Three poems by Elizabeth AJ Eaton


People say I’m over the top,
Passionate and driven are just words for “Shut the fuck up”
I’ve got all these opinions riding around inside my head,
Screaming out for answers,
Seeking out some praise.

They wish I’d chat about the weather,
Be calm and reflect,
Let the silence linger…
Not fill the room with statements, declaring my theories,
Just breathe in… and out…
But, I can’t.

Good at being,
Intrigued by who we are,
Enlisted in understanding our purpose in this world,
Rather good at making things awkward,
Perfected uncomfortable silences to a T,
I have.

So I tap the side of my pint,
I twist and tug my hair,
To force the words from BLURTING out.

The traffic on the M3,
The work I’m doing to my ensuite
My pension scheme,
Wait, who am I kidding,
A writer,
There is no pension scheme,
It just all feels alien to me.

Sex education in schools,
Social media causing emotional withdrawal,
The cotton industry draining the Aral sea,
The fear-mongering broadcasts of the BBC
There is where I wannabe.



They build you up with patronising talk
Those adults standing there with coffee-flooded breath
and armpit sweat.
They break the words up sounding out those
stupid letters L- I- K -E-L- Y, now you try
Standing you up on the table
in front of all yours peers, clapping and cheering
Your little face covered in shame
Children snigger
because you finally learnt to spell your name

At first they’re patient but soon their faces fill with red
They watch the clock as you fill with dread
Soon you’ll see it’s like riding a bike
or learning your ABCs
Then they’re slamming the table and pulling at their hair
You’re sat with hot little legs
and milk down your chest, while questions fill you head
Why can’t I
Why don’t I
Get it
Never get it
You pick up a pen and move it round the page
You know what it is that you want to say
but the words just don’t quite come out
It’s like your hands being pulled about
It’s like it’s dangling from a piece of string
Somebody is manning it, making you look like an inadequate little thing
As this must be torture and it must be cruel
That all your life you have to use all these extra tools
You fight through school
Battling with it
Laughing at it
The class clown, it’s the only way to survive
in this wild and roofless town
You achieve a grade but it’s not great
Pushing and dragging through it, like a pack horse on its way to market
Suddenly you’re in so-called adult life
You continue to have nightmares that you’re in that exam again, so you wake up terrified
It’s not easy
It’s not simple
People throw the term around like it’s going out of fashion
Oh, didn’t you know that Einstein had it
It means you’re creative
It means you have a talent
If only that was comforting to our small demographic
It’s those times that the words jump about and muddle across the page
It’s when you’re trying to speak your mind but out of nowhere those facts wander off and you’re left behind
It’s coming up with an idea that could be mind-breaking and world-saving but you turn your head to find a pen and suddenly it’s gone
It’s the constant feeling of being embarrassed
It’s the judgement and stigma that goes alongside it
It’s the shock covered faces and long lingered pauses when you say you’re doing a master’s degree. Well, I guess really that should fill you with some glee.


Our cities’ children

City fumes and red-faced greys
Broken roofs with slanted slates
Torn up hearts and calloused hands
Stamp your feet, if you have it hard
Tired eyes and sore feet
Endless days of fighting fit
Keep on moving, swim, swim, swim
This city never stops to breathe
So much anger, so much rage
As children curse instead of pray
Such panic fills their little hearts
It stops them play, it stops them laugh
Now I stop, to take it in
I wear a skin that’s paper thin
For I do cry and fear for them
Trapped in a maze with just a few better days.

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