Mickey’s parents

Shocked and repulsed by my expression of love
your virtue pervades the air like tea steeped too long 
always you tried to contain me in the same blue box 
where you live your life
your neat little frock and neat little face
hiding the big black pool of nothingness that exists inside
you aren’t my mother
mothers cry rivers when their child disappears
but you don’t worry for me because your worry is for you
you won’t be the mother of that child
better to lose a good daughter than to keep a bad one alive
Dad knows the grief of losing a daughter
howling like a smelly beast that’s fallen into a well 
but he leaves it to others to speak the words
wishing that he could solve everything with money not with talking
checks and pleats writing cheques and balances
wishing for restitution.

I wrote this a little while ago in response to The Monkey’s Mask by Dorothy Porter. If you are familiar with the book this poem will (hopefully!) make a lot of sense. If you don’t know it, it’s a hard-boiled detective novel written in verse. Yep, that’s right, a crime novel in verse. I will admit that I was so sure I wasn’t going to enjoy it that I put off reading it, but then I picked it up and wham! I was hooked and finished it in one sitting.

That being said, reviews on the book are mixed. While it’s true that the plot is predictable, for me the book’s intrigue does not come from the plot, but rather from the way Porter has brought together a mash of things that on the surface don’t look like they’ll work. Yet, work they do and in spectacular fashion at that.

You might like to check out Still I survive which was also inspired by The Monkey’s Mask.

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