First draft

February 25, 2011

Every good woman
should know how to roll a joint
If she’s going to smoke it
She should know how to roll it
Every good woman
should know how to roll a joint.
It’s as easy as a nail
run along a skin
easy as a lip, easy as a rip
and remembering lung cancer,
tooth decay, psychosis,
remembering schizophrenia,
emphysema, bi-polar
every not for cleaning,
gingham weaving,
head in oven
prozac sneezing
every trouser wearing
rabbit keeping
gin and tonic
facebook tweeting
every good woman
every child raising
nappy changing
tax claiming
all night raving
every good woman
if she’s going to smoke it
should know how to roll it
every good woman
should know how to roll a joint.

This evening

February 24, 2011

I had been intending to go to and see “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” with my boyfriend, kind of like a romantic date type thing…me, him, Friday night, bottle of wine, nice meal, teenage snogging in the back stalls, but.. today was my dad’s birthday and this evening, we have all been to the theatre.

There were lots of things to be concerned about. My mother couldn’t get up the stairs to the stalls and had to be supported on both sides all the way. Once installed – in what the stage narrator helpfully referred to as ‘the cheap seats’ – they both whispered loudly to each other about proceedings.

At one point my father leant across to my boyfriend and whispered conspiratorially about the female actress on stage. I can assure you, there is nothing more disturbing than hearing about how much your father admires a sexy young woman’s leotard wrapped body.

Despite of all of this though, somehow, going together was actually all quite lovely. Neither of them had been to Curve (the theatre) before and were wide eyed with wonder. My dad had a J20 and crisps, my mum a glass of iced tap water. Both had put on their best clothes. They were completely memorised.

Afterwards, we walked them to their car. My mother kissed me on the cheek then gave me a Tesco bag containing: ‘The Art of Knitting: Part One – with FREE starter yarn, needles and how to knit DVD’.. and a small toilet bag with Lancome samples, another bath scrunchy thingy and 2 miniature bottles of Body Shop shower gel…

Reading her my new poem, about all the things she gives me, seems only to have encouraged her.

third draft…

February 22, 2011

When my mother comes to visit, she brings my dad
and a pack of twelve quilted Andrex toilet tissues
half a pack of Weetabix – and since she has
started cutting down on dairy products
a carton of rice milk. My mother brings
Lancome samples she got from Boots:
white tubes inside of miniature packages
smaller than match boxes –
a tote bag she got as a free gift:
two purchases or more
from Christian Dior –
she saved for the foundation
with her pension
and housekeeping.
When I move into my flat
my mother brings me a plant
she brings me a card:
two mice in tiny clothes
‘Good Luck in Your Home’
when I get my degree
a card from them both
when he leaves the room
a twenty pound note
‘don’t tell your dad’.
She brings me a scarf made of lace
and cystitis powders, just in case
She brings me a jar of
thick cut orange marmalade
bought from the women that lives round the corner
a top from Marks she had on order
and a cut out coupon
from Woman’s Weekly.

I bring my mum a cup of tea:
No sugar. Milk.

Botticelli

February 20, 2011

He sketched my hip like a line of horizon.
He painted a wash like the tide coming in.
He painted my back like a swept away sand dune.
He painted my feet, like a couple of wings.

I took off my clothes like a jigsaw puzzle
like a Russian doll, piece by piece.
I folded my skirt with a lacy tussle.
I kicked off my shoes like a flight of geese.

He was my Botticelli
my first and my last.
He was my Vulcan and Adonis
my Jupitar and Mars.

He was my man in the moon.
My man on the beach.
My off-stage lover.
My left behind after-image.

Visit (new draft)

February 20, 2011

When my mother comes to visit, she brings my dad
and a pack of twelve quilted Andrex toilet tissues
half a pack of Weetabix – and since she has
started cutting down on dairy products
a carton of rice milk. My mother brings
Lancome samples she got from Boots:
white tubes inside of miniature packages
smaller than match boxes –
a tote bag she got as a free gift:
two purchases or more from Christian Dior –
she saved for the foundation
with my dad’s housekeeping.
When I move into my flat my mother brings me a plant
she brings me a card: two mice in tiny clothes
‘Good Luck in Your New Home’, when I get my degree
a card from them both, when he leaves the room
a twenty pound note, ‘don’t tell your dad’.
My mother brings the mail still coming to their bungalow:
letters from a bank, records like an echo, living in the past.
She brings me a jar of thick cut orange marmalade
bought from the women that lives round the corner
a cut out coupon from Woman’s Weekly.

