Glasgow Zine Library
Today I attempted to hand out poems in the street for the first time since December last year. I have no excuse except that the weather has been really, really awful – it took a global pandemic to finally get me back out!
I have tried to compensate for the lack of library trips by making my own mini pamphlets. I was really surprised that the first one, I used to love London, sold out really quickly. So, as promised, I have used the money to make a new spring pamphlet, Palindrome, which is available to buy NOW (see below for more info).
The title poem of this pamphlet is sort of about the end of the world, so it seems extra relevant right now. Because of this I decided to hand out one of my own poems for the first time ever!
At the end of last year I did a riso-printing induction at Glasgow Zine Library, led by Saffa Khan from Tender Hands Press. Since then I have been back many times to print covers for my pamphlets, as well as to go to lots of the community events they put on, and to browse the interesting zines people are making there.
Sadly they are closed right now (like most places) because of the threat of Coronavirus, but I still stood outside to hand out poems and show my support. Unsurprisingly, not many people took a poem. But the thought of all the social isolation has made me think a lot about the hundreds of other times I’ve handed out poems over the years, and how lucky I am to have been able to connect with so many people – complete strangers – in this way.
She ate her breakfast backwards, crunch,
spitting toast back on the plate and scraping butter off.
She got into bed and slept, woke up,
and went to the pub. All her friends were there –
shouldn’t they be at work? –
she couldn’t understand what anyone said
but acted like she could. A man with black hair
sat outside. He talked with his hands so was easier to hear
and he conjured cigarettes from ashtrays.
She went to the library and pretended to read
from back to front like Japanese,
went home and ate her breakfast, crunch,
got into bed, slept, woke up, picked up her phone
and it rang – MUM – she answered and it sounded like
the end of the world. She tried to ignore
reversing cars and dust and hair clinging
to her body. She closed her eyes and saw
a photo: of her mum, dad, brother, sister, her,
and an inflatable killer whale, in a swimming pool,
treading water. Children are time made solid,
her mother said, atomic clocks…
Atoms weren’t supposed to split up, so it was a shock
when they did. The children were all teenagers by then
and not very solid – her mother hung up
and she tried to hold on to the image. A black hair
from the floor landed on her shoulder and she brushed it
away. She tried to remember what happened the night before,
she only drank two pints of 1864.
If YOU would like to buy my new pamphlet for just £6 (including UK postage), please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org, with your address. Copies are very limited so it’s first come first served!