Friday 6 January 2023

Five Poems by Susan Wilson


How Far is Near? How Near is Far?



You said you’d always be near but this feeling of blankness

detaches me from you and all you ever were to me.

How far is near?


I thought you would be closer to me

or are you beyond the range of my physical comprehension?

Are these misaligned perceptions in metaphysical space

and the reason why your picture seems like a historical record?

Am I really standing in a different place?


Yes, maybe you haven’t moved at all and it’s me

who has shifted her perspective,

transporting myself into a future without you.


Would this change of view create so great an emotional distance

that it cannot be transcended by simple longing,

making your “near” into my “far”?


So tell me please: how near is far?


Diva on a Dive

Dawn came over the horizon

and changed her name to Elizabeth.

She sang like a bird and was built like a buxom one,

shoe-horned in rather than heelgripped.

She couldn’t climb a tree,

let alone fly.

Had she tried,

she’d have fallen.


Break a leg Liz.


Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha

Goodbye Sam, Hello Samantha

The mirror’s bells would chime I’m really you,

as the gas fire cooked his blue cere brown,

or so we thought,

‘til the squeak and beak upon a bloodied egg,

my voice against her listening neck:

I’d flatten you, I’m not your mate,

not even when my jumper is light blue.


The Man with the Hat (for Laurie Allen)

Up ahead of me I see him.

He’s a gateway, an entry point to many doors,

a friendly signpost on a lonely road,

a guiding hand on an unfamiliar path

positioned carefully on my journey

at a pre-destined time.


He cared for his mum –

just like me.

He knows the hurdles I encounter,

the mountains I will climb,

the loneliness I suffer

and understands how I feel better than anyone.


Everybody knows him –

not like me.

A caring gesture for one,

an encouraging compliment for another

and a kind word for all.

You probably know him too –


he’s the Man with the Hat.


Exiled to Freedom

Their inside was my outside

beyond my grip, that holding of hands

I was young in hope, found in fear but he

was emigrating, to leave me exiled

not yet appreciating that I was free

not yet wanting to be me


why would 007, fast car notice me?

licensed to thrill, he left me shaken outside

and stirred inside, but I was free

no desire to be pulled around by hands

but without them I would always be exiled

time to find another pair and then he


arrived from North of Watford and he

had eyes on my car, my bank account and me

and I began to want to be exiled

his greasy face on my clean hair, outside

combing it for his future, his hands

pushing and pulling – I had to be free


no, he couldn’t have it all for free

yes, I wanted to be happy but he

would not score with me, his hands

orchestrating my life, arranging me

I had to return to the outside

I had to embrace being exiled


that exhilaration of being exiled

that appreciation of being free

that familiarity of being outside

that misconception that only he

could create the me in me

no need for that sweaty holding of hands


now my life is in my own hands

and I am old, invisible and exiled

content not only to be me

but also to be free

and not the victim that he

would create, pulling me in from outside


I don’t hold hands with anyone because I am free

I am happy to be exiled because of what he

might have done to me, had I come in from the outside

Susan Wilson lives in East London and began writing poetry following the death of her mother in 2017. Her poems have been published by Lucy Writers, Snakeskin, Runcible Spoon, Dreich, Areopagus, Streetcake, Rue Scribe, Amethyst Review and Lothlorien. Prior to the pandemic she was a regular performer at “Spineless Authors”, a local open mic event. Her debut chapbook is “I Couldn’t Write to Save Her Life” (Dreich, 2021).

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for these beautiful poems -- for their delicacy, dark humour, humanity and intensity... Each different, but all with a story to tell...


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