Soloman’s Child

March 21, 2007

Shortly after bike number 3 was taken from me
I saw stolen bike number 2 – tethered in town.

It was only a shopper,
but there was the headlight,
the fragile trace of doodled scratches,
the wonky brake cord, rusted wires.

Me and my friend, we waited with it
I rang my boyfriend who came down quickly.
We were thinking: crackhead, desperate,
shifty- could do anything – best take care.

We braced ourselves. Tongues licking lips
like thin lines of melon. Palms like netting,
ready for a fight – when she came round the corner-
our 3 hearts died.

She was in her first year – missing parents,
not from here. She was tiny, pretty,
lots of hair. She was not
a drug dealer.

She’d bought my bike on Narborough Road
the second hand place, with the fridges
and the wardrobes. She’d got it in October,
had it 6 months. Only 7 – since I’d bought it.

This was a case of Solomon’s child.
The bike locked up.The owners riled.
She rung her hands, I chewed my lip
Neither of us knowing what to think.

I took her number and let her go
and two days later the coppers phoned.
They said the law was on my side
they called me quite within my rights

Did I want my vehicle seized?
The nice blonde girl, with small white teeth.
The girl who’d meant my bike no harm,
Who’d never have wanted any part.

Tell my bike I’ll always love it
It’s got a good home
that counts for something.
Tell the girl that she can keep it

I’ll send it postcards,
Birthdays, Christmas.
And if it questions
when it’s older

Tell them they can
always phone me.

A Bike Called Fury (2)

March 20, 2007

Think this version is stronger…but a little too close to it now. Constructive crit welcome!

What makes it worse
is that My Fury
was probably stolen by a man.

A man – with bolt cutters.
wearing a hood and heavy gloves,
dodging cameras on the run.

Yes. In all likelihood,
it was a man
that took my Fury from me.

My Little Fury.
You were fire engine red
and smelt of oil with

Fury painted on your pole
in silver letters.
My Little Fury.

You moved like lightening
Monday mornings,
slamming rain and

dodging panes
like shattered glory.
Fury. Your tires never broke.

You fucked with four wheel drives.
and caught their eyes,
like new glass marbles.

You made grown men cry
with lust and longing,
and why can’t I

have Fury just like her?
Fury.
Do you remember the time

we beat a track
down Central Railway
Cycle path?

Sunshine pouring on the trail
weather hot, like a pail
of boiling vinegar.

Fury. Remember that November
we went to Wales?
Freezing rain in liquid gales?

We learnt that sand was
worse than concrete
and coastal cliffs

could get you
fucked up.
We didn’t ride them.

Remember the day
I brought you home?
Remember the man

who stroked your nose?
The one who told us
Fury was my sign?

You made dogs
chase like wolves,
doves break cover,

ravens hide.
My Little Fury.
We were Gwen Steffani

and
Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.

My Darling Fury.
We were Torvel and Dean
without the fights,

Robson and Jerome
with spark and bite.
You were nimbler

than a car,
You were fleeter
than a horse – Darling Fury

not insured

and giving the come on
with shining pedal and curving guard.

You were almost asking to be deflowered –
but not actually asking.
There was no permission given.

No free rides.
No undone chain.
No begging tires.

Listen

We don’t take kindly
to being riled-

we don’t like punks who think their fly
and don’t much care
for thieves with knives

Listen.
My Little Fury
Here’s my sign.

If he’s still with you
take what’s mine.
Pull your break cord.

Fan your fire
Set your headlight
Light his eyes up

My Little Fury
Here’s my vow.

Break the cunt-
who rides us now

A Bike Called Fury

March 20, 2007

What makes it worse
is that My Fury
was probably stolen
by a man.

A man,
with bolt cutters,
wearing a hood and heavy gloves,
dodging cameras, on the run-

Yes. In all likelihood,
it was a man
that took my Fury
from me.

My little Fury.
You were fire engine red
and smelt of oil with
Fury painted on your pole

in silver letters.
My little Fury.
you had handlebars
shaped like antlers-

made of chrome,
like a deer
who’d won a fight
and kept the bones

My little Fury.
You moved like lightening
Monday mornings,
slamming rain and

dodging panes
like shattered glory.
My Fury.
Your tires never broke.

You fucked
with four wheel drives.
and caught their eyes,
like new glass marbles.

