6pm Madeira

When I found out about the Tate Collective’s Open Call a week before the deadline I was like “PERFECT!”. Pressure, yes, but also the perfect amount of time to get something done without giving me timbers a chance to shiver.

The competition asked that you respond to one of ten featured works by the brilliant Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, known for the character work she does in her paintings. I chose her portrait titled ‘6pm Madeira’, which is now my poem’s title. Enjoy!


You call me over for 6pm Madeira

And I drop everything

like a hot baking tin

I had no business holding

bare-handed in the first place.

This time it’s

the deadline


dodge wig

young kids

STI that beacons me,

To the seat opposite your chair

To hear about why

You would call me over for 6pm Madeira

Back when everything was big,

Inflated to the corners of our wide eyes,

Blotting out our view of the distance

For just a few fickle years free from the burden

Of being long-sighted.

We laugh now

At how things have shrunk.

Your “fat” thighs

That hindsight has made true to size;

The men – whom you swore

You would never leave back then –

Have moulted into boys

Who couldn’t see you now,

Not even through a squint.

Those nights –

The ones we once hung over day’s edge

With a pick ‘n’ mix of borrowed lipstick

Popped corks and bouncers

That knew us by the bust –

Time has trimmed them down the sides

And left us little, bar when

You call me over for 6pm Madeira.


While writing this, I realised I had roses up in my room and a black and white stripy dress in my wardrobe. I mean… it would’ve been silly not to.


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin