[Act 1, scene 1. Curtains lift, lights and the players of this domestic tragedy.]
I: the gregorious hostess who Sparkles like the white frothy fizz that I am allowed to drink because It's feminine.
You: the stoic and suave host Who smiles proudly at ephavestant mingling But reels me in with a stiff crook When I start to talk too loudly.
[queue silent embarrassment loudly ripples through the uncomfortable audience and echoes in my hollow bones.]
The questions - addressed to me - which You graciously allow me to answer are Intercepted by your hand which Covers my glass. ‘She’s had enough’.
I have had as it goes.Enough white wine. I want red, whiskey, a pint of ale. I want to not have my voice drowned in Prosecco and platitudes.
[I flies from the stage through the back door unseen. The curtains are bed sheets, old, stained. The lights silk flowers. The audience just cardboard extras.]
Photo: E.P Jenkins, Venice, Museo Correr, 2017. The statue depicts the story of Eurydice and Orpheus as she is is dragged back to Hades.
Suffrage, aka: Suffer bitch Suffer and rage Rage with what your mother gave you. With your mother’s tongue A bloody stump, And yours Yours a fiery whip. A hollow dart It shatters on impact. Shards pierce the hearts of Boys like Kai. The snow queen thawed By her own internal combustion.
The sash you wear Made from scraps of Mothers’ hem Grandmothers’ net curtains Aunties’ fur trim Bears the badge worn Not with pride but earned with grief Stuck on with spit And caked blood and the grit from your eyes. Tired with honour, You strive onward your hundred year war. Not through choice But necessity of your daughters’ survival.
Written to commemorate the centennial of the Suffrage movement in the UK, 2018.
These gnawing, gnashing teeth, set in a glassy jaw, clench and grind together like millstones. An aching despair grows up from the ground like wheat. I’ll harvest it, with it, I’ll make bread. How can I prove it, if not by making a warm dark place within me? Where it can grow and rise. Heat claws up my legs and alights my ovens core. It darkens, hardens, the surface of the crust. Now, would you like a piece? I’ll slice it and toast it, slather it in jam, to hide the taste.
When He Reads
When he reads his lips move mine mime a secret dance with his trying to keep up with the spinning crystal fractals that rattle around pebbles in a boy’s shoe rice in an empty milk bottle can you hear the rain a child’s circuit board toy powered by lemons ‘Grow your own crystal forest’ his forest is too vast Too sprawling Too many circuits not enough lemons that’s why when he reads his lips move
Divining for my soul where is this still water? Is it buried deep? My own Swordy Well lays patiently impatient. At the bottom of the dark pit it sits, motionless and cold. Quiet and cavernous. Aggressively stagnant. Swarming with little blood worms. Bending in ghastly pirouettes. I feel them inside Their agonising contortions. The dyke within groans. I had built it, to hide the swelling waters. Pressure burns and starts restlessly eroding. I broke ground today. Pierced the fleshy turf till water springs, in full orbs, up, out of my eyes. Filtered through the silt of time. It’s time to dry the well.
I Can't Poetry Now That I Am Well
When I'm not depressed
I find that I
Repeat myself less
Painting ‘Aura’ by E.P Jenkins, watercolour.
Inspired by my own creative battle with mental illness.
Requiem, ave Santa Lucia. Requiem for twenty three years on earth. For what you have in one thousand, I have in only one. As delicate as your skin.
Your paper hands and paper feet are as bible pages now; leafed through, poured upon. How lonely it must be in your glass tomb. The burning lights, and eyes, and prayers scold you.
Ave ei your gilded mask. Ave ei your gilded heart. For mine is as ash in your alter fire. What a fitting vestige to be incorruptible, twenty three.
Photos: E.P Jenkins, Venice, Museo Correr, 2017
The poem was inspired by the incorporated body of saint Lucy and the story of her canonisation. I found her utterly captivating and I urge anyone in Venice to visit her resting place at the San Geremia.
Bulbous planet sleeps Drifts through inky blackness Interstellar lace curtain Hangs over head and Pricks of light called stars
Bleach shapes into her quiet eyes
Towards the baroness of Her southernmost pole the Sea begins to boil A visitor from far away
Thrust into her ocean
A silent relic A colony of beings, not yet Civilized, foreign to Her lands yet Accustomed to her climate Begin to begin
They are quiet so not to wake her
An earthquake sings Its greedy song and shakes Her crimson mountains and rocks The soft valleys where the Little ones dwell.
They still don’t want to wake her
Eruptions of volcanoes and Storms of burning rock Expel the subtle children from Their hidden homes Land cast adrift in space
As they float they sing their swan song
Hollow quakes within Her core Shoots her into life Shakes her into death Of a life she never knew She lost