suburban town s t r e t c h ing - a poem by lyds

"hometowns are supposed to mould you into what you / aren’t yet but mine’s a bored, placid mother; / an opponent. / a valley of clean bones"


here, buses frequent every 30 minutes &

years pass by looking out of windows.

eyes, voices & ideas don’t rise in this hueless place,

we keep them down.

where i was born, waters stay at ankle length.

black kids drown in their duvets;

a diaspora that doesn’t move.

roads are thin and untraveled. we tread gracelessly,

colliding with selves we can’t be at school.

hometowns are supposed to mould you into what you

aren’t yet but mine’s a bored, placid mother;

an opponent.

a valley of clean bones.

you leave and hometown becomes over-there.

the city & its version of you become your favourite

clothes; makes you proud to mention street names.

you speak of over-there in rust.

you swirl your new postcode ‘round your teeth & try wash it down

but it lodges.

city’s are indifferent and don’t recognise you;

has hometowns others can’t outrun — for similar

reasons, for different ones.

place & changing place just stops working.

you are swept into black water.

memories of here & there become leaky,

dripping from eyes and off the chin.

no matter where you are,

they drip from eye and off the chin like a lake.

you cannot sleep them off.

here & there becomes nowhere;

a seven mile journey with no landmarks.

even your family’s warmth doesn’t rupture this cold.

search for home becomes an endless black hole,

an incubus of despondence

until your body says:

“enough! be at one with your beating blood”


lyds is a writer & poet who predicates her work on radical honesty, vulnerability and self expression. see what she’s up to on insta/twitter: @lydiahenriettao

image courtesy of Rebecca West