27 May 2011

She doesn't talk to God!

Talking to God

She doesn’t talk to God anymore,
when she asked him for a kind loving man
he gave her a cruel one,
When she asked him for strength and patience
he gave her none.
And yet her heart still melts at the sight of the full glorious moon;
every time, the first time
the shadowy lantern that spun
playfully, arrogantly hid and revealed its faded smile
how it rose every night
be it full or a sharp crooked dagger
as if it had reason.
And God is in everything she was taught as a child
in the sound of angry rain falling on house roofs
in the graceful unfolding of a young green tea leaf .
She wants to love him again,
to strike a bargain with him
“God, if you grant me this, only this, I will try again”
but she knows in her heart of hearts
that God doesn’t work that way.

Pink Post-it Notes

Everywhere in her house
there are pink and orange post it notes
hanging on door, mirrors and walls
there’s even one on her bedroom ceiling that read
“pay your child’s dinner money!”
beside it, a badly drawn picture of a dry water tap;
a reminder to pay the water bill.
Everywhere, neon pink notes to help her tired brain function
and yet,
nothing distracts this overworked brain from the murmur of his voice.

24 May 2011

The Wind

After e. e. cummings  

i have found what you are like
the rain
              (Who feathers frightened fields
with the superior dust of sleep.

The Wind

A storm woke this morning
an anger so resolute,  
it shook the wooden garden fence
unhooked washing lines
turned over bins
dropped hanging flower baskets
and made me hold on to a lamp pole
struggling to keep my coat on.

I have finally found what you are like;
the furious wind
your invisible hands
took me
shook me
and bereft me, a torn, brittle leaf.
your intolerable storm offers no pole
to brace.

22 May 2011

His Hands

Gentle hurricane

The thought of you
is a gentle hurricane
of sinopia coloured tea
conquering the pure
boiling water of my
your slowly darkening

His Hands

‘I hope you are well’
he wrote blankly.
I pictured his calm hands
on the keyboard.
His hands,
they have a wisdom and a knowing,
the knowing of when and how.


Time, you said I’d never hunger,
you said I’d never age.

Time, you are the ticking sound of taking
the insistent claw always aiming at my plate.

Time, you drowning of rainbows
the contracting of days.

19 May 2011

Ah to be five again!

for Jori

five years old
she cannot stand being still
after bouncing relentlessly
on her trampoline,
tirelessly following a lady bird
climbing and descending leaves,
threading daisies into necklaces,
immaculately licking icing and sprinkles
off cup cakes - without eating the cup cake!
she stood in front of the garden wall as the sun
began to set and played clapping rhymes with her own shadow.

18 May 2011

Watching Lovers

I watch them on trains
using each others' bodies for comfort;

lays her head on his shoulder and sleeps

finds in the curve of her waist a place to
warm his hand

wake slowly, lazily from a long kiss.

I watch them in restaurants longing
for each others' faces from behind their
tall menus.

I watch them in parks,
                          walking long paths,
                                           rhyming their footsteps,
                                                             winged with future.

17 May 2011

I wish you

I wish you on this dull grey morning
as I winter my coffee with sugar
and cream.

I wish you on this cold lonely evening
as I stir the thickening soup
sending you a thousand unspent

14 May 2011

When his face rises

When his face rises
in your sleepless nights
like the self indulgent moon
glorious and full,
turn away from it.

The peak of longing can be
as steep and curiously tempting
as a leap off the highest mountain,
it makes no sense to throw away your
life like this
but your heart yearns to reach the grounds
of this fathomless emotion
to bring this falling to a halt
to reach a certainty no woman has ever known
to see, touch, taste the ashes of your burning for him
only then will his tides begin to recede,
and you, become a floating swan, gliding above
the surface of your once tireless affection
riding his vacillating waves so elegantly,
flowing, ripple like.

12 May 2011

Death Watched

Death stood outside
and watched
as your surgeon
with his guessing knife 
opened you up again
the sound of your healing stitches
picked against your aging skin
must have been as loud and dry
as plastic rope hesitating under a blunt

Reciting a prayer
I set night’s long fingers
to touch you

the velvet black curtain
that will not draw.

