The Great Big Green Week Day Two
Looking out, staring faces
captivity’s audience, agast:
we’re animals, trapped
outside a burning forest,
water rising: species floundering,
engendered everything, is lost.
Every cliché force-fed
believed; ignorant genus
perfect square moments
keep feeding, retaking
minds blurring, words extinct
brains full of sand.
memory’s faulted, abstains;
I cannot remember
better day out
who’s trapped in this cage?
staring at victims
behold selfish need
own one, hashtag shot.
Whilst behind huddled mass
You’re a whizzer,
a sonic swoosher,
an air slicer,
a low-flying bird dicer,
an H2O ricer.
You’re a ghostly, three-armed angel
standing at the gateway to the cloud kingdom.
You’re waving, we’re drowning.
You’re a trio of eyebrows – all frowning.
You’re a kinetic, kite-sifting light,
a robot soldier in the sustainability fight.
You’re a thin man with a fat plan,
a small plug in a big dam.
You’re a vibrating, vertical battering ram.
Armed, farmed and sometimes alarmed,
you’re a three-headed snake, already charmed.
You’re a flower power tower,
an eco wower,
weaving electricity streamers
for ideological dreamers.
You’re a ghost ship made of air,
a beleaguered beacon of NIMBY despair,
a dangerous place for drying underwear.
You’re proof we care.
You’re propellers without planes,
the champions of change,
both comforting and strange,
moving with magnetic grace
across the Earth’s frenetic face.
You’re a semaphore warning, seen from space,
sent to save the human race,
like a match is sent to save the dark.
You’re hope’s art,
an apple put back in an empty apple cart,
a sail on the all new Noah’s Ark,
a piece of Sellotape on a world
torn clean apart.
You stop my heart.
You start my heart.
You stop my heart.
You start my heart.
You’re clock hands on a ticking planet.
The breakdown man said
he had to pull a £50k Mercedes
out of the flood yesterday.
They just drive into it ,
expecting it to part like the Red Sea,
Bluetooth glinting off the storm surge,
King Canute in cufflinks,
an entitled Icarus with waxed wing mirrors,
scoffing at the locusts in Africa,
the burning bush kangaroos in Australia,
as if nature was something
that happened to other people,
the UK now a polluted pond of bewilderment,
full of fat frogs who should have seen it coming.
I don’t like to tell people bad news,
but his car was a write-off, he said.
Grim satisfaction and compassion
warred with his top lip.
He had just loaded my Clio
onto the back of his van.
My wipers scraped across the screen,
like petrified eyebrows.
They just gave up in the storm,
dragging their heels across my vision,
until everything was spots
and streams and frothing glass,
like the future was not worth seeing.
I sat up front and stared out the window.
He had jazz on low.
Water pooled excitedly along the roadside,
a billion expectant royalists
waiting for the Queen’s tsunami,
a torrential ticker tape parade.
He wanted me to hook him up,
tow him back to the garage, he said,
but the water was over his bonnet
and I’m only on minimum wage.
I’m not getting up to my knackers in that,
just because this guy’s a…
He didn’t say twat –¬¬¬
he was too professional –¬¬¬
but we both thought it.
I imagined the three-pointed star
on the nose of his car
winking like a 50p in a puddle,
an emblem which once stood for
no better than the flag on the Titanic.
It’s not going to be peaceful rebellion, is it?
We aren’t going to fade into the end of days,
but sink into soggy despair.
A perpetual camping holiday from the 1980s,
forever trying to do a three-point turn
in a cul-de-sac with a trailer tent
in the rain.
Miserable, wet, eating cold tomato soup
around burning oil cans.
Relying on the kindness of neighbours
and the Green Flag man,
who earns less in a year
than Mr. Mercedes earns in a month.
It’s the people on the ground in the waders
who are going to have to save us,
over and over and over again.
His engine must have flooded –¬¬¬
the electric’s poached,
the brown water lapping
the cream leather interior,
reclaiming the carcass of consumerism.
I am still a God, he thought,
as he sat waist deep in cow diarrhoea.
Bios And Links
is a poet, artist and ideas weaver who plunders the vast caverns and dormant volcanoes of the human and planetary condition. A Radio 4 Slam winner, a former Bard of Exeter, host of The Rainbow Fish Speakeasy and of The Hip Yak Poetry Shack. Liv runs the poetry stage at WOMAD, the Hip Yak Poetry School and the lockdown haiku and photography project, Haiflu – as featured on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme.
In 2019 her climate change in the face of motherhood poem The Human Emergency went viral and she performed at Glastonbury Festival and represented Somerset for the BBC’s National Poetry Day celebrations. In 2020 she was chosen as one of four Siren Poets by Cape Farewell for a commission on climate change in the time of COVID and for the BBC’s Make a Difference campaign.
Her books include Show Me Life (2015) and The Human Emergency (2021)
Find out more www.livtorc.co.uk
[she/they] is 54, bisexual and married with two children: they have suffered anxiety for all of their life, and started telling stories as a ten-year-old in order to help them cope. Now, they write and record poetry, short stories and episodic fiction, whilst dissecting their unique creative process using both video and audio as the means to continue coping.
A considerable lived experience of mental health issues, a passion for niche arts and media and an undimmed enthusiasm for environmentalism combine, to allow creativity to emerge, and new stories and projects to be created. They love to experiment and push creative boundaries, and gain a huge amount of motivation and inspiration from talking about both the journey and continued evolution as a creative.
After winning a Poetry Society members’ contest (and reading that piece at the Poetry Café in Covent Garden) they attended the inaugural Mslexicon in 2019, chosen as their first ever participative literary event. In that same year they wrote 24 poems about their home town for the Places of Poetry online initiative, one of which is included in the official anthology published for National Poetry Day in October 2020 and subsequently reproduced by the Sunday Telegraph.
Their work has appeared in the Flights / Quarterly ejournal, Green Ink Poetry and has been published by Black Bough Poetry, and they are a regular participant in an increasing number of Zoom Open Mics, including the monthly event at Wordsworth Grasmere. They have self-published their own poetry chapbook, and have read poetry at the Essex Book Festival.