Mam irons everything,
the day after washing
in front of the Westerns.
Her hand steady in the Nevada sun,
while men meet their end with one slow trickle
of blood from the corner of rusted spur lips.
(Takes a cold soak in salt to get out.)
I draw faces on collected dolly pegs,
lank knots of hair, and felt eyes that will run,
as she glides over yesterwear.
Folds the cooling heat of unworn tomorrows,
doesn't like cooking, coz it only get ate.
Mam keeps ironing, right the way through
black hats shot off like ping pong,
and when Calamity Jane changed,
to cut stray thread from gingham curtains
with a mule-skinned hunters knife, she just keeps going.
Hand towels, socks pressed in steam
ghosts of dancing feet exorcised flat.
Mam with her blacksmith hand,
only says "Come back Shane" as a halo haired man rides to his end.
Nostrils steaming, down the front of jeans,
hot indignation breathed into every crease.
Mam's on telly spit on the flat,
Tuesday faced watch their liquid
sizzle to nothing to check the heat.
Mine tuts, dial turned up
to the picture of a beaming sun.
Mam surfs to corsets
as the saloon dame dies like always,
and the reformed cowgirl gets her man,
folds her board till the colours
says she always likes a happy ending.
Angela Readman's Colours/Colors was published by Diamond Twig in 2001, followed by an appearance in Unholy Trinity (published by Iron Press), a trilogy of NE female poets. She has been involved in various writing projects including posters for the metro, a comission to write poetry with music, editing Newcastle Stories and an exchange with poets in South West Finland and the North East of England. In 2004 she won the Biscuit competition, resulting in the publication of her latest works Sex with Elvis.
She says her mam will be chuffed to bits that the above poem had been selected for Poem of the Month, though she hasn't shown it too her mother yet (who tends to be disappointed by the amount of bad language in her work, and the fact that it doesn't rhyme!)
More recent news from Angela, and another Poem of the Month: The Combustible Woman.
Follow the link for a list of other Poems of the Month.
Mam and the Cowboys © 2005 Angela Readman: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.