Selected Work

Cover-mistress-account.jpg
 

Extracts from the Mistress Account:

This is a selection from sequence of poems performed at the Chelthenam Literature Festival and printed in the Sunday Times magazine and describes the intricate details of a love affair uniquely from the Mistress’ perspective giving her voice.

To order a copy of the Mistress Account please click here

 

The Rules

Ask for separate bedrooms, do your own thing.
Do not fall in love with him.
Take books, including a guide book, so you can explore on your own if things

      get rocky.
Have a task, make sure he doesn’t think you think it’s a holiday.
Take shades through which he cannot see your eyes. Take your own money.

Be as blank as possible. Take a notebook to write in furiously.
Think along the lines you know: ‘Bikini’, ‘ The Horizon’, ‘Poetry’.
Let him decide.
Buy him a novel.
Take more poetry.
Some barrier – SPF 65 (not just for your skin).
Don’t text furiously, it’s rude. Remember you are creating another world with

     just one room.
Don’t have the answers, they are up to him. Anyway, for now it’s you – and

    that is a silent thing.
Make him happy.
Think about your self – esteem and if you have any, cancel him.

 

 

The Ritz – Carlton, Laguna Niguel

He goes away.
he comes back, he goes away.

He takes me to another hotel.
It’s higher, clearer, more beautiful, it is as if

our affair has been moved to a costlier ocean.
at low, cool, marble atrium, the dollars of footsteps and

orange blossom hoisted in their garlands higher than us even. Everyone is in white, waiting as our car rounds the bend,

a swarm of help. The valets come like large white butterflies. I have been lifted to a hand – made heaven

so visible it hurts: Wow, wow!! I said,
getting out of our black car into the white release of an asylum

(millionaire America style). So this is love?
I will not leave this complex for three days. Then we are at

Reception. is is the part we hate, with the names again and
the silver rail with our bags, which hang like nylon meat, to the lift.

Along the brown marble walkway we run. Ancient Rome, Disney, Tutankhamun.

So, Mr and Mrs Brown, are you enjoying your stay?” “We’re not married”, we say.

Walking beside this man, we know what is true. For a moment he is our sect, takes us away from sense to this perfect white room, leads us

to lie along the white down of a bed.
I say, “Are you afraid of where you are?

I think I hold back,” he says,
But coming here is the opposite of that.”

 

 

I

I’m walking round like Alice in a five star hotel I go to the pool in perpetual waiting,

                           watch the world curve under my blue hat,

swallow a poem or two – then out to the terrace to spot whales.

This is a trance state,
wandering from room to room like a pampered wife, then back upstairs – it’s a holiday
not a life. I

put the key card in, slide up and down for Green
but it won’t let me in, the light ashes Red for Stop
and Red again, I have come to the wrong room, there’s no guide

and my blue hat whispers,
“Why are you wearing me inside?”

 

 

Lunch in the Park

He says, “me and her we had sex

last night.” I try to ask casually

“Was it good?” But the pollen is

choked in my throat. “it was quite

he says and I notice this is
his wife and her words I’m eating

lunch with. I know
he is trying to end this.

The pollens droop their animal into our food.

His hand clenches his knife. I think
how different his head looks on

this raised platform surrounded
in real life. But he cannot
reach for the axe she sent with him

he can’t do it without her there.

He goes back to work.
I go for a glass of wine nearby
because I can hardly walk even though it is 2.00pm.

A man sits down next to me.

It’s a summer afternoon and

everyone’s outside so that’s all right.

We talk. He asks me what I do, where

I live, all about everything in fact.

I text you, you come out of the office,

we take a taxi to the station, you
talk about taking a week out
to go and learn dry – stone walling.

We get out and she calls
and you’re kicking and kicking the railings by the station hotel

like you’re kicking her out
then she’s kicking you out,

packing your bags as you speak,

putting them out on the street”.

You are broken and homeless, you say

let’s sleep here.”

She knows he’s still with me and it’s all surveillance.

So within an hour he has promised himself back.

My heart is breaking. As we are about to leave,

in the lobby, a woman from the next table comes over

with a note and thrusts it into his hand.
And we read, our heads

like tired lilies at a grave.

It says, “You’d better catch that 9.40 train,

or your life is over.

You and her you’ll never prosper.”


 

Commissioned Poems:

 

Message from The Roman Forum - written after winning my fellowship to Rome. 2017

 

This afternoon in the area around the Basilica Aemiliain the Roman Forum, erected by Marcus Fulvius Nobilior 179 BC-I think even the weeds are this equilibrium. Today their green song is like bells gone quiet above my head- and a keen silence waits.

The air has been full of them for more than a thousand years, these bells.

 

George can you hear them? You will, one day, when you come.

 

I sit in the hot sun on a column near to the temple of Antonio and Faustina,

Without knowing how the days back then were passed around.

What bread, what circus, what great word from the tongue of Cicero?

Was it on a day like this two thousand years ago he said

When he was the new man in Rome:

 

If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.

 

George is there anything better I could say to you?

Apart from write of the stones he sat among- still here –propped in sun, warm

Cracked bullets of that wisdom - some unseen millennia is shot through them,

Right to us. That spoken vowel of what’s to come, from what has been.

These columns fell and found where we now lean the minutes.

The clouds and all the emperors are their wreaths.

 

Because if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.

 

There are small wild flowers here, colour of wars and of time- Poppies, Dandelions, all

Lilt below the triumphal arch. I sit at its base and write: ‘Godson, at the base of the Arch of Constantine is the beginning of the first poem I will write to you from here.. 

 

Because if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.

 

Did you know the arch was built by the senate to commemorate his victory?

I look up, over Maxentius fighting at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD.

The siege of Verona. I stretch up my neck because is just up the slight incline-

Under the bells’ extreme banging.

It is the vessel for all his victories carved Spolia-white.

It is the arch Constantine marched through when he conquered

In Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Iran. It is the scene of Shelley’s last verse: in ‘The Triumph of Life’

Horses’ marble necks bow in this stillness and their message skims on:

 

Because if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.

 

Still their broken noses and hooves sway on. I think

Here are the inscriptions of slaughter and

All our wars gone dead and suddenly because of this poem

It is as if I am an invisible museum lifting my head. I am

Thinking of soldiers and war and heft. And writing this for you.

You see the scenes of battle- are more real than me sitting here,

because it lasts, because it lasts so long.

 

But if you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.


the poet upstairs:

Pele Cox and Suzi Feay are producing an anthology published by Prospero Books This anthology showcases some of the best work that emerged from the Poets Upstairs salon, but also shows how anyone can set up a similar group and go on the same journey of discovery.