Three Poems

I disowned my real pain & engaged with its subordinates:


despicable neediness, heroic guilt and undeterrable envy. Each day

I woke trussed up with this hernia of failure, bleat bleat.

There was inevitable blood; I slept on a pyre of bottles. Stalked

by motherhood, unable to summon my latent powers. Leaves

blew into the hallway and did their ageing there, the eager wind

fussed with them like the beaded fringe of a shawl at war with itself.

Powerful identification with the leaves. In the garden, splendour

made its entrance while I wasn’t looking. I was quaking

all this time, my whole body a throat stoppered by tears. I tried

to will dreams of romantic redemption, but my brain swatted

them away, like flies gunning for something you really want to eat.



No one should be frightened of pleats

(Coco Chanel)


My life has been merely a prolonged childhood. Bored, with a squalid

boredness that idleness and riches bring about (I would make a very

bad dead person). Money is not attractive, it’s convenient. The only

thing I really like spending is my strength. Every time I’ve done

something reasonable, it’s brought me bad luck: that sweet smile

of gratitude, tinged with a longing to kill me. I am ready to start

all over again. The first people to whom I opened my heart were

the dead. I hate people touching me, rather as cats do. I merely

observe that I have grown up, lived, and am growing old alone.

I loathe people putting order into my disorder. Let them skip

the pages. Sometimes I lose myself in the maze of my legendary fame.

What an abomination, a ghastly disease! That handsome parasite

that is the imagination, lapped up in secret, in the so-called attic. I

imposed black; it’s still going strong today. I don’t have to explain

my creations; they have explained themselves. I knew how to express

my times. I used to tolerate colour. Changing one’s mind appalls me.

Do you see what a foul temper I have? I cannot take orders from

anyone, except in love, madly, with a man who loathes me. Everything

is lovely and empty. I only care for trivial things, else nothing at all. If I

built aeroplanes, I would begin by making one that was too beautiful.



The Garden


I encountered a surface that was not safe to stand on.

It was between me and the garden.

The garden said take as much time as you need.

It said you don’t even have to tell me.

I volunteered, ‘my requirements for love are

a living thing that loves me but barely needs me at all.’

I was indoors, the garden was not listening.

Sound / abrasion / highly scratchable soul.

I considered standing on surface of it all

(everything is reflected in the surface:

sky, my very needy beauty, cellular detritus,

the damp packet of the future) but I knew

the outcome was giving way. My mother had

recently told me I stayed until the bitter end once

before and it was a mistake. I visualised tight buds

of thoughts laid out like a pathway

but my self was in its interminable confinement.

‘I am taking up too much of my own life.’

I was shouting beyond the threshold.

The garden told me at last, you are

in the business of remembering. Attend to your dream.


grew up in Kent and the North-East; she now lives and works in London. Her first collection Luxe was published by Salt in 2013. She is the author of two pamphlets Instead of Stars (Tall Lighthouse) and History (If A Leaf Falls Press). In 2014 she edited an anthology of poems on friendship between women Best Friends Forever (The Emma Press). Her poems have been widely published in magazines and anthologies including PoetryThe Poetry ReviewNew StatesmanRough Trade Magazine, Best British Poetry 2015 (Salt), Poetry Please (Faber & Faber) and The Poetry of Sex (Penguin). Her second book-length collection, Isn't Forever, a Poetry Book Society Wild Card Choice, is published by Bloodaxe in June 2018.



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