Cruelty to Enamel

December 30, 2016 § Leave a comment

A wee poem I wrote prompted by the phrase “if walls had ears”. A reflection on surveillance (and the plight of sentient objects).


If walls had ears, I’d live outside.
Surely wouldn’t it defy
The whole purpose of walls
And end up being their demise?

If walls had ears, we’d hesitate
When buying a piece of real estate.
I know I would, at least
I know I want my privacy.

Now you’re wondering, I assume
What it is I’m trying to hide
What goes on in there, you pry.
Now let me make it absolutely clear
I would spew obscenities with much intensity
Before leaking any secrets in here

But wait – would they have brains, too?
‘Cause if it’s just ears, my point is moot
And do they have mouths with which to speak?
I don’t much care for abusing the weak.

With ears and minds, a sad demise
For a poor, poor wall who has to stand tall
And have no say in whoever lives there
That sentient wall will learn to care
For its well-being, and that of its ceiling
Its doors and its paint, wait – would it not suffocate?

Hold it a minute, this has gone too far.
A theme built on sheer human arrogance
I say, down with this concept and its extravagance
Pretty soon we’ll be humanising cars!

God knows they’d suffer too, if they had the tools
A brain and some eyes would suffice to prove
What slavery they’ve succumbed to under our rule
I’ve said save the birds, save the earth, save the sea
And now I’ve decided to stand up for machines!


A painful display on the Overground the other day.

December 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

I was sat in front of a down-and-out drunkard, both of us minding our own business until he suddenly perked up and tried to ask the people sitting next to him for a favour – if they could just text his daughter for him from their phone, for he had no credit to call her with. The three youngsters, all in their twenties and very cool and liberal-looking, understandably bristled in response, for he was drunk and unappealing.

After the initial lame excuse of “I don’t know how to use that phone,” (well, my friend, he’s not asking you to use it – but to text someone from your own), and as he continued to push the subject, they started getting hostile. Which sure got my heart pounding. Thubthub, thubthub. The man was a self-proclaimed Irish gypsy; not somebody you’d want to mess with. I’m illiterate, and stupid, and I’m not well, and need to contact my daughter, he shouted. He would pay them for their help, he cried, very nearly spilling his drink over the distressed young man beside him. Racists, he called them. Funnily enough, they were two black men and a white girl. It may have had something to do with that – travellers are known to be ostracised from the community. It looked to me more like fear of a violent drunk than anything else, but I did somehow enjoy seeing hip modern youths being accused of racism, a term our generation loves to throw around willy-nilly at everybody but their “open-minded” selves.

Surely in an era of tolerance and acceptance we should all be willing to help an illiterate in dire straits? Hell knows I’ve dealt with my fair share of Irish travellers, working in a pub, and they can indeed be a handful, but here was a fucked-up alcoholic who genuinely could not reach help, and his exclamations of self-deprecation softened me. I’m a gypsy, I can’t read or write, I’m fucking stupid, I’ll pay you if you text her for me.

And I could almost hear them not listening. Why don’t you text her? Whatever! Shut up. I don’t want your money. Basically, completely missing his bloody point. I hear this a lot actually: the sound of not listening. When attacked or confronted, people are driven out of their comfort zone and unfortunately with that goes two-way communication skills.

They say liberals are those
Who give sinners a second chance
They sneer at conservatives’ tough-loving policies
Who then sneer right back at the socialists’ romance

Equality for all, righteousness on call
It’s all fine words when you’re at home
The faceless masses, they need our help
Every day more pesky humans stumble out, all alone

Don’t be racist, sexist, or pro-gun
But it’s a-OK to be kinda dumb
Just hide it well until you arrive at
A real life situation with one of those bums
You keep trying to side with
Suddenly you go numb.

