“Quietly To Herself” by Simon Webster (published by Visual Verse)

PHOTO Visual Verse May 2017

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She can’t find the words
to talk it all out
or she can but the vibrations in her throat
hurt
and hurt is a trigger that shadows a boom.
No headroom.

Moving house,
she can’t move house,
the packing involved and
the books she has she might get around to
and the bank statements she might be needing.
All the impeding things.

People who use their eyes to stare and
those who stare with stern expressions
even though they’re not looking her way.
People who stare with thoughts when they’re not about any more.

Burning on hot days,
getting chest infections.
All the getting things.
The passage of time and diminishing returns and
she doesn’t feel the sun when it burns.

The quality of the build,
she hears all these stories,
cracks up the walls on the news,
she tries to feel the sorry she should.
Her own concerns filling the space
like cuckoos or expanding foam.

And terrorism
has ruined destinations
the vehicles used to get her there
and the packing.
No energy left for the day to day.
She’s the age she is and knows nothing of bliss.
Her parents wished more for her than this.

Spiders, bull-ants and dogs —
anything that might bite.
Strangers have teeth too —
anything with a mouth.
Brexit and Trump, hard borders and walls,
backpacks exploding in malls.

She doesn’t have time for conspiracies
but she wonders about this and that
quietly to herself.

Catching things from toilet seats and
unexplained weight gain,
sitting next to someone with ebola on a plane,
the quality of the water pissing out of the taps —
what exactly is fluoride?
And the air that we breathe,
why is nothing being done?

chitter chatter
chitter chitter chatter

She envies the Buddhists.
All that sitting in silence
in a room with little in it
and seeing thoughts as distractions from nothing.
She tried it once in a class.
A room full of unstable people and the chair was too hard.

Rising prices, that’s always a good one, and
restaurants she’s not been in before.
The state of the world and that of her hair,
the cost of childcare,
toxic ingredients in duvet filler,
fumes from plastics,
angering someone she didn’t mean to.
Being inarticulate.

Too much make-up caking on her face like Auntie Kay
who stopped her getting fizzy lollipops,
back in the day,
because she thought carbon dioxide was car fumes.

When things get bad she zones out.
If anyone saw her they’d lock her up.
Things against her will,
being pinned down,
all the things she sees in movies.

Her brain feels numb and thinks it thinks nothing
as she stares at
laminated flooring,
imitation knots.
Not real knots.
Feeling numb feels like there’s no feeling.
Thinks it thinks there’s nothing.
Hours can pass like they’re nothing at all.
All the no things.

There’s a man on the street who won’t say hello.
Life would be bearable if he’d move house
but he won’t.

 

 

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