Friday, 7 April 2017

NaPoWriMo Day 7 - Two Poems About Witnessing Swarms

Two poems for National Poetry Writing Month, day seven.

Both based loosely on the same prompt - taken by the prompt author from a blog she kept for a year which is massively worth looking at if you want some interesting writing prompts to work with.  There are 365 of them which is enough to keep anyone busy for a while.

One poem is autobiography.  Apart from some changes.  I am very fortunate in that I don't have to worry so much about the near future.  Very fortunate that I know I'll have food next week without relying on the wonderful work done by food banks.  Fortunate that my cash isn't going to run out.  Others receiving a similar result and possibly going through some of the same difficulties I encounter may not be so fortunate.  I'm screwed by the system.  They are well passed being screwed and into a realm where adequate words are hard to find.

The tribunal was real though, as was the result.  Apologies for the language in it - it's all from the heart.

The other poem is not autobiography.

The two photographs were taken December 2016 in Manchester's Northern Quarter.

Day 7. Witnessing a swarm.

In this case, the swarm of thoughts in my head after a benefits tribunal this morning. (Kind of - I'm far less worried than these lines would suggest.) It's not great writing. It's a swarm. Dumped almost verbatim.

Christ, what am I going to do?
What the hell were they thinking?
Why didn't they listen?
I'm an idiot, couldn't explain.
Couldn't get my words out -
Just nodded my head in understanding
When I didn't have a bloody clue
What any of them were on about.

I couldn't process it, needed it written.
And they kept talking, words, I think.
English words. But not to my brain
Could have been Spanish, or alien invader.
Or the nonsense of some failed Pentecostal tongue.
I wouldn't have known. And they think I did.

I know I'm not alone among
The recently dispossessed masses,
The despairing disabled, their support stolen.
But how the hell is that thought
Going to help me when my cash runs out?
Oh God, help me, perhaps only you can.

And posh people say to use a food bank.
Tell me it's some idyllic panacea,
Luxury living, permanent five star cruise.
Be humble enough to be a charity case.
“Pop along there woman. You'll be fine.”
And I would. I got no pride to lose
I'd be gladly grateful for the help.

But didn't they listen when I told them
My head explodes and implodes
Simultaneously, whenever I think about food.
And twelve times a day besides.
Didn't understand when I tried to express
How solidly screwed I can be
In a hundred different ways.
If only some of them matched up
With the holes in my D.I.Y. life project.

So they cast me out on my ass
Disabled. But not quite enough.
Can we impeach the whole bloody government
For this? For the rest too?
I didn't vote for them. And Mistress May, dominatrix,
Sits there talking of protecting the vulnerable
While taking more cash, more bloody influence
For the greed of her Satanic comrades.

Our leader, claiming Christianity as her inspiration
Watches as the great Sermon on The Mount
Is trampled, torn, burned, and forgotten.
As for the likes of us blessed poor,
We can't tear and burn Parliament.
We can't even be sure of our next meal.

This was the day the Tories fucked me over.
Christ, what am I going to do?

Day 7b:  Witness To The Swarm

Get 'em off me
They're everywhere
Can't        breathe
Jackie! Get in here.
No.           Don't.
Stay away
It hurts.
They hurt.
As glass bottles
Shatter on the floor
As I hear her flail
Arms on shelves
Legs beating
Into furniture.
Strangled shouts
Three points past panic
Why couldn't you
Have closed the window?
You've             killed me.

Door unlocked. I walked in. Her fear was real. The object of her fear too. A queen wasp on bathroom window. Low, mean buzzing. She pushed me out. Told me it was for my own good. Told me one of us should live. I returned as soon as I could. Rolled up newspaper in hand. Smashed the bastard as hard as I could.

In relieved realisation she fell to the floor, knee cut on the glass.

Until she ceased to weep I held her.

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