Selected poems: Cycular, Lactic and Train Triolet
CycularWhen the floods spate again through the flat’s front door
and the toddler coughs, outside’s snuck in, sodden walls seeded,
plaster blisters like cigarette burns
These are the rivers of the north: swollen Irwell
Calder, Ouse, breaching an eschar where the gold fat glistens
and the white blood foams
in our plastic buckets.
And the reek of a childhood seeps through these walls:
rotgulley whip overflow
fantail of milfoil, valleymist rainfall,
When the oozages foam in their ministrations
but nobody listens – when they do, you’re a cipher or a pain
or a duty but not love; where do you go
now for succour or for someone
to stop it? How to be counted when your voice is the bubble
that your small child blows, when the sky’s drowning lungs
burst into downpour?
When it’s soaked into earth,
only earth can listen, mainlining water in some stinking glory,
sending it pulsing into sewage-piped lowrise
because who cares for us?
You go on, you go on.
LacticI found myself running, running out the bad blood
like a bat slicing through my head I wasn’t here but
sluicing out wormwoods at the Anglo-Saxon churchyard,
flown through haylofts, nighting out my fret,
pounding my feet, three miscarriages behind me,
each little heart stopped, each at 7 weeks,
was when my own heart stopped, sailing the drifts,
wings like a purled shawl battening down upwinds.
I carry these babies everywhere I go, over water meadows,
municipal clockbacks, others ignore them, spiked
onto pinions – my starry hearts – or now warmed cellular
and lodged into muscle meat, tingling at my calves,
and though I have a daughter now, and could move forward,
they settle in flesh memory, running through the blood.
Train Triolet (16.46 to Brighton)I won’t blow you up because I’m brown,
O twitchy woman who grassed up my shopping.
I went to the loo not to twiddle my belt.
I won’t blow you up because I’m brown.
Terrorists don’t tend to buy Cath Kidston
unless I am a cleanskin moron.
Because I’m brown, I won’t blow you up,
O native woman who grassed up my shopping.