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

Muriel

A character based on many women i have met during my stays in psychiatric hospitals…

Muriel

Beyond her twenty years
She looked
With her duvet of fiery red curls
Coiling like delinquent serpents
On a Medusa inspired scalp
An artist could not etch so finely
The lines which lay as an insult
Upon a face which had weathered Hell
Eyes dancing like a ballerina
In a shit-filled pigsty
And she’s clutching a map full of no destinations
But she knows where she’s going
And there ain’t no angels
Strumming wistful tunes on golden harps

Big bones brawled beneath
Criss cross flesh
With the sorry scars of harming self
The sorry scars of hating self
The sorry scars of berating self
Pain fuelled tram lines
Hurtling to Hell
And she’s clutching a fist full of Disneyland dreams
But she knows where she’s going
And there ain’t no wise St Peter
Heralding her arrival at the pearly gates

A blank canvas once
Though now an impressionist’s masterpiece
With the purple hues
And the green and blue clues
And the red in slews of how’s yer father
Punctured pathology
Peddling pinpricks
Parading pangs of predilection
And she’s clutching a dream full of fairytale fantasies
But she knows where she’s going
And a utopian Jesus ain’t there
With his meek open arms and his forgiveness smiles

Eyes flecked with flashing blue
Sparkling in dreams
But in waking, like warm, flat champagne
Her mind mocking
At every heart-choked twist of fate
Nothing that
A puff of weed
A snort of coke
Best friend, the needle
Wouldn’t pleasantly anaesthetise
And she’s clutching a dream of a kilo of weed
But she knows where she’s going
And it ain’t no fluffy clouded heaven

And she’s clutching a dream of a better life
But she knows where she’s going
And it ain’t home

©2020 Sarah Drury

Mocking Bird

Based on a real life case. Child cruelty breaks my heart. Poor innocents.

Poem is written for spoken word, so the rhyming and meter are pretty loose.

Mocking Bird

Hush little baby don’t say a word
Mamma’s gonna buy you a mocking bird
And crazy mamma’s off her head, fucking sky high
And if you scream blue murder and if you dare to cry
Why do people shy away, why do they turn a blind eye
To your misery and suffering
For we know only angels sing
And your little face will really feel the sting
Of that slap, that clap of anger, that frustration
Love’s a lie and pain’s part of a ring
Why do babies cry, why do fists fly, why does love die?

Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Mamma’s shooting up heroin, her hazy conscience is blurred
Her speech is slurred, her morals are absurd, not a peep out of you
Don’t whisper a fuckin breath, because if she heard
If she heard
If she heard

Hush little baby don’t say a word
You were never born to fly, never born to be a songbird
Your wings were clipped when you were born into your lowly council flat
In your second hand tat, to have or to have not, and your needs were last, you wore the charity hat
Your mother in public places smiling like a Cheshire cat
Then behind closed doors using fists and tongues like a baseball bat.

Why didn’t we know, why didn’t we see, why didn’t we hear?
Why didn’t we feel what you feel, with your heart like a plea and your soul like a tear
When a child was suffering, cowering, pleading for an end to the fear
In the show of things she cooed and smiled and held her baby near
Yet who knows what went on in her screwed up head, it’s never really clear
But flesh and blood is sacred, you cherish it, you nurture it, you worship it
You don’t live a lie, you don’t live a lie

Hush little baby, don’t say a word
Mummy’s going to prison and it’s an end to your bruised, scarred world
And the social worker’s finding you a caring, loving home
And your daddy’s lost his custody and he’s alone and it’s done
And
Now you can sing your own song
Now you can sing your own pretty song

©2020 Sarah Drury

Shit Mum

WARNING: SWEARING ALERT!

Yesterday was a tough day where I felt like a totally bad parent. I felt like rocking with a teddybear, sucking a dummy and banging my head on a wall!

I must defiantly admit it
I didn’t think as a mother I would be so shit
A northerner, a salt of the earth working class brit
But I’m about as patient as a toddler who’s been asked to sit
Through twenty episodes of Coronation Street with a lip that’s bruised and slit
But I’m building him up for a spell at her Majesty’s in the nick
When he’s fifteen years and a bit.

