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September 2, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Scroungers

Nathan’s a little thug. Achieving nothing
He leans against the bus stop, spitting bars,
Shocking old ladies with his dirty mouth
And trying to make Matthias crack a smile.
(Last year Matthias tried to kill himself
And Nathan sat and talked with him all night.
Days when Matthias laughs, Nathan feels good.)

Each morning Faizah opens up her eyes.
Is washed and dressed and fed and wiped by Ammi.
Waits in her wheelchair for the bus to come.
So she can go to school and sit, and stare.
(Her IEP says Faizah cannot speak.
But she can make a sound that means “I love you”.
And hearing it helps Ammi carry on.)

Monique is walking home from signing on.
Avoiding eye contact, she hardly speaks.
Dysphoria is keeping her from work.
She’s mooching off her parents and the state
Or so they tell her. (Every night, online
Monique pours out the way she really feels.
To girls like her from all around the world.
Who clutch her words like rafts to stay afloat.)

So tell me, what have you achieved today?

August 22, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Fishing: a street harassment poem

(re-edited after much appreciated feedback from @snazzlekitten)

Content Note: Street Harrassment/Anxiety

Same time, same place
every morning
I see him
He glances, grins
A cocksure grace

Infusing him.

She clocks me, frowns
The stuck up bitch,

Ignoring me.

And I know that I can’t let that stay
Unpunished. Between us
There’s something:

For all her coldness,
She’s in her element
gasping for it, picking up the pace
To close the gap between us

And now I’m in this self imposed race
To close the gap between us
The street’s length fathoms
The desperate distance
Between the sea bed and the glimmer of the sky
Breath held, chest bursting.
Fighting the weight of
passing him by.
I watch her, waiting

Till she’s too close to
Not acknowledge me

Without a word
Never catching his eye.

When I tell her
she belongs to me

Maybe I’ll breathe again, beyond
the crash of his crass admiration
A verbal caress like a slap in the face
I know that she knows,

From the flush of her flustered expression
The hook of my compliments under her skin.

Or maybe this time I will sink without trace.
And this time, perhaps, I will reel the bitch in.

May 28, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Gormy

I can’t stop thinking
about Amanda

I haven’t seen her since 1995

She might not even be alive but

I can’t stop thinking about her

Sun streaked blonde hair and

Cold pale blue eyes

School uniform that looked like

A school uniform you’d wear

To a school disco themed club night.

Not an actual school disco.

Or an actual school.

Unless it was North Yorkshire in 1993 and you were the nearest thing for miles to cool

And I see the scorn in her cold pale blue perfectly made up eyes

The up-and-down appraisal

Of my wrong length skirt and my wrong length hair and my wrong height shoes and my wrong size boobs and the wrong, wrong, wrong expression on my face

And I brace

For the judgement

As she says

You’re gormy

And immediately my brain says

Yes well actually she’s right even though SHE probably means gormless because gormless means there’s nothing going on behind the eyes and with me it’s that there’s too much going on behind my eyes and none of it can come out and none of it can be said because even if even if even if it didn’t come out all wrong and even if it didn’t trip up over my tongue on the way out if I talked back to Amanda or Joanne or Lisa or Chantelle or any of them I’d be dead.

And I realise my face is doing it again.

Deer in headlights.

Dazed and confused.

Any potential comeback drowned in verbal vomit that I’m somehow managing to choke back.

And I look gormy.

And so when you see me and you say something nice or something funny or something clever or something mean and I just stand and stare,

And you start to wonder whether

I like you

Or know you

Or have even realised that you’re there

It’s because potential replies that might sound stupid are being filtered out and a tangent has to be followed up, and I’m managing my self-doubt and then I’m realising I left the silence too long and then I’m taking stock of my life and realising how much I’ve got wrong and then I’m not here at all;

I’m in a technology lesson in North Yorkshire in 1993

Just Amanda and me

And she’s looking me up and down

With her perfect pale cold blue eyes

As she says

You’re Gormy.

May 8, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Yes I’m aware of the irony of putting this poem on a blog.

