A poem written after watching ‘Domestic Labour: a Study in Love’.
I saw old fashioned sharp angled pastel coloured hoovers
Cradled and slung over shoulders and pushed forward ready to clean.
Pop! goes one hoover and an old tyre explodes
Hoovers are pointed like guns.
There are whisks and cafetieres on helmets on heads
An arsenal here. How does housework advance?
There’s plenty of awkward bending and switching,
Switching and bending. Watch out for those wires.
There are guaranteed interruptions
With the on switch and the off switch.
Women who can’t talk to each other or look at each other stand up
Fall down, dash, chase, rest on their backs and watch their feet do a little dance
Postures of children and babies break to a heroic stand in goggles by a bike.
There’s valiant pedalling. Pan and radiator clamp the bike into stillness.
With such grasping appliances, there’s no getting anywhere.
I hear snatches of tales told in the flattest of cadences:
The wrong restaurant in Spain
The slapping of a woman by a policeman in Iran, the sighting of a demonstration on a bus in London,
The rescue of a frog by a dad, the buying of a white bike.
Shorn experiences die amidst the paraphernalia of wire and machine.
Later, a kneeling woman cradles a television.
Now Joan Crawford commands me. Gosh that lipstick is red!
In a white dress by a tiny piano with a bright brown backdrop I hear her say
‘You can’t make me marshall.’
Is the dialogue of film the best line?
A wondrous moment! All the dust from the hoover is blown upwards catching the light in a golden cloud!
It lands on the faces of the women below and they don’t wipe it off!
I am pleased to hear their breathing through the megaphones.
Get curious and find out their names. Blood and temper of life will flood back. Get furious.