Having slipped from a central role in the literary canon poetry has become sadly side-lined to that of a minority sport, which is a great shame as it offers a unique mirror to our lives with every word, line and space carefully chosen to create an impact. The quality of poems in the slam was impressive and ranged from witty observations to poignant storytelling.
Four judges deliberated over the contributions before eventually deciding on Lisa Jayne as a worthy winner.
|Lisa Jayne, winner of Verse and Versus|
Jayne has kindly allowed me to transcribe the winning poem below. Her partner Ben Graham also received a mention for his fantastic poem and both of them will be reading more poems at The Midsummer Poetry Ball, Friday 15 June at Westhill Hall, Compton Ave. For more details check out http://www.bleedingcheek.wordpress.com/.
Without more ado here is the winning poem:
The end of the line
misfit carriage brought out of the sidings
off-peak hour to travel
for personal reasons.
My carriage, doors slam, whistle,
you've missed the train now.
I drop my bag on the seat
sagging under invisible weight
dust glamour on the air.
One long seat facing another
door left and right, no corridor.
My carriage with a word of mouth
warning – rape carriage.
Seven stops before my station,
seven chances to get out and get in again.
Core, pips and skin smells
out of reach of
the long handle broom
Picking up, faster, faster
electrical lightning on overhead lines,
I couldn't be more alone
if I was using the toilet.
Maybe someone is back to back with me
in the compartment in front,
leaning back to go to sleep.
Sure I heard some people singing
The Ace of Spades,
I sing Lisa Says all to myself.
Till a station approaching, slow
ticket holding faces, opening doors,
will anyone, would anyone
get in here with me,
Pussy Willow blending with the brillo seat.
Blue denim turning the handle,
see right through and out the window,
no, turning away,
and we're moving again
It's not like it's night time.
It's not like I'm hitch-hiking.
It's not like I'm wearing a short skirt.
I'm wearing boots for running away,
if there was an away.
Sharp objects in my possession
it could be me, the predator
in flower buckle, matelot under velvet.
Wheels going motorik.
Just a partition but no communication
between me and
I don't know if I'd hear them shouting.
Tendrils come loose.
Rape of the lock.
oil seed rape, crop rotation
over said and again, bored with the word.
Stubble scratch seating prickles me
through my tassel skirt.
I could get out next station
If I opened the door
Levi blue didn't or couldn't
open the door, jammed one side,
if the platform's that side,
I'll try if the platform's that side
if I can get out I'll go.
Tracks cross before a station.
Platform slope, this side,
ready at the door,
blazer, bike jacket, hair in ribbons.
If someone comes to get in
I might wait and see,
meet with eyes, till we're moving too fast.
My compartment for ten people
I count one.
Two doors out to electrocution
and wrapped round the wheels.
Sun following me
caught on the overhead racks,
rolling down and over me
down and again, flash on the rack,
with whoever they are
if he gets in,
and who he'll be
to easy meat,
some are already dead
when a uniform opens the cage.
nothing, no one.
The next stop is mine.
Window shivers the door,
I close it then my eyes
I try to remember what
the carriage remembers,
can't even remember me, it's too old.
that's what it was last week.
Someone in here, pin stripe.
Didn't look at me tying my shoe lace,
looked out of the window all the time,
for thirteen minutes.
Roulette, dragging, slowing, breaking.
All my personal possessions
to the door.
No one coming.
I stay on.
Thirty minutes just the carriage
and me fast to the city.