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.

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Go Between (50 billion)

March 22, 2008

I met one of your teachers
just the other day –

the one with the name
like gosling –

soft feathers of baby birds,
corsage worn by bride or girl –

Mr Gossage,
showed me to the room –

where we were taught,
asked me how our mother was –

said he’d kept
the paper that you wrote

for years and years
until –

it fell apart.

He’d always thought you’d
work in Academia –

so I told him –

about your education,
your Oxford Don and

Doctorate winning thesis
something to do with

literary criticism
and Walter de la Mare.

You should know:

they hold your face,
somewhere safe in slanting boards –

a young man –
with a pipe,

a jacket patched with corduroy.

Your teacher said
he’d never known such a writer –

fifteen years – and already a rival.
Tell me about it –

I said

and told him that
you’d never smoked.

I met one of your teachers
just the other day –

the one with the name like gosling
soft feathers of baby birds –

corsage worn by bride or girl –
Mr Gossage – showed me to the room

where we were taught –
asked me how our mother was –

said he’d kept
the paper that you wrote

for years and years until
just recently –

perhaps it fell apart.

He’d always thought you’d
work in Academia – so I told him –

about your education,
your Oxford Don and

Doctorate winning thesis
something to do with

literary criticism
and Walter de la Mare.

You should know –

they hold your face,
somewhere safe in slanting boards:

a young man –
with a pipe,

a jacket patched with corduroy.

Mr Gosage said
he’d never known such a writer –

fifteen years – and already a rival.
Tell me about it
– I said.

I told him that
you’d never smoked.

Post, Post

February 3, 2008

Post Match

After the roar and the grunt
of the thundering masses –
the players look small.

The silence is stark in the stalls; on the pitch;
in locker room showers where the cleaner is finished –
but surprised by the shirts.

They always looked small on the telly
but she thought they’d be larger up close.

Not tiny and flattened like pieces of litter
she thought they were flyers but then she saw collars
and paper ripped hems. Yes –

the woman thought players were usually Goliaths,
hulking great giants, leviathan fired
and muscled with rope.

She never thought they were all
Tiny Tom Thumb-kneed – with runner bean lungs’
and tops made from boxes of emptied out fags

She held one up between two palms,
tapped its little cardboard arms, thought:
who’d have known it …just a slip and all that fuss?

She traced the Victory on one’s chest,
Smoothed poor Park Road’s rained on crest,
kissed Hans Solo, tickled Real.

She hooked her post match boys in pockets,
slipped them in her jeans and jacket – The Football World’s
first woman gov’nor –

some days she let them play for cups.

New Draft

April 17, 2007

Hmmm…seems that last ‘fragment’ post ended up containing nearly enough to be the whole thing. This is the fresh version of it-I’ll carry on tweeking it in this post, so I don’t take out anything from the last I might need later…

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 –

dead now.
He was old and I was young –
heart attack and me at only
26-but when he went
he let me go –
like a dove


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.

Hello – pleased to meet you.
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.
1769-1833.
Politician,
philanthropist.
Leader of the
parliamentary campaign
against the trade in slaves-

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

Heyrick believed that women
were especially qualified
‘to plead
for the oppressed’

Well I rather think I did-
I guess I lacked a little patience
when it came to
woman being raped,
men in chains and
babies being sold
like they were slabs of meat.

I wanted it all to stop
immediately

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.

*****
In the early 1820’s
Heyrick shocked those around her
By openly sympathizing
with the West Indies

slave revolts

and I’ll tell you something else I did.
Back home in Leicester
I went door to door
calling for a boycott
on slave grown sugar-

and I mobilized the woman-
the ones in the kitchens
buying the sugar
to fold in the puddings,
to stir in their husbands tea-

And they understood.
And they stopped buying it.

Are you listening to me?
I know I’m probably going on a bit
but I’ve been so cold
for quite some time…

Elizabeth Heyrick,
helped to form
the Birmingham Ladies’ Society
for the Relief of Negro Slaves.
The group would subsequently change its name
to the Female Society for Birmingham.

John,
when all was said and done
I did miss you-
it’s just,
for the first time
in nearly 30 years
I finally felt free.

In 1824
Elizabeth Heyrick
published her seminal work
Immediate not Gradual Abolition

It was in stark contrast
to the gradualistic position
of the mainstream society.

William
Do you remember what you did?
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.

What were your words..?

“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-

when it came to woman
you really didn’t get us-
did you?

In 1830
Elizabeth Heyrick submitted a motion
to the National Conference of Wilberforce’s Society
She called for it to demand
a direct end to slavery.

Dear John,
we begged and we pleaded
we used all our female ways-
but when they didn’t work
we pointed to the money.

Heyrick’s network was the 5th largest donor
to Willberforce’s Party

and when our 73 different cells
threatened to withdraw that funding-
William Wilberforce, had to take us
much more seriously.

In a time of male dominance,
Elizabeth Heyrick succeeded
in assuring the abolition of slavery.

But I never lived to see it.
the bill we pushed was passed
in 1833 – I died
in 31 –
just too early.

John,
I remember you-
but even back in Leicester
very few remember me

Hello out there-
had any of you even
heard of me..?

Google me.
Go on, Google me:
2 silhouettes,
4 photos of my pamphlet
and more pictures of Wilberforce
than you’ll find of me.

A woman is a woman is a woman
and no one even thought
to keep a drawing.

Still-
I never wanted fame.
We wanted Justice
We wanted Freedom
We wanted liberation.

And here we are
you and me-
free at last to speak

It’s not the end
but we’ve made a start…

-haven’t we?

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.

Final Draft?

March 21, 2007

A Bike Called Fury

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 wanting Fury

like a substance.
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?

Remember the day
I brought you home?
Remember the man

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

Fury.
We were like
Gwen Steffani

and Madonna,
Sappho, Kali,
Cleopatra.

My 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 actually asking-
but you were 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.
Fury.
Here’s my sign.

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

Fan your fire
My little Fury.
Break the bastard

Solomon’s Child (2)

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 latch.

Me and my friend we waited with it
and rang for back up – 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, we nearly 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 got it myself.

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
and 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.

And if it asks
why it was given
tell it that I’m-
always with it.

A Bike Called Fury (3)

March 21, 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 wanting Fury

like a substance.
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?

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 actually asking-
but you were 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.
Fury.
Here’s my sign.

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

Fan your fire
My little Fury.
Break the bastard