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Claire Hanratty Nov 2020
My first cigarette was at twelve years old:
under the climbing frame,
after my turn on the monkey bars.
My mate told me not to do it,
he tried to take it off me but
was too late.
I’ve been trying to quit ever since.

Soon after, that little climber
discovered cider, yearned
for something wider and
ended up with alcohol poisoning by
the end of the year.

My first stand-up gig was Lee Mack. I was 13.
I sat right at the back on the balcony and revelled in the
happy faces below me.
Ending with a slow motion impression of Eric Morecambe,
I could’ve sworn it was the fastest hour of my life.
I can’t believe I was
so naïve.

When I sat my first exam at sixteen,  
an hour seemed a minute.
Move forward to A-levels and I
was being examined in a
therapist’s office-
how the tables had turned.
Ticking boxes to be assessed and there’s no way I can
pass this test because a
high score can only mean
very bad things.

How can life be so virile, yet so lacking and sterile?

I was told I’d find myself at uni but
I’ve ended up losing myself at twenty.
The story of how quickly my childhood was lost
Claire Hanratty Sep 2019
Pastel blue sky longing to
Hang over wheat;
There is only grass.
Green.
Green with envy at white clouds as
They pass.

                  (A different journey)

Poplars strive to touch
Shrunken, grey clouds that
Recoil at the very sight.
Ah, the plight of an
Innocent gesture.

               (Nowhere else to go)

Wind snears:
My train moves it so.
Grass is merely in the past
As I am slung
To and fro.

                          *

The seat next to me is empty. A passenger of invisibility kindly agrees for my bag to rest on their featherlight lap. Reservations elsewhere have been made.
Durham can wait.

                            *

In my lecture, there were four empty seats next to me. All other rows were full.

                            *

Last Monday, I got ****** at Stone Roses Bar. Stumbled along to ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor.’
Hands were all over me:
Creeping and
Touching.

                     Why is it that when
I want company, it flees?

When I embrace
                            Loneliness,

             It molests me.
Claire Hanratty Sep 2019
Gale looked outward.
Stared dead at the tyrant approaching.
The wind did not chill her;
She chilled the wind.
Haunted it.

Whenever it blew you could be sure
She’d be there, standing against it:

Standing like a poplar-
No, taller-
Drinking wine in the embers,
A tree that fought the enemy.

Cries carried on a breeze,
Watching the world
As it falls to its knees
Because Gale won’t be
Felled.

She’s a force to be reckoned with.
Claire Hanratty Feb 2019
Sounds of a generator and somebody
Shouting nearby. Reflections of
Blurred lights and a
Window playing television through blind slits;
This is it, this is it and
I shall embrace it.

Sewage surges below me and above me
Orion persists.
Should I take this as my glimmer of hope? Something
Of a trope belonging to my tragedy?
I shall embrace it.

Sitting in a cafe now, spilling
Tea on books and recalling my
Favourite of pages bound.
A mother sings a lullaby to unpacified baby, bittersweet
Melody of soft cries and
Soothing voice rattle against
Cutlery.
Life’s ultimatum sits opposite.
I shall embrace it.
Claire Hanratty Nov 2018
Twisting the cap off that first beer;
Always the best but made so much better by
Sounds of Purple Rain,
And those you hold most dear
Talking about
Music and food and
Times in their youth.
The crickets cheer as we
Reminisce in the 'here
And now'-
Relaxed smiles
Clear the skies as
Night falls, whilst
Stars appear;
Lightly dappled on the ground.
A poem about my favourite place in the world
Claire Hanratty Aug 2018
I was travelling along a busy road-
Eyes opened and closed.
I had music in my ears so loud that
I could hear the sound of
Ringing with every note.
Way out of the window,
I raced the ****** train to Scotland
Up a dual carriageway and felt rapid
Time dispel all notions of
Going nowhere in life.

Without warning my world was jolted and
Came to a stand still.
We were in motion but
I was trapped and uncomfortable as
I remembered that yesterday,
In your thoughtful, rash way,
You texted me from a tent in Leeds
Telling me that
It was over.

Grass looked so much greener on the other side
Of the glass, yet I was
Unable to let go of the past.
I thought to myself  
'This is not how I planned my life would turn out'
At least, not today.
It hit me that I can
Never plan to be happy because
On the days I plan to be happy I will
Think of this moment and
Be sad.

Earth seems out of tune as
I lose the race through thoughts of you and
Begin to
Hate my favourite songs;
I love you.

I should have known better.
I can't decide whether to
Live my life and jump onto the train ahead or to
Jump in front of it.
I'm sorry I wasn't enough and
I could never be
No matter how hard
I tried.

I'm in a traffic jam now.
I watch the sun become eclipsed by the clouds and
I wish you were
Here.
Romance isn't dead but I sure am
Claire Hanratty Jul 2018
A mug of camomile tea is best accompanied
By the gloam of a late summer's day and
The distant bleats of young sheep,
I find. Peace lies between
Two silhouetted trees, black
Against a blueish sky.
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