Friday, 26 August 2016


When she looked up the meaning of her name it said gift of god and if I ever did that I forget what I mean though at eighteen I thought four letters ended too soon I've always wanted a tail and that term realism was irrelevant even more when the dirty by design rag yellow T-shirt with oriental characters I had no idea what they meant was the thing I felt most myself in mixed over English words which I think was a story about love in the annexe to the print room she told me yellow was the colour of suicide untrue there were mono-prints I made over and over but once on the silk screen no colour control and the lines slid from my hands now I know.
I am not a reproduction model.
A woman shape cut cardboard and teenage words like he didn't even know my name in the darkroom time exposure and red dyed negative scatter words on the radio an insect with fizz wings a blood feeder the house in her bedroom backs to my house the gardens earth touches earth on the news a woman suffocated her young in the house close and the end of earth touching earth I didn't know her the print permanent report cuts words insect noise dropped out and there's feeling hair like legs behind the bend of my knee diamond fishnet holes made a smooth entrance for bug needle ladder just the two of us I am drink and she stopped their breath to save them she said from our evil world mono-print on cotton I let this insect complete two wings six legs abdomen thorax drinking needle head blood vision hot from my flesh.
I am not a reproduction model.
And the swelling stuck deep I could twist with a mirror to see insect years drunk on my blood is the definition parasite at home her bedroom faced my bedroom mirror on the wall sees me and my yellow T-shirt face of someone mono-print and the hole in my skin anti-fainting the voice on the radio is the room and me and the voice and the insect.
I am not a reproduction model.
All of this earth touches earth flower press land in the dark suffocate then dark examines the hardness under my skin penetration in flight my blood insect lighter than words like death I didn't know her.
I am not a reproduction model.
Needle faces pin me I made mono-prints face out from the words suspended like wings from a voice on a radio scars go in time my yellow T-shirt a face words I don't know the gift of death my mirror earth touches earth mono-prints.
I am not a reproduction model.
My blood anti-fainting and swelling an insect lighter than dead words.

Teenage Feminism

Too young to make an ally of menstruation and nearly done with sixteen I had a ticket to see We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It. I wanted to be something but didn't know what so seeing those four girls from the Midlands I got a glimpse of the sea of possibilities.

Fuzzbox were tarted up and opinionated; the first time I saw their picture in a magazine I caught hold of a bubble-gum punk ribbon hanging from a star. Just like looking in the mirror I saw four different colouring book versions of me looking back.

I'd been waiting to hear a song like Rules And Regulations since my O-level term. The lyrics were the sort of challenges going round my head. In my first six months at Southend Tech I dyed my hair pillar-box red, alpine green and marine blue and I'd been sacked from two part-time jobs because of my appearance. But it was their song X X Sex that echoed words a seething fairy hissed in my ears whenever she landed on my shoulder. A mini alter ego or imaginary dressing up doll I based my attitude and look on. I remember what I wore that night in 1986 when Fuzzbox played the Chancellor Hall in Chelmsford - 3'' stiletto ankle boots, ripped acid green tights with black fishnets over the top, a black leather mini-skirt, a junk shop tatty black velvet top, a belt and necklace I'd made from hardware store chains, panda-eye make-up and at the time my hair was frizzed-out black and green. The place was packed and sweaty and once I stopped dancing my feet refused to walk.

In working class Essex in the 80s everyone I knew who bought a newspaper read The Sun. And at sixteen 'know your place' was a brick wall I had no hope of climbing over but I could charge at it laced into my gothic armour whilst singing X X Sex until someone noticed me even though the wall didn't feel a thing.

Sam Fox was the queen of page 3 girls and page 3 stood for everything I objected to. I was her skinny opposite, decorative to my own designs and getting various angles of femininity out of my system before I got serious about androgyny.

I didn't have a problem with being around men at home, in college or on trains who chose to look at page 3. I'd been brought up with a healthy and relaxed attitude towards nudity; my problem was with the expression on Sam Fox's face. I read that look as, 'I am better than you, I am what a young woman should look like'.

There were a couple of girls at college who were goth-punk goddesses; one had hair the colour of dusty cornflowers, the other had the healthiest- tanned even- skin, unclogged by all the make-up I used as a mask. It was obvious they knew how to look after themselves and earnt enough money to get their hair dyed so cleverly, not just from a tub of Directions and help from their Mum. I admired these girls as style icons, and wanted to find out how. It wasn't a secret they worked as glamour models.

By my late teens I discovered the Women Against Censorship movement, which nurtured opinions I still run with, and my feelings towards Sam Fox's fuck-you work mask changed. The audience she must have imagined while she modelled for page 3 were men, not a teenage female searching for what to think, who to be and what she wanted.

