Notions of Class

CAUTION: ADULT CONTENT

I had a very mixed childhood. My father, who died when I was seven, was a chartered accountant, and my mother had to do a variety of jobs to make ends meet, working her fingers to the bone. I wanted a better life, I wanted to be Middle Class. I studied at uni, wore the clothes, honed the accent, got a top notch teaching job, sang with professional choir. But mental illness got the better of me and my nicey nicey world came tumbling down. I have dropped my pretensions and am proud of my roots.

I tried to up myself
To better myself
To stick my nose in the air
I didn’t really care
Back then
About my poor, arthritic mother
Packing crisps down the factory
Or living in council shitholes
Because my mum’s wages
Were unsatisfactory
Single parent, widowed mother
One step from the shitheap
My story was just like another
And another
On our estate.

I never quite understood
The wine thing
Was it red with meat
And white with fish?
It had always been a case of
Just getting pissed
On any old cheapo plonk
I was a classless pisshead
Had to step up my game
Didn’t want my shameful roots
To catch me out again
So fucking sick of
Being related to the woman
Who cleaned up the pile of puke
So fucking sick of it

I thought a silk Monsoon dress
And a Cheadle postcode
Made me one
Of the elite
Talking like a village vicar
But fucking the men
Beneath the sodden sheets
Within the sordid walls
Not the epitome of discrete
And the milk man
Never noticed
The skulking, adulterous feet
Seeking silence
Betwixt the dawn chorus

Mental illness
Had no bounds
I was ebbing my life away
Behind bars in
Psychiatric compounds
Swapping my Monsoon frocks
For electric shocks
Lithium, Valium
Straight jackets worn like
psychosis condoms
On men’s misogynist cocks
Sanity took years
Craziness is
Classless

I am proud
Now
To be called working class
I’m proud to hold my head high
As I walk upon the needle littered grass
In this steel town hometown
Keeping my vowels plain and flat
And minimising my metaphors
Like I’m waltzing on broken glass
Don’t want my neighbours
To think
I’ve got
Pretentious
Notions
Of
Class

© 2020 Sarah Drury

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