:: Article

Four Poems

By Jenni Fagan.

No Stars Pension in Downtown Cairo

The cat yowls at us,
like a matted
fur collar coat.

It will die in this heat.

Room 453 is ours,
an off green,
shower cubicle in the corner
curtained by lace
that once was white.

Someone has drawn
a heart, in the dirt on the wall.

Tinfoil holds the air conditioner
together, I lay on the bed
think of heroin
an’ cerise,
an angel with dirty feet
in the photograph you take.

Keys in art deco wardrobes
wear dust
an inch thick.

Higher still a gap
gapes into a grin as I sleep.

Down scurry scarab beetles
blues an greens,
through bare
out cracks in the walls.

Cairo has seen this before.

They are here for you and I,
come to pick our bones
of a love
we will soon,
no longer know.

You Broke Every Knuckle
On Lamp-posts on the Hill

Spirals of light
busy the air
before dawn,
tracers of colour,
you clenching your fists.

Each knuckle
an’ half dried blood.

My bare feet twitch
under un-smashed

I am
not thinking
of school or care.

Beyond the veil
is my domain,
an’ you dare
to meet me here?

Where’s your sawn
off shotgun now my love?

You send me the thought
cool an’ clear
as the river,
hold it out
to me like flowers.

‘If I can’t have you
no-one will.’

The Sick Kids

Have parents who visit
an’ try an’ get little Edward
an’ little Clare an’ cunt Catherine
to not look
at the twelve year old
Cos they know why she’s in.

White curtains
box my dreams
till the fifth day when I wake,
tubes sprouting out nostrils,
needles for veins.

In two days I can stand, drag a bleep bleep
around it cleans the poison out.

Sitting on a tiny chair in the play area
knees like a giant
my exhale
sounds like suici
suici sueecii, sssuuicide,

I make the parents of real children edgy,
this bed is a metal jail.

Listen to hospital radio its DUMB AS FUCK
watch the kids whose families
come an’ go,

to the social worker
an’ the fat paedo shrink
who stinks of chocolate and shit.

Pad outside, barefoot, not a teen yet,
D’ya like ma’ paper ballgown?’
The orderlies like it, they like it a lot,
I smoke whatever they give me
blissful dizzy,
by the door
a blue blue sky
an’ wispy trails of clouds.

Empty September
Caravan Rentals

I was thirteen,
an’ he was going to die a horrible death.

Lipstick drawings of houses
an’ a peace symbol
an’ a hangman,
the empty
caravan rental wall,
sealed with my signature kiss.

I lay on the floor in the dark,
breath held, whilst the dog
an’ the security man
blink torchlight.

Local rag on the floor
warns of paedos,
my face
stares out
for seven days,
I am still missing.

The curtains smell
an’ the carpet smells
an’ my desperation is quietude.

I exist on fizzy juice, fags, crisps
an’ the rustle of trees.

I wear the river I bathe in.

The metal door clicks open.
He, has brought an audience.

An’ I am thirteen an’ he has not yet died,
a horrible death.

Jenni Fagan is a Scottish poet, playwright and novelist whose nomadic roots are temporarily on hold since she got an arts award to live in London, get a degree and write. She has been published in Dogmatika, Pulp.net, Beat the Dust, Catalyst, Tate Modern, Earls Court, Paris Bitter Hearts Pit 5, Serendipity, amongst others. She represented Scotland as a young playwright and had plays read in Athens, Edinburgh Fest etc but has since quit theatre deeming it a lowly vice. Jenni is currently completing her first fiction novel called The Panopticon. These poems are excerpts from her collection Urchin Belle which is due out this summer on Blackheath Books.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, May 22nd, 2009.