Author: Claire

the nothing things

these are the things nobody owns

given free and worthless

made by no-one knows

in a country far away

encased in cardboard and foam

slickshine of stickytape

sliced through and thrown

clean from the box

as though untouched

but

whose fingers caressed

plastic casing and imagined

those in the west

unwrapping

their creation

did it pay for for a day, an hour, a week

chucked on the heap

weep, world

steep price to pay

these are the nothing things

that nobody wants

made, shipped, given, slippedmemory, unregarded

thrown away,

still… will… outlive

 

Photo by armin djuhic on Unsplash

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Guilgry

I’m coining this new term, “Guilgry” for the combo of guilt and anger I feel when I see those “1 Million Women” type posts on Facebook. You know the ones I mean, that tell you oh-so-simply FIVE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE PLASTIC USE IN THE HOME TODAY! Oh yeah… and it mostly involves spending ages online searching out kooky products that cost 3x as much as the old ones and then further guilt-tripping your friends into doing the same. But you feel worse if you don’t do it. And then you get angry because, why aren’t more people doing this? But then you also get ragey because IT’S JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE – like, how are these eco products produced anyway, and what about when they eventually are used up and have to go to landfill and everyone just wants a simple solution to absolve themselves so they no longer have to keep thinking but we should always be THINKING and if you’re actually thinking, you’ll realise it’s never that fucking easy and it’s all just a bloody marketing trick and, really: follow the money. Because someone somewhere is making a fucktonne bunch of money offof all our guilt and that also makes me wild. But what about also making a difference and maybe I’m not even willing to, so I feel mad at myself and also a little ashamed and then my friends are sharing it and saying Oh Wow, Yes, Look How Simple It IS and all it costs is more money and if everyone did it, but what about the poor people? If it’s inaccessible to the poor it’s neither radical nor revolutionary and If it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production. Now I’ve got that churny gut feeling that signifies the roiling impotence of my existence, if not the entire human race’s. And anyway, after the runaway success of Hangry, I’m coining it: Guilgry.

 

 

Rage against the plastic photo: by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

past trauma

put lips to old pain

feel it flutter and still

poison drawn, paused

 

these untidy

memories and broken bits of games

horror of untethered high-wires

 

and never good enough

lifetime’s untruths, dissembling

nervous-held handbag

 

run tongue over protrusions

puffed proud tissue

give it wine, buy clothes

 

in the body aches

pleasurepunish chafes

adorned, adored

 

addictions rise from secret spots

manacles like friends

again, again, again

 

strip away snailsmooth streaks

knife scars, sear words

seal                    it up

momentary grace

 

 

It’s been more than a month since my last post, argh! I’ve been working 100% and the time just slips by. It’s a rather doomy poem to return with. Inspired by an excellent podcast featuring Russell Brand and Gabor Mate on addiction and past trauma. Short version here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQwP0XRBjq4 Long version (worth it!) here:  https://www.russellbrand.com/podcast/053-dr-gabor-mate-damaged-leaders-rule-addicted-world/ 

Photo: Ivan Bandura on Unsplash  https://unsplash.com/@unstable_affliction

Autumn again

Photo: Claire Doble

 

the nostalgia of street corners

so ordinary and familiar

little things that stack up to life

one step, step, step

day after day

years, even

and in autumn

when everything’s dying off after abundance

I weep

over a final mundane journey

ragged leaves scuffing my way

a boy outgrown/ growing up

a closing door

era’s end

and like a film, it’s golden in there

that final crack of light

glowing yellowbrick road curling

back to the recent past

even the tough times

I know. I knew, I know

how shit things were/are/were

but they’re already bathed

in the liquidamber of sealed memory

the beauty

of inaccessibility (don’t ever change!)

and what if I’m only now getting used

to accepting the seasons

and it’s all starting to make sense

and I could relax into it

just about

feel the lull of acceptance

a way life could be?

and I know every other fucking poet

said it already

but this is mine

 

Photo: Claire Doble

 

 

 

permission, confession, absolution

I want to talk about asking permission

they don’t say don’t… just do

but then there’s me too, consent… permission

owch. It’s all context, true

 

I want to talk about needing confession

put it out there, tell your truth or

keep it secret, safe

admit it, stake your claim

take. Something. from/for me.

