Royal Holloway Creative Writing Anthology 2012

Six Poems by Tara Mallon

My Sister Gave Me Her Umbrella

My sister gave me her umbrella
It’s ugly and she got it from her godmother.
It’s a hand-me-down from my smallest sibling.
More like a cast-off.
It never rains where she’s from.
But rains with me all the time.
She hands it to me like I should be pleased.
But it has no wrapping or ceremonious card.
It is a clothed insult.
She doesn’t see me often.
I quite enjoy the wetness of the rain.
I like the cold, damp feeling.
I love the sound when I’m tucked up in bed with him.
How it surrounds my flat, giving me the excuse to stay inside. Warm in his arms. Listening to the falling.
I can’t bear the thunder.
Striking angry.
I don’t want an umbrella. I like the taste of the drops in my mouth.
It would just weigh down my bag.
How can I predict the rain?
I will give my sister a pencil sharpener.



Where are you from?


I come from the laughter of my parents.
My Irish ancestry singing like the Sunday choir.
Wild ringlets of unruly hair.

I come from my childhood.
Cocooned within green gardens.
Dancing with fairies and making butterfly cakes.

I come holding hands with my sisters.
A trio, the one in the middle always protected. Me.
Sharing clothes, arguments, beds, the future.

I come from travelling.
I have lived here and there.
It gives me my tan skin and love of strangers.
I come with my hands wide open.
My mouth filled with questions.
I would kiss you on both cheeks.
I come with a past not wanted to be shaken.
But which sits in my bones.
My emotional blueprint.  

I have my English articulations and my boundless purple passport
which declares I am white British.
A ticket to an open invitation.


Where I am from defines me.


The words pronounced in my mind make me smile.
I say them with pride that is my home town, where I grew.
At 23 I have lived in 23 houses but if you asked where I was from I would say Marlow.
The name fills me with pleasure.
The cobbled road of the high street, the lush green trees of Higgi park where I spent hours feeding the ducks and running away from the swans.
Marlow is where the Mallons lived.
We had a monopoly over Marlow, I belonged to that community. 
Nobody has really heard of my hometown but it’s whispered like a secret,
The Narnia of the London commute.
A middle-class paradise.
On a weekday, you will see the Yummy Mummys hoarding their Starbucks and their prima ballerinas off to after school lessons, the old married couples dining on hot buttered crumpets and nostalgia, gangs of gangly teenage girls cooing over their iPhones.
Life happens together.
Everyone is always welcome, even when it pours the doors are not closed, we simply turn the heating up and share umbrellas.
To those who live there: Marlow shines.







It is dusk: the medium of sanity
trapped in stark water
luminous tenebrosity versus stark clarity
the slithering light saunters

The tidal crest breaks
leaving foaming bubbles, attracted, I
revolve amongst the waves
struggling to stare straight at the staid sky

You are the satellite that draws me away
the cerulean of my past
watching you causes me to sway
I am high, the attraction of the heat surpassed

Yet I feel the soft zephyr:
the illumination of possibility
indecision lasting forever
I oscillate between you and me

To dive and immerse into the expanse of
so easy and yet not free
the sun dissolved, the surface unclean
You silently cage my liberty

I dove before and I suffocated
my blood drowned by water
I lost my vision, my death was fated
No I will stay trapped in slack water

I no longer feel the weight
of your breath, forcing the tide
but I have found my voice lately.
Gently, like a smile, I’ll rise.




Limited Love

Brooding at twitter light,
Deluded by the dulcetly,
You conditioned my heart,

Made happiness a labyrinth.
Your ephemeral infatuation met by
My open opiate.

Lunar transparency
Enlightens my given submission.
Overwhelming ocean;

The lithe lilt of the wave
The ripple slowly, sumptuously, covered

My body. This pyrrhic union.
I lie.
Doubt of our dalliance was

Caused by this
Momentary moiety.
I exist in the offing,

An afterthought to the
between pleasing and receiving.

Woebegone tide.
My inured feet
cling to the sand again.




We both so
want to be together
That I ignore
your house stinks of cat piss
and stale cigarettes.
I want you to hold me
so I forget all the brutal insults
you have hurled at me,
intended to cut me
and make me weep.
I take your hand out
of your pocket
and clasp it.
The violence of our past
sits in the air
But we close our eyes:
focusing on the
hunger of our kisses.


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