During my lifetime, I have listened to a lot of “Girls’ Talk”. We can put the world to rights over a cup of tea. Often we just chatter about life, the little things that punctuate the daily routine. Sometimes it goes a bit deeper than that. I’ve listened to so many emotions – despair, rage, confidence, hopelessness, elation, self-doubt, boredom – alongside some amazing moments of self-expression and clarity.
Girls can put the world to rights over a cup of tea
One day though, I found myself thinking over a few of the situations that women find themselves in – often situations they have created unintentionally. Something inside me wanted to bring matters to the surface – to open discussions or highlight the issues, or maybe just to say “hey, you’re not alone”.
So I wrote poetry about it. Just because I wanted to write. And because I wanted to explore what drives women to put up with some horrible lives. To keep complaining – but to keep on going back. Why? That’s not entirely rhetorical – I’ll explore some of the reasons below !
No, I’m not forgetting that many women cause the trouble too.
I read my poems to a few colleagues – well, being a drama queen, I performed them! One or two became very emotional. Sure, it’s not great to make people cry, especially not friends, but then isn’t that what poetry is about? Calling out the emotion so you can look at it and discover where it is coming from.
A lot of what I write about will be “older woman” stuff – you know, the age when the nest becomes a little quiet and you start to question what life is about. Let me know when you work that one out! However, I also worked with young girls who sometimes I desperately wanted to shake and say “don’t let him do that!!”. But they didn’t want to hear that. They wanted someone to listen to them, to allow them to speak. They were not asking for advice. Nor did I give any. They’ll work it out on their own if they want to. In the meantime, I’ll give them an anonymous voice and write something about it!
If anything touches you, thank you!
The Inner Child
I want to be heard! I need someone to listen to the adult’s words beneath my six year old cries, Look behind my eyes and see I’m not playing! I’m acting the kid because you’re not listening to what I’m saying. I feel disrespected, ignored! I’ve felt this way before – Back when I was unimportant to those who made the decisions, My vague objections greeted with derision. Yet when I said what was really on my mind I was told I was unkind! Ruder than they would allow… Kind of how it is now. Backs were turned until I learned to keep quiet. To speak out caused a riot but I got the blame. It’s still the same. I skirt round the issue as I don’t want to piss you off, And childlike me probably deserves that you roll your eyes and scoff At the silly things I say when I’m feeling this way. So don’t ask me why I cry like a baby, There’s a child inside, not a grown lady. And that child plays up in my adult world Because she wants to be heard, she’s still a little girl. But maybe it’s no good trying to get through to you - Because you’re listening with the ears of your inner child too. So one of us has to get out the toys and sweets – Play the adult until it meets the needs of the other… Who wants to be mother today … And swallow down what they really wanted to say.
All the World’s a Stage
Where am I in the tale of my life, Solo in the chorus line, never leading light. Stage left out…left with barely a line That I can say that I’ve written as mine. My time spent acting out other people’s plays, Wandering my way through a scripted maze - My days directed by the words they’re writing Massive productions…and I’m fighting To get a subplot for my needs and wishes, Oh they’re there, behind a backdrop of laundry and dishes. There’s a pen in my hand but it ran out of ink While I was rehearsing my lines by the kitchen sink. What do I matter so long as the washing up’s done, And (cue lively chatter) they’re all having fun. When apart from an aside of “house is clean”, I’ve been written out of every scene. I’m in the programme as “Extra Cast” Just above the dog – so I’m not quite last. I could enhance the drama, maybe fall on my sword But it’s embarrassing – getting up after being ignored. They’d look “was that mum?” “Is she still there?” Their personal soap operas leave no space to care. I could write, but I’m no author – no iambic pentameter! The glorious Mr Shakespeare never had my parameters of Laundry and shopping and household chores… Sir Bard I wish my plot lines were as exciting as yours. How would you have written this housewife’s farce, A comedic tragedy as into obscurity I pass. My midlife drama by others is penned, An ignominious slide towards an anonymous end. Sliding ungraciously off the page – Or dropping through the trap door of the stage. I’m sure I’ll be missed …well, a little – if at all - When the time comes for my final curtain call.
