The following two poems are by Sarah Clancy from a forthcoming collection of prose and poetry, called Friction.
Veracity and other stories
for Alice Kennelly
I’ve lived in four different decades today
stepped onto three continents
I took no visas no tickets no passports
I wrote my own bill of passage I forged it
and what of my fraud if it served us?
I inhabited flesh that wasn’t my own
I scratched it kneaded stiff shoulders
with hands that emerged from some other wrists
some forearms some oxters then I left it
I walked from it and encountered new bones
new ligaments new eyes with which I saw
what I wanted I decided you were an abstraction
so I tried to walk through you but couldn’t
I put my palm on your chest but it met
with resistance I got caught in your substance
then fuck it I lied about it said you meant nothing
that your whole existence was a blip a pot-hole
that no-one was fixing and I burst a tyre or might have
I buckled my wheel rims in it didn’t I?
but then I gunned it and drove on
I read my old diaries as page turners with no idea
what might happen from one page to the next
I took guesses blind stabs at historic events
to see if it seemed like they’d happened me
then whatever I remembered what I wanted
even if I had to invent it I swore it as fact
rose to my feet to defend it
it was my truth in that moment and there wasn’t
a chance I’d let it be rebutted and as a result
I found myself heartless my past cast off
all reinvented and I liked it I was made light by it
and as to the future all those futures I’m writing
I’m telling you I’ll inhabit several actions at once
and believe what I want
I’ll pay no dues to this fiction
this actual bastard
I’m over it.
©Sarah Clancy January 2013
I met the take-it back man down in the shopping centre
where he was soap boxing, waxing lyrical and I drank his potion.
It was said that it could cure the worst of all the words
you’d ever spewed out in fury or in disappointment
and if a cure was beyond the bounds of either language or elixirs
it could reclaim the offending utterances and put them in storage
so long as you swallowed and didn’t spit that is. It could make
happenstances fall from their standing, go over old ground
and make it new sown, it could undo the damage sharp tongues
had inflicted on the unsuspecting, the suspicious and the blameless.
It could pale the blushes from stupid outbursts, cool them
before they ever hit your cheekbones – if that is you took
just two small mouthfuls and vowed to stay quiet for the duration
of its troubled ingestion. It could banish shame before it ever
caught your tonsils and traipsed its way down your resistant gullet
I know it sounds far-fetched but I for one swallowed it.
©Sarah Clancy November 2012