I wrote Shower in the shower. Or at least, all the major pieces. The opening and ending verses I was singing to myself 8am on New Year’s Day, sleepless and for some reason insanely optimistic.
I tapped it into a word document when I got home and forgot about for three months, around which time Mum said something to me and one thing led to another…
What Mum said to me had been in Thai, and the Thai language translated literally has a lot of water imagery. For example, ‘kindness’ or ‘compassion’ would be ‘water of the heart’. So that stuck, as did the idea of the red ribbon/red string of fate, which I had been fascinated to find was a big deal in Korea as well as China (whose ideas about it I had picked up from Shoujo-type Manwha… )
I don’t want to get into the personal plot-lines here because a lot of the relevant goss is still current (or will be, if I talk about it) but that shouldn’t limit your enjoyment!
Some of it I understand probably makes zero sense, and even after explanation probably won’t because this poem is essentially All About Me, but…:
Tom O’Bedlam’s Song - I fucking love Shakespeare and Lear is right up there
The Iron Baptist - My father belonged to the Baptist Church for a while, and Southern Baptists are notorious for being harder than any (see also: Bill Hicks doco)
Iron is an adjective here, but also snark and a joke. The snark is Dad comes from a line of soldiers and academics, and his rock collection was envied even by his University’s Geology department. The joke is that the ‘Iron Islands’ are where the Krakens of House Greyjoy come from, and they honour The Drowned God (see G.R.R.Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire)
My name: Vanessa is Mum’s anglicized approximation of ‘Wan Weih Saa’
UMM what else? I dicked around with one of the verses that directly referenced a person and place in my real life, for fear they should put 3 and four together and realise it was prime, and I did reject many many verses that I did not record for posterity (I want to look back and think I was a genius with legible handwriting)
This is probably the poem I will perform at the slam. Because it’s the longest, and more obliquely personal than the others