Going Out And Staying In

"Dear Future Emily - apologies in advance. Warm regards, Present Emily" - Liverpool, 2011.
“Dear Future Emily – apologies in advance. Warm regards, Present Emily” – Liverpool, 2011.

I am very conflicted about the idea of ‘clubbing’. Although sometimes I love to lose myself and suddenly wonder how it got to be 6am, where all my money went and where all this pork came from, I dislike the snobbish assumption that ‘clubbing’ is an inherently ‘cooler’ way of spending ones time than its more staid alternatives. I find it strange that the term ‘going out’ can be used as a synecdoche (oh how rarely I get to use that word) for clubbing. As though it is the only valid way of leaving the house. People say “go on, you’ve got to come out, it’s the weekend!” “don’t be boring, come out!” etc and sometimes I just want to read a book or watch crappy TV. I wrote this poem when I was in a particularly grumpy mood about all of the above.

Emily x

The Club

Let’s all go stand in dark rooms
with the music blaring loud.
We can pretend that we’d still like ourselves
with the lights up.
With the sound down.

Let’s smile for photos
and drown our sorrows
and fuck tomorrows
and forget ourselves
for one more night.

Let’s stand near to the speakers;
let the beat run through our fingers
’til it fills our veins and strangles
out our thudding hearts beneath.

But they’ll carry on without us.
They’ll wait, but not forever:
for us to stop,
and hear them:
if we ever leave the club.

Things Fall Apart

Norwich 2010: a good time and place for snow, a bad time and place for my car.
Norwich 2010: a good time and place for snow, a bad time and place for my car.

Have been reading lots of maudlin poetry lately, primarily Philip Larkin, and trying to recreate the image focused bleakness that he is the master of. Here’s a poem about a car crash I had in 2010 as well as two excellent poems which capture what I want to do better than I can: Stevie Smith’s Not Waving But Drowning and Larkin’s The Mower.

Emily x

Norwich Car Accident – 8:04am, Friday November 26th 2010

Chris Evans was extolling the virtues of Friday
on BBC Radio 2.
I was basking in the potential
of a day ahead
and in having Things To Do.

When at once the car began to spin
and silence loudly surged.
The other round-abouters
swerved, panicking;
I settled neatly in the verge.

How often and easily our Things To Do change
when our tyres start to wear thin:
we cruise smoothly through suburbia
then all at once
we start to spin.


Not Waving But Drowning – Stevie Smith

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking.
Playing tricks, kidding, fooling around.
now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him
his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life

And not waving but drowning.


The Mower – Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,

Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world

Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence

Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.