The sweetness has gone

The endless pursuit of comfort is what exhausts us….. extract from new book being scribbled ny Alice Smith

Comfort writing

It’s only early September but the sweetness has gone, blown away in the wind and replaced with a certain hardness that everyone here eventually wears against the wind.

With no trees hardy enough to survive here we must all look for other signs of Autumn. The changing winds, the scaffolding lazily coming down, set in Spring and forgotten about until now.

Amy clambers in from these September walks restless- they do not give her what the summer walks gave her. They now seem timeless as they held people in their beauty and their sweet scented fullness. Now the air and time is ragged with no promise.of anything else. She lights candles but it’s too soon in the year for them to be the comfort they will be later become.

This endless search for comfort we will spend tireless hours searching for. Ever elusive. If light and heat were enough, then that would be easier but our need for other comforts piles on top of us -company, sweet food with sweet words, other things adults speak of only in the shadows with side glances. The endless pursuit of comfort is what exhausts us and if we find someone to share it with then it’s simply two people seeking comfort together and separately.

Amy sits by the candles to read and the dog – now full of air and food and dreams snuggles at her feet. Even the dog needs comfort she reflects as she opens her current book of choice. The soup bubbles in the bowl and she blows on it absent mindedly. She has become a girl who only eats in the dark- or at least the half light-like her mother.

Alice smith work in progress 2022

I’m only lonely -f-o-r- with the truth

Where are you truth?

It holds me…at arm’s length.

Its charms are transitory.

It smells

Like a rat.

It has one eye open waiting for when I open my eyes

So I don’t look down there.

The truth lies under the carpet.

To avoid it, I am tripping high then low.

I can forget it but I can’t stamp on it,

It moves like a little mouse under there

In my underwear.

I’m not lonely, I’m alone

(But sometimes I am lonely

-f-o-r- with the truth.)

It comes and it goes and it can sting or bite or pad me,

That’s when it comes booty calling

To wake me and fuck me

At 3am.

No afterglow. No glow (wham!)

Just me and 3am (Bam!)

And the truth (Thank you ma’am!)

Truth is like a buzzing fly in my ear.

Right for spite.

But I’m not lonely sleeping alone

I’m only lonely -f-o-r- with the truth,

Remember?

Alice Smith currently dating 3am

A writer’s heart

A writer’s heart beats best by the sea,

The space filling the spaces in between words

Forged by smiths with ancestral tools,

Writing like a fool in the wilderness,

The wildness of it all,

A writer’s heart.

It’s never contained in a classroom,

It plays the piano silently,

Crawls all over papers like a huge spider,

Creating webs for people to puzzle over.

Dewdrop, rainbow shards and a center too easily breakable.

A writer’s heart beats in the wind,

Beats hard for freedom,

Finds the flow within the tide,

Opens her white frothy heart wide to sunshine, waves and green,

Shrinks from what might have been,

Expands by sharing, shining vivid in a lightning storm,

A solitary nightingale’s cry

In the darkness of these times.

Alice Smith 2022 writer by the sea

Friday flowers

Thank fuck it’s Friday

On Friday she got flowers.

Friday’s child, Friday’s flowers,

All the other hours of all the other days of all the other weeks of all the other years she got..

Broken eggs and burnt matches,

Overdrafts and silence,

Hidden keys and a punch in the neck,

Lies and perfume,

No shows and an empty chair,

Pokes bitch,

Bed favours,

Threats and new shoes,

Pies and burns,

Love missiles,

Tears and tea,

Bed rest.

Stares with a smile,

Undetected flying objects,

Broken eggs and burnt matches,

Overdrafts and silence,

Hidden keys and a punch in the neck,

Lies and perfume –

But it’s OK.

She got flowers on Fridays.

Alice Smith 2022 Cheaper than therapy.

All mine

So fucking high…up

Girl now you made it

All your successes are yours alone

All your losses are yours alone

Inside you what was empty is now full of life,

Your shadow no longer crying to eclipse the light,

All mixed together by a child’s fingers.

Good girl, bad girl, girl….

Now you made it.

You made it to a non documented life.

You’re making memories without selfies.

You’re making food for one

In a handmade life that seems threadbare to others.

To you it’s gold.

We’re beyond the yellow brick road now.

It’s still yellowish.

I’m ready to die

So fucking high on this road.

Alice Smith letter to self on the survival road. 2022. Are we there yet?

Mind vomit

Sipping…. slipping

Sipping my life from bottles,

Bottling my tears,

Drowning your fears.

Simply sipping and sipping and slipping then drinking then gulping and…..

Up it comes…

Too much life trapped in too many bottles,

Too many tears stoppered,

Not Enough

To drown my fears

Only sitting and sipping….never thinking

Just gulping and drinking..never thinking and

Up it comes….

The whole damn lot.

Thoughts. Memories. Blame. Shame. Guilt. Love. Loss. Grief. Mistakes. Regrets. Simply…only…just….

Mind vomit.

