Here are some of my poems for you to read…
I move that silver ring from one finger
to the next, to see what wife might feel like,
to love someone to their bones —
to keep dinner in the oven, to keep it warm for years,
put garden fences on my Christmas list
and keep that list tucked under takeaway menus.
When I’m kissed, I’ll ask what you want
in your sandwich
and let’s say it’s you that kissed me —
you who goes off first thing
to sell pensions from a briefcase,
while I’ll make waving from square windows an art.
I’ll keep my past in the drawers,
write letters to the back of the oven,
sew my wishes into the sides of your vests.
I’ll dance in the kitchen,
cry into the bath,
always get us a lottery ticket, when I go out for the milk.
Somebody told me once that perfect love
is two trees growing side by side
in their own time, never leaning on the other one.
I think that sounds bloody lovely,
but it doesn’t actually happen like that.
If you ask me, love is wasps and grasshoppers.
It’s anger, patience and stings and finding the legs
to jump into things and get stuff done.
Today is another duvet day, we read stale news
and stay indoors. We talk less now, cuddle more,
remember when our legs did all sorts.
Outside our cluttered bedroom, the council
are chopping at the London planes,
they have to hack them back to make more space.
As they drop one by one onto the pavement,
I think, pretty soon we will be light and air again.
Stand Together Nicely, Girls
On a strangers front steps
you tell me to hold on
while you sort your hair out
to make sure I get the bridge in the background.
I feel like our Mum
when we were small —
that one of us two
stood on our front porch
in new school uniforms,
matching grey jumpers
on top of little girl vests,
or that one of us on Halloween
you holding out a caldron
in plastic witches fingers
me, dressed as Phantom of the Opera
in a bin bag and wonky mask
or us in the pink bath
with bubbles on our heads
or matching hats at weddings —
or on the top deck of ferries
all foreheads and frowns
or in my graduation gown
or matching fringes and wigs
us two dressed as clowns,
or in the beach bar red faced
our hair braided like snakes,
or at the Christmas table
in our best clothes,
or you on long car journeys,
mouth open against the window.
On the plane
I want to wake you up,
tell you that the view is magic,
all those little lights —
rows of humans lean over
to get a photo out the window
I take one to show you
I take one for my screensaver
I take one to show our Nan —
who’s never seen the earth from here.
Girl, Hotel Mirror
In a hotel mirror, a woman
is snogging her own face.
News reporters gather,
shout things like: what about other peoples faces?
Without looking away
she shakes her head
I only want this one —
people begin to talk
people always talk.
She been there ages,
she must be pretty smelly by now —
that’s a woman on the edge right there —
says a man sipping a tiny espresso to a clock.
Her hair! — say some women.
I mean, what does she live on?
People send trays of patisserie,
another patisserie m’am —
the maid tweets but the woman is too busy
she counts each eyelash, each chin spot
likes the way her face looks when she cries —
that’s a woman on the edge, right there, says a man
eating his ham and lifting a tiny weight.
The girl ate a cake once
everyone wanted to know about it.
Some people say they remember her from school —
always was a bit of a drama queen, says a man.
One day she decides it’s time — holds out one arm —
the maid delicately places a small slice of custard on her palm
pop, in it goes. The woman sings. The maid joins in.
These days we board tube trains with brave faces,
make phone calls to each other on lunch breaks.
I tell you I’m gonna cook us a nice meal tonight,
a rescue remedy stew scenario, some sort of stodge.
I’ll cook the veg until soft, then I’ll add salt, pepper
a big dollop of butter, thank you Jamie Oliver. Done.
I ask a bloke with gelled ginger hair and orange fleece,
he’s reducing bags of broccoli by the fridge.
‘Excuse me, can you help me? I’m looking for carrots.’
He tells me they haven’t got any.
It’s when he suggests parsnips.
‘In the nicest possible way, that’s not the same,’ I say.
I look and see that they sell star anise –
‘HOW THE HELL CAN YOU POSSIBLY HAVE STAR ANISE
AND NO SODDING CARROTS?’
I’ve lost it in the veg aisle.
All poems © Laurie Bolger.