Fran Lock (British Working Class Poets)

Fran Lock

Fran Lock is the author of numerous chapbooks and ten poetry collections. Her most recent chapbook is Forever Alive (Dare-Gale Press, 2022), and her most recent collections are Hyena! Jackal! Dog! (Pamenar Press, 2021) and White/ Other (87 Press, 2022). She is the newly appointed Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at Cambridge University, an Associate Editor at Culture Matters, and she edits the Soul Food column for Communist Review. Fran’s work is focussed on the fiendish intersection of race, class, sexuality, and gender; the experience of those dehumanised by difference and racialised by poverty.


black 22


in the end they will eat their own, glaikit
and railing. if you think they won’t, you
are so wrong. never mind, you are tired
all the time. your name is leaking from
the sly, puckered mouths of your affluent
frienemies. there is an obscure pain, a hot
obstruction. in the mouth, in the bowel.
how to go on? the peeling skin of you
is socially sewn, you sweat this winter
undertaking. i swear these english eat
their own. oh, starry-eyed economies,
the forced spite swallowed in a wimpy
text. doubled up, to the bent scope
of a wiry tory thought. you bank their
dirty normal, take it inside, save it for
later. your hunger is climbing the black
rungs of an onion while jamie net worth
oliver tells you how to break yourself
up over a blue flame for under a pound.
you will scrape the spent heat from your
duvet, as the nightmare exceeds your
defeatist thrashing. you are tired all
the time, so graciously mortgaged, so
softly despairing, in the silk pyjamas
of your dead zeal. you carry your rage
on your back like a failed parachute,
falling, like a failed suicide, drifting to
earth, a determined feather, you weigh
next to nil. there is no food, they
have sharpened the songbirds, the sob-
birds, the weasel teeth of ego,
the bagging hook’s patient caresses.
in the end you will slump in the dark,
strewn and rouged, staring the pin-
hole down. you will open yourself
like a bloodshot eye, cabbage-white
cursors flicking all over you. you are
the pre-loved coin of your own realm,
dry-humping your nothings to sweetness.
oh, metered screw. oh, sundered flop.
oh, dusty byword. if you can, you will
glow the machine to tokens, spooning
the ready honey of yourself into
their holes, the failed claims dug
in your goldrush. if you can’t, then
on: to the side-hustle of a stopped
heart. to the amazon mantras
of a mindfully-xxxxed. doomed
as food. and jeff net worth bezos is
your personal xxxxing raincloud. is
your household god, curling
a jewelled xxxx in your hearth. i’m
not trying to frighten you, but you
must be ready, your stomach spilling
open its warm rake of ash, its scald of
air, its sawdust mountain of mouldy
bangers. oh, cadaver girl, we were
lions. we could fit this lightbulb
moon in our mouths. now look, this
angerlund, this nasty salivatrix,
smoothing her hair, dressed in
a mail of cancelled onesers. they are
not men, they are zombies in heat:
they don’t eat because they are hungry,
they eat because they can. and we are
hanging like cured meat inside
a life of airless, viral humiliations. we
were warriors. would trample them:
all open foes, all sugared sneaks. in
a gown of heaving weather, be the
dressed axe, enter this cutting fold.

the human suit goes walking

by which i mean this feeling
device. software, the capable
hole. this suffering jacket. her
gaunt booty canted, a rosy
machine. the hot normal is
a whore’s arbour, the vacuum
that nature abhors; is livid fish-
eye, stinkeye, spitroast, night-
shift, nightshaft, the perforated
cherry supplely fingered.
disaster glues the gilded whet
of her in place, the world
unbraiding its fait accompli,
one intestine at a time. funny
how: a pillow slip filling with
wet feathers, a line of pastel
sparrows sewn together, rose
decals in hygienic motels.
the world grows a girl on it
like mould. ten eyes oinking,
men coquetting their hardon
through a hole in a sheet,
through a slit in the wall.
men, with scented bayonets,
the pig-part of sticking.
the human suit to be
hospitable, dismantled. run!
see how many glowing
shanks on the pyre. wants
her lulled on a gurney.
wants a chaser of tar to seal
the speaking wound in her
back, in her life, in her
flame-retardant nighty, in
her temple garments. look,
sucking the sauce from
the spare rib she is
whittled from. disgusted,
the ash her pale aniseed.
he has finally reached
the limits of the edible.


you are the human suit

you are the human suit,
people tell you to xxxx
off back
to improbable
places: the soviet union,
your grandmother’s xxxx.
it is wednesday, the dog
is making a wish on your
crotch. if he says what
it is then it won’t come
true. thoughts enter your
airspace like hard doves,
like red balloons. there’s
not enough poem to fill
up a single mouth with
its suckling poesy. man,
the heart is some kind
of prosthetic rodent, no
mistake. you are neither
ladylike, nor a likely
lady. how the world
might end: with a red
slitting glow, our
labours gashed, we
stagger away from
ourselves like a blown
soldier. there is no
such thing as politely
on fire. don’t forget,
you are the human suit,
they look to you for
a doom they come by
honestly. see the mouth
say the hulled soy
of its disappointments.
in the workshop we play
tombeaux to ourselves
on the xxxxing ukulele.
our lady of extinct birds,
spread your birdmind
over us. a fluky xxxx
in the eye for luck
is all we know
of fortune.
stop moping! you
are the human suit,
your home is a grave
too spit-upon to hold
you. an apprentice to
stains, you sweat
your futures through
the silk gusset
of yourself. if –
and it’s a big if
 – you are happy
and you know it,
then give up the least
of your witchcraft,
bless the sun-born
body alive with its
own trammelled karma,
breathe, feel old, enter
the world. sleep intends
a better dream, no more
dank wafts between
terrors. you are a person,
a bag of probable skin,
and you do what you do
what you do what you do.

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