dash
A Promising Little Candidate
 
but we moved back to London in October
I could have grown up in the formation team
highly commended with my very good rhythm and action
the certificate still smells of that damp basement flat
 
dropping through the letter box of our house in early June
the envelope was lumpy with a medal and top marks
 
when the music stopped he didnít look quite so tall
though I had to reach up to grip onto his edges
I didnít look down
as I changed musical thought into moving body parts
 
one two cha cha cha
two two cha cha cha
three two cha cha cha
four two and cross behind
one two cha cha cha
two two cha cha cha
three two cha cha cha
four two and just keep going
 
I just kept going
in my black and white dress, tiny flowers and a tidy back bow
to my right at the table Ė three grown-ups, pads and pens
that stern-faced lady had come to dance with little boys
then the needle dropped to crackle and played our song:
Wheels Cha Cha
 
my dad had tried to stitch me a dress in crÍpe paper Ė
why crÍpe paper dad?
so he bought me a dress
 
it was a one dance test
 
 
A Long-Sleeved, Left Hand Bias
 
A brown blazer is hanging from a top floor window and I am crying.
I cannot reach and the teacher cannot teach my right to the others.
Itís left to them to teach their right to me Ė itís one that hurts.
The blazerís first time on my body was too big all over,
another three years, a tighter fit and even longer sleeves.
 
A bridesmaid is posing with her head to the left
and her dad is in his made-to-measure suit.
Arguments with the tailor. Those trousers never hanging right
on the left. Heís making do, in blue, to smile in full-length
with a wavy crease down his leg.
 
My left leg is shorter than my right Ė just a bit,
my left hip is stretching down to walk Ė just a bit
and year on year itís an awful lot of work, that walk.
So I rest. Iím a face as a webcam image,
am I leaning to the right or the left?
 
The knife on the left was given to the right
so I still cannot cut at a meal
but I am not crying.
Finally:
a petite fit has come to shorten my sleeves.
 
Itís a Dangerous Sport

 
Tiny wrists lift a schoolgirlís fingers, following rules to the letter.
Starting at home position. A breathing space,
before building muscle from the brain to the hands.
Touch the keyboard.
Carriage return is also your breathing space.
Repeat.
 
Skills practised to perfection from 10 to 100 words
per minute. Pure lines of type facing you,
punched against the platen in a world travelling
from manual to electric to golfball to daisy wheel and finally to
word processor, faster than the speed of flesh,
where a mouse drags you by the hand
onto a treadmill of suffering,
even when you are at home.
 
36 years to kill a career with one million keystrokes per day.
How does it feel?
 
CTRL Z can never undo your undoing at the hands
of a keyboard. When your working life is all typed up,
youíre left at home, forever in a breathing space.
And thereís nothing at home except innocent
actions of the past judged guilty in the present.
How does it feel?
 
Neck stretch
                spasm, pinch.
Hand turn,
                spasm, sting.
Elbow bend
                spasm, burn.
 
I donít want to play anymore.
 
Susan Wilson

 
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Susan Wilson would be pleased to hear them.


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