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A Young Woman’s Thoughts in the Silence of Her Bedroom: Poems by Abigail George

A Young Woman’s Thoughts in the Silence of Her Bedroom

Rain has given quite a performance today.
Leaves the property of trees drowned – the phoenix
Found the exit. Winter’s gospel, the school
Teacher who shouted at me became an offering
To a museum. Cracked my pomegranate-skull.
These are the memories of my youth – bleeding,
A life drawing of The Great Depression of the year 2014
I found loyalty in intelligent people, Rilke, Hemingway.
My fingers melt across the wilted pages of books.

They are uninterrupted. I am uninterrupted in this.
This damaged inner silence, this filtered cycle of illness
That has not yet found the exit out. There is planting,
Planning, fingers clenching and unclenching a poem.
Hands tightening, there are no more poems for mummy
Like Noah’s ark, they are autumn, going off to wars
In Africa, I have my own fears to whom it may concern.
But the human voices that I hear bring me tulips.
I have eyes. I march like a tiger. Sunlight like a swan.

All I see is red. A red dawn. A red world. A red sickness.
They are waiting for me in the waiting room. Lucky me.
I feel like a bomb ready to go off, unseen, crazy coming on.
Chains charm me, omens and relics. A knowledge of
Turning, twisting that key in the ignition, sabotaging
Myself in secret and quiet ways, finding sanctuary, hope.
Where do I live? It is dark, rotting driftwood, gravity is rough.
All can be found there concentrated. These surroundings
Have become my country, this hospital too. But people

Will grow in this silence, in this arena to compensate
For the fact that leaves will fall and flowers will die.
They speak to me as if I am from outer space, an alien.
What to do about all of this nonsense, silliness, and gobbledegook?
I have two-heads now, feel vacant. Family-life does
Not and will never suit me. Splinters. Tell me am I the lotus flower?
I grow in mud. Roots knotted in mud. Dendrites
Made of lightning and thunder. Nerves like uncommon butterflies.
Surfing. Triumphal. Serotonin like smoke.


Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus

This image
Is just an image
Lines from a poem
That I have

Come to know
To love so well
In sickness
And in health

There is no greater
Love than the flight
From madness
Of sacrifice

A lament,
A hospital bed
And so I come
To her London experience

Her Ted Hughes
It was Sylvia I reckon
In the end
Who was Lady Lazarus?

When you’re hallucinating
Reality is a snake park
There aren’t any ducks
I’m afraid

You can’t make
Lemonade out of lemons
There’s a show
And you’re the star

The spotlight
Is shining on you
You become Hiroshima
A kroeskop duchess

You become
A mountain lion
You become famous
Known for psychosis

And then overnight
You become a stranger
Nobody calls anymore.


Ann Quin

Water has become
Like my own alcohol
While I bask
In dreams of writing fiction

Hallucinatory illness
Psychosis, threads
Always communicating
With each other

As if I am not there
Only eavesdropping
On the conversation
Don’t talk to me

About tortured souls
Or the ones who never
Made it, were transformed by it
Lived through it, survived it

The atlas of their brains
And limbs asylum pieces
Every one possessed
With a hard substance

Animal awakened by ritual,
Don’t talk to me
About the loneliness
Or the Brighton people

As if it is supposed to mean
Everything to me like scar tissue
What terrible dreams I have
Of the ghost house, of insomnia

Of my childhood continued
Animals are dream catchers
The pigs are lurking there
Behind the looking glass

Their horrifying yet vital
Dream-language must still
Be translated by inhuman me
By my incoherent brain.


David Foster Wallace

The cornfields
Of Illinois are pretty
Where David Foster Wallace
Grew up

His childhood
Was made up of
Bonfire anecdotes
The jaws of shark teeth

Infinite jest
He was the pale king
Sitting on an earth-throne
The so-called psychotic

Bewitched by libraries
By the halls of Amherst
The Midwest where of-all-things
Genocide took place

Murder and speeches
His dream songs
They came from space
He gripped his pen

Left behind
An alphabet
Of vowels and consonants
Supernova writing

There were monsters
Hiding in the closet
Monsters under the bed
The room is smaller

Than he remembers
When he returns home
From Amherst water
And lobsters pouring out

Of him as he evaporates
America offers shelter for some
Worms, holes, the dark, maniacs
Hooks already programming him.


The Laughing Carcass

I’m back –
I’ve made a full recovery
From being condemned
To inferiority
They’ve said

The qualities
Of ghosts no longer
Frighten me senseless
Like needles and nurses
The taste of both that I feel

In segments
And how it hurts like fresh tulips
The fate of snow
In my gloved hands
Life has become the enemy

Standing in front
Of the mouth of an open grave
With my purse mourning
Morning and how it inflicts
Pain on my existence

Or being thrust
Into an hallucination
Dissolving into
A blank space, stiff, comatose
A carcass – an experiment

I want to be –
Surrounded by mountains again
My home, my home, my feast
Your death-ray is a distraction
There is only silence now

In this velvet garden
Of green leaves on the arms of trees
The sun, black butterflies
Is like the wheel
Simple machinery

Alien face in the mirror
You seem to be embarrassed
To be alive, of having wasted
Your life away in hospitals
Gorgeous swimmer – project yourself.


The Infertility-Kit

I’m not yours, birds sing
Your hairdresser, mummy says
Your Ophelia, your Julia
And this also means that I’m
Not your cosmic admirer

After the glimpse
Of the grotesque
Laughing carcass
Turn away from it
The Bostonians

Are marching –
They are all
Calling out to me
Lowell, Sexton,
Plath, psychoanalysis

I have a child’s heart
The impressions of a child
The intelligence of a detached
Cold woman who can
Still feel the cruel blood

Of family, of mummy,
Preparation for upheaval
Chaos and disorder
Has been prescribed for me
Long ago

What is relaxation?
What is warmth?
All I know of the world
Is ego and sacrifice
Women must always be sacrificing

Nurturing and caretaking
It is impossible for them
For men to understand
Women can be poets too
And celebrate life

In the end it will either be
A case study of who was the most stimulating
Who was the most attractive?
But I was the one who was obsolete
Imprisoned for all my childhood years.


© Abigail George
Image: Alyssa L. Miller

Abigail George
Abigail George
South African Abigail George is a blogger, essayist, short story writer, screenwriter, novelist, and poet. She briefly studied film in Johannesburg. She has two film projects in development and is the recipient of two grants from the National Arts Council, one from the Centre for the Book and another from ECPACC. Her publishers are Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe, Mwanaka Media and Publishing or Mmap), Xavier Hennekinne (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books), and Thanos Kalamidas (Finland, Ovi). Her literary representative is Morten Rand. She is a Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net nominated, and European Union Poetry Prize longlisted poet. Her poem “The Accident” was Identity Theory's Editor's Choice for Spring. Ink Sweat and Tears chose her poem “When light poured into me at the swimming pool” as a September Pick of the Month, and she recently made the shortlist of the Writing Ukraine Prize 2023. She is a poet/writer who believes in the transformative, restorative and healing powers of words. Her latest book is Letter To Petya Dubarova (Australia/New Zealand, Gazebo Books). Young Galaxies (a poetry book) was released in 2023 from Mmap and a memoir When Bad Mothers Happen is forthcoming. “Clarissa, Hector and Septimus Redefined” was recently published by Novelty Fiction in Kindle format.


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