The Read Horse writers’ collective will be curating a room at the South East London zine fest, 12 November 2011. I shall be Master of Ceremonies. There will be amazing illustration/fiction/poetry interfaces LIVE using OHPs and other cutting edge-technologies. There will be cake. And hot cider. Really buzzy, exciting scene full of talented and interesting people. And at the Amersham Arms, which is great. Woohoo.
I have my very first poetic residency, thanks to Dan Cockrill and the gang. I shall be appearing at Bang (at its usual home, the Roebuck SE1) in a little slot each week in November. Do come along- line up includes Jem Rolls, Simon Munnery, Rachel Rose Reid & Rubix collective.
One day I’ll be a pile of bones And so, indeed, will you And so will he and she and him (and her over there too)
And if they dig them up These bones And if they scan and label Will they know who I was? Will they one day be able to carbon-date and know my fate to scrape my DNA away and know I had green eyes and freckles and was a redhead, will they say, “A rare specimen. You don’t often see this”? Will they lean in closer, peer some more? And measure my long-leggedness by slender taping femurs? …I’m not sure.
But when they dig our bones up The things they’ll never know: they’ll never know they way you held my face and kissed me, fierce and slow; they’ll never know the dizzying details of a moment a life like a flick book of a million photographs; they’ll never know the dreams and disappointments the way we loved and lived; what made us laugh; they’ll never know the great swell sea of it; our secret hearts.
He’s a skinny little rat-faced man in double denim, squirming in the chair under the studio lights. The audience have only heard her side; they boo and jeer and he looks sullen, charmless as a damp little denim spunk-rag. How controlling he is. Not letting her go out. He tells her she’s fat, she’s ugly, constantly accuses her of cheating; casts doubt as to Jayden’s paternity. “You have. To trust her!” – You tell him, Jeremy. He sulkily mutters a reply from the side of his mouth. This never goes down well with Jeremy. “Oh grow up!” he snaps. More cheers. Then it turns out Ratface was a cheat himself. The booing reaches fever pitch, as his conquest is paraded before us all. The women scream at one another, jab jewel-encrusted fingers. Jeremy admonishes them all. For the children they must sort this out. He must trust her. Sort his life out, Jeremy says. Sort your life out.
Jeremy gets into the back seat of his car and his driver takes them smoothly, quietly, back to leafy Surrey and his pebbled driveway. He opens a bottle of Chablis. Greets his wife, kisses his daughters and wishes them goodnight. The Nanny, smiling, sweeps them upstairs, and he and Carla go for tapas, somewhere local. He smiles at those who stare. They return home and he sleeps soundly, proudly. He’s done a good job. Let’s not forget- these are the dregs. They need some cold. Hard. Truths. This woolly, namby-pamby, bleeding heart, Trisha Goddard approach won’t help. They need to sort their life out.
What he doesn’t see: the love that grows between the cracks of all these broken lives. The love that, fed on nothing but hardship and neglect, sunk its fingernails in, hard.
I dream tonight. As he sleeps soundly I am fitful, fevered. I dream of a Second Coming. I dream the whitest brightest flash blinds everyone and the rafters burn with holy fire and the studio roof is opened and heaven is right above. Furls of white cloud and gold and shafts of sunlight. And Jesus looks into the hearts of every person and in the darkest hearts he finds some pity. Tenderness. Mercy. Hope. And he feels their sorrow and their wretchedness and he forgives them. All know peace. He cradles Ratface in his arms, who suddenly looks beatific, and he fills his heart with such utter love that Ratface melts into tiny particles of light and rises up to heaven with the angels. Then Jesus turns to Jeremy. Darkness clouds his face. The winds of the earth sing with fury And Jeremy darkens. Hardens. Cracks.
He is stone. A pillar. A Statue.
For whole issue (and beautiful accompanying illustration by Emily Grundy) see: