“Get money, get money, get money, or be forever damned.”
Help me to register your trademark,
Initial your scrap paper at the reception desk
To maintain a hazy autograph,
Hang your spleen on the mantle-piece.
Tear me a piece from your riotous nightdress,
Place it in the classifieds of the Masochist's Newsletter;
For 50% of all future royalties
Flex with the melancholic best of them.
“I'm a pen. I'm nothing but a pen.”
Shall we pimp out your bedsheets
Slither around in your nitty gritty handcream?
I'll buy you a butterfly collar and an ankle bracelet
They will keep the cockroaches at bay
“You'd think I'd get delirium tremens..Nothing.
I must be solid as an oak.”
Tactless at still being alive,
Nervously hawking your writerly eye-shadow;
The typewriter and a stained-glass window
Earned you, 13 days in Holloway prison.
“...impersonating a dead writer called 'Jean Rhys'”.
Were sequins the source of your ressentiment,
The not-quite nonchalance of a failed fille de joie?
Where a kept woman keeps her dairies, misplaced
Books and chorus girls who had their quarrels in public.
The agoraphobic flaneuse suits you well,
Stranded in the compromised maket-place
With your limitless need intact. Catalogue
Your never not already here fear.
“Love is a stern virtue in England....usually a matter of hygiene”
Let us toast the corrosive tyranny
Of insufficent funds and other
Drain the inner world of its neat symbolic shell
And await the arrival of a new cheque-book.
They were not ungenerous, your reluctant masters
And semi-omnipotent pimps. Fifteen francs per week
Brought your foot to the throat,
Painting the toes
A garish girlish pink.
You were not quite your self
Those last thirty-five years
Of discontinuous you-as-I
Moods, owning the wounds
Bathing them with a chiffon scarf
Doused with perfume, like salt
In the ocean, a spiteful whoosh
To the neck and chin and cheeks.
I could take you to a meeting,
Have your floral prints clash
Against a big blue book that said...
“My name is....and I am...”
Or let's gate-crash the Claremont hotel,
Write 'We Aren't Allowed To Die Here' in lipstick
On the mirror of a maid's bedroom, leaving behind...
“...grubby shoulder-straps, sordid roll-ons...Those sort
of smart clothes you get from Jewish Madam shops”.
Together we will set up a stand
In the entrance of an academic conference:
Sell pamphlets with titles like...
Copyright © Graham Caveney, 2015.