Cecile Bol

  
Back then
                                    15 in 1997
 
we would dance all night
on a single glass of Coca-Cola
jealous of other girls’ endless snogging
we would think up queues of popstar boyfriends
never saw the real boys ogling – drank beer
way too stingy for gin – nobody cared
about age and stuff – back then – we looked young
scream-sang ‘smack my bitch up’ at each other
black-nailed – I was Ginger, you were Sporty
drank Passoa for its colour – I stole
a postcard of young Leo (still have it)
we thought Be Here Now was great (still think it)
and after school we’d watch Cartoon Network
Noel and Liam Weasel and Baboon
back then – we were right
   
Instead I am the cat
 
oh, how the caged bird sings
don’t we both know why
I wish I could match its grace
not be this uptight
 
cat that’s clawing your curtains
pacing restlessly
left to right, then right to left
left to right, then right to left
meow once, claw again
 
I’m so sorry, but not sorry
to have ripped the pretty fabric
your fault, surely your intention
to close all the doors and windows
 
not merely locking me in
but pestering me, provoking me even
with handles that are bound to be
for something, someone, yet I’m too small to reach
and frankly, do I look like I have goddamn thumbs anyway?
 
once outside, outside, outside, in due course
the sun will pet my fur – and I’ll purr as
the grass tickles the cushions of my paws
then I’ll lick the raindrops out of puddles
each sip another fragment of my dreams
tell me, what wouldn’t you do to taste yours?
 
a heart-shaped snack of animal derivatives
and an ever so well-meant pat on the head
do calm me down enough once more, but you know
I’ll wait patiently, even though
I have no patience at all
both you and I know
 
***
 
this morning you forgot to close the kitchen door
within seconds I stood between flowers and weeds
not far away I could hear a bird sing
it was… so… very… beautiful…
then I did what any restless cat would do
I got back in
 


Singulars of the 21st century
 
I have been blessed with a female posse
of singular diversity. I have
a friend who has never been
floored by a burnout of some sort. I have
a friend who has never been
around a bad man for too long. I have
a friend who has never been
aroused by misogynous porn. I have
a friend who has never been
on a diet or weight-obsessed. I have
a friend who has never been
groped, assaulted, groomed, harassed. I have
a friend who has never been
close to suicide or depressed. I have
yet to figure out the singular thing
I need not have been to know I’m unique.
 

Millennial of a certain age
 
that hot summer night my mother pushed me outside
to dry from her blood in last century’s moonlight
fast forward to now ‘all you want is cash and fame!’
dead wrong! to make a difference! that is all I crave!
to be different!
 
like the others
I stare at my laptop in coffee shops
I get up to pee, grab my phone but leave
my computer, coat and wallet behind
‘cause the others have eyes for their own screens
only – like me
 
another night, moonless sky, petrol-blue alleys
I walk on my own, drizzling rain my sole jacket
ingesting handfuls of crisps straight out of the bag
salt and vinegar wrinkle my fingers – I am
invincible
 
  

Cecile Bol is a Dutch writer with a small family and a big garden in the north of the Netherlands. She is the co-leader of a local English poetry circle. Her English work has appeared (or is due to appear) in Picaroon Poetry, The Blue Nib and anthologies from The Frogmore Press and Earlyworks Press. 

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