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September 10, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Asking For Help (poem)

Ok content notes all round. I’m batting a thousand on the triggery poem front. TW Abuse, suicide.

The tragic tale that tugs your heart
And makes you cluck your tongue and sigh:
The troubled girl who took her life
And left a note explaining why.

That everything had got too much
In school, at home, outside, online,
If she had only got in touch
And asked for help, she would be fine.

The girl who asked for help at school
Was told she had herself to blame.
That kids her age were always cruel
To anybody not the same

The girl who told her mum and dad
What happened to her late at night
Was told it would be very bad
If such a thing should come to light

The girl, no longer much surprised,
By jeers and taunts and boots and fists
Reported it and was advised:
“Avoid unnecessary risks”

The girl who posted all her woes
Online, to not feel so alone
Soon found a host of virtual foes
Who goaded her till it was done.

And now you sit and shake your head
And now you sing the same old song
Of what a shame it is she’s dead:
How awful that she got it wrong.

September 9, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

The Way My City Smells

Inspired by Nat Guest

Of heather-scented breezes
Who danced in wide eyed from the moors.
And left the quiet hum of bees behind
To taste the city’s relish.

Of heather-scented breezes
Who choked on traffic fumes
And skidded in a puddle
Of acrid vindaloo
Mixed up with treacly stout
Regurgitated not ten yards away
From the brewery beneath the pub.
And laughed, and shrugged
And picked themselves back up.

Of heather-scented breezes
Who stumble, their drunken cackling
Echoing down twilit Fargate
They mix in with the highly flavoured steam
From the kebab shop
And wonder, hazily
What them back home would think.

Of heather-scented breezes
Who never did forget
The hum of bees.
The quiet.
The sun
striking the edge.

September 8, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Loyalty: poem

CONTENT NOTE: THIS POEM IS INSPIRED BY A NEWS STORY ABOUT A PREGNANT WOMAN DISCOVERING THAT HER PARTNER IS A CHILD SEX OFFENDER. IT IS PROBABLY TRIGGERING FOR THOSE FROM FAMILIES WHERE SEXUAL ABUSE WAS CONDONED OR IGNORED.

You told me first, before we got the call
And struggling to speak through tears you said
They wanted it, and you were not to blame
If anyone could save you, it was me.

And, struggling to speak through tears, you said
We’d be OK. The two of us. Well, three
If anyone could save you, it was me.
They’d been no angels: you’d been led astray

We’d be OK, the two of us. Well, three
You’d love our child. It wouldn’t be the same
They’d been no angels: you’d been led astray
No child of ours would ever bring us shame

I hold you in my arms. The baby kicks.
You told me first, before you got the call
And I suppose, somehow, I’ve always known
They wanted it, and you are not to blame.

September 7, 2014 / Sarah Thomasin

Acceptance (poem)

I thought, sometimes, you’d one day understand.
I sort of hoped you’d love me anyway.
Respect is not a thing one can demand.
And there is nothing left for us to say.

I hoped you’d sort of love me anyway
Despite my unfamiliarity
And there is nothing left for us to say:
I cannot make you what you cannot be.

Despite this unfamiliarity,
I was convinced that love can conquer all.
I cannot make you what you cannot be,
I cannot change. I feel we’ve hit a wall.

I am convinced that love can conquer all.
Respect is not a thing one can demand.
I cannot change, and so we’ve hit a wall:
Sometimes, I thought you’d one day understand.

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.

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