Image by Richard Henson

Introducing that Most Marvellous Human Freak, the Bearded Lady Miss Lupin

Clare Pollard


Introducing that Most Marvellous Human Freak, the Bearded Lady Miss Lupin

Clare Pollard


Introducing that Most Marvellous Human Freak, the Bearded Lady Miss Lupin

Introducing that Most Marvellous Human Freak, the Bearded Lady Miss Lupin

So here you are, sir,
in the shadow of the tilt,
the tented dark,

done with the stick and rag show:
the dizzying plinky-plonk galloper tunes,
the popcorn, piranhas & pin-heads,

the Half-Woman - a bust on her pedestal -
the mule-face who brays in his booth,
the Aethiop savage girl white as your wife,

and here I am,
wonder of wonders!
You look nervous, sir.

Is it the mewl of the tyger?
He's harmless, toothless.
The Bird-headed lady only squawks

for the Skeleton Man -
whose heart at last ate of itself -
& the grind shows are shutting,

the last thieves shushing
those foolish enough to be out.
So come on, closer:

trace the fur of my face,
moist at the mouth, pink lips,
the string-of-pearls teeth -

it's softer than sawdust,
softer than wolves,
a tangle to tug.

You will yearn to be butterfly-netted,
clamber its rope, part it
& sink in to drink,

& there's no whalebone stay
beneath this dress
to make me shit blood like your missus,

no, sir, just pelt:
its beast wagon scent,
a thick coat that needs tonguing clean.

I have watched many times
how desire contorts men -
how they tattoo my name down their spines,

how they flail on their nail-beds,
gulp fire, swallow swords;
how they make those sounds that are not words.

How I'll make the suit and snuff,
the ledgers and the way you pass the port -
all your life - feel like a ghost walk.

Some say we are clairvoyant,
saints or witches.
I say we make you want what you most fear -

if he is she, if wrong feels right,
then what are you, sir?
My fellow freak, come kiss this beard. Here.


unpublished poem, © Clare Pollard 2009, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

Clare Pollard Reading from her poems

1The Heavy-Petting Zoo

2The Bridesmaid

3Breakfast Poem

4Still Life

5Fears of a Hypochondriac Insomniac

6Buying Manhattan

7Posing for Dante Gabriel Rossetti

8To Undefine

9Fantasy Dinner Party

10And Desire Shall Fail

11Mission Beach

12To Depression

13To Christchurch

14The Chain

15The Bad News

16Notes to Self

17For my Fiancé

18For the Other Ones

19For my Future Daughter

20Cordelia at the Service Stop

21Tam Lin's Wife

22The Panther

23Pendle

24Waiting for the Kettle to Boil, Lancashire

25October Roses

26The Skulls of Dalston

27First Sunflowers

28Introducing that Most Marvellous Human Freak, the Bearded Lady Miss Lupin

29The Two Ravens

30The Wood

31The Caravan

Books & cds by Clare Pollard