Wednesday, 4 December 2019

my poetry collection

Hi peeps! :) 

Earlier this year, when I was still in 2nd year at university, I took a module called 'Writing Poetry' - where over the 12 weeks we worked towards compiling a poetry collection, essentially writing and workshopping our poems every week. I am forever grateful for taking that class as I really felt like I found my poetic voice again, after a long writer's block. I almost swapped out the module last minute because I thought I wouldn't be able to hack the atmosphere of just writing poetry. I also thought it would be pretentious and difficult to find my voice, for many reasons. But I managed to come up with a few things. A collection of work.  A breath of fresh air. I wanted to share it on here because I realised that no one has ever really gotten to read it as one whole other than my tutor, and indirectly all my peers who took the module as well. 

It's a vulnerable piece of work. 2019 has been a whirlwind. 2019 has seen relapses and felt dark spaces, but has definitely seen the light too. All the poems in here are deeply personal. I created a google docs file with the full thing, including the remaining bit of my preface, and two poems that I didn't feature here, as they are cheekily poems I have already written, and actually posted on this blog, here and hereI hope you enjoy. But first, here are some aesthetically-pleasing mood photos. Can't have a blogpost without 'em.

Poetry consumes. 

Poetry is like cooking: assembling words and feelings as one would assemble a plate. Reading is eating. One even feeds the air when speaking poetry: chewing up emotion and regurgitating it as words that roll moistly off the tongue, dripping with intention into the world before us, nourishing the spirits we can’t see, but feel, as a poem quietly finds its way back to our souls; pinching our hearts and keeping us full.  

Poetry is an eruption of the mind that spills onto blankness, birthing exposure yet still maintaining a subtle interiority, a pervading inwardness, a metaphorical physicality that swims and bobs gently in a maternal puddle of feeling. Poetry consumes. 

My experience of writing these poems has been very much a private one - occurring behind closed doors or as I sit veiled behind my desire to not be seen on public transport, (finding privacy within a public space). And yet, a beautiful paradox exists as I now make them visible to the public eye, (a co-consumption takes place). That’s what’s so consuming about ‘writing poetry’: its all-encompassing nature, its ability to transcend the boundaries of isolation and collectivity, its presence within the secluded and the hyper-visible, its requirement of living in the Now. It is an act of meditation. The process of writing has taken me on a spiritual journey of grounding, bringing me closer to the Earth. ...Keep reading

(Poems in this collection allude to themes such as self-harm, body image and relationships with food and mental health. This is a content warning, so that you can receive the poetry in the right headspace. :))

Tuck in, 
Read with passion, 
Swallow with love.

i d e  

i am unstoppable  
i say, as i scoop out  
the last dregs of kale from the pot.  
i always look so wide in photos  
but in the reflection of the kitchen door  
i’m très petite 
it gets better it gets better it’s getting better  
a million things flash through my head  
between appreciating the way the food sits in the bowl  
and taking my first bite  
its insatiable, my appetite.  
my lust for flavor  
to swallow flavor  
exercising the jaw to soothe the soul  
wow this is a big portion   
maybe that’s why i’m so wide in photos;  
i should seek help for this mental confusion  
people compliment my boobs  
and the next day i’m scared that they’re   
they’re my only asset,  
such a pretty sight  
it’s insatiable, my appetite  
for validation  
for squeezing into trousers  
that leave sad imprints along my waist line  
waste lines  
wasted lines  
(in the bin)  
(in my stomach)  
wide grins for the rest of the world though,  
deleting as a means to eradicate fully   
i don’t exist!  
sexy as fuck  
(yes another donut)  
wide wild eyes in the reflection of the kitchen door.

untitled i 

I want to feel as dirty as   
the shit I just stepped in,  
to cave downwards into muck,  
for my body to become  
an inversion of yours,  
to exist between inverted commas.  
I want to be nasty 
flung around 
straddled, unladylike, 
to swim in a sea of brown tenderness  
and racially charged reds and whites 
bursting at the seams 
penetrating life.  
I want to wade   
through a buttery substance  
and cling to its rancidness,  
thick, gushy 
sexing you sexing me 
coming down 
floating seamlessly,  
no space for shit to get through.   
And after swallowing dirt whole,  
I'll leave with un-  
washed hands, letting it linger  
before cleaning out my insides  
like the bowl of a toilet.   
This is how it should be,  
spreading and killing germs,  
licking it off  
spitting it out,  
keeping myself clean.  

consumption i 

Let us stand in a line, 
facing each other, really looking. 
Looking licking liking 
what you see. 
Think about diving into palatability. 
Fantasise about drowning in it. 
Before touching, really just look. 
Feel with your mind, 
digest with your soul, 
then slowly, 
creep forwards, 
hold one another, 
mouth open 
mouth salivating -  
bring them towards you 
and Consume the other. 

consumption ii 

Our insides are festooned with one another, 
our eyes moist with lust, 
deep with December blue. 
As dirt seeps through the cracks between your shoulders 
I feel an impulse to jump in, 
for you to digest me consume every inch of my being swallow me whole and watch a soul once grown start to decompose, degenerate, dissolve, get smaller, become insignificant. Absorb me and suffer for days until the brown is no longer affecting. Shit me out Cum me out and watch the scraps fall like crumbs onto the kitchen floor.