Back Street Annie
Down any dark alley or dimly lit street Here’s me – with rings on my fingers, high heels on my feet. A rainbow of make-up adorns my eyes, But the men I am seeking just look at my thighs. Born of the uncaring, on the other side of the track I fell through the system and onto my back. They call me Back Street Annie - that’s not my name, But best lose your identity when you’re playing these games. The people I play with don’t tell me theirs… I guess in love and war, that makes it all fair. I work in the darkness for those who will pay… Who is the hunter and who is the prey? I chase out rich punters, the secretive cheats, Because they don’t want blood to mark leather seats. I don’t care if you hurt me or don’t treat me right - Although the bruises mean less money the following night. They call me Back Street Annie - that’s not my name, But best lose your identity when you’re playing these games. Hated by women who don’t understand That coffee mornings don’t meet the needs of their man. The nightlife is heartless, the streets are so rough, My emotions are side-lined as I need to be tough. I make out I love it to get it done fast… Less money to be made if you make it last. But if I return a tenner will you stay just to hug me, Because it’s been so long since I had someone to love me. They call me Back Street Annie - that’s not my name But best lose your identity when you’re playing these games. Lost my pride, lost my money to some drugs that will give A few hours of relief from the life that I live. They call me Back Street Annie – that’s not my name. But me and Annie…guess we’re one and the same. There are days when I hate her… and days I hate me, And days when I dream what life could really be. But dreams don’t pay - no matter how much I cry, So I’ll be Back Street Annie until the day I die. They call me Back Street Annie…that’s not my name. But best lose your identity when you’re playing these games. The people I play with don’t tell me theirs… I guess in love and war, that makes it all fair.
The Sound of Facebook
Try this one to the tune of The Sound Of Silence…
Hello Facebook my old friend I’ve come to stare at you again. I’ll post emojis to show how I feel - Well, it’s on Facebook so you know it’s real As my eyes are blinded by screen-light - to real life And deaf…except for alerts on Facebook. And on the computer screen I saw 2,000 posts, maybe more. People telling me how to live… They show they love me with a chosen gif. And my brain is crammed with truth and light - throughout the night I worship the mighty God of Facebook. At Christmas time it’s even worse The carols seem to stop mid-verse. A modern version of the nativity scene… Families in separate rooms on different screens. But the special ones, well, they are all still there - to like and share! Thanks heavens for the gift of Facebook. And fools said I you do not know, Facebook like a cancer grows. Your kids are growing, you can’t make amends, You’ve missed their childhood to woo Facebook friends. And your partner…are they still there and do you care? You sold your heart for a share on Facebook.
It was one of those days…you know… The ones when you blow cold - and then colder. Turbulent adolescent, yet you’re much older. Your temper cracks like thunder, And you spend the day under a cloud A tensed-up grey shroud of pent-up emotion No oil or lotion will calm this troubled ocean. And yet, what triggered it? Have you ever figured it out? You woke with anger in your mind – No-one spoke, nor was unkind, and yet there it was No reason nor rhyme – no “because”! Heaven help the person who advises “chill” Your buttons almost reset to “Function: KILL”! So you rage – silently or otherwise – Until the hurt in someone else’s eyes Wakes you from your childlike trance And gives the inner adult a chance to say “Hey!!” Then the roaring and ringing in your ears Reminds you that you’re unreasonable - reducing you to tears. A snivelling wreck curled on the floor At least you had some dignity before When your temper was controlling your rage- Until, of course, you remember your age. Then you see yourself in an imaginary glass “yes, that’s you – being a go-large arse Do your shortened fuses really make you shout?” And you look for excuses to give a way out But there’s no door to escape through, no-one to follow And the floor is solid too – it won’t swallow you up. So with muttered apologies, half an accusing finger – well - Blaming them stops the lingering shame But all the same, you exit quietly stage right And swear you’ll learn – well, maybe you might! But its likely that in a month or so You’ll wake with that feeing and off you’ll go With your inner toddler, hand in hand Raging at the world from tantrum land.
