Lizzy4

April 15, 2007

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,
into our marriage – left us childless,
but perhaps for the best now-
perhaps none of this
would’ve happened,
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?-
bear with me-

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

You see,
after my good husband’s death
(god rest his soul)
I began to get
much more involved
in all those
mannly things
like politics and public life-
the immediate end to slavery,
was one if my major fights.

William – he wanted to take things-
much more 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 Abolition

(you remember the pamphlet-back in 1824)
Do you remember what you did?
William, head of the official,
society against slavery,
you stopped your men
from coming to speak
at any of our meetings

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

“for woman to meet,
to publish,
to go from house to house
stirring up petitions..
these appear to me
to be proceedings
entirely unsuitable
to the female disposition.”

William, you were a good man-
a man against slavery-
but not above oppression.

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-
and pointed to the money.

My society, The Birmingham
Women’s Society,
had lots of money.
we led
76 different cells
of woman against slavery-
and we-
were the 5th largest donor
of William’s Party.

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

In 1833,
the bill appeared in Parliament
led by William-
forced by woman

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?

IT

April 14, 2007

In Autumn
and in Winter
and on all those
freezing nights of Spring,
when nights still come with fog
descending like a
deconstructed woolen blanket.
When there is
hazy light from moon
turning darkened rooms
to silver-I always think
of IT:

I imagine Steven King’s
Evil Clown in my bed.
curved beneath the covers
like a child but furrowed
with malice and murder
and hate.

I imagine him
in my room
while I’m asleep,
smothering me –
red gash grin
parted over
razored yellow teeth

I always worry
he’ll be waiting in my dreams.
that IT will happen-
in a fashion-
’cause I have
laid the patterns out
and sank their brainwaves
into REM release.

But I never dream of IT.
I only ever see my friends-

hating me,
or leaving me,
or dieing.

Elizabeth (2nd go)

April 13, 2007

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
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,
into our marriage, left us childless,
but perhaps for the best now
Perhaps none of this
would’ve happened,
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,
Born in Leicester, 1769.
You won’t know me
Don’t be embarrassed,
we’ve never met-
you might know William though –
William Wilberforce?
-yes.

William Wilberforce:
Born the same year as me,
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 Abolition

(you remember the pamphlet-back in 1824)
Do you remember what you did?
William-
you told your society men
not to come to us
to speak

William, do you remember?
You tried to block the
distribution
of my pamphlet.
What were your words…?

‘For ladies
to meet, to publish,
to go from house to house
stirring up petitions –
these appear to me to be
proceedings
entirely unsuited
to the female disposition’

So said a man
against slavery-
but not above oppression

Dear John.
When all was said and done
We had lots of money.
We were 73 different cells
strung across the country
and all together,
we bank rolled
William’s party

Guess what we did?
We didn’t beg
we didn’t plead
we didn’t use our
female ways, we-
pointed to the brass-
and William buckled

In the year of Williams passing
the bill appeared in Parliament-
forced by woman

John.
I didn’t live to see
the end of slavery-
finally abolished in 1833.
I died in 31-
Just too early

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

haven’t we?

Ok. This is the very slightly adapted first version…

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,
into our marriage, left us childless,
but perhaps for the best now
Perhaps none of this
would’ve happened,
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?
-yes.

William Wilberforce.
Born the same year as me,
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 Abolition

(you remember the pamphlet-back in 1824)
Do you remember what you did?
William, head of the official,
Society Against Slavery,
you told your men
not to come and speak
at any of our seperate
womens meetings

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 1833,
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.

Freedom Blues

April 13, 2007

As the more observant of you may have observed, my best intentions for NaPoWriMo have come to naught. Now, don’t go thinking I’ve been shirking. Living it up on the Costa Del, or slumming it  in decadent, debauched back street drinking..well, ok, I have been doing the latter a little bit-but I haven’t been enjoying it..not really..and I’ve also been flagellating myself on the altar of Freedom. You know, the showcase…the thing I’m being paid handsomely to write for-and which I am currently failing to do.

It’s all Elizabeth Herrick’s fault. I had my first draft but it needed going over-and now I suspect it’s becoming more and more overworked with every passing stab. I think one of the problems is the historical element. To place it in context and in order for the story to retain its power, I need to include a lot of historical information. But then it risks sounding didactic. However, if I go info light, it makes no sense-as Herrick’s is not exactly a well known story.

