Daily Archives: February 25, 2018

Reuben Woolley & ‘broken stories’

Honoured to be the featured poet on Rebecca Gethin’s marvellous blog.

Rebecca Gethin

I know Reuben Woolley wants to strangle me.  He states this here and probably has two good-enough reasons and so, well, if you get to hear of my demise through strangulation you know that any number of people might well use his words as their defence.  So please investigate carefully before blaming Reuben who is the new Featured Poet.


One reason he wants to strangle me is that I asked him to tell us more about his idea of ‘broken’ in his title “broken stories” as I really needed to know what he might mean by this.  I find it very instructive as I myself have always felt that every story or poem is only a fragment and that what we see on the page or hear from a stage is always just the one visible/audible part of a whole …  Reuben pulls this off most brilliantly as you…

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On having sex for the first time after a rape, by Elaine Schleiffer

I am not a silent poet

I have no home to take you to.
I nest in a small corner of an ill-lit monstrosity;
the hallways are brown with rot, the kitchen
overrun by pests and mould.
I could bring you here, up the dark stairs,
and your hand in mine might steady me but
the bed I offer is bloodied,
dried stiff with memory. We might
flip the mattress, and the sight of
your back bent to the weight
would make me wet for the work of you;
but the old wounds would seep through and
we would both be stained.
The salt of your body to me is of violence
and not the heated joy of lust.
Where can I be but here? There is no path
that stays stable in a mudded swamp.
I am safe only when silent in this place
where all my secrets are housed,
where the mire will rise…

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Recessional by Elaine Schleiffer

I am not a silent poet

Their faces surround us momentarily, a barrage
of what their beauty had been. We see them
while scanning posts on social media, we see them
over our breakfasts on the tv, their eyes and mouths
present from the treadmill screen and the headlines
we skim while looking for the weather.

They are a life’s cascade of moments—youth, graduation,
a birthday party, a staff photo, a wedding—slung
into a single day or two of ours. And after Aurora
and after Pulse and after Newtown and after Charleston
and after Fort Hood and Virginia Tech and Columbine

the faces begin to blur together, their lives faded
into our arc of tragedy, policy, insolvency.

We do not talk about all the ways they saw themselves—
no one will admit to judging a dead millennial
for their selfie, a dead blonde for her tiny dogs,
a dead mom for her dated haircut, a dead…

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