I’ve lost the use of the spoken word… Well, either that or I’m just never heard. I’m trapped like a bird in a soundproof cage With bars of frustration, of suppressed rage. I could have my say, defend my right, state my truth, put up a fight, Start to demand, be bullish and shout – But I’m choked by the humbling gag of self-doubt. So I smile and be ladylike, gentle and meek, It takes strength to be serene…or am I just weak? How did my confidence get replaced By this simpering wreck. Whoever erased the person I was when my council was proud, My writings respected, my opinions allowed. Have I become lost, my spirit deleted because my youthfulness is depleted? When did my voice begin to die… When did my choices begin to lie between parameters set by you - Or those you actually listen to? Is my lack of usefulness duly reflected in the way that I am disrespected? My social decline is as old age predicted, And my post-retirement slide self-inflicted. Well perhaps its time to grab the bull by his bits I’ve only got to wear the martyr hat if it fits… And if burning the steak is what cooks my story, I’ll scream, going out in a loud blaze of glory. Yeah, who am I kidding, I’ll just stand here and think, Silently cleaning the frying pan in the kitchen sink.
I write for fun – ah who am I kidding, I write to talk to the demons who use my head as a sounding board. However I am trying to make a living out of it. Books on dementia poetry for children and dementia poetry to come. BUT if any of my rants, muses or simple rhymes amuse or touch you, please consider sharing a cup of tea and a bun with me – we can put the world to rights too! Thank you! Trudi
My Proud Lady Lilith
My proud Lady Lilith, no servant she. No man could command who had been created his equal; His attempts to do so invoking her rage and retribution, Splitting heaven asunder, And he lost what was most precious to him- The love and respect of a free spirit. Mourning her loss, he created in her image a creature of lesser fire, A creature taught obedience and sweet manners, A creature born to be gentle, soft, suppressed, repressed, depressed... A creature he could command, but A creature he could never respect, for she would not challenge him. Yet her daughters have grown in mind and spirit, They see the man with opened eyes and see his weaknesses. They see his strengths and respect them knowing that they are his equal. No man can command who has been created his equal... My proud Lady Lilith lives behind the eyes of every woman, Some embrace her spirit, they dance and sing and create colour. Others just exist.
Girls Talk is even broaching this one:
Dirty Old Man!
My childhood followed you when you went Zipped up your jeans, sick passion spent. You left me – a child – bruised and bloodied on the floor- Innocent no more. You caught me and taught me things I could not comprehend Too young, too scared, too weak to defend Against your harsh “be quiet or I’ll kill you” There was no question in my young mind of “will you??” I knew you would….maybe still could. So I endured the endless pain – For I endure it still, again and again. Nightmares of monstrous creatures – just like you, Unable to move, nothing I can do, feeling useless feeling weak Though I want to scream I’m unable to speak. Older now, I know what you did – You found a shy and quiet kid And took from her her sense of joy and left her terrified of every boy, You destroyed a lifetime’s trust just for moment of filthy lust. Too confused then to understand that I’d been used by an evil man I knew enough to feel a sense of shame so I took control - Assumed the blame. For if this deed was somehow my fault Then I’m not a victim – it wasn’t assault. I try to remember what I did wrong… Did I not fight enough, well I’m not that strong, Did I do something to say I was willing, Though the adult in me knows you’d have found that less thrilling. I’ve wondered if you picked me because you thought I was pretty - Or maybe not, it was from a sense of pity. There was even a time when I hoped you’d come find me Tell me it was love for you, an act that was meant kindly, Then everything would be alright, and I could sleep again at night – But… no child! That’s not the way you’ll escape… Face it, this was no more, no less than an act of rape. What sort of an adult man Holds down a child just because he can, Bastard! I wonder do the cries haunt you... Or do you do it because real women do not want you? I hate that you were allowed to get away, but I never told a soul about that day. Well, my soul knows, that day defines me; A sudden movement panics and reminds me- I pretend I’m fine and cover it with laughter, But there’s a “before” me, a child, and a scarred adult after. For you, I’m something you’ve probably forgotten… For me, you’re always there, filthy dirty, and rotten. So I’m stuck with you, like a marriage devoid of love ‘Til death us do part…and it can’t come soon enough. If you’re gone already…cold and dead? It matters not, you live on inside my head. Sometimes I think the only way I’ll ever be free Is if I put an end to me. But thoughts like that don’t serve me well, And I’d hate to join you down in hell. So the adult me will take inner child’s hand And together we’ll heal from a dirty old man.