I bring my mother a cup of tea:
White porcelain, pink roses
on a tiny tray, with a tiny spoon.
No sugar, a little milk.

Botticelli

February 20, 2011

He sketched my hip like a line of horizon.
He painted a wash like the tide coming in.
He painted my back like a swept away sand dune.
He painted my feet like a couple of wings.

I took off my clothes like a jigsaw puzzle
like a Russian doll, piece by piece.
I folded my skirt with a lacy tussle.
I kicked off my shoes like a flight of geese.

He was my Botticelli.
He was my first and my last.
He was my Vulcan and Adonis.
He was my Jupitar and Mars.

(in progress..)

February 18, 2011

When my mother comes to visit, she brings my dad
and a pack of twelve quilted Andrex toilet tissues,
half a pack of Weetabix – and since she has
started cutting down on dairy products,
a carton of rice milk. My mother brings
Lancome samples she got from Boots:
white tubes inside of miniature packages
smaller than match boxes –
a tote bag she got as a free gift:
two purchases or more
from Christian Dior –
she saved for the foundation
with her pension and housekeeping.
When I move into my flat,
my mother brings me a plant,
she brings me a card:
two mice in tiny clothes
‘Good Luck in Your New Home’,
when I get my degree
a card from them both,
when he leaves the room
a twenty pound note:
‘don’t tell your dad’.
My mother brings the mail
still coming to their bungalow:
letters from a bank,
records like an echo,
living in the past.
She brings me a jar
of thick cut
orange marmalade,
bought from the women
that lives round the corner,
a cut out coupon
from Woman’s Weekly.

I bring my mother a cup of tea:
White porcelain, pink roses,
on a tiny tray, with a tiny spoon,
no sugar, a little milk.

February 18, 2011

When my mother comes to visit, she brings my dad
and a pack of twelve quilted Andrex toilet tissues,
half a pack of Weetabix and since she has
started cutting down on dairy products,
a carton of rice milk. My mother brings
Lancome samples she got from Boots: white tubes
inside of packages, smaller than match boxes
and a tote bag she got as a free gift:
two purchases or more from Christian Dior –
she saved for the foundation
with her pension and housekeeping.
When I move into my flat, my mother brings me a plant,
she brings me a card: two mice in tiny clothes
‘Good Luck in Your New Home’, when I get my degree
a card from them both, when he leaves the room
a twenty pound note: ‘Don’t tell your dad’.
My mother brings me the mail still coming to their bungalow
letters from a bank, records like an echo, living in the past.
She brings me a jar of thick cut orange marmalade,
bought from the women that lives round the corner,
a cut out coupon from Woman’s Weekly.
I bring my mother a cup of tea: no sugar,
a little milk, a porcelain cup,
with pink roses.

Venus in Love

February 17, 2011

What if Venus fell in love.
What if each day she woke up
and lay wrapped in it
like a feather blanket
stitched with silver.
What if her hair
curled about her
and every strand spelt love.
What if her eyes
shone with it
and her nails glowed with it
and her mouth
breathed it’s lines
in a single word
over and over and over:
Love. Love. Love.

I want to be a bear:

a dense white house of a polar bear –
hunkered down on an icy lake,
with my back
like a carpet coated snowed on roof
and my head
like a
massive furry
winnebago.

I want to think of fish
and seals
and where to find
the thinnest panes of ice.

I want to think of sun
and snow
and possibly
The Northern Lights.

I want to be a bear
that does not think
of face cream

or eye gel
or serum
or self adhesive
tightening face strips

that does not think
about the severn signs
of cosmetic ageing

A polar bear
with a large black nose
like a bowl of tar
and no difficulty
with enlarged paws

A polar bear
with a black rubber skin
white hair
yellow teeth –
and a weight problem
that is not
a weight problem:

heavier than a four by four and
capable of crushing cars.
I want to weigh 1000 pounds
and be eleven feet tall
I want my fur to stink
of blood and sweat
and musk and the north
and for it to be thick
and long and coarse
and for Immac –
to be irrelevant.
I want Kiera Knightley
for elevenses
because she wouldn’t make
a decent lunch
massive jowls
teeth that crunch
inky eyes
furry tongue
and a thick layer
of subcutaneous blubber

I want to be a bear.
A great white van, of a polar bear.
A ginormous house, of a polar bear.
A massive boat, of a polar bear.
I don’t want to buy face cream.
I want to have webbed feet.