I think I’ve just had enough
I didn’t think as a mother it would be so tough
I didn’t think the days would be so dreary, nights so rough
I never knew CBeebies was such torture til I’d had enough
Of Mr fucking Tumble and his Makaton special stuff
I want to get the fucker into everlasting handcuffs
Let’s see him last five minutes in this ruff and tumble neighbourhood.

I think I need a fag
I didn’t think as a mother I would lose my rag
I didn’t think I’d turn into a bloody vicious nag
Thirty years ago I was a stunner, a looker, a stellar shag
And now I’m looking rougher, like a no fag, no shag, hag
And I slob around in PJ’s like a degenerate, depressed bag
With my Primark/Lidl/Aldi/Iceland cheap ass price tag.

I know I’m no Barbie doll
I didn’t think a mother’s life would seem so bland and droll
I didn’t think I’d end up with the amusement shortfall
Playing games of banging heads against a council concrete wall
Wishing I could stab a knife into my bleedin kid’s football
My kid acting like a gangsta when he’s only 5 foot tall.
Saying no she don’t live here when the hard debt collectors call.

I didn’t think that as a mother I would be so shit
I didn’t think that as a teacher I would be so bad at it
I always thought that I would be a Supernanny big hit
But now I’m slumming, tunes a hummin, leggings that my arse don’t fit
My kid’s a screaming, social worker’s looking at my home pit
And making snotty comments about the mess and bloody state of it.

But I try my best, each shitty day to be a better mum
But it’s hard when you’re bipolar and the moodswings always come.

©2019 Sarah Drury

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas 2019

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all round the house
The children were freezing
The gas had run out
They’re huddled in blankets
And second hand coats
With bad chest infections
And painful, sore throats.
There is no electric
They’ve run out of money
They’re scared and they’re frightened
They’re crying for mummy.
But mummy is down
to her last tearful nerve
Universal credit’s been
A steep learning curve.
And the children are hungry
And the cupboards are bare
They’re living off foodbanks
A bloody nightmare.
And it’s Christmas tomorrow
And what will they do?
They’re living off tatties
And vegetable stew.
No turkey bedecking
their rickety table
a fine Christmas dinner’s
a middle class fable.
No fat Christmas pudding
To feast, feast, feast, feast
For that sort of thing
Is a wealthy assed beast.
Santa is taking
a break for the night
for they can’t afford presents
their purse is too tight,
and the children will cry
and their hearts will be broken
they’ll think they’ve been bad
and no words that are spoken
will sooth their sad hearts
will bring back the magic
for poverty is sin
and their little lives tragic.
And benefits are sanctioned
And the poor they go hungry
And the wealthy don’t care
And the tories are angry
And people get poorer
And children get sadder
And the system gets fucked up
The money gets tighter.
The homeless get shit on
The sick are a burden
The mothers are chastised
Their futures uncertain.
How did our poor country
Get in this crap mess?
How did our ‘fine’ leaders
Be heartless, care less?
How did our poor children
Become casualties?
Hungry, tired, sorrowful
Tory fatalities.
‘Twas the night before Christmas
And some lives were shit
We need things to change
Put an end to it.

©2019 Sarah Drury

I have seen

I have seen

Fifty years I have lived and breathed
And walked and talked and loved and
Questioned whether there was a God above
And seen and seen and seen

I grew up without a silver spoon in my mouth
A well turned out kid in a street where
Dinner on the table was an uncertainty
Curtains didn’t match the carpets
And Father Christmas shopped at the charity shop.
We were posh in a place where the houses
Were havens for people who didn’t even know
That poverty was a noun.
That they were a figure of speech.

I have seen, I have seen, I have seen

I have seen things that would shock off your socks
And things that would delight to a height that would dizzy your sight.
Miners striking, pits closing, men protesting
Industry collapsing
Thatcher in her ivory tower that was really made of bullshit
Snatching the milk out of the mouths of kids
Whose parents voted to sell off the council houses
Then wondered why their pregnant daughter couldn’t get on the council list.