You made
grown men cry
with lust and longing,
and why can’t I

have Fury just like hers?
My little Fury.
Do you remember the time
we beat a track-

down Central Railway
Cycle path?
sunshine pouring on the trail
weather hot, like a pail-

of boiling vinegar?
My little Fury.
Remember the man,
huffing and puffing,

in spandex lycra,
little boy racer,
couldn’t be beaten,
couldn’t be shaken.

We were late for work and
didn’t care – but he had
nearly killed himself
to come up close and say

‘you can go fast on that,
can’t you girl?’
He twatted it past,
with head pressed down

and man breath wheezing
in the air. My little Fury.
We just carried on,
but were surprised

to find him necking water,
doubled up, saying
nothing, 2 miles later
further on.

My little Fury.
You made dogs
chase like wolves,
doves break cover,

ravens skulk.
My little Fury.
We were like
Gwen Steffani

and Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.
My darling

little Fury.
We were
Torvel and Dean
without the fights

Robson and Jerome
with spark and bite.
You were nimbler
than a car,

You were fleeter
than a horse, darling Fury
not insured
and giving the come on

with shining pedal
and curving guard,
you were almost asking
to be deflowered –

but not actually asking.

There was no permission given.
No free rides. No undone chain.
No begging tires.

My little Fury.
My darling little Fury.
We don’t take kindly
to being riled-

we don’t like punks who
think their fly
and don’t much care
for thieves with knives

and saws and wires
and bags of tricks
for stealing hearts
and bending minds.

My little Fury.
I invoke your sign.
If he’s still with you
take what’s mine.

Pull your break cord.
Fan your fire
My Little Fury
set your headlight

My little Fury – I tell you
make a vow.
Break the man
who rides you now.

Free at Last

March 19, 2007

After weeks of low level fretting about the Freedom Showcase, convinced my chances of getting through, were minimal at best-whilst at the same time not being able to write it off, I am finally free of the uncertainty. This Saturday, I attended an all day ‘workshop’ for shortlisted poets and despite my neurosis-yes, I was one of the lucky ones picked.

The day was an experience. I’m going to have a go at doing a proper write up on it soon, but for now I’m still just a bit too speechless to say much else.

I’m guessing the mentoring, workshops and rehersal sessions will start within the next few weeks. The money I’ll be paid for the comission is great but in so many ways the creative support will be much more valuable. I’ll post more soon:)

D-Day

March 17, 2007

Well, those of you who’ve followed my neurotic progress towards the Freedom Showcase’s final trial, may know that today is D-Day. 11-5pm, a kind of all day Poet Idol, where 18 shortlisted poets are whittled down to 9.

It’s just gone 8am.I got up at 6.30. The poem was beating in my head like razored bat wings. I’m not meant to do any writing till the actual workshop, today…probably won’t be picked for the comission..but bugger that. Even if I don’t get picked, this is a story I want to write. When you’ve got the lines for something, buzzing around your head and you don’t write them down, they get lost and may well not come back. So, I wrote them down. This is just a first draft. I think it’ll need a lot more work if I decide to pursue it, but picked or not, at least I’ve got it…

Elizabeth Heyrick

I don’t want fame
impossible to say and not sound false
but I never did and just as well.
I don’t expect
you’ll know too much about me now.
Doesn’t matter-
never wanted fame
fame was never what we
ever cared about. We wanted-
justice.

In the eyes of God all men are equal.

Ha – all men, not
all wo-men
and not jews
and not blacks.
We knew a bit about oppression,
we knew a bit about
second. So, no – fame?
it never really ever had a chance
We wanted-
freedom.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Must slow down. My name,
is Elizabeth-
Elizabeth Heyrick, wife of John,
John who never did a great deal
worthy of distinction – still,
not a bad man, Mr Heyrick-
John- dead now. Died 8 years on.
Left us childless, but perhaps
for the best – looking back.
Perhaps none of this
would ever of come to pass,
if John had hung around.

Dear John,
It’s Elizabeth, your little Dove,
John, I’m dead now,
but thought I’d write and tell you
what’s been going on.

My name,
is Elizabeth-
Elizabeth Heyrick, wife of John,
Born in Leicester, 1769.
You won’t know me
Don’t be embarrassed,
we’ve never met-
you might know William though –
William Wilberforce?
you might have heard of him.

