Sue Burge: In Which I half-Hearted Aspire to Become an Urban Guerrilla or Rural Diva

The post has been, a small boxy pulsing thing and some fliers in languages I don’t speak. I am thick with flu, dressing-gown crusty with winter; I blear my way through a Japanese DVD “5cm a second” – this is the rate at which cherry blossoms fall. I drift and doze and dream my mum’s alive again. She is a character in a David Lynch movie.

What can I write in this city of widows? I shake my spray-can and hieroglyph the sound of the wings of two trapped butterflies. I tag your cheeks while you sleep. When you turn in the night, dream of me as you press one-syllable haiku on your pillows, sheets, lovers.

The cuckoos are returning, I can sense them in the air. Even the roadkill is different today, staring back with alien eyes. I dig up old bulbs, blind, bald, unable to blink in the sunlight, then swim long laps of crawl at the local pool. No-one else sees the wolverine lying face upwards at the bottom of the deep end. I wave but the lifeguard in a fox mask has no slits for his eyes.

When I surface there are Bob Dylan songs in black and white and a voice speaking backwards on a street going forwards. Poundland, Primark, Lidl. A penny on the pavement. A burst pigeon in the gutter. There’s a dog with the face of Jerry Garcia. A raw meat sky.

Sue Burge


Sue Burge is a freelance creative writing tutor, mentor and editor based in North Norfolk, UK.  Sue’s poems have been published in a wide range of journals and have also featured in themed anthologies on science fiction, modern Gothic, illness, Britishness, endangered birds, WWI and the ongoing pandemic.  Her four poetry collections are: In the Kingdom of Shadows and Confetti Dancers (Live Canon), Lumière and The Saltwater Diaries  (Hedgehog Poetry Press).  She is currently working on her next full collection which explores the world of the alter ego she left behind in Paris three decades ago.  Her collection of eco-poetry, watch it slowly fade, is forthcoming with Hedgehog Poetry Press.  

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