writing in a roadside inn

Sitting on the well worn bed,

She pens the song that one day wins

The Grammy and the praise that came

Upon her diamond sparkle dreams,

But now the trucks will thunder by,

The light from Starbucks blinds,

Denying her the sleep she wants

And so she scratches at the paper,

Fetid air pushed around the room

By the single fan, in a shady corner.

This is not her gold dust dream,

But on the wind that whisper’s there

Is word of penthouse rooms one day.

what i would have in my rider

arched construction of contemporary stadium on sunny day
Photo by Aleks Marinkovic on Pexels.com

I’m not a pop star and I cannot sing or dance

And yet I’ll often wonder what I would have

In my rider for dressing rooms on tour.

I’d have flowers that are yellow, and candles

That smell strongly of sandalwood.

I’d have big bowls of Reese’s and cold cherry coke

And I’d order in pizza that I’d eat with my dancers

When we roll off the stage looking sweaty and tired.

We’d crush into rooms in cities with no names,

Laughing at signs that we’d read in the crowd

While buzzing with nerves that twang with the tension,

The crowds drifting out to beds that are warm,

Ears still ringing for days at a time

And we’ll move on to another arena, a cathedral

To pop music prayed to by the masses

And paying for my flowers and sandalwood candles.

why i don’t want to grow a pair of balls

Why don’t you grow a pair? she said

Making a cupping action with both

Of her sweet, delicate little hands.

I rolled my eyes and turned away.

Because maybe I don’t want to,

I whispered underneath my breath.

Maybe I quite like the fact that I have skin

So fucking paper thin

That even quiet words can cut their way

Through to vital organs like

A heart, a soul, a brain.

Too thin to shin my way up to the top

Of that greasy pole you all seem keen

To reach the top so quick, it’s sick.

I’d rather crane my neck and watch,

But feel the world around with such

Intensity it sometimes hurts to breathe.

It hurts, that’s right, and I’ll never have

The balls you wish for me to grow

But I am blessed to have the words,

To feel the feels, and to connect

In ways that you can only wish to know.

I just watched Miss Americana on Netflix, and wow. Taylor Swift is a queen. I know that there are people reading this who will be rolling their eyes and saying that she is annoying and shallow and blah blah blah, but I like her and I’m old enough and ugly enough to stand by my own opinions.

I think that I like her so much because she can connect with us through her writing in a way that most people can only dream of. And I always imagine that pop stars are tough and hardened to any kind of stick they get from the internet, but I saw from the documentary that she isn’t like this. And it’s kind of her super power. Her soft side is what helps her connect with millions of us, because we’ve all felt vulnerable and we like to hear somebody who apparently has it all say that they feel vulnerable too.

I wrote this poem because towards the end of the film Taylor said “I want to keep my pen sharp, and my skin thin”. This made me stop and look up because I didn’t think successful people ever wanted thin skin. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they want thin skin before. But as a writer, perhaps this is something that I should be hoping and praying that I have forever.

If you feel like you are battling to withstand the horrible crap that the world can throw at you, feel comforted in the knowledge that we all feel that way, whether you are an admin assistant, a lawyer, a toilet cleaner, a pop star, a politician or anyone else. We’re all human and we all feel that way sometimes. But also know that it is a beautiful thing to be able to feel so intensely. It means that you are able to connect with people in a magical way and that, my friend, is something to be proud of.

Much Love,

Rachel xx