It’s National Poetry Day, and the theme this year is Truth.
How it was
Parcelled up in waistcoat and gun belt,
I killed every adult at point blank range.
I wandered out in sea-fog and kissed
a girl in a concrete shelter.
I searched the Bible and dictionaries
for someone like me.
With acne raging I bought chocolates
for the groundkeeper’s daughter.
I wrote to Woman’s Own.
Miss Crocker, the Chemistry teacher
played cricket for England, wore black leathers
and rode a 1500cc but for a while,
my heart belonged to Mrs Dunball
our English teacher.
I wondered if Miss Crocker and Miss Mulvaney
lived together and if they did, did anyone mind?
One day I told the groundkeeper’s daughter
I loved her and she said don’t be silly.
After that I kissed girls in draughty flats, cars,
and on sticky dance floors.
I read The Well of Loneliness as a rite of passage.
I had words for who I was and didn’t like them.
I didn’t like the poisonous letter, being sent
for a healing, or reading Miss A loves Miss D
chalked on the blackboard, or my mother shouting
It’s all about bed isn’t it! or Clause 28.
I never wanted a name to describe myself,
never wanted to feel: less than, unentitled.
And now looking back, my ghosts seem like
standing stones, silent crows,
they’ve done their worst, they’re only stories
Join us at the launch, with readings and cake, at Lighthouse bookshop in Edinburgh at 5pm on the 12th October.