It’s MY Life!
It’s my life… This was my life, I used to live here, It was mine years ago - once upon a time. But now I prowl the cold, dark rooms in my head, The dreams, the promises – gone! Emptiness instead, Haunted by memories of futures denied by my choices, The distant voices of ghosts from the past Echo along the corridors and cast a discordant cloud, As their derision grows loud, teasing me for being the fool- Pleasing others, obeying the rules. Did that make my spirit sing? Obedient little thing! Oh sure, people liked me – I was befriended, Until their need of what I offered ended. Once I’d ran out of uses, They’d make their excuses and go, With barely a backward glance, any chance of gratitude, oh no! The attitude was more of onwards and upwards - Having cleared out my cupboards…! But no point in blaming. The shaming is mine for saying it was fine when it wasn’t. The bitter taste of the waste of my life hard to swallow, In being kind, a sense of fulfilment doesn’t necessarily follow- Should have refused to be used and walked my own path… Oh that makes the ghouls in my head laugh! “Where would you have gone – you’d have dithered too long, Withered and faded before making your stand, Showing your hand to the better player, Leaving yourself without a prayer…you’re weak!” I don’t bother to speak in reply…why? They’re right, I’m not worth the fight. So I’ll continue to roam the wreck of my future I’m at home on the deck of this ship without a sail, If I try I will fail, so I’ll live with regrets And attempt to forget what I wanted… Continue to live in cold empty rooms which are haunted.
Castles in the Air
You gave me the keys to your castles in the air.... Let me glimpse through the windows of your dreams and bid me to follow inside To rooms where we would plan our tomorrows- To rooms where my future would lie. With you. Choosing curtains together to frame the fantasy, Painting the walls with a smile. I flew to those rainbow- lined clouds to share your promises On wings built of faith and trust and love. You gave me the keys to your castles in the air.... Yet when I unlocked the door, there was another woman already there. My sleeping eyes opened and I saw the dreams for all they were.... Just words. Empty words to fill your bored hours, Empty words to fill my eager mind and heart. I turned to run and tripped over my own soul- Smashing what I had no more use for. Broken dreams. Broken heart. Broken wings. Broken faith. As I fell back down to earth, I prayed that the ground may split asunder And carry me straight to hell.... For there, only there, would I rest and know my fate.
I AM WOMAN
I am woman, Soft of spirit, gentle of voice Immovable as a rock face and as tough. I am woman, Nurturer of nature, Connected to the Earth, proud Fire in my eyes. I am woman, Bending as the reed in the Wind Possessed of a hidden power as the Water of a river And the devastating force of waves against a cliff. I am woman. Elemental woman. To suppress me is to suppress life.
Play The Game
Play the game.... You can ask me how I am, But please accept without judgement, without question, my sad smiled "fine....you?" And-then-you-smile-back-and-say "yeah, fine". Play the game! Then all is fine. But....but.... Don't do that thing! Don't you do that thing where you climb Deep into my aching, unloved soul and drag into the light each secret thought, Screaming and protesting, Denying its presence- Don't do that thing where you smile back, stare into my eyes and ask again.... "How are you? Really?" I AM FINE!! I am fine. And we both know that I am not fine, But it is alright that we both know....it is fine that I am not fine. It is not alright; it is not fine when you want to know more. Don't do that thing....oh please never ever do that thing.... That thing where you ask me what I am thinking, what I am feeling ... You KNOW what I am thinking, you know what I feel! An irresistible flow of emotion, a tide of truth, an explosion of self.... And I know that I fool myself, But I feel it so keenly. Love. Is it so wrong? So there they stay...thoughts and feelings- denied, hidden, unspoken. But...to give the truth, to expose myself by baring my heart and soul is to suffer- For you will take each of my dreams and crack it in front of me. And I will break too. You will do that thing where you speak gently, sympathetically, Carefully choosing your words as weapons of mercy, Using the truth as a blade to slice me open and extract any remaining hope I carry, Explaining how my inner pain can only ever hurt, Explaining how my dreams must lay inside, festering, rotting.... I know I know I know.... And why...why it is ok if I want it all to stop...for us to stop.... Oh don't you do THAT thing... Don't tell me that it is ok. Ok? I don't want it to be ok, I want it NOT to be ok with you if I want it all to stop. I want it to be unbearable, I want it to hurt.... Like I hurt..... But that is not how it is for you, is it! That is not the game you want to play. Hey, that's fine ....see the smile? FINE! Maybe we have different reasons for being here, together, You with your life away from me. Me with my fantasies. But by meeting your reason, I meet some of mine. That is fine with me. Fine. FINE hear me? Fine. Damn the truth. Damn-the-truth. I am fine. So don't do that thing. Leave me with my thoughts, leave me with my dreams, Leave me to hurt, to ache, to cry, but NEVER please, I beg you, never leave me alone. And don't do that thing. Hug me, and know I will never be fine again, And that is fine.... But don't, don't do that thing.
