Read: “resilience”Fran Lock

Fran Lock

he says, whose preferred flag is a  blank cheque. on

mornings made pejorative with foxes. pissy macho

stink of them on everything. the grim, diminished

sting of drill, its glitchy phobic diss and bleat. stuck

on repeat. like foxes. solja boys gekkering thin

threat up from behind the wheelie bins. these, our

russet buccaneers, sarcoptic monarchs, swaggering.

hey, there are kids who live in circles in these fluxy

flats, gaunt stooges sent on errands in the petering

sweetness of five a.m. i have seen them. meet in

unruly communion half way home. trammelled

scent of skunk, its soft green feelers groping

a grammar of sleep. somnambulist caesars. pale

laureates of insomnia. something in between. we

have breathed these corners into dawn together.

seen the ornamental resin of my pit bull’s eyes

catch fire. resilience, he says, who thinks all dogs

are hounds. sleek forms to thread his vengeance

through the hedgerow, fen, and meadow. no. he

doesn’t know. he has not read their fickle glyphs,

acrylic scrolls of early-warning, alphabet of risk

along the tracks. these narrow pastures are our

country. aggy edgelands slack with flowers. hey,

there are women here i’ve seen to gather yarrow.

could best a falling feather. women who could

intercept the ricochet of rain. exist in two

dimensions, travel as both particle and wave

between the food bank and the chemist. women

who remix the curt eclipse of mogadon and vodka

into aria. or, turning on a rainbow’s lathe, draw

nectar from the bitter dregs of afternoon. fold
every scrap of plant life into fable. names to talk

this tundra into spring; to make our rags and worts

and banes the cups of kings. resilience, he says,

for whom all language is an anthem or

a gambit. tongue as classifying blade, our

vulgar taxa stripped for parts. but we have

seen enchanter’s mantle transmute bare

backyards to gold. burdock, chervil, ragged

mallows. kept the raving ghosts of bailiffs

from our doors with fennel stem. sharpened sight

with elder and with thistle. men, the corrugation

kicked clean out of them. eyes like slots in

fruit machines. the zero hour they penalise

to frenzy. these men have grown crow garlic

too, could recognise the waft of mint. monkshood

hint of danger. columbine and cuckoo pint, snug

hangman in its cobra’s hood. dog rose,  bittercress

and keck. cow parsley. common things that prick

calls weeds. words atrophied into slogan, gravel

trough where meaning dies. resilience indeed,

flapping his long mouth like a sleeve. hush, our

concrete acre stirring. vixen, starling, world

on fire.

 

 

Because politicians love that word. And in recent years it has become a useful get out clause for both climate changes deniers and those who would make a fetish out of working class survival.  If resilience is some kind of moral virtue, then those of us who are not thriving are failing. If we are resilient, if the planet is resilient, then nobody has a duty of care toward us, nobody is responsible for the shit they do to us or put us through. It isn’t a coincidence that the poor are disproportionately affected by climate change, by corona virus, by anything else the world happens to throw at us. I have come to loathe this word with mounting heat and passion, and yet, we are surviving, we are finding ways to exist, to resist, to live. And they’ll have to learn from that in the end, from us, because we know how to go without and make do with less. It’s all our futures, we’re just ahead of the curve. Sometimes it feels as if the way we live- the city, these houses- is hostile to life. All life. But we are alive. Nature pushes back in a variety of surprising ways. It infiltrates. It adapts. We adapt too. There’s hope in that.

 

Fran Lock is a some-time itinerant dog whisperer, the author of seven poetry collections and numerous chapbooks, most recently Contains Mild Peril (Out-Spoken Press, 2019). Fran has recently completed her Ph.D. at Birkbeck College, University of London, titled, ‘Impossible Telling and the Epistolary Form: Contemporary Poetry, Mourning and Trauma’. She is an Associate Editor at Culture Matters.