Tube Guy

What makes you think you can re-inflate me?
Wasn’t it you that shinned up me and cut my throat
when no one was about?
Good luck with those bellows, parasite.

The rage, the rage.
How dare you try to levitate me from the page
all over again?
I thought you’d lost your pen?

You struck me off;
stuck me back in the box.
Crowed so cleverly how hard you’d nailed the lid down
because I never could say cheese.

You buckled my knees;
left me to rub at my worry beads
and now you expect me to flap my sleeves for you again?

What am I, your Tube Guy?
What am I, chopped liver?
What am I, your tiny fucking dancer?

This Battlefield

This battlefield is still a field:
you should look to the edges.

In the pause between heads banging doors,
in this chasmic gap in traffic,
an ordinary dawn dissolves the night
to this cow’s lick of green.

Urgent birds keep reiterating something patently vital.
If only you spoke bird.

In the colon between breaths,
(life old: life new)
clouds are dotting the i’s
on how best to advise you.

Transcribe this moment:
you will think of it often.

With your frantic lids’ shutter, snap the private red.
Have you borne yourself well?
You can’t know yet and there’s no one left to check with.
Thumb away your own tear; walk out into the shock.

This field of secrets spreads itself wide to you.
You have weathered this night:
you will weather the rest.
You are the last man standing.

This battlefield is still a field:
just look to the edges.

Yo-yo Powder

Who shrank all the violets?
Who pulled the sore thumbs?
Where did all these synthetic left-handers come from?

Behold the yo-yo powder.

Hey, whichever way you spin it
a room’s not a room without this in it.
Hey, whichever way you spin it
a room’s not a room without my yo-yo powder.

The pat-a-cake hoods.
The motive mufflers.
The sisterhood pissers.
The pampas diviners.
The audience arm twisters.

A room’s not a room without my yo-yo powder
and I’m keeping it dry.

Have You Gone?

(for Daphne)

Have you gone?

The sharp scratch of dawn
and it feels like you’ve gone.
Clouds fumble my eyelashes, jab the melting frame.
This morning smells of water.

The tiny strings that dangled you
swing bloodied and vacant.
And yet, no fairy came.

Has the night ripped away my name?
Flung it to the ground?
Heeled it flat to just another word?
Am I now one more flower to escape you?
I was your daughter.

No matter.
My last job is to iron your debris:
the stump of your tongue tip,
that shark’s grin,
the eyes a jackpot of wild mercury.
And to write this.

I steady again your drooping deadhead:
my scarecrow is being razed to the ground.

How is the House Still There?

When I slam a door, I expect the bricks to crumble.
When I slam a door, I expect the walls to fold.
My exit footprints should land like grenades.

I dug some teeth into the garden;
my bones are under the boards.
Bits of me are still bricked up in your chimney.

How is the house still there when I’m not?

Watch your wallpaper peel to reveal me.
Catch the right light and I am back at the window,
waiting for me, waiting for me.

I am the old tyre on your bonfire.

If the dust beneath your bed is eighty percent skin cells,
that’s plenty of me to make sure you’re still asleep.

I’m the radiator clicking at dark dawn.
I am dead on the back of the door.
A one-way wardrobe.
These walls are faithful to me as I am faithful to you.

It was fortune versus fortune, wasn’t it, all along?
And all this time I thought I was wrong, I was right.

I don’t think you even heard the door, did you?

Our Biology

Something very wrong is strutting our streets:
360° headed, daddy long legged,
drip drip dripping into our women.

Stretch it, sculpt it, erase it, shape it.
Post it, share it: make it so and you’re good to go.

The hot coals of childbirth we’re meant to pretend didn’t happen.
Fuck the baby: how soon was she back in her jeans?
Size zero?

Put a stitch in for the husband,
spanx it, tuck it, liposuck it.
Post it, share it: make it so and you’re good to go.

Well, you’re good to go.