Three in a Bed
I thought you had left her - moved in with me. It seems like you brought her - it wasn't "you" but "we". You weren't carrying her cases, I didn't see her things, But she's here in spirit -pulling your strings. It feels like we need a bigger bed if she is always there with us - in your head. Whatever her issue, whatever her cause - why do you adopt her worries as yours? She demands your attention, you give her your time... But your love, heart and soul, I need to know they are mine. So I act like a child, drama queen, shrew because I need my man back, I need you too! I sulk and I storm and I beg and I fret....but nothing like that has worked for ME yet! Well face it, the angst, the anger, and the threats- it's worked bloody well for SOME! Yea she gets Your help and your soothing to keep her calm - do you not care, not understand the harm It does to us when you're there for a day, a Knight in armour riding the wrong way. You've memories of romance, got over the pain, A word or a gesture could take you back there again. The years could crumble, what difference would it make If you ended up in bed, just for old times sake. Yes ...I allow paranoia to poison my brain, But it whispers, fear follows, faith goes down the drain. Now she just hints- a cute little shout - And off you go, to sort it all out. I'm left with your "insecure !" stinging my ears -and a heart full of anger, disappointment and tears. I've turned into someone I don't want to be -I've become her -bitch- she's become me. So I try to be understanding, patient and strong Coz if I speak my mind, I know my mind will be wrong... And I daren't play the ace card , make you choose As she holds the trumps..the kids ..so I'd lose.
I was reading about the origins of nursery rhymes: “Cry Baby Bunting” is a lullaby explaining an absent father to a fretful child. Oh I HAD to have that!
Cry Baby Bunting, Daddy’s Gone a-Hunting
Cry Baby Bunting, your Daddy’s gone a-hunting. But, hush child, he ain’t looking for no rabbit skin, He’s looking for a woman who will take him in. He’s seeking a girl who will give him fun, Not a tired-out wife with a new-born son. See Baby Bunting, it’s the modern form of hunting… Times have gone when men took to the woods - Don’t even walk to the store now for packaged goods. If I ask for money he says that’s what benefits are for, Yet he’ll have cash to splash on a cheap little whore With a low-cut dress – bright and tarty, Sure, he’ll be life and soul of the party - Until a responsibility gets in his way – Then Mr Hard-Done-By comes out to play! Oh no-one had it as bad as he did… Now, poor soul, he’s saddled with a wife and kid, He’ll whinge and whine how life ain’t fair Until he finds a soft bosom who pretends to care. Oh, I fell for that, thought I’d help him heal… Took me a couple of months to find it weren’t real. But by then I’d fallen - for you, not your dad, Tho at first things were never this bad. With a ring on my finger, I gained a noose round my head And he’d kick the chair if I found another man instead. So I’ll ignore the cussin’, the cheatin’ and beer Coz life is so much easier when he isn’t here. He’s too busy with others… “Wham, Bam, Thank you Mam”in’… Not that I get thanks, just the sound of the front door slammin’! Fool…I fancied the guy coz he had a nice face, But what lit it up was the thrill of the chase… Him proving his manhood by flashing his gun - But now I’m caught like a bunny with no-where to run, So you cry, Baby Bunting – coz your Daddy’s gone a-hunting.