Anita: Final draft? for SST6 Commission Show

7 Feb

Half of my Surname

My mother told me that you always have 

rum in your blood

Alcoholic was a word I learnt the definition of  


the pleats on her face

the smell of salt water on yours 

the sounds of convulsions in a voice box

of popping tyres 

of popping tyres 

of crumbs of self-confidence

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


My mother told me you had five children 

I told her you had six

And I saw a heart push 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 pliers 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 



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


But I

I am reminded that I am a strong Black woman, 

and I,

I should just forgive you. 




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