do I taste of milk Fresh and sweet and pure My thoughts are long fermented. I will never know quite where But the road to death Is paved with stones Cracked by uncertainty.