8 May 2011

The Mother who Writes

She writes

In between pink coughing medicine doses
the mother sits to write
sleep deprived, she steals moments from
her child’s illness
not focused her body signals for sleep
but the last spoon of Calpol is kicking inn
and she might not get another chance tonight

There’s always a mess to be tidied
around the house, or in her head
there’s always going to be a pile of clothes to be ironed
an overgrown back garden
a thousand courtesies she hasn’t met   

But for now, the rain is falling angrily on the cheap
fibreglass conservatory roof
she calls it inspiring
and she writes.

5 May 2011

My meeting with Ian McMillan and other cool BBC people!

May 4th 2011

So today was the first meeting with the “BBC People” to start work on the Spoken Word Talent Development Project.
I met with Louisa Davies (Director at the MAC) on the train to London. Walking in London towards Arts Council England (ACE) we passed by West Minister Abbey and were horrified to see what seemed to be 5 maybe 6 hundred people queuing outside! Tourists waiting to get a glimpse inside the Church to see whether anything remains from the Royal Wedding!
Before we entered ACE we met with Bohdan Piasecki (who was also chosen for this project), and poets from regions other than the West Midlands there are two poets from the East: John Osborne and Deborah Stevenson and two poets from the North East: Degna Stone and Michael Edwards.
We all finally went inside ACE and met with Ian McMillan, Presenter of the BBC Radio show The Verb. Erin Riley, Producer of BBC Radio 3 and Mathew Dodd, Head of Speech Programming and Presentation at BBC3 Radio. They were all such interesting and inspiring people, I kind of fell in love with Ian McMillan who is funny and witty and has an incredibly sexy voice! We all talked about the project, how they all hope it’s not just going to be a perfectly cut radio show, but something that is young fresh and inspiring to listen to by the audience. For the project each poet was asked to choose a more established poet to work closely with, someone we personally admire and who can help us improve our writing skills, or our performance skills or both, which ever we felt we needed more help with. I chose to work with Aoife Mannix and I am looking forward to meeting her and finding out what we could come up with together, later when the piece is produced, I will perform it on Ian McMillan’s show The Verb, BBC Radio 3.
Ian wanted to see us perform, so each poet performed a short piece, he also wanted to learn a bit about each one of us, so we did a short recorded interview with him in another quiet room, all of these clips of our performed short poems and answering Ian’s questions about ourselves will be incorporated into the program for the final show, so that instead of a boring radio interview where it’s question and answer, it would be more like a magazine style show, bits and pieces, and different voices from the poets, and then the final “big” piece which was developed in conjunction with our mentor poet.
We all agreed that Spoken Word Talent Development Project was a mouth full so we decided to go with “Verb New Voices”.  
Our next meeting is on July 26th at the MAC in Birmingham, until then I will meet Aiofe and will start writing my radio piece so that in our July meeting with Ian and the producers I (we) would have something of a progress.

4 May 2011

Ice skating.

The stiffness of the skating boot was the first challenge
tightening the laces, they felt hard on her tiny soft foot.

I showed her how to spread one arm for balance
while I held her other hand

I took her slowly, cautiously
I pointed out to other children:
“look at that little boy over there, see how his feet slide? That’s what you should do”

But she didn’t believe spreading her free arm would  give her balance,
she didn’t want to imitate the little boy
she wanted to skate her own way,
she didn’t mind falling,
and she fell
many times.

As we staggered on the hard frozen surface, wobbly and ungraceful
we skated across previously etched tracks,
soon our tracks were one of the many.

Then something began to weigh;
she was shackled by my hard grip and my fear for her,
I was shackled by the belief that I mustn’t let her fall,
she finally demanded I let her hand go;
“Mummy! Let me go, but stay behind me, so you can grab me before I fall”

3 May 2011

The Loves that Don't make it to "I Love you"

The loves that don’t make it to ‘I love you’ ;
The stillborns
The bastards
The weaklings
The easy to forget
The forever lingering "what if?".


i go about my day
half full
half pretty
half happy
i say: ‘hello it’s good to see you ’
words heavy
i avoid windows on rainy days
when a reflection of you beside me
is most vivid.

the girl, the woman 
she says: “no, it’s all in the past, i’m happy now”
as she wraps her waist in the stiff fitted coat that uprights her
holding the girl the woman and the years
in the silent doing of a single button.