May Day!

On the 1st of May this year, the UK government declared a climate emergency. People are waking up to the fact that immediate action is required to prevent disaster. My poem celebrates the spread of the climate justice movement and a new wave of action (thanks Extinction Rebellion!).

The ashes of an old age,

Ushered in a new.

That we could take without a price,

Was never really true.

Those who pay are hidden.

We never saw their plight,

But now the cogs are turning,

Mass graves come to light.

Humans, plants and animals,

Buried under money.

There had to be a sacrifice,

The price we pay is life.

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The Industrial Extinction

I learnt recently that an estimated 200 species of plant, insect, bird and mammal go extinct every single day. That’s a devastating rate, a new mass extinction, caused by humans.  This poem mourns the loss of biodiversity and highlights the damage that we’re doing to our earth. 

Industrial boom,

With industrial dust.

Brought industrial waste,

And with it, came loss.

 

Rivers ran dark,

Sun blotted by smog,

Majestic trees,

Reduced to logs.

 

As the urban sprawls,

On industrial scale,

Another day,

Brings another 200 nails.

And towering graves march on.

 

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party (alias Brexit)

So we vote, to have it and eat it.

photo of group of people standing in front of building
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

A piece of cake,
On the table,
Just out of reach.

A big thick slice of Victoria sponge,
With cream and jam.

 

So we vote,
To have it,
And eat it.

But suddenly,
it flickers,
A hologram?
Surely not.

We just need to ask nicely,
And they’ll give it.
So, we send in the hatter,
She’ll ask nicely and get us our cake.

But,
Turns out,
We can’t just have our cake.

If we share our scones,
We can share the whole picnic,
A little bit of black forest gateau,
Macarons,
And dainty little sandwiches filled with pickled herrings, cheese, chocolate.

“We can’t join them now!
We’ve made the tea to go with the cake!”

They’re slicing bits off,
It’s getting smaller and smaller,
It looks a little stale,
And where’s the jam gone?
A tall bloke with a double-barrelled surname licks his lips suspiciously,
“I think we should take the tea and go”

“But we’re starving!” shouts a woman on the ground,
And she does look hungry.
Maybe we should stay and get her a Bolognese or something.

The cake is out of sight now.
We put the kettle on ages ago.
We made the tea,
And now it’s stewing,
It’s going cold.
The milk’s gone off!
“Can’t we pour it away?”

“No,
We’ll get that cake another way.”
“Excuse me sir, where did you get that pint?”

Ok she’s coming back.
She’s coming back and she’s got something!
A biscuit to go with the tea?

“They’ve offered us a sandwich”
“What’s in it?” we cry,
“Marmite” she says.

A letter from Grenfell

So stay away,

clean woman.

You belong with towers and steeples,

not towers of people.

 

You belong with your brothers and sisters,

Who were born at the top and never dropped,

not the brothers and sisters,

who’s lives have been shaped by your decisions,

and now by loss.

 

You belong in parliament,

where the only lament is voters lost,

and there were none here.

In this community,

shattered by your vanity,

people who had nothing,

lost everything.

They paid the ultimate price.

 

You have it all,

and you don’t want to share.

You don’t want to share,

their loss,

their need,

their pain.

So stay away.

No

The only boy I’d ever kissed before,
and now we’re here,
Our clothes on the floor.

*TRIGGER WARNING*  The following contains themes of sexual assualt

The only boy I’d ever kissed before,
and now we’re here,
Our clothes on the floor.
I felt like I owed him,
After he got the car,
So when he asked again,
I said ‘yes’,
If he could come in,
‘be my guest’,
And now I’m here.
Feeling sick,
As he forces his tongue in my mouth,
I turn my head.

The next time it happened,
I thought we were on a date,
Getting on well,
I’d see him again.
But then he bought me more drinks,
And kissed me at the bar,
Leaving in 10 minutes,
Did I want to come?
‘Don’t know’,
Leaving in 5,
I was drunk,
‘Sure’
And now I’m here.
Lying in his bed,
All alone,
With the thoughts in my head.

Surgery

It’s not a cut,
More of a stroke,
Through layers,
Down.

Inside it’s not dark,
Illuminated by the light above,
It glistens,
Alive.

The hands that move are many,
Sure, quick and steady,
They work,
Done.

Each layer must be stitched,
Needle through flesh,
Back together,
Tight.
A neat line of knots,
All that remains,
Almost shiny,
Clean.

Now the patient is returned,
To a white bed,
And to life,
Teatime.

Crying

Sometimes you have to cry. Sometimes you can’t cry and then it all bursts out at once. Or it doesn’t. It drips out infuriatingly slowly until you’re empty. Sometimes you don’t know why you’re crying, you just have to. Too many things, weighing down on your brain, squeezing out the tears.

When your pillow is soaked and you still can’t sleep, let go. Normality will return. In the great expanse of space, it already has. Nothing is normal yet the sum of everything is so large that everything is normal. A drop in the ocean, a star in the sky. Everything is nothing. Let go.