Natalie Crick

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the poet

Studying for an MPhil in Creative Writing at Newcastle University, Natalie Crick has had poems in Stand, The Moth, Banshee, The Dark Horse, The Poetry Review and elsewhere. One of her poems was commended in the Verve Poetry Festival Competition 2020, and awarded second prize in the Newcastle Poetry Competition that same year. Another of Natalie's poems received a special mention by judge Ilya Kaminsky in the Poetry London Prize 2020. In 2021, Natalie was highly commended in the Wales Poetry Award, and nominated for The Forward Prize for Best Single Poem. She is co-founder and poetry editor of small literary press Fragmented Voices, which is based in both Newcastle and Prague.

the poems

Cut

00:00 / 01:17
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           the lovely fairies
           in Sister’s room
           have blades on their backs
           and lately Lee sucks lemons
           for their sharps
           looks for wounds in snow
           on his morning walk with Mam
           fantasizes he is sliced like a pear
           but today the blood smells real
           he wipes his hands on his trackies
           dizzy tries to walk not run
           because he doesn’t want to scare
           and blooming like a cherry tree stumbles out
           there is a metallic grinding scream
           when Next Door ignites the hedge trimmer
           the winter sun pierces Lee’s eyes
           blue sky sawn open
           in that moment the sky is too big for Lee
           far too big and empty
           he wants to find the stars
           wants a knock on his bedroom door
           wants to be red for somebody

Doctors and Nurses

00:00 / 01:10
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           Lee’s Sister is upstairs
           Septembering in the back bedroom where
           Lee sometimes eats old bread.


           After long days of waiting,
           Lee moves like an infection up
           stairs that smell of cigarette smoke.


           Sister’s shadow is a boy
           of five in the right light.
           Lee lights her smile with a tickle,


           breaks the pill onto the spoon’s curve and
           tells his patient to suck on it.
           She coos. This is what doves do,
           excited through open lips.


           Lee tends to Sister’s most-hurts, examines
           the cut on her toe and kisses it.
           Allows her to undress to rub salve into her cattle state.


           Sombre Doctor Lee, grave in gloves,
           checks her pulse:


           Miss, there’s something you should know.

Girlfriend-Watch

00:00 / 01:55
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            Poorly Girlfriend sleeps like a parched stone.

            Boyfriend watches her instead of television.

            Boyfriend watches when light slats

            dangerously expose her black eyes to him.

            His hand is a quill; the crow feather a flutter to ease

            out her bad, the nib a point stroking her cheeks.

            Boyfriend makes up Girlfriend’s face

            with motes of ash from his fingers.

            Her face is lengthening, looking up.

            To Boyfriend she seems Unsafe. Undelicate.


            He plays love with her,

            plays fetch, plays harm.

            He likes her to suck his fingers,

            He likes her to smile, always.


            Boyfriend likes to use the biggest knife

            to slice Girlfriend’s strawberries, likes to see

            the red of them against the lap of white at her throat.

            Boyfriend confesses how much he loves Girlfriend

            to the mirror. He whispers the names of the others

            he loves, but can never change the channel on the remote.

            Boyfriend watches Girlfriend instead of television.

            He turns the ceiling light on and off to see just what she will do,

            lights up the room bright to check she is still breathing.

            Off and On.

Publishing credits

Cut: The Manchester Review (Issue 23)

Doctors and Nurses: The Interpreter's House (Issue 76)

Girlfriend-Watch: placed second in the Newcastle

  Poetry Competition 2020