Ingrid McLaren, Wednesday, SST8 draft 2, headline show

25 Jan

Our Collab has sadly broken up but this is my solo second draft
I’d like feedback on form because it’s a mess, I tried and failed to think of a better way to say that the other character is speaking, I don’t know if there is another way other than saying she said because I just feel like I’ve said it way too many times. The alcohol references are googled and guessed so if they sound a bit out of place for the characters please tell me. I’m not too sure about the end either it feels unresolved but I didn’t really know how to resolve it. Also the title…I don’t really know. Anywho, here’s a poem 🙂

Only one hour left on a quiet Wednesday bar shift.
Then a woman crashed in, saying, I need to hide,
someone is after me. I said not unless you buy something.
She scurried behind the bar and splattered on the floor.
Slowly she untangled herself and tilted her head to look at me.
Her eyes big, brown, bloodshot and innocent, she asked for rum.
I filled the glass in my hand with ice and Appleton Estate White
and passed it down to her, keeping my head straight.
She said don’t you wonder why we don’t just stay alone,
we’d be safer if we did. She took a sip and looked up for my response.
I said safety is an illusion, nothing is completely safe.
No one is cruel enough to punish me for the things I punish myself for.
Her eyes wandered when she said that it wasn’t fair and drinking
makes it busier upstairs so you may as well be two people
and have a conversation with yourself.
She gulped down the last of her rum an whined I just want to be happy
and burst into loud, ugly crying. In that same moment
a middle aged couple walked in. I greet them with the usual fake smile
and what can I get you? The woman says, who’s crying, I say
my colleague’s cat died today, she had it for 15 years
They’re both sceptical but order Bailey’s and Southern Comfort
They pay and walk off whispering to each other.
When they were out of sight I sigh and tell her
no matter how hard you try to suppress your pain,
something always tends to come along and swing from your smile,
changing the frequency you need to be happy with its feet while it hangs there.
Someone used to make me ridiculously happy, even if I only smelt them
If they didn’t pick up and I just got their voicemail.
I realised that my heartless façade had disappeared, the woman
Held my hand and kissed it. I smiled then mumbled
Who’s after you? The police, she said.
My little boy died a few hours ago.
My partner threw things when he was angry,
anything he could get his hands on.
Noah was screaming his eyes out
Next thing I saw was his little body rebound off the wall
and land in a heap.
I looked at the man’s hands, into his face
Then ran into him, wrapped my legs around his arms
and snapped his neck.
I picked up Noah, kissed him on the nose then checked his pulse.
Nothing. So I called the police and left the line off the hook.
She looked at the floor and fiddled with the glass in her hand.
I took the glass from her
Poured away what was left of the ice cubes
and refilled it with Wray and Nephew’s Overproof Rum.

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2 Responses to “Ingrid McLaren, Wednesday, SST8 draft 2, headline show”

  1. Anne January 25, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    I think the “I said” “she said” thing can really work if you repeat and repeat – there’s something quite hypnotic about it, and matter of fact, like you’re telling it in court almost.
    It’s a bit Raymond Chandler, film noire.

    I think the specificity of the drinks people order is really crucial to the sense of the barman being a barman(person!!) and one who is good at their job, knows their brands and their customers. Maybe some lines about – southern comfort, baileys, that’ll never last… some comment on who orders what, what kind of people order what kind of drink. Is there room to play with that? You make a point of pouring away one rum in favour of another when you find out her plight, like everyday rum isn’t enough for this.
    I don’t like that she calls him her partner, it sounds clumsy- unnatural – maybe write out the dialogue as it would really happen – that’s the part where I stop believing- it needs to seem real. Maybe you could improv it with someone?
    It’s very dark, which I love!

  2. MouthyPoets January 26, 2015 at 2:45 am #

    MATE.
    This is a completely different poem to the one you brought on Friday and I LOVE IT.

    It’s super performative, but not in a slammy/performance poetry way. AMAZING.

    When you get round to performing this, can I please help you? Thanks 🙂

    I think the end is spot on. Feels like something that could’ve come out of Simon Armitages Seeing Stars.

    All my feedback is just ideas for performance, so I’ll save that to give you in person. Writing’s sound as per.

    Joshua Judson

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