Write me poem, Caron*. Write me a poem for my birthday. You said you weren’t alright with it and I’m not alright with it. I need a poem. Take the slow collapse of ash and make it spiky and bright. Only a poem can do it. Only you can do it. You have the hair. I never inhaled, you know. I never even didn’t inhale. Too smelly, too dirty, too risky, too bad, too boring, too what my parents did. And I’m not starting now. It’d probably kill me. I have blood pressure and bills and a boy. I need a poem. I thought I’d wear purple, but I don’t. Just grey, fading to greyer. And as for eating too much butter, well, the blood pressure, you know. I thought I’d rage. But I’m just too knackered. I need a poem to set things alight. I’m all about the prose. And I’m turning into one of those faded middle aged novels of navy blue and ash. I need a poem about my crimes of passion and the despair and the rage. There will be no spring; the leaves will fall upon my head and that will be it. How fucking crap is that? I need some words that will be a Festival of Lights. I’m not even excited about the cake. Stick a tombstone on it. The flavours have all gone. I need a poem with chilli and spice. I don’t want dulcet, measured, subtle, pitch perfect prose. I want a fucking poem. I’m not alright with it. I’ve built no monument. I’ve never seen the Northern Lights. I’ve never felt thin, even when I was. I’ve never been pretty. I was old before my time and now it’s my time. I’m still fucked up. I’ve not forgiven my mother. I’ve not forgiven myself. I’ve got acne and wrinkles. (It’s the fucking menopause. And I’m not alright with that.) Sod being a crone. I don’t have the wisdom for crone-dom. Or the patience. I don’t want a nip of sherry. I want a bloody great bucket of wine. But most of all I want a poem. Sometimes only a poem will do.
* a friend, teacher and proper poet.