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Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
Dear Grandfather clock,
with the pendulum broken and not swinging on the earth center,
I no longer care about clean poetics and colossal thunderheads.
Let the gloves be stained, I am much too drunken and wobblily with something unpleasant. A nimbostratus cloud, a cumulonimbus, vertical and towering, dark and soggy. I turn up the Frank Sinatra a little louder, singing and bellowing over seduction and kitchen knives. I pay extra attention to wah-wah romantic undertones, they’re celebratory. It’s not so funny when the stark original is bedridden. I want to bring you your dancing shoes, the sparkly slippers. I want to put a smile on your tired face. Bring a name to it. A thick, irremovable blue smile. You were young when she left. Weren’t you, you? Terminal patients get visited by loved ones, lost ones.
Yes, I was half expecting you to visit.
At the bed end. Smiling warmly.
I sometimes hope to see you both.
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
To my dear real Mavis, I guess I’ve heard some things, some quite terminal things. Some things that leave an impending sink (merciless, not kitchen) of doom in my gut, not at all dissimilar to losing a box of memories, chopping off a thumb, standing too close to an edge.
It could all be a fell swoop, opening the oven makes my eyes water. Things aren’t quite so picturesque, as pristine as we had hoped. I’ve heard that you’re stuck like a pea lodged in-between unneeded mattresses, can’t even be seen behind the bed sheets, except for a hand that asks to be held.
You are nightclothes. Once comfortable linen, too swathed and heavily perfumed. A cold sweat won’t leave your side. What happens when you can’t get up and be the perfect host? Too weak to pick up the marigolds.
Circulation running but not smoothly on course, soft Nana hands. Things weren’t supposed to turn out so oddly, being real went backwards and sloped dodgily, it wobbles when you breathe on it, the bed wasn’t supposed to be in the dining room, and you weren’t supposed to be in it.
It was supposed to be just dandy, pastel coloured and end in slow dancing in the living room, children happy and well and a glow of warmth coming through the window. The thought gets stuck in my throat like stale slippers, what a beautiful life it has been, slowed down now to an imperfect humming T. He asked in a gentlemanly manner for the perfect love story, haven’t you been happy here? Forgetting the contents of the wedding photos, blurred and frozen faces. A half-eaten Weetabix in the cupboard falls from the shelf, the whole thing moved into boxes, into drawers, put safely out without a word, the same story told three times.
The grandfather clock trailed off chiming, chipped porcelain. Kept all the knickknacks, the yellow and pink candle pots, the sad, crude family heirlooms.
Knitting a perfect home into a sweetly perfumed shoe box. You’d kept it all perfect, lost a child and kept all of the plates spinning, hair permed and correctly pinned.
In the silence the only sound is ticking, slow methodical and drawn-out. Dust on the empty, dented bed. You became all too real, too beautiful, too terminal. In my own night-dress things are waiting. There’s no further treatment and they sent you home to sleep, into a dining room bed, broken china and unexpected conclusions.
My real Mavis, I made you another place within a safe homage, I hope it is all marigold and bright.
The Real Mavis
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
My gloved feet can clap
they make a slapping sound, feet
I applaud myself

If I were madder
I would eat the whole blue thing,
that whole mouth *****

I walk into view
rubber gloves rubber gloves, slap
slapping the floor, clap.

Slap, slap, slap, slap, squelch
I stood in something icky
I mop the floor clean

The microwave burst
I am covered in jelly
pierce film with fork

Play the mouth *****
it sings like a tragedy
blue lipstick edges

The kitchen sink fits
harmonica, sink, fridge, spoon,
I swallow them whole.
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
I’ve been loving you
for at least three minutes.
I’ve been waiting oh-so-tentatively for
your two backward left feet by the
warm microwave light, for
a waltzily slip
of ultimate falsehood out of the fridge.
Oh darling, yo-ooo-ooo-ou
send me.
You, you, youuu
waltz with me in the warm
kitchen light,
across the checkerboard floor.
Darling, yoo-ooo-ou
fold me up and
toss me
oh-so-lovingly into the microwave.
My legs, oh my marigold legs!
Pop out the funny sides,
false and daintily.
Your limbs with no mouths
but light fingers and a thorough
set of skills with the hoover.
I saw the sink disembodied
in the light wearing
a pretty ‘do.
My hair on all the faucets.
Dear Mother, I…
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
ENTER TO A SINGLE CHAIR MID-ROOM, HE SITS
THROUGH CURTAINS. GLOVES ON HANDS AND FEET. THE FEET ARE TAPPING TO AN INVISIBLE RHYTHM DARKNESS TO LIGHT FLICKS ON.
HARMONICA STARTS PLAYING
SPOTS IN FILM, WE FLICK TO THE HARMONICA PLAYER SITS IN CORNER OF THE ROOM, SOMETIMES HE HOLDS THE BLUE GREEN FORM LIKE SOMETHING BELOVED.
PROTAGONIST DANCES AROUND THE ROOM
WITH IT. SHE IS STILL THE PROTAGONIST.
LONG, SOFT, BLUE HANDS ARE ATTACHED TO HER DRESS. GLOVES ARE ON HANDS
AND FEET, TOO. IS SEEN IN
THE PLASTIC CURTAIN, DANCING AND OUT OF IT. THE HARMONICA PLAYER IS PRESENT.
SITS, LOOKS UP IN FRONT OF THE PINK CURTAIN. THINGS ARE ON THE WALLS.
SLOW ELEVATOR MUSIC PLAYS IN THE BACK.
Mavis
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
Josephine, the train carriage in front of me wobbles and it is eerie, I find it, I wonder what it would be like to press my hand into its bouncing rubber indents, testing out for some sign of reproach. I love you something rotten. Like a stuffed bear toy with the nose chewed off, a book dropped in the bath, something where my toes won’t dare stop to uncurl and sighs, slow down into somewhere around the place of deep, warm comfort. Eric Clapton’s Layla played slowly, Elvis hasn’t stopped, can’t stop falling in love with the way your eyes close, Mumford are still waiting at the bus stop where we left, and the Lumineers croon in the voice of Cleopatra. You’re crying on a train listening, thinking ‘Oh dear. I can’t get enough of this’, it’s like burying my head in the sand. It’s a nice crinkle in the corner of his eyes, it’s like coming home to everywhere at once. Like seeing it all hug you into one, the place where you lost everything welcomes you home, you find your house keys, your blue scarf, the basket of odd socks. Josephine, you seem like the road sign for stop and road works and this way to the Midlands all at once. You’re the last human left.
Jodie-Elaine Jun 11
Big fluffy dressing gowns keep misbehaving and stuffing themselves into un-rounded empty spaces and the spaces are shrinking SO EXCUSE ME BUT I’M A LITTLE STUCK OVER HERE like the nightmare about losing teeth, about being too small and driving a big van, a massive van down a long hill, it gets steeper and THERE’S NO BRAKES. MAYBE IT’S THE MARRIAGE OF TWO PERFECT ENTITIES, ME AND THE DRESSING GOWNS, that is. But I’d expected it to pan out a little differently than end in the middle of a Bridget Jones film or some other badly frequented metaphor glued together with lollipop sticks. Who are these people who don’t find themselves biting into deep pure, gross, clogged NOTHING when they have an empty wall in front of them? I BET THEY DANCE FABULOUSLY WITH TOASTERS.
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