Only 5 weeks to go!?!?!?!

7 Jan

There is only 5 weeks to go until our next show and this is the poem I am developing for our theme of Love Lace and Revolution (some of you may recognise it as I started writing it in the Choman Hardi workshops over summer)…

Swallowing Life Whole

I will leave my best friend, Suzie
my memories between the age of 4 and 16;
building boats out of beer barrels,
getting lost on the 25 bus,
screaming at each other on the Central Line,

teaching her not to be racist,
teaching me not to be a cocky bastard,
plucking her eyebrows and painting
her face the right shade of skin.
To remind her – she has no rhythm.

I will leave her drunk recordings
of our hands high as disco balls,
sticky as foam-party bubbles. I will leave her
my phone-voice. So no one can notice.
I will leave Mum my poetry

and it will piss her off for ten years.
Until, missing my boisterousness,

she’ll pick me up, read the anaemia
around her eyes, sunken from screaming
up the ripped stairs or laughing out our living room –

where I learned charisma
(I won’t need to leave her that).
I hope she forgives my exposure of her
when she notices her ornaments in my punctuation.
I will leave Dad my emotional vocabulary,

so his grandchildren won’t have to wait
until they’re 18 to hear that he loves them.
I will leave my adopted brother, Arun sobriety.
I will leave my oldest brother, Richard forethought
so he can stop upsetting himself into being the bully.

I will leave my lover, Joel, my skin,
because alone, our layers are too akin
for the width of our lives and their history
thick and fun as lungs of tar.

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2 Responses to “Only 5 weeks to go!?!?!?!”

  1. Ste January 7, 2013 at 7:03 am #

    I liked this and my only comments are on the final stanza.

    Personally I find the term ‘lover’ to be cheesy generally, and I don’t think overtly identifying Joel with it is necessary here, as the remainder of the poem dictates his role as that beautifully.
    I don’t quite get the use of the word akin though? Alone, your skins are too similar for the width of your lives? It may just be me but I didn’t follow that.

    Incidentally, when I first read it I read akin as ‘thin’, and thought the image of Joel being cold alone, but warm with your skin as comfort – like dressing in layers for winter – was nice. The juxtaposition that caused when followed by your history thick and fun as lungs of tar was also enjoyable.

  2. Simone Estridge January 7, 2013 at 8:51 am #

    I agree, I think this poem is great, love it – I personally think it all flowed, until I got to the last stanza. I had to read it a couple of times to fully understand it, I was thinking about the rhyme skin and akin. I am not too keen on it as when I read the first line I loved the idea of giving your lover skin, but I think the line below detracts the energy from the previous line – as the words are quite similar, and I don’t feel akin has a strong enough meaning.

    I love the title too & I really saw the picture when you were describing your friend. In ways, I do like the fact you put the names in as it makes it more personal like we are getting a genuine glimpse of your life. I think the best friend Suzie works. But I don’t know maybe restructure how you put in Joel within the sentence it seems a little too forced, maybe just play around with the order of words there.

    But yeah, great work x

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