autonomy in 8 parts

Yesterday began with the news that my poem autonomy in 8 parts had been published in the September issue of ‘A New Ulster‘.

With big thanks to editor Amos Greig for including me in the project, I feel very lucky to be featured alongside other great works and poets.

In essence the poem examines a recurring theme of mine, that of carving out a home in a new unfamiliar space, whilst navigating the inevitable social and economic tensions. It’s about trying to run from the past, whilst confronting the person you’ve become. Overall it explores the anxiety associate with feelings of validation and autonomy, in times of struggle and flux.

It seemed fitting that this particular work be featured in a Northern Irish journal, as it muses on movement across borders, and my own memories of childhood in Inishowen.

The thin film of ‘making it work’ over your eyes.
The ‘just for now’s keeping you off the up highs.
Independence is disappointment,
that of staying up all night.
Admitting that you hardly know home sickness,
is this what it means to live your best life?

You emerge, blistered survivor of a small-town hive.
Independence is limbo:
double down, be quick to deny.
What would you say to yourself then, if you could?
Not to dwell? To take heed?
You’ve built your own life now, minus mouths to feed.

You can read the full PDF issue here

And you will know that you’re just the mesh caught in the zip,
screaming for more in the system designed to digest
but you’re still expected to work and smirk,
make a to-do list, make your art and passions a pastime.
Independence is productivity, and mental health is inconvenient
say it again and again and again until you believe it.

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