I can’t stop thinking
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
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
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
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.
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”.
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.
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.
How can you tell me you tell me the truth about space?
It’s a disgrace how
You lie to my face
I really don’t know how much more I can take
I know that your figures and facts are all fake
So just make no mistake
That I’m on to you
I know what you want to do
You want to distract
From the facts
Keep illusions intact
Think you can satisfy our curiosity
With some blurry desert snaps and call them mars and not expect some animosity?
No we’ve all known the truth
Since our earliest youth
This pretense that you’re all keeping up is uncouth
There’s footage if you look for it that can prove
That the moon landings never happened
Back in 1969
And this may come as a shock –it
Wasnt til 1980
That mister spoon flew in his rocket
To button moon
Across blanket sky
Now he’s been erased from the textbooks, forgotten, that cool little pioneer guy
It’s wrong corrupt and it’s rotten the whole bloody system’s a lie.
Is there liquid on mars?
Well yeah there’s caramel in the chocolate bars
But we’re being kept out of the loop
about the hollow planet full of green soup
the government want to hang us
Out to dry
Tell my why
They must lie
About our secret alien rulers: the clangers?
Who look down on us from on high?
All this stuff about little greem men? You must think we’re all dotty, you must!
The only alien life form that’s contacted earth was a spotty man with a bag of magic dust
I mean, bubbling blancmange! this ridiculous melange of half truths about UFOs
The flying object has been identified as superted’s spaceship
And everyone knows
That the truth will come out in the end
So check wikileaks soon
because I’ve got some emails to send
About what really happened
Between an ordinary teddybear
and his extraordinary friend.
When they had the special program on the telly just to tell us
Who’d be next to ride the Tardis I admit it: I was jealous
I wasn’t really bothered who the Doctor was, you see
I had inside information: yes, I knew it wasn’t me.
There’s been ten regenerations
And they’ve all of them been male.
Each new actor brining something quite unique into the tale
But while time travel seems plausible
Just hear the fanboys whinge
When you ask them what’d happen if their hero had a minge.
Now I don’t begrudge Capaldi, (he’s a lucky little fucker,)
But to me he’s still Caecilius mixed up with Malcolm Tucker.
And a higher profile actor in the role would seem to be
Quite a risky proposition. They’d be better off with me.
Would a genderflipping Timelord really stretch the realms of reason?
After all those strange adventures would this plot twist be such treason?
If the critics call it silly, say it’s gimmickry, well fine
Why should that upset the writing team who brought the world K-9?
I can be unhinged and manic, I can rock a pinstripe suit
I can turn all introverted and quite sinister to boot.
With a sonic in my pocket all my enemies would flee
It’s my turn to take the Tardis… maybe next time they’ll pick me!