Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Published by Coracle (2012). Living Locally No. 19.
My sleepless one, I’m sending you green tea
across the time-lines. Drink for a well-being effect.
I chiselled a bar of soap into a figurine. A figurina.
How’s life between backwards forwards hands?
How’s life in dirty water my sweet figurina?
I scraped the last grain of soil from my mouth,
been crashing a dodgem around the M1,
the newspapers are made of butter, folk
buttering their toast with stories of suicide
bombers dying from paper-cuts. Death by eye-contact.
We’re not allowed to look at each other now,
the army supplied us with goggles.
The air is too cold to breathe,
a man with an aerosol comes round once a week.
The bananas are straight like bean-poles
from the stress. The maps are wrong.
They found the leg of a car mechanic under a car.
The streets tinkle with light jazz rain,
the bus-shelters flicker like holograms.
One in ten people are invisible:
I walked through a woman on London bridge,
I wouldn’t have known but my clothes were silted
with spit and I felt like I’d just been ice-skating.
My best friend got pregnant six times
in the last month, and already her kids have left school
and built their own parking-lot in the heart of New York.
The life expectancy of a fly is one second.
The human brain is dirty and infects the blood
with ‘gongbellchimus,’ a contagious disease that causes
the patient to believe they have a large amount of gold
inside their rib-cage. Rome could now be built
in a day, using lazars, plasticine. Sometimes
I feel like one tiny light-bulb in a huge flashing poster
advertising peanuts. I’ve been avoiding food with additives.
Government officials in dentist chairs wearing face-packs
and reading philosophy. Everyone is toned. Toned hair.
Toned noses. Free mineral juice. They’re calling it ‘The Grand Detox.’
I found a ring on the road, which I put on my hand.
in an oily ellipse.
Hands n’ knees
It’s that dead hour of the night
when the blazing burners to the vast ovens,
turned low, hum solemn psalms as the bakers
go outside to smoke. Dazed, half-awake
they shuffle into the car park like cakes
on a conveyer belt. Some of the workers gaze
at the tenements where their children and parents
doze in the warm caramelised air. A stark moon
shines over Parkhead. ‘Look it’s made of butter,
dough, sugar and salt!’ The men joke as they make
small red moons glow in their mouths. They baptise
each other with wreaths of smoke. Some of the bakers
swallow little white moons, poppers, keep me
awake gob-smackers. Some of the women,
turning their sallow faces to the moon,
are reminded of the millionth sponge cake
they will have baked and how that sickly
scent of baking never quite washes
from their skin or hair as they muddle
through life working with debt, dealing with asbos
and feeding their children just the right
addictive mix of sugar and salt. An owl hoots
from some hidden place, before the clock
strikes three to summon the bakers back in.
Each contented hoot is followed by comments
from the crowd. ‘All this must have been woodland
long ago. How has it survived? The factory mice!
Sugar and spice and all things nice!’
The girl barely turned seventeen has a bun
in the oven. She has the choice between
living with secrets and scars or her love
and hate for ginger bread men and life on the dole
as a single mum. Broken, she knew nothing would ever
be the same again. She knew that not all the workers
or family or friends could ever put her together again.