Half Other

purple

 

Half Other is a collection being written with support from the Arts Council.            It develops themes of twinship, health and identity.

WHAT CAN I SAY? was shortlisted in the National Poetry Competition.

DAILY won the Barnet Open Poetry Competition.

 

 

WHAT CAN I SAY?

 

 

 

The phones are on the basement landing near the lifts

and wearing hoods like hairdryers. They feed on cash

 

but are essential. They sleep on hooks like babies put to rest

face down. They all trail cords twisted as messages.

 

Among evidence of crisps and gum, the phones are dreaming

grubby dreams graffitied on the dimpled walls.

 

They hang their heads as if they’re culpable. Some phones are dead,

some have bad breath or smell of piss. This is a hospital.

 

 

 

**

 

 

 

The phones are in the shopping-centre/atrium cum café

and wearing cowls like hunched monks praying.

 

They feed on cash but are essential. Receivers hang

like silent foetuses and all trail cords, twisted, for messages.

 

Among scratched numbers, cards for taxis, and torn wrappers,

phones are dreaming grubby dreams. Beds glide by like barges

 

with soft cargoes. Some phones are dead,

some have bad breath or smell of piss. This is a hospital.

 

 

 

***

 

 

 

The phones are on the basement landing near the lifts

hooded, like anybody cares what anybody says.

 

Through dirty teeth they feed on cash. Receivers hang like unripe fruit,

and trail from vines like treble clefs. My call’s essential.

 

Of the phones, half are working. Some gag on coins like foie gras geese.

People wearing coats, or dressing-gowns and bandages, are waiting.

 

Biro, grubby finger-marks and scuffs, patinate the stippled walls.

There’s fluff like tumbleweed. This is a hospital.

 

 

 

****

 

 

 

The phones are in the shopping-centre/atrium cum café

and wearing hoods like ram-raiders. They feed on cash.

 

Pale handsets trail from vines like ripening peaches.

Silent drips, pumps, shunts and beds glide-by like wherries.

 

Among evidence of crisps and gum, the vulnerable are wearing

pyjamas and/or coats or dressing-gowns in their delirium.

 

Incapable, clients hang their heads like hopeless phones.

Some have bad breath or smell of piss. This is a hospital.

 

 

 

*****

 

 

 

Change is essential. The hoods of phones are lined

along the walls of ill-lit corridors, like inversions of urinals.

 

Handsets turn their backs and hunch, dangling like limp kittens.

Beds glide-by like gondolas or rafts, while walking wounded

 

cling to masts with drips for pennants. Above floor tiles puddled colourless

with overuse and slippers, the phones slump senseless.

 

Incapable, they hang their heads like apologetic doctors.

Some are dead. What can I say? This is a hospital.

 

 

 

 


 

DAILY

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Cherry Active won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that two Cherry Active tablets won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Vitamin D3 won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Vitamin D3 (1,000 I.U.) capsules won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Desmopressin won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Desmopressin Nasal Spray 6 ml at 10 micrograms per actuation on demand won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Thyroxine won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Thyroxine 100 mcg won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Testopatch won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Testopatch 2.4 mg x 2, varying the position daily according to the chart, won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Bromocriptine won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Bromocriptine 2.5 mg won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Lansoprazole won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Lansoprazole 15 mg on an empty stomach and not within five hours of the Thyroxine won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Hydrocortisone won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Hydrocortisone 10 mg first thing, 5 mg at lunch and 5 mg with tea (but not after 6) and always with food, won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Midodrine won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Midodrine 5 mg as needed, well-spaced throughout the day but no later than a 6 pm deadline, won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Allopurinol won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that Allopurinol 300 mg won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that Humatrope Growth Hormone won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that 6 mg Humatrope Growth Hormone injected into your stomach nightly but varying the site, won’t put right.

 

I tell myself there’s nothing wrong with you that meditation won’t put right; I mean, there’s nothing wrong with you that forty minutes of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction, sitting last thing at night and lying first thing in the morning, won’t put right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BORN 1954: 1:45 / 1:54 p.m.

in the time it might take

to heat a pan of frozen peas

or boil two eggs consecutively;

 

for an aunt to cast on

a doll’s bonnet

considering the size of the first-born,

 

or rather, lack of it;

time to register the shock;

or microwave a chocolate cake,

 

make nine minute

Kerelan curried eggs; or undertake

Chris and Heidi Powell’s miracle workout.

 

Alternatively, listen

to Black Sabbath’s “God is Dead?”,

or read Shakespeare’s sonnets from,

 

“From the fairest creatures we desire increase”

to, “That on himself such murd’rous shame commits”;

or freefall twenty-four miles from space,

 

as Felix Baumgartner,

which, after all, has equivalence

to what “the twins” did.

 


 

DEWHURSTS SYLCO MERCERISED COTTON

Sometimes we both pipe up together.

This is sewing with Machine Twist 40, doubled.

 

Knowing what the other wants to say

 

sometimes, impatiently,

                                      we finish off the other’s sentences

in perfect backstitch

                                  using Three Shells Fast Dye

D394,
which is Parrot Grey.