I don't know much more about Sam Fox other than her as the most famous page 3 girl of the 1980s, then she became a pop star and that she's gay. When I found out she was gay an almost conspiratorial smile touched my face. How that must feel to by choice have pictures of your tits become mainstream everyday culture, but you are sexually immune to your audience, but they don't know it. How powerful a concept is that!

We've Got A Fuzzbox And We're Gonna Use It + Sam Fox
= Feminist Icons to this 1980s Essex Teenage Girl!


Hurricane '87

It was the best night's sleep ever. A deep sleep screen split in half by background noise; one of me as still as coma the other taken under like I really wanted to be that creature in A Company of Wolves. Let's just rough things up a bit so it doesn't look like the first time. Hekate got the blame but some kind of collective claustrophobia or rivalry between Essex and Kent, they would say they got it worse, shook our low autumn skies through a maniac night.

Imagine a Nissan hut with two ways out but then you realise another Nissan hut is over the first one; facia boards all trying to outdo each other with promises of ideals born in the 1960s. Rattling the shackles but when those so obvious slogans turned into framework a ribbon of air made swishy little dance moves between steel and wood, lowering the volume to, 'you can't see me but look at what I can do.'

The sunsets were impossibly real; all those artists trying to get it right while I wanted to up the contrast and get it wrong. Some days when I felt like I was walking on the world I told myself I should hate our housing estate and towns with concrete box coats over metallic bones because they're ugly against nature. Personality splits between shelter and oppression swelling from the guts of the earth conspiring with the sky.
Hurricane life in London, she circled and diagonaled indoors as if some underworld Goddess had come to change the d├ęcor. Rehearsals by charging up Victoria Avenue she made movement in a skirt difficult with a hard slap on the legs by an art case. It was truly scary outside the museum all that history in storage; while a fast road goes and goes don't even think about bad breaks.

Seeming captive everything fell in on itself. Trees and masonry gated roads and the Southend Victoria line was blown too weird for trains delivering us to Leda and the Swan, or any other mythical trickster. So it was romantic destruction while teenage girls were safe and asleep; lucid dreamers fell in love with a vandal.


Suicide, Nail Varnish and Soft Cell

When I was thirteen I stopped biting my fingernails, bought blue nail varnish and manicured every Sunday morning. This ritual tore another week off the calendar and painted me with defiant colour until I left school after my O-levels.

School kid life fitted me badly and when my music teacher's suicide was announced after registration the pressure in my haunted house shattered a window and a new emotion spread its wings but somehow didn't end as roadkill.

My form teacher told us in the same double-glazed voice she used for everything; and when she told us about Mr L. silence thickened in the classroom and even if I felt big enough to scream if I opened my mouth the silent swarm of air would evaporate any sound.

At thirteen I didn't know what noises to make about suicide and when I saw the write-up in the local paper of where and how he'd ended his life I flew back into safety and thought of him as someone off the telly, not my favourite teacher.

A quick cosmetic repair job was done on the cracks he'd made in the life of the school and his name was never mentioned again.

Soon I made an hour of Sunday mornings into shaping, polishing, strengthening and varnishing time until my nails became so symbolic of my rebellion I refused to cut them even when I was called into the head mistress's office.

A combination of new opened emotions stopped me biting my nails, one was Mr L's death another was Marc Almond.


Monday, 22 August 2016

One-dimensional bang

New construction of one-dimensional bang steps to an anti-noise wave breaker is dormant in masculine heat by one giant tombstone or sundial a crane invites motion and all sound is dead until replaced by a butterfly who becomes sound lighter than sea-spray and louder if change is in view as realisation lands she moves on and if sound is for eyes machine  built  monuments for  the  sun


Monday, 16 May 2016

Jazz Poetry for Brutalist

There was this girl at school. We were fifteen and I wished my life was as simple as hers. We weren't close, no more than a smile and hello but I think my admiration began in the changing rooms after PE. She still wore a vest when most of the other girls wore bras. Out of school she always wore black and her vest, once white, looked like it'd gone through the black wash every time. I had the ambition of only ever wearing black but I kept getting distracted by day-glo pink leopard print, yellow hounds tooth check and turquoise squiggles. She didn't wear make-up either or dye her long dark hair; because I was ginger my bleached streaks were yellow which I tried to turn blue by dipping my fringe in a bucket of Dylon. That did work but I envied how she could be happy in plimsolls while I was training my feet to smile in stilettoes. She was a Cure fan and I wished my life could be as simple. She had a best friend with the same name as her who had short spikey hair; one girl was monochrome the other full colour and I never saw them with boys.

