Sarah Newman – SST8 Scratch Show 1st Draft

26 Jan

Sorry this is slightly late, ended up changing a lot in my draft. I’d like some feedback on what you think generally about this, what you like and dislike. I’d particularly like some feedback on the form, as I’m not sure where to go with it. Also maybe the ending, I feel like it kinda tails off as I get aware of how long it is. Not sure about tech stuff for performance as I’m new to performing so any advice would also be appreciated 🙂

Brainfreeze

The dessert section in Tennessee’s canteen was

bigger than the whole serving section in my first year

in Nottingham. The good thing about capitalism

is choice. America gives you more than dry

bread and butter pudding or nothing

besides a banana – but don’t take more than one

or the chef will think you’re a troublemaker.

And the guy who sneaks apricot yoghurts

in his pocket is the rebel.

There are cupcakes with thick icing, slices

that cut me in my tubby flab

and cookies that dunk in my mouth without

a cup of tea. I choose between chocolate chip

and whatever those rainbow chips are made of,

artificial goodness which I’ll pocket

for a midnight snack when I bite into

what tastes too good to be a Tesco custard cream.

At bookends to the cakes and cookies,

and the doughnuts, which they only serve

At breakfast, is the ice cream.

To the left, there’s a full on machine

where students become passive consumers,

watching the sludge curl its way into the cone

until they smile like it’s July, inside from

the climate change witchery of a Knoxville snowstorm.

To the right, is where the workers toil,

scythes switched to scoopers, where determined sorority sisters

with baggy t-shirts, leggings and well-made faces

sweat out their clichés to get hot enough to need

an ice cream to cool down.

Tennessee girls are trained to swoop in fast and let their

slow vowels catch up, dole out their strawberry with sprinkles

and only enough sauce for a quick ‘bless your heart’.

Boys in orange baseball caps squeeze the handle of the scooper

and drop the perfect spheres into their throats, swirl

their tongues and smile at me with the bravado

of volunteer soldiers who know they’ll come home,

clad in badges from democratic royalty,

but they’re so cocky that they shorten it to Vols.

I come from a land of a well-fed monarchy

and I stumble around as a bloated princess,

dressed in zips and Velcro, easy to fasten.

I step to the plate, an uncomfortable

metaphor suited to my unsteady hands.

I grab a scooper from the pathetic excuse for a mini

cleaning station, reminiscient of a paint pot, the water

gets dirtier, the brush doesn’t get cleaner.

I plough my way through the chocolate

but like a failed Communist vision my scythe gets stuck

at the bottom, and brings out flakes to their perfectly

shaped spheres, faces hidden behind false advertising.

Knowing my hands to be too weak for chocolate

I go for the strawberry, too frightened by whatever

the blue thing is, the artificial chocolate chips

rolled up into a ball of children’s birthday party

hyperactivity. In dribs and drabs I crawl out the pink dust,

take a seat next to crockery left over from the buffet main course

and shove the sweetness in my gob like it’ll fly home to England

without me if I don’t get it down.

A pain hits me like an uncaught basketball on the head,

cold like the polar vortex outside.

It spins me into a fluster

that reminds me of words left untyped, ideas stuck in mindmaps

that food was supposed to lift me away from.

But choice leads to too many decisions, arms hugging my forehead

and quaint English swear words dribbling out of my mouth,

landing on my shirt as ice cream droplets,

staying there as stains.

Brainfreeze eases,

I suppose I should watch my dirty dishes zip away round the conveyor belt

and get back, to my numbing laptop screen,

where brainfreeze crackles again, like an icicle on a hinge and I

know it will ease by tomorrow, it always does.

So I firm my hands into loose fists and re-approach the ice cream field

For vanilla, safe but not cosy – it’s stubborn, but I get enough.

I survive a step at a time.

Sit down,

swirl around a spoonful on the spoon,

steady my hand to avoid drippage,

steadily bring to my face,

into my mouth and swallow.

I repeat, following my natural rhythms,

blocking out the background laughter of strangers,

finish, drop off my tray with a thawed mind

yet wobbly fingers, and saunter back

to thawed out words and liquid thoughts,

ready to fill whatever container awaits me.

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2 Responses to “Sarah Newman – SST8 Scratch Show 1st Draft”

  1. MouthyPoets January 26, 2015 at 12:42 am #

    Also, this has stanzas but I can’t get it to come up on WordPress that way for some reason. – Sarah

  2. Anne February 1, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    I really enjoyed this – it has a real sense of a girl on a strange place – would be interested to see how you want it laid out for the zine -maybe email it to George and merch team to take a look?

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