Mother: Now I hate this house I hate living here This place is just a mess I hate my job I am so tired It’s alright for you I’m too old for all that Just wait until you get to my age If I took all those pills I have in my drawer, do you think they would kill me Your father never loved me When he left, I just fell apart and I’ve never been the same I am so proud of you and what you and your brother have achieved The best times I have are when I am out with you and him I just get so lonely sometimes on my own. I just want to die Lost in the ether They are all here for you, she said, hushed words drifting like smoke around my ears in this dream-state, I float in the ether this is not happening broken women gathered outside the building offered hugs and sad half smiles healing in numbers, an army of support we love you, and we loved him too, but there is no balm to numb this kind of pain I am not ready With a best friend on one arm, unexpected Mother on my left reluctant legs death march in slow motion toward the church I am not ready I face the truth of the casket your body is in there I sob and shake and hug my denial I am not ready Fathers only kill their sons in stories I didn’t sign up for this I am not ready Nocturnal Animals Wild creatures & predatory beasts prowl here feed: saturated currency or lust Dogs leer from hot car windows tongues dripping and lolling at the meat. Vultures circling waiting for a price drop *out of date frozen goods belong in the bargain bin sub-humans sway outside in the flesh carousel envying the numbness of their own limbs silent prayers for a flickering face to stop let them in two kinds of desperation collide no warmth in this horror-dance the final curtain delivers scant respite from the shadows driving them to these red-light streets. Mother: Then Be quiet Sit down Go to sleep Stop that! Sit still Stop fidgeting Give me peace QUIET! Stop making a mess Shut up Oh my God! Tidy up after yourself You’re just not domesticated at all Look at the mess of your room What’s wrong with you? That’s only for boys Get outside, take your brother with you. Look after your brother! I don’t think you should do that Look at the state of your hair You look like a boy This is not normal Why do you do these things? Nobody else’s kids behave like this You’re not normal You’re just like your father I wish you’d never been born
These poems are an extract from Mental Image Retrospective, Jo’s creative writing dissertation. It is a life backwards piece comprising of poetry, prose and scripts, the work geared towards performance as well as for the page. Jo is currently performing at various spoken word events, facilitating a women’s writing group and working on several writing projects. She is hoping to develop her dissertation into a show for the next Edinburgh Fringe.