On Not Being Able to Listen to Back to Black in 07

On Not Being Able to Listen to Back to Black in 2007

I got off my face on Ripples,

monged on marzipan wedges,

caught on Flikr at that reading looking

puffy about the face, with crumbs

on my Top Shop skirt,

snapped in my living room,

open mouthed in horror at “Castaway”,

didn’t tell the local paper that persistent

shortness of breath,

having to avoid most places,

and not being able to read

meant I thought I was irreparably broken,

a friend confirmed that heartbreak

does give you chest pain,

but neither of us liked to mention it.

I gave small pleasures to children I made write poems

using all their breath and ate one too many M and S beef rolls

before that Southbank gig and they weren’t

so much booing or jailing my downfall men

as lol-ing at them on MySpace,

while my hair got shorter, split ends developed,

I was only present at some meetings in the middle,

sinew tired all the time, even after a day spent staring

and family would have said I was not so much about love

as distance, but there isn’t enough cash in poetry

for anyone to look after grieving children

and not much likelihood of Incapacity Benefit

to cover any one of those hundred deaths,

so I paid people to listen to me,

tried to birth myself in the cold sea

and what was most important,

after Keeping Calm and Carrying On

was that it never, never happen again.

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