Helena Burgerhout CC
mouth like a racecar a bugatti type 35 fast talking smooth blue to get you into this crumpled bed & mouth like a soft pink cave uvula a stalactite eerieing into slime mould darkness & teeth like teacups & toilet bowls & mouth like a navvy all hard words & the chink of the beer bottle against them & mouth tongue like a gordian knot with all this im sorry i love you i didn’t mean it im lonely & mouth like forgiveness mouth like whisper mouth telling tales telling myth telling poems that are meant to make up for all this mouth & mouth wet like a shipwreck mouth like a underwater camera showing exactly what i saw dead bloated eyesockets the home of tiny flashing sealife fingers the realm of mussel kings & queens with beautiful barnacle crowns & mouth like sadness at all the thing i forgot to say & all the things i did
the cyclical nature of sestina and trauma
the course comes out - a small haunch of rabbit,
a dumpling with dashi, eel, and smoke.
i revel in the flavours, the odd sensations,
the drunkenness, the weight of the evening,
the addition of tarragon, the dark stone bowl.
the preparation for writing my trauma.
it’s not easy to do - to write this trauma
thinking back to the times i was a frightened rabbit.
ink and water incantation, hand waved over a bowl
peer through twenty years, through memory smoke.
seek out the nuance, reach back to an evening,
dry-mouthed, feel this uncomfortable sensation.
the fear. how do you write this sensation?
the homeless hostel. unpick that trauma.
John Peel on the radio, 11pm in the evening.
he’s playing a new band, Frightened Rabbit.
the single bed where we sit, roll spliffs, smoke
ourselves stupid. he packs the bowl.
take another hit. this forty year old man is no dish,
no beautiful man to fill me with the sensations
i want late into the night. met him in the smoking
area outside a club. now he’s on my bed. the trauma
in writing this moment catches me now. timid rabbit.
thinking back to this particular evening.
i met him at a psychedelic rave late evening
in summer. 16 years old. addicted to pot,
to speed, to whatever i could. a Duracell bunny
always on the go because what if I stopped? no sense
at 16. i played with whoever i pleased. the trauma
of my mother’s house catching up, burnt
out but carrying on, meeting men like twisting fire.
the single bed in the hostel. have him over on an evening
kiss it. hold it. do it in the dark. hide the trauma.
he can’t see the cuts. life in this leaking goldfish bowl -
i’m swimming round and round, the sensation
spilling, smashing into walls. the man tells me to rub it.
Jem Henderson (they/them) is a genderqueer poet from Leeds, winner of a Creative Future award for underrepresented writers. genderfux, their first collaboration came out February 2022. an othered mother, their first pamphlet, is out in October 2022 from Nine Pens. They have a collaborative collection with Chris Cambell, small plates, due in 2023 from Broken Sleep.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.