Welcome to this edition of Celebrating Change, kicking off our short season of poems about ‘changing home’, selected by very special guest editor Clive Birnie. Clive is founder and editor at award-winning independent press, Burning Eye. He’s also an artist and a writer of poetry and prose, with an interest in experimental forms using blackout, twitter-text and film. Of the first poem here, Clive says “I thought this was perfect. Like the best poems there is a back story that we can only imagine and an onward story we are not party to.”
The Day You Made Me Homeless
I went through your stuff. As I was packing mine, I used the excuse that I was simply sorting. Efficiently checking for any forgotten bits of myself. I saw it, you know – her
name and number. Joanne. Swirly-loopy writing – why didn’t she just make hearts
out of the O’s? Love wants what it wants, blah, fucking blah. Same old, same old.
It’s not that you want to be cruel but if I could be out by the end of the day, it would
just be easier all round. Let’s not be messy about it. Drag things out. A clean break.
Where will you go? You’re a big girl. You’ll work it out. Please leave the key.
The things that are left
Your pain will be a pocket in my chest. I will bear it for you, if I can. I talk like someone unhinged my jaw – I’m trying to fill the silence. You’re looking out of the window. Birdsong nourishes the air outside. Can you hear? The floor boards shift with each press of my foot as I walk over to you. I crook your head on my shoulder, feel your tears warm on my neck. It is not cruelty that makes us cry – it’s kindness. On the bed is your childhood bear. Some jeans you wore when you were thin.
I never grieved for a house
I am yet to be suckered into rooting. There’s a danger in wrapping your mind around bricks. Remember the Little Pigs? One huff and it’s tits-up anyhoo. I am not a tree, though I do admire their branches. Keep an eye on where the exits are, is my advice. What will happen to all my stuff if I run? Who will love the carnival glass, the tatty old dolls? You see, I won’t be able to carry them. I’ll only have room for my son’s hot hand.
Jane Burn’s poems have featured in magazines such as The Rialto, Under The Radar, Butcher’s Dog, Iota Poetry and many more, as well as anthologies from Emma Press, Beautiful Dragons, Emergency Poet and Seren. Her pamphlets include Fat Around the Middle, published by Talking Pen and Tongues of Fire published by BLER Press. Her first collection, nothing more to it than bubbles is published by Indigo Dreams. She is the winner of the Silver Wyvern at the Poetry On The Lake international competition 2018, and placed second in this year’s Red Shed Poetry Competition.