William Wilberforce.
Born the same year as me, 1769 to
1833. Politician, philanthropist
and abolitionist.
Leader of the
parliamentary campaign
against the trade in slaves.
Didn’t much like me.

William, he wanted to take things-
slowly. Just the trade in slaves.
For now. But he didn’t get
the urgency. He’d never been
forced to sit in church
with his head down.
Forced to marry a man
twice, thrice, four times old.
He never knew,
what it was like
not to have the vote.

William. When I wrote my
seminal, Immediate not Gradual
End to Slavery

(you remember the pamphlet-back in 1824)
Do you remember what you did?
William, head of the official,
Society Against Transatlantic Slavery,
you told your men
not to come and speak
at any, Anti slavery
Women’s Society-

William, do you remember?
You tried to block the
distribution
of my pamphlet.
You said it was
unseemly,
woman with teeth.

Dear John,
guess what we did?
WE begged and we pleaded
we used all our female ways
all our gentle wiles.
They didn’t work.
So in the end
we took the simple route-
we pointed to the money.

My society, The Birmingham
Women’s Society,
had lots of money.
Daddy was rich
and in the 18th century
you took all the breaks that came your way
if you were born a MISS.

The Birmingham Women’s Society
leader of the 76
different women cells
against slavery
was the 5th largest donor
of William’s Party.

When we threatened
to withdraw our money,
Surprise, surprise,
William took us
much more seriously.

In 1933,
the bill appeared in Parliament
led by William,
forced by me

John,
I didn’t live to see the end of Slavery
the bill passed in 1833.
I died in 31
Just too early.

Still-
I never wanted fame,
I wanted Justice
I wanted Freedom
I wanted liberation.
It’s not the end
but we’ve made a start
haven’t we.

You cannot see them-
but I am tethered like Gulliver.
For every hour that I have slept,
another tiny string-
has looped itself around
another fleshy purchase.

For every thought and breath, another hook-
has woven through my hair, they’re
like tribal braids: they’re the lines
around a tent. These are the cords
that pull me on. These are the threads
that stitch me up. My eyes-

were first to go – they fell for love.
First, as a child
they laid themselves upon
my mother, father – a small, blue
budgerigar. Later, lashes crocheted
elaborate webs- they fell like tears

across my face and joined me up
to him. Threads swam
between our hips,
you couldn’t see them –
they were so thin,
but firm as iron we could not move –

You said: “I need my space”
Tugging on your line,
pulling at your collar like a flat, white lace
and I said- “I know. I know-
I need time too” then we would
collapse in silence, two mute fools.

Later, spools undone and cut again,
more lines were knotted round my head,
My ears, my toes – the endings of my hair,
they tied me fast in different ways-
and knotted like the corners of a
hanky, I could not turn, or try forget.

These cords they crept around my home:
the table from Ikea – cushions, carpet,
three-piece suite, they made a cradle of my job,
my phone, my work p.c. These tiny threads,
they wove against their weft
and tied me into loops – imprisoning

something light – something small
with wings and eyes and bright red beak –
tapping at the tight, white corset
made of string and binding deadness.
When I am free,
I will not stand for this.

I will speak to Clotho
and stay her hands and stop her wheel
I will speak to Atropos,
I will take her cutting tools
and slice her lines,
and tethered weave.

When I am free,
I will leave an unraveling
like angel hair upon the floor,
white, blond cords,
Rapunzals hair made short
and I will fly like clouds and balloons

like kites and arrows
and birds and stones
I will just roll away-
and feel no loss
and feel no pain,
for I’ll be free.

When I am free,
When I am free.

My cords are loose-
I sometimes feel them give.

Tethered like Gulliver.

March 16, 2007

You cannot see them-
but I am tethered like Gulliver.
For every hour that I have slept,
another tiny string-
has looped itself around
another fleshy purchase.

For every thought and breath, another hook-
has woven through my hair, they’re
like tribal braids: they’re the links
that bind me, that hold me straight
that pull me on. They’re the threads-
that stitch me up.

My eyes were first to go – they fell for love.
First as a child, they laid themselves upon
my mother, father – a small, blue
budgerigar. Later, lashes crocheted
elaborate webs- they fell like tears
across my face and joined me up to him.

Threads swam between our hips,
you couldn’t see them – they were so thin,
but firm as iron we could not move –
could always feel the pull,
the strings around the heart, taut-
and lifting through our boney bars.

