When Summer was at its heights,
And my life was still mine,
I had a name, I had a voice, I was
A girl with a plan.
With bridges to build and castles to conquer.
But Summer is over and I’m just
I am dear, I am babe,
I am Mrs Whoever, Lady X.
I am the invisible woman in the second
Lane, at the front of the queue, catching
A glimpse of herself
In the reflection of the vending machine.
And I know why the caged bird sings,
And the lonely teenager rips her skin
With a razor, and the town’s weirdo
Put his life at risk doing an impossible feat,
And the cat lady screams in the middle
of the night, like crazy.
They do it to feel.
To convince ourselves that we are real, here, still,
Ugly, fat, slim, old, grey, faded, strange,
Still here, our beating hearts still playing
The summer song that gave us flight,
That made us reckless, that made us dance
And dance, until that dance and we were one,
The dance still dancing inside of Stacey’s mum.
Summer shines in me, summer rises in me,
Flowers bloom in me, working their way up
To the cracks of my casing, to break the
Cloak of venerability, like dandelions
Pushing pavements apart,
The cement of the years, of Lady X and little dear,
Of the names given, imposed, baptized,
The mask I am told to wear, ripping at the sides.
But inside, I’m getting high, darling; stoned darling;
Intoxicated darling, with guitars and moonshine and life.
Singing in a red dress on the top of the bar,
In a smoky club to the notes of jazz, blues, a few
Suede shoes twisting and tapping in my heart.
And I’m not over yet.
I’m not done yet.
I’m not broken nor wrecked nor cracked nor shattered, yet.
I am older, wiser, perhaps, but not obsolete,
There are still rainbows forming beneath
My cape of invisibility.
Summer is over, true, and outside autumn has
Painted the world red. But strawberries roll
Down my throat, and mead, and cheese on bread,
The green grass growing inside my oxford pumps,
Not just Stacey’s mum, but me, the me who had
A name, who had a plan, who had a game,
The me who held the sun in her hands and made it shine.
In aisle three I may walk, Lady X, looking for butter and eggs,
But inside I am surfing, writing my name on the sand,
Listening to the sea trapped in a shell, my shell,
This what you see, a fraction of myself.
Outside, the breeze is chilly, the autumn leaves
Whirling in the air, like a dreaming dervish waiting for death.
And I sit still, stand still, make myself still, in this role, still,
Pretending summer has come and gone,
And I’m just babe, dear, woman in aisle one.
Stacey’s mum. Still. Non-person with no name. Still.
But it’s fake news, darling, because in this half-world
I have been put in, like a mute extra in a play,
There is another side yet, another place yet, a time behind yet
Where Summer neve ever ends and the roses know my name
And on my motor bike I ride and I ride and ride, a bit of wild of
Sex on the side. A few blues, a little jazz. The crackling
Song of bonfires calling the early morning light.
And me. And I. Still breathing. Still being. Still alive. Here.
Ready to take flight, darling; to be, darling.
To birth a second summer from the depth of my heart,
My inner fire much more than meets the eye,
A person with a name, a woman with a game,
Stacey’s mum piling away all the crap, and making it burn.