Think before rolling your eyes
At the crude young mum at the foodstore
It’s circumstances your society creates
That make her so irate

If you’re going to stand up for unity
Do it by standing up for the loonies
Don’t wait for them to become part of the system
For they go to phony schools, more like juvies
That produce criminals and layabouts
That we can later complain about

For the record, I put an end to my fellow commuters’ misery and texted the poor guy’s daughter, very nearly getting drooled upon in the process. “Tell her code red.” She called him promptly, giving me time to make my getaway from this slobbering, unrequited friendship and sit at the other end of the train – he was a filthy pikey, after all.

(for the record, that last sentence was sarcastic; I’m not qualified yet to make such risky jokes without a disclaimer.)

Sad, woefully inapt boys.

December 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Again, the fun tales of being a girl behind the bar.

Sometimes I hear the thoughts inside of some boys’ minds. I call them boys because they are not apt to carry the epithet of manlihood. When one is babbling at my feet, trying out all the seduction techniques he’s clearly picked up from the Internet, I can hear his mind goblins pitter-pattering and adjusting gears whilst regulating blood flow to mediate the sexual organ before anything truly telltale happens. He will be helpful in any way possible, to the point of suffocation – and suffocation is damn hard to do when you have only met someone once. So +1 for advanced technique, but -100 for wrong technique.

He will talk to me about me and try to relate, putting on a flabby shell of seduction and thereby showing his true colors by not being himself. He will stare, then, for a while; if it works for the Jedi, why not him? I ignore the boy, then, and go about my business, and he’s probably thinking I’m playing hard-to-get now.

So it’s time for that much-decried method of negging, which apparently aims to crush a woman’s self-esteem by finding weak points and making her fragile and approachable. Needless to say, this doesn’t work on me and in fact turns me off more, which I didn’t think was possible – I was already a windowless room with the lights off, and that just makes me a coffin in the ground at midnight in a Scandinavian winter. Not only is it a transparent avowal of having read bullshit seduction techniques online, but it doesn’t make you look pleasant if you’re nasty to someone you, again, hardly know. I really don’t know what woman that one works on. Maybe if you’re really subtle, like bringing up things she wishes she could do and showing that you are better at them? Anyway, a sad attempt, but nothing compared to what’s to come.

If I have the misfortune of having to spend more time with this leech, there is no doubt that he will pounce before the night is through. I’ve been through the motions, something must be astir in that cold-hearted woman’s heart. There’s no space for questioning it. If you don’t do it now, boy, you’ll never do it. It’s like the adrenaline rush you get before running up to jump off a ten-foot-high diving board – now or you’ll be disappointed in yourself for never trying. And besides, it’s just a bit of water, you won’t die.

Unfortunately, that attitude is the wrong one to have when it comes to women, because even though we can’t kill you either, you can certainly make us extremely uncomfortable at best, or traumatise us at worst. You’re not dealing with your own personal hormonal blood rush here, but the sanity and self-preservation instinct of another person – one that has likely been through this bullshit before. If you’re lucky, she is like me and far too considerate: she will push you away and shake her head with an internal eyeroll. If the world is just, however, you’ll try your final, pernicious move on a girl with no patience and a lot of pent-up energy. She will either elbow you in your pretty little boyish face or speak up and humiliate you if people are around. She will not let you forget your stupid sexual attack on a clearly unwilling human being, clearly being the key word here, if only you’d paid attention to body language class in the womb like most adults.

Can’t stand boys. Bring on the men.

Self-help nonsense.

December 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Hows about some poetry? On the magic of self-help.

These self-help geniuses in turtlenecks
They really think they are the best
Crowds of women in their seats
Try to put their minds at rest.

Tai chi, dance, pilates and yoga
Stick to the lifestyle like a soldier
But city life’s not made for unwinding
Or enjoying it at all
Living here is getting older
Rushing ahead of the crystal ball.

“So to find out which way you swing,
You simply must think of five things:
Who you are, what you do;
whom for, whence from, where to.
And when I snap my sweaty fingers
You will know the ugly truth
No matter who you think is you
That dreaded feeling ever lingers.”

They don’t say that, though, you see
Or one may just get up and leave
If it’s all in my hands, what am I paying for?
Give me results or I’ll walk right out the door.

Where Am I?

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