Friday Poem – ‘43. When I open my ribs’ by Kim Moore

To celebrate her collection All The Men I Never Married being shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best Collection, this week’s Friday Poem is ‘43. When I open my ribs’ by Kim Moore.

This cover shows a collage image of the figure of a man made up of tiny pictures of nature. He is against a black background surrounded by butterflies. The text reads: All The Men I Never Married Kim Moore

Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection All The Men I Never Married is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

“All the Men I Never Married is a work of immense focus, intelligence and integrity.” – The Yorkshire Times

43.
When I open my ribs a dragon flies out
and when I open my mouth a sheep trots out
and when I open my eyes silverfish crawl out
and make for a place that’s not mine.
When I open my fists two skylarks soar out
and when I open my legs a horse gallops out
and when I open my heart a wolf slips out
and watches from beneath the trees.
When I open my arms a hare jumps out
and when I show you my wrists a shadow cries out
and when I fall to my knees
a tiger stalks out and will not answer to me.
Now that the beasts that lived in my chest
have turned tail and fled, now that I’m open
and the sky has come in and left me
with nothing but space, now that I’m ready
to lie like a cross and wait for the ghost
of him to float clear away, will my wild things
come back, will the horse of my legs
and the dragon of my ribs, and the gentle sheep
which lived in my throat and the silverfish
of my eyes and the skylarks of my hands
and the wolf of my heart, will they all come back
and live here again, now that he’s left,
now I’ve said the word whisper it rape,
now I’ve said the word whisper it shame,
will my true ones, my wild, my truth,
will my wild come back to me again?

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

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Catch Kim at the Seren Cardiff Poetry Festival on the 30th July! She’ll be taking part in a session on Poetry & Empowerment and discussing The Result is What You See Today, an anthology about running which she co-edited with Paul Deaton and Ben Wilkinson. See the full programme and buy tickets at cardiffpoetryfestival.com. All our in person events are also being streamed online.

Friday Poem – ‘21. When he tells me I’m not allowed’ by Kim Moore

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘21. When he tells me I’m not allowed’ by Kim Moore from All The Men I Never Married.

The cover of All The Men I Never Married shows a collage of a man made up of small images of nature - butterflies, flowers, leaves

Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection All The Men I Never Married is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

21.
When he tells me I’m not allowed to play with cars
because I’m a girl, I bring his arm up to my mouth
and bite. I’m sent to the Wendy House to pretend
to be good. Blank-faced dolls stare up at me.
Pretend oven filled with plastic fish-fingers.
Pretend windows with flowery curtains
sewn by someone else’s mother. Pretend hoover,
pretend washing machine. Pretend teapots
and tea-set. I watch through a gap in the wall
as my teacher sits in her chair, crossing her legs
in the way she told us only yesterday
we should copy. Be ladylike she said.
Stop showing your knickers. I’m burning in here
as she calls the class to order, waits for them
to cross their legs and settle. I long to sit
at her feet, listen to all the old stories
of sleeping women who wait to be rescued.
The book is a bird, its wings held tight in her hands.
She bends the cover back so the spine cracks,
balances it on one palm, turns to me and tells me
turn around, at once, face the wall.

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Create your free Seren account and enjoy 20% off every book you buy direct from us.

Friday Poem – ‘6. That a man approached you in a nightclub’ by Kim Moore

This week’s Friday Poem is ‘6. That a man approached you in a nightclub’ by Kim Moore from her new collection All The Men I Never Married.

This cover shows a collage of small nature images to make up the pink body of a man again a black background.

All The Men I Never Married, Kim Moore’s eagerly awaited second collection, is pointedly feminist, challenging and keenly aware of the contradictions and complexities of desire. The 48 numbered poems take us through a gallery of exes and significant others where we encounter rage, pain, guilt, and love.

6.

That a man approached you in a nightclub.
That you were polite at first, then turned your back.
That he insisted on giving you his number.
That you put it in your pocket.
That you danced with your friend all night.
That he stood and watched.
That you were drinking tequila.
That you licked salt from the back of your hand.
That he was waiting outside.
That he grabbed your arm and spun you round.
That you snapped.
That you’ve always had a temper.
That you were not afraid.
That you swung your fist and clipped his jaw.
That he kicked you between the legs.
That he shouted I will end you.
That you fell to the pavement.
That he tried to kick you again.
That a bouncer came and held him back.
That he shouted I will end you, I will end you, I will end you. 
That the police were called.
That he vanished into the night.
That you were taken to the station.
That he turned up with his lawyer.
That he turned up with his father.
That you still hadn’t sobered up.
That he was smirking.
That it was fresher’s week.
That you were in pain.
That it was hard to explain about his number in your pocket. That now you were afraid.
That you were advised not to press charges.
That you hit him first.
That this all happened many years ago.
That you laugh about it now.
That you say well, I shouldn’t have hit him.
That I both agree and disagree with this statement.
That being our bodies in public is a dangerous thing.
That being in public is a dangerous thing.
That our bodies are dangerous things.

All The Men I Never Married is available on the Seren website: £9.99

Join us for the hybrid launch of All The Men I Never Married on Friday 15th October. The in person event at Castle Green Hotel in Kendal will be streamed live online. Register through Eventbrite here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/172062632967. Registration for in person tickets closes at 4pm today (8 Oct).

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