looks so pretty to watch, I know,
twirling and spinning through space
you gasp as I fly through the air.
you applaud my immaculate plies.
exist for your amusement.
you don’t see is this –
I take off my shoes,
calluses gnarled and hardened
blossom upon my feet,
years and years of training it took me
get to this level.
am humble, of course, and modest.
do my duty without complaint.
was raised for this – almost an acrobat,
delicate girl, fragile, even,
a flower, then a lily.
I exploited my looks, just a little,
get me where I am today.
deal – who didn’t?
are nasty rumours in circulation,
blow-jobs I gave, palms I crossed with my father’s
order to make it into the Royal Ballet.
am as innocent as snow,
to be filled with other people’s desires and fears and
me spin, my smile like rigor mortis,
face set in plaster, like a saint,
an angel, only to eager to serve,
lap it up and afterwards,
sit in the green room,
tired feet in a bucket of ice,
ringing in my ears.
the ghost of me attended
own exhibition at the Tate Modern.
those paintings on display,
ones that I laboured over for so long.
sickening part was the merchandise.
mugs, calendars, prints, clocks –
with either me or one of my paintings thereupon.
making a pretty packet –
during my lifetime, I was as poor as a church mouse,
hand to mouth.
least I have achieved a form of immortality.
hang on many walls.
ever seems to bear in mind,
price I paid during my lifetime;
nerves of steel –
Byron Gets the Blues
called me all sorts of names. Crippled, lame, weak - a
was my weapon, my revenge, my gleaming sword.
made our mark – me and my corrective boot,
footsteps through the London streets, stomp,
slammed down upon the page – wham
wham wham. One
after another, like gun shots.
all died away; it’s me who is immortal, studied on
university courses and what not,
words echoing down through the ages.
were rumours, of course, there always are –
bandied about they stuck their shame onto me.
stomp, stomp –here
I come with my club foot, my heavy tread,
down literature’s main corridor, thumping on the walls and
the doors – let
they did, eventually, but by then it was too late – what I
wanted was to get out, exile.
never asked for fame, it just found me.
the lynch mob, I hunkered down in Lake Geneva.
wasn’t paranoia – they really were
I, I found a safe place, and continued my writings from there.
always hate men like me; eighty years later it was Oscar Wilde
who received the same treatment.
we inspire, not fear and hatred, but admiration – what a
you, O humans, for all you put me through -
making of a genius, the modelling of a man.