Parts Of A Whole.

When the counting started
It was in whole parts
Her and her
Made them
But the numbers they grew
And the bodies piled high
While the time stretched
Over and away

So now it’s but parts
Some whole
And some halved
Those point threes
Sit next to their whole sisters
Those point threes each week
Become whole by the next
And another woman is spliced

Out across time
Those points are made whole
Those women who loved
Who were solid and alive
Whose echoes are listened to now
Their numbers are counted
And are remembered by name
Just parts of a whole no more

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The Denounced

Sat in a pod
Or at a desk
A sofa
A lawn
Lying in bed
You scan with your code
And your algorithms of shame

Eyeballing for the sleights
The choice keywords
Juicy tidbits to wave under
The noses of your allies
The allegiances formed
Through shared experiences

And you frighten
Condemn and denounce
These keyboard “aggressors”
You are known to us
You scream
From a page backlit
And we are watching you

Looking at your language
Looking for your hate
Avoid these scum
You warn
While actively searching them out
These women
With voices

These questioning
Inquisitive women
These thinking
Reducing them to sound bites

Privileged and hated
For expressing opinions
For naming their oppression
For questioning
For speaking

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In A Hospice

You were lying
A question mark on its edge
A hipbone I couldn’t take my eyes off
Your hand that had lived too short
Resting under a cheekbone
That sliced your palm
Your skin was honesty
Rice paper thin
Stretched over willow
A glow still lighting up
But leaking
I passed you with my wares
On wheels
And you recoiled
Afraid to eat
Afraid to choke
Afraid of a custard cream
Afraid of every single
Tiny moment left
And it broke my heart
Into thousands
Upon thousands
And I didn’t hold your hand
Because I didn’t know you
And I should have held your hand
But I wasn’t meant to
And I should have held you
At least for a little while

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A Black Rainbow

Oh but I wish
I could be climbing Jacob’s ladder
Poised to slide down the dark rainbow
Black and crystal
An endless tumble down
To earth through storms
With a ringing in my ears

This longing comes and goes
The need hot
The echo of the need
Building goosebumps
Pouring vinegar
In oil
And stirring

All that want and fear
Never emulsifying
Sitting side by side
A yes and no
Cracked glass limbs
Cradling a tiny being
Fragile vulcanised rubber
Lost without love

I am needed
And I am wanted
But I’m a sailor lost
In a bathtub
Unable to scale the sides
Or pull at the plug
Only dive down deep
Among the weeds and stones

When wealth is a measure of worth
And success bartered
When my time is for sale
And my mind is an addled stew
That can be sold
To the lowest bidder
I’ll jump at the chances
To dance with the lightning

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Those Days

You talk of those days
When they’d burn us at the stake
When they’d bridle us
The Scolds

You talk of those days
When they’d sterilise the unmarried
Force feed the challenging
Lock up the hysterical

You talk and talk and talk
Without listening
Can’t you hear
The screaming

It’s deafening
The white noise you hear
Is crystal clear
To those who choose to listen

Those days are these days
That time is now
The burning
And the bridles

The detention centres
The sedation
The medication
The sterilisation

The force
Blunt trauma
Are you listening
Can’t you hear

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The Circus Tent

Oh the trapeze!
To swing and whoop and holler
My weight
A brass pendulum
Claiming the sky on either side
With each sway
As I slice back and forth
Holding with knuckles white
The cherry-red and tulip-yellow
Of the circus tent
A fizz of orange
The netting a jumble below
And the spire a pinpoint above
Look at the stars peeping through!
While I tumble and dive
Through time
And my safe space
Here in my tent
The rocking back and forth
A comfort and a joy

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The Metal Yard

Coat me in gold leaf
The edible kind
For I am consumable
Unwrap me
And devour

Sprinkle me with silver sugar balls
That live atop cakes
For I am decorative
A luxury
A bad habit

Brush me with bronze
Burnish me in steel
Watch my copper oxidise
And my iron rust
As I stand out facing the storm

Wrap me in arms
Held at their length
Breathe in my collarbones
And swallow my heartbeat
A metronome to count on

Lift me and swing me
Sway me and move me
Convince me of a truth told
Or I’ll dance far far away
Out of this metal yard

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