Awful, just terrible, isn’t it dreadful, the feeling I get when I think about you. The type of feeling that demands
I place my head in the delivery tray of the nearest vending machine.
But we get on with it don’t we, and there is comfort to be had in vast, resinous-smelling, home furnishing warehouses, pushing capacious trolleys and creating personal philosophies
that are worth sharing with you as you embark on this new journey, such as, it is remarkable
now I think about it, certainly worth remarking on, how life is like my collapsible washing basket: one minute you’re up and the next you’re totally sunk.
Yes the rubber is splitting because baskets aren’t meant to fold up and down and it used to make sense to simply use
a big bag. Yes I have questions like why would I complicate life
by trying to save space? And which bin is it going to go in at the tip? The answers are, at best, the size of a wardrobe
requiring of two bodies to wrangle the bulk of both the personal and the general, which is perfect in this context.
A wardrobe is a funny thing, amusing the way empty space is filled with empty space then all of a sudden
the stress of its enterprise is leaving dents, black mould, carpet rucks like skin folds along an eager stomach. Still we keep on don’t we and we won’t mention
how the glass you dropped on the rug at my engagement party killed the whole evening. It bounced but it was dead before it landed.
About this poem
This poem was included in Best Scottish Poems 2021. Best Scottish Poems is an online publication, consisting of 20 poems chosen by a different editor each year, with comments by the editor and poets. It provides a personal overview of a year of Scottish poetry. The editor for 2021 was Hugh McMillan.
A great stream of consciousness poem in which life’s most irritating slices disappear constantly down the waste pipe of the washing machine, vanishing down the plughole to a single unpunctuated point of meaninglessness. Domestic life in a series of concrete images that ruck the carpet but also the imagination. A lyrical angst that lingers in the memory. A silent, or maybe not so silent, scream.
The title of this poem came to me fully formed one morning and it made me laugh out loud. I’m always anxious to make my writing entertaining, and worthy of someone’s time, so I thought this title was a good place to start. I wanted to explore the ways we can be indirectly disruptive in a fairly direct way, so the speaker of the poem is a kind of caricature of myself: heightened, far more expressive than I would ever dare to be but sharing my philosophical conundrum around collapsible washing baskets. The lines are selfishly long, and the speaker is intended to be both amusing and infuriating with their odd, but oddly conversational, phraseology. All of this is an attempt to capture the ways passive aggression is so maddening, and so effective.