The Rival

I’m linking this poem to the wonderful dVerse Poets Pub community. It’s Open Link Night, which means any kind of poetry form or topic goes!

The Rival

Google in grey-green dawn
search the directory for images of the rival
knowing only her profession and nationality
you stumble on pictures of doting mammas enclutched by wild-eyed bambini,
sunglass posers posting nothing but world travels and bliss
and Facebook status confirms indeed their elevation,
one splendour in tattoos and bikini against an anonymous beach background…
Which to choose?
Which one to spit?

You don’t know why you need to stick the thorn in deeper
or dig at the wound oozing with rank pus.
You let their names perform saltos on your tongue,
savour their multiple vowels, feel the firmness of foreign consonants,
their flesh, their purpose, their youth… and cry foul.
You cannot fixate on any one
so they form a togetherness, a ripple army
of seduction and accusation:
‘you neglect so he’s mine’.

Meanwhile your own dereliction
your ruin, your addiction,
howls night after night
in has beens, what ifs and too lates.

Errant Fathers, Stupid Women

I came across an article on the internet recently which made me very angry. The author was talking about how it’s the women’s fault if they are left holding the baby, that maybe fathers didn’t want them from the start. The tenor of the work can be summarised as follows:

Don’t come to complain to me about how harsh your life is. It’s self-inflicted: you wanted children, so deal with it. I do not blame errant fathers at all. Especially my errant father. He never wanted children. 

This was written in response to that, as well as to the fact that many of my friends have divorced in recent years because of ‘errant husbands’,  and is linked to dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night. It’s also an exercise in the use of myths in poetry, which was my latest module for the poetry course I am doing.

Maria Callas as Medea.
Maria Callas as Medea.

Don’t expect us to be grateful, Medea.

Nobody asked for your sacrifice.

Jason would have coped fine without the scattering of body parts.

That’s when he should have realized you’re mental,

only thinking of yourself

under the disguise of undying love.

No wonder he found somebody new,

more easy-going,

without the grandiloquent gestures.

He needed rest after his journey, bless him,

and all you can offer is barbaric revenge…

Agamemnon returned from Troy a hero,

having left me to struggle for so many years

alone yet not free

mourning the daughter he’d sacrificed for his mission, his ego.

It’s all about ego in the end, you see.

His spoils of war in the shape of a nubile wench:

his embarrassed smile barely veiling

the testosterone pride of middle-aged conquest.

‘You’d grown a little stale.

I’d forgotten how to let fun into my life.’

Was I really the only one to see the feet sodden with clay

on this former giant of a man?

How did he turn my children against me,

using absence to tenderise their flesh so willing

to choose his account over mine?

In all discarded, bitter women

there’s a Jocasta lying in wait:

jewellery poised to maim errant fathers,

secretly rooting for the son to take over,

unable to bear mistaken loss.