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
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.