Good morning everybody 🙂 Here we are with the fifth and sixth poems in my Dressing Up pamphlet. Without any kerfuffle, let’s jump straight into poem five.
A Storm is Brewing
“Wake up! Paula,”
demands the wind with a smirk
casually whipping a bin lid
into a raucous flip flop down the street.
“Beat it!” I inwardly growl
submersing myself deeper between cover and sheet
eyes tightly shut
against the looming spectre of work.
“Wake up, Paula,”
a whisper caressing my neck with seductive heat
“Make love to me again, my sweet.”
This was an unusual poem for me — unusual because the idea occurred to me and I wrote it down in its entirety straight away; usually it takes me a couple of days before a poem is really at first draft stage. I can’t really remember what inspired it, other than that I’m pretty sure it was a windy day, and that I’m pretty sure I was in bed and heard a bin lid getting blown down the street.
It’s also unusual in that I don’t often include present-tense spoken dialogue in my poems, and yet here, in this eleven line poem, there are four lines of spoken text; that means the poem is thirty-six percent speech … or, as Paula might say, “Shut up and go back to sleep!” 😉
apart from that, the only other thing to note, and it is actually the most fundamental aspect, and it was at the forefront of my mind as I wrote it down, is the person Paula is in bed with. It is never disclosed, though I hope to encourage the reader to think about how the poem changes depending on that relationship. Is it a male partner? The final line, “Make love to me again, my sweet,” is intended to have a gently sensitive encouragement. Regardless of the gender of the other person, how does the dynamic change if the other person is Paula’s boss at work? Is the relationship going against work rules? What if Paula is the other person’s boss at work … how does that change the ethics of the relationship? Do you hear the lines of spoken dialogue any differently when you switch the role or gender of the other person? My intention in this poem is that it is like Schroedinger’s cat. The cat is in a soundproof box and, until the box is opened, the cat is both alive and dead. Paula’s partner is effectively in a box, and until you open that box, the partner is every permutation of those potential relationships.
these Versace trousers are darling!
Can the legs come up an inch
the waist out two?
Is that Dries Van Noten?
That embroidered V-neck is to die for!
Camel hair, really?
Fantastic with a capital F!
What have you got in socks?
I read in the weekend magazine about cashmere socks so delicate they can’t be washed;
will last 16 wears and then they’re done …
do you have a pair?
What time is it?
I really must pick up a Rolex
if you’ve got a cheapish one –
a couple of grand? Perfecto!
I think c’est tout, merci beaucoup!
Do I have a loyalty card?
I have a Tesco Clubcard!
I was hoping to borrow these on my library card;
No I don’t have money,
I just came in
for a moment out of the rain.
Glad Rags is an ekphrastic poem, responding to the painting, Dressing Up Dressing Down by Gemma Paine. Gemma entered her painting into the Disability Arts Cymru competition when it had the theme of Austerity and Extravagance. Stanza by stanza, the poem is, in a manner of speaking, a guided tour of my wardrobe! 😉
Any time I purchase trousers, brand new or second-hand, the legs invariably need shortening! All of my designer clobber mentioned in this poem was purchased from eBay for not very much money at all; although I study the information closely to make a decision on whether it seemed genuine. I have bought two pairs of beige Versace cords, one pair second hand, the more recent pair were new. I tend to wear these cords whenever I am doing poetry readings 🙂 The photo shows me standing in my living room, wearing one of the two pairs of beige Versace cords and a red t-shirt that bears the slogan, The Future is Accessible. The photo was taken by my mother, just before I read at the final night of Abergavenny Writing Festival in 2018. In hindsight I would have changed the waist size adjustment to be one or three, because I expect that, when I read the poem to an audience, it most likely sounds like I’m requesting that the waist be taken out as well, rather than specifically by two inches.
I do not recall where I heard the Belgian designer, Dries Van Noten’s name, but I liked it so fancied wearing one of his designs. The eBay seller suggested that, when he bought it new, it cost £550; my successful bid won the auction for £60. It has a lovely V-neck that is, I believe, a lightish brown colour, and has a distinct texture like it has been embroidered. The label at the back of the collar says that the jumper was made in China, which did make me wonder … but a bit of Googling revealed that Dries Van Noten do have some of their products made in China. The texture of the wool is so sublimely delicate that I am convinced that the jumper is the genuine article and, even if it turned out not to be, it is definitely worth sixty quid! 🙂
The cashmere socks in stanza three are not something I’ve ever owned. As the stanza relates, I saw them mentioned in the fashion section of a weekend newspaper supplement! I have also never owned a Rolex (genuine or otherwise!) I don’t think I’d ever want to own anything so ostentatious! I do remember being captivated by a watch made by Accurist that was for sale in a jewellery shop in Harrogate. I asked my parents if I could have a watch for my sixteenth birthday, and I took them to see it in the shop window. It had a strap of gold links and the case of the watch was also gold. The dial of the watch was white, and it looked very elegant. I loved that watch, though – as with the Versace trousers – the strap wasn’t a good fit, and the fastening clasp kept popping open! I remember when the days of the Speaking Clock phone line used to announce, “The time sponsored by Accurist is …” and I loved setting my watch official-like 😉
and then we get to the last two stanzas … just a little bit of humour to close the poem 🙂 This is a poem I enjoy performing because the cliche fashion utterances, o yes! and darling can be delivered with over-the-top emphasis … and the ending usually gets a laugh from the audience 🙂 One thing I did realise, though not until after the pamphlet was published and I started performing this poem at events, is that I use the word, card, three times in the last two stanzas, which is too much. When I perform the poem I try to remember to change library card to library ticket; this is, as I’ve mentioned before on this blog, a perfect example of why it is important to read your work aloud because you might spot something that didn’t spring out at you when you looked at it on the page.