This poem was written on the train journey home to Preston from Durham, which cuts through a lot of old run-down mills whose industrialisation once supported the northern economy. As I passed through, I saw images of how run-down such an important part of the northern industry has become, which reminded me remarkably of a past relationship and how worn down that part of myself became. In the same way the north perceives the hard hours of the mill industry with effervescent nostalgia, I reflected on the bittersweet time of being in a relationship which no longer was any good for me. As a northern girl, the oppression experienced by workers is heavily woven in my day-to-day life and really resonated with me as a metaphor for some of the experiences I’ve had in my personal life.
Hurtling along tracks
Passing the old northern mills
In their various states of decomposition.
All smashed windows, rust and rot
Protruding unstable from the gruesome hills
Like rotten teeth against a rolling landscape
I’m getting closer to home
This song makes me think of some not quite forgotten time
The days gone by.
I do not ever want to go back.
But I like thinking of how awful we were
This land feels like its decaying
In the same way we did
The rebellion, the violence, the fits of passionate rage.
The rotting of the north makes me think of you
And in a sick masochistic way
I love the awfulness
We were vile
We were filthy
I do not forgive you
And I do not miss you
But I miss her
Sometimes at least I miss
Her, or me, who I once was
She was entwined into the decomposition
unbridled and impoverished
rolling sky high.
Oh, she was going nowhere but looked good doing it
nobody hates me anymore.
sometimes I miss the venom in her glare
the skin and bone
skirts too short
gasping for air, for feeling, for release
I think it’s just this song
But the nihilism.
it was so delicious
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons released for public domain.