Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

“DIVING FOR DEAR LIFE” final version

So, this is the final draft… for performance at Nottingham Playhouse, with Mouthy Poets in Say Sumthin 6.

Where I come from,
there is no colour.
It’s film noir.
The only sound,
icebergs scraping across the ocean floor.

Or is that my singing?

I know there is another life than this,
So I pull with my arms and rise up,
through shadows,
future memories
and the comfort of violet darkness.
Until blue emerges,
then green and yellow mix in
showing my skin to be living,
then orange lights my hair,
fronds tangling around my face
and finally red, complete.

I’m a Technicolor version of myself!

My head breaks the surface and the waves lift me and drop me.
I swim for the first time
relishing the battle of me
against the swell.

I live an ordinary life,
feel the way people feel.
I learn new skills,
to keep my tail hidden underneath my skirt,
how to mask my fishy smell,
cut my hair a little shorter,
try not to comb it sitting on the bonnet of a car,
wear a bra to cover my breasts,
they can be so distracting!

Take care not to let them feel the coldness of my skin,
find seaweed in my hair
or the barnacles growing along my ribs.

I keep my shell collection to a bare minimum
and pretend I covet shoes instead.
I learn to hum softly under my breath,
keep my song to myself.
My voice,
the things I say,
can give me away.

Lately every breath I take draws salt from the ocean and flavours my tears.
Every step I take is like a blade.
But I thought everybody feels like this,
so I keep walking.

I didn’t realise that once I put my head above water,
the air would distort my perception
and reduce the scale of everything around me.

You can’t say I haven’t tried to live a life the ordinary way.
But this surface life is not adventure.
This morning I heard gulls shrieking for me to come home.
So I’m going back.

I dive.

Above me the sun makes a valiant attempt to follow,
hot-foot-hopping on the waves,
but where I’m going it can’t come
the spectrum cannot be
there will be no colour.

At 50 feet, red is invisible.
my sharp-cut-hair,
Piccolino tomatoes!
The dozen long-stemmed apologies,
a kiss,
sleep-shot eyes and tear-taut-face.

200 feet
orange is gone.
Kicking through leaves,
Winter bonfires.
steaming tea,
the warmth of arms,
rust on the blade.

300 feet
yellow green is almost gone.
Sunlight through trees,
the lightness of thought
and the softness of voices,
Golden plums.
Healing bruises.

400 feet
I lose blue,
That glimpse through the skylight,
forget-me-nots in the milk jug
vein-laced eyelids
torn shirt.

500 feet
I am losing violet.
Morning mist and evening shadows,
wilted flowers.
Plump pigeons,
broken promises,
old wounds.

800 feet​​
there is no colour.
It is dark.
There is no sound
but I am home.