Waste

As we disposed of our disposable income

like tissues chucked in the bin after a wank

 

the amazon packages arrived one after another

large brown bubbles of guilty glee

like froth on a hot chocolate

 

and we dipped into our overdrafts

like a heron dipping its beak in a scummy pond

 

even the similes could not save us

 

we scraped tiny pennies off the floor for the next drink

and then we had to stop drinking completely, what a drag

 

there came a point where all I could think of was money

and how much I had, how little I had

 

how quickly it vanished in the first week of the month

 

and I wondered how they survive those who had

twenty pounds cut from their universal credit

 

and I defrosted last spring’s soup, and was grateful

that my antidepressants are free in Scotland

 

and I maxed my credit card with a tattoo deposit

because darling, we’ve only got one life.

 

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On Domesticity

Watched by the skeletons of clothes airers,
I mountaineer up the sofa to water the devil’s ivy.

Bee-hum of the dehumifier, all our hopes pinned
to a spoorless wall, weekly bleached bone.

The mop forlorn by the bathroom door,
a gaunt wizard of cleanliness.

My hands soften in the washing up water
like petals in a puddle after a rainstorm.

So peach soft. Allow me then my forest
of bookcases, and among them the tumeric armchair

glowing like the sun of its own
peculiar solar system. We are caught up

in its orbit like a queen captive in a hive.
But closer to the workers, yes, their daily toil

and blunder. What else to watch – the kaleidescope
of laundry through a tiny porthole.

Feel your hand back to mine. Not trembling.
The solid warmth of a wood stove in October,

bearing all the seasons through.

The Abortion Dress

With all the focus on the possible striking down of Roe vs Wade, I thought I would perform my poem The Abortion Dress from my collection, The Mouth Of Eulalie. The poem is in the voice of my character Juliette but speaks pretty strongly to my first abortion. I’ve been lucky enough to live in countries where abortion is legal when I needed one (twice). I also lived in a country where it wasn’t legal, which was pretty scary.

My first experience wasn’t smooth sailing however as the NHS doctor I saw first treated me pretty badly (called me a stupid girl) so rather than having it on the NHS I paid Marie Stopes. They were as awesome as a provider could be in the circumstances.

You can order my collection at the following link: https://www.bluediode.co.uk/product-page/the-mouth-of-eulalie-by-annie-brechin-isbn-9781915108012

First poem in a long time

On borrowing my mother’s swimsuit – Suffolk, 2021

O warbler, calling from the soft
and sodden marsh, tell me it’s not true
that even newly blubbered I cannot fit
neat as a cherry pit in this
blue and yellow flowered suit

Once thin as the reeds of the beds I was
but the lockdown put paid to that
and now I snap lycra on stretchily
over swelling boobs and even more secretly
that strip of cloth that once covered her vulva
covers mine now

the slit of my becoming
and the slit of my being
fused by this nest of cloth

The Bellringing Poet: What’s Keeping Me Busy In Lockdown

I’ve had a lot of trouble concentrating this last period of lockdown. Whereas I wrote almost a whole book in the first lockdown, and read a library of poetry and prose, I am struggling to do anything more than doomscroll in my spare time – and sleep, which without the exercise to tire me out leads more often than not to some crazy dreams.

But I have been somewhat productive in a couple of areas. Firstly, my aunt recently became President of a charity in France called Cancer Support France – Languedoc. They aim to help those anglophones suffering in the region by providing emotional and practical support. You can find out more about them here: https://csflanguedoc.com/

CSF-L are a growing organisation and as such have a lot of processes that require documenting. With my Ops background I volunteered to help them with this project, and have had a lovely time speaking with their volunteer staff to put together some hopefully useful documents. This has saved money they might otherwise have to spend on consultants, and also allowed me to keep my hand in with some customer journey analysis.

The second area is bellringing – for those who don’t know, I am indeed an enthusiastic campanologist. As well as running regular Monday night practices on the virtual platform Ringing Room, I’ve now agreed to come on board with a Scottish Association working group looking at recovery post-Covid. It’s a broad topic and we have some specific challenges here in Scotland, but I’m very excited to work on it. More information on the Scottish Association and on bellringing can be found here: https://www.sacr.org/

A Covid Poem

The year we watched the death tolls rise

I read some books, I stayed inside

I worked from home, I watched some films

I skyped my family from the realms

of my four walls – each week we said

Thank God none of us have had it yet

I wore a mask out to the shops

I panic-bought, but not a lot

On the news an old man couldn’t buy eggs

I cried the eyes out of my head

For him and all the others shielding

Later Bake Off and Noel Fielding

Soothed my anxious brain to numbness

But still the thought that I had done less

Than I could have to help others

Kept me restless between the covers

My drinking grew steadily out of hand

Some nights, well, I could barely stand

The mornings cracked on like a whip

As I tried to forget all of it

Poems no solace, nor was sex

Yet I couldn’t say I was depressed

The fugue was blanketing but hope

Remained there like an outflung rope

I called my friends, I hugged my partner

I tried to my hardest to remember

I was lucky – I survived

The year we watched the death tolls rise.

For Louis on his balcony, en ecoutant du jazz

This is one of several poems I wrote simultaneously in French and English. You can choose which version you prefer.

Monaco sun

over impossible blue bay

 

Soleil monégasque

sur une baie de bleu impossible

 

if those moored yachts

were my vertebrae

 

si ces yachts amarrées

étaient mes vertèbres

 

you could run your fingertip down them

 

tu pourrais glisser ton doigt là-dessous

No two seas own

the same colour

 

Aucunes mers possèdent

la même couleur

 

the mediterranean’s got

a golden glint

 

la méditerranée porte

un lueur d’or

 

like a pirate’s tooth

Flash me that smile

 

comme une dent de pirate

Jette-moi cette sourire

 

Even my bone’s marrow tenses

against your absence

 

Même ma moelle osseuse se tend

contre ton absence

 

restless tides pulled

to a distant moon

 

marées inquiètes attirées

par une lune distante

 

invisible in brilliant daylight

 

invisible dans un soleil brillant

What’s New, Pussycat?

So I thought I’d try and update this old site and make something shiny and sparkly new as I am trying to find a publisher for my next pamphlet. First order of business is the excellent news that I have four poems in the new Spring 2020 issues of Poetry Wales. Thanks a million to Jonathan Edwards for choosing them. You can pre-order your copy here: https://poetrywales.co.uk/product-category/current-issue/

What else is new? Well since, 2015 which is when I think my last post was, quite a lot!! I’ve moved to Edinburgh, done a Masters in Screenwriting and started a job at University of Edinburgh. It was sad to leave Dubai but it was the right time. I’ll never forget the great times I had in the sandpit.

In memory of Dubai, here is my poem We Live In Water, which was published in the now-defunct Hinterland magazine:

We Live In Water

 

Dubai is merpeople

in neon fringed bikinis

 

no tails required

slick-skinned revellers

 

flitting between pool and plage

to finish in chromy towers

 

where we swallow as much

as we swim in…

 

Don’t tell me you don’t want

our poolside passionfruit vodka

 

don’t tell me you don’t want

our beaches that turn to nightclubs

 

our limitless champagne brunch

I won’t believe you

 

I never believed you

that’s why I came