Dark City

I sit unlit in a corridor crammed with dark directions,
in a building’s belly, in the womb of the night.
I sit down on the floor, round a corner,
out of the way,
and let the quiet air wrap me,
diffuse into my pores, hiding me:

I am hid from the day’s dull demigods
The tax man and the facts man
and the soft focus ad woman.
I am hid. They are in their places
and they don’t know the light within the dark.
They are blind. At last I am lost.

untitled (‘I’m the daughter, so I’ll get the mortgage’)

I’m the daughter, so I’ll get the mortgage,
native shrubs, leather-look lounge.

You’re the mother, so for you it’s a villa,
rose garden,
thorns and blooms.

Double bed,
Car CD,
European holiday slides,

Twin beds.
White bowls dress, white
Hat on white hair.

Baby talk,
Money talk,
Pep talk.

Old friends,
Faithful cats.
Photographs, angina pills,

I’ll be surrounded.
Inundated. Busy.
Grand Central Station.
Husband, babies, friends, committees
And a clan of demanding in-laws.

You —
Guest bedroom dusted weekly. Matching lamps.
Grandchildren distant,
Children absent.
Even old friends and faithful cats will leave you
In the end.

(First published in aversion)


The cafe poets, the pub poets,
the kitchen table poets,
the poets with pain and the
poets without
look at me and say
Which are you?
I say
I don’t know.
I don’t want to know.
Read my poems and define me.

I could tell them this:
My mother is a seaside artist,
a meadow artist,
a pebble painter.
My mother is a fireside spinner,
an easy-chair knitter.
My mother is a natural dyer
and a skier
but still undefined
she says.