It comes at me like a juggernaut
I take it in my arms and I hold it tight
In case it knocks me flat.
It comes at me like a juggernaut
It knocks out my mind which goes down and crashes into freefall
Trips out my wiring, unplugs my brain.
Unhinged, I fly in every direction like a bat that’s out of radar
Like a goose that’s lost its migration plan.
Dark images fill my eyes, soft lethal words in my ears
I can’t do right for doing wrong
I fret and scratch at the painful scabs of ancient pain
Dig at my mind sores that are always ready to revitalise
Have another whirl in the agony stakes
Compete for pain of the century
Then I release it and it flies away, sometimes.
(Sometimes it stays for days.)
Sometimes I can’t relinquish it for weeks and it is my strategy
For non survival I don’t thrive, I wallow
I rail against normality and pretend this aberration is interesting.
Then is the time when
I forget to lean back and look from a distance.
Instead I lock my mind and eyes on the narrow gauge rails of purgatory
And all clear sight goes out the window
Muddy vision is everywhere I look
But, finally, I opt for clarity. Sanity returns and I take back my life.
WAITROSE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
In Waitrose our mutual loathing boils over into fury ,
spills into the aisle between the sultanas and cereal
corrodes the prunes into gloop and the almonds fear for their skins.
In Waitrose our mutual loathing causes the electrics to go into overdrive
The deep freezes quiver into near warmth and the cool cabinets
Jettison their ice cream and sorbets run freely along the tiles
The fruit flies from its cabinet and joins the spuds in their bid for freedom
While the chocolate eggs, out far too early for their own good
Make a break for it and leap into space where they meet the hands of greedy pensioners
In Waitrose our mutual loathing flies into space and makes the air aware of its incipient anger
So it kicks up a dust, gets heavy, fills the lungs of innocent shoppers and makes them high
And rough sex takes place on the delicatessen counter by the bacon slicer, imperilling the participants,
Joy is allowed in Waitrose on a Sunday afternoon in Bournemouth.
But very briefly.
We speak jargonese with a consummate ease
that has to be heard to be disbelieved
we witter away but what do we say ?
At this moment in time and basically too
we try to convey new concepts to you
dressed up in a blanket of complex verbiage
concealed from the mind,
Why do we do it ? we really don’t know
It makes us feel smart in our idiot show …
I wonder why men piss on the floor?
Is it down to aggravation?
Neglect or lack of concentration
Are they lost in such abstractions
That they lack mundane reactions?
Is it simply they don’t see
In which direction that they pee?
Do they do it to annoy?
Do they practise when a boy?
Don’t they know the pong it makes,
Those nasty smelly little lakes?
In the wee small hours with feet all bare
It makes a most disgusting snare.
Could it be that men know well
Regardless of the horrid smell
When it comes to cleaning floors
It’s females do the rotten chores
Awareness should be raised on this,
This woman’s sick of cleaning piss.
(This is the only poem I ever made money from, not a lot but it was first printed in the Raving Beauties anthology then in an ILEA book for London Schools. It was also read at Glastonbury & claimed as her own by some cheeky woman! I choose to see this as flattery and when I read it it seems to have a universal appeal that covers all classes.)
INNER CITY MORNING MUSIC
Head first and backwards through the cool Spring air
Flying out the shebeen door with no apparent care
The noise of breaking glass echoes through the street
Raucous laughter and steel capped feet
Noise of distant milkman and his rattle
Sound of reggae music drowns the clatter
Mosque music playing
You may be going
But it’s here I’m staying
Inner city morning music just plays on.
No more milk floats and I have stayed too long.
A MONOPOLY ON SUFFERING
Won’t you come here and look at my suffering
It’s very much worse than yours
I don’t want to boast
but I’ve been through most
kinds of suffering that have ever been borne.
Come examine the scars on my heart
no one else could compare
this poor old muscle’s
seen many a tussle
and I am , of course, more aware.
My sensitivity is legendary
a truly caring being,
I sit, and I listen,
though I don’t really hear…
I am too busy as I prepare
my own next statement
with which to compare
my greater capacity for suffering and grief
when you leave you will feel profound relief
glad of your own lesser suffering.
When you show me your pain
I’ll smile again
and congratulate myself.
(This was written for a good friend – she didn’t realise it was for her.)
MAKING LOVE WITH WORDS OF TENDER ENDEARMENT
The wonderful words that men use
to describe the act of love:
A jump, a ride, a bang
even heard it called a shove.
“Whopping one up yer”
Don’t that sound nice ?
T’would make you drop your knickers
in a moment, a second a trice.
“Getting the end away”
another lovely term
redolent of affection
of a truly caring worm.
“Having one’s hole”
What a beautiful expression
such words of endearment
would fill you with passion.
“A punch up the knickers”
Mnn sounds delicious.
Doesn’t yentzing sound tempting?
A bit on the side ? Divine.
A screw, so smooth,
give ‘er one – that sounds fun.
Shafting, grinding, laying pipe
A quick jump, a bunk up,
all fucking hype.
(This is one of my very favourites.
All, or most of my poetry was written while I was living with a lovely funny man who had very annoying habits that I thought were unique to him. When I read my poems aloud I realised that most of his habits were not unique at all but near universal!)
As your words passed my ear
I picked a few,
A sample you could say,
I chose the ones I liked
the rest I threw away.
You in your turn
took some of mine
heard them and processed them
in your mind
until they meant something quite different.
THE TOGA PARTY
I went to a toga party
and everyone there was young.
They gave me wine
They gave me a chair
I wanted to stand
and my drink is beer
he danced with me gently
I wanted to jive
I groped him , softly
disbelief in his eyes
reached the wall
couldn’t go far.
sheer naked terror, panic too
You’d have thought I’d ravished the bloody fool!
I sat down again
Looking OLD and sweet
a smile on my lips
my ankles neat.
He looked at me sideways
from under his lids
did she or didn’t she?
I’m sure she did.