24 Hours

(This is a poem I wrote after a lecture on Frank o Hara’s poetry, as part of my course. TW, Emotional Abuse from Foster Carers, Ableism)

24 Hours
By Heidi Street

I wake up, flung out of bed after realising that I do
actually have things to be getting on with today,
my room is absolute bombsite,
and there is a delivery due today, one that might just help me gradute…

I take my pill, a little white piece of liberation,
And begin to munch a slice of toast with some odd urgency, after all
I still have the tidying to do,
not to mention that there are the night before’s knickers on the floor

It is nearly time for my delivery, I’ve just had the telephone call,
a bit of a relief, considering that I do have other things to be doing
I clear a space on the desk,
show the delivery man in, so he can set up my salvation

The laptop is set up, the delivery man leaves,
I then log into Skype,
in order to talk to my beloved
who I shall not see (in the flesh, that is) until November at least

I know there is some talk I should attend,
but, how can one go to such things,
when free stuff is to be had
I scurry off, grabbing everything I can see

In twenty minutes, there is a workshop,
I shall be putting my skills to the test
in front of other, more talented folk
I know I shall surely fall a bit flat on my face

That wasn’t so bad!
That character my team created was actually pretty great!
but now I hurry back to my room,
I’ve got a laptop to befriend

Time to eat, I think to myself,
I haven’t eaten since 8am
so to my kitchen I must go,
To whip up bacon, beans and fried cheese, a wonderful delight

I sit down in front of a blank word document,
Imagining myself a misunderstood bohemian talent,
With flowing long hair and bright, shining eyes,
But, alas, Facebook awaits…

Oh, look, Jeremy Kyle
I do enjoy watching these people making idiots of themselves on television,
as they scream rude words and fight on stage,
almost like two bears in the baiting rings of old

My gosh, is that the time?
I have a party at the Student Union to prepare for!
I only have two hours to go,
Although half an hour late shouldn’t be that unacceptable?

I dry my hair, apply my makeup,
Thick, catlike eyeliner, lipstick the brightest scarlet
I smile into the mirror
Not bad, you sexy minx

Slipping on my heels and grabbing my bag,
I check myself in the mirror,
the rich vintage gown looks a treat
on my rather small looking hips

Sat at the bar,
my flatmate causing a stir,
looks like the Mr Collins has made an appearance,
I put my face into my hands, oh, goodness, he’s coming over!

On the dancefloor now, hot and sticky,
forget that holiday, the Student Union is the place to go,
with the sweaty, gyrating bodies
mingling passionately as the music pumps through the room

I’m slowing down now,
my feet actually really hurt,
how can people actually dance all night
I suddenly feel older than nineteen

It’s time to leave,
I feel relieved,
as my friends and I totter off home
we talk feminism, as the darkness swallows us into the night

I kick off my heels, peel off my tights,
it is such a relief to unzip my dress,
to put my nightgown over my head,
and fall straight into bed, asleep as soon as I hit the pillow

I toss and turn,
and in my dreams,
I see the woman I am most afraid of,
she reminds me that I am worthless, that people like me shouldn’t live like I do

I turn to her, and bluntly say
“It is no thanks to you, you hateful woman,
Who treated me like a slave,
for I am on to better things, I shall follow my dreams, whether you like it or not!”

She glares at me, hate in her eyes,
as she tells me that I am undeserving of anything better than servitude,
Autistic people should be nothing but cleaners and dustbin people, she retorts
How dare you try to pretend otherwise?

“It is because of you that I decided I wanted better than that”
I replied, “I got to this part of my life because I needed to escape,
from foster carers like you, who think because
our parents rejected us, that society should reject us too”

She screamed as the sun began to rise,
and I pushed her far into the light
so that she could burn in the fire of her own evil
I watched, feeling nothing but determination to succeed in my life

I wake up, flung out of bed after realising that I do
actually have things to be getting on with today,
my room is absolute bombsite,
and there is a poetry lecture today, one that might just help me gradute…


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