Out-growing

Those long-hair days of wild and free
While young did not come easily
I grew into my genes too late
To benefit from youthful state

But learned the songs with all the rest
While others danced in pants and vest
As I kept covered awkward shape
They blossomed, trawling fashion’s wake

The skimpy morals of my peers
Confirmed my parents’ base-born fears
Thus all attempts to overcome
My shyness, foiled as they’d begun

No makeup, heels, short skirts for me
No skinny jeans or baby tee
The rare events I did attend
Kid sister came to shed each friend

As chaperone she proved effective
Showering with much invective
Any mate in whom she’d sensed
My interest, until offense

Was taken by so many there
No longer welcomed anywhere
I sought my solace by myself
Content to moulder on the shelf

In preference to company
For self-defence relied on me
Until the day I’d saved enough
To leave them all to guard my stuff

I barely spoke at home, it seems
While every thought throughout my teens
Was monitored by blood relations
All in hope of revelations

Youth began at twenty-one
As finally in search of fun
I left my childhood far behind
To see what joy there was to find

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Relay

Who brings the flame to signify
That peace now lights this land
On whose sure grip may we rely
Which body lends this hand

Upon whose face the gentle glow
To light the way for all
A worthy grasp of all that comes
With populace in thrall

The backers, hip to all things good
Whose strength may awe the meek
Are striding through our neighbourhood
The streets we knew, now chic

With none to cross the undrawn line
All smiles upon each mug
And those with work they must resign
At home beneath the rug

So spread glad tidings, far and wide
The days are passing fast
We’re queueing up to catch this ride
To gawk as it goes past

High Levels of Invisibility

Another day, another merry rejection email winging it’s way across the wires to my inbox. Never mind. See if you can spot the theme for these poems…

Visible
Bruises are open to interpretation
Marks of a life lived
Without the inconvenience
Of diversion
No avoiding sharp corners
And as we bump along
Grinding truth into one another
All efforts to avoid
Lasting damage
Remain futile

Invisible
I grew up under a piano
Looking at grown-up shoes
Out of the way of the weary
A quiet child, too shy
For the floating world
Of theatrical parents
I only became visible
At three years of age
When my sister appeared
Her adventurous spirit
Blonde hair, blue eyes
Loud voice
Dragged me into the chaos
Of a downstage spot
Where everything was my fault

Visibility
Swirling fog furls
Around my headlights
Their beams soft and unfocused
In the quiet of a country lane
So deserted a setting
Bunnies bedded down
Snug in their burrows
Birds silent on slippery branches
Anything might happen
Out here where you can’t see
Where you might be driving
Through clouds
Your wheels barely meeting
The frozen ground
Off cliffs and onto
Sleepy railway lines
Unseasonal weather
In the chilly calm
Before the dawn chorus
Takes their cue

Invisibility
An arm buried
In a grimy sleeve
Stretches out
Lost in a crowd
Seeking the solace
Of friendly faces
Finding nothing
But coins

Being seen
Red circled defects
Are a validation
As glossy headlines
Tell terrible tales
Of celebrity cellulite
Beautifully bad behaviour
And once again
The publicist knows
Someone noticed them

In the spotlight
Dust motes dance a Mazurka
To an empty room

Pyromania

Never burn bridges
You may need to cross
Your feet will get wet
As you learn who is boss

Never burn bridges
You’ve had to defend
From both enemy torch
And the blows of a friend

Never burn bridges
Just count down from ten
And step away slow;
Close the matchbox again

Never burn bridges
Face facts: I’m afraid
The river’s polluted
You’re too short to wade

Never burn bridges
You know that it’s wrong
As pedants with pitchforks
May visit ‘ere long

Never burn bridges
You can’t part the waves
Like an Israelite tour guide –
You’ll have to behave

Never burn bridges
That lead you back home
The ash in your pack
Weighs you down as you roam

Never burn bridges
That overhang rock
You can swallow your pride
Or prepare for a shock

Never burn bridges
A rule, I agree
Unless you can build them
From scratch in the sea

The Flower of Womanhood

I am well and truly over
This annoying, messy phase
Where I daren’t wear pale fabrics
And I shower thrice a day

All protective products pointless
As it oozes t’ward my feet
I awake to pools of gruesome
Craving sleep without red sheets

When my skin feels slick and shiny
With more oil than fries a bird
I anticipate resignedly
Soon the flag will be unfurled

I shall suffer through the heatwave
Of my ovaries in bloom
As they fire off a salvo
Twinges presaging the gloom

Days of darkness, swathed in layers
Extra undies in my bag
At each trickling sensation
Quick! Hi-tail it to the lav’

To expunge in corporate bathroom
All the evidence of gore
I ignore my bio function
Still, my womb knows what it’s for

With the monthly mad reminder
That just living hurts like hell
As my tender flesh needs kinder
Treatment than it gets; oh well.

From the first time I encountered
This botanical event
In my leotard and dance tights
Feeling put upon and spent

To the day I see my organs
Ripped hysterically from me
Doctor’s orders and direction
Leaving nothing more to see

I must buy, gift-wrapped in plastic
Wads of cotton, scented ‘pure’
Knowing no tidy blue fluids spilled
From beakers will ensure

Any comfort, fresh or dryness
As I waddle through the day
Too resentful, bloody, mindless
Forcing cervix to obey

Hope another piece of plastic
In my battered, spattered jeans
May exceed historic precedent
Protecting seat and seams

But the flower swells within me
And it cannot be denied
I’m a woman, well and truly
Scrubbing gussets ’til I die

Experiencing technical difficulties

There are few sights so funny
Or nearly as sweet
As watching the press
Sweep themselves off their feet

Ungainly gyrations
He twists on the grass
While Parliament Square
Tries it’s best not to laugh

The crew with the camera
Are shaking with mirth
While he wrestles dramatically
Down on the Earth

A bollock is trapped
Thus it must be adjusted
He grasps at his crotch
Sober-suited; move busted

To jiggle the crown jewels
Tips over again
While tourists and MPs
Are showing the strain

With faces like dough-balls
Left baking too long
All set to explode
At the stroke of Big Ben

The Pearly Gatekeeper

I confess this is one poem written, tongue-in-cheek (or just cheek if you prefer) satirising a recent political issue arising across the pond.

Patriotic, patriarchic
Fearing feathered laps and more
Worrysome, these wombs, anarchic
Labelled evermore a whore

Prodding, probing legislation
Teach our daughters how to face
Tomorrows from a wealthy nation
Focussed on their private place

O, Vagina, queen of secrets
Whose great gifts on Earth we’d bear
But still run from smelly prophets
Who’d uncover what lay bare

Life is sacred, while it’s cooking
Time each egg to see the joke
Thicken sauce with lack of looking
Scald the chaste and thoughtless yoke

With our bras and pants still burning
Such great liars will become
Our legislator’s dirty washing
Aired in public prosecution

Heartsick and pro-life no longer
Lebensraum or yummy mums?
Lively movements, stepping stronger
Feel the beating of the drums

Give abortionists the finger
Only virgins may protest
At the well-trained careless bringer
Of invasive tissue tests

Rights to think and feel and ponder
What it is that makes a man
Or woman out of spit and thunder
Prosecute such sticky plan