FRANCESCA LISETTE’S first book Teens collects work written and published 2007 – 2010 and is available from Mountain Press. She currently lives and works in east London.

For a while now, I mean for a few days,
I’ve woken up & thought immediately of
you. And that’s fucked-up
Since we’re not even together, & never
were, and anyway,
Why cling on to the replication of a
Black Power relationship dynamic
wherein I, the oppressed, do all kinds of
aggressive, beautiful, self-risking crazy shit
to gain the attention of you, my
loved/ hated oppressor, who in the process
becomes even more alienated, eventually
caving in to some of my demands
through a sheer loss of will, as if to
metaphorically turn your back?
Everyone knows the Black Panthers
were right. – Still that’s
not my point. No, my point is this:
‘there comes a time in your life’
when you wake up
with a ritual conflagration
of other people’s words in your head
poets who also have sold their poetry-labour
time to an organization they are heartily
against the fundamentals of, which they
believe the dissolution of would benefit
man, her kind, & the earth which
they’re so fucking responsible for
just to make rent, all the time & space
& possibility you thought you were buying
to write poetry GONE in that
expenditure of self-value anyway.
So you – I – we alike have committed to
a myth of gardened providence
seeking our fortune in the Gold Rush
instead of recognising poverty, loneliness,
boredom as the source of our poems,
our mother & our sole right to that
our liberty. What I mean is I
can’t stand to wake up another day
With imported dictates, choices,
& without the right to live as myself,
unprepossessed, the lean wish of
‘nothing to put up with’.
What I’m saying, Tory cunts, is that
I’ve been trying to find a way
to write about you for a year & I think
this is finally it. Take the shiny coin
From the corpse you’ve made of my
mouth, & feed the larks.
Penny or gross, I’ve nothing to
hide behind
Or stand on
But the slack refusal of affirmation
To be found dissolving in my
word, my body, the colossal
agit-prop staining this basted,
lived-thru air
Emptied & flung from contract:
The sound I make when I come
is the same sound I make now in my throat
As I’m turning away from you.

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