Coetzee’s Foe

A poem by APRIL MARIE DAWSON, featured in the UCLU BME poetry collection Word Out. 

Muses are only ever women –
perhaps that is why my pen is fumbled,
fallen – lips ink-splotched; paper,
though always Ozymandian, ink-
kissed, weeping and crinkled like

Don’t worry, I’m done making
you feel like I can’t be without women.
this isn’t about sex. Of course, all
things are, but I found you in my head
before I found you in my bed,
rolled into your pointy shoulders
and rational thought
on my (memory-foam hurts my neck) pillow.

I had fear. Men have made homes in me before.
At ten, I had to scrub their searching silver-trail
marks from my school uniform.
But soon I had to dig at
puckered holes – for they’d burrow,
into my soft and warm places,
into my warm and soft places.
They taught my sex to bleed.

You, however, make complete sense, so
shake your misplaced apprehension:
your cool and temperate cooled my temperatures
– though, I swelter smelt and become inconstant
in my underground furnace – burnt matter soon
forgets its form becomes dust on breezes,
finding paths into

(‘sorry, I ashed you’).

Never again.
– don’t worry, that wasn’t my point,
rather, I’ve become profane – a negative,
so much less than I was and I am
muse-less. You have big eyes and soft skin
and thick hair, you are lovely but I am
muse-less. You are beautiful, you are perfect,
you are all I’d have you be but I remain



Copies of the Word Out poetry collection can be bought on the UCLU website: http://uclu.org/product/word-out-poetry-collection