111th- But you, being poor by Fran Lock

apply for funding with bleachy fingers. You’d better
forget it. You’re plea bargain poor; of the noncustodial
stint and scraped-back ponytail. You’re off-the-handle
poor, twatting the twilight eyes of yours neighbours;
you break car windows and are not sorry. Yours
is a larcenous pedigree; benefit fraud, the trodden
dream. You do not belong in anthologies; you spoil
a tender mood like a miniskirt at a funeral.

And you are not parable poor; you do not doff
your quaint morals like a cloth cap, baby. Needy
and cheap, you reek of that fabled bladdering hour,
when you and your dismal kin unhappily lavish
your lips on a greasy glass. Leopard-print pointless
girl, you’re from the shamanic grunts of the Saturday
footie; you’re loafing and lifting and fit for dole.
You embroider your brawling with curses, a tongue
more than sharp enough to skin cats.

You, being poor, have only the quenched
flesh, the bad dye job, the early grave.
Yours to be stabbed through your fleece-
lined Parka, wearing depression like feathers.
Yours is fuddled gloom, and hacking cough.
You stink like a second-hand sofa. You should
not come here anymore. You should apologise,
in writing, for even existing.


Fran Lock is a dog whisperer and author of two poetry collections, Flatrock (Little Episodes, 2011) and The Mystic and the Pig Thief (Salt, 2014). Her work as appeared in various places, most recently Ambit, The Morning Star, Poetry London, and Poetry Review. She is the winner of the 2014 Ambit Poetry Competition, and her poem ‘Last Exit to Luton’ came third in the 2014 National Poetry Competition.