Sarah L Dixon (British Working Class Poets)

Sarah L Dixon,

Sarah L Dixon is based in a Huddersfield valley and tours as The Quiet Compere. 

Sarah has recently been published in The Journal, The Rialto and Prole. She has several poems on podcasts and had a poem published on a beer-mat. Sarah’s books are The sky is cracked (2017 Half Moon Books), Adding wax patterns to Wednesday (2018, Three Drops Press) and Aardvark Wisdom  (2021, Kazvina Press). 

Sarah’s inspiration comes from many places, including pubs and music, being by and in water and adventures with her twelve-year-old, Frank. Sarah’s most recent love affair is with Morecambe Bay.

http://thequietcompere.co.uk/

 

Sold out, closed down

You can buy a table lamp for £39.95

but you cannot afford to light it.

Instead, you spend hours gazing

at a stained-glass glow

you can never own.

A haircut at the barbers is a fiver

but you and your money are turned away

because you are a woman

requesting a crop cut.

Your cut should take longer,

be coloured and curled,

more costly to maintain.

You resort to hacking your hair with scissors.

Buy an over-priced pint with the note.

 

They close Abdul’s corner shop, the libraries

the smaller schools.

Then the good old standards go:

Marks, Debenhams, Peacocks.

Those who complain

only ever buy online.

It is cheaper and delivery is free

if you keep spending.

 

The NHS is dismantling itself

one over-worked nurse

or PA at a time.

Community disintegrates

as the lonely find a self-serve checkout,

a machine for train tickets,

an instruction to disembark

at the centre of the bus.

The smiles and civilities have been sold

to the same place the grit is

and tarmac for potholes.

 

I am reminded of the time Kwik Save closed for good.

We ripped out the shelves with youthful relish

unplugged the freezers.

Glad we wouldn’t be going back.

But now when places close

the shelves and freezers stay in place.

No new buyers to make these air hangars better, brighter, vital.

These high street windows

are dead-eyed and down-cast.

The heat chokes us.

The rain soaks us.

There is no comfort

 in this summer.

We are all red-eyed and irritated.

We itch for a revolution.

 

We are hungry for it,

but we are tired

our cores are built from broken promises

and specks of guttering hope.

These used to be what made our eyes shine

they are now lit, sometimes, by wine or whisky.

Soon to be dead and dull

for all the good will have drained

from even the most optimistic minds.

Optimism thrives

when possibilities are many

as each runway, PROW or freedom

is grown over, boarded up or denied

our hopes are put out

with the small metal hat

that used to countdown to Christmas.

 

We seek relief in the cloak of songs

from when we were fourteen.

We watch superhero films

to convince ourselves

it will all be okay.

But it isn’t.

And it won’t be.

 

The world is dying.

There are no buyers.

We are the dinosaurs this time

hoping for a meteor

before bland-faced, blond-mopped stupidity

ends us instead. 

 

(first published on International Times, 2019)

 

Lockdown sun-dial 

We locate the Blutac

in the kitchen drawer

under bottle-openers,

bag clips, a never-used pickle fork.

 

The A4 ream we bought that Tuesday,

the one where everything started shutting down hourly,

came in useful again.

 

Two pencils, not the same design,

they are in every room, hiding,

one takes some time to stand upright.

The other draws the sun's journey

across the front of our house,

maybe it also counts the sirens,

the drop in car numbers.

 

The next day the shadows are not quite faithful,

do not line up with the numbers carefully

and confidently marked out on the dial.

 

The seven and four are written differently

to the way I would have drawn them.

Frank says they are the grown-up versions.

It is too late to alter

my ingrained number construction now.

 

Each morning the shadows shift,

changed by our knowledge

of another day,

by the fact we are here to see it,

and by those who are not.

 

And Frank asks

'Where do the shadows go at night?'

It is not the first time he has asked this.

 

(first published in Lighthouse Literary Journal, 2021)

 

Word association

 

You tie

my favourite pet

to a sign

marked

'government interference'.

 

Make my first gig

when I was discovering

who I was

about proving

my identity.

 

Take the model and colour

of the Mini

that gave me freedom

and drain the happy flight

from these memories.

 

What is your memorable word?

 

And have we sullied it

enough for you yet?

 

Is it still happy?

If so, we have more work

to do here.

 

(first published on I am not a silent poet page, 2017)

 

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