My new website

I’ve been a little quiet here for a while as I’ve been putting together a website. The result is wordspacelondon.com

Open invitation…

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Winter reading

Just before Christmas I read some more poems at Karamel in Wood Green. The poems were inspired by Jehane Markham’s Poetry In Colour course, part of the Haringey Literature Live programme co-ordinated by Kate Pemberton of Ambit magazine.

Red Woman On A Pink Bed came from a painting by Anne Rothenstein.

Rothenstein

 

I am tipping

like the flower heads

enjoying my own curves

touching with palm frond fingers

 

Sensation starts silver

melts through pinks and sapphires

into red

 

My bed

doesn’t contain me

I drape above

propped only by myself

I love the petal smoothness of my shape

I love its dense intensity

 

After the painting

after the still moment

I will rumple

I will burn

White Icing

At the end of last year I did a flash fiction workshop at the wonderful Chocolate Factory in Wood Green. We were invited to wander round the galleries and write a piece inspired by one of the artworks.

I fell for Kielle Rutland‘s portrait called Happy Days and managed to turn it into a sad little tale called…

HappyDays

White Icing

I had plenty of other offers, mind. Albert down the bookies. Tom at the coal yard. But I’d told Sam I’d wait. So when he came back and I saw him get off the boat down the docks and my body turned to run away I told it not to.

His mother said she’d do the cake. That clinched it, really. Her icing was known all over Cardiff. She had a secret sugar supply and I had a very sweet tooth.

After he came home Sam didn’t say a lot. Except I love you. He said that. And he said sorry, which didn’t make sense till the day before the wedding when they came and told me he was in the canal, frozen white to his fingers.

Funny thing, I couldn’t look at cake after that. I put my sugar in my tea instead.

Oh it’s alright, you weren’t to know. Pass it round them in the TV lounge, will you? Highlight of their day, that’ll be. All they can remember of the last 75 years is their weddings.

No love, I never did find anyone else. Turns out he must’ve been the one after all.

First poetry reading

On Thursday night I stood up in front of an audience and read some of my poems for the first time. I was in great company – fellow poetry students and established poets Lisa Kelly and Graham Clifford – but it’s a while since I’ve read any of my work in public and I’d forgotten how precious a warm reception is.

It made me think about Marty, one of Tidings’ two narrators, the singer in a band who worries about not being able to follow through on the promises of freedom his music makes to his fans.

But perhaps he shouldn’t have stressed so much. Maybe it’s not about giving and taking away. Maybe it’s about creating resonances, reminders of what’s already there.

RENGA

Where is the fireman?
He has gone back for water
Putting out the flames
Will take more than this this time
He will need love, and pity

Pouring words like milk
Softly coat the wounds
Touching hands as friends
Our flaming minds, our raw hearts
These are now what catches fire

AUTUMN HAIKU 2

orange yellow glow
fire buried deep under gold
love long laid, now lit

Poems and guides

I’ve just come to the end of a short poetry course – Memory, Myth, Movement – led by Jehane Markham.

Horses featured large as we explored poems by American and Russian poets and were inspired to write lots of our own. Here’s one of mine:

NIGHTMARE

Horsehead down
I don’t know who you are

Your hooves wear nails
and shoes like metal smiles

Your teeth disgust me
I hate the place they join your gum

Life is so monstrously
detachable

I read that each whisker
has a nerve path to your brain

Makes me want to pull one out
pain means we’re alive, yes?

You’ve come to ride me
dark into the middle of my night

But you are beast, I shout
and I am my own burden

Don’t let me in
however tightly on I cling

Negotiating life’s trickier days (months/years…) it seems helpful to find role models, people who’ve discovered ways to find their own ways onwards. Thanks Jehane; and for the lift home.