By the Time I Learn about the New York School Poets I Can Walk Around their Neighbourhood Without Leaving My Living Room
for SD

It’s six thirty in the evening, going dark
I’ve zoomed to the other side of an ocean
been helped to understand what someone
said seventy years ago. The writer
is dead so we can say what we like but
we try to not say anything too crazy but
crazy enough to wake us up a bit. My daughter
is singing in her bedroom. She’s making
the evening food but it’s going to be late again.
You have to go with the flow or make your own
meals. She’s a better cook that I am.
My son is in his bedroom playing bass.
I wonder if the frown lines he is developing
will ease. Will he let himself not be perfect?
I’ve not checked the daily figures for Covid
yet. I’ve stopped hoping for miracles
just sweat the small stuff, work up
the courage, talk to strangers again. I’m
a stranger too. Or stranger than I was. How
do you talk to people now? Use what
we’ve been reading or watching on Netflix
as the great levellers, the connecting blocks?
My daughter deconstructs the issues
of femininity being discussed on Tik Tok
and I wonder if I’m missing the main
conversations, losing myself in old ones.
But she’s happy to catch me up, if I’m
willing to listen and not stay with
the old binaries imposed on me and fight
new battles instead of wasting my meta-levels
on the old. It’s always circular, finding
the coding that has been left unheard
for decades. How wonderful it is
in all this grief to be reaching out
and reaching in. Which makes me think
of my friend who had brain surgery last week
for eight hours whilst he was still conscious
so they could check on how it was going.
He’s home now and says the head staples
are driving him crazy and I wonder, finally, if I
should redefine my use of the word
and look at the ways I take my mind off
the things that are scaring me. It’s all
life and death whichever way you look at it
and how you deal with people who don’t
care about yours. I can’t even bring myself
to mention the politicians and the billionaires
and what capitalism has made of our world.
I just want to love the people I love
and not feel so damn lonely.



Hannah Linden is widely published and awards include 1st prize in the Cafe Writers Poetry Competition 2021 and Highly Commended in the Poetry Wales Award 2021. Her pamphlet The Beautiful Open Sky is forthcoming with V. Press. She is working towards a full collection, Wolf Daughter, about the impact of parental suicide on children. Twitter: @hannahl1n