Archive for November, 2013

This was in Anvil New Poets, edited by Graham Fawcett.

I was pleased with this because it had a message without being a message poem;  I also had my first walk-out at a reading when I read it.


Tonight, she has hung up her uniform
– packed away and forgotten as homework –
in a bedroom stamp-albumed with stars.
She paints her face for the friend of a friend,
dabs a Christmas perfume on her wrists.

When they leave the pub, she is wading through
thickening pavements. He says he knows a club
up narrow stairs where she stumbles dimly
to a syrup of voices, smiles, more drinks for her.
He kisses her mouth and holds her elbow tighter.

And it’s late now. Shop windows glister
with swan-necked women in pretty clothes
the colour of sweetpapers; he clamps her wrist.
Cars are sliding past like a fairground
golden with headlights, crimson with brakes.

They argue in the underpass. She is begging
for a taxi or a late-night bus. People look away.
Now he has her in streets dark with the emptiness
of houses. Fucks her twice where broken glass winks
in the fizzled moonlight like friends of his in bars.

Home is a long way away. ‘What did you expect?’
he says. ‘You could hardly call it rape’.