Poem: ‘What it is’ by Fran Lock
‘What it is’
It’s like how the blank page thinks it’s better than you and you go to risky basements dressed up all exhaustive and feline and listen to glitchy techno, its ringtone pneumatics drilling the front of your skull like baroque and switchy birdsong, and you’re better off, you know, you’re better off out of the suffering mesh, a muzzy shambles with feelings a forgivable squall like rain on a long weekend. I’m not good at texting I’m not good at drinking until saying your name is an allegation and it’s four A.M in the lurking jellied light chilling out among the hardboiled poor and halves of limes and the bar has the curvy incognito of a CAT scan, I think and the speakers trickle glad tidings past my pewter lobes. I put poems in my phone I couldn’t find a pen but look now the screen’s no bigger than an After Eight mint I think it is a very specialist form of derision this pretending you can hear me. It’s blurring I’m blurring the cultivated prism of a fly’s eye, the folksy stifle of smothered in kisses, how I hate a song about white British girls falling in love how I hate it to my skittering, niggling proteins and what’re yous looking at? How her iPad is a violent digest and she’s like a hen-party full of strident consolations don’t cry, pet but I’m not crying. I’m not good at texting at drinking I prove goofy in the too-cool downstairs, size-plus tomboys making eyes at me ’cause I have a smile as nervous as knee-jerk as automatic doors and the butch ones like it and you’re better off, you know, better off not needing a number a name their dross doesn’t get in your eyes, doesn’t get in your PhD proposals and propped-up bed-head like it gets into mine ’til the permissive fizz of their white wine is a shuddering pulse in the sinuses. I’ve got a name and I’m not all right: these oranges these lemons these drums and basics, the components of my trepidation and I want coffee thick as topsoil no I want gin with lip-smack lemon no I want grimy kalimotxo I want I want doesn’t get. I’m saying your name ’til it beheads itself tripping the tongue like a fugitive limerick and I am not awake not really not awake enough for chatups fucking obvious as a fire-extinguisher and no I know he doesn’t love me and not awake enough for the shameless hardcore canopy of London stars, puking on the pavement, miss-mated and ladders in my tights. I’m not good at going on my knees and having you barter your echo near the nape of my neck where my name is your name close to the chip-fat scourge on my spine. It’s like go away spazzing gravity and stumbling under busses and the cool verge of the bowl in the jacks like an inverted Saint Paul’s and I want to shut all my doors forever and not be saddled with your bragging ghost. I’m no good at sending texts drinking smothered in kisses in party-frocks in silk-gloved swag like First Communion. You are a dead battery, M. This is what it’s like. For the Bereaved (proper noun). For the living. Blah-blah forever. I hate men…
Fran Lock’s second collection The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt) came out this autumn.
This poem was originally published in Poetry Wales Autumn 2014 issue.