I have seen Manchester bursting into life
Like the book of Genesis
But better than the Bible.
I have worn the flares of days gone by and diced with death by flammable shellsuits
Worn the doc Marten’s and felt tough as fuck
Worn the poodle perm, read trashy slag mags
Stood in the bike sheds behind school smoking wacky baccy fags.

I have seen, I have seen, I have seen

I have seen countries torn by war
People of Britain standing side by side with Bob Geldof
Feeding the world
Then telling the refugees
To fuck off out of our country
They say that every female Muslim that covers her head is downtrodden
and every Muslim man with a beard is on a suicide mission.
Bollocks.
They say they are stealing our houses and benefits and polluting our culture
But who the fuck would want to live in Syria?
And who the fuck would want to live in Scunthorpe?

I have seen Hull the city of Culture
Exploding in a riot of art and music
Proud of the city in which I was born
And that Banksy blessed us with his talent
Even if the Grafitti fuckwits have to piss on the blessing.

I have seen men with the young held in their trust
Men of the silver screen
Singing of two little boys with their toys
Or promising ‘Jim’ll Fix It’
When all that needs to be fixed is their fucked up minds.
Show us a picture, Rolf, of your prison cell
And sign your autograph on that sex offenders list.

I have seen, I have seen, I have seen

Days gone by, we lived in an analogue world
Then genius minds brought to life an epiphany
And the digital era was born.
No more hanging around at the phonebox
Freezing off yer tits to ring your mum when you were too pissed to get in a taxi.
No more 4 channels on the tv
and taping the top 40 on your shit recorder on a Sunday after your roast tea.
Society turning from an analogue three dimension into a digital rendition
Where friends become profile pictures on an app
People are only there when the power button is on
and your life is only one tweet away from fame or rejection
and within one facebook post you can encapsulate your life in a timeline collection.

I have seen 5 decades of change
5 decades of things never getting better, just different
Of technological advancement but societal decline
And racists still shout fuck off at skin that is different
And men pretend women are equal but are really indifferent
And we say the disabled are welcome but the size of the doors are no different
And the mentally ill need to talk but government funding’s no different.
And the divisions between wealth, greed, health and need are no different.

So I have changed.
And the world has changed
But I have seen that people never change. Not really.
People will always fear change and fear those who are not like them.
For they hold on to their fragile egos dearly.
And don’t see as clearly as

I have seen
I have seen.

 

©2019 Sarah Drury

Taking away my working tax credits

Working tax credit

My working tax credit, my working tax credit
They’re taking away my working tax credit!
They say I am working, that I am a poet
That poetry pays well and don’t they just know it.
I‘m earning too much and that I am a big hit
Don’t they know that they’ve put me right in the fat pig shit.
Money don’t grow on trees, you can’t fake it or grow it
And with Brexit a coming we all will be poor Brits
And being a poet, the tax scapegoat coat fits
I’ll be selling my body to pilots in cockpits
If the tossers don’t sort it out.

My working tax credit, my working tax credit
They’re taking away my working tax credit
And soon I’ll be living on bacon and beans
With a side dish of spam for I won’t afford greens
And a glass of tap water for lager is pricy
And the men at the foodbank are rugged and spicy
And the chips at the chippy are soggy and dicey
And the price of a haddock makes it highly unlikely
That I will eat a decent meal
If the tossers don’t sort it out.

My working tax credit, my working tax credit
They’re taking away my working tax credit
And soon I’ll be wearing the bones of me arse
So it looks like Primark cos my knickers are sparse
And buying from Oxfam is a bleedin farce
Cos they’ve got no fat trousers to cover me arse.
And the blouses don’t cover my ample tits
And I feel suicidal when nothing good fits.
So a naked poet I will be
if the tossers don’t sort it out.

My working tax credit, my working tax credit
They’re going to stop my working tax credit
Boris, I bet you don’t have to sign on
With your arse on your chair in your capitalist lair
and your tory possie pushing more into poverty
You’re all heartless bastards, you really don’t care
and the children are starving and benefits are sanctioned
and the country is fucked and the system’s not fair.
So get off your arses you idle pen pushers
And sort out my money – NOW!

© Sarah Drury 2019