I'd like to take a silver spoon and pith
out all the bits that hurt. My Jewish blood
the same as yours, no matter who you're with,
old velvet curtains bunched up in the mud,
the artworks cut from frames, rolled up and sold
off to new homes. And loving ones. A spoon
with one edge razor sharp, shining and cold,
scoops memories from tissue. All the tunes
of number one hits, blood pulsing through cocks,
the bombs, the tweets, the guns, the smell of fear.
One day, amazed, we laugh, and point, and mock,
the next, fascists, always, already here,
neat round holes, hands hold out a scoop of brain.
Join us, they say: there isn't any pain.
All My Favourite Shows
I was just little when they killed my me.
I never had it, just a ragged hole.
They don't teach you in school, but every soul
is held on by a twig. You pop it free
With just a little press, stem breaks away.
The soul takes on a waxy sheen. They don't
teach you this stuff in school. If asked, they say
the words printed on old cards. If they won't
cast eyes on children sitting at the back
with empty places tucked behind their hearts,
they know. The kind that dress each day in black
and draw the empty spot in lesson books. In art
I whispered, but to speak of it is cruel.
So many things they don't teach you in school.
I can't remember all my favourite shows.
Just snatches of the opening songs remain.
The rest was worn through slowly by the pain
and lost. My past is ragged, faintly glows
and moans, and shuffles off into the night.
I can't remember whole years back in school,
just elbows hung out cars, scum on the pool.
But I remember bird eyes catching light,
the place where red and black ants fought a war,
the drowned duck's grave, where grass fades into moss,
and mushrooms sprout, and spread their hats, and toss
out curls of smoke - ten thousand little spores.
And if I plant them in my mulched up years,
they'll grow up fine, well watered by my tears.
If you escape, take those you left behind
with you. Paint out your body's blood in stains,
keep tears locked tightly up until it rains.
Fast, waste your muscles, waiting for a sign
gone green, way lit, right angles to the world.
Step through, don't look back, tasers, cuffs and bars.
Hold breath, blow slowly out, and reach the stars,
bridge, gossamer and frost, banners unfurled
by decades, selvage densely stitched with names.
Take those you left behind with you, their arms,
their hair, clothes soaked with dew, their plastic charms
and beads, doll heads, white boxes. All the same.
They sell songs about murder, about rape.
One day, you'll write a few, if you escape.
Take Love Back
Do what you say you can't. Let fortune blow
away, like caddisflies, each grain of sand
you've built into a tube. Let your heart grow
in service. If your children wonder when
you've moved into a smaller house, why cops
are knocking on your door, show them the dead.
Drip all the rotten blood right on their heads,
the clots rolling down silky cheeks. Don't stop
your cries of love. Take back for what it was
before we each were slotted into cells,
each scrambling hard, escaping personal hells.
Do what you cannot ever do, because
life's meaning manifests, even unseen.
Give up your safety, and take back your dreams.
All your love, and all your holding space,
Your wish, your hope, your sorry, fingers crossed,
can't knock a broken bone back into place,
can't build a seawall, washed away and lost.
Forgive me if I snap. I snarl and bite
The empty hand that's offered, promised food.
I roll my eyes at well-meaning advice.
My churlish and ungrateful attitude
at virtual hugs, at kitchen drawers of spoons,
honed over years. I get why people top
themselves. They try to leap up towards the moon
but rush up to the cliff, and tumble off.
We change the subject, try to shift the mood.
I know I'm powerless, and you should too.
Six years I haven't thought of you, thank God,
only the flashing nightmares, rotten food,
and dirty water spat on me while nude.
But all you had to drink were blood soaked clods
of earth, and petrol bombs, and yellow piss.
I can't forgive, but maybe angels will,
the treads of tanks gouged deep in dusty hills,
tears running down your throat. What more than this
are poppies hung on street-lamps, laid in shops,
apologies for minds twisted and spent
like cartridges, abandoned where they dropped?
Nobody asks where all the soldiers went
with gasoline for blood. No heart's desire
can ever quench red mist, lives set on fire.
After the vote, clink glasses anyway.
Remember all your secrets. Take a walk
to somewhere pretty: over shoulder, say
your prayers. Remember, always sit and talk
with friends. Recall. Won't always be this bad.
The people on the sharp end of the spear
must be protected. Lie a little. Pad
your hours, and help them hide, or fight, or fear.
No fascist lasts for ever, but preserve
your mind. I cannot promise any friends.
We all defeat the dreams that we deserve.
They say it all goes proper at the end,
rope, ash and worms. Be terrified, and fight
yourselves, and Bolsonaro, in the night.
The Mass of Christ In a Time of Sundering
No ear may hear, but in this world of sin
our thumbs flick across screens, ring trolley bells
and scan the fares. Wheels howl unholy dins,
dead bodies washed ashore say their farewells
to fishes. Nets cast to the other side,
the tentacles all rotting in the trucks.
Gas canisters that washed up with the tide,
best wishes, cards, God's blessings and good luck.
The twinkling lights, cups half-crushed, sleeping men
curled tight, cement, car parks full up by seven.
Church packed, the rafters echo with the hymn:
so, God imparts the blessings of his heaven.
Oh morning stars together, holy birth.
Sing Christ the King, and peace to men on earth.
They ask me, mum, when are you coming back?
What child is this, hard orange chair, asleep?
In dreams, I run past buzzing drones, attack
the rusted fence, pulled down, and then I leap
the river. Teeth and tinsel, limbs of trees,
cruel Herod, wrathful king in fear and rage.
Wet papers held to light, the hum of bees,
electric shocks, the screams, the tearing page,
the dizzy spells, the faints. No water. Cuffs,
the little tiny child. Lullai, lullay.
The food bank, cardboard boxes packed with stuff.
Weeping with thanks, the mothers cart away
their woe. Green lasers echo wings and eyes
on runways. Little child, is it goodbye?
Oh star of Bethlehem, flash white and blue.
Cars pulled onto the shoulder, dirty slush
up to the handles. Let processions through,
the shining flags, gold braid curled tightly, lush
smoke, frankincense. The mayor in his chain
shaking the coins, the basket for the poor.
Heavenly peace. The children in the rain
pull jackets tight and shuffle towards the doors.
Oh holy night, the tasers all on charge,
lights green and blinking, ready, point, and pull.
Wise men a-riding, following the star,
the prince of peace. Bring succor to the world,
you saints before the altar: bending, watch
through holes in glass, push fingers through, and touch.
Margaret Corvid is a feminist, socialist, writer, sex worker rights activist, and Labour councilor for Drake Ward in Plymouth, UK.