Anne draft for SST6

22 Jan
Time for poem: approx 5 mins
I’m intending this to be a real character piece in the performance. My intention is to portray isolation and that sense of aloneness that creeps up on you. I want the audience to feel slightly unsettled, to laugh but realise there is a sense of pathos about the character. This is a new take on the poem for me – I’d like to know if you think there can still be humour in it? I’m going to try and upload a sound clip at some point to give you an idea of how I’ll perform it.
I am going to work on the colours too and make the examples more specific to me.
‘Diving for Dear Life’
Where I come from
there is no colour.
If there is sound, I don’t hear it
Not even my own voice.
As I rise the only colour is violet.
Shadows, memories
and the comfort of darkness.
As I rise blue emerges,
then green and yellow mix in
showing my skin to be living
then orange lights my hair
fronds tangling around my face
and finally red as my head breaks the surface and the waves lift me
and drop me.
On the surface I swim for the first time
relishing the battle of me
against a tide.
I learn to live an ordinary life,
feel the way people feel.
I learn new skills,
keep my tail hidden underneath my skirt,
how to mask my fishy smell,
cut my hair a little shorter,
try not to comb it sitting on the bonnet of my car,
to wear a bra to cover my breasts they can be so distracting
I keep my shell collection to a bare minimum
and pretend I covet shoes instead.
I learn to hum softly under my breath,
keep my song to myself.
My voice, the things I say,
can give me away as something…
other.
It can draw a man to me,
but then he feels the coldness of my skin,
or finds seaweed in my hair,
barnacles growing on my ribs.
Sometimes my voice gets lost on the wind,
every breath draws salt from the ocean and flavours my tears.
Every step I take
feels like a blade is cutting in
but I thought everybody felt like this
so I keep walking.
I didn’t realise that once I put my head above water
the air would distort my perception of distance
and reduce the scale of everything around me.
I did not realise that this life is not adventure.
I did not realise.
You can’t say I haven’t tried to live a life the ordinary way.
But I am leaving land behind
going back to where I came from.
I am diving
Above me the sun makes a valiant attempt to follow,
hot-foot-hopping on the waves,
but where I’m going it can’t come
the spectrum cannot be
there will be no colour.
At 50 feet, red is invisible.
signature lipstick,
my sharp-cut-hair,
pomegranate seeds,
fear of the dark,
sleep-shot eyes,
tear-taut-face.
I am diving.
At 200 feet orange is gone.
kicking through leaves
rug on the end of the bed,
steaming tea,
warmth of arms,
October mornings.
I am diving.
At 300 feet yellow green is almost gone.
sunlight through trees,
the lightness of thought,
softness of voices,
the healing of bruises,
driving the old Renault.
I am diving.
At 400 feet violet has completely eclipsed blue,
peeling paint,
the sky at midday,
small bird,
torn hopes,
my song.
I am diving.
At 500 feet, every colour gone but violet.
Morning mist and evening shadows,
broken promises,
wilted flowers,
old wounds,
cried out eyes,
comfort in darkness.
I am diving
At 800 feet
no colour.
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