Friday, 19 June 2009

other tongues video - katherine

Here is a video of the poem 'katherine' from the other tongues collection:

Or watch it at YouTube:

The text itself:


we’re making lunch in front of the telly but you’d rather pick up bits of potato peel from off the carpet not the least bit interested in stirring you look at me with a rim of blue fluff round your pink lips scowling hard wriggling your other hand from out between my grip and the wooden spoon which i think is fair enough except when i come back from the loo the saucepan is upside down and corn beef hash is splodged all over the floor a grin spread across your face and i wonder to myself would an eighteen month year old do that? as that’s how old the doctor says your mind is even though we celebrated your body’s twenty first year last week when you sat in your party dress in exactly the same spot hearing only

la l-la la la la la l-la la la la la l-la la la la la ……. la l-la la la la
because there aren’t any words in your head not even your own name knocks about inside the opalescent shell walls around your tiny broken brain but maybe instead there’s the howl of the wind and sea the ancient choric sounds of undersong beneath the surface of the learnt languages that the rest of us think we think in except we can hardly know for sure as no thought is ever the same once you’ve turned to look at it
so i might very well spin round and see the words
but that might just be my internal translation service kicking in at the last moment so i can never see if my thoughts are drafted first in english or mentalese or some other concentrated substance gloopy like pure meaning in the mind before it’s dissolved in full sentences diluted by pronouns and conjunctions in a kind of thick paint for creating mental images which must be what yours are made of unless you don’t think at all but simply smell and taste and feel like the time we were driving along in the car and i was crunching an apple steering with two fingers and squawking your favourite ballad between mouthfuls thinking you were being very quiet in the back there so at the traffic lights in the valley between two grey tower blocks i turned around expecting to see a sleeping marble effigy but instead your eyes set like two jet stones shone back at me unblinking as if i was staring into burning coals until i got so hot i had to prize my gaze away realising i’d never known love put so elementally which was something i thought about all the way home until in the driveway i turned again to find your pale face sound asleep this time like a drift of freshly fallen snow through which the word


  1. Great stuff Jemima - sorry I did not get back to you - very busy this time of year.

    Let's stay in contact. See details of my latest book on my personal website -

  2. Jemima, you will see from Chris's answer how this blogging works. He commented on yours and sent his - keep this good work up and well done.