Thursday, April 01, 2004


A Voluptuary under the Horror of Lactation

I've changed my name to Limiter Whitenails for my next collection, Authentic Rejection Letters Interspersed With More Scatology and Pyrotechnical Self-Pity - a run of one copy, published in December by Indoor Fighting Press. Someone recently nominated me to go into the Neglected Poets section of Dan Schneider's They referred to me as a "bawdy Brit" in their email to the editor (forwarded). The editor wrote to say I had been nominated, but asked if I would rather go in the contemporary section, considering that most of the so called Neglected Poets are dead. I wrote back: "I would prefer to be among the dead poets on the website, because dead poets are not, by nature, competitive - unlike so many living, poetically breakdancing, ones. Further, being qualified as a ‘neglected’ poet does give one a sense of being untouchable, although it's a far more gracious and generous untouchabilty than that afforded by being a member of London's poetry mafia, I should imagine ... " I think I'm one of two living, and the youngest to-date ...

I've recently developed a tiny lump above my left nipple. The doctor thinks it might be an inflamed Montgomery's tubercle, caused by an increase in oestrogen levels. He said that it's nothing sinister, and I bobbed out of his surgery not knowing how I felt, without having asked any questions. I had to go back to enquire about having some surgery.

I was bought an electronic juicer for Christmas, and I've since become addicted to juiced beetroot, celery and pears (always hanging around the assistants in the supermarket, chasing up orders for raw beetroot, which is unbelievably hard to get hold of); am thoroughly neurotic these days - have an appointment at the breast surgery in two weeks. I'm hoping they'll cut off the lump without the need for general anaesthetic. I'll take the tubercle home in a tissue - a hormonal doggy bag - and juice with the beetroot, celery and pears. If I start producing milk before the operation, well, then I'll stir it into said juice recipe to make smoothies. These are my options.

I'm spending a lot of my time taking our dog on walks through the glens of Friday Street, talking to busy line producers on my mobile phone, trying to hear their fob-offs over the sound of hailstones on the footpath. I received another rejection letter this morning. I took my top off, squatted down on the bottom step of the stairs in our kitchen, wearing only my jeans, with my head between my legs, covered by the partially unravelled turban of my goose pimpled crossed arms. In the gloom of my lap, I glimpsed the patch which had recently been sown onto the knee of my jeans to cover a hole, caused by months of crawling around on the living room floor on all fours. The patch, bought from a key cutter in Woking, is a childish image of a little yellow truck, with green wheels, loaded with an assortment of red and blue blocks. Months of unemployment and worry about the health of loved ones - my hair long and curly - I realised I had become a toddler again. My teacher in nursery school had made me put my head between my legs, like I was doing now, but that was to stem a nosebleed. 27 years later, more than my nose was bleeding.