Marion Michell


(listen to the poem, read by the author)

when breath sprawls next to you
in long sinewy strings
you know your body is straining.

what you take for decorum,
are bored by, chest rising, falling,
rising, falling; what you neglect,

drunk on technicolour dreams
of skipping out the door,
encounters, speech in dazzling tongues;

what you don’t see, forever pining:
how body labours,
steady as an old love.


(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Red letter days are those with room for conversation.
You gush in half-remembered, rampant tongues;
hush falls before the need is gone.
Just time to carve an ear into the ground,
and while fatigue declares she’s won another round,
the joys you stumbled on fan out in quiet jubilation.


(listen to the poem, read by the author)

Had a run-in with time and lay in the car, stiff as a bell’s tongue, and just as mute. Pain in aspiration stage – still hoping I’ll hurl myself against walls, eager to chime.

After a blurry episode give looking another go. Burgess Park is not itself right now: tiny, lifeless, the green of grass and foliage moulded in the same garish tones. Clouds, birds, a plastic sun, tacked on a smudge of blue. We too minuscule and stuck mid-move in a scale-model some architect should have improved.

Bed, at long last. Limbs scattered like mikado sticks; palms so painful they seem large as cities. Must have crashed across the continent, one hand throbbing in Rejkjavik, the other limp in the Aegean Sea. Each crumple in my sheet a mountain ridge or carved out canyon, nuzzling the gash of me. A chore to breathe.

Days shivering in sleety weather zones. I pine for hot. PEMalaise me not!

* ‘Hues’ originally appeared in a slightly different version, titled ‘Chime’, as part of Moments and Fragments. An online anthology, published by Translating Chronic Pain: A Critical and Creative Research Network (based at Lancaster University).

About the Author

Marion Michell is a London-based visual artist, blogger, writer. She has severe M.E. and P.O.T.S., and for years created in the supine. Crafting in the homestead ground to a halt when worsening health leaked function from clever hands. She now pours her art into writing. In December 2016 her book SUPINELY SUBLIMELY (poetic prose) was published by Palewell Press.  Art:

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