The Children of Tuam, by Rachael Clyne

Piteous is a potent word
for unwanted, unfed,
too weak to cry.

In a shit-pit of shame,
lie eight-hundred stains
on Bon Secour piety.

No smiley peekaboos
no gagagagas
stains don’t giggle

In the bowels of Christ
tiny bones mingle
whisper like flutes

until plump children
apple-scrumping
uncover their truth.

When Breathing is No Longer Free by Rachael Clyne

I.M. Eric Garner, I can’t breathe.         

In the city, anyone seen breathing is stopped,
searched for signs of exhalation, breath
is banished, mouths clamped, held face down
until the air no longer needs us.
We save them the trouble of a bullet.

How we long for desert spaces where we
sweep dunes, with furnace mouths,
ruche sand, revive its memories of water,
gather bones, roll them clattering
on our tongues and expel them with a sigh.

Or chilled places where we crystallise rock
and river, white in fractal wonder.
Our outbreath greets morning chill
in flurries, spiralled cloud phrases
to silver the branches.

Deep in forests, our breath slips
down glossy leaves, salivates, slicks
into musky black loam, through gushes
of rain, we pour down roots and spring
back as lianas, vivid flowers.

This is a time by Rachael Clyne

when disbelief is as plentiful as grass,
when abstract nouns are emergency rations
and love and integrity are pilots on enemy soil,
hidden in safe-houses, with doorposts
marked by the blood of the lamb,
while all of hell’s angels roar down the bypass.
Now, the prophets are out of a job,
we are homeless and stand on a new ground zero.
It is time to predict even a present, let alone a future, without us.
It is time to do more than bury ourselves in landfill,
time to commit acts of love, without measure or return.

All I have by Rachael Clyne

Please come, tea, tea
all I have, sorry, welcome.

No home I cannot.
Bombe, sister, brother no
all gone; mother, father no.

England uncle
job, I do good job

motor fix, fix good
motor

I have passporte
I have this cardboard

hands I have
I have tea.

Please you name,
you children?

Which the football –
Chelsea?

Please welcome.
Welcome.

Chosen by Rachael Clyne

First I was Christ Killer, dirty yid.

Then I was Jew-girl, foreigner, kike,

always taking over, long-nosed victim,
Commie, drama-queen, usurer, pushy, wily.

Now it seems I’m a phony Jew,
a lizard fascist of the Khazarian Mafia

who has taken control of banking, the royal family,

the military, is the real perpetrator of 9/11.

Is this a job for a Jewish girl?

Silent faces keep appearing by Rachael Clyne

They will not let me turn the page
or cross to the other side of the street.
I fold clean T-shirts, pack toothpaste,
tissues, but it will not stem this tide,
of this razor-wire mentality.

No matter how fast I scroll down
the same child torsos, bare legs
keep washing up on a laptop shore

keep washing up on a laptop shore

keep washing up on a laptop shore.

Run from the night by Rachael Clyne

Because the night has become

an army of pandemonium,

greedy for slaughter,

we must learn to

tuck ourselves

into pockets, hide in

seams like lice, find light

under bushels

and swallow it quick

to avoid detection.

We must bide our time,

until we can take back

the night, embroider stars,

remember where

we buried the trust.

Song of the Androgene Chick 1976 by Rachael Clyne

I’ve been zenn’d I’ve been centred – far out man!
With all the right books, my head in the right space
Bare my armpits au naturel, I put kohl on my face
hugging my thighs – leg warmed you know
and it’s swing low breasts and scarlet lips
boys (and girls) le’mme give you a kiss.
Smoking my way through the day.
Hey man did you read Castaneda? Fuckin’ amazing!
I’m the dice woman of Clapham Common
Clapham? Turnham Green man!!

Nudity? So what! Bisexuality? Nice one!
How far d’ ya have to go to be noticed?
freak normality drifting through hash smoke
I’ve been zenn’d I’ve been centered –
got some coke? Get into it babe
put on those cool sounds
‘cos it’s a whole Walt Disney day.

But what do you do with your day?
Just sit and pretend I’m centred
don’t give a shit. Where’s the music, the coke?
Don’t Bogart the joint just gimme a toke
I still read zen with my brown rice bread –
now and then, wrapped in alpaca,
strictly for tourists – no acrylic mate
it’s the real thing.

Once wrote a song –
think I’ll make it as a song writer?
Seeking instant highs, feeling that naked lunch
packing its punch through acid nights
and amphetamine dawns, fag ends
like maggot-bait squirm in the ash tray –
just take me away to the country
where I know I’ll get bored
crave rooms full of smoke
don’t Bogart that joint just gimme some dope
the later, the longer, the better the day
the more fanfuckingtastic, just take it away
Getting my rocks off – d’ya think it’ll show?

Something tells me I’m getting a negative look
can’t reach out the doorway, only do it through books
dream merchants living for the hungry now
spending the spendfast money
on clothes to disguise the pig chauv.
D’ya want to sleep with me honey?
Don’t shave my armpits but I raze my legs
half doing my aerosol thing
we don’t really do sex any more
controlling the function
‘cos it’s a fanfuckingtastic morning
it’s a masturbatory day

and I’m reading that Dice Man baby
O’ what a zodiac day!
What sign are you? What don’t you do?
Creaming yourself in the mirror
how do you come? Are you having fun?
Are you zenn’d are you centred?
With your Turkish necklace, Peruvian gloves,
Chinese waistcoat and Levi jeans,
Indian shirt and Sioux moccasins,
hennaed hair and kohl rimmed eyes
How far d’ ya have to go to be noticed?
What did you do today?

No Such Thing by Rachael Clyne

Snatcher Thatcher
like Dennis and Gnasher
belong to more comic-book times.
No friend of the poet
though she didn’t know it
she gave us a demon for rhymes.

The banker’s beano
that sadly we know
was entirely her fault it seems
not that our consuming
our self-righteous fuming
and collusive greed
had anything to do with it.

From no such thing – to big society
we’re full of anxiety
left to pick up the pieces
put them in the right bin
the privatised council bin
so pardon my ignorance
my geriatric brain dance
isn’t it why we elect a government?

Domestic by Rachael Clyne

It wasn’t the grimace, the bared
teeth, or glee that bounced
from eye to fist

rather the chill of absence
the metallic rise
and fall, the pincer squeeze

that held whatever
pleasure he took from her
as she streamed

ribbons of light, spilled her
silence through the room ­–
mustn’t wake baby.

Vengeance is a Cannibal by Rachael Clyne

In the land of the toothless and blind
there is hunger for a clear sky
where nobody stumbles into walls
bangs their head on the incontrovertible
where only jackals feast on blasted bones
where earth, ashes and dust live side by side
and everyone wears a babel fish in their ear
learns to listen with a shy heart that ventures
from the forest like a doe at dawn
skips across deserts like a gazelle
covers the distance like a hawk, but one
that minds its own business. And the hyenas
who gather on the fringes to gloat
are kept at bay by a river of kindness.

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