 

I want to talk about craving absolution

the way I probe my mind’s wounds

touching, brutally, cutting away

because I deserve it,

and need to feel that pain

hurt myself today

 

bad blood flows free

release

anxiety

clean slate… for me?

don’t need permission to be

but ache for

you forgive

no

understand, justify

 

moreover

where are we

 

I recorded this because I feel like it needs to be spoken. My ageing computer unfortunately didn’t realise it was in the presence of poetic genius and somehow opted to use the in-laptop mic instead of the proper one I’d plugged in so the sound is really shit. Sorry! Soundcloud link :

 

razor mind


probe at the sore spot
brain is a blade
serrated, sharp, a leaf or tongue
push into wound
see
how harsh the bruise
could be
what pressure
borne
roll up a sleeve
do you see scars, no
little white marks
from long ago
those cutting thoughts
file away inside
eroding
until
could no longer
feel a warm body.
my mind
lashes, unexpectedly
gone
oh
if the badnasty fuckedup addiction of
cruel, shitstinking deadeye
suddenly

absents itself
does one celebrate
bereftness
or mourn
evil joys?
to identify
that creepy, suppurating line…
maybe scabs
provide
some comfort
after all

what was that again

all the white horses were spooked today

under a cloud-scudded mackerel sky

cows sat down in the odd warm wind

waiting for autumn to arrive

knowing nothing more

than studded stones and asphalt smooth

step, step, stepping stubborness

running blind in forest-dark groves

could not remember

as boots pulled up to knees

back to summer, and a paper-bag skirt

what

how

who

I’d decided to be

Concrete

 

So we’re worried about the bridges now

don’t trust the men who built them

or just men

in general

suck

don’t they?

but we’re still driving across

in our cars

that men built

those same ones.

not exactly the same ones but

sort of

the polluting ones

where they fiddled the books

or the sensors

or the stats

to pretend

they weren’t so bad

after all

but they were

still.

And what about the Maldives

sinking beneath

the waves

of plastic

we made

one more long-haul flight

and I never take

a plastic straw

these days

just sink into the bedrock

of sandstone and granite

can the two mix?

blonde and dark

a fizz

you know what

the best thing I heard this week was?

that the heart and lungs don’t know

the exercise you’re doing

but the limbs

they know you’re running

you’re running

 

Photo: Claire Doble

Diamonds

I talk to doctors about medicines

and hippies about herbs

talk to mothers about bedtime

children about worlds

hit up activists with rhetoric

throw strangers with kindness

and if we’re talking

fake news,

what about

vitamins?

exfoliation

or diamonds?

I mean

are things just real

when we believe them

I miss

friends

and real conversation

 

Photo: https://unsplash.com/@mahkeo

The year the solitude went away

20180605_133316

 

Looked up one day

it had gone away

the miasma of nothingness

not nothing: thoughts, private, personal contained

in heads and held stiff in upper lips

worlds secret and interior

projected now on screens rectangular

become

the same, shared, cyberflung

enmeshed sudden, and

unexpectedly

irreversible?

a sunset in London

as I wake to a West Virgina morn

while the sound of

flight 370 ruptures

our membrane of hubris

reminding us

we’re still trapped in beingness

and the addiction, the pornography

in the idea

of post geography

 

This poem was inspired by a wonderful interview with sci-fi author William Gibson “On technology, science fiction and the apocalypse” that I watched yesterday. In it, he talks about witnessing the advent of connectivity – being on a train station in central London where everyone was just standing around in their own thoughts, then, only one month later in the same spot, suddenly every person was  staring at their new smartphone. I’ve borrowed some of his lines, including the title. 

 

Photo: by me, it’s Swiss national day! 1 August.