(and don’t get me started on the pubic hair deniers.)

The poor weird faced nannas:
pumped with plastic, frozen with poisons
so no one can tell what they’re really thinking :
I’m ashamed that I am old.

Peel it, inject it, plump it, smooth it.
Post it, share it: make it so
and you’re good to go.

Yes, you’re good to go.

This is a broadcast on behalf of my face.
This is my straight to camera, and I will not be taking questions.
Beware, beware,
I feel it in the hair on my chinny chin chin:
this is an ill wind.
Do not let it in.

Stub out the symptom
Starve the disease
Give us back our biology

Listen to Nanna:
give us back our biology.

Cowboy Girl

There’s a story you don’t know you’re in
and a secret that love won’t share.
There were four in the bed
and the caterpillar tread
of the deadline approaching unseen.

Things I wanted:
• to be a cowboy girl
• a tie on elastic
• my blue plastic cat
• the ruby from Buccaneer
• a bobby dazzler

and all in the shadow of the deadline unseen.

Hey Cowboy Girl,
hold that look into the lens for as long you possibly can.

The smell of the sideboard.
A tie on elastic, hair bobbles,
that box of tiny teeth.
Sticky broken necklaces,
striped bunk beds: silent now.
Debris from a story you don’t know you’re in
until it’s over, and we all pat the bone.

So say it now:
do it anyway,
find it out now
because the deadline’s approaching unseen.

The Now

I am the garden that backs on to your train.
Graffiti on a hoarding: sordid reading at close range.
Tights in the gutter.
Another shutter down forever.
I am bouquets at the side of the road.

Look for me in the tailback as you drive the flyover,
in the wall of the underpass.
Everyone’s eyes slide off me like egg,
at last.

I’m the dark sockets of a house with no power.
Trip switch lips.
Look for me in the now.

Have I broken into your heart yet?
Have I broken into your heart yet?
I’m talking in tongues again.
(I know. I know)
but have I? Broken into your heart yet?

Look for me in the trees
at every roundabout you approach,
in hot black rubber tracks.

I am nettles in the hedgerow.
A balloon, a blister pack.
I’m teething again
but this time it’s words, it’s words.

Stand firm Kate.
I make a sweep of my face,
and ‘fake my forehead terror proof’*

This is not the time
to step out into your headlights:
look for me in the now

It’s in the words, the words, the words
the words, the words, the words:
look for me in the now.

*Dante The Inferno (Canto 21) (Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions Ltd 1998) p88

The Lovely Divers

All the lovely divers,
where did you go?

You stole my whole globe for a helmet.
You strapped on your boots of lead
and you headed for a seabed
that never spat you back.
And your criss-crosses blackballed me.
Your criss-crosses still blackball me.

There’s just me on the boat now.

All the lovely divers,
are you swaying alone like Jesus scarecrows?
Or did you find each other?

Is it ok? Are you happy? What’s it like?
Do you forgive me? Is it the deliverance I promised you?
Am I doing it right?
Are you proud of me?

There’s just me on the boat now.

This is Not a Drill

Open the door.

You make the mistake of believing me dead?
You think yourself unwed now?
A ring on that finger is nothing
to my ring through your nose.

With a fist poised over a bruise,
my tongue smooths your tooth hole.
I have sent your dark un-morning
a bouquet of my piranhas.

Something has to fill the page.
Something has to fill the pen.
Darling, open your throat to me again:
I am as black as the sea howling for my girl.

The fate and the parting slash of lobsters
snap at your heels.
Does the fact that I so harangue the sand
restore you?

I have killed you and I’ll kill you again:
this is not a drill.

We are shotgun accomplices, shackled red handers.
The love bites of word.
Now, clean yourself. Stagger back for the land.
See? The hungry gulls are circling us already.

As the pull of the moon,
as sea to the shore,
I will come again for you
and you will open the door.

This is not a drill.
The page is full.
You need me.