Ingrid McLaren, Grey -Mouthy Tour

7 Sep

(Song)
Grey is the surface, a cavity filler,
Peeking through small gaps between eyelids.
Grey steadies what’s solid.
All that is not need palms
To pluck it from the air.
To pluck it from the air.

(Poem)
Age will defy the laws of gravity,
Which I thought was sad because
I never wanted to grow old.

I was too often told of the responsibilities
I thought maybe I’ll be old and wise
But I haven’t made any major mistakes.

They’ll shout from the church doors
That there is nothing good out there
But I like to make my own mistakes

Even if it’s drizzling outside already
I’ll wait until there’s a thunderstorm
Because all of the wisdom live in that grey

I just need to get wet to feel it
And when I turn grey I want to be able
To explain my laugh lines and scars

And never feel the need to wish them away

(Song)
Grey is the surface, a cavity filler,
Peeking through small gaps between eyelids.
Grey steadies what’s solid.
All that is not need palms
To pluck it from the air.
To pluck it from the air.

(Poem)
Most days, older women infer that
I am inadequate. Firmly believing
That adequacy come with age.

It is embedded into their culture that
At 17 I cannot know anything
Refusing to ask me their questions.

This is a fault
They’re unaware that culture is software
I can be updated if your mind is open

I find it strange that some people
Can spend their entire lives without
Questioning what they’ve been told,

Forcing themselves to adore
What is put in front of them
Never realising how free they are.

So I will run in flip flops
Trying hard not to trip
Trying to escape normality

I will try to stop smudging myself
In order to fit in.
I will never be conventionally attractive.

This made me lose balance a lot.

When I was younger I thought
My hair was ugly
And my skin the wrong shade

But I learnt to entwine my fingers
With truth rather than television.
I wasn’t wrong. I was different.

(Song)
Grey is the surface, a cavity filler,
Peeking through small gaps between eyelids.
Grey steadies what’s solid.
All that is not need palms
To pluck it from the air.
To pluck it from the air.

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2 Responses to “Ingrid McLaren, Grey -Mouthy Tour”

  1. poetclare September 8, 2014 at 11:15 am #

    Hi Ingrid

    This is a really strong piece, and I’m looking forward to hearing how it works in performance (very well, I expect). It’s really interesting how you play with the different levels of ‘Grey’ – age, boredom, normality (as opposed to being different) etc.

    There are lots of things I love – the idea of ‘cultural software’, the image of ‘running in flip flops’, the idea of ‘smudging’ yourself (what a brilliant, fresh verb).

    I really like the fact you’re playing with form too – that the poems have three-line verses except for the one-line ‘this made me lose balance a lot’ which feels off-balance as it breaks the form. A perfect marriage of form and content.

    The song lyrics seem full of fruitful ambiguities too – grey seems to be both surface and substance, something that fills but also lives ‘in gaps’. I’m really interested in the line: ‘All that is not need palms / to pluck it from air’ – I don’t quite understand it but I love the sound and the line break. Could you paraphrase this line? What does it mean for you?

    Just a couple of other question marks on my notes. One by the verse:

    Age will defy the laws of gravity,
    Which I thought was sad because
    I never wanted to grow old

    What do you mean that age will defy the laws of gravity? Will it? How? Because everyone will have plastic surgery? And why would you think this sad if you never want to grow old – surely this is what you want if that’s the case? Is there something I’m not getting?

    Also a couple of possible typos. ‘But I like own make my own mistakes’ sounds odd. Should it be ‘But I like to make my own mistakes’?

    And ‘Because all of the wisdom live in that grey’ – should it be ‘that lives in that grey’? or ‘alive in that grey’? Currently sounds odd.

    Otherwise, this is great – love that defiant image: ‘But I learnt to entwine my fingers / With truth rather than television.’ Thanks for sharing and let me know if you have any more questions for me,

    Best
    Clare x

    • mouthypoets September 9, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

      Thank you so much for the feedback 🙂
      The lines you mentioned are typos, I was quite tired when I typed it up.
      They are “But I like to make my own mistakes” and “Because all of the wisdom lives in that grey”
      What I mean by gaps is that it’s half way between black and white, asleep and awake etc.
      The ‘plucking from the air’ part means that things like dreams and expectations aren’t solid and they need to be chased and caught before they become real.
      Age defying the laws of gravity means that it will go up and never come down 🙂

      Do you think that I need to explain these more?

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