I’m getting more and more annoyed with it. Gr. Probably, I’ll start posting up -you know the pieces I’ve been hacking up in private.

If anyone with time could give me constructive crit that would be helpful.

Huff,huff

Night Riding

April 7, 2007

There’s something about
getting out of bed
in the middle of the night,
at a time when
everyone else in the house,
the block, the street,
the city, the world-
is sleeping.
There’s something about
being the only one awake,
sitting up late, at an hour
so broken down
it’s slipped beyond the zone
in which it could have been
repaired. There’s something about
that conjuring out
of nightworkers-
that you have always done
in that small box
inside your head –
ever since you were a child
and trying to find
some way of coping
with the world being dead-
there’s just something about
all this
that makes you think
of all the brittle shards
of all the broken things,
that you were hoping that you’d
never have to see,
that when you were a child
you hummed to keep away –
that daylight makes so quiet-
that’s stupid as the
artexed ceiling-
as star gazing plaster
at 2 and 3 and 6.
Something
like weather and rainbows
and cancer
that can’t go on much longer.

Throw
a spike heeled stiletto
at a window.
If it is a shatterproof window
follow through
with an axe.

Remove
all your clothing,
starting with the
smallest items first.
Elasticity,
you will find in the bra.

Tie
each item to the last
If you have your
pocket sewing kit
you might like to
strengthen the fabric.

Loop
the end
with the most give
around the window frame-
watching out
for broken glass.

Unfurl
the line of clothes
like all the washing,
choosing, fretting
you will never
have to do again.

Wait
till nightfall-
and look both ways,
before you start
the long climb
down.

Ways to Escape

April 5, 2007

Shave off all your hair.
Clip fingernails
to the quick of the moon,
remove all makeup. Next:
Change the way you walk.
Think – Lumberjack. Hip-hop
artist. Man about town
with a brass topped cane.
Switch between
respective templates,
according to the situation
you might find yourself within.
Say: Whasup bitch?
to the nearest individual
when in clubs, bars.
Wolf whistle randomly,
whilst walking down the street.
Stare disaprovingly
at strangers, modelling yourself
on your father, a headmaster
of your imagination. Don’t worry
about not fitting in. Remember:
You can never be too old.
or too aggressive.

NoPoWriMo!

April 5, 2007

Finally, the penny drops. What everyone else has been going on about. Napowrimo…or something like that. Apparently, it’s all about writing a poem a day throughout April. Mmm. It’s already the 5th, so does that mean I’m too late? I think it’ll be ok. My poetry (lol, sounds so grand;) has luckily hit a spell of dogged regularity. Quality aside, I think I just might have my 5 new specimens.  Present, if not corrected.

I’m going to post them up and get on the bandwagon. Here we go…..

Having been inspired by Poetry Thursdays latest article..on sending stuff off to mags, I’m going to have a go with Rain Dog. I hope my chosen journal takes good care of him. And that he doesn’t mall anyone. This is the edited version I’m sending. Been meaning to finish it for a while and think I prefer the more abrupt ending…

Rain Dog

It’s sitting at the bottom of my bed,
glossy, black coat absorbing light,
canine teeth like spears
grinning through its muzzle
in the moonlight.
Night after night,
it’s been lying there:
like a one stand
that never went home.

First of all I fed it.
Couldn’t bear its
huge, dark, inky eyes
shining in the gloom like saucers-
but it wouldn’t eat,
left the treats just
gnawed at the duvet-
hopeful feathers
staining fur.

My friend said:
whatever you do
don’t feed it

I stopped. We sat
watching each other
for months. The growling
filled my flat like a fog horn.
Like something foreign
that shouldn’t be in this world.

My friend said:
ignore it
treat it like you would a child,

as we sat drinking coffee
one Thursday.
The monstrous child
sat between us,
with oil slick fur and
teeth like knives.

When it started
smashing up the cups
and pouring
boiling hot coffee
into our laps
we talked about the weather
and politely ignored it.
It skulked in the corner
and whined for hours.

I wonder whether maybe
all it wants is love.
Being a monster
must be hard.
Sometimes I play it music-
and that seems to help;
it lays on its back and
purrs like a cat-
sings like a thrush.

My mother always said
that if I wasn’t good
the monster underneath the bed
would come and eat me up-

I’m still here.