I want to see a dancer
moving her body
like a pane of glass
limbs like prayers
feet like fires.
I want to feel a flame
curl itself into my body
feel a sigh
like a hand
I want to feel movement in my belly
movement in my arms
I want to think of moves
that say something
like a bowl of fruit
in a high window
sun sinking
through a heart
I want to see dancing
be dancing
I want to dance
and dance
and dance
and dance.

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How does the woman find out
that her husband is sleeping
with his perfectly manicured
Sainsburys assistant?

She finds two pairs
of 3D glasses
and a nail file,
hidden in his sandwich box.

She imagines their uniforms
behind a door,
the night he was working
away in Walsall,

the conference in Birmingham
the training in Peckham,
the week with his collegues
at the all night metro.

What does she do
with the bottle of perfume
she finds with a scarf?
Not her colour, not her smell.

What does she say
when he brings home flowers,
unsold stock,
roses, freesias.

How does she behave
when they go
to the cinema?

she looks at him
when he thinks
she’s watching the film.


Second stanza by Tony Martin.

Old Man Looking at a Painting

February 21, 2010

It would have a title
like ‘hat’ or ‘bridge’ or ‘line
dividing hip
from waist’.

It wouldn’t be immediately obvious as to why.

An old man with a chrome stick
would squint at it
weight forward
eyes wide.

It would have a title
like a city
or a mirror.
A title like

‘Figure’
or ‘Pose’ or
‘Woman reaching
on a Bright Day’.

And he’d look at it
and look at it
then see it
then not see it

then see it again.

How does the woman find out
that her husband is sleeping
with his perfectly manicured
Sainsburys assistant?

She finds two pairs
of 3D glasses
and a nail file,
hidden in his sandwich box.

She imagines them sitting together
the light on their faces,
her red nails, their
plastic name tags.

She imagines their uniforms
hung up behind a painted door,
the night he was working
away in Walsall,

the conference in Birmingham
the training in Peckham,
the week with his collegues
at the all night metro.

What does she do
with the bottle of perfume
she finds with a scarf?
Not her colour, not her smell.

What does she say
when he brings home flowers,
unsold stock,
roses, freesias.

Painting

February 19, 2010

The museum attendants
wouldn’t know what to do with it.

School parties would visit
and make notes like small frames.

The ceiling above it
would be fitted with halogen

The floor below it
would be painted gray.

Painting

February 19, 2010

The museum attendants
wouldn’t know what to do with it.

School parties would visit
and make notes like small frames.

The ceiling above it
would be fitted with halogen.

The floor below it
would be painted grey.

It would have a title
like ‘lifting’ or ‘stretching’
‘yawning’ or ‘ache’.

It would be dark outside
or approaching morning
with sunlight streaming
and dogs waking
or it would be very early
or getting late

Inside
the gift shop would murmur
It would hang on the wall
like an edge of lace

There would be people
or not people
looking or not looking
there or not there.

Old Man Looking at a Painting

February 19, 2010

It would have a title
like ‘hat’ or ‘bridge’
or ‘line
dividing hip from waist’.

It wouldn’t be immediately obvious as to why.

An old man with a chrome stick
would squint at it
weight pressed forward
eyes wide.

The spine would be a curtain
the feet would be like knives,
the shoulders would be open,
colours sleek, shadows mines.

It would have a title
like a city, or a mirror.
A title like ‘Figure’
or ‘Pose’ or
‘Woman reaching
on a Bright Day’.

And he’d look at it
and look at it
and see it
and not see it

then see it again.

February 13, 2010

They were so in love
they were married.

They lived in a single house
with a single sofa

a single staircase,
and a double bed

they ate together
from a single table

they shared each others
memories, money, suitcase, ways.

They never said no
like a country says no at a border

They never said no
like a government withholds, delays.

They lay together
like a single ocean

they were one thing
one purpose.

Monologue, third draft

February 9, 2010

I’m actually in love
and I built up the courage
and asked her out
but she said no.

But then she started following me around
around the aisles,
everytime I went in

she works in Sainsburies
she’s been working there
for about 4 years,

or something like that
I’ve been going in there for longer
so I know you see.

She looks like
Alanis Morrisette
she’s got this
dark hair
and she wears it in this
long side plait.
Her name’s Lisa.
I saw it on her name tag.

Anyway. I’ve been going in there
all this time and around about Christmas
I finally plucked up the courage.

I don’t think I’d have done it
but it just seemed like
the perfect time

there was this ice rink, outside,
you could see it
through the sliding doors
with people skating on it
and it was really dark, about 5’oclock
with all the Christmas lights turned on
and the lights inside the store
just suddenly seemed to turn
romantic.

She was serving me
on checkout number 6
and she was just asking me
to put my card in the machine

I said it,
it wasn’t anything heavy
i just asked her
if she’d like to go for a drink sometime
with me, maybe
next Thursday, after work
if she was working
and I think the woman behind me in the queue
was listening

and she said no.
Lisa I mean.
she said she couldn’t date customers

and i just said,
oh, right, yeah.
of course

and she didn’t say anything else
just gave me my receipt.

But she smiled at me you know.
and looked really sorry.

I can’t stop thinking about her.
I’m in love,
like the real thing.

I don’t know what to do.

monologue, draft 2

February 9, 2010

I’m actually in love
and I built up the courage
and asked her out
but she said no.
But then she started following me around
around the aisles,
everytime I went in
she works in Sainsburies
she’s been working there
for about 4 years,
or something like that
I’ve been going in there for longer
so I know you see.

She looks like
Alanis Morrisette
you know she’s got this
dark hair
and she wears it in this
long side plait.
her name’s Lisa
I saw it on her name tag.

Anyway. I’ve been going in there
all this time and around about Christmas
I finally plucked up the courage,
I don’t think I’d have done it
but it just seemed like
the perfect time
or maybe I just got carried away
there was this ice rink, outside,
you could see it
through the sliding doors
with people skating on it
and it was really dark, about 5’oclock
with all the Christmas lights turned on
and the lights inside the store
just suddenly seemed to turn
romantic.

She was serving me on checkout number 6
and she was just asking me
to put my card in the machine

I said it,
it wasn’t anything heavy
i just asked her
if she’d like to go for a drink sometime
with me, maybe
next Thursday, after work
if she was working
and I think the woman behind me in the queue
was listening

and she said no.
Lisa I mean.
she said she couldn’t date customers

and i just said,
oh, right, yeah.
of course

and i put my card in the machine
and put my numbers in
and she didn’t say anything else
just gave me my receipt.

But she smiled at me you know.
and looked really sorry.

Anyway, since then,
I still see her
everytime I go up an aisle
she’ll be there
with her basket,
re-stocking the shelf
and I kind of think she might be
looking at me.

I get nervous.
and when I talk to her
to ask her where the pizza is
or the milk
or the baked beans
even though I know already
I can feel my heart go faster
and when she tells me
I think that really
she might be saying somthing else
like –
she does like me.

I can’t stop thinking about her.
I’m in love,
like the real thing.
I don’t know what to do.