Fresh Featured June Poet: Carol Eades

By Kate Garrett

Carol Eades describes herself as ‘a brief elaboration of a tube’, who lives in Sheffield and attempts to be a Buddhist. I know her as a funny, insightful artist and performance poet, and the woman who has recently taken over organisation of Gorilla Events – a regular spoken word night in Sheffield. Her poems have recently been published in the web journal three drops from a cauldron and the zine Designing Out Suicide, and she has performed at many events across South Yorkshire.

I sat down with Carol to ask some questions about poetry and why she writes, and to nab three of her poems for the enjoyment of our readers. The results follow…


Carol Eades FreshKG: So, Carol – how long have you been writing poetry?
CE: Just over a year. I used to write a bit as a teenager, but stopped until last summer when I met the Gorilla poets through a boyfriend.

KG: And what moves you most to write?
CE: Outrage, beauty and confusion.

KG: Do you prefer forms with built-in structure, or making your own way with free verse?
CE: I think structure, and forms. I always feel a bit uncertain with free verse, although it is… well… freeing.

*
Anglesea

Whilst the sun shone we gathered sea coal,
We fished off rocks and made sand castles.
When night came, we made fire and watched flames dance.

At the bay the waters flow fast, deep and warm.
The sea on one side, seclusion on the other,
Whilst the sun shone we gathered sea coal,

Sea bleached wood that would burn green and blue.
Swam against the tide and went with the flow.
When night came, we made fire and watched flames dance.

Every year we return to this beach.
From my childhood to being full grown,
Whilst the sun shone we gathered sea coal.

I love this place I know so well,
The comfort that comes from familiarity.
Whilst the sun shone we gathered sea coal,
When night came, we made fire and watched flames dance.

*

KG: What do you love most about poetry in general?
CE: I love the fact that it gives expression to things people don’t usually bother to express, or rarely express in a thoughtful way.

*

Guilt

I can feel you stalking me,
I’ve fallen prey to you before,
I can feel insidious tendrils,
Testing at the door.

Pressure slowly building,
Darkening clouding sky.
A lurking looming darkness.
An overwhelming ‘why?’

I’m studiously not looking,
Whilst you fortify your attack.
I’m comforting myself
With what I’ll answer back.

But I can feel you stalking me.
Digging pit traps I’ll fall in.
Releasing toxic seeds of doubt,
To crawl beneath my skin.

I’m trying to pretend
That it will all turn out OK,
But I’ve fallen in your traps before
It often ends that way.

I’m older and I’m wiser now.
And I know you’re stalking me.
But even with that knowledge
There’s some things I don’t see.

You know me as I know myself.
Of course you fucking do.
But it’s not as if you love me,
So I’d rather we were through.

As if life isn’t hard enough,
With the challenges we find.
Without your brooding presence,
Lurking in my mind.

*

KG: Do you have any favourite poets?
CE: John Hegley and Spike Milligan. I’ve always liked silly poets.

KG: You said you wrote some poetry in your teens, but put it down for awhile. What made you start up again?
CE: I’d been to Gorilla and heard people read their poems, and was impressed by their creativity and their bravery. Then my boyfriend really annoyed me, and, because he’s a poet, I thought the best way to express my annoyance would be in poetic form. For added poetic irony. (See ‘Total Reject’ in this post.)

KG: So why did you stick with it and write more poems?
CE: I guess because people liked that one, and I got positive feedback, I realised I had an untapped talent and kept going. And since then it’s been an awesome way of expressing my feelings on all sorts of topics that have irritated and amused me. It keeps my brain busy.

*

I’m really pleased Carol has kept it going – and look forward to what she comes up with in the future. Here’s Total Reject to see us out.

Total Reject

I’m upset that I feel I’ve been told that I’m all wrong,
That my version of being feminine is just too fucking strong.

My hips don’t sway enough to sashay when I walk.
My work is too manly. I swear loudly when I talk.
My muscles are too prominent, and my jaw line is too square.
And let’s not begin on the clothes I like to wear!

My height is too great and my hair too fucking punk.
He wants me more demure. I say bring on the funk!
He doesn’t like my humour, says I have a manic laugh.
God knows how he’d react to my peeing in the bath…

Apparently I even look somewhat like a man,
With all of this it’s hard to feel he really is a fan.
I’m too strong and muscular, I emasculate a guy.
But then if I get ill or sad it’s a downer if I sigh.

He doesn’t like my strength so it’s a further irony,
That’s he’s seemingly not OK with vulnerability.
So long as it’s all light and fun and I am well and fit.
Then all the rest can be ignored, unquestioned for a bit.

But if I have a migraine or I dare to take a pill,
Then this is seen as evidence of weakness of the will!
As if I want an illness, or a trauma from my past.
As if they are not worse for me than a mild pain in his ass?!

To imply that I choose victimhood really makes me want to swear.
To nail him to the floor and slowly torture him with flair.
I’m neither to complain, nor be bravely insincere,
So spontaneous recovery is the only path left clear!

But then i stop and ponder, despite all the above,
I still would say that we are are quite deeply in love.
It can’t be just the sex, although I can’t deny that’s great,
But not quite all I look for in a partner or a mate.

He’s no Adonis. Not my physical ideal.
But I can’t deny the way that being with him has made me feel.
It’s possible he’s blinded by who he hopes I’ll one day be,
When I step from my neurosis into self actuality.

And despite all these comments, he will occasionally,
Say the universe is enriched by the inclusion of me.
He insists, although annoying, I’m not required to change,
But to feel both loved and judged is really rather strange.

However, if it’s true that despite all of my faults,
That he’s chosen, that he loves me thinks I make a nice gestalt.
And he can when he wants to be a truly sweet nice guy,
Who’s opened up my heart, and made me vulnerable and cry.

But, then I stop and think what with all this judgmental shit,
Might I not be better off just being single for a bit?
Or whether with some humour I can find a middle way.
A mature measured practice to enable me to stay.

The answers probably easy. It’ll all be down to fear.
My insecurities Magnifying and fixating on particular things I hear.
Because he can be kind and loving, Supportive, patient, keen and strong.
So long as it’s in private, and it doesn’t take too long.

He’s given the gift of fearlessness and shone a light into my life,
Which has brought in equal measure a fair amount of strife,
But on the whole I still would say there’s been more good than bad,
And he’s more bombastic fool than incorrigible cad,

So, I think I can grin and bear it. Without becoming a Stepford wife.
And I can probably find a way that I can keep him in my life.


For more of Carol Eades, visit her blog

If you would like to appear in either Fresh, or our monthly poetry profile Fresh: Featured, then you can find out how right here.

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