Look. I don’t want to rant any more.

My fists have unclenched

All my placards have dropped to the floor.

Because it doesn’t matter how many times I say it

I’ll be a broken record no matter how you play it.

Cause it’s me:

Good old feminist rant poet.

Always good for some fire in the belly

What will it be today,

Lack of representation on telly?

Got any good rhymes for sexual harassment Sarah?

No? Well then , maybe assault?

Come on, tell us all about who is at fault.

So you can all sit and applaud it

When I call for diversity audit

When I point out again and again that the bill is all straight cis white men.

If I’m cross enough next time I might get a 10!

But I’m so sick of slamming

Of ramming my point down your throat

Putting my ideology up to the vote

If you need me to tell you that sexism’s real

And you’d really prefer me to do it in rhyme

Then quite frankly

I know that I’m wasting my time.

Because fuck this culture of righteous complaining

And uploading my rage just to be entertaining

I won’t be your inspirational

Instant gratificational

Video shared on a wall.

I don’t want to be liked, shared, reblogged or reposted at all.

If you need to be told that oppression is bad

That it’s everyone’s duty to fight.

Then another damn poem from me won’t put anything right.

February 10, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Accumulation: #LGBT #Poem

The little pricks keep pricking

And it always seems to hurt

Every time you’re not acknowledged

Or you’re looked at like you’re dirt

And each one is very tiny:

Really nothing on its own

But the little pricks keep pricking

Till they pierce you to the bone.

Every kid who calls you names

And every teacher who ignores it

Every time that you complain

And they inform you that you cause it

Every boss who says they’d rather

That you kept it very quiet

Every mother, every father

Who implores you to deny it.

And the little pricks keep pricking

And it’s harder every day

And that voice inside keeps wishing

That it all would go away

And the little pricks keep pricking

At the core of what you are

And some little pricks have gone

And smashed the windows of your car.

Every time that what you do

Is labelled sordid on TV

And your neighbours look at you

And then you wonder what they see.

Every time the name they’ve given you

Is splashed across the news

As the victim or the villain:

They’re the roles you’ve got to choose

And the little pricks keep pricking

And you cannot stand the pain

And last week you got a kicking

Walking home at night – again.

When you look at your reflection

And you think you look ‘too queer’

And you wish you had protection

From the hatred and the fear.

And you call to log the hate crime

And you ask them what to do

Once again you get the answer

That the problem here is you

And you sign another letter

And another damn petition

And you hope it’s getting better

For the folks in your position

Then you hear they’re being shot at

And they’re losing all their rights

You feel bad for feeling got at

But you’ve lost the will to fight

Then your allies see you falling

And they want to help you out

But they cannot hear you calling

And they shudder when you shout

For they do not see damage

Of a thousand tiny nicks

And the best that they can manage

Is “Ignore the little pricks”.

January 27, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Black Triangle – Holocaust Memorial Day poem

You hated us too much to even name us:
Those cogs who would not fit in your machine.
We were not worth the time it took to shame us
Far better we should live and die unseen.

The women who would rather love each other
Than stay home breeding soldiers for the state.
Who saw themselves as something more than “mother”
The ones with minds unmouldable by hate.

The ones you couldn’t use for manual labour
The ones who didn’t – couldn’t – follow rules
The village drunk, the mad, reclusive neighbour.
The children whom you labeled dolts and fools.

Defining us would be like recognition
A name would mean allowing us to speak
You never dared to give us that permission:
You knew that we were anything but weak.

January 14, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Compliments – poem

You give me burning coal,
Press embers to my face
Smiling, you’re sure I will be comforted.

I grit my teeth and try
To match you smile for smile
Skin searing, I return your gifts with force.

And then you think, how rude
We only thought we’d warm her
With something she could hold chapped hands out to

When doubt bites coldly;
But how ungraciously
She throws our kindness back into our faces!

You all misunderstand:
I have no hearth to place your presents in
I try to wear the coals like gems
Lips stretched, eyes tight, I grin my painful thanks.

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