Ladylike, by Myriam San Marco


The poem is dedicated to all teenagers who feel they can’t speak their truth.


Myriam San Marco is a poet, promoter and creative writing facilitator. Many years ago, she truanted school to go to libraries, read all the books, drunk all the drinks, took all the drugs, partied in all the fields and from time to time, wrote poetry. As the Bournemouth Poet Laureate, Myriam San Marco has been leading a creative writing and development program for local writers with the support of Bournemouth Libraries and continues to support poetic initiatives in local schools. She founded Word Makers and Silence Breakers in 2016 and curates a bi-monthly spoken word night at Chaplin’s cellar bar. Myriam has been found performing on street corners, bookshops, carnivals, festival stages and poetry events. Abe Gibson described her performance as cutting to draw blood. Myriam’s words have been published online and in print. She feels burdened to tell the stories that would break the existing narrative, like a small pebble in your shoe which would cause you to stop walking to hunt it down. Her debut collection Sakura was published by Burning Eye in June 2018.

Courting Bedlam by Myriam San Marco

I wish I knew why the world around us is preoccupied with celebrity and videos of cats.
The complicated issues that matter to you, they take too much focus away from sexting, snapchat, binge-watching the next hot vampire series…The truth?
The truth is hard to watch, hard to speak, hard to listen to.
And all that distracts is so attractive.
But within each person there is a world webbing out, reaching others, creating reactions, making connections. We have a voice. You are a world. I am you and you are me. But if a voice is not used, a truth not spoken or heard, then a whole world is lost. We all are the no man in no man’s land. Lost, tired, crazy.
It almost seems not worth it. Almost.
Me, I’m in it for the stillness of summer, the warmth of sand, sun on your skin, the drop of sweat that rolls and pools on your stomach.
I bring you heat, turn all the levels to 11, sneak tiny shocks of static down my fingertips. I will catch you when you fall, and show you how to burn.
I’m in it for the fire.
I’m in it for the heartbeats, the legs stretched, in veins, scars and smiling teeth.
I’m in the one step closer, the dance, the skin to skin, hand to hand, head on a shoulder. I’m in the breathing in the scent of another. I’m in it for the whispers, the subtext, the blank page, the smell of a new notebook, in the poems written till hands cramp and words hit the floor.
I’m the shake of your hands.
I’m the bend of your knees.
I’m the taste of your lips.
I’m the mess of your bed.
I’m the Poetry.

Freedom – National Poetry Day

For National Poetry Day, Myriam San Marco and the Word Makers collective want to see as many poems on Freedom published. Reuben Woolley has graciously agreed to this crazy scheme. You can find all the poems, some as far as India, on the I am not a silent poet zine and Facebook group.

People can carry on on sending poems to all throughout the day


Teach Peace by Myriam San Marco

When they came for Africa
Don’t say they’re only animals
Teach peace
When they came for the Jews
Don’t say they deserved it
Teach peace
When they came for the queers
Don’t say God has judged them
Teach peace
When they came for the Twin Towers
Don’t say Let’s bomb the fuck out them
Teach peace
When they came for London
Don’t say we know they have WMD
Teach peace
When they came for Paris
Don’t say we’ll destroy Syria
Teach peace
When they come for the children
Fight fight fight to the end
and Teach peace
teach peace

If you tell by Myriam San Marco

This is between us, sweetie.
Our little secret, you and me.
Come on (now), a bit closer.
What are these tears for?

Don’t play coy, sit on my knee.
If you don’t, I’ll burn your auntie.
Ah, this feels good… yes, unzip me.
You should be – ashamed – of yourself.
Good little girls don’t – dress – like you do.
Of course, I love you. I wouldn’t do – this –
if I didn’t – love – you. I promise, if you
just say no, I will stop right now…nothing?
I knew you were the right one, the only
girl who understands what a man needs.
This hurts me more than it hurts you.
Open . . . wider.
Now look what you made me do…
Stop snivelling, if you didn’t like it
you would have asked me to stop.
Clean yourself up, put on your headscarf,
and listen very, very, very carefully.
You have satisfied me, you are my property
to do with as I please, a thing for my body .
No one will believe you if you tell,
because you’re a dirty skanky refugee.
If you tell, I will kill what is left of your family.
If you tell, everyone will think you enjoy it.
If you tell, your father will despise you and spit.
If you tell, I’ll deny it and have you stoned.
This is between us, sweetie.
Our little secret, you and me.

Like a ton of Lego bricks by Myriam San Marco

I carried my bed of roses home,
where they teach the children
not to be, how to kill chickens
before they hatch and where the slap
of a hand cuts deeper than the sharp
of a belt. Mother was busy, as always

cooking curtains into arguments,
Stirring the pot of radiator music.
Father’s chair smelled of damp
dinners, he, on his knees, picked up
the crumbs of you’ll be a man my son.
I came in from the yard, hid all the locks,

shook out the mildew, laughed myself
out of my shackles and flew.

The end of the beginning of the end by Myriam San Marco

I don’t know if I will talk
to you, we may dance with
each other, polite strangers
in an overflowing train.

I don’t know if dinner
as a family is a good idea,
you see, everything I eat
tastes of screeching tyres.

I don’t know if I could kiss
my children one last time,
passport in hand, leave you
in charge of the school run.

I didn’t know how broken
I could be when I took
the ring off my finger,
felt the touch of not there.

I know how hard the stairs are,
I know the doors I walked into,
I know my cup is full and I drink.

Passion Week by Myriam San Marco

Tuesday. No sleep.
I look in the mirror
angry cold sweat that
speaks of the night:
my grandad.

Wednesday. Flashback.
I look in the mirror
back at failing to pull
down a too short skirt:
sit in my lap?

Thursday. Nightmares.
I look in the mirror
to his face in shadows
as he sat on my bed:
be a good girl.

Friday. Hangover.
I look in the mirror
I look in the mirror
I look in the mirror:
one more blackout.

Saturday. Funerals.
I look in the mirror
for my game face
and smudge my grin:
spitting out at last!

Sunday. Rest in pieces.
I did not look in
the mirror when
I cut the black drapes:
7 years bad luck.

Monday. Aftermath.
I look in the mirror
checking for tears
that will never flow:
He is dead.