Here are some of my recent poems for you to read…

Nanny Cis

She worked at the Coca Cola

factory for years —

always told us it was her

who put the fizz in those bottles.

Her Indoors

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.

Call Me Lady

The little girl with the bunches

is looking up at me —

a grown up lady

doing their makeup on the tube.

I want to tell her

my body feels as small as yours,

that I’d pull that face too —

women putting lipstick on is strange.

When she burps we all laugh

and her Dad tells her

it’s not very lady like,

I want to tell her

your laughter could smash all the plates

and I don’t think they’d mind.

I used to play

with my Fisher Price cooker

on the floor of the lounge

in my swimming costume —

the guests at the barbecue

would order food from my cafe

by the paddling pool, call me lady!

I’d sing from the patio steps.

When she goes for my scarf

her Dad says, don’t touch Poppy,

the lady doesn’t want to play.

I want to say, when I was your age

my Dad would send me up to waitresses

to ask for the bill and I used to feel so tall.

Carrot Mash

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 –


I’ve lost it in the veg aisle.

Plant Shop

He tells me about these tiny worms

 that will eat the flies in my house plants

Millennials love their house plants

 I say with a smile

he writes the name on beige recycled card

caring for your plants, tells me to check Amazon

I tell him if you give a depressed person a plant

it can give them hope, I buy a plant to be polite

I’m anxious all my plants have flies 

the whole world is falling apart

and it isn’t very Buddhist

to squash flies

with your bare hands is it,

                                     snap just like that

Millennials buying cheap clothes

with comforting words    

                                               millennials dreaming strangers

into happily ever after 

millennials making a house

look just like the picture

snap just like that

no one is posting pictures of their flies

somewhere someone is googling

 where to buy tiny worms


All poems © Laurie Bolger.