29 on the 29th

May 29, 2008

It’s my Birthday today. It’s been in my head every since I remembered it was going to happen. First, I was going to go to Aberystwich with my boyfriend. We were going to have left last weekend, on the bank holiday, and come back this weekend, catching my birthday in between. But I had to lead a poetry workshop on the Saturday we’d been intending to leave. Then we went to see the Dalai Lama in Nottingham – we’d had tickets booked but I’d forgotten. So, we decided to go the week after next instead, and I got thinking on a new plan for today.

This is my plan. I am 29 on the 29th. Today I will not work.

This is unusual for me. As I sit typing this I’m itching to get a press release I started yesterday off on an email. But I won’t. I shouldn’t even talk about it. Here’s what’s happened so far:

Woke up at 9am. Damo made me breakfast. Lovely Damo. Opened a card from my Uncle Michael. It had 50 pounds in it. Lovely Uncle Michael. It was also a very, very thoughtful card. Rang the hairdresser, booked a haircut for 1.15pm. Went for a run. I haven’t been for a run for ages, but if I had to come up with ‘my perfect day’ that’s how it would start. Should therefore do more often, but yay – I did it – and the canal was beautiful this morning.

After my haircut I’m going to go to the City Gallery and buy myself a necklace. I’ve had my eye on the stuff there every since we opened Future Bright, the NHS’s first open art show, in April. After that, I might, I’m not sure, be talking poetry with the lovely Ivory. Then I’m meeting people for food and stuff.

A few things have come up recently – around my work, where it’s going, some good, some I’m more unsure about. I’ll do another blog post about them later today. I’m 29 on the 29th – feels like I should spend some time reflecting.

Venus Arrives

May 27, 2008

I’m holding up a three piece suit
and a matching basque
with a mini skirt – This

is my Venus outfit.

Venus didn’t need any clothes
but we can’t all be perfect, so

mine consists of
gold sandals: 5 inches of
cold heel and an anklet –
a slim chain of pretend silver,
a tattoo drawn above my clevage
and a fake tan.

Venus was pale, but you’ve got to adjust
for the strong light cast by Hellenic sun.

My hair – will never be that long.
My version needs jewels.
My version needs a bra –

and I don’t just go
telling anyone that
but time about comes
when enough’s enough:

My Venus comes with a full on face
and a regular hair cut, salon wax
when I can afford it. Course

I’m not the only one.

Type in Venus on a regular search,
and you’ll get all kinds
of razor blade crap,
hair, nails, fair bit of sex –
but you also get the original:

Venus arrives on a shell.

She’s standing there
naked and bare as the sea in her hair.

Some cherubs to her left are blowing her home
and a women to her right is there with a cloak –

so it’s got the look of a set up.

I wonder if Venus
trailed a net behind her boat.
a cloth wrapped bundle
filled with dreams, like messages rolled
into green bottles.

Would she uncork each
in a hut by the sea?
Search out meaning
in the music within?

When she left the beach
would she walk past windows
wide as liners, hung with garments to
undermine her – teach her, show her
where she lacked. Would she fish

crumpled notes from out of glass
swap bright dreams for nylon maps
unfurl dresses clean as sails, black
as doubt, would these sustain her?

Or would she tie them round her shell
drag it over sand and shale
wait till sunrise,
with no fanfare
use both hands
to paddle

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May 26, 2008

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May 25, 2008

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May 24, 2008

I’ve been starting to work on some new themed material – which I seem to feel oddly protective of. I don’t no why it should bother me now after years of public posting and reliance on creative commons what have yous, but it seems to. I’m just a bit odd. But you already knew that;) Get in touch for the password if you’d like to read it.

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Hope (3)

May 21, 2008

Another day it smells of coffee,
the kind my mother found in Panama
returning from her cruise.

It fills a warm house,
the inside cuff of a woolen cardigan;
anxious on a bus, it comforts you.

Sometimes, hope tastes
like a cough sweet, reminds of the time
you lay in bed – sits on your tongue,

hums like a gun, alpine forest,
sharp ice cube. It’s a bell ringing,
sail stirred – blue sunlight over hull.

Hope anchors you. Touching it,

you feel dunes – feathers,
the clean bowl of a silk bag,
the balloon cord that you tried to grab

but missed, as a child.

If hope were here –
it would watch for you,
move quickly – press string

inside your hands.

On the other side of this
deep night – someone else is cupping palms;
is feeling beating, wings breathing.

Something small.

Helen Cottesmore

May 19, 2008

(first draft of a piece I’m working on – will blog about it later)

Helen Cottesmore,
lived in the back of beyond of Suburban Travesty.
Before she was born – no one asked her
if she’d like to live in a place where
old dears hung
their tan toned tights
like limp prosphetics,
and false teeth rested
on the thin blue ledge of next doors porch
where men would garden and women talk
in close knit huddles, complete with the scaffolds
of upright trolleys and barking dogs.

Helen Cottesmore,
Lived with her mum and her absent pa
Who ran out on them both when she was a child.
and now she was 12.

Helen’s mum, went to the hospital every month
To see a doctor who gave her pills and talked a lot,
about the people who lived – down the road
and came in the night with knives and tails
around their heads like the tribal warriors
she’d seen in her book about genkis khan
and machetied warlords. She’d shown her mum
and her mum had said
they looked just like them,
apart from the shoes

But Helen’s mum,
didn’t always see things
like everyone else.

Helen Cottesmore, wasn’t very fond of the place that she lived.
She’s didn’t like the paving stones and the neatly mown verges
That stretched down the road like intros to houses,
And made her think of the tufted backs of furry animals
Like catepillar monsters. Or hairy snakes.
She didn’t like the mad old man
that told her off for picking the daisies
She didn’t like the boys
that kicked their balls like hand grenades and
called her names when she went to the shop.
She didn’t like the woman
that came from the church, she didn’t like her skirt
or her hairsprayed bob.

But Helen Cottesmore
Liked the man from number 1.



May 15, 2008

You berated me for killing silver fish. Called me
an unwholesome vegetarian, or in so many words,
not like I ate them afterwards.
Perhaps that made it worse.

But you never saw them
crawling in the night whilst
you slept. They would eat anything.
Daz washing power. The runner beans of

bathroom carpet filaments.
However clean things were
they’d find them. Fall on shards
of hair or dust. Mine. Yours.

And some are fatter than others.

Sometimes, I read poetry and I think
why don’t I read poetry more often?
I should read it everyday, wake up
five or six, Google random words like
wing, cusp, love, swordfish,
artichoke. This approach

wouldn’t be the most direct
but I might find-

the interlocking panels of a silver bream –
mistaken catch, failed sight, marine
biologist. There may be fields,
unfurled flags of
lit loam, fresh soil – tulip bulbs
like hand grenades.

Love would be
something on the cusp of something else,
a line of light, door held.
Something escaping slowly.

Would it burn circles in the screen?
Reach out, graze skin?
Would I still be able to go to work?

The other day I found some
pressed inside the pages of a
pulped book – coiled whip,
small snake.

It trapped my breath and buried it
beneath a cherry tree, in a garden
on the outskirts of a different city
I had to walk for miles to recover it.

But when I got there it was different.

It was caught
in the dark glass
of a thick jar.
It was night time
but even with the moon,
you could see the fire.