“What a sunny day to be sad!”  

What a beautiful day;  
Maybe I’ll self-destruct.  
I can feel my skull  
Tipping backwards into fatigue,  
Spilling over the edge of space (with no space) to breathe.  
Achy teeth sore muscles  
A swelling psyche,   
Wounds opening   
Like a bedroom door at 4am.  
I feel something heavy in my chest.  
It tells me there is something   
yet to be resolved.  
I want to hurt myself so bad  
but the lady said to delay it for a day.  
And everything hurts   
and hurts  
and hurts  
and hurts   
and hurts   
and hurts   
and hurts   
and hurts  
and hurts   
and hurts.  
Can I be held? 

pavement thoughts   
I’ve never dreamed of running   
into oncoming traffic,  
but there I was:  
the desire for self-preservation   
a myth  
a phantom of my past.  
You're napping?   
"She only sleeps when it's bed time".  
She is Functioning with   
an agenda woven into her dna,   
the blueprint of her life planned to a T.  
Sometimes she lays back and thinks that  
as the world grows larger, 
she symbolically grows smaller,  
watching the earth,  
a balmy puddle of nurture,  
and fluent in Death,  
while feeling herself  
into Madness

eating rejection 
Sorry reads slow  
Sorry reads false  
Sorry sounds like an insult  
Apologies are half-filled mugs of water  
that taste like you forgot to let the tap run.  
I’d like to take those excuses  
and watch them melt in a microwave,  
turn them into something delicious,  
wrap them up in foil,  
serve something once cold, hot.  

Saver Menu 

What’s on the Saver Menu tonight?  
Fatoumata Diawara on repeat   
Silent sobs, hot torrents of grief   
Eyes fatigued with extra salt   
and Warm leaks of release   
to dampen the cheeks   
and stain the arms,  
Don’t go up in arms, just   
Make it edible,  
Bite down into the day  
then Break it with a nap,  
Strip naked, full frontal  
180 degrees   
so close so close  
(I feel myself slipping out of temptation’s grasp)  
Gorge on the cheapness  
of a menu keeping you alive,  
Slurp up the leftovers like a fast 3 days un-  
Open your jaw,  
Unsheathe your weapon,  
Spill your guts out onto the page  
and Soak up the violence of your loud unnerving head  
because gripping a pen  
is always less costly   
than picking up   
a blade.

Clawing out a smile,   
I kiss each of your fingers,  
Breaking waves over our sadness,  
Let me cook for you, my love.  
Slow pursuance,  
Day dreams softly,  
Unsubdued restlessness  
When the sun goes down sleeplessly.  
Your face is calm like an unopened book,  
But now there is no opening   
Through which to feed it milk.  
So I stare out of kitchen windows,  
Watching birds lean into the morning  
and then take off, like planes.  
My mind stretches ahead of me,  
flickering, like a lake.

untitled iii 

rub rub 
my tummy is a spaceship.  
i want to dive into and  
the places crumbs fall behind,   
and lick the gentle slopes of sugar  
that drip into the salted crevices  
of my little world.  
At first i was a new-found bump  
on your well-known skin,  
that you frowned at, scratching.  
Now your fingers trace me gently,  
a benign phantom of your subconscious   
you’re used to feeling.  
i imprint on you   
to make my desires legible,  
to render myself tangible, readable.  
You kiss me awake   
and force open my eyes,  
so i can smell what you’ve been baking.  
Like honey dripping off metal,  
your desire runs down your face  
and into me.  
You call me petal and i FEEL so delicate   
i immediately start to dissolve into the soil   
until i reach the Earth’s steamy core,  
and i can feel my taste buds   
yearning for something (you).  
They are salivating with the heat of the summit of my desires,  
and i pull you into my mouth  
the same way the Earth keeps us grounded – intense and forceful.  
i want every you there is,   
i want absoluteness.  
Prepare me like buttermilk,  
(gentle, creamy, soft, innocent)  
and pour me into your dryness,  
(now we’re both wet),  
(eat when ready).  
Our bodies;  
to be mixed like flour and water,  
are folded and enveloped like cotton,  
tender and bitten,  
‘till our passion bleeds out  
and stains the bed sheets  
before us.   
i am a mattress that sags   
underneath your body  
as you lie down and   
forget i am there.  
i see birds fly like weighted jewels in the sky,  
and occasionally i feel myself floating,  
until i think of you,  
and my stomach becomes the weight,  
dragging me back down.   
And suddenly i realise  
you have been repeating  
i long for the days when…”  
and i decide that nothing is real,  
but everything is cold,  
and this feels like that dream i had   
in black and white:   
a desolate, spooky scene  
of solitude and fear,  
of love and warmth disappearing down a drain,  
leaving the silent nonentity of the street  
to consume me, loudly.  
(you don’t love me, and you never will).  
Heaven permitting,  
i am ready to eat the Earth.  
Scooping out the dark and bizarre,  
what do you taste now?  
feeling! feeling!

Written by me (aka Zoe T), early 2019. Submitted to the University of Sussex. Worked hard on this, © n dat. <3