mother, why do you dress me as an old woman?

you rake my hair and put me in dangerous shoes
stick diamond twigs to my breast
and leave me at dances where I will look
the hostess does not look after me
I must talk to boys in paper suits
they wait by the pastry boats
and cannot kiss a girl without dribbling
my underwear aches
like you I am not the coupling type

twenty years later I have creeping regrets
thinking of those insubstantial boys
the alimony payments
the large castle attics
I could have disappeared in
their quiet asylums

how foolish I was to have scowled
and refused their vol au vents

mother you were absolutely right

Julia Darling

People sometimes ask where our press got it’s name from – here’s the answer. Rereading it now, I think it perhaps foreshadows Julia’s later use of houses or buildings as metaphor for the body. Also typical of Julia to reverse the received idea of the madwoman locked in the attic, welcoming ‘their quiet asylums’ where she could be creative and independent in peace and prosperity. Ellen

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