Poems by Sarah Hesketh
The Hard Words
Look, let’s be clear: don’t imagine
there is anybody here who enjoys
dribbling poetry. If you think we’re
holding stars on our tongues
that’s your eyes want testing.
If you hear music when we grunt
you haven’t understood exactly
what it is we needed to say.
You might enjoy the ruins
of our grammar, the way we
chew up our nouns to song.
It’s not your hand that’s getting
thinner on the blanket.
Please don’t ask us to speak
the hard words all at once.
Inclination prompted her to speak out: dignity told her to be silent
– ‘Nausicaa’ Ulysses, James Joyce
But who was Gerty?
as fair a specimen of one day I was on a train into the city when a guy started talking
to me hands of finely veined alabaster whistled at me and I assumed it was a friend not true she used to wear kid gloves in bed so so unexpected, so vile that just wrecked my belief in the male gender cos only dogs respond to whistles right?
I was at a bar dressed attractively, but not slutty time was when those brows were not so silkilyseductive I used to feel superior to other girls because I don't wear make-up womanly woman not like other flighty girls safe to say that I no longer enjoy clubs or festivals with similar atmospheres why have women such eyes of witchery?
I am NOT a vagina on legs!
so she just lifted her skirt a little but just enough I'm on the clock so I smiled politely, stole back my body nothing else to draw the attention of the gentleman opposite looking beer bellied Man lounging on the counter barked yes it was her he was looking at and there was meaning in his look I am telling you if they paid me on the number
of misogynist comments made to my face daily I could buy a house
she could see him
take his hand out of his pocket I could stare at you forever, but I don't care what you have to say fixed themselves on her again drinking in her every contour she leaned back far to look up where the fireworks were the panting of his heart, his hoarse breathing because she knew about the passion of men like that
they had great chats the whole way to the beach that had pictures cut out of papers the whole way to the beach her throat so slim, so flawless, it seemed one an artist might have dreamed of however, once at the beach and she let him and she saw that he saw once at the beach the boy told her that she could not leave
to look in that immodest way like that could not leave used to do something not very nice that you could imagine sometimes in the bed could not leave until she had no one ever not even on a swing or wading could not leave until she had
given him a blow job and subsequently restrained her
one of your twofaced things
should a girl tell? no, a thousand times no too ashamed and scared of being blamed love, a woman’s birthright that I should count it as a compliment and not be so easily offended of winsome Irish girlhood once could wish to see
very slowly because, because Gerty MacDowell was…
About the poet
Sarah Hesketh is a poet and freelance project manager. She holds an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and her work has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies including The White Review, Soundings, Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot and Binders Full of Women. In 2007 her collaboration with composer Alastair Caplin was performed at the Leeds Lieder Festival. In 2013-14 she was a poet in residence with Age Concern Central Lancashire. Sarah’s second poetry collection which grew out of the residency, The Hard Word Box (2015) was published by Penned in the Margins.