The rain chased down gulleys
Unable to stay in the claggy verges.
By now the work men had left for home
The last echoes of their hammer bangs
Took flight across the Hofn hills.
It was a poor day.
Over at Belle View Ginny in her renovated barn
was sitting cross-legged
up by the timber ladder
with the circular First Nations rug over her feet
sifting through dust for past achievements
to make a case for celebration
as March 8th approached
A smiling Maya Angelou matronly sat
at the bottom of Ginny’s Victorian chest.
There were some rusted Women’s badges.
on top of old Spare Rib magazines.
What she found had to be relevant
for wives in houses and daughters
whose men were down at the fishing,
who still spoke of men’s work and
ordered only bath salts from the Avon catalogues.
None needed childcare, nor an equal wage.
Ginny thought maybe they had dreams
and when they prayed for the boat’s safe return
perhaps they had hopes for their bairns’ lives
hopes they’d never voice.
The postman’s van crunched on the gravel.
He threw something down on the welcome mat
and shouted up
In a minute Ginny could count out the purple and green flags
and try a bunting kit.
She let down the chest lid.
It wasn’t her petticoat showing that made her blush
and exhale Charlie’s Dead
It was her more than a puckle
Not Letting Go
I am spread-eagled on my settee
“A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing”
I had a structure to this day off.
I am though wide legs awake
On my back
My face is unmade up.
There is no eyeliner gelling on my lids
Although I do love the application,
The roll over the bump
The slither sliding by my lashes
Defining and changing me
From wan Celtic Woman to notice me Monroe
The experimenting, the transforming
The routine. The hiding other me
The wannabe fit in, the bear to be seen
But today I am indoors me
My deep Shakespearian soliloquy
Of a reflective question is
Do I like it?
Do I like my naked face?
Only if I think
For one nanosecond
I’m on Belle front cover
Being Woman Celebrated
Do I like legs wide open?
Moon Prince beckoning
Godward’s girls on couches
My mother instructed
Close those legs
Douche that hole
Talc that thing
Knees pressed in together
You’re a Woman now.
so much learning to do. 1) Get her name pronunciation right. 2) wonder why a walk is £8 when it could be donation. That cost shoves away many women. 3) How did the daughter of an handkerchief weaver afford to open a school when she was 25 unless her daddy were a factory owner and we talking silk hankies or he were a slaver? Sacre bleu. 4) celebrate that at least the title is “IWD 2015” (looks like my title. See my poems on this site) and it’s not about cosmetics and Zumba and it’s all on the correct day. And mind my granddaddy’s grave in the bush there.
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2015 WALK
Special fundraising edition of the ‘Feminist (Or Is It?) Stoke Newington‘ guided walk (see here for usual walk): Sun 8th March; meet 10.30am main gates of Abney Park cemetery N16; cost £8 with 50% of proceeds to fund for Mary Wollstonecraft statue in Newington Green (see here); just turn up. Features the stunning Abney Park cemetery (Hackney Tours video here) and the campaign for more recognition for Mary Wollstonecraft. Come and get involved!
Read about how Hackney Tours is involved in the contemporary campaign for equal rights and how it liberates both men and women here.
Karishma pushed the stray hair from her forehead
Some white flour puffed by her nose
And she looked through the window.
It wasn’t easy
By the age of eight my girls could do everything in the kitchen
They could chop coriander so small
like a machine
Nothing was wasted.
They learnt to freeze dough ready for next night’s dinner.
Lemons they squeezed by hand
Their grandmother helped them roll perfect circles
better than Patak.
They were eight.
PB has a machine for everything now
and an au pair
and Paracetamol for constant headaches.
Deep has overstuffed her useless husband
He takes her nowhere
She collects dolls. Dolls we never needed before.
Myself, my kitchen is so clean I can’t create.
She turned to roll the dough
and spritz the oil
and clean the top
A tear sizzled in the heated pan.
for my skin is glowing
I shine in the sun
of the Harmatten noon
like the Palm Oil Maiden
to a pool of scented balm
Bargain for me
for my thighs are caressed
by overeating of pounded yam
and odoriferous stew
Slip your hands down the round
of my shoulders and neck
I was spread over
with cocoa butter
and softened to touch
These arms you examine
from river side slapping
on washday lines
See my long strong fingers
how they twist and twine
my coil-sprung hair
for I can measure in my hand
the amount of salt
for the meat
and the strength of the chilli pepper
by its heat
how to sit in silence
when the man eats
and the crickets sing
My skin is deep brown
in the yellow cling
of the kerosene light
for I smile
closed mouth in the night.