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Displaying 1 - 5 of 46 entries.

Stars

  • Posted on February 24, 2017 at 7:02 pm

Some go to the harbour
for the buoys
or gaze out to sea;
others fly to crested castles
for knights hoping
for a favour, to be won;
we go down to the undercliff
where the spray
catches us, reeling.

Landed, quiet and still
wrapped in you, I feel
your breath on my shoulder;
each exhalation full of
fragments of dreaming;
every inhalation drawing
inspiration for more.

Our limbs become branches
of a single tree,
acquiring leaves;
and stars.

 

2016 © Andie Davidson

Pronoun

  • Posted on November 21, 2016 at 1:24 pm
Every transgender person experiences misgendering. The wrong pronouns may slip out accidentally, or reveal some underlying belief that you aren’t really what you say you are. Or they are deliberate, making a point. The trouble is, you don’t always know which it is, and to point it out can lead to saying far more than you should ever need to.

It was a bit like a bullet
whizzing through empty air
an interruption
a moment in thought
a maybe

Did you say ‘he’? No
I’m not asking, not really
I’m sure I misheard you
mustn’t be sensitive
of course

If it was, there may be another
and now I am ready to duck
I’m twitching
alert to your words’
intention

I am pronoun selective
afraid of shooting myself
with your slip of the tongue
unconscious mate-guy-fella-he
meaning she

It’s not the word that wounds
but the mental image
the association
the feeling: but-you’re-really-a
aren’t you

Why should I need to explain
why I think bullet
when you say he
and it won’t make any difference
will it

Memory and identity – about Blue grapes

  • Posted on September 30, 2016 at 8:42 pm

This is an explanation or background to the poem ‘Blue grapes’.

I am watching my own memory, as I have written here over these past years. Me then, me now, what I knew and what I did not. I have written about dementia, a devastating disease that touches most of us in some way, that is affecting my mother. I have written about photographs like memory. Is this a sideline or a sibling to identity?

As I talk to my mother on the phone, my voice is familiar enough, and she remembers her son setting off camping alone in the Peak District. And yet I worry that if I were to knock on her door now, she would not recognise me. She never knew she had a daughter at the time I remember her summer skirt, when I was so small and sat or on at her knee. My best memory of that may have been stimulated by a photograph of her wearing it. Which I saw many years ago. The photograph no longer exists because she threw it away, my memory does, hers may, because it is an old memory, where I am still her son.

Somewhere inside, she is still the same young mother, whilst outside her reality is badly distorted. Today cannot be reclaimed, whilst those old days are like fluctuating embers of a dying fire. The conversations we hold now are a tissue, always the same, very fragile, everything in a tenuous memory layer, nothing really in the present. I am in the opposite pattern, where my memories are least like I really am now. One of us is hanging on to the present, the other the past, as our strongest realities.

Our identities must be more than our memories, yet without them we don’t fully make sense of the present, and so my mother and I have slipped apart even more than my bad record of being in touch deserves. I feel more myself, she less, whilst we may both remember a time long gone when she was young and wore a skirt I shall never forget, in a pattern of blue grapes.

Hence the poem, which visually represents a dialogue that is slipping apart. It can be read as one voice, or two.

Arms, length

  • Posted on October 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm

On our sides we are unarmed:
half the hold, so limbs won’t sleep
before we, wishing the whole
embrace, fall to peace.

Under your neck, beneath my arm,
tightly try to keep a flow
from heart to fingertips—until
our weight draws tingles

and admission, that much as we
are made to hug, we must turn
reluctantly, to curve ourselves
in long touch, nose to toes.

Skin then speaks, not in the press
fully armed, but in a million
minute nerves, ours, counting
what ten fingers can’t.

Skin to skin, folded more fine
than any paper crane is turned
we become one shape, a single
sense of all we need to say—

the extent of which we never know,
unfolded gently by our dreams
then close again in sleep, and wake,
to hold, half-hold, find our length.

 

2015 © Andie Davidson

The final settling

  • Posted on June 2, 2015 at 8:02 pm

I

This is the final settling
of dust, like the hour after snow –
silence unmarked by footfall,
respect before action.

The place of greeting now
just a door, in fallen leaves –
a winter of junk mail and news
unforaged: a single red-bill berry.

The hallway familiar in every detail –
except an assertive absence. And an
unfamiliar permission to touch
to tidy, to trammel, to trespass

into drawers and cupboards and
under-beds, unseen and thick
with dust and long-dead dramas
and dreams – and the bags. The carrier bags …

II

A life left in untidy fragments
furred over with a feeling of
do not touch, I have not been
touched for so long, so long.

In this tangible stillness,
the fine particles of his wearing,
on and in and out and settled – is an
unsettling presence lingering on.

And all those personal things –
glasses, teeth, hearing aids and combs,
their once-warm readiness to wear and use
now greasy, stale, waxy – hard to touch.

Beneath the dust is dust, and –
as if they’d run away to hide
in every rummage place, counting –
over two hundred obscure cameras.

III

Taps. First clean the taps. The sink.
The loo. Fresh soap. A towel. Bring
cleanness into this with Marigolds –
and retreat to a cafe for lunch.

The dirt is easy, the kitchen
unasked for and unasked about –
all thought of rescues for a
useful knife or tin, discarded

with biscuits, butter and green
things unspeakably prodded
into bags, beginnings of this final
settling of unanswerable neglect.

Something new intrudes this space,
room to move, space for sacks
black and bloating with the
obvious discards of a house.

IV

A drawer drags out like an open mouth
waiting for a dentist’s probe, forgiving
the intrusion for the sake of a fix, cavities
and old fillings of rolled-up socks.

A door discloses dreary clothes
that hang alike from left to right
shaking themselves out on shoes
foot-moulded and hard with time.

Bits and boxes, fallen hangers,
things best cleared long ago but
forgotten and left as too much trouble
in the surrender of age and energy.

In places, dust is alleviated by a hope –
an expectation, a desire for secrets –
some final revelation of a private life
betrayed by the carelessness of dying.

But the grey decay sinks too deep and
nothing, a solid total nothing, signs
and underlines every cranny as seen,
lacking even interpretation of surprise.

V

The second day, the third – tea bags
and biscuits in an oasis, black sacks
piled outside, windows such as can be
opened for air, doors long stuck still stubborn.

Decisions tumble out now, freed from
pretence of any finds among worthless
souvenirs and foreign coins, useful gadgets,
buttons, needles, cards in backs of drawers.

The only care is with the collected cameras.
What to do with so many unknowns, their
recognition evaporating, thinner than the dust,
as we rack them, pack them, crate them home.

And all those carrier bags – disintegrating embraces of
letters, statements, documents, curled photos,
the latent lists of life and leftovers, unsorted
and waiting for the hours of unfolding.

Rebagged and removed they will
trace and track the strands still reaching
out and away from this house into
a world that carries on – and needs to know.

 

2011 © Andie Davidson