SST6 Draft Piece by Anita

9 Jan

Hi Guys, 

I’ve written a draft piece, that is in need of tweaking, your feedback would be much appreciated.

Half of My Surname 

My mother told me that you always have 

rum in your blood

Alcoholic was a word I knew the definition of before I could spell it

knew it looked like pleats on her face

knew it smelt like salt water on yours 

knew it sounded like convulsions in a voice box 

sounded like popping tyres

 like popping tyres

like crumbs of self confidence


My mother told me you had five children 

I told her you had six

And I saw a heart pump blood out her lips  

she realised you had given her two children as well as lies

 to hold in her hands,


I want her to escape you, to remember only 

when her body was a road you drove across  

that there was a knife in your mouth and we all bled 

the nights we learned to be silent when they knocked our door

months that plliars turned dials on the cooker

Whilst you anaesthetised  yourself 

She had to erase

 give up from her vocabulary 

and find ways to turn bronze coins into notes notes into food 

Before I go to bed I talk to her tell her that she is worth more than a 0.02% blood alcohol reading

and that life with you would be loneliness


All the ones who stayed around you 

pray over a will yet to be written 

find father at the bottom of bottles and in ounces of green

I didn’t but,

 I keep finding bottles

I keep finding seedless flecks in my notebooks


My involuntary memory is a sony CD player and the repeat button is jammed

I have been listening to track 7

 7 years  you recorded and it goes

“you are not worthy of love”

“you are cold”

“No one will ever love you”

“you will never be able to let anyone in” 


So I don’t know how to forget

because you live in my interactions with men

you contract my muscles and create chasms when,

 when they try to hug me

you are the repulsion that chafes my body 

when they show me affection

you are the reason I killed my vulnerability

You are the reason that intimacy turns me into a suicide bomber 

You are the reason that love feels like an invasion and 

I never looked to you for protection because you couldn’t even 

protect me from your inebriated truths



I am reminded that I am a strong Black woman, 

and I,

I should just forgive you. 



2 Responses to “SST6 Draft Piece by Anita”

  1. mouthypoets January 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    This is an incredible piece. Not sure what I can say about it with regard to feedback. Some sharp lines in here, that speak volumes, you use language so sparingly.
    One thing though, when you read this on Friday, I misunderstood at first and thought mother was the alcoholic, I think that’s because I heard the word ‘ mother ‘ very clearly and then hot swept into the poem, I think I need you to emphasise ‘you’ in that line, make it clear you are talking to HIM
    my mother told me YOU alWays have run in your blood ( rather than emphasising always) that would set me up better for the rest of the poem.
    Your poetry is so dense that my mind has to work really hard to pick up all the words and meaning, I don’t mean it’s too dense, too packed I just mean it is a lot of or me to take in and keep space and time to absorb each phrase. On the page it is as clear as anything.
    It’s a really moving piece that I think a lot of people will relate to it, even if their experience is not the same as the narrator, it makes me question why I behave in relationships the way I do, even though my father was not the same as this father, the are things in everybody’s past which colour the way they behave and respond in the future and the present – so for me I felt the emotions of the narrator but also this made me think about my own situation – and the ending, about forgiveness, is very effective.

    • mouthypoets January 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

      That was my comment by the way! Anne

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