Blanket Sea

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Collage by Chloe Erin

i.
when you give over
your individual beauty, suppress your
stride, battle flesh and lose
you murder a part of me

 

ii.
spare a thought for girls – we
get our story questioned and
anxiety over whether our imposter syndrome is worth it
for the final moments of verdict

it’s lonely
there’s nobody

 

iii.
you’re there but not wanted
to share
the good and bad?
bottle it!

i look a bit lost
i think i’ve lost enough
i’m left a failed has been
walking performer

 

iiii.
forever
wait
sing
we are everything

 

Artist’s Statement

I love to write poetry about who I am, but when it comes to neurodiversity often words fall short, so I thought I’d lend the text from elsewhere to build these poems. They are about how difficult it can be to get diagnosed or taken seriously as an autistic woman or femme-aligned person (as I am), and how we are often told to be quiet, to keep things inside, to normalise ourselves and act accordingly. These feelings also intersect with my understanding of being a genderqueer lesbian—it’s not so much just about being neurodiverse in particular, but navigating the world as a queer disabled person people assume is a woman.

 

 

Chloe Erin (she/they) is a depressed disaster dyke currently residing in Cardiff. They make poems about mental illness, social justice and politics, being queer and autistic, loving their wife and a myriad of other things. Follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

Poetry by Jennifer Ruth Jackson

Listen to Jennifer Ruth Jackson read her poems.

 

Thoracotomy in Eden

Indentation in my chest, I’m sew(n) together now.
Did you see the surgeon saw my rib in half?
Where is the missing piece? Could I have a funeral
or wake of ash when not under anesthesia?

I wish I could carve runes in the bone, a story
carried deep, and summon Eve who will love me
more than Adam because I’ll give her agency
and apples and all the pretty red things I possess —

like the four-inch scar on my chest I dedicate to her.

 

Bedbound

A film of soreness settles onto my skin (absorbs) reels into my neck and head. I watch fan blades blur into the ceiling as ache arches through my system. I’m having a dream of agony with open eyes and clenched teeth. My body mingles with my sheets and leaves impressions. Leaves outside my window are falling, falling. Sky crashes through my roof and dances on my scalp. Me, Atlas-hat askew, avoids the glare of sunlight heating my angry bones like copper coils. Chronic: This pain-filled horizon is forever. I bury myself in piles of blankets and scream for release until a flock of mother birds alight on a power line across the street and sing me into uneasy rest. Winged notes carry me from myself.

 

 

Jennifer Ruth Jackson is an award-winning poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Red Earth Review, Banshee, and more. She runs a blog for disabled and neurodivergent creatives called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @jenruthjackson.

Poetry by Moni Brar

Listen to “The Swell” and “21 Things My Illness is Not,” read by The Blanket Sea Team.

 

The Swell

my thoughts
+++gather and swell
as days slink, snake
+++one into the other

they bulge, take shape
+++like balloon animals
a quivering panda
+++a righteous lion

they dance
+++in a circus ring
in the middle
+++of my living room

chase each other in circles
+++with abandon
gain speed
+++eventually land

at my feet
+++deflated
while the treetops
+++framed by a window

drag my eyes upwards
+++to watch a smudged sunset,
a blue moon
+++my hands run

through a blanket
+++of memories
pluck the forgotten,
+++clutch the ripest

my body remembers
+++bare toes of childhood
sinking into the comfort of clover,
+++a face open to anything

 

21 Things My Illness is Not

a phase
+++a choice
++++++an inconvenience
a ruse
+++a hoax
++++++an expense
a curse
+++an excuse
++++++temporary
a blip
+++bad luck
++++++a defense
a stunt
+++an option
++++++an embarrassment
a shame
+++a pity
++++++a liability
drama
+++baggage
++++++just a figment of my imagination

 

 

Born in northern India, Moni Brar now lives on unsurrendered territories of the Treaty 7 region and Syilx Okanagan Nation. Her writing explores the interrelation of time, place and identity in the immigrant experience, diasporan guilt, intergenerational trauma, and colonization. She believes art contains the possibility of healing. Her work appears in PRISM, Passages NorthHobart, Vallum, Existere, and others.

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