Alice Smith 5 1/2 years sober 2022

Twilight sleep

Stay high

In part 11 Alice finds some scribbles written whilst high on state induced morphine in the hospital bed series’Connecting to the mother keyboard.’ She has no recollection of writing it.

Purple hazed memory blocker. We are but we are not. It happened and it did not. Holding two truths in the drained purpled half light, half dark to what is real.

Strange drug of choice sleep, half sleep, half awake, more halves that make more than one of me.

Lower than any high, strange drug of choice – royal and purple and fuzzy over the edge of it all. Looking back at clear lights in rooms we don’t belong where they never forget.

Betwixt the night and the day through the holes in the veil of truth. Hanging like cobwebs betwixt the lips, betwixt the sips, betwixt your truth and your lies the gaps we fill with silence and laughter. Eyes straining to see into the violet light of past and confusion. Through the windows flames burn, pinpricks of certainty in a world of no True North. No Truth.

Sleeping leads to dreaming perchance and there is no sleep here for the righteous or the wicked in the twilight where the memories peel away to the silver floor…..

Make mine a double sister!

Alice Smith Wonderland 2022

Alice is recovering from a serious injury and writing a series from the hospital bed ‘Connecting to the mothership.’ This is the only one is was not sober for.

Consent

more mixed messages

Consent

The sea leaves scars on the sand

but the sand still loves the sea,

‘Don’t leave me!

Imprint some more!’

No more smooth, soft sand for playtime.

The sea has left a broken rhyme,

a feathery bruise, a crater.

The sand waits.

Later on the sea comes in,

it doesn’t creep,

it owns the sand,

it’s a keeper,

the sea brings its angry waves to pound and smash.

The sound scares the birds

but at least they are free

as they fly over the debris when the tide is low,

‘Don’t go!’

The sand lies cold

but the sun strokes it and we are told

it felt nothing

but that’s a lie.

It begins to enjoy this nightly thrashing.

The air is electricity flashing above the fight.

When it leaves it doesn’t apologise,

it’s wise enough to know who is boss,

tossing and turning like a child who ate too much

until it can return as the darkness swallows such a sunset.

Endless days are part of its appeal,

predictability is a wheel of fortune

hidden in the sand dunes,

healing is a mirage.

September 2016/ Weston beach

Alice Smith 2022

Stigma in schools

i spy homophobia

Stigma exists in schools. stigma thrives in school. The staff room is full of stigma. The staff room is full of the narrowest minds in the uk – teaching our young people how to label, ignore bullying and promote heterosexuality at the cost of every other gender choice. How do I know this? Because I have sat in staff rooms in schools and colleges around the UK and I have heard it. ‘Well, what you you expect? It’s a broken home.’ (Yes really. In 2019!!) ‘He’ll never make anything of himself. ‘He’s not bright.’ ‘There is no dad around.’ ‘She is not top set material.’ And so on and so on….I was part of this system from 2003 until I got ejected from it rather roughly in 2015.

I wrote this poem after being escorted to my classroom to collect my things after my 5 year career at a private school ended. The Head asked me to leave because my abuse story ‘upset parents and staff.‘ My mental health was ‘made up.’ (‘I’ve got a friend who has been in a war that has PTSD. If you have it, it must be a different sort of PTSD – if it exists. We only have your word for it.’ ‘We need someone who can be in front of the children full time.’ And the worst feedback – ‘Forget your teaching record. You are only as good as you are right now.’)

Reader, they paid me off.

Exorcism

Walking through the corridors,

heavier than a ghost,

the familiar faces float –

unfamiliar eyes regard me with pity, loathing or indifference,

the most painful drug.

I am a touchstone for their conscience.

They cannot meet my eye.

Yesterday I belonged.

Now I feel like a beggar

Sensing strangers behind me.

Kicked in the back.

A pile of disposable rubbish.

‘The eyes have it.’

Soul starved I wander through the corridors,

Heavy,

followed by the smell of failure,

heavy and pungent in the fresh spring sunshine.

I belong to yesterday.

As they head for tomorrow,

they push past me,

their unwelcome ghost,

Squatting in their classroom.

Written in 2014

Alice Smith 2019

Choose not to matter

In part 10 Alice asks are you choosing not to matter with or without your marriage and your mortgage?

Choose the pen

Choose (single) Life

Choose the NHS

Choose you -no one else will

Choose not to matter.

Choose a waiting list

Choose your mortgage

Choose a carrier bag of cider

Choose not to matter.

Choose him for the money

Choose to lie back and hand it over

Choose silence

Choose not to matter

Choose to stay

Choose to go

No one really cares.

Choose not to matter

Choose to forget

Choose not to cry

Choose to stare

Choose to look away

Choose the way, the truth and the life

Choose to lie

Choose not to matter.

Alice Smith is recovering from a serious injury and writing a series of blogs from the hospital bed called ‘Connecting to the mother keyboard.’ Is this the last one? She doesn’t know.

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