You said: “I need my space”
Tugging on your line,
pulling at your collar
like a flat, white lace and I said-
“I know. I need time too” then we would
collapse in silence, two mute fools.

Later, spools undone and cut again,
more lines were knotted round my head,
my toes – the endings of my hair,
they tied me fast in different ways.
Knotted like the corners of a hanky,
I could not turn, or think ‘forget’.

They crept around my furniture:
the table from Ikea – cushions, carpet,
three-piece suite, they made a cradle of my job,
my phone, my work p.c. These tiny threads,
they wove against their weft
and tied me into loops – imprisoning

something light – with wings
and eyes and bright red beak
tapping at the tight, white corset
made of string and binding deadness-
When I am free,
I will not stand for these.

I will speak to Clotho
and stay her hands and stop her wheel
I will speak to Atropos,
I will take her cutting tools
and slice her lines,
and tethered looms.

When I am free,
I will leave an unraveling
like angel hair upon the floor,
white, blond cords,
Rapunzals hair made short
and I will fly like clouds and balloons

like kites and arrows
and birds and stones
I will just roll away-
and feel no loss
and feel no pain,
for I’ll be free.

When I am free,
When I am free.

My cords are loose-
I sometimes feel them give.

Girl Domestic

March 15, 2007

I should be spicking and spanning and
plumping and dusting and washing and
ironing and shaking and sucking
and lifting and wiping and smoothing
and putting out trash.

Not sitting here.
Quietly.
Mess slowly growing on carpet
like roots through a sleeping girls hands.
Thing is..

I don’t want no prince, no knight
no king, no count. I don’t want no warrior,
fighter, leader- to come and help me out
I don’t want some strong direction-
some thinly veiled remarks

I don’t want to have to blame
my boyfriend, flatmate – non existent child,
I don’t want to have to dis my
busy lifestyle, tons of stuff, or say it’s usually
tidier – that recently I’ve just been out.

If I was a man I’d be a lad
living it up in a bachelor pad
so why do i have to be a slob,
a lazy bitch that can’t keep house?
I like mess. It helps me think-

I like to watch it with a drink.
I like books that live on floors,
in little piles, that wait like dogs.
I think cleanliness is wrong.
A tidy house a boring tongue.

If you keep house
I’ll think your hiding
a dead body
in your side room
and if your house does smell of wax

I’ll just think I’m at my mum’s-
coz I am not a girl domestic,
I go out and I like resting,
I like doing things at once,
collecting stuff and bringing back-

and if my stuff starts
taking over maybe then I’ll tidy clothes up.
And in the hall I’ll try to downsize-
out with the hoover – and then –
the jay cloths…

Plan B

March 13, 2007

Chocolate coated, cocoa dusted, whole almonds. Originally bought as part of a birthday present for my father, they escaped from the gift bag last night…the rest his history. After this mornings run and subsequent flop, I went to make tea and noticed there were still some left in the fridge.

Nuts are good for energy, aren’t they? Must be. A couple of fistfuls was all it took to send me moving (if not exactly vaulting) down the stairs to the laundry room. I think I rescued the bed linen, just before the pee smell set in.

Right. Back upstairs now. No more chocolate coated, cocoa dusted almonds left. They’re like heroin. Hm. Will have some water (swig) stretch fingers, try not to be distracted by my newly enthusiastic eczema, open up the Freedom email….

Best Laid Plan

March 13, 2007

Ok, here was the plan:

Tuesday morning, I’ll get up early, go for a run and bopping back home like spring box bunny, overdosed on vitamin D, feel super energised to face the morning ahead. I don’t start work till 1pm today, so I was thinking Tuesday morning is ‘D’ a.m. I’ve got neurotic fish to fry.

This Saturday I’ll be attending the final selection round for the Freedom Showcase (an exciting comission I was insanely lucky enough to get shortlisted for, celebrating the Abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.) Anyhow, I’m meant to have prepared a run down of what I’d write if I got through and Tuesday morning – now, in fact, is the ideal time to try and do it.

What’s actually happened. I got up super early, went for my run, got back, had bath. Collapsed back into bed. Which is where I am typing from now. Sigh. I’m sure this never happened to Top Sante girl.

Maybe if I just shut my eyes for a few moments, I’ll wake up feeling more Sunny D? There’s laundry downstairs in the communal washers in need of removing before it winds up smelling like pee. But if I just rest my eyes for a moment…just for a moment….