I used to get off with this boy every week at the under 18s disco, we didn't ever date. He was a grammar school boy with long curly hair, our faces hidden in his curls and mine while we exchanged saliva. It was a status symbol to have a grammar school boyfriend, their uniform was a black suit, white shirt and black and red striped tie, and why would any kid want to rebel against that? Grammar school boys were allowed to grow their hair, dye it and even wear make-up. My comprehensive was the one where kids who'd been expelled from every other school ended up and the uniform was strict. I'd been out with a few boys already, what I had going on with this one was only me standing between his legs while he sat on the window ledge, our tongues in each other's mouths for more than a 12'' club mix, pulling away for some deep breathing then on each other again. He was good looking, one night he said, 'I'm going to take you outside and fuck you till you bleed.'

A few years later when I was in my 20s I cropped my hair, dyed it deep pink and got into wearing girls PE kit with DMs, I thought a grammar school tie would finish my look just right. I had an ex-grammar school friend and when I asked if I could wear his old tie he looked at me shocked and upset, said no and turned away.
There was a multi-storey carpark in town with a market underneath. It was still in use even though it had great big cracks and had been declared unsafe. I spent my Saturday job breaks in the staff room staring out at the multi-storey. Sometimes the emergency services would crowd the pavement so there must be someone up there wanting to jump. Sometimes after hours two people in big uniforms would walk from the multi-storey with a very small almost invisible figure between them, I never saw anyone jump. The shadow that carpark cast across the square was almost as dense as concrete, it drank up the sunlight and from my staff room looked like a sponge dipped in flint grey with angles gouged through.

I was seeing how far I could pull at the lead and somehow knew later in life I'd be glad I came from somewhere I had to escape from. But as I get older my default paradise is being near buildings like my multi-storey.

One evening before sunset me and my best mate were walking away from its shadow and a boy with a posh voice said I had amazing legs. I was in my favourite outfit - a black mini-skirt with buckles on one side, fishnets, a bat-wing top I'd bleached to the colours of the very heart of a dying fire, a chain belt round my hips. He looked like a student and probably had good taste in music.

The best I can liken my memories of the multi-storey to is an anvil away from the hammer, that visible sound that never leaves an object capable of such volume it's silent presence is almost erotic. I couldn't say I was aware or unaware of it, I still hear it so I guess I am just of it. A low ceiling of cloud seemed to pressure the corners of the carpark distorting the internal structure and causing vibrations only audible to the adolescent. I wondered if the suicide who waited up there too long would dissolve into the clouds. In autumn rust stains would only show on the walls after rain and sun tarnish on evening clouds made a foil back-drop.

Winter came round again and Strawberry Switchblade were in Smash Hits. Me and my best mate used to get dressed up to spend evenings walking round town. It wasn't worth going to a pub, without older boys we'd get thrown out, usually just after we'd paid for a drink. One night when the cold had drained the power out of the streets two boys started chatting us up. They both had the same name, one was a painter and decorator and his van was parked in the multi-storey. There was no room in the back so me with my boy on top took the passenger seat, my friend with her boy on top were in the driver's seat. We didn't bother with any more information than names, we'd shape-shifted into urban fox youth attracted to body heat. It was a kind of pure unselfconscious lust I hadn't encountered before. My boy was the male equivalent of my thinness, he wasn't too heavy even as he pressed down, sliding sometimes to feel as close to me as he could. We kept our leather jackets on, it was December. For a moment I turned to check my friend wasn't in trouble. She didn't notice, her eyes were shut, good, I didn't want us to get out of this van and get away from this boy until later.

The multi-storey had a force-field of anti-drama that just let it happen; a street wise dead muscle or steady platform the living could stand on and decide if they wanted more life. As solid to the average eye not seeing foundation damage as it was silent to ears trained not to hear hearts racing so fast beats overlap then repel into safety, the tight volume telling us to believe in death, while a lifetime of engine ghost memory rested. If my skin touched the wall and stayed there with boy spasm acceleration grime on my back, my white shape printed there as another suicide who didn't feel able to judge their audience.

The only thing I lost was an earring; I was sorry as it was real silver but I hadn't worn it long enough to care any more than that.




Monday, 11 April 2016

The Shadow Cranes

As you drop your eyes on rexy chic get the pose right and come on pilgrim here lies all that is mortal
On the grey scale my paradise didn't get exotic layer after layer exposed you can't year zero transgression

Streaked with vivid cartography through time like asphalt scrapes a dry kiss on we have history

Broken glass diamonds in suburbia as blunt stars tap the sides of fizzy pop I'll call that distant sound the future

And everywhere felt indoors but we made it to cruise night and got away with hiding our age in vodka

In daylight the pattern needs changes or eye make-up for now and town looks like an off-duty barmaid