June 23-29, 2014: Chloe Viner and Shirley Bell

Chloe Viner and Shirley Bell

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Chloe Viner

Bio (auto)

Chloe Viner’s chapbook Naked Under an Umbrella was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. She currently lives in South Royalton, Vermont with her husband, Shane and their rescue cat, Milo.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Chloe Viner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Own Worst Enemy

Plaster on the wall
covers up the spot where we used to aim
all of our cigarette smoke
as we plucked feathers from the couch cushions
and listened to Football
on the TV we got at the dump
rescued from a life in a landfill
like us.

Playing tic tac toe
on an old phone book
while a mouse eases its’ way towards the coffee table
Wanting to know
what happens next?

We curl into the fetal position and
try to remember what it felt like
to lust or love
or engage.

I pick up the old rusty trophy on the cobweb ridden mantel
and try to recall the foreign taste of ambition
you pick up your sneakers from the carpet
and toss them into the tub
so the mud won’t get everywhere
but both of us know
that dirt clings to this apartment the way
that failure clings
to us.

We paste photos on the walls
and pretend they are windows into
our futures
nothing comes to change us
so we stay
immobile and crumble
with the walls
of this place.


Shirley Bell

Bio (auto)

Shirley Bell lives near Boston, Lincolnshire in the English fens. Substantial selections of her poetry were published by Faber and Faber in Poetry Introduction 6, in Six, the Versewagon Poetry Manual, and in Anvil New Poets. Her work also appeared in a pamphlet published by The Wide Skirt and in magazines including Ambit, Poetry Review, The London Magazine, The Spectator and many others, most recently The Rialto and The North. In 2013 a pamphlet, ‘behind the glass’, was published as part of her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln and she has also collected together a selection of poems from her blog, dealing with her husband’s wait for heart surgery, in Poetry of Hospitals and Waiting Rooms (sold in aid of the British Heart foundation), both published by Lulu for her own redplantpress. Visit Shirley on the web here: http://shirleybellblog.wordpress.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Shirley Bell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Daughter Says That When I’m Dead
She’ll Show Her Kids This Picture and They’ll Know Me.

I’m encased in ivory faille, high necked, long sleeved, severe.
It’s a kind of armour to protect me from the fear of falling, failing,
or of you failing to appear. I thought it would be less than this.
Dried flowers, witnesses pulled in from their everydays to ours,
a registrar, looking at his watch. Unfortunately your mum wants
more. Late born, her twinned afterthought, she has standards
for you but my dad’s dead and it’s we who foot this bill.

We’re ruthless and we cull the relatives: cheerfully eliminating
aunties, cousins, children under three, which went down
well. I hire the dress; that’s cheap. I dress my bridesmaids up
in nighties.(Long, quite pretty, sprigged with flowers on navy blue
and I don’t think that they knew). Practical, you always are, you
wear an ordinary suit. For everyday. The gale has flung my veil
across my face, daffodils are lurching, the dress and I are hurtling

to the porch. The choir is singing just for us. Later I learn your mum
has spent the journey down spotting crematoria and graveyards.
Over chicken, your dad gives me the gift of how much
he had disliked me when we met, but now I am OK. I’m not that
grateful. In this photograph I’m back in normal clothes again.
I’m looking at you with a minxy grin.We’re off to Paris. Hah! Later
I Photoshop my auntie out and my son says that it is rather Stalinist.


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